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a web of many textures

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Page 371


Babies, we believe, have never been considered as
being in any way connected with the fine arts, and perhaps
“judicious criticism” might have little benefit
in improving, in the estimation of the possessors,
the cherubs chiselled by the hand of nature. The
style of babies is illimitable, and each family that is the
delighted possessor of one deems, of course, its own
the most in accordance with classic taste. Therefore
it is impossible to fix any standard, beyond mere opinion,
by which to establish the fact of beauty in a baby;
and we are obliged to leave it with the possessor to
fix the degree, and say whether pug-nosed or aquiline-nosed,
big-eyed or little-eyed, dumpy babies or more
extended babies, are most worthy of the claim to beauty.
And this brings out the fact that the Great Artist who
made the work gives also the faculty of appreciating
the excellence of each particular production to the ones
most interested. There is great wisdom in this; for, if
the same general idea of beauty prevailed, nobody's
baby would be safe. There would be endless envying,
and strife, and bickering, and more rivalry to obtain the
handsomest baby than now prevails at an auction to
secure some choice article of vertu. [The printer will
please not put this virtue, as that is an article which is
rarely sought with such avidity.] Now all are secure,
and each one is happy in the possession of the handsomest.
There is not a more interesting study in the
world than a baby as a work of art — aside from its
humanity, the grandeur of its destiny, and all that.
The tiny hand, so delicately modelled, is a lesson of
beauty. The transparent nails, the dimpled knuckles,
the delicate tracery of the palm-lines, all are so admirably


Page 372
executed, that it seems a pity to mar so sweet a
work by manly growth. Some one has said that infants
are always graceful in their motions. This is a mechanical
view of the baby, but it is true. From rolling over
on the carpet to pulling Bub's hair or papa's whiskers,
the baby's motions are beautiful. The chiselled marble
never can attain the exquisite finish of the rounded
cheek, the delicate eyelash, the beautiful mouth, the
funny nose, the dimpled chin. Ask the happy mother
or the proud father if they ever saw any one half as
beautiful as their own little laughing, crowing, cooing,
drooling, rollicking, rolling, tumbling, fretting little doll
of a baby, that sits there on the floor, or wherever it
may be, sucking its little fist, and the answer will be a
most decided negative.