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The Variable Baby

Fun, X - 9th October 1869

Illustration by Gilbert  
There never was a man
  Who studied more minutely
His very simplest plan

The smallest of his schemes
  (As I've already stated),
And all his wildest dreams,
  Were equally debated.

But, ah! of all the host
  Of social cons that harry,
This con perplexed him most:
  "Shall I do well to marry?"

For A. espoused a wife
  Young, lovely, and with money,
And people thought their life
  Would be one moon of honey.

But, ah, before a year
  O'er life's rough road they'd jolted,
With some disgraceful peer
  Good MRS. A. had bolted.

While B., whose wife is plain,
  Poor, cross, and half-demented,
Seems always, in the main,
  Exceedingly contented.

But there is C., his joy, —
  (His wife, a year united,
Has given him a boy,
  And C. is quite delighted).

And STUTELY sees his pride,
  And thinks it pleasant, rather,
(And also dignified)
  To be a baby's father.

"But, ah!" thinks he, "perhaps
  This baby, full of graces,
May prove the worst of chaps,
  And have the worst of faces!

"To-day's bright source of joy
  May joyless be to-morrow,
And this much-cherished boy
  May bring his parents sorrow!

"I'll see how he turns out,
  His parents' care rewarding,
A Crichton or a lout,
  And I'll be ruled according.

"If Baby turns out well,
  I certainly will marry —
If Baby proves a sell,
  A bachelor I'll tarry!"

Now, Baby's good as gold,
  With cheeks as red as roses,
And STUTELY (rather old)
  To some fair maid proposes:

Now, Baby's cross and cries,
  And won't let Nursey clean it;
And STUTELY seeks his prize,
  And says he didn't mean it.

Well, Baby, fat and bluff,
  And first-rate health enjoying —
Is sometimes good enough,
  And sometimes most annoying.

And S., with puzzled fate,
  Immediate marriage throws up,
And thinks he'd better wait
  And see how Baby grows up.

When Baby grows a lad,
  No rule of conduct stops him;
And when extremely bad,
  His father comes and whops him.

And STUTELY says with joy,
  "I'm glad I thought of stopping;
I couldn't whop a boy,
  And boys want lots of whopping!"

  Illustration by Gilbert
Illustration by Gilbert  
When Baby grows a man,
  He takes to serious teaching;
And later on, began
  A course of highway preaching.

And STUTELY cries, "Well done!
  A credit to his mother!
That's something like a son-
  I wish I'd such another!"

And Instinct whispers, "Mate!
  You're wasting time, you gaby!"
But Prudence whispers, "Wait!
  And see what comes of Baby!"

And Prudence gains the day,
  For Baby takes to orgies:
He seeks the sinner's way,
  And finally he forges.

And Baby, for his crime,
  Is numbered, shaved, and sorted,
And to a penal clime
  Is carefully transported.

And STUTELY shakes his head,
  And says he's glad he tarried;
And STUTELY'S still unwed,
  And means to die unmarried.
  Illustration by Gilbert

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