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Full text of "The biography of a baby"

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THE BIOGRAPHY 

OF 

A BABY 

BY 

MILICENT WASHBURN SHINN 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 




COPYRIGHT, IQOO, BY MILICENT WASHBURN SHINN 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



PRINTED 



CONTENTS 



I. Baby Biographies in General 1 

n. The New-born Baby : Structure and Move- 
ments 20 

IIL The New-born Baby : Sensations and Con- 
sciousness 39 

rV. The Earliest Developments 58 

v. Beginnings of Emotion and Progress in 

Sense Powers 78 

VI. Progress toward Graspino 99 

VII. She learns to grasp, and discovers the 

World of Things 118 

Vin. The Era of Handling Things 141 

IX. The Dawn of Intelligence 161 

X. Beginnings of Locomotion 182 

XI. Creeping and Standing 203 

Xn. Rudiments of Speech ; Climbing and Progress 

toward Walking 224 

Xm Walking Alone; Developing Intelligence 238 



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THE BIOGRAPHY OF A BABY 



BABY BIOGRAPHIES IN GENERAL 

'* It is a well recognized fact in the history 
of science that the very subjects which con- 
cern our dearest interests, which He nearest 
our hearts, are exactly those which are the 
last to suLmit to scientific methods, to be 
reduced to scientific law. Thus it has come 
to pass that while babies are born and grow 
up in every household, and while the gradual 
unfolding of their faculties has been watched 
with the keenest interest and intensest joy 
by inteUigent and even scientific fathers and 
mothers from time inunemorial, yet very Httle 
has yet been done in the scientific study of 
this most important of all possible subjects^ 



2 THE BIOGEAPHY 

— the ontogenetic evolution of the faculties 
of the human niind. 

" Only in the last few years has scientific 
attention been drawn to the subject at all. 
Its transcendent importance has already en- 
listed many observers, but on account of the 
great complexity of the phenomena, and still 
more the intrinsic difficulty of their inter- 
pretation, scientific progress has scarcely yet 
commenced. 

" What is wanted most of all in this, as 
in every science, is a body of carefully ob- 
served facts. But to be an accomplished 
investigator in this field requires a rare com- 
bination of qualities. There must be a wide 
intelligence combined with patience in observ- 
ing and honesty in recording. There must 
be also an earnest scientific spirit, a loving 
sympathy with the subject of investigation, 
yet under watchful restraint, lest it cloud the 
judgment; keenness of intuitive perception, 
yet soberness of judgment in interpretation." 

1 have appropriated these words of Dr. 



OF A BABY 3 

Joseph Le Conte because the general reader 
is not Hkely to see them where they were 
originally printed, in a Httle university study, 
and it is a pity to let the general reader 
miss so good an introduction to the subject. 
Not all learned men rate baby biography as 
highly as Dr. Le Conte does ; but probably 
all biologists do, and those psychologists 
who are most strongly impressed with the 
evolutionary interpretation of life. 

It is easy to see why one's views of evolu- 
tion affect the matter. In botany, for in- 
stance, we do not think that we can under- 
stand the mature plant by studying it alone, 
without knowledge of its germinating period. 
If we omitted all study of radicle and plu- 
mule and cotyledon, we should not only lose 
an interesting chapter from the science, but 
even the part we kept, the classification and 
morphology and physiology of the gi-own 
plant itself, would be seriously misunder- 
stood in some ways. So in other sciences : it 
is necessary to understand how things came 



4 THE BIOGRAPHY 

to be what they are, to study the process of 
becommg, so to speak, before the completed 
result can be understood. This is what we 
mean by " the genetic method " of studying 
a subject. 

Now, in proportion as one believes that 
the faculties of the human mind unfold by 
evolutionary law, like a plant from the germ, 
he will feel the need of studying these also 
genetically. As we find them in our grown 
selves, they are often perplexing. What 
seems a single complete, inborn faculty may 
really be made up of simpler ones, so fused 
together by long practice that they cannot 
be discerned. We know that this is the case 
with seeing. For instance, we give a glance 
at a ball, and see its form with a single act 
of mind. Yet that act became possible only 
after long di-ill in putting simpler perceptions 
together. Many a test of form, turning ob- 
jects over and over, passing the hands round 
and round them, learning the absence of cor- 
ners, the equahty of diameters, did we go 



OF A BABY 5 

through in babyhood, many an inspection by 
eye, many an exercise of memory, connecting 
the peculiar arrangement of Hght and shade 
with the form as felt, before we could " see " 
a ball. Had this been understood in Froe- 
bel's time, it would have made a material 
difference in his suggestions as to sense train- 
ing in earHest infancy. So other powers that 
seem simple and inborn may perhaps be de- 
tected in the act of forming themselves out 
of simpler ones, if we watch babies closely 
enough, and it may lead us to revise some of 
our theories about education. 

There are enthusiasts, indeed, who would 
have us beheve that child study is going to 
revolutionize all our educational methods, but 
those who are surest of these wonderful re- 
sults, and readiest to teU mothers and teachers 
what is the truly scientific thing to do with 
their children, are not the ones who have 
done the most serious first hand study of 
children. From indications so far, it is likely 
that the outcome of such study will oftener 



6 THE BIOGRAPHY 

be to confirm some good old-fashioned ways 
of training (showing that they rested uncon- 
sciously on a sound psychological basis) than 
to discover new ways. No substitute has 
yet been found by scientific pedagogy for 
motherly good sense and devotion. 

Yet the direct study of child minds does 
biing out some new suggestions of educa- 
tional value, does give a verdict sometimes 
between old conflicting theories, and always 
makes us understand more clearly what we 
are doing with children. And on the purely 
scientific side there is one aspect of especial 
interest in genetic studies. That is, the pos- 
sible Hght we may get on the past of the 
human race. 

It has long been observed that there are 
curious resemblances between babies and 
monkeys, between boys and barbaric tribes. 
Schoolboys administer law among themselves 
much as a tribal court does ; babies sit Hke 
monkeys, with the soles of their little feet 
facing each other. Such resemblances led, 



OF A BABY 7 

long before the age of Darwin, to the spec- 
ulation that children in developing passed 
through stages similar to those the race had 
passed through ; and the speculation has be- 
come an accepted doctrine since embryology 
has shown how each individual before birth 
passes in successive stages through the lower 
forms of hfe. 

This series of changes in the individual is 
called by evolutionists the Ontogenic Series ; 
and the similar series through which the race 
has passed in the myriads of ages of its evo- 
lution is called the Phylogenic. 

Now, of these two versions of the great 
world history, the phylogenic is a worn and 
ancient volume, mutilated in many places, 
and often illegible. The most interesting 
chapter of all is torn out — that which re- 
cords the passing over of man from brute to 
human, the beginning of true human rea- 
son, speech, and skill. The lowest living 
races are far beyond the transition line ; the 
remains of the past can never tell us how it 



8 THE BIOGRAPHY 

was crossed, for before man could leave any- 
thing more than bones — any products of 
his art, such as weapons, or signs of fire 
— he had traveled a long way from his first 
human condition. 

But from the ontogenic record no chapter 
can be torn out : a fresh copy of the whole 
history, from alpha to omega, is written out 
every time an infant is conceived, and born, 
and grows to manhood. And somewhere 
on the way between the first cell of the em- 
bryo and maturity each one must repeat in 
his own life that wonderful transition into 
human intelligence. If we can thoroughly 
decipher tliis ontogenic record, then, what 
may we not hope to learn of the road by 
which we human beings came ? 

We must not forget that the correspond- 
ence between these life books is only a rough 
one. They are versions of the same world 
story, but they have traveled far from their 
common origin, and have become widely un- 
like in details. The baby has to take many 



OF A BABY 9 

short cuts, and condense and omit inconceiv- 
ably, to get through in a few brief years a 
development that the race took ages for. 
Even the order of development gets dis- 
arranged sometimes. For instance, primi- 
tive man probably reached a higher develop- 
ment before he could talk than babies have 
to now, after ages of talking ancestry: we 
must not look to a child just learning to talk, 
to get an idea of what the minds of men 
were Hke when they were just learning to 
talk. Again, the human child is carrying 
on under the influence of adults an evolution 
that primitive man worked out without help 
or hindrance from any one wiser than him- 
self ; and that makes a great difference in 
the way he does it. 

The moral of all this is that people should 
be very cautious indeed in drawing parallels 
between the child and the race, and especially 
in basing educational theories on them. But 
if one is cautious enough and patient enough, 
there are many hints about our race liistory 



10 THE BIOGRAPHY 

to be found in every nursery. Some of these 
I shall relate in the following chapters. 

Most studies of children deal with later 
childhood, the school years ; and these are 
almost always statistical in their method, 
taking the individual child very little into 
account. My own study has been of baby- 
hood, and its method has been biographical. 
It is hard to get statistics about babies, scat- 
tered as they are, one by one, in different 
homes, not massed in schoolrooms. Now 
and then a doctor has found material for 
good comparative investigations, and much 
effort has been spent in trying to gather up 
measurements of babies' growth ; but on the 
whole the most fruitful method so far has 
been the biographical one — that of watch- 
ing one baby's development, day by day, and 
recording it. 

I am often asked if the results one gets in 
this way are not misleading, since each child 
might differ greatly from others. One must, 



OF A BABY 11 

o£ course, use great caution in drawing gen- 
eral conclusions from a single child, but in 
many things all babies are ahke, and one 
learns to perceive pretty well which are the 
things. Babyhood is mainly taken up with 
the development of the large, general racial 
powers ; individual differences are less impor- 
tant than in later childhood. And the bio- 
graphical method of child study has the ines- 
tunable advantage of showing the process o£ 
evolution going on, the actual unfolding of 
one stage out of another, and the steps by 
which the changes come about. No amount 
of comparative statistics could give this. If 
I should find out that a thousand babies 
learned to stand at an average age of forty- 
six weeks and two days, I should not know 
as much that is important about standing, as 
a stage in human progress, as I should after 
watching a single baby carefully through the 
whole process of achieving balance on his 
little soles. 

Yet there are not many baby biographies 



12 THE BIOGRAPHY 

in existence. There are scarcely half a dozen 
records that are full and consecutive enough 
to be at all entitled to the name, and even of 
more fragmentary ones the number in print 
as separate essays is scarcely larger. A good 
many more, however, have been available in 
manuscript to students, and many mothers 
no doubt keep such little notebooks. These 
notes are often highly exact and inteUigent, 
as far as they go (I have found this espe- 
cially true of the notebooks of members of 
the Association of Collegiate Alumnse), and 
ajfford important corroborations here and 
there to more continuous records. 

It was the Germans who first thought baby 
life worth recording, and the most complete 
and scientific of all the records is a German 
one. The first record known was pubhshed 
in the last century by a Professor Tiedemann 
— a mere sHp of an essay, long completely 
forgotten, but resuscitated about the middle 
of this century, translated into French (and 
lately into Enghsh), and used by all students 



OF A BABY 13 

of the subject. Some of its observations we 
must, with our present knowledge, set down 
as erroneous ; but it is on the whole exact 
and valuable, and a remarkable thing for a 
man to have done more than a hundred years 
ago. 

Perhaps Darwin, in 1840, was the next 
person to take notes of an infant's develop- 
ment ; but they were taken only incidentally 
to another study, and were not published for 
more than thirty years (partly in " The Ex- 
pression of the Emotions in Man and Ani- 
mals," 1873, partly in a magazine article in 
1877). They are scanty but important. In 
the interval before they were published two 
or three small records had been published in 
Germany, and at least one paper, that of M. 
Taine, in France. 

In 1881, the first edition of Professor 
Prayer's "model record" was published, and 
before his death, in 1897, it had reached its 
third edition in Germany, and had been 
widely circulated in America in Mr. Brown's 



U THE BIOGEAPHY 

excellent translation, " The Senses and the 
Will," and " The Development of the Intel- 
lect." It did more to stimulate and direct the 
study of infancy than any other publication. 
It has, however, the limitations that were to 
be expected from Professor Preyer's special 
training as a physiologist, and is meagre on 
the side of mental, moral, and emotional de- 
velopment. Professor Sully's " Extracts 
from a Father's Diary," published in part in 
1881 and 1884 and fully in 1896, Ls richer 
on these sides, and also more readable. 

Within the present decade, it is worth 
observing, the principal records have been 
American, not German, and have been writ* 
ten by women. Outside of America, only 
men, usually university professors, have made 
extended records. Professor Preyer and 
Professor Sully have both appealed in vain 
to their countrywomen to keep such records, 
holding up American women for emulation. 
My " Notes on the Development of a Child '" 
were published in 1893 and 1899. In 1896 



OF A BABY 13 

appeared Mrs. Hall's " The First 500 Days 
of a Child's Life," a brief record, and con- 
fined to a short period, but a very good one, 
and perhaps the best for use as a guide by 
any one who wishes to keep a record and 
finds Preyer too technical. Mrs. Moore's 
" Mental Development of a Child " is quite 
as much a psychological study as a record, 
but is based on full biographical notes ; it 
will be more used by students than general 
readers. Mrs. Hogan's "A Study of a 
Child," 1898, is less scholarly than the 
others, but has a great deal of useful mate- 
rial ; it does not begin at birth, however, but 
with the fourteenth month. 

Perhaps I should say a word here as to the 
way in which I came to make a baby bio- 
graphy, for I am often asked how one should 
go to work at it. It was not done in my 
case for any scientific purpose, for I did not 
feel competent to make observations of scien- 
tific value. But I had for years desired an 
opportunity to see the wonderful unfolding 



16 THE BIOGEAPHY 

of human powers out of the limp helpless- 
ness of the new-born baby; to watch this 
fascinating drama of evolution daily, mi- 
nutely, and with an effort to understand it 
as far as I could, for my own pleasure and 
information. I scarcely know whence the 
suggestion had come; probably almost by 
inheritance, for my mother and grandmother 
had both been in somewhat notable degree 
observers of the development of babies* 
minds. But, unlike them, I had the note- 
book habit from college and editorial days, 
and jotted things down as I watched, till 
quite unexpectedly I found myself in posses* 
sion of a large mass of data. 

A few days after my own notes began I 
obtained Professor Preyer's record, and with- 
out it I should have found the earhest weeks 
quite unintelligible. For some months my 
notes were largely memoranda of the like- 
nesses and differences between my niece's 
development and that of Preyer's boy, and 
I stiU think this is the best way for a new 



OF A BABY 17 

observer to get started. As time went on, I 
departed more and more from the lines of 
Preyer's observations, and after the first year 
was httle influenced by them. Later, I de- 
voted a good deal of study to the notes, and 
tried to analyze their scientific results. 

There is one question that I have been 
asked a hundred times about baby biogra- 
phy: "Doesn't it do the children some 
harm? Doesn't it make them nervous? 
Does n't it make them self-conscious ? " At 
first this seemed to me an odd misapprehen- 
sion — as if people supposed observing chil- 
dren meant doing something to them. But 
I have no doubt it could be so foolishly 
managed as to harm the child. There are 
thousands of parents who tell anecdotes 
about children before their faces every day 
in the year, and if such a parent turns child 
student it is hard to say what he may not do 
in the way of dissecting a child's mind openly, 
questioning the httle one about himself, and 
experimenting with his thoughts and f eehngs. 



18 THE BIOGEAPHY 

But such observing is as worthless scientifi- 
cally as it is bad for the child : the whole 
value of an observation is gone as soon as 
the phenomena observed lose simphcity and 
spontaneity. It should be unnecessary to 
say that no competent observer tampers with 
the child in any way. If Professor Preyer, 
observing the baby as he first grasps at 
objects, notes down the way in which he 
misdirects his inexpert httle hands ; if Mrs. 
Barus keeps record of her boy's favorite 
playthings ; if I sit by the window and catch 
with my pencil my niece's prattle as she plays 
about below — and if these babies afterward 
turn out spoiled, the mischief must be cred- 
ited to some other agency than the silent 
notebook. 

Even direct experimenting on a child is 
not so bad as it sounds. When you show a 
baby his father's photograph to see if he 
recognizes it, you are experimenting on him. 
The only difference between the child stu- 
dent's experimenting and that which all the 



OF A BABY 19 

members of the family are doing all day with 
the baby, is that the student knows better 
what he is trying to find out, and that he 
writes it down. 

Probably women are more skillful than 
men in quietly following the course of the 
child's mind, even leading him to reveal him- 
self without at all meddling with him or 
marring his simpHcity. It has been so in 
a marked degree in the cases I have seen. 
But no one who has good judgment will 
allow himself to spoil both the child and his 
own observation ; and any one who has not 
good judgment will find plenty of ways to 
spoil a child more potent than observing 
him. 



20 THE BIOGRAPHY 



n 



THE NEW-BORN BABY: STRUCTURE AND 
MOVEMENTS. 

"Its first act is a cry, not of wrath, as 
Kant said, nor a shout of joy, as Schwartz 
thought, but a snufiling, and then long, thin, 
tearless a — a, with the timbre of a Scotch 
bagpipe, purely automatic, but of discomfort. 
With this monotonous and dismal cry, with 
its red, shriveled, parboiled skin (for the 
child commonly loses weight the first few 
days), squinting, cross-eyed, pot-bellied, and 
bow-legged, it is not strange that, if the 
mother has not followed Froebel's exhorta- 
tions and come to love her child before birth, 
there is a brief interval occasionally danger- 
ous to the child before the maternal instinct 
is fully aroused." 

It cannot be denied that this unflattering 



OF A BABY 21 

description is fair enough, and our baby was 
no handsomer than the rest of her kind. 
The httle boy uncle, who had been elated to 
hear that his niece resembled liim, looked 
shocked and mortified when he saw her. 
Yet she did not lack admirers. I have never 
noticed that women (even those who are not 
mothers) mind a few Httle aesthetic defects, 
such as these that President Hall mentions, 
with so many counterbalancing charms in 
the Httle warm, soft, Hving thing. 

Nor is it women only who find the new 
baby enchanting — in Germany, at least. 
Semmig, whose " Tagebuch eines Vaters" 
is one of the earHest attempts at a record, is 
dehghted even with the " dismal and mono- 
tonous cry." " Heavenly music of the first 
cry ! " he exclaims, " sacred voice of life, 
fii'st sound of the poem of a heart, first note 
of the symphony of human life, thou echo 
of God's word! What sound is like unto 
thee ? " " Yes, it is so : the cry of the baby 
is music ! When it is stiU, especiaUy in the 



22 THE BIOGRAPHY 

night, one is uneasy; one longs for this 
primitive expression of the little being, and 
)s consoled, enraptured, when the helpless 
creature breaks into loud wails, and says to 
us : I hve, give me what I need ! Oh, cry 
of the baby in the night, nightingale song 
for mother and father ! " 

Our baby was at least a handsome one 
from the doctor's point of view, strong, 
healthy, and well formed ; and this is to be 
taken into account as a determining factor 
in all the record that follows. 

I thought that she must be out of the nor- 
mal in the matter of legs, so oddly brief were 
the fat little members. Afterward I learned 
that all babies are built that way — and 
indeed that they are altogether so different 
in structure from the grown man that Dr. 
Oppenheim, in his book on " The Develop- 
ment of the Child," comes near to saying 
that we must regard the infant as a different 
animal form from the adult, almost as the 
catei^illar is different from the butterfly. 



OF A BABY 23 

Common speech recognizes this in the case 
of several of the higher animals, naming the 
young form as differently as if it were a 
different species. We say a colt, a calf, a 
puppy, a baby; not a young horse, cow, 
dog, or man. 

We call a baby a little copy of the man, 
but really if he were magnified to man's size 
and strength, we should regard him at first 
glance as an idiot and monster, with enor- 
mous head and abdomen, short legs, and no 
neck, not to speak of the flat-nosed, progna- 
thous face ; and on the other hand, a baby 
that was really a small copy of man's body 
would seem positively uncanny. We see this 
in old pictures, where the artist tried to de- 
pict babies by placing small-sized men and 
women in the mother's arms. 

The middle point of the baby's length 
falls a Httle above the navel, the abdomen 
and legs together making up a little more 
than half the whole length ; in the man the 
legs alone make a trifle more than half. la 



24 THE BIOGRAPHY 

proportion to the baby's total weight, its 
brain weighs seven times as much as a grown 
person's, its muscles httle more than half as 
much. 

** The two [man and baby] do not breathe 
ahke, their pulse rates are not ahke, the com- 
position of their bodies is not ahke." The 
baby's body at birth is 74.7 per cent, water, 
ours 58.5 per cent. It is largely due to its 
loose, watery structure that the baby's brain 
is so heavy — which shows the folly of try- 
ing to compare mental powers by means of 
brain weights, as is so often done in discuss- 
ing woman's sphere. As Donaldson says, 
if there were anything in that basis of com- 
parison, the new-born baby would be the 
intellectual master of us all. The baby has 
bright red and watery marrow, instead of 
the yellow, fatty substance in our bones ; 
and its blood differs so from ours in propor- 
tion of red and white corpuscles and in 
chemical make-up as to "amount almost to 
a difference in kind," says Dr. Oppenheim, 



OF A BABY 25 

•who adds that such a condition of marrow 
or blood, if found in a grown person, would 
be considered an indication of disease. 

The organs are differently placed within 
the body, and even differently formed. The 
bony structure is everywhere soft and unfin- 
ished, the plates of the skull imperfectly fitted 
together, with gaps at the corners ; and it is 
well that they are, for if the brain box were 
closed tight the brain within could never 
grow. Surgeons have lately even made arti- 
ficial openings where the skull was prema- 
turely perfect, to save the baby from idiocy. 
The bony inclosures of the middle ear are 
quite unfinished, so that on the one side 
catarrhal inflanmiations from the nose and 
throat travel up to the ear more readily than 
in later life, while on the other side ear in- 
flammations are more likely to pass into the 
brain. The spine is straight, Hke an ape's, 
instead of having the double curve of human- 
kind, which seems to be brought about by 
the pull of the muscles after we have come 
to stand erect. 



26 THE BIOGRAPHY 

I have quoted these details from Oppen- 
heim, and from Vierordt's and Roberts's mea- 
surements, as given by Dr. Burk (" Growth 
of Children in Height and Weight.") Some 
of the figures are given otherwise by other 
authorities. I might fill many pages with 
similar details. Some of these differences 
do not disappear till full manhood, others 
are gone in a few weeks after birth. And 
in them all there is so constant a repetition 
of lower animal forms that anatomists are 
brought to a confidence in the " recapitula- 
tion doctrine," such as they can hardly give 
to others by means of a few sample facts. 

The most curious of all the monkey traits 
shown by the new-born baby is the one inves- 
tigated by Dr. Louis Robinson (" Nineteenth 
Century," November, 1891). It was sug- 
gested by "The Luck of Roarmg Camp." 
The question was raised in conversation 
whether a limp and molluscous baby, unable 
so much as to hold up its head on its helpless 
little neck, could do anything so positive as 



OF A BABY 27 

to " rastle with " Kentuck's finger ; and the 
more knowing persons present insisted that a 
young baby does, as a matter of fact, have 
a good firm hand-clasp. It occurred to Dr. 
Robinson that if this was true it was a beau- 
tiful Darwinian point, for cHnging and swing- 
ing by the arms woidd naturally have been a 
specialty with our ancestors if they ever Hved 
a monkey-hke life in the trees. The baby 
that could cling best to its mother as she 
used hands, feet, and tail to flee in the best 
time over the trees, or to get at the more 
inaccessible fruits and eggs in time of scar- 
city, would be the baby that hved to bequeath 
his traits to his descendants ; so that to this 
day our housed and cradled human babies 
would keep in their chnging powers a remi- 
niscence of our wild treetop days. 

Dr. Robinson was fortunate enough to be 
able to test his theory on some sixty babies 
in the first hours of their life, and was tri- 
umphantly successful. He clasped their 
hands about a slender rod, and they swung 



28 THE BIOGRAPHY 

from it like athletes, without apparent dis* 
comfort, by the half minute; many of us 
grown people could not do as well. Such a 
remarkable power of hands and arms has for 
ages been of no especial use to the himian 
race, and it fades out in a few weeks, but for 
many months the arms keep ahead of the 
legs in development. 

Here was not only strength of arms, but 
the ability to perform quite skilKully an ac- 
tion, that required the working together of a 
number of muscles to a definite end, — the 
action namely, of clasping an object with 
the hand. This is one of several actions 
that come ready-made to the baby at birth, 
before he can possibly have had any chance 
to learn them, or any idea of what they are 
for. Babies sneeze, swallow, and cry on the 
first day ; they shut their eyes at a bright 
Hght, or at a touch. On the first day, 
moreover, they have been seen to start at a 
sound or a jar ; Preyer observed hiccough- 
ing, choking, coughing, and spreading the 



OF A BABY 29 

toes when the soles were tickled ; and Dar- 
win saw yawning and stretching Avithin the 
first week, though I do not know that any 
one has seen it on the first day. 

These movements are all of the class called 
reflex, — movements, that is, in which the 
bodily mechanism is set off by some outside 
action on the senses, as a gun is set off by 
a touch on the trigger. Thus, when a tick- 
ling affects the mucous membrane, a sneeze 
executes itself without any will of ours ; when 
our sense of sight perceives a swift missile 
coming, the neck muscles mechanically jerk 
the head to one side. 

We grown people have, however, a good 
deal of power of holding in our reflexes, — 
" inhibiting " them, as the technical ex- 
pression is, — but the baby has none at all. 
If they had a highly developed reflex activ- 
ity, babies would be in real danger from the 
unrestrained acts of their own muscles, as 
we see in the case of convulsions, which 
show reflex action at its extreme. But the 



30 THE BIOGRAPHY 

actions I have mentioned are about all the 
reflex movements that have been noted in 
new-born babies, except what are called the 
periodic reflexes, such as breathing, the heart- 
beat, the contractions of the arteries, and all 
the reg-ular muscular actions of oro^anic life. 

That so complex a system of movement as 
these periodic reflexes should be so readily 
touched into motion upon contact with air 
and food, to maintain itself afterward by 
the interplay of the bodily mechanism and 
external forces, shows a ready-made heredi- 
tary activity far more than the sudden re- 
flexes do. It does not work quite smoothly 
at first, however : the establishment of breath- 
ing, for instance, is irregular, and often dif- 
ficult. Even the sudden reflexes are slower 
and less perfect than with older people. 

There is another class of movements, often 
confused with the reflex — that is, instinctive 
movements. Real grasping (as distinguished 
from reflex grasping), biting, standing, walk- 
ing, are examples of this class. They are 



OF A BABY 31 

race movements, the habits of the species to 
which the animal belongs, and every normal 
member of the species is bound to come to 
them ; yet they are not so fixed in the bodily 
mechanism as the reflex movements. The 
stimulus to them seems to come more from 
within than from without — yet not from 
reason and will, but from some blind im- 
pulse. This impulse is usually imperfect, 
and the child has to work his own way to 
the mastery of the movements. Yet though 
certain reflex activities are inherited in a 
more highly developed condition than any 
hmnan instincts, the instincts are at bottom 
always hereditary, which is not the case with 
the reflexes — any one may teach his muscles 
new reflex movements, unknown to his an- 
cestors. A musician does it every time that 
he practices new music till his hands will run 
it off of their own accord, while he is think- 
ing of something else. But instinct cannot 
be thus acquired. 

The amazing instincts of the lower ani» 



32 THE BIOGRAPHY 

mals ; the imperfect and broken condition of 
the instincts in man, yet the deep hold that 
they have on him ; the mingUng of inherited 
necessity and individual freedom in the way 
in which they are worked out ; the mystery 
of the physiological method by which they 
act (while that of reflex movement is fairly 
well understood, up to a certain point) ; the 
light they seem always about to shed for the 
biologist on the profoundest problems of 
heredity, and for the philosopher on those 
of free will and personality, — these things 
make instinct one of the great fields of pre- 
sent research, and I must not venture into 
it, though it is of importance in trying to 
understand a baby. 

I shall say only that while instinct does 
not appear in the lowest animals (whose 
action is all of the reflex type), and is for a 
time a sign of rising rank in the scale of life, 
it reaches its culmination with the insects, 
and as we approach man it is the breaking 
up of the instincts that is in its turn a sign 



OF A BABY 33 

of advancement to higher life. The Httle 
chicken runs about as soon as it is out of its 
shell, and even the monkey baby is able to 
take care of itself in a few months. Nothing 
is so helpless as the human baby, and in that 
helplessness is our glory, for it means that 
the activities of the race (as John Fiske has 
so clearly shown) have become too many, 
too complex, too infrequently repeated, to 
become fixed in the nervous structure before 
birth ; hence the long period after birth be- 
fore the child comes to full human powers. 
It is a maxim of biology (as well as the fre- 
quent lesson of common observation) that 
while an organism is thus immature and 
plastic, it may learn, it may change, it may 
rise to higher development ; and thus to in- 
fancy we owe the rank of the human race. 

The one instinct the human baby always 
brings into the world already developed is 
half a mere reflex act — that of sucking. It 
is started as a reflex would be, by the touch 
of some object, pencil, finger, or nipple, it 



34 THE BIOGKAPHY 

may be, between the lips ; but it does not act 
like a reflex after that. It continues and 
ceases without reference to this external stim- 
ulus, and a little later often begins without it, 
or fails to begin when the stimulus is given. 
If it has originally a reflex character, that 
character fades out, and leaves it a pure in- 
stinct. 

These two types of automatic movement 
(for instinct, however complicated later with 
voUtion, gives rise in these earliest days to 
none but automatic movement) are both 
" purposive," though not purposed — that 
is, they are actions that are plainly adapted 
to some end by ancestral intelligence or by 
natural selection. But there was another 
type of movements more conspicuous in our 
baby than either, and apparently quite non- 
purposive. From the first day she moved 
slightly, but almost constantly, the legs 
drawing up, the arms stirring, the eyes and 
head rolling a little. Sometimes the features 
were distorted with vague and meaningless 



OF A BABY 35 

grimaces. Most other observers report these 
movements, and inexperienced ones say that 
the baby "felt with his hands about his 
face," or " tried to get his hands to his head." 
Any mother may convince herself that the 
baby has no will in the matter by watching 
till he really does begin to try, weeks later, 
to turn his head, put his hands to his mouth, 
kick up his legs : the difference in the whole 
manner of the action is evident. 

An odd explanation has been offered for 
these movements by Dr. Mumford, an Eng- 
lish physiologist. He holds that they Kave 
a singular resemblance to those of swimming 
amphibians; that their prototype may be 
seen in any aquarium; they are, in short, 
survivals of the period long before the ape- 
like stage, long before any mammalian stage, 
"when our ancestors had not yet abandoned 
life in the waters. 

Now, although it is quite true that biolo- 
gists believe that if our ancestry is traced far 
enough, it does lead back to the water, still 



S6 THE BIOGRAPHY 

it seems hardly possible that in a human 
baby, whose structure passed the amphibian 
stage long before birth, the most frequent 
movements should hark back to that tre- 
mendous antiquity. It is more likely that 
Preyer's explanation is the correct one : 
viz., that the movements are simply due to 
the rapid growth of nerve centres, which 
causes an overflow of nervous force to the 
muscles and makes them contract at haphaz- 
ard. A certain regularity is given to these 
chance movements by the tendency of nerve 
impulse to flow in the same paths where it 
has flowed before, rather than in new ones, 
so that the muscles are drawn toward the 
position they occupied before birth. This 
brings the hands constantly up about the 
head — a fact that later has important resultu 
in development. 

These aimless movements are called " im- 
pulsive " by Preyer. I have followed Bain 
and Mrs. Moore in calling them " spontanea 



OF A BABY 37 

There were no movements beyond these 
three types, and therefore none that showed 
the least volition. Mothers often think the 
crying shows wish, will, or understanding of 
some sort. But Preyer tells us that babies 
born without a brain cry in just the same 
manner. 

Mothers do not like to think that the 
baby is at first an automaton ; and they 
would be quite right in objecting if that 
meant that he was a mere machine. He is 
an automaton in the sense that he has prac- 
tically neither thought, wish, nor will ; but 
he is a living, conscious automaton, and that 
makes all the difference in the world. And 
it would be a bold psychologist who should 
try to say what germ of thought and will 
lies enfolded in his helplessness. Certainly, 
the capacity of developing will is there, and 
an automaton with such a capacity is a more 
wonderful creature than the wise, thinking, 
willing baby of nursery tradition would be. 

If mothers would only reflect how Httle 



38 THE BIOGRAPHY 

developed a baby's mind is at a year old, 
after all the progress of twelve months, they 
would see that they rate the mental starting 
point altogether too high. And they miss 
thus the whole drama of the swift and lovely 
unfolding of the soul from its invisible germ 
— a drama that sometimes fairly catches 
one's breath in the throat with excitement 
and wonder. 



OF A BABY 39 



m 

THE NEW-BORN BABY: SENSATIONS AND 
CONSCIOUSNESS. 

I HAVE said that the baby began the world 
as an automaton, but a conscious, feeling 
automaton. And what, then, were these 
feelings and this consciousness? What was 
the outfit for beginning the world that the 
little mind brought with it ? When I asked 
such questions I was skirting the edge of one 
of the great battle-grounds of philosophy. 
Whether all human ideas are made up solely 
from one's own experience of the outer world 
as given him by his senses, or whether there 
are, on the contrary, inborn ideas, implanted 
directly by nature or God, — this is a ques- 
tion on which volumes have been written. 

Did the baby start out ready equipped 
with ideas of space, personal identity, time, 



40 THE BIOGRAPHY 

causation, such as we find so ineradicable in 
our own minds ? That is, did she see ob- 
jects about her, located in space, nearer and 
farther, right and left, and all outside and 
separate from herself, as we do ? hear sounds 
coming from without, as we do ? Did she 
feel herself a separate thing from the outer 
world ? Did she perceive events as happen- 
ing in time succession, one after another ? 
And did she think of one thing as happen- 
ing because of another, so that, for instance, 
she was capable of crying in order to cause 
her dinner to be brought? 

The hope of answering such questions was 
the first stimulus to the study of infants, and 
the earlier records are much occupied with 
them. Philosophers nowadays are less dis- 
posed to think that we can prove anything 
about the doctrine of innate ideas by find- 
ing whether babies have such ideas to begin 
with ; for we might indeed have ideas that 
came direct from God, or from the nature of 
the mind, and yet might not enter into our 
inheritance of these at once. 



OF A BABY 41 

To me, however, not seeking to solve 
philosophical problems, but only to watch 
and comprehend what was going on in the 
baby's mind, it was none the less interest- 
ing to try to make out the condition of her 
senses and consciousness — though without 
the careful special investigations certain 
physiologists had made before, I should have 
found it blind guessing as to how much she 
really did see, hear, and feel ; for these pro- 
cesses, of course, went on inside her little 
mind, and could only be inferred from her 
behavior. 

She evidently felt a difference between 
light and darkness from the first hour, for 
she stopped crying when her face was ex- 
posed to gentle light ; and other observers 
confirm this. Two or three report also a 
turning of the head toward the light within 
the first week. The nurse, who was intelli- 
gent and exact, thought she saw this in the 
case of my niece. I did not, but I saw in- 
stead a constant turning of the eyes toward 



42 THE BIOGRAPHY 

a person coming near her — that is, toward 
a large dark mass that interrupted the Hght. 
Either movement must be regarded as en- 
tirely instinctive or reflex. Even plants will 
turn toward the light, and among animal 
movements this is one of the most primitive ; 
while the habit of looking toward any dark 
moving mass runs far back in animal history, 
and may well have become fixed in the bodily 
mechanism. With the beginning of volun- 
tary looking these instinctive movements 
fade. 

No other sign of vision appeared in the 
little one during the first fortnight. The 
eyes were directed to nothing, fixed on no- 
thing. They did not wink if one made a 
pass at them. There was no change of focus 
for near or distant seeing ; the two eyes did 
not even move always in unison, — and as 
the lids also had by no means learned yet to 
move symmetrically with the balls and with 
each other, some extraordinary and alarming 
contortions resulted. 



OF A BABY 43 

True seeing, such as we ourselves have, 
is not just a matter of opening the eyes and 
letting the vision pour in ; it requires a great 
deal of minute muscular adjustment, both of 
the eyeballs and of the lenses, and it is im- 
possible that a baby should see anything but 
blurs of light and dark (without even any 
distinction of distance) till he has learned the 
adjustments. Not colored blurs, but Hght 
and dark only, for no trace of color sense 
has ever been detected within the first fort- 
night of life, no certain evidence of it even 
within the first year. 

The baby showed no sign of hearing any- 
thing until the third day, when she started 
violently at the sound of tearing paper, some 
eight feet from her. After that, occasional 
harsh or sudden sounds — oftener the rus- 
tling of paper than anything else — could 
make her start or cry. 

It is well established by the careful tests 
of several physiologists that babies are deaf 
for a period lasting from several hours to 



44 THE BIOGRAPHY 

several days after birth. The outer tube of 
the ear is often closed by its own walls, and 
the middle ear is always stopped up with 
fluid. Even after the ear itself is clear and 
ready for hearing, few sounds are noticed ; 
perhaps because the outer passage is still so 
narrow, perhaps because of imperfect nerve 
connections with the brain, perhaps because 
sounds are not distinguished, but go all to- 
gether into a sort of blur, just as the sights 
do. As the usual effect of sounds on wee 
babies is to startle them, and to set off con- 
vulsive reflex movements, it is weU for them 
that hearing is so tardy in development. 

There is noticeable variation in sensitive- 
ness to hearing, not only among different 
babies, but in the same baby at different 
times. A sound that startles on one day 
seems to pass absolutely unheard on the next. 

In observing the sensibihty to sound, one 
may easily be misled. If a baby starts when 
a door slams or a heavy object falls, it is 
more likely to be the jar than the sound that 



OF A BABY 45 

affects him ; if he becomes restless when one 
claps the hands or speaks, it may be because 
he felt a puff of air on his head. The tap 
of an ordinary call bell is a good sound to 
test with, causing neither jar nor air current. 
Taste and smell were senses that the baby 
gave no sign of owning till much later. The 
satisfaction of hunger was quite enough to 
account for the contentment she showed in 
nursing ; and when she was not hungry she 
would suck the most tasteless object as cheer- 
fully as any other. Physiologists, however, 
have had the daring to make careful test of 
smell and taste in the new-born, putting a 
wee drop of quinine, sugar, salt, or acid solu- 
tion on the babies' tongues, and strong odors 
to their noses, and have been made certain 
by the resulting behavior that these senses 
do exist from the first. But it requires rather 
strong tests to call them into action. Many 
babies, for instance, suck at a two per cent, 
solution of quinine as if it were sugar ; so it 
seems unlikely that the mild and monotonous 



46 THE BIOGRAPHY 

taste of milk, and the neutral smells by which 
any well-kept baby u surrounded, are really 
perceived at all. There are instances related 
of very positive discrimination between one 
milk and another, either by taste or smell, 
shown by very young babies ; yet the weight 
of evidence points to an almost dormant 
condition of these two senses. 

We were told in school that the fifth sense 
was " feeling," but psychologists now regard 
this not as a single sense, but as a group, 
called the " dermal " or skin senses. The 
sense of touch and pressure, the senses of 
heat and cold, and the sense of pain are the 
principal ones of the group. 

Our baby showed from the first that she 
was aware when she was touched. She 
stopped crying when she was cuddled or 
patted. She showed comfort in the bath, 
which may have been in part due to freedom 
from the contact of clothes, and to hking for 
the soft touches of the water. She responded 
with sucking motions to the first touch of 



OF A BABY 47 

the nipple on her lips. Preyer found the 
lips of new-born babies quite delicately sen- 
sitive, responding even to the lightest touch ; 
and there are other sensitive spots, such as 
the nostrils and the soles of the feet. 

On the whole, however, the rose-leaf baby 
skin proves to be much less sensitive than 
ours, not only to contact, but also to pain, 
and perhaps to heat and cold, though this 
has not been so thoroughly tested. This is 
not saying, of course, that the physiological 
effects of heat and cold upon the baby are 
unimportant. 

Our baby had no experience of skin pain 
in her early days, and being kept at an 
equable temperature, probably received no 
definite sensations either of heat or of cold. 

The foregoing are the " special senses,'* 
that is, those that give impressions of exter- 
nal things, and have end organs to receive 
and make definite these impressions, — the 
eye at the end of the optic nerve, the differ- 
ent kinds of nerve tips in the skin, and so 



48 THE BIOGRAPHY 

forth. Another sense now claims almost to 
rank with them, — the recently studied sense 
of equilibrium and motion, by which we feel 
loss of balance in our bodies and changes in 
their motion (changes only, for no one can 
feel perfectly smooth motion). This sense 
has been traced to the semicircular canals of 
the ear; and as this part of the ear is the 
oldest in evolution, and the rudimentary ears 
of the lower orders of animals are quite anal- 
ogous to it in structure, biologists now sus- 
pect that hearing may be a more recent sense 
than we have thought, and that much which 
has been taken for sense of sound in the 
lower animals — even as high as fishes — 
may perhaps be only a delicate sense of 
motion. 

I failed to watch for this motion sense in 
the baby. It would have been shown by 
signs that she felt change of motion when 
she was lifted and moved. Equihbrium sense 
she must have used as soon as she began to 
balance her little head, but in the first limp 



OF A BABY 49 

and passive days there was no sign of it. 
Still, there are tales of very young babies 
who showed disturbance, as if from a feeling 
of lost equilibrium, when they were lowered 
swiftly in the arms. 

There is besides a sort of sensibiHty to 
vibration that affects the whole body. We 
know how much of the rhythm of music may 
be caught quite soundlessly through the 
vibrations of the floor ; and it is said (per- 
haps not altogether credibly) that it was thus 
that Jessie Brown recognized even the instru- 
ments and the tune at the relief of Lucknow 
by the tremor along the ground before a 
sound was audible. A jar, affecting the 
whole body, seems to be felt by creatures of 
very low organization. Babies are undoubt- 
edly quite susceptible to jarring from the 
earliest days. Champney's baby started 
when the scale of the balance in which he 
was lying immediately after birth sprang up. 

Then there is the " muscle sense " — the 
feeling of the action of our own muscles; 



50 THE BIOGRAPHY 

and a most delicate and important sense this 
is. It is safe to saj that the baby had it 
from the first, and felt the involuntary move- 
ments her own Httle body was making, for 
it is hardly conceivable how else she could 
have learned to make voluntary ones. But 
that is another story, and comes later. 

Even this does not exhaust the list of sen- 
sations the baby could feel. There was the 
whole group of " organic sensations," coming 
from the inner organs, — hunger, thirst, or* 
ganic pain. With older people, nausea, suf- 
focation, choking, and perhaps some others 
might be added ; but Httle babies certainly 
do not feel nausea, — their food regurgitates 
without a qualm. Nor do they seem to feel 
disagreeable sensations when they choke in 
nursing. 

Organic pain our baby had her touch of 
in the usual form of colic ; and huno-er 
was obviously present very earlv, thouo-h 
perhaps not in the first two or three days. 
Thirst appeared from the first, and was 



OF A BABY 51 

always imperative. Of course, the milk diet 
laro^elv satisfied it, but not entirely. Luck- 
ily our baby did not suffer from thirst, for 
grandma, nurse, and the good doctor had aU 
entered early warning that '*' babies needed 
water," and that many a baby was treated 
for coHc, insomnia, nervousness, and natural 
depra\4ty, when aU the poor little fellow 
wanted was a spoonful of cool water. The 
baby's body, as I said in my last chapter, is 
largely composed of water, and the evapora- 
tion from the loose texture of the skin is 
very great. After children can talk, they 
wear out the most robust patience with inces- 
sant appeals, night and day, for a " d'ink," 
and consume water in quantities quite beyond 
what seems rational. But their craving is 
doubtless a true indication of what they 



There are composites of sensation which 
the baby experiences very early. There is 
the feeling of clothes, for instance, made up 
of warmth, of touch and pressure sensations 



62 THE BIOGRAPHY 

all over his skin, and of changes in the mus- 
cular feelings from constraint, and in the 
internal feelings from the effect on circula- 
tion. There are feelings of fatigue in one 
position, made up of sensations of touch, of 
the pressure of the body's weight on the 
under surfaces of skin, of some muscular 
tensions, and perhaps of several other ele- 
ments. Our baby's nurse saved her much 
fretting by simply changing the position of 
the little body from time to time. We our- 
selves are constantly moving and shifting 
our positions, to relieve a pressure on the 
skin here, or a muscular tension there, but 
the wee baby cannot so much as turn his 
head or move a limb at will. 

Vaguest and most composite of all is what 
is called " common sensation," or " general 
sensation " — that feeling of comfort or dis- 
comfort, vigor or languor, diffused through 
the whole body, with which we are all famil- 
iar. It seems to be very primitive in origin 
— indeed, the speculation is that this dim^ 



OF A BABY 53 

pervasive feeling is the original one, the 
primitive way in which animal tissue re- 
sponded to light and heat and everything, 
before the special senses developed, gather- 
ing the light sensations to one focus, the 
sound sensations to another, and so on. But 
in its present development it is also largely 
made up of the sum of all the organic sensa- 
tions, and even of dim overflows of feehng 
from the special senses. 

It is with older people notably connected 
with emotional states. It varies, of course, 
with health and external conditions; yet 
each person seems from birth to be held to 
a certain fixed habit in this complex under- 
lying condition of feehng — pleasant with 
one, unpleasant with another. This fixed 
habit of general sensation is perhaps the 
secret of what we call temperament ; while 
its surface variations seem to be mainly re- 
sponsible for moods. 

Our baby showed temperament — luckily 
of the easy-going and cheerful kind — from 



54 THE BIOGRAPHY 

her first day (though we could hardly see 
this except by looking back afterward) ; and 
there is no reason to doubt that she experi- 
enced some general sensation from the first. 
It was evidently of a pretty neutral sort, 
however : the definite appearance of high 
comfort and well-being did not come till later; 
nor were moods apparent at first. 

Now in all this one significant thing 
appears. Sensations had from the first the 
quality of being agreeable or disagreeable. 
The baby could not wish, prefer, and choose, 
for she had not learned to remember and 
compare ; but she could like and dislike. 
And this was shown plainly from the first 
hour by expressions of face — reflex facial 
movements, so firmly associated in the human 
race with liking and disliking that the most 
inexperienced observer recognizes their mean- 
ing at once. It is said that facial expression 
comes by imitation, and that the blind are 
therefore deficient in it ; but this is not true 
of these simplest expressions : they come by 



OF A BABY 55 

inheritance, and are present in the first hour 
of hfe. A look of content or discontent, the 
monotonous cry, and vague movements of 
limbs, head, and features, — these are the 
limits of expression of feeling in the earUest 
days. 

It would seem that in this sense condition 
there was nothing that could give the baby 
any feeling of inner or outer, of space or 
locality. We have some glimpse of the like 
condition ourselves, — when people say after 
an explosion, for instance, that it " seemed 
to be inside their own heads," or when we 
try to locate a cicada's note, or when we feel 
diffused warmth. 

Here is the conception I gathered of the 
dim life on which the Httle creature entered 
at birth. She took in with a dull comfort 
the gentle light that fell on her eyes, seeing 
without any sort of attention or comprehen- 
sion the moving blurs of darkness that varied 
it. She felt motions and changes ; she felt 
the action of her own muscles ; and, after 



56 THE BIOGRAPHY 

the first three or four days, disagreeable 
shocks of sound now and then broke through 
the silence, or perhaps through an unnoticed 
jumble of faint noises. She felt touches on 
her body from time to time, but without the 
least sense of the place of the touch (this 
became evident enough later, as I shall relate 
in its order) ; and steady slight sensations of 
touch from her clothes, from arms that held 
her, from cushions on which she lay, poured 
in on her. 

From time to time sensations of hunger, 
thirst, and once or twice of pain, made 
themselves felt through all the others, and 
mounted till they became distressing ; from 
time to time a feeling of heightened comfort 
flowed over her, as hunger and thirst were 
satisfied, or release from clothes, and the 
effect of the bath and rubbing on her circu- 
lation, increased the net sense of well-being. 
She felt slight and unlocated discomforts 
from fatigue in one position, quickly relieved 
by the watchful nurse. For the rest, she lay 



OF A BABY 57 

empty-minded, neither consciously comfort- 
able nor uncomfortable, yet on the whole 
pervaded with a dull sense of well-being. 
Of the people about her, of her mother's 
face, of her own existence, of desire or fear, 
she knew nothing. 

Yet this dim dream was flecked all through 
with the beginnings of later comparison and 
choice. The Hght was varied with dark; 
the feelings of passive motion, of muscular 
action, of touch, of sound, were all unlike 
each other; the discomforts of hunger, of 
pain, of fatigue, were different discomforts. 
The baby began from the first moment to 
accumulate varied experience, which before 
long would waken attention, interest, dis- 
crimination, and vivid life. 



58 THE BIOGRAPHY 

IV 

THE EARLIEST DEVELOPMENTS 

Out of the new-born baby's dim life of 
passivity the first path was that of vision. I 
noticed about the end of the second week 
that her eyes no longer wandered altogether 
helplessly, but rested with a long and con- 
tented gaze on bright surfaces they chanced 
to encounter, such as the shining of the lamp 
on the white ceiHng, or our faces turned 
toward the light as she lay on our knees. 
It was not active looking, with any power 
to direct the eyes, but mere staring ; wheB 
the gaze fell by chance on the pleasant light, 
it clung there. But something must have 
come to pass, that it could stop and cling to 
what gave it pleasure. 

I think no one has yet analyzed this ear- 
liest stage in progress toward real seeing, 



OF A BABY 59 

though Professor Sully touches on an expla- 
nation when he says that the eyes " maintain 
their attitude under stimulus of the pleasure." 
We know that muscular action is normally 
caused by stimulus received from the nerve 
centres, and that in the earliest days there 
seems to be a good deal of random discharge 
of stimulus, developed by the growth of the 
centres, and causing aimless movements. 
Now there are two fundamental and pro- 
foundly important things about this nervous 
discharge. One is that pleasure, attention, 
or intensity of sensation seems to have the 
power of increasing it, and thus influencing 
the action of the muscles. The other is that 
the discharge always tends to seek the same 
paths it has used before, and more and 
more easily each time ; so that physiologists 
speak of it as a current deepening its chan- 
nels. It is really nothing like a flowing 
liquid, nor the nerve threads along which it 
passes like channeled watercourses. Still, 
just as a current of water will deepen a gully 



60 THE BIOGRAPHY 

till it drains into itself all the water that had 
spread about in shallower ditches, so the 
wave of molecular change running along a 
nerve somehow so prepares that nerve that by 
and by, instead of spreading about through 
any fibres that come handy, the whole energy 
will drain into the accustomed ones. Then, 
of course, the muscles to which these run 
will perform more and more easily the ac- 
customed acts. Some of these channels — 
even whole connected systems of them — 
are already well prepared by inheritance, and 
hence come instinctive and reflex actions ; 
many are still to be deepened by the baby's 
own experience. 

Now suppose the aimless impulse straying 
to the baby's eye muscles, making the eyes 
roam hither and yon ; but as they reach a 
certain position, they fall upon a lighted 
surface, and a pleasant brightness flows back 
into the consciousness ; and something stirs 
within that has power to send an intenser 
current through those same fibres. For the 



OF A BABY 61 

time, at least, that channel is deepened, the 
wandering impulses are drained into it, and 
the eye muscles are held steady in that posi- 
tion. And, in fact, with the beginning of 
staring the irregular movements of head 
and eyes did decHne, and gradually disap- 
pear. 

It is an important moment that marks the 
beginning of even a passive power to control 
the movements ; and when my grandmother 
handed down the rule that you should never 
needlessly interrupt a baby's staring, lest 
you hinder the development of power of 
attention, she seems to have been psycho- 
logically sound. 

A fuller and pleasanter life now seemed 
to pervade the whole Httle body. The grim- 
aces of vague discomfort were disappearing, 
and the baby began to wear a look of satis- 
faction as she lay, warm and fed and dry, 
gazing at some light surface. In the bath, 
where the release from clothes and the stim- 
ulus to circulation from the warm water 



62 THE BIOGEAPHY 

heightened the pleasant condition of general 
sensation, her expression approached real 
delight; the movements of her limbs were 
freer, and all her muscles tenser. 

The neck muscles, especially, were so far 
" innervated " — that is, supplied with ner- 
vous energy — as fairly to lift her head from 
the supporting hand. This was probably 
not as yet a real effort to hold up the head, 
only a drafting of surplus energy into the 
neck muscles, partly because of inherited 
aptitude, partly because the pleasure received 
from the lifted head and better seeing tended 
to draw the energy thither, just as it was 
drawn to the eye muscles in the case of the 
staring. At least one careful observer, Mrs. 
Edith Elmer Wood, records this action of 
the neck muscles on the first day. 

It was at this period that the baby first 
smiled ; but being forewarned of the " colic 
smile," which counterfeits so exactly the 
earliest true smiles, — fleeting as these are, 
just touching the mouth and vanishing, — I 



OF A BABY 63 

never felt sure whether the baby was smihng 
for general contentment with life, or whether 
a passing twinge had crossed her comfort 
and drawn her lips into the semblance of a 
smile ; and so never dared to record the ex- 
pression till it first occurred for unmistakable 
pleasure. 

There must have been rapid progress 
going on in the clearness of muscular and 
touch sensations, and in the forming of as- 
sociations in the baby's mind ; but no plain 
evidence of these inner processes came till 
the fourth week. Then I noticed that the 
baby, when crying with hunger, would hush 
as soon as she was taken in the arms in the 
position usual in nursing, as if she recognized 
the preliminaries, and knew she was about 
to be satisfied. She could not, in fact, have 
remembered or expected anything as yet ; it 
was not memory, but a clear instance of the 
working of that great law of association by 
which the raw material of the senses was to 
be wrought up into an orderly mental life. 



64 THE BIOGEAPHY 

The substance of the law is that when 
experiences have repeatedly been had to- 
gether, the occurrence of one of them (still 
more, of several out of a group, as in this 
case) tends to bring up into consciousness 
the others. It is a law that underlies psychic 
life as profoundly as the law that nerve 
energy seeks its old channels underlies phy- 
sical life. Indeed, it is in a sense the psychic 
side of the same law ; for it implies that when 
a group of nerve centres have formerly acted 
together, the action of one tends to bring 
on that of the rest. So, since the baby had 
often experienced the feeling of that par- 
ticular position (a combination of tactile and 
muscular and organic sensations) in connec- 
tion with the feeling of satisfied hunger, 
that comfortable feeling, the missing member 
of the group, came into her consciousness 
along with the rest, some moments in ad- 
vance of the actual satisfaction. 

I have said that this is not memory, yet 
there is in it a germ of memory. A past 



OF A BABY 65 

experience is brought back to consciousness ; 
and if it were brought back as a definite 
idea, instead of a vague feeHng, it would be 
memory. 

Close on this came another great advance 
in vision. This was on the twenty-fifth day, 
toward evening, when the baby was lying on 
her grandmother's knee by the fire, in a con- 
dition of high well-being and content, gazing 
at her grandmother's face with an expression 
of attention. I came and sat down close by, 
leaning over the baby, so that my face must 
have come within the indirect range of her 
vision. At that she turned her eyes to my 
face and gazed at it with the same appearance 
of attention, and even of some effort, shown 
by a slight tension of brows and lips, then 
turned her eyes back to her grandmother's 
face, and again to mine, and so several 
times. The last time she seemed to catch 
sight of my shoulder, on which a high light 
struck from the lamp, and not only moved 
her eyes, but threw her head far back to see 



66 THE BIOGRAPHY 

it better, and gazed for some time, witli a 
new expression on her face — "a sort of dim 
and rudimentary eagerness," says my note. 
She no longer stared, but really looked. 

Clear seeing, let us here recall, is not done 
with the whole retina, but only with a tiny 
spot in the centre, the so-called "yellow 
spot," or " macula lutea." If the image of 
an object falls to one side of this, especially 
if it is far to one side, we get only a shape- 
less impression that something is there ; we 
*' catch a glimpse of it," as we say. In order 
really to look at it we turn our eyeballs 
toward the object till the image falls on the 
spot of clear vision. We estimate the dis- 
tance through which to turn the balls, down 
to minute fractions of an inch, by the feeling 
in the eye muscles. 

This was what the baby had done, and I 
do not dare to say how many philosophical 
and psychological discussions are involved in 
her doing it. Professor Le Conte thinks 
that it shows an inborn sense of direction, 



OF A BABY 67 

since the eyes are turned, not toward the 
side on which the ray strikes the retina, but 
toward the side from which the ray enters 
the eye ; that is, the baby thinks out along 
the line of the ray to the object it comes 
from, thus putting the object outside him- 
self, in space, as we do. Professor Wundt, 
the great German psychologist, is positive 
that the baby has no sense of space or direc- 
tion, but gains it by just such measurements 
with the eye muscles ; that there is no right 
nor left, up nor down, for him, but only 
associations between the look of things off 
at one side, and the feel of the eye action 
that brings them to central vision. 

This means that before a baby can carry 
the eye always through just the right arc to 
look at an object, he must have made this 
association between the look of things and 
the feel of the action separately for each 
point of the retina. It is a great deal for a 
baby to have learned in three weeks ; still, 
babies have to learn fast if they are ever to 



68 THE BIOGRAPHY 

catch up with the race ; and in the early 
roamings of the eye they experience over 
and over all manner of transits of images to 
and fro across the retina. Probably, too, it 
was still only partially learned. 

I watched now for what Preyer's record 
had led me to expect as the next develop- 
ment in vision — the ability to follow a mov- 
ing object with the eyes ; that is, to hold 
the yellow spot fixed on the object as it 
moved, moving the eyeball in time with it 
in order to do so. I used my hand to move 
to and fro before the baby, and could not 
satisfy myself that she followed it, though 
she sometimes seemed to ; but the day after 
she was a month old I tried a candle, and 
her eyes followed it unmistakably; she even 
threw her head back to follow it farther. In 
trying this experiment, one should always 
use a bright object, should make sure the 
baby's eyes are fixed on it, and then should 
move it very slowly indeed, right and left. 

So far, there is no necessary proof of will. 



OF A BABY 69 

Longet found that the eyes and head of a 
pigeon whose cerebrum had been removed 
■would follow a moving light. We ourselves 
can sit absorbed in thought or talk, yet fol- 
low unconsciously with our eyes the move- 
ment of a lantern along a dark road ; and if 
something appears on the outer edge of our 
vision we often turn quite involuntarily to 
look. But the baby's new expression of in- 
telligence and interest showed that whether 
she willed the movements or not, she attended 
to the new impressions she was getting. 

Professor Preyer noticed the same dawn 
of intelligence in his baby's face at about 
the same stage. And it is worth while to ob- 
serve that when I came to study my record 
I was surprised to find how often such an 
awakening look, an access of attention, won- 
der, or intelligence, in the baby's face, had 
coincided with some marked step in devel- 
opment and signalized its great mental im- 
portance. I should advise any one who is 
observing a baby to be on the lookout for 



fO THE BIOGRAPHY 

this outward and visible sign of an inward 
and spiritual unfolding. 

In both these visual developments the 
baby had proved able to use her neck in co- 
operation with her eyes, throwing back her 
head to see farther. It began at the same 
time to seem that she was really and deliber- 
ately trying to hold up her head for the same 
purpose of seeing better. She not only 
straightened it up more and more in the 
bath, but when she was laid against one's 
breast she would lift her head from the 
shoulder, sometimes for twenty seconds at a 
time, and look about. Preyer sets this down 
as the first real act of will. 

The baby's increased interest in seeing 
centred especially on the faces about her, 
at which she gazed with rapt interest. Even 
during the period of mere staring, faces had 
oftenest held her eyes, probably because they 
were oftener brought within the range of 
her clearest seeing than other light surfaces. 
The large, light, moving patch of the human 



OF A BABY 71 

face (as Preyer has pointed out) coming and 
going in the field of vision, and ot'tener 
chancing to hover at the point of clearest 
seeing than any other object, embellished 
with a play of high lights on cheeks, teeth, 
and eyes, is calculated to excite the highest 
degree of attention a baby is capable of at a 
month old. So from the very first — before 
the baby has yet really seen his mother — 
her face and that of his other nearest friends 
become the most active agents in his develop- 
ment, and the most interesting things in his 
experience. 

Our baby was at this time in a way aware 
of the difference between companionship and 
solitude. In the latter days of the first 
month she would lie contentedly in the room 
with people near by, but would fret if left 
alone. But by the end of the month she 
was apt to fret when she was laid down on 
a chair or lounge, and to become content 
only when taken into the lap. This was not 
yet distinct memory and desire, but it showed 



72 THE BIOGRAPHY 

that associations of pleasure had been formed 
with the lap, and that she felt a vague dis- 
comfort in the absence of these. 

Just before she was a month old came an 
advance in hearing. So far this sense had 
remained little more than a capacity for be- 
ing startled or made restless by harsh sounds. 
I had tested it on the twenty-third day, and 
found that the baby scarcely noticed the 
sound of an ordinary call bell unless it was 
struck within about six inches of her ear, 
and suddenly and sharply at that; and on 
the twenty-sixth day she showed no sign of 
hearing single notes of the piano, struck 
close to her, from the highest to the lowest. 
But the next day, at the sound of chords, 
strongly struck, she hushed when fretting 
with hunger, and listened quietly for five 
minutes — her first pleasant experience 
through the sense of hearing. 

In the following days she would lie and 
take in the sound of the chords with a look 
of content, staring at the same time into the 



OF A BABY 73 

face of the person -who held her, as if she 
associated the sound with that. Only a few 
days later, when she was a month old, I 
thought that her pleasure in companionship 
was increased if she was talked and crooned 
to ; and it is likely that by this time, though 
she had not hitherto noticed voices, she was 
beginning to get them associated with the 
human face — probably to the enhancement 
of its charm. 

There were signs now, too, that touch 
sensations, in their principal seat, the lips, 
were becoming a source of pleasure. The 
first smile that I could conscientiously re- 
cord occurred the day before the baby was a 
month old, and it was provoked by the touch 
of a finger on her lip ; and a day or two 
later she smiled repeatedly at touches on her 
lip. The day before she was a month old, 
also, when her lips were brought up to the 
nipple, she laid hold upon it with them — 
the first seizing of any sort, for her hands 
were still in their original helplessness, wav 



74 THE BIOGRAPHY 

ing vaguely about at the will of the nerve 
currents. 

It is plain that the eyes led in the develop- 
ment of the psychic life. Yet the baby was 
still far from real seeing. Professor Preyer 
believes that there is at this stage no " ac- 
commodation " of the eyes to near and far, 
although they can now be focused for right 
and left : that is, both yellow spots can be 
brought to bear in unison on an object, but 
the lenses do not yet adjust themselves to 
different distances. Though the baby may 
have perceived direction, then, she could not 
have perceived depth in space. It was only 
when an object chanced to be at the distance 
for which her eyes were naturally adjusted 
that she could have seen it clearly. 

Nor is it likely that even then she saw 
anything as a definite outline, but only as an 
undefined patch. The spot of clear vision 
in our eyes is very small (a twenty-five cent 
piece would cover all the letters I can take 
in at once on this page, if I do not let my 



OF A BABY 75 

eyes move in the least), and the only way 
Tve ourselves see anything in definite outline 
is by running our eyes swiftly over its sur- 
face and around its edges, with long trained 
and unconscious skill. The baby had not 
yet learned to do this. Her world of vision, 
much as it pleased her, was still only patches 
of light and dark, with bits of glitter and 
motion. She could turn her eyes and lift 
her head a little to make the vision clearer ; 
but except about her neck, eyes, and in a 
slight degree her lips, she had no control of 
her body. She had gained much in group- 
ing and associating together her experiences, 
yet on the whole she still lived among disr 
jointed impressions. 

In the light of such interpretations, the 
speculative attempts to arrange a system of 
cradle education become futile. What can 
a swinging ball do for a pupil whose sense 
apparatus is not yet in condition to see the 
outline of the ball definitely ? Froebel him- 
self could not have been expected to know 



76 THE BIOGRAPHY 

much of the condition of a baby's sense ap- 
paratus ; but modern FroebeHans would be 
better apostles of his almost Messianic in- 
spiration if they were willing to throw frankly 
aside his unfounded speculations and his ob- 
solete science. The letter killeth, but the 
spirit giveth life. 

Meanwhile, nature has provided an edu- 
cational appliance almost ideally adapted to 
the child's sense condition, in the mother's 
face, hovering close above him, smiling, 
laughing, nodding, with all manner of de- 
lightful changes in the high lights ; in the 
thousand little meaningless caressing sounds, 
the singing, talking, calling, that proceed 
from it ; the patting, cuddling, lifting, and 
all the ministrations that the baby feels while 
gazing at it, and associates with it, till finally 
they group together and round out into the 
idea of his mother as a whole. 

Our baby's mother rather resented the 
idea of being to her baby only a collection 
of detached phenomena, instead of a mamma; 



OF A BABY 77 

but the more you think of it the more flat- 
tering it is to be thus, as it were, dissolved 
into your elements and incorporated item 
by item into the very foundations of your 
baby's mental life. Herein is hinted much 
of the philosophy of personaUty; and Pro- 
fessor Baldwin has written a solid book, 
mainly to show from the development of 
babies and little children that all other peo- 
ple are part of each of us, and each of us is 
part of all other people, and so there is really 
no separate personality, but we are all one 
spirit, if we did but know it. 



78 THE BIOGRAPHY 



BEGINNINGS OF EMOTION AND PROGRESS IN 
SENSE POWERS 

The baby entered on her second month 
well content with her fragmentary little 
world of glancing lights and shining sur- 
faces, chords and voices, disconnected touches 
and motions. Her smiles began to be fre- 
quent and jolly. It was always at faces that 
she smiled now : nothing else seemed half as 
entertaining. The way in which a baby, in 
these early weeks, gazes and gazes up into 
one's face, and smiles genially at it, wiles the 
very heart out of one ; but the baby means 
little enough by it. 

In this fortnight her pleasures were en- 
larged by introduction to a baby carriage. 
The outdoor sights and sounds were of 
course wasted on her at this stage of her 



OF A BABY 79 

seeing and hearing powers ; but she liked 
the feeling of the motion, and lay and en- 
joyed it with a tranquilly beatific look. Per- 
haps also the fresher air and larger light sent 
some dim wave of pleasant feeling through 
her body. 

Some days earlier, when carried out in 
arms for her first outdoor visit, she had found 
the light dazzling, and kept her eyes tight 
shut. In all I have said of babies' pleasure 
in light, I have meant moderate light : the 
little eyes are easily hurt by a glare. There 
are nursemaids, and even mothers, who will 
wheel a baby along the street with the sun 
blazing full in his face, and who will keep a 
light burning all night for their own con- 
venience in tending him ; and in later years 
his schoolbooks will get the credit of having 
weakened his eyes. Nature protects the little 
one somewhat at the outset, for at first the 
eyes open by a narrow slit, which admits but 
scanty light : our baby was just beginning, at 
a month old, to open her eyes like other folk. 



80 THE BIOGEAPHY 

Pleased though the baby was with her new 
powers, her Ufe at this period was not all of 
placid content. Ambition had entered in. 
It had already seemed as if the mechanical 
lifting of the head was passing into real 
effort to raise it; and day by day the inten- 
tion grew clearer, and the head was held up 
better. Now, too, appeared the first sign of 
control over the legs. Laid on her face on 
the lounge, the baby did not cry, but turned 
her head sidewise and freed her face, and at 
the same time propped her body with her 
knees. This was on the first day of the 
month. A few days later she was propping 
herself with her knees in the bath every day. 

With increase of joy and power came also 
the beginning of tears. This, too, was on 
the first day of the month. The tears were 
shed because she had waked and cried some 
time without being heard. When she was 
at last taken up, her eyes were quite wet. 
As every nurse knows, wee babies do not cry 
tears. When they do, it does not mean that 



OF A BABY 81 

any higher emotional level has been gained, 
only that the tear glands have begun to act. 
Nor have I any reason to suppose that in 
this case the baby felt fear at being left 
alone. It was simply that she was uncom- 
fortable, and needed attention ; and the 
attention delaying, the discomfort mounted, 
till it provoked stronger and stronger reflex 
expressions. 

The first fright did occur, however, a few 
days later in the same week ; but it was in a 
much more primitive form than fear of soli- 
tude. The baby was lying half asleep on 
my lap when her tin bath was brought in 
and set down rather roughly, so that the 
handles clashed on the sides. At this she 
started violently, with a cry so sharp that it 
brought her grandfather anxiously in from 
two rooms' distance ; she put up her lip at 
the same time, with the regular crying grim- 
ace known to every nursery, — the first time 
she had done this, — and it was fully five 
minutes before her face was tranquil again. 



82 THE BIOGRAPHY 

There had been reflex starting at sounds 
from the first week, and Professor Preyer 
calls this an expression of fright ; but to me 
(and Professor Sully regards it in the same 
way) it seemed purely mechanical. Our baby 
would even start and cry out in her sleep 
at a sound without waking. But now there 
was clearly something more than reflex start- 
ing. It was not yet true fear, for fear means 
a sense of danger, an idea of coming harm, 
and the baby could have had no such idea. 
But there was some element of emotion to be 
seen, akin to fear ; and (if we regard plea- 
sure and pain as psychologists are disposed 
to do, not as emotions in themselves, but 
only as a quality of agreeableness or dis- 
agreeableness in our feelings) here was the 
first dawn of any emotion. Fright, that was 
but a step above mere physical shock, led 
the way into the emotional life. 

This probably gives a true hint of the 
history of emotional development in the 
race : for in the animal world, too, fear ap- 



OF A BABY 83 

pears earliest of all the emotions, and in the 
simplest forms of fright is hardly to be dis- 
tinguished from mere reflex action ; and it is 
caused oftener by sound than by anything 
else. When we remember the theory that 
hearing is developed from the more ancient 
motion sense, we are tempted to trace the 
origin of fright still farther back, to the very 
primitive reflex sensibility to jarring move- 
ment, of which I have spoken before. 

And now the baby had come to six weeks 
old, and could hold up her head perfectly 
for a quarter of a minute at a time, and liked 
greatly to be held erect or in sitting position. 
Apparently all this was for the sake of see- 
ing better, for her joys still centred in her 
eyes. She had made no advance in visual 
power, however, except that within a few 
days she could follow with her eyes the 
motion of a person passing near her. 

Human faces were still the most entertain- 
ing of all objects. She gazed at them with 
her utmost look of intentness, making move- 



84 THE BIOGEAPHY 

ments with her hands, and panting in short, 
audible breaths. Nothing else had ever ex- 
cited her so, except once a spot of sunlight 
on her white bed. 

There were signs that her experiences 
gathered more and more into groups in her 
mind, by association. I have spoken of her 
earlier association between the nursing posi- 
tion and being fed; now she would check 
her hungry crying as soon as she felt herself 
lifted ; and a few days later, as soon as her 
mouth was washed out — a ceremony that 
invariably came before nursing. At seven 
weeks old she opened her mouth for the 
nipple on being laid in the proper position. 
The food association group was enlarging ; 
but sight did not yet enter into it : the look 
of the breast did not seem to bring the faint- 
est suggestion of satisfied hunger, and the 
baby would lie and cry with her lips an inch 
from it. This is natural, for she could never 
really have seen it at this stage of the devel- 
opment of vision. 



OF A BABY 85 

I have said that in such associations there 
is a germ of memory. There is a sort of 
habit memory, too, that appears very early. 
Impressions that have been received over and 
over gather a sort of famiHarity in the baby's 
mind ; and while he does not yet recognize 
the familiar things themselves, yet he feels a 
change from them as something strange — 
it jars somehow the even current of his feel- 
ings. Or where impressions have been espe- 
cially agreeable, they are vaguely missed 
when they are absent. The consciousness 
of difference between society and solitude, 
which our baby had showed at the end of 
the first month, was habit memory of this 
sort. 

Professor Preyer thinks that his baby 
showed habit memory as early as the first 
week, perceiving a new food to be different 
from the old. Our baby (who knew no food 
but mother's milk) experienced a new taste 
once or twice, when dosed for colic, and 
never showed the faintest sense of novelty at 



86 THE BIOGRAPHY 

it till she was six weeks old. Then she was 
given a little sugar for hiccoughs, and made 
a face of what seemed high disgust over it ; 
but this particular face has been observed 
more than once, and is known to be common 
in babies at a new taste, even a pleasant one. 
It seems to be caused by a sort of surprise 
affecting the face muscles. 

A few days later the baby showed surprise 
more plainly. She lay making cheerful little 
sounds, and suddenly, by some new combina- 
tion of the vocal organs, a small, high crow 
came out — doubtless causing a most novel 
sensation in the little throat, not to speak 
of the odd sound. The baby fell silent in- 
stantly, and a ludicrous look of astonish- 
ment overspread her face. Here was not 
only evidence of the germs of memory, but 
also the appearance of a new emotion, that 
of genuine surprise; and, like fright, it is 
one that is closely related to simple nerve 
shock. From being startled to being sur- 
prised (as to being frightened) is not a long 
step. 



OF A BABY 87 

I have just spoken of the baby as making 
little sounds. This was a new accomplish- 
ment. Until a few days before, she had 
made no sounds except some inarticulate 
fretting noises, the occasional short outcry 
when startled, and the " dismal and monoto- 
nous" cry that began with the first day. 
This original cry was clearly on the vowel ct 
(as in fair), with a nasal prefix — nga ; but 
late in the sixth week it began to be varied 
a little. In the fretting, too, a few syllables 
appeared. The new sounds were mostly 
made in the open throat, and grew out of 
the old ngd by slight changes in the position 
of the vocal organs — ncj, and hng, and 
hng-ct; but now and then there was a 
short w^f ga, or M, or even a lip sound, 
as m-ba. 

It has been said that the broad Italian a is 
of all sounds the easiest, the one naturally 
made from an open throat : but the records 
show both German and American babies be- 
ginning with the flat ^, or shorter a. Our 



88 THE BIOGRAPHY 

baby scarcely used any other vowel sound 
for weeks yet. 

Little sounds of content, too, began in the 
sixth week — mainly inarticulate grunts and 
cooing murmurs; but in the course of the 
seventh week, besides the sudden crow, there 
were a few tiny shouts, — a-a-ha, — a gurgle, 
and some hard g sounds, ga, and g-g-g, which 
passed in the eighth week into a roughened 
gh, a sort of scraping, gargling sound, not 
in the English language. 

Our baby had a leaning to throat sounds ; 
but other babies begin with the lip sounds, 
and some, it is said, with the trilling I and r. 
It seems to be only chance what position of 
the vocal organs is first used ; but after once 
beginning to articulate, the baby seems to 
pass from sound to sound by slight changes 
(probably made accidentally in using the old 
sounds), and so goes through the list with 
some regularity. 

This practice in sounds may be at first 
quite without will, a mere overflow of energy 



OF A BABY 89 

into the vocal organs ; but it is highly impor- 
tant none the less, for any creature that is 
to use human speech must get the speaking 
muscles into most delicate training. Think 
what fine and exact difference in muscular 
contractions we must make to be able to say 
" ball," and be sure that it will not come out 
"pall"! 

For a week or two now the baby made a 
good deal of progress in control of her body. 
She strove valiantly every day to keep her 
head erect, and made some little advance. 
In the bath she began to push with her feet 
against the foot of the tub, so hard that her 
mother could not keep the little head from 
bumping on the other end. She pulled 
downward with her arms when her mother 
held them up in wiping her. These pushing 
and pulling movements may have been made 
for the pleasure of the feeling, or they may 
have been involuntary. Perhaps they were 
accidental movements, passing gradually into 
voluntary ones. In either case, as they de- 



90 THE BIOGRAPHY 

veloped, the old irregular movements of legs 
and arms passed away, as those of the head 
and face had done before. 

One new bit of muscular control was un- 
doubtedly voluntary — a trick of putting out 
and drawing back the tip of her tongue be- 
tween her pursed lips. And this was some- 
thing more than just one new voluntary 
movement. The important thing was that 
she was using the movement to bring tO' 
gether the evidence of tioo different senses 
into one jjerception. 

When something touches against our fin- 
gers, we have one sort of feeling in them, 
and quite another when we pass them over 
the thing and " feel of it ; " and this other, 
clearer feehng is really a compound one, 
made up of the touch sensation in the skin 
and the muscle sensation in the moving fin- 
gers. It is called " active touch," and it is 
a wonderful key to the world around us — 
so wonderful that with this alone it proved 
possible to educate Laura Bridgman and 



OF A BABY 91 

Helen Keller. This active touch the baby 
had now developed in tongue and Hps ; not 
yet in the fingers. 

The passive sensation of Hght had already 
been blended with muscle sensation in some- 
thing the same way, by the voluntary move- 
ment of turning and focusing the eyes ; but 
that complete seeing which we might call 
"active sight " is a more complex power 
than active feeling, and there were other as- 
sociations yet to be made before it could be 
fully built up. And I hope it will not spoil 
the interest of the story of the baby's sense 
development if I say here that the plot is 
going to turn mainly on these two combina- 
tions, muscle sense with sight and muscle 
sense with touch ; and then recombination 
of these two with each other — all welded 
together by voluntary movements, growing 
out of involuntary ones. 

All this time the baby had had a daily 
source of placid pleasure in listening to 
chords on the piano — no longer heavy stac- 



92 THE BIOGRAPHY 

cato chords, but flowing ones, in the middle 
octaves. The baby of theory cares for no- 
thing but eating and sleeping ; but our 
baby, even after she was ah'eady fretting 
with hunger, would forget all about it for 
ten minutes, if one would take her to the 
piano. Hunger, after it grew really strong, 
was a sensation that swept all before it ; but 
on the whole, food was a matter of small 
interest compared with the world of hght 
and touch and sound. 

As for sleep, the baby slept, from the first, 
in pretty long periods, — six and seven hours 
was not uncommon, — and was wide awake 
between sleeps. At such times she would lie 
by the half hour, looking peacefully about 
her, or gazing into our faces with smiles. 
When we nodded, laughed, and talked to 
her, her smiles seemed Hke friendly re- 
sponses; but this could have meant nothing, 
except that with our demonstrations those 
little constellations of high hghts and gUtters, 
our faces, bobbed and twinkled in a more 
amusing manner than ever. 



OF A BABY 93 

At eight weeks old came the final stage 
in mastery of the mechanism of vision — the 
power of accommodation, or adjusting the 
lenses for different distances. It may have 
been present even earher : it is a hard thing 
for the observer to know. But the indica- 
tions are that it really did happen when I 
thought, the day the baby was eight weeks 
old. She was lying on her mother's knees, 
fixing an unusually serious and attentive 
gaze on my face, and would not take her 
eyes away ; indeed, as her mother turned her 
in undressing, she screwed her head around 
comically to keep her eyes fixed. At last, 
after some fifteen minutes, she turned her 
head clear over, and gazed as earnestly at 
her mother's face. To see what she would 
do, her mother turned her again toward 
me, and once more she surveyed me for a 
time, and again turned her head and looked 
directly at her mother. 

What was in the Httle mind ? Was she 
beginning to discriminate and compare, for 



94 THE BIOGKAPHY 

the first time setting apart as two separate 
things the two faces that had bent over her 
oftenest ? Or was she simply using, on the 
most convenient object, a new power of ad- 
justing her eyes, which filled her with serious 
interest by the new clearness it gave to what 
she saw ? At all events, she would not have 
looked from one to the other with such long 
and attentive regard if she had not been 
able to focus both faces, at their different 
distances ; so that I felt sure the power of 
accommodation was really there. 

But there was more in the incident than 
just the advance in vision. Hitherto when 
the baby had turned her head to look, it had 
been only at something that she had already 
a ghmpse of, off at the edge of the field of 
vision. Now she turned to look for some- 
thing quite out of sight, — something, there- 
fore, that must have been present as an idea 
in the little mind, or she could not have 
looked for it. And in view of what I have 
said of the mother's face as the great educa- 



OF A BABY 95 

tional appliance in the early months, it is 
worth noticing that it was this which gave 
the baby her first idea, so far as I could 
detect. 

We come a step nearer, too, to true mem- 
ory, when the baby can keep thus, even 
for a few minutes, the idea of something 
formerly seen. It was still mainly habit 
memory, however. She looked for an accus- 
tomed sight in an accustomed place, bring- 
ing it to the point of clear vision by an 
accustomed movement of the neck muscles. 
There was no evidence till considerably later 
that she was capable of remembering a sin- 
gle, special experience. 

The next day she was singularly bright 
and sunny, smiling all day at every one. 
She stopped in the middle of nursing to 
throw her head back and gaze at the bow at 
her mother's neck, and would not go on with 
the comparatively uninteresting business of 
food till the bow was put out of sight. That 
night she slept eight hours at a stretch, 



96 THE BIOGRAPHY 

longer than she had ever done. Was the 
little brain, perhaps, wearied with the new 
rush of impressions, which came with the 
new power of focusing ? 

The day after she would He a while unus- 
ually silent and sober, looking about her and 
moving her hands a Httle ; then she would 
fret to be Hfted and held against one's shoul- 
der, where she could hold her head up and 
look about. She was able now to hold it up 
a long time by resting it for a few seconds 
every half minute or so, against my cheek, 
which I held close to give her the chance. 
But to-day she was not satisfied with having 
her head erect : she persistently straightened 
her back up against the arm that supported 
her — a new set of muscles thus coming 
under control of her will. As often as I 
pressed her down against my shoulder, she 
would fret, and straighten up again and set 
to work dihgently looking about her. 

After this her progress in holding up her 
head was suddenly rapid, and by the end of 



OF A BABY 97 

the month, four days later, she could balance 
it for many minutes, with a little wobbling. 
This uncertainty soon disappeared, and the 
erect position of the head was accomplished 
for life. 

During these last days of the month the 
baby was possessed by the most insatiate im- 
pulse to be up where she could see. It was 
hard to think that her fretting and even wail- 
ing when forced to He down could mean only 
a forndess discontent, and not a clear idea of 
what she wanted. Still, it is not uncommon, 
when an instinct is thwarted, to feel a dim 
distress that makes us perfectly wretched 
without knowing why. As soon as she was 
held erect, or propped up sitting amid cush- 
ions, she was content ; but the first time that 
L)he was allowed to be up thus most of the 
day, she slept afterward nine unbroken hours, 
recuperating, probably, quite as much from 
the looking and the taking in that the Httle 
brain and eyes had been doing as from any 
muscular fatigue there may have been in the 
position. 



98 THE BIOGRAPHY 

Such is the " mere Hfe of vegetation " the 
baby Hved during the first two months. No 
grown person ever experiences such an ex- 
pansion of Hfe, such a progress from power 
to power in that length of time. Nor was 
our Httle girl's development anything unus- 
ual for a healthy, well-conditioned child, so 
far as other records give material for com- 
parison. Preyer's boy was later than she in 
getting his head balanced, but he arrived 
at full accommodation (and that is the most 
important work of the first two months) at 
almost exactly the same age as she ; and so 
did Mrs. Hall's boy. I do not know of any 
other records that make a clear statement 
on this point. 



OF A BABY 99 

VI 

PROGRESS TOWARD GRASPING. 

The baby's development, as I have said, 
consisted now mainly in forming associa- 
tion groups in her mind in two series, which 
we might call a sight-motor series and a 
touch-motor series. There had been a leap 
forward in the sight-motor series when " ac- 
commodation " was learned. Now the touch- 
motor series came to the front, and step by 
step led on to the great accomplishment of 
grasping. 

First, when we laid the baby's face up 
against ours, her little tongue was put out 
to lick the cheek that she felt, warm and 
smooth, against her lips. This was a more 
advanced use of active feeling than the mere 
passing of her tongue over her own lips, for 
that must have been done accidentally many 



100 THE BIOGRAPHY 

times before she began to do it on purpose ; 
and the association between the movement 
and the feehng had been helped by the 
double sensation — one feeling in the lips 
and another in the tongue every time they 
touched. 

This doubling of sensation, which occurs 
every time one part of the body touches 
another part, often seemed to wake special 
attention in the baby, and thus help on a 
development. Later, it had a great part to 
play in teaching her the boundaries of her 
own body, and the difference between the 
Me and the Not-me. Even now, she must 
have been somewhat aware of a different 
feeling when she passed her tongue over 
her own sensitive lips, and when she passed 
it over the unresponsive cheek of some one 
else. 

So far, the tongue, not the hand, was her 
organ of touch. But now the fingers were 
showing the first faint sign of their future 
powers — nothing more than a little special 



OF A BABY 101 

sensibility, such as the hps had shown in the 
first month : we would see the baby holding 
her finger tips together prettily ( when by 
chance they had collided), as if there were 
a feeling there that interested her. Here 
again there was double sensation. 

In these same early days of the third 
month there was beginning another devel- 
opment that was to end by making the hand 
the successful rival of hps and tongue for 
purposes of grasping and feeling. The baby 
was trying to get her fists to her mouth. 

The movement of the hands toward the 
head is a common one in the first weeks, by 
reason of prenatal habit, and thus it had 
often happened that the little fists, or as 
much of them as could be accommodated, 
had blundered into the mouth ; and inter- 
esting sensations (double sensations again, 
in fists and mouth) had been experienced. 
The baby had at the same time felt in her 
arms the movement that always went with 
these interesting sensations, and now she 



102 THE BIOGRAPHY 

was trying to repeat it. Within a week she 
had mastered it, and could mumble and suck 
her fists at will — a great addition, naturally, 
to the comfort of life. 

Meanwhile the reflex clasping, which had 
always taken place when an object was laid 
in the baby's palm, was growing firmer and 
longer, and more like conscious holding; 
and I noticed that the thumb was now " op- 
posed " in clasping — that is, shut down 
opposite the fingers, an important element 
in the skill of human grasping. And now, 
when the fingers came in contact with con- 
venient things — folds of the towel, for in- 
stance — the hands would clasp them me- 
chanically, just as the lips, since the first 
month, had laid hold on a breast or cheek 
that touched them. 

This had an important result. The Httle 
hand would presently go to the mouth, still 
mechanically clasping the fold of towel or 
dress, which in consequence was sucked and 
mumbled, too. In this way the baby got 



OF A BABY 103 

sundry novel sensations, and a chain o£ as- 
sociations began to form : she was to learn 
thus, by and by, that when she felt touch 
sensations in her fingers, she could get Hve- 
lier ones in her mouth (and also the pleasant 
muscular feehng of sucking), by the move- 
ments of clasping, and of lifting her arm. 
But she had not yet learned it: objects 
(except her own hands) were still carried to 
her mouth only by accident. 

By the twelfth week the baby had found 
that her thumb was better for sucking pur- 
poses than chance segments of fist, and could 
turn her hand and get the convenient httle 
projection neatly into her mouth. She got 
hold of it more by diving her head down to 
it than by hfting the hand to the mouth. 
Seizing with the mouth, by motions of the 
head,, like a dog, instead of using the hand 
to wait on the mouth, seemed still her nat- 
ural way. 

But the hands were gaining. In this 
same twelfth week I saw the little finger- 



104 THE BIOGRAPHY 

tips go fumbling and feeling over our hands 
and dresses. They, too, had learned active 
touch, as the tongue had learned it more 
than a month before. 

Just at this time we began to bring the 
baby to the table — nominally so that no 
one need stay away from meals to look after 
her ; really for the sake of her jovial com- 
pany at our sober grown-up board, where 
she would sit, propped amid cushions in her 
high chair, gazing and smiling sociably at 
our faces, crowing and flourishing her arms 
in joy at the lights and the rattle of dishes, 
forming the sole topic of conversation to an 
extent that her bachelor uncle had his pri- 
vate and lonely opinion about. The high 
chair was one of those that have a wooden 
tray fastened across the front, and here were 
placed several handy objects — rattle, and 
ring, and string of spools. This was by the 
wisdom of grandma, who saw the approach 
of the power of grasping. One may often 
see the Httle hands fluttering empty, the lit- 



OF A BABY 105 

tie brain restless, craving its natural devel- 
opment (for grasping is much more a matter 
of brain development, through the forming 
of associations, than of hand development), 
when there is no wise grandma to see that 
rattle and ring and spools lie " handy by " 
a little before the baby is ready to use them. 
To wait till he knows how to grasp before 
giving him things to practice on is like 
keeping a boy out of the water till he knows 
how to swim. Such impeding of the natu- 
ral activities is responsible for a good deal 
of the fretting of babies. 

It was not three days till I saw the little 
hands go fumbling across the tray, seeking 
the objects they had become used to find- 
ing there ; and when they touched rattle or 
spool, they laid hold on it. Nor was this 
the old mechanical clasping : it was volun- 
tary action, and as clumsy as new voluntary 
action is apt to be, compared to involuntary. 
The baby did not know how to turn her 
hand and take up a thing neatly : if she 



106 THE BIOGEAPHY 

touched it in such fashion that she could 
shut down her fingers on it somehow or 
anyhow, she would manage to lift it — stuck 
between two fingers from behind, once, when 
the back of her hand had touched it ; if not, 
she would go on fumbling till she did. In 
two or three days more she was laying hold 
on things and carrying them to her mouth 
with plain intention. 

Here was a sort of grasping, but it was 
grasping by feeling only. The baby had yet 
no idea of an object, which she could locate 
with the eye and then lay hold on with the 
hand. She had simply completed the chain 
of association I spoke of above : she had 
learned, that is, that after certain groping 
movements, feelings of touch appeared in 
her hands ; and that then, after movements 
of clasping and lifting, these feelings reap- 
peared in more lively and pleasing form in 
her mouth. She never looked at the objects 
she touched. There is no reason to think 
they could have been to her anything more 



OF A BABY 107 

than sensations in her own hands and mouth. 
The sight-motor and touch-motor series had 
not yet coalesced. But in these last days 
of the third month both had come to the 
point where they were ready to begin the 
fusing process, and give the baby her world 
of outer objects. 

Before I go back to relate what had 
been going on meanwhile in the sight-motor 
series, I must stop to speak of some other 
developments of the month. 

Memory, for one thing, had plainly ad- 
vanced. By the tenth week the baby had 
shown some doubtful signs of knowing one 
face from another ; and in the twelfth she 
plainly recognized her grandfather with a 
smile and joyous cry, as he came in. Her 
first recognition, therefore (it is worth while 
to notice), was not of the mother, the source 
of supplies, but of the face that had offered 
most entertainment to the dawning mental 
powers, not only because of the white beard, 
the spectacles, and the shining bald brow, 



108 THE BIOGRAPHY 

but because of the boyish abandon with 
which grandpa played with her, ducking his 
face down to hers. 

A few days later she showed that she knew 
at least the feeling of her mother's arms. 
For some weeks no one else had put her to 
sleep ; and now when sleepy she fretted in 
other arms, but nestled down contentedly 
and went to sleep as soon as she felt herself 
in her mother's. The association of that es- 
pecial feeling had become necessary to sleep. 

The instinctive language of sign and 
sound had developed a good deal. From 
the first day of the month, the baby's joy 
in sights began to be expressed more exu- 
berantly, with flying arms and legs, with 
panting, murmuring, and babbling, smiles 
and even small chuckles, and sometimes lit- 
tle shouts and crows. A new look of grief, 
too, the parallelogram shaped mouth that all 
babies make in crying, appeared. 

In the tenth week she began to turn her 
head aside in refusal or dislike — a gesture 



OF A BABY log 

that one may see far down in the animal 
kingdom. A dog, for instance, uses it very 
expressively. It comes plainly from the 
simple effort to turn away from what is un- 
pleasant, and develops later to our shake of 
the head for " No ; " and when we notice 
how early the development of control over 
head and neck is, how much in advance of 
any use of the hands, we see that it is nat- 
ural for this to be the oldest of all gestures. 
In the last days of the month came two 
notable evidences of growing will. One was 
the baby's persistent effort to get the tip of 
her rattle (it was set on a slender ivory shaft) 
into her mouth. Sometimes it went in by 
chance ; sometimes it hit her lip, and in 
that case she would stretch her mouth to 
take it in, moving her head rather than the 
rattle. But if it brought up against her 
cheek, too far away to be captured by such 
efforts, after trying a little, she would lower 
the rattle, and make a fresh start for better 
luck. 



no THE BIOGKAPHY 

This may seem highly unintelligent ao« 
tion ; yet after all, as Professor Morgan says, 
it is by the method of " trial and error " that 
most of our acts of skill (and perhaps all 
such acts of the lower animals) are learned. 
In trial after trial the baby associated the 
muscular feeling of the successful movement 
with the feeling of the rattle tip in her 
mouth, and repeated these movements more 
and more correctly, dropping the unsuccess- 
ful ones. In just this way the sharpshooter, 
through repeated trials and misses, learns 
to deflect his rifle barrel this way and that 
with an infinite fineness of muscular con- 
tractions, which he could never get by rea- 
soning on it. 

The other effort of will was in sitting up. 
During the whole month the baby had in- 
sisted on a sitting position, and had wailed 
as vigorously over being left flat on her back 
as over being left hungry. She had soon 
tried to take the matter into her own hands, 
and made many efforts to lift herself, some- 



OF A BABY 111 

times by pulling on our fingers when we had 
laid them in her hands, sometimes by sheer 
strain of the abdominal muscles. She never 
succeeded in raising more than her head and 
shoulders till the last week of the month : 
then she did once lift herself, and in the 
following days tried with the utmost zeal to 
repeat the success. She would strive and 
strain, with a grave and earnest face, her 
whole baby soul evidently centred on the 
achievement. She would tug at our fingers 
till her little face was crimson ; she would 
lift her head and shoulders and strain to rise 
higher, fall back and try it again, till she 
was tired out. The day she was three 
months old, she tried twenty-five times, 
with scarcely a pause, and even then, though 
she was beginning to fret pitifully with dis- 
appointment, she did not stop of her own 
accord. 

Unless she began with a somewhat high 
reclining position, or her feet or hips were 
held, her little legs would fly up, and she 



112 THE BIOGRAPHY 

could not get the leverage to lift her body. 
For that matter, even with us the legs are 
lighter than the trunk, and few women can 
overcome the difference, and lift themselves 
bj sheer strength of the abdominal muscles, 
without having the feet held : and a baby's 
legs are so much lighter than ours that it 
must be for several years a sheer impossibil- 
ity for him to do it. 

However, in the few cases when the baby 
did manage, by some advantage of position, 
or by holding to our fingers, to lift herself, 
she could not balance in the least, and top- 
pled over at once. What with this discour- 
agement, and restraint from her elders, 
who thought her back by no means strong 
enough yet for sitting alone, she soon after 
gave up the effort to raise herself, and 
waited till she was older. 

It was in this same eventful thirteenth 
week that the baby first looked about, 
searching for something that was out of 
sight. A lively young girl with bright 



OF A BABY 113 

color and a charming pair of dangling eye- 
glasses was visiting us, and stood by, laugh- 
ing and prattling to the baby while she was 
bathed. The little one, greatly interested, 
turned her head, smiling and crowing, to 
watch Miss Charmian's movements, and to 
look for her when she was out of sight. In 
this, as in the definite efforts to feel the rat- 
tle tip in her mouth, and to renew the sen- 
sations of sitting up, we see action guided 
by an idea of that which is absent, that is 
by imagination, to a certain extent at least ; 
though it is probable that there was still as 
much of the mere working of association as 
of definite ideas. The memory that the 
baby showed when she looked about, search- 
ing for an expected sight, instead of sim- 
ply turning to an accustomed place, is clearly 
more than mere habit memory. Yet it was 
still not true memory: it was not an idea 
coming back to the mind after an interval, 
but only a sort of after-shine of the thing, 
held in the mind for a few moments after 
the thing itself had disappeared. 



114 THE BIOGRAPHY 

And now to come back to the sight-motor 
series : Did the babj still see objects only as 
blurs of light and shade ? She had the full 
mfti»KMi«an of her eves in working order as 
soon as aeei»modation was acquired ; but it 
is certain that it takes much practice to learn 
to use tbat mecbanism. It is an old storr 
that people born blind, receiving their sight 
bj surgical operations, have to learn to see. 
Professor Prerer quotes from Dr. Home the 
case of a twelve year old bov who. nearly a 
xnontb after the operation, could not tell 
wh et h er a square card had comers or not 
by lookiiig at it ; and of another seven year 
old boy who had to learn to recognize trian- 
gles and smiares i which he knew well by 
toTieh) bv miming his eye along the edges 
and counting the comers. It must have 
takai Tiniiy>n«> ^actiee for us all to learn to 
flash, ihe eye so quickly over and about an 
objeet that we seem to take in its shape with 
cne look. This was the task that lay before 
^e babv now. 



OF A BABY 115 

How long it took we can only gnesa. 
Some observers have taken it for granted 
that the first recognition of a face showed 
clear seeing had arrived- But the group of 
lights and shades is so different in each face 
that a baby might well learn to know them 
apart without distinct outlines. We have 
all seen French paintings in which the eves, 
the smile; some high lights on cheek, chin, 
and nose, and a cloudy suggestion of hair 
and beard, are all that emerge from the dark 
canvas, and yet we may see easily for whom 
the portrait is meant. Our baby had recog- 
nized no face yet except her grandfather's, 
where the beard, spectacles, and shining bald 
brow made recognition easy without any out- 
line. 

But in another direction we get a plainer 
hint. I have spoken above of the joyous 
excitement roused in the baby by interesting 
sights (not only faces now, but also sundry 
brio^ht thinofs. and dan2:lin2r. movinsr thino:s) 
early in the month. By the middle of the 



116 THE BIOGEAPHY 

montli her smiles were fewer, and she looked 
about her earnestly and soberly ; and in the 
last week I noted, without understanding, 
the expression of surprise that had come into 
her face as she gazed this way and that. 
The wide, surprised eyes must have meant 
that something new was before them. Were 
things perhaps beginning to separate them- 
selves off to the baby's sight in definitely 
bounded spaces ? 

I must go on into the record of the next 
month for more light on this question : for 
the wonder grew day by day, and for weeks 
the baby was looking about her silently, 
studying her world. She would inspect the 
familiar room carefully for many minutes, 
looking fixedly at object after object till the 
whole field of vision was reviewed, then she 
would turn her head eagerly and examine 
another section ; and when she had seen all 
she could from one place, she would fret till 
she was carried to another, and there begin 
anew her inspection of the room in its 



OF A BABY 117 

changed aspect — always with the look of 
surprise and eagerness, eyes wide and brows 
raised. 

We can only guess what was going on in 
the baby mind all this time ; but I cannot 
resist the thought that I was looking on at 
that very process which must have taken 
place somewhere about this time — the 
learning to see things clear and separate, 
by running the eyes over their surfaces and 
about their edges. 

With this, sight and muscle sense alone, 
touch and muscle sense alone, had done all 
they could to reveal the world to the baby, 
and there lay close before her the further 
revelations that were to be made when touch, 
sight, and muscle sense could be focused all 
together on the objects about her. It was 
a wonderful sight to see, as the baby pressed 
forward to the new understanding, eager, 
amazed; and absorbed. 



118 THE BIOGRAPHY 



vn 

SHE LEARNS TO GRASP, AND DISCOVERS 
THE WORLD OF THINGS 

The baby had finished her first quarter 
year. A few days before, as we have seen, 
she had looked for a person out of sight ; 
and now, just at the end of the third month, 
she showed that she could bring together the 
testimony of sight and hearing, by turning 
to look in the direction of a sound. 

Here seems evidence that by this time 
(whether she had done so before or not) she 
" externalized " her impressions more or less : 
that is, when waves of sound struck on her 
tympanum, or of light on her retina, she did 
not simply yeeZ the resulting sensation, but 
threw it back, so to speak, along the line of 
the wave, and seemed to herself to perceive 
something outside there, away from her. 



OF A BABY 119 

For when she looked around, seeking what 
she did not yet see, expecting sight sensa- 
tions and hearing sensations to come from 
the same source, it is impossible to think she 
did not have a feeling of something really 
there, outside herself. 

Step by step with the sense of outside- 
ness there must have come a sense of inside- 
ness, of self, for the two are only opposite 
sides of one feeling — that is, the feeling of 
difference between oneself and the outer 
world. We must not suppose that before 
the baby externalized her impressions she 
felt everything as happening inside her : 
she must have just felt things, with no in- 
side or outside about it. 

This may seem impossible, but really the 
sense of insideness and outsideness is not hard 
to upset, even at our time of life. Dizziness 
or mental shock will do it. Sometimes on 
waking from deep sleep we find our sense 
of a separate bodily self gone, and gather it 
slowly back. We may almost lose ourselves 



120 THE BIOGRAPHY 

by lying idly, without thought or care, in 
some great, continuous sound, like the roar 
of a cataract, till we do not know which is 
ourself and which is the outward sound. 
Mystics and ecstatics have made an art of 
changing the bodily feelings by fasting and 
other means, till the usual marks of dif- 
ference among impressions, by which we 
externalize some and refer others to our own 
bodies, are lost ; and with them the sense of 
being in the body, surrounded by an outer 
world. 

Though she externalized sight and sound, 
it is not likely that the baby at this stage 
distinguished external and internal in touch 
impressions, unless about her face. She had 
not at all learned the bounds of her own 
body yet. Below her arms, her control of 
it was almost nothing. She could not turn 
herself over. She had never passed her 
hands over her own surface, and knew it only 
by chance touches. She understood so little 
her relation even to her hands, which were 



OF A BABY 121 

fairly under control, that when they met by 
chance, each hand would seize the other, and 
try to take it to her mouth. She was often 
aggrieved by the unexpected result when she 
tried to flourish her arm and go on sucking 
her thumb at the same time, and could not 
imagine what had suddenly snatched the 
cherished thumb away. Her feeling of her- 
self must have been very different from ours : 
more like that of a conventional cherub, all 
but her head dissolved away into oneness 
with the outside world. 

Did she, then, seeing the vision of the 
world, see it as a world of things — solid 
objects, visible and tangible? Probably 
not. Her whole behavior showed that she 
had never blended the feel of a thing and 
the look of a thing into the perception of the 
thing itself. If her body was touched any- 
where, she never looked toward the place to 
see what touched her. When she groped on 
her tray, she seemed to be merely repeating 
motions that had formerly brought sensa- 



122 THE BIOGEAPHY 

tions, not seeking for things that she sup*, 
posed were there ; she never looked for them, 
nor even looked at them as she held them ; 
she seemed to have no suspicion that the 
feeling in her hand was due to a visible ob- 
ject there. 

Nor could she well have had any idea of 
an object, even as one may get it from touch 
alone, without sight ; for she did not feel 
over the things she held — she was con- 
scious only of the part that touched her. 
If she laid hold of her rattle one day by one 
part, and another day by another, she could 
not have known it was the same object, ex- 
cept as she learned a little about it in fum- 
bling for a better hold. In short, the things 
she touched and held can hardly have been 
to her definite objects, but only disjointed 
touch and weight sensations. 

With no more material than this, children 
born blind do build up in time the idea of a 
world of things ; but seeing children have 
a much quicker and completer way. 



OF A BABY 123 

Just at the end of the third month the 
baby had once gazed at her rattle as she 
held it in her hand ; but it was not till the 
second week of the fourth month that she 
seemed really to learn that when she felt the 
familiar touch in her hand, she could see 
something by looking. Then her eyes be- 
gan to rest on things while she picked them 
up ; but in a blank and passive way — the 
eyes looking on like outsiders, while the awk- 
ward little hands fumbled just as they would 
have done in the dark. The baby seemed 
to have no idea that what she saw was the 
same thing as what she felt. 

There was about a fortnight of this. Then, 
on one great day, when three weeks of the 
month had passed, the baby looked at her 
mother's hand, held up before her, and made 
fumbling motions toward it, keeping her eyes 
on it, till her hand struck it ; then took hold 
of it. She had formed an association be- 
tween the sight of an object and the groping 
movement of her hand toward it. 



124 THE BIOGRAPHY 

It was not till the last week of the month 
that she put out her hand directly to the 
thing she wanted, instead of clawing vaguely 
toward it ; and even then it was doubtfully 
done. Still, it was real grasping, by guid- 
ance of the eye. She was coming to real- 
ize that what she saw was one with what she 
could feel; that there were things, which 
could be reached for and got hold of. That 
is, the sight-motor series and the touch-motor 
series were coalescing at last, and giving the 
baby a world of objects. She had an im- 
mensity to learn as to their form, weight, 
distance, and all that ; but she had the key 
now for learning it. 

The discovery of the new quality of tan- 
gibility in the visible world must have been 
gradual, however, and her new power of 
grasping hardly more at first than a bUnd 
use of association. In the next fortnight 
she grasped doubtfully, depending only 
partly on sight for guidance. She would 
put out her hand uncertainly, with fingers 



OF A BABY 125 

spread, not ready to grasp, and it was only 
when they touched the object that her move- 
ment became confident. Sometimes both lit- 
tle hands were brought cautiously down on 
either side of the thing she wished to get 
hold of. 

In this fortnight she grasped better with 
the mouth than with the hands, and was 
more disposed to use it. She brought her 
mouth to the nipple easily by sight. She 
dived at me with her head to get the loose 
folds of my bodice into her mouth. In our 
arms, she would attack our faces with a sud- 
den dive of her head and a funny doubling 
up movement of her body, and would mouth 
them over with satisfaction. One day, as 
she lay on her back, a rubber ring fell out 
of her mouth, and lay encircling her nose, 
resting on its bridge and on the upper lip ; 
she made many efforts to reach it with her 
lips, stretching her mouth open ridiculously, 
but had no idea of using the little hands, 
which were fluttering wildly in helpless sym- 
pathy. 



126 THE BIOGKAPHY 

During this early period of grasping, the 
baby was far from appreciating what a world 
of delight had opened to her. Her great in- 
terest all the fourth month and on into the 
j&fth was in the use of her eyes, in those 
eager surveys of things that I have spoken 
of; and absorbed in this, she had uncon- 
sciously and almost mechanically gathered 
together the associations of sight and feel- 
ing and muscle sense, till grasping had come 
about, merely as a more efiicient way of get- 
ting things into the mouth. 

Professor Preyer and most other observ- 
ers have tried to account for this persistent 
drift of everything to the baby's mouth by 
the theory of taste association : the baby's 
most agreeable experience has been that of 
tasting milk, and so he connects all pleasure 
with the idea of getting things to his mouth. 
This seems to me quite untenable. An as- 
sociation between taste and the feeling of 
something in the mouth would not be formed 
unless the two occurred together quite regu- 



OF A BABY 127 

larly ; and what with the washing out of a 
baby's mouth each time he is nursed, and 
the frequent stumbling in of his hands, and 
later the deliberate sucking of fists, he finds 
tasteless objects there oftener than milk. 
Again, it is not the movement of the hands 
up to the mouth that would become asso- 
ciated with food, but rather the feeling of 
being laid at the breast (which our baby 
did in fact associate early with food, as I 
have related). And in the third place, there 
is not the least evidence that taste is the 
most agreeable experience of young babies ; 
on the contrary, the tests go to show that 
they have a low taste sensibility. 

The craving of hunger, of course, is an 
intense feeling in babies, and its satisfac- 
tion (rather than taste pleasure) is greatly 
enjoyed ; but except just at the hungry mo- 
ment, they pay far more attention to look- 
ing, and hearing, and feeling than to eating. 
Our baby, after the first edge of hunger was 
off, was always ready to desert the breast to 



128 THE BIOGRAPHY 

look at something interesting. She would 
nurse a little, then throw herself back on her 
mother's arm to smile up into her face. She 
cried quite as hard over being obliged to lie 
down, where she could not look around her, 
as over being hungry ; and getting her meal 
caused no such marked signs of pleasure as 
light and motion, the bath, and the free use 
of her own powers. 

Some babies are hungrier than ours was, 
and some are like her; but I think close 
observation would show all alike more taken 
up with their higher powers than with food. 
And as all alike put everything into their 
mouths when they first learn to grasp, we 
must find some other reason for the act than 
food association. 

If we regard it as an exercise of the sense 
of touch, in what is at the time the main 
touch organ, we have an activity closely 
parallel with the constant interest in the use 
of sight in the early months. Observers have 
been misled by failing to reaUze that the 



OF A BABY 129 

mouth, not the hand, is the primitive touch 
organ. The baby behaves with the things 
in his mouth as if he was interested in feel- 
ing them, not in eating them. He does not 
try to swallow them (though he may be de- 
pended on to do it without trying, if they 
are small), but licks, sucks, mumbles them 
about, and in every way gets the utmost 
touch sensation out of them. Preyer saw a 
look of pleasure caused by sucking a pencil, 
before the baby had ever tasted food, when 
he could not have had the least taste associ- 
ation with the feeling. There is plenty of 
evidence that the act of sucking (the muscu- 
lar sensation as well as that of touch) is in 
itself highly agreeable to babies. 

I have spoken of the great and active in- 
terest, at this time, in studying the visible 
world. By the end of the fourth nwnth the 
baby had certainly learned the look of many 
things, and was well aware when it was in 
any way changed. In a strange room she 
would renew the eager and surprised staring 



130 THE BIOGEAPHY 

about which had nearly ceased in familiar 
rooms ; and if one of us appeared in a bon- 
net she would look with curiosity and inter- 
est at our changed aspect. She doubtless 
knew us all apart by this time, though she 
gave no clear evidence of it, except in the 
case of grandpa, whom she often greeted 
with cries of joy and flying hands. 

From the middle of the fourth month she 
followed us constantly with her eyes as we 
moved about. Her eyes were thus drawn to 
greater distances, and her range of vision in- 
creased ; before this she had hardly noticed 
anything across the room. In the latter 
part of the month she looked with especial 
curiosity at people's faces on the other side 
of the room, and I guessed that it was be- 
cause they looked so much smaller to her — 
as they would to us if we had not learned to 
allow for the distance. A face fifteen feet 
away can be completely hidden by a fifty cent 
piece held out at arm's length ; our friends 
shrink to small dolls in our eyes every time 



OF A BABY 131 

they cross the room, but we bring them up 
to their real size by trained imagination. 
The baby, who had not yet the trained im- 
agination, must have seen strange shrink- 
ings and swellings as people moved from her 
or toward her, and as she was carried about 
the room. 

She saw a complete change of appearance, 
too, each time any one turned around, and 
each time she was carried from one side to 
another of a person, or of a piece of furni- 
ture. We have become so used to this that 
we do not notice it ; but to the baby each 
side of an object must have looked like an 
entirely new thing. I think it was some 
time before she learned to associate together 
the different sides and the different sizes of 
each object — all the aspects one chair could 
take, for instance, gathering into one group 
in her mind, and all the aspects a table or 
a person could take, into another ; but she 
was learning. It was an enormous piece of 
work for the baby brain, but babies are not 
lazy, and she enjoyed it. 



132 THE BIOGRAPHY 

The changes that people went through, as 
they moved about, were much more compli- 
cated than those of the furniture ; but that 
only made them the more interesting. No 
wonder that as soon as the baby knew she 
could touch and feel what she saw, it was 
our faces she dived for with especial zeal, to 
explore their surfaces with her mouth ; and 
a fortunate thing it is for the baby's progress 
in knowledge that mothers do not mind hav- 
ing great and moist liberties taken with their 
faces. Our baby learned, too, at this time, 
with the connivance of her grandfather, and 
afterward her father, to fix her fingers in 
their beards and tug. This was doubtless 
educational, and it brought still another in- 
terest into the number that gathered about 
the faces of her fellow beings : but it led to 
trouble later, as her hands grew quicker and 
stronger in clutching. 

She was a joyous and sociable little being 
in those days, and while her serious business 
was looking about and studying out the visi- 



OF A BABY 133 

ble world, or exploring with her mouth the 
feeling of things, her delight was as always 
in people's faces and attentions. She had be- 
come charmingly responsive, and answered to 
nods and prattle and cuddling with the gay- 
est of smiles and crows, and lively flourish- 
ing of arms and legs. From early in the 
month she acquired an ecstatic little chuckle, 
and once or twice even broke into a genuine 
laugh when she was played with a little more 
boisterously than usual. 

For by this time, and more and more every 
week, she began to like a frolic, and when 
she was tossed, rolled over, or slid down 
one's knee, she crowed and beamed and 
chuckled in high delight. She was such a 
tiny baby for rough play that we tumbled 
her about most gingerly, but she seemed 
ready for anything herself. She was a baby 
singularly free from fear or nervous excita- 
bility, showing already quite clearly the 
temperament she has carried through her 
later childhood. 



134 THE BIOGEAPHY 

She was also physically strong, and once 
or twice in the fourth month sat quite alone 
on some one's lap. I do not count this real 
sitting alone, however, for the lap gives under 
the baby's weight, and steadies her a little : 
one should not record sitting alone till the 
baby has balanced successfully on a hard 
level, the floor or table. But as far as 
strength of back was concerned, our baby 
was now evidently ready to sit alone. 

At this stage the babies of grandpa's line 
have always been seated on the floor in a 
horse-collar, as befitted farm babies ; and 
this latest one went into the collar at four 
months old, like the rest of us in our day, 
and spent much of her fifth month sitting 
there, sucking or brandishing her rattle, and 
looking happily about her. It is really a 
comfortable seat for a baby not yet quite 
ready to sit alone. When the collar is not 
brand new, one will of course scrub and dis- 
infect it ; and it is the better in any case for 
a blanket or thick shawl thrown over it. 



OF A BABY 135 

Also of course, one will never set a baby on 
the floor without seeing that all possible 
drafts, under doors or about loose window 
casings, are shut off with shawls and screens. 
Otherwise, there may be pneumonia to fight. 

I have just spoken of the baby's boldness. 
She showed fear now and then, however. 
About the middle of the fourth month she 
cried while a caller was present, dressed in 
black, with a large hat. Ten days later she 
was quite upset when her father leaned over 
suddenly, bringing his face into view from 
one side. Here were the first eye fears, 
considerably later than ear fears. 

A still more advanced form of fear ap- 
peared two days later. The baby had waked 
and cried alone in the dark for some minutes, 
and when she was at last taken up, she had 
evidently become frightened, and was not 
easily reassured ; she kept leaning toward 
her mother, and uttering troubled cries, and 
as it was some minutes before her mother 
took her, she grew more and more disturbed, 



136 THE BIOGRAPHY 

and finally broke into a wail, and was soothed 
with difficulty, and all the evening she was 
anxious and easily upset. The next night, 
waking alone at the same hour, she began 
again to cry with the note of fright. 

Here was not yet fear in the sense of defi- 
nite expectation of harm. It was still purely 
instinctive, a sort of vague panic, from a 
sense of unfamiharity. The darkness no 
doubt contributed to this unfamiliarity, but 
I do not think there was yet anything that 
could be called fear of the dark. It is doubt- 
less, however, in large part from such experi- 
ences that fear of the dark is born ; each one 
leaves its trace in the nervous system, and 
associations of terror with darkness and soli- 
tude are quickly formed. In these days of 
leaving babies to wail themselves to sleep for 
the good of their souls, and the convenience 
of mamma's going out evenings, innumerable 
such associations must be bred — and again 
the schoolbooks take the blame when in later 
days the child proves nervous and excitable. 



OF A BABY 137 

During the latter part of the fourth month, 
the baby was greatly interested in making 
sounds, and the one that most delighted her 
was a sort of harsh cawing or croaking, 
made deep in the throat, on the vowel ci. 
She would lie and utter this sound at inter- 
vals, by the half hour, with deep satisfaction. 
But when she had not been making it for 
some hours, she was apt to forget just how, 
and to get it too high or low in the throat, 
producing an extraordinary collection of 
squeaks and grunts. She usually hit it at 
last ; but after repeated losings, it became 
quite dissolved away among the many new 
ones it had apparently given rise to. 

Later, she took much pains over some im- 
perfect lip sounds; she would lie looking 
earnestly at me, draw her breath, gather her 
lips into shape, and finally explode the sound 
with a great expenditure of breath. 

She made her little sounds often with an 
air of friendly response when we prattled to 
her, giving back murmurs, croaks, and gur- 



138 THE BIOGEAPHY 

gles for words. From the latter part of the 
fourth month, if we imitated to her some of 
these sounds, she seemed to imitate them 
back. Preyer, who records the same thing 
of his boy at the same age, thinks it marks 
a most important epoch, the beginning of 
action guided by ideas ; but Baldwin, who 
considers the beginning of imitation even 
more important than Preyer does, thinks it 
cannot be so early, and that the repeating 
of the sounds must be mere coincidence. 

This is likely enough, for a baby is always 
repeating his pet sounds, and it is not safe 
to conclude that he means to imitate us, even 
if he does chance to give back the same 
sound after us several times. But as to ac- 
tion guided by ideas, we scarcely need wait 
for the first imitation to see that. It appears 
in a simple form when the baby first looks 
for an object out of sight. This our baby 
had done weeks before, and by this time 
many of her actions seemed to be of ideo- 
motor type. The effort to recall her croak 



OF A BABY 139 

was an instance. In the early weeks of the 
fifth month, she would seem to think sud- 
denly of one of her little sounds, and dash 
at it, bringing it out with a comical dou- 
bling up of her body. In the same way she 
would have the happy thought, " Fingers 
in mouth ! " and up they would come with a 
jerk, her head diving forward to meet them. 

In the nineteenth week, she seemed to act 
once from something like a definite memory. 
Her grandfather entered the room while she 
was in her bath, and her usual joyous up 
and down movement of arms at sight of him 
produced a novel and fascinating splashing. 
Next day the baby splashed without sugges- 
tion, and again the next, looking up to my 
face and smiling; and after that no one 
could teach her anything about splashing. 
Yet even this was probably not really mem- 
ory, but an association formed by a single 
vivid occurrence. 

During these weeks a note of real desire, 
unheard before, appeared in her voice. Her 



14I> TEE BIOGRAPHY 
face ba£ at time&. wbexi abt^ s&'vr aimnAmg 
nev. or ^bsL abe gu2»d at os Vnik -«« talked 
XL her. az. eoiresaimi of inmnrr anil ef art to 
eampnihsn^ -wid. lipe ^i&wii ir az>£ br/m 
tenafv. Nc oxtt couic ^?a2ct ber ani imt mt 

22ke >w>£ TTiTnnp '^ of SOme sort of •ntfnr^ ' j liff v 



OF A BABY 141 



vni 

TTTS ERA or RA^flMJyG THDTGS 

She spranjj into thk «^ sodJailT. iritJiin 
foiir d.^\-s. It was not infn?quendT tiiiss 
and ^vrh.^p5 more Anvl mow as the Httie brftin 
gw\r complex. Some power tiwit h^d l^?«i 
slowly developing would le*p up into comple- 
tion, nnlvvkrag a dozen other door^ o£ me*r- 
tsd Ufe, To put it physk\logv*lh-. some oiie 
new ix>nneotk>n ^stahlishevl between bnun 
celk would bring a whole network of others 
into coopemtkvn — the more eAsibr as anc«S" 
tral nerve paths s^?emevl often to open up «l 
a touch. 

When the baby had p*s5^l ten davs of 
her tifth month, she was still gT:*sping half 
mech»iiic;idly. On the ekventh vUy, Mng 
an her back, she held her rattle aK>ve her 
and looked at it csurvfuUv. He* attentm 



142 THE BIOGEAPHY 

had turned to the things that she grasped. 
She had come before to the perception of a 
world of objects, but apparently only now to 
the realization of it. And thereupon, that 
very day, I saw that she was no longer using 
eyes and hands merely as means of getting 
mouth sensations ; she was holding objects, 
looking at them, and pulling them about, 
for some moments, before they went to her 
mouth. 

The pleasure of this handling seemed to 
be in the free movement of the objects (seen 
and felt at the same time), not especially in 
the touch sensations. When this new plea- 
sure was exhausted, things went to the mouth 
as before for the enjoyment of touch. It 
was long before the fingers rivaled the lips 
in pure aesthetic touch enjoyment ; perhaps 
they never do, else the dandy would finger 
his cane knob, instead of mouthing it, girls 
would smooth rose-leaves across their finger 
tips, not their lips, and a kiss would have 
no higher rank than a hand clasp. But 



OF A BABY 143 

for grasping purposes the supremacy now 
passed promptly over to the hands, and from 
this week the habit of grasping with the 
mouth by head movements dechned and 
disappeared. 

In a few hours the baby was reaching for 
everything near her, and in three days more 
her desire to lay hold on things was the 
dominant motive of her life. Her grasping 
was stiQ oftener with both hands than one, 
and was somewhat slow, but always accurate. 
Some babies learn to grasp more suddenly 
than she did, and often miss their aim ; but 
with her cautious method of bringing down 
her hands toward an object from either side, 
penning it in between, she could hardly make 
errors. The thing once corralled, she would 
pull it around, perhaps a minute, then put it 
to her mouth. 

It is an epoch of tremendous importance 
when the baby first, with real attention, 
brings sight and touch and muscle feeling 
to bear together on an object. " In a very 



144 THE BIOGRAPHY 

deep sense," says John Fiske, "all human 
science is but the increment of the power of 
the eye, and all human art is the increment 
of the power of the hand. Vision and ma- 
nipulation — these in their countless indirect 
and transfigured forms are the two cooperat- 
ing factors in all intellectual progress." 
And the first great result of this cooperation 
is the completion of vision itself. It cannot 
be doubted that it is mainly by studying 
objects with eye and hand together that we 
get our ability to see soHd form. A colt 
grasping his ear of corn with his teeth, even 
a puppy Hcking and turning his bone all 
over, or a kitten tapping a spool to and fro 
and hugging it in her paws, without losing 
sight of it — none of these can bring the 
united powers of three senses to bear on an 
object so perfectly as a monkey or human 
baby can, holding it in the most convenient 
positions, turning it this way and that, see- 
ing every part, feehng it with finger tips 
and mouth j and it is doubtful if the quad- 



OF A BABY 145 

rupeds ever attain to as clear a sense of form 
as we do. 

In these first days of the passion for grasp- 
ing at things, the baby reached for flat fig- 
ures as readily as for solid objects ; but (to 
look ahead a Httle) she learned to discrimi- 
nate with surprising ease, and after the first 
week I have only three or four notes of her 
trying to pick up such things as pictures on 
a page, roses on a quilt, shadows in the sun. 
Yet I do not think this was because she 
gained quickly any such sense of the dif- 
ference between plane and solid form as we 
have, but rather that she learned quickly to 
associate a certain look about an object with 
the experience of being able to get hold 
of it. 

The reason that I think so is that even 
weeks later, when she was six months old, 
she showed signs of having no real ability to 
judge form by the eye. At that age she 
turned a round cracker round and round at 
her hps, trying to find the corner to bite, as 



146 THE BIOGRAPHY 

she was used to doing with square ones. 
And the only time she was ever taken in by 
a flat figure afterward was when (at nine 
months old) she tried a long time to capture 
the swaying shadow of a rope end on the 
deck of a yacht; things that moved could 
always be taken hold of in her experience, 
and she went solely by experience, not by 
any general ideas of form. 

But such general ideas really require a 
good deal of development of reason — so 
much that it is Ukely the lower animals never 
rise to them. We must think of the baby's 
seeing, therefore, as rounding out but slowly 
to full equahty with ours in such matters as 
estimates of form, distance, and size, where 
much experience and some reason are re- 
quired. 

To go back to those swift four days in 
which the baby came into realization of her 
power of using hands and eyes together, — 
they had been preceded by a marked advance 
in the use of eyes alone (or jointly with the 



OF A BABY 147 

sense of motion In being carried about) to 
get the relations of things about her more 
clearly arranged in her mind. The day be- 
fore the baby held up her rattle to look at, 
she had declined to go to sleep in her mo- 
ther's arms, and kept lifting her head to look 
at me, till I crossed the room and put myself 
out of sight. Presently she lifted her head 
again, turned round, and searched persist- 
ently the quarter of the room toward which 
she had seen me disappear. She had gained 
much in sense of direction and in association 
of ideas when she could look along the line 
in which I had been seen to move moments 
before, expecting to see me somewhere there. 
Later, the same day, she sat in my lap, 
watching with an intent and puzzled face the 
back and side of her grandmother's head. 
Grandma turned from her knitting and chir- 
ruped to her, and the httle one's jaw dropped 
and her eyebrows went up with an expres- 
sion of blank surprise. Presently I began to 
swing her on my foot, and at every pause in 



148 THE BIOGRAPHY 

the swinging she would sit gazing at the 
puzzling head till grandma turned, and nod- 
ded or chirruped to her ; then she would 
turn away satisfied and want more swinging. 

Here we seem to get a glimpse of the pro- 
cess I have spoken of, hy which the baby 
gradually associates together the front and 
rear and side aspects of a person or thing, till 
at last they coalesce together in his mind as 
all one object. At first amazed to see the coil 
of silver hair and the curve of cheek turn 
suddenly into grandma's front face, the baby 
watched for the repetition of the miracle till 
it came to seem natural, and the two aspects 
were firmly knit together in her mind. 

She began, too, to watch people's motions 
carefully for long spaces of time — all through 
the process of setting the table, for instance 
— with a serious httle face, and an atten- 
tion so absorbed that it was hardly possible 
to divert her if one tried (which one ought 
not to do, for power of attention is a precious 
attainment, and people have no business to 



OF A BABY 149 

meddle with its growth for their own amuse- 
ment). When her mother's dark-eyed sister 
had a httle reception in consequence of hav- 
ing married the minister, baby was in the 
thick of it, watching first the preparations, 
and then the comings and goings of people, 
with the closest attention and the deepest en- 
joyment, cheerfully wilHng to have her meals 
postponed, her nap broken, anything, if the 
fun would only go on. 

There was a decided advance, too, in her 
acquaintance with her own body. Sitting as 
usual in her horse-collar, she was bending 
herself back over it, a thing that she had 
done before; but to-day she kept it up so 
persistently, and bent herself back with such 
exertion, that at last the back of her head 
touched the floor. She righted herself with 
an expression of great surprise. Evidently 
she had been experimenting in new muscular 
sensations only, and (as happens to all experi- 
menters sometimes) had got an extra result 
that she did not bargain for and did not 



150 THE BIOGRAPHY 

understand. She bent back again, with her 
head screwed around to see what had given 
her the touch. In this position, she did not 
reach the floor. She sat up again, looked at 
me with a perplexed face, and tried it over, 
a full dozen times, till her mother picked her 
up to stop it, on the ground that the baby 
was more valuable than the experiment, and 
that she would break her httle back. For 
days, however, the baby returned to the in- 
vestigation, doubhng herself back over the 
arm of any one who held her till her head 
hung straight down, or over the horse-collar 
till it rested on the floor. 

We may perhaps fairly guess that in this 
incident she had for the first time discovered 
the back of her head as a part of herself, and 
any of us might weU be surprised to find 
himseK extending off behind into space that 
way, if he had never known about it before. 
The baby had of course felt daily and hourly 
touches on the back of her head, from pillow 
and floor and lap, from cap and hair brush ; 



OF A BABY 151 

but all her previous behavior, and her surprise 
now, indicate that this was the first time she 
had externaHzed these touches — which im- 
plies also the first time she had felt herself 
as receiving them. 

One of the first things she did when she 
began grasping zealously was to seize her 
own toes, and she bent her foot forward on 
the ankle to bring it better in reach. This 
may have been a purely instinctive cooperat- 
ing act at first, but it helped on the control 
of feet and legs, and the recognition of them 
as parts of herself — the more as they were 
now for some time favorite playthings every 
time the baby was undressed. 

Another significant movement the next 
day, also brought about by the advance in 
gi-asping, was the first attempt to scramble 
forward as she lay on her stomach, to get 
hold of something — a futile effort, but the 
forerunner of creeping. 

These days of rapid unfolding were joy- 
ous days. The baby laughed aloud more 



THE BIOGKAPHY 

to Ikt m ha aeak, and weire 
fated for a> |tfiBi<i Brtj if dke did iMt grt 

too, «as twtiKwg;' <mi ite Inigei^ 
icjid^ te acnD« ajur. The fitde dua^ lw|pai 
i»lMk«|»i&w oar ista*mii. for ty iwllij 
is fkataw «r pcfffeao^y ai I Ittve ModioBed 
» Ike caK <il facr Mfpdie at dimrcfii^ lib 
«l k« kead ; dke did it ba^hb^ w1m» 
fliAnil iadieta^a»dwiikwMlei<rf 
«B ilie IteMd to «Im pino. 
WImb ker aMidMr Iwld 4Nit Iwr anw to take 
ktt^ iiie kanied to fmt totmuA hat Ikdtb 
kaatitt m rmp t m a c ; aad as Ae aaaie daj dbte 

alwa^ I wmnfift (maofdi aw vaaiiai^^; tj-je 
Mst UMtaw alliir imnmg amaf dw: 
HeidMr «l dMie i«ad»i«: ^witaws v 
jet ttied mtfmHwmiUf to €fmw€y i^i^hJi, hfjX 
feodi (flrtiffii^ latfir iato ^gunufj* 
gpHi^ B«di aeew to ptow uata' , , , 



OF A BABY 






113 



■-r<G vjVik v-fc> i: ?.::*s; 



^154 THE BIOGKAPHY 

up with two fingers or more as might chance, 
and put into her mouth by any part that 
came handiest ; but in three or four days it 
was taken up properly and rung. More and 
more all the time she found something to 
do with things besides putting them in her 
mouth. 

She hked hard, bright, and rattHng things 
best to handle, and preferred metal or bone 
to rubber. One can hardly think of a thing 
less useful to a baby educationally at this 
stage than soft, colored worsted balls ; he 
needs something that he can feel, hard and 
definite, in his hand ; something with dis- 
tinctly unHke sides that he can see as he pulls 
and shakes it about; he loves ghtter, but 
cares little for color, perhaps does not yet 
see it ; and any dyes and worsted shreds that 
can come off in wet httle mouths are conclu- 
sive against such a toy. 

On the other hand, bright metal objects 
are apt in the course of their gyrations to 
deal bad thumps to httle heads and noses; 



OF A BABY 156 

so one must compromise on rubber — unin- 
teresting, but safe — and on such bone, 
metal (perhaps aluminum), and unpainted 
wooden toys as can be trusted to give only 
very mild thumps, such as a baby had better 
take now and then rather than be deprived 
of all really interesting toys. 

This is one of the many dilemmas in which 
the baby is lucky who has a grandma, or 
whose mamma can spare time to associate 
with him a great deal ; for no end of things 
can be trusted in the httle hands, that ache 
for everything in sight, if only vigilant fin- 
gers hover close, ready to ward gently off 
any dangerous movement. Sitting in one's 
lap at the table, too, the baby may push and 
pull at many things not safe for him to lift ; 
or he may be allowed to handle something 
safely tethered with a string. Certainly the 
wider hberty of holding and handHng he can 
by any device be allowed, the better; the 
instinct is very strong, and wholly healthy, 
and the thwarting of normal instincts is not 
good for any one's nerves or mind. 



156 THE BIOGRAPHY 

In sight, important changes were no longer 
to be looked for : except possibly in the mat- 
ter of color sense, the baby's seeing had now 
passed through all the stages of development, 
and needed only practice and mental growth 
to become as perfect as it would ever be. 
She was evidently still at work somewhat, 
especially in new places, in reducing confused 
appearances to order ; but so much of this 
work was already done that more and more 
she could sit and enjoy the varied spectacle. 
More than once she spent half an hour gaz- 
ing thus out of the window with quiet plea- 
sure. 

There were for the first time signs that 
she could distinguish between the sounds of 
voices. She looked and listened one day in 
the middle of the month, as if she noticed 
sometliing unusual, when I was hoarse with 
a cold. Late in the month, as I read to her 
mother while she nursed the baby, singing 
softly to her (a frequent custom), the baby 
suddenly raised her head and looked curi- 



OF A BABY 157 

ously at me, evidently for the first time dis- 
tinguishing the two voices as separate sounds. 

Her mother and gi-andmother had been 
saying to her a great deal, " Papa ! " hoping 
to hasten her understanding of the word. 
This same day she imitated the motion of 
the hps, and seemed to find the feeling very 
funny, for she laughed, and laughed when- 
ever she heard the sound explosively uttered 
during the next fortnight; she stopped in 
the midst of crying to laugh at it. Her 
amusement had not the faintest connection 
with the meaning of the word ; indeed, she 
chuckled aloud with even more gayety when 
I ejaculated " poo-poo ! " or " boo-boo ! " 
instead. It was something in the explosive 
labial sound that struck her as comical. 

In this beginning of discrimination in arti- 
culate sounds, we see the root of the later 
understanding of speech. But it was by 
another road that the baby now began to 
move toward human conmiunication : by the 
way, that is, of signs and inarticulate cries. 



158 THE BIOGKAPHY 

One day when she was four and a half 
months old, she raised a strange little clamor 
on catching sight of her grandfather, as if 
on purpose to call his attention, and was satis- 
fied when she got it ; she began to hold out 
her arms of her own accord, instead of merely 
to meet ours, held out to her ; and in the 
very last days of the fifth month she made a 
sound of request when she wished to be taken, 
a whimpering, coaxing sound, leaning and 
looking toward her mother, instead of the 
mere fretting sounds of desire, addressed to 
nobody, which she had made for weeks. 

When I have spoken before of the baby's 
" addressing " her httle noises to us, I have 
not meant that there was really anything of 
language in them. Some expression of in- 
terest in our presence, some sort of social 
feeling, there must have been, but no more 
than in her kicking up her feet or chuckHng 
at our attentions. These first asking sounds 
and motions, on the contrary, were begin- 
nings of real language — not yet of human 



OF A BABY 159 

language, but of such as the baby shares 
with all the beasts and birds. 

A sort of intelligence shared with the 
beasts and birds, too, appeared in these same 
closing days of the fifth month — what may 
be called " adaptive intelligence," the use of 
means to an end — in the patient devices by 
which the baby manoeuvred her toe into her 
mouth ; but this was a sort of anticipation 
of a development that belonged really to the 
next month, and so I shall leave the account 
of it to the next. 

The increasing ownership of her body that 
this toe feat showed was evident in several 
other ways. The baby's sitting up grew im- 
perceptibly firmer and more independent of 
support : at nineteen weeks old, she was sit- 
ting alone in our laps a quarter of a minute 
at a time ; four days later, a minute at a 
time, provided she did nothing to upset her- 
self, such as flourishing her arms, or reach- 
ing after things ; two days later yet, she 
balanced successfully for a few seconds on 



160 THE BIOGRAPHY 

the table — and this was real sitting alone at 
last, for on the table there could be no least 
support from the yielding of the surface 
under her. All babies can sit alone earlier 
on the lap or a cushion than on a perfectly 
flat, hard surface. 

At just about nineteen weeks old, too, the 
baby began to roll over to her side when she 
was laid on her back on the floor, and to 
squirm and bend around into a variety of 
positions, instead of lying where she was put. 

The period was coming to an end in which 
the main activity of development was in the 
senses, and in coming through the coopera- 
tion of the senses to a bodily consciousness 
of herself in a world of objects, of distances, 
and directions. Now the baby had to learn 
to use that body, and explore that world. 
But before this second great period of activ- 
ity fully began, there was a transition month, 
a month of vigorous practice in the powers 
already gained, and of gathering forces for 
the new developments. 



OF A BABY 161 



IX 

THE DAWN OF INTELLIGENCE 

The sixth month, though it lay between 
two great development periods, — that of 
learning to use the senses, and that o£ learn- 
ing to carry the body, — was not in itself a 
period of suspended development. It is true 
that its progress, being more purely mental, 
could not be so continuously traced as that 
which came before and after, but rather 
cropped up to the surface every now and 
then in a more or less broken way ; still, no 
doubt, it really went on in the same gradual 
method, one thread and another knitting to- 
gether into the fabric of new powers. 

It was to this month, as I said in closing 
the last chapter, that the beginnings of adap- 
tive intelligence belonged; and this alone 
marks it a great epoch. 



162 THE BIOGRAPHY 

There is a great deal of discussion about 
the use of the words "intelligence," "rea- 
son," "instinct," "judgment," "inference," 
and the hke : what these faculties and acts 
really are, how they come about, where the 
line is to be drawn between their manifesta- 
tions (in the minds of animals and of man, 
for instance), and many other problems. 
But I think that all agree upon recognizing 
two types of action that come under the dis- 
cussion : one, that which shows merely the 
abihty to adapt means to ends, to use one's 
own wit in novel circumstances ; the other, 
that which rests on the higher, abstract rea- 
soning power, such as is hardly possible with- 
out carrying on a train of thought in words. 
Whether these two types are to be called 
intelligence and reason, as Professor Lloyd 
Morgan calls them, or whether both come 
under the head of reason, lower and higher, 
I we need not trouble to decide. If we call 
them adaptive intelligence and higher or ab* 
\stract reason, we are safe enough. 



OF A BABY 163 

Even if it be true that any glimmer of the 
higher reason penetrates back into the grades 
of Hfe below the attainment of speech, it must 
be only into those just below, and is not to 
be looked for in our baby for a long time 
yet. But the mere practical intelUgence that 
I am now speaking of seems to appear in 
babies close on the completion of a fair mas- 
tery of their senses, about the middle of the 
first year, and it goes pretty far down in the 
animal kingdom. Darwin thought the low- 
est example of it he knew was in the crab, 
who would remove shells that were thrown 
near the mouth of his burrow, apparently 
realizing that they might fall in. 

Recent psychologists have shown strong 
reason for thinking that such acts as this are 
at bottom only the same old hit and miss 
trick that we have seen from the first, of 
repeating lucky movements ; only in a higher 
stage, as the associations that guide the move- 
ments become more deHcate and complicated, 
and memory and imagination enter in. How- 



164 THE BIOGRAPHY 

ever this may be as a matter of theoretic 
analysis, there is in practice a clear test of 
difference between the unintelHgent earher 
type of actions and those that all agree in 
calling intelHgent : I have indicated it above, 
in saying that in intelHgent action one's own 
wit must be used " in novel circumstances." 
The case must be such that one cannot fall 
back on race instinct nor on his own previ- 
ous habit. 

Our baby, for instance, first used her intel- 
ligence to steer her toe into her mouth, and 
the way she did it, compared with the way 
she slowly settled on the proper movements 
for getting her rattle into her mouth, shows 
clearly the practical difference between unin- 
telHgent and intehigent action, even if both 
are at bottom made of the same psychological 
stuff. 

It was just before the sixth month began 
that the baby accomplished this feat, but it 
belongs with the developments of that month. 
She was already fond of playing with her 



OF A BABY 165 

toes ; and sitting unclad that evening in her 
mother's lap, she first tried to pull them 
straight to her mouth. This was, of course, 
the mere repetition of a frequent movement, 
learned by simple association. But when it 
failed — for the toes would kick away, just 
as her arms used to do, carrying the thumb 
from her lips — the little one put her mind 
on corralling them. She took them in one 
hand, clasped the other hand about her in- 
step, and so brought the foot safely up. 
Still it escaped, and at last she clasped ankle 
and heel firmly, one with each hand, and 
after several attempts brought the elusive toe 
triumphantly into her mouth. It is true that 
by looking up to us for sympathy in her suc- 
cess, and relaxing attention, she promptly lost 
it once more ; but she recaptured it, and from 
this time on, for weeks, had immense satis- 
faction in it every time she was undressed. 

There may have been a certain element 
of instinct in this — getting the toe to the 
mouth is so persistent a habit with babies 



:^CEr^H 




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^2; Ttia- anrr ic iae iKnTriji- xrm yy Ti rain t J 
Za c^UL TTmrgTrr ff-K: 4arn cR»»r * a aanrrr ic 'XZUS- 

^ jun UK zuhhh-. _ix 12s irSfipmr "wsac it 



168 THE BIOGRAPHY 

hand in return. The next day as soon as hep 
uncle came in, she began to slap her hand 
down, watching him, delighted to repeat the 
movement back and forth, as long as he 
would keep it up. She would imitate me 
also when I did it; and in the course of 
the month several other little imitations 
occurred. 

I have already spoken of the great impor- 
tance psychologists attach to imitation. Pro- 
fessor Baldwin makes it the great principle 
of development in child and race — all evo- 
lution one long history of its workings ; but 
he uses the word in a far wider sense than 
the ordinary one, tracing " imitation " from 
the mechanical repetition of life-preserving 
motions by the lowest living things, up to 
the spiritual effort of men and women to 
live up to their own highest ideals. Even 
using the word in its ordinary sense, we 
know what a potent force in the little one's 
education imitation is. The age, however, 
at which it is most efficient is considerably 



OF A BABY 169 

later than the sixth month, and it did not 
count for much yet with our baby. 

Her sounds had been more various and 
expressive from the first days of the month. 
She had taken up a curious puppy-hke whine 
of desire or complaint, and a funny Httle 
ecstatic sniffing and catching her breath, to 
express some shades of delight ; and she had 
also begun to pour out long, varied succes- 
sions of babbhng sounds, which expressed 
content, interest, or complaint very clearly. 
She would " talk to " any interesting object (a 
hedge in gorgeous bloom, for instance) with 
this expressive babble, sometimes holding out 
her arms to it at the same time. But now, 
in the second week of the month, the day 
after the first decisive imitation, a surprising 
advance beyond these means of communica- 
tion took place. 

I must explain that the wise grandma, who 
beheved in encouraging babies to creep, as 
the best possible preparation for standing and 
walking, had begun to set the Uttle one on 



170 THE BIOGRAPHY 

her hands and knees on the big dining-table, 
putting a hand against her feet as a brace in 
case she should be moved to struggle for- 
ward. The baby had a habit of pushing 
with her feet when she felt anything against 
her soles ; and pushing thus, thrust herself 
forward ; and as the table-cover slid with 
her movement, she would half slide with it, 
half shove herself, across the table, grunting 
with exertion, and highly pleased. 

On the day in question I was sitting with 
her by this table, and she pulled at the table- 
cover, as she was wont to pull and handle 
anything she could reach. Suddenly she 
threw herself back on my arm, and looked 
earnestly in my face ; sat up and pulled at 
the cover again, then threw herself back 
and looked at me again. 

" What does she want ? " I said, surprised, 
and hardly able to think that the little thing 
could really be trying to say something to 
me. But grandma interpreted easily, and 
when I put the baby on the table accord- 



OF A BABY 171 

ingly, to make her sliding sprawl across the 
surface, she was satisfied. 

This remarkable advance in sign language 
comes well under our definition of intelhgent 
action : it was not a stereotyped sign, already 
fixed in her mind in association with a certain 
wish, like holding out her arms to be taken, 
but a device of her own, to meet the special 
occasion. 

Her increased power of communication 
was not the only way in which her mind 
showed itself more wide awake to other peo- 
ple. A rather uncomfortable phase of this 
development was timidity. In the first week 
of the month, she was frightened by some 
one who came in suddenly between her and 
her mother, in a strange house, and spoke 
abruptly, in a deep, unfamiliar voice ; and 
after that she often cried or became uneasy 
when strange men took her, or came near 
her, especially if they were abrupt. She 
drew distinct fines, according to some princi- 
ple of her own, and certain people were affa- 



172 THE BIOGRAPHY 

bly accepted at once, while others, no more 
terrific that we could see, made the little lip 
quiver every time they came near. This tim- 
idity toward people was not at all deeply fixed 
in her temperament, and though it lasted all 
this month, it was never very marked after- 
ward. 

Some indications of the dawn of affection 
also appeared now. The baby's desire to 
touch our faces with her mouth and hands 
seemed to have a certain element of attach- 
ment in it. The touches were often soft and 
caressing, and they were bestowed only on 
her especial friends, or on one or two stran- 
gers that she had taken at once into notable 
favor. Once she leaned out of her baby 
carriage, calling and reaching to me, as if 
she wished to be taken ; but when I came to 
her, she wanted only to get hold of me, to 
put her hands and mouth softly on my face. 

Up to about the middle of the month, in 
spite of her daily exercises with her toe, the 
baby had not altogether annexed her legs to 



OF A BABY 173 

her conscious self and brought them under 
her orders. She still had to hold the foot 
forcibly with her hands all the time her toe 
was in her mouth, or it would have kicked 
away from her as if it was none of hers. It 
is likely, too, that she had scarcely any idea 
of those parts of her body which she could 
not see and did not often touch. Indeed, 
the psychologists tell us that we ourselves 
have a decidedly inferior bodily conscious- 
ness in such parts — say between the shoul- 
der blades. Even her own head must have 
been mainly unknown territory to the baby 
still, in spite of the curiosity she had felt 
about it the month before. But now she 
discovered by a chance touch that she could 
investigate it with her hands, and proceeded 
at once to do so, with a serious face. 

In the latter half of the month, she went 
a good deal farther toward getting a roughly 
complete knowledge and control of her body. 
She investigated her ear, her cheek, and the 
back and sides of her head, from time to 



174 THE BIOGRAPHY 

time. She became quite expert in using legs 
and hands, head and mouth, together, in get- 
ting hold of her toe. She sat alone longer 
and longer, and by the end of the month 
could have done so by the half hour, if she 
had not always upset herself in five minutes 
or so by turning and reaching about. She 
had become very free in bending, squirming, 
and changing her position when she lay on 
the floor, and early in the third week of the 
month she had turned clear over, from back 
to stomach, in reaching after something. 
She followed up the lesson at once, and soon 
was rolling over whenever she wished — at 
first having much ado to get her arm disen- 
tangled from under her, but managing it 
nicely before long. 

It is possible she would have begun creep- 
ing at this time but for the impediment of 
her clothes. She did stumble once upon al- 
most the right movement, in trying to get 
forward to something she wanted ; but her 
feet and knees became entangled in her 



OF A BABY 175 

skirts, and she gave it up. A week later, 
she was put into short skirts, but by that 
time the ability to roll over had diverted her 
mind from creeping. 

Babies must lose a great deal of their nor- 
mal activity through clothes. They are 
retracing a stage of human history in which 
clothes had no part, and this new element 
must hamper the repetition immensely. 
Clothes they must wear — they do not hve 
in tropic forests nor own hair coverings ; 
but we ought to leave the Httle Hmbs as free 
as we can without risk from cold. A chance 
to roll about nude in a room that is safely 
warm is a great thing for a baby. 

She did not again use any sign language 
as advanced as when she had asked to be put 
on the table; that incident was a sort of 
herald of a later stage of development. But 
in the latter part of the month her regular 
means of communication were decidedly bet- 
ter developed than in the first part. She 
would coax for a frolic by leaning forward 



176 THE BIOGKAPHY 

with an urgent " Oo ! oo ! " and expressive 
movements of her body ; but if she was ask- 
ing instead for an object she wished, or to be 
taken into her mother's arms, there were 
small but quite definite differences in tone, 
expression, and movement, so that we usually 
knew at once which she meant. 

About a week before the end of the month 
a great step toward intercommunication by 
speech took place. We began to suspect 
that the baby knew her own name, she turned 
to look so often just after it had been spoken. 
To test it I stood behind her, and in an ordi- 
nary tone accosted her as Bobby, Tom, Kit- 
ten, Mary, Jacob, Baby, and all sorts of other 
names. Whenever I said Ruth, Toodles, or 
Toots, she turned and looked expectantly at 
me, but not at any other name. Now, Ruth 
is our baby's proper name ; so it was evident 
that she really did have some inkhng of the 
sound that meant her. 

Not that she could rise yet to any such 
abstract conception as that of a person or 



OF A BABY 177 

of a name. But she had learned that this 
sound was connected with mteresting experi- 
ences — with frolics, and caresses, and trips 
outdoors, with rehef from discomforts, with 
dinners, and all the other things that hap- 
pened when people were attending to her. 
It was out of such a beginning as this that 
full understanding of articulate speech, in all 
its logical intricacy, was to develop. 

One of the most marked traits of the latter 
weeks of this month was the surprising rapid- 
ity with which things were grouping them- 
selves in the baby's mind by association, in 
a way that came nearer and nearer to definite 
memory. She coaxed for a spoon, and when 
she got it was still discontented, till we found 
that she wished it to have milk in, as she 
knew befitted a spoon — though for the milk 
itself she did not care at all. She understood 
what particular frolic was to be expected from 
each of us. She turned, when she saw re- 
flections, to look for the real object. She 
made demonstrations of joy when she saw 



178 THE BIOGRAPHY 

her baby carriage, knowing well what it por- 
tended. 

In two or three cases, there was at hist 
unmistakable evidence of true memory, for 
at least a few minutes. For instance, in the 
last week of the month, sitting on her 
mother's lap, the baby caught sight of a 
knot of loops that adorned the centre of an 
ottoman close by, and reached her arms for 
it. By way of a joke on her, her mother set 
her on the ottoman. It was quite beyond 
the baby's sense of locality to divine what 
had become of the knot, and she looked all 
about her diligently to find it, leaning this 
way and that. By and by her mother took 
her back into her arms to nurse ; but all the 
time she was nursing, she would stop now 
and then, sit up, and lean over to look for 
the lost knot. 

At another time, when her mother came 
into the room with a new hat on, she reached 
out her hands for it with delight ; her mother 
retreated at once, and put the hat safely out 



OF A BABY 179 

of sight, but when some minutes later the 
baby saw her again, her first look was at the 
top of her head, and seeing it now bare o£ 
lace and buttercups, she broke into a disap- 
pointed whimper. 

All this time practice in her earlier attain- 
ments went vigorously on. She was watch- 
ing, handling, reaching after things, all day 
long. Especially she watched all the move- 
ments of people ; often, now, as they went 
in and out of doors, as they were seen 
through windows, came into sight or disap- 
peared around corners. She must have been 
getting thus some idea of the way walls acted 
in shutting out her view, and of the relation 
of visible and invisible positions. 

She had perhaps more troubles in this 
month than ever before, what with some fear 
of people, and the discomforts connected 
with her first pair of teeth, and also with the 
beginning of the weaning period. There 
were a number of days when her health and 
spirits were considerably depressed, and there 



180 THE BIOGEAPHY 

was a good deal of fretting. When the teeth 
"were fairly through, and the insufficient food 
supplemented, her spirits came up with a 
bound, and she was more joyous than ever. 

She had her first skin pain in this month 
— a scratched finger from a clasp on my 
shoulder — and wailed with vigor ; yet it 
was forgotten in a few moments, and never 
thought of again. It was evident that skin 
sensitiveness was still low, and that hurts left 
no after soreness. 

It was about ten days before the end of 
the month that she first showed a decided 
emotional dependence on her mother. She 
had been separated from her for some time 
(by a tedious dentist's engagement), had be- 
come hungry and sleepy, and had been fright- 
ened by an abrupt stranger. At last she set- 
tled into a pitiful, steady crying — stopping 
at every angle in the corridor where I walked 
with her, and watching eagerly till it was 
turned, then breaking out anew when her 
mother did not prove to be around the cor- 



OF A BABY 181 

ner. This tragic experience left a much 
deeper mark than the physical woes, and for 
some days the baby watched her mother 
rather anxiously, as if she feared she might 
lose her again unless she kept her eyes con- 
stantly upon her. 

And so she was come to the end of her 
first half year. The breathing automaton 
had become an eager and joyous little being, 
seeing and hearing and feehng much as we 
do, knowing her own body somewhat, and 
controlling it throughout to a certain extent, 
laughing and frolicking, enjoying the vision 
of the world with a delicious zest, clinging to 
us not so much for physical protection as for 
human companionship, beginning to show a 
glimmer of intelligence, and to cross over 
with sign and sound the abyss between spirit 
and spirit. 



182 THE BIOGRAPHY 



BEGINNINGS OF LOCOMOTION 

When a baby has learned to see things 
clearly, and has known the joys of handling 
them, it is natural that he should soon come 
to feel the need of getting to them when 
they chance to lie beyond arm reach. Ap- 
parently the first impulse to move the whole 
body does always come from this desire to 
get at something; but I doubt if this re- 
mains a very important motive throughout 
the whole process of learning. There is so 
much in that process that is instinctive that 
the baby seems to be in great part taken up 
and carried on by a current of bHnd impulse. 
Then, too, the whole structure of bone, and 
joint, and muscle is so fitted to certain posi- 
tions and movements that in the mere chance 
exercising of his limbs he is steadily brought 



OF A BABY 183 

nearer to the great race acts of balance and 
locomotion. 

One might suppose that with babies 
sprawling, creeping, and toddling on every 
hand, we should not lack evidence on the 
beginnings of human locomotion ; but as a 
matter of fact, the stage that precedes walk- 
ing is involved in a good deal of confusion. 
Records are scanty, and children seem to 
vary a good deal in their way of going at the 
thing. Most of them "creep before they 
gang " ; but there seems to be a stage before 
creeping, when, if the child is given full free- 
dom of movement, he will get over the floor 
in some cruder way, rolhng, hitching, drag- 
ging himself by the elbows, humping forward 
measure- worm fashion, or wrigghng along 
Hke a snake. Perhaps, as I have already 
suggested, this is because skirts delay the 
natural beginning of creeping, and these 
other movements require less freedom of the 
legs ; perhaps there is some deeper reason 
connected with race history. Sometimes the 



184 THE BIOGRAPHY 

baby makes these less eflBcient movements 
answer till walking is acquired, and never 
creeps at all. 

Our baby, as we have seen, had already 
made her first ineffective attempts to puU 
herself forward and reach something; and 
lying face down, unable to turn over, had so 
propped herself with hands and knees that 
when she tried to move she almost stumbled 
on creeping unawares. But soon after she 
was six months old, she discovered the other 
half of the trick of rolling — reversing her- 
seK from front to rear as well as from rear 
to front ; and this gave her such an enlarged 
freedom that it stopped all aspirations in other 
directions. 

She did not dehberately turn over and 
over to get anywhere. She simply rolled 
and kicked about the floor, turning over 
when she felt hke it or when she wished to 
reach something, highly content, and asking 
odds of nobody. If by chance she turned 
in the same direction a number of times in 



OF A BABY 185 

succession, she would di'ift halfway across 
the room, meeting no end of interesting 
things by the way — mamma's shpper tips, 
chair rockers, table legs, waste basket, petals 
dropped from the vases, and so on. It was 
a great enlargement of life, and kept her 
happy for six or seven weeks. 

During this time, her balance in sitting 
grew secure, so that she could sit on the 
floor as long as she chose, occupied with 
playthings ; but she cared more for the roll- 
ing. 

It was in these weeks, too, that two great 
new interests came into oiu- baby's Ufe. The 
first was a really passionate one, and it seized 
her suddenly, the week after she was half a 
year old. The door had just opened to ad- 
mit a guest, amid a bustle of welcome, when 
a cry of such desire as we had never heard 
from our baby in all her little life called our 
attention to her. Utterly indifferent to the 
arrival of company (she who had always loved 
a stir of coming and going, and taken more 



186 THE BIOGRAPHY 

interest in people than in anything else !) she 
was leaning and looking out of the window 
at the dog, as if she had never seen him be- 
fore — though he had been before her eyes 
all her life. She would think of nothing 
else ; the guest, expert in charming babies, 
could not get a glance. 

Day after day, for weeks, the little thing 
was filled with excitement at sight of the 
shaggy Muzhik, moving her arms and body, 
and crying out with what seemed intensest 
joy and longing. When he came near, her 
excitement increased, and she reached out 
and caught at him; her face lighted with 
happiness when he stood close by ; she 
showed not the least fear when he put his 
rough head almost in her face, but gazed 
earnestly at it ; she watched for him at the 
window, or from her baby carriage. No per- 
son or thing had ever interested her so much. 
Muzhik, on his part, soon learned to give the 
snatching little hands a wide berth ; and his 
caution may have enhanced his charm. 



OF A BABY 187 

Later in the month, she showed somewhat 
similar excitement at sight of a cow. About 
the same time, too, she first noticed the 
pigeons as they flew up from the ground. 

This was the beginning of a lasting inter- 
est in animals, animal pictures, animal stories. 
It is not easy to account fully for this inter- 
est, appearing in such intense degree, at so 
early an age. All children show it to some 
extent, though in many it is mingled with a 
good deal of fear. One is tempted to con- 
nect both the fear and the interest with race 
history — the intimate association of primi- 
tive man with animals ; but a six-month baby 
is traversing a period of development far 
earlier than that of the primitive hunter. 
Professor Sully has some good suggestions 
about the sympathy between children and 
animals, but these, too, fail of apphcation to 
a baby so young. Probably to her the main 
charm was the movement, the rough resem- 
blance to people, joined with so many differ- 
ences, now first noticed with the interest of 



188 THE BIOGRAPHY 

novelty — and (as later incidents made me 
suspect) the quantity of convenient hair to 
be pulled. 

The other new interest waked late in the 
seventh month: that joy in outdoors that 
was for many months of the httle one's life 
her best happiness. Up to this time, she had 
liked to be taken out in her baby carriage, 
but mainly for the motion. Now, one morn- 
ing, grandma took her and sat down quietly 
on the veranda, saying that she wanted her 
to learn to love the sunshine, the birds and 
flowers and trees, without needing the baby 
carriage and its motion. The little one sat 
in her lap, looking about with murmurs of 
delight; and after that, her happiness in 
rolling about freely was much greater when 
we spread a blanket on veranda or lawn, and 
laid her there. Within two weeks, she would 
coax to be taken outdoors, and then coax till 
she was put down out of arms, and left to 
her own happiness. She would roll about 
by the hour, the most contented baby in the 



OF A BABY 189 

world, breaking occasionally into cries and 
movements of overflowing joy. 

I did not think that at this age the novel 
sights and sounds outdoors had much to do 
with her pleasure; she did not yet notice 
them much. Nor could it have been the 
wideness and freedom of outlook, for she 
had not yet come to distant seeing — a hun- 
dred feet was as far as I had ever seen her 
look. Later, all this counted; but now I 
thought that the mere physical effect of 
activity in the fresh air, together with the 
bright light, and perhaps the moving and 
playing of Hghts in the leaves, must make up 
most of the charm. 

In the early weeks of the seventh month 
che baby's rollicking spirits were striking ; in 
fact, she became for a time quite a little 
rowdy, ho-ho-ing and laughing in loud, rough 
tones, snatching this way and that, clutching 
at our hair with exultant shouts and clamor. 
In the latter part of the month, her manners 
were better — indeed, it was fully a year 



190 THE BIOGRAniY 

before I saw them as bad again ; but she was 
iiuu'h given to seizing at our faces, flinging 
herself at them with cries and growls (ex- 
actly as if she had been playing bear), and 
mouthing and lightly biting them. And 
indeed it must be confessed that while our 
baby's behavior was often very pretty for 
weeks together, she had many fits of rough 
play and hoydenish spirits, and our faces and 
hair were never quite safe from romping 
attacks before she was two years old. This 
boisterousness was not overflowing spirits 
(real joyousness showed itself more gently) 
and I could never trace its psychological ori- 
fnn. 

At intervals during the month, she con- 
tinued to improve her bodily knowledge of 
herself, investigating her head and face and 
even the inside of her mouth, with her fin- 
gers ; she rubbed her forefinger curiously 
with her thumb; she ran out her tongue 
and moved it about, trying its motions and 
feehug her lips. And the very first day of 



OF A BABY 191 

the month there had appeared that curious 
behavior that we call " archness " and " co- 
quetting " in a baby (though anything so 
grown up as real archness or coquetry is 
impossible at this age), looking and smiling 
at a person who was somewhat strange, but 
very amusing, to her, then ducking down 
her head when he spoke, and hiding her face 
on her mother's shoulder. Whatever the 
real reason of such behavior may be, there 
is plainly self-consciousness in it. So, too, 
when, at seven months old, she began to try 
deliberately to attract the interest of callers, 
wrinkling up her nose with a friendly gri- 
mace till they paid attention to her. 

Both these forms of self -consciousness were 
common after this. Neither is what we could 
call human or rational self-consciousness. 
Any dog or kitten will show them. But they 
certainly are something more than mere bod- 
ily feeling of self. If we need a name for 
it, we might call it a beginning of intelligent 
self-perception, as distinguished both from 



192 THE BIOGRAPHY 

bodily self-feeling, and rational self-know- 
ledge — in which the mind, years later, will 
say to itself clearly, " This is /." 

We now began to suspect (as she ended 
her seventh month) that the baby was be- 
ginning to connect our names with us ; and 
when we tried her by asking, " Where is 
grandpa ? " or " mamma " or " aunty," she 
really did look at the right one often enough 
to raise a presumption that she knew what 
she was about. The association of name 
and person was still feeble and shaky, but it 
proved to be real. In a few days it was jfirm 
as to grandpa (who was quite persona grata, 
because he built up blocks for her to knock 
down, and carried her about from object to 
object, to let her touch and examine) j and 
in a week or two as to the rest of us. 

Professor Preyer complains of teaching 
babies mere tricks, which have no real rela- 
tion to their development ; and certainly it 
is a sound rule that self-unfolding, not teach- 
ing, is the way in which a baby should 



OF A BABY 193 

develop in the earliest years. But Preyer's 
baby learned to wave his hand, and play 
" patacake," and show " How big is baby ? " 
and the rest of it, just as other babies do ; 
mammas and nurses cannot resist it. And 
as long as the babies like it, I do not see that 
it can do any harm, if it is not overdone. 
Besides, it may be said that these standard 
tricks are all closely related to the sign lan- 
guage, and so fall in well with the natural 
development at this stage. And again, the 
extreme teachability of the human child is 
his great superiority over the brute — all 
our civiHzation rests on it ; and when the 
time comes that he is capable of receiving 
training, it may be as well that his power 
of doing so should be used a little, and that 
these simple gesture tricks of immemorial 
nursery tradition are good exercises to begin 
with. It is possible to make a fetich of " self- 
development," beyond all common sense. 

At all events, as our baby approached 
seven months old, her mamma had begun to 



194 THE BIOGEAPHY 

teach her to wave by-by. For a couple of 
•weeks, the mother would hold up the little 
hand and wave it at the departing guest, and 
before long the baby would give a feeble 
waggle or two after her mother had let go ; 
next, she would need only to be started ; 
and a week after she was seven months old 
she waved a spontaneous farewell as I left 
the room. There was a long history of the 
gesture after that, for it was lost and re- 
gained, confused with other hand tricks and 
straightened out, and altogether played a 
considerable part in the story of sign lan- 
guage and of memory, which I shall not have 
time to relate. But at all times it paid for 
itself in the delight it gave the baby : it re- 
conciled her to almost any parting, and even 
to going to bed. 

Her objection to going to bed, which had 
been evident since the fifth month, was be- 
cause she thought sleeping was a waste of 
good playtime, not because she had any as- 
sociations of fear and repugnance connected 



OF A BABY 195 

with it. She had never been left to cry her- 
self to sleep alone, but was rocked and sung 
to in good old fashion. But she did show 
signs at this time of timidity and distress in 
waking from sleep, clinging piteously to her 
mother and crying. She had waked and 
cried alone a number of times, and, as I have 
already said, she seemed to have formed some 
associations of fear in this way. But I think 
there were deeper reasons for the confused 
distress on waking, which from now until 
half way through the third year appeared at 
times. 

I have spoken several times of the ease j 
with which even we grown people lose our \ 
sense of personal identity ; and changes in 
brain circulation make such confusions es- 
pecially hkely at first waking from sleep. 
With babies, whose feeling of identity is 
but insecurely established, this must be much 
more common ; moreover, a baby's condi- 
tions of breathing are less regular than ours, 
and it is probable that as he comes out of 



196 THE BIOGRAPHY 

sleep, and the circulation and respiration of 
the waking hours slowly reestablish them- 
selves, he.has all sorts of queer, lost feelings. 
I was pretty sure, from our baby's behavior 
in the next two years, that she struggled 
back to the firm shores of waking conscious- 
ness through dark waters of confusion, and 
needed a friendly hand to cling to. This, I 
suspect, is the secret of the wild crying in 
the night, which doctors call " night terror" ; 
it is not terror, I think, but vague distress, 
increased by the darkness — loss of self, of 
direction, of all one's usual bodily feeling. 

In these sensitive states attending sleep it 
is likely that some of the emotional condi- 
tions for life are formed, and the ties be- 
tween mother and child knit firmest. My 
observation is that the one the baby loves 
most is the one that sleeps close by, that 
bends over him as he struggles confusedly 
back to waking, and steers him tenderly 
through the valley of the shadow of sleep ; 
and next, the one that plays most patiently 



OF A BABY 197 

and observantly with him — not the one 
that feeds him. 

In her absorption in her growing bodily 
activity, the baby had taken no marked steps 
in intellectual development, though in skill 
of handling, and in ability to imderstand 
what went on about her and put two and two 
together, she made steady progress. Early 
in the eighth month, some definite instances 
of this appeared. She showed a discreet 
preference at bedtime for anybody rather 
than her mother, and clung vigorously 
round my neck or her grandfather's when 
that messenger of fate came for her. She 
dropped things to watch them fall, with a 
persistent zeal and interest such as she had 
not shown in earlier experiments of the sort. 
She knew what it meant if one of us put a 
hat on, and pleaded with outstretched hands 
and springing motion to go too. Once she 
found that in moving a long stick she was 
moving some twigs at its farther end, and 
kept up the experiment with curiosity. 



198 THE BIOGRAPHY 

It was about this time — the first fortnight 
of the eighth month — that taste first became 
a source of pleasure to our baby. She had 
been given an experimental taste of several 
things before, but beyond the grimace of 
surpiise (it looks like utmost disgust, but 
there seems no doubt that it really means 
surprise only) with which little babies greet 
new tastes, she had shown no great interest 
in them. Now, as nature's supply grew 
scant, she was introduced more seriously to 
several supplementary foods, and at least 
once rejoiced over the taste a good deal. 
Still, she was apt soon to tire of them, and 
on the whole taste did not at any time in 
her first year take a large place among her 
interests. 

As the middle of the eighth month ap- 
proached, it was e\-ident that an advance in 
power of movement was coming. The baby 
was getting up on hands and knees again ; 
she made daily a few aimless creeping move- 
ments ', and in her bath she would draw her- 



OF A BABY 199 

self to her knees, and partly to her feet, hold- 
ing by the edge of the tub, aud somewhat 
supported by the water. A few days later 
she drew herself forward a few inches, flat 
on her stomach, to get something. But she 
still did not catch the idea of creeping, and 
rolling remained her great pleasure for an- 
other fortnight. 

In this fortnight, which brought our baby 
to eight months old, the rolling grew very 
rapid and free. She would now roll over 
and over in the same direction, not to ffet 
anywhere in particular (she never learned to 
use rolling for that purpose), but just for 
fun. She vai'ied the exercise with the most 
lively kicking — heels raised in air and 
brought down together with astonishing 
vigor and zest ; and with twisting about and 
getting on hands and knees, or even on 
Lands and feet, pratthng joyously, and hav- 
ing a beautiful time all by herself, for as 
long as the authorities would leave her alone. 
I have no note or memory that she ever tired 



200 THE BIOGKAPHY 

of it, or asked for attention or change ; it 
was always some one else who interfered, be- 
cause meal-time or nap-time or something 
had come. 

In the last week of the month she learned 
to raise herself to a sitting position ; and as 
she could now sit up or lie down at will, she 
tumbled about the floor with still more vari- 
ety and enjoyment. In the same week she 
began to pull herself daily quite to her feet 
in the tub. It was an ordinary wooden wash- 
tub which was bridging the interval between 
her own outgrown one and the grown-up 
bath-tub ; and she would stand, leaning her 
weight partly on her hands, on the edge of 
the tub, with her feet planted wide apart, 
quite on the opposite side, giving her a pretty 
secure base. 

In this fortnight the baby's understanding 
of us and feeling of nearness to us were 
noticeably greater. Her attachment to her 
favorites was striking. She would cling to 
us with all the strength of her little arms, 



OF A BABY 201 

sometimes pressing her lips against our faces 
in a primitive sort of kiss. Her desire for 
our attention was intense — little arms 
stretched out, face full of desire, while she 
uttered urgent cries. Now and then she 
was entirely unwilHng to eat a meal till the 
person she had set her heart on at the 
moment had yielded to her pleading, and 
come to sit close beside her, for company. 

She understood one or two little directions 
— "by-by," and "patacake"; or, at least, 
associated them with the acts. She had some 
idea of what " No, no ! " meant, and she 
knew perfectly that she must not keep paper 
or flower petals in her mouth, and after 
biting off a bit would put out her tongue, 
laughing, to have the forbidden scrap re- 
moved. And one day when I said to her, 
" Don't you want to come to aunty ? " with- 
out any gesture, she surprised me by leaning 
forward and putting out her hands to me, 
exactly as if I had reached my arms out for 
her. She could not have understood the 



202 THE BIOGEAPHY 

■whole question, for she hardly understood 
words at all at the time ; but she must have 
made out "come," and, putting it with 
" aunty," which she had known for weeks, 
got at my meaning. 

On the day she was eight months old, at 
last, the baby half sprawled, half crept, for- 
ward to get something. The early, aimless 
stages of locomotion were over, and she was 
about to start in in good earnest to learn to 
creep and to stand. 



OF A BABY 203 

XI 

CREEPING AND STANDING 

Now, at eight months old, began a fort- 
night of rapid development in movements, 
all branching out from the position on hands 
and knees which the baby often took as she 
sprawled on the floor. 

First she hit on two ways of sitting up, 
beginning on hands and knees. One of 
them, in fact, had appeared in the last days 
of the preceding month. She would tilt 
over sidewise till she was half sitting, lean- 
ing on one hand, then straighten up, raising 
the hand — and there you are, sitting. The 
other way, a few days later, was to begin as 
before on hands and knees, separate the 
knees, and lift herself over backward till she 
was sitting, turning the legs out at the knee. 
No grown person but a contortionist could 



204 THE BIOGRAPHY 

do it, for our hips have not enough play in 
the socket to carry the movement through 
the last inch or two ; but babies' joints are 
flexible. This became our baby's regular 
method, and the position it left her in — 
legs spread out before her, bent directly out 
at the knee — was her every-day one for 
many months. Most babies, I beheve, sit 
monkey fashion — legs straight, with soles 
turned in. 

Watching carefully, we were sure that the 
baby did not at first use either method intel- 
ligently ; she wanted to sit up, and shifted 
and lifted her body, scolding with impa- 
tience, and never knowing whether she would 
bring up in the desired position or not, till 
she found herself by luck where she wanted 
to be. In a few days, however, the right 
movements were sifted out from the useless 
ones, and she sat up and lay down at will. 

In the same early days of the ninth month, 
another movement came of experimenting 
while on hands and knees — a backward 



OF A BABY 205 

creeping, pushing with the hands. The 
baby at once tried to utilize it to get to peo- 
ple and things, and it was funny to hear her 
chattering with displeasure as she found her- 
self borne off the other way — backing some- 
times into the wall, and pushing helplessly 
against it, like a little locomotive that had 
accidentally got reversed. She soon gave 
up trying to get anywhere by this ** craw- 
fishing," however, and then she enjoyed it, 
merely as movement. 

The only reason I have heard suggested 
for this curious back-action creeping (which 
is not uncommon just before real creeping) 
is that the baby's arms are stronger than the 
legs, and as a pushing movement with them 
is more natural than a stepping one, a back- 
ward impulse is given, which the baby, as a 
rule, resents mth comical displeasure. 

Next, from hands and knees the baby 
learned to rise to hands and feet ; to kneel, 
and then to sit back on her heels ; and to 
make sundry variations on these positions. 



206 THE BIOGRAPHY 

such as kneeling on one knea and one foot, 
or sitting on one heel, with the other foot 
thrust out sidewise, propping her. 

In spite of two or three chance forward 
steps, she was eight and a half months old 
before she hit at last on real creeping; then 
one day I saw her several times creep for- 
ward a foot or two, and presently she was 
rolling an orange about and creeping after 
it. I tried in vain to lure her more than a 
couple of feet, to come to me or to get a 
plaything; she would creep a step or two, 
then sit back on her heels and call me to 
take her. Until almost the end of this 
month, indeed, she would creep for but very 
short distances, and always to reach some- 
thing, not for pleasure in the movement. 

But while she fumbled in such chance 
fashion towards creeping, she was carried on 
towards standing by strong and evident in- 
stinct. She pulled herself up daily, not to 
reach anything, but from an overwhelming 
desire to get to her feet ; and when she found 



OF A BABY 207 

herself on them she rejoiced and triumphed. 
At this stage she almost invariably used a 
low object to pull up by, so that she could 
lean over it, propping her weight with her 
hands — or with one hand, as she grew more 
confident. It was after the middle of the 
month that she first drew herself up, her 
knees shaking, by a chair, to reach a favor- 
ite plaything ; but thereafter chairs became 
her great " stand by," in a very literal sense. 
In kneeling, too, she showed joy. She 
could not keep her balance on her knees for 
more than a few seconds, but while she did 
she exulted in the exploit, and patted and 
waved her hands in glee. Aside from stand- 
ing and kneeling, her advances in movement 
were made with a curious lack of intelligent 
consciousness of what she was about, as well 
as of clear, compelling instinct. She seemed 
to progress by blind experimenting, selecting 
gradually out of a medley of others the acts 
and positions that were most useful and best 
fitted to the structure of her joints and 
muscles. 



208 THE BIOGRAPHY 

Many babies before this stage show the 
walking instinct quite clearly. If they are 
held from above, so that their soles press 
lightly on a flat surface, the legs will begin 
to make good stepping movements. Our 
baby had failed to make this response hith- 
erto ; in this fortnight, however, it appeared, 
very imperfectly and irregularly, but steadily 
better; and with another week she took 
great delight in the exercise. 

Amid all these new movements, rolling 
rapidly declined and disappeared. The baby 
was absorbed in her new powers, and during 
the latter half of the month her joy in them 
was exquisite. She was a thing to remember 
for a lifetime as she played on a quilt spread 
on the lawn in the hot June days — sitting 
and looking about her with laughter and 
ejaculations of pleasure, gazing up with won- 
der and interest at the branches swaying in 
the warm breeze, watching the dog, creeping 
about and examining the grass with grave 
attention, pulling to her feet at our knees 



OF A BABY 209 

as we sat by with our reading ana sewing. 
And when we let her take the benefit of the 
warm weather, and creep about the floor 
stripped to the inmost layer of garments, 
arms and legs bare, she was at the height of 
joy. She would go from one position to 
another, sitting and kneeling, tumbling and 
scrambling and creeping about in endless 
content. 

That she paid her price for all this in in- 
creased knowledge of pain I hardly need say. 
From the time she began to roll freely, she 
had collided with table legs and the like; 
and from then until she could walk, bumps 
and scratches and pinches were almost daily 
experiences. Her early creeping was so awk- 
ward that she would lose her footing, so to 
speak, and come down hard on her face, and 
her later and quicker creeping brought colH- 
sions ; in standing by chairs she would lose 
hold and topple over ; and in investigating 
rockers, window blinds, lids, and all manner 
of things, she did not fail to get her fingers 
hurt now and then, in spite of all vigilance. 



210 THE BIOGRAPHY 

In the main, she was surprisingly indiffer- 
ent to these mishaps ; even when the blow 
had reddened the skin, she would look sober 
only a minute, then, at a laugh and encour- 
aging word, would smile and go on with her 
play. This was doubtless partly tempera- 
ment : babies cry with nervous fright more 
than with the actual pain of a bump, and 
she was a baby of tranquil nerves. But her 
skin sensitiveness was probably still low. 

With experience of pain, either her sensi- 
tiveness or her timidity grew, and she made 
more fuss than she did at first; and over 
some especially severe hurts she screamed 
with lusty good-will. Still, it was noticeable 
on the whole how little she was troubled 
in learning to balance and move about by 
the pains that strewed the way ; and this, 
I think, must be the normal condition with 
healthy children. 

I have spoken just now of the pride and 
joy that were shown over kneeling and stand- 
ing. The joy, of course, was an old story : 



OF A BABY 211 

we have seen that every stage of advancing 
power had been accompanied by lively plea- 
sure. But this feeling of pride, this exulta- 
tion in herself as actor, was a new emotion, 
and quite characteristic of the higher type of 
self-consciousness the baby had entered on 
at about seven months old, as I have already 
related. In going through her Httle hand 
movements, too, she showed much conscious- 
ness and pride, lookimg prettily into our 
faces for approval, as she patted or waved 
her hands. 

As the baby now approached nine months 
old, there was an indescribable dawning ap- 
pearance of comprehension about her — an 
air of understanding her surroundings and 
getting into touch with our minds. She 
watched our movements not merely with 
curiosity, but with an apparent attempt to 
interpret them, sometimes with a curious, 
puzzled drawing of the mouth that looked 
like mental effort. Many things she did 
interpret perfectly well: for instance, if I 



212 THE BIOGRAPHY 

picked a rose and held it up, smiling, she 
knew that it was for her, and broke into 
jubilation accordingly. She volunteered to 
play peekaboo from early in the month, hold- 
ing up a cloth, basket lid, or whatever she 
had at hand, before her face, and peeping 
out with smiles. She made intelligent Httle 
adaptations in her own actions, such as pull- 
ing at the tablecloth to bring to her a paper 
that lay on it. 

She seemed, by the latter part of the 
month, to understand vaguely a good deal 
that was said to her, when it was accom- 
panied with a gesture. If I said, "Kiss 
aunty," and offered my cheek, she would 
press her lips against it. She would look 
around to see if her mother shook her head 
with " No, no ! " when she crept up to pull 
at the books on a low shelf. Her little list 
of accomplishments, waving and patting her 
hands, and so on, she would go through at 
the mere word, without any gesture. 

One important development in the latter 



OF A BABY 213 

part of the month was a little imitative cry, 
something Hke mewing, associated with the 
cats — important because of its bearing on 
the beginnings of language. It has long 
been a dispute whether language began with 
imitation of the sounds of nature, or with 
spontaneous ejaculations — " the bow-wow 
theory and the pooh-pooh theory," as they 
were scoffingly nicknamed early in the course 
of the discussion. Our baby may seem to 
have given the weight of her authority to 
the bow-wow theory, for this mewing cry 
did in fact slowly develop months later into 
a name for " cat," and might be called the 
first remote foreshadowing of a spoken word. 
But on the whole, with her and with other 
babies, the early stages of speech confirm the 
best recent opinion — namely, that language 
is a complex product, into which both imita- 
tion and ejaculation enter, with perhaps still 
other elements. 

About a week before the baby was nine 
months old, some one looked up from dinner 



214 THE BIOGEAPHY 

and saw her standing by a lounge, steadied 
only by one hand pressed against it, while 
she waved the other in exultant joy. Her 
father sprang and caught her as she toppled, 
then set her on her feet within the circuit of 
his arms, but without support, for a few 
seconds. Her legs shook, but she stood 
without fear, in high delight. 

After this, her standing at chairs grew 
rapidly freer and bolder, and the support 
she needed was daily less. At nine months 
old, she was absorbed in the desire to stand. 
She would hold on with one hand and lean 
down to pick up things with confidence and 
freedom. In the first week of the tenth 
month, she even liked to pull herself up to 
her feet, then deliberately let go, come down 
sitting with a thud, and look up laughing 
and triumphant. She evidently thought the 
coming down quite as fine an exploit as the 
getting up. 

By this time she crept freely and rapidly, 
laughing with pleasure as she did so. If she 



OF A BABY 215 

was laid on a blanket on the lawn, she no 
longer tumbled about contentedly within its 
area, but struck off across the grass, stopping 
to investigate carefully any plant or fallen 
leaf she came across. The medley of positions 
and movements had disappeared, and creep- 
ing and standing, as the fittest, had survived. 
Within a week after she was nine months 
old, the baby began to get up to her feet by 
low objects, and then, instead of stooping 
over them, to abandon all support, straighten 
up, and stand alone for several seconds, 
greatly pleased with herself. Next she could 
stand a minute at a time, with such shght sup- 
port as a fold of a gown in her hand, or in a 
corner, steadied only by her shoulders against 
the wall. She no longer plumped down to 
the floor, but lowered herseK cleverly — once 
(in the second week of the month) without 
any support at all, having absent-mindedly 
let go of the chair. In a few days more, it 
was not unconunon for her to forget to hold 
on, and to stand a few seconds alone by a 



216 THE BIOGRAPHY 

chair ; and if she was at some one's knee, 
where she felt more confidence, she would 
let go on purpose, and try dehberately to 
stand alone. 

Now began a period of diHgent self-train- 
ing in standing. As I sat on the grass and 
the baby played beside me, she would put 
her hands on my knee, lift herself to her 
feet, and balance on them as long as she 
could — seven seconds at the most, in the 
second week of the month, a quarter of a 
minute in the third, if her attention was 
called away from her own balance by some 
interesting sight. She would totter, stretch 
out her arms to recover her balance, circle 
vrith them just as we do (the movement must 
be highly instinctive), come down with a jolt 
and a peal of baby laughter, scramble to my 
knees, and up again. People are foolish to 
go to the matinee for amusement if they have 
a chance, instead, to sit flat on a lawn on a 
summer day, and assist at a baby's standing 



OF A BABY 217 

In these days there was evident again an 
intangible but great increase in the little 
one's mental alertness, her eager curiosity in 
following our movements, her look of effort 
to understand, her growing clearness in 
grouping associations and interpreting what 
she saw. 

Her handHng of things had long devel- 
oped into elaborate investigation, turning an 
object over and examining every side, poking 
her fingers into crevices, opening and shut- 
ting hds, turning over the leaves of books ; 
and now she was no longer satisfied with in- 
vestigating such objects as she came across 
by chance — she began to have a passion 
(which increased for weeks and months, and 
long made up a great part of her life) to go 
and find what there was to see. She crept 
to the window and stood at the low sill, to 
look out, beating the pane with her soft 
little hands and laughing in an ecstasy of 
delight if the dog wandered by. She crept 
into the hall and explored it, sitting down 



218 THE BIOGRAPHY 

in each corner to take a survey, and to look 
up the walls above her. Her toys were neg- 
lected ; she was impatient of being held in 
arms, and eager only to get to the floor and 
use her new powers. She crept happily 
about for hours from chair to chair, from 
person to person, getting to her feet at each, 
and setting herself cleverly down again; 
smiling and crowing at each success, and 
coming to us for applause and caresses. 
She did not want to leave the floor for her 
meals, and was reconciled to them only if 
she might stand at her mother's side and 
take her milk or porridge in small doses, in- 
terspersed with play. She ran away from 
us on hands and knees, laughing, if she 
thought we were about to pick her up. 

Outdoors her happiness was even greater 
than in the month before, and her cries of 
rapture as she looked up, down, and around, 
and reaHzed her own activity in the midst of 
all the waving and shining and blooming 
things, were remarkable — uttered, as it 



OF A BABY 219 

were, from the very deeps of her little soul, 
with that impassioned straining of the cen- 
tral muscles by which a baby throws such 
abandon of longing or ecstasy into his voice. 
We seem to have lost the vivid expressiveness 
of primitive cries in getting the precision and 
convenience of articulate words. 

The sights and sounds of outdoors now 
contributed greatly to the little girl's joy 
there. She had for some weeks noticed 
sounds more than ever before — the tapping 
of a woodpecker, for instance, or the stamp- 
ing of a horse in the stable — and now she 
was quick to look and listen at the note of 
a bird. She watched the birds, too, for the 
first time, as they flew from tree to tree ; and 
the profuse California flowers were objects 
of incessant desire and pleasure. 

The power of communication was consid- 
erably increased in this month by the acqui- 
sition of one exceedingly useful sign. The 
way in which it was developed is an interest- 
ing example of the evolution of such signs. 



220 THE BIOGEAPHY 

First the baby began to use her forefinger 
tip for specially close investigations ; at the 
same time she had a habit of stretching out 
her hand towards any object that interested 
her — by association, no doubt, with touch- 
ing and seizing movements. Combining 
these two habits, she began to hold her fore- 
finger separate from the others when she thus 
threw out her hand towards an interesting 
object ; then, in the second week of the 
month, she directed this finger alone towards 
what interested her ; and by the third week, 
the gesture of pointing was fairly in use. 
She pointed to the woodshed door, with her 
mewing cry, when she wished to see the kit- 
tens; to the garden door, with pleading 
sounds, when she wished to be taken thither ; 
to the special bush from which she wished 
a rose. She pointed in answer, instead of 
merely looking, when we asked, " Where 
is grandpa ? " " Where is Muzhik ? " 

These questions can hardly have been 
understood, as questions; but it was more 



OF A BABY 221 

than ever clear that she got some idea from 
a good deal that we said, and now by the 
words alone, without the help of gestures. 
Doubtless she knew several simple words — 
words of coming and going, of food, of the 
kittens and the dog and the horse. 

All this time she had shown no great 
improvement in walking movements when 
held from above, and she had no particular 
ambition to walk. But in the last week 
of the month she began to edge along by 
the side of a chair, holding to it — a great 
advance. 

The first attempts at climbing, too, ap- 
peared before she was quite ten months old. 
In the third week of the tenth month the 
baby had let herself down by her hands quite 
cleverly from a large chair in which she had 
been scrambling about — a feat that must 
have been quite instinctive, since she did it 
well and easily at the first try. The last 
day of the month, as she hovered at the foot 
of the stairs (a region about which she had 



222 THE BIOGRAPHY 

mucli unsatisfied curiosity), some one helped 
her to put her knee on the lower step. 
Thereupon she laid hold on the next one, 
and pulled herself up, and with the same 
help, mounted two steps more. At this point 
her aunty's stereotyped appeal, " Don't help 
her ! let her alone, and let me see what she 
will do ! " prevailed. A candle was set on 
a higher step as a lure, and, sure enough, 
the little thing, unaided, set her knee on the 
higher level, laid hold with her hands, and 
drew herself up. It is significant that true 
climbing movements should be so early and 
so easily caught at a single partial lesson ; 
and I shall have occasion to say more about 
it before the story of the baby's first year 
closes. 

In the very last days of the tenth month 
came a wonderful spring upward in the little 
one's intelligence about her surroundings, 
and in her power of communicating with us. 
It involved the real beginning of spoken 
words — for the cat cry of the month before 



OF A BABY 223 

remained by itself, leading to nothing more, 
and though it was the first sound that ex- 
pressed an idea, it was not from it, but from 
this later root, that spoken language sprang 
and grew. 

But the mental and language progress of 
these few days, just as the baby came to ten 
months old, was the beginning of a stage 
of development that belonged to the later 
months — a beginning too important to be 
crowded in at the close of a chapter that is 
mainly concerned with movement develop- 
ment. So I keep the account of it for the 
story of the eleventh month. 



224 THE BIOGKAPHY 



XII 

RUDIMENTS OF SPEECH ; CLIMBING AND 
PROGRESS TOWARD WALKING 

Talk before you go, 
Your tongue will be your overthrow, 

says the old saw. But perhaps our baby did 
not earn the ill omen, it was such a faint 
foreshadowing of speech that she was guilty 
of. Probably she would not have been 
detected in it at all, had not ten months' 
practice made us pretty good detectives. 
Indeed, but for the notebook, by which I 
could compare from day to day the wavering 
approach to some meaning in her use of this 
or that syllable, I should not have dared to 
be sure there really was a meaning. It is in 
these formless beginnings of a beginning 
that we get our best clues (as in all evolu- 
tionary studies) to the real secrets of the ori- 
gin of language. 



OF A BABY 225 

The little girl, as she came to ten months 
old, was a greater chatterer than ever, pour- 
ing out strings of meaningless syllables in 
joy or sorrow, with marvelous inflections and 
changes — such intelligent remarks as " Ne- 
ne-oom-bo," and " Ga-boo-ng," and " A-did- 
did-doo," and certain favored syllables over 
and over, such as " Da-da-da." 

In the last four days of the tenth month 
we began to suspect a faint consistency in 
the use of several of the most common 
sounds. We began to think that something 
like " Da ! " (varying loosely to " Ga ! *' or 
« Dng ! " or " Did-da ! " or " Doo-doo ! '* but 
always hovering round plain " Da ! ") was 
suspiciously often ejaculated when the little 
one threw out her hand in pointing, or ex- 
ulted in getting to her feet ; that " Na-na- 
na ! " was separating itself out as a wail of 
unwillingness and protest, and ^^ Ma-ma- 
ma ! " as a whimper of discontent, and lone- 
liness, and desire of attention ; while — near- 
est of all to a true word — a favorite old 



226 THE BIOGEAPHY 

murmur of " M-gm " or " Ng-gng " recurred 
so often when something disappeared from 
sight that we could not but wonder if we 
had not here an echo of our frequent " All 
gone ! " 

All these sounds were used often enough 
at other times, and other sounds were used 
in their special places; yet week by week 
the notebook showed " Da ! " growing into 
the regular expression of discovering, point- 
ing out, admiring, exulting ; " Na-na-na ! " 
into that of refusal and protest ; and " Ma- 
ma-ma," which soon became " Mom-mom- 
mom," into that of a special sort of wanting, 
which slowly gathered itself about the mother 
in particular. I do not think that these were 
echoes of our words " There ! " and " No ! " 
and " Mamma ; " it was only slowly, and 
after the baby was a year old, that they came 
into unison with these words — and in the 
case of " Mamma," not without some teach- 
ing. It is more likely that we have here a 
natural cry of pointing out, a natural nega- 



OF A BABY 227 

tive, a natural expression of baby need and 
dependence, which give us a hint of the ori- 
gin of our own words. 

The fourth sound, however, which devel- 
oped through many variations (such as 
«M-ga," "Ga," or "Gng") to a clear 
" Gong," " A-gong," and even " Gone," was 
plainly an echo. It was used as loosely as it 
was pronounced : the baby murmured " Ng- 
gng ! " pensively when some one left the 
room ; when she dropped something ; when 
she looked for something she could not find ; 
when she had swallowed a mouthful of food ; 
when she heard a door close. She wounded 
her father's feehngs by commenting " M-ga!" 
as her little hands wandered about the un- 
occupied top of his head. She remarked 
** Gong ! " when she slipped back in trying 
to climb a step ; when she failed to loosen a 
cord she wished to play with ; when she saw 
a portiere, such as she was used to hide 
behind ; when she was refused a bottle she 
had begged for. It meant disappearance, 



228 THE BIOGRAPHY 

absence, failure, denial, and any object asso- 
ciated with these. 

In just this fashion, Preyer's boy used his 
first word of human speech, at about thie 
age. " Atta ! " the little fellow would mur 
mur when some one left the room, or wher 
the lio;ht went out — usino; a favorite old 
babble of his own, just as our baby did, to 
help him get hold of a grown-up word, 
" Adieu " or " Ta-ta," which carried the 
meaning he was after. The idea of disap- 
pearance — of the thing now seen, now gone 
— seems to take strong hold on babies very 
early ; I have known several other cases. 

In all this we seem to see quite clearly the 
first steps in language making. The baby 
begins slowly to turn some of his commonest 
chattering sounds to special uses — not to 
carry thought to other people, but as mere 
exclamations to reheve his own mind. It 
was just twice within her first year that our 
baby turned to me when some one left the 
room, looked in my face, and said " Gong ! " 



OF A BABY 229 

At all other times it was only murmured to 
herself. And most of the exclamations ex- 
press a mood rather than a real idea ; they 
are halfway between mere cries and words 
proper. Even when there is plainly an idea, 
as in "• All gone," it is a big, vague blur 
of an idea, slowly taking form in the little 
mind, as the blurs of hght and dark slowly 
outlined themselves into objects before the 
little eyes months before. 

At this point the modern baby catches the 
trick of helping himself to our words ready 
made, and (though many glimpses of primi- 
tive speech show through the whole process 
of learning to talk) he thus saves himself in 
the main the long task of developing them, 
through which his ancestors toiled. 

In fact, the next word our baby took into 
use, a fortnight later, was lifted bodily from 
our speech : a reproving '' Kha ! " by which 
we tried to disgust her with the state of her 
fingers after they had been plunged into 
apple sauce or like matters. She quite un- 



230 THE BIOGRAPHY 

derstood what it referred to, though she did 
not share our objection to messy fingers, and 
thereafter surveyed her own complacently in 
such plight, and commented, " Kha ! " And 
I may here run ahead so far as to say that 
this was the full list of her spoken words 
within the first year, except that in the next 
month she used an assenting " E ! " which 
may have been " Yes ; " and in the last days 
of the year she began to exclaim first " By ! " 
then " My ! " (corrupted from " By-by ") in 
saying farewell. 

During this fortnight of swift language 
development the little one's progress in 
movements had been sHght. But towards 
the middle of the eleventh month she took a 
fresh start. One day she raised herself to 
her feet without anything to hold to ; stood 
on tiptoe to peer over the seat of her high 
chair ; forgot to hold to me, in her eagerness 
for a fruit I was peeHng, and stood alone for 
a minute and a half at least, while I peeled 
it and fed it into her mouth ; clambered into 



OF A BABY 231 

my lap (as I sat beside her on the floor), set- 
ting one little foot up first, laying hold of 
my shoulder, and tugging herself up with 
mighty efforts. 

She chanced, too, on the art of shoving a 
chair before her for a step or two ; and the 
next day, in her eagerness to reach a glass of 
water her father was bringing, she took one 
unconscious forward step, which ended in 
prompt collapse on the lawn. But neither 
of these beginnings was followed up by any 
real advance in learning to walk. During 
the rest of the month she edged about more 
freely, and in the last week pushed chairs 
before her a little again j and if we supported 
her and urged her forward, she would walk 
clumsily, much as a puppy will if you lead 
him by the fore paws; but she seemed to 
find the movement scarcely more natural 
than the puppy does, and always wanted 
soon to drop down to all-fours. 

But climbing was a different matter. 
Here the baby seemed laid hold of by strong 



232 THE BIOGRAPHY 

desire and instinct. The day after she 
climbed into my lap, she spent a long time 
zealously cUmbing up a doorstep and letting 
herself down backward from it. The day 
after that, she tackled the stairs and climbed 
two steps. Later in the day, I set her at the 
bottom of the stairs and moved slowly up 
before her. The little thing followed after 
(her mother's arms close behind, of course ; 
no one would be crazy enough to start a baby 
upstairs without such precaution), tugging 
from step to step, grunting with exertion 
now and then, and exclaiming with satisfac- 
tion at each step conquered ; slipping back 
once or twice, but un discouraged — fifteen 
steps to the landing, where she pulled to her 
feet by the stair-post, hesitated, made a mo- 
tion to creep down head first, then crept, 
laughing, across the landing, and up five 
steps more, and shouted with triumph to find 
herself on the upper floor. She even looked 
with ambition at the garret stairs, and started 
towards them; but an open door tempted 



OF A BABY 233 

her aside to explore a room, and she forgot 
the stairs. 

For the rest of the month the baby 
dropped to hands and knees and scrabbled 
joyously for the stairs at every chance of 
open door; she was not satisfied without 
going up several times daily; and having 
people who beheved in letting her do things, 
and insuring her safety by vigilance while 
she did them, instead of by holding her back, 
she soon became expert and secure in mount- 
ing. She made assaults, too, on everything 
that towered up and looked in the least 
climbable — boxes, chairs, and all sorts of 
things, quite beyond her present powers. 
She seemed possessed by a sort of bhnd com- 
pulsion towards the upward movement. 

What are we to make of this strong cHmb- 
ing impulse, this untaught skill in putting up 
the foot or knee and pulHug the body up, 
while walking is still unnatural ? I sought 
out every record I could find, and the indi- 
cations are that our baby was not an excep- 



234 THE BIOGRAPHY 

tion ; that as a rule climbing does come be» 
fore walking, if a baby is left free to develop 
naturally. Of course in many cases walking 
is artificially hastened and climbing pre- 
vented. 

Can we help suspecting a period, some- 
where in the remote ages, when the baby's 
ancestry dwelt amid the treetops, and learned 
to stand by balancing on one branch while 
they held by a higher one ? when they edged 
along the branch, holding on above, but 
dropped to all-fours and crept when they 
came to the ground now and then to get 
from tree to tree ? The whole history of 
the baby's movements points to this: the 
strong arms and cHnging hands, from birth ; 
the intense impulse to pull uj), even from the 
beginning of sitting ; the way in which stand- 
ing always begins, by laying hold above and 
pulling up ; the slow and doubtful develop- 
ment of creeping, as if the ancestral creature 
had been almost purely a tree-dweller, with 
no period of free running on all-fours. 



OF A BABY 235 

Tree-dwelling creatures, living on the 
dainties of the forest, fruit and nuts and 
eggs and birds, are better nourished than 
the ground-roaming tribes ; but that is not 
half the story. The tree mothers cannot 
tuck their babies away in a lair and leave 
them ; the tree babies cannot begin early to 
scramble about, Hke little cubs — their dwell- 
ing is too unsafe. There is nothing for it 
but the mother's arms ; the baby must be 
held, and carried, and protected longer than 
the earth babies. That was the handicap 
of the tree life, our ancestors might have 
thought — the helpless babies. But, as we 
have seen in an earher chapter, it was that 
long, helpless babyhood that gave the brain 
its chance to grow and made us human. 

At eleven months old our httle girl could 
stand alone as long as she cared to, though 
perhaps it was not till the next month that 
she felt altogether secure on her feet. She 
could climb up and down stairs with perfect 
ease. She could walk held by one hand, but 



236 THE BIOGRAPHY 

she did not care to, and creeping was still 
her main means of getting anywhere. 

Her understanding of speech had grown 
wonderfully, and as she was docile in obey- 
ing directions, I could always find out 
whether she knew a thing by name by say- 
ing, " Point to the rose," or " Bring the 
book to aunty," and thus found it possible 
to make out a trustwortliy hst of the words 
she knew : fifty-one names of people and 
things ; twenty-eight action words, which she 
proved she understood by obeying (" give " 
and "sit down," and the like), and a few 
adverbial expressions, hke " where " and " all 
gone " — eighty -four words in all, securely 
associated with ideas. She understood them 
in simple combinations, too, such as, " Bring 
mamma Ruth's shoes;" and often, where 
she did not know all the words in a sentence, 
she could guess quite shrewdly from those she 
did, interpreting our movements vigilantly. 

For her own speech, the small set of 
spoken words she owned was of Httle use ) 



OF A BABY 237 

indeed, as I have said, these were only 
exclamations. For talking to us she used 
a wonderfully vivid and delicate language 
of grunts, and cries, and movements. She 
would point to her father's hat, and beg till 
it was given her; then creep to him and 
offer the hat, looking up urgently into his 
face, or perhaps would get to her feet at his 
side and try to put it on his head ; when he 
put it on, up would go her Httle arms with 
pleading cries till he took her, and then she 
would point to the door and coax to be car- 
ried outdoors. She would offer a handker- 
chief with asking sounds when she wished to 
play peekaboo ; or a whistle, to be blown ; 
or a top, to be spun. When she was car- 
ried about the garden or taken driving, or 
when she crept exploring and investigating 
about the rooms, she would keep up a 
most dramatic running comment of interest, 
joy, inquiry, amusement, desire ; and it was 
remarkable what shades of approval and 
disapproval, assent, denial, and request she 
could make perfectly clear. 



238 THE BIOGRAPHY 



xm 

WALKING alone; DEVELOPING INTELLI- 
GENCE 

And now our little girl was entered on the 
last month of the year — a month of the 
most absorbing activity, yet perhaps rather 
in practicing the powers she already had than 
in developing new ones. She added to the 
list of words she understood till it was impos- 
sible to make record of them all — new ones 
cropped up at every turn. She made the 
two small additions to her spoken words that 
I have already mentioned. She became per- 
fectly secure in standing, and she was even 
more zealous to climb than before, making 
nothing, in the latter part of the month, of 
turning at the top of the stairs and sliding 
down, head first or feet first, rarely needing 
for safety the vigilant anns that always hov- 
ered ready to catch her. 



OF A BABY 239 

For a time she made little advance towards 
walking, though she began now to show some 
pleasure and pride in being led about by the 
hand. But about the middle of the month 
the walking instinct seemed at last to stir. 
The little one had often stepped from chair 
to chair, keeping a hand on one till she had 
fairly hold of the other. If the gap was 
an inch wider than she could cross thus, she 
dropped down and crept. Now one day she 
looked at the tiny gap, let go her chair, stood 
longingly, made a movement as if to take the 
single step, and dropped ignominiously and 
crept ; nor would she trust herself of her own 
accord to movement on her feet (though once 
her mother did coax her a few steps) for 
nearly a week. Then at last she ventured it. 

I did not see the first exploit, but the next 
day I set her against the wall and told her to 
walk, and she would step forward with much 
sense of insecurity, tottering and taking tiny 
inches of steps, her legs spreading more 
widely at each one, till I caught her in my 



240 THE BIOGKAPHY 

arms. Once I let her go as far as she could. 
She would not give up and sit down, but 
went on as far as her legs would carry her, 
tremulous, pleased, half afraid, half proud, 
and wholly conscious of doing something 
remarkable ; and when at the seventh step 
she subsided to the floor, she was not in the 
least frightened, but got up readily and tot- 
tered on another six steps. 

The next day she had weakened, however, 
and for several days she would not try again ; 
and when she did try, she fell down after a 
single step. She wanted to try again, and 
crept back to the wall, stood up, laughed, 
waved her arms, made a false start, and could 
not quite find the courage. In the four 
days that remained of her first year she some- 
times forgot herself and took a step or two ; 
and she was perfectly able to take half a 
dozen any time, strong and steady on her 
feet; but it was not till shortly after the 
close of the year that she cast aside her fears 
and suddenly was toddlmg everywhere. 



OF A BABY 241 

It was about the middle of the twelfth 
month that the little one added the useful 
sign of nodding to her means of communi- 
cating. She had been taught to nod as 
a mere trick the month before, and took to 
it at once, jerking her whole little body at 
every nod and priding herself mightily on it. 
Perhaps because of this pride and pleasure, 
it became after a time a sort of expression of 
approval : she greeted us with nodding in 
sign of pleasure when we came in ; she nod- 
ded like a mandarin when she heard she was 
to go to ride. So now, when a pleasant sug- 
gestion was made, " Would Ruth hke a 
cracker ? " " Does Ruth want to go see the 
kitties ? " her nod of approval soon passed 
into the meaning of assent ; indeed, it began 
now to be joined with the grunt of " E ! " 
that I have mentioned. She had a perfectly 
intelHgible negative grunt, too, just such as 
grumpy grown people use, out of the primi- 
tive stock of their remotest ancestry, no 
doubt. 



242 THE BIOGEAPHY 

I was nearly taken in at one time by this 
cheerful nodding and " E ! " The little lady 
used them so intelligently when she was 
offered something she wanted, and refused 
so consistently when offered what she knew 
she did not want, that I began to set down 
any question as understood if she said yes to 
it. But presently I had an inkling that 
when she did not know whether she wanted 
it or not, she said yes, on the chance — since 
most things prefaced by " Does Ruth want ? '* 
proved pleasant. So I asked her alluringly, 
" Does Ruth want a course in higher mathe- 
matics ? " 

The rosy baby looked at me gravely, 
waited with a considering air, as she always 
did, taking it in, nodded gravely, and said 
decisively, " E ! " 

" Does Ruth want to go and be a mission- 
ary in Raratonga ? " 

" E ! " with no less decision. 

I saved her confidence in my good faith 
by substituting something else as good, and 



OF A BABY 243 

more immediately practicable, for the myste- 
rious attractions I had offered, and used due 
caution thereafter in recording her answers. 

It was evident that in a primitive way the 
little one was comparing and inferring not 
a little by this time. A week before, her 
grandmother had told her which was on 
a set of letter cards she played with, and 
presently she showed Q with an inquiring 
cry : " What is this that looks so much like 
0, and yet is not ? " It may be added 
that she always knew afterwards, and 
picked up most of the other letters as easily 
— an evidence of the unnecessarily hard 
work we make of learning the letters by 
postponing them till the normal age of pick- 
ing up the name of anything and every- 
thing is past. 

She was, of course, sometimes quaintly 
misled in an inference by lack of knowledge. 
In the last week of the month I shut my 
eyes and asked her, " Where are aunty's 
eyes ? " The baby tried in vain to find them 



244 THE BIOGRAPHY 

behind the lids, and then leaned over from 
my lap and looked carefully for the lost eyes 
on the floor ! 

I hardly think that memory is much devel- 
oped at this age ; the probability is that even 
the two year old remembers things only in 
glimpses — one here and one there, but no- 
thing continuous: this is one of the great 
differences between his mind and ours. But 
our little girl plainly remembered some things 
for days. In the second week of the month 
her uncle showed her how he lifted the win- 
dow sash, and four days after, catching sight 
of the finger handle, she tugged at it with im- 
patient cries, trying to make the sash go up. 
A few days later, having a flower in her hand 
when her feet were bare, she began, with a 
sudden memory, to beg to have something 
done to her toes with it, and it proved that 
two or three weeks before her mother had 
stuck a flower between the fat toes. 

All this month, even more than in the 
eleventh, she was incessantly busy in ex- 



OF A BABY 245 

ploring and learning. She opened boxes, 
took things out, and put them back ; worked 
with infinite diUgence and seriousness at such 
matters as getting a rubber ring off a note- 
book I had stretched it round ; investigated 
crannies, spaces under grates, doors ajar, with 
an undying curiosity. 

She beofan to imitate our actions more : 
she tried to comb her hair, to put flowers 
into a vase, to mark on a paper with a pen- 
cil ; she pulled at her toes and muttered, as 
if she were saying the piggy rhyme. 

She had a distinct idea as to what con- 
stituted herself, and when she was asked, 
" Where is Ruth ? " she did not indicate her 
whole body, but always seized her head in 
her hands with certainty and decision. 

She took delight in the new uses of mind 
and memory, no less than in her bodily 
powers ; she would recall the association of 
an object and its name with joyous laughter, 
and her " Da ! " when she was asked to point 
to something was a cry of pleasure. 



246 THE BIOGRAPHY 

She had not an atom of moral sense, nor 
the least capacity of penitence or pity, but 
she was a friendly little thing, with no worse 
tempers than a resentful whimpering when 
she was put into her clothes — incumbrances 
that she much disliked. She was assiduous 
in putting her crackers into her friends' 
mouths, whether for fun or for good-will ; 
and it was not uncommon for her to throw 
herself, with kisses and clinging arms, about 
our necks after we had given her some spe- 
cially valued pleasure, such as taking her 
outdoors. She was learning to coax effec- 
tively with kisses, too, when she wished very 
much to go. 

And so the story of the swift, beautiful 
year is ended, and our wee, soft, helpless 
baby had become this darling thing, begin- 
ning to toddle, beginning to talk, full of a 
wide-awake baby intelligence, and rejoicing 
in her mind and body ; communicating with 
us in a vivid and sufficient dialect, and over- 
flowing with the sweet selfishness of baby 



OF A BABY 247 

coaxings and baby gratitude. And at a year 
old, there is no shadow on the charm from 
the perception that its end is near. By the 
second birthday we say, " Ah, we shall be 
losing our baby soon ! " But on the first, 
we are eager, as the little one herself is, to 
push on to new unf oldings ; it is the high 
springtime of babyhood — perfect, satisfy- 
ing, beautiful. — - — 7 



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