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It is a pleasant thing to reflect upon, and furnishes a complete
answer to those who contend for the gradual degeneration of the
human species, that every baby born into the world is a finer one
than the last.

‘I ne-ver saw such a baby,’ said Mr Lumbey, the doctor.
‘Morleena was a fine baby,’ remarked Mr Kenwigs; as if this
were rather an attack, by implication, upon the family.

‘They were all fine babies,’ said Mr Lumbey. And Mr Lumbey
went on nursing the baby with a thoughtful look. Whether he was
considering under what head he could best charge the nursing in
the bill, was best known to himself.

During this short conversation, Miss Morleena, as the eldest of
the family, and natural representative of her mother during her
indisposition, had been hustling and slapping the three younger
Miss Kenwigses, without intermission; which considerate and
affectionate conduct brought tears into the eyes of Mr Kenwigs,
and caused him to declare that, in understanding and behaviour,
that child was a woman.

‘She will be a treasure to the man she marries, sir,’ said Mr
Kenwigs, half aside; ‘I think she’ll marry above her station, Mr

‘I shouldn’t wonder at all,’ replied the doctor.
‘You never see her dance, sir, did you?’ asked Mr Kenwigs.
The doctor shook his head.

‘Ay!’ said Mr Kenwigs, as though he pitied him from his heart,
‘then you don’t know what she’s capable of.’

All this time there had been a great whisking in and out of the
other room; the door had been opened and shut very softly about
twenty times a minute (for it was necessary to keep Mrs Kenwigs

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