What is a Darling?” describes the ideal late-19th-century innocent—who may be a bit hyperactive for modern tastes. The cheery little elf was a new model for children in works other than Robert Merry’s Museum.

“What Is a Darling?” (from Robert Merry’s Museum, October 1862; p. 111)

It is the dear, little, beaming girl who meets one on the doorstep, who flings her fair arms around one’s neck, and kisses one with her whole soul of love; who seizes one’s hat, who relieves one of one’s coat, and hands the tea and toast so prettily; who places her elfish form at the piano, and warbles forth, unsolicited, such delicious songs; who casts herself at one’s footstool, and clasps one’s hand, and asks eager, unheard-of questions with such bright eyes and flushing face; and on whose light, flossy curls one places one’s hand and breathes “God bless her!” as the fairy form departs.

Copyright 1999-2024, Pat Pflieger
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