Little Susy's Six Birthdays


Mrs. E[lizabeth]. Prentiss

New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company, c1856 and 1883

[Note on the illustrations: All chapters begin with small decorative illustrations for the initial letter (as below); many end with small illustrations. Because of the fragility of the book, none of the decorative illustrations at the ends of chapters have been reproduced, and only a few of the initial ones are included. All full-page illustrations are reproduced.]

Scanned by Deidre Johnson for her 19th-Century Girls' Series website; please do not use on other sites without permission




This book was written on purpose for you. While I was writing it, I often said to myself, I hope this will please Mally and Willie! I wonder how Sarah and Louisa will like it? Then I thought that I would read what I had written, to a few children, to see what they would say. Because if it failed to interest them, I should be ashamed to have it printed and sent to other children. So I read it to several. Some of them were quite large children, larger than any of you; and other others were small. One of them was nine years old, and one seven, and one six, and one five; and when I saw them smile, as if they were pleased, I was very glad, indeed. And when one of them said she hoped I would print as many as two, one for her an done for her cousin, I felt still more delighted, and thought I would have one for everybody's cousin. A great many little Johnnies and Geordies; many little Nellies and Hatties, will read about Susy's birthdays. Wherein she was good, I hope you will all be like her; and then your birthdays will be happy ones. Sometimes little children don't live to spend six birthdays in this world. They go to heaven and spend them there; and they are better and happier days that any little Susy ever knew. But now I must bid you good-bye. Perhaps I shall write another story for you one of these days.






L headpieceittle Susy is a year old to-day," said her mamma, "and I must give her a birthday kiss!" So she kissed the sweet red lips of the darling baby. Now Susy had never kissed any body in her life. She did not know how. But I suppose she thought it was high time to begin, now that she was a whole year old; so she doubled up her lips and gave her mamma the funniest little bit of a kiss you can imagine. Her mamma was pleased, and Susy was pleased herself; and I dare say she thought she was doing something great, as she saw every body laughing. Pretty soon her papa came in, and then baby doubled up her lips, and gave him a little bit of a kiss, too.

Now all this was early in the morning, and Susy was in her night-gown. But her mamma washed and dressed her very nicely, and put on her red frock and clean white apron, and those tiny shoes that looked as if they were made for a doll; and then Susy had some breakfast--good bread and milk.

After this, she slipped down from her mamma's lap, to play with a string of spools that lay on the floor. She played with them a great while, but then she grew tired of sitting upon the floor. So she threw down her spools and got up, as if she thought of taking a walk. But she did not walk; she only stood there, smiling at her mamma. She was afraid to try to walk. She thought she should fall, if she tried to walk. Then her mamma took up a box of seals and held them out towards Susy; and when Susy saw them, she wanted them so very much that she forgot all about her fear of falling, and ran to her mamma as fast as she could. Oh, how glad she felt that she had walked a few steps! And how glad her mamma was, too! And how she kissed her dear baby, while the little thing played with the pretty seals, rattling them about and laughing so! By and by a lady called to see Susy's mamma. She had a great black dog with her, bigger than Susy -- oh, a great deal bigger! He would come in, though the lady was ashamed to see him trot into the parlor, and tried to coax him out. Susy liked the dog. She was not afraid of him. He put his cold nose on her face and hands, and that made her laugh. This lady had brought something for Susy. What do you think it was? Why, a large doll, almost as large as Susy herself! When Susy saw it, she laughed and held out her hands, and said "Baby, baby!" She loved this baby dearly. Some body taught her to call it Peggy. That is not a very pretty name, is it? Another lady--indeed, II may as well tell you who it was; her grandmamma--sent her a little silver fork. The baby is all worn out now, and hasn't any head at all. But the fork is as good as ever, and Susy uses it at dinner and at breakfast still.

As soon as it began to grow dark, her mamma took Susy in her lap, and sang to her that sweet little song which Aunt Lizzy had given her. Aunt Lizzy heard it in Germany, and she liked it so well when she heard it sung to German babies, that she thought she would translate it for her little nieces and nephews at home. Here it is:

      "Mother, now tell,
Why do you love your baby so well?
     The mother said, 'Oh!
     And do you not know?
     Sweet and happy it lies,
     It frets not, nor cries;
     And is full of its glee
     As the bird on the tree.
     It smiles on my breast
     As it goes to its nest;
     And it wakes in its bliss
     With a smile and a kiss;
And that is the reason I love it so well;
How dearly, how dearly, I never can tell.'

     "Baby, now tell,
Why do you love your mother so well?
     The baby said, 'Oh!
     And do you not know?
     She keeps me from harm,
     Holds me soft on her arm;
     And if I am ill,
     Watches over me still;
     Gives me good things to eat,
     And kisses so sweet;
     And is kindest to me
     Of all that I see;
And that is the reason I love her so well;
How dearly, how dearly, I never can tell.' '

By this time, Suzy began to feel tired and sleepy; so her mamma undressed her, and she was put into her warm nest, and was soon fast asleep.

I suppose thousands of little boys and girls spent this day very much as Susy did. It was their first birthday, too.

But do you suppose Susy's papa and mamma would have given her away, to take one of those other babies instead? No, I am sure not.

On to chapter two

Return to main page