What a strange mixture of people there were, from all parts of the United Kingdom aged men and women; young brides and their husbands; mothers with tribes of children, some with their infants still unweaned talking many different dialects, weeping, laughing, shrieking, and shouting!
If a yearling is found unweaned it is caught and "blabbed" which is done by fitting a peculiarly shaped piece of wood into its nose that prevents it from sucking but does not interfere with feeding. If a calf loses its mother while very young it is called a "leppy." Such an orphan calf is, indeed, a forlorn and forsaken little creature.
Beer is considered good not only for men, but for women, for girls and boys, and even unweaned infants. "Mein Krügl" the Münchener speaks of as of his natural and human rights. He was born with a right to his beer, and his Krügl, as "man is born with a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and equally with these the State must look after this right.
This was the precise attitude that old Tara, the most gracious lady of her race, had adopted toward Finn and his brothers and sisters, years ago in the orchard beside the Sussex Downs, when Finn was still an unweaned pup, and Tara came to play with him, without a notion that she was his mother.
Before the child was three months old, his father died; and Janet Telford was left alone in the world with her unweaned baby. But in remote country districts, neighbours are often more neighbourly than in great towns; and a poor widow can manage to eke out a livelihood for herself with an occasional lift from the helping hands of friendly fellow-villagers.
"What!" he said, "you dare to speak thus to me, you babe unweaned, to me the Unconquered, the holder of the axe! Never did I think to live to hear such talk from a long-legged pup. On to the cattle kraal, to the cattle kraal, People of the Axe, that I may hew this braggart's head from his shoulders.
All this I kept to myself, of course, except so far as I whispered it to the unseen presence which we all feel is in sympathy with us, and which, as it seemed to my fancy, was looking into my eyes, and through them into my soul, with the tender, tearful smile of a mother who for the first time gently presses back the longing lips of her as yet unweaned infant.
"I can have the blood of a goat?" queried the wizard. "Yes," said the bishop, "and of a monkey also." "Does your Lordship think that one might venture to go so far as a little unweaned child?" "If absolutely necessary," said the bishop. "I am delighted to find such liberality of sentiment on your Lordship's part," said the sorcerer. "Your Lordship is evidently of the profession."
But she quieted the poor handmaiden as simply and easily as a nursing mother quiets her unweaned baby. Why are we not all in love with Number Five? Perhaps we are. At any rate, I suspect the Professor. When we all get quiet, I will touch him up about that visit she promised to make to his laboratory. I got a chance at last to speak privately with him.
She choked and clutched her bosom, and her voice rose in the throaty screech of incipient hysteria "An' I've left my own sweet, unweaned boy to come and say these words to you!... An' the darlin' darlin' fightin' with the bottle they're tryin' to give 'im, and roarin' for 'is mam.... And my breasts as 'ard as stones, an' throbbin'!... Gawd 'elp me!"