The Birth of Little Charles Barrett:

The Story of a Young Boy Born to an Aristocratic Family in the Late 18th Century.

Once upon a time Edward and Elizabeth Barrett lived in the countryside of England. Elizabeth was expecting her first child. Early one morning she went into labor. Upon hearing the news, Edward sent immediately for the midwife who was to aid in the delivery. The midwife arrived and within a few hours she announced to Edward that he was the father of a baby boy.

Edward was overjoyed at the birth of his son. As he greeted his wife, he marveled at the little boy she held in her arms. The little boy, named Charles, was free to move his arms and legs about, as his body was free from the swaddling so common earlier in the century. Instead of swaddling, Charles was dressed in a shirt and front-opening robe. Edward looked at Elizabeth and said, "I can hardly believe that people used to swaddle their children. What an awful practice! Our little Charles is warm, but he can move his arms and legs about. His body will grow more freely than if we were to swaddle him."

Several days after Charles' birth, Edward and Elizabeth sent word to their families that Charles would soon be Christened. Edward's brother, Henry, arrived for the Christening with his son, William, and his daughter, Sara. The family was overjoyed to be together for such a happy occasion. They truly were a handsome sight. Charles was a vision of purity in his Christening clothes. Henry held five-year old William up to see the little baby. Dressed in a dark blue skeleton suit, William looked almost like a miniature version of his father. Four-year old Sara, dressed in a pink striped frock, embroidered with pale yellow flowers, tugged at her father's trousers, eager to get a look at her infant cousin.

As Henry picked Sara up to look at Charles, he looked at Edward and said, "Brother, cherish these days with your son. They will pass more quickly than you can imagine. It seems like just yesterday that we were shortcoating and breeching William, and now he is wearing skeleton suits. My dear Sara is growing quickly too. She no longer has leading strings anymore. Before I know it William will be wearing his coat outside his trousers and Sara will be in gowns!"

After Henry finished, the whole family looked lovingly at little Charles who stared at his mother and giggled quietly.


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