Oh, The Humiliation!

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Oh, The Humiliation!

Not long ago, I reported that Mr. Tin, that mechanical ro-bot man employed to be my nurse, ran away from my estate with my iron-lung, with whom it was smitten. Lousy metal Judas!

As a result, I had to go through the long and agonizing process of finding a new nurse. I knew something was amiss, however, when, a scant three days after Mr. Tin's exit, I awoke to find myself being lifted out of bed.

At first I didn't respond, because I was still disoriented and half-asleep. A moment later, I vaguely sensed myself gently moving back and forth. Suddenly, I felt the sensation of something warm, damp and sack-like being stuffed into my mouth and nose! It quite cut off my air, and I quickly jerked my eyes open. I looked up to find myself on a rocking-chair in the lap of an enormous woman, garbed in an apron and maid's cap! Great Caesar's Ghost! The woman was nursing me!

Despite my muffled protests, the wet-nurse continued to ply her trade. If I had my dentures in, I would have bit her in the teat, but, as luck would have it, I could only gum it weakly.

The nightmare went on, every morning, for about a week. Her grasp overpowering, she'd practically smother me with her pendulous bosoms, which seemed to me as big as hogs-heads. And the milk she gave was a thin, pus-like fluid that tasted acrid and lukewarm. What's more, it inflamed my tracheotomy scars! Thank God my man-servant Standish entered my bed-chamber when he did to witness this outrage!

When the smoke had cleared, Standish explained to me that there had been a mix-up at the agency, and a wet-nurse had been mistakenly sent to the estate. "But how in the Devil could she have mistaken me for a baby?" I asked.

Apparently, Standish replied, the wet-nurse was an immigrant from the Emerald Isle and believed me to be a changeling, which in Irish lore is a hideous, wizened phantom that is the replacement for a real baby stolen by the fairies. Despite great personal reluctance, she suckled me only because she wished not to anger the fairies.

The things an old man has to put up with!


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