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vantage of early care and attention, they will mistake the poor mean appearance of indigent persons, and the humility of others, for real inferiority in every respect, and will be led to treat them as though they were not of the same race as themselves; as, on the contrary, they will be disposed to set a value on others according to the splendour of their equipage and the magnificence of their attire. But it must be acknowledged that much of this false estimation is produced by the errors of the parents themselves: who too often discover to their children the deference with which they approach a grand though frivolous acquaintance, and the attention they bestow on a costly dress; as well as the scrutiny which they exercise on the humble friend, and the contempt they have for the ill-dressed one.
Those mothers who wish to distend the infant heart with kind and humane feelings, will place a constant guard over their own expressions and features, in the full assurance that where they themselves lead the infant will follow, whether it be in the thorny path of vice, the narrow one of virtue, the weedy and baneful one of indolence, or the broken and rugged one of prejudice and caprice. The chicken follows the hen to the meadow, the barn, the roost, or the fox cover, in blind confidence or thoughtless alacrity; whether to plenty or to famine, to repose or to death, the little animal never once inquires of instinct : it trusts to its guide, and thrives or falls with her. Infants, like chickens, follow as blindly the parent's step. Happy were the custom, if fashion enjoined the exercise of human faculties and reason, to direct the choice of a
path in which the child might follow with as much advantage and safety as through instinct the chick may the hen.
But, from whatever source they may spring, error and false notions must be combatted, and self-importance, that odious fault in childhood, be rooted out along with the pride which gives it birth. “Why," we may ask, “ did you behave in such a manner to this or that person? What is your reason for disliking him? How happens it that you are nicely clothed and well fed, whilst the little girl we saw yesterday, or to-day, was ill dressed and lives on the coarsest food? Why are you not in her place and she in your's? In what respect are you better? Have you legs which can run swifter ; eyes that can see better ; fingers which can move faster than she has ? Put your hand on your side : is there not something beating against it? Is it a heart ? Has not the poor girl we speak of the same ? Move your lips and speak; cannot she, too, speak? How is it then that you are different to her? In having better clothes and more delicate food? And from whom did your food and clothing come? From yourself? no; from your parents. If they chose it, could they not dress you meanly, and give you the fare of the poorest person ? And how could you help yourself? But who, above all, I would ask, gave you to parents who are rich enough to provide you with comforts, and, on the contrary, fixed the poor girl in a family which is obliged to work from day to day for roots and bread? And if the Great Being who so placed
you has power to give, has he not also power to take away? to make the poor rich, and the rich
Children also form opinions of the disposition of people, and like or dislike them accordingly. This is observable in infants of a very tender age. A babe will scream and cling to its mother in the most unac. countable manner at the sight of one even pleasing person, whilst he makes no resistance to the caresses of perfect strangers. It would be curious to trace out the association, and discover the cause of this apparent caprice, and a mother really anxious for the welfare of her offspring will find the task not uninteresting. But children who can speak often make known their feelings immediately after the person or playmate is gone. “I do not like him, or her,” they say. “And why do you not ?" should always be asked. The answer is often, “ I don't know;" given in the spirit, though not in the rhyme of Dr. Fell's commentator ; a mother, however, should never rest satisfied with such a reply to her questions, for if the child have sufficient command of words, and have the power to arrange his recollections and ideas in some order, he will offer some kind of a reason which will assist us much in taking a view of his mind and turn of character. Sometimes a child answers, “ Because he is so naughty.” “Why do you think him naughty?" should be asked. “ Because,” may the child now say (rather helped onwards), “ he pushed me down and broke my plaything," or, “ He ate my plumbs, or a piece of my biscuit," or, “ He talked too much."* Now any one of these reasons, though it may appear too insignificant to notice, is yet some clue to the predominant features of the child's mind, and calls for very particular attention.
All his observations may be commented on. To . that of, “ He pushed me down and broke my play. thing," we may say, “ And are you sure that this was done on purpose to vex you? Did not your friend say he was sorry, and did he not appear so ? then should you not forgive him? Does your mamma call you naughty after you have broken any thing by accident, and tell her you are sorry you have done so ? does she not forgive you ? and should you not forgive others when they ask you, and strive to for. get the mischief they have done you ? Besides, although one thing is unfortunately destroyed, have you no other? Is it not better to be content with what you have, than to wish for what is lost or broken, that you cannot have ?"
“ You say such a one is naughty because he ate your plumbs, &c. Had you none yourself? or, if you had no plumbs, had you not something else as good ?And even if you had no other nicety, does it not seem as if you were greedy to let the matter rest in your mind? But pray recollect wliether you have not, at one time or other, devoured several nice things, as you happened to have them, whilst a friend was sit
* Children are particularly wearied, and even vexed by the continued talking of grown-up people. First, because they do not like to be present and not usurp the first place in attention; and secondly, because they cannot understand what is said, and are consequently not amused.
ting by who never tasted a morsel ; to whom you never offered a bit? Last of all, let me ask in what would you have been the better, had you eaten the plumbs yourself? The taste of the best sweetmeat or dainty is gone immediately that it is swallowed.” :
- Your little friend would not play with you. And why? Are not children fond of playing with one another when they are allowed to do so ? Then why did your acquaintance refuse you? Perhaps you have offended, or teazed, or hurt him ; try to recollect whether you may not have done so ? But at any rate, if you are not to blame in that respect, keep in mind how very uncomfortable it is to sit by and not be permitted to join in any amusement; and take care not to do to anyone else what you should not like to be done to yourself. In the mean time, shew by your good conduct that your little friend can have no reason in your behaviour for denying you his company, or for refusing to share in your play."
To the remark of “ He would not talk, or he talked too much,” we may say, “ You, perhaps, did not encourage him; or did not seem pleased to meet him ; or he might not be well; or you perhaps said something unkind, which made him dull and silent. But if he talked too much, he perhaps served you as you did him once; yet though he was so unkind as to treat another in a way he did not like himself, might you not have listened, and have heard something pleasing or pretty ? Lastly, pray recollect that you are not pleased with another for talking, only because you might not talk yourself.”