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his dinner at seven or eight in the evening, without eating (though by the quantity of both meals he endeavours to make up every deficiency), who would refuse to taste an extraordinary delicacy at any hour; and it is scarcely possible to eat so much as not to be able to taste something, a very little while after every meal. Thus, between breakfast at eight or nine, and dinner at one o'clock, a child fancies he is hungry two or three different times, but we are to observe that he can only eat of such and such things, bread and jam, or bread and butter ; and frequently no bread at all, but only cake. “I don't like bread and butter, I like cake,” the child says. Next comes the dinner. A little child has meat cut small, with or without bread, as he pleases ; gravy is added; forced meat, or what is called stuffing, to some kinds of meat is added, and this stuffing is made of suet, crumbs of bread, parsley, thyme, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and eggs. Potatoes mashed with butter, cream, or milk, and salt are added. Then follows pudding, supposing only of boiled batter, as it is called, it is made of flour, milk, and eggs boiled; but this makes a very insipid dish it is thought, without a sauce of boiled butter, flour, sugar, and sometimes wine. Here is a very common dinner of meat and pudding, which consists of twenty different ingredients, prepared in different luxurious ways. Does not a child force down more of such a dinner than he would do if the pudding, which is a wholesome one, were without sauce; the meat, which is nourishing, without seasoning and melted butter ; and if the potatoes, which are excellent alone, were boiled in
plain water, and eaten with a little salt to assist digestion ? But my list of articles is not complete without beer, and country beer is stronger than that of London. Besides all these, it generally happens that we see apples, oranges, or nuts added, after a child has eaten so much that he has laid down the Spoon in absolute inability to proceed. Whereas if plain food, the plainest cookery, and one, or at most two kinds of dishes, with much bread, were presented, there would be no temptation to eat after hunger was satisfied. Hunger ! did I say? the little pampered children of the middle and higher classes never knew, are never allowed to know what hunger is. The very instant they feel the least symptom of hunger they demand food ; and having no real want of it, are nice, difficult, and dainty. If the prac, tice were adopted of giving a child, every time he asked, a piece of good dry bread, we should see that three hours might pass between meal and meal, But so far, at present, is this from being the case, that if a child only cry he is fed ; if a little girl or boy knock his head against the table, his screams are stopped by an orange, or an apple, or a biscuit; if a child is wonderfully good he is rewarded with a cake; if he is extremely naughty, something eatable is denied him. The whole sum and employment of infancy, the whole glory and honour of childhood, seem to be centered in eating and drinking.
Are we, then, really so unwise as not to perceive that children are too much inclined to be selfish and greedy? and that, instead of our being disposed to encourage and foster in them such pernicious habits,
we should by every possible means check these propensities, and lead a young person, not to be hypo. critical, and say he dislikes what he is partial to, or to be cynical, in despising the enjoyments of the table, but to consider and hold the action of eating, for what it really is, as necessary for the support and increase of the human frame, but for which, how. ever, a moderate quantity only is wanted.
The knowledge that infants gain of what they may, and what they may not do, proceeds from denial and gratification of wishfulness or desire, This knowledge is experience, or principle ; and by it they regulate their little actions ; with it are emotions strengthened into affections. The affections make way for the passions; and it cannot be repeat ed too often, that good or bad passions, or the regular passions with their excesses, spring from either good or bad principles ; and I must assert once more, that these principles begin to form, like the roots of a tree in the seed, from the very tenderest age of infancy.
" SUCH AS THE WORKMAN 18, such IS THE WORK."
· When a child has passed his first year, we discover in him the first workings of the passions, and we partly distinguish the bend which his character will hereafter take. These passions are not to be extinguished, as some would have them; they are to be regulated, and tempered by the cultivation of the corresponding associate virtues; they are to be naturally, delicately, and firmly directed, if we wish them to flow on in an even course. If we expel the irregular stream from the meadow, it will rush along in another direction, break up a bed for itself, and tear away the high road whereas if we had quietly diverted the current into a natural furrow, we might have viewed an object of interest or ornament in every little vigorous wave, and of enjoyment in every rippling murmur, indicative equally of purity and strength.
Now in this most important age, when faculty opens daily, and the living soul, tender as melted wax, receives every impression, let us pause to ask one ques. tion. Who is the companion of the child ? And as I have made allusion to warm wax, let us go a little further, and inquire if it be not true, that those who surround the child, with whom he is most actively associated, will fix the stamp of their own sentiments, opinions, and prejudice on the child ?. Let us follow the similitude, and suppose a child can receive two distinct impressions from two distinct sets of associates; will he not bear the marks as a medal or coin, on which, however they be weakened or effaced by time, are yet scarcely ever to be worn entirely away? Wax, when it is cooled, becomes a hard substance ; we may break, but cannot bend it, until it is again heated, and we may then give a new impression. But by what process can we dissolve principle and character and form them anew? The solvent property of wax would be often most desirable in the
human mind and heart, but it is desired in vain ; and not truer are the explanatory labels to a new coin of the reigning monarch's name, than are the sentiments and actions of any youth, of the principles and stamp which his nature received from the companions and treatment of his infancy. Let me again ask, who are these companions ? On the one side are the mother, I will even add father, although a father, with all his strong parental affection, is not disposed or fitted for communication with a little child ; on the other side are dependants.
Now these dependants consist of persons who, for the most part, have had little or no education ; by the word education, I do not mean mere reading, writing, cyphering, or any other acquirement, but good instruction, however' simple yet moral, really and fundamentally. Servants there certainly are who have been respectably brought up, who have been taught to think and act well, and do fulfil their duty ; but even such are deficient in judgment, when children's morals, manners, and habits are concerned ; and, indeed, how can we expect that a servant should be more concerned for the future happiness and honour of her charges, than are the very parents themselves? How can we expect the most faithful nursery-maid in the world to study causes, weigh consequences, compare habits with principles, and principle with character ? The idea is ridiculous. Good-nature is the first quality required in a nursery-maid, and what will not good-nature lead an ignorant, yet kind hearted girl to do? Prejudices, too, are strongest in weak, unemployed minds, and their force with re