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feels, partly because we do as others do, careless of consequences. Will it be supposed that a thousand lovely English women could sit out the baiting of several fine, generous animals, the witnessing of their patience, courage, torture, defence, wounds, blood; and expiring groans and struggles, as the ladies of Spain do for several hours together? Yet custom alone can have so hardened their hearts as to have produced so wide a difference in feeling. It is the same with children; of whom some are so deadened to the cries and sufferings of brutes, that they resemo ble tender-hearted ones as little as, in this respect, my fair countrywomen do the Spanish ladies. Indeed the resemblance is less : for a Spanish lady would not, I believe, herself inflict a wound on the panting 'animal, whereas the cruel or thoughtless child is often the principal inventor and executioner of tortures upon the miserable brute. But this subject generally has, it may be thought, been fully discussed in another chapter ; our present consideration, therefore, only is the turning of the strife, accidents, or sufferings of animals into a source of amusement and gratification ; which taste some persons are not ashamed to force betimes upon their children of five, six, seven, or eight years of age.
The first of exploits in which the tender hearts of little children are encouraged to triumph, is the drowning of the young of cats and dogs. Many a child has stood by with a fluttering bosom, and agitated countenance, while the servant has essayed to keep under water the little wretches which were battling hard for life, whilst at the same time he or she
has been humming a tune with the greatest unconcern. The child, after many efforts, at length succeeds in looking on as unconcerned as the executioner.
The second performance is the making of the whelp handsome. The father, mother, servants, unite in declaring that the puppy must have his ears and tail cropped, and this is speedily done.* The child may not actually stand by, but he knows of the deed, sees every one careless of the poor brute's agony during several days, and he too, at last, thinks it is nothing, and that indifference on such matters is right.
A spider ! or a wasp ! will some persons exclaim, as one appears : “ catch and kill” is the cry. How few call out, there is room in the wide world for an insect, and open the window to drive him to liberty and a natural death. Here is the third occasion on which a child learns to mangle and slay, as it appears to him, for diversion.
After a shower of rain, we step forth to the sweet refreshed air. The slug spreads himself across the path, and trails onward, fast as he can, poor reptile ; the worm peeps up from bis dark mansion, and the shining beetle in haste endeavours to make the best of his way home. In vain, in vain. The little foot may not purposely be set to crush the machinery planned by a God, but it is not purposely withdrawn, when a living object is seen ; and on passes the child
* A dear little girl, the daughter of Sir R. A., said, with a sweet simplicity and artlessness which in this child were nature, “ Brother, Mrs. -'s dog had his ears and tail cut off the other day; you cannot think what a passion he was in when they
heedless, thoughtless, and merciless, to his fourth amusement; which is that of throwing pebbles and stones at the gasping frog, which rises up to take in a portion of the breath of Heaven, which Heaven itself has assigned her.
And next, when the cold and severe season affects our region, and the half starved, half benumbed inhabitants of the trees and hedges come twittering and bowing, submissive and needy, to implore our charity, to ask of that bounty which the good Almighty hath given us, an amusement, and the fifth we sadly enumerate, consists in building up a trap, or spreading birdlime to catch the gentle, feeble wanderers. Of these, alas ! some have their necks twisted, and are quickly baked in paste ; others are played with, and consequently more or less injured and teazed, and often fall a sacrifice. Oh! what a sad lesson is this for childhood ! Cruelty given in lieu of pity!
The intrusive and venturesome fly, in the gaiety of his little existence, buzzes from corner to corner of a breakfast parlour or nursery, and in an unlucky moment approaches the cream ewer : he tastes, and drops. There he lies floundering and struggling, but his wings are wet and clogged, and he cannot rise from the fatal fluid. Presently the party assembles : he is discovered, and with a peevish exclamation he is drawn from the ewer with a tea-spoon, and dashed into the bowl, where the hot water that has rinsed the cups receives him. The child, ever on the watch for examination, finds a lively amusement during several minutes, in beholding the convulsions, the torture of an insect scalded to death, whilst these
sufferings are not even thought of by any grown person.
It is useless, as it would be disagreeable, to reckon up how many minutes and hours of one week in a child's life are given to amusements, which amusements are actually cruel, or of a cruel nature or tendency* I shall, therefore, offer two or three bints, upon what may be made amusements with animals, from the particular history of which great use may be derived.Silk-worms, lives of bees, poultry, sheep, lambs ; poll, too, if parrots are bought and sold ; rabbits, canary birds, a quiet donkey or poney, which a child of five or six years might, in company of his father, help to feed, or rub down; one of the cows, also, of the establishment, which might be named by the child, and called his own. All these, with the
* I do not here allude to the sports (as they are called) of setting two fine monarchs of the poultry yard to fighting till one dies; sending a barbed hook into a pond, with half, or a quarter of a writhing worm upon it, to be swallowed by a little fish, which, not being required for food, has its jaws lacerated and mangled, and is then thrown back into the water; of chaining a fine, peaceable bull to a ring, and urging a number of fierce dogs to worry, tear and wound him till tbey are half killed, and he goes mad; of piercing a goldfinch's breast-bone with a ring and chain, that we may have the pleasure of seeing him in constant uncasiness when he moves, or drags up water to drink; or of spurring a fine borse over hedges, walls, and fields, and whipping a pack of hounds after a timid, trembling creature, who, as it is known, screams in ber last agony like a child, and seems, in the most striking manner, to implore the pity of our race.
† Perhaps the exbibition of living, and stuffed animals in a menagerie, or museum, is of the very first order of amusement for cbildren, and indeed all young persons.
privilege of scattering the crumbs of the breakfast or dinner table to the wild birds, would afford a rational and pleasing amusement, consisting, not in worrying and torturing, but in promoting the comfort, and dispensing happiness to those creatures which, capable of being comforted, do express their gratitude in return, by confidence, gentleness, submission, and attachment. Shew me that brute which is insensible to a series of kindnesses from man, and I will find the man who is sufficiently grateful for every benefit from God.