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The servants were strictly forbidden to tell them ghost or other stories, and ordered to refer their inquiries on most subjects to their father and tutor, in whose society their time was generally spent.
A strict principle of obedience was exacted, and a command was not to be repeated. All their toys had some useful tendency, as it was considered that play might be so directed as to conduce to improvement, not by stoical restrictions, but by a proper tact in arrangements likely to attract the fancy and direct the curiosity of the boys to useful subjects.
No falsehood or fiction was ever allowed to be repeated to them; fable and metaphor were alike avoided, till their understandings were sufficiently ripened by the study of facts, together with their tutor's instructions, to enable them to distinguish poetical fiction from truth, and give to allegory its right value.
con, in short, partook more of
real and important circum
stances, than an encouragement of the imagination, and the languages they were taught were gained from works of truth, history, &c. and not of fiction ; as their father preferred their minds being stored with solid information to elegant accomplishments.
Mr. Dunstanville considered, that as man was not intended to be a wild animal, the sooner the reins were put upon every thing that tended to make him so, the better; and with this view he endeavoured to unite instruction and recreation, not believing that foolery alone was precious to children; and eventually they were as much interested in the amusements which their instructors had judiciously won them to adopt, as those which the wilderness of their own ima. ginations would have suggested.
With the aid of old Pearce, a privileged gardener, and the help of Ramrod, a favourite shooting-pony, they were instructed to cultivate an acre of ground given to them for that purpose, and soon learned the manner and turns of preparing the land, sowing, and reaping, as well as the names and qualities of the grains, grasses, vegetables, and shrubs, better than volumes would have taught them.
They built with their own hands a shed for Ramrod, after a good model; and made the bricks, prepared the lime, felled and sawed the wood, with no other assistance than Pearce.
In their walks, they were told the names and qualities of the different trees, and encouraged to collect stones, flowers, and occasionally insects, to compare with the specimens in their father's museum, or drawings in their books. Their real names were then ascertained, and no others allowed to be used; while their peculiarities being explained, ideal properties of every kind were rejected.
When they had been curious in observing the ant-heaps, the history of that industrious insect was referred to; and when the twittering but lazy sparrow was seen to take possession of the swallow's nest, their attention was di
several neatly thatched cottages, whose walls were covered with roses, jesmine, and woodbine.
A hundred yards below, the wide and wandering river precipitated itself over a bed of rugged and broken rocks, filling the whole valley with its liquid and Æolian murmurs; while the jackdaw and starling, occasionally dislodged by the village urchins from the ivy-mantled turrets of an old castle near to the fall, flit through the spray sent up by the flood.
Not far from the ruins of the castle was a modern-built house, surrounded by the little property that was now left to the once prodigal Dunstanville. Here, for the future, he determined to reside, and educate his two sons, George and Morland.
In this age of wisdom, when every body knows every thing, it may appear somewhat presumptuous, in an amphibious kind of personage, to enter on a subject which half the old maids, bachelors, and childless beings of Christendom have quill-beaten for the last century,
education ! education ! education ! But to be
brief, and speak most royally, know, gentle reader, that little as can be said which is new on such a subject, yet being inclined to think a sketch essential to our present purpose, the only apology we offer is, the warning of the contents of the following dull, rudimental chapter.