Puslapio vaizdai
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them without recovering that of their natural growth, and what was formal becomes grotesque -a word which may be understood as expressing the incongruous combination of formality with extravagance or wildness.

The intellectual education which young Daniel received at home was as much out of the ordinary course as the book in which he studied at school. Robinson Crusoe had not yet reached Ingleton. Sandford and Merton had not been written, nor that history of Pecksey and Flapsey and the Robin's Nest, which is the prettiest fiction that ever was composed for children, and for which its excellent authoress will one day rank high among women of genius when time shall have set its seal upon desert. The only book within his reach, of all those which now come into the hands of youth, was the Pilgrim's Progress, and this he read at first without a suspicion of its allegorical import. What he did not understand was as little remembered as the sounds of the wind, or the motions of the passing clouds; but the imagery and the incidents took possession of

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his memory and his heart. After a while Textor became an interpreter of the immortal Tinker, and the boy acquired as much of the meaning by glimpses as was desirable, enough to render some of the personages more awful by spiritualizing them, while the tale itself remained as a reality. Oh! what blockheads

. are those wise persons who think it necessary that a child should comprehend every thing it reads.

CHAPTER XV. P. I.

THE AUTHOR VENTURES AN OPINION AGAINST THE

PREVAILING WISDOM OF MAKING CHILDREN

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MATURELY WISE.

Pray you, use your freedom;
And so far, if you please allow me mine,
To hear you only ; not to be compelled
To take your moral potions.

MASSINGER.

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“What, Sir,” exclaims a Lady, who is bluer than ever one of her naked and woad-stained ancestors appeared at a public festival in full dye,—"what, Sir, do you tell us that children are not to be made to understand what they are taught ?" And she casts her eyes complacently toward an assortment of those books which so many writers, male and female, some of the infidel, some of the semi-fidel, and some of the super-fidel schools have composed for the laudable purpose of enabling children to understand every thing.--" What, Sir," she repeats, are we to make our children learn things by rote like parrots, and fill their heads with words to which they cannot attach any signification ?”

Yes, Madam in very many cases." “ I should like, Sir, to be instructed why?”

She says this in a tone, and with an expression both of eyes and lips which plainly show, in direct opposition to the words, that the Lady thinks herself much fitter to instruct, than to be instructed. It is not her fault. She is a good woman, and naturally a sensible one, but

, she has been trained up in the way women should not go. She has been carried from lecture to lecture, like a student who is being crammed at a Scotch University. She has attended lectures on chemistry, lectures on poetry, lectures on phrenology, lectures on mnemonics; she has read the latest and inost applauded essays on Taste: she has studied the newest and most approved treatises practical and theoretical upon Education: she has paid sufficient attention to metaphysics to know as much as a professed philosopher about matter and spirit; she is a proficient in political economy, and can discourse

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the new science of population. Poor Lady, it would require large draughts of Lethe to clear out all this undigested and undigestable trash, and fit her for becoming what she might have been! Upon this point however it may be practicable to set her right. “ You are a mother, Madam, ånd a good

In caressing your infants you may perhaps think it unphilosophical to use what I should call the proper and natural language of the nursery,

But doubtless you talk to them; you give some utterance to your feelings; and whether that utterance be in legitimate and wise words, or in good extemporaneous nonsense it is alike to the child. The conventional words convey no more meaning to him than the mere sound; but he understands from either all that is meant, all that you wish him to understand, all that is to be understood.

one,

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