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sometimes "in the little ring," where the shot was made from the place where the projectile lodged last; sometimes "at chasings," where the players fired alternately, each at the marble of his adversary. Concerning this last game, I remember the following terms: "ebs," which, seasonably vociferated, that is, when it is the speaker's turn to play and before his adversary can say anything, serves as an incantation authorizing the speaker to deliver his fire from any point other than that where his marble lies, equally distant from the objective point; "clearings," in like manner, authorizing the preparation of a reasonably unobstructed line of fire; and "fen ebs," "fen clearings," and "fen everythings," to be pronounced before the other player speaks, and which, by virtue of the prohibitory syllable "fen" (défendre, Fr.), prevent respectively ebs, clearings, and everything, that is to say, any elusion or amelioration of the existing conditions of fire.

In games of ball, to confess the truth, I was but feeble. Scarce, indeed, was I of average skill in any of them except the simplest two,-"bung-ends," and 66 one old cat." In the first of these, one boy throws the ball against the side of a house, or other perpendicular unelastic plane, while the other smites it with his club at the rebound. In the second, played as a trio, boy A throws the ball at boy B, standing opposite, whose duty is to smite, while boy C, behind B, catches B out in case of a miss.

I was pretty good at "tag" and "catch," games of running and dodging. In these, one boy is called "it," i. e. leader, or victim. He pursues the rest; and the games are alike, except that in "catch" he who is to be made "it" must be caught and held by him who is "it," whereas in "tag" a touch is sufficient to transfer the responsibility, and inaugurate the new.choragus.

There. Such quaint scraps are all that is left me of my existence as a little child. I know men who say, that, within their own consciousness and

memories, they have the witness and knowledge of a life even before that of this humanity. But, for my own part, I should never know, by anything in my own memory, that I had been a baby, — that I was or did anything before that first school where the ferocious little girl was handcuffed in unbleached-cotton bags, for scratching.

"The child is father of the man," saith the great poet of dry sentimentalizing. Therefore the man's endeavor to remember about his childhood might reasonably be expected to bring him into limbo patrum. But it is a dim and narrow field to grope in. It is not wandering in a darkened world, it is feeling in a dark closet.

It was an unconscious brief advance from nothing to very little. Yes, but still there must have been some dim features of the dawning character. No doubt. The heedless, complying, unjudging benevolence, for instance, that gave away all my gingerbread to the young Anakim of Parade Street, was one. It was liable afterwards to invert, by reacting from such over-operation as that, into an equally unjudging disregard of the wants and needs of others.

And now, What was it? This is no foolish nor unimportant inquiry. If I could answer it sufficiently, I should at once supply the basis of whole systems of mental and moral art and science. Such whole systems indeed - for instance, the muddy distractions of the Scotch metaphysicians have already been based upon the phantasms of wiggy old doctors who dived backward into themselves,- jumping down their own throats, as it were, in their search after knowledge, as did the seventh Arabian Brother in the Spectator (is it not?) "with seven candles in each hand, lighted at both ends,”— and said, "When I began to think, I must necessarily have thought thus and thus." This was all very scientific. But for usefulness it would have been better to inquire, not what they must have thought, but what they did think.

Indeed, hitherto the history of men

tal philosophy is the history of the ignorance of man about himself; and since science must be built upon induction, and since phrenology has now established a classification - approximately correct and sufficient for working purposes of the mental faculties, it is now quite in order to review the old inductions from the history of the individual, and to accumulate new ones. Even the mere trifles of these recollections of mine, some of them at least, must have an actual philosophical value, if only they are true and well enough stated.

Thank goodness, that, at any rate, I was not a remarkable child! It is the average record which has most value. The remarkable child is not a magnified child, but a distorted one; not a young giant, but a young monster.

No tract or little 24m0 would have been published about me by the American Sunday-School Union, if I had died young. No brilliant repartees by me are on record. No sweet remembrance is in blossom about me of a grim, unchildish pleasure in preferring the convenience or enjoyment of others to my own. In an instance where I remember to have tried to do as the good boys do in the story-books, by giving away my one cooky, the quick reaction into common sense sent me in grief to my mother, making use of natural tears and a specious plea of what I had done to get me another cooky, or perchance two. It was a dead failure. My mother knew too well the importance of the great moral lesson to let me reap material advantage from my good deed. She relegated me to the unfailing good dry bread, explaining how I could find abundant satisfaction within my own breast for doing a kind action, how virtue was to be its own reward. I looked for the said reward, but could not see it. It was not satisfaction within my breast that I wanted, but within my stomach and on my palate. Benevolence will not supplement alimentiveness in the small boy. If I gathered any reward at all, it was in the hard wisdom of my resolve not

to be caught in any such nonsense again.

I had not, as had a little monster of misplaced piety whose case is recorded in the good children's books, "at the early age of six made up my mind on all the great questions of the day." Yet I think I can remember yelling out "Hurra for Jackson!" because it was a good easy shout, although my father was a strong, steady Whig. There is practical democracy in that. First choice of shouts is much toward winning the battle.

I was not remarkable for early piety, sweetness of disposition, wit, beauty (I must certainly have been, as a child, skinny), or helpful kindness (except that irrational benevolence of mine).

I have been told that I learned to read, nobody knew how, all by myself, by the time I was four years old. How that may be I don't know; but I do know that I did not know how to read when I was twenty years old.

I was a "natural speller." It is no joke, but one of the proverbial fools' truths, which Dogberry enounces when he says that "reading and writing come by nature." They do. And so does spelling. Abundance of well-educated people never escape from occasional perturbations in orthography, just as they never learn a desirable handwriting, nor how to read silently fast and well, or well aloud. It is because they cannot; because they have not what Nature gave Neighbor Seacoal; because spelling and reading and writing are "gifts," they come by nature.

What I learned at school in those first ten years I do not know. Almost nothing. I have utterly forgotten what. I might have been much better taught. I might have been instructed in thinking. I do not mean that a child of eight or nine years old can or should be made to see, judge, and conclude upon new matters with the discovering and advancing power of a philosopher. But he may be made to perform his own proper little mental operations, no matter how small they are, on the same principle, on the principle of actual

understanding, instead of mere sole memorizing.

All my instructors, whether they meant to do so or not, did in fact proceed as if they believed children's minds to be, not live fountains, but empty cisterns; not to be capable of thought; like an empty house, to be furnished for a tenant; needing to be fitted up with a store of lifeless forms, which the adult life, when it came, was to breathe vitality into and turn to living uses. I learned rules. "Here, little boy," they said, "swallow these oyster-shells. They will lie naturally and easily in your stomach until you grow up, because little boys' stomachs are adapted for the storage of oyster-shells; and when you are a man, and want oysters, put some in there." But does it stand to reason that children, who manipulate words and figures, and produce results without understanding the rules they apply, just as a wizard's apprentice could evoke his master's demons without knowing the meaning of the awful syllables he recited, so that Southey's arcanum of Aballiboozobanganorribo might respectably serve as one of them,

does it stand to reason that these unhappy young jugglers will the better learn to do the same work intelligently afterwards? No; for they have to dislodge the bad habit which has preempted, before they can install the good one. As well undertake to train a new Mozart by making the bright little music-loving boy grind ten years on a barrel-organ with La ci darem in its bowels.

I remember a fondness for long, large, grown-up words; doubtless, in some measure, a result of my constant practice of reading grown-up people's books. It was a mere verbal memory, the driest of all the intellectual faculties. Scarcely a faint perfume of meaning lingered about the rattling piles of husks that I could say and spell.

What I learned at Sunday school and church was to be inexpressibly weary of them. What I learned at home I can perhaps define but little better. I gained no important result from any di

rect instruction. I gained something of good-boy behavior and decent manners, diligently trained into me. But what was most valuable in my home education was unconscious infiltration from a good home-atmosphere. This is an influence of incalculable importance, a thousand times outweighing all the schools. It is that for which God established the family; the one single possible real and efficient means of well bringing up the young. And whatever shades of repression, misunderstanding, ungeniality, restraint, may have sometimes troubled me, still I constantly feel and fully know that that pure, calm, quiet, bright, loving, intelligent, refined atmosphere of my home silently and unconsciously penetrated and vivified all my being. If now I should be told, "You are no very splendid exemplar of the results of such influences," I should still say, "Most true, unfortunately true; but what should I have been without them?" I had brothers and sisters, a few playmates; but neither they, nor any other human beings, not even my parents, seem to have been during those years, to any important extent, directly operative within or upon the sphere and character of my own real conscious existence. That life figures itself in my memory much like a magic circle, within which I was alone, and did my scanty little thinkings and imaginings alone. The rest of the living were outside, unreal,- phantoms moving to and fro, around and without, but never coming within that limit, never entering into living communion with me. This constitutional solitude of mind has a useful office, perhaps not to be easily explained, but sometimes not otherwise to be performed.


This isolation was, in part, unnecessary. To a certain extent the necessity for it still remains. But in part it was artificial, — my unconscious reaction against an ill-adapted influence, — the resisting force of a trait which, like all those other early traits, has become visible to me, like the blind paths over bogs, now that I am a long way off.


This trait I have already spoken of. It was an insensibility to a certain motive, rather prominent among those commonly proposed to me for my own government of myself. This was variously framed thus:-It is not usual to do this; it is usual to do that; if you proceed so and so, it will seem singular; people will talk about it; you will offend people's usages and habits; you will seem singular and odd. Against such cautions I rebelled with a mute, indignant impulse, which I was not old enough to enounce or to argue. It was, however, the result of two characteristics; one, the natural lack of instinctive desire for the good opinion of others; and the other, a corresponding instinct for living out my own life fully and freely, not so as to infringe upon the just rights of others, but not stinting or distorting or amputating myself, even though others set the example. It was the old fable reversed, the fox disinclined to cut off his tail, even though all the other foxes had cut off theirs. And the fact that people older than I, and several of them, and for year after year, urged upon me the considerations I have spoken of, never availed. That key would not move the mechanism of my mind. It did not fit.

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My childhood seems to me far more memorable for what it had not, was not, than for what it had and was. I do not believe this is because mine was an especially unfortunate or unhappy childhood. As I have hinted before, it was because childhood is empty, conscious, imperfect life, - almost animal, — germinal, a life in the egg, in the jelly, in the sap. The experiences of childhood are seed-leaves. They drop quickly away and utterly disappear, and even the scars where they grew cease to show on the stem. Probably I seemed to myself to enjoy life when I was a child. Children whom I see daily seem to do so. But thought is life. Mere enjoyment is dreaming It may seem to cover hours or days or years of experience, but when we awake it has been only a point of time. But this pleasure-dream is worse than

a sleep-dream. Over its costly actuality of time, cut out and dropped down out of life, the hither and thither ends of the shortened thread of existence must be knotted together into a cord of diminished length, strength, and value.

In sum: This child which I was was a semi-embryonic creature, mostly unconscious, whose ten years' career, now chiefly faded into entire blankness, showed not many mental traits. The chief were quick and retentive verbal memory, quick, undiscriminating, impulsive, unreasonable kind-heartedness, and an insensibility, even an instinctive opposition, to the approvings or disapprovings of others. Or the child might be stated thus: Nervous and sensitive organization, intellect predominant; in the intellect the perceptive faculties most active, and of these chiefly that which notices and compares exteriors; beside the intellect, a kind-heartedness without balance, and therefore too great; too little caution, and too little love of approbation. Around these features others have grown up, of course; but these were, so to speak, the primary strata of the formation, underlying the other elements, determining their tendencies, and cropping out through them.

This child was all but empty, unsubstantial, imperfect; incapable, then, of much life from within itself, little helped by thoughts or other aid from without. The efforts made by others to operate on it were faithful, kindly, well meant, but not adapted to its individuality. The fact is, that, so far as they had any supposed basis on system, it was on the Scotch empirical analysis of perception, conception, reason, will; a Procrustean mental philosophy which absolutely ignores individuality, and assumes that all human beings are alike. It is as good as the little boys' conventional system of portraiture. A round O, two dots, a perpendicular line between them, and a horizontal one across below, displays every face. Such was Christ and such was Judas; such was Messalina and such was Florence Nightingale. But there is a better philosophy of the mind.

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