« ElőzőTovább »
Betty's pupils; or, the elder boys diverting themselves out of doors.
AN interesting Family Conversation, in which is intro
duced a number of excellent Hints, Marims and Ad
vices, on the subject of Education: DICK had invited his brothers and their wives, his sister and her husband, and all their children to spend the evening, and to hear the first reading of the ballads, which we need scarce say, were selected with great care, for their moral tendency; and as Lewis wished to talk very
serious ly to Betty and Dick, about the new method he intended to adopt in giving their boys and girls effective inducements to behave, well, and to avoid every self-indulgence inconsistent with duty, he requested that Terence, Roger, and Lizzy, would accompany him early in the forenoon to Dick's house ; where the following dialogue took place, after the usual salutations.
Betty. Welcome, dear Lewis, to our dwelling, where I shall be, as a body might say, ready to serve you on my hands and knees. VOL II. N
Dick. I never had a knack at speechifying, and was néver very fit to serve another or myself without bidding ; or, I should rather say, some good body to show the waybut if I don't run and be doing, Lewis, when you but speak the word, I'll never be friends with my owne self. Lewis. I am fully convinced of your
wishes to make me comfortable, my friends. I hope you will not find me difficult, except where the welfare of your children is concerned.
Dick. Ah! dear Lewis, you will soon tire of that plague-and what should you know about it? I married, when a bit of a boy, thirteen years come Christmas ; and I know as little aboat keeping the brats in order as my ould shoe. Betty does the whole, and so she should; she's a good ten years oulder than I.
Betty. Yet you would never take advice from me.
Lewis. Hush ! hush! dear Betty, remember the terms and let me reply to Dick's objection. You think I know
nothing of managing children. It is a simple and easy performance, if peoples' own humours and passions did not
create difficulties. This I saw, and had engraven upon iny memory, when I spent my spare hours with Lizzy and Lady L.'s sweet boys in the nursery at L.-lodge. I have Jenewed my acquaintance with these excellent methods at Terence's house.
Terence. Ours is indeed a method easily understood, and easily put in practice. Perhaps seven children were never made good and useful with less trouble to their parents or themselves.
Betty. They are good children to be sure--but since every thing is to be settled now, I must say, that I wonder to find even your eldest girl and boy as ignorant of any thing that belongs to rising in the world, as if they had never been born for it.
Terence. That idea bas been carefully kept from them. If young people get good morals and education, and such habits as may recommend them to the notice of the wise and the worthy, they will find their own level. Ambition, avidity, and pride, may tempt youth to take ways and means for rising in the world that will sink them into just contempt and destruction; and VAIN ASPIRING GIRLS ARE THE READIEST PREY OF DESIGNING MEN. Such notions are hostile to the patient industry, rigid honesty, and subordination, without which, people of low condition, can never deserve to rise in the world, nor enjoy elevation if they should obtain it.
Dick. I dont know much about all this but I know I am more happy with all these dear friends about me, than if I had taken wife's advice to set up for a gentleman; and I am sure Lewis will lie down at night with a lighter and warmer heart, after bringing my rantipole brats into his own way, than if he took a dashy place to himself, and made racketting for the gentry.
Lewis. If cutting a figure was my ambition, and I cared for nobody but myself, I might contrive to edge my way among the gentry; but I shall have more enjoyment in making my relations happy, and training young creatures for temporal and eternal felicity, than in devoting my time and money to entertain persons who have no need of
When time shall be no more, I shall rejoice in my bumble efforts to rectify the mistaken pursuits of my nephews and nieces.
Betty. I don't mean to go against you in any thing, but I would like once more to hear how we are to go on.
Lewis. If you wish it, I shall again and again, detail the means I intend to adopt. There is no mystery in them, and the more they shall be examined, the more satisfactory must they appear. In the first place, to preserve your N 2'
younger children from the bad example, which, by your own account, they will receive from the elder boys and girls, they shall never be with them but in my presence. Fortunately they are boys. You promised to make up a bed for them in my room; and by day, and by night, within, or without doors, I shall keep them under my superintendance. They will then, I hope, grow up safe associates for their infant brother. The two elder boys, and the three girls, will pass the greater part of all school days with Terence and bis wife. When my health permits, I will see them to school, and meet and conduct them from thence, which will put it quite out of their power to play truant, or to continue intimacies improper for them. I ! shall strictly inspect their conduct at bome; änd I hope their parents will coneur in making home pleasant to them.
Betty. We'll see little of them. Tliey'll be out of doors diverting themselves after school hours.
Roger. I hope not. These great boys and girls may be better employed.
Betty. Employed! How employed?
Roger. The boys may, and should prepare their lessons for next day; and the girls should learn household work, and to mend their cloathes.
Betty. I would rather do the work, and mend the duds myself, than take time to teach the little dames.
Roger. What would become of our affairs, if you, Betty, and all our wives had got no teaching from a kind mother, or other good friends? You were highly pleased with Terence's little damsel; a year younger
eldest. You praised her for assisting her elderly
so handily in dressing dinner, and laying it on the table for us. Your daughter is a smart girl, and would do as well as her cousin, if you did not terrify, discourage, or disgust her, by seeming to expect that her service must be faultless.
Susan. [Terence's wife.] It is no doubt troublesome to bring little cries into a way of doing things exactly; but the sooner they begin, the sooner they will be useful: and if they are allowed to get into an idle, careless, irregular manner, it increases every difficulty tenfold.
It saves a mother all the labour of breaking off bad habits, and es sentially promotes the interest of the family, to induce and direct little ones to care, diligence, and activity. Necessity obliged me since I settled in this country to make my daughters do the house work, but when I taught it to them in America, I had a fair prospect of being able to keep hired servants. PEOPLE. THAT HAVE LITTLE CAPITAL, OR HAVE THEIR CAPITAL RISKED IN BUSINESS, SHOULD PREPARE FOR THE WORST. As far as the strength of such young creatures can go, my girls can do any work within doors. They keep me easy in body and mind. I can trust entirely to · their faithfulness and diligence, and they assist me in leading their
sisters to usefulness. Much expense and waste have they prevented in our bouse, and much : have they added to our comforts. May heaven reward i them!
Lizzy. They will assuredly have the sacred promise annexed to the fifth commandment, fulfilled to them. They,. and all your children, honour their father and mother, and the great Father of All, will bless and prosper then. But if you bad not made duty pleasant to them ;-if you had made work a toilsome, oppressive task, keeping them under terrors for every accident or omission, they could not bave learnt so well, nor have been so willing to help you.
Lewis. Nor would Lady M.; who, like her excellent mother Lady L. is so particular about the attendants she employs for her daughters, be so desirous of having your Theresa. N 3