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them in that respect, their parents too often repress them, as if they were ashamed of them, or afraid of some outburst of ill manners, when the poor things are behaving their very best. This partly arises from the reserve of the mothers, who, with hearts flowing with affection, press it down and cover it up, as if they feared it might be suspected by a stranger.
Most unlike to this is the sentiment of the American, both parent and child. The little citizen seems to feel at a surprisingly early age that he has a part to act on the stage of the world, and is willing enough to act a little before his time. And the parents, full of frank, simple emotion, bring their little treasure under notice, and ask you, with pride and joy, “Don't you think my Charley is a brave little fellow?” or, “ Did you ever see such a quick eye as my Austin's?” or, “ Is she not a pretty little darling?” or, “Did you ever see such a cunning little thing?" (The word cunning, according to some old English use of it, meaning in this application nothing like sly, but neat, tidy, or expert-looking.) If the children are not at home, you will be shewn their pictures or told their histories; or, if the arrow of death has stricken any of them, the stroke, the manner of it, how it was borne, and how the bereaved were sustained under it, will all be poured out with a confiding certainty of your sympathy that is most winning and touching. How often have I envied that selfcommand which enables them to relate such events with unshaken voice, and to dwell on deep sorrows without tears. And how often have I with shame contrasted my own long past concealment, nay, almost negation of powerful sentiment, with this its beautiful outflow.
The little ones seem to partake from the first of the exciting effect of the climate. I know not what philosophers or medical men may say to it, but it seems the only easy way of accounting for the hasty and impulsive character of the people, to impute it to the climate. All partake of it alike. Even the very horses have a spring about them, which makes them run without driving, and gallop as soon as the rider is fixed in his stirrups. Strangers who bring with them the dulness of more weighty atmospheres, presently become enlivened, and even the drooping and half-clothed Milesian, recovers his wit and doubles his spirit amid the dry air, and under the pure blue sky.
It is very true that another cause exists. The new settler, as well as the native, feels that there is room enough and food enough for all ; so that a man does not look on his enlarging family with an eye of care, and cast about, as in “the old country," for openings through which each may make standingroom, and find bread. Each new babe is a new source of delight; and should the number surpass that of a common family, you cannot but smile in pleasant emotion with the father who will tell you that he has the round dozen, or he can produce you
“ any quantity” of little ones ; and then they come, not with a “ Make your bow,” or “Courtesy to the lady?'—that is not republican fashion; but, with a becoming courage, looking straight into your eyes, and extending the right hand for a cordial shake. Frank to answer and ready to ask a question, you soon find you have not got a timid creature who needs your encouraging patronage, but a companion who will do you a service, get you information, or ask it from you, as the case may be.
The first impression produced by their manner is, that they are brave, bright, pleasant, little “impudent things.” But this, like many first impressions, turns out to be erroneous. The “impudent thing” is gradually dropt, and instead of the bad word, you adopt “intelligent,” or “independent.” I have smiled to see a little fellow, who had certainly not
been quite seven years a traveller in this world, lead - the way in stepping into an omnibus, and walk up
to a convenient position for reading the regulations. Then placing his hands behind him—I daresay in the very attitude of papa, if one saw him-read, turning to the two younger brothers, who seem to listen with understanding, “Constructed to carry twelve inside. Children who take seats pay half price ;" upon which information, the small ones scramble on the laps of the ladies who accompany them, and the leading youth adjusts himself to stand at a window, without visible direction from the ladies. I have also seen a child, a year older at
most, according to the rule of politeness and consideration for females which pervades all ranks in such of the States as I have visited, calculate how many sixpences he wanted from his ladies, and how many cents for himself, collect them, reach up with some help to pull the driver's string, and then, on tiptoe, give the money to the driver through the little hole in the roof. With us, such children would have been guided and paid for. There is no air of assumption in the doing of such small services. It seems natural, and expected by the seniors. A bright little fellow, it may be about nine years old, was asked in my hearing if he had been to Mr this morning. He said, “ No, he thought it better not to go until his return from school.” I was a good deal surprised to learn that this visit, so easily and pleasantly planned, was to a dentist, for the purpose of having a tooth extracted; having seen a good deal of fuss, and much unnecessary fear excited on such occasions among children of that age at home.
But much earlier than this, even in early infancy, does this precocity shew itself. At six weeks old, a babe will cock up his small capless and nearly hairless head, and observe the new-comer into the nursery, and smile if pleased, or scream if the “countenance likes him not;" and you will see a little being that has not seen the sun make one circle of seasons, lay hold on a toy, not to cram it in his mouth and look stupidly at it, but to turn it curiously over, open it if he can, and peep in with a
look as wise as that of a raven peeping into a marrow-bone. One mark of early observation and comprehension never failed to excite my wonder. Little creatures feed themselves very neatly, and are trusted with cups of glass and china, which they grasp firmly, carry about the rooms carefully, and deposit unbroken, at an age when in our country mamma or nurse would be rushing after them to save the vessel from destruction. My surprise has also been excited by the lengths they are permitted to go in mischief, without punishment, or scarcely admonition. I heard a grandmamma relate with complacency, how her boy had locked himself in the drawing-room, and deliberately thrown a large set of china, piece by piece, over the window. His “ reason” was, because he liked to hear the “crash.” as it fell. I inquired what she said to him. The indulgent parent had explained to the small man that “she did not choose to have her pretty china broken, as that rendered it useless ;”—a very reasonable advice to an unreasonable performer. It reminded me of an incident in the early days of Charles James Fox, whose father had given him a gold repeater. The boy said he must throw the watch against the wall. “Why must you ?” inquired Lord Holland. “Oh, just that I may see what will happen.” “Why, it will break !” “Well, papa, I just want to see how it goes when it breaks.” “Well, Charles, if you must, you must, I suppose.” The watch was thrown, and, as was