« AnteriorContinuar »
hood to manhood, living long, long years in that lingering gaze. He always blessed us by . awaking with a smile. An unutterable sweetness played over his lips, and his hands were outstretched in gentle joy. “His hair is growing darker. He will look like you, Clarissa.” “No, Edward, his cradle shades it. See now, as I turn it to the light, your own sunny brown, and Polly thinks his eyes are blue.” To this day the point is not settled. Frederick, who is now a successor in his father's office, has dark eyes when shaded by fatigue or sorrow, but in health and joy they light up with his father's hue. Notwithstanding Mr. Packard's arguments about expanding the chest, and though he was as brave as a lion, and, in the old uniform of “The Ancient and Honourable Artillery,” white broadcloth, faced with red, with a gold-laced chapeau bras, he looked as though
yet was he a mere coward when Frederick opened his infantile battery of screams; and from this weakness arose the uncomfortable habit of walking with him at night. Even after my husband became Judge Packard, you might have seen his honour at the dead of night, with a half naked baby in his arms, whose whims increased in proportion to their indulgence. For myself, I scarcely knew whether to laugh or weep one night, when, as peeping from my comfortable pillow, I saw the judge dividing the remains of a cold turkey between little Martha, my eldest daughter, and her brother. Fred was then four years old.
When Frederick ceased to be fretful, he became mischievous. By a well-timed slap, I cured him of some daydawn experiments on me; but his favourite plaything at that hour, so delightful for repose after a disturbed night, was his father's nose; and when with a groan or remonstrance he turned away, the boy's scream became so tremendous that the nasal toy was restored.
Nothing is more helpless than a kind-hearted man with a passionate child. Its very weakness is its strength, and though one finger of his masculine hand could terminate its existence, yet the infant's feeblest touch can conquer both body and mind.
It is not my intention to theorize on the subject of managing children; I am simply practical. When Frederick was a week old, his father brought home the treatises of Hamilton, West, Edgeworth, &c. on education. I had previously seen him poring over Rousseau and Xenophon. He read them faithfully, and discussed them eloquently, yet not one of these writers could induce him to deny Fred his nose; therefore, finding them insufficient to establish his authority, and not having much taste for reading, I did not look into these celebrated works, and yet my boy obeyed my words, and even my looks. I found great virtue in a rational, well managed rod. Scolding is every
way injurious. It is pouring water into a sieve; your child becomes accustomed to threats, and the passions of both rise with the voice. “How did you contrive to be so cool,” said a gentleman to a Quaker, “when that rascally porter cheated you?” His reply is a lesson to parents and housewives. “Friend, I long ago obliged myself not to speak loud, and therefore I never lose my temper.” I have seen so many well-regulated families brought up under Solomon's discipline, and sometimes controlled by the mere sight of a switch hung over the mantelpiece, that I am tempted to think he is getting too much out of fashion, and modern theories, with their feather rods, “seem to me like the crackling of thorns under the pot.” My first sally from my bedroom was to ride; a common custom in New-England. My babe protested with all his lungs, and well he might, against the preparations of his cumbrous toilet. He instinctively raised his trembling hands to his frilled cap, and when a smart blue satin hat was perched on the top of that, making him by contrast look the colour of a mummy, his indignation was beyond all bounds; and the flannel blanket, enveloping the whole, scarcely smothered his screams. The motion of the chaise fortunately soon lulled him to sleep, and I was enabled to enjoy the repose of nature. Every object was as fresh as though it had just sprung into being before my eyes. The beautiful sloping hills of Brooklyn, the sparkling fulness of Charles river emptying into the bay, the apple orchards filling the senses with gentle colours and odours, the sweet-brier throwing out its perfume at the very feet of passengers, the barberry bushes, with their delicate yellow blossoms, preludes to the scarlet fruit of autumn, and even the palace-like buildings, placed at almost regular distances along the road from Cambridge to Sweet Auburn, seemed all made for me. I pressed my boy close to my heart, with a gush of gratitude to Him who had thus blessed me. The cares of life had