+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

They pelt each other with the lilies of the
valley. They call up at will fantastic masques,
grim giants play to make them merry, a
thousand grotesque loving phantoms kiss them;
to each the mother is the one thing real, the
highest blissthe next bliss is the dream of
all the world beside. Some that are motherless,
all mother's love. Every gesture, every
look, every odour, every song, adds to the
charm of love which fills the valley. Some
little figures fall and die, and on the valley's
soil they crumble into violets and lilies, with
love-tears to hang in them like dew.

"Who dares to come down with a frown
into this happy valley? A severe man seizes
an unhappy, shrieking child, and leads it to
the roughest ascent of the mountain. He will
lead it over steep rocks to the plain of the
mature. On ugly needle-points he makes the
child sit down, and teaches it its duty in the
world above."

"Its duty, mortal! do you listen to the

"Spirit, I hear now. The child is informed
about two languages spoken by nations extinct
centuries ago, and something also, O Spirit,
about the bass of a hypothenuse."

"Does the child attend?"

"Not much; but it is beaten sorely, and its
knees are bruised against the rocks, till it is
hauled up, woe-begone and weary, to the upper
plain. It looks about bewildered; all is strange,
it knows not how to act. Fogs crown the
barren mountain paths. Spirit, I am unhappy;
there are many children thus hauled up, and
as young men upon the plain; they walk in
fog, or among brambles; some fall into pits;
and many, getting into flower-paths, lie down
and learn. Some become active, seeking right,
but ignorant of what right is; they wander
among men out of their fog-land, preaching
folly. Let me go back among the children."

"Have they no better guide?"

"Yes, now there comes one with a smiling
face, and rolls upon the flowers with the
little ones, and they are drawn to him.
And he has magic spells to conjure up glorious
spectacles of fairy land. He frolics with them
and might be first cousin to the butterflies.
He wreathes their little heads with flower
garlands, and with his fairy land upon his lips
he walks toward the mountains; eagerly they
follow. He seeks the smoothest upward path,
and that is but a rough one, yet they run up
merrily, guide and children, butterflies
pursuing still the flowers as they nod over a host
of laughing faces. They talk of the delightful
fairy world, and resting in the shady places
learn of the yet more delightful world of God.
They learn to love the Maker of the Flowers,
to know, how great the Father of the Stars
must be, how good must be the Father of the
Beetle. They listen to the story of the race
they go to labour with upon the plain, and
love it for the labour it has done. They learn
old languages of men, to understand the past
more eagerly they learn the voices of the
men of their own day, that they may take
part with the present. And in their study
when they flag, they fall back upon thoughts
of the Child Valley they are leaving. Sports
and fancies are the rod and spur that bring
them with new vigour to the lessons. When
they reach the plain they cry, " We know you,
men and women; we know to what you have
aspired for centuries; we know the love there
is in you; we know the love there is in God;
we come prepared to labour with you, dear,
good friends. We will not call you clumsy
when we see you tumble, we will try to pick
you up; when we fall, you shall pick us up.
We have been trained to love, and therefore
we can aid you heartily, for love is

The Spirit whispered, " You have seen and
you have heard. Go now, and speak unto
your fellow-men: ask justice for the child."

To-day should love To-morrow, for it is a
thing of hope; let the young Future not be
nursed by Care. God gave not fancy to the
child that men should stamp its blossoms
down into the loose soil of intellect. The
child's heart was not made full to the brim of
love, that men should pour its love away, and
bruise instead of kiss the trusting innocent.
Love and fancy are the stems on which we
may graft knowledge readily. What is called
by some dry folks a solid foundation may be
a thing not desirable. To cut down all the
trees and root up all the flowers in a garden,
to cover walks and flower-beds alike with a
hard crust of well-rolled gravel, that would
be to lay down your solid foundation after a
plan which some think good in a child's mind,
though not quite worth adopting in a garden.
O, teacher, love the child and learn of it; so
let it love and learn of you.


An interesting case of educational destitution
presents itself in the following letter.
It is written by the son of a poor, but honest,
brickmaker of Hammersmith, who emigrated
to Sidney, and is now a shepherd at Bathurst.
While the facts it contains are clearly stated,
and the sentiments expressed are highly creditable
to the writershowing that his moral
training had not been neglected by his parents
the orthography is such as, we may safely
affirm, would not have emanated from any
human being with similar abilities, and in a
similar station, than an Englishman.

England stands pre-eminent in this respect.
The parents of this letter-writer were too
poor to pay to have their child taught, and
consequently with the best will in the world
to be an ordinary scholar, he is unable to
spell. The clever manner in which such
letters are selected as represent the sounds
he is in the habit of giving to each word, shows
an aptitude which would assuredly have made