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Jean Paul (search for this): chapter 9
ophetic life had begun. I cannot foretell that child's future, but I know something of its past. The boy may grow up into a criminal, the woman into an outcast, yet the baby was beloved. It came not in utter nakedness. It found itself heir of the two prime essentials of existence,--life and love. Its first possession was a woman's kiss; and in that heritage the most important need of its career was guaranteed. An ounce of mother, says the Spanish proverb, is worth a pound of clergy. Jean Paul says that in life every successive influence affects us less and less, so that the circumnavigator of the globe is less influenced by all the nations he has seen than by his nurse. Well may the child imbibe that reverence for motherhood which is the first need of man. Where woman is most a slave, she is at least sacred to her son. The Turkish Sultan must prostrate himself at the door of his mother's apartments, and were he known to have insulted her, it would make his throne tremble. Am
r American fashion to revile as the chief of sinners, there is less of evil than of good. In Wilberforce's Memoirs there is an account of his having once asked Mr. Pitt whether his long experience as Prime Minister had made him think well or ill of his fellow-men. Mr. Pitt answered, Well ; and his successor, Lord Melbourne, beiMr. Pitt answered, Well ; and his successor, Lord Melbourne, being asked the same question, answered, after a little reflection, M y opinion is the same as that of Mr. Pitt. Let us have faith. It was a part of the vigor of the old Hebrew tradition to rejoice when a man-child was born into the world; and the maturer strength of nobler ages should rejoice over a woman-child as well. NothingMr. Pitt. Let us have faith. It was a part of the vigor of the old Hebrew tradition to rejoice when a man-child was born into the world; and the maturer strength of nobler ages should rejoice over a woman-child as well. Nothing human is wholly sad, until it is effete and dying out. Where there is life there is promise. Vitality is always hopeful, was the verdict of the most refined and clear-sighted woman who has yet explored the rough mining villages of the Rocky Mountains. There is apt to be a certain coarse virtue in rude health; as the Germanic ra
aid more to me than would any Madonna of Raphael's, for his mother never kisses her child. I believe I have never passed over that road since then, never seen the house, never heard the names of its occupants. Their character, their history, their fate, are all unknown. But these two will always stand for me as disembodied types of humanity,--the Mother and the Child; they seem nearer to me than my immediate neighbors, yet they are as ideal and impersonal as the goddesses of Greece or as Plato's archetypal man. I know not the parentage of that child, whether black or white, native or foreign, rich or poor. It makes no difference. The presence of a baby equalizes all social conditions. On the floor of some Southern hut, scarcely so comfortable as a dog-kennel, I have seen a dusky woman look down upon her infant with such an expression of delight as painter never drew. No social culture can make a mother's face more than a mother's, as no wealth can make a nursery more than a
Randalls Island (Montana, United States) (search for this): chapter 9
his crushing bereavement, this reluctant acceptance of a child by adoption, to fill the vacant heart,--how real and formidable is all this rehearsal of the tragedies of maturer years! I knew an instance in which the last impulse of ebbing life was such a gush of imaginary motherhood. A dear friend of mine, whose sweet charities prolong into a third generation the unbounded benevolence of old Isaac Hopper, used to go at Christmas-time with dolls and other gifts to the poor children on Randall's Island. Passing the bed of a little girl whom the physician pronounced to be unconscious and dying, the kind visitor insisted on putting a doll into her arms. Instantly the eyes of the little invalid opened, and she pressed the gift eagerly to her heart, murmuring over it and caressing it. The matron afterwards wrote that the child died within two hours, wearing a happy face, and still clinging to her newfound treasure. And beginning with this transfer of all human associations to a doll,
Department de Ville de Paris (France) (search for this): chapter 9
rowd, she found a protector. A policeman of great experience once spoke to me with admiration of the fidelity of professional thieves to each other, and the risks they would run for the women whom they loved;. when Bristol Bill was arrested, he said, there was found upon the burglar a set of false keys, not quite finished, by which he would certainly, within twenty-four hours, have had his mistress out of jail. Parent-Duchatelet found always the remains of modesty among the fallen women of Paris hospitals; and Mayhew, amid the London outcasts, says that he thinks better of human nature every day. Even among politicians, whom it is our American fashion to revile as the chief of sinners, there is less of evil than of good. In Wilberforce's Memoirs there is an account of his having once asked Mr. Pitt whether his long experience as Prime Minister had made him think well or ill of his fellow-men. Mr. Pitt answered, Well ; and his successor, Lord Melbourne, being asked the same questi
Lucerna (Switzerland) (search for this): chapter 9
, and a travelling-shawl with a strap, and a cap with tarletan ruffles. I found baby with the cap on, early in the morning, and she was so pleased she almost jumped out of my arms. Thus in the midst of visits to the Coliseum and St. Peters, the drama of early affection goes always on. I used to take her to hear the band, in the carriage, and she went everywhere I did. But the love of all dolls, as of other pets, must end with a tragedy, and here it comes. The next place we went to was Lucerne. There was a lovely lake there, but I had a very sad time. One day I thought I'd take baby down to breakfast, and, as I was going up stairs, my foot slipped and baby broke her head. And O, I felt so bad! and I cried out, and I ran up stairs to Annie, and mamma came, and O, we were all so sorry! And mamma said she thought I could get another head, but I said, It won't be the. same baby. And mamma said, maybe we could make it seem so. At this crisis the elder brother and sister depa
Richard Trench (search for this): chapter 9
and tenderness, at least for a time. She resumes something of the sacredness and dignity of the maiden. Coleridge ranks as the purest of human emotions that of a husband towards a wife who has a baby at her breast,--a feeling how free from sensual desire, yet how different from friendship 1 And to the true mother however cultivated, or however ignorant, this period of early parentage is happier than all else, in spite of its exhausting cares. In that delightful book, the Letters of Mrs. Richard Trench (mother of the well-known English writer), the most agreeable passage is perhaps that in which, after looking back upon a life spent in the most brilliant society of Europe, she gives the palm of happiness to the time when she was a young mother. She writes to her god-daughter: I believe it is the happiest time of any woman's life, who has affectionate feelings, and is blessed with healthy and well-disposed children. I know at least that neither the gayeties and boundless hopes of
Wilberforce (search for this): chapter 9
e said, there was found upon the burglar a set of false keys, not quite finished, by which he would certainly, within twenty-four hours, have had his mistress out of jail. Parent-Duchatelet found always the remains of modesty among the fallen women of Paris hospitals; and Mayhew, amid the London outcasts, says that he thinks better of human nature every day. Even among politicians, whom it is our American fashion to revile as the chief of sinners, there is less of evil than of good. In Wilberforce's Memoirs there is an account of his having once asked Mr. Pitt whether his long experience as Prime Minister had made him think well or ill of his fellow-men. Mr. Pitt answered, Well ; and his successor, Lord Melbourne, being asked the same question, answered, after a little reflection, M y opinion is the same as that of Mr. Pitt. Let us have faith. It was a part of the vigor of the old Hebrew tradition to rejoice when a man-child was born into the world; and the maturer strength of
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