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Importance of Attention: Mother. Did not you tell us as much
about the lecture the other night, when A DIALOGUE.
you came home, as he did ? Charles sitting with his book in his
Charles. Yes, and more too; father
said I did. hand; his mother at work.
Mother. That required memory cerCharles. Mother! is it almost school- tainly. I do not think you have any time?
right to lay blame on any natural defect. Mother. No; you have full half an Charles. Oh, I did not mean to say hour.
that; but all I know is that Richard gets Charles. Only half an hour? Will his lessons quicker than I do; and what you hear me try to say this lesson again ? can the reason be? He is not three
Mother. No, for I am sure you will weeks older than I am, and don't seem say it no better than before.
a bit cleverer than I am about other Charles. Why, mother?
things. Mother. Because you have not been Mother. Did you ever happen to sit studying. I have been looking at you near him, when he was studying ? from time to time, and have scarcely Charles. Yes, that I have, and I seen your eyes fixed once on your book. would rather sit next any boy in school.
Charles. "I was only watching Jerry, Mother. Why? for fear he would weed up my young Charles. Oh, I don't know; there's balsams.
no comfort in it. He is as dumpy and Mother. I fancy Jerry knows what cross over his books as a dog with a he is about.
bone. He won't let anybody speak to Charles. Well; I will study now. him. Mother. Do you generally whistle Mother. What, not to ask a reasonwhen you study, Charles ?
able question ? Charles. Was I whistling?
Charles. Oh! as to that, he helps me Mother. Yes, and with your eyes sometimes, when I get stuck; he is fixed on my canary bird.
always good-natured enough about that; Charles. Well, mother, I can't help but what I mean is, if I ask him to look it. This is the hardest and stupidest at anything funny, or want to talk to lesson that ever was.
him about any of our plays, a minute, Mother. And yet you told me your he says I disturb him, and take off his cousin Richard learned it, yesterday, in attention; and if I go on, just to fidget twenty minutes.
him a little, he takes up his books and Charles. Then it is I that am stupid, marches off somewhere else. I suppose.
Mother. He complains that you take Mother. I rather think not. I believe off his attention, does he ? your memory is as good as Richard's. Charles. Yes, mother; is not that
Charles. Oh, mother! he always cross in him? learns his lessons quicker than I do. Mother. Richard has learned a very
Mother. And does that prove that his important secret, I see. memory is better?
Charles. A secret? What? one that Charles. To be sure it does.
helps him get his lessons ? Mother. When you are at play, does Mother. Yes. he remember things better than you
do? Charles. I wish poor I could find it Charles. Why, no, I believe not. out.
It is as
Mother. I can tell it to you in one in dismay, exclaiming, “There, I have word which you used just now.
been studying this plaguy lesson more good as “ Open Sesame” in the play of than an hour, and I can't say it yet. Is the Forty Thieves which you read the it not enough to discourage à body, other day.
mother?” Charles. What can it be?
Charles, (laughing.) That's just my Mother. Attention-Charles—atten- whine, mother, but the plain truth of tion! that will open the door of your the matter is, I do get discouraged. I mind and let the lesson in.
don't see any use in working so hard. Charles. Oh dear! I wish bawling Mother. But you would not have to the word out aloud would answer the work so hard-0
or at least not near so purpose.
long, if you would go to work in the Mother. I cannot say that it will, so right way. my comparison is not a good one; but I Charles. But it is the working at all wished to fix your attention, so I refer- that I object to, mother. I don't know red to something that had amused you. but I might like study better if I could But, in good earnest, Charles, the only see any use in it; but as long as I can reason why Richard learns quicker than read and write, I shan't look like a fool; you do is, that he never allows himself and what is the use of cracking my to think of anything else while he is brains about anything more? getting his lesson. You speak of your Mother. I should be very sorry to self as studying as long as you are hold. have you crack your brains with study, ing the book in your hand, though in Charles. Do you feel as if there were fact you are not studying one quarter any danger of it? of the time. What is studying, Charles ? Charles. Why no, not exactly. But Charles. Trying to fix something in why need I study?
Mother. You cannot conceive of any Mother. Very good; a better answer pleasure in acquiring knowledge, then? than I expected. Now, were you try; Charles. Oh, yes; I like to know all ing to fix your lesson in your mind I can by reading interesting books; I while you were watching Jerry ? or like to read some histories, and biograwhile you were scratching with your phies, and travels. That all comes very pencil on that window-seat? or whist- easy; that is amusement. ling to my canary bird?
Mother. Are you sure that while Charles. No, indeed.
skimming books in this manner, for Mother. Yet during the three quar- amusement, you are really laying up ters of an hour you have sat at the win- much knowledge that you can make dow, with a book in your hand, these useful ? Do you ever stop to reflect have been your principal employments. upon it and arrange it ?-or is it all Once or twice you began to read the jumbled together in your mind ? Have lesson over to yourself, but something you never made strange blunders in would draw off your attention in the talking about the very
had midst; your thoughts were gone from read ? it in an instant; the slight impression it Charles. Why, yes, I must own that had made was effaced; and when you I have; and I have got laughed at, returned to your task, you were just sometimes. where
had been ten minutes before. Mother. That is only one of the evils Yet at nine o'clock you would jump up to which you will be exposed by being
superficial. My dear, you cannot get Mother. My son, I fear you would along even respectably in well-informed indeed, if we could cruelly permit you society without disciplining your mind to enter on life devoid of some of its to habits of attention and reflection; and best resources against the temptations one great advantage of youthful study that beset the idle. A young man, in is, that it does so discipline the mind. the situation which you have just de
Charles. Well, you and father talk scribed, would be almost certain to seek about “habits of the mind,” and “dis- occupation and excitement from drink. ciplining the mind," and tell me to ing and cards. The strongest religious leave off this habit of thinking, and that principles might save him, but the conhabit of not thinking, just as you tell me flict would be terrible,—the result doubtto cure myself of twirling this button on ful; and I cannot think of the danger my jacket!
without tears. Mother. And don't you understand Charles. Dear mother, you do not what we mean?
think I should ever be a wicked man, Charles. Oh yes,
I see the sense of it. do you? Mother. And do not you think that Mother. I cannot tell. I cannot bear with perseverance you can accomplish to think of it. We will talk of another what we wish? You do not mean to part of this subject; for it is very neces. tell us that you cannot manage your own sary that I should. All this while, you mind ?
have said nothing of the way in which Charles. But it is so hard! And to you are to be supported in the easy
back to this matter of study, mother; you propose. when I talked to sister Ellen about it, Charles. Supported ? what am I to yesterday, she said that if I did not study live on? On my fortune. I never could be a lawyer, or a minister, Mother. And where is it? or a doctor, or a merchant, or anything Charles. Ah, I have none now; but of the sort. Now why need I be either? then there is father so rich, and only
Mother. What would you like to be ? Ellen and I. Of course, he won't leave Charles. Just a gentleman.
his money to anybody else, will he ? Mother. An idle gentleman ?
Mother. How can you be sure that Charles. No, not an idle one. I he will not leave it to an hospital ? You should like to pass my time in reading know he has given much to public chariand accomplishments.
ties. Mother. What accomplishments do Charles. Ah, mother, you know he
will not neglect us ! Charles. Music and drawing; is not Mother. Stranger things have hapthat what people mean by accomplish- pened; but, however, I do not think it at ments ?
all likely that you will lose your fortune Mother. But are you not aware that in that way. But why should you so it requires study and close attention to entirely forget the passage of scripturemaster these little matters of music and “ Riches take to themselves wings?” drawing, particularly for those who have Ought you not to be prepared with some not an uncommon taste for them? way of supporting yourself, supposing
Charles. Does it? Well, then I would that text should be verified in your case ? let the music and drawing alone. I dare Charles. But, somehow or other, I say I should find some way of passing don't believe it will be.
Mother. That is a blind, boyish belief
to rest upon. How do you know that it will be necessary for you to get your your father is now rich ?
mind into right habits of attention; for Charles. Why, all the boys in school you will have to support yourself, at say
he is one of the richest men in the least. It is even possible that your pacity. And then, mother, have we not rents, in their old age, may require some always lived like rich people ?
assistance from you. Your father can Mother. That may be a sign that we hardly hope to acquire even a moderate always have been rich, but not that we fortune again, before he will be an old shall be not that we are, Charles !
Charles. I don't understand you, mo Charles. Oh, mother! it almost makes ther.
my head ache to think of all this, for I Mother. I must make you compre- don't seem to understand yet that it is hend me, my dear boy. Your father really so, though I try with all my might told me I must talk with you to-day, to-toand I intended to wait till you returned, Mother. Realize it? at night; but this is a better opportunity. Charles. Yes, that is the word I was Have you not seen that
father has after. And what did you do, when been more taken up with his business father told you about it, mother? Did than usual, for some weeks past? Have you not cry? you not observed that he was very Mother. I did, when I was alone, thoughtful ?
Charles; for I have lived in this house Charles. Yes, mother; at least, I did ever since I was married, and I love it; after Ellen mentioned it to me, for she and I love the furniture, which my paobserves more than I do. What is the rents gave me ;-but it must all be sold. matter?
Charles. Why, where shall we live? Mother. Your father will fail to-mor Mother. In a small house of mine at row, Charles
the south-end, where your nurse used to Charles. Fail! and what is failing, live. But I shed more tears at first mother? I hear people talk about fails about you and Ellen. We cannot afford ing, and say “such a man has failed,” to educate you as we intended. and I know it is something bad; but Charles. And there was I complainwhat is it?
ing this very morning about having to Mother. It is when a man owes more study ! money than he can pay, and gives up Mother. Your thoughtless words made all his property to be divided among my heart ache, Charles ! his creditors.
Charles. If I have to get my living, Charles. And is that what has hap- why cannot I be a lawyer ? pened to father? And will he give up Mother. Your father cannot send you everything he has in the world? That to college ; your studies must all be is very bad.
directed towards preparing to enter a Mother. Certainly. He would not counting-room as soon as possible. have any man lose a cent of money on Your father's mercantile friends respect his account. Would you wish that he him, for striving to pay all his debts, should wrong those who trusted him? and they will help you. But, Charles,
Charles. Oh no! I should rather you will find it necessary to give your study from morning till night, if that most earnest attention to your new purwould do
suits. Mother. You perceive, Charles, that Charles. That I will, mother! I will
find out how cousin Richard manages injuring you. Wipe your eyes, Charles, his mind. Attention! yes, indeed I will. and go to school. Your quarter will I shall think of nothing now but what I close next Saturday, and then we must ought. I shall never waste my time take you from that expensive school. again.
But wherever you go, I think you will Mother. You promise confidently, find that study-real study-will make Charles; and in truth I shall shed fewer difficult things soon become easy; and tears, if I find this change in our situa- there will be a pleasure in it you have tion may benefit my beloved son's char- never known, while holding your book acter. It was too plain that the expec- indolently with a wandering mind. tation of a fortune from
The Horse and the Bells,
A FABLE. A WAGONER, whose business it was to There was much truth and good sense transport goods from one town to another, in the observation of the wagoner. “All had a fine horse, upon whose saddle he work and no play,” says the proverb, was accustomed to carry several bells, “makes Jack a dull boy.” It is right which kept up a cheerful jingling as he and proper that should devote some trudged along the road. The horse got part of our time to amusement, for by used to these bells, and was so much this means we are cheered and enlivened, pleased with them, that he seemed dull and qualified to engage in our severer and out of spirits when, for some reason, duties with good effect. But we should they were left off. The wagoner, per- be careful of two points: first, that we ceiving that his horse did not work so choose innocent amusements, and secwell without the bells, restored them to ond, that we do not permit our recreatheir place, remarking, that his horse was tions so far to engross our thoughts or like himself-he liked music and merri- our time, as to interfere with the sober ment, and even hard work came more business of life. easy for a little recreation by the way.