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of cruelty towards the brute creation. It has been well said, that he who can look with pleasure upon the agonies of an unoffending and unresisting animal, will soon learn to view the sufferings of a fellow-creature with indifference. He will acquire the power of viewing them with triumph, if that fellow-creature should become the victim of his resentment, be it just or unjust. Such an instance I have known in life. When I was a school boy, like yourselves, one, whose name I will veil under the title of Inhumanitas, a boy about my own age, was ever employed in destroying reptiles and insects. If a frog hopped across his path he hopped after it, till it was crushed beneath his foot; and if a fly was seen in the window he would mount the desk, and not descend till it had expired between his clenched finger and thumb. The very boys used to hoot him for his cruelty ; but it was to no purpose. He waged war with them for their humanity, and many
of them smarted beneath the effects of his wanton cruelty. And such as Inhumanitas was at school so is he now in the world. From tormenting insects and reptiles he has learned to torment men. To offend him, is a sure method of obtaining his vengeance, if it is within his power to inflict it. As, therefore, boys, you value
your own happiness and prospects in the world, show mercy to the brute creation."
While our instructor was thus haranguing his little flock, William Burcell's cheeks were still suffused with tears, and I am glad to say that his after conduct proved that he had profited by the lesson. He even became celebrated among us for his humanity, and, on one occasion, I heard him repeating these humane lines of Aikin's
a drowning fly, as he rescued it from danger :
“In yonder glass behold a drowning fly!
Its little feet, how vainly does it ply!
Go, join thy buzzing brothers in the air." Such was the first admonition which I heard from my new master, and I was so struck with it, that when I resumed my place around the chalky ring, I fairly forgot my play, and turning to the boy next me, I asked whether master was not what they call a philosopher ?
“Perhaps so," he replied; “but mind your game, or you will lose.”
But the question was one of importance to me, and, therefore, I turned to a second for its solution.
“I cannot tell,” he answered; “but you see he can lecture us. It is your turn : knuckle down.”
Still intent upon gaining a reply to my question, however, I appealed to a third, who, seeing the game virtually stopped, bade me go and ask the master himself. The hint seemed a good one to my childish fancy, and without waiting to take my turn in the ring, I approached him for that purpose, amidst the laughter of my
companions. “Please, sir," said I, as I stood before him, are you not a philosopher ?”
The question seemed so strange to my instructor, Mr. White, that, putting down his book, and raising his spectacles to his forehead, he eyed me attentively for some time before he replied. “ Am I not a philosopher ?” he at length reiterated ; “my fine fellow, I can hardly answer your question. I am not known in the world as such; but only as a schoolmaster. Here I am, as you see, in the midst of you all, shut out from intercourse with society, and little cared for by that society. But what are your notions of a philosopher ?
“ That he is a great man,” I replied.
“ You are doubtless correct," rejoined Mr. White ;“but how could you think me a great man?”
“ Because I have heard my parents say, that true greatness consists in wisdom, and that those who are wise are called philosophers.”
“ Your parents,” replied our master, “have formed a correct notion of true greatness. The wise are ever to be preferred before the mighty, as we learn from the sage Solomon.– There was a little city,' says he, "and few men within it ; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city.' But the world does not think as Solomon thought, for he adds : 'yet no man remembered that same poor man.' So, then, you see, that wisdom does not always gain celebrity, and that every wise man is not placed by the world in the rank of
philosophers. Your question is one, therefore, I can scarcely answer; but, at the same time, I should be glad to be looked up to as such by all the boys under my care, for then they would perhaps pay greater attention to my lessons. Indeed, for this end,” he added, jocularly, “I will assume a proud station : I will pronounce myself to be a philosopher among little boys! I trust you will all be willing disciples.”
All,” thought I, as I turned round upon my heels.— I thought I was there alone. But no ! It appears, when I directed my steps to the summerhouse, a silent signal had gone the round of the merry group that some particular fun was going forward, and that each had moved on silent tiptoe in the rear. On turning round, therefore, I not only met their full gaze, but was greeted with a loud laugh, and a louder bravo! For the moment I felt abashed, but this was soon succeeded by a glow of pride. On retiring, I found that I had at once jumped into notoriety. All formed the ring around me, and unanimously dubbed
me, “the young philosopher,” one of them, named Charles Murphy, wittily observing, as they dispersed to resume their games, that he hoped I should not prove a second Diogenes.
“ No fear of that,” I replied to myself, and, taking up my neglected taw, knuckled down, and won the game amidst chagrin and applause.
A PICTURE OF A SCHOOLMASTER-THE TRIO-THEY RUN AWAY
FROM SCHOOL-ARE FOLLOWED BY MR. WHITE, WHO OVERTAKES THEM AND BRINGS THEM BACK-ACCOUNT OF HIS ADVENTURE-WRITES TO THEIR PARENTS-HIS LETTER-SCENE WITH THE POSTMAN-MR. WHITE RECEIVES ANSWERS TO HIS LETTERS--READS THAT FROM MRS. MARTIN-AT THE REQUEST OF THEIR PARENTS RETAINS THE TR10 AT HIS SCHOOL.
“ ART thou a man professionally tied,
With all thy faculties elsewhere applied,