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the little reader, to whom all the unknown world may be quite as wonderful as are the artificial little personages who are painted from the scenes of every-day life, on which the child's observation can act for itself. There is another and equally reprehensible fault in modern books -holding up grown people to the censure and criticism of children. Whether as contrasting the good boy's parents with the bad boy's parents, or in what form soever this impulse is given, it is sowing a seed of evil-teaching what will come too soon of itself, and from the tendency of social example and the direct inculcation of popular literature. It is the privilege of the child that he shall be exempt from judgment as to his own actions-that he shall be thought for. This faculty should be equally dormant with regard to other people and their doings; it is only to be developed with his years, when it must be exercised as the attribute of a different state. To call forth the spirit of criticism in children is to instil into their tender minds the vainest of temptations, that of getting their own faults hid by gazing on those of other people, a mental legerdemain whereby we
Compound for sins we are inclined to By damning those we have no mind to, a process fatal to the innocence and respect of childhood.
Miss Edgeworth's early tales still keep the foremost place as depicting the characters of children without blinking or exaggeration. The Parent's Cabinet* follows in the same path. It contains a great variety of matter suitable to various ages and requirements, and is entirely free from the errors we have remarked above. The tales are good in principle and natural in manner; the instructive stories, whether conveying historical, mechanical, or natural information, are excellent. The subjects are well chosen, taken from things which come under the daily notice of children, such as pumps, clocks, martens, pigeons, frogs, toads, &c., and are quite free from unnecessary comments and absurd reflections. We object to historical tales for two rea
sons in the first place, because we know of no good ones, history and probability being lost sight of in the endeavour after local or periodical mannerism in all we have met with; and in the second place, because the minds of children are so eminently associative that the illustrative tales would come between the child and actual history, clouding and bewildering his impressions. All who have had much to do with children will recognise the excessive influence of association on their intelligence, so that if a child have been early initiated into mathematics by the aid of illustrative colours it is a difficult matter to get him to see that a parabola is not necessarily red, nor an hyperbola essentially blue.
Of all fictions the Danish tales of Hans Christian Andersen are the most perfect. The characteristic charm of Andersen's writing is its expansiveness: gay, tender, innocent and educational to children, it is full of wisdom for the wise, wit for the witty, and humour for the humorous; and so skilfully are all these elements introduced and arranged, so cunningly are they enveloped in characters intelligible only to the already initiated, that like sympathetic ink they come forth to none but the gifted.
The wisdom is not poured headlong on the child, the satire does not excite him to judge and criticise, the humour does not encourage him to ridicule, nor the wit inculcate presumption. The very perfection of tales are these; loving and wise, with a beautiful combination of humour and pathos, containing on the surface and for the child's ear all that a child may hear; and in stranger tones, inaudible to him, lessons for the worldly, the presumptuous, the thoughtless, and all the various shades of worldly arrogance and error, whose faintest whispers cannot disturb the undeveloped nature of the infant. There is no preaching: no lowering the divine and disfiguring the beauty of nature and humanity by miserable attempts to explain everything by one square rule, bringing down the wis
*The Parent's Cabinet of Amusement and Instruction. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1832, 1833.
dom of the uninterpretable to serve as signpost to every commonplace. The story of the Ugly Duck' is a good average specimen of his style. This poor bird, the only ugly one of the brood, is ill-treated from the moment of its birth on account of its ugliness. The little family are hatched in a nest under burdock leaves, and the ducklings finding so much more room under their shade than in the close egg-shell, exclaim with infinite satisfaction,—
'How immense the world is!"
'Do you think this is the whole world?" said their mother. 'It extends far towards the other side of the garden, straight to the vicar's field: but there I have never been.'
When the new brood are first presented in the poultry-yard, they 'find two families quarrelling over the remains of some fried eel, which nobody but the cat got after all!'
'Behold, my children,' said Mamma Duck, and licked her bill, for she had a taste for fried eel, too, such is the world!'
They are next instructed in duck etiquette, and introduced to her grace' the old Spanish duck, who tells them to make themselves at home, and if they find an eel's head to take it to her. And then they felt quite at home.' But all the poultry-yard are unkind to the ugly duck, some peck it, and some taunt it-the most severe being always the most civilized. And the turkeycock that had spurs on when he came into the world, and therefore fancied himself an emperor,' is particularly spiteful; so the ugly duck escapes, and after various persecutions from men and animals, stands one evening in front of a little hut, so wretched a tenement that it could not determine on which side it should fall down, and therefore remained standing.' Here dwelt an old woman with her tom-cat and her hen: the duck is received into this family, where the tom-cat was master in the house, and the hen was mistress; and they always said, We and the World: for they thought that they were the half of the world, and by far the better half into the bargain. The duck thought it might be of another opinion; but that the hen would not allow;' Can you lay eggs?' asked she.
'What next, I wonder!' said the hen. 'You have nothing to do, and so you sit brooding over such fancies. Lay eggs, or purr, and you'll forget them.
But it is so delightful to swim on the water!' said the duck; so delightful when it dashes over one's head, and one dives down to the very bottom!
'Well, that must be a fine pleasure! said the hen. 'You are crazy, I think. Ask the cat, who is the cleverest man I know, if he would like to swim on the water, or perhaps to dive; to say nothing of myself. Ask our mistress, the old lady, and there is no one in the world cleverer than she is; do you think that she would much like to swim on the water, and for the water to dash over her head?
'You don't understand me,' said the duck.
"Understand, indeed! If we don't understand you, who should do so?
.. Now, just take the trouble to learn to purr or make a cracking noise.'
So the duck leaves this clever intolerant party, and after a few more troubles it settles on a sheet of water, hoping to be killed and put out of its misery by some noble birds to which it feels inexpressibly attracted; but the beautiful creatures receive it kindly, and on bending its head down to smooth its plumage, it sees its own reflection in the water, and finds that it has grown like the stately birds beside it, and so from having been considered an ugly duck it becomes a lovely swan.
We will not describe the touch. ing story of The Little Mermaid' with her dignified grandmother, who orders six large oysters to hang themselves to the tail of the Princess as a sign of her high descent; and rejects the little Mermaid's com plaint of being hurt by them, by the
assurance that 'little discomforts are not to be minded if we wish to look well;' neither will we sketch the Swineherd and the foolish Princess, nor the witty tale of the 'Emperor's New Clothes,' nor the deep wisdom of the Shadow' which assumes to be a man, and gradually supplants the real man to whom it was shadow, by dint of some adventitious circumstances and the aid of dress. Yes, the Shadow was extremely well dressed, and it was just that which made so complete a man of him,'-because we would not mar the delight which these tales can confer on old and young, by giving portions of what should be read entire.
The most hopeful fiction for young people we have seen for a long time is Ethel Lea;* which, though of an interest too mature for very little children, and embracing machinery somewhat too complicated, contains all the materials necessary to make a good writer of children's tales. There is such a real understanding of what a good English home can be in mansion and cottage; such a fresh natural picturing of the boys;' such a thorough knowledge of animals and their ways, and such happy sketches of their doings in the family circle, that the authoress has only to improve on these faculties, and with her true insight into things, and sensible discrimination of the reverential disposition of the religious elements, she may become a welcome addition to the very small circle of those who can write good tales for children. The stories supposed to be written by Alan Lea, though their sentimental style may be a very good representation of a boy's manner, would have been much better if told in the authoress's own natural way.
In most of the semi-instructive books for children, facts of every kind are represented, not as they are, but as they appear reflected from a cylindrical mirror of cant. The model for books, combining both information and amusement, is Sir Hornbook, or Childe Launcelot's Expedition. (J. Cundall, Bond
• What men are you beside the way?
'My name is The, my brother's A,'
My brother's home is anywhere,
For one fixed spot, and settle there,
Which speaks my constant mind."
They travel on till they come to the dwelling place of the substantive.
Before the circle stood a knight,
Sir Substantive his name,
Who seemed a portly dame;
Yet only seemed; for whensoe'er
She strove to stand alone,
And therefore to her husband's arm
She clung for evermore,
And lent him many a grace and charm
Having conquered these, and dren and dependants, they next marched off with them, their chilmarch on Sir Pronoun, whose position and downfall are capitally described; and when he is disposed of, they ascend to the abode of Sir Verb.
Sir Verb was old, and many a year,
Through every mode of being. The canto which describes the attack on Sir Verb, and the characteristic resistance of all the different moods and tenses, is very good.
Conjunction press'd to join the crowd;
That he would go before.
Sir Hornbook next leads the Childe to the place where Sir Syntax and Prosody reside.
* Ethel Lea: a Story. By Anna King. London: John W. Parker and Son.
Author of Hours of Childhood.
And thought no earthly thing so rare, That might with that fond twain compare, When they were both united. They next overtake Etymology, and Sir Hornbook takes leave of Childe Launcelot, leaving him to wander in those regions of promise. verse is martial, metrical, and musical; the definitions are as accurate as they could be in the most precise prose, and are further assisted by short notes; the action has, apart from its allegorical meaning, all the vividness of a heroic ballad, and the illustrations are elegant and appropriate.
There may be other books besides those we have mentioned, equally excellent in the respective branches of tales and instructive fictions. We have given of those we are acquainted with, such as are representatives of that which should form the constructive principle of the different kinds.
In connexion with nursery literature certain views about toys occur tons. There never was a period in which so great a variety, and of such beautiful workmanship, were to be met with, and yet we have seen none which supply any desideratum that the old-fashioned ones hacked. Children's wants seem to be multipled, while their needs remain unprovided for. Every article, from the scullery to the attic, of household use, is accurately mimicked in the doll's house; every thing, from the barking dog to the poisted cannon, is imitated with precision. There are even pumps which will pump up water as well ss real ones, but children tire of thee thing very soon, because there is nothing in them to employ their own minds: the toys do too much, and leave nothing for the eld to do; or too little, and do not eccary the child in arranging and tracing causes. A piece of card, out
of which a child is directed to form its own cart, house, or boat, will occupy it longer, and instruct it more than a whole box-full of ready made articles. Of the in-door toys now existent, the doll, box of bricks, Noak's ark, transparent slate, and coloured right angles for forming designs and patterns, are excellent, and afford never-failing amusement. But there is a wide field of invention for the production of toys of a very superior kind, affording permanent amusement, because necessitating occupation, and giving instruction of the most useful prac tical kind. If instead of making effect-producing toys people would arrange cause expounding ones, giving adissected pump, whose pumping would depend on the child's putting it together properly, instead of a ready made one whose mode of working is an impenetrable secret, amusement would be prolonged, while instruction would be imparted. Locomotives, windmills, and fifty other mechanical toys of a similar nature might be manufactured. These would have two other advantages they would tend to develop the mechanical talent wherever it existed, and that talent being the one which at the present day offers the widest scope to discovery and intelligence, it becomes important to ascertain and foster its existence. They would also instil carefulness; being made in separate pieces, the loss of any one of which would incapacitate the whole, children would learn to collect and put them away after use.
All the various machinery of songs, toys, tales, and science, is a valuable adjunct to the education of the home example. The lessons of literature must second and not contradict the experience of actuality. An atmosphere of definite relations must enclose and unite all the feelings, duties, and instructions of the child, and all that is not so enclosed will crumble away like the baseless fabric of a vision, or enchain the misled intelligence to a foggy land of quagmires and fens.
HISTORY OF THE HUNGARIAN WAR.
WE earnestly hope that before long some authentic history of the political course of the Hungarian insurrection will be published by those best acquainted with its true character.-The Times, October 17, 1851.
R. KOSSUTH'S appeal, though assiduously thrust upon the notice of foreign countries, made little or no impression at the time. Count Ladislas Teleky, and Francis Pulszky, his agents at Paris and London, obtained nothing from those in power but vague expressions of sympathy. In their appeals to public opinion they were equally unsuccessful, for both France and England were ignorant of the nature of the contest, and of the principles and interests which were involved in it. In England, indeed, the Hungarian question was advocated by some radical politicians; but those who took it in hand used it rather for the purposes of local agitation in the absence of a nearer and more taking cry, than because they wished the Government to adopt the measures they advocated with much apparent vehemence in all places except the one in which, if sincere, they were bound to propose them.
The nobleman who at the time presided over the foreign affairs of the kingdom made some demonstrations of sympathy for Hungary and of ill-will against Austria and Russia. But his intentions went evidently no further than to conciliate the good opinion of the party which championed the Hungarian question. His colleagues stood aloof in supine indifference. The general public might be excused for their indifference to the momentous question of the Russian intervention, but no such excuse applies to the case of the statesmen in and out of office who guided the destinies of England at that critical period. They plumed themselves. on foreseeing the end of the struggle, and from first to last they with great self-sufficiency treated Hungary as doomed. Or taking shelter behind the foibles and errors of Mr.
Kossuth, and some of the more glaring crimes of his adherents, they begged the question, instead of boldly facing it. As politicians, they ought to have seen farther than the end of the year; as statesmen, it was their duty to provide against the dangers of the time. They ought to have guided the event; they were dragged along by it. They perpetuated the revolution by conniving at the triumph of the party which lashed it into existence. They feared a collision with Russia, and smiled at the extension of Russian influence. By protecting the independence of Hungary, they might have moderated the excesses of her revolutionary fury. By resisting the encroachments of Russia, they might have scared her back within her own frontiers, or at least have chosen their own time and mode of warfare. By permitting the Russian intervention, the English Cabinet favoured that combination of despotic states which the politicians of these days anticipate. They pleaded the treaties of 1815 and 1820 to excuse their want of energy. They knew what has within the last months been energetically expressed by a writer in a great journal,* that those treaties are waste paper, that each party has broken them in turn, and that Cracow, Italy, and Germany, have found them an insulting mockery.' They shut their eyes to the danger, and denied its existence, on the strength of wilful ignorance. The lukewarm attempts which were occasionally made to direct the attention of the House of Commons to the great European question, which Russia was left to decide in her own manner and according to her own interests, fell to the ground, amidst the derisive cheers of men whom duty and interest ought to have compelled to preserve the influence, to vindicate the rights, and to assert the dignity of England in the councils of European nations. Their
* Letter of an Englishman' to the Times.