So saying, the gentleman walks on, and the horse, followed by his driver, goes galloping forward in high glee.
Now, by simply manifesting thus a fellow-feeling with the boys in their childish play, the stranger not only gives a fresh impulse to their enjoyment at the time, but establishes a friendly relationship between them and him which, without his doing any thing to strengthen or perpetuate it, will of itself endure for a long time. If he does not speak to the boys again for months, every time they meet him they will be ready to greet him with a smile.
The incident will go much farther towards establishing friendly relations between him and them than any presents that he could make them—except so far as his presents were of such a kind, and were given in such a way, as to be expressions of kindly feeling towards them—that is to say, such as to constitute of themselves a manifestation of sympathy.
The uncle who gives his nephews and nieces presents, let them be ever so costly or beautiful, and takes no interest in their affairs, never inspires them with any feeling of personal affection. They like him as they like the apple-tree which bears them sweet and juicy apples, or the cow that gives them milk—which is on their part a very different sentiment from that which they feel for the kitten that plays with them and shares their joys—or even for their dolls, which are only pictured in their imagination as sharing them.
Sophronia and Aurelia.
Miss Sophronia calls at a house to make a visit. A child of seven or eight years of age is playing upon the floor. After a little time, at a pause in the conversation, she calls the child—addressing her as “My little girl”—to come to her. The child—a shade being cast over her mind by being thus unnecessarily reminded of her littleness—hesitates to come. The mother says, “Come and shake hands with the lady, my dear!” The child comes reluctantly. Miss Sophronia asks what her name is, how old she is, whether she goes to school, what she studies there, and whether she likes to go to school, and at length releases her. The child, only too glad to be free from such a tiresome visitor, goes back to her play, and afterwards the only ideas she has associated with the person of her visitor are those relating to her school and her lessons, which may or may not be of an agreeable character.
Presently, after Miss Sophronia has gone, Miss Aurelia comes in. After some conversation with the mother, she goes to see what the child is building with her blocks. After looking on for a moment with an expression of interest in her countenance, she asks her if she has a doll. The child says she has four. Miss Aurelia then asks which she likes best, and expresses a desire to see that one. The child, much pleased, runs away to bring it, and presently comes back with all four. Miss Aurelia takes them in her hands, examines them, talks about them, and talks to them; and when at last the child goes back to her play, she goes with the feeling in her heart that she has found a new friend.