“When called to recitations, she recollects that some task was assigned, which, till that moment, she had forgotten; of others she had mistaken the extent, most commonly thinking them to be shorter than her companions suppose. In her answers to questions with which she should be familiar, she always manifests more or less of hesitation, and what she ventures to express is very commonly in the form of a question. In these, as in all exercises, there is an inattention to general instructions. Unless what is said be addressed particularly to herself, her eyes are directed toward another part of the room; it may be, her thoughts are employed about something not at all connected with the school. If reproved by her teacher for negligence in any respects, she is generally provided with an abundance of excuses, and however mild the reproof, she receives it as a piece of extreme severity.
“Throughout her whole deportment there is an air of indolence and a want of interest in those exercises which should engage her attention. In her seat, she most commonly sits in some lazy posture—either with her elbows upon her desk, her head leaning upon her hands, or with her seat tipped forward or backward. When she has occasion to leave her seat, it is in a sauntering, lingering gait—perhaps some trick is contrived on the way for exciting the mirth of her companions.
“About every thing in which it is possible to be so, she is untidy. Her books are carelessly used, and placed in her desk without order. If she has a piece of waste paper to dispose of, she finds it much more convenient to tear it into small pieces and scatter it about her desk, than to put it in a proper place. Her hands and clothes are usually covered with ink. Her written exercises are blotted and full of mistakes.”
“The following incident, which I witnessed on a late journey, illustrates an important principle, and I will relate it.
“When our steam-boat started from the wharf, all our passengers had not come. After we had proceeded a few yards, there appeared among the crowd on the wharf a man with his trunk under his arm, out of breath, and with a most disappointed and disconsolate air. The captain determined to stop for him; but stopping an immense steam-boat, moving swiftly through the water, is not to be done in a moment; so we took a grand sweep, wheeling majestically around an English ship which was at anchor in the harbor. As we came toward the wharf again, we saw the man in a small boat coming off from it. As the steam-boat swept round, they barely succeeded in catching a rope from the stern, and then immediately the steam-engine began its work again, and we pressed forward, the little boat following us so swiftly that the water around her was all in a foam.