“With all my heart,” he was pleased to say.
So, my lady, I shall now-and-then pay my respects to you in the writing way, though I must address myself, it seems, to my dearest Mr. B.; and I hope to be received on these my own terms, since they are your brother’s also, and, at the same time, such as will convince you, how much I wish to approve myself, to the best of my poor ability, your ladyship’s most obliged sister, and humble servant,
My dearest Mr. B.,
I have been considering of your commands, in relation to Mr. Locke’s book, and since you are pleased to give me time to acquit myself of the task, I shall beg to include in a little book my humble sentiments, as I did to Lady Davers, in that I shewed you in relation to the plays I had seen. And since you confine me not to time or place, I may be three or four years in completing it, because I shall reserve some subjects to my further experience in children’s ways and tempers, and in order to benefit myself by the good instructions I shall receive from your delightful conversation, in that compass of time, if God spare us to one another: and then it will, moreover, be still worthier of the perusal of the most honoured and best beloved of all my correspondents, much honoured and beloved as they all are.
I must needs say, my dear Mr. B., that this is a subject to which I was always particularly attentive; and among the charities your bountiful heart permits me to dispense to the poor and indigent, I have had always a watchful eye upon the children of such, and endeavoured, by questions put to them, as well as to their parents, to inform myself of their little ways and tempers, and how nature delights to work in different minds, and how it might be pointed to their good, according to their respective capacities; and I have for this purpose erected, with your approbation, a little school of seven or eight children, among which is four in the earliest stages, when they can but just speak, and call for what they want and love: and I am not a little pleased to observe, when I visit them in their school time that principles of goodness and virtue may be instilled into their little hearts much earlier than is usually imagined. And why should it not be so? for may not the child, that can tell its wants, and make known its inclination, be easily made sensible of yours, and what you expect from it, provided you take a proper method? For, sometimes, signs and tokens (and even looks), uniformly practised, will do as well as words; as we see in such of the young of the brute creation as we are disposed to domesticate, and to teach to practise those little tricks, of which the aptness or docility of their natures makes them capable.
But yet, dearest Sir, I know not enough of the next stage, the maturer part of life, to touch upon that as I wish to do: and yet there is a natural connection and progression from the one to the other: and I would not be thought a vain creature, who believes herself equal to every subject, because she is indulged with the good opinion of her friends, in a few, which are supposed to be within her own capacity.