How these flights, dear Sir, please a body!-What delights have those mammas (which some fashionable dear ladies are quite unacquainted with) who can make their babies, and their first educations, their entertainment and diversion! To watch the dawnings of reason in them, to direct their little passions, as they shew themselves, to this or that particular point of benefit or use; and to prepare the sweet virgin soil of their minds to receive the seeds of virtue and goodness so early, that, as they grow up, one need only now a little pruning, and now a little water, to make them the ornaments and delights of the garden of this life! And then their pretty ways, their fond and grateful endearments, some new beauty every day rising to observation—O my dearest Mr. B., whose enjoyments and pleasures are so great, as those of such mothers as can bend their minds two or three hours every day to the duties of the nursery?
I have a few other things to observe upon Mr. Locke’s treatise, which, when I have done, I shall read, admire, and improve by the rest, as my years and experience advance; of which, in my proposed little book, I shall give you better proofs than I am able to do at present; raw, crude, and indigested as the notions of so young a mamma must needs be.
But these shall be the subjects of another letter; for now I am come to the pride and the pleasure I always have, when I subscribe myself, dearest Sir, your ever dutiful and grateful
Mr. Locke gives a great many very pretty instructions relating to the play-games of children: but I humbly presume to object to what he says in one or two places.
He would not indulge them in any playthings, but what they make themselves, or endeavour to make. “A smooth pebble, a piece of paper, the mother’s bunch of keys, or any thing they cannot hurt themselves with,” he rightly says, “serve as much to divert little children, as those more chargeable and curious toys from the shops, which are presently put out of order, and broken.”
These playthings may certainly do for little ones: but methinks, to a person of easy circumstances, since the making these toys employs the industrious poor, the buying them for the child might be complied with, though they were easily broken; and especially as they are of all prices, and some less costly, and more durable than others.
“Tops, gigs, battledores,” Mr. Locke observes, “which are to be used with labour, should indeed be procured them—not for variety, but exercise; but if they had a top, the scourge-stick and leather strap should be left to their own making and fitting.”