For intelligent parents the difficulties are far less, and if any such care to pursue the subject farther, I would refer them to the volume on Hypnotism in the People’s Books series or to one of the larger medical works on the subject, such as Hypnotism and Suggestion, by Dr. Bernard Hollander.
To those who know boys well and love them much, there is something intensely interesting and pathetic about the spiritual struggle through which they have to pass. The path of self-indulgence seems so obviously the path to happiness; self-denial is so hard and self-control so difficult. “The struggle of the instinct that enjoys and the more noble instinct that aspires” is ever there. The young soul reaches out after good, but its grasp is weak. It needs much enlightenment, much encouragement, much inspiration, much patient tolerance of its faults, much hopeful sympathy with its strivings, if it is ever to attain the good it seeks. In the past it has met, without light or aid, unwarned and unprepared, the deadliest foe which can assail the soul. An appetite which has in all ages debased the weak, wrestled fiercely with the strong, and vanquished at times even the noble, is let loose upon an unwarned, unarmed, defenceless child. Oh, the utter, the utter folly of it!
For life after death the writer has no longing. Immortality, if vouchsafed, appears to him to be a gift to be accepted trustfully and humbly, not to be yearned after with a sort of transcendental egoism. But to him the wish to—
the choir invisible
Of those immortal dead who live again
In minds made better by their presence”
grows ever stronger as the inevitable end draws nearer.
To save young lives from the needless struggles and failures of my own, to secure healthy motherhood or maiden life to some whom lust might otherwise destroy, to add, for some at least, new sanctity to human passion—these have been my hopes in penning the foregoing pages. It has been my privilege and joy, in my own quiet sphere, to preserve boys from corruption and to restore the impure to cleanness of heart. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity these pages afford of extending this delightful work. When the hand which writes these lines has long been cold in death, may the message which it speeds this day breathe peace and strength into many an eager heart.
NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS.
I warmly invite any boy who has read these pages to write to me if he feels inclined to do so. Since this book was first published I have received hundreds of letters from boys who have, without any definite invitation, understood that it would please me much to hear from them. Many boys feel all the better for frankly confessing their difficulties to a man who fully understands and sympathises with them. Some desire advice about their own case. Anyone who accepts this invitation will do wisely to give me a full and frank history of his difficulties. His confidences will, of course, be strictly respected. He will also, I hope, remember that I am an extremely busy man with many and urgent claims on my time, and that I cannot always reply as quickly and as fully as I should like to do.