On behalf of the very young, we certainly have it to plead, that they know very little of any thing but what is, in some sense, their own. If they talk of persons, it must be their parents, their brothers and sisters, because they are the only people they know; if they talk of any body’s affairs, it must be their own, because they are acquainted with no other; if of events, it must be what happens to themselves, for they hear nothing of what happens to any body else. As soon, therefore, as children begin to converse, it is most likely to be about themselves, or something that belongs to them; and to the rapid growing of this unwatched habit, may probably be attributed the ridiculous and offensive egotism of many persons in conversation, who, in conduct, prove that their feelings and affections are by no means self-engrossed. But the more indigenous this unsightly weed, the more need is there to prevent its growth. It has many varieties; the leaf is not always of the same shape, nor the flower of the same color, but they are all of one genus; and our readers who are botanists will have no difficulty in detecting them, however much affected by the soil they grow in. The I’s and my’s a lady exhibits in conversation, will bear such analogy to her character, as the wares on the stall of the bazaar bear to the trade of the vender. Or, if she have a great deal of what is called tact, she will, perhaps, vary the article according to the demands of the market. In fashionable life, it will be my cousin Sir Ralph, my father the Earl, and my great uncle the Duke; the living relatives and the departed fathers; the halls of her family, their rent-rolls, or their graves, will afford abundant materials for any conversation she may have to furnish.
Among those who, having gotten into the world they know not how, are determined it shall, at least, be known that they are there, it is my houses, my servants, my park, my gardens; or, if the lady be too young to claim in her own behalf, my father’s houses, &c., &c., will answer all the purpose. But, happily for the supply of this kind of talk, rank and wealth, though very useful, are not necessary to it. Without any ostentation whatever, but merely from the habit of occupying themselves