“If I live, I shall see to it that my grandchildren know nothing of the fortune awaiting them until they become of age—which will be after I am ended. Meanwhile, plain food and clothing, wholesome home seclusion from the promiscuity of modern child life, and an exhaustive education in every grace, fashion, and accomplishment of body and intellect is the training I propose for the development in them of the only thing in the world worth cultivating—unterrified individualism.
“The ignorance which characterises the conduct of modern institutes of education reduces us all to one mindless level, reproducing ad nauseam what is known as ‘average citizens.’ This nation is already crawling with them; art, religion, letters, government, business, human ideals remain embryonic because the ’average citizen’ can conceive nothing higher, can comprehend nothing loftier even when the few who have escaped the deadly levelling grind of modern methods of education attempt to teach the masses to think for themselves.
“That is bad enough in itself—but add to cut-and-dried pedagogy the outrageous liberty which modern pupils are permitted in school and college, and add to that the unheard-of luxury in which they live—and the result is stupidity and utter ruin.
“My babies must have discipline, system, frugality, and leisure for individual development drilled into them. I do not wish them to be ignorant of one single modern grace and accomplishment; mind and body must be trained together like a pair of Morgan colts.
“But I will not have them victims of pedagogy; I will not have them masters of their time and money until they are of age; I will not permit them to choose companions or pursuits for their leisure until they are fitted to do so.
“If there is in them, latent, any propensity toward viciousness—any unawakened desire for that which has been my failing—hard work from dawn till dark is the antidote. An exhausted child is beyond temptation.
“If I pass forward, Tappan, before you—and it is likely because I am twenty years older and I have lived unwisely—I shall arrange matters in such shape that you can carry out something of what I have tried to begin, far better than I, old friend; for I am strong in theory and very weak in practice; they are such dear little things! And when they cry to be taken up—and a modern trained nurse says ‘No! let them cry!’ good God! Remsen, I sometimes sneak into their thoroughly modern and scientifically arranged nursery, which resembles an operating room in a brand-new hospital, and I take up my babies and rock them in my arms, terrified lest that modern and highly trained nurse discover my infraction of sanitary rule and precept.
“I don’t know;
babies were born, and survived cradles and mothers’
arms and kisses long before sterilised milk and bacilli were