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almost necessary, if we want to give another person any notion of what has strongly impressed ourselves; and, with something like perspective in drawing, we are obliged to place facts or feelings in an artificial way in order to convey truth to one who sees from another point of view (a hazardous venture for truth!). And sometimes, again, we are urged by sudden nervousness to justify by slight exaggeration the mention of matters that first show their insignificance when put into words. Like the child's story, these little exaggerations may for a moment succeed, but no less surely they defeat their object; and in the long run, nothing makes such a deep and lasting impression as the simplest transfer of uncoloured truth.

All gossip (except the cruel poison of malice) has this same source, this same end. People meet together without having business to transact, or pleasure to communicate by their society; of course they wish to take some effect, — and what is more sure with the common run of minds than the power of gratifying curiosity ? and what so certainly stimulates common curiosity as the sayings and doings, and, if possibly they can be had, the feelings of neighbours? At any rate, approximations to truth in such things can be gained by shrewd conjecture, and these with a very small mixture of knowledge will soon take place among facts, and will be then no unwelcome contingent to the confused data gradually collected, about those of whom little is really known.

And with all reverence to women, let it be said, that being less able to take effect by their action on the minds of their fellow-creatures, they are generally more addicted to exert the influence of the tongue than men, who, in their busy lives, cannot find time for such transitory exercise of power. A gossiping man is

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allowed to be an exception to the common rule of masculine character.

Again, in the cruelty of children, cruel more from ignorance than will,' we find the same impulse at work ; the young creature feels its strength and tries to take effect upon beings weaker than itself; to prove its power by ways more in accordance with the natural man, than with the cultivated feelings and graces of riper years. A knowledge of the far greater power of gentleness and kind treatment is very gradually acquired; and for many years the sense of animal force inclines boys to rough treatment of all that come within their reach.

Flirting falls under the same class of follies : it is but a merciless endeavour to impress another mind with the charms that are practically powers. The vain woman who has tacitly convinced her admirer that he has taken some effect upon her, knows though generally far too thoughtless to reflect upon it — that she has thus greatly intensified her influence with him; and, as long as she is sufficiently unoccupied by anyone else to take pleasure in this influence, she will keep it up by a hundred wiles of look, and speech, and manner by deceit that has far more excuse in real life than in cold reason can be offered for it, because so much that is wrongly done in this way is done unconsciously and instinctively, and because the giddy heads that have lured many an honest man into bitter sorrows were incapable of forethought, and led on from one folly to another by excitement which hid from them their own insincerity, and almost warranted the usual formula of being sure they never thought what it would have come to. Those who have thought, and yet have misled, must answer for it at a higher tribunal than that of human judgement. Would they but consider the lasting good

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effects of charity and truth in all social relations, they might find exercise for their bewitching influence that would soothe, and not terrify conscience, in those last hours when conscience alone will speak, and the voice of the Infallible Judge is expected with helpless fear.

Again, who has not seen, and felt perhaps surprised by, the buoyant happiness of a very industrious woman, , deprived, it may be, of any external means for taking effect, except her cheerful activity? It is often cheerful, even when mere drudgery of manual work, because it is taking certain effect upon divers useful things.

The desire for conscious power explains in some degree the curious fact of superior people being, for the most part, disliked and dreaded by average human nature. 'Go from us, for thou art mightier than we'(Genesis xxvi. 16), sounds rather inconsequent when virtually expressed towards mental and moral power, which in itself is far more calculated for aid than for offence. But regarding the instinct with reference to the wish to take effect, it is perfectly intelligible. Beside one who takes a far stronger and more lasting effect than ourselves, our own powers seem crushed all but annihilated ; and, forgetting the peculiar virtues of every original power, we succumb to the erroneous feeling that when greater force is exhibited, the lesser can take no effectual part in adjacent life.

We see the process, in a small scale, in every household where any one strong character habitually dominates ; we know it has been going on in a scale much larger, but in nature identical, among savage tribes, when brought in contact with our more civilised Anglo-Saxon race. We say the poor savage is disheartened by his manifest inferiority, and droops, and dies out: alas ! England's well-ordered homes contain many a diffident character, undergoing daily discouragement, and in danger of consequent deterioration, from setting too high a value on powers witnessed, and on powers possessed, too little. If such people cannot be removed from contiguity so unfavourable to moral health, every effort should be made to give them a truer estimate of the inalienable wealth of their own resources. They must, by all means, learn to take effect in whatever direction Nature opens to them and duty permits.

The preference of elderly people for the companionship of the young is mainly attributable to the feeling that they can still bestow benefits upon the inexperienced, who need advice, protection, and encouragement at an age when every influence is comparatively strong, when ignorance requires to be guided, and untested powers crave for suitable direction.

And perhaps young people may take almost as much effect on the old, by their freshness of thought and joyous recklessness of consequences, bringing back to a time-worn spirit the pleasant stimulants of memory; - for certain it is that the old are often the favourite companions of childhood and youth.

But the point most deserving our consideration on which this love of influence bears, is the too common difficulty of family affection. Attachment is more general among relations than affection.

If my reader's experience should contradict this assertion, and condemn it eagerly as a cold-hearted misstatement, I would only offer my congratulations, and pass on.

But not until a family of grown-up brothers and sisters are more frequently found wishing to live together; not until sisters who attempt it, do keep up not only outward harmony, but inward enjoyment of each other's society, shall I believe myself mistaken, and think those happy exceptions who delight in living among grown-up relations, less singularly blessed than I now suppose them to be.

The belief that they are exceptions no longer pains me: it seems to me in the nature of things unlikely that those who probably share the same turn of defect, the same feebleness or stubbornness of will, should enjoy lifelong fellowship. They may be truly and tenderly attached, and yet the real inability to impress or to be strongly impressed by characters that have been known, and acting upon each other from childhood, makes it improbable that with them there would be such pleasant conjunction as with newer acquaintance.

A well-known chemical fact affords an illustration of what appears to be equally true with regard to human opposites. It seems to be a general law that bodies

• most opposed to each other in chemical properties evince the greatest tendency to enter into combination; and conversely, bodies between which strong analogies and resemblances can be traced, manifest a much smaller amount of mutual attraction.' ..

Acids are drawn towards alkalies, and alkalies towards acids, while union among themselves rarely, if ever, takes place.

When members of one family have lived long together, they have generally imbibed from each other all that they can assimilate; and Nature, the Vicare of Almightie God,'t eager to establish new relations, and form new homes, often flags while submitting to the tedium of unstimulating society. Introduce a stranger of average ability, and every power of thought and


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* Fowne's Manual of Elementary Chemistry.

of Chaucer.


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