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and dwarfs. I dare say thousands will read
this who have lain a-bed as children, awake,
and quaking lest Hurleythrumbo, or the dread
Giant Bloodybones, or the wolf that devoured
little Red Riding Hood should enter unto
them and devour them. How many do I
address who have cherished one especial
beanstalk in the back garden as the very
identical beanstalk up which Jack clomb;
and, in the slightness of their childish vision,
deemed that the stalk grew up and up till it
reached the wondrous landwho, also, have
firmly believed that the huge pack the old
Jew pedlar carried on his back was full of
naughty children; that from parsley-beds, by
means of silver spades, marvellous fruits
were procured. I remember having when a
very little child two strong levers of belief.
One was a very bright fire-place with a
very bright fender, very bright fire-irons,
and a very bright coloured rug before it.
I can see them now, all polished steel, brass
and gay worsted workall of which I was
strictly forbidden to touch. The other was
a certain steel engraving in an album, a
landscape with a lake, and swans and
ladies with parasols. I know the fire-place
now to have been a mere register stove
with proper appurtenances, and the picture
an engraving of the Parc of St. Cloud after
Turner; but I asseverate that I firmly,
heartily, uncompromisingly believed then,
that angels' trumpets were like those fire-
irons, and that the gay rug, and the pretty
landscape was an accurate view if not an
actual peep into Fairyland itself. A little
dead sister of mine used to draw what
we called fairyland on her slate. 'Twas
after all, I dare say, but a vile childish scrawl,
done over a half smeared-out game of oughts
and crosses, with a morsel of slate pencil,
two sticks a halfpenny. Yet I and she and
all of us believed in the fairyland she drew.
We could pluck the golden fruit on the
boughs, and hear the silver-voiced birds, and
see the fairy elves with their queen (drawn
very possibly with a head like a deformed
oyster) dancing beneath the big round moon
upon the yellow sands. I am sure my
sister believed her doll was alive and
peculiarly susceptible to catching cold from
draughts. I am certain that I never questioned
the animated nature of the eight day
clock on the staircase that ticked so awfully
in the hot silent summer nights, and gnashed
his teeth so frightfully when his weights were
moved. My aunt promised everything when
her ship came home; and I believed in the
ship that was always coming and never
did come, without one spark of scepticism.
I believed in, and shuddered at, all the
stories about that famous juvenile (always
held up to us as a warning and example,
and alluded to as "there was once a little
boy who") who was always doing the
things he ought not to have done; and
was, in consequence. so perpetually being
whipped, caught in door jambs and
suspended in the air by meat-hooks, eaten up
alive by wild beasts, burned to death in
consequence of playing "with Tommy at lighting
straws," that I have often wondered, so
many have been his perils, by flood and field,
that there should be any of that little boy
left. He is alive though, never the less, and
still implicitly believed in. I was under
the necessity the other day of relating a
horrible misadventure of his to a little
nephew, showing how the little boy reached
over a dining table to put his digits into
a sugar dish, and came to signal shame by
knocking over a tumbler and cutting his
fingers therewith; and I am happy to state
that my anecdote was not only received as
genuine, but met with the additional
criticism from my small nephew (his own
fingers still sticky with the sugar) that it
"served the little boy right." Faith and
strong belief! When children play at King
or Queen, or Castles or School, they believe
that they are in verity the persons they enact.
We children of a larger growth yawn through
our parts, requiring a great deal of prompting
and waiting, now and then, for the
applause; or, if we be of the audience, applaud
listlessly, knowing the play to be a deception.

Faith and strong belief! How is the
child to distinguish between the Witch
of Endor and the Witch of Edmonton;
between Goliah whom David slew, and the
Giant whom Jack killed? Let him believe it
all in his happy believing childhood, I say.
Do not think I wish to propagate or
encourage error. But that young flowret is too
tender; yet to bear the crude blast of
uncompromising fact. And battle with error in
the child's mind as you will, feed him with
diagrams and clothe him with Euclid's
Elements before he is breeched, the innate belief
that is in him, even though draped in imaginations
and harmless fictions, will beat your
logic and philosophy hollow.

On that blank sheet of paper to which you
compare a child's mind, I find yet more words
written that all may read. I find truth.
Prone to believe the most extravagant fictions,
because his belief is indiscriminate by
innocence, he is yet essentially and legibly a truth-
teller and is logically true. If he objects to you
or me he tells us candidly, "I don't like you."
If asked to assign a reason for his dislike, he
answers as candidly: "Because you are old
because you are uglybecause you smell of
snuff." If he likes his old nurse better than
his new nurse he tells her so plainly. Here is
no cogging, no qualifying, no constructive
lying. When he demands a present or
backsheesh, he employs no bowing or scraping;
no beating about the bush to effect his
purpose. He says simply, "Give Doddy a
sugar-plum," and holds out his hand. Years
to come he will learn to cringe and fawn, and
write begging letters, and attribute his want
of sugar-plums to the hardness of the times,