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                LITTLE CHILDREN.

"No man can tell," wrote that good Bishop
of Down, Connor, and Dromore, whose elevation
to the mitre in an unbelieving and profligate
age is at least one jewel of pure water in
the besmirched diadem of Charles the Second,
"No man can tell," wrote Jeremy Taylor,
"but he who loves his children, how many
delicious accents make a man's heart dance
in the pretty conversation of those dear
pledges. Their childishness, their stammering,
their little anger, their innocence, their
imperfections, their necessities, are so many
little emanations of joy and comfort to him
that delights in their persons and society."
With all due respect and reverence to my
beloved author of the "Golden Grove," the
"warbler of poetic prose," I must dissent
from his first proposition. A man who loves
children can tell, without necessarily having
any of his own, how delightful is their society,
how delicious are their accents, their persons,
their little ways. It may be I write these lines
in a cheerless garret, my only friends my books,
the only other thing beside me that has life,
my lamp; yet do you not think that I can
sympathise with, without envying, the merry
party at the merry house over the way?—
the house with all the windows lighted up,
the broughams and hack cabs at the door;
the prim, white neckclothed visitors taking
off their paletots in the passage; the smiling,
ringletted, rosy cheeked, rosy ribonned young
person who attends to the ladies bonnets and
the tea and coffee; the jangling of Collard
and Collard's piano; the tinkling of Erard's
harp; the oscillations in their upstairs passage
of the negus glasses; the singing, the dancing,
the flirtation, and the supper. Yet, I know
nothing about Mrs. Saint Baffin and her
evening party. She never invited me to
it; she does not know, very probably, of my
existence; yet I am sure I wish most
sincerely that her "at home" may be perfectly
satisfactory and successful; that every body
may get as much as he wants to eat and drink
at supper; that the supply of lobster salad
and iced champagne may not run short; that
Miss Strumminson's "Cossacco della Volga"
may be sung by that young lady amid general
applause; that all General Fogey's stories
may tell, and that none of young Miller's jokes
may have been heard before; that the right
men may secure their right hats and right
wrappers; that all the young ladies may depart
duly shawled and bonnetted,to the defiance and
confusion of the demon cold; that all mammas
may be placable; all true lovers satisfied with
their innocent flirtations; all stolen camellias,
scraps of ribbon and odd gloves warmly
prized; that years to come there may be little
children laughing and playing round papa
and mamma, all unconscious that papa and
mamma first thought of love and courtship
and matrimony over lobster salad, iced champagne,
or the valse à deux temps at Mrs. Saint-
Baffin's "at home."

Come! Though I am not bidden to the
banquetthough there be no cover laid for
me at the table matrimonialmay I not
feast (though in no ogre fashion) upon little
children? Some day perhaps Hymen's table
d'hôte may lack guests; and, messengers
being sent out into the highways in quest of
the lame, the halt, and the blind, I may have
a chance.

I might speculate upon little children
in a purely negative fashion for some time.
For instance: as regards the child being
father to the man: of men being but children
of a larger growth. These are both very
easy things to say; and we get them
by heart pat, and somewhat in the parrot
manner; and we go on repeating our pet
phrase, over and over, backwards and
forwards, time after time, till we firmly believe
it to be true; and, if any one presume to
argue or dissent, we grow indignant, and
cry "turn him out;" as the member of the
Peace Society did the other day, when an
opinionated person happened to dissent from
the whole hog proposition that the world
was to be pacificated, and universal
fraternity established, by the lambs shearing
the wool off their backs, and taking it to the
wolves in a neat parcel, with a speech about
arbitration.

Now at the risk of being turned out
myself, I must venture to dissent from the
axiom that the child is father to the man.
I say that he is not. Can you persist in
telling me that this fair-haired innocent;
this little sportive, prattling, loveable child,
with dimpled, dumpling hands that almost
fold themselves spontaneously into the attitude

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