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hood of eminent characters. And now, while Louisa is working and I am drawing, we could attend to you so nicely, and gain knowledge and amusement at the same time. You like that plan, do you not, mother?
Mamma. Yes, my dear boy: it is my constant endeavour to blend entertainment with instruction; and therefore, if it will give you any pleasure, I am willing to relate some particulars of the infancy of those characters, who, in riper years, became eminent for piety, genius, or goodness.
Louisa, my love, draw the curtains, and reach your work-basket; and when Henry has fetched his portfolio from the other parlour, I will give you a short account of a very pious and amiable young man, named Joshua Rowley Gilpin, who, had he lived to years of maturity, might have been an exalted and eminent character.
Louisa. You are always ready to
please us, mamma, and I think we ought always to endeavour to please you; indeed I hope we do try to do so.
Henry. Now I have got my pencil and paper, mamma, and am going to copy this rustic cottage, while you relate your history.
Mamma. Joshua Rowley Gilpin was born, in the year 1788, at the retired village of Wrockwardine, in Shropshire. He gave early proofs of an uncommon sweetness of disposition; one instance of which will, I think, particularly gratify Louisa. Being his mother's only darling, it was a long time before she could be prevailed upon to deny him, what he seemed to prefer before any thing else, the consolations of the breast. He was full two years old before she resolved to deprive him of this enjoyment, and the determination was not made without much regret. In order to accomplish so severe a task, with as little pain as possible, a bitter drug was employed to render that offensive to the taste which had formerly yielded so much pleasure. He passed his nights, at this time, on a little bed by the side of his mamma; and waking as usual, on the day of trial, he cheerfully approached to take his morning draught.
Louisa. Poor little fellow! how much disappointed he must have been!
Mamma. No sooner had his lips made their first effort, than he quickly withdrew them, and silently returned to his couch. Not, however, entirely satisfied, he crept once more to his mother's boson, but a second attempt convinced him that it could no longer afford him gratification, However, instead of repining, he gently covered up that bosom, upon which he had been so long and so tenderly cherished, and laid himself quietly down in his bed, without a single murmur; “ but with a look of regret,” says his fond father,
of which I shall never think but with peculiar anguish.”
Louisa. This is a very pretty anec
dote, indeed, mamma. What a sweet little boy he must have been! Can you tell us any thing more about him?
Mamma. When about three years old, his chief amusement consisted in drawing figures on a slate; and though his dogs, at first, could scarcely be distinguished from his horses, yet he soon displayed much skill in the empioy.
Henry. As he was such a clever little fellow, I suppose he began to learn to read at a very early age.
Mamma. Yes: it was while engaged with his favourite amusement, that a dissected alphabet was placed before him, with which he soon became perfectly acquainted. As soon as he had learned the letters, he began to form them into words, and was highly delighted when he could spell dog, horse, cow, &c. and thus furnish his pictures with suitable titles. In the course of a few months he could read with much distinctness and propriety; and often amused himself with composing
short sentences, of a playful and even of a serious cast, which gave his fond parents many a promise of future excellence.
Louisa. This is a very entertaining history. I like to hear what people did when they were children. You know, mamma, that this may lead us to follow their example, and to endeavour to gain the love and esteem of our friends, by the same means as those by which they gained the affection and approbation of their friends.
Mamina. It is for this very reason, my dear girl, that I have selected these accounts, and I hope you will put in practice your laudable desire of imitating those to whom they relate. In one particular I shall rejoice to see you following the example of little Joshua: whatever he did at all, he did in good earnest. His seasons of application were short, but they were filled up to the greatest advantage; and his astonishing acquisitions, at a very