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Miscellany: Speak Gently

Miscellany: Speak Gently image
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" Spcok gcr?tly ! It ís battei lar re To" rulo by lóVé thun feur: 'J Speak gemly 1 Uet tiot liarsh words mor The good wettiíght-do'horc" tri "I am to know wHat in to dp with that.boy," said Mrs. BuV' uí ton to her husnand, wi,th much concern on her face and in, an anxioús tone of S1 voice. " I never yield to his impcrious temper; I never indulge ' íum in 'any a1 thing ; I tlnnk abo'ut him and care about P' him, all the time, but see no good c uit. ; '' " " ' X' " 'a While Mrs. jBurton was speaking,. a cl brigjht, active boy, eight years of age, carne dashing into the room, and, " out heeding any one, commencèd béating.with two largo sticks against one of t the window sills and raaking adeafehing" a ■■■"■ - .. i . .i .. .■ noise. l " Incorrigible boy !" pclaimed his mothcr,, going quickly üp to him and 1 jerking the . sticks out of his hand.- , "Cin't I learn you neithcr manners nor decencv ? 1 have told you a hundred fi times that when you come into a room fl where any one is sitting you must be r quiet. Go up stairs this moment,' and s don't let me see your face.for an hóür !" c The boy became sulky ín ah instani, s and stood where he was, pouting sadly. i " Did you hear what I 'say Í Go up ' stairs this moment !" ■ ' Mrsr Burton spoke in avery angry 1 tone, and looked quite as angry as sher 1 spoke. , ' Slowly moved the boy towards the ' door, a scowl darkening his face, that '■ was but a moment before so bright and ' cheerful. His steps were too delibérate' for, the oyer-excited feelings of the moth-" er : she sprang towards him, and seizing ' him by the arm pushed him from the joóm and closed the door loudly after him. ."I declaro I am out of all heart !" she exelaimed, sinking down upon a chair. "It is, line upon line and precept upon preeep.t, but all to 'rio 'good' purpose. - That boy wiíl break my he'art yet!" Mr. Burton said nothiñg, but he saw plainly enough that it was not all the child's fault. He doubted the use of coming out and saying this unequivocally, althpugh he had often and oiïen been on the ppint of doing so invóluntarily. He knew the temper of his wife so well) and her peculiar sensitiveness about eve'ry thing that looked like charging any fault upon herself that he feared 'more harm than good would result from an attempt on,his part to show her that she was much inore than half to blame for the boy 's peverseness of temper. 'Once or twice the little fellow showed himself at the door, but was dri ven back with harsh words until 'the hour for téa arrived. The sound of the tea-bell caused an instant oblivion of aÜ ihe dissagrecQible{ irapresisions, raad, on his roma, riis ue fect answered the welcome summonsTrfir i a clatter that stunned the ears of liis and her. Go back; sir !" she said sternly, as ado] burst upon thé dining room door, and goo t it swinging with a loud concussion app inst the wall, " and see if you can't spei k down stairsjnore like a boy than a woi se." ' ' ' ■ - ' ' thai laster H'arry withdrew, pouting out B rosy Ups to the dislance of full an !Un i i. He went up one flight of stairs her thëh returned. " Gö üp tó the thir'd 'story where you " I started from and come down quiétïy am tie way, or you shall not have a voic )f supper' [ ■' A üdön'twant to," whined the boy. wif Go up, ï teil you, this íristánt, or I tini( send you bed without any thing coa ut." wor lis' was'a threat that former experience waj taught him might beebcecüted,' and so áoni leemed it better to submit than pay "retín iearly for havihg'his own way. The not, ince to the third story was made in litio íw light springs, and then he carne' beli ering down' as lightly, ánd toók his pan :e at the table quickiy but sileñtly. There - there, not tófi'fast ; you've ter plenty to eat, and iime enough to eat 6ak i." 'v l l ' ' ' :': : '■ deriarry "settled íumseli down to tho in asquietly as his mercurial spirit would thoi him, and tried to wait until he was " sj ped, but in spi'té o'f h'isefforts to do so mii hand went over into the bread basket, in t look from his mb'tnér caused him to cou p the slice he had lifted ; itwas ñot a her k in which there was much aflection.' vie hile waiting to be helped, 'hrs hands Shi re busy with his knife and fork, making fre nost unpleasant clatter. ' ' cit "Put down your hands ?" harshly ani 11, remodied this evil, or rather sent 'be i aclive movement from the little ' 's 'hands tö his feet, that commenced a chi inging motion', his héels striking tur against the chair1: "Keep your feet still !" caused this to ab ase. bei After ono or two more reproofs, the hú y was left to himself. As soon as he str ceived his cup of tea he poured the an ti're contents into his saucer, and thè'n w ecf to lift ït stèadily to his Ups In in g so, he spilled one-third of the contents bj ion the table-cloth. te A box' on' thé eára and a storm of th y wórds rewárded this feat. in " Haven't I tötd you over and over w ;ain, yoü17ncárrigblé Bad' boy ! not to b ur the whole of your tea into' your de r ? 'Just s'ee whát & ' mliss' you have se nde with tíiat clean table-cloth. T deare ! 1 am out of all manner of patience th jth you." Go away from the table tliis si tstant !" ' 1V '' ■ ' cl ' Harry went crying away, not in anger, w it in grief. He had spilled his 'tea by st ;cident. ; His mother had so many a rooVs and injunctions tó máke thaV the - saring of thenï all in mind was '!a o! iing impossible. As to pouring out all' k f his tea at a timé, he had no recollectioh tl f áñy interdiction on thát subject,1 u iough it had been made over and over tl gain dozens of times. In a littlè while ii è come creeping sl'ówly back and b limed his 'place at tlie table, his eyes üpn his mother's face. Mrs. Burton wás orry' that she had sent hïm away for what asonly añ áccideSit ;'she fëlt vthat she e lad hardly been just to the' thöughtlèss a ioy. She did nbt, therefore,'1 dbjecf to r lis colmmiñ'g "back, büt síúd, aa he tobk 1Í3 seat, "liext time you see that you are i nore careful. ' ï have told you agaih arid t igain not to 'fill !your saucer to' the bVim' ; i ou hèver can do it without 'spillíng the eaover upoh tliè table-clbth." i 1 This was not spoken in kindness. ' A scène somèwhat similar to this was inacted at every mëat, büf" ihstead of ' iroving "in nis behavior.'tlie boy. grew i nore heedless. Mr. Burton ráreíy' sáid ïny thïng'tb Harry abouthJs u'rfruiy' manner, but wheñ he did, a 'word was' enóughl Phat word was always ' mild yet firmly spoken. He did not think him' atöd bby" or diflScult to manage - at least he "had never found him so. " I wish I knew what to do with that child," said Mrs. Burton, after the little ' fellow had been sent to bed an hour ' fore his time, in consequence of some violátW of law and order ; " he makes me feel linhappy all the while. I dislike'to be scoldi'ng him forever, but what can I do 1 If I did not ciirb him in some way there would be no 'living in the house with him" "Tam af&idlie will dduée us k world of1 trouble.'" Mr.. Burton sat silent. He wanted to say a word 'on the subject, but'he feared that its effect might not be what he desired. u I wish you would advise me what to do, Mr. Burton," his wife said, a little" petulantty. "You sít and don't say a single word, as if you had' no kind'of int&es? mthe tn&4 Wjat 'ámí tef do ? ■"" fve ëxhaustèu" all my öWh resöttrcesr, rete feel completely at a loss." had There is a way vvhich, if you would " t, 1 think might do a of Hai 1."' Mr. Burton spoke with a slight : " arance of hesitation. " If you would ther k gently to Harry. I' ara sure you 1 ld be able to manage him far better tont 1 you do." ; . looi [rs. Burton's face was crimsoncd in thal tistant ; she feit the reproof deeply ; -glee self-esteem was ceverely wounded. " Speak gently, indeed !" she replied. ask( nighf as well speak to the wind ; I . ' 3carcely fteard, now, at the top ofmy "I e." ' - 1 [r. Burton never contended with his wit! . She would 'have feit better mot s if he had done so, for then she her d have exercised' herself a líale.' His gair is were few, mildly spoken, and tenc s remembered. v He had expected of h 2 such effect froni his suggestion of a was edy iñ' the case of Harry, and ' was evei therefore, at all surprised at the her i it produced. On its subsidence he Á ;ved her mind' would be more was nt than before, and so it was. " gen s her hushand did not argue the its ivith her nor say anything that was (srj ulated to keep up the sxcitement spo which she was laboring, her her a little while quieted kwn.;:and her pro ights became active. The words 1 eak gently" were constantly in her his d, and there was a reproving" import cou tiem. On going to bed that' night she tha ld not get to sleep fof several hours ; to mind was too busily engaged in re wh .ving her conduct towards her child. to i cleárly perceived that she had too hei luently suffered 'her mind to get fre d and angry, and that she was often Fr ipyed trifles which ought to have ap] n overldöked. sh 1 1 am' afretid I have been unjust to my mi ld." 'she'si'ghed ver : "and oren agairí, he odrig restlessly upon her pillow. ca! Vt length she Teil aáleep and dreamed an ut Harry. She1 saw him lying on his th( i, sick and apparently near to death ; en pure, round choeks, where health had ewed her glowing blossoms, werè pale vl i sunken ; his eyes were hollow--the in ary lids had closed over them-he uf adeep sleep. Mournfully sho stood m his side and looked upon him itf'bit ce ness of spirit. Sadl} she remembered ar idays past in1 which she had' spoken pt harsh and angry tones to her 'boy, .p ïen kindor words would have been lar b tter. In the anguish of her oul, bowed hi wn by sorrow and a reproving ai once, shelwept. ''■ % ' cc When she again looked up she saw at a change had come over the beloved rE eper ; the glow of health was upon hís e;ek, and every vein seemed bounding j1( fch life and health, but he slumbered „, 11. Shé was about arousing him, when u band was laid upon hers ; she turnej a( -a miïd íace,1 full of goodness as the face tj án ttngel, looked inlo her own. She n ïew th6 face and forni, but' could not cali j, e stfanger by name. With' a finger g( jon her lip.iind her eyes castfirst upon e sleeping boy, :and then' upon the iother, the visitor said in a low, earnest jt sweet voice-'Speak gently J? f The words vsent athrill through the eart of Mrs. Burton,1 and she awoke. - lany'èarnest thoughts and sélf-reproachs kèpt her'awfckt fdr a-long time ; but e slept again, and more quietly until ïorning. b - '■ '' :" I ' i The impression made by her husband's - eproof, her' oVn ' sober refledtionb and 'j fie drëam, was doep. Earnest were the esolutions'she made to deal more gently nlh her wayward boy - to make love ulev insteaa öf anger. evils wilh hich she1 had been contendí ng so powjrfülly for yeari she saw tobe in herself, . vhile she had befln-fïghting as if n her generous-minded bul badly-governid child. ■ ■ ' ■ v .■ - : ' ï will try to do better," she said to ïerself, as shé' árose, féelirig but Httlè from sleep. Before she was ea'dy to leave her room, slre i y,s voicè Cttlling her from the next ;hámber wher6 ho slepl. 'The tones vére fretful j he wanted some attendance, md was cryiiig out for it in'a manner hat instantly dislürbed the even surface f the mother's feelings. She was about elling'him angrily to be quiet until she :ould finish dressing herself, when the .vords, "speak gently," seemed whisper;d in her ear. Their effect was magical - the mother's spirit 'was sübdued. i , tc I will speak gèhtlyi" shó murmured, nd went1 in to Harry, whö war strll cry ng out fc-etfully. "VVhatdo you want, tny son," she said ia a quie:, kind voice. The boy looked up with surprise j his eye brïghtened; and the whole exprossion of his face was chatfiged in an instant. " I can't find my stockings," he said. ♦ There theyorö, oderthe bureau," Uiijjeu iw.TB.;.xr!wn, as 5w y -tM-ic lutj at first spoken. !."( ever; 0 yes, so they are," cheerfully replied to th rry ; u Lcouldn't see them no where." trol Did you think crying would bring the ii n V' , , seem 'his wassaid with a smile and in a "". 1 so unlike his mother, that the child' read; Led up again into her face with surprise first ; was, Mrs. Burton plainly saw, rqjn-, need I with. pleasure. . ,: ,j, . .. conq Do youvwant any Oiing else ?" she " ] ïd. ,,,..,. . ; . wish No, mamma," he replied cheerfully, " 1 can dress .myself-now.!' .. , i . It is 'his first little eflort was crowned most i he most encouraging results to the ours her ; she feit a deep peace settüng in there bosom, the consciousnesf of having " léd a true victory over the .perverse then lencies ofboth her own and the heart Burt ler boy. Il was a little act, bu.t it Ai the first fruils,, and the gathering posee a of so smalj a harvest, was sweet to weak spirit. ' . she . a the breakfast table the usual scène herse about being eftacted, when "speak she s lly," coming into her mind, prevented and j occurrence. Itseemed almost a time f to her-r.tliQ.ofïject of words gently ishm ken on one-.wha had. scarcely heeded able most 'positive. and aagrily uttered over ofs and injunctfons. ;, , v . t . ,.jW,as Uthough Harry avas not as orderly in B behaVior at' the table. as the mother mep ild have wished, yet he did much better nati n usuol,iand seemed reully to desire the do what was right. Fpr nearly the .are, ole of that day, Mrs. Burton "was able tfrel control hirself and s,peak gently io p] ' r boy, but towards-evening, she Recame are tful again, from some. cause or oher. dqr] om the instantijhis chaoge made itself, app parent, she lost the sweet infl uence nig } had been able to exerciseover the tain nd of her child. He. no.longer beed,ed pf, s r. words, and she couldno longer feel .: L lm in spirit when he showed perverse eed d evil temper. When night closed in, pro 3 aspect ofaflfairs was, tut little she t from thut of any preceding day. ago Heav)' was the heart of Mrs. Burton, chi lien she sought her pillow, and the Bu cidentaand.the feelingsof thedayxcame on in review before her mind. In the rer orningv her heart was qalm and ,her the ptions clear ;■ she saw her duty. plainly, mi id feit to; walk in its pleasant iths. In treading these she, had Bu jrienced an internal -delighl unluiawn rej ;fore : but erethe-day had passed, ojd of ïbits, strong from indulgence, returned, th id former fiects a natural wr nsequence. ' - f ■ % mi As she. layfor more ihan an hour, tat sol ving, -and re-resol ving to do. better, ge: ie face of Harry often carne up before wl ïr. Particularly did she remember its hu ïculiar expression when shespoke in ', insteadof harshly him for int :ts of rudeness or disobedienc. At fu mes she. was conscious of possessinga ca jal power over him-;. this.she never feit rfe i any oí her angry eflbrts to subduehis in tubborn will. . , ,, . ea On awaking in the morning, her mind st ras rene wed ; aj.l passioivlmd sunk into. sl uiescence ; she could see her duty and s eel willing to perform it. Harry, too, sl woke as,usua;l, and that was:in a c' :aptious mood-ji but this jippjing,,of the urface of, his. feeljnga al) subsided.Avh,en b; hevoice of his mother in wcurds genUy,, c poken, feil soothingly uppn.his enr.r- m ;Ie even went so. farias o put .hia arms ft iround her neck and kisa he;r, saying, as ,d' ie did so, .Indeed, mamma, I willbea & jood boy." i . , i t i H For the first time in many months, the S brenkfast table was -plezant tQ , all - " [íarry nevé once interrupted the convershtion that passed at intervals between his father and mother.. .(When, heasked for any thing, was in a way pleasing a toall. Once örMwice, Mrs. Bur,ton found it necéssary to correctcsome, liule fauli in manner, but the way in which she did' it, aot in the least idislurbed har child's terriperj. and; insteid of not seemÍ43g.,ío hear her words as had aloiost.. a'.ï? ays l been thf? ease-, hé regarded aU that she í said, and tried as. she wished. " There is a woiiderful poyer in l tl e words," remarked Mr. Burton to his ' wifej fier Harry had left the table. " Yes, wonderful indeed j the ir efTect { surprises mei" ; ■ .-'■ ; , ,, i "Love is slröng." ' So itseems - stcon'ger than any other influence that we can bring Po.bcar,upon ( a human being." . , - . , ; f' VVhether thrit beíng be a child or a full grown man." ' . ' . { " True, withouf'doubt ; but how hard i a thing is it for us to control ourselves i that the sphere of all our actions shall be full of dove. Ah me! the love theory is a beautiful one, but whöofus can always practica it ? For me, I confess tbat I canmot." " Not for th sake ofyour children ?" "For I wouW make almostsacrifice, would den,y _myself sL carxi y;coipfojrt ;. 1 would devoto my life the eir good,.; and yet, the perfect conuntil of my natural, temper, eyen,whh all that nducements my lpve for them brings, The s impossible." , as in I'think,yjou havft done wonders altriou p," Mr. B'urton. rep)ied 'íf;the tariïj efibrt is so successful, I am sure you . Al npt despair ofmaking the perfect Thai uest yor desire,' he w [ am glad you are sanguine ; I only in thi Iwereequally so." is usi Lt might not be as well if you were. him, almost always the case that we are hjs s in danger of falling when we think plací ïlvessecure. In conscious weakness, hpno !. suften real power." rose If that consciousness gives power, lievi: am I strong enough," replied Mrs. play n' : ■ ■ m ■ -, . ,. ■ -, ïïou] id sha, was stronger than Bi I, and strong because she, feit herself oflen :. Hadshebeen confident of strength erno wpuld not have been watchful over amia lf, butfepring, every mqmept, lest bank bould, betray her natural irasqibility high fretfulness of temperf s.he was all the one upon her guard. To her own ness. ent and that of her husband, she was ing to maintain the power she had gained tiom Harry, and to be calm even whenhe of t disturbed. anc ut in all our states of moral iocj. it there are days and nights as in our uQ j jral Jifc. There are times when all downward tendencies of our nature i aptfve, and appea,r to govern us g ly.; vhenvour sun has gone down and , rt-iilnn us is dark. At such times we ■ stei tempted tobelieve that it has become , k forever, thftt ,the sun will noniore ear in our hodzon. This is pnly the , ht before the morning which will cerily break and seem brighler, and full trength to the anxious spirit. J üch changes, Mrs. Burton 1 and they were unerring signs in her 8es gress. Some times for days together would nQt be abje to control herself; linst all the perverse tempersofher his ld her feelings would react unduly. - aws t these seasons were of shorter duration oyery recujr,repce.toC them and he ison was, 6he strove most earnestly for. Dg ! sake of that child to reduce her whole ihis nd into;a sate qf ordqr., _ kep It must not be supposed that Mrs. ' irton,always fou.nd the will of.her, boy q idy to yield itself up even to the control ia lpy.e. Wjth him, too, wc ïre was ta nght and a morning, a season bo1 len all the perverse afTections of his s wc nd carne forth into disorderly ani ions,, refusjng to hearken even to the on( ritle words of his mother, and a season w-o len these, were all quiescent and truly JJM mane, because good aöections gover ned their stead. These changes were soon wl irked by the mother and their meaning hh lly comprehended, At firt fyey were s uses of discouragement, but soon,were no lt to be really encouraging, for they pe dicaled. advancement. . Faithfully and irnes,!).', day by day, did Mra. Burlón xo rive.with herself and boy ; the hardes,l ai ruggle was with herself; usually, when ie had gainjed tie victory over herself . ie had nothing , more to do, for her w ïild opposed no lo.nger. . b Days, weeks, months and years went 'I y ; üuring all this time, the. rnpt.heri l' Dntinued tqstrive eariestly with herself nd wjth,he.rchild. The happiest results , llowed j the fretful, passionate a erly boy, became even-minded and u erly in his hxbits. A word gently spoken 'as all-poerful, in its„. inflqenpe for ood, but tiox least shade of harshness óuld arousp his)s,tubbprn will a n deform 0 ie fair facq pf.his yqing spirit. W henever,, xnothers complain to Mrs. v iurton.of tjpe difücplty they find in man-, ging their children,,she hasbutone pjece t f advice to give, and that 16 to " 6Ieak IENTLY." . ,.,...,! ■ . c