The two strongest impulses in our nature, are fear and love. In theory, acting upon the latter is very beautiful; but in practice, I never found it to answer and for the best of reasons, our self-love is stronger than our love for others. Now I never yet found fear to fail, for the very same reason that the other does, because with fear we act upon self-love, and nothing else.
And yet we have many now who would introduce a system of schooling without correction; and who maintain that the present system is degrading.
There are a great many fools in this world, Doctor.
That reminds me of this boys father, replied Dr. Middleton; who then detailed to the pedagogue the idiosyncrasy of Mr. Easy, and all the circumstances attending Jack being sent to his school.
There is no time to be lost then, Doctor. I must conquer this young gentleman before his parents call to see him. Depend upon it, in a week I will have him obedient and well broke in.
Dr. Middleton wished Jack good-bye, and told him to be a good boy. Jack did not vouchsafe to answer. Never mind, Doctor, he will be more polished next time you call here, depend upon it. And the Doctor departed.
Although Mr. Bonnycastle was severe, he was very judicious. Mischief of all kinds was visited but by slender punishment, such as being kept in at play hours, etc.; and he seldom interfered with the boys for fighting, although he checked decided oppression. The great sine quâ non with him was attention to their studies. He soon discovered the capabilities of his pupils, and he forced them accordingly; but the idle boy, the bird who could sing and wouldnt sing. received no mercy. The consequence was, that he turned out the cleverest boys, and his conduct was so uniform and unvarying in its tenor, that if he was feared when they were under his control, he was invariably liked by those whom he had instructed, and they continued his friends in after life.
Mr. Bonnycastle at once perceived that it was no use coaxing our hero, and that fear was the only attribute by which he could be controlled. So, as soon as Dr. Middleton had quitted the room, he addressed him in a commanding tone, Now, boy, what is your name?
Jack started; he looked up at his master, perceived his eye fixed upon him, and a countenance not to be played with. Jack was no fool, and somehow or another, the discipline he had received from his father had given him some intimation of what was to come. All this put together induced Jack to condescend to answer, with his fore-finger between his teeth, Johnny.
And what is your other name, sir?
Jack, who appeared to repent his condescension, did not at first answer, but he looked again in Mr. Bonnycastles face, and then round the room: there was no one to help him, and he could not help himself, so he replied Easy.
Do you know why you are sent to school?
No; you are sent to learn to read and write.
But I wont read and write, replied Jack, sulkily.
Yes, you will; and you are going to read your letters now directly.
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