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Hannah, then, why don't you take the child ? I wish I could make you come, and take it : I am tired to death, and all my washing's to do.
The girl came to the door, and taking up an old knife, she began to cut a bit of stick and to scatter the chips all about the entrance.
I shall tell father of you, when he comes in from his work, and you'll see then !
The girl looked back into the house ; then threw down the knife and stick, and walking into the road, began to dip her foot into a channel in which some water had stood, as if to try how deep she could go without letting the water enter into her shoe at the top.
The action of the girl led me to imagine that she was the Hannah whom the mother from within was talking to; and going up to her, I asked her name.
They call me Hannah Joblin.
your mother at home?
These short answers were given without the smallest token of respect, she staring in my face. These indications were sufficient reasons for my endeavoring to make acquaintance; so taking the girl by the hand, I said, -Come, go in with me. She did not seem very willing ; but as I led the way, she was constrained to accompany
I tapped against the door to prepare the woman for my visit, and then went in.
She was sitting on a low stool by the fire, trying to get the baby to sleep, with a cross and fretful countenance. The breakfast things were all scattered about on the table and chairs, and the whole appearance indicated little management or order.
She rose with her child in her arms, and said, in a fretful voice,
I'm sorry, Sir, you're come when I'm so untidy. Make haste, Hannah, do, and put away the things, and wipe down the table.
Hannah only stood staring with the utmost indifference.
Oh! dear me! you're such a lass! sit down, then, on a stool, and take the child till he's asleep.
Hannah vouchsafed to sit down, and without making any attempt to take the baby, suffered lier mother to put it on her lap, and she held it on without any intention to nurse it. The mother meantime emptied a chair, wiped it, and then setting it a little distance from the table, said, --Pray be seated, Sir. If you please, Sir, did you want my husband?
No; to tell you the truth, I had no other business than to bring your Hannah in to take the baby.
She looked surprised. I continued.—I should suppose you have some difficulty in managing your children ; Hannah does not appear to be obedient to her mother ?
Wishing, like many foolish mothers, to conceal the true state of the case, she began to gloss over matters by saying,-Why, Sir, you see she's but a child yet, I makes excuses for her ; she's very good sometimes; but when she's a bit stupid she wants her own way.
She looked at her, and so did I ; and the girl looking into her mother's face with a bold steadfastness, as if to say she would watch all she said, and began, however, to betray strong feeling of some kind; for the color rose in her cheeks, which continued deepening until it was perfect crimson.
I heard you threaten that you would tell her father ; I fancy you did not really intend to tell him ?
Why you see, Sir, I oft is obliged to threaten her ; but I don't like to tell her father, he is so very angry that then he beats her; and I don't like to see him beat her; you see, Sir, men strikes a deal harder than they think. Then you
do tell him sometimes ? Why yes; but then, you see, if he's about to beat her, I gets between 'em, and sometimes I gets the stick out of his hand.
Then she never obeys you ?
I think I could say with certainty, that she never does; for when she happens to do the thing you want, it is not because you want it, but because she herself likes to do it.
Why, Sir, may be ; but it's all the same thing if she does it.
By no means the same thing ; for if she did it to please you, and because it was her duty, she would always do so; but if it's to please herself, then it is just as it may happen, and I should suppose that it very seldom so happens, as she is better pleased with knocking a chair, or cutting a stick, or dipping her shoes in the wet. I saw just now four things she liked better to do than to attend to your wishes. I wish for the child's sake as well as for your's, that you better plan of teaching her her duty. Do you teach her her duty to God?
Her father takes that part; and he takes pains to instruct 'em, though he isn't learned.
Does he teach her the law of God, and the law of Jesus ?
He often talks to her about it.
Has he ever taught you the fifth commandment, Hannah :“Honor thy father and mother ?” She did not answer.-Did he ever teach you the Word of God, which says, “ Children, obey your parents ?" Still no answer.-From your mother's account, I suppose he has. Then how do you fulfil his instructions, or show your love or fear of God? See what a sinful child you are, who love your own perverse will better than your father's instructions, or than the word and law of God.
Do you know,-I said to the mother,--that you have a right given you by God, to command the obedience of your children ?
I suppose so, Šir.
But how hard you make it for a sinful child to obey, when you don't claim your right, but only speak to her as if it was for her to choose whether she will or will not obey. You should keep her in the right way by commanding what God commands, and not say—“I wish you would," or ask, as if it was a favor,-“ Do, Hannah," -or let her take her own indolent way. She cares not for your saying, “ Come and do,” because she knows, however you may wish it, not enforce it. She cares not for your threatening to tell her father, because she knows by experience that you do not mean what you say. She cares not for her father's anger, because she knows that you yourself, whom she has offended, will interfere to stop the chastening, and to prevent her being punished. And she cares not for God, at all, because she is a sinful child, and you do not prove to her that you either love, or serve, or fear God yourself. If you did but think of it rightly, you would see that you are bringing up your child by a system of lies; and then, even, when you know, and she knows, how wicked she is in her disobedience, before her very face you make a lying excuse for her; and that is a strange way of gaining the honor and obedience of
child. Why, Sir, I can't help thinking you make a serious matter of a very little thing. It was but about nursing a baby.
You will feel the consequence of this method if you do not change it. The act of disobedi