As A SMALL boy, your historian was told that “A king was in his counting room, a-counting out his cash,” or similar words, which told, practically, of his taking account of stock. So, also, Gadsby was on his thinking-porch, a-thinking of his past. (A mighty good thing to do, too; if anybody should ask you!)

“If,” said His Honor, you can’t find any fun during childhood, you naturally won’t look for it as you grow up to maturity. You will grow ‘hard,’ and look upon fun as foolish. Also, if you don’t furnish fun for a child, don’t look for it to grow up bright, happy and loving. So, always put in a child’s path an opportunity to watch, talk about, and know, as many good things as you can.”

Lady Gadsby, from a parlor window, said:

“Practicing for a stumping tour, or a political pow-wow?”

“Ha, ha! No. Just thinking out loud.”

So, as thinking cannot hurt anybody, His Honor was soon going on:—

“Affairs which look small or absurd to a full-grown man may loom up as big as a mountain to a child; and you shouldn’t allow a fact that you saw a thing ‘so much that I am sick of it,’ to turn you away from an inquiring child. You wasn’t sick of it, on that far-past day on which you first saw it. I always look back, happily and proudly, to taking a small girl to our City Florist’s big glass building; to a group at our Night Court; a group finding out about dispatching our mail; and our circus! Boy! That was fun! Our awarding diplomas at City Hall; tiny Marian at our airport’s inauguration; our Manual Training School graduation. All that did a big lot toward showing Youth that this big world is ‘not half bad,’ if adults will but watch, aid, and coach. And I will not stand anybody’s snapping at a child! Particularly a tiny tot. If you think that you must snap, snap at a child so big as to snap back. I don’t sanction ‘talking back’ to adults, but, ha, ha! I did find a grand, big wallop in Marian’s April Fool cigar! Woo! Did Old Bill jump!! But that did no harm, and a sad young mind found a way to match things up with an antagonist. Now, just stand a child up against your body. How tall is it? Possibly only up to your hip. Still, a man ,—or an animal thinking that it is a man—will slap, whip, or viciously yank an arm of so frail, so soft a tiny body! That is what I call a coward!! By golly! almost a criminal! If a tot is what you call naughty, (and no child voluntarily is,) why not lift that young body up onto your lap, and talk—don’t shout—about what it just did? Shouting gains nothing with a tot. Man can shout at Man, at dogs, and at farm animals; but a man who shouts at a child is, at that instant, sinking in his own muck of bullyism; and bullyism is a sin, if anything in this world is. Ah Youth! You glorious dawn of Mankind! You bright, happy, glowing morning Sun; not at full brilliancy of noon, I know, but unavoidably on your way! Youth! How I do thrill at taking your warm, soft hand; walking with you; talking with you; but, most important of all, laughing with you! That is Man’s pathway to glory. A man who drops blossoms in passing, will carry joy to folks along his way; a man who drops crumbs will also do a kindly act; but a man who drops kind words to a sobbing child will find his joy continuing for many a day; for blossoms will dry up; crumbs may blow away; but a kind word to a child may start a blossom growing in that young mind, which will so far surpass what an unkindly man might drop, as an orchid will surpass a wisp of grass. Just stop a bit and look back at your footprints along your past pathway. Did you put many humps in that soil which a small child might trip on? Did you angrily slam a door, which might so jolt a high-strung tot as to bring on nights and nights of insomnia? Did you so constantly snarl at it that it don’t want you around? In fact, did you put anything in that back-path of yours which could bring sorrow to a child? Or start its distrust of you, as its rightful guardian? If so, go back right now, man, and fix up such spots by kindly acts from now on. Or, jump into a pond, and don’t crawl out again!! For nobody wants you around!”

Lady Gadsby, as this oration was wafting off amongst lilac shrubs, and across soft, warm lawns, had sat, also thinking; finally coming out onto that ivy-bound porch, and sitting down by His Honor, saying:—

“That was just grand, John, but I was thinking along a path varying a bit from that. You know that Man’s brain is actually all of him. All parts of his body, as you follow down from his brain, act simply as aids to it. His nostrils bring him air; his mouth is for masticating his food; his hands and limbs furnish ability for manipulation and locomotion; and his lungs, stomach and all inward organs function only for that brain. If you look at a crowd you say that you saw lots of folks: but if you look at a man bathing in a pond; and if that man sank until only that part from his brow upward was in sight, you might say that you saw nobody; only a man s scalp. But you actually saw a man, for a man is only as big as that part still in sight. Now a child’s skull, naturally, is not so big as a man’s; so its brain has no room for all that vast mass of thoughts which adult brains contain. It is, so to say, in a small room. But, as days and months go by, that room will push its walls outward, and that young brain gradually fill up all that additional room. So, looking for calm, cool thinking in a child is as silly as looking for big, juicy plums amongst frail spring blossoms. Why, oh, why don’t folks think of that? You know what foolish sounding things Julius was always asking, as a child. ‘How can just rubbing a match light it?’ ‘Why is it dark at night?’ ‘Why can’t a baby talk?’ But, you and I, John, didn’t laugh at him. No, not for an instant. And now look at our Julius and our Kathlyn; both famous, just through all that asking; and our aid. John, God could put Man into this world, full-grown. But God don’t do so; for God knows that, without a tiny hand to hold, a tiny foot to pat, tiny lips to kiss, and a tiny, warm, wriggling body to hug, Man would know nothing but work.”

Gadsby sat smoking for a bit, finally saying:-

“Darling, that pair of robins up in that big oak with four young, and you and I in this big building, also with four, know all about what you just said; and, and, —hmmm!! It’s almost midnight.” And His Honor s mansion was soon dark; bathing in soft moonlight.



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Books with no spinal columns.