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Early Sentiments
form of piety: there is also a morbid condition of apparent inspiration to
which imaginative women are subject, especially those who suffer more
or less from hysteria. It is accompanied in a very curious way, familiar to
medical men, by almost incredible acts of deceit. It is found even in ladies
of position apparently above the suspicion of vulgar fraud, and seems
associated with a strange secret desire to attract notice. Ecstatics, seers of
visions, and devout fasting girls who eat on the sly, often belong to this
The child is passionately attached to his home, then to his school, his
country, and religion; yet how entirely the particular home, school,
country, and religion are a matter of accident! He is born prepared to
attach himself as a climbing plant is naturally disposed to climb, the kind
of stick being of little importance. The models upon whom the child or
boy forms himself are the boys or men whom he has been thrown
amongst, and whom from some incidental cause he may have learned to
love and respect. The every-day utterances, the likes and dislikes of his
parents, their social and caste feelings, their religious persuasions are
absorbed by him; their views or those of his teachers become assimilated
and made his own. If a mixed marriage should have taken place, and the
father should die while the children are yet young, and if a question arise
between the executors of his will and the mother as to the religious
education of the children, application is made as a matter of course to the
Court of Chancery, who decide that the children shall be brought up as
Protestants or as Catholics as the case may be, or the sons one way and
the daughters the other; and they are, and usually remain so afterwards
when free to act for themselves.
It is worthy of note that many of the deaf-mutes who are first taught to
communicate freely with others after they had passed the period of
boyhood, and are asked about their religious feelings up to that time, are
reported to tell the same story. They say that the meaning of the church
service whither they had accompanied their parents, Previous page Top Next page