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There is an old maxim, which I dare say my young friends have heard more than once, or twice: I know, when I was a little girl, it was told me so often, that as I grew up, whenever I found my tongue running too fast, I used to repeat it over and over again to myself, thus: “ Young ladies should be seen before they are heard.”—“ Young ladies should be seen before they are heard.” I am sure papa, or mamma, or some dear aunt Sarah, or perhaps some of your nurses, have told you this maxim, particularly if you have been considered a CHATTERBOX.
The English are called a silent people, and yet they frequently talk more, in my opinion, than is good either for themselves or others. It is the very perfection of wisdom to know when to speak, and when to keep silence. Some of the most beautiful of the Proverbs of Solomon treat of this : they are admirable in every way. I used to commit them to memory, when I was a little girl : I hope they did me good.
A dear friend of mine has a very nice child—a fond, good tempered, generous little creature ; her name is Fanny Eltham
you would be pleased to hear her sing, and see her dance, and, still more so, to observe how willingly she gives up her enjoyments to make others happy. She eats whatever is put upon her plate, without a desire for change: she shares her cakes, her toys, her fruits and flowers, joyfully with her companions :
- in short, were she not such an everlasting Chatterbox, she would be the most delightful young lady I know; but she mars all her good qualities by her love of talking. Fanny will talk as long as she can about what she understands; and then she will talk about what she cannot possibly understand, rather than remain silent. She has not patience to wait to learn ; but will run away with the beginning or end of a story, fancying she comprehends the whole ; and so, without intending to circulate an untruth, she arrives at a false conclusion, and leads others to do the same : not only this, but her active imagination causes her to add to a story; and she never pauses to consider the effect her words may produce.
It is really wonderful to hear how fast Fanny talks—crowding one thing upon another—heaping up words and sentences
-chatter, chatter, chatter !—I am sure, if hard work ever wore out a little tongue, hers will be gone before she is twenty. But I have reason to think that my little friend Fanny will improve rapidly: I will tell you why I think so by-and-bye.
Before she could pronounce words she would keep on all day, saying, “ Yab, yab, yab!” and instead of trying to prevent this unceasing “yabbing," the nurses used to laugh at it and her eldest sister called her “ Yabby," a name changed to “ Chatterbox” before she was three years old. « Chatterbox” had also got a very rude habit of asking questions, and not attending to the answers : certainly, of all my little friends