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11.- EYES AND NO EYES.
1. Everything which helps a boy's power of observation helps his power of learning; and I know from experience that nothing helps one's power of observation so much as the study of the world about us, and especially the study of natural history. To be accustomed to watch for curious objects, to know in a moment when you have come upon anything new, and to be quick at seeing when things are like and when unlike, — this makes one a skilful observer. And this must, and I well know does, help to make a boy observant, shrewd, and accurate, in the common affairs of life.
2. When we were little and good, a long time ago, we used to have a jolly old book, called “Evenings at Home,” in which was a great story, called “Eyes and No Eyes,” and that story was of more use to me than any dozen other stories I ever read.
3. A regular old-fashioned story it is, but a right good one, and thus it begins :
“Well, Robert, where have you been walking this afternoon ?” said Mr. Andrews to one of his pupils, at the close of a holiday. O, Robert had been to Broom Heath, and round to Campmount, and home through the meadows. But it was very dull; he saw hardly a single person. He had rather have gone by the turnpike road. “But where is William ?”
O, William started with him, but he was so tedious, always stopping 'to look at this thing and that, that *Robert would rather walk alone, and so went on.
4. Presently in comes Master William, dressed, no doubt, as we wretched boys used to be forty years ago, with frill collar, and tight, skeleton monkey-jacket, and tight trousers buttoned over it, and a pair of low shoes, which always came off if you stepped into heavy ground. Terribly dirty and wet he is; but he never had such a pleasant walk in his life, and he has brought home a handkerchief full of curiosities.
5. He has got a piece of mistletoe, and wants to know what it is; he has seen a woodpecker and a wheat-ear, and gathered strange flowers off the heath, and hunted a pewit because he thought its wing was broken, till, of course, it led him into a bog; but he did not mind, for in the bog he fell in with an old man cutting turf, who told him all about turf-cutting. Then he went up a hill, and saw a grand prospect, and because the place was called Campmount, he looked for a Roman camp, and found the ruins of one. Then he went on and saw twenty things more; and so on, till he had brought home curiosities and thoughts enough to last him a week.
6. Mr. Andrews, who seems a sensible old gentleman, tells him all about his curiosities; and then it turns out that Master William has been over exactly the same ground as Master Robert, who saw nothing at all.
7. Whereon says Mr. Andrews, wisely enough, in his solemn, old-fashioned way: “So it is. One man walks through the world with his eyes open, and another with them shut; and upon this depends all the superiority of
knowledge which one acquires over the other. I have known sailors who had been in all quarters of the world, and could tell you nothing but the signs of the tipplinghouses, and the price and quality of the liquor. On the other hand, Franklin could not cross the Channel without making observations useful to mankind.
8. “While many a thoughtless person is whirled through Europe without gaining a single idea worth crossing the street for, the observing eye and inquiring mind find matter of improvement and delight in every ramble. Do you, then, William, continue to make use of your eyes; and you, Robert, learn that eyes were given you to use."
9. And when I read that story as a little boy, I said to myself, “I will be Mr. Eyes; I will not be Mr. No Eyes"; and Mr. Eyes I have tried to be ever since; and Mr. Eyes I advise you to be if you wish to be happy and successful.
III. — ALEXANDER'S FIRST TRIUMPH.
1. Philoni'cus the Thessalian brought the horse Buceph'alus to Philip, offering to sell him for thirteen talents; but when the attendants went into the field to try him, they found him so very vicious and unmanageable that he reared up when they endeavored to mount him, and would not so much as endure the voice of
2. Philip was displeased at their bringing him so wild and ungovernable a horse and bade them take him away, but as they were leading him away as wholly intractable and useless, Alexander, who stood by, said, “ What an excellent horse do they lose, for want of skill and spirit to manage him!”
3. Philip at first took no notice of the words of his son; but when he heard him repeat the same thing several times, and saw that he was much vexed that the horse should be sent away, he said, “Do you reproach those that are older than yourself, as if you knew more, and were better able than they to manage the horse ?”
“I could manage him,” he said, “better than others do.”
“ And if you do not,” said Philip, “what will you forfeit for your rashness ?”
“I will pay the whole price of the horse,” said Alexander.
4. At this the whole company fell to laughing; but as soon as the agreement was settled amongst them, Alexander immediately ran to the horse, and, taking hold of the bridle, turned him directly toward the sun, having, it seems, observed that the animal was disturbed and frightened by the motion of his own shadow.
5. Then the youth, letting him go forward a little, still keeping the reins in his hand, and stroking him gently, when he found him growing eager and fiery, let fall his upper garment softly, and with one nimble leap securely mounted him. When he was seated, by little and little he drew in the bridle, and curbed him without either striking or spurring him. Presently, when he
found him free from all rebelliousness, and only impatient for the course, he let him go at full speed, inciting him now with a commanding voice, and urging him also with his heel.
6. Philip and his friends looked on at first in silence and anxiety for the result, till, seeing Alexander turn at the end of his career, and come back rejoicing and triumphant for what he had performed, they all burst out into acclamations of applause. His father, shedding tears, it is said, for joy, kissed him as he came down from his horse, and in his transport exclaimed, “ O my son, look thee out a kingdom worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too small for thee!”
7. After this, considering his son to be of a temper easy to be led to duty by reason, but by no means to be compelled, Philip always endeavored to persuade him rather than to command or force him. He saw that the instruction of his son was too difficult and important to be wholly trusted to the ordinary masters in music and poetry, and that it required, in the words of Sophocles,
“ The rudder's guidance and the curb's restraint.”
8. He therefore sent for Aristotle, the most learned philosopher of his time, and rewarded him with a munificence becoming the care he took to teach his son.
Alexander gained from him not only moral and political knowledge, but was also instructed in those more profound branches of science which they did not communicate to common scholars.