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XLI. — JOHN POUNDS, THE COBBLER. 1. JOHN POUNDS was one of those good Samaritanss of whom every generation apparently produces some examples. Born on the 17th of July, in the year 1766, at Portsmouth in England, he was apprenticed, when twelve years of age, to a shipwright, with whom he served three years of his term, when a serious accident happened to the boy. Falling one day from a considerable height into one of the dry docks, El he dislocated his thigh, and was in other respects very grievously injured. Time and surgical ingenuity sufficed to restore him to a tolerable state, but he was crippled in such a manner as to be unfitted is resume95 his trade; and so John Pounds became a cobbler.
2. He lived a lonely kind of life. Having no household soci ety,92 and being little disposed to go abroad in quest of entertainment, he relieved his involuntary solitude by rearing and domesticating all kinds of singing birds and harmless animals ; teaching some of them a variety of amusing tricks, and accustoming those of opposite propensities to live together in harmony. He would sit with a cat upon one shoulder, and a canary-bird on the other, charming away fear from the one, and curbing destructive inclinations in the other.
3. The notion of undertaking the gratūitous education of poor children seems to have been suggested accidentally to John Pounds. A brother of his, who was a seafaring man with a large family, had amongst the rest a feeble little boy, with deformed feet. John benevolently took charge of this lad, cured him of his deformity, and taught him to read. Thinking it would be well for the boy to have a companion in study, he took another, and then another poor child under his care, until at length he became a sort of ragged schoolmaster-general to all the poorer population ; and, in a spirit of noble disinterestedness, performed a most serviceable work in his generation.
4. He might be seen, day after day, in his small workshop about six feet wide, and eighteen in length, in St. Mary-streer Portsmouth, seated on his stool, mending shoes, and attending at the same time to the studies of a busy crowd of ragged children, clustering around him. Sometimes there would be assembled in his shop as many as forty boys and girls, the latter of whom ho kept a little apart from the rest. In receiving pupils,43 he made choice of those who seemed most in need of his reforming disci. pline. He had a decided predilection for “ the little black. guards," and was frequently at great pains to attract such within his door. He was once seen following a young vagabonde of this stamp, and endeavoring to entice him to come to school with the bribe of a baked potato.04
5. His methods of tuition were somewhat original.90 He col. lected all sorts of refuses2 hand-bills and scraps of printed and written paper, which he found lying anywhere uselessly about, and with these he contrived to teach reading and spelling. With the younger children his manner was particularly pleasant. He would ask them the names of different parts of their body, make them spell the words, and signify their uses. For instance, taking hold of a child's hand, he would say, “What do you call this?” and, having received his answer, direct him to spell the word. Then, giving the hand a playful slap, he would ask, “What do I do?" and teach him next to spell the word expressive of the act.
6. Should this remind any one of Mr. Squeers’sel analogousEx method of teaching a boy to spell “ horse,»98 and then, by way of emphatic illustration, sending him to rub such an animal down, that he might the better remember his lesson, it will be proper to recollect the different pretensions of the parties, and not to confound an ignorant charlataner with an honest and benevolent person, who performs his work with conscientious consideration, and according to the extent of his ability and means.
7. Writing and arithmetic were taught by John Pounds to the elder pupils, in a manner to give them a creditable degree of skill in those branches. Many25 of the boys he taught to mend their shoes, to cook their food, and perform a variety of useful services for themselves and others. Not only did he superintend their sports and personal habits, but the generous and considerate teacher likewise exerted himself in curing their bodily ailments, such as chilblains, and coughs, and the manifold cuts and bruises to which the children of the poor are continually exposed. Often65 he shared his own scanty and homely provisions with destitūte and forsakenol children. He acknowl. edged universal kinship with the neglected and unhappy.
8. The sort of education which John Pounds was enabled to give was doubtless very imperfect; but it was infinitely preferable to none at all. He had ample assurances that his steadfast labors, adhered to through a long life, were not fruitless. Coming home from foreign service or a distant voyage, often would some tall soldier, or rough jovial sailor, now grown up out of all remembrance, call to shake hands with him, and confess the benefits he had received from his instruction. These were proud occasions for the poor and modest cobbler. Other recompense than this he had scarcely any. So quietly and unobtrusively had he all along pursued his purpose, that comparatively few
persons, of the respectable sort in the world's estimation, knews anything of his proceedings.
9. It was the wish of John Pounds that his labors might terminate only with his life. The thought of lingering out any portion of his days uselessly and helplessly was a painful one for him to entertain; and it was his hope to go off suddenly, in the way, as he said, “ in which 103 a bird drops from his ferch.” The desire of his soul was granted. On the first101 of January, E 1839, he expired suddenly, from a rupture of one of the large vessels of the heart, at the house of a gentleman whom he had called ipon to thank for certain” acts100 of kindness recently rendered to his establishment.
10. A little boy who was with him at the time carried the intelligence to his assembled school-fellows, who were all instantly overwhelmed with sorrow and consternation. Some of the younger ones returned to the house for several successive days, looking painfully about the room, and apparently unable to comprehend the reality of the loss they had sustained. Old and young, in a numerous and motley assemblage, followed his body to the grave, and saw him to his rest with tears and blessings.
11. One cannot sufficiently admire the heartiness and generosity of this poor man's labors. Patiently from year to year he went on, quietly performing these daily acts of charity and mercy, without needing or expecting anybody's approbation, or even conceiving that he was doing anything remarkable. A good man and a true one, he flung the benefits of his sympathy, and of such talents as he possessed, over all that seemed to need them ; finding a joyful satisfaction in being useful to such as had no helper, and leaving, with an assured heart, the results of his endeavors to that universal Providence which heeds and nurtures whatever seeds of goodnessl are sown anywhere in the world. No slightest service to humanity can be lost, but successfully proclaims itself, or works silently to some benefit.
XLII. - THE SPRING SHOWER.
Rushes on stridingly. Ay, now it comes,
There are sweet scents about up : the violets hides On that green bank ; the primrose sparkles there The earth is grateful to the teeming clouds, And yields a sudden'l freshness to their kisses. But now the shower slopes off to the warm west, Leaving a dewy33 track ; like falling pearls The big drops glisten30 in the sunny mist. The air is clear again, 27 and the far woods In their early green shine out. Let 's onward, thens For the first blossoms peep about our path, The lambs are nibbling the short, dripping grass, And the birds are on the bushes.
XLIII. — “NOT TO MYSELF ALONE.”
1. “ Not to myself alone,” The little opening flower transported cries,
“ Not to myself alone I bud and bloom ;
With fragrant breath the breezes I perfume,82
His dainty fill;
From threatening ill."
2. “ Not to myself alone,” The circling star98 with honest pride doth boast,
“ Not to myself alone I rise and set ;
I write upon night's corona190 of jet
I gem the sky,
His home on high.”
3. “ Not to myself alone,”
I rove the wood, the garden, and the bower,
With busy care,
With scanty share.”.
4 “ Not to myself alone,” The soaring bird withi lusty pinion sings,
“ Not to myself alone I raise my song;
I cheer the drooping with my warbling tongue, And bear the mourner on my viewless wings;
I bid the hymnleggs, churl my anthem learn,
And God adore ;
And sing and soar."
5. “Not to myself alone,"
Not to myself alone I sparkling glide;
My gladsome tune ;40
In droughty3 June."
6. “ Not to myself alone :" -
Its tongue, its soul, its life, its pulse, its heart, -
In carth's great chorusEi to sustain thy part !
And self disown;
Not to thyself alone !
XLIV. — ON THE STUDY OF WORDS.
Part FIRST. 1. THERE are two theoriesEl in regard to the origin of lan. guage. One would put language on the same level with the vari. ous arts and inventions with which man has gradually adorned and enriched his life. It might, I think, be sufficient to object to this explanation, that language would then be an accident46 of human nature; and, this being the case, that we should somewhere encounter tribes sunken so low as not to possess it; even as there is no human art or invention, though it be as simple and obvious as the preparing of food by fire, but there are those smo have fallen below its exercise.
2. But with language it is not so. There have never yet been found human beings — not the most degraded hörde of South Africa Bushmen, 1 or Papuan- Cannibalski - who did not employ this means of intercourse with one another. Man starts with language as God's perfect gift, which he only impairs and forfeits82 by sloth and sin, according to the same lawiới which holds good in respect to every other of the gifts of Heaven.30