I Wonder Essays for the Young People

Cover of book I Wonder Essays for the Young People
Categories: Fiction » Children

I WONDER Essays for the Young People - 1911 - To MY GRANDCHILD S. J. P. H O W A R T H 1 AM PERMSITED TO DEDICATE THESE LITTLE ESSAYS When she was half-a-dozen years younger, Louisa had been overheard


to begin a conversation with her brother one day by saying, Tom, I wonder -upon which Mr. Gradgrind, who was the person overhearing, stepped forth into the light, and said, Louisa, never wonder Herein lay the spring of the mechanical art and mystery of educating the reason without stooping to the cultivation of the sentiments and affections. Never wonder. By means of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, settle everything somehow, and never wonder . . . There was a library in Coketown, to which general access was easy. Mr. Gradgrind greatly tormented his mind about what the people read in this library. It was a disheartening circumstance, but a melancholy fact, that even these readers persisted in wondering. They wondered about human nature, human passions, human hopes and fears, the struggles, triumphs, and defeats, the cares and joys and sorrows, the lives and deaths, of common men and women. DICKENS i , n Hnrd Times. -- PREFACE -- THERE comes a time in your life, when you play as it were a game of cards against Faith. It is the oldest of all games. You and she, across the green table of Earth, are confronted and the rule is, that you play first. You sit and stare, across the table, at the backs of her cards. You have a strong hand you hold the cruelty of Nature,-and the iniquities of Man the facts of drink, insanity, inherited disease the misery of the unemployed. What a hand you have got, what a hand Come, you begin. Those ekhteen, on whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them-try that card. The game sways now to you, now to her, till the fan of your hand is thinned. You will find that she, no less than you, has a strong hand, stronger than you thought and, if you live long enough, she is likely to win. For she holds, with much else that is worth having, certain cards which you will never beat . and she is an old and skilful player. Be careful to keep your temper over the game and, of course, you play not for money but for Love. X CONTENTS II. THE WONDER OF MATTER IV. THEW ONDE O R F SELF . VI. THE WONDER OF DEATH VII. THE WONDER OF BEAUTY l VIII. THE USE OF WONDER . PAGE ix I WONDER THE WAY OF WONDER THIS m uch I remember of Aristotle, that he calls Wonder the beginning of the love of Wisdom. To have a right judgment of our surroundings, we must wonder at them, and be surprised that they and we are met together. So long as we exercise this quickening sense of wonder, there is hope for us, and some justification of our presence here, because we are on the road that leads toward wisdom and they alone are incorrigible fools, to whom Nature comes natural. Once we have fallen into the bad habit of taking for granted what Nature grants us, and have ceased to be amazed, it may fairly be said that in the midst of life we are in death. For one might as well be dead as alive, to look with dull eyes at the world, not finding it wonderful.. So excellent is Wonder, that we must not profane its name in common use. For example, there is the phrase, I wonder if. Be sure that he or she, who thus turns a sentence, is untidy of speech, and regardless of the rights of words. It is impossible, to wonder if you are not thinking, nor trying to think. I wonder if it will be JFne to-morrow you could hardly find a worse phrase. Never wonder if always wonder at. The dawn of one more day, wet or fine, is wonderful if it be fine, wonder at the sunshine if it be wet, at the rain, each drop a miracle...

I Wonder Essays for the Young People
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