A Talk With The Boys.

I HAVE two minds about you, boys,

mean you older ones, from ten to fifteen, or

there abouts. Sometimes I meet you on the

streets, and you bow to me pleasantly, and

your faces look so bright and manly that I

say to myself, "What grand, noble men they

will make!" Or I see you at my home, or in

your homes, and I feel proud of you, and I

know your mothers do, too. And then, perhaps

the very next day, I see you shouting

and laughing at a poor dog that is frantic

with terror at some dreadful thing tied to his

tail; or, worse, I see you abusing and tyrannizing

over some unlucky little mate, who

doesn't happen to be as strong as you are,

and can only resist your abuse by impotent

rage, which seems to you vastly amusing.

It is such fun to pelt a poor, little wretch

with snowballs, every one of which goes

as straight as an arrow to its mark, while

his fly wildly in every direction but the right.

It is such fun to throw a little fellow head

foremost into a snowdrift, or catch him by

the ends of his scarf and whirl him around

until he is half strangled, and then let him

drop like a bullet to the ground. It is such

fun to run off with his ball; to split his top

with a well-aimed "peg;" to send his marbles

into a dirty puddle; to make, in a thousand

ways, his life such a burden to him

that he never goes upon the street without

looking nervously around to see if you are

in sight.

I tell you, boys, when I see such things as

these, and I have seen them for years and

years, then I change my mind, and think

you must have, somewhere in your natures,

a streak of cowardice, and ruffianism, meanness.

Mean! Why, there are no words in

the English language strong enough to tell

how mean it seems to me. You who ought

to be the defenders of everything weak and

unfortunate and defenseless, whose very

strength should make you gentle, and who

should scorn anything so cowardly as finding

pleasure in seeing others suffer, I wish I could

make you feel how horribly it all is, far below

even the beginning of a true manhood.

Little Corporal