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OUR YOUTHS' DEPARTMENT, Issue 8048, 26 October 1889, Supplement
OUR YOUTHS' DEPARTMENT
To the little Folks.
[By Frances Hodgson Burnett.]
My Dear Children,—Some timo ago I was made very glad and proud by receiving a letter telling me that the votes of the young people had decided that you liked ' Little Lord Fauntlcroy' better than any of the many stories you had read. There are to many beautiful stories Written for you now that to have written the one which pleases so many children more than all the rest is to have reason to be happy and proud. There was once a man who said " Let me make the songs of the people, and who will may make their laws." Somotimos I think Let me make the stories for the children, and who will may write for the older ones." So you see, when I was asked to edit this department for yru I could not say "No." Perhaps it will interest you to know that but for a little boy I knew and loved 1 should never have thought of writing •Fauntleroy.' This little hoy and his brother, with whom I have been the most intimate friend ever since they were born, have taught me a, great dcel. I think I may say they have educated mo, and that if I write stories children Icve it is because I have so much loved two children and have told them so many. When I Wrote ' Lord Fanntleroy' these two little boys heard it al! read aloud as tS was written, and if they had criticised any part of it I am sure I should have felt it rny duty to cut that part out; but fcrtutunately they were kind enough to approve of it all, and so I allowed it to be published. During my aequaintai'cs with these boys there is one thing I have specially noticed, and that is that no subject is uninteresting to them if it is talked or written about well and clearly. They like to hear of art, science, mechanism, politics, literature, everything, so long as it is thoroughly oxpiained by somo one who understands the subject himself. This is the ease, lam sure, with all other children who think and read, and as now the people who are the cleverest are willing to help the children by writing for them of tho things they know best themselves, there seems scarcely any limit to what children may learn and enjoy. Nothing that is information is useless. Each time you Icara a new thing you are the gainer, if it 13 only through having exercised your intelligence and your power of observation. Every bit of added knowledge makes your miads broader, and the broader your minds are the kinder and more generous your spirits will be. The boy or girl who knows and is interested only in one thing will be less likely to have sympathy for those who only know something else. And I am sure the way to make the big world better and happier and wiser is that each boy and girl shall feel interest in and sympathy for the rest—because it is the "boys and girls who afe learning and enjoying their youth to-day who will be the men and women who will make all the changes for the better or for the worse that the world will know during the generation. If there is a groat new law to be created which will make your country stronger and more perfect it 13 some boy who is playing football or tennis or riding a bicycle today who will bo the man who leads the way to tho making of it. I confess I like to think of that boy. He probably has his pocket* full of all sorts of things—l know the kind t>f things. He doubtless can make a good deal of noise if it is seriously required 0: him. It is not unlikely that he prefers not to wash hi* hands too .frequently. It i;, just possible that he lias a magnificent, muscular appetite ; indeed, I sincerely hope he has. He m:>.y not he considered anything particular in tho way of a boy, and yet in a certain number of years from now—and years pass quickly—he will stand in the House of Representatives and he will say honest, eloquent, logical, glowing words that will right some great wrong or give aid at soiw. great crisis, and long after his lift: is ended men and women will say that the World was better for his having been born. It seem-, to me that is a splendid thing for all the. looys to think of, for who knows which Ivy it may be of all the thousands who are only honest, manly little fellows to-day, for c!f course it will be a manly fellow ? And if a number of boys in wishing they might each have this great thing to do tried a little to make themselves ready and worthy to do it, then there would be so many more men, strong and alert-minded and generous and ready to follow the lender like splendid soldiers whea the yrtsiit time came, or perhaps to lead others to things quite as great, though in other paths. And I speak not only of the boys, but of the girls who are their sisters and friends, and who have quite as much to do in the world as they. Those who first and host can prepare these boys and girls for doing great and sweet, generous, and useful things are those who make their homes. Those who come next in power are those who make their literature—the books they read, the stories or poems or essays that suggest new thoughts to them. lam sure no boy ever read tho history of a fine deed without a glow at his heart and a wish that he might be allowed to do something like it. And the boy or girl who constantly reads what brings beautiful thoughts to him or her cannot long havo a narrow and ugly mind ; the beautiful thoughts will shine in it like the sun, and make bright all the dark places. In these days among the mont beautiful magazines are those for children. In this page for young people we shall tiy to add to their good fortune in literature, to help each to learn what he or she thinks will be most useful in the future, and what will give tho moat intelligent pleasure in the present. If one wishes to read a stcry we shall try to give him one of the best and most inspiring that can he written ; if others wish to hear of pictures, of history, of mechanics, science, art, or politics, we hope to induce tho persons who know most of such subjects to write about them in such a way as can be most clearly understood. In this manner we hopo to reach so many of those who are young that scarcely any boy or girl can fail to have what he or she desires and needs. If in doing this the child whose fortune it is to do the great things is even indirectly helped to do them moro perfectly, and if the child whose fortune it is to do the small ones is helped to feel that the smalle&t thing is worth doing well, and with a sweet and brave spirit, then the Young People's Page will have been a success. This success, above all others, I, who love children, wish'for.
OUR YOUTHS' DEPARTMENT, Issue 8048, 26 October 1889, Supplement
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