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Page 218


Emulation — a healthy emulation — should be encouraged.
Generosity should characterize it always,
and prevent the mingling with it of any bitter rivalry,
to which it is too liable when undirected. “Never do
anything enviable or malicious, Isaac,” said Mrs. Partington,
with a grave expression upon her face, and
an iron-spoon in her hand. “Immolation should be encouraged;
but, then, we should be always willing to
make sacraments of ourselves, sometimes, for others;
for the world is wide enough for everybody, as the little
boy said, when he let the bumblebee go.” — “What
did he let him go, for?” said Ike, who was rather interested
in natural history. — “Because he did n't want to
nurt the inseck, and might have got hurt himself, if
he 'd ha' tried to. This should be a sample for you,
Isaac. Hurtin' others, through a wrong spirit of immolation
and riflery, depend upon it, will never help yourself.
`Fair play for all' is the mortar for you to sail
under, which you should always nail to your kilson as a
guide.” She brought the spoon down with emphasis,
as she concluded, seeing that her young auditor had
left her, and was playing ball with Lion in the yard.
The old lady was right. Among the variety of things
that awaken emulation among men, it were curious to
know how much accident has to do with its quickening.
The best-laid schemes of parents become as naught
when striving to direct their children businessward,
when accident fires some latent train, the will is magnetized
into action, and a noble ambition fixes the purpose.
Of all the incentives, however, to emulation, of
which we have heard, that which brought out the great
Newton was the queerest. He was dull at school, and


Page 219
gave no evidence of superiority until a boy above
him in the class kicked him in the stomach. Newton
could n't flog him, so he determined to surpass him in
study, and beat him in this way, which was done; and
Sir Isaac became great, and made that discovery about
the apple, which has been such a blessing to the world,
because, if it had never been discovered that apples
were attracted towards the earth, we should have naturally
supposed that they fell from their own weight,
and could n't help it, like the water over Niagara Falls.