OBLIGATIONS OF PARENTS. 81
guise of virtue, and deceives even those who are concerned in the trick. There are parents, who, from the amhition to have their children shine, stimulate them hy hase excitements to exertion, thus sacrificing the purity of the heart, and often the health of the hody. There are parents, who, from a frivolous vanity, dress their children in an extravagant manner; thus tarnishing the youthful spirit with the same paltry vice which sways themselves. There are some people who are flattered if their children appear precocious, and these usually attempt to make them prodigies.
I once knew a mother who was possessed with this insane ambition in respect to an only child. This was a little hoy, of bright intellect, but feeble constitution. There was, by nature, a tendency to a premature development of the mental faculties, and this dangerous predisposition was seconded by all the art and influence of the mother. The consequence was, that while the boy's head grew rapidly, and at last became enormous, his limbs became shrunken and almost useless. His mind too advanced, and at the age of eight years he was indeed a prodigy. At ten, he died, and his mother, who was a literary lady, performed the task of writing and publishing his biography. In all this, she