82 FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
seemed to imagine that she was actuated by benevolent motives, and never appeared to suspect the truth, plain and obvious to others, that this child was as truly sacrificed by a mother's selfishness to the demon of vanity, as the Hindoo infant, given by its mother to the god of the Ganges, is immolated on the altar of superstition. Let parents beware, then, how they permit their own selfishness, their own vanity or ambition, to lead them into the sacrifice of their children's happiness. Let it be remembered that premature fruit never ripens well, and that precocious children are usually inferior men or women. Parents, therefore, should be afraid of prodigies. Nothing is in worse taste than for parents to show off their children as remarkably witty, or as remarkable indeed for anything. Good breeding teaches every one to avoid display, and well-bred parents will never offend, by making puppets of their children, in gratification of their own vanity.
There are other mistakes into which parents are led by selfishness which assumes the semblance of disinterestedness. Thus, in the choice of a profession, and in marking out the plan of life for a child, a parent frequently consults rather his own ambition than the real interest of his offspring. In educating him, he takes