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INTELLECTUAL CULTURE.                     325
Children, if negligently taught, will often get into their minds absurd notions, which it is al­most impossible to eradicate. Miss Hamilton, in her admirable work on Education, states that when a child, she read the passage of Scripture, " on this hang all the law and the prophets," as an injunction, a command, and accordingly she fancied the law and the prophets hanging up in a row on pegs ! And she remarks, that so strong hold did this ludicrous error take of her mind, that it often occurred to her after she arrived at mature years. I once knew a boy, in the olden days of Webster's Grammar, who found this definition in his book: " A noun is the name of a thing, as horse, hair, justice." But he chanced to misconceive it, and read it thus: A noun is the name of a thing, as horse­hair justice. He was of a reflecting turn, and long he pondered over the wonderful mysteries of a noun. But in vain ; he could not make it out. His father was a justice of the peace, and one day, when the boy went home, the old gen­tleman was holding a justice's court. There he sat in state, among a crowd of people, on an old-fashioned horse-hair settee. A new light now broke in upon our young hero's mind. My father, said he, mentally, is a horse-hair justice, and therefore a noun ! 28
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