Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter X: The Old Tiger in His Den >> Page 92

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 92

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription CHAPTER X.
It is a great misfortune where the sensibilities work too actively at
the cost of the mind. They are essential to its proper working, but
they must be kept subordinate. They should be tributary always, and
never allowed to obtain the mastery. The sensibilities may be trained
to a diseased activity. This is one of the dangers of a purely domestic
education. The world has peculiar uses in roughing the sensibilities,
and subduing them to proper service. Strike the true medium be-
tween making them acute or obtuse and they become graceful and
beautiful servitors to will and reason. Stimulate them to abnormal
activity, or render them callous by brutal suppression, and you render
both will and reason traitors to the endowment of the mind, whatever
that may be. In the one case you enfeeble, in the other case you bru-
talize the soul.
We need not inquire by what course of training Walter Dunbar
became enfeebled through the diseased activity of his sensibilities, to
the injury of his mental, and perhaps moral nature. Something of his
defect may have been constitutional something was undoubtedly
due to a pernicious training. Injudicious praise, which stimulates van-
ity, is at the bottom of much of the mischief which is done by family
training. In the pride of a parent's heart, indulging in fond, and, per-
haps, mistaken anticipations of a son's performances, he stimulates the
vanity without increasing the powers of his boy. A rough disregard,
a seeming indifference to the juvenile performances of the young,
would be far more judicious treatment.
How far old Dunbar's expectations how far Walter's own ambi-
tion or vanity, may have led to the failure of the latter, in his late
effort, need not task our inquiry. It was certainly due, not to a defi-
ciency of endowment, or of acquisition, but to the false relations in
which he stood, because of his previous opinions, when he undertook