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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

90                THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

The first had been rewarded, the second was in disgrace. The
mistress, at least in my presence, did not interfere with any action,
and things remained as I had found them. I said nothing and
set myself to watch. The child wearing the cross moved back-
wards and forwards carrying things from his little table to that of
the teacher and vice versa, quite busy and intent on his own doings.
As he moved about he passed close to the culprit's chair. His
cross dropped to the ground, the child in the chair picked it up,
looked at it well on all sides and then said to his companion—" Do
you see what you have let fall? " The child turned and looked at
the thing indifferently; his expression seemed to say—" Do not
interrupt me," his voice said, "What does it matter to me?'*
" It does not matter to you," replied the one undergoing punish-
ment, " then I will put it on." And the other replied—" Yes, yes,
you put it on," in a tone which seemed to say, " But leave me
alone." The small boy in the armchair fixed the cross on his
breast, looked at it well and settled down in his seat more com-
fortably, extending his arms along the arms of the chair. Things
remained so and it was quite right. This pendant could satisfy
the naughty one, but not the child contented with his work!

One day I brought on a visit to another Children's House a
lady who praised the children highly and finally in my presence
opened a box from which she took out many little brass medals
bright and shining, attached to red ribbons. " The mistress will fix
them on the breasts of the best and cleverest children," she said.
Seeing that I was not obliged to inform this lady about my methods,
I was silent; the mistress took the box. Then a little one, four years-
old, a most intelligent child who was sitting quietly at the first table.,
wrinkling his forehead and making a gesture of protest, shouted
out several times—" Not to the boys though^ not to the boys."

What a revelation! The little one already was conscious of
being among the best and cleverest, though no one had made it
known to him, and he did not want to be offended by this reward.
Not knowing how to defend himself, he appealed to his standing,
as a boy!