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“ I will now
MR. FRANKLIN had been sitting in the garden watching his bee hives; and then returned into the house, when he began : speak a little of acts of humanity. All humane acts are kind acts; but I do not mean such as mere kindness might prompt you to do for a friend, but rather such as you could hardly avoid doing for friend, or stranger, without behaving in a hard-hearted way. You may remember that, in Learning to Think,' we are told to make these inquiries when we wish to reflect on any thing put before us: What are its parts, qualities, uses, and associations? In learning to act, you may resort to something like the same plan with great advantage ;
thus, in all cases of accident, or sudden emergency, you will do well to put to yourselves these two questions: 1st, What can I do? and, 2ndly, Which is the best way to do it?”
Edward. That will be very easy to remember; we shall not forget these two questions.
Mr. Franklin. You will find them of very great use to you, and they may be a means of rendering you very useful to others; but now for a few examples. Let us first speak of accidents of a trifling kind, we can consider those of a more serious nature afterwards; he who acts well in the case of a cut finger, will be likely, according to his knowledge, to act well in the case of a broken leg. What would you do, Peter, if you were to drop a cup, or a jug, or a wine glass, and break it all to pieces ?
Peter. Oh dear, I hardly know what I should do. I think I should run to mamma, and tell her that I really could not help it, and that she must please to forgive me. Mr. F. And that would be the
very best thing you could do. There are children who in such a case would tell stories, and try to deceive their parents; and that would be a very weak, and a very wicked way of acting. Suppose, children, I had cut my finger, what could you
do for me? E. Run for a piece of rag to tie it up with. Mary. You could not tie it up properly,
rag alone, Edward; you must have some thread.
P. I would run to mamma for some thread if she were at home; but she is not, so Mary would give me some.
Mr. F. Well, that would be kind of you; but it would be still better if you brought me first a little soap and water. To soak a cut finger in warm soap suds, or even warm water, before it is tied up, is a good thing; if it should bleed freely, so much the better. Remember this, and then you will have learned to act in the case of a cut finger. When a dog hurts himself, he begins to lick the wound soon after, and this does much towards curing it. Soak a cut finger in warm soap and water, and tie it up safe from the air with dry lint or rag, and it will soon get well. We will now go to another case. Suppose a poor woman has a swollen finger, so that her ring is so tight that it hurts her, and she cannot get it off any how. Now, what can you do?
E. I would try to help her, by screwing the ring round and round till it came off. M. I would run for some soap,
soap her finger to make it smooth; then the ring might come off easily.
T. And I would fetch somebody to file the ring through with a small file.
Mr. F. All these methods have been resorted to, but they are none of them the best
way to act in such a case; and in learning to act, you must always aim at the very best manner of doing things.
M. Please to tell us, papa, how it should be done.
Mr. F. Thread a needle, and pass the thread carefully under the ring, by pushing the needle with the eye first under it; take fast hold of both ends of the thread in your right hand, and pull it rather tightly towards you, while you turn it round and round; the thread in passing round will press against the ring in every part, and remove it in a very short time from the finger.
M. How curious! Well, I will try that.
Mr. F. If you do it cleverly, you will be sure to succeed. It is no uncommon thing to see a person faint away, either through weakness, sudden fright, or other causes. What would you all do, if I were to faint ?
M. Run directly for some water.
Mr. F. But if you were all to run for water, your poor patient would be neglected. While one went for the water, the rest of you
should raise my head a little as I lay on the ground, untie my neckcloth, unbutton my waistcoat, and unfasten my wristbands. You should also let in a current of fresh air, or fan me; then sprinkle my face with drops of cold water, and apply vinegar to my nostrils and temples; and directly that I came to myself, you should
give me a little cold water to drink. Now, have you learned to act properly in a case of fainting?
E. Yes, papa, we should now manage capitally. We have learned to act already in three cases of accident. A cut finger, a tight ring, and a fainting fit.
Mr. F. Should you ever fall in with a case of scalding or burning, shake flour on the part affected; or cover it over with cotton wool, or rags, steeped in spirits of turpentine; or lay yeast upon it; or bathe it with vinegar and water; all these methods are good, and therefore try to remember them. But now, if the chimney were on fire, how should you act if you were by yourselves?
E. I should throw a bucket of water on the fire directly.
M. And I would pull every bit of fire out of the grate.
Mr. F. Neither of these courses would be right; for you must remember that it is not the coals in the grate, but the soot in the chimney which supports the fire.
E. Ay, we should never be able to get the soot out. What should we do, papa ?
Mr. F. Dip a blanket, or coverlet, or any thing of the kind, in a pail of water; press a part of the water out of it, and hang it up across the fireplace, fastening it with forks or any thing of the kind you can get, and shutting all the doors to prevent the air coming