Girls' Heads Against Fathers' Hearts
Can any girl remember how she felt when she first laid her head against her father's heart?
How old is she, usually, at that particular and important time? Can you inform us? We had always before supposed that little girls had papas who loved and caressed them, and that their heads were laid against hearts a thousand times before they could talk. We are certain they have a right to that place for their heads while their fathers live; and where there is a proper state of feeling existing between the parties they will often be laid there.
Mr. Smith, is that tall and elegant daughter of yours in the habit of it? Have you become so accustomed to it from her childhood, that you do not go home at night from the business of the day with one-half the pleasure, when you know she is out of town, or visiting her cousins? It is your own fault, if it is otherwise. Your little girl, of eight or ten, watches the hour for your coming, and stands with longing heart and wistful eyes; how she would love to bound into your arms, and lay her head there. But your brow is knit, and your head is full of bank stock and merchandise; you do not even notice her, and she glides away with a quivering lip, and an aching void within. Father, how can you thus defraud your daughter? You think of her sometimes with affection, when your business is not very pressing! Occasionally, once a year, perhaps, you bring home a present for her, and she thanks you, and gives the required kiss very respectfully and timidly.
At some of these times it may, perhaps, strike you that she is cold. Alas! you yourself, with your chilling indifference, have frozen over the gushing fountain that would else have fertilized your heart with its overflowing freshness; you have dimmed the brightness of that jewel, whose sparkling rays would have enlightened and vivified your life; you have crushed the tender flower, whose fragrance would have penetrated to, and gladdened your very soul. Ah, father! how can you thus have defrauded yourself?
There is often too little manifestation of affection in the family circle. This is something peculiarly necessary to the happiness of girls; if they do not receive it at home, they will be tempted to accept it elsewhere, and you may some fine day find your daughter's head laid against the heart of one whom you would be far from choosing as her companion for life.
George, or Henry, you really love that pretty sister of yours, and are often proud of her when in company together. Why do you, when at home, assume an indifference in your manner to her, amounting almost to contempt? or notice, only to tease her? Do you think, by this, to establish your superiority? Would it be derogatory to your incipient manhood, to caress and speak kindly to one who loves you devotedly, and who would repay you a thousand-fold for every attention you might bestow? You live in the same house; sit at the same table — brother and sister. Yet are you companions — I had almost said friends, even? You have your own affairs, which you do not condescend to communicate to her, unless it is in a general, boastful kind of a way, to illustrate the above-mentioned superiority; and you will not listen, if she attempts to enlist your sympathy in any of hers.
Suppose you try the experiment, for once. On coming home, tomorrow, seat yourself by her side, with the remark that you have something to tell her.
She may, perhaps, be startled, and think you are at some of your old tricks; but let her see you are in earnest. Relate a pleasant scene, or ask her advice about something, and before you have done, if you tell your story well, you can have your arm around her waist, and her head against your heart. It will do yourself, as well as her, more good than you can well imagine. You will feel that you have a treasure, a source of delight unthought of before.
From that time consult with her frequently upon your plans and projects. You will find her faithful, sensible, and quick to arrive at a correct conclusion; grateful for your confidence, and ready to do anything in her power to assist you. I once knew a brother who said to his sister, in a half-sportive way,
"You are very pretty — prettier than any of the girls I see around, and I believe I will court you" — as the term was then used — "for my wife."
"Very well," said she, in the same strain; "come on, and see if you can get me."
From that time he redoubled his attentions to her; and what was the result? Why, the interchange of kindly acts, and the never speaking to each other except in words of affection, strengthened and increased their attachment for each other to a remarkable degree, and they remained through life connected by the strongest and purest ties of friendship. So true it is, that where love is expressed — that love will increase; and where it is repressed or neglected — it will diminish and die.
Fathers! Brothers! The beneficial influence of those heads, beautiful in their rich and glossy ringlets, often laid against your heart, against your hearts, will be felt by you in the counting-room, in the street, and in the public assembly, inciting you to good, and turning away your feet from the path to ruin.