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see any means of escape, and to avail ourselves of it.” By impressing this on our minds we may do a great deal to form a habit of presence of mind.
It is very useful to know how to prevent certain kinds of danger which commonly
If we should fall into the water, the best plan is to keep as quiet as possible, and to draw in our breath as much as we can ; if we splash about we are sure to sink, if we keep quiet we will float and some one may pull us out. If our clothes catch fire, we should roll ourselves on the ground, for this will keep them from burning, or if we could wrap a rug or top-coat round us, then the flames would soon be put out; but if we
; stand they will blaze, or if we run they will blaze still more, and soon burn us to death. There are many other directions which will be of use to us in danger, but we must remember that nothing will be of service unless we try to cultivate presence of mind; for
without it we shall either forget all that we have been told, or be too much excited to make a use of any advice, however useful.
PRESENCE OF MIND.
MRS. F. one day having occasion to be bled, sent for the surgeon. As soon as he entered the room, her daughter Eliza started up, and was going away, when her mother called her back
Mrs. F.-Eliza, do not go, I want you to stay by me. Eliza.—Dear mamma! I can never bear
bled. Mrs. F.-Why not? what harm will it do you?
Eliza.--Oh dear! I cannot look at blood. Besides, I cannot bear to see you hurt, mamma !
Mrs. F.—Oh, if I can bear to feel it,
to see you
surely you may see it. But come, you must stay, and we will talk about it afterwards.
Eliza, then, pale and trembling, stood by her mother, and saw the whole operation. She could not help, however, turning her head away when the incision was made ; and the first flow of blood made her start and shudder. When all was over, and the surgeon gone, Mrs. F. began
"Well, Eliza, what do you think of this mighty matter now? Would it not have been very foolish to have run away from it?"
E.—But why should I stay to see it? I could do you no good.
Mrs. F.—Perhaps not; but it will do you good to be accustomed to such sights.
Mrs. F.-Because cases are every day happening in which it is our duty to assist our fellow-creatures in pain and distress; and if we should indulge a feeling of reluctance to come near them in such circumstances, we should never acquire either knowledge or presence of mind necessary to aid them.
E.—But if I were told how to help them, could I not remember without being used to see them?
Mrs. F.-No; we have all naturally a horror at anything which gives pain or distress to ourselves and others; and nothing but habit can give us presence of mind necessary to employ our knowledge to the best advantage.
E.—What is presence of mind, mamma?
Mrs. F.—It is that steady self-possession which prevents us from being flurried in cases of alarm. It is having all our wits about us; and is a most inestimable quality, for without it, we are likely to run into danger to avoid it. You remember when your cousin Mary's cap took fire in the candle ?
E.—Yes ; very well.
Mrs. F.-Well; the maid, when she saw it, set up a great scieam, and ran out of the room, and Mary might have been burnt to death for any assistance she could give her.
E. How foolish that was !
Mrs. F.—Yes; the girl had not the least presence of mind, and was quite useless. But as soon as your aunt came up, she took the right method for preventing the mischief. The cap was too much on fire to be pulled off, so she whipped a quilt from the bed and flung it round Mary's head, and thus stifled the flame.
E.Mary was a good deal scorched, though.
Mrs. F.—Yes; but it was very well that it was no worse. If the maid, however, had acted with any sense at first, no harm at all would have been done except burning the cap. I remember a much more fatal example
. of the want of presence of mind. The mistress of a family was awakened by flames