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Practical Education, Volume I

Maria Edgeworth

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Fortunately the Chinese are wonderfully patient."

Children are sometimes in the condition in which the Chinese found themselves at this learned missionary's sermon, and their patience deserves to be equally commended. The difficulty of understanding the Chinese Chou, strikes us immediately, and we sympathise with Pere Bourgeois's perplexity; yet, many words, which are in common use amongst us, may perhaps be as puzzling to children. Block (see Johnson's Dictionary) signifies a heavy piece of timber, a mass of matter. Block means the wood on which hats are formed. Block means the wood on which criminals [Pg 72]are beheaded. Block is a sea-term for pulley. Block is an obstruction, a stop; and, finally, Block means a blockhead.

There are in our language, ten meanings for sweet, ten for open, twenty-two for upon, and sixty-three for to fall. Such are the defects of language! But, whatever they may be, we cannot hope immediately to see them reformed, becaus. . . Read More