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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/776

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and more complex sensations gradually modifying its simple and ingenuous egoism; and sympathy appearing and rising out of self-love, and transforming it as would a ferment. The child's social nature breaks out long before the end of the first year; it begins by beaming on the nurse and the mother, and then the child smiles at all pleasant and kindly faces. Play, which begins from this time to hold a large place in its life, appears to us in its origin as an essentially social pleasure. At the same time with the affectionate feelings we see arise those of a contrary character, like jealousy, which St. Augustine fixed in the sixth month.

Feelings and passions of a higher order are attributed by some writers to children of this age—the taste for the beautiful, for example. Some would give it to the child at the breast, with reason, if infants' admiration for bright lights and vivid colors is a taste for the beautiful. While this tendency is common to children with many animals, we have a right to see in it a nascent aesthetic feeling. M. Victor Egger has described a case of musical enthusiasm in a child less than six months old. "Lying on a bed, its nurse having already excited it by playing with it, the Marseillaise was sung to it (in a man's voice). It listened, looked up, with throbbing mouth and throat, throwing its arms out from time to time. In the midst of the song it uttered a single sharp cry that almost frightened us. During all this time it exhibited an intense, joyous emotion, but too deep for infantine joy. It might be said that it put itself in unison with what it heard. The song was not repeated. The child's excitement was too great." Whether enthusiasm or not, there was certainly more than a simple sensation in the emotion thus described. It is very certain that a child of that age should be spared such an intoxication, which could not be repeated many times without grave prejudice to the firmness of its nerves and its psychical equilibrium.

I have not perceived at the period we are considering anything resembling the moral feeling which Mr. Darwin and M. B. Perez believe they have found in the nursling; it appears later, largely as a fruit of education. Associations of agreeable or disagreeable ideas which the infant is susceptible of from its first months should not be confounded with rational feelings, like those of order and justice and right and duty.

The movements are next to receive our attention; they are the only possible signs of what is going on in the child. Its affective sensations, its representative sensations, its feelings all the phenomena of its psychic life which we have so far studied—are apparent to us only through their motive manifestations. But what we have been able to say in passing of such and such movements as expressions of consciousness is not enough. The motions deserve a special study in themselves and for themselves, in view