Mary Beekman is a four-year-old ghost who resides in The Beekman Mansion, and considers Brent and Josh her “imaginary friends.” Follow Mary Beekman’s Diary each week to learn what it’s like to be a young child in early 19th century America
I have a long lesson to learn today. It is in my spelling book and Mother wishes me to learn it by the end of this day. I hope I can learn it quickly because it is warmer today and I wish to go to the barn and see the new baby goats that were born early this morning. They are called kids. I find them to be such good company. When they nibble on my fingers it tickles. If I look closely into their eyes, I can see my face looking back. I think they smile at me. It has been very windy and cold but Father said that I may go to the barn if I wear my warmest cloak. Josh and Brent have been out to see them already. They came running to the house and up the stairs calling my name. But I must memorize my lesson before Mother will allow me outside. Brent is trying to be patient and Josh is wiggly.
Josh and Brent simply must help me to learn my lesson. No one can see them or hear them . I can, because they are my dearest friends. I have to recite my lesson……….. saying it out loud helps me to remember. I will recite my lesson to Josh and then Brent. No one will know I am speaking to them.
Q. What is mercy?
A. It is tenderness of heart.
Q. What are the advantages of this virtue?
A. The exercise of it tends to happify every one about us. Rulers of a merciful temper will make their good subjects happy; and will not torment the bad with needless severity. Parents and masters will not abuse their children and servants with harsh treatment. More love, more confidence, more happiness, will subsist among men, and of course society will be happier.
Q. Should not beasts as well as men be treated with mercy?
A. They ought indeed. It is wrong to give needless pain even to a beast. Cruelty to the brutes shews a man has a hard heart; and if a man is unfeeling to a beast, he will not have much feeling for men. If a man treats his beast with cruelty, beware of trusting yourself in his power. He will probably make a severe master and a cruel husband. *
I do not think I would ever have a cruel husband. I think it impossible that a man could be cruel to his animals. Father takes very good care of the animals on this farm. They have the very best food and care. Josh and Brent shook their heads when I recited the end of my lesson speaking of “needless pain even to a beast.” They are kind to every living thing.
*The American Spelling Book by Noah Webster