The agony is abated

October 25th is the anniversary of the birth of the great historian Lord Macaulay. Gert loves this story about him: at the age of 3, when hot coffee was spilt on his legs, it’s claimed that he said to a kind lady fussing over him, “Thank you madam, the agony is abated.”

Now that’s the kind of kid Gert likes.  If only all 3-year-olds were capable of expressing themselves so firmly, politely and correctly!   If only they would all sit up straight and not interrupt. Away with the baby talk, the teddies and dollies, the helicopter parents and bedtime stories.  All a toddler needs is a thesaurus, a good grammar book and a good dose of being ignored.

They say playing classical music to the child in the womb helps brain development.  Just think what reading Lord Macaulay would do!

12 thoughts on “The agony is abated

      1. Tough love is it? I probably had a pretty tight hold on the situation while they were younger. Teenagers – that’s a whole different ball game.

  1. I read smewhere that the first words ever that John Stuart Mill spoke as an otherwise silent child were, “Is the smoke from that chimney coming from hell?” (It could have been somebody else though.) And one of our daughters, at around three or four, uttered her first sentence ever at my mother’s when presented with a plate of salad: “I’m not eating that rabbit food.” We couldn’t at first work out who it was that spoke.

        1. There’s possibly too much pointless talk in the world, and maybe legal injunctions against speaking should be enforced until people had something of real import to say. Clearly Mills and Macaulay et al had the right idea …

    1. Chris, I’ve heard of some other famous man who didn’t speak till the age of 4 or so and when asked why he hadn’t spoken till then said there hadn’t been anything he needed to say, or words to that effect. Obviously your daughter had been satisfied up until then with the menu and accommodation.

  2. The first word spoken by Isobel Dalhousie and Jamie’s son, Charlie, in Alexander McCall Smith’s Sunday Philosophy Club series, is ‘olive’, Doesn’t quite measure up to Macaulay, Mills and Calmgrove’s daughter, but it’s said in an appreciative tone. The word ‘olive’ surprises Isobel and Jamie because they’ve been waiting for ‘Dad’ or ‘Mum’ – like most parents I guess. When you think about it, it’s surprising that more babies don’t make their first utterances about food.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s