February 1904: Family Conversation

An Englishwoman said to me one day “You Scotch people have more family conversation than we do; now I never had a talk with one of my brothers in my life. We are friendly enough but we have nothing to say to each other. Scotch families seem to be more given to conversation among themselves.”

That Englishwoman’s comment is a specimen of the pretty little way in which two ancient enemies graciously complement each other instead of a pointed sword to the other’s bosom. Two or three centuries hence, we shall be complementing our Boer friends on the superior amiability and intellectual power of their race. I assured my friend that there was no national difference that I was aware of.

I think that gay hearted chaff and teasing are more common between brothers and sisters of an English than a Scotch family. This is very good in moderation but it may have a tendency to render more serious talks difficult.

The best family talk will always be where the children respect their parents and yet do not stand in awe of them and where the young voices of conversational age and the old mingle together.

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