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Presence Of Mind And Happy Guessing
by [?]

One more instance of nearness of the {Nous}. A lady was in front of her lawn with her children, when a mad dog made his appearance, pursued by the peasants. What did she do? What would you have done? Shut your eyes and think. She went straight to the dog, received its head in her thick stuff gown, between her knees, and muffling it up, held it with all her might till the men came up. No one was hurt. Of course, she fainted after it was all right.

We all know (but why should we not know again?) the story of the Grecian mother who saw her child sporting on the edge of the bridge. She knew that a cry would startle it over into the raging stream–she came gently near, and opening her bosom allured the little scapegrace.

I once saw a great surgeon, after settling a particular procedure as to a life-and-death operation, as a general settles his order of battle. He began his work, and at the second cut altered the entire conduct of the operation. No one not in the secret could have told this: not a moment’s pause, not a quiver of the face, not a look of doubt. This is the same master power in man, which makes the difference between Sir John Moore and Sir John Cope.

Mrs. Major Robertson, a woman of slight make, great beauty, and remarkable energy, courage, and sense (she told me the story herself), on going up to her bedroom at night–there being no one in the house but a servant girl, in the ground floor–saw a portion of a man’s foot projecting from under the bed. She gave no cry of alarm, but shut the door as usual, set down her candle, and began as if to undress, when she said aloud to herself, with an impatient tone and gesture, “I’ve forgotten that key again, I declare;” and leaving the candle burning, and the door open, she went down-stairs, got the watchman, and secured the proprietor of the foot, which had not moved an inch. How many women or men could have done, or rather been all this!