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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 12 (March 2, 1936)


Strong-minded matrons rattle at the joints when they hear these little darlings tearing the front gate off its hinges. Hostesses of the old peace-atany-price school put all the crockery under the house, lock grandpa in the linen press, put the parrot in the loft, and nail the Chippendale tables to the floor when they hear these youthful smash-and-grab artists smashing the front windows with their mothers’ umbrellas as a prelude to the more serious business of internal destruction.

Their mothers say, “Thank goodness wee Basil has been brought up untainted by fear and free to give expression to his reflexes. He has been reared on love, you know.”

Further observation is drowned in a crash from the direction of the glass-house. The mother of the walking atrocity smiles brightly and remarks, “These little incidents are inseparable from a child's upbringing if he is to be reared to manhood, free and untramelled in thought and action.”

The thought uppermost in the hostess's whirling brain is, “Why is it necessary to rear him to manhood? Would it not be a far, far, better thing if a gasometer were to blow up in his immediate vicinity, or if somebody left the lid off the old well in the orchard?” There are times when such sufferers must be forgiven for believing that
“What has become of prattling childhood?”

“What has become of prattling childhood?”

King Herod had his points, in spite of appearances.

What has become of prattling childhood? Where are the wee bairns babbling at their mother's knee, the chortling chubby cherubs crooning away the sunlit hours? Gone, sir! Slaughtered by psychology, murdered by metaphysics! Only in the Pictures is the ideal attempted now, and the result is usually more like a squad of dwarf “thimble-riggers” and “yes” men impersonating tiny tots with sound effects produced with knives on tin plates. It is sad, but too true, that unrepressed childhood to-day, instead of listening at granny's knee to the exploits of Jack the Giant Killer and his namesake of the Beanstalk, cries for the deeds of Baby-faced Branigan, the kid killer of the underworld.