In this passage Puritan children act out the cruelty of their parents and
physically attack Ibrahim, the gentle Quaker boy.
Ilbrahim did not visit his new friend after his departure;
but he made anxious and continual inquiries respecting him, and informed
himself of the day when he was to reappear among his playmates. On a pleasant
summer afternoon, the children of the neighborhood had assembled in the
little forest-crowned amphitheatre behind the meetinghouse, and the recovering
invalid was there, leaning on a staff. The glee of a score of untainted
bosoms was heard in light and airy voices, which danced among the trees
like sunshine become audible; the grown men of this weary world, as they
journeyed by the spot, marvelled why life, beginning in such brightness,
should proceed in gloom; and their hearts, or their imaginations, answered
them and said, that the bliss of childhood gushes from its innocence. But
it happened that an unexpected addition was made to the heavenly little
band. It was Ilbrahim, who came towards the children, with a look of sweet
confidence on his fair and spiritual face, as if, having manifested his
love to one of them, he had no longer to fear a repulse from their society.
A hush came over their mirth, the moment they beheld him, and they stood
whispering to each other while he drew nigh; but, all at once, the devil
of their fathers entered into the unbreeched fanatics, and, sending up
a fierce, shrill cry, they rushed upon the poor Quaker child. In an instant,
he was the centre of a brood of baby-fiends, who lifted sticks against
him, pelted him with stones, and displayed an instinct of destruction,
far more loathsome than the blood-thirstiness of manhood.