Manuscripts/Mixed Material Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Eliza Symonds Bell, November 10, 1892
Daisy took the matter to heart and tried so earnestly that from that day to this we have not heard a single “whine.” On the contrary she has developed a bright and sunny disposition — and as a matter of principle always tries to take a cheerful view of things.
She “carries her ain sunshine wi' her” wherever she goes and the house is dark when she goes out.
Her cheerfulness is infectious and she does not hesitate to compel a cheerful demeanour in others when occasion requires — by repeating the injunctions that were given to her so long ago. It is now “Papa don't whine”! “Why don't you look cheerful as you told me to do.” etc. Elsie too has become a perfect echo! I find that all the nice little principles I have tried to instil into her mind are flung back against me! — so I find it necessary to try at least to exemplify what I preach.
What delights me most in watching the development of Daisy's character is her unselfishness — and her thoughtfulness to others.
It is really touching to note her devotion to her mother. Her heart spontaneously moves her to help Mabel at every turn. In a hundred little ways she tries to be of use — and yet all the time is delightfully unconscious of the fact. She has already become her mother's right hand; and she is developing such a spirit of self-reliance that I have no doubt she will run the household by and bye — Papa and Mama and all! She quite runs Elsie already! It is really amusing to see how Elsie leans upon her younger sister for everything — and quietly submits to be “bossed” without even knowing of the fact. Daisy, already quite fills the part of oldest daughter in the household and Elsie seems contented to occupy a secondary place. She lacks self-reliance and the spirit to help others — but she is improving all the time.
She does many little things for others especially for me — but she does them consciously — and not unconsciously as Daisy does. They are artificial acts — acts of will — and not spontanceous acts of the heart — springing from a natural desire to be of use. Her natural inclincation is to be helped — and not to help others herself. I note a change however — in the right direction — going on slowly all the time. Voluntary acts — like walking — after a time become habitual, and are performed unconsciously — so let us hope it may be with Elsie. Indeed I am sure the spirit will develop in time — for no one has a more loving or tender heart than Elsie — or a greater desire to do right. The difference between the two children is specially marked in their attitude towards their mother. Daisy flies to Mabel's help a hundred times a day and is utterly unconscious all the time that she is of any use. Elsie, on the other hand, rarely volunteers assistance — not — I think — from any disinclination — for I am sure she wants to help her mother — but simple from inability to perceive — without suggestion from others — the fact that she could have been of use — until too late to be of service.