The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
A P.N.E.U. Manifesto
by The Editor
(Read at the P.N.E.U. Conversatione in June, 1903.)
"Studies Serve for Delight, for Ornament, and for Ability."
Every child has a right of entry to several fields of knowledge.
There are four means of destroying the desire for knowledge:
Children can be most fitly educated on Things and Books. Things, e.g.:
The value of this education by Things is receiving wide recognition, but intellectual education to be derived from Books is still for the most part to seek.
Every scholar of six years old and upwards should study with "delight" his own living Books, on every subject in a pretty wide curriculum. (Children between six and eight must for the most part have their books read to them.)
This plan has been tried with happy results for the last twelve years in many home schoolrooms, and some other schools.
We contend that by this means the mechanical difficulties of education—reading, spelling, composition, etc., disappear: and studies prove themselves to be "for delight, for ornament, and for ability."
We are persuaded that these principles are workable in all schools, Elementary and Secondary; that they tend in the working to simplification of economy and discipline: and that they lend themselves especially to the solving of a difficulty which will meet most County Councils, the formation of small Secondary Schools in semi-urban districts.
Everyone has been made familiar with the phrase "educational unrest," and we all feel its fitness. Never were there more able and devoted teachers, whether as the heads or on the staffs of schools of all classes. Money, labour, and research are freely spent on education; yet there is something amiss beyond that "divine discontent" which leads to effort. The fact is, we know that a change of front is necessary; and we are ready, provided that the change be something more than an experiment. Head masters and mistresses and masters of preparatory schools are, I believe, amongst the persons most ready to fall in with a sound reform; but, because these are persons with wide experience and highly-trained intellects, they are unwilling to launch changes which have not a philosophic basis as well as a utilitarian end.
Perhaps we of the Parents' National Education Union may be allowed to offer our modest quota of suggestion. Hitherto we have pressed on the public rather our views on home-training than those on school-teaching, but this is because we have been unwilling to disturb the existing order. We have, however, during the last twelve years worked out a unifying principle and adequate methods with happy results. Speaking on secondary education in Kendal lately, Archdeacon Wilson said that it fails, so far as it does fail, through the absence of definite aim. Now the P.N.E.U. exists because it has a definite aim and exists to carry out that aim. I need not now speak of the few principles which form a guide to us in the up-bringing of children; but that principle which guides us in what is commonly called education—the teaching of knowledge—may be found to indicate the cause of some educational failures and may point the way to some reform.
To adapt a phrase of Matthew Arnold's concerning religion,—education should aim at giving knowledge "touched with emotion." Frederika Bremer has a charming episode in Neighbours, where two school-girls fight a duel on behalf of their heroes—Charles XII and Peter the Great; I believe even a drop of blood was shed. We do not care for heroes, we care for marks. Knowledge for us is not "touched with emotion," unless it be that of personal acquisitiveness and emulation. The boys and girls have it in them to be generous and enthusiastic: that they leave school without interests beyond that of preparing for further examinations or the absorbing of interest of games, is no doubt the fault of the schools. Perhaps the "unrest" of the public mind at home and abroad about secondary education is due to the fact that young people are turned out from excellent schools devitalized so far as their minds go. No "large draughts of intellectual day" have been offered to their thirst, and yet the thirst was there to begin with.
Mr. Benson, [The Schoolmaster, by H. C. Benson, of Eton College.—Nineteenth Century, December, 1902.] speaks very frankly. He says, "I honestly believe that the masters of public schools have two strong ambitions—to make boys good and to make them healthy; but I do not think they care about making them intellectual: intellectual life is left to take care of itself. My belief is that a great many masters look upon the boys' work as a question of duty—that is, they consider it from the moral standpoint and not from the intellectual . . . It must be frankly admitted that the intellectual standard maintained at the English public schools is low; and, what is more serious, I do not see any evidence that it is tending to become higher."
Mr. Sadler, with a perhaps wider outlook, says practically the same thing—our secondary schools have capital points, but intellectually they are behindhand, compared with even those of some continental nations. Mr. Benson speaks no doubt from personal knowledge; but is it a fact that so intellectual a body as our headmasters deliberately forego intellectual distinction in their schools? Or is it not rather that examinations throw them back on the pseudo-intellectual work known as "cram"? It is because cram is deadening that some of us deprecate the registration of teachers as a backward movement. Hundreds of mediocre young women set themselves to cram for a course of examinations, often a long course, to end at last in registration, and already headmistresses feel the evil and enquire diligently for mistresses who are "not the usual sort." Women are apt to be over-strenuous and over-conscientious, and the strain of moral effort carried on through years of preparation or successive examinations often leaves a certain dullness of apprehension. There are brilliant exceptions, but the average young woman who has undergone such an experience has little initiative, is slow of perception, not readily adaptable, not quick in the uptake; is in fact a little devitalised. I speak of moral effort, because the labour of preparing for examinations, of going through steady long-sustained grind, is apt to be a rather moral than an intellectual effect. With young men it is otherwise; they are commonly less strenuous, less absorbed, and therefore perhaps more receptive to the ideas that beset the way of their studies.
The idea that vivifies teaching in the Parents' National Education Union is that Education is the Science of Relations; by which phrase we mean that children come into the world with a natural "appetency," to use Coleridge's word, for, and affinity with all the material of knowledge; with wistful interest in the heroic past and in the age of myths, with a keen desire to know about everything that moves and lives, about strange places and strange peoples, about the how and the why of operations; with a desire to handle material and to make; a desire to run and ride and row and do whatever the law of gravitation permits them. Therefore we do not feel it is lawful in the early days of a child's life to select certain subjects for his education to the exclusion of others; to say he shall not learn Latin, for example, or shall not learn Science; but we endeavour that he shall have relations of pleasure and intimacy established with all the interests proper to him; not learning a slight or incomplete smattering about this or that subject; but plunging into vital knowledge, with a great field before him which in all his life he will not be able to explore, but which is for him a region of interest and delight. In this conception we get that "touch of emotion" which vivifies knowledge, for it is probable that we feel only as we are brought into our proper vital relations.
We get courage to attack so wide a programme through a few working ideas or principles: one of these is, we do not lay ourselves out for what is called the "child mind": we believe that the ignorance of children is illimitable, but that, on the other hand, their intelligence is hardly to be measured or reckoned with by our slower wits. In practical working we find this idea a great power; the teachers do not talk downward to the children, there is no elaborate graciousness: they are careful not to explain every word that is used, or to ascertain if children understand every detail. As a girl of twelve or so the writer browsed a good deal on Cowper's poems; and, somehow, took an interest in Mrs. Montague's Feather Hangings. Only the other day did the ball to fit that socket arrive in the shape of an article in The Quarterly on "The Queen of the Bluestockings." Behold, there was my Mrs. Montague with her feather hangings! The pleasure of meeting with her after all these years was extraordinary; in no way is knowledge more enriching than in this—that it leaves behind it a, so to speak, dormant appetite for more of the kind. The recent finds at Knossos are only to be appreciated by those who recollect how Ulysses told Penelope of Crete with its ninety cities, and Knossos, and King Minos, and the rest. Not what we have learned, but what we are waiting to know, is the delectable part of knowledge; which should not be peptonised or diluted, but offered to the children with some substance in it and some vitality: and we find that children can cover a large field of various knowledge with delight and intelligence in the same time that is sometimes wasted over "the three R's," object lessons, and other much-diluted matter in which the teaching is more than the knowledge.
It is the easier to deal in this direct fashion with knowledge when we are not embarrassed by the necessity of cultivating faculties; for working purposes, the so-called faculties are sufficiently described as mind; and the normal mind, we find, is as able to deal with knowledge as are the normal digestive organs with food. Our concern is to give a child such knowledge as shall open up for him as large a share as may be of the world he lives in for his use and enjoyment.
As there are gymnastics for the body, so there are certain subjects whose use is chiefly disciplinary for the mind, and of these we avail ourselves. Again, as our various organs labour without our consciousness in the assimilation of food, so judgment, imagination, and what not, deal of their own accord with knowledge, that it may be interpreted, which is not the same thing as 'remembered.' A further analogy—as the digestive organs are incited by appetite, so we recognize that children come into the world with a few inherent desires, some with more, some, less. These are, roughly, the desire of power, of praise, of wealth, of distinction, of society, and of knowledge. It seems to us that education which appeals to the desire of wealth (marks, prizes, scholarships, or what not), or to the desire of excelling (as in the taking of places, &c.), or to any other of the natural desires, except that of knowledge, destroys the balance of character, and, what is more fatal, destroys by inanition that desire for and delight in knowledge which is meant for our joy and enrichment through the whole of life. Each of the natural desires finds place and play in school life as in all life: the danger is, that we deliberately substitute one desire for some other which is fully competent to do its own work. "A desire for knowledge," says Dr. Johnson, "is the natural feeling of mankind, and every human being whose mind is not debauched will be willing to give all that he has to get knowledge." Is it possible that what has been called "mark-hunger" is a debauchery of the mind? The undebauched mind takes knowledge with avidity; and we find lessons are so interesting to children that they need no other stimulus.
Another corollary of the principle that education is the science of relations, is, that no education seems to us worth the name which has not made children at home in the world of books, and so related them mind to mind with thinkers who have dealt with knowledge. We reject epitomes, compilations, excerpts and their like, and put into the children's hands books which, long or short, are living. Thus it becomes a large part of the teacher's work to help children to deal with their books, and the oral lesson and lecture are used chiefly to summarise or to expand or illustrate. The effect of this use of books on the students of the House of Education, our training college, is striking; they are delighted with the books they find the children using in the Practising School; and read round this and that subject for themselves, stirred by an intelligent curiosity.
Too much faith is commonly placed in oral lessons and lectures; "to be poured into like a bucket is not exhilarating to any soul"; neither is it exhilarating to have every difficulty explained to weariness, or to have the explanation teased out of one by questions. Children, like Dr. Johnson, protest in their souls,—"I will not be put to the question. Don't you consider, sir, that these are not the manners of a gentleman? I will not be baited with what and why; what is this? what is that? why is a cow's tail long? why is a fox's tail bushy?" * Oral lessons have their occasional use, and when they are fitly given it is the children who ask the questions. We do not think it wholesome or quite honest for a teacher to pose as a source of all knowledge and to give "lovely" lessons. Such lessons are titillating for the moment, but they give children the minimum of mental labour and the result is much the same as that left on older people by the reading of a magazine. We find, on the other hand, that in working through a considerable book, which may take two or three years to master, the interest of boys and girls is well sustained to the end; they develop an intelligent curiosity as to causes and consequences, and are in fact educating themselves.
For the same reason, that is, that we may not paralyze the mental vigor of children, we are very chary in the use of appliances (except such as the microscope, telescope, magic lantern, &c.) I heard a schoolmaster, who had a school in a shipbuilding town, say that he had demanded and got from his committee a complete sectional model of a man-of-war. Such a model would be of use to his boys when they begin to work in the yards, but during their school years I believe the effect would be stultifying, because the mind is not able to conceive with an elaborate model as basis. Last year, I happened to visit Herr Bloch's admirable Peace and War show at Lucerne. Torpedoes were very fully illustrated by models, sectional diagrams and what not, but I was not enlightened. I asked my neighbour at dinner to explain the principle; he took up his spectacle case as an illustration and after a few sentences, my intelligence had grasped what was distinctive in a torpedo. This gentleman turned out to have been in the War Office and to have had much concern with torpedoes. The power in the teacher of illustrating by inkpot and ruler or any object at hand, or by a few lines on the blackboard, appears to me to be of more use than the most elaborate equipment of models and diagrams; these things stale on the senses and produce a torpor of thought the moment they are presented.
Another point; the co-ordination of studies is carefully regulated, without any reference to the clash of ideas on the threshold or their combination into apperception masses, but solely with reference to the natural and inevitable co-ordination of certain subjects. Thus, in readings on the period of the Armada, we should not devote the contemporary arithmetic lessons to calculations as to the amount of food necessary to sustain the Spanish fleet, because this is an arbitrary and not an inherent connection, but we should read such history, travels and literature as would make the Spanish invasion lives in the memory.
Believing that he is in the world to lay hold of all that he can of those possessions which endure, that full happy living, power of initiative, serviceableness, in a word—character, for him, depends upon how far he apprehends the relationships proper to him and how many of them he seizes, we are gravely uneasy when his education leaves a young person with prejudices and "events" (in the sporting sense) rather than with interests and pursuits. Principles, we believe, the best of our young people have and bring away from their schools fully as much as from their homes. Our educational shortcomings seem to be intellectual rather than moral.
Education should be by Things and by Books.
Ten years ago education by Things was little thought of except in the games of public schools. To-day a great reform has taken place and the worth of education by Things is recognised everywhere. Disciplined exercises, artistic handicrafts, are seen to make for education as truly as do geography and Latin. "Nature Study" has come in later, but has come with a rush. The teaching of Science, that is, the knowledge of things, is receiving enormous attention. Here and there works of art are allowed their chance with boys and girls, and we shall look more and more to this means of education. In these matters also the P.N.E.U. has done pioneer work; has laboured at education by Things for the last ten or twelve years, in the training college, the Parents' Review school, the various Branch natural history clubs, the art and the handicraft classes, in classes and clubs for games and physical exercise. But the importance of education in this kind need not be enforced to-day.
The great educational failure we have still to deal with is in the matter of Books. We know that Books store the knowledge and thought of the world; but the mass of knowledge, the multitude of books, overpower us, and we think we may select here and there, from this book and that, fragments and facts of knowledge, to be dealt out, whether by the miserable little cram book or the oral lesson.
I believe that our efforts at intellectual education commonly fail from the following causes:—
(a) The oral lesson, which at its worst is very poor twaddle, and at its best is far below the ordered treatment of the same subject by an original mind in the right book.
(b) The lecture, commonly gathered from various books in rapid notes by the teacher, and issuing in hasty notes, afterwards written out, and finally crammed up the pupils. (The lecture is often careful, thorough and well-illustrated; but is it ever equal in educational value to direct contact with the original mind of one able thinker who has written his book on the subject? Arnold, Thring, Bowen, we know, lectured with great effect, but then each of them lecture on only a few subjects, and each lecture was as the breaking out of a spring of slowly gathered knowledge. We are not all Arnolds or even Bowens.)
(c) The text-book, compressed and re-compressed from one or many big books. These handbooks are of two kinds—the frankly dry and uninteresting books which enumerate facts and details; and the easy and beguiling sort. I think we are safe in saying that there is no educational value in either sort of text-book.
(d) The debauchery of the mind which comes of exciting other desires to do the work of the inherent and fully adequate desire of knowledge.
(e) In elementary schools, the dependence upon apparatus and illustrative appliances which have a paralyzing effect on the mind.
But an ounce of example is worth a ton of precept. For the last twelve years we have tried the plan of bringing children up on Books and Things. No doubt, both in the Parents' Review School and in the Training College we know the taste of—
"the sharp ingredient of a bad success,"
but, on the whole, the results are pleasing. The average child studies with "delight." We do not say he will remember all he knows, but, to use a phrase of Jane Austen's, he will have his "imagination warmed" in many regions of knowledge. Our plan is a mere dipping in the Jordan, which the heuristic teacher may well despise, but it answers; and the methods we describe are so easy and simple that any intelligent person may take them up.
Will you be so very kind as to understand that what follows is in praise of Books as instruments of education, and not at all in praise of our particular use of books.
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Here are a few extracts from letters showing that children find that "studies serve for delight and for ability." Letters come too which show that the children's studies are for "ornament"; how admiring elders are amazed, "that one small head should carry all he knew," but this particular use of studies we keep in the back-ground.
Mrs. A. writes:—
"We love our work more and more, and this excellent regime has turned a burden into a pleasure. I told the little girls I was writing to you, and they asked me to send you their love, and say how they loved their lessons now, especially the geography books, which I believe are to be taken away with them when they go for their summer holiday to the east coast, in order to study them when passing through the different counties."
"Westminster Abbey is delightfully suggestive, and I was agreeably surprised to find that L. And I. (7 and 6) could take in enough, to make a strong impression, of Mrs. Browning's "Cry of the Children" and Lord Tennyson's "Siege of Lucknow". They are not likely to forget Lord Shaftsbury and Lord Lawrence.
"L. is charmed with Tanglewood Tales and St. Paul's Cathedral; he learnt "The Charge of the Light Brigade," con amore after reading it. Of all his lessons I think perhaps he most looks forward to geography, and The Cruise of the Seagull is quite a joy, indeed I do not know that he finds a single lesson 'dry,' and already he is getting keen about 'what we are to do next.' "
"K. (aged 8) has taken to Latin and thinks its delightful; he finds it everywhere, especially in his Prayer book, Psalms, etc., so it is another 'open door' of interest."
"I am glad to say K. (9) has really worked well this term, and he says he thinks he has never enjoyed his lessons so much before, because he likes his present books so much."
"It may interest you to know that E. has done so well at school during his first term, and everyone thinks him so well trained. He is most intelligent and observant, which I attribute entirely to the early teaching of Nature Lore on P.N.E.U. lines. My eldest girl, who commenced at a much later age, has benefited least from Nature training."
"I heard from a lady, with whom my children (9 and 6) are staying, to-day. This extract from her note may interest you:—'The girls seem more interested in their studies and 'observations' than in any game. This method of education certainly attracts and interests the children. Lessons are what they love."
I find all my children (13, 10 and 9) can put their ideas on paper so well and fully, which is a great gain, and their observation has been so wonderfully developed."
"You will be glad to hear that W. (15, Class IV.) has taken a good position (having had an entrance exam.) in the school to which she is going; she is placed in the upper fifth form. K. (10, Class II.) too is doing well at school."
"You will be glad to hear that the two elder boys (14 and 11) have just taken scholarships at the Grammar School. We are very pleased. R. has the second for boys under 16, and R. the first for boys under 12."
"I find in going on what a good foundation we have been laying in the past."
"T., whom we had never thought quick, and who was very delicate, was said to be clever and very well prepared when he went to school."
L. (pupil, aged 13) writes:—
"We have been so very excited about the examinations, in geography M. wanted the "Alhambra", and I wanted the "Province of Andalusia", and we each got our wish. We also like English History, and we are very pleased to think we are going to have the "Faerie Queene", by Edmund Spenser, and the "Fortunes of Nigel" next term. French History questions were extremely nice. I like writing about the Edict of Nantes."
Mrs. N. writes from Jamaica:—
"Scott's novels have taken R.'s fancy from his reading of "The Abbot" and "Kenilworth". He devours all kinds of books and digests them too."
"What an extremely nice book Arnold-Forster's English History is! I often find the girls reading it like a story book."
"L. (Class III., aged 12) told me she loved "Eminent Women" and French History, but that there was never enough set of the nice things. She is also delighted with the portion set in "Animal Sketches" (by Professor Lloyd-Morgan), and we are able to make use of the Zoo for these lessons. Perhaps her chief affection lies in handicrafts, she makes baskets very nicely, and draw exceedingly well."
"Some time ago now—it was when we first started a Class IV., I think—it struck me that it would be very nice if the girls spent some of their pocket money in getting, say, one book mentioned in IV. programme for themselves—there are such fascinating editions of nearly all standard works now, from 2s. to 2s. 6d. I thought that once the girls felt they were forming little libraries of their own, which would last them all their lives, it would give them greater enthusiasm, and lead to a great love of good literature. I told the girls in Class IV. my plan, and suggested that we should each begin to build our libraries at once. The girls all took up the idea most enthusiastically, and now they are not satisfied with getting one book only a term—in fact, I have to restrain them a little. One of my Class IV. girls has now 12 books in her library. They are:—English History (Green), French Revolution (Carlyle), Real Siberia (John F. Fraser), Pride and Prejudice (J. Austen), The Antiquary (Scott), The Virginians (Thackeray), Childe Harold (Byron), Peveril of the Peak (Scott), Tale of Two Cities (Dickens), Life of Burns (Carlyle), Alton Locke (Kingsley), Sylvia's Lovers (Mrs. Gaskell).
"S C., who left last term, would have more books in her library, I think, as she started sooner, and I am sending her the list of this term's books too, at her particular request. P. R. is anxious to go on with her reading, so I am keeping her posted as to our literature too. I only allowed Class IV. to get their books at first, and the others looked on it as a privilege which they would be allowed to have one day. However, two terms ago—as it had answered so well in Class IV.—I thought Class III. might begin. They only get one book a term. C. R. has four books:—Ivanhoe (Sir Walter Scott), Red Gauntlet (Sir Walter Scott), Barnaby Rudge (Dickens), Faery Queene (Spenser). The children in this class read aloud to me every week, during reading time, and then I give them two or three chapters to read to themselves at home, before the next class comes round. They love it. One or two didn't appreciate Scott at first, but I think are beginning to really enjoy him now. It has been an interesting experiment, and it has answered so far most successfully, I think. It is quite delightful at the beginning of a term to see the girls' excitement as to what new books they will be able to add to their libraries. I find, too, that some of the girls like to get books of travel. Miss M., for her geography lessons, invests in some really good books for her private use, and reads extracts to the girls. Real Siberia, which you will see mentioned in the first list, was a result of this."
As the Parents' Review School exists to carry out the principles we have considered, you will, I know, kindly understand that in exemplifying the work of the school I am trying to illustrate and enforce principles which every intelligent teacher could carry into effect.
Children may not enter under six. We think the first six years of life are wanted for physical growth and the self-education children carry on with little ordered aid. By the way, have Infant Schools (Kindergarten and other) anything to do with the physical deterioration we are lamenting over as a nation? It is worth while to notice that in Germany, where such schools are rather the fad of the few than the institution of the many, there is not such deterioration to lament.
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The child of six goes into Class Ia.; he works for 2 1/2 hours a day, but half-an-hour out of this time is spent in drill and games. Including drill, he has thirteen subjects of study, for which sixteen books are used. He recites hymns, poems and Bible verses, works from Messrs. Sonnenschein & Nesbitt's A B C Arithmetic, sings French and English songs, begins Mrs. Curwen's Child Pianist, learns to write and to print, learns to read (we have our own method, but find Miss Yonge's Happy Reader very successful), learns French by the Gouin method (and is quick to take it up), does brush-drawing and various handicrafts. All these things he does with joy, but they are not things which can be illustrated here. Besides, he does Bible lessons, tales, natural history and geography from appointed books and his own observation.
Our plan in each of these subjects is to read him the passage for the lesson (a good long passage), talk about it a little, avoiding explanation, and then let him narrate what has been read. This he does very well and with pleasure, and is often happy in catching the style as well as the words of the author.
Certain pages, say 40 or 50, from each of the children's books are appointed for a term's reading. At the end of the term an examination paper is sent out containing one or two questions on each book. Here are a few of the answers. The children in the two first classes narrate their answers, which someone writes from their dictation.
Q. Tell the Story of Naaman.
A. (aged 6 3/4):—
"Naaman had something the matter with him, and his master sent a letter to the King of Israel, and the king was very unhappy and did not know what to do because he thought that he wanted to come and fight against him, and he rent his clothes. And he said, 'I can't cure him,' so he sent him to Elisha, and he told him to take a lot of presents and a lot of things with him. And when Naaman came to Elisha's door, Elisha sent Gehazi to tell him to dip himself seven times in the waters of Jordan, and he said to himself, 'I surely thought he would have come out, and I thought a lot of people would come and make a fuss'; and he went back in a rage. And his servant said to him, "Why didn't you go?' And he said, 'My rivers are much the best.' So his servants said, 'If he had asked you to do some great thing, wouldest thou have done it?' So he went and dipped himself seven times in the water, and when he came out he was quite all right again. And when he was coming home they saw Gehazi coming, so Naaman told them to stop the horses, and so they stopped, and Gehazi said, 'There are some people come to see me, please give me some money and some cloaks,' and they were very heavy, so Naaman sent some of his men to carry them, and when he came near the house he said to the servants, 'You can go now.' Elisha said, 'Because you have done this you shall have leprosy that Naaman had.' "
Q. Tell a fairy story.
B. (aged 6 3/4):—
"When Ulysses was coming back from Troy he passed the Sirens. He could hear them, but he couldn't get to them because he was bound. He wanted to get to them so as he could listen to them a long time, because a lot of people had come and listened to them, and they found it so beautiful that they wanted to stay there, and they stayed there till they died. His companions couldn't hear them because they stopped up their ears with wax and cotton wool. And this was the song they sang:—
'Hither, come hither and harken awhile,
And then they rowed on till at last the song faded away, and they rowed on and on for a long time, and then when they couldn't hear them nor see them, the wax was taken out of their ears, and then they unbound Ulysses."
Q. What have you noticed yourself about a spider?
C. (aged 7 3/4):—
"We have found out the name of one spider, and often have seen spiders under the microscope—they were all very hairy. We have often noticed a lot of spiders running about the ground—quantities. Last term we saw a spider's web up in the corner of the window with a spider sucking out the juice of a fly; and we have often touched a web to try and make the spider come out, and we never could, because she saw it wasn't a fly, before she came out.
"I saw the claw of a spider under the microscope, with its little teeth; we saw her spinnerets and her great eyes. There were the two big eyes in one row, four little ones in the next row, and two little ones in the next row. We have often found eggs of the spiders; we have some now that we have got in a little box, and we want to hatch them out, so we have put them on the mantelpiece to force them.
"Once we saw a spider on a leaf and we tried to catch it, but we couldn't: he immediately let himself down on to the ground with a thread.
"We saw the circulation in the leg of another spider under the microscope: it looked a little like going up and down."
Q. Gather three sorts of tree leaf-bud and two sorts of catkin and tell all you can about them.
D. (aged 6):—
(1) "The chestnut bud is brown and sticky, it is a sort of cotton-woolly with the leaves inside. It splits open and sends out two leaves, and the leaves split open.
(2) "The oak twig has always a lot of buds on the top, and one bud always dies. Where the buds start there is a little bit of knot-wood. The oak bud is very tiny.
(3) "The lime bud has a green side and a red side, and then it bursts open and several little leaves come out and all the little things that shut up the leaves die away.
(4) "Golden catkins and silver pussy palms of a willow tree. The golden catkins have stamens with all the pollen on them. They grow upwards and two never grow opposite to each other. The silver pussy palms have seed boxes with a little tube growing out and a little sticky knob on the top. The bees rub the pollen off their backs on to the sticky knob."
Q. Tell about the North-West Passage. (Book studied, The World at Home.)
E. (aged 7):—
"People in England are very fond of finding things out, and they wanted to find out the North-west Passage. If people wanted to go to the Pacific Ocean, they had to go round Africa by the Cape of Good Hope or else round South America by Cape Horn. This was a very long way. They thought they might find out a shorter way by going along the North Coast of America, and they would come out in the Pacific Ocean. They would call this way the North-west Passage. First one man and then another tried to find a way. They found a lot of straits and bays which they called after themselves. The enemy they met which made them turn back was the cold. It was in the frozen zone, and the sea was all ice, and the ice lumps were as big as mountains, and when they came against a ship they crashed it to pieces. Once a man named Captain Franklin tried over and over again to find the North-west Passage, and once he went and never came back again, for he got stuck fast in the ice, and the ice did not break, and he had not much food with him, and what he had was soon eaten up, and he could not get any more, for all the animals in that country had gone away, for it was winter, and he could not wait for the summer when they would return. A ship went out from England called the 'Fox,' to look for him, but all they found was a boat, a Bible, a watch and a pair of slippers near each other. After looking a lot they found the North-west Passage, but because there is so much ice there the ships can't use it."
In Class Ib., the children are usually between seven and eight but may be nine. They have fifteen subjects (about twenty-three books). The subjects which do not lend themselves to illustration are a continuation of the work in Class Ia. But now the children can usually read; when they cannot, they go on with Part II. of Miss Yonge's Happy Reader, but should also read some, at any rate, of their books for History, Geography, Tales. In Class Ib., the children narrate their lessons as in Ia., and, also, their answers to the examination questions. They appear to enjoy doing this; indeed, the examination which comes at the end of each term is a pleasure; the only difficulty is that small children want to go on "telling." Their words are taken down literally. You will no doubt be struck by the correctness and copiousness of the language the children use, but everyone knows that young children delight in words, and surprise their elders by their free and correct use of "dictionary" words. The narratives are always much condensed, and each subject, "St. Patrick" for example, is one item taken from the term's reading in that subject. You will notice the verve with which the children tell the tale, the orderly sequence of events, the correctness and fullness of detail, the accuracy of names. These things are natural to children until they are schooled out of them.
Q. Tell all you know about St. Patrick. (Book studied, Old Tales from British History.)
A. (aged 7):—
"St. Patrick was the son of a Scotch farming clergyman, and one day some Irish pirates came and took Patrick with them to make him a slave, and they sold him to an Irish nobleman. And the Irish nobleman made him a shepherd to take care of his flocks, and the shepherds have a lot of time to think when they are out guarding their flocks by night. And Patrick was very sorry that the poor Irish were heathens. One day he slipped off and got into a boat with some sailors, and after a great adventure, for their food ran short, they arrived safely in Scotland. And Patrick was still thinking about the Irish, so he went off in a boat of his own, with a few followers, to Ireland. A shepherd saw them coming, and told his master pirates were coming. So he armed his servants and went down to meet the pirates, but when he heard the errand they were on he offered them to come into his house. Now Patrick settled in Ireland, but some heathen priests rose up against him, and a wise man said, 'What is the good of killing him? Other Irish people are now Christians, and they will teach too." So he saved his life. And Patrick gave him the book of Psalms, written by his own hand. One day Patrick asked a rich man if he might have a little plot of land on top of a hill, but the rich man refused him, but gave him a little plot of land at the bottom of the hill. And there Patrick built a church, and a house for himself and servants to live in. Then the rich man got ill, and was just about to die, but got better, but as he thought Patrick was like a wizard, who could foretell his fortune, he thought he'd better try and please him. So he sent him a brass cauldron, enough to hold one whole sheep, and Patrick said, 'I thank your master.' The rich man was angry, as he expected something in return, so he sent for the cauldron back again, and Patrick said, 'I thank your master.' So the rich man was ashamed, and brought back the cauldron, and said he could have the little plot of land on top of the hill. So they went to measure it. Then a roe-deer dashed out of the thicket, but left her fawn behind her, and the men were going to kill the fawn, for she saw he was doing no harm to it. On that place he built a fine church, which is still standing. And Patrick died on a journey, and was buried at a place called Downpatrick after him."
Q. Tell what you know about Alfred Tennyson. (Book studied, Mrs. Frewen Lord's Tales from Westminster Abbey.)
B. (aged 7 1/2):—
"Alfred Tennyson was born in 1809, and he loved the country very much. One Sunday when they were going out to chapel, except Alfred Tennyson as he was very young, his brother Charles gave him his slate to write about birds and flowers, and when they came back he had filled his slate with his first poem. He and his brother used to make up stories that sometimes lasted a month. He was very shortsighted, and when he was looking at anything it looked as if he were smelling it. He had good ears, for he could hear the shriek of a bat. Alfred Tennyson wrote The Revenge and The Siege of Lucknow, and Sir John Franklin's poem:—
'Not here: the white North hath thy bones
And he also wrote "The May Queen," and "Cradle Song." Because his poetry was so good the Queen gave him a name and knighted him. He says that if you tread on a daisy it will turn up and get red. He was 83 years old when he died—the year he died was in 1892. We was buried in Westminster Abbey, in Poet's Corner."
Q. What is a hero? What hero have you heard of? Tell about him.
C. (aged 7):—
"(1) A hero is a brave man. (2) Count Roland, Huon of Bordeaux, the Horatii and Curatii. (3) Once there was a brave Emperor called Charlemagne, and he was fighting with the heathen King of Saragossa. Just a wee bit of land was left to the heathen king, so he sent a messenger to speak about peace. They pretended that they would have peace, so they went back to Charlemagne and asked him to leave Roland behind to take charge of the mountain passes. So Charlemagne said that he would leave Roland behind because there was none so brave as him, so that when Charlemagne had turned his army they should come in great numbers to fight against Roland. And Roland stayed behind with twenty thousand men, and Oliver heard a great noise by the side of Spain, and then Oliver climbed on a pine tree, and he saw the arms glimmering and the spears shining, and then he said to Roland that there were a full hundred thousand, and that they just had so few, and that it was much better to sound his horn and Charlemagne will turn his army. Roland said he would be mad if he did that. Oliver said again to sound his horn, and Roland said he would lose his fame in France if he did it. Then Oliver said again, 'Friend Roland, sound thy horn and Charles will hear it and turn his army.' Then all the mountain passes were full of the enemies, and when they came nearer they fought, and they fought, and they fought, and at last the Christians were falling too, and when there were only sixty left he blew his horn. Charlemagne heard it and said he must go, and Ganelon said he was just pretending, but then Charlemagne heard it fainter, and knew that it was true that he must go, and then fainter again, but Charlemagne was nearer and so heard it better. And Roland said, 'Ride as fast as you can for many men have been killed, and there are few left.' Then Charlemagne bade his men sound their horns, so that they knew that help was near, and then the heathen fled away. There were just the two left, Roland and the Archbishop, and Roland said to the Archbishop that he would try to fetch the dead bodies of the braver soldiers. Then the Archbishop said to Roland, 'Quick, before I die.' Then Roland went and brought them before the Archbishop and laid them down there. Then he went and searched the field again, and under a pine tree he found Oliver's body, then he brought it too and laid it in front of the Archbishop. Then Roland fainted to the ground, then the Archbishop tried to bring some water for Roland, and he fell down and died. Then Roland put the hands over the chest of the Archbishop, then he prayed to God to give him a place in Paradise, and then he said that the field was his. Before he died he put his sword and his ivory horn under him, and laid himself down on the ground, so that Charlemagne, when he came, would know that he was conqueror. And God sent St. Michael and another saint to fetch his soul up to heaven."
I have said one has to be up to children in the choice of books. For some time I have been trying to get children to take kindly to Mrs. Bray's Elements of Morality, which seems to me in some ways a capital little book. But, no; this is the sort of stuff that comes of it, as near an approach to a "howler" as these sensible young people ever produce.
Q. What is a duty? Mention some of the duties of children (Book studied, Mrs. Bray's Elements of Morality.)
D. (aged 7 1/2):—
"Duty is doing what one is meant to do. Nobody is meant to do wrong but one is born to do right, but they can't help being naughty. Nobody is perfect as a matter of fact. It is your duty to do as you are told. Grown-up people have to tell children to do as they are told.
"Duties of Children.—To do as they are told, not to do as we are not told to do; to obey the laws of the Queen; to obey the grown-up people, as the grown-up people know best; to tell the right stories when they are doing their examinations; to obey the teacher's rules; to obey God's rules above all, and the Queen's rules just below it."
Q. Gather three sorts of tree leaf-bud and two sorts of catkin and tell all you can about them.
E. (a cottage child aged 9):—
"Beech Twig.—It has rather a woody stalk, and it is a very light grey-browny stalk, and it is very thin, and the little branches that grow out are light brown, and it is thicker where the buds are and it is a lighter brown up at the top than it is at the bottom, and the buds are a light reddy-brown and very pointed, and they are scaly. The bark is rather rough and there is a lot of little kind of brown spots on it.
"Lime Twig.—It is called Ruby-budded Lime because the buds are red, and they are fat rather, and they have got some green in as well, and they come rather to a point at the top, they grow alternately and the little stalk that they grow out of is reddy-green, and the top part of the stalk is green, and it is woody, and it is rough, and it is a reddy-green at the bottom. Where the buds come out it is swelled out, the bark has come off and it has left it white and woody. At the top of one of the stalks the bud has come off.
"Sycamore Twig.—Well, the bark is very woody and it is a brown stalk and it is rough and there is a little weeny bud growing out of the side, and the buds grow out two and two, and there are a lot of little buds.
"Willow.—Well, the stalk is a dark brown, and it is very smooth and it will bend very easily, and the buds when first they come on the stalk are little brown ones, and they a silvery green comes out and there is a scale at the bottom, and then they get grayer and bigger with little green leaves at the bottom, and then it comes yellow, and there is a lot of pollen on it. If you touch it the pollen comes on your finger.
"Hazel.—Well, the stalk is a dark-brown, something the colour of the willow, and it bends easily, and the buds are green and there is little scales, and then the catkins come and they grow very long, and there is a lot of little flowers in one, and there is pollen after that, and the stalk is rather rough, and there are some big buds at the top just bursting, and the leaves are coming out, and the buds are very soft and glossy, and the scales are at the bottom."
Q. What have noticed about a thrush? Tell all you know about it.
F. (aged 8):—
"Thrushes are browny birds. They eat snails, and they take the snail up in their mouths and knock it against a stone to break the shell and eat the snail. I found a stone with a lot of bits of shell round it, so knew that a thrush had been there. Where we used to live a thrush used to sing every morning on the same tree. The song of the thrush is like a nightingale. We often see a lot of thrushes on the lawn before breakfast or after a shower. They have yellow beaks and their breasts are specked with lovely yellow and brown. Once we found a thrush asleep on a sponge in a bedroom and we carried it out and put it on a tree. Thrushes eat worms as well as snails, and on the lawn they listen with their heads on one side and go along as the worm gets under the ground, and presently, perhaps, the worm comes up and they gobble it up, or they put their beaks in and get it. Thrushes build their nests with sticks at the bottom and line them with little bits of wool they pick up, or feathers, and they like to get down very much."
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In Class II. the children are between nine and twelve, though seldom over eleven. They have twenty-one subjects and about twenty-five books are used. They work from 9-12 each day, with half-an-hour's interval for games and drill. French is still studied on the Gouin system. Hall's Child's First Latin Book is used for Latin. German is set, but is optional. In music they continue the Child Pianist method and Tonic Sol-Fa, and learn French, German (optional) and English songs. But there is not time to give details of our methods, and we must content ourselves with illustrations from seven of the subjects on the programme.
Children in Class II. write, or dictate, or write a part and dictate a part of their examination answers according to their age. The examination lasts for a week and to write the whole of their work would be fatiguing at this stage. The plan followed is that the examination, in each subject shall be done in the times for that subject on the time-table.
Of Greek and Roman History, I should like to say a word. Plutarch's Lives are read in Classes II. and III., and as children are usually five years in these two classes, they may read some fifteen of these Lives, which, I think, stand alone in literature as teaching that a man is part of the State, that his business is to be of service to the State, but that the value of his service depends upon his personal character. The Lives are read to the children almost without comment, but with necessary omissions. Proper names are written on the blackboard, and then the children narrate what they have listened to. The English History book used in Classes II. and III. is extremely popular; it is Mr. Arnold-Forster's (of about 800 pages), and is a serious, manly and statesmanlike treatment of English History, shirking no difficulty; and in no case is there any writing down to the children. Mrs. Creighton's First History of France is also a favourite, though I should have thought there was hardly enough detail to make it so. Contemporary periods of English and French history are studied. For Natural History, Miss Buckley's Fairyland of Science and Life and Her Children, Mrs. Brightwen's books, etc., give scientific information and excite intelligent curiosity; but out-of-door Nature study lays the foundation for science. The handiworks for Class II. are such as cardboard sloyd, clay modelling, needlework, gardening, etc. These are done out of school hours.
Q. "Ah! Pericles, those that have need of a lamp, take care to supply it with oil." Who said this? Tell the story. Book studied, Plutarch's Lives: Pericles.
D. (aged 11 1/2), answer dictated:—
"Anaragoras, the philosopher, said these words to Pericles.
"Pericles was the ruler of Athens, and Anaragoras had taught him when a boy. Being ruler of Athens, he led a very busy life, attending to the affairs of state, and so was not able to give much time to his household affairs. Once a year he collected his money and could only manage his income by giving out an allowance to each member of his family and household every day: this was done by Evangelus, his steward. Anaragoras thought this a very wrong way of arranging matters, and said that Pericles paid too much heed to bodily affairs, because he thought you ought to mind only about philosophy and spiritual doings and not about the affairs of the world. To give an example to Pericles he gave up all his household and tried to live entirely on philosophy. But he soon found his mistake when he found himself starving and penniless, with no house. So he covered his head up and prepared to die. Pericles, hearing of this, went immediately to his rescue and begged him to live; not because he thought death a misfortune, but that he said, 'What shall I do without your help in the affairs of state?' And then Anaragorus uttered the words which are above, meaning, of course (though putting it in a clever way), that Pericles was to keep him. On the other hand he might have meant that he had been mistaken in his philosophy."
Q. Tell the history of "F.D." on a penny. Book studied, Arnold-Forster's History of England.
C. (aged 10), answer written by child:—
"The letters 'F.D.' stand for the Latin words, Fidei Defensor, meaning 'The Defender of the Faith.' Henry VIII had a little while ago written a book on the Pope (who was Clement VII) saying that the Pope was the true head of the Church, and everyone ought to obey him. The Pope was so pleased that he made Henry Fidei Defensor. It must be remembered that the king had married his brother Arthur's* widow, a Spanish princess, namely Catherine of Aragon (sic), and as they had no son, Henry wished to divorce her, but the Pope would not allow him to, as he had given Henry special leaf (sic) to marry her. At this Henry was furious, and began to think about the Pope's words, 'Defender of the Faith.' He would not act as he thought till someone suggested it. Soon two men, called Cromwell and Crammer, came forward, telling the king to take the Pope's words not as he meant them, but as they really were, but as they stood. The king was delighted, and made Crammer a bishop and Cromwell his wisest counselor.* In 1534 Parliament* was called upon to declare Henry head of the church. All said he was, except two men, Sir Thomas More and Fisher, bishop of Rochester; these would not agree, and were executed in 1535. If we look on a penny we see the letters of 'F.D.,' which shows from the reign of Henry VIII till now the Pope has not been allowed to interfere with England. In order to spite the Pope, Henry allowed the Lutherans and learned men to come into England."
Q. What did you see in the Seagull sailing up the Firth of Forth? (Book studied, London Geographical Reader, Book II)
G. (aged 9), answer dictated:—
"In sailing up the Forth we first of all see Leith which is the seaport town of Edinburgh. Then we come to Edinburgh. The old and new Edinburghs are built on opposite hills, the valley in between is laid out in lovely gardens. One thing very odd about Edinburgh is that the streets look as if they are built one on top of the other. At one end of the town there is a castle which looks like the rocks and mountains it is built on, one can hardly distinguish it. At the other end of the town there is Holyrood where the ancient kings used to live. We do not see many merchantmen because there are no good harbours, there are a good many fishing smacks and pleasure boats. As we go along we see women with big baskets with a strap across their foreheads and they are calling out 'caller herrings.' "
Q. "And Jonathan loved him as his own soul." Of whom was this said? Tell a story of Jonathan's love.
E. (aged 9), answer dictated:—
"This was said of David. Saul's anger was kindled against David; and Jonathan and David were talking together, and Jonathan had been telling David that he would do anything for him, and David said, 'To-morrow is the feast of a new moon, and Saul will expect me to sit with him at table; therefore say, "David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem, his city, where there is a sacrifice of his family." If Saul is angry, then I shall know that he would kill me, but if he is not angry, it will be all right.' Jonathan said, 'So shall it be, but it will not be safe for anybody to know anything about it; come into the field and I will tell you what to do. Thou shalt remain hidden by the stone, and I will bring a lad and my arrows and bow, and I will shoot an arrow beyond thee, if I say "go fetch it," then thou shalt know that thou must flee from Saul.' David's seat was empty at the feast that night, but Saul said nothing. But the next day his seat was empty, and when Saul asked why, Jonathan told him what David had asked him to say. And Saul's anger was kindled, so much so that Jonathan feasted not that day, for he was grieved; and next morning he went out with his bow and arrows, and the lad, and shot an arrow as if at a mark. Then Jonathan said to the lad, 'Run, is not the arrow beyond thee? haste.' Then Jonathan gave his artillery unto the lad and sent him back to the city; and David came out of his hiding-place, and they made a covenant together, for Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Then David had to flee to Naioth in Ramah, and Jonathan went back to the city."
Q. What do you know of Richelieu? (Book studied, Mrs. Creighton's First History of France.)
E. (aged 10), answer partly written, partly dictated:—
"Cardinal Richeleu (sic) was brought to the French Court by the Queen mother, who thought he would do as she wished, but she was mistaken, for he no sooner was there than he turned against her, for Louse (sic) took him into his favour and made him Prime Minister after he had been there a few weeks. Richeleu (sic), was a devoted Catholic, and was determined to put down the Hugenots (sic), or Protestants as we call them, so he laid siege to La Rochelle, the chief town of the Hugenots (sic), who applied to the English for help. Charles sent a fleet to La Rochelle under pretence of helping the Hugenots** (sic), but Admiral Pennington, who was in the command of the ships, received orders when half way down the channel to take in French soldiers and sailors at Calais and to go to the French side. When Admiral Pennington ordered the ships to take in the soldiers, his men mutinied and he had to go back. Richelieu had thrown up earthworks across the harbour so that it was impossible to get in. Now Rochelle held out bravely, but at last it had to surrender, and out of 40,000, 140 crawled out, too weak to bury the dead in the streets. La Rochelle was razed to the ground, and never recovered its prosperity. One by one the Huguenot towns surrendered, and thus the Huguenots were destroyed. When Richelieu was made Prime Minister the nobles did not like him because they thought he had too much power, and now when Louis was ill, the Queen mother came to him, and in a stormy passion of tears begged Louis to send away his ungrateful servant. Louis promised he would do so, and Richelieu's fall seemed certain. Now all the nobles crowded to the Queen mother to pay their respects to her, as they thought she would now be the most important person in the government. But one noble, who was wiser than the rest, went to Richelieu and begged to plead his cause before the king. The king promised he would keep him if he would serve him as he had done before. The Queen mother was foiled, and returned to Brussels, where she died."
** After this the answer was dictated.
Q. What towns, rivers and castles would you see in travelling about Warwickshire? (Book studied, Geographical Reader, Book III)
B. (aged 9 1/2), answer dictated:—
"Warwick, Kenilworth, Coventry, Stratford, Leamington and Birmingham are all towns which you would see if you travelled through Warwick.
"The Avon stretches from north to south of Warwickshire. It has its tributary, the Leam, upon which Leamington is situated.
"There is the castle of Warwick and Coventry and Kenilworth.
"Warwick is the capital of the country. It has a famous castle, whose high and lofty towers stand up on the bank of the river Avon.
"Coventry is a very old town. It also has a beautiful castle, where the fair Lady Godiva and her father used to live, about whom I suppose you have read.
"Stratford is called 'The Swan on the Avon,' because that is where Shakespeare, the great poet, was born and died, and this is a little piece of poetry about him:—
'Where his first infant lays sweet Shakespeare sung,
"The river Avon takes its rise in the vale of Evesham, then winds through pleasant fields and meadows, till it comes to the south of Warwickshire, and then it becomes broad and stately and flows on up to Coventry, where the Leam branches off from it (!), and then it becomes narrower and narrower until it gets out of Warwickshire and stops altogether at Naveby."
Q. How many kinds of bees are there in a hive? What work does each do? Tell how they build the comb. (Book studied, Fairyland of Science)
F. (aged 10), answer dictated:—
"Three kinds. The drones, or males, the workers, or females, and the queen bee. The drone is fat, the queen is long and thin, the workers are small and slim. The queen bee lays the eggs, the worker bee brings the honey in and makes the cell, and the drones wait to be fed. On a summer's day you see something hanging on a tree like a plum pudding, this is a swarm of bees. You will soon see someone come up with a hive, turn it upside down, shake the bough gently, and they will fall in. They will put some clean calico quickly over the bottom of the hive and turn it with wax, then they hang on to the roof, clinging on to one another by their legs. Then one comes away and scrapes some wax from under its body, and bites it in its mouth until it is pulled out like ribbon, this she plasters on the roof of the hive, then she flies out to get honey, and comes home to digest it, hanging from the roof, and in 24 hours this digested honey turns to wax, then she goes through the same process again. Next, the nursing bees come and poke their heads into this wax, bite the wax away (20 bees do this before one hole is ready to make a cell). Other bees are working on the other side at the same time. Each cell is made six-sided, so as to take up the least wax and smallest space. When the cells are made the bees come in with honey in their honey-bag or first stomach; they can easily pass the honey back through their mouths into the cells. It takes many bees to fill one cell, so they are hard at work."
Composition on "The Opening of Parliament."
G. (aged 9), written by child:—
"The opening of Parliament by King Edward VII and Queen Alexander (sic) was rather grand. First, they drove to the Houses of Parliament in a grand state carriage which had been used by George III, and then when they got there they had to robe in a certain room in great big robes, all edged with ermine fur and with huge trains. Queen Alexandra had an evening dress on, and King Edward a very nice kingly sort of suit (which was nearly covered up by his robes), and then they walked along to the real Houses of Parliament where the members really sit. Then the king made a speech to open Parliment (sic), and other people made speeches too, and everything was done with grandeur and stateliness such as would befit a king. May Parliament long be his! "
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In Class III the range of age is from twelve to fifteen. The subjects are: Bible Lessons; Recitations (Poetry and Bible passages); English Grammar, French, German and Latin, Italian (optional); English, French and Greek History; Singing (French, English and German songs); Writing, Drill, Dictation, Drawing in Brush and Charcoal; Geography, Natural History, Botany, Physiology; Arithmetic, Inductive Geometry; Reading. About thirty-five books are used. Time, 3 1/2 hours a day; half-an-hour as before for drill and games. There is no preparation or home work in any of the classes (bookwork or writing, that is to say).* You will notice that the papers are still written con amore, and show full knowledge and intelligent grasp of the several subjects. Notice, too, that though there are errors in many of the papers, they are not often the mistakes of ignorance or stupidity, nor are they often those of a person who never has understood what he is writing about. "Composition" is not taught as a subject; well-taught children compose as well-bred children behave—by the light of nature; it is probable that few considerable writers have been taught the art of "composition." All the pupils of the Parents' Review School do not take all the subjects set in the programmes of the several classes. Sometimes parents have the mistaken notion that the greater the number of subjects, the heavier the work; the contrary is the case unless the hours of study are increased. Sometimes, outside lessons in languages, music, etc., interfere; sometimes health will not allow of more than an hour or two of work in the day. The children in the practising school do all the work set, and their work compares satisfactorily with that of the rest, though the classes have the disadvantage of a change of teachers every week.† Children in Class III write the whole of their examination work.
* The sort of diagrams with which some of the subjects are illustrated may be seen at the Office, 28, Victoria Street.
† Some years ago all the children in the Practising School were drawn from what may be called the elementary school class. They did all the work in the programme of Classes Ia and Ib, II and III quite as well as it is done by children of another class, and developed many intelligent interests: shewing themselves at the same time industrious and handy at home.
Q. Describe the founding of the Kingdom. What are the laws of the Kingdom?
A. (aged 13):—
"Christ came to found His kingdom. He preached the laws to His people. He taught them to pray for it: 'Thy kingdom come.' And He told His chosen few to 'go and preach the Gospel of the kingdom.' He founded His kingdom in their hearts, and He reigned there. He will still found His kingdom in our hearts. He will come and reign as King. The kingdom was first founded by the sea of Galilee. 'Follow me,' said our Lord to Andrew, and from that moment the kingdom was founded in Andrew's heart. Then there were Peter, James, John, Phillip, Nathaniel (sic), and the kingdom grew. From that moment Christ never stopped His work for the kingdom—preaching and teaching, healing and comforting, proclaiming the laws of the kingdom. 'Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.' 'One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.' 'Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, the same shall be called the least in the kingdom.' No commandment was to pass from the law, but there was a new commandment, a new law, and that was 'love.' 'Love your enemies.' The Pharisees could not understand it. 'Love your friends and hate your enemies' was their law. But Jesus said, 'Bless them that curse you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.' 'Give, hoping for nothing in return'; and, 'whosoever shall smite thee on one cheek turn to him the other also.' Christ's law is the love which 'suffereth long and is kind . . . seeketh not her own . . . never faileth . . . hopeth all things, endureth all things'; and 'now abideth faith, hope and charity, these three, but the greatest of these is—love.'"
Q. Explain "English Funds, Consols 2 3/4 per cents 113," and give an account of the South Sea Bubble. (Book studied, Arnold-Forster's History of England.)
B. (aged 14 1/2):—
"This means that when the South Sea Company first appeared, the government gave them £113 on condition that the company should give 2 3/4 per cent., which means £2 15th on every £100 lent, for a certain number of years. In the reign of George I, the money matters of the country were in a very bad state. The government was very much in debt, especially to those people who had purchased annuities, and had a right to receive a certain sum of money from the government every year as long as they lived. Sir Robert Walpole, who was then Prime Minister, was most anxious to pay off part of this debt. He heard of a company which had just been started, called the South Sea Company, whose object was to trade in the south seas. This was what Walpole wished for. He suggested to them that they should pay off the debt due to the people who had bought annuities, and in return the government would give them some priveleges (sic) and charts which would be useful to them. This the company agreed to do, but instead of paying the people in money, they gave them what were called 'shares' in the South Sea Company. These shares were supposed to be very valuable, and it was thought that the South Sea Company was really prosperous, and that those who had shares in it would have most enormous profit in the end. Thousands of people came to buy shares, and some of them were so anxious to get them that they spent enormous sums of money on these worthless pieces* of paper. All was well for a time, but at last the people began to wish for their money instead of the shares, and claimed it loudly from the company. It was then that the bubble burst. It was discovered that the company was quite unable to pay what was due, and that all this time they had been deluding the nation by promises and giving them shares, and that they had never been the rich and prosperous company they made themselves out to be. Naturally, the most dreadful distress prevailed everywhere, and many were absolutely ruined, so that the government had to help those who were most distressed. At this point Sir Robert Walpole came to the rescue. He made the Bank of England pay some of the debts, and behaved with such cleverness that he saved the country almost from ruin."
Q. What do you know of the States General? (Book studied, Mrs. Creighton's First History of France.)
C. (aged 12):—
"The States General met in May, 1789. The people had long wanted reforms, and been talking about them, and now on the 5th of May, 1789, the States General met again for the first time since 1614. If the nobles sat in one house and the people in another as was the custom, they could never get the changes made. So the people with their leader, the Marquis of Mirabeau, declared that they would not leave the tennis court on which they were standing till it was agreed that they could sit together with the nobles. When Louis XVI came down in state, and told them they were to sit apart, they said they would not leave their place except at the bayonets (sic) point. When he heard this he said, 'Very well, leave them alone.' So they sat together."
Q. Show fully how Aristides acquired the title of "The Just." Why was it a strange title for a man in those days? (Book studied, Plutarch's Lives: Aristides).
D. (aged 13 1/4):—
"Aristides acquired the title of 'The Just' by his justice, and because he never did anything unjust in order to become rich or powerful. While many of the judges and chief men in Athens took bribes, he alone always refused to do so, and he also never spent the public money on himself. When, after having defeated the Persians at Plateae,* the Greek States decided to have a standing army, it was Aristides who was sent round to settle how much each town should contribute. And he did this so fairly and well that all the Greek States blessed and praised his arrangement. It is said that Aristides could not only resiste (sic) the unjust claims of those whom he loved, but also those of his enemies.* Once when he was judging a quarrel between two men, one of them remarked that the other had often injured Aristides, 'Tell me not that,' was the reply of Aristides, 'but what he has done to thee, for it is thy cause I am judging, not my own.' Another time when he had gone to law himself, and when, after having heard what he had to say, his judges were going to pass sentence* on his adversary* without having heard him, Aristides rose and entreated his judges to hear what his enemy could say in his own defence. In all that he did Aristides was inflexibly just, and many stories were told of his justice. Though he loved his country well, he would never do anything wrong to gain for Athens some advantage, and in all he did, his one aim was justice, and his only ambition to be called 'The Just.' He was so just and good that he was called the 'most just man of Greece.' In the times in which Aristides lived, men used to care more to be called great, rich, or powerful, than just. Themistocles, the great rival of Aristides, used to do all he could to become the first man in Athens, and rich as well as powerful. He did not hesitate to take bribes, and all he did for the Athenians was done with a view to making himself the head of the people, and the first man in the state. He used often to do unjust as well as cruel things in order to get his own ends. It was the same with most other men who lived at this time, they prefered (sic) being rich, powerful, or great, to being distinguished by the title of 'The Just.' "
Q. Describe a journey in Northern Italy. (Book studied, Geographical Reader, Book IV.)
E. (aged 12):—
"I am about to go for a tour round the northern part of Italy, and after I have taken a train to Savoy, which is about the south-east of France, I enter into Italy by the Cenis pass, which is very lofty—about 7000 feet above sea level.
"On arriving in Italy, I come into the province of Piedmont, which has three mountain torrents* or streams running through it. These streams join at Turin, the capital of Piedmont, and form the Po river, which flows out on the east coast of France into the Gulf of Venice. On the banks of the three mountain streams are some Protestants but the name of Waldenses,* who say they are followers of the disciples*: but if you ask any outsider, they will say, 'O the Waldenses are followers of a good man by the name of Waldo, who fled out of France in the 12th century.'
"We will now go and see Turin, and the first thing we say is, 'What a clean town'; and so it certainly is, for it is quite the cleanest town in Italy, as the people have only to turn on the fountain taps to clean their paved streets. And after we have looked at Alessandria, where Napoleon gained his great victory, we leave Piedmont and follow up the river Po, until we come to its next tributary, the river Ticino, which runs up north into the Lake Maggiore, which is five to six miles wide and about sixty miles in length. This lake has four islands, which are named after Count Barromeo, and so called the Borromean Islands, which are cultivated like gardens, with terrases (sic) for resting places.
"Now let us go to Milan, which is so well known by its beautiful cathedral of white and black marble, which have (sic) no less than 4000 sculptures of white marble, with pillars of Egyptian granite. Milan is famous for silks and lace to provide for the numerous palaces.
"We will now go back to the next lake, Lake Como, which is surrounded by mountains, and supposed to be the most beautiful of all lakes. At the south it goes out in a fork, and between the fork is a beautiful piece of land called Bellagia (sic).
"The next lake we come to is the Garda, the largest of all the lakes, and then we go on to the smallest of lakes called Lugano. "We now have visited all the lakes, take a look at Lodi, the famous cheese market in Italy; after which we visit Verona, where Pliny the naturalist was born, also Paul Veronese. Shakespeare lays the scene of his play 'Romeo and Juliet,' in Verona. The short time we have we spend at Venice, the queen of the Italian citys (sic), with its wonderful canals and the marvellous cathedral of S. Mark's, also the dark, gloomy palace of the Doge."
Q. How are the following seeds dispersed:—birch, pine, dandelion, balsam, broom? Give diagrams. (Book studied, Mrs. Brightwen's Glimpses into Plant Life.)
F. (aged 13):—
"The seeds of the Birch are very small, with two wings, one on each side, so that in a high wind numbers of them are blown on to high places, such as crevises (sic) on the face of a rock, or crevises (sic) on a church tower, or the tower of an old ruin. They are so light that they are carried a long way.
"The seeds of the Pine are very small, and the veins in the seed are wriggly, so that the seed is curly, which makes it whirl rapidly in the air, and the whirling motion carries it along a little way before it rests on the ground. It has two small wings.
"The seeds of the Dandilion (sic) are large, with a kind of silky parashute (sic) attached, so that when they fall off they do not fall to the ground, but are carried a little way because the wind catches the under part of the parashute (sic). The seed has a little hook at the top of it which prevents it from being pulled out of the ground by the parashute (sic) after it is once in.
"The Balsam seed case splits when the seeds are ripe and sends them flying in all directions, so they are far enough dispersed, and need no wings or parachutes (sic) to help them.
"The Broom seed case is a carpel, more like that of the sweet pea. When the seeds are ripe the two sides of the carpel split open and curl up like springs and send the seeds flying out, so they are dispersed without needing wings or parachutes."
Q. Describe the tissue of a potato and of a piece of rhubarb. (Book studied, Oliver's Elementary Botany.)
H. (aged 13):—
"The tissue of rhubarb is very fibrous indeed. In fact it is almost entirely made up of vessels. These are cells which have become tubes by the dividing cell-wall being absorbed. These vessels are very beautiful when seen under a microscope, for their walls are all thickened in some way, in order to make them strong enough to bear the weight of the leaf. Some are thickened by a spiral cord, which goes round and round the wall, of the vessel. In some vessels this is quite rightly twisted round the wall, that is to say, the rings do not come far apart: in others it is quite loose and far apart. Another kind of thickening is by rings which just go round the tube and are not joined to each other. Other vessels, again, have little knots in them like what there are in birch bark.
"The potato tissue is mainly made up of starch, as it is one of the plant's storehouses, and starch is one of the plant's principal foods."
Q. Give a diagram of the eye and explain how we see everything. (Book studied, Dr. Schofield's Physiology for Schools.)
G. (aged 13):—
"The eye can be likened to a camera, and the brain to the man behind the camera. The image enters at the hole, passes through the lens, is redetected on the plate, but the camera does not see, it is the man behind the camera who sees. In the same way, the image passes in at the pupil and through the lens, both sides of which are curved, and can be tightened or slackened according to the distance of the image. Then the image passes along the nerve of sight to the two bulbs in the brain which see. If you hold a rounded glass between a sheet of paper and the image at the right distance (for the glass cannot tighten or slacken like our lens), you will see the image reflected upside-down on the paper. This is the way the lens acts. There is a small yellow spot a little below the middle of the back of the eye; here the sight is more acute, and so, though we can see lots of things at one time we can only look at one thing at a time. There is a blind spot where the nerve enters the eye (which shows that the nerve of sight itself is blind), so that some part of every image is lost, like a black dot punched in it. But we are so used to it that we cannot see it."
Q. Describe your favourite scene of Waverley.
I. (aged 12 1/2):—
"A Highland Stag Hunt.-The Highland cheifs (sic) were in various postures: some reclining lazily on their plaids, others stalking up and down conversing with one another, and a few were already seated in position for the sport. MacIvor was talking with another cheif (sic) as to what the sport would be; but as they talked in Gaelic,* Edward had no part in the conversation, but sat looking at the scene before him. They were seated on a low hill at the head of a broad valley which narrowed into a small opening or cleft in the hills at the extreme end. It was hemmed in on all sides by hills of various heights. It was through this opening that the beaters were able to drive the deer. Already Waverly (sic) could hear the distant shouts of the men calling to each other coming nearer and nearer. Soon he could distinguish the antlers of the deer moving towards the opening like a forest of trees stiped (sic) of their leaves. The sportsmen prepared themselves to give them a warm reception, and all were ready as the deer entered the valley.
"They looked very ferocious* as they advanced towards where Edward and the cheifs (sic) were standing, and seemed as if they were determined to fight: the roes and weaker ones in the centre, and the bulls standing as if on defence. As soon as they came within range, some of the cheifs (sic) fired, and two or three deer came down. Waverly (sic) also had the good fortune (and also the skill) to bring down a couple and gain the aplause (sic) of the other sportsmen. But the herd was now charging furiously up the valley towards them. The order was given to lie down, as it was immpossible (sic) to stem the coming wave of deer; but as it was given in Gaelic,* it conveyed no meaning to Edward's mind, and he remained standing.
"The heard (sic) was now not fifty yards from him, and in another minute he would have been trampled to death; but MacIvor, at his own risk, jumped up and literaly (sic) dragged him to the ground just as the deer reached them. Edward had a sensation as if he was out in a severe hailstorm, but this did not last long.
"When they had passed, and Edward attempted to rise, he found that besides a number of bruises he had also severely* sprained his ancle (sic), and was unable to walk, or even stand. A shelter was soon made for him out of a plaid, in which he was laid; and then MacIvor called the Highland doctor, or herbalist, to attend him. The doctor approached Edward with every sign of humiliation, but before attending to his ancle (sic), he insisted upon walking slowly round him several times, in the direction in which the sun goes, muttering at the same time a spell over him as he went, and though Waverly (sic) was in great pain he had to submit to this foolery. Waverly (sic) saw to his great astonishment that MacIvor believed, or seemed to believe, in the old man's cantations (sic). At last, when he had finished his spells, which he seemed to think more necessary* than the dressing, he drew from his pocket a little packet of herbs, some of which he applied to the sprained ancle (sic), and after it had been bound up, Edward felt much relieved. He rewarded the doctor with some money, the value of which seemed to exceed* his wildest imaginations, for he heaped so many blessings upon the head of Waverly (sic), that MacIvor said, 'A hundred thousand curses on you,' whereupon he stopped."
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Girls are usually in Class IV for two or three years, from fourteen or fifteen to seventeen, after which they are ready to specialise. The programme for Class IV is especially interesting; it adds geology and astronomy to the elementary science already studied, more advanced Algebra to the Mathematics; sets of history of modern Europe instead of French history. The literature, to illustrate the history, includes the reading of a good many books, and the German and French books are set also (when possible) to illustrate the history. All the books (about forty) are of a different calibre from those used in the lower classes; they are books for intelligent students.
I think you will observe that due growth has taken place in the minds of the girls, both as regards judgment and power of appreciation.
Q. For what purpose were priests instituted? (Book studied, Dr. Abbot's Bible Lessons.)
A. (aged 15 1/2):—
"The system of the Jewish priesthood was almost entirely symbolical. God ordained it, we believe, to lead the primitive mind of his chosen people onwards and upwards, to the true belief and earthly comprehension of that great Sacrifice, by the grace of which we are all now honoured to become 'kings and priests unto God.' In the earliest times of the patriarchs, there was in every holy and honourable Jewish family some voluntary priest, to offer up the burnt offerings and yearly sacrifices. We have an example of this in Job the patriarch, who, we read, ministered to his family in the capacity of priest of their offerings. In the wilderness, however, God commanded through Moses the foundation of a separate and holy priesthood, to minister in His tabernacle and offer his appointed sacrifices. The tribe of Levi, and the family of Aaron, were set apart for this purpose, and in the building of the tabernacle and the annointing (sic) of Aaron and his four sons, the cornerstone was laid to that great building which became a fit dwelling for the presence of God and the heart of Israel, until Christ came to change and lighten the world; and the symbol and the shadow became the truth."
Q. "His power was to assert itself in deeds, not words." Write a short sketch of the character of Cromwell, discussing the above statement. (Book studied, Green's Shorter History of the English People.)
B. (aged 15):—
"Cromwell was no orator. It has been said that if all his speeches were taken and made into a book, it would seem simply a pack of nonsense. In Parliament though, the earnestness with which he spoke attracted attention. His deeds proved his innate power, which could not express itself in words. He may be called the inarticulate man. In his mind, everything was clear, and his various actions proved his purposes and determinations, but in speaking, he simply brought out a hurried volume of words, in the mazes of which one entirely lost the point meant to be implied. Cromwell also was more of an administrator than a statesman, unspeculative and conservative. He was subject to fits of hypocondria, which naturally had some effect on his character. He considered himself a servant of God and acted accordingly. Undoubtedly he was under the conviction that he was carrying out the Lord's will in all he did. He was not in calm moods a bloody man, but when his anger was kindled he would spare no one. At times he would be filled with remorse for the part he had taken in the martyrdom of the king; then, again, he would say it was the just punishment of heaven on Charles. In giving orders his words were curt and to the point, but in making speeches he adopted the phraseology of the Bible, which added to their ambiguity. One would think he was ambitious, for at one time he asked Whitelock, 'What if a man should take upon himself to be king?' evidently having in view the regal power; and yet, according to his own assertion he would rather have returned to his occupation as a farmer, than have undertaken the government of Britain. But in this, as in other acts, he recognised the call of God (as he thought) and obeyed it."
Q. What do you know of The Girondins? (Book studied, Lord's Modern Europe.)
C. (aged 17):—
"The Girondins were perhaps the most tolerant and reasonable of the revolutionary parties. They were a body of men who found the government of France under the king more than they could stand, and who were the first to welcome any changes, but were shocked and horrified* at the dreadful riots and massacres which followed the fall of the throne. Such a party, representing justice and reform could not be popular with the more violent Jacobins and such like clubs. The day came when these latter were in power and all the Girondins were thrown into prison.
"They were all taken from prison before the Court of Justice for trial and placed before the judge, where they sat quite silently; they were one by one condemned to execution, receiving* the sentence of death with perfect calmness. Only their leader was seen to fall down; one of his companions leant over him and said: 'What, are you afraid?' 'Non,' was the answer, 'Je mours'—he had stabbed himself with his dagger..
"As the Girondins marched back to their cells, condemned to die the next morning, they all sang the 'Marscillaise,' as they had arranged, to tell their fellow-prisoners what the sentence had been. When they reached their prison a splendid supper was placed for them, and they all sat down with great cheerfulness to eat it, none of them showing the least signs of breaking down. Towards morning priests were sent to them, and very early in the day they all marched to the foot of the guillotine, singing as they went. They kept on singing a solemn chant when the executions commenced, which became fainter and fainter as one by one they were beheaded, until all were gone."
Q. What effect have mountain ranges and plains on the countries in which they are situated? Give examples. (Book studied, Geikie's Physical Geography.)
D. (aged 16):—
"The distribution of mountains and plains in a country does not only greatly effect (sic) the climate and rainfall of a country, but also the length and importance of its rivers. In North America the Rocky Mountains form an axis right down the whole continent in a line from north to south, and the Andes form an even greater line in South America, stretching from north to south parallel to the west coast for a length of 9,000 miles, and forming the axis of the continent. In North America the climate west and east of the Rocky Mountains is very different, while those heights also form the watershed of the country, all the large rivers that rise in them being compelled to flow east. In South America also all the large rivers flow to the east. In nearly every continent there is a watershed or axis of the same sort, formed not necessarily of the highest but of the most continuous range of mountains. This axis is very seldom situated at all near the middle of the continent, far more often it is very much to one side. It does not always form one continuous chain, or run from north to south as in North and South America; in Europe, for example, the axis runs from east to west, and is formed of four ranges—the Causassus (sic), the Carpatians (sic), the Alps, and Pyrannes (sic). Europe is thus cut into two very unequal parts, the larger half being the great plain north of the axis, where the great rivers are situated. This axis makes the countries to the south of it warmer than they would otherwise have been. In Asia the axis of the country also runs in a north-easterly to a south-westerly direction, the great chain extending for a length of 12,000 miles; the great rivers of Asia therefore flow to the north of the mountains where they can have a longer course than to the south."
Q. Distinguish between arrogant and presumptuous, interference and interposition, genuine and authentic, hate and detest, loathe and abhor, education and instruction, apprehend and comprehend, using each word in a sentence. (Book studied, Trench's Study of Words.)
E. (aged 15):—
"A man who is 'arrogant' is a man who has right to what he wants, but who is harsh and exacting in taking it. A 'presumptuous' man is a man who expects more than is due, and takes it. 'Judge Jefferies was an arrogant old man.' 'Charles II was a presumptuous king, he thought he could have absolute power.'
" 'Interference' is not minding our own business, and meddling with other people's when we are not wanted. 'Interposition' is more the 'doing good by interfering,'* as protecting a little boy from a bully. 'But for the interference of James all would have gone well.' 'Thanks to the interposition of Mary a quarrel was averted.'
" 'Genuine' means real, true, what it seems to be, as—'a real genuine ruby.' 'Authentic,' in speaking of a book, means really written by the author to which it is ascribed. 'Dickens' Oliver Twist is certainly authentic.'
"You would 'hate' a man who killed your father. 'Charles II hated Cromwell.' You would 'detest' a man who had not done you any personal injury, but who (sic) you knew to be a murderer and a hypocrite. 'Yeo detested the Spaniards.'
"You would 'loathe' a poisonous snake or a hypocrite. 'David Copperfield loathed Uriah Heep.' You would 'abhor' a man inferior to you in intellect or principles, as a great king would 'abhor' a cringing coward, leave him behind, go on without him, refuse to listen to him. 'Napoleon abhorred the traitor.'
" 'Education' is the lessons you receive as a matter of course, as French, writing, grammar. 'Instruction' is this, but more also, it includes moral teaching, the teaching of honesty, and the teaching of gentleness. 'Henry had a good education.' 'No well-instructed Briton is a coward.' " 'Apprehend' is to see, or hear, and notice. 'Comprehend'* is to understand, without seeing or hearing perhaps. 'Phillip apprehended that danger was near, but he did not comprehend it.' "
Q. Tell shortly Carlyle's estimate of Burns, showing what he did for Scotland and what was the cause of his personal failure in life? (Book studied, Carlyle's Essay on Burns.)
F. (aged 17):—
"Carlyle looked upon Burns as one of the nicest of men and greatest of poets; rather a weak man, perhaps, but covering all his faults with his genius and kindness of heart, clever and persevering, and basely neglected and shunned by his contemporaries. It is quite extraordinary to read the world-famous poems of this poet, and to remember that he was a ploughman, and surrounded only by the most uneducated peasants and fellow-labourers; though, of course, the life of a ploughman in the hills of Scotland is far more likely to encourage poetry and reflection than the life of many a London dentist or hair-dresser far higher in rank; but it is easy to believe, in fact, that Burns would have found inspirations for his genius in a flat sandy waste or a grocer's shop, and, as Carlyle says, a man or woman is not a genius unless they are extraordinary, not really inspired if such a person could have been imagined before. Robert Burns has provided Scotland, for centuries at least, with plenty of national poetry, his poems are such as can be enjoyed, like flowers and trees and all things really beautiful, by old and young, stupid and clever, fishermen and prime-ministers—surely that is a work of which any man would be proud!
"Barns (sic) chief fault, if fault it can be called, and the cause of his failure in life, seems to have been a sort of bitterness against people more fortunate than himself, without the art of hiding it. This, real or affected, seems very common in poets, and such an inspired man, a man with a mind greater than kings, must have felt very deeply, almost without knowing it, the 'unrefinedness' of the people he loved best, and his own distance from the admirers who clustered round him later in life.
"All his life, it seems, he was in a place by himself, now spending his time with his own family, acting a part all day, trying to make his relations feel him an equal, pretending to take a great interest in what he did not care for—the pigs and cows and porridge, seeing his own dearest friends looking at him with awe, and feeling him something above them, thinking of his 'great' friends, and feeling embarrassed when he came and more at ease without his presence.
"Now, on the other hand, associating with people high in rank and education, enjoying their friendship and their praise, but feeling, be they ever so kind and familiar, that he was not their equal by birth, and that they could not treat him quite as such, however hard they might try, turning familiarity in his mind into slights, and kindness into descension. This to a proud man must have been misery, and Burns must have been very lonely in a crowd of companions, thronged with admirers, but without a friend. "Nobody understood Burns, he shared his opinions with no one he knew. When, at the beginning of the French Revolution, he expressed his delight and approval, the people who admired him were shocked, refused to speak to him, regarded him either as mad or terribly wicked. His poems were not admired as much as they deserved to be, he had hardly any money, was never likely to get on in the world, was shunned and disgraced, and began, as a last resource*, to drink to much. Ill health was one of his misfortunes, and this intemperance killed him.
"Thus died, at the age of thirty seven, poor, friendless, despised, the man who has given pleasure to thousands, and an undying collection of poems and songs to his country."
Q. Give some account, as far as you can in the style of Carlyle, of the Procession of May 4th. (Book studied, Carlyle's French Revolution.)
G. (aged 14 1/2):—
"See the doors of Notre Dame open wide, the Procession issuing forth, a sea of human faces that are to reform France. First come the nobles in their gayly (sic) tinted robes, next the clergy, and then the commons, the Tier Etats in their slouched hats, firm and resolute, and lastly the king and the ceuil-de-boeuf, these are greeted by a tremendous storm of vivats, Vive le roi! Vive le nation! Let us suppose we can take up some coigne of vantage form which we can watch this procession, but with eyes different from other eyes, namely, with prophetic eyes. See a man coming, striding at the head of the Tiers Etats, tall and with thick lips and black hair, one Mirabeau, whose father and brother walk among the nobles. Close beside walks Doctor Guillotin,* learned Doctor Guillotin*, who said, "My friends (mes amis), I have a machine that will whisk off your heads in a second, and cause you no pain," now doomed for two years to see and hear nothing but guillotin, and for more than two centuries after yonder a desolate ghost on this of the Styx. Mark, too, a small mean man, a sea-green man, with sea-green eyes, Robespierre by name, a small underhand secretary walking beside one Dantun (sic), tall and massive, cruelty and vengeance on their faces. We may not linger longer, but one other we must note, one tall and active with a cunning air, namely, Camille Désmonellins (sic), one day to rise to fame and the next to be forgotten.
"Many more walk in that procession one day to become famous, Bailli, future president of a New Republick (sic), and Marat, with Broglie the War-God, and others.
"The Tiers Etats with Mayor Bailli march to the rooms where they are to sit, but the doors are shut, there is a sound of hammering within. "Mayor Bailli knocks, and wants to know why they are shut out? It is the king's orders. He wants his papers; he may come in and get them; and with this they must be content.
"They swarm to Versailles, the king steps out on the balconny (sic) and speaks. He says the room is being prepared for his own august presence; a platform is being erected; he says he is sorry to inconvience (sic) them, but he is afraid they must wait; and with the[m] he retires. Meanwhile patriotism consults as to what had best be done. Shall they meet on the palace steps? or even in the streets? At length they adjourn to the tennis court, and there Patriotism swears one by one to be faithful to the New National Assembly, as they now name themselves. This is known as the Oath of the Tennis Court."
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The reader has seen a fragment of the work of each of some thirty or so pupils educated upon Books. It is not necessary to-day to speak of their education by Things; perhaps that is even more thorough and systematic. This, which has been read, is strictly average work in two senses. The subjects of which nothing has been said are quite as well, or as ill, done as those from which answers have been taken; and that these are not picked pupils you will judge by the fact that nearly all the papers are from a store left behind by parents.
I do not know if you consider that I have proved my point, that is, that "studies," schoolroom studies, are "for delight, for ornament, for ability." One could bring many proofs, but perhaps that which is not self-evident cannot be proved. Should you consider that these children prove their right of entry to several fields of knowledge; that they show a distinct appetite for such knowledge; that thought and power of mind develop upon the books we read, as they do not and cannot upon the lectures we hear, (because loyalty, sympathy, good nature, and what not, induce a slavish adherence to the very words of the speaker); should you, indeed, be convinced of the truth of these positions, I think you will see that, not an educational reform here and there, but an educational revolution is before us to which every one of us is bound to put his hand.
I know there are lions in the way: the dead hand rules, perhaps must rule, in our great Foundations. Scholarship, again, is more than a distinction; it makes for gentleness, tolerance, a wide and modest outlook upon life; but perhaps in the future, scholarship will be aimed at for the few, and only a rudimentary knowledge of the classics for the general. Meanwhile, our plea is, and we have justified it by experiment, that many doors shall be opened to boys and girls until they are at least fourteen, and always the doors of good houses; that they shall be introduced to no subject whatever through compendiums, abstracts, or selections; that they shall know what history is, what literature is, what science is, what life is, from the living books of those who know. We know it can be done because we have done it and are doing it.
If conviction has indeed reached us, the Magna Carta of children's intellectual liberty is before us. The need is immediate, the means are evident. This, at least, I think we ought to claim, that, up to the age of fourteen, all boys and girls shall be educated on some such curricula, with some such habit of Books, as we have been considering.
N.B.—In order to induce the heads of schools (private schools, preparatory schools, girls' schools, and lower schools,) to consider seriously whether it is not possible to introduce such a method of Education by Books, let me put forward a few considerations:—
1. The cost of the books for the eight years—from six to fourteen—does not average more than £1 a year (perhaps one-fourth of that sum for elementary schools).
2. Two-and-a-half, for Class I to three-and-half hours a day for Class III is ample time for this Book education.
3. Much writing is unnecessary, because the pupils have the matter in their books and know where to find it.
4. Classes are able to occupy themselves in study with pleasure and profit.
5. Teachers are relieved of the exhausting drudgery of many corrections.
6. The pupils have the afternoons for handicrafts, nature-work, walks, games, etc.
7. The evenings are free, whether at school or at home, for reading aloud, choral singing, hobbies, etc.
8. The pupils get many intelligent interests, beget hobbies, and have leisure for them.
9. There is no distressing cramming for the examination at the end of each term. The pupils know their work, and find it easy to answer questions set to find out what they know, rather than what they do not know.
10. Children of any age, however taught hitherto, take up this sort of work with avidity.
11. Boys and girls taught in this way take up ordinary school work, preparation for examination, etc., with intelligence, zeal and success.
The eight years' work—from six to fourteen—which I suggest, should and does result in the power of the pupils:—
1. To grasp the sense of passage of some length at a single reading.
2. To spell and express themselves in writing with ease and fair correctness.
3. To give an orderly and detailed account of any subject they have studied.
4. To describe in writing what they have seen, or heard from the newspapers.
5. * They should have a familiar acquaintance with the common objects of the country, with the power to reproduce some of these in brushwork.
6. Should have skill in various handicrafts.
7. * In arithmetic, a knowledge of vulgar and decimal fractions, proportion, practice, etc.
8. * Of elementary algebra and geometry.
9. * Of elementary Latin grammar, and, say, the first two books of Caesar, and some Virgil.
10. * They should have some power of understanding spoken French; should be able to speak a little; be able to read a fairly easy French book.
11. * In German, much the same as in French, but less progress.
12. * In Italian, pronunciation and the power to read a little.
13. In History they will have gone through a rather detailed study of English, French and classical History (Plutarch).
14. In Geography they will have studied in detail the map of the world, and have been at one time able to fill in landscape, industries, etc., from their studies of each division of the map.
15. They will have learned the elements of physical geography, botany, human physiology, and natural history, and will have read interesting books on some of these subjects.
16. * They should have sufficient knowledge of English Grammar.
17. They should have a considerable knowledge of Scripture history and the Bible text.
18. They should have learned a good deal of Scripture and of poetry, and should have read some literature.
19. * They should have learned Tonic sol-fa and a number of English, French and German songs.
20. They should have learned Swedish drill and various calisthenic exercises.
* The writers have been in two minds about the spelling of words marked (*).
Proofread by Leslie Noelani Laurio, September 2008
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