Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

tised at the very moment when I supposed | Protestants has no essential connection bullying to have had its day and ceased to with the subject. A Protestant school be. Now, the small boy need only have might, and Grimstone's did, have talementioned the circumstances to any one bearers ; possibly a Catholic school might of a score of big boys, and the tormentor exist without parental surveillance. That would have been first thrashed, and then, system is called by its foes a “police," by probably, expelled. A friend of my own its friends a “ paternal” system. But was travelling lately in a wild and hilly fathers don't exercise the “ paternal' region on the other side of the world, let system themselves in this country, and us say in the Mountains of the Moon. In we may take it for granted that, while Ena mountain tavern he had thrust upon glish society and religion are as they are, him the society of the cook, a very useless surveillance at our large schools will be young man, who astonished him by refer- impossible. If any one regrets this, let ences to one of our universities, and to him read the descriptions of French the enjoyments of that seat of learning. schools and school-days, in Balzac's This youth (who was made cook, and a “ Louis Lambert,” in the memoirs of M. very bad cook too, because he could do Maxime du Camp, in any book where a nothing else) had been expelled from a Frenchman speaks his mind about his large English school. And he was ex- youth. He will find spying (of course) pelled because he had felled a bully with among the ushers, contempt and hatred à paving-stone, and had expressed his on the side of the boys, unwholesome and readiness to do it again. Now, there was cruel punishments, a total lack of healthy no doubt that this cook in the mountain exercise; and he will hear of holidays inn was a very unserviceable young fel. spent in premature excursions into forlow. But I wish more boys who have bidden and shady quarters of the town. suffered things literally unspeakable from No doubt the best security against bullybullies would try whether force (in the ing is in constant occupation. There can form of a paving-stone) is really no rem- hardly in spite of Master George Osedy. But perhaps this is a relapse into borne's experience in "Vanity Fair ") be thé “ wild justice of revenge,' as they much bullying in an open cricket-field. call it when one man shoots another in Big boys, too, with good hearts, should not Ireland because he owes him money. only stop bullying when they come across

The Catholic author of a recent book it, but make it their business to find out ("Schools,” by Lieut.-Col. Raleigh Chi. where it exists. Exist it will, more or chester), is very hard on “ Protestant less, despite all precautions, while boys schools," and thinks that the Catholic are boys that is, are passing through a system of constant watching is a remedy modified form of the savage state. for bullying, and other evils. “Swing. There is a curious fact in the boyish doors with their upper half glazed, might character which seems, at first sight, to have their uses," he says, and he does not make good the opinion that private educasee why a boy should not be permitted tion, at home, is the true meihod. Before to complain, if he is roasted, like Tom they go out into school life, many little Brown, before a large fire. The boys at fellows of nine, or so, are extremely orig. one Catholic school described by Colonel inal, imaginative, and almost poetical. Raleigh Chichester, "are never without They are fond of books, fond of nature, surveillance of some sort. This is true and, if you can win their confidence, will of most French schools, and any one who tell you all sorts of pretty thoughts and wishes to understand the consequences fancies which lie about them in their in. (there) may read the recently published fancy. I have known a little boy who confessions of a pion an usher, or liked to lie on the grass and to people the “spy.” A more degraded and degrading alleys and-glades of that miniaiure forest life than that of the wretched pion, it is with fairies and dwarfs, whom he seemed impossible to imagine. In an English pri- actually to see in a kind of vision. But vate school, the system of espionage and he went to school, he instantly won the tale-bearing, when it exists, is probably hundred yards race for boys under twelve, not unlike what Mr. Anstey describes in and he came back a young barbarian, in. “Vice Versâ.” But in the Catholic schools terested in “ the theory of touch ” (at spoken of by Colonel Raleigh Chichester, football), curious in the art of bowling, the surveillance may be, as he says, “ that and no more capable than you or I of see. of a parent; an aid to the boys in their ing fairies in a green meadow. He was games rather than a check." The reli. caught up into the air of the boy's world, gious question as between Catholics and and his imagination was in abeyance for a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

season.

This is a common enough thing, and “rare ” of human essays, and many and rather a melancholy spectacle to be parents would rather have their boy pahold. One is tempted to believe that tiently acquiring the art of wicket-keeping school causes the loss of a good deal of at school than moralizing on the uncergenius, and that the small boys who leave tainty of life at home. Some one“ having home poets, and come back barbarians, presented to the young author a copy of have been wasted. But, on the other verses on the trite and familiar subject of hand, if they had been kept at home and the Ploughboy," he replied with an ode on encouraged, the chances are that they “the Potboy.” would have blossomed into infant phe.

Bliss is not always join'd to wealth, nomena and nothing better. The awful

Nor dwells beneath the gilded roof, infancy of Mr. John Stuart Mill is a

For poverty is bliss with health, standing warning. Mr. Mill would prob

Of that my potboy stands a proof. ably have been a much happier and wiser man if he had not been a precocious lin- The volume ends with this determinaguist, economist, and philosopher, but had tion, passed through a healthy stage of indiffer

Still shall I seek Apollo's shelt'ring ray, ence to learning and speculation at a pub

To cheer my spirits and inspire my lay. lic school. Look again, at the childhood of Bishop Thirlwall. His “ Primitic" If any parent or guardian desires furwere published (by Samuel Tipper, Lon-ther information about “Les Enfans dedon, i808) when young Connop was but venus célèbres par leurs écrits,” he will eleven years of age. His indiscreet fa- find it in a work of that name, published ther "launched this slender bark,” as he in Paris in 1688. The learned Scioppius says, and it sailed through three editions published works at sixteen, “which debetween 1808 and 1809. Young Thirlwall served ” (and perhaps obtained) " the adwas taught Latin at three years of age, miration of dotards." M. Du Maurier " and at four read Greek with an ease and asserts that, at the age of fifteen, Grotius fluency which astonished all who heard pleaded causes at the bar. At eleven him.” At seven he composed an essay Meursius made orations and barangues “On the Uncertainty of Human Life," which were much admired. At fifteen Alex. but “his tas for poetry was not discov- andre le Jeune wrote anacreontic verses, ered till a later period." His sermons, and (less excusably) a commentary on the some forty, occupy most of the little vol. Institutions of Cajus. Grevin published ume in which these Primitiæwere col- a tragedy and two comedies at the age of lected. He was especially concerned thirteen, and at fifteen Louis Stella was a about Sabbath desecration. “I confess,” professor of Greek. But no one reads observes this sage of ten, 66 when I look Grevin now, nor Stella, nor Alexandre le upon the present and past state of our Jeune, and perhaps their time might have public morals, and when I contrast our been better occupied in being "soaring hupresent luxury, dissipation, and depravity, man boys" than in composing tragedies with past frugality and virtue, I feel not and commentaries. Monsieur le Duc de merely a sensation of regret, but also of Maine published, in 1678, his “Euvres terror, for the result of the change.” “The Diverses d'un Auteur de Sept Ans," a late Revolution in France," he adds, “ has royal example to be avoided by all boys. afforded us a remarkable lesson how nec- These and several score of other exam. essary religion is to a State, and that from ples may perhaps reconcile us to the spec. a deficiency on that head arise the chief tacle of puerile genius fading away in the evils which can befall society." He then existence of the common British school. bids us

“ remember that the Nebuchad. boy, who is nothing of a poet, and still nezzar who may destroy our Israel is near less of a jurisconsult. at hand,” though might be difficult to The British authors who understand show how Nebuchadnezzar destroyed boys best are not those who have written Israel. As to the uncertainty of life, he books exclusively about boys. There is remarks that “Edward VI. died in his Canon Farrar, for example, whose rominority, and disappointed his subjects, mances of boyish life appear to be very to whom he had promised a happy reign.” popular, but whose boys, somehow, are Of this infant's thirty-nine sermons (just not real boys. They are too good when as many as the articles), it may be said they are good, and when they are bad, that they are in no way inferior to other they are not perhaps too bad (that is imexamples of this class of literature. But possible), but they are bad in the wrong sermons are among the least “

"scarce

way. They are bad with a mannish and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

conscious vice, whereas even bad boys they are rather out of place. Indeed, the seem to sin less consciously and after a very young master, though usually earnest ferocious fashion of their own. Of the in his work, must be a sage indeed if he boys in “Tom Brown” it is difficult to can avoid talking to the elder boys about speak, because the Rugby boy under Ar. the problems that interest him, and so nold seems to have been of a peculiar forcing their minds into precocious attispecies. A contemporary pupil was tudes. The advantage of Eton boys used asked, when an undergraduate, what he to be, perhaps is still, that they came up conceived to be the peculiar characteristic to college absolutely destitute of “ideas, of Rugby boys. He said, after mature and guiltless of reading anything more reflection, that the differentia of the Rug- modern than Virgil. Thus their intellects by boy, was his moral thoughtfulness. were quite fallow, and they made astonNow the characteristic of the ordinary ishing progress when they bent their boy is his want of what is called moral fresh and unwearied ininds to study. thoughtfulness. He lives in simple obe. But too many boys now leave school with dience to school traditions. These may settled opinions derived from the very compel him, at one school, to speak in a latest thing out, from the newest Gerinan peculiar language, and to persecute and pessimist or American socialist. It may, beat all boys who are slow at learning however, be argued that ideas of these this language. At another school he may sorts are like measles, and that it is betregard dislike of the manly game of foot- ter to take them early and be done with ball as the sio with which “heaven heads them forever. the count of crimes," On the whole this While schools are reformed and Latin notion seems a useful protest against the grammars of the utmost ingenuity and immaturely artistic beings who fill their difficulty are published, boys on the whole studies with photographs of Greek frag- change very little. They remain the be. ments, casts, etchings by the newest ings whom Thackeray understood better etcher, bits of china, Oriental rugs, and than any other writer: Thackeray, who very curious old brass candlesticks. The liked boys so much and was so little blind "challenge cup” soon passes away from to their defects. I think he exaggerates the keeping of any house in a public their babit of lying to masters, or, if they school where Bunthorne is a popular and lied in his day, their character has altere imitated character. But when we reach in that respect, and they are more truth. æsthetic boys, we pass out of the savage ful than many men find it expedient to be. stage into hobbledehoyhood. The bigger And they have given up fighting; the old boys at public schools are often terribly battles between Berry and Biggs, or Dob. “advanced," and when they are not wor- bin and Cuff (major) are things of the shipping the sunflower they are vexing glorious past. Big boys don't fight, and themselves with the riddle of the earth, there is a whisper that little boys kick evolution, agnosticism, and all that kind each other's shins when in wrath. That of thing. Latin verses may not be what practice can hardly be called an improveconservatives fondly deem them, and even ment, even if we do not care for fisticuffs. cricket may, it is said, become too absorb. Perhaps the gloves are the best peace. ing a pursuit, but either or both are better makers at school. When all the boys, by than precocious freethinking and sacrifice practice in boxing, know pretty well whom on the altar of the beautiful. A big boy they can in a friendly way líck, they are who is tackling. Haeckel or composing less tempted to more crucial experiments virelais in playtime is doing himself no " without the gloves.” But even the asgood, and is worse than useless to the so- certainment of one's relative merits with ciety of which he is a member. The small the gloves hurts a good deal, and one boys, who are the most ardent of hero-wor- may thank heaven that the fountain of shippers, either despise him or they allow youth (as described by Pontus de Tyarde) him io address them in chansons royaux, is not a common beverage. By drinking and respond with trebles in triolets. At this liquid, says the old Frenchman, one present a great many boys leave school, is insensibly brought back from old to pass three years or four at the universi. middle age, and to youth and boyhood. iies, and go back as masters to the place But one would prefer to stop drinking where some of their old schoolfellows are before actually being reduced to boy's still pupils. It is through these very estate, and passing once more through young masters, perhaps, that “advanced's the tumultuous experiences of that perispeculations and tastes get into schools, od. And of these, not having enough to where, however excellent in themselves, I eat is by no means the least common. The evidence as to execrable dinners is l instrument, as important as the lever, the rather dispiriting, and one may end by wedge, or the screw. Without it, there saying that if there is a worse fellow than were limits, and comparatively narrow a bully, it is a master who does not see ones, to the size of the masses of iron that his boys are supplied with plenty of which we could forge, and to the force we wholesome food. He, at least, could not could bring to bear on them. With it, it venture, like a distinguished head master, is hardly too much to say that, for practi. to preach and publish sermons on “Boys' cal purposes, our power in this respect is Life: its Fulness." A schoolmaster who unlimited. No forgings which are requi. has boarders is a hotel-keeper, and there. site in practice are too large for the steamby makes his income, but he need not hammer to operate upon, and any force keep a hotel which would be dispraised we need for such purposes is capable of in guide-books. Dinners are a branch of being exerted by it. While it can crack school economy which should not be left an egg in a wineglass without hurting the to the wives of schoolmasters. They glass, it can shower down rapid blows on have never been boys.

a mass of heated iron with force enough to shake the parish in which it stands. It would be interesting enough to learn from the author of this invention how it

arose in his mind, and how it was conFrom The Quarterly Review. nected with the numerous other contriv. NASMYTH'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY.* ances of his brilliant professional career. DR SMILES, in his preface to the first Such an invention marks an epoch in the of these interesting volumes, tells us that development of man's power over nature; twenty years ago, when he asked Mr. and even if it were the product of mere Nasmyth for information respecting his intellectual or professional skill, its hismechanical inventions, he received a very tory would be extremely instructive and modest reply. “My life,” said Mr. Nas. interesting. myth, “presents no striking or remarkable

But Mr. Nasmyth underrated the gen. incidents, and would, I fear, prove but a eral interest of his life even more than he tame narrative. The sphere to which

understated the importance of his great

my endeavors have been confined has been of invention. His work as an engineer is a comparatively quiet order; but, vanity indissolubly associated with his whole apart, I hope I have been able to leave a personal character and training, and a few marks of my existence behind me in background of deep human interest lies the shape of useful contrivances, which are behind his mechanical triumphs. There in many ways helping on great works of are, no doubt, many instances in which industry.". It would be difficult to say on great professional or intellectual achievewhich of the two aspects of his life thus ments are practically dissociated from a suggested Mr. Nasmyth's modesty in this man's personal character.

In some men observation is the more remarkable. The the brain seems to work as a kind of cal. “ few marks of his existence” which he culating machine, or intellectual tool, and hopes he has been able to leave behind to have little relation to the moral qualities him comprise among them the most pow.

which make up personal character. This erful of all modern mechanical inventions is, however, peculiarly possible in the

- the steam-hammer. By the creation of case of work which is subject to purely that machine our power of dealing with scientific laws. In such pursuits, the iron has been so vastly enhanced in de brain may become like an engine which gree, as to be practically different in is set on a pair of rails, and must needs kind from that which we previously com- reach the terminus at the other end, if the manded; and it is intimately associated steam only lasts long enough. But there with many other applications of steam- are other instances, and these belong to power, which have transformed important the highest order of mental activity, in branches of the art of engineering. The which the whole man his whole moral invention of the steam-hammer practically character and the influences which have endowed mankind with a new mechanical formed it — is involved in his scientific

work, and determines its results. In such * 1. James Nasmyth, Engineer: an Autobiog- cases the man himself is of far greater raphy. Edited by Samuel Smiles, LL.D. London, interest than his productions, and the nar2. The Moon: considered as a Planet, a World, Some men's achievements seem almost

rative of his life can never be tame. and a Satellite. By James Nasmyth, C. E., and James Carpenter, F.R.A.S. Second edition. London, 1874 | accidental, due to no deliberate exercise

1883.

cess.

a

of thought or will, and scarcely to be tive ability, offered the very career for traced even to antecedent influences. But which they had been under so long a prepwhen it is clear that a man was born with aration. a capacity for the special work he has The Nasmyths begin, as they have fulfilled, when he has been trained to it ended, with the story of a hammer. The by every influence of his childhood and family legend tells that, in the reign of youth, and when he has fought his way James III. of Scotland, an ancestor of the consciously to his end by a continuous family, who was fighting on the side of struggle with difficulties, his life becomes the king against the Douglases, had to a drama, and his professional achieve. take refuge, on the occasion of the temments become secondary to his personal porary defeat of his party, in a smithy, and family history. This is eminently the where the smith disguised him as a hamcase with Mr. Nasmyth. It is the most merman. A party of the Douglases encarious part of his story, that the founda. tered the smithy, and suspected the dis. tions of his career are laid deep in Scot- guise. In his agitation the fugitive struck tish history, and that the accumulated a false blow with his hammer, which broke influences and inheritances of four gener. the shaft in two; on which the story goes ations conspire to mould his character, that the pursuer rushed at him, calling his hand, and his eye. Nor is it only the out, “Ye're nae smyth !!" On this the influences of his own family to which he hammerman turned on his assailant, is indebted for his capacities and his suc. wrenched a dagger from his hands and

As he tells the simple facts of his overpowered him, and with the aid of the story, all the most characteristic elements smith drove back the Douglas men, ralof Scottish life are brought before us, and lied his own party, and converted a defeat the Edinburgh society of this century and into a victory. For this exploit he was rethe last is vividly depicted in all its best warded with a grant of lands; and he took features. It is seldom that so complete a for his armorial bearings “a hand dexter picture is offered us of a phase of life with a dagger, between two broken ham. which is at once of the deepest interest mer-shafts.” The motto was “Non arte in itself, and has played a momentous sed inarte," “ Not by art but by war." part in our national history. A hundred Mr. Nasmyth‘has curiously reversed the years ago, few persons would have sup- motto and the whole legend. He has be. posed that Scottish life, in all its wildness come the greatest smith of his generation. and sternness, had been gradually nursing The hammer has become his great weap. a breed of men who were to take the lead on; and the motto he has adopted, which in some of the most important spheres of embodies the spirit of all his engineering our national being, and to give a new im. achievements, is “Non marte sed arte.pulse and new method to English capaci- Starting from this incident, - be it a ties. But this is what Scottish history fact, or an * eponymous legend,” — the had been doing for several centuries, and Nasmyths became a family of consider. especially since the Reformation. In mod able distinction in Scottish history. They ern scientific language, Scotland had been held high positions in the service of the rendered a great accumulator of intellec. Scottish kings, and intermarried with

ual, moral, and muscular force; which, many of the leading houses in Scotland. after the suppression of the last Stuart A branch of them settled at Netherton, rebellion, was turned to practical purposes near Hamilton. Here they remained unin this country and in the British empire. til Charles II.'s measures against the • How can it be possible,” said Wilkes to Covenanters. The Nasmyths were diBoswell, “ to spend two thousand a year vided between the two parties, but the in Scotland ? • Why,” said Johnson, Netherton family took part with the “the money may be spent in England.” Covenanters, and was deprived of its It might have been asked to more pur- lands. The estate at Netherton was pose, what the Scotch were to do with the handed over to the Duke of Hamilton; its wonderful store of moral intensity, intel- former owner took refuge in Edinburgh; lectual acuteness, and sound health, which and here he and his children had to begin their hardy, struggling, and religious life the world again. Mr. Nasmyth is able to of centuries had accumulated. But John trace back the new fortunes of his family son's answer would have been equally to his great-great-grandfather, Michael true. They could spend it in England; Nasmyth, who was born in 1652. He and to men like Mr. Nasmyth this coun. was a builder and architect, distinguished try, with its ever-increasing demands for for the substantial character of his work, mechanical, commercial, and administra- alike in wood and stone; and he found his

2159

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

LIVING AGE.

VOL. XLII.

« VorigeDoorgaan »