Page images

thus they confront us more as hysterical martyrs than heroic ones. Yet they survive,-as the ancient Pagan exclaimed, in surprise“Strange, that the old and ugly should live.” There is surely no inevitable need for each sex throughout life beholding the other under a false glare, said by a great French philosopher to be temporarily required to entrap them into marriage. Intelligence and true morality are allied; but among other outré demands, it is required that the female intelligence shall be known or honoured only as the reflected lustre of those connected with it, as the moon shines by borrowed light. Yet, as was asked before, what are morals devoid of intelligence? The like of all this has been struggled against for ages by women, directly or otherwise, even while denied to exist, as a dangerous capacity in revolt. By some so contending against such enormous odds that when accomplishing as much as men, it has been admitted they accomplished more. “Woman is an angel,” sings the poet; yet he adds, “man is the more upright and magnanimous." For the sake of divine truth, let us put such atrocious gallantry as this in the background, and admit that woman is human, as man is, and that both should be upright, etc. The mother of the earth is also its mistress, if just value is given to her being and her duties-while developing the former to its full extent, and restricting the latter to their natural proportions; ceasing to connive at the travestie of morality, which is her degradation, she, as heir of God, is a ruler here; as she was created to be an unsexed servant or minister of that God hereafter.

(To be continued.)

[ocr errors]




In one of Mr. Buckle's lectures he stigmatises the education of women as “that miserable, contemptible, and preposterous system in which valuable things are carefully kept from them, and trifling things are carefully taught them, until the remarkable rapidity with which they think is fatally obscured, and their naturally fine and nimble minds are irretrievably injured.” Some such condemnation does Mr. Markby pronounce in his article on “ The Education of Women," in the March number of the Contemporary Review, when he says—after promising to make no onslaught on either teachers or girls' schools—that a few years ago “they were both as bad as they could be.” On the whole he blames parents for this state of things more than teachers, for he considers that it arises in a great measure from their habit of expecting their daughters to know something of everything, and as they are “sparing of their purse” as well, an unhappy teacher must convey information on subjects with which she is imperfectly acquainted. The poor schoolmistress is obliged to put everything in her prospectus, and find, somehow or other, an hour or two in the course of the week for all the subjects, which were taken in routine,“ however inconsistent and repulsive.” In support of this allegation the writer brings forward a fact which occurred at his own breakfast table. Two little cousins of thirteen and eleven years old were spending the Sunday with his family. At breakfast on Monday morning they were asked what they should do when they returned to school.

“Oh, the first lesson is in chronology."
“ And the next?
“Oh, the next is conchology."

These children were at a first-rate London boarding-school. the mistress was not to blame," continues Mr. Markby ; “if parents insist on their daughters receiving a smattering of every branch of human knowledge, she must obey. It is easy to say, 'Do what is right and never mind consequences,' but when a lady has taken a large house and premises, and has rent and bakers' bills before her eyes, it is not so easy to defy the world. Not easy, even where there is a fair standard to appeal to, least of all where there is none but the judgment-or misjudgment-of parents."

Two very important points are then insisted on as the best remedial measures for the state of things complained of. Parents must not be so impatient for effect, and so forgetful of a fact no one in their senses denies with regard to boys—that it is not the amount of knowledge

“ And

obtained which is of importance, but the intellectual constitution formed in gaining it. Nor should countenance be given to the absurd system which forces Italian and German on a girl who shows no ability whatever for acquiring languages, or drawing and music on one who has neither eyes nor ears.

No part of our system is more deplorable than the false motives which are too often set before girls ; indeed, as Mr. Markby says, it is seldom a girl has a right motive for industry placed before her.

[ocr errors]

“All the exhortations she gets, whether from parents, friends, or teachers, com. monly come to this, that she is to fit herself for display. The school exhibition at the end of the half-year, the mistress's party, the drawing-room at home, are represented to her as the arena of feminine strife, in which she is to distance her rivals, and her reward is to be a good marriage. The word good, it must be observed, is used in a sense as thoroughly commercial as on 'Change. The duty of cultivating the abilities God has given her, of fitting herself for the work of life, is rarely or never placed before her mind, unless she is lucky enough to hear now and then a sensible sermon at church. Is it Utopian to think that good motives will avail more than bad ones to make girls diligent? God forbid ! the world is in a poor way indeed if it be

But we do not believe it. We have ourselves been fortunate enough to know at least one girls' school which has obtained remarkable success in every sense of the word, without any vicious incitements to get on being laid before the scholars. 'Besides, what is true of boys may, in this respect, be safely referred to as a guide to what we may look for in the case of girls. Few persons conversant with the subject will deny that considerable good has been effected by the higher tone taken with boys about their lessons. The effect is not always to be seen at the time, but comes out in after life. Now girls are not less ready than their brothers to hear the voice of the wise-do not in ripeness of years less require the consolation and encouragement of duty to support them under the trials of life. There is then no reason for substituting inferior motives for the truest and highest in order to persuade girls to use their time well. Teach them to think of pleasing neither themselves nor others, but only God; teach them that their tastes and feelings, kept under due control, are the natural indications marked by His hand of what it will be of most account to turn their minds to ; teach them that if, as becomes women, they long to charm all about them into respect and love, the surest way of doing so is the diligent and unconscious discharge of the duty of the hour. We do not believe that anyone teaching in this spirit would find them unwilling or unapt scholars. It is in this spirit that we would be understood in saying that the true end of the education of women is making good wives and mothers. This is a very different thing from saying that marriage is the end of life to a woman. For the qualities, and especially the manners, that make a good wife and mother are essential to every woman, married or unmarried. Why is it that old maids are so often crabbed and useless creatures? Often, no doubt, disappointment has much to do with it; yet in most cases it will assuredly be found to have arisen from the want of womanly graces in youth no less than in age. Everyone must know old maids who are as useful in their generation and as much beloved by those about them as any married woman, and this by the exercise of precisely the same virtues as make a wise a blessing to her husband and children--prudence, kindness, and a sweet tongue. If the old Winchester motto · Manners makyth man,' be true for boys, truer is it, if possible, that “Manners makyth women ;' and she who, teaching girls, keeps this in view, will best succeed in bringing them up to be capable of making their homes cheerful, happy, and innocent, and to live to do God service.”



In examining what has been done with regard to girls' schools, while Mr. Markby allows that the first decisive attempt to get out of the old routine was the establishment of ladies' colleges, he questions whether their system is altogether desirable, as he considers nothing but the strongest necessity can recommend the arrangement by which the lectures are chiefly conducted by men. To employ a French master he considers especially absurd. “A French woman is, as a rule, higher in the scale of humanity than a French man-possesses more diligence, firmness, and sense of duty than he;" and in the present dearth of employment for women, he also thinks it hard to take away an occupation which they may fairly claim as their own.

While we agree in this view of the question, we cannot but feel that, until women have received an education which qualifies them for giving the same thorough teaching that girls at the colleges at present receive from their professors, they are justly excluded from positions they might otherwise claim, perhaps with equal justice to themselves and advantage to the scholars. The writer sums up his article by a detailed account of the application to Oxford and Cambridge for the admission of girls to the local examinations.

As our readers are probably already aware, “the opponents of this measure appear chiefly to be influenced by two considerations—first, that it would injure the prosperity of the boys' examinations; and, secondly, that they could not be conducted in such a manner as to be profitable to the girls themselves.” But while Oxford rejected the scheme altogether, Cambridge agreed to give it three years' trial, maintaining that, as the University is “fully as much interested in the education of the youth of the country in their own homes and earliest years, as in the school she examines,” she was “ by no means stepping out of her proper sphere in anything she could do to cherish and promote the good nurture of future wives and mothers.” By supplying some of the measures of true elementary education, and by giving teachers and parents an insight into the value of the education the girls received, these examinations will, we confidently trust, effect much.

The assurance that there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of boys (nearly fifty per cent.) attending the examination since the admission of girls, is a satisfactory answer for those who feared the scheme would make them unpopular; and we have much pleasure in referring those who desire the particulars of the way in which these examinations are conducted, to Mr. Markby's able paper, which also contains details of great interest with regard to the general results of the examinations passed by the girls.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]


OF LAVEDAN-ST. SAVIN-JOURNEY TO CAUTERETS. The sudden cessation of motion caused by the stopping of the diligence, awakened me as suddenly from my sleep. With delighted surprise I looked around me. My night journey was over, and the rays of the rising sun were overspreading both hill and plain, promising one of those glowing, cloudless days which the South of France so often presents to our admiration.

Hardly was the change of horses effected, when the conductor, whom we had missed for some minutes, came hastily up, accompanied by an elderly gentleman from a neighbouring villa.

“I am extremely sorry, Professor," said he to the gentleman, " that I have no places left, except on the banquette ; all the best seats are full, except two in the coupé, and over them I have no control, as the occupant of the coupé has paid for the whole compartment.”

I must explain this by saying, that the day before our departure from Toulouse, the conductor gave me the agreeable option of receiving into the coupé a corpulent zouave and his not very slim comrade, or, of paying for the two seats, and I had no hesitation whatever in choosing the latter alternative. Now I could no more occupy three places at once, than could the ox in the fable the whole crib ; nor could I bear to see an old man, whose recollection of his youthful gymnastics must have been very faint, giving himself so much trouble to reach a seat which, after all, would be but a very inconvenient one. The benevolence which beamed in his eye, the silver locks which adorned his head, and scarcely less, the care with which he guarded from injury a splendid bouquet of freshly-gathered carnations, made such an impression on me that I at once offered him a share of my compartment of the carriage.

We had not left the retired posthouse of Trie more than a kilometre behind us, before I had discovered that my new travelling companion was a professor in the University of Paris ; that he was commissioned by the Government to visit some of the curative springs in the Upper Pyrenees, in furtherance of certain scientific inquiries then being made ; and that he had halted for a day at Trie to see a friend who was residing there.

« PreviousContinue »