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reverse of what you depict them; there are some crabbed ones to be sure, but who made them crabbed?"
I will not detain the reader with any further account of this conversation; suffice it to state that, as a favour, I obtained the documents to which Mr. Broad referred, and by his assistance, and the assistance of several other friends, I have compiled the following sketches. I shall commence with an account of
Miss AllbrighPs First Situation.
The village of Thorpe is pleasantly situated, as all the Gazeteers state, and as everybody who knows it testifies. Twenty years ago it had a neat and venerable church with three bells, a village-school, a pump, a smithy, and an inn, in addition to a huxter's shop; now it has several
very good shops, another inn, besides but no matter. Thorpe has
greatly increased in population and in importance, and a few years since, when, after considerable discussion, it was agreed by the school-committee to secure the services of a schoolmistress from one of the Training Schools, at a salary of £34 exclusive of extras, the oldest inhabitants thought they might yet live to see Thorpe a municipality.
When the Training School authorities offered the situation to one of the students—Miss Allbright—she had the audacity to insinuate that the salary was very small. However, she was induced to take the situation, and a very intelligent young woman she was. Those by whom she was trained had materially undervalued her. She had not been in a situation more than a fortnight, when it was announced that she had obtained a certificate of merit from the Committee of Council on Education. She was one of those joyous, laughter-loving creatures, whose adolescence " softens down " without obliterating the bright high colouring which the imagination of childhood gives to almost everything, and—the Training Institution was much quieter after she left it. The wheel to which she was appointed had "gone on for some years steadily" (so the Committee said) " under the former mistress, who had left on her marriage." The facts, briefly, were these: "the former mistress" had, as she herself expressed it, been "brought up to needlework," and she mu put into the office of schoolmistress through the influence of the clergyman's wife and several others of her clientele who were on the Ladies1 Committee. Her qualifications were a good character, (of course), ability to read, write, and " cast a sum," besides which she was regular in her attendance at church at least once a week, on Sundays; she had survived the stormy blasts of more than three dozen winters, and, chief of all, she was an excellent needlewoman. The ladies told her that she might still work at her business, and that they would continue their patronage. She took their advice, and they kept their promise. The school was soon well supplied with needlework; for the mistress undertook everything in that department, from the trimming a visite to darning a worsted stocking, and from sewing a string on an apron to hemming a sheet. She found that with the exception of three hours each morning allotted to the learning, there was no interruption to her business, and that she was amply compensated for the three hours' "loss of time" by the assistance the elder girls rendered in the afternoons. Thus, with a salary of £23 per annum, and the profits of her business, she continued to fulfil the important office of schoolmistress for more than eight years, when, in her forty-sixth year, she resigned her post to become the second wife of a journeyman tailor, and the stepmother of his seven young children.
Her successor found that not only were the children loutish and ignorant, but there was also a want of educational apparatus that to her seemed inexplicable. Having been brought up in a good school, and sent from thence to the Training Institution, she could not understand how a tolerably large school could be conducted for years, with no other appliances than those which she saw before her, a pile of worn and torn Bibles, the bundle of dirty dog-leaved catechisms, a box of mutilated copy-slips (the copies being nearly obliterated, or else cleverly transformed by the pens of some mischievous aspirants to caligraphy), and the scattered dusty debris of about two dozen slates formed the bulk of the school stock. Still the school had an air of cleanliness and order about it that could not fail to please a casual visitor. Weekly scrub bings had given a whiteness to the work-table, desks, and forms that was highly creditable; and the wholesome appearance of the girls proved that their daily ablutions were carefully attended to; their clothes were clean and neat, and their deportment in school quiet—awkwardly quiet. They had been taught to make their "obejunce to their betters;" so, having given their bodies a downward jerk with an enthusiasm which seemed for a moment quite exhilarating, they stood stock still, staring steadfastly at the new teacher, and looked very like sheep when the railway train is passing them. Kindness is all but omnipotent; the teacher's winning Sweetness of manner soon established her authority, and gained the affections of her charge; but their affection was not all she desired, and accordingly she commenced operations. Having classified, or rather divided them into groups according to the old arrangement, she addressed herself to the "Big JSiblers," as the girls in the highest class were called (from the fact of their being "in the Bible"), and found them more ignorant in many respects than the infants of the school at which she had been trained. Whilst she was going on with her examination, "one of the ladies" entered; the downward jerk was performed, and Miss Abigail Flint
advanced to the class; the teacher continued questioning, "Who was King William the Fourth?" "Stop a minute," chimed in Miss Flint. "What did your godfathers and godmothers then for you?" The answer was given, and then Miss F. told the teacher, in an under tone, that they didn't want anything else taught but reading, writing, "and just a little summing," and that they read only the Bible, and learned only the catechism, and sometimes the collects. "It isn't safe to teach poor girls much," she added. "We don't know what it might lead to." The teacher felt annoyed, and replied, "It cannot lead to much worse than a girl leaving a comfortable situation only because her mistress spoke so ungrammatically." Had the steel been near to Miss Flint, the consequences might have been terrific. As it was, she appeared quite inflated with wonderment, and her expressions of astonishment were suppressed only by the entry of two other committee ladies, who no doubt had come, actuated by the same motives as Miss F. For a few moments, silence reigned; but Miss Flint's feelings were irrepressible; with a vehemence of gesticulation highly amusing to our heroine she told the stale joke as positive fact to her two friends. "Dear Miss Tibby! Dear Mrs. Oldun! Did you ever, Eyeb hea-ra-such-a-thing?" The trio had such a round of exclamations, that it set Miss Albright in a merry mood; so when Mrs. Oldun observed to her, " How shocking!" she with an arch mischievous smile replied, "Oh, it's not so bad as a girl, unable to write, getting the stable-boy to write to her friends, stating that she wished to leave her situation because the Circulating Library had not a good supply of new works, and there was no Music Hall or Assembly Room in the place."
(To be continued.)
WAX-MODELLING POISONOUS. To the Editor of "The Governess." Sib,—My daughter, who is receiving a liberal education with a view of becoming a teacher, it necessary, has a great fancy for wax modelling. My only objection to her learning it is the deleterious nature of the colouring matter of the wax. I am informed that nearly all the wax usually sold for the purpose of modelling contains strong and insidious poison, such as copper, white lead, vermillion, chrome yellow, &C., and_ that these are absorbed into the system through the pores of the hand, causing paralysis sometimes to an alarming extent, although in very many instances, the strokes have, from ignorance of the fact to which I refer, been attributed to other causes. Partial paralysis » with wax modellers of frequent occurrence, but as it is slight it is set down as stiffness, 4c. Can any of your readers inform me whether there is any wax for modelling manufactured free from such poisonous matter, and, if so, where it can be obtained?
I am, Sir, &c, &c, G. C.
To the Editor O/"thb Govebkkss."
Srn,—I have lately been appointed mistress of a girls' school, and am much annoyed by the objectionable or positively disagreeable methods adopted by the girls of cleaning slates. I wished to have a small piece of sponge attached to each state, as we used to have in the private school at which I was educated; but, as the school is large, and the funds low, the ladies of the committee object to the expense,—the children are too poor to purchase it themselves, and I am told the usual plan, even in model schools, is to let the children "clean slates" as best they can. I cannot at all reconcile myself to such a plan, and I doubt not that many of your subscribers who have had experience in schoolkeeping can recommend plans for cleaning slates at once economical and expeditious.
I am, Sec.,
A YOUNG GOVERNESS.
NOTICES OF BOOKS.
"TuAiNDf o In Sxerets And Schools : a Lecture on the Training System of Education, as originally established at Glasgow, delivered at the Educational Exhibition, St. Martin's Hall, on the 10th of August, 1854. By William Knighton, M.A., Lecturer on Education in the National Society's Training Institution, Whitelands, Chelsea; Author of ' Forest Life in Ceylon,' 'Tropical Sketches,' &c." 12mo, pp. 83. Longman & Co. 1S55.
To the mind of any one, who is not a slave to a system,—who does not believe in the perfectibility of aught that is of human institution,— it is always gratifying to find those who differ on matters of detail co-operating without compromising, and striving earnestly and well to attain a worthy object; and we, therefore, doubt not that very many teachers and friends of education, who know little or nothing of the particulars of " The Training System," (called also the " Glasgow System," and the " Stow System,") will avail themselves of the opportunity Mr. Knighton has afforded them of obtaining information on the subject. We assure our readers that the four score " pleasant pages" are well worth the investment of a shilling in the purchase. We congratulate the Whitelands Institution on having on its staff of educational officers one so evidently imbued with the sound principles so ably enunciated by Mr. Stow. If we mistake not, the National Society has also at Whitelands a teacher from the Home and Colonial School Society. We mention this en passant merely to show that the National Society—a society that has the means of doing so much, and that has done so much, for popular education—does not evince that intolerance of party-prejudice which many well-meaning persons ascribe to it from mere "hearsay" or ex parte statements.
We learn from Mr. Knighton's Lecture, that he is one of " upwards of two thousand teachers of both sexes," trained at the Glasgow Institution since its establishment; one of "two thousand, including clergy and principals of Normal Schools, now scattered over the world from Ceylon and Australia to Canada and the West Indies." If we may know Mr. Knighton by his work, he is no bigot,—he does not stoop from his high position to indulge iu invidiousnesB with regard to other systems, nor in paltry personalities with regard to educationists from whom he differs in opinion. He keeps to his point right manfully, and by the tone of the book he seems to say, "I am no bigot,—but I am an enthusiast." We admire such enthusiasm; and thus much we are compelled to say in favour of " The Training System:" we never met with a disciple of Mr. Stow who was not an enthusiast. "So much the better," says the practical teacher; and so say we. We cannot, however, help thinking that Mr. Knighton's enthusiasm has led him a little beyond the bounds of accuracy in the opening part of his Lecture. He there observes, " One of the most remarkable attempts for the training system of education, as originally established at Glasgow, and now extensively spread abroad over the British Empire and the world generally, owes its origin and extension to the genius and enterprise, the enthusiasm and the perseverance of one man. It was in zealously promoting the establishment and proper superintendence of Sunday-schools, between the years 1816 and 1821, that the attention of Mr. David Stow, of Glasgow, was first turned practically to the study of education." Well does Mr. Stow merit praise, and most heartily do we, with thousands upon thousands, accord it to him, but we cannot go so far as Mr. Knighton in ascribing the efforts for training children to "the genius and enterprise, the enthusiasm and the perseverance of one man,"—and that man Mr. Stow. Mr. Knighton will, perhaps, return our compliment with reference to enthusiasm, if we say that the Training System owes its origin and extension in no small degree to female influence and to female efforts. "Should this meet the eye" of Mr. Knighton, we fancy he will be reminded of the well-known fable of " The tovm in Sanger of a siege;" but, nevertheless, true to our cause, we assert woman's right to at least a large share of the praise which Mr. Knighton would so cordially award to the Glasgow " philanthropist."
No one will doubt,—and neither Mr. Stow, nor his disciple, Mr. Knighton, will deny,—that the educational progress of Great Britain has been to a very considerable extent facilitated by the establishment of Infant Schools. No educationist now would recognise a system of training, as worthy of consideration, that did not commence by careful