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domestic virtues and talents in the lower classes. In the higher, luxury, the affectation of superiority to domestic employment, and the preference for public and showy over private and obscure duties, which characterise our age, are no less fatal to the cultivation of the homely but venerable accomplishments which distinguished those illustrious ladies of former times who governed their households with calm vigilance and intelligent authority.'*
Service with high or low is not the training school it was; and the least ill consequence of this is that the race of servants is grievously deteriorated. There is no longer,' says Mrs. Austen, quoting the remark of an intelligent foreman, such a thing now as a poor man's wife. His helpmate is a bad economist, a bad cook ; she cannot make his home comfortable to him; and the consequences are that want, debt, and disorder, and all that can make a man's home comfortless and irritating, take from him all hope of improvement in his condition, all regard for so useless a partner, and drive him to the alehouse. Cooking with the working classes is not a matter of luxury, it is a question of health or disease, and of plenty or of want.' The problem to be proposed to the pupil of the training school is, "Given, such a quantity of the cheapest raw material; in what manner to produce the largest quantity of nutritious and agreeable food.' Mrs. Austen notes with reprobation the ill-considered remark of some speaker at the Birmingham Conference, that the working women of this country were not deficient in the art of cooking, but that they had nothing to cook. These sallies are certain to excite a momentary applause in a public assembly, but they do a great deal of harm. Mrs. Austen, whose observation of foreign countries is as accurate as it is extensive, replies, with great truth, that in no country of Europe is so much meat consumed by the working classes as in England. Were the English workman not able to purchase good materials, with such a cook he would be starved. In the south of Europe, she truly says, the working classes eat meat only on the great festivals of the Church, and many, she might add, do not taste it from year's end to year's end.
The natural training of the housewife is the house; but as the house no longer supplies the training, we must find it or make it at the school. But how is this to be done? The best hints we have seen on the subject are contained in Mr. Norris's clever and interesting little pamphlet on Girls' Industrial Schools; but unluckily, no cut and dried receipt can be given for turning an ordinary day school into an industrial one. Charity moves easily
* Two Letters,' p. 21.
in its accustomed groove, but in none other. If a house were to be built, or half the kingdom to be importuned with begging letters, the thing would be done at once; but in order to add industrial training to a village school, much thought, much patience, and much dexterity are needed to seize and profit by such helps as in each several case may be offered. The great difficulty is to find a dinner to be practised on. In populous places there is the soup-kitchen; and dinners for the sick, and dinners sold to single men, might be dressed. Mr. Norris suggests that the schoolmistress might take in boarders. To cook the dinner for the school is the most obvious expedient; but the poor, like their betters, prefer money to money's worth. · At present,' says Mrs. Austen, parents seem to prefer sending the girls with more costly and less wholesome cold food to paying a small addition to the weekly sum for which the children would have a wholesome warm meal cooked, under excellent superintendence, by themselves.' Several attempts, however, have been made, and with considerable success. But no doubt there have also been failures, and among them there is none more mortifying than that of Miss Martineau's (not Miss Harriet Martineau) industrial paying school at Norwich, of which Mrs. Austen has given so interesting an account. We cannot applaud the supineness which from such disappointments would draw an argument for inaction. The prejudices of the poor no doubt are strong, but they are by no means everywhere alike; they are not always insuperable, nor are they always without foundation. We have known cases where school-girls, when taken into the soupkitchens' to assist, were immediately set to do all the drudgery of the scullery, and were allowed to see nothing of what was done anywhere else. What wonder if the mothers complained that their girls were fagged with hard work, spoiled their frocks, and learned no cookery nor anything else which they could not learn just as well at home? Mr. Norris rightly lays it down as a rule that the industrial work must be made attractive. The methods he proposes for the purpose are ingenious and well imagined; but the most certain mode of making it attractive is to make the pupils feel that they are learning what is eminently useful, and what they cannot learn elsewhere. If schools to teach the arts of housewifery were multiplied, they would be so many lumps of leaven to give life to the inertness of society. A true housewife is always animated by a missionary spirit, and cannot refrain from trying to make converts. She cannot bear untidiness even when it does not interfere with her own comfort. Private industrial schools have considerable advantages over the district schools. The latter, especially where the establishments are large and well
supplied with all the modern appliances of gas, of 'lifts,' and of water laid on to every part of the house, cannot, without some special machinery for the purpose, be made good training-schools for life in the cottage or for domestic service in humble families. We have heard of a servant taken from a London district school, who broke down on her second day of service on being desired to carry a pail of water upstairs. But before an industrial character can be given to the village schools, we must make some change in the training colleges for schoolmistresses. In most respects they are admirable institutions, but the standard of acquirements is unreasonably high. What has been said of the training-schools for young men applies with still greater force to those for young women, whose sex does not admit of such severe application, and whose position does not require so high a standard of instruction. However, it is wisely arranged that they should do all the work of the house. Books on domestic economy and housewifery are rightly included in the course; but we much wish that matters of matronly management were taught in a more simple and practical manner: a written examination on such points, conducted by the Privy Council, cannot afford any satisfactory test of proficiency; and there is something ludicrous in the contrast presented by the homeliness of the matter with the learned obscurity of the University style of interrogation.* In the midst of all this it is some comfort to hear that the pupils prepare the Inspector's luncheon. We hope it is true, for here, at least, is an intelligible criterion. Mrs. Austen is right in supposing that the young schoolmistresses will not be worse scholars for being better housewives. The assumption that the intelligence is more exercised and fortified by learning by rote a vast number of so-called facts, dates, scraps of science, or propositions unintelligible to the learner, than by the exercise of the accurate observation and rapid induction required in household operations, is an entirely false one, and has a very mischievous tendency to exalt the showy above the useful-the superficial above the solid.'†
As combining industrial training with school learning, the district schools by their success confirm the notion that little is lost by shortening the usual hours of attendance in the schoolroom. For three or four hours a day any child may be profitably engaged in mental labour; beyond that, it depends on the skill of the teacher and the capacity of the pupil how far the lessons may be prolonged with advantage. The instruction that is forced
*The obscurity of the examination papers, as well as their difficulty, was the subject of a remonstrance addressed by the managers of the Warrington Trainingschool to the Committee of Privy Council in the year 1856.
+ Two Letters,' p. 21.
on jaded attention and flagging spirits is not remembered, and the power of commanding attention by being overstrained is weakened. At all events, for the children of the working classes the half-time system,' as it is called, is probably the best. It virtually prevails in the ragged schools, where the attendance is discretional on the part of the pupil, and is perhaps to many the chief attraction of those schools. In the girls' schools it has always been pursued (though undesignedly), inasmuch as the afternoons are almost universally allotted to needlework; and with not less benefit, we will add, might a portion of the boys' time be bestowed on learning some sort of sedentary work, such as knitting, plaiting, netting, or even a little tailoring, which might afford no slight comfort in after-days, in times of sickness and privation of work, and might detain many a man in his not comfortable home, when, if he had nothing to do, he would be driven by ennui to the alehouse. We have not space to dwell on the many facilities which the half-time system affords for combining remunerative labour and industrial training with book-learning, though these supply the most unanswerable arguments in its favour. On these points we refer the reader to Mr. Chadwick's most useful and practical pamphlets; but we cannot omit to notice his suggestions with respect to the naval and military drill, inasmuch as they are especially applicable to the pauper schools, the establishment of which it is our principal object to urge. The practical character, on which as a nation we pride ourselves, makes us so incredulous of projects which promise much, that, if Mr. Chadwick's assurances were not fully supported by the evidence he adduces, we should be afraid to repeat with what benefit to the pupils and advantage to the public service these exercises may be introduced. Not only do they develop the muscles and strengthen the constitution to overcome the seeds of congenital disease, so often lurking in the offspring of pauper parents, but their moral effects in sharpening the attention, quickening the observation, and inspiring a spirit of subordination, are found by experience to be most beneficial. The naval drill is the more effectual and the more popular, and by far the most likely to conduce to the advantage of the service. It is not probable the army can be recruited to any extent from the district schools. The children of pauper parents are usually undersized, and in the interval between leaving school and the time when they could be received into the ranks, they usually apply themselves to some other occupation. But the naval drill may be made a most useful training for actual service. Mr. Tufnell is of opinion that a boy may be made almost a seaman' by training in a ship on dry land. Every large pauper school (certainly
those situated in large towns where there are no facilities for agricultural labour) he thinks should be supplied with a model ship; but in order to bring his plan to bear, the Admiralty must supply the materials gratuitously. The expense of these, he calculates, would not exceed 2007.; and the London pauper school alone, he pledges himself, would turn out yearly 500 boys who, on first getting on board a sea-going ship, would be able to run aloft, to set and furl sail, and, in fact, to be three parts sailors though they had never seen the sea; and thus, at a trifling expense, the Admiralty might in a great measure dispense with training ships.' This sounds too good to be true. But, at least, let Mr. Tufnell's challenge be accepted. When the project for establishing railways was first broached, the late Mr. George Stephenson was warned not to speak to the House of Commons of a greater speed for his carriages than ten miles per hour, lest he should be scouted as a visionary.'
Thus far the direction which improvement must take is tolerably clear, but we are now come to the debateable land between poverty and crime where the scheme of the Privy Council stops-the land where roam the children of the streets, the destitute and unowned, whom benevolence has not adopted, nor the law got within its grasp those, in short, who fill the ragged schools. The Report of the Commissioners on this part of the subject is less strong than that of the AssistantCommissioner, on which it is based; but we understand them to accept and sanction the statement that the ragged scholars are of precisely the same class as the pupils of the ordinary schoolsthat they might pay if they would, and would pay if they had no school which dispensed with payment; or that, if it be really true some parents cannot pay, the national schools would receive their children gratuitously, or some good Samaritan would readily be found to give the weekly twopence for their schooling; moreover, that the pupils are allowed to attend irregularly, to appear most filthily, and behave most insubordinately, without any attempt on the part of the teachers to do more than convey literary instruction; that the majority of the children can never be reformed till removed from the influence of their parents; and that the competition of the ragged schools is mischievous to the established and better-ordered schools.
This part of the Commissioners' Report appears to us hasty and ill-considered. They have evidently treated the question of ragged schools as supplementary to their main subject, and have failed to see how important a part ragged schools may be made to play in the scheme of national education. We entirely acquit the Assistant-Commissioner of the intentional unfairness with which