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Draco the severity of the discipline nary symptom of a sneezing cold. You was unconsciously relaxed, and if the and I, Cornelia, will not suspect “the rule by gradual process fell into danger able and experienced Matron" of of being as much honored in the breach to-day either of “eating jam with a as in the observance, the fact remains spoon out of Master Wiggins' trunk in that under that stern legislator the boy the boxroom," after the manner of who ventured a remark to his next Miss Zoe Birch; nor yet, like Mrs. door neighbor knew that he was taking Squeers, of taking such excellent care into his own hands, not his life exact of a small boy's pocket-money that the ly, but at any rate that ability to sit legitimate owner never so much as down in tolerable comfort which marks saw the color of it. But we had every the paths of the just.
confidence that she was careful to preBut in talking of leading-strings I vent Master Wiggins from partaking have at present in my mind neither too freely on his own account of that ordinary School Rules nor even Win- jam, either with or without a spoon, chester “Notions." I was thinking and to confiscate as contraband of war rather of unwritten-by the way, for all the huge lump of almond-rock which I know to the contrary, they may at fond but foolish Aunt Hannah insisted some Preparatory Schools be written upon sending to him. For you were -rules and regulations which bear not the mother, I feel sure, Cornelia, upon matters of personal health and who used to smuggle forbidden dainties comfort. When Boy was still at home, for Boy's consumption in your muff on you yourself, of course, and that old Saturday, and then write a frantic letnurse of yours who knows all your ter on Monday after this fashion: children's constitutions, saw that he "Tommy complains in his Sunday changed his boots when he came in, letter of not feeling at all the thing, his stockings when they were damp, and I myself thought that the dear wore flannel next to his skin, cleaned child was looking very white on Saturhis teeth at least twice a day, and so day afternoon. I cannot help fancying forth. And you used to watch his diet that something in the school diet is carefully. Pretty much the same ap- disagreeing with him. Or do you think preciation of the importance of petty that he is overworking himself by any details went on at the Preparatory chance? He has a very delicate orSchool, where in matters of hygiene as ganization. Kindly telegraph how he well as of morality, prevention rather is to-morrow. I do trust that your than cure is the order of the day. For drains and saucepans are all right.” the Headmaster had in his wisdom I know that not only you, but every insured for himself comparative peace mother in England, will refuse to plead of mind by enlisting the services of guilty to this indictment, and will say a Matron, compared with whom Argus with the street-boy in "Punch”: “Please, was a perfect neophyte in the art of sir, it woren't me, it were Billy Jones." slumbering with more than one eye It suits my purpose, Cornelia, to beopen. Nothing ever seemed to escape lieve that, so far from assisting Boy that extraordinary woman's notice. to undermine the Matron's authority, She knew at a glance whether pimple you always impressed upon him the faced Master Bowley had one spot over importance of paying proper regard to and above his normal allowance, and that most excellent woman's instruccould tell in an instant whether Master tions. Boy, however, though not a bad White was sniffing merely "pour en little fellow on the whole, was rather courager les autres," or as a prelimi. a scatter-brain in those days, and it was fortunate both for you and for but I am inclined to doubt whether him that the Matron had some one on Prevention really is better than Cure, the spot to insure due compliance with if Boy has been trained to be con. her wishes. For both the Headmaster stantly dependent on some one besides himself and each one of his assistants himself for the former as well as for were only too ready to compel instant the latter. obedience to the lady paramount's com. You will have safeguarded Boy for mand. Not bis Free Companions to de the future more effectually, Cornelia, Bracy, not his Myrmidons to Achilles, if you have given him a little rope in more ready supporters.
these matters at home and taught him But how will it be with Boy now? a lesson wbich we commonly forget to Where now the warning voice to re- teach,—the lesson of thinking for himmind him of the thicker under-gar self; if you have impressed upon a ments to be assumed when October highly impressionable age the vital weather has fairly set in, and the necessity of observing a few general “iron" to be taken after meals? I can rules of health. It is an old saw that picture the face of a certain Eton Habit is a second nature. Habits in Master of my acquaintance, if his class- sanitary and hygienic matters are best room were suddenly invaded by an acquired in the nursery or the schoolelderly and scant-of-breath female, room at home. It is wholly unneces with the comfortable appearance of a sary to tell an ordinarily healthy child Betsy Prig and the latent determina- that he must be thinking of his health tion of a Mary Ann Raddle.
from morning till night, or to give him "If you please, sir, Master Brown the handling of a clinical thermometer. has got his summer combinations on. But you can teach him by juclicious May he go and change them at once?" methods that health and happiness are
One of the pair, either Master Brown intimately connected. If you wish him or the lady, would be sent up to the to have the constitution of a Spartan Headmaster instanter.
in the far future, you must be rather The House-Matron at a Public School Spartan yourself in your system of is good enough of her kind, Cornelia, dealing with blin. Teach bim, for inand possibly quite ready to give Boy stance, that damp clothing is liable salutary advice or valuable assistance to produce a cold, that a cold does not if he invokes her aid. But you really merely affect the comfort of an individmust not expect her to embark upon ual, but is a nuisance to society; that works of supererogation. It is neither whereas the interests of society must part nor parcel of her duty to hunt come before the interests of the inhim to distant class-rooms, or the re- dividual, Boy, who has not changed mote corners of the Playing Fields, damp clothing and may therefore be in order to remind him of the forgotten legitimately suspected of an incipient draught or the missing article of cloth. cold, must be kept in bed, duly dosed ing. Though you may never have and fed upon water-gruel, while wiser quite realized the fact, Cornelia, that and self-thinking Boy goes to a Christlate Dry Nurse, the Preparatory School, mas party and eats plum-pudding. was by way of taking such constant You must not attempt to shift the care of Boy's inside and outside ap- responsibility for this sort of teaching pliances as to leave him totally une. on to the shoulders of Mr. Blank, the quipped with any ideas of subsequently Preparatory Schoolmaster. That gentaking care of these things himself. tleman had a good many other fish to It may sound rank heresy to say so, fry, only too commonly a good deal of
back-ground to make up in the way of headache, would have the next go-in Elementary Education. Furthermore, at that most obnoxious potion. And he had the interests and the wellbeing White, after all, was the party we of a large establishment to study. His wanted to catch. argument was that a cold-no otherM oney and food-the thought that malady is so infectious among small Boy in the plenitude of unaccustomed boys—which ran its course through the riches will in one week be wildly exwhole school was a positive calamity, travagant, in the next impecunious, as interfering with the routine of the and if impecunious, therefore hungry, work, and that every cold-producing or at any rate reduced at eventide to cause had to be strangled at, or even fast on bread and tea-all this sort of before, its birth. This was his end in thing harrows a mother's feelings. view when he enlisted the services of Fast upon bread and tea! Well, he that estimable Matron whom I have need not starve upon that fare at any already described. And it was clearly rate! It may be, Cornelia, that the her duty to forestall the danger of dietary of one or another Public School general infection by curtailing the barely satisfies the requirements of a liberty of the individual. She did her growing boy; perhaps, on the other best to cure, I can promise you, when hand, both growing boys and fullthe evil day came; but she knew that grown men are apt to err on the side her work might be multiplied some of eating and drinking too much rather forty-fold if she neglected a single pre- than too little. Surfeit, I fancy even liminary precaution.
that complaisant gentleman the family Having suggested a simple remedy doctor will tell you, is a more prolific for helplessness, Cornelia, let me try source of illness than is abstinence. I to reassure your doubting heart by re- was talking, however, of bread and tea. minding you that Boy between the ages In your father's school days, Cornelia, of fourteen and eighteen is commonly if not in your husband's also, the school a hard nut for any ordinary ailment to fare at the morning and the evening crack; that every Public School in Eng- meal seldom ran to more than these land has something in the way of sick- bare necessaries; and not so very long room, sanatorium, or hospital, where ago a good many gentlemen in South in the event of any serious illness or Africa would have paid a substantial accident Boy will be carefully and skil- sum to get anything half so palatable fully nursed; and that the School Doc- or wholesome. tor may be said to have graduated in
But when it comes to slaughter the art of coping successfully with
You will do your work on water, Boy's maladies. We have travelled An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im beyond the region of those dark ages
that's got it. when the black draught was held to be a panacea for Boy's every ailment. As If Boy writes to you in the early the toad was reputed to "wear a days of his Public School life, as precious jewel in his head," so that it is quite possible that he may truly barbarous treatment had just this write, in this strain, "The food here one redeeming feature. If it weighed is beastly," recollect that it is the habit hardly on the unhappy Brown, whom of his age to argue by comparison, a badly sprained ankle had constrained and to adorn his tale with superlatives. to lie a-bed, he had at least the consola- The main idea that he wishes to contion of knowing that his next-door vey to your mind-Boy of a certain neighbor, White, a sufferer from Greek type finds an unholy joy in harrowing
his mother's feelings—is that the dietary sensibly deteriorated. To whatever of the Public School is not quite so sum Paterfamilias thinks fit to give good as that of home or even of the Boy might be added with advantage Preparatory School. It is quite possi. the warning of wise old Poloniusble that there may be a lack of variety in the menu, but you may be satisfied Neither a borrower nor a lender be; that there is seldom real deficiency For loan oft loses both itself and friend, either in quality or quantity. Most And borrowing dulls the edge of huspigs, Cornelia, really get enough to eat,
bandry. but we do not feed quite all of them on barley-meal with an eye to the But even ample supplies, coupled Christmas market.
with sound advice, will stand Boy in Fiscal arrangements, the amount of little stead if he has neither learnt at pocket-money, and so forth will, I ven- home something about the value of ture to think, hardly come within a money nor has been taught the habit mother's province. Running in my of self-control. At fourteen, in the head are some lines from Hood's presence of his elders, he is naturally “Comic Annual,” never read since the a shy, nervous, and reserved little ani. days of my infancy
mal,-much more so, I am inclined to
think, than Girl is. And, unfortunately Did ever the poor little Coatimondi
for him, he evidences these feelings in Beg you to write to Ma
a far less attractive way, by looking To ask Papa To send him a new coat
sheepish and perhaps sulky, where she To wear on Sunday?
either blushes becomingly or simpers.
The proper way to win from a shy and If he did, Mr. Curator, I hope that you awkward little animal the same wholedeclined upon the spot to comply with hearted confidence that Mr. Caxton the request. In money matters no won from his son Pisistratus is one of mediation should be required between the hardest problems of parental life, Boy and his father. The last-named though at the same time it seems to be gentleman is quite aware that the among the privileges of the rational sovereign, which was probably an am- male animal that he alone of all aniple allowance for the whole term's re- mals is or may be capable of finding quirements at the Preparatory School, a solution. If, Paterfamilias, you are will not go very far in the new sur conscious that you have only partially roundings. If he is an old Public succeeded in solving this problem, if School boy himself, he will have some you doubt whether you have so suffdata to go by in fixing the amount of ciently got hold of Boy's confidence as Boy's pocket-money. But I am afraid to be sure that he will tell you frankly that he will have to multiply by two whether or no he has been "outrunning at least the sum that was sufficient the constable,” you may find some confor all purposes in his own school-days. solation in the thought that other men, The rates and taxes levied upon Boy wiser, perhaps, and as well-intentioned at a Public School are, like those other as yourself, are day after day failing rates and taxes which we all have to in the same direction. Boy may in the pay, inclined to mount up from year particular instance be hopelessly to to year. Once perhaps, we could say, blame, but he is only human and a like the Athenian of old, that we stud- boy after all. Hope on for better ied "taste with economy.” Economy things in the future, remembering that is to-day a dead letter, and taste has if hard words break no bones, they cer. tainly will not mend those that are al- to believe that the unknown House ready broken.
Master is an individual of very much Mild light and by degrees should be
the same stamp, a little cleverer perthe plan
haps, and certainly older, having thereTo cure the dark and erring mind. fore a more perfect knowledge of the But who would rush at a benighted ways of the world, and being a little man
less prone to enthusiasm. You will act And give him two black eyes for be wisely if you not only make a friend, ing blind?
and to a certain extent a confidant, of For Boy as well as for other people this new authority, but try also to ina dearly bought experience may in the duce Boy to follow your lead in so long-run turn out to be the most ef doing. The old idea of the existence of ficient teacher.
a natural antagonism between Boy and These are the chief things that come his pedagogue has long since been exbetween you and your rest, Cornelia. ploded. There have been concessions as you think of Boy at the beginning and improvements upon both sides. of his first term at the Public School. The Assistant Master at the Public For you have long since discarded School of to-day is a totally different those old alarms about the malicious person to the Usher either of fiction or habits of other little boys, and are of real life fifty years ago. Men are ready to acknowledge that when Boy selected to fill those most responsible came home in the holidays he was a posts not solely on the merits of their more generally sociable and more con- scholastic proficiency. It is fully recogsiderate personage than the little fel. nized by the powers that be that the low who used to lay down the law same qualifications in virtue of which to his sisters and expect them on all a Graduate wins a Fellowship do not occasions to give in to him. Your ideas as a matter of course mark him out of the Schoolmaster have also under to be an ideal or even a moderately gone a material change, more espe- good Schoolmaster. And the aim of cially since the last Report, wherein he the Public School is to secure not pronounced Boy to be "not very clever, moderately good Assistant Masters but but a capital fellow, with plenty of the very best in the market, finished go as well as of common-sense.” And scholars, skilful organizers, men who you could not help sharing in a minor will take a lively interest in Boy's welldegree Boy's admiration for the young being and welldoing in every side of Assistant Master who came to spend a school-life. week of his holidays at your house. Even in the obvious weakness of our
"You see now, don't you, mother, Preparatory School system-the weakwhy all the fellows like him? He does ness, I mean, of training Boy to be too everything so well, and never seems to much dependent on extraneous assistknow it."
ance in grappling with petty difficulties Yes, you did see it to some extent; -there is this element of good, that it not exactly through Boy's spectacles, tends to partially break down that but through glasses clear enough to tremendous barrier of reserve which is enable you to indorse your husband's by way of putting so wide a gulf bebrief summary of his character: "Nice tween shy Boy and shy Master. young fellow that, thorough gentleman It may be added that the Preparatory I should say, and seems to have his School, by correcting and toning down wits about him."
at an early age some of Boy's original I trust, then, that you are prepared barbaric instincts, hands him on to the