« PreviousContinue »
To take the last first; no real help to be taken out of the exclusive hands of religious education is given in the Irish the clerical managers, and vested in Catholic National school. The pupils elected committees, with a view to try are not more remarkable for their love and promote a local interest which at of truth, of obedience, and of justice, present does not exist, and without than their fellows in the State schools which no true educational system can in England or America. The only re- flourish. This proposal is, and will be, ligious education given in the Irish strongly opposed by the clerical manaCatholic National school is for a half- gers, who, while making no effort to hour each day, generally in the morn- prevent the spread of dry-rot which ing, before all the pupils are present is possessing the whole system, cling There is a glib recitation of prayers, to an inherited power, and resent and of an elementary catechism, the change. meaning of which the pupils rarely T he inefficiency of National School understand. Irish Roman Catholic instruction is generally recognized. It bishops have admitted these facts leads to nothing; it takes no account of when dealing with this aspect of the local conditions; it promotes a scrappy question locally. Catholic bishops and and insufficient literary instruction, priests in Australia and America are without any relation to the future life always deploring the religious igno- or prospects of the pupil. It has no rance of the Irish emigrant. No help practical side. Efficiency of instrucis given to the pupil towards a deci- tion depends largely on good managesion of the grave moral issues that ment and local interest. The present underlie the franchise. In fact, less re- system of management is opposed to ligious instruction is given in the all three. Many efforts have been average Irish Catholic National School made to promote efficiency of instrucin a year, than an intelligent priest tion, notably by Dr. Starkie. But all could give in a few hours' instruction. the schemes proposed depend for their
That no general local interest is success on local co-operation, which shown by the Irish people in education, is not forthcoming. The local manais evident to the most casual observer. gers either are not interested, or do The Irish elector has never given a not understand the schemes, or refuse vote on a purely educational issue. He to help, for considerations in which has no real voice in education, beyond educational efficiency is the last thing the paying of taxes. He does not ad- thought of. vert to the fact-often he does not even The practical obstacle to efficient know-that he pays for the education secular education in Ireland narrows itof his children. He has hitherto been self down to the local clerical manaheard of only as the dumb signer ofger. As a rule, he is inefficient. There petitions, the purport of which he never are notable exceptions; I speak only in enquires into. The local clerical man general terms. The great majority of ager, when he acts at all, acts on his managers are not to be blamed. They own or his bishop's initiative. Unfor- are merely the instruments of a policy tunately, he is often inert, and takes in the direction of which they have no no interest whatever in his schools voice. Yet they occupy an unfortubeyond resenting any interest that is nate position, to the lasting injury of shown by others. It has recently been the children of Ireland of this generasuggested-a confession of the failure tion. Many of them are excellent of clerical management and one-man priests, of great zeal, and high moral control—that the local control should character. They occupy their present
position because their years of service what has been said is: that the Church in other spheres of Church work en- ought to re-consider her position. The titled them to promotion to an office that position she has taken on the education practically carried with it ex-officio a question is injuring both Church and school-managership. They have had State in all English-speaking countries. no training in educational affairs. Dur. Even to us, who are in sympathy with ing the long professional training of the spiritual mission of the Church in Maynooth, modern educational prob- the world, her education policy has no lems are rarely heard of; and the future foundation, either in reason or religion; manager gets no hint as to how he to descend to a lower plane, it is not should fit himself for his office. When expedient. It is based on unproved asappointed manager, he generally con- sertions, and on fears that are groundtents himself with signing papers less, or, if real, that can be otherwise which he never reads; in paying flying easily guarded against. It has given visits to his schools, mainly to see if rise to a new antagonism between the average attendance is being kept Church and State, that will go far to up; in giving an occasional vague ser prevent the realization of Christ's esmon in church on the great blessings of sential mission. The scaffolding is not education. A few do more, many not the building; nor does a pile of dead so much. The few managers who try bodies make a living Church. Charity intelligently to improve educational and peace are the law of the Christian conditions, are often so hampered in life. When the preaching of the law their action by their bishops, that they provokes strife and all uncharitabledespair of achieving any permanent re- ness, the Church ought to take pause, sults. Not the least strange fact in look carefully to her methods, and, if the Irish so-called "undenominational” a mistake has been made, boldly National School system is, that it is change her front and adopt new ways dealt with by the Catholic episcopacy of spreading the leaven of spirituality, as part of their ordinary diocesan ad- of which there is such urgent need in ministration. They use their ecclesias- the material world of to-day. A clingtical power to control the managers, ing to organized power has often been who, by a legal fiction, are supposed the bane of the Christian Church. Forto be independent officers holding giveness, and love, and the suffering of power directly from a Government all things gladly, are not less necessary Department. Holding the right of ap- to-day than when Christ spoke in pointment to parishes, the bishops prac- Galilee and Judea. Nonconformists tically appoint all school managers. The and Agnostics are no less the objects bishops also intervene in the appoint- of Christ's love than Roman Catholics. ment of teachers, and in many other If Roman Catholics believe that they details of administration, often in such have realized Christ more perfectly a way as to destroy initiative in the than other men, let them show it to few managers who are really interested the world. The mission of the Church in education. The Irish bishops, there is, by being all things to all men, to fore, have a final claim to the credit or gain all for Christ. Human means are discredit attending the good or ill suc fallible; but the eternal mission of love cess of that remarkable experiment in is ever the same. If a human theory of secular education under clerical con- the relations of the Church to the State trol, known as the Irish National fitted one age, and does not fit the next, School system.
the Church, having within her a life The only logical conclusion from that never dies, can adapt herself to the new conditions. The modern State perhaps, too conscious of its strength. is an evolution of to-day, and is not Though its spiritual view is somewhat solved by a medieval formula. God dimmed, it has a growing feeling of and the soul have a constant relation, sympathy with humanity in its sufto-day, yesterday, and to-morrow; but fering and weakness. Efficiency is its organizations, whether civil or religious, political and economic gospel. It is are ever changing, and need new adap- not a "godless” state; and now and tations one to another. It is because again catches a glimmer of the divine the Church does not realize the modern vision. It offers a fruitful field for a State, that the wrangle over the child spiritual awakening to those who bring is disturbing the Christian world at this sympathy to bear on the understandmoment. The modern State may not ing of its needs; but it will not tolerate be an ideal one. In its new found inde- religious arrogance, nor an ignorant pendence, it is full of the lust of interference with the necessities of its power and the lust of pleasure, and is, civil progress. The Independent Review.
A BITTER PARTING.
"Shell I let your cat in, Sarah? I James Lake, by the curious law of fancy I can hear him mewin' outside.” contrast that equalizes so many things
"You let him alone. If you wait a in this unequal world, was a little man minit he'll let hisself in."
with wizened cheeks and iron-gray Sarah Lake's speech was abrupt, but hair that hung raggedly round his fore. that was merely the result of character head in a fringe of dark silver. From confirmed by habit. Had she been an beneath this fringe peered a pair of earl's daughter, with every advantage bright, deep-set, blue eyes, which, as of rank and education, instead of a he was sparing of speech, were not selpeasant's wife, she could never have dom the only exponents of a mild cynibeen moulded into a gentlewoman of cism of the kind that is so often allied soft manners and speech. Her large with a large sympathetic heart-a union features and big frame usually gave analogous to the queer good-fellowship the impression of a man masquerading existing between humor and pathos. in woman's dress; and her harsh dis “There!” he exclaimed, as the kitchen sonant voice was without the note of door slowly opened and the body of a music that usually harmonizes the big black cat came edging itself roughest of masculine intonation
through with tail erect and a calm The square-faced eight-day clock, lordly deliberation that indicated his with its faint Arabic numerals, had status in the household. "Didn't just wheezed out the noontide hour, as Sairy tell ye he'd manage for hisself? Sarah and her husband were sitting Tony is as wise a cat as ever lived. down to dinner. Mrs. Nelson, her sis. Do you know how he done it?" ter, from the neighboring parish of "No, I don't, an' I don't want to," Tofton, was joining them, with her said Mrs. Nelson shortly. bonnet on because she had no cap She shared her sister's abruptness of with her; but, as a concession to man speech, but, being a smaller woman ners, the strings were untied and physically and mentally, it degenerated floated rakishly over her shoulders. into what looked like a very bad temper. "I don't care for cats, I never “I s'pose 'tis because you never had did. They're unfaithful trech'rous no children that you make sech fules things, and all the love they give you o' yourselves over cats," she said is just cupboard love."
sourly. "I couldn't touch them taters "Now, now," said her brother-in-law, if they was mine after a cat had been in his quiet voice, "you mustn't judge messin' over 'em like that. Besides, I 'em all alike. We never had one like don't think 'tis safe. I knew an old Tony afore; he's a deal more sensible, lady who used to feed her cat jest in an' grateful too, than many a human the same way; she'd encourage it to bein', to say nothin' o' bein' better-tem- eat from her plate and her mouth jest pered than most. Just you look here.” as you do, an' one day when she didn't
The cat had jumped to his knee, and, feed him quite fast enough for his with arching neck and a gentle pres- likin', seein' her t'roat movin' wi' swalsure against the hand that caressed lerin' her food, the brute sprang at it him, signified his reciprocal content at an' tore it open. Of course she died the meeting. At a word from his mas- of it, an' I've never liked cats since." ter he stepped softly on to the table, James Lake was a little disconcerted giving a short low note of satisfaction; at the grim story, and had no reply then, digging a paw among some pota- ready for the moment; but his wife, toes on Mr. Lake's plate, he presently who was always a match for her sister, carried them daintily to his mouth with stepped into the breach. the action of a child eating from its "That was a nasty accident," she hand.
said calmly in her rough emphatic The old man's eyes grew brighter voice, “but that cat didn't mean no with twinkles of delight, his mouth harm, poor thing. They allus go for curved into fresh wrinkles of satisfac- anything movin'; look at 'em with a tion. His undemonstrative wife too, ball o' wool, or a mouse. 'Tis nothin' who was in the act of drinking tea, but their natur.” held her cup poised in three fingers “An' a very nasty natur too, I call it. while she watched Tony with as much But there, folks wi' no children must pride, though more successfully con- be silly wi' somethin', an' cats is as cealed.
good as anything else, I s'pose." "Ain't that pretty now?” he asked “A sight better'n some children, I of Mrs. Nelson triumphantly. "Could think," said Mr. Lake, stroking tenderly a child do it prettier? But he can do the fine black fur of Tony's back. “It's more’n that—"
a deal safer to set your affections on “Tony!"
cats than on children. They may The cat sprang to his knee again, and scratch your hand sometimes athout gazed with green hungry eyes at his thinkin', but they never break your master, who had placed a morsel of hearts wi’ their misdoin'." meat between his lips.
Later that same afternoon, when her Tony understood. He climbed gently husband had gone to work, and Mrs. up Mr. Lake's waistcoat to his mouth, Nelson had returned to her own home, from whence he carefully took the Sarah Lake was standing at the back meat in his pink delicate lips; then, door, her dust-color poke bonnet pushed turning with a spring, he carried it to well over her face as a protection the floor to enjoy at leisure.
from the scorching July sun. Her Mrs. Nelson watched this exhibition hand was curled telescope-fashion bewith a disgust that she did not attempt fore one eye, as she peered anxiously or wish to conceal.
across the "piece” they rented. LIVING AGE. VOL. XXVI. 1391
"My eyes aren't so good as they gem-like berries; above them towered were,” she muttered, “but I believe sheltering apple-trees, whose twisted that man is measurin'. I'll wait a bit; and picturesque limbs, covered with maybe he'll be down here directly." moss and gray lichen, any horticul
The Lakes lived in a four-roomed turist would have condemned to immecottage, situated in a peaceful green diate destruction. Bees hummed lane, an offshoot of the village of drowsily as they fared to and from Northorpe, and a full mile away from their hives, sipping sweets from the its main street. It was a pleasant wanton faces of the dainty China roses little backwater, where the dozen or that, with the more useful elder-bushes, so families lived in that amity whicb formed a boundary line between the is the usual result of mutual interde corn piece and the garden. pendence. They criticised each other Sarah was right. The man and the with outspoken freedom, and as freely boy who was helping came nearer, gave help to any of their number in along the narrow path, and presently trouble; in their leisure they cultivated their measurements brought them bethe quarter-acre of garden that went fore the door of the cottage. with each house; and as few of them “Good afternune," she commenced could read they were sublimely, content- tentatively, looking with eyes that edly ignorant of all that went on out- questioned the newcomer. Then, with side, their charmed circle of Arcadia, the direct dealing characteristic of this which whispers from the Great World strong masculine woman, she immerarely came to disturb.
diately asked, “What might you be James Lake had an important dis doin' that for?" tinction from his fellows. He was "I'm measuring the land about here," able, chiefly owing to the lie of the the man replied with a frank pleasant land, to rent a couple of acres instead glance from under his wide hat, “and of the regular quarter-acre, and this, it's hot work a day like this. You in the days previous to the Allotments haven't such a thing as a glass of Actwas a quite unusual stroke of home-brewed about, I suppose?” luck. With no children, and an ener- “No, we drank the last a week ago, getic wife, things had gone smoothly, an' I haint brewed again yet,” said and years of unremitting toil had made Sarah, who was longing to know his of those two acres of land a humble business on her land, but diplomatic paradise.
enough to understand that he would As Sarah looked out from her back be more inclined to tell her after door that July afternoon it lay quenching his thirst. “Could you stretched before her eyes like a map. drink a drop o' mead? 'Tis my own To the right lay the “corn piece," the make; we keep bees, y'know." shining fringes of its barley faintly “I could drink anything just now, stirred at intervals by a hot wind; to except water, perhaps. Water isn't the left, a section of turnips, bright healthy drink in hot weather, is it?" green and thriving; facing the house he said with a knowing twinkle. was the big fruit-garden, the very Sarah went into the cottage and heart and jewel of the whole, sloping presently returned with two coarse gently upwards to a thick hedge which blue-rimmed yellow mugs, in which separated it from the high meadow- the brown syrupy liquid sparkled in land beyond. What a garden it was! bright bubbles. After giving one to Full, almost too full, of strong young the man, she handed the smaller of the fruit-bushes, now gleaming with ripe two to the boy, who stood a little dis