Slike strani

I can say

Of one thing I am certain : that cheap education, or, as I would rather call it, instruction, is as a rule a mistake, because it involves the insufficient payment of the teachers. This is a crying evil at the present day, or perhaps it may be said to be a silent evil now, but it must become a crying evil before many years have gone by.

A thoughtful, experienced lady examiner said to me the other day, when speaking of the young teachers in the High Schools, something to this effect : 'They require to be guarded against and protected from themselves. They work for salaries which do not admit of the strengthening food they really require. Bread and butter and an egg after a hard day's work, and often the bread and butter without the egg, is not sufficient; but they have to provide for holiday expenses, and they have too often friends—younger sisters, brothers, even parents -requiring their help. This is indeed painfully true. The more affectionate and energetic a girl is, the heavier is the burden likely to fall upon her when her relations are poor.


my own knowledge, and I believe I shall be fully corroborated by persons of wider experience, that among the various classes of workers in England none are to be found more unselfish and high-principled than the young teachers in our large schools. They deny themselves and leave the thought of the future. But the future will not the less surely come; and I appeal to those who are now giving their daughters the benefit of good instruction at a High School, as a preparation for the life of a teacher, whether it would not be far wiser to pay, say, five or even ten pounds a year more now, with the prospect of a sufficient salary when the young people enter upon their profession, than to save the few pounds at the present moment and leave their girls to work for years for salaries which scarcely enable them to live with ordinary comfort and entirely preclude the hope of providing for old age.

Still more earnestly would I appeal to the wealthy who are taking advantage of these schools. If my plan could be tried, a few schools in London would be started on a higher level of expense, because there would be a wider area of instruction. Those only would attend them who could afford to pay well, and who would not need the certificates of the University examiners. Good salaries would be attainable by the ladies who undertook special subjects, because each pupil would pay her separate fee. In a large school I will suppose that three classes, of ten pupils, each pupil paying three guineas a term, might be provided. This gives 90 guineas a term, or 270 guineas per annum. Out of this the teacher has to provide for the expenses of board and lodging, dress, travelling, &c. It must be remembered that she is working hard, and therefore requires good and sufficient food and a comfortable home for the time being. She will scarcely need less than 1201. for these and family claims. This leaves a surplus of 1501., which I will suppose she can invest. After twenty years' steady work without drawbacks she will have saved, reckoning interest, rather more than three thousand pounds. The young woman entering upon her duties at five-and-twenty looks upon this as a dream of Eldorado. At five-and-forty she finds the young generation pressing forward, and begins to think it possible to take a little rest, and live upon her income. Three thousand pounds safely invested at 4 per cent. will bring her in 1201. per annum. This is her whole fortune, based on the most advantageous calculation. I ask, is it too great a reward for the struggle and energy and patience of the years past? The schools I am contemplating would be frequented by many girls whose parents reckon their yearly income by thousands. Would they really grudge the extra fees for the extra instruction of the special teachers ? I do not for a moment believe they would, granted that the instruction is good and fitted for the sphere in which their daughters are to move. I believe they would be perfectly willing to pay well for it. And if such a scale of payment were adopted in London, it might, and probably would, by degrees influence the salaries given in other large towns, and so the present system of narrow teaching and underpaid teachers might in time be uprooted.

Yet further, I would suggest that in considering the claims of teachers for salaries which shall enable them to make provision for old age, we ought seriously to inquire whether some plan is not practicable which shall provide the grant of a small pension after a fixed age for those who have never been able to secure a sufficient income. This, I know, is a subject bristling with difficulties, and needing for its successful conclusion most careful statistics and calculations.

But it has occurred to me that a start might be made in two ways:

First. By requiring an entrance fee, say of il., for every child placed at a High School.

Secondly. By making application for a donation to the same amount from those who have already received their education at High Schools, or at any schools of the same kind.

The sum thus collected should, I think, be placed in the hands of responsible trustees, and, with the interest accruing, should be invested for ten years. During the same period any teachers who might hope ultimately to benefit from it should be called upon to subscribe 108. per annum to the fund.

At the expiration of the ten years the interest of the sum total might be applied to the granting of pensions not exceeding 50l. for teachers who, after working for twenty years, and keeping up the yearly subscription, had been unable to make a provision for themselves to that amount.

If this plan could be carried out and still continued, the capital of the fund would go on increasing year by year, and thus a larger number of teachers might be benefited.

This is an outline of what seems to me possible for the future. The present, I fear, we must leave as only to be dealt with by the efforts of benevolence. The plan will not meet every case, for it could scarcely be extended to governesses in private families, who are too often as underpaid as the school teachers. But if we can only make a beginning we may be tolerably sure that the movement will spread and its sphere of usefulness be enlarged. Every one feels the need of some such provision for all teachers, and institutions like that of the Governesses' Benevolent Society have already been set on foot in recognition of the claims of private governesses.

The teachers who have regularly subscribed for twenty years to the fund, but who do not in the end profit by it, ought, I think, to receive their money back without interest, if they require it. But some who may be fortunate enough to find themselves placed beyond pecuniary need may be glad to leave their contributions as an assistance to those who are in a less satisfactory position. At the end of the first ten years pensions might begin to be granted to teachers who could show that they had been working for twenty years, and who had not only paid to the fund the required subscription of 10s. per annum from the time the plan was started, but were prepared by a payment of . to make up the sum contributed by subscribers for twenty years.

One word in conclusion. It will be seen that in the previous criticisms and suggestions there has been no mention of definite religious teaching. The system I have been considering does not insist upon such instruction, though it recognises Scripture history. The programme of the Church Schools Company is an exception, but I have been obliged to make my remarks general.

Yet I should be untrue to my own deepest convictions if, looking at the object which all persons interested in the education of girls have at heart, namely the cultivation and deepening of the mind, I did not state, as a conclusion arrived at from long experience and observation, that earnest, sober, practical religion will ultimately do more to awaken the intellect than any secular instruction however valuable.

God, Infinity, Eternity, Immortality—unthinkable it may be, but not the less dread realities. Is it possible that the consideration of these mighty mysteries, and their recognition as the motive powers of human action, can fail to give strength and depth to the mind ?

The old Hebrew poet asked a question which at this day we are all putting anxiously to ourselves, and his answer, transmitted to us through the long course of ages, still finds its echo in the heart and the intellect of thousands.

Where shall wisdom be found ? and where is the place of understanding ?

Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living

The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me.

It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. ...

God understandeth the way thereof, and He knoweth the place thereof.
For He looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven....

And unto man He said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.–Job xxviii, 12-28.



This is a question which has to be solved by many a young couple who have been brought up in luxury—and who have to live in London. It is rather a fashion amongst the bachelors of clubland to say that it is an impossibility to begin married life respectably on less than a thousand a year. Now, the importance of early marriage to the majority of young men as well as for the wellbeing of future generations is so universally admitted, that a fallacy such as this, if fallacy it is, should be at once exposed. Of course it will be understood that, in saying that it is impossible to live on less than a thousand a year in London, absolute want is out of the question. What is really meant is that a young man and a girl, both of whom have been accustomed to all the ordinary luxuries of the upper middle classes, he to a share in the use of his father's stable, the drinking of good wines, the smoking of good cigars, the luxuries of clubland and such like; she to driving in her mother's carriage, wearing of nice frocks, nice gloves, and neat hosiery, stalls at the opera, popular concerts, and so on—that such a young man and young woman cannot, without an undue relinquishment of such advantages, venture upon a joint existence with less than the said sum as a settled income. Nor must it be for a moment supposed that it can be done without a partial renunciation of the enjoyments of a bachelor existence. What we have to show is that the aggregate of those things which go to make life satisfactory and enjoyable to the ordinary mortal is increased by the marriage of a well-suited pair, who have both been reared in the state of luxury above mentioned, on 7001. a year. It will be clear that in trying to impress the truth of this upon the ordinary individual it would be useless to point out the advantages which would accrue to the race as a whole by the general practice of early marriage. We must not argue from the high platform of the greatest good for the greatest number, or the resulting good to the body politic. We must use the argumentum ad hominem, and show him the advantages that will appeal to his selfishness. And here we would point out that we address ourselves specially to men, because of what appears to be an undoubted fact-namely, that, for various reasons, it is the male creature who holds back from the contemplation of marriage in the present day.

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