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could be anything Protean in the nature of such words as ó before, after,' &c.
Mrs. Trimmer was our text-book of English history. We used indeed to read collectively Robertson's Charles the Fifth ; i.e. it was read aloud on dancing evening. Each class went out in succession for the dancing lesson. Thus no one read the whole book, though the school in its corporate capacity did. Another evening we learned the use of the globes,' and got our answers from Keith ; but the mistress considered me impertinent, when I asked for an explanation of the process. Our time was so filled up that there was none left for the thinking to which I had been accustomed ; yet I did learn a good deal, which has been of use in later life, in all those matters of systematic arrangement in which the French excel.
The revolution of 1848 hastened our return, and then I threw myself with joy into the Queen's College lectures and examinations. My sisters and I obtained some of the first certificates given, and I had the pleasure of being examined by Professor Maurice, the present Dean of Wells, and others of the distinguished men who were the founders of the college. It had grown out of the Governesses' Benevolent Society. The examinations offered to governesses showed how much they needed teaching. Then some of the professors of King's opened evening classes, and finally at their own expense took the house next to the Society's house in Harley Street, and began a college for grown-up students somewhat on the model of King's College. Until then lessons and lectures from leaders of thought had been unattainable. Now Professors Maurice, Brewer, Trench (afterwards Archbishop), and others condescended to lecture to women, and correct their exercises. Specially delightful were the Greek classes, in which we read Sophocles and Plato with Dean Plumptre. There were faults in the original constitution of the college, and in the management, which have prevented its becoming what it should have been—the best, as it was the first—but those who know what this college effected, how through it the minds of men and women were brought into closer intellectual sympathy, will always feel grateful to its founders.
After a connection of seven years, first as mathematical and afterwards also as classical tutor, I resigned my post at Queen's, because I could not be satisfied with the then management. Originally a college for women, it had properly allowed the students large liberty. Then a school had been established for children, which was more or less under the management of ladies. Parents soon found the liberty of a college unsuited to girls who required discipline, whilst the professors, who were the governing body, insisted on the children leaving the school. The want of discipline and thoroughness on the part of the pupils, the want of punctuality on the part of some teachers, the impossibility of getting learned professors to correct exercises in the way that is Vol. XXIII.-No. 134.
necessary for children, but especially the want of womanly influence over them, all tended to make Queen's unsatisfactory to many. pioneers must go astray in a new country where there are no roads; we have entered into their labours, and they have entered into their own, and much that was wrong has been righted now.
I may add that during this period I had taken advantage of my summer holidays to visit the schools of Germany.
My next experience was of a very different sort. I became head teacher in a boarding school of about 100 clergymen's daughters, in a secluded place where masters were not to be had. The school was in most of its characteristics conventual, though it was founded by the most Protestant section of the Church of England. The pupils were taught entirely by resident mistresses. Many went home only once a year, and there was almost nothing to break the monotony of their life. The Sundays were one continual round of lessons and services; hence restlessness and insubordination ; besides, the want of family life led to an absurd worship of their teachers and to various extravagances.
Things have improved greatly since 1858, but I shall always think the isolation of a large school, and the sorting out of the children of one class or profession a mistake. Some things too, very important for girls, were omitted, e.g. the cultivation of the taste in dress. The girls were clothed by the school; they did not learn to exercise their judgment in such matters, or to take care of property, and the passing on of the dresses from one to another was a great grievance. They had also books in common. The mistresses, if they taught as they should, were terribly overworked. I was expected to give a daily lesson in Scripture, to teach not only my own subjects -classics, mathematics, arithmetic, and science--but those which required much reading. I had to give lessons in the highest classes in English, Modern, Roman, Grecian, and Church history, English literature, political and physical geography, and English composition. The old plan of hearing lessons I could not follow, so I had no time for exercise or recreation and not enough for sleep. Such a life could not long continue, and I left after a year.
Six months after I left Casterton a vacancy occurred at Cheltenham. This college had then existed four years. It had at first opened with about eighty pupils and increased to over a hundred; then a decline set in, and when I came in 1858, there were only sixty-nine. Here I found a girls' school established on the model of a boys' as regards classes, removes, &c. Studies and methods of teaching were careful and exact. Miss Proctor, the first principal, was an able organiser, and a painstaking and conscientious teacher, but there seemed to me many things that required remodelling. At first our funds would not admit of any great changes, but I set my face steadily to the establishment of a sort of mean between Queen's College, where masters had all their own way, and Casterton, where there were none. I wished this to be a school and college combined; the mistresses to do the work which they could best do, thoroughly correcting exercises and giving the girls the womanly training which is so necessary for their characters; but I hoped that in time we should get the advantage for the elder ones of lectures from men who were masters of their subjects. When I came, only modern languages were taught--no science, no mathematics. I have always approved of beginning with modern languages, so I was content to wait for the classics. I did wish much to introduce geometry, for the sake of the help it gives in teaching girls to form clear ideas, and to set out their thoughts in order; but had I done so, many of the remaining pupils would have been frightened away, and I might have been the death of the college; so I had to wait for the tide. I was always hearing that girls would be turned into boys by studying the same subjects. I began my innovations with the introduction of scientific teaching, and under the name of physical geography I was able to teach a good deal. . This subject was unobjectionable, as few boys learnt geography. Then we got lectures from a distinguished geologist who lived here, and spared no pains to interest the girls, taking them out for lectures and explorations on the hills.
In all reforms, and especially in financial matters, the college found in Mr. Houghton Brancker a most devoted and able helper.
Great was the agitation in the town when, after five years, we ventured to invite one of the lecturers of Christ Church, Oxford, to undertake the examination of the college. Mr. Sidney Owen threw himself heartily into the work; he obtained from other members of the University assistance in any subjects he did not himself undertake; his work was very helpful, though for some years he said his health was injured, and I believe he thought that the box which reached him in his summer holidays was likely to become his coffin, so terrible was the amount the girls wrote in their eagerness to tell all. An examination merely on the work done during the year, noncompetitive and prepared for only by a rapid review, which gives to the previous teaching definiteness and coherency, seems to me both necessary and useful ; it is free from the objections which must always arise when the object is to gain scholarships and prizes. Still even this form of University examination did cause a stir at first, and some would not allow their girls to come. Suffice it to say that I kept on innovating little by little.
I was much cheered by the increasing sympathy of those parents who understood my aims, and I made then some warm and lasting friendships. Gradually, whilst retaining the class system, in order that each pupil might have some one who was altogether responsible for her, we introduced more and more specialists and lecturers, who took different branches, not always placing them permanently on the staff, but getting also courses from lecturers of different Universities in England and Scotland or the excellent School of Science in Dublin.
The growth of this college was, however, no more due to its individual vitality, than the growth of a banyan tree or a tropical forest. It was the changed atmosphere, the changing conditions of national and social life, which produced the conditions under which such schools have arisen. It needs no giant force, no singular ability, to go with the tide, and during these last years we have not often had to contend wiih opposing currents. In London the success of Queen's College hal led to the establishment during the fifties of Bedford College ; and Miss Buss, who had drawn inspiration from the evening classes at Queen's, opened her excellent school in North London. I felt that ladies' colleges were becoming popular, when a brass plate on a suburban house announced classes on the principal' (sic) of Queen's College.
As soon as the dams of prejudice are broken the work of sweeping away old rubbish goes on quickly. Some who had despaired, and only
Wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand;
Had said it would be grand ;
Seven maids with seven mops
Sweeping for half a year.
Miss Davies and a few who worked with her induced the Royal Commission of 1864 to embrace in their inquiry the girls' schools. I gave evidence before the Commission in 1866, and afterwards published with their permission a volume relating to girls' schools.' The local examinations of Cambridge were opened to girls about the same time. An article I published in Fraser's Magazine, October 1866, under the name of Utopian, would raise a smile now, so absurd would the objections seem which I had to refute. Miss Davies soon after established her first women's college at Cambridge. When the London University in 1869 opened examinations to women, we at Cheltenham were the first to accept them. In 1870, of the nine women who passed, five were our pupils, and for several years about half were prepared at this college.
Foremost among the leaders of the women's education movement was one whom all now delight to honour, but who had a hard time of it at first, and whose health has never recovered from the strain of the first onset. I mean Mrs. William Grey, the founder of the Women's Union, out of which has grown up the Public Day Schools Company, that has directly or indirectly covered the country with schools, and placed within the reach of nearly all an education such as the wealthiest could scarcely obtain when Miss Sewell and I were young. I think the improvement has been very great intellectually; if I could show my readers the entrance papers which I produced before the Commission, they would see that a change for the better has been effected, and I am sure that there has been a great development in consequence of power and moral earnestness, as seen in nearly all work done by women now.
'I shall be happy to give the volume to any interested in the matter.
Let me now try to show why I disagree in some respects with Miss Sewell as regards the methods and aims of teaching, though feeling more acutely than those who look at schools only from without how much we have still to amend; the orbit of human progress is not a geometric curve, but one distorted by aberration.
Miss Sewell is certainly right in warning us that “in avoiding ignorance based on superficiality there is always danger of ignorance based on narrowness. Let me take the subject on which she has dwelt most at length, the teaching of history, both because she and I attach great importance to it, and because I have paid more attention to the teaching of this subject than to any other except one. She complains that certain periods only are brought into the light, but others remain shrouded in utter darkness; whereas she would have a general knowledge of the whole course of history and historical mythology, obtained from epitomes, &c., with such further illustrations as an intelligent teacher could give. She would have dates learned, either by simply committing them to memory, or perhaps by some system of memoria technica.
Now what is the raison d'étre of historical teaching for school girls? I am sure Miss Sewell does herself injustice when she seems to say it is to enable girls to join intelligently in conversation. I know she would give a hearty assent to the statement that education has failed of its purpose, if it has merely added a grace or an ornament; we have to keep steadily before us, that the only worthy object is to make our pupils better, wiser, abler; then we may safely trust that their duties will be done faithfully, that their ways and conversation will not be pedantic' but intelligent, and that, whether married or single, they will prove themselves helps meet for those to whom God has given them.
Now history, as distinguished from mere story (chronicle), is an inductive science. True the subjective enters more largely into the interpretation than it does in the physical sciences; still its conclusions must be founded on observation; but the objects of our historical study, the actors in the légende des siècles, must be seen and known. Let any recall the effects of that epitome learning which Miss Sewell recommends. I could repeat, when at school, a little
? See pp. 224, 225.