« AnteriorContinuar »
his own home entanglements, with the ruthless sword. For a man of liberal education, and much experience in spending money, who can put a new bottom to his own saucepan, is not the one to feel any despair of his fellow-creatures mending.
Then arose the question, who should bell the cat; or rather, who should lead the cat to the belling. Pet must be taken, under strong duresse, to the altar-as his poor mother said, and shrieked-whereat he was to shed his darling blood. His heart was in his mouth, when his uniform came; and he gave his sacred honour to fly, straight as an arrow, to the port where his regiment was getting into boats; but Sir Duncan shook his grizzled head. 'Somebody must see him into it,' he said; not a lady; no, no, my dear Eliza. I cannot go myself; but it must be a man of rigidity, a stern agent. Oh, I know! how stupid of me!'
'You mean poor dear Mr. Jellicorse,' suggested Mrs. Carnaby, with a short, hot sob. But, Duncan, he has not the heart for it. For anything honest, and loyal, and good, kind people may trust him with their lives. But to tyranny, rapine, and manslaughter, he never could lend his fine honourable face.'
'I mean a man of a very different cast-a man who knows what time is worth, a man who is going to be married on a Sunday that he may not lose the day. He has to take three days' holiday, because the lady is an heiress; otherwise he might get off with one. he hopes to be at work again on Wednesday; and we will have him here post-haste from York on Thursday. It will be the very job to suit him a gentleman of Roman ancestry, and of the name of Mordacks.'
My heart was broken already; and now I can feel the poor pieces flying into my brain. Oh, why did I ever have a babe, for monsters of the name of Mordacks to devour ?'
Mordacks was only too glad to come. On the very day after their union, Calpurnia (likewise of Roman descent) had exhibited symptoms of a strong will of her own.
Mordacks had temporised, during their courtship; but now she was his, and must learn the great fact. He behaved very well, and made no attempt at reasoning (which would have been a fatal course), but promptly donned cloak, boots, and spurs, while his horse was being saddled; and then set off, with his eyes fixed firmly upon business. A crow could scarcely make less than fifty miles from York to Scargate, and the factor's trusty roadster had to make up his mind to seventy. So great, however, is sometimes the centrifugal force of Hymen, that upon the third day Mr. Mordacks was there, vigorous, vehement, and fit for any business.
When he heard what it was, it liked him well; for he bore a fine grudge against Lancelot, for setting the dogs at him three years ago, when he came (as an agent for adjoining property) to the house of Yordas; and when Mr. Jellicorse scorned to meet an illegal meddler with legal matters. If Mordacks had any fault-and he must have
had some, in spite of his resolute conviction to the contrary-it was that he did not exactly scorn revenge.
Lives there man, or even woman, capable of describing now the miseries, the hardships, the afflictions beyond groaning, which, like electric hail, came down upon the sacred head of Pet? He was in the grasp of three strong men-his uncle, Mr. Bart, worst of all, that Mordacks-escape was impossible, lamentation met with laughter, and passion led to punishment. Even stern Maunder was sorry for him, although he despised him for feeling it. The only beam of light, the only spark of pleasure, was his royal uniform; and to know that Insie's laugh thereat was hollow, and would melt away to weeping when he was out of sight, together with the sulky curiosity of Maunder, kept him up a little, in this time of bitter
Enough that he went off, at last, in the claws of that Roman hippogriff as Mrs. Carnaby savagely called poor Mordacks-and the visitor's flag hung half-mast high, and Saracen, and the other dogs, made a howling dirge, with such fine hearts (as the poor mother said, between her sobs) that they got their dinners upon China plates.
Sir Duncan had left before this, and was back under Dr. Upround's hospitable roof. He had made up his mind to put his fortune, or rather his own value, to the test, in a place of deep interest to him now, the heart of the fair Janetta. He knew that, according to popular view, he was much too old for this young lady; but for popular view he cared not one doit, if her own had the courage and the will to go against it. For years he had sternly resisted all temptation of second marriage; towards which shrewd mothers and nice maidens had laboured in vain to lead him. But the bitter disappointment about his son, and that long illness, and the tender nursing (added to the tenderness of his own sides, from lying upon them, with a hard dry cough) had opened some parts of his constitution to matrimonial propensities. Miss Upround was of a playful nature, and teased everybody she cared about; and although Sir Duncan was a great hero to her, she treated him sometimes as if he were her doll. Being a grave man, he liked this, within the bounds of good taste and manners; and the young lady always knew where to stop. From being amused with her, he began to like her; and from liking her, he went on to miss her; and from missing her, to wanting her, was no long step.
However, Sir Duncan was not at all inclined to make a fool of himself herein. He liked the lady very much, and saw that she would suit him, and help him well in the life to which he was thinking of returning. For within the last fortnight, a very high post, at Calcutta, had been offered to him, by the powers in Leadenhall Street, upon condition of sailing at once, and foregoing the residue of his leave. If matters had been to his liking in England, he certainly would have declined it; but after his sad disappointment,
and the serious blow to his health, he resolved to accept it, and set forth speedily. The time was an interlude of the war, and ships need not wait for convoy.
This had induced him to take his Yorkshire affairs (which Mordacks had been forced to intermit, during his Derbyshire campaign) into his own hands, and speed the issue, as above related. And part of his plan was to quit all claim to present possession of Scargate; that if the young lady should accept his suit, it might not, in any way, be for the sake of the landed interest. As it happened, he had gone much further than this, and cast away his claim entirely to save his sister from disgrace, and the family property from lawyers. And now, having sought Dr. Upround's leave (which used to be thought the proper thing to do), he asked Janetta whether she would have him; and she said, 'No, but he might have her.' Upon this, he begged permission to set the many drawbacks before her; and she nodded her head, and told him to begin.
'I am of a good Yorkshire family. But, I am sorry to say that their temper is bad; and they must have their own way too much.' 'But, that suits me; and I understand it. Because I must have my own way too.'
'But, I have parted with my inheritance, and have no place in this country now.'
'But, I am very glad of that. Because I shall be able to go
But, India is a dreadfully hot country; many creatures tease you; and you get tired of almost everything.'
'But, that will make it all the more refreshing, not to be tired of you, perhaps.'
'But, I have a son, as old as you, or older.'
'But, you scarcely suppose that I can help that!'
'But, my hair is growing grey, and I have great crow's-feet, and everybody will begin to say---'
'But, I don't believe a word of it, and I won't have it; and I don't care a pin's head what all the world says put together, so long as you don't belong to it.'
(To be concluded in next Number.)
THE HOUSE OF LORDS AND POPULAR EDUCATION. BY AN OLD EDUCATIONALIST.
HE debate in the House of Lords' on the Education Code which ended in a majority of forty-eight virtually condemning the action of the Education Department since 1870 in so far as it has encouraged anything beyond the most elementary instruction, was an event interesting in itself, and significant in the history of education in England. Had the promoters of what was virtually a vote of censure belonged to the Tory party only, the result might have been accepted as little more than a survival of a spirit supposed to have been extinct. It was not so, however. The Bishop of Exeter and Lord Sherbrooke ably represented the other side, and were in themselves evidence that there is a considerable feeling of discontent with the action of the Department, and a still wider suspicion of its tendencies, if not of its aims. It is worth while to inquire whether there are any grounds. for this dissatisfaction.
It would be absurd (unhappily) in our country to suppose that any abstract educational theories have had anything to do, in the first instance at least, with the wide-spread mutterings and hesitations that ultimately found expression in the House of Lords. The money question is the real starting point of the malcontents. It is the large vote that stirs into activity the educational intelligence of the English people, and leads them to ask the question,-what are we paying for, and whither are we tending? Three millions per annum is a large sum, and might build more than one ironclad. The uneasiness with which many see this expenditure, which, after all, is only a portion of the total which the country pays for educating its poorer citizens, leads them to fasten blindly on a certain class of payments that seem to be superfluous. In addition to imperial grants calculated on the average attendance at a school, and the grants for passes in the three R's,' the Department pays for a class of subjects denominated specific,' which in the opinion of the House of Lords are not necessary to the child of the working man-nay, more, in their general effect and social tendency, are positively hurtful. These subjects certainly strike one at the first blush as out of place in a primary school: they are to be found in the Fourth Schedule attached to the main body of the Code, and include mathematics,
1 Debate of the 18th of June in which the following motion by Lord Norton was carried: That a humble address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty would be graciously pleased to direct that the Fourth Schedule be omitted from the New Code of Regulations issued by the Committee of Privy Council on Education.'
English literature, Latin (in Scotland, Greek and Physics), French, German, mechanics, physiology, physical geography, botany, and domestic economy. Even if a good educational argument may be used against giving instruction in such subjects in a primary school, we think that the purely financial objection breaks down. The total sum spent on such subjects in 1879 (excluding domestic economy for girls, to which we presume no objection will be taken), was a mere trifle.
As part of an argument, however, against the alleged tendencies of the Department to draw into itself the whole work of secondary education, the financial objection perhaps has weight. Is there any such tendency? Does the love of power still exist in minds depressed by official routine? Is it conceivable that fervour in a 'cause should stir the bureaucratic soul? It is only on the assumption that such things are possible that we can imagine any ground for imputing to the Department a disposition to transgress its limits; for whatever may be said of other departments of State, it is in the minds of the permanent officials that we must seek for the motives and aims that determine successive Education Codes, and this, because the subject is one of such infinite detail that the master of the details must, as pilot, control the vessel, whoever may be nominally its captain. For our own part, we do not for a moment think the Department open to any such imputation. That the love of power exists in the official mind, and can even flourish under folds of red tape, we might be induced to believe; but we do not think that any case has been made out of a deliberate disposition on the part of the Education Office to exceed its powers. And, indeed, why should they? They have enough to do. A large and intricate machine is worked with surprising efficiency, and we are satisfied that to work it demands all the energy and ability in the service of the Minister of Education. Since the days of Sir J. P. KayShuttleworth the Department has been gradually absorbing the whole primary education of the country, and it is scarcely any exaggeration to say that it is now (alas!) cognizant of what is going on in every primary school in the country at every successive minute of the school day. By some this may be regarded as a proud position. To have conquered so great an empire by means of money, aided by the jealousies and mutual distrusts of churches, is no small triumph. But it is only in a limited and conventional sense, a success; for with the advantages come all the evils of overcentralisation, and these are more to be deprecated in the educational than in other spheres of State administration. The life of education is the freedom of the teacher and the school, within certain general restrictions; and where this does not exist, the intellectual and moral evils of centralisation far more than counterbalance the gain. Every teacher in the country takes his orders from the Code, studies the Code, and devotes his energies to satisfy or to circumvent it. The power that resides in the Permanent Secretary's pen is probably