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to health. The modern elementary schoolroom is as a rule a fairly warm and comfortable place. Its sanitary arrangements are, generally speaking, greatly superior to those of the homes of the children being educated in it. Still children, who in wet weather have to sit in it hour after hour, or it may be day after day, with their feet encased in leaky, spongy, rain-and-mud-soddened boots, will undergo a chilling process. They will catch cold,' and have implanted in their constitution the seeds of more serious and chronic ailments. For, it must be remembered, the badly-booted children are in other respects the most favourably conditioned for contracting disease. As they are ill-shod, so as a rule are they likely to be ill-clad generally, and ill-, as well as under-fed. This of course is not conducive to exhilaration of mind or rapidity of educational progress. Here, however, correspondency of feebleness of mind to body is but incidental to the cause of physical weakness. However it may be with the better-off classes of society, with the poorer classes the question of education and health is immediately at any rate-a question of boots, not brain pressure.
In the particular phase now under consideration, as in most specific phases of the pinch of poverty, the more self-respecting portion of the poor are the severest sufferers. The thousands of no boots and bad boots cases that are annually brought before School Board committees are neither the most nor the worst of their kind. The more Spartanminded poor endeavour to wrap their mantle of poverty decently around them, and to keep their woes and wants from the public gaze. The mere knowledge of the existence of the compulsory laws is effective with them. They shrink, at any sacrifice, from being taken before committees, and would feel themselves disgraced by being summoned to a police court. Therefore they will, and do, send their children to school under circumstances in connection with which more reckless or less sensitive parents would keep their children away, and stand the racket' of whatever proceedings might be taken against them for the absence.
If this question of education and boots were treated as a root question, it would resolve itself into the great question of povertya question with which as yet no government or society has been able to grapple successfully. But it need not be so treated. It can be dealt with as a branch, a separable question, and something' might be done in it. That one way and another compulsory attendance at school involves some degree of hardship to many children of the poorest classes is a pretty generally recognised fact. To obviate or compensate for these hardships, a variety of kindly but impracticable suggestions have from time to time been made. But so far as we are aware, no one has in this connection suggested the practical scheme of School Boot Clubs. We say the practical scheme, because it has been tried in local and isolated instances and proved to be a success. It is a scheme that could be carried out on self-help principles, and we speak with knowledge in saying that there are few things in which,
having regard to their obligations, assistance to the poor would be more acceptable or effective than in this matter of boots for their children. Boots constitute the hardest problem in clothing with which parents of the poorer classes have to deal. Most mothers can at a push 'make down' their own old gowns or 'father's' old coats into garments for Polly or Johnny, but they cannot make down old boots. New, second-hand, or repaired boots mean money, involve immediate and relatively large expenditure. Clubs would not of course be a royal road out of the boot difficulty, but they could be made to do much towards minimising the evils incidental to it. They could be organised by the various bodies of local school managers, and others actively interested in the educational and general welfare of the poor. Their subscribing members would be the parents of children attending public elementary schools, and to suit the means and customs of such parents the subscription would have to be fixed low, and collected upon the system of weekly payments taken.' They could be made entirely self-supporting, though a very small honorary subscription upon the part of managers and friends would be sufficient to pay working expenses, and even to add a slight bonus to the amounts contributed by purchasing members. Assistance given in this wise would prove a great inducement to membership, and to the habits of thrift which the exigences of membership would tend to establish. The chief aims of the directors of such clubs as are here suggested would be: firstly, to obtain boots as nearly as might be at wholesale prices. Secondly, to see that the boots delivered were good boots, were among the verities, not the shams, of manufacturing art; were admirable as boots, not as examples of the utilisation of waste substances. Thirdly, to contract for repairs under such stipulations as would secure their being promptly and honestly executed. Whether or not they should also cause club boots to be stamped with a view to making them less available than others for purposes of pledge or resale, is one of those open questions of detail which need not be discussed here. We merely give a broad outline of what the constitution and purposes of such clubs should be. A federation of them would have dealings upon a scale that would enable them to benefit the poor to a very appreciable extent, and to a corresponding extent reduce the friction with which the practical application of the Education Acts has hitherto been attended. The establishment of the clubs would be a comparatively easy affair: it is the will rather than the way that is wanting. Their institution would be a good work; and in leaving this part of our subject we have only to say, with the young lady in Millais' picture of The North West Passage,' It could be done, and England ought to do it.'
This question of boot supply has no doubt its humorous aspects, but as a whole it is of serious importance. It affects alike the health and education of the poor, and causes them to act and react upon each other. The feet, through the boots, will affect the head,
and make educational progress both slow and painful. A child who is in a limping condition physically will, as a necessary result of the sympathy between body and brain, be in a like condition mentally and educationally. Thousands of children are now sent to school in boots that are worse than no boots, that are mere squashy damp-traps and chill promoters. With respect alike to comfort, health, and appearance, the children individually concerned would be much better off were they sent to school bare-footed. Indeed, in the opinion of some who have well considered the subject, this is the real remedy for the evil. Abundant argument and example can be brought forward in support of this view; but, looking to the state of feeling and prejudice existing among the uneducated poor, the remedy would certainly be found hard of application. Among even the poorest classes in England there is an invincible objection to allowing their children to go bare-footed in public-that is to say, anywhere beyond the thresholds of their own homes, or the gutters immediately pertaining thereto. They take the converse of the proposition that it is better to go bare-footed than to wear bad boots. Better bad boots than none at all is their motto on this head. To compel them to send their children to school without shoes or stockings would be deeply wounding to their pride. Those who advocate bare feet as a means of cutting this particular Gordian knot of poverty, of course contend that the pride of the poor upon the point is a false and foolish pride. But however that may be, it would certainly be found powerfully operative in giving rise to such a manner and degree of resistance to the law as would put its administrators in a very embarrassing, not to say a very questionable position. Of these two plans, the boot club one would, we think, be, if not the most simple or thorough, at any rate the most workable. The purpose of the present article is not however to discuss the relative merits of proposed remedies for the evil to which it calls attention. Its object is rather to point out the extent and gravity of the evil, and to show the necessity for its being grappled with in some form, and in a comprehensive spirit. As it is an evil having its root in that poverty which is always with us, it would perhaps be vain to hope for its entire eradication. But there can be no doubt that much might be done for its alleviation. Compared with many of the movements and missions on behalf of the poor, to which good people are asked to give of their time and substance, this of boots may sound commonplace, or seem an anti-climax. As a matter of fact, however, it is, as we have been endeavouring to show, an important How it may be most beneficially and beneficently dealt with is a question equally well worth the consideration of the philan thropist and the philosopher, of the general political economist and the special educationist. If the evil is left unaided to remedy itself, the operation of the remedial processes will be terribly slow, and meanwhile heath and education-two of the most essential elements of national greatness-will suffer.
THE OLD PACIFIC CAPITAL.
THE WOODS AND THE PACIFIC.
HE Bay of Monterey has been compared by no less a person than General Sherman to a bent fishing-hook; and the comparison, if less important than the march through Georgia, still shows the eye of a soldier for topography. Santa Cruz sits exposed at the shank; the mouth of the Salinas river is at the middle of the bend; and Monterey itself is cosily ensconced beside the barb. Thus the ancient capital of California faces across the bay, while the Pacific Ocean, though hidden by low hills and forest, bombards her left flank and rear with never-dying surf. In front of the town, the long line of sea-beach trends north and north-west, and then westward to enclose the bay. The waves which lap so quietly about the jetties of Monterey grow louder and larger in the distance; you can see the breakers leaping high and white by day; at night the outline of the shore is traced in transparent silver by the moonlight and the flying foam; and from all round, even in quiet weather, the low, distant, thrilling roar of the Pacific hangs over the coast and the adjacent country like smoke above a battle.
These long beaches are enticing to the idle man. It would be hard to find a walk more solitary and at the same time more exciting to the mind. Crowds of ducks and seagulls hover over the sea. Sandpipers trot in and out by troops after the retiring waves, trilling together in a chorus of infinitesimal song. Strange sea-tangles, new to the European eye, the bones of whales, or sometimes a whole whale's carcase, white with carrion-gulls and poisoning the wind, lie scattered here and there along the sands. The waves come in slowly, vast and green, curve their translucent necks, and burst with a surprising uproar, that runs, waxing and waning, up and down the long key-board of the beach. The foam of these great ruins mounts in an instant to the ridge of the sand glacis, swiftly fleets back again, and is met and buried by the next breaker. The interest is perpetually fresh. On no other coast that I know shall you enjoy, in calm, sunny weather, such a spectacle of Ocean's greatness, such beauty of changing colour, or such degrees of thunder in the sound. The very air is more than usually salt by this Homeric deep.
In shore, a tract of sand-hills borders on the beach. Here and there a lagoon, more or less brackish, attracts the birds and hunters. A rough, spotty undergrowth partially conceals the sand. The crouching, hardy, live-oaks flourish singly or in thickets-the kind of wood for murderers to crawl among-and here and there the skirts of the forest extend downward from the hills, with a floor of turf and long
aisles of pine-trees hung with Spaniard's Beard. Through this quaint desert the railway cars drew near to Monterey from the junction at Salinas City-though that and so many other things are now for ever altered and it was from here that you had your first view of the old township lying in the sands, its white windmills bickering in the chill, perpetual wind, and the first fogs of the evening drawing drearily around it from the sea.
The one common note of all this country is the haunting presence of the ocean. A great faint sound of breakers follows you high up into the inland canyons; the roar of water dwells in the clean, empty rooms of Monterey as in a shell upon the chimney; go where you will, you have but to pause and listen to hear the voice of the Pacific. You pass out of the town to the south-west, and mount the hill among pine woods. Glade, thicket, and grove surround you. You follow winding sandy tracts that lead nowhither. You see a deer; a multitude of quail arises. But the sound of the sea still follows you as you advance, like that of wind among the trees, only harsher and stranger to the ear; and when at length you gain the summit, out breaks on every hand and with freshened vigour that same unending, distant, whispering rumble of the ocean; for now you are on the top of Monterey peninsula, and the noise no longer only mounts to you from behind along the beach towards Santa Cruz, but from your right also, round by Chinatown and Pinos lighthouse, and from down before you to the mouth of the Carmello river. The whole woodland is begirt with thundering surges. The silence that immediately surrounds you where you stand is not so much broken as it is haunted by this distant, circling rumour. It sets your senses upon edge; you strain your attention; you are clearly and unusually conscious of small sounds near at hand; you walk listening like an Indian hunter; and that voice of the Pacific is a sort of disquieting company to you in your walk.
When once I was in these woods I found it difficult to turn homeward. All woods lure a rambler onward; but in those of Monterey it was the surf that particularly invited me to prolong my walks. I would push straight for the shore where I thought it to be nearest. Indeed, there was scarce a direction that would not, sooner or later, have brought me forth on the Pacific. The emptiness of the woods gave me a sense of freedom and discovery in these excursions. I never, in all my visits, met but one man. He was a Mexican, very dark of hue, but smiling and fat, and he carried an axe, though his true business at that moment was to seek for straying cattle. I asked him what o'clock it was, but he seemed neither to know nor care; and when he in his turn asked me for news of his cattle, I showed myself equally indifferent. We stood and smiled upon each other for a few seconds, and then turned without a word and took our several ways across the forest.
One day I shall never forget it-I had taken a trail that was new to me. After a while the woods began to open, the sea to sound