« PreviousContinue »
The Cottage Fireside: or, The Parish Schoolmaster. By the Rev. H. Duncan, D.D. Edinburgh: Oliphant and Co. London: Hamilton and Co. pp. 251.
Under the guise of a North-country Schoolmaster, the author essays to "point out, and remedy the common abuses which take place in the education of children, particularly among the Scottish Peasantry."
George Ferguson, the Schoolmaster, is a kind hearted, observant, thoughtful man, rather apt to remind his friends that he is a pedagogue and knows it; but a very estimable character, notwithstanding tliis little peculiarity. He arranges to spend the vacation with an only brother, from whom he has been for some years separated; and the mishaps, mistakes, and misconduct which he witnesses in the family of his brother, and in those of his neigbbours, are made the occasion for homilies, numerous, manifold, and varied.
The want of parental oversight, the ill-judged attempts at coercion, the use of deceit and untruthfulness in dealing with children, the evils of bad example, and very many similar topics which aro brought out in the course of the story, are dealt with in a very matter of fact and sensible manner.
Nor does the worthy preceptor stop here: step by step we are led to see the process of reformation; the exposure of a fault is made, but as a preliminary to its removal; and the maimer in which order and harmony are evolved from the confusion and discord which prevailed, is very suggestive.
The following extract gives an idea of the state of affairs at the commencement of the story. The schoolmaster has just arrived at tlie door of his brother's house.
"I was about hastily to enter, wbeu I heard sounds within, not at all in unison with the mild serenity of nature out of doors, nor with the bright visions of peace and joy, which so many fond recollections had presented to my imagination.
"' Be a good bairn! be a good bairn, this moment!' cried an angry female voice, whilst the little rebel she addressed screamed as loud as he could bawl. 'If you dinna hold your tongue directly, I'll send for the minister. Look! yonder he's coming to take you away in his pocket! AYheesht I'
"TeiTor for a moment got the better of passion, and the little fellow, checking his cries, looked towards the door; but seeing nobody, for I hesitated to enter, he was convinced that his mother was deceiving him, and renewed the roar of ragu and defiance.
"' Here bogle man,' cried the disappointed mother, endeavouring to overpower him by increasing the object of fear, 'here, take him away; he's an ill bairn.'
"This mode of education was so contrary to all my ideas of propriety, that I could bear it no longer, and I hastily opened the door. The child a fine fellow of about four years old, uttered a loud scream of despair as soon as he saw me, and starting up, ran into a corner, where he hid himself behind a table; whilst his elder brother and sister, who were sitting by the fire, sprang with equal signs of terror into a bed, and covered themselves with the bed-clothes. The mother, too, was at first evidently confused and put out of sorts by the untimely intrusion; and I am sure, if the bogk man himself had made his appearance, he could scarcely have created greater consternation."
The arrival of the father of the juvenile offender gives a new turn to the
state of affairs.
'•' Come away my bonny man,' resumed the fond father, pretending to search for something in his pockets, 'come away and see what I have gotten here. Ilcrc's an app!o for a good boy, A bonny red-cheeked apple. There's a good bairn. Is not he a good bairn, Uncle George?' I made no answer to this appeal, but waited in silence to see how the scene would end.
"In the meantime, the little fellow, bribed by the deceitful promise, came Blowly from his corner, and with his finger in his mouth, walked up to his father's knee. My brother took him in his arms, and wiping his face, which was all besmeared with tears and dirt, called him, 'his dear good wee Jockey,' and kissed him from car to ear.
"Wee Jockey, however was not so easily cajoled. 1 Where's my apple? Gie's the apple! Gie's the apple I tell ye !' was so often and so firmly repeated, that the indulgent father, who had no apple to give, began to repent of his stratagem, when the mother relieved him by thinking of an expedient. 'Here, Jenny!' cried she, winking at her daughter, and pretending to put money into her hand; 'here ! run to the shop, and buy the bairn an apple. Make haste now.' Then, taking him on her knee, she sang lullaby to him, till, exhausted by his exertions, he fell fast asleep, and was safely lodged in bed.
"Had this child been properly brought up, said I to myself, how much easier would it have been to have settled all this mighty affair by a single look of authority, and how much better too, both for his head and heart!"
When wc further intimate that the Dominie's reforms are not only productive of benefit to others, but, that through them, he is introduced to a young schoolmistress, even more clever and interesting than himself; and that in due time, a wedding results, we imagine our readers will perceive the perfect appropriateness of such a conclusion.
Sarah's Present: or, the Story of a Kew Testament. Old Margie's Flower Stall: and other Stories. The Fir Tree Of The Jura: and other Stories Edinburgh: W. Uliphant d Co. London : Hamilton <t Co. The above are recent additions to a series of sixpenny books for the
The first is an interesting account of a ragged untaught boy and girl, in whose welfare a benevolent magistrate, before whom they are brought, becomes interested, and by his kind interposition rescues them from their evil course and gives them an opportunity of reformation. A Testament given by the sister to her brother is very closely connected with the history, and becomes the means of restoring them to each other after long years of separation.
The other two contain several short and attractive stories, well adapted to entertain and instruct the class for which they are intended.
Tales Of The Scottish Peasantry. Edinburgh: W. Oliphant <t Co. London: Hamilton <£ Co. p.p. 321.
This volume consists of a series of narratives, having, to a great extent, a local interest, and being adapted specially to the dwellers north of the Tweed. The crimes, follies or virtues of several individuals whose lives are narrated, serve to point various moral lessons which tho writers enforce with plain, practical, common sense; and there is no lack of good counsel and sage precept interspersed with the stories.
Dear Sir,—I have long since expressed an opinion as to the evil consequences of Anniversary Meetings as they are too frequently conducted. It is astonishing how fond some teachers and parents are of seeing their little pets placed in a prominent position, so as to be gazed upon by a congregation, and of hearing them recite something in a sing-song or monotonous tone of voice, which is anything but interesting or satisfactory to those who are impressed with the idea that the Sunday school is a training place for heaven. I have heard it said by teachers, who had attended the anniversary of a certain school, and after hearing a lot of children recite pieces, "What a well conducted school that is; how it shames ours where we have not these annual recitations." Why, in the school alluded to, they are for several months previously to the Anniversary, puffing up the little mind, and exciting it, so that it may excel at this annual display of vanity. Now I have very often noticed that the rudest and boldest children are those that show off to the best advantage on these occasions. The modest and timid child feels unequal to the task; when the time arrives it trembles, and fails in the attempt, and is discouraged. The bold child—the one that ought to be taught to be more modest—is made still bolder. Thus the timid child, that should be encouraged and treated as a delicate and tender plant, is made more timid, and is discouraged at future attempts, and becomes less attached to the school The bold child, who requires snubbing,
is made to be more disagreeable still, and has an injurious influence on others and on the school. And can it, in truth, be said, that these annual got-up displays are any criterion to judge of a wellconducted school? If I wanted to know and judge of a school, I would go when no preparations were being made for an anniversary, and then form my opinion. And besides, the annual exhibitions, the same as gifts, lower the school in its objects. Would it be consistent for an assembly of adult worshippers (who are also learners in the Divine life: for I suppose that is a part of the object of expounding the Scriptures, that the hearers may learn,) to have annual rewards for being the best in attendance, or the best people, or for learning the most of the Scriptures? No one would sanction these annual exhibitions amongst adults. If then the Sunday school is a professedly religious institution for training the young for heaven, how can it be justifiable to teach them in a manner, the tendency of which is not only to create and foster the pauper spirit, but to teach them that religion is a thing to be bought and sold? for undoubtedly, rewards and annual displays are calculated to give them that idea.
It would be well for all who feel interested in the young, that they should let the Sunday school stand or fall on its own merits, as a religious institution, and not degrade it by these annual got-up displays, or by giving rewards. I do not however wish to give the idea that I am opposed to properly conducted anniversaries, and social gatherings.
THE SUNDAY SCHOLARS OF MANCHES- royal parents, in October 1851, when TER And Salford AND THE ROTAL 80 000 Sunday school teachers and MARRIAGE. scholars assembled, in Peel Park, to give At a meeting of the superintend- them a hearty and loyal welcome, and ents and teachers of the various Sunday would fain believe that your Royal Highschools in Manchester and Salford, ncss, then present, participated in the held in the Town Hall, King-street, interest which, we have every reason to the copy of the Bible, which has been know, was so deeply felt by our gracious purchased by the children's pence for Queen, and your late revered father, the presentation to the Prince of Wales, w as illustrious Prince Consort. It is the
submitted for inspection. The Mayor was in the chair. The Bible, which was enclosed in a glass case, is a very ele
gratoful remembrance of this interesting event which emboldens us on this auspicious occasion to ask the acceptance,
gantry-bound copy of Baxter's edition, by your Royal Highness, of a copy of
On the two clasps are the arms of the God's Holy Word, purchased with the
Prince of Wales and of the Princess Alex- pence of our Sunday-scholars, and to ex
andra. On a scroll, beautifully indented press an earnest hope, that when at some
on the gilt edges are inscribed the words: distant period your Royal Highness shall
1 My word is truth;" "Seek ye the Lord;" "Meditate on these things." Inside the Bible is the following iuscrip
be exalted to rule over the destinies of this great nation, its precepts may guide all your actions, and its promises be a
tion :—"To His Royal Highness the source of lasting consolation to yourself Princo of Wales, on the occasion of his and your Royal Consort.—We remain marriage with the Princess Alexandra of with feelings of dutiful and loyal attachDenmork; from the Sunday scholars of j ment."
Manchester and Salford. 10th March,; The Bible was sent through Mr. 1863. The Lord bless thee, and keep Bazley, M.P. It is intended to take thee: the Lord make his face to shine photographs of the Bible and the address, upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; for distribution among the Sunday the Lord lift up bis countenance upon school children.
thee, and give thee peace.'—Xambert,
vi. 24, 25, 26."
Together with the Bible, the following GUILDHALL Street SCHOOL, address was presented:— CANTERBURY.
"As the representatives of the teach- On Tuesday, February 24th, the aners and scholars of the Sunday schools of nual tea-meeting was held in the schoolManchester and Salford, we venture to rooms adjoining the Congregational address Your Royal Highness on your chapel. At five o'clock, upwards of approaching marriage with feelings of I 130 sat down to an excellent tea; after affectionate congratulation, and earnestly which, a public meeting was held, prepray that both yourself and your future sided over by the Rev. H. Cresswell. Consort may be endued with God's Holy j The secretary, Mr. Taylor, read the Spirit, enriched with his heaveiJy grace, annual report, which was, on the whole, and prospered with all happiness. We a very favorable one,—shewing an inhave a lively and grateful recollection crease of teachers and scholars during of the visit paid to this city by your the past year. During the evening,
addresses were delivered on the following subjects, viz.: By Mr. Taylor, on "The .Sunday .School a C4arden;;' Mr. Brysou, of Dover, (the lato secretary,) on "Senior Classes;" Mr. W. T. bidders, on "The Infant ClassMr. War man, on il Union Mr. Blair, ou 11 SystemMr. Joyce, on 11 The Sunday school a Nursery for the Church Mr. Bristow, the superintendent, on "The Influence of Sunday Schools Mr. Matthews, on u Preparation and Mr. Sapwood, on " Prayer." It may be somewhat interesting to know, that two of the alwve speakers are under 18 years of age, and have each been connected with the school upwards of 13 years.
CHILDBEN'3 NATIONAL ANTHEM,
Sung by the Children of the Sedminster Schools, on the Prince ef Wales's Wedding day.
God bless the Prince of Wales!
He will be blest;
Their peaceful rest.
God bless the Royal Dane!
Her welcome shows,
As memory grows.
God bless our much-loved Queen!
And gild the scene;
Mother and Queen.
Raise now a joyous shout!
Ood save them all;
God save them all.
A MELODY SUNG BY THE CHILDREN OF QUEENBOROUGIJ, On the Wedding day of their Royal Highncises the Prince of Wakt and the Princess Alexandra, Tuesday, March 10/A, 18G3.
Cikldiikn of Britain's Isle,
On whom Heaven deigns to smile,
Your voices raise!
And Him we praise!
While Bride and Bridegroom stand,
We would rejoice!
Each tuneful voice!
God bless this youthful pair,
Each other's love;
Thou who at Cana's feast,
With them be found;
And joys abound!
When judgment shall appear,
For evermore I
Let them adore!
J. 8. Featuebstom..
TONGUE END, LINCOLNSHIRE. The hamlet of Tongue End is situated at the junction of two navigable rivers about four miles eastward from Bourn, and consequently is in the Fens of Lincolnshire. In the summer months, when the weather is dry, and the country not overcharged with water, it may be approached with comparative ease, but in the winter season it is all but isolated. The peculiarity of its position, the difficulty of access, and the sparsity of tho population, arc great hindrances to the