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The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
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Books

Volume 7, 1896, pg. 151


A Gentleman of France, By Stanley Weyman (Longmans & Co., 6/-). We are delighted to greet a new and cheaper edition of a Gentleman of France. He is such a very nice "Gentleman," so modest and brave, so simple and shrewd, so altogether natural and loveable, reminding one of the very nicest "Gentleman" one knows in the flesh. We have been told that the age has gone by for historical novels, that no Wizard of the North would charm us any more. But Mr. Stanley Weyman has opened for us a door of hope, we hang on his words with breathless interest and are very loath to lay down the Gentleman of France until we have finished it, and for days afterwards we continue to live in profoundly interesting and pleasant company. We become personally acquainted with Henry of Naples and Henry of Navarre, Turenne, and a great many other interesting people. We learn the manners of court and camp, and not from the first page to the last is there a word that a mother would not like to read aloud to her girls. This is a book to be bought, not borrowed; to take its place on the family book-shelves and every now and then come out to be read. This is just the book for a birthday present for boy and girl in their teens --It should give the heroic impulse--perhaps the best thing to be had out of a book--and should make the young people think of whatsoever things are honest, lovely, and of good report.

The Atelier du Lys, by the author of Mdlle. Mori (Longmans & Co., 2/6). Here we have a beloved old friend in a surprisingly cheap edition the which we thank the publishers. Young people of this generation should not grow up without reading a novel which gives and able, just, liberal, and most interesting and graphic study of the personages and events of the French Revolution, and all the time the gracious and charming personality of the young heroine is kept so well to the front, and the tale of her life is so interesting, that The Atelier du Lys entirelye scapes being in the category of stories where the tale is a mere beg on which to bang historical information. That is a kind of cheat that we are not much in sympathy with: give us history or story, or, best of all, a story which is a real, living bit of the history of the time and serves to illuminate the whole subject. The Atelier du Lys would be a charming birthday gift book for any age from twelve upwards.

Mdlle. Mori, by the author of The Atelier du Lys (Longmand & Co., 2/6). This is another tale by the same author, deeply interesting as a picture of Roman life and the manners about the year 1845, and during the whole period of the Revolution which resulted in United Italy. The enthusiasm of the Young Italy party, the liberal mind, the amiable, but not strong, character of Pio Nono, and the agonizing struggle with the clerical party are very graphically told. The brother and sister, on whose fate the story turns, are sufficiently interesting people to carry the reader through all the vicissitudes which attended them in those troublous days. This is a capital birthday gift book, and is a very cheap edition uniform with the last.

The Story of a Child, by Margaret Deland )Longmans & Co., 5/-). This is a deeply interesting book. It should be read by all parents, and seeing that the child is not unduly glorified, nor the elders unfairly criticised, it is not necessary that it should be tabooed to the children. It will be less interesting to them, however, than to the grown-ups; to the young it will be a mere matter-of-fact, the sort of thing that goes without saying, while for the elders it will be full of insight and revelation as to what goes on in that terra incognita, the heart of a child. This is the sort of study of a child that is really precious, because it is to be had on no other terms than harking back to our own childhood, vivifying it, reproducing it, by mere force of imaginative power. This is absolutely the only way to get into sympathy with a child, for children, with all their frank confidences and ready chatter, are quite inscrutable little persons; who never tell anyone the sort of things that we read in this "Story." There is no need to tell each other, for children know, and, as for telling the grown-ups, children are folly persuaded that no grown-up, not ever mother, could understand; Ponto might, perhaps, and confidences will be poured into the ear of a dog, which the loving mother lays herself out for in vain.

"Each in his hidden sphere of joy or woe
Our hermit spirit dwell, and range apart,
Our eyes see all around in gloom or glow--
Hues of their own, fresh borrw'd from the heart."

And this is even more strongly the case with children that with ourselves. It is a law of our nature with which it is absolutely useless to contend, and our only means of true intimacy with a child is the power of recovering our own childhood--a power which we are apt to let slip as of no vital importance. This, Miss Margaret Deland helps us to do: we recognize our old selves, with a difference, in Ellen. Jus so irrational, inconsequent, loving, and heroic, and generally tiresome to the grown up world were our own impulses in that long ago, which we look back on with tenderness, but seldom with complacency. If we rise, after reading the Story of a Child, a little more humble, a little more diffident, ready to believe more that we see, why it will do us no harm, and should bless and help the children. With one word of the author's we should like to differ, Miss Deland thinks that it may be wholesome for the elders to understand children better, but for the children, why, she thinks that most of us grow up wonderfully well in spite of this and all other difficulties. In a sense this is true, but, in another sense, one of the saddest things in life is the issue of splendid child- material into common-place, uninteresting maturity, of a kind that the world seems to be neither the better nor the worse for. Last Words to Girls, inscribed to the pupils of the Girls' Public Day Schools Company, and the Maria Grey School, by Maria Grey. A new and cheaper edition (Longmans & Co., 2/6). Last Words, from the pen of that most earnest worker in the cause of the education of girls (Mrs. William Grey), must needs be full of insight and import. Mrs. Grey endeavors to show to girls the meaning of their work in school, and the object of life after school. The wise author feels that we should get far more intelligent co-operation form girls if we did not leave them to the distressing and dispiriting cui bono? which takes purpose and pleasure out of so many of our efforts in after life, and is often felt very strongly by young people while going through the drudgery of the education. First,

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Mrs. Grey explains to the girls, plainly, and wisely, how the discipline of school lends itself to the formation of personal habits, moral habits, and intellectual habits, and how the girl, who steadfastly endeavors herself after these habits, gains not only a certain amount of knowledge and intellectual power, but gains the far more precious habits of the good life. Then she goes on to show the special value of certain amount of knowledge and intellectual power, but gains the farmore precious habits of the good life. Then she goes on to show the special value of certain studies, and the young girl student, who enters into the rational of her studies in Botany, History, Foreign Languages, above all in the Bible, as here put before her, will get something over and above an examinable knowledge of certain text books. She will get material towards the making of character, and the subjects of her studies will be and appreciable quantity in the sum total she makes as a human being. The second part of the volume deals with life after school; with home life and its proper work and play; with the girl's lot in life, whether marriage, a profession, or a single life with less definite duties; with the woman's duty as a member of society, as a member of a nation, and as a member of the great human family. This is a book that all girls should read, so soon as they come to have earnest thoughts of life; and we cannot imagine a girl reading Mrs. Grey's wise book without becoming a better and more womanly woman, a fitter and better-prepared mother.

The Blue Poetry Book, edited by Andrew Lang (Longmans & Co., 6/-). Mr. Andrew Lang is the children's good knight, who goes forth, spear in hand, to bring them spoils from the wars. Never came he home more richly laden than when he carried The Blue Poetry Book. The Editor has taken the right guide for his selection; he chooses 'by recollections of what particular pleased himself in youth." here are poems with a story in them--ballads, tales weird and uncanny to stir "the fearful joy" that children love; but never a hint of the pathetic view of life, the sort of self-pity in living that comes to us older people. Mr. Lang says, "it is his excursions into the unraveled world which the child enjoys."' from the "unknown future" and "romantic past" the songs and ballads are culled, and the most delightfully new and fascinating collection we have here, the strange thing being that the Editor has been able to make so large a collection of poems so little hackneyed. As for the age of readers--they should be of any age from say six to twenty, for children very early develop a taste for poetry that is poetry, as opposed to mere verse, and "it is a mistake," says the Editor, "to write down to children." We have seldom seen a more thoughtful essay on the poetry proper for children that Mr. Lang gives us in his introduction. As for the illustrations, how children would dream over them; they are wonderfully fascinating and sympathetic, and every now and then have weird touches that remind one of Blake. The Blue Poetry Book is a treasure trove for the children's hour.

Deb and the Duchess, by L. T. Meade (Longmans & Co., 3/6). Deb is a quaint little person, mecompris by the people about her, because the early part of her little life is spent with an indulgent grandmother, and Deb is a naughty little rebel when she come to live among brothers and sisters and be subject to the family rule. The Duchess is the child of a circus man who manages a bear, and how Deb and the Duchess came to be great friends, and how the poor little Duchess died for her