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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 12, 1901, pgs. 70-80


The Secret of the Presence and other Sermons, by H. C. G. Moule, D.D. (Seeley & Co., 3/6). Those who know anything of the devoutness, wisdom, and profound Christian understanding of Mr. Moule's teaching will welcome this volume of sermons for their devotional reading. Self-Surrender, Self-Consecration, The Individual and God, The Master and His Servants, Heart Purity, The Old Gospel and the New Age, are among the subjects treated of. In the sermon on Two Cambridge Saints, we have this interesting passage: "And Ridley, alike in his prosperity and in his hours of outward ruin, lived the hidden life with God, conversing with Him over His sacred Word. In his farewell he lifts the veil from those secrets for a moment, when he bids adieu to his well-loved Pembroke: 'In thy orchard (the walls, butts and trees, if they could speak, would bear me witness) I learned without book almost all Paul's epistles; yea and I ween all the canonical epistles, save only the Apocalypse, of which study, though in time a great part did depart from me, yet the sweet smell thereof I trust I shall carry with me into heaven.' Ridley's Walk is still shown in the grounds of Pembroke."


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The Book of King Arthur and His Noble Knights: Stories from Sir Thomas Malory's Morte D'Arthur, by Mary Macleod, with an introduction by John W. Hales (Wells, Gardner, Darton, 6/-). The Reviewer knows a family of children who have been brought up on the Morte D'Arthur. They could pass a searching examination on every incident narrated by the old chronicler, on the "Who said these words, and upon what occasion? give an account of the speaker," principle. Perhaps Malory has entered into their blood and made them, shall we say, knightly-minded children. Miss Macleod has made a selection (and "simplification") which presents a very good view of the whole, and should introduce young people at first hand to Arthur, Lancelot, Tristram, Galahad, and the rest. A handsome page, clear type, telling and sometimes beautiful illustrations, notably that on page 295, worthily set out Sir Thomas Malory's most worthy performance. We cannot conclude better than with a few words from Mr. Hales' introduction: "There is no more delightful book of its kind in the English language than Malory's Morte D'Arthur, and there are few that, in certain periods at least, have had more numerous or more illustrious readers. It was written at a time when our language was greatly unsettled, and it undoubtedly exercised much influence in settling it. It furnished an excellent specimen and a conspicuous standard of English prose. At an epoch when the age of chivalry was swiftly passing, it caught and preserved its fading colours. It reduced the old cumbrous and endless romances to convenient and readable dimensions, and provided a charming summary of them, both for its own age and all ages to come. With a volume of such importance in so many ways it is well to begin an acquaintance as soon as may be. And it is hoped that this selection and simplification of Malory's stories may be of service in introducing young students to one of the masterpieces of medieval literature, and in exciting in them a desire to know it fully and directly." "Herein may be seen noble chivalry, courtesy, humanity, friendliness, hardiness, love, friendship, cowardice, murder, hate, virtue, sin. Do after the good and leave the evil, and it shall bring you to good fame and renown."--(William Caxton).


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The Social Teaching of the Lord's Prayer, by Charles William Stubbs, D.D., Dean of Ely (Wells, Gardner, Darton, 1/6). Dean Stubbs writes from the standpoint of the Christian Socialist, and claims spiritual descent form Frederick Denison Maurice. He says in his dedicatory letter to Dr. Huntingdon, of New York, "The lessons which I had learnt in the Cambridge classrooms of Maurice and Kingsley, of Lightfoot and Westcott and Hort, will always remain one of the greatest privileges of my life." The sermons treat of social order, social progress, social justice, and social duty, and are a just expression of the increasing purpose and the increasing power of the present-day Church. "To know that Social Order is based on the Fatherly will of God . . . that Evolution is the way that God makes things come to pass . . . this is to be able to pray the Lord's Prayer aright. To believe that the present Kinghood of Christ is the ground of a true optimistic faith in Social Progress . . . that in the idea of its Founder, the Church, the Christian Kingdom, had for its object the reorganization and restitution of society, no less than the salvation and deliverance of the individual . . . this is to be able to pray the Lord's Prayer aright. To know that Social Justice requires that our daily bread should be God's bread, given in return for honest work . . . this is to be able to pray the Lord's Prayer aright. To know that the law of Social Duty, the law of Christ's Kingdom, is the law of service . . . this is to be able to pray the Lord's Prayer aright. To know that Heredity and Environment are facts of human existence . . . and yet that the most potent of all influences upon human character is change of spiritual environment . . . this is to be able to pray the Lord's Prayer aright." These are the main points in which the author sums up the meaning of the Lord's Prayer for the Christian Socialist.


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Stray Thoughts on Character, by Lucy H. M. Soulsby (Longmans, 2/6 net). Miss Soulsby writes of Sweetness and Strength, Happiness, Girls and their Money, Self-Control, Some Thoughts on the Education of Girls, An Ideal Woman, Our Duty to our Neighbour, The Slough of Despond, Self-Education, Moral Thoughtfulness. We believe that the author is playfully named amongst her friends, "The Virtuous Woman," after the title of one of her addresses. Certainly the stray thoughts in this volume should go to the making of virtuous women. "Someone said to me the other day, 'What were parents about not to teach their children in the nursery that manners require you to smile as you shake hands?' " This is the sort of thing the author knows; and the girl who reads this book will have the comforting assurance that she is in the hands of a friend who is aware of her great aspirations and her little awkwardnesses, and who can help her in the direction and fulfilment of the former as well and as wisely as in the correction of the latter. Her advice to girls who are seized with the sudden passion of an amitie amoureuse is well worth pondering--"I will tell you how to turn a silly friendship into that true love which is--

          Like music to a march,
          That sheds a joy on duty.'

"I. Never talk about your friendship either to others or to yourself; and remember that the interior silent conversations, against which Pascal warns us, have more influence over us than any spoken ones.

"II. Give a fair share of talk and time to other people; if you find that you and your friend are always drifting together, take some pains to drift apart!

"III. Above all cultivate instant obedience to the tiniest call of duty; model yourself on Lady Grizel Baillie, who could say after eighty years of practicing what she preached, that she should have felt ashamed if she had been unable to make herself perform at the moment the duty that was proper to be done."


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The Life and Death of Richard Yea and Nay, by Maurice Hewlett (Macmillan, 6/-). Mr. Maurice Hewlett has taken, it seems to us, a new departure in literature. He has given us the Saga Novel. Herein lies promise of a new lease of life for the historical novel. The author tells us that it is the man Richard he wishes to present to us, and not the events of a reign which hardly falls within English history at all. He gives us a hero, a cunning, persistent, free-stepping Ulysses, beloved of men--and hated; tall and glorious in his yellow hair; meaning always, for the most part meaning intensely, but blundering, repenting, and being chastised, even, it would seem, out of proportion to his offences, as happens in this world to earnest souls. The Crusade is no external thing to him; his spiritual warfare is unceasing, and through whatever sloughs he goes, Jesus Christ is still his "first love." All this is delightful and stimulating, and there are chapters in the book that are better than any sermon, but alas, and alas, the filth of the flesh that the reader must wade through! and when he thinks he has got safely to the other side, he is plunged into more unspeakable things than before. We are not sure that Mr. Hewlett is well advised in this; not so wrote Homer, or Shakespere, or Sir Thomas Malory, though none of the three can be said to ignore fleshly lusts. We hope Mr. Hewlett will see his way to giving us other Saga Novels with heroes as pure as Richard was on the whole, but without so realistic a framework of flesh to bring out the spiritual conflict. Mr. Hewlett's style makes his work a gain to Literature.


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In the Palace of the King: a Love Story of Old Madrid, by F. Marion Crawford (Macmillan, 6/-). The second title of this volume is enticing as coming from Mr. Crawford. He knows the "true inwardness" of Italian life, and we expect at his hands to be made equally intimate with old court life in Spain. We do get a vivid picture of the court of that Philip of Spain who made a dark and haughty appearance in English history as the consort of Queen Mary. But the love of two lovers is the theme of the story which is in fact the tale of what happened in a day and a night. We could wish that the lovers did not "rain kisses" so often as they do. We thought the raining of kisses belonged to young lady novelists, and not to a past master in the craft like Mr. Crawford. But the tale is almost a tragedy, and Romeo and Juliet kissed. Don John of Austria, one of the few perfect knights of history, is the hero, and the lady, Dolores, stands before us with something of the dignity of a Shakesperian heroine.


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Fairies, by M. T. Pole (Broadbent, Manchester, 2/6 net). Miss Tudor Pole has written a pretty and helpful book about wind-fairies, water-fairies, flower-fairies, all the fairies whose business it is to look after the affairs of this beautiful world. We think children will like the stories.


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Nature Myths and Stories, by F. G. Cooke (Curwen, 2/6). It was a happy thought of Miss Cooke's to put the old-world myths into stories for children. Phaeton and Baldur, Prometheus and Iris, Arachne, Hyacinth and Narcissus, Daphne and Chronus, are all personages who should enrich the children's world and people Nature for them as for the ancient Greeks and Norsemen. We congratulate Miss Cooke on her idea and on the way she carried it out.


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Wilderness Ways, by William J. Long (Ginn & Co., 2/6). This is a charming book. Mr. Long tells us that these sketches "are the result of many years of personal observation in the woods and fields." Here is a sentence which gives the key-note of the book:--"Any animal is interesting enough as an animal, and has character enough of his own without borrowing anything from man." Kagax, the Weasel, is a little horror, but Mr. Long maintains that children had better know real than ideal animals.


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At the Foot of the Rainbow, by M. H. Cornwall-Legh (Wells, Gardner, Darton, 2/-). A pretty and imaginative tale for children, with meanings which are not obtrusive and thoughts that will stick.


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The Wild Animal Play for Children, with alternate reading for very young children, by E. Seton-Thompson (Nutt, 2/-). Mr. Seton-Thompson, a past master in what concerns wild beasts, shows himself here up to the ways of children. This sketch was written, he tells us, "for some children who wanted help to play the characters in my books,--Wild Animals I Have Known, etc." Among the persons in the play are, a girl rabbit and a boy rabbit, a girl partridge, a boy crow, a great grey wolf, a little girl wolf, a grizzly bear boy, a funny little bear cub, all with delightful furs and feathers and delightful parts to play. The boy rabbit, "with one of his ears on cap all torn," is capital. Mr. G. D. Mason adds music for the verses, and the whole makes just the right play for young children.


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Tales Told in the Zoo, by F. C. & F. H. C. Gould (F. Unwin, 6/-). We are not quite sure that the authors have taken the wisest course in mixing up animal myths of their own invention with "well-known myths as published by the Folk Lore Society," but having entered our caveat, let us hasten to say how very good the stories are and how well told. For example, the tale of How the Hoopoes got the Crowns, when King Solomon in the desert was shadowed by their wings because he loved feathered things, and how "King Solomon rose refreshed, and with great thankfulness in his heart blessed the birds that had given him shadow in a thirsty land. 'Ask whatever boon ye desire,' he said, 'and it shall be to you even as ye wish.' And the Hoopoes, for these were the birds, answered--'Thou art great and wise, O King, and we be but simple folk; grant us that we may bear crowns of gold and jewels like thine own, for then we shall always remember the day when we sheltered thee in the desert.' So King Solomon, having in mind the promise, gave them each what they asked, and away they flew, each Hoopoe bearing a priceless crown of gold and gems on his head." The illustrations are spirited and well drawn.


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Frances Mary Buss Schools: Jubilee, 1900. We are sorry that want of space has made us late in noticing the very interesting magazine issued on the occasion of the School Jubilee in April last. It is well that a great educationalist like Miss Buss should be thus commemorated. A pleasant feature of the Magazine is the anecdotes, showing how Miss Buss obtained her wonderful influence over girls.


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Wrong from the First, by Mrs. Hart (Cassell, 2/-), is a tale of how wrong a family went, because they began with the fallacy that a step-mother is a person to be hated. The girl who took refuge in looking like a idiot is an interesting psychological study.


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Her Wilful Way, by E. Seachfield (Cassell, 1/6), tells how a wilful and clever "city" child came to live with her country cousins, and drew them into many perils.


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Inductive Geometry for Transition Classes, by H. A. Nesbitt, M. A. (Swan, Sonnenschein * Co.). This little book should meet with a warm reception from teachers, who are alive alike to the educational value of geometrical teaching and to the unsuitability of Euclid as a text-book for very young children. Mr. Nesbitt tells us that he wishes to help teachers "to teach the simpler truths of Geometry to children of from eight to twelve inductively, without the necessity of going through the elaborate formalities of demonstration." He points out that a child can grasp by intuition simple geometrical truths, though he may be quite unable to follow the method of a strict and formal proof of such truth, and that his difficulties are increased by Euclid's concise treatment of primary truths. Mr. Nesbitt's plan is to present some of the elementary properties of lines and angles as axioms which the child can receive by intuition when approached inductively. For example, the geometrical truth that the angles at the base of an isosceles triangle are equal, is illustrated by a diagram which a child who would be hopelessly confused by the reasoning of the "pons" would readily understand. Each chapter ends with a useful recapitulation, and there are a number of exercise at the end.


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In the Deep Woods: Possum Stories, by A. B. Paine (Heineman, 3/6). We are not sure that we think it well for the Little Lady to listen to stories till "the middle of the night," that is to say, till nine o'clock; but perhaps the Story Teller was to blame. Anyway, the stories are so entertaining that we cannot wonder at irregularities of that kind.


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