The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
By The Way

Volume 2, no. 2, 1891/92, pg. 395-397

Professor Huxley says that the great want of the day is a "capacity-catcher," an arrangement or contrivance which shall select the capable girl or boy at the outset of his or her career, and shall thus provide for the cultivation of talent which would otherwise be overlooked, and which the public cannot afford to waste.

The late Sir S. Fowell Buxton said, "The longer I live the more I am certain that the great difference between men, between the feeble and the powerful, the great and the insignificant, is energy--invincible determination, a purpose once fixed, and then, death or victory. That quality will do anything that can be done in this world; and no talents, no circumstances, no opportunities will make a two-legged creature a Man without it."

Extracts from the "Life of the Abbé Dupanloup":--

"A master must look after everything--from the soul of a child to the strings of its shoes.

"Nothing is little in a work where all is great."

"As Bishop of Orleans he reduced to rule not only the entire machinery of diocesan administration, but in particular that of his cathedral. He drew up with his own hands not only the rules for the cure, the vicars, and every one else employed on the establishment, but even the choir-boys as well. It was the same with his own household. On the principle formulated by S. Paul, that a Bishop should govern his own house, he wrote out (down to the minutest detail) a rule for each of his domestic servants, and put it into their hands when they entered his house. 'It would be unjust and unreasonable,' he said, 'not to tell people what they have to do, and then to reproach them with not having done it, or be surprised that it was not done.' His smallest details, and his practical common sense made him understand to what an extent inattention and uncertainty in such matters produce disorder and irregularity in a household, and the immense advantages of rule, order, and punctuality.

"The Abbe said, 'Meditate on the Holy Infancy--on the simplicity, humility, poverty, silence, and obedience of the Child Jesus.'"

Extracts from the "Life of Henry Ward Beecher":--

"I next came under the influence of a very humble serving-man. He opened up new directions to me, and gave me new impulses. He was a coloured man, and I am not ashamed to say that my whole life, my whole career respecting the coloured race in the conflict which was so long carried on in this country was largely influenced by the effect produced on my mind, when I was between eight and ten . . . He did not set out to influence me; he did not know that he did it; I did not know it until a great while afterwards; but he gave me impulses, and impulses which were in the right direction . . .

"The memory of my mother as one sainted has exerted a singular influence upon me. After I came to be fourteen or fifteen I began to be distinctly conscious that there was a silent, secret, and, if you please to call it so, romantic influence which was affecting me. It grew and it grows, so that in some parts of my nature I think I have more communion with my mother, whom I never saw except as a child three years old, than with any living being. I am conscious that all my life long there has been a moral power in my memory of her. It is evident to me that while in education and other material respects her death was a deprivation, it was also an inspiration and communion--one of those invisible blessings which faith comprehends, but which we are apt not to weigh and to estimate . . . The teacher of mathematics taught me to conquer in studying. There is a very hour in which a young nature, tugging, discouraged, and weary with books, rises with the consciousness of victorious power into masterhood. For ever after he knows that he can learn any thing if he pleases. It is a distinct intellectual conversion.

"'That lesson must be learned," he said, in a very quiet tone, but with a terrible intensity and with the certainty of Fate. All explanations and excuses he trod under foot with utter scornfulness. 'I want that problem. I don't want any reasons why I don't get it . . . You need not study it at all, or you may study it ten hours--just to suit yourself. What do I care how you get it? That's your business, but you must have it.' It was tough for a green boy, but it seasoned him. In less than a month I had the most intense sense of intellectual independence and courage to defend my recitations.

"In the midst of a lesson his cold and calm voice would fall upon me--'No.' I hesitated, stopped, then went back to the beginning, and on reaching the same spot again, 'No,' uttered with the tone of perfect conviction, barred my progress. 'The next!' and I sat down in red confusion. He too was stopped with 'No!' but went right on, finished, and as he sat down was rewarded with 'Very well!' 'Why,' whimpered I, 'I recited it just as he did, and you said--No!' 'Why didn't you say yes and stick to it? It is not enough to know your lesson. You must know that you know it. You have learned nothing till you are sure. If all the world says, No, your business is to say yes, and to prove it!'

". . . It was my duty after I was about eight to go downstairs and build a fire . . . (He was early taught to work, and to endure what might now be called hardships; but he came in after years to be glad of this experience.)

"I am thankful that I learned to hem towels. I know how to knit suspenders and mittens. I know a good deal about sawing, chopping, splitting, planing, and things of that sort. I was brought up to put my hand to anything, so that when travelling on the prairies, and my horse lost a shoe, and I came to an abandoned blacksmith's shop, I could go in, start the fire, and fix the old shoe and put it on again. What Man has done, Man CAN do;and it is a good thing to bring up boys so that they shall think they can do anything.

"Beecher was an earnest advocate of manual labour. He had no patience with those whose squeamish effeminacy made them look upon labour as degrading. He wrote, 'It is my deliberate conviction that physical labour is indispensable to intellectual and moral health.'...

"While Henry Ward Beecher's memory of words, dates, and the like was very bad, rendering it almost impossible for him to quote accurately, or recall figures or dates, yet his memory of facts was wonderfully accurate. The language by which he learned a fact he could seldom repeat, but the information he never forgot. The former was only a shell; it was the meat of the nut that he cared for."--From a Mother's Note-Book.


Our Summer Session must, we regret to say, be postponed to another year. We have received offers of valuable help and charming invitations, but our announcement came out unavoidably so late that many of our friends had already made arrangements for the summer, and there is not sufficient promise of support to warrant the carrying out of the scheme this year.

The Parents' Review School. We receive great credit for this "brilliant idea," and we are indeed happy to have met a strongly-felt need of that clientele of "Parents" to whose service we devote ourselves. We are deeply gratified, too, by many words of heart-felt appreciation of the Parents' Review which have reached us in this connection; but our pupils, so far, are the children of cultivated parents, for the most part, with able governesses. No doubt the School will be an invaluable auxiliary to these; but will not our readers help us to reach families less favourably circumstanced? Will they not send the numbers of the Parents' Review about to young parents who have never heard of the publication? Parents who wish to enter their children after the holidays should write at once to the editor (care of the publishers): the preparation of the necessary papers is a work of time.

Onward and Upward. Will our readers remember that "Onward and Upward" is our cottage magazine; and will they endeavour to introduce it? Free specimen copies (P.N.E.U. edition) may be had by applying to the Secretary of "Onward and Upward," Haddo House, Aberdeen.