The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
The PR Letter Bag.
[The Editor is not responsible for the opinions of Correspondents.]
DEAR EDITOR,--It has been said that the progressive civilisation of a nation is indicated by the increased consumption of soap, and I suppose the ordinary Englishwoman would complacently maintain that the increase of comfort in the condition of all classes in England during the last 50 years has been accompanied by increased attention to cleanliness. I hope that this is generally true, but my own experience makes me fear that nowadays girls and young women of the upper middle class are less careful as regards personal cleanliness and neatness than their mothers were. I have been often shocked to see the neglected fingernails and teeth, the unkempt hair and generally ungroomed appearance of young maidens who come from homes in which one would expect that the habits of fastidious cleanliness and dainty neatness, which should characterize the well-bred English girl, would be acquired as a matter of course under maternal supervision, as of old. It sometimes seems as if the important parts of the toilette had been omitted in order to have time for an untidy attempt at an elaborate coiffure, or a wonderful arrangement of lace and jewellery. Do you think that mothers nowadays leave these matters to the girls themselves, or do they consider governesses and schoolmistresses responsible for this important part of bringing up? Or, is the life of the modern school girl and student too full for her to take proper care of her person? As Miss Soulsby says, washing is "not a natural instinct; it is an acquired taste and a part of training in self control," and if this taste is not acquired in youth, I fear it will not be in later life.
DEAR EDITOR,--The first letter on "Girls' Education," under the head of "Discussion" in the March number of the Parents' Review, appears to me to overlook the value of idealism as an element in the perfect womanly character; the masculine matter-of-factness which the writer apparently wishes to induce in woman would, I feel, impair the influence of woman as inspirer and idealist--surely one of her most precious prerogatives. One must admit that the fact that women expect more from life than men leads to the ill-results that the correspondent points out, namely, a morbid desire for sympathy, and discontent; but should not these be counteracted by a wiser and more unselfish development of the innate idealism from which they spring, rather than by a suppression of that idealism? The desire for "the high that is for earth too high" must do incalculable good if it is joined with practical faith-inspired effort to make ourselves and others approach nearer to it, and by courage and trust to endure failure and disappointment.
DEAR EDITOR,--In answer to "Foster Mother's" letter in the Parents' Review for March, I should like to suggest the following books:--Kingsley's Waterbabies, which children of four and five years old can delight in; Kingsley's Heroes; Agathos, by Wilberforce; parts of Monro's Sacred Allegories, and of The Legend of the Silver Cup, by Creightley, and of The Child's Books of Saints by Canton, but with all these three, parts are unsuitable--too old or too sad or alarming--so that they cannot be put into the child's own hands, delightful as they are. Then about foreign countries, A Missionary Walk through the Zoo, by A. Batty, about 1s, 6d, is charming, and Children in Blue and Found! or Our Search in the Western Valley, both by F. Codrington, and both about 2s. Also Tales told in the Nursery, 1s, published by the Religious Tract Society; Aunt Louisa's book of Common Things, and The World at Home, by M. and E. Kirby, are all much more satisfactory than their titles would lead one to suppose; they are really capital. For fairy tales, Ruskin's King of the Golden River, or parts of it, and some of the tales in Nature Myths and Stories, by F. Cooke. I have avoided all those in it and the Heroes about the gods, as I think it is too confusing to the mind of a very young child to have to distinguish between the true God and the ancient gods of Greece and Rome, so that they are better left along till rather later. For poetry, The Children's Garland in the Golden Treasury series and parts of Hiawatha. Of delightful books about nature there is no lack, and it is most intense delight to a child from its baby days, two years old and on, to have these books (rather than the mere picture-book with a foolish letter-press!) constantly about it in the nursery--to look at their pictures, and then discover and examine the things mentioned in its walks and at the seaside and in the garden. This I believe one of the most satisfactory kinds of training a young child can possibly have, and is laying up a store of real interest for the future, besides obviating boredom and perfectly useless and trashy talk during the many hours spent out of doors. Of course the nurse must be at one with you if this training it to have its full effect. The Eyes and No Eyes series of Readers by Arabella Buckley, just brought out, and to be had in six 6d. and 4d. parts, or in one 3s. 6d. volume, is really splendid and cannot be too highly recommended, I think. Children of five will delight in it. Seaside Walks of a Naturalist, and Country Walks of a Naturalist, 3s. 6d. each, by W. Houghton, are delightful. Common Objects of the Country, by F. J. Wood, 3s. 6d.; Furneaux' Outdoor World, 4s. 6d.; Kearton's Dickie-Bird Land, about 5s; and Playing at Botany, by Phoebe Allen, are all capital books well worth possessing. As good literature of a rather more advanced kind, but from which tales could be told, there are the two delightful books edited by Newbolt, Foissart in England and Stories from Froissart, 4s. 6d. each, and Mary Macleod's Book of King Arthur and his Noble Knights, and Stories from the Faery Queen, also 4s. 6d. each. These are all four most delightful. I shall be very glad to give further particulars about any of the books mentioned. I need hardly say that the pictures all want carefully looking over, as some would not be suitable to show to little children.
TO THE READERS OF THE "PARENTS' REVIEW."
DEAR READERS,--We read and welcome the Parents' Review month by month, and know it has been brought help and happiness into many homes. One constantly meets and hears of people who know nothing of the work of the Union, who live in distant homes away from possible lectures and conference, and who delight in the red magazine which brings them in touch with the best educational thought of the day. We are most grateful to the editor and the able contributors to this Review, but in the busy rush of life have any of us stopped to think how all this has come about? Money is needed to launch every society, every training college, every journal. How were ours started? Our founder launched the Union and the House of Education without any outside help, but for starting the magazine she had to call in the aid of a few friends and well-wishers. There is, therefore, another small band of people of whose existence some of us were hardly aware, to whom our deep gratitude is due--they are the shareholders in the Parents' Review Company, those friends who thirteen years ago subscribed money to start the magazine.
Circumstances have gradually arisen which make it impossible to continue the existence of this Company. In order therefore to prevent its being sold to any ordinary publishers, and the consequent loss of much that we value in tone, etc., the Committee of the P.N.E.U., which includes Mr. F. Steinthal (one of the directors of the Parents' Review Company), have decided that it would be to the best interests of the P.N.E.U. that The Union, which already publishes and distributes the Parents' Review, should also own it. A fund is therefore being opened to buy up the shares of the Company (representing £1,435) and present the magazine to the Society.
Several of the shareholders have generously handed over their shares to this fund. Others have not yet been approached, and others are not in a position to do this. To refund these latter, about £400 will be required, and I feel sure that this sum will be easily collected among the 2000 odd readers of the Review and members of the P.N.E.U.
Will every grateful reader send a contribution, however small, to
I acknowledge with grateful thanks the receipt of the list of contributions on the following page, received up to March 15th, and firmly believe I have not appealed in vain.
P.S.--I will gladly answer any questions with regard to the original expenditure of the money should anyone care to write to me on the subject.
LIST OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FUND.
Total Received . . . £210 4s 6d
"Mrs. M. B. Scott 5s.," which appeared in the April list, should have read "Miss M. B. Scott 2s. 6d. and Miss E. L. Bertram 2s. 6d."
Typed by Blossom Barden, Apr 2020; Proofread by LNL, Apr 2020
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