The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
The "P.R." Letter Bag.

Volume 15, 1904, pg. 872-874678-687

[The Editor is not responsible for the opinions of the Correspondents.]

Dear Editor, -- Your enthusiastic contributor, Miss Thomas, suggests that children should be taught dancing all the year round. By all means, if the dancing lessons can be given out of doors. Otherwise I raise my protest against the idea. When I had charge of children, I gave up having them taught dancing in a great public hall by the queen of dancing mistresses, entirely on sanitary grounds. Though the windows might be set open, the hot little bodies in motion produced an atmosphere in which it was nearly impossible to breathe, and the fatigue and exhaustion of the children when they came home made the Saturday half-holiday anything but enjoyment. As this was the usual experience during the colder months of the year, it is hardly surprising that the classes were almost entirely closed during the summer, when the heat and flying dust would have been intolerable. I may mention that if measles, whooping cough, etc., were abroad, it was impossible but that their germs should find a happy hunting ground in the dancing classes; and when children are not accustomed to fresh air, their heated bodies are sensitive to "draughts," so that it is hardly wonderful if they find themselves between Scylla and Charybdis.
Let the children dance out of doors through the year, with wraps to put on when they sit down to rest, and nothing but good can come of the exercise. For shelter for rain, etc., they might have a roughly boarded roof or even a tarpaulin. Dancing would be found to have as many charms as hockey if the lessons were given in the fresh air.
A Former House-Mistress.


[We hope some of our readers will answer Mrs. Traelstra's very interesting letter, which we have had permission to publish. -- ED.]

Dear Miss Mason,
Mrs. Sandberg-Geisweit van der Netten, in Amersfoort (Holland) was so kind as to give me your address, and I take the liberty of applying to you in a question in which I am very much interested. I am sorry that I forgot so much of my English, and I hope I will remember yet enough of it to make you understand what I mean. If you know, perhaps, Mrs. Sandberg personally, she will be able to tell you that I am not only an author of children's books, but that I am, too, always writing over the question of children's literature in general. I don't know if you are acquainted with the German "Jugend-Schriftenausschuss," a large federation of teachers, who all are trying to bring the children's literature to a higher level. They are doing very good work, but it seems to me they pay a little too much interest to the artistic form, and perhaps not wholly enough to the pedagogical side of the question, which I think ought to be, especially for children under twelve years, one of the most prominent questions.
In Holland we have not yet such a union, but there are many people who are very much interested in the question, and even the great public begins to open his eyes a little. Mrs. Nellie van Kol has begun the battle in Holland, but since a couple of years she is quite absorbed in the collecting of a series of good books, which she offers at a low price to the children of the labouring class -- in the manner as Mr. William Stead does in England with his "Books for the Bairns." And so I am, since some time, induced to fight the battle for a better and purer children's literature alone, albeit that the editors of our best educative papers (whereunder I name the first place Het Kind (The Child) under the redaction of Mrs. Sandberg, Dr. J. H. Guming and J. H. F. Ritter) give me as much help as they can.
I am writing regularly a series of articles, too, in the literary weekpaper, De Amsterdammer about "international children's books." And now I long so much to know a little more of what is going on in England on this subject in the beginning of the "century of the child." I am acquainted with some of the most beautiful and artistic picture books, which are speaking too of a new era in this matter, that must be growing in England too. But already, since a couple of years, I wrote to many people in England with the friendly prayer to tell me something about English children's literature in general, and especially about what is written in the last years about it, and if there is in England, as in Germany and Holland, some new life, some reviving, a stream of new ideas about this question -- but nobody was able or willing to tell me what I wanted to know. And so I hope you will be so good as to show me the way. Is there in England any league or any person who apply themselves especially to the task of purifying and ameliorating the "books for the bairns," and who write about this burning question for the public? Are there any serious and earnest critics about new and old books for the children? I know most of Stead's books, but I don't know if he or others ever wrote about this question.
I should be very glad if you would tell me something about these questions, and still gladder if you could induce some publishers to send me some of the best children's books, and some journals and books wherein I find something of the meanings of the most eminent authors about the question. For it is very strange when I write to a German or French publisher: "Please send me this or that book for recension," they always do so immediately, and often thank me afterwards for the good criticism I gave about it, and which they could judge by several orders they became from Holland in consequence of my articles in De Amsterdammer -- but it seems to be a stereotyped custom with English publishers not to answer such questions from the Continent. Perhaps you could give some indications to some of them, and induce them to send me the books I should wish to criticize in De Amsterdammer. Or, if you are yourself too much absorbed in your educative work, you could give me some addresses of persons who dedicate themselves totally to the question of literature for the young people.
This is my first question. Secondly I read some weeks hence, an article in Het Kind about your Home of Education and the Parents' National Educational Union, and I should like so much to know more about it. I wrote already a series of articles in our educational paper, School en leven (School and life).
When I am in the occasion of giving you some indications about Dutch education and children's literature, I will be happy to help you too. It happens so often that people from other countries come to me with several questions, and I am always glad when I perceive that they interest themselves in those questions to which I have dedicated myself, and so I hope too it will be with you. As you too have given your life and all your mental force for the sake of the little ones, I hope you won't think me indiscreet or impertinent because I ask so very much. I hope you will feel from this letter, though it be written in broken English, that my full heart and soul are with this question.
With the most friendly salutations,
Yours truly,
Mrs. S. Traelstra.
Scheveningen, Kanaaburg, No, 13.
Holland, 12th November, 1903
My nom de plume is "N. Van Flichtum."
[P.S. -- Letters should be sent to the above address. -- ED.]


Dear Editor, -- As a short account of the Lectures given at Oxford may be of interest to your readers, perhaps you may be able to find room for the enclosed in your next issue.
Yours faithfully,
G. M. Bevan.
August 17th, 1904.
A three weeks' Vacation Term for Biblical Study, such as was held last year at Cambridge, was concluded at Oxford, on August 13th. Many of the students were accommodated at Lady Margaret Hall, S. Hugh's Hall, and Somerville College; and the lectures were given at the High School. These included single lectures, by Dr. Grenfell on "The New Uncanonical Sayings of our Lord"; "The Languages of the Old Testament," by Dr. Margoliouth; "The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs," by Dr. Charles; "The Study of the Bible," by Miss Wordsworth; "Philo and the Alexandrian School,", by Dr. Bigg; "The Influence of Hellenic Religion at the time of the Rise of Christianity," by Prof. Gardner; "The Documentary History of the New Testament," by Dr. Kenyon; "The Mystic Element in New Testament Doctrine," by the Rev. W. R. Inge; and "Disputed Readings," by Mr. Conybeare. There were also courses of four Lectures each on "The Fourth Gospel," by the Dean of S. Patrick's; on "The Religion of Israel," with special reference to the Reforms of Josiah, and the Book of Deuteronomy, by Dr. Buchanan Gray, and the Rev. C. J. Ball; "The conditions of the Eastern Provinces as affecting S. Paul," by Prof. Ramsay; "The Philosophy of Religion," by Mr. C. C. J. Webb; "New Testament Theology with special reference to the Jewish Alexandrian School," by Dr. Adeney; and "Ezekiel," by Dr. Bennett.
The aim of these lectures is to give to those who study, and especially to those who teach the Bible, the opportunity of learning something of the best results of modern Biblical criticism and research. How great the need is for this fuller knowledge must be evident to all who are acquainted with the religious thought and literature of our time. That the attempt made by the Vacation Term for Biblical Study to meet this need has proved so successful, is due to those scholars by whose kindness this course of instruction has been made possible.


A course of Biblical Study will be begun this autumn at King's College, Women's department, Kensington Square, arranged by the Committee of Management of the College and the Executive Committee which organised the Vacation Terms for Biblical Study at Cambridge in 1903, and Oxford in 1904. The whole scheme, which includes the already existing Divinity lectures at the College, consists of the following Courses: -- New Testament Theology, by the Principal, Dr. Headlam; Introduction to the Old Testament, by Prof. Nairne; Introduction to the New Testament, by the Rev. Stanley Legg; Church History, by the Rev. E. W. Watson, the Philosophy of Religion, Dr. Rashdall. Classes in Elementary Hebrew and Greek Testament will be given by the Rev. H. Compton and the Rev. Stanley Legg in connection with the Old and New Testament Study.
The courses will be mapped out for the year, but so arranged that each term's work will be as far as possible complete in itself.
The whole scheme or any separate course or courses may be taken, and it is hoped that a correspondence scheme will later on be arranged. The fee for each course of 10 weekly lectures is £1. 1s., but will be reduced in the case of teachers or those intending to teach. The first course begins on October 11th. Application should be made t the Vice-Principal, Miss Faithfull, 13, Kensington Square.

Typed by Samantha, Jan. 2024; Proofread by LNL, June 2024