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whence it comes, and what will come of it. In this class of reading I should allow a girl at your age much more latitude than some persons might think. Excluding of course every thing profane, licentious or indelicate, I would not confine your reading to the memorials of piety: the truths that vanity, pride, and earthliness have written against themselves without intending it, are most invaluable lessons. No truth is useless or pernicious. It is fiction, exaggeration, misrepresentation, that delude and pervert the youthful mind: not the portraits ambition, vanity, and heartlessness have painted of themselves, in the security of confidential correspondence, or the yet closer secrecy of private memoranda. I would 'almost venture to assert that I never read a work of this description without gaining good from it: for every thing that adds to our knowledge of human nature, adds to our knowledge of ourselves--and increased knowledge of ourselves is greater gain that all that science or learning can impart beside it. In this persuasion, I would admit every thing into your course of biographical reading, but what is false, indecorous, or corruptive: and this will open to you no very narrow field. But, my dear M., let me advise you here, that beside the importance of caution as to what you read, there is an equally important consideration how you read. If you study biography as fiction, that is, for the story of it only, it may have all the ill effect of fiction, and cannot have the good effect of truth. If all you observe is what the persons did, where they went, and what happened to them by the way, the purpose I have in view is not answered ; your gathered knowledge may be increased, but your heart will not be improved by your reading. When yon take a piece of biography of any kind for perusal, fix your eye on the character of the individual watch how it acts-how it discloses itself-how it is influenced by external things, and how it communicates its own colouring to them-particularly mark its growth, its checks, its self-deceptions--for these are in every character the
benefits of its good points--the conséquences of its bad ones-the motives of action, the results of action the changes of sentiment that years produce---what comes with youth, what goes with age-particularly how the character wears as eternity approaches and time recedes. And in your judgment of the character as you go along, keep in threefold view how it appears to itself, how it appears to man, and how it must appear before the eye of God. For never believe, dear M., that you have not done with God and religion, when you leave your serious books for those of secular interest. Nor time, nor any thing in it and about it, can be isolated from eternity. The moment you cut the link, and suffer yourself to see any thing or judge of any thing in one as independent of the other, you convert the truths you are reading into falsehood--the utility of your reading into an empty diversion, or more probably a mischievous delusion. The writer way forget the presence of a God-may reason as if there were none-may make his calculations and draw his conclusions as if death were the period of existence: or rather, for that is more common with the irreligious, as if there were no death. But you, when you read, should have the divine Being, with all his purposes and claims, present as a third between you and the subject of the work; endeavour to judge as He would judge, to like as He would like, to decide as He would decide: thus you will read truth in pages where the author wrote 'none; and while he sees every thing through the false medium that miscolours all things to the earthly eye, and paints them as he sees them, your vision may detect "the errors of his drawing you will see evil to be evil though he may call it good-sin to be misery though he may call it happiness: só reading, scarcely any book can do you harm; at the same time that it is the only way of reading in which any book can do you essential good : for however you may fancy you get knowledge by your študies, if what you learn is not truth, it is not an in
crease' of knowledge, but of error, which is essential ignorance
REVIEW OF BOOKS.
The Elements of Arithmetic, for the Use of Schools, 8ć.
By Elias Johnstone.-Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh, Price 2s.. 1826. To what extent it is necessary or desirable to teach girls Arithmetic, is a question very often paused upon. We should ourselves, in this and many other cases, make a distinction between what it is necessary to know, and what it is desirable to learn. The knowledge of figures necessary to women in their usual occupatiots is very limited indeed. Excepting where the females of family are to take a part in the management of tradewhich, being an individual distinction, must of course be individually provided for, and does not much affect the general question--the demand upon a woman's arithmetical powers is likely to be very little more than she can contrive to calculate upon her fingers. To put down the week's expenses, and at the end of the week to cast them up, is pretty generally the extent of her numerical task; or if in the payment of wages, or other such 2001dents, there happens to be a troublesome question of divisions and fractions, some magic page of her poeketbook will give the produce ready calculated. But we are by no means on this account prepared to say, that girls need not be taught arithmetic. There are many things which not to know is a deficiency, though to make use of them may be never required; at the same time that we would never advocate an equal expenditure of time and pains on what is useless, as on what is useful.
A taste for this study, or a talent for it, seems to be a power quite peculiar to some minds, distinct from, and very generally separate from talents in general. I have seen girls never so happy as with a huge slate before them,
filled from corner to corner with squadrons of figures, whose oblique ranks are really terrific to common eyes. In these cases, perverse as it may seem, we should most decidedly say, break the slate and put the squadron to the rout-time is wasting in cultivating a talent that bas already over-run the else neglected garden. Where, on the contrary, great difficulty is manifested in acquiring a knowledge of figures, I should be much disposed to press it. Because this difficulty implies an incapacity of mind, in a particular point, that may affect it in other matters, beside solving an arithmetical problem. Effort and application will probably overcome this incapacity, and the mind be consequently improved where most it was defective. This child cannot do a sum
sum-she hates figures-it is of no consequence, so she need not learn. But why cannot she do a sum, that another can do so easily? This may be of consequence, though the sum is not. In all matters of education, I think inaptitude for particular studies should be considered in this light, before they are allowed to be relinquished. It is the part of education to supply as far as possible the intellect's deficiencies, as well as to make use of its redundance.
Whether the common and established method of teaching arithmetic is the best or the only way, is, we think, a matter of consideration. All are taught, and with much difficulty we some of us at least know, how to work a sum in any given rule-but no one is told and do one enquires why it is to be so worked; and how, in being so worked, the true answer must be the just solution of the question. Would it not be an improvement if this could be made known? We were much pleased with the article Arithmetick in a work we lately had occasion to mention, The Complete Governess, that in some degree, and as far as it goes, proceeds upon such a plan. We recommend it to the observation of those who have the task of first teaching Arithmetick to children.
Mr. Johnstone's Elements appears to us a very good publication of its kind.
Conversations of a Father with his Son on some lead
ing points in Natural Philosophy, &c. By the Rev. B. H. Draper. Price 1s. 6d. Wightman and Cramp, Paternoster Row, London.
We very particularly recommend this little work to our friends in the nursery. It is exactly of the kind of books we desire to see multiplied in our children's libráries, and taking place of stories and other trash, than which we are satisfied they will prove as much more interesting as they are more beneficial. We cannot too much commend it.
INTELLIGENCE FROM A YOUNG LADY IN LONDON TO HER FRIENDS
IN THE COUNTRY.
MY DEAR ELIZABETH,
I went yesterday to one of the large charitable sales, of which you have heard so much mention. To a dom mestick, country girl, no sight could be more novel. It was held at one of the publick Assembly-rooms. The street was in an uproar of carriages, the doors thronged with servants and spectators, such as was used to be seen only on some great ball or opera night. The crowd surpassed what was used to be seen any where--and if you passed through the rooms at all, it was rather by force than by sufferance. Though there had been a distribution of tickets, it was too abundant to exclude any onie ; and I cannot but believe every body was there who thought it a better amusenient than lounging about the street. To me it was what in our country tongue we should call a strange sight, to find young ladies standing behind the counter, selling goods in regular shop-fashion, amid such a crowd of strangers. I am