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The Home School,
Sketches of Great Educators—Pestalozzi,
69, 127, 313
The Educator, the Divine, and the Physician,
The Late Sir William Hamilton, .
19, 79, 113, 150
CONVERSATION :-THE PROSPECTUS. [A room at the Educator's home, which serves for sitting-room, library, and study-busts of Shakspere, Bacon, and Milton, duly placed, (Shakspere highest, of course, not intentionally altogether, but by some unconscious movement in the brain, which will not let the eye rest in peace till it sees its idol elevated, by however slight a hairsbreadth, above all others)—a table strewn with papers and MS.]
EDUCATOR and FRIEND, seated. Ed. Talk not of troubling me—I am heartily glad to see you; nor must you depart till I have opened up, for your friendly counsel and advice, a new literary scheme, which has been seething in my brain for upwards of a score of years; in fact, ever since I joined the worthy and noble, but too frequently poor and despised Brotherhood of Teachers.
Fr. My dear fellow, I am proud to hear you speak in this strain; and I see “notes of preparation” spread on the table now before me, that you intend setting your energies to labour in earnest towards the completing of some great work, whose literary merit I dare vouch for before I know the subject or the design-before this bantling of your brain see the light.
Ed. I fear that a certain vagueness in my words has misled you in your anticipation of the nature of my effort; or rather, I perceive, the force of old associations has urged you on the track of our younger literary ambitions.
Fr. What ! are you going to tune your lyre to anything meaner than a great theme?
Ed. To a great theme I attune my mind; may it reach the due height to charm and win the hearers! but the lyre is not needed to be strung.
Fr. You have one great vice, my friend, which I do not remember to have told you of before---at least, not so broadly—and that is,
while you seem disposed to do justice to others, you seem determined to deal most unjustly by yourself.
Ed. How now? you surely do not mean to flatter me to my very face?
Fr. I never flattered you; at least, I never felt that I designed to do so; no, I regard you too deeply for that.
Ed. Forgive me, forgive me; I know it.
Fr. But I do say that you have sunk a gist too good for the drudging nature of the business
Ed. Business ?
Ir. Well, profession, if it soothes your car more. I speak this bitterly, and yet, from my inmost soul, kindly; you know I can no other
Ed. I do—I do; but you mistake. The
Fr. You will correct me after. I say, then, you have spent a noble life in a most mean profession.
Ed. So ! something like this has passed your lips before, with the intent to rouse me—well-meant I knew it was, but not feeling, for one slight moment, the justice of the implied rebuke, I smiled it off, and, with some jocund speech, cogged you to better humour. Now I am serious, and declare my pride in being one of that despised profession. Fr. Your pride! 0 I dare say you are a very martyr to that
You, unwitting what you did, and careless of your choiceI know that well, for you yourself are my authority-entered the bus
Ed. – pro
Fr. Profession, then-how touchy you are grown !—but is it not a business-a trade?
Ed. It may be made such, and yet stoop no lower than clergy or physician.
Fr. And do not many enter these as such?
Ed. I grant that many may and do join these professions as a business-trade; but, take them in their strict integrity-clothed with their functions, human and divine—and does not he slander them, it may be unwittingly, who speaks so? There are few flocks without some tainted sheep. Look to your poet tribe-your essence of creation; and are not some of them most precious rascals, cramfull of all ineffable conceits and harshest contradictions ? let us not judge the many by the few.
Fr. There is some show of truth in what you speak; but I would say, except the few and let us judge the many. Ed. In all things? Fr. Yes.
Ed. Then closet up, for you have work till Dooms-day. But a truce to such railing retlections--and to come to the SUBJECT which now lies nearest my heart-a scheme for the advancement of which has for many a long year been, fitfully, employing my leisure hours of thought; and although these have not been many, yet I trust, from
the very fervency of my convictions on the subject, based on upwards of twenty years' experience, to make some impression on the public mind. Owould that I could rouse it !
Fr. Rouse what ? and on what subject ?
Fr. Oh, now I comprehend you ; and being one of many whose eye has been turned inwards on the momentous subject, by yourself, I catch a touch of your devoted fervour, and feel the stirring pathos of that theme
“ THE PUBLIC MIND—THE SUBJECT, EDUCATION." -But how, and when, and where ?
Ed. Through the medium of a monthly magazine, in which literature, philosophy, science and art, will be viewed and treated of chiefly in the light of their educating tendency.
Fr. Good—very good. I see the thorough spread and magnitude of your scheme.
Ed. And for the when–First March ; the where ... but why ask that? Where should I start the journal but in mine own good city, where my friends will troop around me, and uphold the STANDARD when I have fairly unfurled it?
Fr. Fairly, but softly, friend. Your scheme runs well—in phrase, at least, and feeling. But I confess my doubts as to your course being the wisest, or the likeliest one to give best chance of success in the end. For is not your good city, as you call it-in spite of its being able to boast the most poetical coat of arms that I know of, or have heard of—is it not a most unpoetical, and hence backward and incorrigible soil, in which to plant your scheme and hopes with prospect of their thriving ?
Ed. Nay, not so swift, sly friend, nor yet so biting. I know your full convictions on this head—nothing good can come out of it-eh ?
Fr. I did not say so, nor could I, without belying the truth-good Glasgow hams and rounds of beef obtain in the Scottish capital, I assure you.
Ed. Good Glasgow money, too, is equally acceptable, I doubt not. HER FAT CASES feed brightly up the wick of the lawyeric genius of the East.
Fr. It does—ha! ha! 'Tis a fair barter; you send a lamb, and we give back the skin—I mean the parchments—ha ! ha! That is all right. But 0, 'tis a silly sheep. Ed. Very. Fr. O very, very-an exceedingly great sheep. Ed. Nay, do not run your wit and humour so very, very hard.
Fr. I must smoke out my joke, or lose its relish. But I have finished, and in all seriousness do not see your way to success through such means.
I speak out frankly. Ed. Right; I thank you. Glasgow is changed from what she was some score of years ago. For each one of her sons, then, who had the taste to give a leisure hour to thoughtful reading, I doubt not but she now can count a hundred ; and for her daughters, they should be
reckoned by the ratio of a thousand now to one then, but their education towards the superinducing of this vastly weighty particular-I mean rational right-thinking—has been sadly overlooked, or rather, I should say (and I do it fearlessly), grossly bungled by fashionable and genteel empirics.
Fr. That is strong language.
Fr. O, I grant in numbers. She counts more heads; but, then, my friend, what's in them?
Ed. Counting more heads, she counts more human souls; and hence, I say it with marked emphasis, the SECOND GREATEST CITY IN THE EMPIRE. (Friend shifts in his seat and looks confused.] Think not, my good friend, that I utter this fact with the sly design of crowing over the good city of your birth: no, I esteem, love it and you too much for that. And remember that I look to EDINBURGH, the seat of our ancient kings, as every true Scotsman does, with as deep respect and loyalty of veneration as any one born in it; for a just and honest and abiding pride in EDINA, as the CAPITAL of our NOBLE MOTHER COUNTRY, is, or should be, common to us all. Edinburgh-born birds will not rest content in the apparent beauty and glory of their cage, but must ever be singing-to the disparagement, let me whisper, of their otherwise good and gentle breedingof their excelling in all things in which it is meritorious to excel, and depreciating as vulgar and little worth the undeniably great powers and distinctive energies of the SISTER CITY.
Fr. Your hand—that is my thought. We are at one.
Ed. With all my heart. And now to the point where we broke off. Thinking, from many reasons and denotements, that Glasgow was now ripe, if not eagerly ready, for such a publication, and that she had of late manifested a sort of smothered and upbraiding grief at the sudden decease of so many of her literary children, that promised fair, and were a credit to her, and would have lived to a long and strengthy life surely, if she had duly nursed and encouraged their growth-presuming on this, and anxious to see my native city awake from that lethargy in literary matters with which, I fear, she is but too justly taxed, I made an effort, a bold one for me, as you well know, and,“ screwing my courage to the sticking place,” asked one of the worthiest and most successful of our publishers if he would run the risk of such a magazine, on the faith of my poor merits being able to carry out and sustain such a publication.
Ed. Of course I broached to him the nature of my scheme—drew out my views in as lucid and yet condensed a form as I was master of--and