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From another, that the art of singing at sight is conferred with ease and certainty, in a few lessons.
From another, that arithmetic, Algebra, mathematics, trigonometry, practical astronomy, mechanics, rhetoric, and logic, including, moreover, merit and virtue, are each attainable in eight lessons.
And from a fourth, that a perfect pronunciation of a foreign language, may be given in one month*.
I know, also, that a hand-writing of incomparable ease and elegance, may be acquired in one week.
There are, besides, innumerable plans of education laid down, and proceeded on, by another class of teachers, who are less definite in detailing their methods of inspiring, than the authors of the above decisive arrangements; these systems merely combine the greatest ease, with the greatest expedition; they do but “ quickly enable “ learners to accompany the piano-forte, and play in concert,” or make " complete timists," or elegant practitioners, or scientific scholars, “ in an infinitely shorter period than can be accomplished by any other." They are only “unparalleled,” incomparable, allsufficient, and exclusively perfect; here, you see, some difficulty of credence might arise, were it not for the reality of supernatural agency in this country. There are a great many different methods of teaching one accomplishment, and they are all “ unparalleled ;" this may be conceived, many roads may conduct to one spot, ---the radii of a circle all converge to one centre, and these are all without a parallel, so far I understand; but the various paths of instruction are each without an equal, each is the most direct, each the shortest, each the only
This appears to me a problem worthy to exercise the abilities of a mathematician laureate; at all events, it proves, beyond a doubt, that superhuman power in English teachers of which I have been speaking.
As to the custom of performing miracles by degrees, and distributing their benefits piece-meal, it has important advantages, not apparent on a first view of the subject; persons who knew that a moment might give them accomplishments, which cost their forefathers the labor of years, might be too procrastinating in seeking to gain them; as it is notorious, that what we may do at any time, the time never comes that we do; and these procrastinators might absolutely die in their ignorance : on the other hand, if the supernatural power of teachers to give instantaneous instruction were openly set forth, obstinate individuals, astounded at the magnitude of their pretensions, might impertinently refuse their belief in them, and actually waste that valuable time in study, which might be devoted to boxing, racing, gambling, and every sort of elegant employment. Thus the greatest of blessings might become a curse; but the practice of administering inspiration after the same manner that ordinary
* The depositions to the above effect of all these gentlemen, except one (whose proclamation heralds universal harmony on the borrowed wings of the Magazines), with their several names thereunto respectively affixed, and also the declarations and signatures of many other vouchers for many similar wonders, may be found in registers raisonnés of important facts, published in England, called “ The Times" and is The " Atlas."
knowledge is attained, however wonderful be the shortness of the time in which it is performed, obviates these evils by lulling suspicion asleep ; the splendor of the truth, the reality of the wonder, being dimly seen, or seen but in part, even sceptics are drawn in to partake of its benefits in spite of themselves, in the same way that we compel children (poor victims !) to swallow large nauseous draughts of instruction, so ingeniously mixed up with their amusement, that they know not what it is that spoils the taste of their pleasure; the most obstinate of heretics will pay his money to be taught by the lesson, and will confidently expect perfection on the promised day; so, wealth and faith, the life and soul of national existence, are circulated and nurtured.
After detailing all this, I am reluctant to suggest notions which must damp the ardor of your admiration of this people ; but truth obliges ine to add, that notwithstanding all their seerning superiority, I doubt whether we have any reason to envy them : that they are aided hy some unearthly power, is indeed certain, but I know not whether the agent of that power be angel or demon; and circumstances I have lately discovered, make me fear the worst of these alternatives is the true one. It seems to me, that every thing perfectly incomprehensible in England, every thing that no other power on earth could effect, is done by the aid of a being, whose name, I am well satisfied, is not that of any God; a being, who builds ships as easily as children pile up card houses, and cuts likenesses out of iron, as fast as we should out of paper, a power they call steam : now I cannot help thinking that this being is employed in the new system of education ; his engines, of fifty teacher power, must be required to do so much work in so short a time, a given time too, precisely his method, --it must be so: the verbs are cut up, masticated, and digested in the brain ; perception of harmony is conveyed into the ears, the muscles of the throat are forced to emit the voice, the hand is steadied, the eye-sight is corrected, the fingers are bent into pliability, and the limbs are practised into grace, all by means of this power.
I was so anxious to ascertain the truth or falsity of this hypothesis, that I, the other day, (not without considerable fear of offending) ventured to ask the question of an intelligent Englishman of my acquaintance; his answer was not direct, nor did I perfectly comprehend it, but as he did not deny the fact, I took it for granted I was right, and forebore to continue a subject which I judged must be unpleasant to him; “Sir," said I,“ do not these masters of whom I “ have heard so much, teach by steam?" Why, certainly,” he answered, “ their success seems owing to their vapouring.”
I have now to mention greater wonders : notwithstanding all the facility of learning enjoyed in this country, and the consequent amazing stock of knowledge that must be generally possessed, there is but one description of persons who appear to have profited by the advantage, in the degree that might be expected, namely, those daughters of tradespersons, and professional men, whose circumstances oblige thein in their turn to devote their talents to the instruction of others. From motives of the kindest consideration, it seems an established
maxim, that only governesses are to enjoy the credit of extraordinary attainments. To hear all other persons talk, you would really suppose they lived in an age when money, and time, and leisure, and abilities, were requisite for gaining a variety of accomplishments; nay, even in those dark times, when the studying of books was a necessary preliminary to knowing their contents; such is the modesty and humanity of the men of England, that they conceal the excess of their learning, that the women may shine. The higher classes of females, upon principles of equal delicacy, also hide their's, so that with governesses only there is no reserve. I have conversed with some of the most learned counsellors, and best instructed ladies, of this polished nation, and never could bring any of them to confess above a third part of the genius and information owned to by the teachers of their children: it cannot be that they do not possess so much, for most of them, from superiority of wealth, have had far more opportunities of cultivating their abilities; and here I must observe, that though I give Englishmen all due credit for a vast stock of forbearance as to the display of their own acquirements, still it seems evident that the women are very greatly their superiors in genius and capacity; whatever may be the abilities of tutors, those of tutoresses far exceed them. I have remarked that masters, however miraculous their mode of instructing, do not teach more than six or eight different languages, or three or four several arts and sciences, at a time; that there are language masters, music masters, dancing masters, &c.; that the musician does not teach drawing, nor the professor of languages, dancing; nor the artist, singing.. nor the posture-master “ all the usual routine of female education;" but governesses teach,“ unassisted," all that themselves have learned from a dozen different tutors.
As a simple proof of the supernatural method of instructing common in England, and also of the peculiar power of learning enjoyed by English ladies, I subjoin copies, verbatim, of enquiries for governesses, the originals of which have been lately published. Here is one.
" WANTED, for two young ladies, a finishing governess, not exceeding thirty years “ of age, of the Established Church, who is capable of imparting instruction in a superior
style, and of conversing in the French and Italian languages with fluency, and teaching
them with grammatical purity; the former with the Parisian, the latter with the Tuscan “accent; also drawing, the piano-forte, singing, dancing, the use of the globes, geography, " writing, and arithmetic, with a perfect knowledge of her own language, will be “ required. To a lady who can give undeniable testimonials of her ability in each of the " above branches of education, a liberal salary will be given. As a minute investigation “ will be the result of an application, it is particularly requested that no one will reply " to this advertisement who is not fully competent to undertake the whole of the above."
Times. This is the other.
« WANTED, in a gentleman's family, residing in the country, a governess, to com“plete the education of four young ladies, in the English, French, and Italian languages, " music (including harp, piano-forte, and singing), dancing, and drawing, and every “ other requisite to a polite and rational education. The lady must be of the Established
“ Church, and her conduct such as may serve for an example, as well as a guide, to her pupils. A very liberal salary will be given.”
If you had any doubts as to the truth of what I have told you, the perúsal of these documents must, I am persuaded, have banished them; you see, that accomplishments in such perfection and variety, as it would be scarcely possible to the wisest and wealthiest inhabitant, of any less fortunate country, to attain in the course of a long life, are in England required of a young female, with as little hesitation, and with as much coolness, as we should demand honesty and subriety in a domestic; the conclusion is, the respective qualifications desired, are equally likely to be found.
Now I know that you, who are my friend, will find no difficulty in believing all I advance for your information; but it is possible thai, among some of your acquaintance, to whom you may chance to commu ate the contents of my letter, you may find doubters: if so, acquaint them with some facts it is nece
ecessary they should know; tell them, that Englishmen are particularly reflective: so fond of reasoning, that they never converse; so devoted to study, that they submit to the society of women merely as a duty, and endure it from excess of gallantry; so anxious after truth, that, while their bodies are dancing, their minds are generally solving problems (as their serious faces testify); so cautious of imposition, so fearful of error, that they will not look on a stranger lest they should commit themselves by a smile, nor stir their heads (they never dare to sneeze) in presence of a man whose title to their notice is doubtful, lest he should construe the movement into a courtesy. Now is it conceivable, that such a people should hold out their hands for the moon, and cry“ give me," for what is not to be had? Would they require impossibilities? Could they be imposed on? No!-they judge from experience: they always require proof of worth: they trace effects to their causes, and demonstrate facts. The inference is clear—the universe does not contain the equal of an English governess.
My heart burns with curiosity to see one of these accomplished creatures. I amuse myself with imagining the nature of the honors which are doubtless paid her; for whether governesses hold their singular powers by right of sex or of courtesy, of course those who acknowledge such powers cannot fail to respect them. I should suppose that they live like queens, that men bow down at their approach, that they are constantly surrounded by admirers, and dispense their smiles in the midst of a crowd, whose greatest pride it is to pay them homage; their receiving these distinctions would be but common justice to the invaluable perfections they are allowed to possess, and Englishmen are celebrated for their love of justice. When I have had an opportunity of observing the details of the ceremonial honor universally paid to an English instructress, and of properly estimating the consideration and respect in which she is held by her employers, I will write again.
HYMN TO THE OCEAN.
Roll on, vasty Ocean!
Till they melt in the skies,
'Mid the roll of her drums,
In an Apennine dance,
O’er the green furrows dashing,
In the vallied deeps hiding,
The long-hair's daughters
With shout and with laughter,---
Foot and foot far asunder,
Kicking up a white pillow
Viewless and vapory,
Keep the gazer from knowing
How glorious the sight !--
Lets the Moon out of prison
O’er the still waters blazing,
Of a creature on high,
Then, then the hollow tolling
Like a serpent-brood boiling