Зображення сторінки
[ocr errors]


You wished to see me, sir?' said the banker so cour regaux. 'Go to the bank; I shall be there immediately, teously, that the youth recovered his voice and courage and will set you to work.' sufficiently to reply.

Such a mind as that of Jacques Lafitte could not • Sir,' said he, I have neither name, nor fortune, nor long remain in a subordinate capacity. The Revolution station, but I have the will and the power to labour. broke out. At the time of the Assembly of Notables Can you give me a place in your office? The lowest he was book-keeper ; then cash-keeper ; and in 1804, would satisfy me.'

partner to M. Perregaux; and soon after, his successor What is your name, young man?' asked M. Perre- and executor. In 1809 he was appointed director, and gaux, unable to take his eyes off his interesting coun- in 1814 president of the Bank of France, having been tenance, and reading talent in the bright eye that, in previously made president of the Chamber of Comrenewed hope, now fearlessly met his.

merce, and judge of the Tribunal of Commerce for the • Jacques Lafitte,' was the answer.

Seine department, which in 1816 he was chosen to re* Your age?'

present in the Chamber of Deputies. After the RevoI am twenty; I was born in 1767,' answered he.

lution of July 1830, he filled some of the highest offices Are you a Parisian ?' was the banker's next question. of the state. His whole career was honourable to him“No, sir; I am from Bayonne,' answered Jacques. self and beneficial to others. Honourable to himself, for “What is your father?' rejoined the banker.

he was indebted, under Providential blessing, to his own “He is a carpenter,' replied the youth ; ' but he has talent and irreproachable conduct for his brilliant sucten children,' he hastily added, and I am come to Paris cess; and useful to others, for he never lost an opporto try to help my father to support them.'

tunity of doing good. His benefits are still fresh in the It is a laudable design, young man,' answered the memory—the heart-memory-of many. A child of the banker, “but I have no place vacant.' Then added, as people himself, he never forgot the first day he stood a he saw the utter disappointment that marked that suppliant in the anteroom of M. Perregaux; and never expressive countenance, ' at present at least. I am did heavy heart, that he could relieve of its burden, sorry that it is so, but another time, perhaps.' Then return unsolaced. dismissing the youth with a courteous but imperative He died on the 26th of March 1844. Some short gesture, he was obliged to retire.

time before, he had sent for his grandchildren, the chilEverything seemed to swim before his eyes. He dren of his only daughter, the Princess de la Moskowa; knocked up against the door, which he forgot to open ; and having embraced them, and taken a tender leave his foot slipped in the anteroom ; and he nearly fell of his wife, and daughter, and son-in-law, he gently down the staircase. All the courage he had exerted- expired without a struggle or any apparent suffering. and more is necessary than may be at first imagined in addressing a great man and asking a favour of him-all this courage had failed as he heard the words of the

NATURE AT WAR. rejection. He felt a kind of shame, nay, almost of remorse, at having exposed himself to a refusal; and the I HAVE described the wise and complicated provisions last words of the banker, and the last words of his against danger from without with which the system of mother, seemed ringing in his ears.

Slowly and with downcast eyes he was crossing the created beings has been endowed; but it must be obbanker's courtyard, when a pin on the ground caught served that a great portion of the weapons thus catahis attention. He stooped, picked it up, and stuck it logued as mere defensive instruments, become, with carefully in the lining of the cuff of his coat. This equal facility, powerful organs of offence; and accordaction, trifling as it was, decided the fortunes of the ing to the circumstances, habits, or emergencies, may carpenter's son.

be used at all times in subservience to either end. It is M. Perregaux was still standing in the window, my business now to direct attention more particularly unable to shake off the painful impression left by the to the aggressions of the animal kingdom—to that look of almost agonised disappointment which his re- which, in a few words, may be designated as the system fusal had called up to the interesting countenance of of prey. Before, it was the implements of conflict and the young petitioner. Involuntarily he gazed after him till he left the room, and still followed him with protection ; now, it is the warfare itself which is to be his eyes as he crossed the court with slow and languid discussed. That the face of nature should be found, on step, his youthful figure drooping under disappointment, a due examination, to be stained with blood and deand deer dejection marking every feature. Suddenly formed with civil war; that it should be an ordinance he saw him stoop to some object too minute for him to of creation that the life of one should depend upon the distinguish from the window, and pick it up. By the death of another creature; that this green world should use he made of it, the banker guessed what it must be; be the great theatre in which myriads of bloody dramas and the strong impression made by this little incident are daily enacted--all this, as has been remarked forupon his mind, is perhaps inconceivable by those who merly, is sufficiently startling to him who holds narknow not how accurately character may be estimated row views of the system which governs our world. Yet by trifles. It was sufficient to enable M. Perregaux to I must be content to leave its defence for a future occadiscern in the youthful suitor he had rejected a mind sion, while it is my endeavour at present to trace still trained to order and economy. "The man,' he said, further the wisdom and design of the Creator of all * who would not let even a pin be lost, must have habits things in the development of the second feature of our of calculation, order, and steadiness ;' and opening the interesting subject." In considering it attentively, it window, he gave a slight cough. Jacques looked up, will be found to resolve itself into two great divisions, and saw the banker beckoning to him to come back. to which almost all examples are reducible; these are Quickly was he again on the handsome staircase ; but stratagetic and open warfare. we will not say that this time he was quite as cautious I shall commence with stratagens. Of all predatory of spoiling the carpets; and once more he stood, with devices, that which involves the greatest apparent head erect, in the presence of the banker.

amount of superior sagacity is the trap or snare. It is You will grant my request?' said he to him in a , a curious subject for reflection to find one creature thus tone of happy confidence.

employing its apparently superior intelligence to effect •What makes you so sure?' asked the banker with a the destruction of some less gifted or differently gifted smile.

one; but the fact that, in preparing these devices, the "Why otherwise would you have called me back?' creature is only acting in obedience to an impulse with said Lafitte.

which it has been endowed, and is consequently displayQuick intellect, order, and economy !-you ought to ing no really higher amount of sagacity than that of make a good clerk,' was the cordial response of M. Per- | the bird in preparing its nest, the rabbit its burrow,

the bee its cell, divests it of that undue claim upon our are sucked out; and when sated with the draught, the surprise with which the enthusiastic among the lovers artful epicure places the dead dry carcase carefully on of natural history would endow it. Traps and gins are its head, and carts it out of the pit. Sometimes the not, however, by any means common artifices; but the victim makes a struggle for its life, and scrambles with interest which naturally attaches to such instances, the speed of terror up the treacherous sides of the den ; wherever they exist, outbalances their deficiency in nu. but in this case the ant-lion sends after it such volleys merical variety. In the formation of these traps, the of sand, as usually bring the fugitive down again into most wonderful evidences of engineering and mathe- its enemy's power. matical capabilities are to be found united to a heroic These devices for entrapping prey are practised by patience under difficulties, and perseverance against insects generally possessed of very feeble locomotive obstacles, which might well read a moral lesson to man- powers, and appear otherwise incapable of obtaining a kind. The pitfall is a stratagem of this nature. The single mouthful of food. The ant-lion, for instance, larva of a particular species of beetle, the cicindela, cannot pursue its fleet-legged prey, and is, in truth, hollows out for itself a den which in some measure altogether unable to move in any but a retrograde acts as a trap for all unwary insects that draw near direction ; but ample compensation is to be found in it. The insect, after choosing an appropriate soil, im- the success of his stratagem, which is in general so mediately applies itself to its work, and commences great, as to supply a very dainty creature with an abunoperations by scooping out the earth with its jaws and dance of that refined sort of sustenance in which it feet. These labours it continues until it has formed a delights. The margins of these traps, all bestrewed as cylindrical cavity twelve or eighteen inches deep, the they are with the mangled carcases of the victims of this bore of which is perpendicular. The laborious little destroyer, remind one of the old fables of the giants workman, in making this excavation, is obliged to bring who feasted upon human victims, and covered the plain up load after load of earth, like a bricklayer his mortar, in the vicinity of their dens with the bones and mangled upon its head from the very bottom of the pit. When remains of their unfortunate prey. the depth of the pit is remembered, a proper value will Next in order in this stratagetic warfare, we meet be set upon the arduous nature of this travail : the poor with the system of gins. But both it and the preceding insect, in fact, is frequently so exhausted, as to be com are artifices almost confined to insect warfare. The pelled to rest upon its way up to recover strength to spider's web may be taken as the type of such plans in proceed ; an event which has been foreseen, and to pro- general. In its structure, in its adaptation to situation Fide for which it has an apparatus somewhat like an and circumstances, and in its different degrees of anchor, by which it can hold on to the sides of the strength, are to be found the sole varieties which we cavity. The cicindela then secures itself to the inside are to expect in this department. The nets are of of the hole, near its entrance, its head exactly fitting many different kinds. Some, from the geometric acthe aperture, and forming a kind of trap-door to it. curacy of their lines, have received a correspondent Here the insect, in philosophic patience, and with its title ; some are woven with apparently no such rigid terrible jaws widely expanded, awaits the arrival of its arrangement, but consist simply of threads intricately prey. A vagrant beetle, or a stray caterpillar, or a interlaced, forming a cloud-like fabric which no human heedless ant, comes by and by, steps upon the insect's art can imitate; some are suspended perpendicularly, head, and is instantly seized by it, and hurled to the their ends tied to the sprigs and leaves around; while bottom of its gloomy den, whither the successful strata- others are laid horizontally, swinging like a hammock. gist instantly follows, to reap the reward of its inge- from a stalwart series of supporting blades of grass. nuity and the fruits of its patient labour.

There is a kind of spider, common enough in Britain, There is a more famous pit-digger, however, to be which, after carefully constructing its net, forms a delifound in the ant-lion, the Myrmeleon formicarius; and cate cell for its own concealment somewhere in the here we shall find a far more refined subtilty at work. immediate neighbourhood, at the bottom of which it When it is in the larva state, it excavates a funnel-crouches down in expectation of its prey. Others cast shaped pit in the following manner. It seems to spend forth and fasten down blue and delicate tacklings in an much care and thought in the selection of a proper indiscriminate manner, trusting to chance to direct spot, where the earth is dry, friable, and particularly some insect against them. The lines of several kinds where it is sandy; and this accomplished, it begins by are covered with amazingly minute floccules of silk, describing a circle on the ground, the circumference of which wrap round and firmly entangle any insect which is to be the limit of its trap. It then stations which casts itself against them. Among other varieties

itself inside this line, and, with all the method of a of spider network, is one which consists in a delicate : human excavator, begins its work. It uses one of its purse-like cell forming the centre, from the margin of

fore-legs as the spade, and shovels up by this means a which several lines radiate in every direction. The tiny load of earth upon its head, tossing it thence to a spider places itself in this cell, taking hold of these distance of several inches from the outer margin of the lines; and as soon as an insect touches any portion of trap. Working assiduously in this apparently awkward her tackling, rushes out from her concealment to the fashion, it proceeds backwards ; and when it has com- attack. Many of my readers must have seen, stretched pleted the circle, it turns round, and beginning another upon the hedgerow, all glistening with drops of dew, inside the last, it works on until it comes to the same delicate whitish-looking net; this is the work of a spider spot again; and so on alternately. By this simple which is concealed at the bottom of a silken-covered means it never overworks either of its legs. It steadily way near its margin, where it “ bides its time.' Add to proceeds in its labour, until at length a conical hole, these the performances of the aeronautic spiders, about varying from one to three inches in diameter, is formed. which so much has been, and remains to be, written, The labourer then buries his body at the bottom of the and the list of web-like devices may be called complete. trap, being careful to leave only his jaws above the sur To turn to the artifice of baits. This is altogether face, and thus he lies waiting for the first windfall. The confined to the higher orders of creatures, and is a rarity reader will find, in writings upon entomology, most cap even among them. It is well known that monkeys, and tivating accounts of this creature's wonderful patience it is related that the racoon, when driven by want of and adaptive skill

, to which it is sufficient for me to re- other food to prey upon crabs, insert their tails into fer him if he seeks to know more concerning it. When the holes where the crab lives secure ; upon which the an insect approaches the margin of the den, a little victim fastens upon the bait with its claws, and the shower of sand rolls down, and calls the ant-lion to the monkey immediately runs away, dragging the crab qui rive; a step farther, and the intruder stumbles over out of its cell up the beach, when the ravisher breaks the edge, and tumbles down, in a cloud of dust, into the the shell and devours its contents. The ant-eater embrace of its ruthless enemy. It is then instantly affords a remarkable illustration also of a similar inseized in the powerful jaws of the ant-lion ; its juices genuity. This creature, on discovering an ant-hill,

stamps and scratches upon it with its feet, and makes business lies. Giving once more a brief precedence such à noise, as to draw forth thousands of its angry to insects, we find scorpions and others furious cantenants. It is then said to conceal itself in the herbage, nibals, and after a general combat, setting to and deand to thrust out its tongue, which is slimy, red, and vouring the dead bodies of their slain. There is a sandabout two feet long, into the midst of the swarm.


wasp or sphex, which is fierce creature too; he will insects perceiving such a tempting morsel of red flesh pounce upon larvæ, large spiders, and other insects, and within reach, crowd upon it, and cover it all over: and even cockroaches, plunging his sting into their bodies, there they are held by the glairy viscidity of the tongue, and then at leisure consuming them. Some flies will and are drawn into the ant-eater's mouth and devoured. also thrust their prey, small aphides, through with their It is said that if the ants will not come out readily, the weapons, and devour them in astonishing numbers. ant-eater will knock down their houses, and thrust his Kirby gives a very pretty account of the destruction tongue into the thickest of the infuriated insects, being wrought by our familiar little friend the lady-bird, able to bid defiance to their attacks by reason of his which, he says, does incredible service to the hopimpenetrable hide. Desmarest asserts that the gulo, or growers by consuming tens of thousands of the hop-fly. glutton, will mount up trees, gather the lichen from When the cicindela is in its perfect state, it is also a them, and fling it down as a bait for the reindeer, upon fearful destroyer of the insect race. Linnæus has called whose neck it drops if the bait is successful. This is it the insect tiger. It has formidable jaws and fangs, not credited, however, by other naturalists. Pliny says and from its strength, vigilance, and velocity, is the that the Lophius piscatorius, or sea- devil, buries itself in terror of the insect world. The dragon-fly, or libelullina, the mud, and leaves only its long beards to be seen is equally terrible, both in its larva and pupa states. above the surface: the smaller fish seize upon these as An anecdote is related of a combat between the pupa of bait, and are immediately drawn into the angler's a dragon-fly and a stickleback, in which the former mouth. It is only fair to add that this still rests upon with its jaws and forceps attacked the stickleback, his authority alone.

and after an obstinate and bloody contest, at length Ambuscades are a far more common means of cap- obtained the victory. Wasps, ants, hornets, earwigs, ture among all classes of the animal kingdom. Evelyn water scorpions, and many others, labour under the in his travels in Italy gives a most amusing account same stigma. Some of them seem almost to murder of the manæuvres of a spider which he denominates a for murder's sake, and will destroy a number of insects hunter, and stigmatises with being a kind of insect- without an attempt to devour them. In fact these inwolf. This creature, it seems (which is also common in sects scarcely seem to know what the sentiment of fear our gardens), on perceiving a fly at a little distance, is, and with surprising courage will attack and overwould cautiously creep up to it, and after peeping over come enemies much their superiors in size. and carefully ascertaining the insect's position, would The carnivorous birds likewise wage a deadly warfare leap upon him like lightning, catch him in the fall, upon their own race, and upon the weaker animals. and never quit her hold until her belly was full. Lying They are generally solitary creatures. To use Goldin ambush is the customary resort of many carnivor- smith's words—They prowl alone, and, like robbers, ous animals; thus the lion, tiger, panther, lynx, and enjoy in solitude the fruits of their plunder. They many more of the feline tribe, bury themselves in spread terror wherever they approach: all that variety the recesses of the bush or brake, or with a subtler of music which but a moment before enlivened the cunning seek out some hiding-place near the water- grove, at their appearing is instantly at an end: every track of deer or cattle, and bound upon their quarry order of lesser birds scek for safety either by concealwith a terrific war-whoop. Some of them climb up ment or flight, and some are even driven to take protrees, and patiently rest upon their branches until the tection with man, to avoid their less merciful pursuers.' prey passes beneath, when they shoot down upon its The eagle, in the stern majesty of superior strength and back. The ichneumon, in embellishing whose natural fierceness, is the head of rapacious birds. In his wake history inventive talent has exhausted itself, is related follows the audacious and cunning osprey, which is to feign himself dead until his victim is within reach, guilty of both robbery and murder, darting upon diving when he pounces upon and destroys it. The wretched birds, and snatching their prey from their beaks. The Egyptians adored this brute as a deity, from the service piggargus and the bal-buzzard are also constantly enit rendered them in the destruction of the eggs of the gaged in mutual warfare. The condor, by its size, weacrocodile. It used to be said that the ichneumon darted pons, and evil habits, ranks even higher for his deeds of down the crocodile's throat, and destroyed it by devour-blood. Humboldt asserts that this bird and its mate will ing its entrails, and then ate its way out again! The attack a deer, wounding it with their beaks and talons chetah and ounce, which are used in hunting the ante- until it drops with exhaustion, and is soun destroyed lope, are the exact parallels of the venatorial spider. and devoured. He adds, that the mischief done to These creatures, when they perceive their prey in view, cattle and sheep in its vicinity is immense. The vulcreep stealthily along the ground, concealing themselves ture, though entertaining a preference for the haut gout carefully from sight, and when they have reached of corruption, will nevertheless pounce upon so large a within leap of the herd, they make several immense creature as a heifer, if it lies down upon the ground, bounds, and dart in upon them.

and succeed in destroying it. And last, not least feroThis is a sketch of the types of the stratagetic war- cious, is the valiant shrike or butcher- bird, which seems fare carried on in all portions of the kingdom of nature. possessed with a spirit of the intensest hatred to all A scene of blood and rapacity opens upon us when we the feathered race. Its name is derived from the cirturn to the other division of our subject-open war. cumstance that they are said, when they have killed Among all classes, to speak generally of the animal their prey, to spit it, as human butchers their meat, kingdom, there exists this division - carnivorous and upon some thorn, until they are at leisure to devour it. herbivorous animals ; some being partakers of both In mentioning further the names of the falcon, hawk, peculiarities, and therefore called omnivorous. One of buzzard, and kite, and in barely alluding to the birds these great classes subsists by making war upon its which go forth to prey at night, the subject will have own department in creation ; the other by preying received a sufficient illustration. upon the vegetable productions of the earth : and so The ocean is the vast arena in which the practice of intimate is the connexion between bloodshed and fero- mutual destruction reaches its climax; for this reason, city, that, as a comm rule, the creatures belonging that fish, as a general rule, exist by devouring their to the first class are conspicuous for their savage, smaller, weaker brethren, or are insectivorous creaunappeasable, untameable dispositions, while the latter tures : so that, before the pike or the salmon can make are peaceful, and, excepting in the event of an attack, a single meal, they must have imbrued themselves in commonly inoffensive animals. Thus it is with the the blood of some of the animated beings which crowd predaceans of the carnivorous kind that our present the waters or float in the air. The crustaceans—the crab

and lobster-particularly distinguish themselves in this rations. A low building, without windows to the conflict. With a courage inspired no doubt by con- street, through the door of which gleamed bright scious impregnability, some of them will go thrashing light, was the school. The interior was rude and up the mud along shore, and recklessly seizing upon and rough, and the walls were little more than a shelter devouring whatsoever comes within grasp of their Her- from the weather. The floor was flagged, the bare culean forceps. But when their moult comes on, when brick walls whitewashed, and there was no ceiling, the they have lost their stout defences, they are placed in a room being lighted during the day by skylights in the pitiably helpless condition, and in this state suffer the roof. A few seats and desks ranged in the room acfull vengeance of retribution, falling victims in myriads commodated the pupils, about seventy-five in number; to the thousand chances and enemies of the sea. There a small stage was erected for the teacher; and at one is a species of trochus, or sea-snail, which is even more end of it an extempore form had been made by placing formidable than the crustaceans. This creature is a a rough board, with its end resting on empty barrels, universal belligerent, and while dreaded himself, seems on which several boys were seated, practising writing to dread no foe. He has a kind of borer, with which he on slates. There was neither fireplace nor stove in the will attack the thickest shell ; and, like the gulo, assi- room, but it was well lighted by gas, the heat of which, duously stick to it until he has penetrated it, and combined with the respiration of the pupils, rendered destroyed its unfortunate occupant. The doredo, the the air most unhealthy. mortal enemy of the persecuted flying-fish, is a very It was indeed a 'Ragged School.' Cold as the night ravenous creature; and the shark, sword-fish, and dog. was, many of the boys wore neither shoes nor stockings. fish, whose ravages among the tenants of the waters are The clothes of many were in tatters, and had evidently famous, have become familiar synonymes for rapacity had several owners before coming into the possession of and cruelty ; while the great whale destroys at a gulp their present wearers. A few were in fustian dresses millions of the clio borealis. Among reptiles, the blood- that had long ago lost their whiteness in the workshop. thirsty crocodile occupies a prominent position: he is The faces of several were very dirty, and their hair the enemy of man and beast; and whatsoever creature hung in tangled masses about their ears; but out of the ventures down to his abode, he attacks with equal fear- dirt and disorder gleamed bright piercing eyes, whose lessness and ferocity. Terrible battles between tigers lustre nothing appeared to dim. Many had evidently and crocodiles are on record, in which, while in his own come to school with 'new-washed' evening 'face,' but element, the latter has generally been victor.

not one came 'creeping like snail,' or unwillingly. The Here I will take my leave of these deeds of animal boys were of all ages, from six to seventeen, and were all rapacity. If the illustrations to which I have confined busy and cheerful. There was only one exception. This myself appear to the lover of natural history, as indeed was a strong wild lad, of about fifteen, who was resting they are, cramped and incomplete, it results not from his head on one of the benches, apparently asleep. He the deficiency, but from the very superabundance of was dressed in a wide jacket of rough blue flannel, his the material--the difficulty having been a sufficiently hands and face were unwashed, and a phrenologist rigid selection and condensation.

would have found in his head a remarkable development of Combativeness and Destructiveness. This lad

wrought in a foundry, and the teacher described him as VISIT TO RAGGED SCHOOLS IN LIVERPOOL.*

the most troublesome pupil-a self-willed, mischievous The establishment of what were called 'Ragged Schools' boy, whom it was a relief to see doing nothing. Still, in London, lately induced several benevolent and influ- this lad had received a little smattering of knowledge. ential gentlemen of Liverpool to organise a few schools He was in course of being . broken in,' and might (such of the same kind in that town. Subscriptions were things have been) become a rough energetic engineer accordingly made, a managing committee appointed, on some line of railway not yet provisionally regisrooms hired, and salaried professional teachers elected. tered. However, here he was reposing on the desk, The town of Liverpool contains large numbers of chil- under the master's platform, while an advanced class dren who never attend day-schools, and who grow up of about eight or ten boys, collected around him, were with little or no school instruction. The field for such reading from Chambers's . Simple Lessons. The lesson Ragged Schools is therefore very extensive. It was was a short account of the life of Mungo Park, and was resolved by the committee that all children, from the read in a very passable manner. The answers to the ages of six to seventeen, should be allowed to attend questions put to the boys showed how attentive they the schools without any charge whatsoever. All who had been to the sense as well as the words. The lesson presented themselves were to be received; but to pre- being finished, the master was about to collect the books, vent overcrowding, as well as to restrict the schools to when he was called away, as he often necessarily was, that class for which they were more particularly in- to another part of the room. It was interesting to obtended, none were taken who were actually in attend serve that the boys, instead of closing the books, laying ance at a day-school, unless there was sufficient room them aside, and then teasing each other, as some would in the Ragged School for them. Operations were com- have expected, still continued to read, but not aloud ; menced in July 1846. The schools for boys meet every and when the master came back, the books were given evening (excepting Saturday and Sunday), from seven up with the greatest reluctance, each boy retaining his to nine o'clock; and for girls on the same evenings, from as long as he possibly could. The books seemed to have half-past six to half-past eight o'clock. There are now opened up a new world, and appeared to convey a pleain operation two schools for boys, containing one hun sure as intense as it was rare. One boy in this class, dred and thirty, and two for girls, containing one hun- who was very intent on his book, was as dusty as a dred and forty pupils. A few notes of visits lately miller,' and I found that he was a baker's boy, whose paid to these schools may perhaps be of interest to the daily employment for some years had been to go out readers of this Journal. It must be premised, that as with bread, and do other drudgery in a baker's shop. yet the schools can only be considered in their infancy, Here was another attentive lad, with blackened face and have been planted only in one quarter of the town. and horny hands, who had been attentively listening to Their extension will of course depend upon the success the story of Mungo Park, and who told the teacher, as of the plan, and the liberality of the public.

he left school, that he could not attend during the folIt was not an easy matter to reach the first school to lowing week, as he wrought in a foundry, and was which I was directed. At leng I discovered it at then required to take his turn, with many others, at the end of one of the streets leading to the docks, and night-work. The teacher said that he had many such in the midst of a locality suitable for its humane ope- pupils.

On one of the platform seats were about a dozen *This article has been forwarded to us by a gentleman resident young boys learning to write on slates placed on their in Liverpool.-Ed. C. E. J.

knees. Some could write their own names, but the

[ocr errors]


majority were learning to form single letters. One little placed in the narrow lobby by which it was entered, to boy, about eleven years of age, was labouring anxiously receive an advanced writing-class. On entering, two to form the vowels on his slate. He was without stock boys whom I had seen in the school at its old room ings or shoes; his little clothes were ragged and worn, sprang up, and asked me to decide which of their copy. but there was an evident attempt to make them look as books was the better written, both being quite proud of clean as could be. He said he had never attended a day- the progress they had made. In the room itself there was school in his life ; that his mother was a widow, probably scarcely space to turn-boys reading, boys writing, boys living in one of the Liverpool cellars; that she kept a calculating on every side. From this school I passed to mangle; and that he, poor little fellow, was required all another containing about forty boys, all of the same class day long, when he should have been at school, to attend as was found in that already described. Here the teacher and turn it. There he sat, his whole soul absorbed in was engaged with a class which was reading a poetical the attempt to form the letters a, e, i, o, u. Beside him description of country life; and so completely town-bred was a little rogue, younger eten than himself

, who had and ignorant were nearly all the boys, that the teacher the good fortune to be attending a free day-school in required to give an explanation of many of the unknown connexion with a church, and who looked down on his things alluded to in the lesson. The boys were most less-favoured comrade as a peer would regard a com- attentive, and read the lesson over and over again with

Here, again, was another lad, about the same great delight. In one corner I noticed three boys, the age, employed also in writing. This boy had been at a oldest about twelve, and the other two probably three day-school. He was only twelve years old, and his years younger. Not one of the trio had either shoes or school experience had already become a thing of the stockings; their dresses were all most ragged and torn ; past. His father was a coal merchant in a small way, and they evidently belonged to the very lowest class of and this boy had, during the day, to go about with the population. The force of “ raggedness” could no coals. A little further on was another writing-class, farther go.' One had a pencil in his hand, with which who had advanced so far as to write in books with pen he pointed out to the others the names of the letters of and ink, and at a regular desk. At another bench was the alphabet-an office that he performed with great an arithmetic class ; some learning to make figures, pride and glee, in spite of his ragged clothes. His two others working questions in proportion and simple in- pupils were all attention, and went over the names terest. One rough, hardy, weather-beaten boy was as quite glibly. All the other boys were either writing on far as mensuration. He was an apprentice to a stone slates, or solving questions in the simple rules of arithmason. Another boy, about fourteen, who attended a metic. One boy, about fifteen, was very vain of his free-school during the day, was working questions in progress, but he could not solve a question in multiplisimple interest with great quickness and accuracy. In cation. Though this lad was not at all dexterous in another corner of the room were four or five young boys arithmetic, his education' had evidently been very exlearning the names of the letters of the alphabet, and tensive, for he was extremely sharp and wide awake.' also receiving some knowledge of objects by means of a His employment during the day was to carry out few coloured drawings. The master was assisted in his 'bottled porter' from a dealer to his customers. labours by a few young men, who gave their services Leaving this school, I proceeded to that for girls, out of pure love for the work. There was more order which is kept in an airy room, well-lighted and heated. preserved than might have been expected ; and though Two girls' schools have been established, both of which the noise of so many classes proceeding at one time was were obliged to meet in this room for a time, as the considerable, still it was the noise of work, not of idle schoolroom of one was required for those boys who

formerly met in that which is now the soup-kitchen, The school closed at nine o'clock, and at half-past The girls were singing the closing hymn as I entered. eight o'clock the books, slates, &c. were collected and There were nearly one hundred present, the majority put away. The boys all took their seats in front of the being under fourteen years of age. Many were very master, who read to them from the platform a portion young. They were much cleaner and neater in their of the life of Benjamin Franklin. It so happened that appearance than the boys, and their conduct was far on this evening the teacher concluded the story of more orderly and quiet. At least one-half of them the life of Franklin, the same space on several previous were without bonnets, and many had no shoes or stockevenings having been devoted to the rest of the life. ings. The employments during the day of a great The teacher took care to make the narrative as simple number of these girls are selling sand and wood-chips as possible, and made a practical application of the in the streets. They attend with considerable reguevents in Franklin's life to the boys assembled, with larity, and two or three of the older girls have made the view of giving them encouragement not only in their sufficient progress to entitle them to become monitors. studies, but likewise in their various occupations in life. The girls' classes are conducted by female teachers, and It was really pleasant to notice the attention that pre- kept altogether separate and distinct from those for vailed among the boys, and the eagerness with which boys. they drank in the narrative. Questions that were put A few other Ragged Schools have lately been opened to them elicited answers that showed they well remem- in connexion with some of the places of worship in bered what had been told to them before. The greater Liverpool. number of these boys were engaged in labour of some Speaking generally, the pupils in these schools seemed kind during the day, and they were asked, in connexion to be careful, attentive, and diligent in their lessons, with Franklin's life, if they liked to work? Only one and their attendance is as regular as can be expected. boy, another apprentice in a foundry, answered - No.' The schools have now (January) been open without But on being questioned, he could give no reasons for any interval for a period of six months; and many his answer, and advantage was taken of the circum: boys, as well as girls, have attended during the whole stance to give a short and pointed lecture to the school of that time. on the usefulness and honourableness of labour. A Their attainments at entrance, as might be expected, short hymn was then sung, in which all the boys joined, were found very meagre, and it has been necessary to and the school closed.

teach many their letters. The amount of instruction The room in which this school met was, shortly after given in such schools must of course be small; for with my visit, required as a soup-kitchen, and the boys were such numbers of idle, undisciplined boys and girls, what removed to another room in the same quarter of the can even the most iron-bodied and earnest-hearted town. Later in December I happened to pay a visit to teacher do? Still, these schools are doing good work. it also. The room was used during the day as a girls' They descend to the very depths of society, and carry school, and was more convenient and comfortable, some glimmerings of light into the most benighted part though not so large, as the first. It could not accom- of the population. They tame rudeness, and implant modate all the boys, and a desk and seats had to be habits of decency and order, and that in itself is a great


« НазадПродовжити »