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irrevocably to a business or profession which may be entirely out of harmony with their tastes and feelings. The diagnosis is admittedly difficult, and if when faulty it is obstinately adhered to the result may prove disastrous.
Towards the close of the last General Election, when the public had become nauseated with politics in the newspapers, the following story was wedged one evening into the columns of the Globe:
SELECTING A SON'S PROFESSION.
A farmer in the Western States had a son and did not know in what business to start him, so he put him up in a room in which there was nothing but a Bible, an apple, and a dollar. He decided that if after a short time he found the boy eating the apple he would make him a farmer; if reading the Bible he would train him for the Church; and if he had pocketed the money he would make him a stockbroker. Entering, he found the boy sitting on the Bible, and eating the apple, with the dollar in his pocket. He became a politician.
Whether the story is fictitious or not, there is more in it than meets the eye. If exaggerated, it illustrates the sort of method by which children are sometimes dedicated to professions. The moral is to show how well-laid designs may be frustrated. The father pooled his ideas and determined by a practical test to decide upon his son's career. He was completely beaten in the gamble, the boy solving the problem for himself. It was a mere accident that gave him the opportunity to show that his ideas were not in common with those of his parent. How often it may be that the instincts of boys and their guardians differ without the chance being afforded to discover the fact until too late; that is, when the parties are committed to a course which turns out to be unpractical if not unhappy.
In this article my desire has been to indicate in particular that the boys in our great public schools have set before them the example of strong leaders whose places they are animated and encouraged to fill, and whose motto is 'To be just is to be great.' These leaders, succeeding each other at intervals, have a great mission. They have to feel and impress upon others the truth that they are destined to take a prominent place in the national life, and to share in the burden of Imperial responsibility, for which they must prepare by study, not often made available at school, of the history, geography and politics of Empire. Their future success will depend largely upon force of character, which in human affairs achieves more than intellect or learning. Genius without common-sense seldom accomplishes great things. Men who possess it in great degree are often lost without the help of level heads to proportion their ideas.
And the natural question here arises as to whether our public schools are meeting present-day requirements and fulfilling their
proper functions. It may be that they are still working in grooves, though much less than formerly, and do not seek to develop boys according to their different types of mind; perhaps it is found impossible to do so. Yet the system in vogue undoubtedly makes for the formation of character and for development of the best national qualities. The boys are nourished on the doctrine that they have to play the human game in a mannerly way with a straight bat and shun crookedness. They are given a high standard of duty to live up to at school, are taught to be jealous of maintaining it while there, and to carry it into any sphere of public work in after-life. If, as I believe, the great majority are turned out with a useful education and high-minded character, then we may feel that the public schools, which we regard as one of the treasures of England, are doing their work and doing it well.
In conclusion let me quote the following striking and appropriate lines from a short poem by Mr. Henry Newbolt, which appeared in the Spectator of September 10, 1898, entitled 'Clifton Chapel':
THE PASSING OF THE CHAPERON
'WHEN shall we marry our girls?' is becoming a no less serious problem than What shall we do with our boys?' Mothers are apt to launch a débutante daughter with a remark, conveyed in an unconvincing manner, that they trust the dear child will not marry during her first season. They need have no fear; this hope is almost always realised. But why? Marriage is out of fashion, that is merely a platitude; a fundamental cause has to be discovered, and I think we shall find if we look carefully into the question that the relation between men and maidens has been revolutionised. The Zeitgeist is, of course, responsible for so serious a change, but as I am an advocate of early marriagechild marriage if possible, where the woman's age only is concerned-I deplore these days of prolonged spinsterhood.
Nothing is more demoralising to a girl than a cycle of seasons. By season I mean not only the loveliest months of summer spent cooped up in Mayfair, but the round of pleasuring which the year's calendar provides. Let me say in defence of the twentieth-century girl that she has an insatiable appetite for amusement. Her sense of enjoyment does not become jaded by the constant repetition of hunt balls, country-house parties, amateur theatricals, and days spent on the river. She weathers the storm of these entertainments bravely, she has a glad manner, her health is good, her high spirits are inveterate. She is no less pretty, well dressed, laughing at twenty-eight than she was at eighteen. I had almost said seductive, but she is not that; alas ! there's the rub. She has had love affairs—many—it is our business here to see how they have been conducted. The old-fashioned methods are, of course, obsolete, yet perhaps they were the best, as a means to an end that is to say. The vigilant chaperonage at balls, the dog-like fidelity of a black-gowned maid when travelling or shopping, the invitation to luncheon or dinner written in Mamma's own fair hand which precluded the bare idea of correspondence with an admirer-this sheltered life has been abandoned by the modern girl; she is fending for herself. She echoes the cry of Magda Io son io '—yes, and the pity is that she ought to be somebody else.
The times move fast, and our girls begin early-at seventeen a young lady emerges from the schoolroom no Backfisch, but
the finished article. She knows instinctively how to do her hair in the most becoming manner, with just enough chien to recall the front row of the Gaiety, though this note is not overdone. She powdered her nose from the first, not aggressively, but she naturally contends that one should make the best of oneself.
There is to me something touching in the attitude of dowdy mothers and bluff English fathers towards this exotic creature they have reared in a healthy, if a little inclement, atmosphere. It is obvious that the forcing-house process has not been resorted to at home, and it is difficult to say what outside influences have been brought to bear. Judging from the coiffure and the almost typical silhouette of many, we surmise that the Tatler has cast a sinister spell on their young existence. As anxious parents our lives are further jeopardised by the fear that our girls may choose a career on the stage in preference to the time-honoured institution of marriage.
A young lady's first experience of the philanderings of the other sex is probably derived from the calf-love of young Oxford. She sees her brother's friends in a free-and-easy manner, and they would be inhuman if they did not fall victims to her charms. Here I must draw attention to the extremely delicate position of the chaperon, who views with a certain disquietude an intercourse which, though harmless, has an erotic flavour. To make capital out of such Jack-and-Jill friendships is unnecessary, yet they often assume an alarming aspect, and, where there is distressing constancy on both sides, without the utilitarian sense of selfpreservation. A romantic attachment of this kind might prove a serious impediment.
The chaperon, if she is wise, will wink at a great deal of this irresponsible love-making, but I cannot quite fall in with the present-day view of the harmlessness of these flirtations. It is usually said of the young man in his last year at Oxford, 'He is such a nice boy; we are all so devoted to him; he makes quite a home of this place.' To which I would reply, 'Beware.' For the young man is not by any means the child you fondly picture, and you are playing with fire that you may not be able to extinguish, and which will cost you expensive fuel in the future.
The University youth is annoying, in that, Peter-Panlike, he never grows up. Shades of the prison house' do not seem to close around him, or at least not nearly as quickly as they should, for while he still claims boyhood as his own, in years, and very probably in experience, he is the equal of a subaltern in the Army, or a lieutenant in his Majesty's Navy. It is nevertheless the custom lately to allow untrammelled propinquity between what we call boys and girls. Girls, I will grant you, but not boys. It establishes an unfortunate precedent, for it is difficult, logically,
to reconcile free intercourse with Balliol undergraduates and the haunting chaperonage which should be exercised where a marriageable man is concerned.
Correspondence plays a very large part in these early affairs. He covers, in a close, scholarly hand, many sheets of College paper, and she answers frequently till she is too busy to catch more than an occasional post. For a sterner task lies before her, and while he is wrestling with Greats' her little white satin shoes are flying nightly on the big London treadmill.
I do not know how the modern girl fills in her day. Riding in the Park has no longer much vogue. Balls are kept up till the voice of the milkman is lilting in the area, so hacking in the morning is probably too strenuous an effort. Dressmakers occupy many hours, and one can hardly grudge this when one sees the result; a little philanthropy is usually thrown in somewherethe Personal Service League, or the London Hospital, or a Boys' Club somewhere in the Wapping district. Art is given a turn-a studio is visited three days a week, or there are singing lessons to be taken. But the object of existence for her at present is the making of friends, and this very really and truly should be her aim. To achieve it, she must not be too smart in her repartee (men are so easily scared); she must be tolerant, she must not do good imitations, and she must assert that she enjoys herself all the time.
Girls are good friends to girls as a rule, but when three or four clever ones form a close gang a man feels, not unnaturally, discouraged and bewildered. This is another tendency of the age, and a solemn warning should be given to those Mammas who see their girls drifting into a clique. When an unfortunate soupirant has begun to pay his addresses to one or the other, he has an uncomfortable feeling that he has to run the gauntlet and be freely pilloried and criticised by all. This endless discussion, this rending and tearing of every eligible, makes the ladies themselves captious and hypercritical. They are neither touched nor flattered that a man should pay them the highest tribute a woman can be given; they receive it as a joke, and if he is dull and plain almost as an insult. Many of the girls are labouring under a delusion that they are capable of passion equal to Juliet's. Under this misapprehension they demand a Romeo. The reason that they are not enough in love is given as a pretext for refusing what would appear an excellent marriage. I imagine it does not occur to a girl that she is too much wrapped up in herself to be capable of falling in love-a rather painful process to us all. She protects herself insensibly from such a fate by a thick shell of egotism. Mothers can merely bewail the blindness of men, but I am not sure, for in the daughters there is so much that is sharp-witted,