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III. THE SCHOOL AND THE TEACHER IN LITERATURE.
ROBERT SOUTHey in that quaint and remarkable book “The Doctor, &c." has introduced much rare learning and eloquent composition to enforce instructive lessons on the training of children and the conduct of life--as in the following conversations at the Doctor's fireside, bearing on young Daniel's home education-which we introduce by a few extracts descriptive of the home and chimney-corner of Dr. Daniel Dove, as well as of Daniel, the son, and Daniel, the father, and the Doctor, the central figure of the coinposition.
BIRTH, PARENTAGE AND HOMESTEAD OF DR. DOVE. DANIEL, the son of Daniel Dove and of Dinah his wife, was born near Ingleton in the West Riding of Yorkshire, on Monday, the twenty-second of April, old style, 1723, nine minutes and three seconds after three in the afternoon; on which day Marriage came in and Mercury was with the Moon; and the aspects were o 5 a week earlier, it would have been a most glorious trine of the Sun and Jupiter; circumstances which were all duly noted in the blank leaf of the family Bible.
Daniel, the father, was one of the race of men who unhappily are now almost extinct. He lived upon an estate of six-and-twenty acres which his father had possessed before him, all Doves and Daniels, in uninterrupted succession from time immemorial, farther than registers or title-deeds could ascend. The little church called Chapel le Dale stands about a bow-shot from the family house. There they had all been carried to the font; there they had each led his bride to the altar; and thither they had, each in his turn, been borne upon the shoulders of their friends and neighbors. Earth to earth they had been consigned there for so many generations, that half of the soil of the churchyard consisted of their remains. A hermit who might wish his grave to be as quiet as his cell, could imagine no fitter resting place. On three sides there was an irregular low stone wall, rather to mark the limits of the sacred ground, than to inclose it; on the fourth it was bounded by the brook whose waters proceed by a subterraneous channel from Wethercote cave. Two or three alders and rowan trees hung over the brook, and shed their leaves and seeds into the stream. Some bushy hazels grew at intervals along the lines of the wall; and a few ash trees, as the winds had sown them. To the east and west some fields adjoined it, in that state of half cultivation which gives a human character to
solitude; to the south, on the other side, the brook, the common with its limestone rocks peering every where above ground, extended to the foot of Ingleborough. A craggy bill, feathered with birch, sheltered it from the north.
The turf was as fine and soft as that of the adjoining hills; it was seldom broken, so scanty was the population to which it was appropriated; scarcely a thistle or a pettle deformed it, and the few tombstones which had been placed there were now themselves half buried. The sheep came over the wall when they listed, and sometimes took shelter in the porch from the storm. Their voices, and the cry of the kite wheeling above, were the only sounds which were heard there, except when the single bell which hung in its niche over the entrance tinkled for service on the Sabbath day, or with a slower tongue gave notice that one of the children of the soil was returning to the earth from which he sprung.
The house of the Doves was to the east of the church, under the same hill, and with the same brook in front; and the intervening fields belonged to the family. It was a low house, having before it a little garden of that size and character which showed that the inhabitants could afford to bestow a thought upon something more than mere bodily wants. You entered between two yew trees clipped to the fashion of two pawns. There were hollyhocks and sunflowers displaying themselves above the wall; roses and sweet peas under the windows, and the everlasting pea climbing the porch. The rest of the garden lay behind the house, partly on the slope of the hill. It had a hedge of gooseberry bushes, a few apple trees, pot herbs in abundance, onions, cabbages, turpips and carrots; potatoes had hardly yet found their way into these remote parts: and in a sheltered spot under the crag, open to the south, were six beedives, which made the family perfectly independent of West India produce. Tea was in those days as little known as potatoes, and for all other things honey supplied the place of sugar.
The house consisted of seven rooms, the dairy and cellar included, which were both upon the ground floor. As you entered the kitchen there was on the right one of those open chimneys which afford more comfort in a winter's erening than the finest register stove; in front of the chimney stood a wooden bee hire chair, and on each side was a long oak seat with a back to it, the seats serving as chests, in which the oaten bread was kept. They were of the darkest brown, and well polished by constant use. On the back of each were the same initials as those over the door, with the date 1610. The great oak table, and the chest in the best kitchen which held the house linen, bore the same date. The chimney was well hung with bacon, the rack which covered half the ceiling bore equal marks of plenty; mutton hams were suspended from other parts of tho ceiling; and there was an odor of cheese from the adjoining dairy, which the turf fire, though perpetual as that of the magi or of the Vestal virgins, did not overpower. A few pewter dishes were ranged above the trenchers, opposite the door on a conspicuous shelf. The other treasures of the family were in an open triangular cupboard, fixed in one of the corners of the best kitchen, halfway from the floor, and touching the ceiling. They consisted of a silver saucepan, a silver goblet, and four apostle spoons. Here also King Charles's Golden Rules were pasted against the wall, and a large print of Daniel in the Lion's Den. The lions were bedaubed with yellow, and the prophet was bedaubed with blue, with a red patch upon cach of his cheeks: if he bad been like his picture he might have frightened the lions; but happily there were no "judges" in the family, and it had been bought for its name's sake. The other print which ornamented the room had been purchased from a like feeling, though the cause was not so immediately apparent. It represented a ship in full sail, with Joseph and the Virgin Mary, and the Infant on board, and a dove flying bebind as if to fill the sails with the motion of its wings. Six black chairs were ranged along the wall, where they were seldom disturbed from their array. They had been purchased by Daniel the grandfather upon his marriage, and were the most costly purchase that had ever been made in the family; for the goblet was a legacy. The backs were higher than the head of the tallest man when seated; the seats flat and shallow, set in a round frame, unaccommodating in their material, more unaccommodating in shape; the backs also were of wood rising straight up, and ornamented with balls, and lozenges, and embossments; and the legs and crossbars were adorned in the same taste. Over the chimney were two peacocks' feathers, some of the dry silky pods of the honesty flower, and one of those large "sinuous shells” so finely thus described by Landor.
or pearly hue
And murmurs as the ocean murmurs there. There was also a head of Indian corn there, and a back scratcher, of which the hand was ivory and the handle black. This had been a present of Daniel the grandfather to his wife. The three apartments above served equally for store-rooms and bedchambers. William Dove the brother slept in one, and Agatha the maid, or Haggy, as she was called, in another.
THE LIBRARY AND READING OF A WELL-TO-DO YEOMAN ONE HUNDRED YEARS
AGO. · Happy for Daniel, he lived before the age of magazines, reviews, cyclopacdias, elegant extracts, and literary newspapers, so that he gathered the fruit of knowledge for himself, instead of receiving it from the dirty fingers of a retail vender. His books were few in number, but they were all weighty either in matter or in size. They consisted of the Morte d'Arthur in the fine black-letter edition of Copland; Plutarch's Morals, and Pliny's Natural History, two goodly folios, full as an egg of meat, and both translated by that old worthy, Philemon, who, for the service which he rendered to his contemporaries and to his countrymen, deserves to be called the best of the Hollands, without disparaging either the lord or the doctor of that appellation. The whole works of Joshua Sylvester; (whose name, let me tell thee, reader, in passing, was accented upon the first syllable by his contemporaries, not as now upon the second;) Jean Pettit's History of the Netherlands, translated and continued by Edward Grimeston, another worthy of the Philemon order; Sir Kenelm Digby's Discourses; Stowe's Chronicle; Joshua Barnes' Life of Edward III.; "Ripley Revived, by Eirenæus Philalethes, and an Englishman styling himself Citizen of the World,” with its mysterious frontispiece representing the Domus Nature, t) which, Nil deest nisi clavis : the Pilgrim's Progress; two volumes of
Ozell's translation of the Rabelais; Latimer's Sermons; and the last volua e of Fox's Martyr's, which latter book had been brought him by his wife. The Pilgrim's Progress was a godmother's present to his son: the odd volumes of Rabelais he bad picked up at Kendal, at a sale, in a lot with Ripley Revived and Plutarch's Morals: the others he bad ipherited.
Daniel had looked into all these books, read most of them, and believed all that he read, except Rabelais, which he could not tell what to make of. He was not, however, one of those persons who complacently suppose everything to be nonsense which they do not perfectly comprehend, or flatter themselves that they do. His simple beart judged of books by what they ought to be, little knowing what they are. It never occurred to him that anything would he printed which was not worth printing, anything which did not convey either - reasonable delight or useful instruction: and he was no more disposed to doubt the truth of what he read, than to question the veracity of his neighbor, or any one who had no interest in deceiving him. A book carried with it to him authority in its very aspect. The Morte d'Arthur, therefore, he received for authentic history, just as he did the painful chronicle of honest John Stowe, and the Barnesian labors of Joshua the self-satisfied: there was nothing in it indeed which stirred bis English blood like the battles of Cressy, and Poitiers, and Najara; yet, on the whole, he preferred it to Barnes's story, believed in Sir Tor, Sir Tristram, Sir Lancelot, and Sir Lamorack as entirely as in Sir John Chandos, the Captal de Buche, and the Black Prince, and liked them better.
Latimer and Du Bartas he used sometimes to read aloud on Sundays; and if the departed take cognizance of what passes on earth, and poets derive any satisfaction from that posthumous applause which is generally the only reward of those who deserve it, Sylvester might have found some compensation for the undeserved neglect into which his works had sunk, by the full and devout delight which his rattling rhymes and quaint collocations afforded to this reader. The silver-torgued Sylvester, however, was reserved for a Sabbath book; as a Weekday author Daniel preferred Pliny, for the same reason that bread and cheese, or a rasher of hung mutton, contented his palate better than a sillabub. He frequently regretted that so knowing a writer had never seen or heard of Wethercote and Yordas caves: the ebbing and flowing spring at Giggleswick, Malham Cove, and Gordale Scar, that he might have described them among the wonders of the world. Omne ignotum pro magnifico is a maxim which will not in all cases hold good. There are things which we do not undervalue because we are familiar with them, but which are admired the more, the more thoronghly they are known and understood; it is thus with the grand objects of nature and the finest works of art—with whatsoever is truly great and excellent. Daniel was not deficient in imagination; but no description of places which he had never seen, however exaggerated, (as such things always are,) impressed him so strongly as these objects in his own neighborhood, which he had known from childhood. Three or four times in his life it happened that strangers, with a curiosity as uncommon in that age as it is general in this, came from afar to visit these wonders of the West Riding, and Daniel accompanied them with a delight such as he never experienced on any other occasion.
But the author in whom he delighted most was Plutarch, of whose works he was lucky enough to possess the worthier half: if the other had perished, Plutarch would not have been a popular writer, but he would have held a higher
place in the estimation of the judicious. Daniel could have posed a candidate for university honors, and perhaps the examiner too, with some of the odd learning which he had stored up in his memory from these great repositories of ancient knowledge. Refusing all reward for such services, the strangers to whom he officiated as a guide, though they perceived that he was an extraordinary person, were little aware how much information he had acquired, and of how strange a kind. His talk with them did not go beyond the subjects which the scenes they came to visit naturally suggested, and they wondered more at the questions he asked, than at anything which he advanced himself: for his disposition was naturally shy, and that which had been bashfulness in youth assumed the appearance of reserve as he advanced in life; for having none to communicate with upon his favorite studies, he lived in an intellectual world of his own, a mental solitude as complete as that of Alexander Selkirk or Robinson Crusoe. Even to the curate, nis conversation, if he had touched upon his books, would have been heathen Greek; and to speak the truth plainly, with: out knowing a letter of that language, he knew more about the Greeks than nine-tenths of the clergy at that time, including all the dissenters, and than nine-tenths of the schoolmasters also
Our good Daniel had none of that confidence which so usually and so unpleasantly characterizes self-taught men. In fact, he was by no means aware of the extent of his acquirements, all that he knew in this kind having been acquired for amusement, not for use. He had never attempted to teach himself anything. These books had lain in his way in boyhood, or fallen in it afterward; and the perusal of them, intently as it was followed, was always accounted by him to be nothing more than recreation. None of his daily business had ever been neglected for it; he cultivated his fields and his garden, repaired his walls, looked to the stable, tended his cows, and salved his sheep, as diligently and as contentedly as if he had possessed neither capacity nor inclination for any higher employments. Yet Daniel was one of those men who, if disposition and aptitude were not overruled by circumstances, would have grown pale with study, instead of being bronzed and hardened by sun, and wind, and rain. There were in him undeveloped talents which might have raised him to distinction as an antiquary, a virtuoso of the Royal Society, a poet, or a theolo gian, to whichever course the bias in his ball of fortune had inclined. But he had not a particle of envy in his composition. He thought, indeed, that if he had had grammar learning in his youth like the curate, be would have made more use of it; but there was nothing either of the sourness or bitterness (call it which you please) of repining in this natural reflection.
Never, indeed, was any man more contented with doing his duty in that stato of life to which it had pleased God to call him. And well he might be so, for no man ever passed through the world with less to disquiet or to sour him. Bred up in babits which secured the continuance of that humble but sure independence in which he was born, he had never known what it was to be anxious for the future. At the age of twenty-five he had brought home a wife, the daughter of a little landholder like himself, with fifteen pounds for her portion, and the true love of his youth proved to him a faithful helpmate in those years when the dream of life is over, and we live in its realities. Their only child was healthy, apt, and docile, to all appearance as happily disposed in mind any body as a father's heart could wish. If they bad fine weather for winning their