Organized October, 1865, Corporate name of Shattuck School and Seabury Divinity School is "The Bishop Seabury Mission." Controlled by the Protestant Episcopal Church. Visitors: the Bishops of Minnesota, Duluth, Iowa, Nebraska, and North Dakota. Sixteen instructors, two hundred students. English, classical, and scientific courses. Four memorial scholarships. Military drill: cadet corps with four companies; artillery platoon with two detachments. Cadet Band; Shattuck Orchestra. Five forms of one year each. House system. Christmas vacation of two weeks. No vacation at Easter. Applicants for admission must be at least thirteen years old. Daily chapel service at 8 A. M. Two chapel services on Sunday. Daily drill, 3 to 3.30. Rising call, 6.30 A. M.; lights out, 10 P. M.
THE story of Shattuck is the old tale of the slow development of strength from weakness, of gradual evolution from small, unpromising conditions to fuller life and ampler opportunities. And thirty-five years have seen it all.
In the minds of nine persons out of ten Minnesota and Bishop Whipple are names that are inseparable. No matter what the person's creed may chance to be, he expects to find the modern "Apostle to the Indians" more or less intimately associated with whatever is best in Minnesota, and it is no surprise, therefore, to come upon the shining track of the good bishop on the very first pages of the history of the great preparatory school of the Middle West, the Shattuck School at Faribault, Minnesota.
To this spot on the frontier had come in 1857 the Reverend James Breck, with the intention of founding a school for pupils of all grades. A forlorn hope, it would have seemed to most of us. What is now the lovely town of Faribault was then a small settlement in the midst of a region inhabited mainly by Indians, whom the generality of persons believed to be practically untamable, and surrounded by the most primitive conditions of life on the edge of American civilization in the West. But he was not a person easily discouraged, missionaries in any cause seldom are, it will be found, and presently he had a day school established, a small affair, it is true, but still he had made a beginning.
In May of 1860, the newly consecrated Bishop Whipple visited Faribault, and with his keen perception of possibilities he gazed into the future and saw Faribault a cathedral city with schools and seminaries clustered about a common centre, the church. In a very short time the small day school was incorporated as the "Bishop Seabury Mission," for "the diffusion of religion and learning." In 1864 Seabury Hall was built as a theological seminary, and the next winter several lads were received into the hall among the divinity students, and thus the nucleus of a grammar school was formed.
It soon became manifest that any such arrangement could be only temporary, and Shattuck Hall, built in 1869 for the use of the growing grammar school, provided a separate home for the boys apart from the theological students. The funds for its erection were largely contributed by Doctor George Shattuck, of Boston, the founder of Saint Paul's School, in Concord, New Hampshire, and in his honour the school was presently named, its organization as a preparatory institution practically dating from 1865. But the new hall was soon outgrown and another structure was erected for school purposes, known to-day as the Lodge, and occupied as a dormitory.
In 1872 the school chapel was erected by Mrs. Shumway, of Chicago, as a memorial of her daughter. Although it has been called a "beautiful and satisfactory example of church architecture," the writer is unable to share in this flattering estimate of its merits. Very little American Gothic produced in the sixties and seventies was either beautiful or satisfactory, and the best that can be said of the chapel at Shattuck is that it is rather better than much contemporary work in that style. The exterior, more or less shrouded in foliage, is not unattractive, from certain points of view, but the interior is weakly ineffective from an architectural standpoint, however admirably it may serve its ritual purpose.
Seminary and school were now about to be more widely separated than before, for on the burning of Seabury Hall in 1872 the theological school was removed to another part of Faribault, and the few grammar school lads formerly housed there were now provided for in Whipple Hall, erected in 1873. By this time the number of pupils in the school had risen to one hundred, and Faribault had long since ceased to be a frontier settlement.
How quickly the school fell into line in respect to certain modern essentials is shown by its acquirement of a gymnasium in 1880. In 1887 the great Shumway Hall was built from the bequest of Mrs. Shumway, a building strikingly effective from several points of view, its tall massive tower being visible for a long distance. Connected with it by a many-windowed corridor is Morgan Hall, whose lower story is a most attractive, lofty-ceilinged dining-room. Adjoining Morgan Hall on the west is the smaller Smyser Hall, like Shumway and Morgan Halls, a gift to the institution. Other buildings there are, attached to the institution, but these are the chief, though three or four more of considerable size are planned for in the near future.
It is not always given to the pioneers of a movement or an institution to see movement or institution reach an advanced stage of growth, an advance measured by more than the passage of a generation, but Bishop Whipple lived to see the small day school which he found at Faribault develop into the great and flourishing school now famous throughout the Middle West, while the assistant master, who came thither in 1866 and became the head of the school in the following year, the Reverend James Dobbin, still holds his place as rector, after thirty-five years of continuous and honourable service.
Shattuck did not spring into active being as the result of munificent endowment. In the whole of its existence the sum total of gifts received by it is not over a quarter of a million, nor has it a general endowment at present. It is a little difficult, even for persons accustomed to close calculations, to perceive how Shattuck has contrived to maintain its high standard of efficiency for so many years, with what may be called its slender resources as compared with those of many American schools. Its buildings, situated in the midst of ample grounds, might do credit to a far wealthier institution, and the appearance of the two hundred lads within them offers testimony of another, but equally convincing, character to the prosperity of Shattuck.
Nearly two thousand boys have been trained in its halls, and among its graduates are a bishop and several deans and rectors, while the various professors, bankers, journalists, manufacturers, and other men of prominence who have been educated here are more than may be named in these pages. They are found scattered through the States from Chicago to the Pacific, and their appearance in so many walks of life is an evidence that the training which they received at Shattuck was by no means one-sided in character.
Unlike Saint Mark's, a "church school" with all its departments under one roof, Shattuck has adopted, with modifications, the household system of which Lawrenceville offers the most complete example. The system in this case was a gradual development brought about by the necessity of providing for a comparatively small increase in numbers demanding immediate provision for their accommodation, and did not spring into existence all at once as at Lawrenceville, when established under its present foundation.
So at Shattuck, therefore, we find the school broken up into families or groups of varying proportions, from twelve boys to forty. There are six of these families housed in stone and wooden buildings scattered about the school grounds, the size of the household being determined by the size of the house. In each case the house is in the care of a master who is responsible for the boys in his household, his responsibilities in some instances being shared by an assistant master. Perhaps one might say when comparing the opposite systems pursued at Saint Mark's and Shattuck that, while the first has its manifest conveniences, the latter has its manifest advantages.
When Benjamin Franklin in 1749 sketched his "Proposals relating to the education of youth in Pennsylvania" he was mindful to recommend the encouragement of sports for the physical good of the students, among which running, leaping, wrestling, and swimming are specified. The authorities at Shattuck are very much of Franklin's opinion as to the importance of a sound body for the habitation of the sound mind, and under their encouragement athletics flourish apace. "Teams" therefore abound, and in the rooms of the Shattuck boys one comes upon innumerable pictures of basket-ball teams, football teams, baseball teams, and if there be " teams " of other sorts these are there, also. One can easily imagine the approving smile on the face of the shade of Franklin should it be permitted him to visit Faribault. Ample spaces are devoted to ball-grounds and tennis courts, while that last desideratum of athletic minds, a quarter-mile cinder-track, is also one of the joys of Shattuck.
But the physical culture practised at the school does not end with its "teams," its tennis courts, and its cinder-path. It is a military school, as one does not need to be told, after one has caught the first glimpse of a Shattuck cadet. Very stern these young sons of Mars appear when seen on drill; preternaturally so, indeed, after the manner of youth on such occasions, but the pose is fortunately too severe to be maintained for long, and at other times they are very much like non-military pupils elsewhere. But their military exercise is no mere trifling matter of the moment, for the cadets are put through their military paces by a United States army officer trained at West Point, and whatever else may be said of the training at West Point, it was never said that its graduates were in the least indifferent to matters of discipline. The muskets used are supplied by the government, as well as the other details of equipment, and both the property of the government and the work done is annually inspected by an army inspector-general, whose report is made to the Secretary of War.
To lads indifferent or disinclined to military drill, this feature of life at Shattuck will most probably not seem like one that appertains to an earthly paradise, but to the majority of active lads the thoughts of the drill, the uniform, and even of the strict West Pointer, will not be so very repellent. A battalion parade in the shadow of the great tower of Shumway is a very inspiriting affair in its way, and the average lad would much prefer to be in it than out of it, while as for the artillery drill, one look at the fellows engaged in it testifies to their enjoyment of the exercise.
If the seductive cigarette or beloved pipe find worshippers here, the worship must be conducted in the most secret fashion imaginable, for the use of tobacco in any form by Shattuck boys is strictly prohibited, a provision that probably brings joy to the breasts of anxious mothers, although the fathers are possibly prone to speculate whether the rigorous enforcement of such a Spartan enactment should not be ranked with the labours of Hercules. Each school in the end doubtless adopts the measures which seem justified by experience, and Shattuck may have found complete prohibition practicable, ---on the surface. A non-partisan observer, however, may be permitted to question whether the Lawrenceville system of regulation, rather than absolute prohibition, may not produce the better results.
Mothers who seek to make their sons' rooms at school an æsthetic "dream" by means of artistically disposed draperies at doors and windows, and window-seats or alcoves overflowing with gorgeous silk pillows, as is the manner of certain mothers who desire their boys to be reminded of home, are distinctly discouraged from engaging in such pious labours at Shattuck. The regulations are not Spartan, certainly, but they are uncompromisingly and prosaically rigid on this point, and most undeniably bear the impress of a masculine mind in their composition.
"Rooms must not be littered up "---shades of aesthetes, dead and gone, listen to these unfeeling words --- "littered up with tapestry and hangings that will gather dust and render the room unwholesome."
The views of the mothers of Shattuck cadets upon this regulation have not, apparently, found public expression, but the youths themselves, though forbidden to "litter up" their rooms with "tapestry and hangings," do not seem to suffer materially from this form of privation. It is greatly to be feared that the fathers of Shattuck lads do not perceive any peculiar hardships in the situation.
Systems of education have their day and cease to be, but certain school requirements remain the same whatever else disappears or is sent spinning down the ringing grooves of change. Now, as then, Holmes's "Maiden Aunt" in her school-days would be expected to bring with her to boarding-school, "as the rules require, six towels and a spoon," or their equivalents. Shattuck lads are implored to bring with them "tooth-brush, clothes-brush, Bible, and Prayer-book;" Nazareth boys are reminded of the needful "six towels" and "six napkins" also; while Lawrenceville demands that each pupil surround himself with vastly more impedimenta than either Shattuck or Nazareth, for nothing short of "twelve towels, twelve napkins," and various other details in the way of linen, will satisfy the requirements of this particular school. Nothing is said as to the necessity of the Lawrenceville student bringing a Bible with him, probably its presence in the trunk of each is taken for granted, but as Lawrenceville is not distinctly a "church" school, no mention of a prayer-book is made among the requirements either. On the Pacific Coast an up-to-dateness is expected, and we are therefore not surprised to learn that Belmont boys are requested to bring with them to school a Revised Version of the Bible, with "six towels and six napkins," of course, in addition to two pairs of duck trousers and other strictly personal requisites.
It should be mentioned that Shattuck differs slightly from the majority of schools in not requiring the customary "six towels and six napkins," these indispensables being supplied by the institution, while the bringing of umbrellas is definitely discouraged.
As at Saint Paul's, Saint Mark's, and several other schools described here, the Faribault institution divides its school course into " forms," there being five in all, each form corresponding to a year in the usual fashion. In effect there are several additional forms out of a lower grade, for at the distance of a mile is a school preparatory to the larger institution, "The Lower School for Little Boys." It was established in 1901 by the Reverend James Dobbin, and is intended for the accommodation of twenty lads between the ages of seven and twelve. Like their elder neighbours, the small boys of the Lower School wear the uniform of cadet gray, and in both schools the uniform is continuously worn.
The Shattuck School stands within the municipal limits of the city of Faribault, but divided from the main portion of it by what is called the "Straight River," and is about a mile distant from the business quarter of the city. Its various buildings are placed irregularly along a plateau which on the west terminates in a bluff nearly one hundred feet above the river, and toward the eastward the land rises yet higher. Ravines cutting into the bluff north and south add not a little to the picturesqueness of the situation. If the grounds do not exhibit the same finished appearance as those of Lawrenceville and Saint Mark's, the natural advantages of the Minnesota school are greater, and with increased endowment will come in time, no doubt, greater beauty of immediate surroundings.
On the same bluff on which Shattuck is situated, and within a radius of two miles, are seven notable educational institutions, four of which are controlled by the Episcopal Church (the Shattuck School, Seabury Divinity School, Saint Mary's Hall, for girls, and the Lower School). the other three, intended for the deaf, blind, and feeble-minded, belonging to the State. Not many small cities can point to so many schools within so limited an area as Faribault is thus enabled to do.
That Saint Mary's Hall should be in such close proximity to Shattuck was, perhaps, to be looked for in the natural order of things, for never yet was college or boys' school planted in any locality but within a period longer or shorter, and usually shorter, a school for girls was founded, if not in actual sight of the other, at least within a distance easily compassed by active youth.
Opened, Oct. 1, 1884. Studies not confined to requirements for college examinations, but curriculum controlled by these examinations to some extent. Head master, Rev. Endicott Peabody; fifteen other masters. Head master by regulation must be a Protestant Episcopal clergyman. One hundred and fifty pupils. Entrance age not less than twelve, nor more than fourteen years. A senior prefect and six assistant prefects selected from sixth form constitute a part of the administration. Gymnasium; fives courts; tennis courts; golf links; baseball and football teams. School course includes six forms, each corresponding to one year. Two debating societies: Senior and Junior. Prizes: Latin, Greek, English literature, English, writing, reading debating, form. Holidays: Christmas, Easter, and midsummer.
IF any object which is set on a hill may be called secluded, then may Groton School be thus described, for though its buildings crown a rolling ridge or down, they yet remain unperceived until one has arrived within a comparatively short distance. At least this is the case when one approaches from the direction of Ayer Junction. That thriving involuntary Mecca of most travellers through Northern Massachusetts having once been left behind, a drive of rather less than three miles through a pleasant bit of countryside brings one to the school. The ascent is continuous, though gradual, and when perhaps half the distance is passed, a richly pinnacled church tower peers over the down, in a very alluring English rural fashion, as if one were journeying through Somerset or Wiltshire. Presently a turn in the highway shuts it from the view, and it is not till one has gone considerably further that it appears in sight again.
When the scholastic haven has been reached its surroundings are discovered to be those of the most distinctively rural character. Not even the sparsely peopled parish of Groton in English Suffolk, for which the Massachusetts town was named, and reached only after a six-mile drive or walk from Hadleigh in one direction, or one of similar length from Sudbury in the other, can seem more remote. And for the purpose which the founders of Groton School had in mind, perhaps this seclusion is well. But it is not without certain manifest disadvantages in the depth of a New England winter.
To the north and west of the school the land descends in wooded slopes to the valley of the Nashua River, while far to the north are the rolling waves of the Pack Monadnock range in New Hampshire, and above and beyond them Grand Monadnock itself. But no village or city is visible in all the wide prospect, and only to the eastward is there a hint of anything but entire seclusion from the world at large, for in that quarter two miles away is the village of Groton, not wholly invisible, yet rather guessed at than actually seen. In apparent seclusion Lawrenceville resembles the Groton establishment, for the hamlet beside it is insignificant as regards size, but though five miles from Princeton in one direction and from Trenton in the other, two much patronized lines of electric railway passing near it effectually prevent the seclusion from becoming burdensome.
But at Groton the silence is that of the open country, broken only by the comparatively infrequent roll of wheels along the highway, the sound of the quarter chimes from the pinnacled chapel tower, and the shouting and laughing to be expected from one hundred and fifty boys in recreation hours. But seclusion is not to be hired. It pursueth him that flies from it and flees from who courts it. And in these twentieth century days of electric cars he were indeed a reckless prophet who should proclaim of any locality, however remote, that the "broomstick train" would never invade its solitude.
For long years Saint Mark's School contentedly purred over its dignified exclusiveness on the outer edge of a farming town, where the only rude echoes from the outer world were those of the occasional railway train on its way to Marlborough or Framingham. And now the electric car circles through Southborough below the school, and two or three times an hour the allurements of those small cities are thus placed within the range of temptation for the sons of Saint Mark's. Groton may similarly find Ayer junction thus in effect brought to its very doors. And some day, without doubt, the inevitable school for girls will be established in sight of Groton and Saint Mark's, and the usual Embargo Act be consequently proclaimed.
In other words, it may well be questioned if scholastic seclusion is worth much conscious effort in the endeavour to obtain it. It has its advantages, of course, and it may have its disadvantages as well. When procurable without seeming to be sedulously sought, it may be an aid in carrying out the purpose of the school, but in the writer's opinion the world need not be too severely shunned by the founders of schools. Winchester and Harrow have not done less good work in their long day because they were situated in the midst of small towns, and Eton and Marlborough, to name no others, are apparently not much hampered by their nearness to small centres of town life.
At Groton, more readily than elsewhere, it is the architecture which first impresses itself upon the attention of the observer. Indeed it hardly ceases to dominate and compel attention so long as one is within its influence. There are no surprises at Groton due to variety of situation; the entire range of structures is perceived from the first, and nothing is partly screened by foliage as at Lawrenceville, or discovered by changing the point of view, as at Saint Paul's. Details, to be sure, reveal themselves at Groton after acquaintance, but outlines and general effect are at once apparent.
Architecture being then so prominently in the foreground at Groton it is a fortunate circumstance that it is of so uniformly excellent and, in one instance, of so thoroughly satisfying a character. At Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, a building outline similarly unrelieved by foliage or picturesqueness of site, is equally manifest, but anything that can be truthfully termed architecture is non-existent in the latter instance.
As at Lawrenceville, the buildings at Groton are ranged at intervals around a wide, circular expanse of level lawn, those in which the domestic life of the school is carried on differing in general character from gymnasium and school, as both differ widely from the crowning feature of all, the chapel. To the south is the long range of the Hundred House, so called because the abode of one hundred boys, and opposite it, on the north side of the lawn, is the older Brooks House, named in honour of Bishop Phillips Brooks. The feature of the west side is the School House, while on the east are the great gymnasium and the noble school chapel.
Perhaps one would not call the long curving façade of the Hundred House beautiful, but its irregularities of outline and its varieties of roof are wonderfully picturesque, while the building as a whole is an excellent example of the intelligently treated so-called colonial style. It is of deep red brick, and its western end is the residence of the head master, the Reverend Endicott Peabody. The range of long windows seen near the other end are those of the great dining-hall of the House, architecturally effective in its interior, but, with its long tables, quite wanting in the homelike, social aspect which attracts one in the dining-hall at Andover, for example, with its many small tables, or in the pleasant dining-room of the Upper House of Lawrenceville, which is similarly furnished. In the deep bay-window of the Hundred House, and raised a step above the rest of the apartment, is the table at which are seated the head master and the prefects, possibly a wise arrangement from a disciplinary point of view, but effectually checking any effervescence of spirits on the part of those thus overlooked by the eye of authority. At the extreme west end of the Hundred House is the spacious and altogether delightful library of the head master, where on especial occasions the entire school can be gathered for familiar talks from the masters.
Brooks House, the only other school dormitory, is a smaller structure, in essentials, however, like the Hundred House, and, if less ambitious in point of art, is still very pleasing to the eye. A certain number of masters are assigned to each house and are responsible for the preservation of order therein. A few of the masters, however, reside in houses of their own apart from the other school buildings. From the foregoing it will be seen that Groton has adopted the house system, though with important differences from Lawrenceville, since here the entire school are gathered in two houses, and of course the internal management at the two schools must therefore vary.
The School House, an immense building with a central portion and two wings, displays much evidence of thoughtful care in the treatment of its extensive façade, but the effect is not in all respects pleasing, a result due to the circumstance that the walls of the central portion are much lower than those of the flanking wings, while its dormers and cupola do but very little emphasize the importance of the centre as such.
Once within the edifice, its immense size cannot fail to impress the beholder. One might almost be tempted to declare that there were acres of corridors and lobbies. Indeed one would perhaps exclaim at the amount of room thus needlessly sacrificed in creating these lordly corridors did there not appear to be abundance of room everywhere else. The beautiful study hall whose seven long windows look out upon the school lawn is a memorial to one of Groton's graduates, George Zabriskie Gray, who died in 1898, and whose father was for many years the dean of the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a fair young life, too early closed.
Ample as the building appears to be, it is so constructed as to be readily extended in the future in accordance with the original design, though why extension should ever become necessary, while the institution has no wish to add to the number of pupils, is not quite easy to see.
The newest structure at Groton is the gymnasium, completed only very recently and towering high above the former gymnasium, soon to be removed. Like the similar new buildings at Andover and Lawrenceville, it appears to want for little in the way of athletic equipment, and those who disport therein probably concern themselves not at all as to its architectural merits. Merits of this class it has, apparent in the matter of proportion, but the entrance hardly seems adequately impressive for so large a structure, and the pale red colour of the outer walls is more or less repellent in effect. Time may soften this aspect somewhat, but at present the gymnasium seems to glare all too fiercely at its vis-à-vis across the lawn, the School House, which with its gleaming white porticoes, cupola, and window dressings, returns the stare with interest.
The earlier gymnasium has played a prominent part in the school life, as its successor is destined to do, for athletics have been encouraged from the first at Groton, and football, baseball, and rowing were the three sports most enthusiastically pursued at the beginning. In those early days of the school's history, it had but a single boat upon the bosom of the neighbouring Nashua, where now there is a perfect flotilla of canoes and four-oared craft. And of tennis courts, golf links, and fives courts there is no lack.
Organized athletics are firmly believed in at Groton, and the lads quickly learn in these things to conceal personal preferences in furtherance of the success of the school as such. Hockey, skating, skiing, and fives are the winter sports here, and double-runners, skates, and hockey-sticks are not merely esteemed as luxuries, but become the indispensable necessities of juvenile existence when the mercury goes down. But the pursuit of these particular joys is not suffered to interfere with regular gymnasium practice, for in the late afternoon the entire school is summoned to the gymnasium for regular gymnastic exercise. The Groton boy may not like this exercise when considered in the light of daily duty, but, willy-nilly, he goes to it, and in this manner a certain amount of definite, vigorous exercise is insured him every day.
The distinguishing detail at this school, in maturer eyes, if not in juvenile ones, is the chapel, the gift of William Amory Gardner, and the design of the architect, Henry Vaughan, the same who built the beautiful chapel at Saint Paul's. Its outline comprises a nave of five bays and a choir of two, a tall, pinnacled tower on the north with its western face forming a portion of the western front of the building, an organ chamber, and a narrow north aisle serving merely as an ambulatory. The tower is in four stages, the two lowermost being plain, thus carrying the gaze upward to the others, which are richly panelled. The period chosen is that of the Curvilinear half of the Middle Pointed style often called the Late Decorated, but so far along in the style that its transition to the Third Pointed, or Perpendicular, is already manifesting itself. The tower, indeed, with its pinnacled upper stage of the Bristol type of Somerset towers, seems to indicate that the transition has already been made. Stone of a greyish-white is the material employed, and when this has taken on a little of the aspect imparted by age and weather the effect will be even more satisfying than at present.
The interior is most dignified, the actual height seeming yet greater from the presence of the rows of vaulting shafts and the comparative narrowness of the nave and choir. The ceiling is an open timbered one of dark wood, its colour emphasized by the whiteness of the stone walls, and the nave arches are filled with carved and canopied stalls. High above the stalls on the north side of the choir is the organ. Rush bottom chairs, as in an English cathedral, occupy the floor of the nave.
The Groton chapel is not only the finest school chapel in the United States, but it is one of the best specimens of modern Pointed or Gothic to be found here, either. A copy of mediaeval work? Yes, for modern Gothic must of necessity be a copy, but it is in no sense a servile imitation. On the contrary, it is an intelligent rendering of mediaeval design with not a little of originality in the matter of treatment, and the more of this intelligent copying we have in this country the better, if such admirable results are produced as at Groton.
As an aid to the religious life of an educational institution, the influence of a chapel of this high architectural character can scarcely be overestimated. Boys are affected by an atmosphere, though usually unconsciously, and if the atmosphere be of an inspiring nature, results will be commensurate.
That the boys at this school are overchurched seems as unlikely as that the lads at Saint Paul's are similarly afflicted. Matins and evensong in the chapel on Sunday, neither a long service, the first named with a sermon; and on week-days ten-minute prayers just prior to recitations and immediately after supper. Surely if a school is to have religious exercises at all, here are not too many. The plant called reverence needs watering fairly often in order to thrive apace, and if there are those who object to expose their offspring to these frequent though brief waterings, there are schools, like the Middlesex School at Concord, Massachusetts, which for the present dispense with formal religious exercises. The point, however, which is sought to be made here, is that at such distinctively "church schools" as Groton and Saint Paul's, ritual is not made burdensome to the boys, nor religion suffered to make their pleasures measurably less.
In this matter things have changed within a generation in Episcopal institutions, as they have in secular academies. The writer recalls memories of a small "church" boarding-school with which he once had relations where Monday was made purgatorial by the requirement of a verbatim recital of the Sunday's collect, from each pupil, and that of the nearest saint's day or other holy day, also, and in case of a vacation a further recital of all the collects which had accumulated during that interval. And as collects appeared to multiply almost at the rate of geometrical progression during the long or summer vacation, September, therefore, was as doleful a month to the youthful pilgrim returning to scholastic shades as is "the long dull time of the Ramadan" to the follower of Mahomet.
Like other preparatory schools, Groton aims to fit its pupils for successfully passing college examinations. Probably no school authorities would declare that the purpose of the institution under their charge ended at just that point. Yet in the nature of things, that must be the end, practically speaking, in many instances. The crowding interests, the increasing requirements, the want of time, --- these and other things make anything else difficult if not almost impossible in schools where authority cannot be exerted at all times, or in others whose existence is dependent upon financial success, and this in turn dependent upon the number of pupils attracted on account of a reputation for successfully fitting boys to pass a college entrance examination.
At Groton, and doubtless at Saint Paul's and other schools herein named, examination passing is considered incidental rather than as a main purpose. Definite principles of action, high ideals of life, these are the real aims of education, and Groton has very distinctly placed them before the strictly utilitarian one of preparation for college entrance examination.
In pursuance of this idea she has endeavoured to steer a course between the complete following out of the loco parentis plan as at Nazareth, and the opposite one of allowing large freedom, such as one finds at Andover and Exeter. Self-reliance, she deems, may be bought too dearly, while on the other hand, the loco parentis theory too strictly applied may prolong the period of dependence beyond a legitimate period.
Accordingly, while we find the house system at Groton as at Lawrenceville, it is with very serious modifications. Its two houses, the Hundred and Brooks, are with their larger numbers necessarily controlled in a different fashion from the less populous masters' houses at Lawrenceville. The Upper House board of directors at the latter school finds to some extent its counterpart at Groton in the seven school prefects, chosen from the sixth form, but not only do the prefects exercise a measure of authority beyond that of the Lawrenceville directors, but the entire sixth form are likewise accorded the exercise of a certain amount of authority. This system certainly has the advantage of lessening the load of the masters, and no doubt was adopted with the idea of infusing into the older pupils a sense of responsibility, and of obtaining their aid in securing the best interests of the school.
That, we may assume, is the underlying theory of the arrangement, and some persons may detect in the prefect system the shadow of the English monitorial scheme. It has no doubt worked well at times, and a boy of naturally high principles will be strengthened by the exercise of his duties as prefect, but it is no light thing to place the average boy in a position of authority over others younger than himself, and if the prefect system has worked well at Groton, it is in spite of its inherent weakness, and by reason of especial care on the part of the faculty. That it is, as some persons would say, "un-American," is nothing against it in itself. If a method be good and commend itself to unbiassed judgment, by all means let it be adopted, no matter how unusual it may appear in American eyes. Nor can reasonable objection be urged against the testing of this or that system about whose ultimate workings one is not fully assured.
But the prefect system in one form or another has been tried for generations in England and elsewhere, and both its merits and demerits have there the sanctity that attaches to long usage. That the latter are outweighed by the former is by no means an established fact, but ancient customs are not easily altered, and we should not expect to see Winchester therefore materially changing her practice in this regard, no matter what the defects in it may be. In America, however, the conditions are vastly different. The bonds of custom are slighter; the mental attitude of the schoolboy not at all that of his English cousin in many things.
The English schoolboy expects to be commanded by those above him not only socially, but as regards school rank. The American schoolboy expects to obey a head master and his staff; he not only does not expect to obey another schoolboy, but he instinctively rebels at having another schoolboy set over him in a position of authority. All this may be exceedingly misjudged on his part, but it is something to be reckoned with, and the difference in the attitudes of the American and English schoolboys can hardly be left out of the question by heads of schools who are considering this feature of English education.
By those who dissent from this position it will be urged that American lads readily obey the orders of the captains of their various athletic teams, the directors of their various juvenile societies, the officers of their military companies, and the like. All of which is true enough. But the workings of other impelling forces are here discoverable. Military discipline instinctively appeals to most active lads. They recognize that nothing can be accomplished in this direction without obedience, and the attractions of the uniform and the muskets and swords outweigh the inconveniences of the situation. In very many other juvenile organizations the officers are chosen by the boys themselves, not set over them by an outside power, and when class or school loyalty and enthusiasm are awakened the orders of the captain of a team are complied with without a thought to the contrary.
Disregarding, therefore, what seems to many a radical difference between English and American lads, Groton has adopted the prefect system, and owing to the personality of the heads of the school, no doubt unconsciously exerted oftentimes, it has not materially hindered the prosperity of the establishment. That it has been for the school's best interest, nevertheless, one would hesitate to assert. It was not adopted merely from a desire to imitate an old English custom, but with the intention of introducing into the school management whatever features should seem most admirable. It at all events gives individuality to Groton, and as an educational experiment in American school government is worthy of careful, dispassionate attention, on the part of those who hold other theories.
One hears more or less discussion regarding the dormitory arrangements presented at different schools, and whether the cubicle or separate room principle be the better. Upon that particular burning topic the writer cannot venture to hazard an opinion. Andover and Exeter most unhesitatingly condemn in practice the cubicle or alcove system, and so at those institutions we find such arrangements as prevail at Harvard or other university dormitories: the common study for two, with wide bedroom; the common study with two small bedrooms; or the single room .for one person only. Lawrenceville, also, avoids the cubicle. Saint Paul's, on the contrary, adopts the cubicle system for its new Lower School, where the younger boys are domiciled. At Groton the cubicle plan is followed both in the Hundred House and Brooks House, and this particular domestic feature has its strenuous advocates in more recently organized institutions, still, for the very new Middlesex School at Concord, Massachusetts, has its cubicles, likewise.
Where this system is in vogue, it follows, of course, that the sense of personal ownership attaching to a boy's own room at school is thus reduced to its lowest terms, and the heterogeneous array of objects more or less decorative in their nature which cover the walls of such apartments finds no counterpart in the contracted cubicle or sleeping closet. At Groton the boys of the two upper forms are provided with studies, while the remaining forms study at desks in the schoolrooms of the two houses. Groton School was opened on October fifteen, 1884, with twenty-four boys and three masters, and the head master of that day, the Reverend Endicott Peabody, fortunately remains at the head still. Fortunately, because opportunity has thus been afforded for carrying out for a relatively long period, under one guiding hand, the particular aims with which the institution was established, and because, also, of the subtle but no less potent influence exerted by the abiding presence through a long series of years of a personality at once as winsome as it is forcible. The first president of the board of trustees was the Reverend Phillips Brooks, whose interest in the school remained warm and vital till the close of his life, and who was succeeded by the Right Reverend William Lawrence, the Bishop of Massachusetts.
Says Mr. William Amory Gardner, writing of that early period in the school's history:
"No one had much experience, and in consequence the school began, unhampered by prejudice, to build up its own traditions. Manners and customs which prevail to-day, and which give the place its peculiar flavour, can be directly traced to the happenings of the first year. The school was particularly fortunate in the boys of that day, for they made possible the simple and familiar relation which has ever since existed between master and pupil. All took part in the same sports, and the relation was exactly like that between older and younger brothers, without a trace of the traditional opposition between government and governed. In sports like skating and coasting the whole school went forth in a body. This produced a spirit of unity, which even now is intensely vital, though of course greatly modified by the necessary subdivision of organization which the increased size of the school has brought about."
A feature of Groton life concerning which a word may be said is a Missionary Society, which, in addition to holding religious services in various localities in the surrounding district, is largely interested in the work of the Boys' Club in Boston, directed by the clergy of Saint Stephen's Church. Groton men in Harvard at regular intervals entertain the boys of the club for an evening, and the Missionary Society assumes the responsibility for the club's expenses. A still more important work of the society is its management of a summer camp situated on an island in Lake Asquam, New Hampshire. Parties of twenty-five or thirty boys from Boston or New York are taken there for a fortnight's pleasuring under the care of a management varying in composition from one week to another, yet always comprising a master from Groton, two or three graduates, and several of the sixth form boys. The benefits of such an intercourse are reciprocal, but perhaps are of greater moment to the lads whose outward advantages in life have been many, than even to those whose lives have lacked these things.
One can readily apprehend the charms of school existence at Groton, for if the path to knowledge has its pains, as every schoolboy is eager to testify, it has also its pleasures, and since the setting up of so many temples in these latter days where Apollo may be said to be worshipped as the patron of physical culture, the thorns and shards along the way are gladly endured for the modern compensations thereof. One comes to see how, with a school no larger than is this one, an intense feeling of school loyalty should spring up. One gladly recognizes the beneficent influence of personal devotion to their work, on the part of the masters, the effect exerted unconsciously to themselves upon the minds of these young lads by the constant presence of so much beauty and order as are here. But one does not go away with the feeling that here is being solved in the best way possible the problem of secondary American education.
"Should you send your boy to Groton, if you had one?" asked one friend of another, after a visit to Groton, in the course of which they had seen and been delighted with much.
"Not if I wanted to make a live American of him," was the reply.
"The hysterical, my-country-right-or-wrong kind, I presume you mean?"
"Not at all," said the other. "But perhaps I should have said loyal American. The kind of American we used at one time to hear more about than now, whose ideals were 'plain living and high thinking,' and who was supremely indifferent to considerations of wealth or social prestige as set against native worth. No doubt it is the type I speak of which they aim to produce at Groton, but conditions are too strong for them. Rightly or wrongly, the school has a widespread reputation for being exclusive. Look at the waiting entrance-list that was shown us just now. There are names of candidates entered on the very day of their birth, and the struggle to place one's boy here, with no higher motive now and then than the consequent ability to declare that, 'I have a son at Groton,' bids fair to equal one day the strenuousness of the efforts of the nouveaux riche to become enrolled among the Four Hundred. The prevalence of a spirit like this outside the school must inevitably make itself felt within it; an atmosphere is thus unconsciously created. I felt it to-day, and so, no doubt, did you. It is an un-American atmosphere, or perhaps I should rather say a new-American one."
"Not very easy to define its limits, I should say."
"No, I could not tell specifically how the impression was received from what we have seen to-day, unless in the matter of the waiting-list, and that accounts for but little of the force of the impression, but it was intensified the longer we were there, and is not likely to be soon dispelled."
"It is just possible that you may be mistaken in your conclusions, you know."
"Yes, I know," but at that moment the road began to descend a slope, the pinnacled tower of Groton slowly slipped from sight, and no more was said.
School opened, Aug. 5, 1885. Hopkins School merged with it, May, 1893; incorporated 1893 as Belmont School on W. T. Reid Foundation. Twenty-five miles from San Francisco. Ten masters and a military instructor; one hundred and forty pupils. Two scholarships; Bertram medal. Military drill: one battalion, composed of two companies. School journal: The Cricket, monthly. Camera club; glee club. Saturday holiday. School year begins in August, closes in May. Modified house system. Chapel service and Bible classes on Sunday. Gymnasium; tennis courts, football and baseball teams.
AT the distance of some twenty-five miles south of San Francisco, on the lower slope of foothills encircling an open valley facing the Bay of San Francisco, one comes upon the most important of the preparatory schools of the Pacific Coast, the Belmont School, so named from its proximity to the small village of Belmont, a little more than a mile distant. Without appearing to have anxiously sought seclusion for the institution, as the founders of Groton seem to have done in the case of that noted foundation, seclusion sufficient for its purpose the founder of Belmont has secured, while at the same time accessibility, and the advantages appertaining to comfortable nearness to a great city, have not been left out of the question. Within the distance of a few miles north and south are the small towns of San Mateo and Palo Alto, the latter the seat of the Leland Stanford University, while twelve miles to westward is the Pacific.
The scenery, though not especially striking, is sufficiently varied to offer prospects that are both picturesque and beautiful, and if the hills behind the school are climbed, there is spread before the observer a panorama including the broad bay of San Francisco, the Santa Clara Valley, Mounts Diabolo and Tamalpais, and the Contra Costa Hills. All about lies a countryside admirably adapted for rambling pleasures. Shut in among the hills to the west lie the Spring Valley Lakes, pleasing, river-like stretches of water quite within an easy walk from the school, and the thirty-five acres which comprise the school grounds, with their groves of live-oaks and other trees, and their irregularities of surface, render the immediate surroundings attractive both to eye and foot.
The history of Belmont School is a short one. It was founded on the fifth of August, 1885, by Mr. W. T. Reid, who had retired from the presidency of the University of California not long before.
In May of 1893 the Hopkins School was merged with it, and the enlarged institution was then known as the "Belmont School, W. T. Reid Foundation," a cumbersome title for daily use, and mercifully shortened to Belmont School. Its head master has been from the first its founder, Mr. Reid. While the school has passed through successive stages of growth in its nearly twenty years of existence, its six principal buildings were for the most part contemplated at the start, and planned therefore for school uses with extended acquaintance of school buildings elsewhere.
The house system, which at Lawrenceville finds its fullest American development, appears at Belmont in a modified form, but with the home feeling that is so marked a characteristic of the New Jersey school, equally evident in the California institution.
A small stream, whose winding course through the ground is defined by a fringe of laurels and liveoaks, separates into two groups the buildings at Belmont. To the south of this are to be seen the Head Master's House, the School House, the Gymnasium, with certain domestic structures such as the laundry, power-house, and dairy. "The House," as the head master's house is most commonly styled, is the central factor in the family life of Belmont. It is a very large, irregularly shaped structure, with small pretensions as to architecture, but looking vastly comfortable, nevertheless. It contains the three spacious dining-rooms in which the entire school gather for meals. Twenty large windows, among which are two bay-windows, light the rooms, and the nine tables are each officered, as one may say, by one or more of the masters. Except in the ball season, when the teams sit together, the boys are arranged by classes.
To many persons one important drawback to the occupancy of these cheerful dining-rooms would be found in the circumstance that the breakfast hour is at 6.30, but possibly the California constitution takes more kindly to early rising than is the case elsewhere in the civilized world. At the morning recess the House is again an object of general interest, for the post has arrived by this time, and the boys are permitted to come hither for their letters, and, a refinement of scholastic existence whose introduction into other schools would doubtless be viewed with complacent fortitude, for slices of hot toast should they desire them.
In the House some twenty of the youngest boys are lodged under the general oversight of the head master and his wife, and the more particular care of a house mistress, who is in effect a house mother, attending to their welfare in a hundred ways, and seeing them tucked into bed, so to speak, at half-past eight. The House contains a reading-room for students' use and a miscellaneous reading and reference library of eight hundred books. A memorial fund commemorating an instructor who died in 1898, and known as the Harry Hill Library Fund, provides for a yearly increase to the library.
A covered porch at the rear of the House connects with the School House, whose lower floor is devoted to recitation-rooms, and its two upper ones to dormitory purposes. Its windows open into a liveoak grove that must seem especially enticing when classics and mathematics are beginning to weigh heavily upon juvenile spirits as they have a fashion of doing at even the most paradisiacal of educational institutions. A master and his wife are in charge of this building likewise.
Near at hand, and still on the south side of the stream, is the Gymnasium, one hundred feet by seventy-four, with running track, armory, fencing-room, shower rooms, corridors for handball, and all the rest of it. Athletics flourish apace at Belmont, baseball and football being the games that arouse the most general interest, and at certain seasons there have been four nines on the field at one time, interclass games being frequent. Not until 1894 did football begin at Belmont, but in that year the parents of eleven boys, flinging caution and prudence to the winds, consented to permit their offspring to brave the perils of the game, and since then football has never wanted for enthusiastic devotees at Belmont. Tennis courts there are, for the use and behoof of two tennis clubs, nor do the sports of Belmont youth end here, the climate lending itself in most accommodating fashion to out-of-door amusements every week of the year.
Several rustic bridges span the school brook, and crossing any of these one reaches the group of buildings in this quarter of the grounds. There are three of them, ranged around three sides of a quadrangle opening to the south, the area between them being called Palm Court. One of these, Sierra Hall, was built when the growing institution could no longer be accommodated in the structures across the brook. Seniors and upper middlers, by which uneuphonious title a certain section of the school is distinguished from the rest, occupy this hall, which has a master in charge, and contains twenty-five bedrooms, several parlours, and a reading-room with a small library.
On the opposite side of Palm Court, and parallel with Sierra Hall, is Moses Hopkins Hall, the newest dormitory of all, in plan a replica of its companion, but a story higher. Lower middlers dwell here, and several of the masters, this plethora of masters possibly indicating that lower middlers are more effervescent in their nature than upper ones. In this hall, too an attractive room is always kept in readiness for visiting alumni.
Covered corridors connect these two halls with a central structure, eventually to become the dining-room of the Upper School, but now serving both as chapel and assembly-room. It is a spacious apartment, not unattractive, but much better fitted for secular purposes than for devotional ones. It is this absence of a distinctive chapel building which constitutes a weak point at both Exeter and Belmont. The latter contemplates, it is believed, the erection of a school chapel at some time in the future, but Exeter has not apparently its thoughts that way toward. It is the testimony of observers at Lawrenceville that the erection of a dignified, churchly chapel there has been followed by a gain both in outward decorum and in religious feeling, and no doubt Belmont, when it secures for itself a school chapel that shall be devoted to religious purposes solely, and that shall be at the same time architecturally beautiful, will experience a similar gain in tone.
In the present Belmont chapel services are held each Sunday noon, conducted by the head master, or one of the other masters, at which the students in a body are required to be present in their uniform. There is a choir made up of the younger boys, and this service is prefaced by Bible classes held earlier in the morning. The school is not under the control of any denomination, but is none the less distinctively Christian in its ideal and its spirit. It must be said, however, that to the impartial observer, the tale of religious observances at Belmont seems a little jejune and brown coloured, and that a liturgical service in which the boys themselves took an interested part were preferable to the present arrangement. Where ritual is not suffered to become burdensome it is enjoyed by most boys, and the stateliness of a brief liturgical service with rolling music and spirited singing is not unappreciated by them.
Like Nazareth and Shattuck, the Belmont School is a military institution in the sense of having military drill as a part of its system, but, unlike the two others, its discipline is non-military. The drill is considered to promote order and obedience, as well as manly carriage of the body, and is, therefore, required of all the pupils over twelve years old. But the dark blue uniform of Belmont need only be worn at dinner, chapel, and at the various school entertainments, and the order of the day does not include reveille, tattoo, and taps, in its nomenclature, although getting up and going to bed are as regular features of school routine here as anywhere else.
The school forms a battalion of two companies which are drilled three times a week under a military instructor, and the appointments to the positions of commissioned and non-commissioned officers under him are conditioned upon both character and scholarship. An inducement to excel in these particulars is thus offered which is not without its due effect, since the boy does not live who would not be an officer in a school military company if the honour were possible. In place of the drill on two days of the week there are class exercises in the gymnasium, escape from which is no more possible than at Groton.
Two of Belmont's sons, whose first taste of military life was had here, have distinguished themselves in the campaign in the Philippines, and two others went to Cuba in 1898 in the company of Rough Riders. Stanley Hollister, one of these, was wounded several times during the famous charge tip San Juan Hill, on the second of July, and though he recovered from his wounds, it was only to die of fever a little later in a military hospital at Fortress Monroe. It is in contemplation by the alumni to place a memorial window to him in the chapel at Belmont, whenever it shall be built.
School life on its scholastic side is in essentials very much at Belmont what it is elsewhere. School work is planned with reference to college entrance requirements, but since these requirements are in themselves an excellent basis for an elementary education, the parents of boys who are not expected to enter college are advised to have their sons prepare for college or scientific school. Where literary or scholarly tastes have manifested themselves the boy is counselled to pursue a regular classical course, with the addition of German or French.
Rules are not manifold at Belmont, and become apparent only where the sense of duty in any individual appears somewhat weak. And so far as appearances go, the absence of rigidly formulated rules has worked well. On a few points, however, the law has been laid down in a most uncompromising fashion. As at Nazareth and Shattuck, smoking, if not considered as one of the seven deadly sins, is as strenuously prohibited as if it were, while any boy who has been known to even enter a saloon is at once dismissed from the school. In these particulars the regulations at Belmont would commend themselves to even the strictest members of the W. C. T. U. An equally stringent prohibition is that against the playing games for money, or any other stake, a wise measure, as every one must feel.
Saturday is doubtless the favourite day of the week at Belmont, except with lads of the Sandford and Merton type, if there be any such priggish young persons in these days, since all the regular exercises are then suspended, and the boys whose friends have not selected the day for visiting them are free for all sorts of juvenile delights, from camping out for the day among the hills to candy-pulls and masquerades in the evenings. Sometimes, even, a house-party has been given, at which the sisters and other friends of the students have dawned upon the scene, and thus made dancing possible in the evening. The early masters of Exeter and Andover would probably have regarded these diversions in the light of thorns crackling under the pot, but a century has not slipped away for nothing since the day of the "great Eliphalet."
Like Harvard, the alma mater of the head master, the school has a Class Day, the particular Saturday in May when it gives its annual reception to the graduating class. It is in effect a lawn-party, enlivened by a battalion dress parade, followed by dancing in the great gymnasium in the afternoon. And of all this that wisely tolerant genius of the eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin, would assuredly approve, though the most of his contemporaries might frown.
The literary organ of the school is The Cricket, whose lively chirpings were for some years heard weekly, but now only monthly. Of clubs there are perhaps fewer than in some other schools, but the Camera Club and the Glee Club are very much to the fore, and mandolin, banjo, and guitar have each their devotees. The especial song of the school is "Fair Belmont," sung to the tune of "Fair Harvard," and the words of which are as follows:
"Tune 'Fair Harvard'
"Fair Belmont! We gather in gladness to pay
"And while we renew old acquaintanceship dear,
"And as we look forward to years full of strife,
As a literary production it is open to the slight objection that, though apparently intended from its arrangement for verse, the writer of the song has nevertheless not troubled himself to find a rhyme till the closing stanza has been reached, when he rounds proudly to a finish with "dear" and "fear.". But in respect to literary criticism of school songs, it surely were to consider too curiously to consider so.
The future of Belmont would seem to be assured. It possesses many advantages of site and immediate surroundings, its management is animated by a progressive spirit, and the homelike atmosphere of the school must make an increasing appeal to parents and students alike. While its present system remains in force it can hardly fail to increase in numbers and influence as the years go on, and every twelve-month of continued existence adds to its possibilities. It already holds the first place among the preparatory schools west of the Rocky Mountains, and as the neighbouring universities wax strong with years, the scope of Belmont as tributary to them will be recognized as fully as are now the similar relations of Lawrenceville, Exeter, and Andover, to Princeton, Harvard, and Yale.
THE nine preparatory schools whose characteristics have been lightly touched upon rather than described within the foregoing pages, have their distinctive features, as we have seen. Alike in their general aim, they differ among themselves in respect to theories of management and the like, even more widely than do their English prototypes of Eton, Harrow, and Rugby. Each has its attractions, as it has its loyal defenders among alumni and undergraduates. The impartial observer will assuredly find much to approve and admire in every case, and if moved to criticism of this or that feature in any one of the nine, will, assuredly, criticize in no unfriendly fashion. Such criticisms, indeed, as have been ventured upon here and there in the preceding chapters have been uttered in a spirit of entire good nature, and if mistakenly made must share the fate of such mistakes. And now, as the end is reached, a last word may be added, regarding a phase of the educational problem that these institutions are doing their conscientious best to solve.
When one has visited them all, and especially when one has noted at the same time the amounts annually required to maintain a boy at any of these institutions where, in Calverley's phrase, "are blended home comforts with school training," a question springs to mind that is not easily answered. At all but one of the nine schools here mentioned this sum amounts to not less than $600, and in the majority of instances to $700, and, in the case of two or three, to nearly if not quite $800. At Nazareth the yearly expenses are $350. But the sums charged at the eight other schools are not unusual in their character, by any means. At the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, the annual expenses amount to $900, and at nearly all of the preparatory institutions of this high grade the rate remains about the same, that is, ranging from $600 to $900.
Now the question that occurs to the impartial observer in view of such facts as these is this:
Where shall, or more properly, where can the professional man on a small salary, or the business man similarly circumstanced, send his son or sons to be prepared for college?
There are the excellent high schools in every important town, answers some one. True, and if it be a day school that the parent has in mind, these will serve the purpose well. But it may be that the parent considers that the discipline and experience of a boarding-school is what his child most needs, and in certain localities the companions of the boy in all but the higher grades of day school are, from their nationality, objectionable personal habits, or what not, undesirable. To remove him from these associates will naturally be the wish of the parent who hopes to train up his son to observe the manners and customs of refined surroundings. The discipline of the public school is in most cases preferable to that of the private day school, and for that reason the latter institution does not offer the parent a wholly satisfactory solution of his problem.
The day school of either kind being, for one reason or another, out of the question for him, and with a preference for the boarding-school still lurking somewhere in his mind, the parent who would like to give his son the best, but whose yearly income is scarcely twice the sum required to send his boy for a year to Lawrenceville or Groton, let us say, is far from seeing his way clear to giving his son the education of a gentleman.
But think of the scholarships at these schools; of the assistance often afforded to sons of clergymen and other professional men as regards their education, some one else observes. True, there are the scholarships, by means of which many a deserving lad has been helped toward a higher education. But when all is said, scholarships are not every-day affairs, and their number is not increasing in proportion to the number of boys who need them.
The existence of such excellent "church" and other schools of the type of the Holderness School for boys, in Holderness, New Hampshire, has been suggested as offering a partial answer to the question we have been asking, but the answer is only partial, after all, for schools like Holderness are not too frequently met with.
The plain fact remains that, when all has been said regarding scholarships and other aids, "the equipment and maintenance of a first-class boarding-school and the quality of its teaching make it too expensive for people in humble circumstances," as the rector of the Shattuck School observes in his readable historic sketch of that institution.
The rector goes on to say that since men of ability come up from all conditions in life, it would seem to be for the public good that aid should be extended in some systematic way to boys desirous of benefiting by the instruction obtainable in such institutions of high rank, but to whom the way is closed without such aid. His solution of the problem is an ample endowment, so that the way can be made much easier and plainer than it now is for people of small means, but of refinement and culture, to educate their sons in the great middle schools, as well as to allow of a certain proportion of ambitious lads from plainer homes enjoying the same privilege. And it may be that his contention furnishes the best answer at present to the question.
There is a story told of a lad of the people who one day applied at the public library in a certain town for "The Adventures of Mike Mulligan, the Masher," but was informed by the somewhat supercilious attendant that there was no such work in the library.
"Well, then," returned the unabashed applicant, "gimme 'Roaring Ralph of the Rialto,' or 'The Gory Galoot of the Gaultees.'"
"We don't have such books here," said the librarian, frostily.
"Wot's this here lib'ry fur?" began the indignant fiction seeker, and then, answering his own query, added, with withering sarcasm, "I know wot it's fur, I do; it's fur the rich, and the poor workin' boy don't git no chance at all."
As for the moral of this little tale, it lies, of course, in the nature of the application that may be made of it.