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systematic intimidation, the anarchy and lawlessness which leaders of the Irish party profess and promote, are conclusive agai delivering to their tender mercies the lives, liberties, and property quiet and law-respecting Irishmen. It was hoped that in associat with English statesmen they would unlearn their creed and rep deeds of rapine and violence. This hope has been disappointed, a until there is some prospect of its being realised it will not safe for the Imperial Parliament and Executive to surrender any the powers which the law and constitution give them in Irela There will be ample time, therefore, for the experiment of the Gra Committee on Irish affairs which has been suggested-a course wh might prove a discipline to self-rule in Ireland, as well as a use expedient for facilitating Parliamentary business.

1887

563

LITERATURE FOR THE LITTLE ONES.

THE kindly reception accorded by most critics to my two previous papers, on 'What Boys Read' and 'What Girls Read,' encourages me to lay before the public my views on yet another branch of this question of literature for the young. My justification for this is the abiding interest which the character of the books written and published for their children must always possess for parents. In the present instance I shall endeavour to give some idea of the works which have been produced for the especial edification of the very little ones. The inquiry is extensive and peculiarly important. If to determine what works shall be placed in the hands of a boy or girl of fifteen gives the mother and father anxiety, what shall we say of the difficulty they must feel in choosing a book for the babe? The teens are an impressionable period, but the period which a child has lived before it reaches its teens is not only impressionable, but charged with the gravest potentialities. It is almost a truism to urge that the child whose future is to be moulded definitely between the ages of thirteen and twenty will be capable of higher or lower motives in proportion as his first appreciable contact with the world has tended to the noble or the base. With what kind of work, then, shall the parent elect to open a child's ideas? To whose productions may we turn in the full confidence that they are unexceptionable in spirit and in letter?

At the outset it may be admitted that mothers have much to be grateful for in the books published for their children. The highest artistic and literary talent is, and has been for a long time, devoted to their production. There have been works written with a view to the wants of not too imaginative parents when the baby asks to be told a story; there are works which the babe may be expected to read itself; there are works also, composed chiefly of pictures with only a very small portion of letterpress, with which children may amuse themselves to their hearts' content. The season of 1886-87 was marked in several ways. In the first place there were some happy combinations. Mr. Hallam Tennyson and the late Randolph Caldecott jointly produced a version of Jack and the Beanstalk. Miss Lizzie Lawson and Mr. R. E. Mack collaborated in two sweet

works called respectively Christmas Roses and Under the Mistletoe. Mr. Frederic Weatherly and Miss J. M. Dealy laboured together very successfully in The Land of Little People, as did Mr. E. Leckey and Miss J. Berkeley in Fairy Folk, whilst a unique partnership was struck up between Miss Kate Greenaway, with her fantastical and shortwaisted but becoming children- Kate Greenaway' children they are always, rather than children of nature-and Bret Harte in The Queen of the Pirate Isle, a melodramatic name covering an amusing story. In the second place, numerous works worthy of special mention appeared. Mr. Harry Furniss turned his powers to account on behalf of children in Romps all the Year Round, Mr. Gordon Browne started a series of Old Fairy Tales, Mr. Walter Crane contributed to the annual fare The Baby's own Esop, and the S.P.C.K. issued a mutilated and nearly worthless edition of Robinson Crusoe. If children are not able to read Robinson Crusoe as Defoe wrote it, they will gain little by having it written down to them by Miss Mary Godolphin. A daughter of Mr. Hughes, the author of Tom Brown's Schooldays, entered the field of children's literature with Madame Tabby's Establishment; Miss Jessie Greenwood, whose name the booksellers insisted on confounding with Miss Kate Greenaway's, made her début in The Moon Maiden; the Hon. Margaret Collier published Prince Peerless, a book remarkable chiefly on account of the pugilistic propensities of its fairy-folk; Mrs. F. H. Burnett won golden opinions on both sides of the Atlantic by her touching and beautiful story of the precocious little American who suddenly became the heir to an English earldom Little Lord Fauntleroy; and Dr. Samuel Cox opened up a comparatively new vein in The Bird's Nest, a book of sermons for young and old.

Unlike that for boys and girls in their teens, literature for the very young has a considerable history, and to fully appreciate its merits in the present some knowledge of its past is necessary. A prominent place among books for the little ones, of course, has been and is occupied by fables and fairy stories. Æsop's fame in the nursery is so great as to appear almost as fabulous, at least in its historic aspects, as the themes of which he treats. It would be an interesting and far from uninstructive inquiry for some one, who could give the time to it, to attempt to determine the influence which Æsop, or rather the marvellous collection of fables associated with the name of Æsop, has had on the minds of men. Throughout the ages, in the midst of ignorance and superstition, in the homes of rich and poor alike, Esop has secured a place. It would be an endless task to enumerate the editions through which he has passed or the various methods in which it has been sought to lay his teaching before the nymphs of the nursery. Even now only two others can claim to storm that particular section of the household with anying like equal success-Grimm and Andersen. Wolf and Pilpay

and Bechstein, their virtues notwithstanding, cannot be compared with Grimm, Andersen, and Æsop in popularity. One or other of the latter is almost certain to be selected by parents among the first books placed in the hands of their children. The secret of this favour is that fairy stories and fables are regarded practically as engines for the propulsion of all the virtues into the little mind in an agreeable and harmless form. Æsop is distinguished first by brevity; second, by the manner in which his moral is generally hung in an epigrammatic and easily to be avoided form at the end of his narrative. Though Grimm's and Andersen's works are also intended to convey some moral, it is left to the child to digest this in the spirit as it digests the story in the letter. Contentment and modesty are the two attributes which Grimm or Andersen may be expected to inculcate. Over-estimation of self is constantly pointed out by Æsop as a source of failure. Grimm shows in many ways how, by being dissatisfied with what we have, we risk even that. The truth to be extracted from Andersen nearly always amounts to this: Whatever your lot is, make the best of it and do not selfishly pine for things which it has not pleased God to give you.' Aspiration, according to Andersen's tales, is not very wise nor very often realised. Tin soldier,' said the Goblin in The Brave Tin Soldierand the Goblin's remark points the direction of Andersen's thoughts in most cases- don't wish for what does not belong to you.' To do so, as the event proved, is to bring disaster on one's head. Andersen has recently been edited with rather too special a view to the requirements of young people by Mrs. H. B. Paull. The most handsome and valuable edition of German Popular Stories 2 by the brothers Grimm is unquestionably that edited by Edgar Taylor, introduced by John Ruskin, and illustrated by George Cruikshank.

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The days, however, when fairy stories and fables-Cinderella, Blue Beard, Red Riding Hood, and Old Mother Hubbard-were the chief if not the only literary resources of the nursery have been long passed. During the last one hundred and twenty years we have boasted some sort of literature for children, but it is only within the last quarter of a century that this literature has deservedly assumed a high place in the public regard. The ordinary story for children may be said to have dated from Goody Two-Shoes. To a facsimile reproduction of the edition of this work of 1776 Mr. Charles Welsh has supplied an instructive preface, in the course of which the names occur of some children's books of the eighteenth century. An idea of their character may be gleaned from their titles. The Valentine Gift, or How to Behave with Honour, Integrity, and Humanity: very useful with a Trading Nation. The Easter Gift, or the Way to be Good. The Renowned History of Giles Gingerbread, a Chandos Classics, Warne & Co.

2 Messrs. Chatto & Windus.

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Who from a state of Rags and bare,

And having shoes but half a Pair,
Their Fortune and their Fame would fix
And gallop in a coach and six.

There is a great deal in Goody Two-Shoes that, properly edit and revised, might be made of interest to children in the prese day. The work is full of quaint suggestions, the moral of the in dents enumerated being treated much after the fashion of Eso For instance, Margery is locked in the church one night, and startled by some creature whose cold touch may well have sent shiver through her little frame. Her visitor turns out to be a do who had followed her into the building. To the account of h adventure a reflection is appended.

After this, my dear children, I hope you will not believe in any foolish stori that ignorant, weak, or designing people may tell you about ghosts, for the tales ghosts, witches, and fairies are the frolics of a distempered brain. No wise m ever saw either of them. Little Margery, you see, was not afraid; no, she b good sense and a good conscience, which is a cure for all these imaginary evils.

After Goody Two-Shoes the next work of importance was San ford and Merton, which appeared in 1783. This book deserv attention for two reasons: first, because it has run Robinson Crus harder than any other work of the eighteenth century particular affected by children; second, though it was not, perhaps, exact a model to be followed, it was at least a source of inspiration later writers. It was the first book for children in which mo contrast, which was pushed to so extreme and almost intolerable verge at the end of the last and the beginning of this century, w availed of unsparingly. Harry Sandford and Tommy Merton two boys diametrically opposite in birth, in breeding, in virtue, every characteristic of life. Sandford is the son of a poor ma Merton is the son of a rich man. Sandford is courageous, go industrious, unpretentious; Merton is cowardly, mean, lazy, and p sessed of an exaggerated idea of his own importance. Mr. Day, t author of the work, as Mr. Cecil Hartley said nearly forty years a was opposed to the enervating system of fashionable educati practised in his time, and determined to stem the torrent tl threatened to sap, overwhelm, and destroy all the nobler energies man's nature.' Sandford and Merton was an instrument towa the accomplishment of his object. No one can deny the power

mind and soundness of heart which Mr Day threw into his labou

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