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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

A Woman's Views on Boys, Girls, Marriage, and Herbert Spencer

A Woman's Views on Boys, Girls, Marriage, and Herbert Spencer.

It is important that parents should not be unduly elated by good school reports, for they mean but little. The typical top-of-the-class boy, a good, plodding fellow who gives no trouble, is always a favorite with the master, but he hardly ever does anything in after-life. . . .

I once more come back to saying that neglect of health and over-stimulating: of the brain before the age, say, of fifteen in excitable, clever children are the only two things that really might work for evil on the future. . . . .

In my youth, and still more before my time, girls were brought up to think that marriage was their one and only chance in life, and that, if they did not marry quite young, they would never marry at all. Now they know much more about the difficulties and dangers of life, and pride themselves on not thinking about marriage. This seems to be a mistake; they ought to think of it very seriously and from every point of view. . . . . Marriage should not be a woman's only profession but it should be her best and highest hope. Every girl should try and make herself worthy of it both in body and mind, and this attitude will not make a girl grow into a less sensible old maid if she has to be one. . . .

In the days long ago, when my children were children, and, as is apt to be the case when one is surrounded with a small growing-up family half the population of the world seemed to me to be children, my thought were so centred on the subject that nothing else appeared to me of any great importance At that time two books gave me much comfort, support, and instruction. 'One was' Education : Intellectual, Moral and Physical, by Herbert Spencer. This book now so much read and so widely known requires no recommendation from anyone, but I do wish to say that every father and mother should read it-not once, but again and again Some will disagree with one part and some with another, but I defy anybody to read it without a certain clearing of the head and opening of the mind, most essential to those who have the heavy responsibility of training the young. If there is one thing above all others that repeats its faults ad nauseam and is blindly conservative, it is the management of children in the nursery and schoolroom. Mr. Herbert Spencer's book hat fortunately now reached a very cheap edition (published at 6d). It is a book created by the hand of genius, and no the result of personal experience. I humbly bow to it in grateful thanks for all the good I derived from its perusal.