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CHAPTER XIII.

FIRST YEARS AT YVERDUN.

Helpers. Vulliemin's reminiscences. Prussia adopts the Pesta lozzian Method. Great reputation of the Institute. Testimony of Ritter, Raumer, etc. School for girls. School for deaf-mutes. Life in the institute. A printing-press in the Castle. "Weekly Journal of Education." Other publications. Games, manual labour, festivities.

ONCE installed in the old Castle of Yverdun, the institute grew rapidly; the pupils were soon much more numerous than they had been at Burgdorf, and the number of masters was considerably increased. Many of the latter had been pupils at Burgdorf, and now, as under-masters entrusted with the teaching of the most elementary subjects, they faithfully applied the method by which they had themselves been formed. The others were men of various attainments and capacity, who had eagerly accepted work under Pestalozzi.

Amongst the new helpers we must mention:

John Niederer, of Outer Appenzell, Doctor of Philosophy, who when the Burgdorf institute was opened was the pastor of Sennwald, in the Rheinthal. In the letters which he wrote at the time to his intimate friend Tobler, and which have since been published by his widow, he expresses sincere admiration for Pestalozzi, and a great desire to join him. This desire, however, was not satisfied till some years later, for he would not leave his parish till he was satisfied that it would not suffer from his absence. Niederer has been called the philosopher of the "method,"

1 Once the residence of the Bailiffs of Canton Berne, it had become the property of the Vaudese Government, and had been sold in 1804 to the town of Yverdun, on condition that Pestalozzi, during his life, should have the gratuitous use of it for his educational institution.

because he put Pestalozzi's ideas into a more philosophical form. At Yverdun he revised everything that the master wrote for publication, correcting the chief defects, and, it must be added, somewhat spoiling the originality of both matter and form. Indeed, if Pestalozzi's thought is to be thoroughly understood, it must be examined in those of his writings which were not touched by anybody but himself.

De Murault, of Zurich, a well-informed man, of large views and good administrative ability; simple and kindly with children. He had lived in Paris, and spoke French fairly well; and as all the singing in the institute was in German, he won the hearts of all the French-speaking boys by taking us for walks, and teaching us songs in our mothertongue. He afterwards became the head of an important educational establishment in St. Petersburg.

Mieg, a capable man; kind, but very firm. After Murault's departure, Pestalozzi entrusted him for some time with the general management of the discipline of the institute.

Von Türck, of a noble family in the north of Germany. He gave up a good position in the Oldenburg magistracy to come and study Pestalozzi's work, of which he afterwards published an account, with the title: Letters from Munchenbuchsee on Pestalozzi and his Elementary Method of Educa tion. This man, distinguished alike for his talents, his high aims, and his extraordinary strength of will, after having conducted a school in Yverdun in connection with Pestalozzi's institute, was appointed a Councillor of State in Potsdam, where he zealously worked for thirty years at the application and propagation of the master's doctrine.

Barraud, soon called away by Maine de Biran to Bergerac, in Dordogne, where he founded an educational institute based on Pestalozzi's principles.

Amongst the poor children who had been received at Burgdorf, and who afterwards became masters at Yverdun, the three most distinguished were:

Ramsauer, of whom mention has already been made, and whom we shall have occasion to quote again.

1 He had been teaching in a family in Paris at the time of the Con sulta, and having become acquainted with Pestalozzi, had expressed a desire to work with him.

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Joseph Schmidt, a shepherd-boy from the Tyrol, who had nad no early education whatever. Burgdorf had a greater influence on his intellect than on his heart. He soon showed a remarkable talent for mathematics, which he taught at Yverdun with great skill and astonishing success. With a glance like an eagle and a will of iron, he was crafty, domineering, and utterly devoid of sensibility. He gradually obtained complete ascendancy over Pestalozzi's mind, and was finally the cause of the departure of the other masters, and of the ruin of the institute. It was he whe drew up the Elementary Lessons in Number und Form, which are printed in volumes xiv. and xv. of the very incomplete edition of Pestalozzi's works published by Cotta from 1820 to 1826.

Steiner, a neglected child, who received all his education. from Pestalozzi at Burgdori. He was an under-master at Yverdun, and was one of the pupils who did the greatest credit to the "method." Much later he became a professor of mathematics in Berlin, and published works which have had a very considerable effect in popularizing and improving the study of that science.

Such were now Pestalozzi's chief helpers. There were many others afterwards, but it must be remembered that we are speaking of a time when the Yverdun institute was still in its infancy.

To give our readers a clear idea of the life of the institute in these early days, we cannot do better than quote the interesting writer who has lately published, for his family and friends, as he says, the memories of his childhood. We refer to Professor Vulliemin, the eminent historian and continuator of Jean de Muller. He entered Pestalozzi's institute in 1805, at the age of eight, and remained there two years. His account of the place is as follows:

" Imagine, my children, a very ugly man, with rough, bristling hair, his face scarred with small-pox and covered with freckles, a pointed, untidy beard, no neck-tie, ill-fitting trousers, stockings down, and enormous shoes; add to this a breathless, shuffling gait, eyes either large and flashing, or half-closed as though turned within, features expressing either a profound sadness or the most peaceful happiness, speech now slow and musical, now thundering and hurried,

and you will have some idea of the man we called 'Father

Pestalozzi.'

"Such as I have described him to you, we loved him; yes, we all loved him, for he loved us all; we loved him so much that when we lost sight of him for a time we felt sad and lonely, and when he came back to us again we could not turn our eyes away from him.

"We knew that at the time when the wars of the Swiss Revolution had so largely increased the number of poor and orphan children, he had taken a great number of them into his house and cared for them as a father, and we felt that he was the true friend of children, and of all who were in trouble or misfortune.

"My fellow-citizens of Yverdun, my native town, had generously placed at his disposal the old Castle. It was built in the shape of a huge square, and its great rooms and courts were admirably adapted for the games as well as the studies of a large school. Within its walls were assembled from a hundred and fifty to two hundred children of all nations, who divided their time between lessons and happy play. It often happened that a game of prisoner's base, begun in the Castle court, would be finished on the grass near the lake. In winter we used to make a mighty snow-fortress, which was attacked and defended with equal heroism. Sickness was hardly known among us.

Early every morning we went in turns and had a shower of cold water thrown over us. We were generally bareheaded, but once, when a bitterly cold wind was blowing, my father took pity upon me, and gave me a hat. My companions had no sooner perceived it than a hue and cry was raised: A hat, a hat!' It was soon knocked off my head and a hundred hands sent it flying about the playground and corridors, till at last it went spinning through a window, and fell into the river that flows under the walls of the Castle. It was carried away to the lake and I never saw it again.

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Our masters were for the most part young men, and nearly all children of the revolutionary period, who had grown up round Pestalozzi, their father and ours. There were, indeed, a few educated men and scholars who had come to share his task; but, taken altogether, there was not much learning I myself have heard Pestalozzi boast, when

an old man, of not having read anything for forty years. Nor did our masters, his first pupils, read much more than Pestalozzi himself. Their teaching was addressed to the understanding rather than the memory, and had for its aim the harmonious cultivation of the germs implanted in us by Providence. Make it your aim to develop the child,' Pestalozzi was never tired of repeating, and do not merely train him as you would train a dog, and as so many children in our schools often are trained.'

"Our studies were almost entirely based on number, form, and language. Language was taught us by the help of sense-impression; we were taught to see correctly, and in that way to form for ourselves a just idea of the relations of things. What we had thoroughly understood we had no trouble to express clearly.

"The first elements of geography were taught us from the land itself. We were first taken to a narrow valley not far from Yverdun, where the river Buron runs. After taking a general view of the valley, we were made to examine the details, until we had obtained an exact and complete idea of it. We were then told to take some of the clay which lay in beds on one side of the valley, and fill the baskets which we had brought for the purpose. On our return to the Castle, we took our places at the long tables, and reproduced in relief the valley we had just studied, each one doing the part which had been allotted to him. In the course of the next few days more walks and more explorations, each day on higher ground and each time with a further extension of our work. Only when our relief was finished were we shown the map, which by this means we did not see till we were in a position to understand it.

"We had to discover the truths of geometry for ourselves. After being once put in the way of it, the end to be reached was pointed out to us, and we were left to work alone. It was the same with arithmetic, which we did aloud, without paper. Some of us became wonderfully quick at this, and as charlatanism penetrates everywhere, these only were brought before the numerous strangers that the name of Pestalozzi daily attracted to Yverdun. We were told over and over again that a great work was going on in our midst, that the eyes of the world were upon us, and we readily believed it.

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