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cises intended to teach the children self-control, and interest the best natures amongst them in the practical questions of every-day life.
"It will easily be understood that, in this respect, it was not possible to organize any system of discipline for the establishment; that could only come slowly, as the general work developed.
"Silence, as an aid to application, is perhaps the great secret of such an institution. I found it very useful to insist on silence when I was teaching, and also to pay particular attention to the attitude of my children. The result was that the moment I asked for silence, I could teach in quite a low voice. The children repeated my words all together; and as there was no other sound, I was able to detect the slightest mistakes of pronunciation. It is true that this was not always so. Sometimes, whilst they repeated sentences after me, I would ask them half in fun to keep their eyes fixed on their middle fingers. It is hardly credible how useful simple things of this sort sometimes are as means to the very highest ends.
"One young girl, for instance, who had been little better than a savage, by keeping her head and body upright, and not looking about, made more progress in her moral education than any one would have believed possible.
"These experiences have shown me that the mere habit of carrying oneself well does much more for the education of the moral sentiments than any amount of teaching and lectures in which this simple fact is ignored.
"Thanks to the application of these principles, my children soon became more open, more contented and more susceptible to every good and noble influence than any one could possibly have foreseen when they first came to me, so utterly devoid were they of ideas, good feelings, and moral principles. As a matter of fact, this lack of previous instruction was not a serious obstacle to me; indeed, it hardly troubled me at all. I am inclined even to say that, in the simple method I was following, it was often an advantage, for I had incomparably less trouble to develop those children whose minds were still blank, than those who had already acquired a few more or less correct ideas. The former, too, were much more open than the latter to the influence of all pure and simple sentiments.
"But when the children were obdurate and churlish, then I was severe, and made use of corporal punishment.
"My dear friend, the pedagogical principle which says that we must win the hearts and minds of our children by words alone, without having recourse to corporal punishment, is certainly good, and applicable under favourable conditions and circumstances; but with children of such widely different ages as mine, children for the most part beggars, and all full of deeply-rooted faults, a certain amount of corporal punishment was inevitable, especially as I was anxious to arrive surely, speedily, and by the simplest means, at gaining an influence over them all, for the sake of putting them all in the right road. I was compelled to punish them, but it would be a mistake to suppose that I thereby, in any way, lost the confidence of my pupils.
"It is not the rare and isolated actions that form the opinions and feelings of children, but the impressions of every day and every hour. From such impressions they judge whether we are kindly disposed towards them or not, and this settles their general attitude towards us. Their judgment of isolated actions depends upon this general attitude.
"This is how it is that punishments inflicted by parents rarely make a bad impression. But it is quite different with schoolmasters and teachers who are not with their children night and day, and have none of those relations with them which result from life in common.
"My punishments never produced obstinacy; the children I had beaten were quite satisfied if a moment afterwards I gave them my hand and kissed them, and I could read in their eyes that the final effect of my blows was really joy. The following is a striking instance of the effect this sort of punishment sometimes had. One day one of the children I liked best, taking advantage of my affection, unjustly threatened one of his companions. I was very indignant, and my hand did not spare him. He seemed at first almost brokenhearted, and cried bitterly for at least a quarter of an hour. When I had gone out, however, he got up, and going to the boy he had ill-treated, begged his pardon, and thanked him for having spoken about his bad conduct. My friend, this was no comedy; the child had never seen anything like it before.
"It was impossible that this sort of treatment should pro
duce a bad impression on my children, because all day long I was giving them proofs of my affection and devotion. They could not misread my heart, and so they did not misjudge my actions. It was not the same with the parents, friends, strangers, and teachers who visited us, but that was natural. But I cared nothing for the opinion of the whole world, provided my children understood me.
"I always did my best, therefore, to make them clearly understand the motives of my actions in all matters likely to excite their attention and interest. This, my friend, brings me to the consideration of the moral means to be employed in a truly domestic education.
"Elementary moral education, considered as a whole, includes three distinct parts: the children's moral sense must first be aroused by their feelings being made active and pure; then they must be exercised in self-control, and taught to take interest in whatever is just and good; finally, they must be brought to form for themselves, by reflection and comparison, a just notion of the moral rights and duties which are theirs by reason of their position and surroundings.
"So far, I have pointed out some of the means I employed to reach the first two of these ends. They were just as simple for the third; for I still made use of the impressions and experiences of their daily life to give my children a true and exact idea of right and duty. When, for instance, they made a noise, I appealed to their own judgment, and asked them if it was possible to learn under such conditions. I shall never forget how strong and true I generally found their sense of justice and reason, and how this sense increased and, as it were, established their good will.
"I appealed to them in all matters that concerned the establishment. It was generally in the quiet evening hours that I appealed to their free judgment. When, for instance, it was reported in the village that they had not enough to eat, I said to them, 'Tell me, my children, if you are not better fed than you were at home? Think, and tell me yourselves, whether it would be well to keep you here in such a way as would make it impossible for you afterwards, in spite of all your application and hard work, to procure what you had become accustomed to. Do you lack anything that is really necessary ? Do you think that I could reasonably and justly do more for you? Would you have me spend all the
money that is entrusted to me on thirty or forty children instead of on eighty as at present? Would that be just?
"In the same way, when I heard that it was reported that I punished them too severely, I said to them: 'You know how I love you, my children; but tell me, would you like me to stop punishing you? Do you think that in any other way I can free you from your deeply rooted bad habits, or make you always mind what I say? You were there, my friend, and saw with your own eyes the sincere emotion with which they answered, 'We do not complain of your treatment. Would that we never deserved punishment; but when we do, we are willing to bear it.'
"Many things that make no difference in a small household could not be tolerated where the numbers were so great. I tried to make my children feel this, always leaving them to decide what could or could not be allowed. It is true that, in my intercourse with them, I never spoke of liberty or equality; but, at the same time, I encouraged them as far as possible to be free and unconstrained in my presence, with the result that every day I marked more and more that clear, open look in their eyes which, in my experience, is the sign of a really liberal education. I could not bear the thought of betraying the trust I read in their faces, and was always seeking to encourage it, as well as the free development of their individuality, that nothing might cloud their angel eyes, the mere sight of which gave me such deep pleasure. I never tolerated frowns and gloomy faces, but always tried to call back smiles. The consequence was that, even amongst themselves, gloomy looks were kept out of sight.
"By reason of their great number, I had occasion nearly every day to point out the difference between good and evil, justice and injustice. Good and evil are equally contagious amongst so many children, so that, according as the good or bad sentiments spread, the establishment was likely to become either much better or much worse than if it had only contained a smaller number. About this, too, I talked to them frankly. I shall never forget the impression that my words produced when, in speaking of a certain disturbance that had taken place amongst them, I said, 'My children, it is the same with us as with every other household; when the children are numerous, and each gives way to his bad habits, such disorder ensues that even the weakest mother is obliged
to be reasonable, and make them submit to what is just and right. And that is what I must do now. If you do not willingly assist in the maintenance of order, our establishinent cannot go on, you will fall back into your former condition, and your misery-now that you have been accustomed to a good home, clean clothes, and regular food-will be greater than ever. In this world, my children, necessity and conviction alone can teach a man to behave; when both fail him, he is hateful. Think for a moment what you would become if you were safe from want and cared nothing for right, justice, or goodness. At home there was always some one who looked after you, and poverty itself forced you to many a right action; but with convictions and reason to guide you, you will rise far higher than by following necessity alone.'
"I often spoke to them in this way without troubling in the least whether they each understood every word, feeling quite sure that they all caught the general sense of what I said.
"Lively pictures of the condition in which they might some day find themselves, had also a very great effect upon them. I pointed out to them the result of each particular defect. I said, for instance: 'Do you not know men who are detested for their evil tongue? Would you, in your old days, care to be thus held in abomination by your neighbours and relations, perhaps even by your children?' In that way I used their own experience to put before them as striking a picture as I could of the evil results of our faults. Similarly, I pointed out the consequences of right action.
"Generally, however, I tried to make clear to them the very different effects of good and bad education. 'Do you not know men whose unhappiness is solely the result of their want of thought and application when young? Do you not know some who could earn three or four times as much if they could read and write? Will you not take advantage of your time here, and learn as much as possible, so that you may never have to live by begging, or be a burden to your children?'
"Here are a few more thoughts which produced a great impression on my children: 'Do you know anything greater or nobler than to give counsel to the poor, and comfort to the unfortunate? But if you remain ignorant and incapable,