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As for Pestalozzi himself, he accosted everybody with gentle kindliness. His conversation was animated and clever, full of imagination and originality, but difficult to follow, on account of his pronunciation. But he was never long the same, passing in a moment from frank, openhearted gaiety to profound and even melancholy meditation. Always absent-minded and preoccupied, he was a prey to a feverish restlessness, and could never sit down for long together; he used to walk up and down the corridors of the Castle, one hand behind his back, or in the breast of his coat, the other holding the end of his necktie between his teeth. He used to appear every day like this in the middle of the lessons. If the teaching satisfied him, his face would become radiant with pleasure, he would caress the children and say a few pleasant words to them; but if, on the other hand, he was not satisfied, he would angrily leave the room at once, slamming the door behind him.
He continued to work with indefatigable zeal at improving his "method," and making new applications of it. Every morning, as early as two o'clock, he called an under-master to his bedside to write from his dictation. But he was rarely satisfied with his own work, and made continual corrections, often starting afresh.
At this time Pestalozzi had set up a printing press in the Castle, which he kept fairly busy. But the Yverdun publications of 1807-1811 no longer bear in every part the stamp of the simple, original, impulsive genius of the head of the institute; they were not so much his work, indeed, as that of his collaborators.
First came a pamphlet, edited by Niederer, with the title: On the Principles and Plan of a Journal Announced in 1807; then, A Glance at My Views and Educational Efforts, in which the ideas and even the style of Pestalozzi can be easily recognized; lastly, A Report to Parents and the Public or the Yverdun Institute. This last publication contains a little boasting and many promises; both in matter and manner it would seem to be merely an expression of Niederer's enthusiasm.
At the same time the Weekly Journal for the Education of Humanity was commenced. It was published from 1807 to 1811, and forms four volumes. It contains articles by Pestalozzi's chief helpers, and very many by Pestalozzi
himself, nearly all retouched, however, by Niederer, who seems to have thought it his duty to make his master's style a little more philosophical. Amongst the latter is the noteworthy discourse pronounced by Pestalozzi, in 1809, at a gathering of the Society of the Friends of Education, at Lenzburg, but even this has received improvements and considerable additions at the hand of his philosopher-inchief.
It was at this time and in the same press that the Exercises on Numbers and Forms, the work of Schmidt, were printed.
The works of Pestalozzi which were edited by Niederer have a distinct value of their own, and are well worth consulting. Their importance results not merely from the ideas furnished by Pestalozzi, but also from those added by Niederer, which are not without a certain interest, and explain in part the discord which was so soon to break
This is not the place to describe these writings and discuss the share taken by each in their compilation; it would but interrupt our story without giving us any new facts sufficiently well established and sufficiently important to help us in our study of Pestalozzi's thought. We reserve this discussion, therefore, for the appendix.
But before finishing this chapter we must speak for a moment of the methods of physical training and manual work employed in the institute, and of the various festivals kept by the pupils. That we may not have to return to this subject, we shall not hesitate to anticipate somewhat.
When the weather was favourable, some hours in the afternoon were given every week to military exercises. The pupils formed a little regiment of their own, to which neither flag, drums, band, nor armoury were wanting; they soon learned to go through the most complicated manoeuvres with wonderful precision. When there was any shooting to be done, the non-commissioned officers had to make the cartridges under the direction of an instructing officer. From time to time they had a sham-fight in some suitable spot a few miles from the town. They used then to start very early in the morning, with a waggon for the provisions and ammunition. Many parents and sight-seers often joined the party, so that it was a great day for the pupils. Some
times there was target-shooting, the prize for which was a ewe with its lamb, and the use of a small shed in the garden.
Gymnastics, prisoner's-base and other games went on regularly. There was skating as well in the winter; and in summer, bathing in the lake and mountain excursions. The first day of spring was celebrated every year by a walk on the neighbouring heights; sometimes, however, a late snow-storm would render this impossible, in which case the children consoled themselves by going the first fine day.
We know that manual labour had a place in Pestalozzi's scheme; it was often tried at the institute, but never kept up in a regular manner. The great number and diversity both of the pupils and their occupations proved an insurmountable obstacle. Gardening met with most success. Sometimes the pupils had a little patch of their own to cultivate; sometimes they were told off in twos and threes to work for a few hours, under the direction of the gardener. They did fairly well at bookbinding and cardboard work; they also made solids for the study of geometry.
But it was especially on the occasion of the festivals, of which we have still to speak, that the greatest demands were made on their skill and judgment.
The end of the year was devoted to making New Year albums to send to the parents, containing drawings, maps, mathematical problems, fragments of history, descriptions of natural objects, and literary compositions. On New Year's day there was a religious service, with a discourse by Pestalozzi; a distribution of presents from the parents; a grand dinner; and, in the evening, a torch-light procession through the town (each pupil made his own torch), followed by a ball, to which the girls of the neighbouring institute were invited, together with a certain number of guests from the town. For the next few days very little work was doue, everybody being occupied in preparing for Pestalozzi's birthday, the 12th of January. The pupils of each class decorated their room, transforming it into a woodland scene, with cottage, chapel, ruins, and sometimes a fountain, which was so arranged as to play on Pestalozzi's entrance. Fir-branches, ivy, and moss were fetched in large quantities from the neighbouring forests, and transparencies, with emblems and inscriptions, were secretly prepared; for the decoration of each room was
to be a surprise, not only to Pestalozzi, but to all the other pupils. Songs were also learnt in Pestalozzi's honour. The leading idea of most of the inscriptions was: "In summer
you take us to see Nature; to-day we are trying to bring Nature to you." Often too, on that day, the pupils gave a dramatic performance, the subject of which was generally chosen from among the great episodes of Swiss history fn the middle ages. On these occasions the actors made their own dresses and armour from cardboard and coloured paper. We take the following passages from the journal kept by Mérian, of Basle, who was a pupil of Pestalozzi's from 1806 to 1810, and who afterwards became an engineer at Neuchâtel:
"12th January, 1808.-Pestalozzi's birthday festival. At the end of the day the richer children made a collection amongst themselves for the poor of the town. Mrs. Pestalozzi and Mrs. Kuster took charge of the money, which amounted to about four pounds.
"30th September, 1809.-Fortieth anniversary of 'Father' Pestalozzi's marriage. Great rejoicings, discourse by Niederer; beautiful songs, room decorated with garlands. Grand supper for three hundred people in five rooms. Afterwards dance, opened by Mr. and Mrs. Pestalozzi alone, in the old-fashioned way." 1
It was the custom, on Christmas Eve, to set up a great fir-tree in the room in which the services were held, lighted with candles and loaded with golden nuts, apples, etc. This was the traditional and popular German Christmas-tree, at that time unknown in French-speaking countries, but since then naturalized everywhere. There were also religious discourses and prayers, interspersed with joyful songs, in which the children always took an extreme pleasure.
Indeed, singing played a great part in Pestalozzi's institute, and was the joy of nearly everybody in the house. There was singing everywhere and always. Two Swiss, Pfeiffer and Nægeli, had brought Pestalozzi valuable help in this matter by publishing some admirable collections of sweet, simple songs for children, in which Germany, it
1 Pestalozzi was then sixty-three years old, and his wife seventy.
must be confessed, is very rich. We were also taught a few French songs, but they were far from satisfying us to the same extent. Thanks, however, to many praiseworthy efforts, France has sensibly improved in this respect.
We have tried to show what the Yverdun institute was like during the first years of its existence. At that time its fame had spread far and wide, and yet, as we shall now see, it already contained a defect which was destined to result in its ruin.