Billeder på siden



One of the Innocents

[NOTE. A group of Chicago people, some of them students of the University of Chicago, are spending three months in Paris this summer studying the French language. These students are under the guidance of Mlle. Lorley A. Ashléman, teacher of French in the University Elementary School of the School of Education. After a description of their voyage, which the want of space prevents printing here, Miss Chapman gives the following account of their studies.-EDITOR.]

Our final destination was the pensionnat of Madame Fauconnet at Fontenay-sous-Bois, a beautiful suburb of Paris which is, in fact, what its name indicates, a village by a wood. We reached our new home by omnibus. As we rambled and jolted past the old wall of Paris and struck out into the open country, with trunk, suitcase, handgrip, and bandbox piled atop, with the dames packed inside like herring until their voluminous drapery overflowed, and with the most aspiring maiden of the party perched aloft by the driver, we must have looked truly unique and distinctively American, judging by the wild-eyed astonishment of the natives. One very personable Frenchman stopped by the side of his spouse and stared after us until our plethoric vehicle vanished in the distance.

It was a warm, weary, dusty, doubting company which reached the pensionnat at seven-thirty in the evening. The first glance at our haven revealed nothing but a lofty iron fence shrouded in impenetrable foliage, and a tall roof arising amid the trees. But the broad iron gate stood wide open, and it was but a moment before our doubts and fears were dispelled by as warm and friendly a welcome, accompanied by as true an American handshake, as ever enlivened the heart of a traveler. When Madame Fauconnet led us into the salon, and soon after into the salle-à-manger to an abundant dinner served with true French grace, we began pleasantly to realize that we were at last in France.

And here in this lovely retreat, amid these idyllic surroundings, amid conditions as perfect as could be found upon earth, the Chicago University Innocents are pursuing their various lines of study, and hoping to pass their examinations in three majors in the autumn. Refined and cultured French is the only language spoken around them. The beautiful garden, with its perfectly kept walks and full-blooming flower-beds, furnishes a daily rendezvous for study and recitation. Beneath the foliage, near the vine-clad fence, we sit at the little round tables, or traverse the pebbled place and imagine how naturally the peripatetic school of philosophers might have fallen into such deep contemplation and evolved such perfect systems of thought in surroundings like ours. And, moreover, the bois itself extends almost up to the garden, where, in shady retreat, the disciples may wander, book in hand, surrounded by shade cool and deep, and stillness so profound that thought may not only peep through her casement, but come out and walk, unmolested by the reacting currents of the world. Here the soul may expand her wings. Food for both is not lacking in the instruction presented. Besides the daily review in the principles and construction of the language, two hours daily are devoted to lectures by eminent scholars of Paris. Mr. Schrader, well known in America as professor of geography in the École d'Anthropologie, and officer of the Legion of Honor, speaks upon geography, especially in its relation to the distribution of the races and its influence upon civilization. Mr. Debussy, licencié ès lettres, is treating of modern French writers, especially in the drama. Mr. Paul Lesaunier, professor of history in the Ecole des Roches, gives French history. All treat their subjects in a broad and academic manner, and with an ease of style which furnishes an agreeable variation to the formal limits of the college textbook.

In August we shall have the further privilege of lectures by M. Paul Fauconnet, agrégé de l'Université and professor of philosophy in the Lysée de Cherbourg. He is the son of Madame Fauconnet, our kind, intelligent, delightful hostess.

One delightful evening was passed in the company of Pastor Charles Wagner, who resides in Fontenay-sous-Bois, and who

honored us by a call shortly before his vacation trip to Switzerland. In delightfully broken English he talked of his experiences in the United States, and of how much he had enjoyed them. Our first Sunday morning in Paris was devoted to attending the old chapel in which he was preaching for the last time before removing to the more commodious building which has been made needful by the increasing crowds which seek out his preaching. Mlle. Muller, who has given twenty years to conducting students about Paris, has charge of the grammar department of the instruction to the Innocents, and takes charge of all the excursions. Two days in the week are given to the palaces and the art gallaries, and usually two evenings weekly, by those who desire it, are devoted to hearing the purest French diction as spoken in the Comédie Française or other theaters of Paris.

The students already realize that they are beginning to absorb the subtle aroma which pervades the atmosphere of this interesting and highly artistic race. They are realizing that, truly to know a language, one must know the people who speak it; thoroughly to absorb it, one must breathe its native air and dwell in its native homes. It is a privilege extended to few to be received into the family life of a true French family. The charming affection, the easy cordiality, the lively expressions of interest, show that not in America alone are there happy homes, and that France, far from spending all her time in the cafés and boulevards, retires behind her high-walled gardens to experiences replete with all the joy of the family affections. Our Innocents feel assured that by thus mingling for a few months with their daily life they are absorbing more French from the French themselves than could be laboriously achieved by the same number of years over textbooks. To know the French people in their humanity, their achievements, their place in the wide circle of nations, is not only to know French; it is to know more broadly all life, all nations, all humanity; thus are the fine threads of sympathy woven which link all to each other in true comprehension. "For so the whole round world is bound in golden chains about the feet of God."

[To be continued]




Chicago; Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology in the University of Illinois; President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, etc.

If the ocular apparatus of the average child were by nature adapted to the amount and kind of eye-work that he is ordinarily called upon to do, it would not be so necessary for us, as physicians, to consider, as we often do, the details of school hygiene. In spite of the fact that the eyes are the organs, above all others, that are called upon to labor excessively in the effort to obtain an education, they would cause us little or no anxiety if there were any provision in them for an unusual amount of accommodative effort for excessive focusing for near work in particular. In the great majority of cases the opposite is true. We are all of us born farsighted, i. e., with the vision and visual apparatus of our savage ancestors, and with these eyes we deliberately proceed to the school-work that civilization demands, which, for its easy accomplishment, necessitates quite a different type of eye, viz., shortsighted or myopic globe with an oculo-muscular system in correspondence with it. Happily, quite a few of us run the gauntlet of these dangers to our nervous and digestive apparatus and to our sense organs with little or no damage, but some of us experience ills from which we recover either partially or not at all.

In estimating the value of sanitary precautions in the regulations of the average schoolroom it must be remembered that a respectable percentage of children begin their shool life with congenitally defective eyes. Quite apart from the treatment of this aspect of school life, which I do not propose to discuss here, it follows that any advantage accruing to the merely farsighted

* Read at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Medicine, Boston, June 2, 1906.

pupil in easing the burden of his eye-strain is of manifold greater assistance to the boy or girl who assumes the tasks of study with astigmatic, diseased, or organically defective eyeballs.

Even if the eyes of every school child were, as they ought to be, carefully examined every year for the purpose of detecting and treating all errors of refraction, all defects in accommodation, and all anomalies of oculo-muscular balance, there would still remain many who, from incurable or only partially curable eye defects, need every possible aid to comfortable vision that can be afforded them.

It must also be borne in mind that there are numerous diseases of the other sense organs as well as of the system generally that, neglected or incapable of cure, reduce the effectiveness of the visual function. Even where the eyes are comparatively free of congenital defects or active disease, ineffective digestion due to poor food or other cause, acquired or hereditary diseases of many sorts, obstructed breathing, imperfect mental development, etc., not uncommonly serve to weaken one or more parts of the visual mechanism, and the child so affected is unable to continue his studies.

It is, consequently, not alone for the sake of preserving the eyesight of the ordinary healthy pupil that hygienic precautions are of supreme value in the schoolroom, but that we may not add to other considerable burdens the serious drawback of eye-strain.

In considering a few of these questions let me say that although the discussion of them has been going on since the early days of public education, they still present ever new, because ever changing, aspects, and this fact is another justification I offer for presenting them to you once more.

The illumination of the schoolroom. This is the oldest of the questions relating to the hygiene of school vision. It seems strange that, although one of the simplest and most easily applied of the rules of school sanitation has been known for many years, it is so often overlooked. I refer to the dictum of Risley, that at any hour of the day in any season of the year it should be possible to read the finest (diamond) print in any part of the schoolroom. If this can be done the illumination is sufficient. It may, of

« ForrigeFortsæt »