The skim milk seems to have come to the top and the cream has gone to the bottom, as the result of the contravention of the laws of evolution, and the failure to perceive the analogy between the simplest methods of agriculture, and the cultivation of mentality. We have expected fruit and flowers from waste and untilled soil; we sowed the seed of instruction without even ploughing the land, or eradicating the prominent weeds, and we are reaping a crop of thistles where we looked for figs, and thorns where we looked for grapes. The seed scattered so lavishly by the wayside was devoured by the fowls of the air; that which was sown upon the stony places, where there was not much earth, could not withstand the heat of summer; and that which fell among thorns was choked by the unconquered possessors of the field. A little, a very little, which “fell into good ground brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold”; and therein lies our only consolation.
The educational enthusiasts of 1870 forgot that the material they had to work upon did not come from inherited refinement and intelligence; that it was evolved from a parentage content with a vocabulary of some 500 words; that there was little nobility of home influence to assist in the process of development; they crammed it with matter which it could not assimilate, they took it from the open country air and the sunshine, confined it in close and crowded school-rooms, and produced what we see everywhere at the present time, at the cost of physical deterioration—a diseased and unsettled mentality.
I am aware that there are those who decline to admit any influence of mental heredity, and argue that environment is the only factor to be considered. In a clever and well-reasoned work on the subject I lately read, this proposition was substantiated by instances observable especially among birds brought up in unnatural conditions. The writer, however, entirely forgot the most conclusive piece of evidence in favour of mental heredity which it is possible to adduce—namely, that of the brood of ducklings, who, in spite of the unmistakable manifestations of alarm on the part of a frantic foster-mother hen, take to the water and enjoy it on the very first opportunity.
VILLAGE INSTITUTIONS: CRICKET—FOOTBALL—FLOWERSHOW—BAND—POSTMAN— CONCERTS.
“There is sweet
music here that softer falls
Than petals from blown roses on the grass.”
Among village institutions a cricket club was started soon after I first came, and I was able to lend a meadow in which the members could play. I held the sinecure office of President. The members met, discussed ways and means, drew up regulations, and instituted fines for various delinquencies. Swearing was expensive at threepence each time, but there was no definition of what were to be considered “swear words.” Locally, a usual expletive is, “daazz it,” or, “I’ll be daazzed,” and it was not long before a member making use of this euphemism was accused of swearing. He protested that it was not recognized by philological authorities as coming under the category, but he had to pay up.