The best teaching in this is to show what is best, and to give the principles by which it is to be judged. To talk of what is bad, or less good, even by way of warning, is less persuasive and calculated even to do harm to girls whose temper of mind is often “quite contrary.” Warnings are wearisome to them, and when they refer to remote dangers, partly guessed at, mostly unknown, they even excite the spirit of adventure to go and find out for themselves, just as in childhood repeated warnings and threats of the nursery-maids and maiden aunts are the very things which set the spirit of enterprise off on the voyage of discovery, a fact which the head nurse and the mother have found out long ago, and so have learnt to refrain from these attractive advertisements of danger. So it is with teachers. We learn by experience that a trumpet blast of warning wakes the echoes at first and rouses all that is to be roused, but also that if it is often repeated it dulls the ear and calls forth no response at all. Quiet positive teaching convinces children; to show them the best things attracts them, and once their true allegiance is given to the best, they have more security within themselves than in many danger signals set up for their safety. What is most persuasive of all is a whole-hearted love for real truth and beauty in those who teach them. Their own glow of enthusiasm is caught, light from light, and taste from taste, and ideal from ideal; warning may be lost sight of, but this is living spirit and will last.
What children can accomplish by the excellent methods of teaching drawing and painting which are coming into use now, it is difficult to say. Talent as well as circumstances and conditions of education differ very widely in this. But as preparation for intelligent appreciation they should acquire some elementary principles of criticism, and some knowledge of the history and of the different schools of painting, indications of what to look for here and there in Europe and likewise of how to look at it; this is what they can take with them as a foundation, and in some degree all can acquire enough to continue their own education according to their opportunities. Matter-of-fact minds can learn enough not to be intolerable, the average enough to guide and safeguard their taste. They are important, for they will be in general the multitude, the public, whose judgment is of consequence by its weight of numbers; they will by their demand make art go upwards or downwards according to their pleasure. For the few, the precious few who are chosen and gifted to have a more definite influence, all the love they can acquire in their early years for the best in art will attach them for life to what is sane and true and lovely and of good fame.