This it is from which we are keeping holiday; but for us it can be only a half holiday, the sifting process is always at work, the opposition of the world to the Church only sleeps for a moment, and there are many who tell us that the signs of the times point to new forms of older conflicts likely to recur, and that we may have to go, as they went on the day of Waterloo, straight from the dance to the battlefield.
MATHEMATICS, NATURAL SCIENCE, AND NATURE STUDY.
“The Arab told me that the stone
(To give it in the language of the dream)
Was “Euclid’s Elements”; and “This,” said he,
“Is something of more worth”; and at the word
Stretched forth the shell, so beautiful in shape,
In colour so resplendent, with command
That I should hold it to my ear. I did so,
And heard that instant in an unknown tongue,
Which yet I understood, articulate sounds,
A loud prophetic blast of harmony.”
WORDSWORTH, “The Prelude,” Bk. V.
Mathematics, natural science, and nature study may be conveniently grouped together, because in a study of educational aims, in so far as they concern Catholic girls, there is not much that is distinctive which practically affects these branches; during the years of school life they stand, more or less, on common ground with others. More advanced studies of natural science open up burning questions, and as to these, it is the last counsel of wisdom for girls leaving school or school-room to remember that they have no right to have any opinion at all. It is well to make them understand that after years of specialized study the really great men of science, in very gentle tones and with careful utterance, give to the world their formed opinions, keeping them ever open to readjustment as the results of fresh observations come in year after year, and new discoveries call for correction and rearrangement of what has been previously taught. It is also well that they should know that by the time the newest theory reaches the school-room and textbook it may be already antiquated and perhaps superseded in the observatory and laboratory, so that in scientific matters the school-room must always be a little “behind the times.” And likewise that when scientific teaching has to be brought within the compass of a text-book for young students, it is mere baby talk,