Imagens das páginas

ties, not to utilise the rivers which flow past our doors in a decent manner-as is done by means of open baths on the continent -we shall never get swimming taught in schools where it would be necessary first to construct baths at a considerable cost. These are all the extras of any moment. I will now go on to describe my visit, which will afford me an opportunity of adding any particulars which I learnt of the social state of the boys. But, firstly, this fact ought to be mentioned, for it is both important and difficult for us to understand, who are accustomed to see a boy's position in the school regulated by his powers and application to work. For all what may be termed social purposes, such as preparing lessons, playing, eating, sleeping, there are entirely separate divisions, according to the ages of the boys. Such a system as this must tend to produce a deadening effect on the work of the Lycée, by giving to prominence in studies no other reward than the frequently inefficient one, to young minds, of accumulating a stock of learning, and the benefit derived from an exercise of the mind. These divisions are four in number: the first comprises boys from sixteen to twenty years of age; the second, from fourteen to sixteen; the third, from twelve to fourteen; and the fourth, or Petit College, from seven to fourteen.

Passing from the dirty, ill-paved Rue S. Jacques, through a small side-door, to the concierge, I was first of all shown the parloirs, dull salons with a great number of chairs, and a single stove, which seemed, on this cold February day, to impart a still more comfortless air to the room. Here the pupils receive the visits of their parents when they care to visit them, or when they are desirous of finding out the progress their sons are making by examining the weekly notes of the professors. Should, however, the boys be country lads, and far from home, it is here that they can see the 'accredited correspondents' who stand to them, and also to the Lycée, for the time being, in the place of their parents. For there is a rule that every boy whose home is far from Paris must have some one in the town to represent the father, to whose house he can go when a sortie is given, and he is permitted to visit the outside world as a reward for good conduct, or upon the written application of a relation. One of the few pleasures of a schoolboy in Paris is to wander with an old companion, now

in the army, or at the Ecole Normale, up and down the Champs-Elysées; or cultivate his theatrical taste by a comedy at the Français, or an operetta with lively music and low morality at the Variétés or Gaîté. Go to any theatre during the Four des Gras, for instance, and you cannot fail to notice these boys, old and young, eagerly appreciating every point: dressed in their military-looking uniforms, blue tunics, and gilt buttons, and the regular army cap, giving to little boys of ten and fifteen an appearance of premature age, which their sharp features and general demeanor tend to increase. But to continue with the building. It consists of five or six blocks, separated by square court-yards or playgrounds; on one side of these is a species of verandah for exercise on rainy days; but from the centre of each yard nothing is to be seen but walls, windows, and sky. The buildings, again, are neither cheerful nor remarkably clean. Indeed, were I to compare a French Lycée and a large and first-rate English prison, I should most certainly, as regards cleanliness and cheerfulness at anyrate, give the palm to Kirkdale or Salford Jail, rather than to the Lycée Impérial Louis le Grand. In the court. yards, boys were playing without any appearance of great spirit and delight; they have three hours each day for amusement, but only one hour at a time. Their games are generally some kind of ball, but I think they do not possess racket, tennis, fives' courts, in which to cultivate any difficult or scientific game of this sort. A maître d'étude was standing watching the boys with a gloominess which would not have been unfitting to the Eugene Aram of Hood's poem; and I could not fail to notice generally that those whom I happened to see did not give me the impression of being blessed with a great spirit of cheerfulness. In one or two instances, they did not seem to be treated with much respect; one, indeed, was being unmistakably 'chaffed;' nor is this to be wondered at, seing that neither intellectual nor moral guarantees of fitness are required. Though-to return again to the subject of physical exercise-these three hours may seem but small, it must not be forgotten that swimming, fencing, and gymnastics form part of the school-course; but still, from the very fact of their forming part of the regular studies, much of their benefit is lost. The reaction of freedom consists quite as much

in the spirit in which such exercises are carried out, as in the actual exercises, as in the mere development of a boy's biceps with a dumb-bell, or of his eye by the quickness with which he uses his foil. In France, as in England, smoking among schoolboys is strictly forbidden. Yet here, as there, the strange fascination of a pipe or cigar is all-powerful, and boys do smoke to a considerable extent. Next in order come the salles de lecture, or class-rooms, long low rooms, very like a national school in England, with forms for the pupils, a raised desk on one side for the master. Then, through some cold passages and up some still colder stone stairs, I reached a mess-room, with tables laid out for dinner; at one end was a sort of pantry. The whole was barely furnished. Indeed, Mr. Froude, with all his love of academic simplicity, could not have wished for anything in greater contrast to the luxury of the age and of the city of which this was the greatest school, than the whole of the arrangements of the Lycée. By the side of each plate, however, stood a silver goblet, which is supplied by the parents when the boys enter. There are three meals-breakfast, dinner, and supper. Breakfast consists of bread and soup, one day in the week of bread and coffee: dinner, of soup, meat, and dessert-the last, of course, being an unusually large term in France, and consisting of something more than almonds and raisins and supper is like breakfast. No Etonian luxuries are allowed. Thence my guide led me to the second floor. Facing each other were two rooms: one on the left for preparing lessons and for general school purposes; the opposite one is a dormitory. Small curtainless iron bedsteads run down each side, perhaps thirty in number; at one end is a larger and more pretentious-looking couch; in this the maître


d'étude sleeps. In the centre was what I almost at first thought was a metal fountain, about two feet and a half in height, with a centre-piece, and festooned with towels; it was the only lavatory; and to it there is a rush in the morning, a hasty dabbling of hands and face, and the pupils have washed. They rise at half-past seven o'clock, and go to bed at eight. Finally, I visited the cabinets de musique. There was a narrow passage, on each side a number of cells, in each cell a piano. In here a single pupil is turned, and his progress can be watched through a peep-hole in the door, with occasional visits and explanations from the master. It did not seem to differ much in cheerfulness from the occupation of oakum-picking. And with this last specimen of French education my visit ended.

It is often said that the boy is the father of the man, a maxim which, carefully noted, is in the majority of cases true. It is impossible, therefore, to believe that such a system as I have tried to sketch can graft in boys any spirit of independence, self-reliance, or thoughtfulness on general matters. It can only tend to depress the individuality of each boy, and to turn him out into the world, well equipped in the barest intellectual sense, but morally and socially a child; and to increase national characteristics which have been the nation's bane for centuries. The whole idea running through French education is the cultivation of the purely intellectual faculties, and the suppression of all else to gain this end. Perhaps we in England, on the other hand, are a little inclined to run to the opposite extreme, and to set too much value on what is gained socially, morally, and physically from schoolboy freedom, management of one another, and what may be termed general self-government.-Chambers' Fournal.

THE sea at the crag's base brightens,
And shivers in waves of gold;
And overhead, in its vastness,

The fathomless blue is rolled.
There comes no wind from the water,
There shines no sail on the main,
And not a cloudlet to shadow,

The earth with its fleecy grain. Oh, give in return for this glory,

So passionate, warm, and still, The mist of a Highland valley—

The breeze from a Scottish hill.


Day after day glides slowly,
Ever and ever the same;
Seas of intensest splendor,

Airs which smite hot as flame.
Birds of imperial plumage,

Palms straight as columns of fire, Flutter and glitter around me; But not so my soul's desire.

I long for the song of the laverock, The cataract's leap and flash, The sweep of the red deer's antlers, The gleam of the mountain ash.

Only when night's quiescent,

And peopled with alien stars, Old faces come to the casement,

And peer through the vine-leaved bars. No words! but I guess their fancies— Their dreamings are also mineOf the land of the cloud and heatherThe region of Auld Lang Syne. Again we are treading the mountains, Below us broadens the firth, And billows of light keep rolling Down leagues of empurpled heath.

Speed swift through the glowing tropics.
Stout ship, which shall bear me home;
O pass, as a God-sent arrow,

Through thempest, darkness, and foam.
Bear up through the silent girdle

That circles the flying earth,

Till there shall blaze on thy compass
The lode-star over the North,
That the winds of the hills may greet us,
That our footsteps again may be
In the land of our heart's traditions
And close to the storied sea.

-Chambers's Journal.


WHY do gypsies so often "tell truly ?" How are they enabled to reveal the past in such a surprisingly correct manner? Why are their prophecies so often fulfilled? These questions are frequently asked, and among the many solutions that are offered is the following: Because they are guided in the study of character by laws which are strictly laid down, laws which are as certain and as clear as any of the maxims of physiognomy (to which we all attach more or less faith); truer and more significant than any except the outline-rules of phrenology. That gypsies show an extraordinary clairvoyance is beyond dispute. Their successes are too numerous and too well authenticated to be always explained away as coincidences or as "happy hits." The cases recorded in proof of their uncommon skill in discerning disposition and natural endowments are innumerable; and those who know the character of a person are in a position to guess very shrewdly at that person's fate. Not that a particular lot attaches by an inevitable fatality to any mental or moral qualities, but certain natures seem formed with an aptitude for surrounding themselves with a certain set of circumstances. "There's a Divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will;" but to a great extent we make our own fate, and whoever knows us thoroughly, will also know a great deal about our past life, and our future.

Anyone wishing to rival the gypsies in the successful study of character, has only to master the art of palmistry. M. Desbarrolles has collected and sifted their traditional lore and written records, and all the other materials he could find bearing upon his subject, and he has embodied NEW SERIES. VOL. XVIII., No. 6

the chief part of the result of his researches in a book called the " Mysteries of the Hand." It was published eleven years ago, and has attracted much attention amongst the general reading public in France, and it is said to have made some little way also with the scientific people. Eight editions of the book came out in the first eight years of its existence. The subject has strong attractions for several classes of minds: amongst them rank first those who aim at being "discerners of spirits,"-practical metaphysicians, if such a term is allowable; and secondly, a much larger number of enquirers, whose motive is a vulgar curiosity with regard to future events. Palmistry will reward both these classes of students, for, as Lavater, in the words of the ancient philosophers, says, "The whole is in every part." The moral nature is complete in outline in the hand, and if the gypsies, and others who practise this art, are sometimes at fault, it must be remembered that they are often careless in the application of their rules, and sometimes ignorant of those rules.

M. Desbarrolles devotes a large part of his book to the consideration of chirognomony,—a system invented by a M. d'Arpentigny. Chirognomony helps us to judge the character by the form of the hand, and the shape of the fingers. Palmistry also takes account of the shape of the hand and the fingers, but relies chiefly upon the indications supplied by the lines and the mounts of the palm. M. d'Arpentigny's attention was directed to the subject in a curious manner. He lived near the owners of a handsome country. house, where there was a constant succes sion of visitors. The hostess delighted in 48

the society of artists, and gathered painters and musicians round her. The host was devoted to the exact sciences, and he sought his friends and acquaintances amongst those who shared his tastes. Mechanicians, mathematicians, and "practical people," were his chosen guests. M. d'Arpentigny, though neither a Raphael nor a Stephenson, was a friend of both the lady and the gentleman, and he had facilities for observing all their visitors. He was struck by the dissimilarity between the hands of "Monsieur's" friends and those of the friends of "Madame." The artists had generally short fingers that tapered to a point. The men of science had square topped-fingers, with largely developed finger-joints. M. d'Arpentigny resolved to investigate. He went in search of hands, and found various moral and intellectual characteristics always associated with certain forms of finger. He divides hands into three sorts: the first sort have fingers with pointed tops; the second, square tops; the third, spadeshaped tops. (By "spade-shaped" is meant fingers that are thick at the end, having a listle pad of flesh at each side of the nail.) The first type of finger belongs to characters possessed of rapid insight into things; to extra-sensitive people; to pious people, whose piety is of the contemplative kind; to the impulsive; and to all poets and artists in whom ideality is a prominent trait. The second type belongs to scientific people; to sensible, self-contained characters; to most of our professional men, who steer between the whollypractical course that they of the spadeshaped fingers take, and the too-visionary bent of the people with pointed fingers. The third type pertains to those whose instincts are material; to people who have a genius for commerce, and a high appreciation of everything that tends to bodily ease and comfort; also to people of great activity. Each finger, no matter what the kind of hand, has one joint representing each of these types. Thus the division of the finger which is nearest the palm stands for the body (and corresponds with the spade-shaped type), the middle division represents mind (the square-topped), the top, soul (the pointed). If the top joint of the finger be long, it denotes a character with much imagination, or ideality, and a leaning towards the theoretical rather than the practical. The middle part of

the finger being large promises a logical, calculating mind-a common-sensed person. The remaining joint long and thick denotes a nature that clings more to the luxuries than to the refinements of life. Things will present themselves to such a nature under a lower aspect, and utility will be accounted before beauty. The above description of the types of hands is far from exhaustive, for each type affords indications of many qualities not even mentioned here. This sketch aims merely at giving a rough idea of this part of chirognomony. It is well to remember that there are "good hands" to be found in each type-hands that are equal to a letter of recommendation for their owners (only, unfortunately, few can read them!); hands-spade-shaped, square, or pointed

that denote splendid qualities of head and heart; but the highest and best hand of the pointed type, will be something better than the best that the other kinds can boast. It must not be supposed that M. d'Arpentigny found no artists with any but pointed fingers, and no man of science with pointed fingers; but it is observable that those with pointed fingers who take to science, invest their chosen subjects with a certain poetical charm; and, in the same way, an artist with spade-shaped fingers will be found to vulgarise art, or, at least, to treat his subjects in a realistic manner, and to see things from a somewhat commonplace standpoint. Some time and experience will be needed by a beginner to construct the idea of the average proportions of a hand. Only departures from this average hand are really characteristic and significant. A hand conforming itself exactly to the representative hand would portend a being without any individuality -a nonentity. The size of the hand should be in proportion to the rest of the person. The length of the fingers should equal the length of the palm. The palm longer than the fingers would indicate a preponderance of matter over mind: the fingers much longer than the palm, a want of ballast-of common sense: the palm and fingers equal, or nearly equal, shows a proper balance between the spiritual and the material.

The three types are varied almost infinitely by the combination of two or more kinds of hands in one hand. There may be square fingers in the pointed hand, or some spade-shaped. A hand may even

contain the three types. Again, there are Again, there are some hands where none of the fingers are quite square-topped, or quite pointed, or quite spade-shaped; where there are squarish points, or pointed squares, and no fingers of the pure type. These transitional hands are called "mixed," and they denote the possession of a portion of the gifts of both of the types represented in them. The hands in which all the fingers belong to one type, "pure and unadulterated," are not often met with. They belong to people who are, if not unnaturally, at least uncommonly, consistent. It has been said by a novelist, who is a noted student of character, that there is "a curiously mistaken tendency to look for logical consistency in human motives and human actions," but palmistry presents human nature" in its inherent inconsistencies and self-contradictions-in its intricate mixture of good and evil, of great and small."

M. Desbarrolles adopts all that is here set down of M. d'Arpentigny's system, adding to it the study of the palm, in which the principal lines are the line of life, which runs round the base of the thumb; the line of the head, which begins beside the line of life, between the thumb and the first finger, and across the middle of the palm; and the line of the heart, which goes from one side of the hand to the other at the base of the fingers. An unbroken and well-defined line of life signifies good health. A breakage in the line reveals impending sickness, if it be in years to come, or sickness passed, if it be in years gone by. The date can be easily ascertained, as the line of life is divided into portions that represent different ages. Thus: a line is drawn from the middle of the base of the third finger towards the second joint of the thumb, and the point at which it intersects the line of life will mark the age of ten. If the breakage occurs in a grown person's hand at that point, it shows that that person was ill, or met with an accident, when ten years old. If the fault in the line is a little before the point which marks ten years old, then the illness came at the age of nine or eight, and so on, according to the distance from the point. A line parallel to this one, starting from between the third and last finger, will touch the line of life at the point called twenty. Another parallel line, starting from the

middle of the base of the little finger, takes you to thirty. The next line goes from the outer edge of the same finger, and gives forty. The line to find fifty starts from a little above the line of the heart. No dot, or cross, belonging to a bygone time, warns or menaces, but such signs would do so if seen in prospect. Palmistry, by forewarning, forearms. There are indications elsewhere, showing what kind of danger to apprehend, and M. Desbarrolles is fond of repeating the old saying, "Homo sapiens dominabitur astris."

A long and well-defined line of the head promises intellectual power. If the line be so long as to go to the edge of the hand it indicates too much calculation -meanness. It should start from the side of the line of life, between the first finger and the thumb, and cross the palm nearly horizontally, losing itself below the third finger, or thereabouts. If the line ends under the second finger, that is to say, about the centre of the palm, it denotes stupidity. If the line be formed of a series of small lines, like a chain, instead of one clear mark, it is a sign of want of concentration of the ideas. A pale line of the head means indecision. If it turn downwards at the wrist, it indicates a mind that takes a too imaginative view of things. If it b bifurcated at the end, half going downwards, and half continuing in the same direction as the major part of the line, it denotes deceit double-dealing. This. line supplies a great many other indications, but we will now pass on to the line. of the heart. If this line be well-marked and if it go from the edge of the hand below the little finger, across the roots of the fingers to the base of the first finger, it promises an affectionate disposition and a good memory. Many mental qualities are promised us by a good line of the heart: it does not merely supply indications regarding the affections. The poetical, or the artistic, or the imaginative,. may be inferred as a part of the character foreshadowed by a well-defined, well-colored line of the heart. A good line of the heart also augurs well for the happiness of its possessor; the gypsies say it is a "good omen." If this line sends down short lines towards the line of the head, it may be taken to signify that the love of the person will only be given to those who have already earned that person's respect-that affection will wait upon esteem. If, on

« AnteriorContinuar »