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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/194

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

chinery that pulls the bells and adds the marks within the school walls gives way to life; and here a man who sympathizes with childhood has all the opportunity he needs, and probably much more than he can use, in providing for that life where a code of reciprocity and honor must be established. It is not as the magistrate he will successfully rule, but as the sympathetic general in the field, whose very name is a talisman and an inspiration to every man. In the school yard, the bully, who comes to the front in about every tenth child, needs to be repressed; the foul mouth must be cleansed; against these prevailing evils the playground has a protection the street can not possess. The boy's world is a peculiar world, certainly, making laws for itself as rigorous and about as barbarous as those of a gang of pirates; but it is through his esprit du corps he can be uplifted and educated; the individual may be a selfish animal; as one of a body he is capable of heroism and devotion to a noble idea. He can be a friend; the playground is the field for the natural growth of friendships, and youth the generous time of their birth.

I recall another scene in a schoolroom in a Western city long ago. A gentle girl, magnetic, deep-hearted, large-eyed, sat after school at her table in tears. On a seat in front of her platform were piles of slates which she had been correcting, for she instructed all day a succession of arithmetic classes coming to her from the different grades. At the same time she was in charge, for all particular purposes of their order and conduct, of about forty boys in their early teens. Her tears were in consequence of a quarrel at recess between two of her boys. They had settled their quarrel by a fight; not unlikely it was a wholesome fight, for they were not boys of the mean sort, and were friends. It is an affair of long ago, but of a time when, in a large city, a teacher shed her influence upon the school playground, and took account of its moral standards, its friendships and breaches of friendship.

 


 
Although white men, if they take due precautions, may live and do certain kinds of work in tropical Africa, it will never be possible, Mr. J. Scott Keltie concludes from the results of past experience and study, to colonize that part of the world with people from the temperate zone. Even in such favorable situations as Blantyre, a lofty region south of Lake Nyassa, children can not be reared beyond a certain age, but must be sent home to England; otherwise they will degenerate physically and morally. A plan has been proposed of bringing Europeans down into the tropical regions by degrees, and acclimatizing them by successive generations to more and more torrid conditions till they are finally settled in the heart of the continent. But the experiment would be a very long one, if tried; and the ultimate result would probably be a race deprived of all those characteristics which have made Europe what it is.