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2017年09月13日
It is a very nice school

It came as a vast surprise to these two conspirators that Lucian himself, on whose behalf they basely professed to be fighting, deserted to, or rather openly joined, the enemy as soon as the active campaign began. Miss Pepperdine, like the astute woman she was, gained the boy’s ear and had talked him over before either Simpson or Judith could pervert his mind. He listened to all she had to say, showed that he was impressed, and straightway repaired to the vicarage to seek Mr. Chilverstone’s advice. That evening, in the course of a family council, shared in by Mr. Pepperdine with a{49} gloomy face and feelings of silent resentment against Keziah, and by Judith with something of the emotion displayed by a hen who is about to be robbed of her one chicken, Lucian announced that he would go to school, adding, however, that if he found there was nothing to be learnt there he would return to his uncle’s roof. Mr. Pepperdine plucked up amazingly after this announcement, for he cherished a secret conviction that his nephew already knew more than any schoolmaster could teach him; but Judith shed tears when she went to bed, and felt ill-disposed towards Keziah for the rest of the week.

Lucian went to Saxonstowe presently with cheerfulness and a businesslike air, and the three middle-aged Pepperdines were miserable. Mr. Pepperdine took to going over to the Grange at Wellsby nearly every night, and Judith was openly rebellious. Miss Pepperdine herself felt that the house was all the duller for the boy’s absence, and wondered how they had endured its dumb monotony before he came. There was much of the Spartan in her, however, and she bore up without sign; but the experience taught her that Duty, when actually done, is not so pleasing to the human feelings as it seems to be when viewed from a distance.

No word came from Lucian for two weeks after his departure; then the postman brought a letter addressed to Mr. Pepperdine, which was opened amidst great excitement at the breakfast table. Mr. Pepperdine, however, read it in silence.

‘My dear Uncle Simpson Pepperdine,’ wrote Lucian, ‘I did not wish to write to you until I had been at school quite two weeks, so that I could tell you what I thought of it, and whether it would suit me. , and all the boys are very nice too, and I like Dr. Babbacombe, and his wife, and the masters. We have very good meals, and I should be quite content in that respect if one could sometimes have a cup of decent coffee, but I believe that is impossible{50} in England. They have a pudding here, sometimes, which the boys call Spotted Dog—it is very satisfying and I do not remember hearing of it before—it has what English people call plums in it, but they are in reality small dried raisins.

‘I am perfectly content with my surroundings and my new friends, but I greatly fear that this system of education will not suit me. In some subjects, such as history and general knowledge, I find that I already know much more than Dr. Babbacombe usually teaches to boys. As regards other subjects I find that it is not en règle to permit discussion or argument between master and pupil. I can quite see the reasonableness of that, but it is the only way in which I have ever learnt everything. I am not quick at learning anything—I have to read a thing over and over again before I arrive at the true significance. It may be that I would spend a whole day in accounting to myself why a certain cause produces a certain effect—the system of education in use here, however, requires one to learn many things in quite a short time. It reminds me of the man who taught twelve parrots all at once. In more ways than one it reminds me of this, because I feel that many boys here learn the sound of a word and yet do not know what the word means. That is what I have been counselled to avoid.

[ 投稿者:blake at 18:22 | blake | コメント(0) | トラックバック(0) ]

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