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               RATIONAL SCHOOLS.

IT is but a stone's throw from the High
Court of ChanceryHigh, as we say also of
venison or pheasant, when it gets into very
bad odourto the London Mechanics'
Institution in Southampton Buildings. After a
ramble among lawyers in their wigs and
gowns, and a good choke in the thick
atmosphere of Chancery itself, we stepped in at
once, one day not long ago, among a multitude
of children in pinafores and jackets.
There they were, one or two hundred strong,
taking their time from a teacher, clapping
their hands and singing, " Winter is coming,"
and a great many more songs. They suggested
much better ideas of harmony than the
argument of our learned brother, whom we
had left speaking on the question, whether
money bequeathed to be distributed in equal
shares to John and Mary Wilson and James
BrownJohn and Mary being man and wife
was to be divided into two parts or into

The children, when we went among
them, were just passing from one class into
another, and met in the great lecture room
to sing together while they were about it.
Some filed in, and some filed out; some were
on the floor, some in the gallery; all seemed
to be happy enough, except one urchin at
the extreme corner of a gallery. He
displayed an open copy-book before him to the
public gaze, by way of penance for transgressions
in the writing lesson, but he looked by
no means hopelessly dejected.

There are three hundred and fifty children
in attendance on this school, which is
conducted by five teachers. It is one of the
Birkbeck Schools, several of which are now
established in and about London for the
children of parents who can pay sixpence a
week for schooling. The children here, we
were informed, are classed in the first instance
according to their ages in three divisions, the
first taking in those under eight years old;
the second, those between eight and eleven;
the third, children older than eleven. These
form, in fact, three ages of youth. It is found
most convenient to teach children classed
upon this principle, and to keep the elder
and the younger boys from mutual action on
each other, because it would be impossible to
provide for such a school so many teachers
as could exercise very minute supervision.
In each of these three divisions, the children
are subdivided for the purpose of instruction
into two classesthe quick and the slow
which receive lessons suited to their respective
capacities. It is obvious that, without
punishment, five teachers could not preserve
discipline among three hundred and fifty
boys; and therefore, though it is but seldom
used, a cane is kept on the establishment.

The children having clapped and sung
together, sang their way out of the great
room, in file, while others began streaming in.
We were invited to an Object Lesson, and
marched off, (not venturing to sing our way
into a class room,) where we took our seat
among the pupils, whose age varied between
eight years and eleven. The teacher was
before us. We were all attention. " Hands
down." We did it. " Hands on knees."
Beautifully simultaneous. Very good. The
lesson began.

"I have something in my pocket," said our
teacher, " which I am always glad to have
there." We were old enough and worldly
enough to know what he meant; but boys
aspire to fill their pockets with so many things
that, according to their minds, the
something in the teacher's pocket might be string,
apple, knife, brass button, top, hardbake, stick
of firewood for boat, crumbs, squirt, gunpowder,
marbles, slate pencil, pea-shooter,
brad-awl, or perhaps small cannon. They
attempted no rash guess therefore at that
stage of the problem. " Boys, also," our teacher
continued, " like to have it, though when it
gets into a boy's pocket, I believe that it is
often said to burn a hole there." Instantly
twenty outstretched hands indicated an idea
demanding utterance in twenty heads. " If you
please, sir, I know what it is." " What is
it? "  "A piece of coal."

You draw your reasoning, my boy, from a
part only of the information given to you,
founding your view of things on the last
words that sounded in your ears. We laughed
at you, cheerfully; but when we see the
same thing done in the world daily by your
elders, we do not always find it laughing

"This little thing in my pocket," the
teacher continued, " has not much power by

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