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connection; and a fatal injury might be done
to the character of the establishment if the
fact became generally known that its walls
contained the son of an actor. Further
questioning elicited that the schoolmaster, in
his alarm for his own reputation, had taken
Time by the forelock, and had not waited
until any actual objections had emerged from
the genteel connection. He was not, however,
on that account the less certain that the
objections would in course of time arise. His
conclusions in this respect were shared, and
his course of conduct approved, by his
brother-in-law, who also kept a private school;
and he had, therefore, only to reiterate his
request, that one of his best pupils should be
removed from his school, on this one ground
onlythat the boy was an actor's son.

We are not disposed, in noticing this
business, to waste too many words on the
schoolmaster. If he felt for himself, when he
was in Mr. Wigan's presence, one-fiftieth part
of the contempt which we feel for him, his
sense of self-degradation must have been
complete. Compare the conditions on which
this obedient servant of the genteel classes
gets his bread with the conditions on which
a sweeper of crossings gets his breadand
see how immensely the balance of creditable
independence turns against the man with
the birch, and in favour of the man with
the broom! It is no doubt hard, in the
first heat of indignation, to abstain from
assigning to the schoolmaster rather more
than his own insignificant share in the
outrage. But a little calm reflection
soon sets him in his proper place, and even
suggests a reasonable doubt whether it is
strictly right to speak of him as a schoolmaster
at all. Looking to the motive which
produced his visit to Mr. Wigan, is it not
fitter to consider him as a small tradesman
who keeps, not a school, but a little
knowledge-shop, and who is horribly afraid of
offending, not his connection, but his
customers? Surely anger is too large an
emotion to be stirred up by such a very small
man. Surely it is a waste of attention to
bestow much notice upon such an extremely
trifling smear on the garments of civilised
humanity as this.

But the aspect of the matter, as it regards
the connection (or the customers) of whose
inexpressibly mean prejudices the
schoolmaster (or small tradesman) is only the
unsavoury mouthpiece, suggests considerations
of a more serious kind. It would give us
pleasure, if we could fairly persuade ourselves
that this was an isolated case, and that
the brother-in-law, who would have acted
like him under similar circumstances, were
two exceptional proprietors of private schools.
Unfortunately we happen to know that the
instance of Mr. Wigan's son is not a solitary
instance. The little daughter of Mr. Phelps
whose management of Sadler's Wells
Theatre has entitled him to the gratitude
and respect of every decent man in this
countrywas outlawed by another private
school under precisely similar circumstances.

These examples have come to us. We have
not sought them out. If we chose to make
inquiries, we have no doubt that many more,
equally disgraceful to the age we live in,
might be easily produced. But there is no
need to heap instances on instances. It is
sufficiently disheartening without seeking
further, to have discovered even three private
schools only, in three different parts of
England, the genteel patrons of which impose
on the proprietor, who exists by their custom,
a species of treatment of the children of
actors which would be inexcusable if applied
to the children of felons. We hope, and believe,
for the credit of our country, and our civilisation,
that such people as these so shamefully
ignorant of the first Christian duty which
each man owes to his neighbourare
comparatively few in number. But, even
assuming this, how lamentable a capacity for
doing harm lies lurking in that mean
minority! how vilely the little, little reptile can
sting! how widely the taint that tells of its
existence reeks up from the ground, and
spreads through the atmosphere ! What
amount of moral and intellectual progress
have some of our countrymen, our well-
dressed, well-connected countrymen, made,
since the bad bye-gone time when actors
were refused the rites of Christian burial?
Here is the wicked spirit of that wicked old
social prejudice alive still among some of us,
in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
There is something portentous in the bare
discovery that such people exist. How far behind
the age they live in are they in other matters?
In what rocky fastnesses do they lie hid?
Is the ducking of witches one of their
favourite amusements? Would they fly with
shrieks if they saw a steam-engine? Where
is Doctor Livingstone? Where are all the
other missionary travellers? Here are the
heathen about us, somewhere or other in
this country, and no Society for the Propagation
of the Gospel At Home, to find them
out.

It will not be amiss to turn, for a moment,
from these private schools and their
customers, and to note the wholesome
contrast which the practice of our public schools
presents, in this very matter of the education
of the sons of actors. Here are two
examples which will strike everybodyMr.
Macready and Mr. Charles Kean. Mr.
Macready was the son of an actor, and was
educated at Rugby. Mr. Charles Kean
was the son of an actor, and was
educated at Eton. All the advantages which
those two admirable schools could offer,
were as fully, freely, and fairly bestowed
on these two actors' sons, as on the sons
of any other men, peers or commoners,
who were educated with them. A public
school can afford to be independent of

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