Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/395

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

—there were steel backboards covered with red morocco, strapped to the waist by a belt; steel collars, stocks for the fingers, pulleys for the neck, and weights for the head. In morals the young ladies were sadly wanting, and their sense of honour was woefully uncultivated. They were greedy and untruthful; they stole each other's cake, they fought and spread evil reports, and their punishments were both childish and insulting. They were made to wear dunce's caps, they had papers pinned to them describing their faults, they were whipped and sent to bed or rewarded by having good things to eat. The position of their teachers and governesses was unenviable, and the teaching profession for women was too often the refuge for the destitute. Their ignorance was deplorable. At one school we hear of a two-hour search through various lesson-books for the name of the Emperor of Russia, till finally teachers and pupils decided it must be Mahomet! It was, indeed, time that the subject of girls' education should be discussed by a Royal Commission appointed in 1864, though already Cheltenham had led the way by opening a "Ladies' College," where a more sound education had been established than any heretofore attainable. Step by