It is possible to learn a good deal about an epoch from the way in which it treats children. Contradictions arise, naturally. We picture the Elizabethans grimly flogging their small men and women through Latin grammar, but need not forget that young children were remembered in the Litany along with women labouring with child and sick persons. In the early stages of the Industrial Revolution distinguished artists painted delightful portraits of aristocratic toddlers while waggon‐loads of pauper children (one idiot to each load) were trundled off towards the new northern factories. There is no reason to expect any more consistency from the Victorians. Criticism has been concentrated on their earnestness as well as on their noble doubt. Would we not expect traces of all these qualities to appear in the books written for their children? Somewhere now there is probably in preparation a treatise which will make clear exactly how the agnosticism and the developing local government and the other signs of progress affected the reading of boys and girls.
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