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toil. How much patience is needed to get one lesson in Latin, or to make a single good recitation in algebra ! Now you must multiply this toil as many times over as you have lessons. In the course of a week and a year, how much is the patience exercised ! And this toil, this perseverance, this endurance of what is hard and what we naturally dislike, is the very discipline which we must meet all the way through life. Toil, patient toil, is our lot, and there is no place where the young can learn it so well as at school. At home, the young lady will now and then make an effort, — she will take some extra steps or stitches, and perhaps for a few hours or days will really toil.
But these seasons are exceptions. She visits, she has company, she sews when she pleases, reads when she feels like it, and thinks when she cannot help it. There is no system of patient toil. There is no rigid, unyielding bell, that has no bowels of compassion, and nothing human about it but a tongue, calling for punctuality, for study, and for attainment. But at school, lesson follows lesson. You may yawn or you may weep,
but there is no escape.
There comes the hour, and your class will be there, and you must be on hand and ready, or you lose your standing. Every day impresses the habit of toil upon you, till eventually, strange as it may seem, it becomes easy, and finally pleasant. It is not merely that you can study, can apply, the mind, and can conquer your lessons, but you have the habit of doing so. Hence it is, that the girl who has been the longest at school, and has done most to acquire this habit, finds it much easier to study than those who lack this habit.”
"O father, you don't mean to keep me at school till I have got such a habit of study that I shall love the toil, do you ?”
That will depend on circumstances. I am now shewing you what you study for,—the object of studying at all. And I believe I have given you enough for once.”
Yes, indeed ; but after all you have not told me how to study. That's what I want to know.”
“ That we must discuss at our next breakfast.”
CHAPTER I V.
HOW TO STUDY.
Witch Stories. The question proposed. Study dry Work.
Look it out again. Bishop Jewel's Memory. Conquer step by step. A High Standard. A Finished Young Lady. Capacity wanted. Chain the Attention. Author of this Mischief. Dr Gregory. Ship obeying the Helm. Algebra forgotten. Waters filtered. Cambridge and Oxford. Taste cultivated. Duty become Pleasure.
In our nursery books, we read of sevenleagued boots, with which a man
can take twenty miles at a step ; and we have heard of halters by which witches turned their husbands into horses, and in a single night could drive them over continents; and strange tales are told at twilight, of rooks as large as a church, whose flight darkened the air, and in whose claws a man might be carried over oceans; and children have trembled at the
THE QUESTION PROPOSED.
thought of cannon into which a weary traveller might creep for lodgings, and at daylight find that he had been shot into a foreign country, where were strange faces and an unknown language: but we have never yet read of a machine which could make the ignorant mind cultivated and refined, without toil and hard labour. There are no seven-leagued boots that enable us to go through all the limits of science, and gather all the rich fruits there found, in a single day. There is no halter that can subdue the wandering attention, and discipline the imagination, in a few hours. There is no one who can have a cultivated and well-disciplined mind without personal labour and great effort. You may acquire ease of manners, and a superficial character, very easily ; but you cannot think, or have a mind capable of judging and deciding rightly, without hard study. But how shall I study? How learn ? How do the thing required ? I shall spend this chapter in the attempt to tell you.
1. Make up your mind that study is hard work.
Many things make it hard. Any thing to
STUDY DRY WORK.
which we are unaccustomed is difficult. It is tiresome to sit down and remain in the same position, to confine the attention, to control the wandering thoughts, to take hold of a thing that is new and which you do not understand, to grapple with difficulties constantly arising. It is not like walking, when you can see just how fast you move, and see that every step sets you onward ; it is not like your sewing, when you can see that every stitch makes one less; it is not like any labour of the body. It is dry work, and sometimes it is cry-work.
You would not need teachers to urge and assist you, parents to encourage you, classes to incite you, schoolmates to watch you and compete with you, and the bell to admonish you every half-hour, if it were not hard work. Expect, then, that every lesson will require hard application ; that there are no pillows of down for the mind in study, but at every step it must be girded up, goaded to effort, and pushed on to toil.
2. Go over your lesson again and again. If you have a translation to recite, a pro