I used to forget that many a child[Pg 74] had to listen to harsh criticisms of my methods. I marvel now that they were so nice at school. I wonder whether we could not form a Board to enquire into the upbringing of children. We might call it the Board of Parental Control.
It would bring parents before it and examine them. Parents convicted of stupidity would be ordered to hand over their children to a Playyard School, and each child would be so taught that it could take in hand the education of its parents when it was seventeen.
My idea was to produce a generation that would be better than the present one, and I thought that I could successfully fight the environment of home. I failed.... Dickie has cut me. The fight was unequal;
the village won. After all I had Dickie for two short years, and the village has had him for fourteen.
Poor boy, he has much good in him, much innate kindliness. But the village is stupid and spiteful. I am absolutely sure that Dickie cut me because he wanted to follow the public opinion of the village.
personal matter? Am I merely piqued because I was cut? No one likes to be cut; it isn't a compliment at any time. No, I am not piqued: I am intensely angry, not at poor Dickie, but at the dirty environment that makes him a cad. Lucky is the dominie who teaches bairns from good homes.
Last summer when I spent half a day in the King Alfred School in Hampstead I envied John Russell his pupils. They were[Pg 75] all children of parents who were intellectual enough to seek a free education for their children in a land where the schools are barracks. "If I only had children like these!" I said to him, but a moment later I thought of my little school up north and I said: "No! Mine need freedom more than these."