Monday, February 21, 2011

28Oct1878, Tales of Learning

HIGHCLERE, October 28th—LONGLEAT, November 3rd, 1878.
—Went early on Mon. morning to hear Miss Graves teach little Margaret Herbert [FN: Now Lady Margaret Duckworth.] arithmetic by the new "Sonnenschein" system. It wonderfully familiarizes a child with all the simple rules, including fractions, at once ! and without the learning of any "tables." I retain a prejudice in favour of the Multiplication Table, viewing the ease with which most children learn by rote. Ended a delightful visit, and came away in company with Mr. Lowe, who was highly agreeable. He showed off the spectacles (?) he wears, made of silver, with literal single pin-pricks to see thro' —thus minimizing the light for his poor pink-onyx albino eyes. F. has absolutely almost had enough of tirades against Dizzy ! At breakfast Lord Carnavon told us his brother Alan in his young days, wishing to learn to swim, was dropped overboard in deep water; went to the bottom, was fished up, and immediately said he would try again; and so proceeded till he learnt to swim. This extraordinary anecdote was capped by Mr. Lowe, who said his father (or was it his grandfather ?) as a powerful young man, being capsized in the River Trent, held his breath and walked along the bottom to the shore!! [FN: Authorities say this could not be. (Lady Frederick's note.)] Wonderful to have two such undeniable instances of courage in water related by 2 people next each other.

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