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schools, have read almost nothing, and are not supplied with dictionaries. We have found it very difficult to define certain words concisely, in language sufficiently simple to be within the comprehension of young children. It has been our aim to give the child, having no other sources of information, such help as would enable him to read this poem intelligently, and we count ourselves especially fortunate in being able to draw so largely from Scott's own writings.
In abridging and quoting from Scott and other writers, we have used their own language without change as far as possible, thinking it better to retain the original vigorous expression, at the risk sometimes of its being a little abrupt, than to restate the thought less forcibly in a smoother connection of sentences.
We regret that no more space could be allowed for the biography, but we trust enough has been given to lead the pupil to read Lockhart's complete biography of Scott. Great as he appears in his works, his real grandeur is shown in his quiet, unassuming life, in his unselfish devotion to the comforts of others, and in his heroic struggle, when crippled with disease, against adverse fortune.
It is recommended that pupils read the historical sketch about the Highlands and James V., page xli, before and after reading the poem.
It is hoped that others with more leisure and ampler resources may carry on the work.
We have availed ourselves, by permission, of Mr. Rolfe's carefully-restored text of the
CLASSICS FOR CHILDREN.
THE present volume forms one of a series of standard
works, to be edited for the use of children between the ages of nine and fifteen in the Public Schools.
was suggested by seeing the result of setting children of nine and eleven years to reading THE LADY OF THE LAKE. They soon became so much interested in it that they began not only to read with greater ease, but voluntarily committed to memory large portions of the poem.
This result led to making numerous inquiries of thoughtful men and women, in various walks of life, in regard to their early reading. The evidence thus gained shows that children are capable of enjoying good books at an early age, and the chances of forming in them a taste for good literature are then much better than at a later period.
In order that this course of reading might be removed still further from an experimental basis, a list of questions about the works of standard authors was sent to leading men in the various professions, from whom many valuable answers, suggestions, and offers of assistance have been received. The kind of matter having been decided on, the next thing to be considered was the editorial work. It seems best, as far as practicable, to publish complete works; but some, like Scott's novels.
contain much matter beyond the years of the children for whom the books are designed, besides being too bulky for our purpose. Though it is not an easy task to abridge Scott, we are fortunate in finding a person equal to it, as Miss Yonge's QUENTIN DURWARD shows.
It is designed to give such notes at the foot of the page as will enable children to read understandingly without the aid of other books. It may be thought that we have given too many definitions of words readily found; but these books are designed for children in the Public Schools, few of whom are supplied with dictionaries. Besides, a pupil having a vague idea of the meaning of a word may not take the trouble to look it up; but, if a glance at the bottom of the page would give him more definite information, without loss of time or interest, he would be glad to avail himself of it.
It may be urged that many pupils of this age will not take any interest in such works. Very likely. For such we would prescribe a liberal amount of committing to memory. It may prove quite as interesting to the children, and as valuable, from an educational point of view, as memorizing the ten thousand bays, capes, rivers, islands, lakes, mountains, inlets, counties, towns, and cities now required. The one-tenth that could be recalled by some law of association, as the relation of rivers to mountain chains, the occupations of the people as modified by climate, etc., has been retained and assimilated, but the other nine-tenths have been gotten rid of as useless lumber. It may have had some beneficial influence in exercising the memory, but how much better to have used the same amount of effort in