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Oct 11 1902


The Montreal Herald, Saturday, October11, 1902

The Choice of Amusements

Dr. Rexford's remarks at the High School exercises this week on the great mistake of parents exposing the immature nature of boys and girls to the strong excitement of amusements and entertainments which are trying even for those of maturer years, were most suggestive, and well worthy of consideration. That Dr. Rexford thoroughly appreciates the value of wholesome recreation is clearly shown by the strong appeal which he subsequently made for suitable playgrounds for his scholars. What he wished to emphasize was that every form of amusement should be calculated to be an assistance to and not a rival of the serious work of life.

What Dr. Rexford said of boys and girls may be equally well applied in a modified form to grown people also. It is not essential that amusement should be instructive and educative, but it is vitally important that it should really recreate and not fatigue either mind or body. Without doubt, the worst feature of the popular taste in amusements is the craving for excitement, and the failure to realize that the more often and the more violent one's nerves are thrilled, the stronger the next thrilling potion has to be made. It is adamentable thing to find young men and women of twenty years or less with tastes so jaded by over-indulgence in purely sensational pleasure that they vote every wholesome form of amusement "slow," just because they have not had the wisdom to develop an appreciation of the other less outstanding but more satisfying elements of enjoyment, and have failed to cultivate a taste for simple pleasures, and to look for gratification rather through our own attitude and point of view than in the object itself.

How Students Live

The discussion on the domestic arrangements of Oxford students, which was precipitated by "An American Mother's" letter to the London Times, bids fair to be an interesting one, and the conditions revealed promise to make the quarters which most Canadian students recall - a table, in one corner, with heaps of books and papers sloping against the wall behind, and pipes, tobacco, and fragments of eatables littered over the foreground, a clothes line stretched from corner to corner and strung with football knickers, sweaters and various other articles of masculine apparel, while the accumulation from beneath the bed , and anything that is not to be seen elsewhere is sure to be found on the floor - seem as prime and neat as an old maid's parlor in comparison.

"Owing to their age," an American student declares, "the buildings in which the students live are draughty and unsanitary; and without any modern comforts. Owing to the Oxford system, which forbids the employment of female servants, all the work is done by "scouts," a class of men, most of whom have grown old in the service of the university, and who, with stubborn insistence, refuse to adopt any suggestion that smacks of innovation. These scouts really dominate one's private existence, and frequently make one's life uncomfortable. There is little good in lodging a complaint as, at most, you are given another old servant, probably worse than the first."

The London correspondent of the Chicago Record-Herald has undertaken an independent investigation and announces that the rooms are a mixture of half-painted floors, ragged carpets, shabby furniture, shockingly greasy cushions, untidy wall paper, dirty mattresses and blankets and extraordinary discomfort. Modern conveniences are remarkable for their absence. Little open grates supply all the heat. Cracks and interstices in the walls and warped doors and window sashes admit all sorts of draughts.

In none of the buildings was to be found a bathroom. A few years ago no college in Oxford had a bathroom, and Queen's is the only one which can boast of one to-day. Undergraduates desiring a bath used to go to the public baths and wash houses, but after some years those were closed on the plea that they were inadequately supported. The only hot water procurable was that which men got from a kettle in their own rooms.

"This," concludes the American newspaper man, "is till the existing state of things."

The Boy and the Father

The conviction of a young lad for murder at St. John, N.B., has led to much discussion in the Maritime Provinces on the question of the care of young boys. There has been a good deal said about the evil of dime novels, cigarettes, etc., and a correspondent of the Halifax Chronicle says:

"Place all the blame you like on the dime novel and the terrible cigarette, but let me tell you that until you take a crack at the parent who permits the child to do these things, you miss your mark."

"The fact of the matter is that the parent who permits his boy under sixteen to smoke cigarettes and read every description of vile reading matter will not be very particular as to anything else the child does, and little wonder he does, as so many are doing at the present time."

"It may be well, as the Chronicle points out, to hang a boy or two as a kind of scarecrow to the others, but wouldn't it be just as well to add a parent or two at the same time, just as an illustration of what the rest of them should be getting."

"The parent who cannot control the average boy of sixteen or under should have someone to look after him, while the boy of that age whose parents cannot control him should be well cared for indeed."

"But mark you this: All the laws in Christendom will not prevent the ordinary boy from doing the things he sees or hears his fathers, the leaders or society, and men of influence doing, unless some other very strong influence is brought to bear."

What is a Monkey

The following amusing details of the freaks of the Custom House are told in the Munchener Zeitung: A German gentleman returning from Southwest Africa, brought with him a tiny monkey weighing about two pounds. From Tanga to Genoa the animal was conveyed gratis. Thence to the Swiss frontier, 15d[dime] was charged on it as "a bird." The St. Gothard Railway officials, however, viewed it as "a dog," and charged 7s, while on the Eastern Swiss Railway it became a mere "package," liable to 8d[dime]. Through Baden and Wurtemburg the animal was passed free, but at Stuttgart it again became "a dog" and cost another 17d[dime].

Caves in Gibraltar

A most interesting discovery was made lately on the eastern side of Gibraltar, a cave, which from its dimensions, bids fair to rival the celebrated St. Michael's cave, having been disclosed during the progress of blasting operations at the quarry beneath the Monkey's Alameda. The general direction of this cave is east and west, and its dimensions are approximately 350 feet in length and 70 feet in height, which a maximum width of 40 feet. Like most caves, it diminishes in height and width as it penetrates inland, until it dwindles to a mere fissure about eighteen inches wide, which can be seen to extend some distance further. About half way in there is an upper gallery or smaller cave, which extends only a short way. The stalactites and stalagmites are numerous and varied in shape and size; in several instances they have united to form complete pillars. The entrance to the cave is about one hundred and fifty yards south of the eastern exit of the tunnel through the rock.

Skinning Peaches Alive

A California grower has recently devised a method of "skinning peaches alive," as he calls it. The fruit is dipped, a boxful at a time, in an iron cage, into three vats successively - the first containing a solution of lye, the second hot water, and the third cold water. From their final cold bath the peaches are taken smooth and clean ready for preserving, with their epidermis entirely removed.

There is a far-reaching significance in the following childish wish expressed in a recent issue of New York Life: "Grandpa, am I going straight to heaven when I die?" "I hope so, my dear. Why?" "Thought I'd like to stop over just one night in the other place."


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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

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