21 AUGUST 1886, Page 17


ospscrArov..”i SIR,—It is a satisfaction to those who like myself are workers in the cause of the higher education of girls, to see the sound and sensible line which the Spectator, in contrast with many other papers, takes on the subject of Dr. Withers-Moore's address. I cannot help thinking he missed a great opportunity. It is of no use to tell the young women of the middle and professional classes not to work or think, because in the problematic occurrence of their marriage their possible children may be less successful ; they have to qualify themselves in many cases for bread-winning for themselves, and marriage seems every year less possible for them, however good, modest, pretty, or charming they may be. They must acquire marketable knowledge when this is the case, whatever the doctors say. If Dr. Withers-Moore had impressed on the parents of the girls who go in for higher education not to fret and worry them about examinations, or make them feel that their characters are blighted if they do not pass—(I knew a case in which a father encouraged a nervous girl to pass the Junior Examination by say- ing he would never forgive her if she did not)—not to let them sit up late at work ; not to listen to their protestations that unless they work beyond their proper hours they will get behind other girls ; and, above all, to keep them as much as possible in an atmosphere of home, peace, and freedom from worry, with undis- turbed quiet for their home studies, I think he would have done far more for the mental and bodily health of the young genera- tion of girls than by assuring us of what we all knew before, that overwork is detrimental, and assuming that overwork and higher education are synonymous. Where this is attended to, I know by my own experience that the girls almost invariably do well both in their mental and physical progress. But girls have nerves, and " nagging " does them far more physical harm than regular study.—I am, Sir, &c.,