The Clayhanger Family: I. Clayhanger. II. Hilda Lessways. III. These Twain

The Clayhanger Family: I. Clayhanger. II. Hilda Lessways. III. These Twain

The Clayhanger Family: I. Clayhanger. II. Hilda Lessways. III. These Twain

The Clayhanger Family: I. Clayhanger. II. Hilda Lessways. III. These Twain

Excerpt

He various agencies which society has placed at the disposal of a parent had been at work on Edwin in one way or another for at least a decade, in order to equip him for just this very day when he should step into the world. The moment must therefore be regarded as dramatic, the first crucial moment of an experiment long and elaborately prepared. Knowledge was admittedly the armour and the weapon of one about to try conclusions with the world, and many people for many years had been engaged in providing Edwin with knowledge. He had received, in fact, 'a good education' -- or even, as some said, 'a thoroughly sound education'; assuredly as complete an equipment of knowledge as could be obtained in the county, for the curriculum of the Oldcastle High School was less in accord with common sense than that of the Middle School.

He knew, however, nothing of natural history, and in particular of himself, of the mechanism of the body and mind, through which his soul had to express and fulfil itself. Not one word of information about either physiology or psychology had ever been breathed to him, nor had it ever occurred to anyone around him that such information was needful. And as no one had tried to explain to him the mysteries which he carried about with him inside that fair skin of his, so no one had tried to explain to him the mysteries by which he was hemmed in, either mystically through religion, or rationally through philosophy. Never in chapel or at Sunday school had a difficulty been genuinely faced. And as for philosophy, he had not the slightest conception of what it meant. He imagined that a philosopher was one who made the best of a bad job, and he had never heard the word used in any other . . .

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