Years ago Hilaire Belloc wrote a famous cautionary verse about Sarah Byng, aged twelve, "Who could not read and was tossed into a thorny hedge by a Bull --"
Alas! The young illiterate
Went blindly forward to her fate,
And ignorantly climbed the gate.
In the American edition of her woes it is clear that after her experience she is afraid of all public notices, for she is seen running away from a sign which points to the fairground and says "Lemonade -- 5 cents."
Such is the double aspect of the case for literacy in young and old. Certainly in modern industrial society literacy is indispensable for safety and for pleasure both. And as all know, it was industrial society that brought into being the compulsory public school which was to usher in universal literacy. Until the 1870's in the . . .
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