U. C. L. A.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2007 with funding from
KKOM A I'AINTING BV J. J. SHANNON
PIONEERS OF PROGRESS
Editbd by ETHEL M. BARTON
PRINCIPAL OF THE CHELTENHAM LADIES'
WITH TWO PORTRAITS
ELIZABETH H. SHILLITO, B.A. (Lond.)
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING
NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
U. C. L A.
" Some there are who go forth to their own life-work with the holy
hands of the dead who live laid on their hearts, who feel that they have a
debt to repay, who see a ray of life from afar cast upon all they do, and
bear about for ever a light within, which they must pass on for the sake
of th« dead who live."
U. C. L. A.
EDUC. DEPT. Eduction
Great Souls who sail uncharted seas,
Battling with hostile winds and tide, —
Strong hands that forged forbidden keys,
And left the door behind them wide.
Diggers for gold where most had failed,
Smiling at deeds that brought them Fame,
Lighters of lamps that have not failed —
Lend us your oil, and share your flame.
Dr. ELSIE MAUD INGLIS
WHOSE CRIMEA WAS SERBIA,
BUT WHOSE POST-WAR WORK
IS IN ANOTHER WORLD
SYNOPSIS OF CHAPTERS.
Discoveries and enterprises of the Nineteenth Century — Effect on the
educational world — Girls' education in age of Elizabeth and in
Nineteenth Century — Protests against the latter — Pioneers of
higher education — Our indebtedness to them . , . . i
Dorothea Beale — Parentage — Mrs. Comwallis and her daughter —
Their influence on Dorothea Beale — Home life — Early educa-
tion — School life — Time of self-education — Attitude to games —
Reading in early life — Euclid — School in France — Some personal
characteristics — Religious and other influences of home . . 4
History of Queen's College — Early students — Rev. F. D. Maurice
— His opening address — Dorothea Scale's attitude to teaching
— Study and friendship at Queen's College — Appointment there
— Difficulties — Resignation — Impetuosity of nature — Some
inherent difficulties of women's life 10
Clergy Daughters' School at Casterton — Hasty acceptance of post
there — Beautiful situation of school — Evils — Personal difficulties
— Mr. Beale's letters — Dorothea Beale's dress and appearance
— Thoughts of resignation — Father's advice — Appeal to com-
mittee — Suspicions of High Church tendencies — Determination
to resign — Notice from committee — Acknowledged indebtedness
to the school — Appreciation — Work at home — History of Eng-
land begun — Spartan habits — Some philanthropic work — Offer
of service — Dawning conviction of real vocation — Her diary
begun — Extracts — Time of waiting — Religious life and beliefs 16
vl SyPNOSIS OF CHAPTERS
Cheltenham Ladies' College — Early history — The first Principals —
Advertisement for new Principal — ^Dorothea Beale candidate —
Tributes to character and ability — Alleged High Church tenden-
cies — Declaration of belief — Time of anxiety — Appointment as
Principal — Work at Ladies' College — Personal appearance at this
time — Rule of silence — Precarious financial position of school —
Practice of economy — Question of renewing lease of Cambray
House — Mr. Brancker — His wise policy and administration —
Some reminiscences — The Fight against ignorance and prejudice
— Dorothea Beale's inspiring leadership 27
Blue Book Report on condition of girls' education — Dorothea Beale's
evidence and theories with regard to women as teachers ; effects
of higher education on health ; idleness and health ; the teach-
ing of music — Modern ideas on the teaching of this subject . 38
Rearrangement of school hours at the Ladies' College — Opposition
met and overcome — Gradual breaking down of prejudice —
Gossip and disloyalty — Dorothea Beale's gift of inspiring
loyalty — Miss Belcher — Death of Dorothea Beale's father — How
she spent holidays — Singleness of aim — Idea of Sisterhood of
Teachers — Expansion of Cheltenham College — Opposition to a
new building — Dr. Jex Blake's plea — Farewell to Cambray
House — Continued growth — College incorporated under Com-
panies' Acts — Boarding houses made an intrinsic part of
College — Defining of Principal's powers — Cambray House
Cheltenham College magazine started — Dorothea Beale, editor —
Her "silver wedding" — "Old Girls'" Gift — Scheme of Guild
put forward and carried out — Emblem — Opening address —
Dorothea Beale's remembrance of former pupils — Miss New-
man's work — Continued after her death — St. Hilda's, Oxford —
St. Hilda's, East London — Dorothea Beale's attitude to charit-
able enterprises 51
SYPNOSIS OF CHAPTERS vii
A time of darkness — Effect on outlook and character — Some general
interests — Freshness of outlook — Pundita Ramabai — Interest in
Indian widows — Women policemen — Balfour's Education Act,
1902 — Attitude to prizes — John Ruskin and the Ladies' College
— Paris Exhibitions — Another Royal Commission on Education
— Visits of Empress Frederick and Princess Henry of Battenberg
to College — Epidemic of smallpox — Dorothea Beale and vaccina-
tion — Personal honours — Officier d'Acad^mie Fran9aise, Tutor
in Letters of Durham University, Corresponding member of
National Education Association, U.S.A., Freedom of Borough
of Cheltenham, LL.D. Edinburgh — Robes presented by staff —
Three weeks' tour — A brief interval of ilUhealth — Story of the
Shannon portrait — College Jubilee celebrations ... 58
Greatness of personality — Varied gifts — Prodigious power of work
— Great organising capacity — Organisation of the Ladies' College
— Advice to teachers — Her sense of humour — The tricycle learnt
at 67 — Her extreme sensitiveness — Power of sympathy — Her
outlook that of a religious poet — Her Scripture lessons — Her
views on marriage — Tribute of the Bishop of Stepney . . 70
Signs of the end — The last Guild meeting — The last term — A journey
to London — The doctor's verdict — Operation — Waiting the call
— A morning of suspense — Laid to rest — Tributes to her
character and work 75
The modern world — The need of work— Power of education —
Supreme importance of home training — Responsibility of parents
— Teaching as a vocation — Personal fitness — Different kinds of
teaching — Elementary schools — Boarding schools — Demands of
the work — Its joys and advantages — The need of devoted
I SHOULD like to acknowledge my indebtedness to
all who have helped me in the writing of this short bio-
graphy : especially to Mrs. Raikes for her kind permission
to use her " Life of Dorothea Beale of Cheltenham,"
without which this book could not have been written ; also
for her most generous help in many difficulties : and to
Messrs. Constable, the publishers, for their kind consent.
It is impossible to name all who have so willingly helped
me, but I should like to mention Miss A. M. Andrews of
Cheltenham ; Lieut-Colonel J. F. Tarrant for his help in
many ways ; Mr. J. J. Shannon for kindly allowing a
reproduction of Miss Beale's portrait ; Messrs. Martyn
of Cheltenham for their photograph; "The Times,"
Messrs. Macmillan, and other publishers, who have per-
mitted me to quote extracts from works which are still
E. H. S.
" Tho' they to-day are passed
They marched in that procession where is no first or last."
— Austin Dobsom.
The story of the nineteenth century is one of wonder :
a story with Romance written large on every page. It is
a tale of great discovery and enterprise in almost every
sphere. Under the influence of its discoveries, material
life became transformed and new mental and spiritual
horizons appeared. The newly-acquired knowledge of
forces like steam and electricity opened up to the world
undreamed-of possibilities. Scientists at home and in
distant places of the earth discovered truths that did
much to reveal God's ways to men. In the world of
medicine new theories were applied to take from opera-
tions their dread, and fatality from many diseases.
In literature it was a time of great riches : an age equal
to any, not excepting the great Elizabethan ; an age of
prophets and seers, of men and women expressing in
singleness of heart the truth as it was revealed to them.
And those of us who already live at some distance can
hardly imagine a time when Scott and Dickens, Browning
and Tennyson, Ruskin and Carlyle, George Eliot and
Charlotte Bronte will not be held in high esteem by those
who love the great, the true, and the beautiful in litera-
Springing out of these discoveries and revelations there
naturally arose a demand that the mind of man generally
should be prepared to enjoy this new world. Dissatis-
faction with existing methods of education began to be
felt ; and humble people who were unable to read and
2 DOROTHEA BEALE
write began to ask that they and their children should
The education of girls at this time was particularly
unsatisfactory, though it had not always been so. In
the age of Elizabeth, for example, girls of the higher
classes had received an excellent education. It was cus-
tomary then for girls to learn Greek, Latin, and Hebrew,
and as Mrs. Stopes points out in her interesting book on
" Sixteenth Century Women Students," the number of
really learned women was very great. I do not know
when these ideals of education gave way to lower ones,
but readers of Addison will remember that one of his
aims in his Spectator essays was to rescue women from
the utter frivolity and emptiness of their lives. How
scathing he is in his description of the way in which
ladies killed time ! when the buying of a ribbon was held
to be a good morning's work !
In the early part of Queen Victoria's reign, the educa-
tion of girls was indeed deplorable. An excessive
amount of time was given to accomplishments and to
the study of deportment ; the instruction consisted, for
the most part, of a smattering of many subjects : and the
whole process of education was shallow and superficial.
If the women of that day developed — as many did — force
of character and of intellect, it was rather in spite of
their education than because of it. Numbers of girls
rose in revolt against this mental and spiritual starvation :
some managed to become well-educated without any
outside help, but to a great number this system meant
either an utterly frivolous or extremely dull grown-up
Many were the voices raised in protest against this
lack of education. And as one reads the literature of
this time one is greatly struck by the number of men
who pleaded for a different regime : not only leaders of
thought, like Tennyson and Ruskin, but ordinary men of
the educated classes. Perhaps as lookers on they saw
most of the game, and into their souls there entered a
deep bitterness that those who might count for so much
counted for so little.
But although men by their writings and speeches and
actual help in teaching, did much, it was on women that
the real burden of this work was to fall. Neither sex
can fully educate, though it may teach the other. In
the main, the education of boys must be carried on by
men ; and the education of girls by women. It would
be impossible to give a list of all the women who dedi-
cated their powers to this work ; who in a very real
sense gave their lives that those after them might live.
This little book is devoted to the story of one of the
pioneers of educational work, and is necessarily limited
to the part that Dorothea Beale played in this great
enterprise. But Miss Beale, great as she was, was only
one of many. Whilst she was working out her ideals at
Cheltenham, other women in other schools and colleges
were working out theirs : Frances Buss at the North
London Collegiate, Emily Davies at Girton, Anne
Clough at Newnham, Mrs, Reid at Bedford, Miss Pipe
of Laleham, and many others. Nor is it possible to say
which of these did the most important work. For we
are dealing with that which cannot be measured, — the
things of the mind and spirit
Those of us who came late enough to enjoy some of the
fruits of their work, can only acknowledge our deep sense
of gratitude to this noble army of women who did so
much. If the gates of kncjwledge are open to us, it was
their hand which turned the key : if we can enter nearly
every field of service, it was their feet which beat the track.
If we hold in our hands a lamp that makes many of the
dark places bright, it was they who kindled it and passed
it on to us.
The part we must play is no passive one. If the
lamp is to be kept burning, it must be fed by the oil
of our devotion and our service.
4 DOROTHEA BEALE
LIFE AT HOME AND AT SCHOOL.
" The pilgrim's discovery is when he looks into his own heart and finds
a picture of a city there. The pilgrim's life is a journeying along the
roads of the world seeking to find the city which corresponds to that
picture." — Stephen Graham.
Dorothea Beale, who was born on March 21, 1831,
was fortunate in her parentage and early environment.
Her father, Miles Beale, was a surgeon who had been
trained at Guy's Hospital. He came of a family of
literary traditions, and he himself was a man of wide
interests and learning. Her mother, Dorothea Margaret
Complin, was of Huguenot extraction and belonged to a
family distinguished for its ability, counting among its
members several "advanced" women. Mrs. Beale's
aunt, Mrs. Cornwallis, the wife of a rector of Wittersham,
Kent, was a woman of considerable intellect and great
spiritual gifts. She wrote several books of a devotional
character. One of these, " Preparation for the Lord's
Supper with a Companion to the Altar," contains much
excellent advice to ladies on the use and abuse of speech,
the regulation of time, indolence, desire of admiration,
sickness, etc., breathing a devout and earnest spirit, and
revealing in the writer an attitude of great severity
towards herself. This little book, with its old-fashioned
appearance, seemed to me, as I read it, full of the spirit
which animated Mrs. Cornwallis's celebrated great-niece.
Her daughter, Caroline Frances Cornwallis, was a
remarkable woman. Her published letters are extremely
interesting, and deal with a variety of subjects, Italy,
Education, Religion, Science, Philosophy. She wrote a
number of books in the series called " Small Books on
Great Subjects ", These were published anonymously,
and were considered to be the work of a man, at a time
when the known authorship of a woman would have
damned any book. Miss Cornwallis often used to laugh
LIFE AT HOME AND AT SCHOOL 5
up her sleeve at the appreciation of critics who would
undoubtedly have criticised her work unfavourably had
they known it was that of a woman. She had a frail
body, a courageous mind, and a devout spirit. At times
she adopted a cynical attitude towards men's low estimate
of the intellectual powers of her sex. " Every man, you
know, thinks he has a prescriptive right to be better in-
formed than a woman, unless he has science enough to see
that the said woman is up with him and therefore must
know something." This was, however, just a strain of
bitterness bred in a brilliant, active mind handicapped
by lack of facilities for real education, and restricted
on every side by the bounds of custom and prejudice.
These two women undoubtedly influenced the future
head of Cheltenham. Mrs. Beale's sister, Elizabeth
Complin, had lived for some time with the Cornwallises
and was the medium through whom the young Beales
came into contact with their ideas and ideals.
Dorothea Beale was also fortunate in being one of a
large family. The spirit of the home seems to have
been one of love and service. There was also a strong
intellectual atmosphere, in which the children learnt early
to love the best in literature. Her father would often
read aloud to his children extracts from Shakespeare
and other great writers, and from him and her mother
Dorothea began early to imbibe a love of learning, and
to find in literature some revelation of the great spiritual
Dorothea's education and that of the older members
of the family was at first under the guidance of a gover-
ness. It must have been quite early in life that she
received her first inkling of the incompetence of teachers
of that day. She remembered a rapid succession of
teachers whom Mrs. Beale was compelled to dismiss on ac-
count of their inability to teach. There appears to have
been only one satisfactory governess, a Miss Wright, who
was excellent : after she left, the girls were sent to school.
6 DOROTHEA BEALE
** It was a school," says Dorothea Beale in her anto-
biography, "considered much above the average for
sound instruction : our mistresses were women who had
read and thought : they had taken pains to arrange
various schemes of knowledge : yet what miserable
teaching we had in many subjects : history was learned
by committing to memory little manuals, rules of arith-
metic were taught, but the principles were never ex-
plained. Instead of reading and learning the master-
pieces of literature, we repeated week by week the
Lamentations of King Hezekiah, the pretty, but somewhat
weak, * Mother's Picture ' of Cowper, and worse doggerel
verses on the solar system."
At the age of thirteen Dorothea was obliged to
leave school on account of ill-health. She always con-
sidered this a fortunate circumstance as it enabled her to
carry on her own education. No doubt a good deal of
time was lost in following the circuitous routes of all
self-educators, but the grit, determination, and power
to overcome difficulties thereby developed, probably more
than compensated for this. Libraries, notably those of
the London Institute and Crosby Hall, at this time
supplied her with many good books. The Medical Book
Club circulated some books of general interest. She
and her sisters were also able to attend excellent lectures
given at the Literary Institution, Crosby Hall, and at the
" Miss Beale never learned to play," said Mrs. Raikes
in a speech on Foundress' Day at the College after the
beloved Principal had passed away. " During her girlhood
there was no hockey, tennis, net-ball, swimming or other
healthy exercise for girls ; and Dorothea and her sisters
were thrown back for their pleasure on the joys of the
mind. Not only did Dorothea Beale never play herself,
but she could never quite see the need for other people
to play. The playgrounds, etc., which perforce grew up
round Cheltenham Ladies' College, were always rather a
LIFE AT HOME AND AT SCHOOL 7
stumbling-block to her, though she was wise enough to
be led by those who were more in touch in this respect
with the spirit of the late nineteenth and early twentieth
" Her reading always inclined to the solid type, and in
her girlhood she came across few novels.
" Her love of reading was never allowed to dissipate
itself on trivialities, and here she had a great advantage
over girls of to-day, for the ephemeral literature of this
age — the endless magazines and short stories — did not
exist to tempt and gradually to fritter away a good
She was at this time very much interested in the life
of Pascal who, prevented by his father from acquiring
a knowledge of mathematics, discovered for himself the
truths of Euclid. Perhaps, as Mrs. Raikes suggests, it
was Pascal's example which inspired her to work through
the first six books of Euclid by herself. She plodded
steadily through the fifth book, not knowing that even at
that time a few simple algebraic principles were substi-
tuted for Euclid's rather laborious methods. To Doro-
thea Beale, as to many boys and girls, mathematics came
as a wonderful revelation ; they opened up to her develop-
ing mind a new world. In her subsequent work as a
teacher she seems to have been able to hand on to her
pupils something of the thrill and wonder that she herself
experienced in these early days.
In the year 1847 Dorothea was sent with two elder
sisters to a Mrs, Bray's school for English girls in the
Champs Elysees. This school is perhaps best described
in Miss Beale's own words in the " History of Cheltenham
Ladies' College ".
" I was myself for a few months, in 1848, pupil in a
school that was considered grand and expensive. Mrs.
Trimmer's was the English History used in the highest
classes. We were taught to perform conjuring tricks
with the globe by which we obtained answers to problems
8 DOROTHEA BE ALE
without one principle being made intelligible. We were
even compelled to learn from Lindley Murray lists of
prepositions that we might be saved the trouble of
She was glad, however, in later life of this and similar
experiences. It gave her some idea of the enemies of
education she had to fight. It made her realise how
great was the need for the thorough training and educa-
tion of teachers and how little could be accomplished
In 1848 Mrs. Bray's school came to an untimely end
through the Revolution of that year and Dorothea re-
turned home at the age of seventeen. Those who knew
her at that time described her as " a grave and quiet girl,
with a sweet serious expression and deliberate speech :
also with a sunshiny smile and merry laugh on occasion.
She was remarkable, even in a studious, sedentary family,
for her love of reading and study." According to one
authority she was quite beautiful as a girl. One evening
she and her sister Eliza went to a dance, Dorothea look-
ing very lovely in a beautiful white dress. Eliza was
dancing with a young man, who asked the name of that
beautiful girl. " Oh ! " said Eliza, delighted that he
should admire Dorothea, " she's my sister. Do you
think she's like me ? " — " Good gracious, no ! " blurted
out the tactless young man. Eliza Beale used to tell
this story with great zest, fully enjoying the reflection
on her own looks.
In one part of her autobiography Dorothea Beale
speaks of the influences of her early life.
" An aunt, my godmother, lived with us, and was often
my friend in my childish troubles. , . . The strongest
influence [on my inner life] was that of my sister Eliza.
We were constantly together. She had a very lively
imagination, and on most nights would tell me stories
that she had invented. Early in the mornings she would
transform our bedroom into some wild magic scene and
LIFE AT HOME AND AT SCHOOL 9
we would play at Alexander the Great and ride Pegasus
on the foot of our four-post bedstead."
Already she had begun to show some of the charac-
teristics which were so marked in later life, her devotion
to duty, her keen intellectual interests. She was prepared
for Confirmation, in 1847, by the Rev. Charles Mackenzie,
to whose teaching Dorothea felt she owed much. Of
early religious influences and experiences she thus speaks
in her MS. autobiography.
" There was the faith of my parents, the morning and
evening prayer. There was the Bible picture-book and
the Sunday lessons. The church we went to was an old
one, St. Helen's, and at the entrance were the words :
' This is none other than the House of God, and this is
the Gate of Heaven '. There were high pews and the
service was almost a duet between clergyman and clerk,
yet I realised, even more than I ever have in the most
beautiful cathedral and perfect services, that the Lord
was in that place, even as Jacob realised in the desert
what he had failed to find at home."
Religion with her was never allowed to be simply an
affair of the emotions : it meant obedience, discipline, the
rigid performance of duty, but it was also a source of the
" I remember how, as the story of the Crucifixion was
read, the church would grow dark, as it seemed. ... I
know nothing of the substance of the sermons now, but
I remember the emotion they often called forth, and how
I with difficulty restrained my tears. . . . The hymns
were a great power in my life. I remember the joy with
which I would sing, in my own room, Ken's Evening
Hymn, and the awful joy of the Trinity Hymn ' Holy,
Holy, Holy '."
In later years she said that she could not remember a
time when God was not an ever-present Friend, a know-
ledge which sustained her through the darkest periods of
her life, and her many struggles.
10 DOROTHEA BEALE
Whether she had at this time realised what her life-
work was to be, I cannot say, but it was at home that
she began to enjoy her first experience of teaching. Her
brothers at the Merchant Taylors' School suffered much
from the unintelligent teaching prevalent in the boys'
schools of that day, and received help in their Latin and
Mathematics from their clever elder sister. All this
work doubtless helped to develop in Dorothea that clear
vigorous mentality that characterised the great Head
Mistress of Cheltenham, and impressed still more de-
finitely on her mind the need for reforms in education.
Duty seems to have been, even at this early age, the
key-note of her life, and she apparently bore an older
girl's usual share in domestic affairs, helping with the
mending and the usual work of the house.
But this time at home was just a quiet breathing space
before wider opportunities of study were granted to her.
AT QUEEN'S COLLEGE.
" Can you remember . . . when the great things happened for which
you seemed to be waiting ? The boy, who is to be a soldier — one day he
hears a distant bugle : at once he knows. A second glimpses a bellying
sail : straightway the ocean path beckons to him. A third discovers a
college and towards its kindly lamp of learning turns young eyes that
have been kindled and will stay kindled to the end." — James Lane
The opening of Queen's College marked a great advance
in the cause of girls' and women's education. It had its
root in the Governesses' Benevolent Institution, which
was founded for the purpose of helping governesses in
times of need. This was originated by the Rev. C. G.
Nicolay, but in the year 1843 ^^he Rev. David Laing,
vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Kentish Town, was made
honorary secretary. It was he who first saw that an in-
AT QUEEN'S COLLEGE ii
stitution that existed merely to relieve distress was un-
satisfactory, and sought to establish, rather, an organisa-
tion to prevent the need for relief. Accordingly, he
established a Registry for Teachers, and set on foot a
scheme for granting diplomas. The latter naturally led
to the starting of examinations, which revealed such ap-
palling depths of ignorance in those who were supposed
to instruct others, that the need for their tuition was
As is always the case in great movements many were
thinking along the same lines, and Miss Murray, Maid
of Honour to the Queen, was at this time meditating the
starting of a College for Women, and was, as a matter of
fact, collecting funds for this purpose. As soon, however,
as she heard of Mr. Laing's plans she handed over to him
the money she had collected. He consulted with the
government about the establishment of this college, and
the Queen graciously allowed it to be named after herself,
A house in Harley Street, next door to the Governesses'
Benevolent Institution, was taken. Professors from
King's College were asked to give lectures, and to many
women for the first time higher education became a
The committee, as at first constituted, included such
well-known people as Charles Kingsley, Sterndale
Bennett, John Hullah, F. D. Maurice, and R. C.
Trench. It is still possible to see in book form the
lectures which inaugurated the work undertaken by
Queen's College. Though it originated with the idea of
helping governesses who wished to qualify for their work,
it numbered among its earliest students girls who were
to play an important part in many ways in the life of
the nation. Among the first pupils were Miss Buss,
Adelaide Ann Proctor, Miss Jex- Blake, and Dorothea
Beale. At first there were no women lecturers or women
teachers, but many women offered their services as
chaperones, and very faithful they were in carrying out
their trying and exacting duties.
12 DOROTHEA BE ALE
The name of the Rev. Frederick Denison Maurice will
always be associated with the founding of Queen's
College. Perhaps the name means little to men and
women of our generation, though he was not only a great
thinker but one of the pioneers of those who apply
Christian standards to social life. He founded a Work-
ing Men's College, which is still in existence, and took
a great part in the work of Queen's College. He was
compelled to resign his chair of theology at King's
College, on account of his unorthodox beliefs, especially
on the question of eternal punishment. Throughout his
life he suffered much from charges of heresy, but he
exercised a great influence on the religious life of his
day, and on that of subsequent generations. He de-
nounced any political economy based on selfishness,
declaring it to be false : the Cross, not self-interest, must
be the ruling power of the Universe. His lecture at the
opening of Queen's College was a most inspiring one, and
his words must have fallen on the ears of some of the
girls who listened to him like a call to high and noble
" The vocation of a teacher," said he, " is an awful one :
you cannot do her real good, she will do others unspeak-
able harm, if she is not aware of its usefulness." He
spoke against the harm done by simply providing her
with necessaries. " You may but confirm her in the
notion that the training of an immortal spirit may be
just as lawfully undertaken in a case of emergency as
that of selling ribands." He went on to speak with
great decision about the need of a thorough education
for those whose special work was " to watch closely the
first utterances of infancy, the first dawnings of intelli-
gence : how thoughts spring into acts, how acts pass
into habits ".
It was probably about this time that Dorothea began
to see what her life-work was to be, and the noble in-
spiring words of this great servant of God doubtless did
much to strengthen in her mind the sense of being called
AT QUEEN'S COLLEGE 13
to high service. All through her career there is no
thought more marked than that of the loftiness of a
teacher's work. From herself as well as from others
of her calling she demanded that consecration of body,
mind and spirit without which there can be no good
work done. All who have read her "Addresses to
Teachers," and other works on teaching, realise the high
level on which she placed the teacher's calling, and the
stress she laid on the need to pursue continuously im-
possible ideals of goodness and efficiency.
"All of us have to begin and we live in the intimate
consciousness of this thought : Here is a child of God
committed to my care, I am to help in so developing
him in time that he may be a dweller in the eternal
world here and hereafter. I, too, must live an eternal
life, in order that I may draw forth that consciousness in
him. I must behold the Face of the Father, and so be-
come a light to my children that, seeing the light shine
in me, they may glorify that Father." ^
Queen's College was the greatest boon to Dorothea
Beale. It gave her the chance of getting first-rate teach-
ing in Mathematics and Greek. With Mr. Astley Cook
she read, privately, Trigonometry, Conic Sections, and
Differential Calculus. Soon after she was asked to teach
Mathematics and became the first lady Mathematical
tutor. As a teacher she could, ex officio, go to any class
she liked, and attended at different times lectures on
Latin, Greek, Mental Science, and German.
One of her chief friends at this time was a girl of her
own age, Elizabeth Alston. The two used to study
together, Elizabeth teaching Dorothea singing, whilst
her friend taught her to read the New Testament in
Greek. In later life she realised how much these sing-
ing lessons had done for her, enabling her to use her
voice without fatigue for hours together.
Training colleges for elementary school teachers were
^*' Addresses to Teachers," I, by Dorothea Beale.
14 DOROTHEA BEALE
established before there was anything of the kind for the
teachers of better class children, and it was the head of
the Battersea Training College who examined the
candidates and awarded the diplomas for knowledge of
methods of teaching.
At Queen's College Dorothea Beale began to show
signs of where her power as a teacher would lie.
Throughout life it was one of her leading ideas that a
teacher should be primarily an inspirer of her pupils :
that though she should never cease to prepare her work
with the greatest care, her aim should be chiefly to kindle
the enthusiasm that would make her pupils eager to
learn for themselves. Even at this early age she seems
to have possessed this faculty, and long after she left
Queen's College, she occasionally received letters from
her former pupils, saying how much her teaching had
meant to them.
Her time there, however, was not to be long. There
arose difficulties which she felt could not be tolerated.
These were, briefly, that one particular person had too
much authority, while the women visitors had too little,
and what they had was gradually diminishing. This led
to many evils, notably the promotion of children into the
upper section, or college, from the lower section, or school,
long before they were able to derive any benefit from
Dorothea Beale returned from a summer holiday
abroad in 1856 to find these difficulties worse than ever.
She and a friend thereupon sent in their resignations,
hoping to be able to avoid giving any explanation. Dr.
Plumptre, the Head, was, however, extremely anxious
for her to reveal the reason for her withdrawal, which
she did very reluctantly. After hearing her reasons for
leaving, he acknowledged that she was acting in ac-
cordance with her conscience and was trying to do
what she held to be her duty. Dorothea Beale
throughout her life seems to have had to fight against
an impetuosity of nature which was in curious opposition
AT QUEEN'S COLLEGE 15
to that greatness of mind that enabled her to wait for
the carrying out of any great project. Her action in this
connection was characteristically impetuous, for before
the correspondence was concluded, she had accepted the
post of Head Teacher at Casterton School.
Already we find that she had formulated some of the
educational theories she held through life. One of these,
which she mentioned in her letter to Dr. Plumptre, was
that girls can be thoroughly educated only by women :
that though some classes may be taken profitably by
men, the education of girls as a whole must be in the
hands of their own sex. She showed also her apprecia-
tion of the need for thorough groundwork, without which
no advanced work can be well done.
Though her action in this matter was characteristically
impetuous, and that of a young idealist, it revealed that
strong sense of duty which would not allow her to shrink
from any painful experience, if the doing of right was
Dorothea Beale, probably because she was one of a big
family of girls, was apparently spared one of the most
perplexing problems of modern girls and women. From
the moment when she felt herself called to the work of
teaching she seems to have had no doubt that she was
right to obey the call, and was thus saved the torment of
the woman worker who is haunted by the thought of home
needs unfulfilled. The only daughter in a home, who
feels herself called to work outside it, has one of the most
difficult of life's problems to face. She has the know-
ledge that an ageing father and mother need her, that,
perhaps, she will have by and by to earn her own living,
and has in her heart the incessant call of the work that
claims her. There is no one solution to a case of this
kind : every case must be judged independently. It is
a difficulty as inherent as sex or any other vital part of
life, and needs to be honestly and frankly faced. To
most girls in this position, I should say : Get your train-
ing early, whilst your parents are still strong and well,
i6 DOROTHEA BEALE
so that if the opportunity of doing work comes you may
be ready. Some girls who live in big towns are able to
combine home duties with outside work : though on those
who are not strong this life of twofold duty is often a
great strain. Others, less fortunately placed, realise that
the two are alternatives, the choice must be made, and
the more imperative duty accepted. In this connection
it is well to realise, I think, that the harder duty is not
of necessity the right one. The work one dislikes is not
necessarily the work one ought to undertake, though it
may be. The attitude of many religious people in the
past has, I think, been quite wrong in this respect. God
has given to all of us special talents and aptitudes, in the
exercise of which we find our greatest happiness and do
our best work. To believe that the Creator always calls
us to do the uncongenial task is, to my mind, to mock
His plans. If, however, the beloved task has to be
deferred, and the need of our loved ones claims us, there
comes with the accepted duty peace and rest of mind,
and the waiting time may be used for preparation of
mind, heart, and character. To many men and more
women, who have kept before them the vision of the
work they would do, has often come in a quite unforeseen
way an opportunity of doing it : and they have realised
how much richer and better their life is for their wider
experience during the time of waiting.
A DIFFICULT YEAR AND A TIME OF WAITING.
" Difficulties are the stones out of which all God's houses are built."—
All readers of " Jane Eyre " will remember the school,
Lowood, to which Jane was sent, and her terrible experi-
ences, especially at the beginning of her time there. The
A DIFFICULT YEAR 17
foundation in actual life of this school of fiction, coloured
by the Bronte temperament, with its evils exaggerated for
the purposes of art, is known by all to be the Clergy
Daughters' School at Casterton. As we have seen in the
last chapter, it was to this school that Dorothea Beale had
somewhat hastily resolved to go after sending in her re-
signation to the Head of Queen's College. Probably she
looked upon the offer of this post as an indication that
she was to sever her connection with the college in
London. If in her decision she was to blame, she cer-
tainly paid the price of her mistake.
Casterton is near Kirkby Lonsdale, in a somewhat
lonely district, within sight of the rounded height of Ingle-
borough. Dear to the heart of north-country people
is this glorious wild country, but it must have seemed
terribly out of the world to a girl accustomed to the life
of London, to its libraries and lectures, and the many
interests of the metropolis.
From the first Dorothea Beale felt herself oppressed
and hindered by numbers of things which she did not
approve, and could not alter. The girls wore a uniform
which she found terribly depressing: the rules of the
school were extremely rigid, and the restrictions so many
that she felt the girls had no room for growth. To her,
the whole organisation of the place seemed wrong in
principle, and the effect on the character of the girls of
a too rigid discipline appears to have been pernicious.
To one whose views on education were already clearly
defined, the having to "carry on" without any power
to change what was wrong, must have been an ex-
tremely trying experience.
Nor was there much compensation in her own work oi
teaching : rather the opposite. She found herself com-
pelled to teach many subjects, far more than she could
do justice to : Scripture, Arithmetic, Mathematics, Ancient
and Modern Church History, Physical and Political Geo-
graphy, English Literature, Grammar and Composition,
i8 DOROTHEA BEALE
French, German, Italian, and Latin. Holding such strong
views as she did about the preparation of lessons and the
careful correction of children's work, she must have found
this undue multiplication of subjects very unsatisfactory.
There can be, I suppose, for natures like Dorothea
Beale's, few things so trying as circumstances which make
a high standard of work impossible. Her father's letters
to her at this time reveal the strong friendship that existed
between the two. She wrote home that she found the
work hard and her father replied, evidently with the idea
of cheering her : —
" Employment is a blessed state, it is to the body what
sleep is to the mind. ... I cannot be sorry when I hear
that you are fully employed I am sure it will be use-
fully. ... I feel I can bear your being so far and so
entirely away with some philosophy, and I am delighted
that your letters bear the tone of content, and that you
have been taken notice of by people who seem disposed
to be kind to you. . . . Give an old man's love to all
your pupils and may they make their fathers as happy as
The difficulties at Casterton, however, did not grow
less, but tended rather to increase. Her parents began
to have some inkling of these, and to feel very doubtful
whether she ought to stay at Casterton. On her birthday,
March 21, her father wrote again : —
"God bless you and give you many birthdays. I fear
the present is not one of the most agreeable : it is spent
at least in the path of what you consider duty, and so
will never be looked back upon but with pleasure. . , .
Do not, however, my dear girl, think of remaining long
in a position which may be irksome to you, for thus, I
think, it will hardly be profitable to others, and indeed I
question whether you would maintain your health where
the employment was so great and duty the only stimulus
to action. You have heard me often quote : * The hand's
best sinew ever is the heart '."
A DIFFICULT YEAR t^
Two months later Mr. Beale wrote : —
** I long to see you again very much. I cannot get re-
conciled to your position and feel satisfied that it is your
place. . . . God bless you, my dear girl, and blunt your
feelings for the rubs of the world, and quicken your vision
for the beautiful and unseen of the world above you."
The sensitiveness her father alludes to in this letter
was one of Dorothea Beale's leading characteristics to the
end of her life. Though she welcomed and considered
the criticism of competent people and often acted on it
she had a curiously sensitive shrinking from adverse judg-
ment : and this often cut her off from valuable advice.
Her shyness, too, kept her from the friendship of those
who, like herself, were too diffident to make advances.
In it, however, lay one of her chief powers, the subtle per-
ception that enabled her to see almost into the very souls
of the girls she taught. Once, at Cheltenham, a child
refused to admit that she had done wrong. One morning
Dorothea Beale sent for the class teacher. "Send So-
and-So to me," she said, "I can see from her face this
morning that she will tell me all." And she was right.
It was at Casterton that she adopted the simple style
of dress that she always preferred. One of her pupils
thus describes her : —
" Her appearance, as I remember it then, was charming.
Her figure was of medium height. The rather pale oval
face, high, broad forehead, large, expressive grey eyes, all
showed intellectual character. Her dress was remarkable
in its neatness. She wore black cashmere in the week,
and a pretty mouse-coloured grey dress on Sundays."
Possibilities of making improvements at Casterton
now began to weigh on her mind. Unless things were
changed she felt she could not stay, but she was not in-
clined to give up without an effort at amelioration. She
determined to take a very bold step and to appeal to the
Committee. Her father was kept in touch with all her
plans at this time and wrote ; —
20 DOROTHEA BEALE
" I think we must be content to wait, at any rate for
the present, and see if any good comes from your inter-
view with the Committee. You notice two points chiefly
— the low moral tone of the school and the absence of
prizes [distinctions, responsibilities, etc.]. The want of
sympathy and love (the great source of woman's influence
in every condition of life) was the prominent feature of
the establishment in my mind after talking it over with
you. But nothing can flourish if love be not the ruling
He goes on to say that he realises how much love and
devotion she puts into her work, but how useless it is
when she is unsupported.
"Weigh the matter well before this Christmas," he
continues, " and if you find no changes are made, the
same cold management continued, send in your resigna-
Then the affectionate father concludes ; —
•' I cannot contemplate your not coming up at Christ-
mas. As we grow older each year makes us more
desirous of the company of those we love ; perhaps, be-
cause we feel how soon we shall part with it altogether ;
perhaps, because we are become more selfish, but such is
The six members of the Committee apparently con-
sented with some reluctance to hear Dorothea, but she
did get a hearing and brought her chief objections before
them. The experience was not so trying as she had
anticipated, and the Committee appeared fairly concilia-
tory. She explained — in speaking of the absence of
prizes — that by this term she meant rather distinctions,
privileges, and opportunities of doing good. She offered
to resign, but the Committee said, " Oh, no, certainly
not ". And she came away feeling that her efforts might
have some good result.
Few people, whether individuals or collective bodies,
can endure criticism, and Dorothea Beale's complaints
A DIFFICULT YEAR 21
seem to have caused a great deal of discomfort in her
relationship with those connected with Casterton. This
was increased very much by a suspicion that she was
not orthodox according to the evangelical low-church
point of view. She was considered " high," and was
suspected of holding extreme views about baptismal re-
generation, one of the storm centres of religious con-
troversy at this time. This caused even one of her chief
friends on the Committee to wish her to leave.
With the tenacity of purpose that characterised her
through life, she tried to believe that it was right for
her to stay and fight the difficulties at Casterton.
Gradually, however, the impossibility of doing so be-
came evident, and she wrote to her father : —
" I do not see how it is possible to do much good. I
may work upon a few individuals, but the whole tone of
the school is unhealthy, and I never felt anything like
the depression arising from the constant jar upon one's
feelings caused by seeing great girls professing not to
care about religion."
She suggested that she should send in her resignation,
and her father replied at length, giving her advice as to
how to approach the Committee, and again writing
words of cheer : —
"Above all things take care of your health. ... I am
quite sure that you have a long course of usefulness
before you. The flattering regard in which you are held
at Queen's College, and the constant means you always
have in London of constantly improving yourself, must
teach you somewhat of your own value. Though I
would not indeed presume upon it further than to give
you confidence to act rightly."
It was near the end of November before Dorothea
made her final decision to send in her resignation. She
had not time to carry out this decision before she re-
ceived the following note from the Committee : —
" On your last interview with the Committee you
22 DOROTHEA BEALE
implied an intention of resigning in case certain altera-
tions should not be made by the Committee. . . .
" The Committee are of opinion that, under the circum-
stances, it would be better that your connection with the
school should cease after Christmas next, they paying
you a quarter's salary in advance."
This note was received shortly before the Christmas
It is easier to imagine than to describe the effect of
this summary dismissal on a highly sensitive girl, whose
actions had throughout been prompted by a sincere de-
sire for the good of the school. It is difficult to endure
the sense of failure in youth before one has had assurance
of one's own powers. Again at this time her father's
sympathetic letters, reminding her of the high motives
with which she had undertaken this work, were a great
comfort to her. In after years Dorothea Beale acknow-
ledged the value of this year at Casterton. No life is
perhaps complete without its times of failure, as she
must have felt her year at Casterton to be. For the
world is full of men and women who fail, and it is only
by personal knowledge of their experience that we can
sympathise with them and help them to rise above it.
Many, however, appreciated the good work Dorothea
Beale did at Casterton, and her quiet and steady persist-
ence in what she felt to be right were not without their
permanent influence on the school. Her remembrance
of this school was a source of pain to her, and yet, as
the years went on, she felt how much she owed to her
experiences there. In The Tivies of November 19,
1906, there is an extract from a letter by Canon A. D.
Burton, Casterton Vicarage, Kirkby Lonsdale.
" I have read with interest your account of Miss Beale's
life. I think, however, it is possible that it may give an
erroneous impression with regard to her connection with
Casterton, and it may be of interest if I mention that I
happen to know something of the feelings she entertained
A DIFFICULT YEAR 23
towards the school. Rather more than a year ago she
wrote to say that it had long been in her mind to do
something for the school in grateful remembrance of the
benefit which her connection with it had been to her,
and this wish finally took shape in the founding of a
scholarship to Cheltenham, and the first Casterton-
Beale Scholar is at the present time in residence at
" The Casterton Clergy Daughters' School, like most
other schools of long standing, has a past which is not
to be compared with its present. That is no disparage-
ment to it, but the reverse. Its present state is one of
high efficiency, but it is interesting that it was not on
this account only that Miss Beale wished her name to
be always connected with it, but because she felt herself
in debt to it. ' I owe much to it,' were her words. A
few months ago she also presented to the school an oil-
painting of herself which was hung in the entrance hall."
She did not leave Casterton, however, without some
acknowledgment on the part of the authorities and
others that her work and character had been appreciated.
It must also have been a solace to her when Dr. Plump-
tre, hearing of her resignation, at once wrote and spoke
of the possibility of a mathematical tutorship at Queen's
It was characteristic of Dorothea Beale that after she
returned home from Casterton with one part of her work
finished and no other in view, she did not idly waste her
time but began a definite piece of work — the writing of
her history, " The Student's Text-book of English and
General History". The need of such a book was felt
very strongly at this time, partly because of the outcry
against the papistical doctrine inserted into Ince's history,
one of the most popular text-books of the day. This
book must have involved an enormous amount of work,
though it dealt only in outline with this vast subject. In
24 DOROTHEA BEALE
the preface she makes it clear to the student that no real
knowledge of history can be built upon such a slender
foundation, and urges the need for filling in the outlines
by wide and thorough reading. Her history was not
her only occupation at this time ; she did some visiting
teaching — Latin and Mathematics — at Miss Elwell's
school at Barnes.
She realised the difficulty of working steadily at home,
knowing the thousand distractions, social and domestic,
that come to divert a girl from any definite pursuits. So
she adopted the plan of writing her history in a large
empty room at the top of the house. Here she would
work without a fire on cold winter days. Whether this
was an expression of the desire for Spartan simplicity of
life which she always had, or was done simply to keep
away members of the family who might wish to come
and chat, one cannot say.
Dorothea Beale had evidently undertaken some work
as secretary and collector for the Church Penitentiary
Association and for a Diocesan Home at Highgate,
working with Mrs. Lancaster. The latter greatly ap-
preciated her and her conscientious work, and realised
what a valuable helper she would be, if she could enlist
her in this great service. She approached her with the
suggestion that she should take the headship of the
Home. Dorothea Beale considered the offer but refused.
This must have been a great test of faith in her own
judgment. Behind her were two experiences, both of
which had ended in apparent failure because of her in-
ability to agree with the authorities. No educational
work was in view, and she must have questioned her
own wisdom in refusing this opportunity of service
which came to her. Yet it seems as if at this time
there dawned on her mind the deep conviction that she
was called to educational work among her own class :
that with her temperament and ideas so much in advance
of her own time a headship was the only post that
A DIFFICULT YEAR 25
would give her the scope and freedom that she needed
if she was to do her best work. And so she waited,
not with idle hands and brain, but fully occupied with
her history, her teaching, and home duties.
It was probably about this time that she began her
Diary, which she kept with some intervals until the year
1 90 1. The purpose of it seems to have been to keep
a record not of outward events but rather of her
moral and spiritual life. In it we have one of the many
evidences of that sternness towards herself which she
maintained in all circumstances of life, even in illness.
Earlier, perhaps, than most people, she seems to have
realised that her influence on others would depend
entirely on what she herself was. One or two quota-
tions from her journal will illustrate the purpose of it.
March 6. — History. Aunt E. came. Cross at not
getting my own way. Some idleness. Im-
April 14. — History. Elizabeth. Called on the Blen-
karnes. Dined at Chapter House. Idle. In-
dulgence in reading story at my time for evening
prayer. Unpunctual in morning. Thoughtless
April 20. — History, i6th Century. Felt terribly
cross. O grant me calmness.
June 4. — Saw Mrs. Barret. Copied. Neglected
prayer greatly. Very worldly.
Tune 7. — Wrote letters. A terrible blank of worldli-
Tune 9. — Wrote to Miss El well. Letter from Chelten-
ham. Copied certificates. Worldly, Spoke
angrily to A.
At this time there are many allusions in her journal
to crossness. Probably it was the result of that supreme
test of the active, energetic mind — the enduring of un-
certainty. In 1 90 1 she wrote to a friend about this
period of her life : —
26 DOROTHEA BEALE
" Once I had an interval of work, and I thought per-
haps God would not give it me again — but after that
interval He called me here. I think now I can see
better how I needed that time of comparative quiet and
solitude, and a time to think over my failures, and a
time to be more helpful to my family."
Whilst still young, Dorothea Beale formed the habit
of frequent attendance at early Communion, which she
maintained all through her busy life. Like the saintly
men and women of all ages, she felt that the more
strenuous and exacting her work, the more she needed
these hours of Communion. The Sacraments of the
Church as generally necessary to salvation she believed
to be two — Baptism and Holy Communion — but the
whole of life to her was sacramental. More and more
as years passed by did outward and visible things be-
come to her the signs of inward and spiritual realities :
to her, and to those of her school of thought, sacra-
mentalism meant " the discovery of the river of the
water of life flowing through the whole desert of human
But Dorothea Beale was no dreamy, unpractical
mystic, holding herself aloof from the practical difficulties
of life. She realised that there is little value in a re-
ligion that cannot find expression in the life of every day ;
and little strength in the soul that is not continually
fortified by the struggle of work and the carrying out of
" The religion of Dorothea Beale," says Mrs, Raikes,
"was far indeed from being a mere succession of beauti-
ful and comforting thoughts. It meant authority. It
involved all the difficulties of daily obedience, it meant
the fatigue of watching, the pains of battle, sometimes
the humiliation of defeat. Intense as was her feeling on
religious subjects, it was never permitted to go ofif in
steam, as she would term it, but became at once a
practical matter for everyday life."
SMALL BEGINNINGS 27
O, I am sure they really came from Thee,
The urge, the ardour, the unconquerable will,
The potent, felt, interior command, stronger than words,
A message from the Heavens whispering to me even in sleep.
These speed me on.
— Walt Whitman, " Prayer of Columbus ".
Until about 1825, Cheltenham was simply a small
market-town, famous for its mild climate and fertile soil,
but at this time its medicinal springs were discovered,
and it became the fashion for royalty and aristocracy to
take the waters. Between 1801 and 1840 the popula-
tion of Cheltenham increased tenfold. In 1843, Chelten-
ham College, a proprietary school for boys, was opened.
Ten years later, on September 30, 1853, a meeting was
held in the house of the Rev. H. Walford Bellairs, who
was Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools in Gloucester-
shire, and a prospectus was drawn up of "A College
in Cheltenham for the education of young ladies and
children under eight ".
The instruction was to include the Liturgy of the
Church of England, grammar, geography, arithmetic,
French, drawing, needlework. The fees were to range
from 6 guineas to 20 guineas a year, and the capital was
to consist of ;^2000 in ;^io shares. The entire manage-
ment and control were to be in the hands of the
founders, the Rev. H. W. Bellairs; the Rev. W. Dob-
son, Principal of Cheltenham College ; the Rev. H. A.
Holden, Vice-Principal ; Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzmaurice ;
Dr. S. E. Comyn ; and Mr, Nathaniel Hartland.
They appointed as Principal Mrs. Procter, the widow
of Colonel Procter, and as Vice-Principal her daughter.
Miss Procter, who was understood to be the actual head.
Mrs. Procter was to furnish the wisdom and stability
of mature years, Miss Procter the youth and vigour
28 DOROTHEA BEALE
necessary for teaching. A younger sister held the
post of secretary.
At first it was intended that the college should be
restricted to day pupils, but it was soon found that this
would limit its usefulness, and some months before the
opening of the school the proprietors had arranged for
three boarding-houses, the fees of which were extremely
low, being only £40 a year.
Cheltenham Ladies' College was laid on good founda-
tions. The founders had an ardent desire for a thorough
and liberal education, and their ideas were well carried
out from the very beginning of the school's career. The
teaching appears to have been of a high order, the
teachers were people of conscience and ability. In her
" History of Cheltenham Ladies' College," Miss Beale
quotes from old pupils who spoke most highly of the
The school was opened on February 13, 1854, in
Cambray House, where the great Duke of Wellington
had once stayed for about six weeks. It was a fine
square-built house with a beautiful garden. By the end
of the first year the 100 pupils had increased to 150;
the second year also marked an increase. But after that
the numbers began to go down, until at the end of 1857
the numbers had fallen to 89, and the capital had begun
Some disagreement on educational methods then arose
between Miss Procter and the Committee, with the re-
sult that the former resigned and started another school
in Cheltenham, which was continued for thirty years.
The Principal's letter to the Committee on her de-
parture shows her scrupulous care of the property of
others : —
" My Dear Sir,
" I thank you much for your kind letter enclos-
ing your cheque for £^ i i os, 6d,
SMALL BEGINNINGS 29
" I take this opportunity of sending you the keys of
the college. The house has been cleaned throughout.
The chimneys have all been swept.
" Some few stores — nearly | cwt. of soap, some dip
candles, and two new scrubbing brushes — are in the
closet in the pantry.
" The new zinc ventilator is in the press used for the
" Two cast-iron fenders, of mine, have been removed
from two of the class-rooms.
" I remain, my dear Sir,
" Yours very sincerely,
" S. Anne Procter."
It was in May, 1858, that the advertisement for a new
Principal of Cheltenham College appeared in various
Cheltenham Ladies' College.
" A vacancy having occurred in the office of lady
Principal, candidates for the appointment are requested
to apply by letter (with references) before June i to
J. P. Bell, Esq., Hon. Sec, Cheltenham.
" A well educated and experienced lady (between the
ages of thirty-five and forty-five) is desired, capable of
conducting an institution with not less than one hundred
" A competent knowledge of German and French, and
a good acquaintance with general English literature,
arithmetic, and the common branches of female education,
" Salary, upwards of ;^200 a year, with furnished apart-
ments and other advantages.
" No testimonials to be sent until applied for, and no
answers will be returned except to candidates apparently
Dorothea Beale applied for this post and was accepted
30 DOROTHEA BEALE
as a candidate for the headship. She had now to set
about getting testimonials and recommendations. Some
of these are interesting.
Miss Eiwell, at whose school she had taught, wrote : —
" You have succeeded in making subjects usually styled
dry, positively attractive, whilst your plan has been suc-
cessful in forming not merely superficial scholars, even
whilst producing results in a remarkably short period."
Her friend, Elizabeth Ann Alston, wrote : —
" Of her power of teaching others and making them
delight in their studies, there is no doubt. But you do
not know her, as I do, in her home and daily life : there
all look up to her and seek her counsel,"
Many testimonials were given as to her character and
work, and these made such a favourable impression on
the Cheltenham Committee that she was summoned for
an interview on June 14.
She evidently had not any suitable clothes to wear on
such a formidable occasion, and had to borrow a blue
silk frock from her sister Eliza. Perhaps the work on
her history had prevented her from attending to her ward-
robe. She was appointed and everything seemed
happily settled. One can imagine with what joy she
looked forward to this opportunity of doing the work she
longed to do untrammelled by bonds made by those of
differing ideas. After all these months of waiting she
had at last obtained her heart's desire.
But the stigma of leaving Casterton was not easily re-
moved, and a great blow awaited her.
On July 12 she received a letter from Mr. J. Penrice
Bell, the Honorary Secretary of the Committee, saying
that he had received from two gentlemen letters about
her religious views, that might make it necessary for the
Cheltenham Ladies' College Committee to reconsider
their decision. He quoted briefly their allegations : —
" ' She, Miss Beale, is very High Church, to say the
least, and holds ultra views of baptismal regeneration.'
SMALL BEGINNINGS 31
. . . • She has also a serious and deep reh'gious feeling,
and a self-denying character. But she is decidedly High
Church. Her opinions on the vital and critical question
of sacramental grace are altogether those of the High
Church or Tractarian school.' "
To a sensitive girl like Dorothea Beale this was indeed
a shock, but she was determined not to lose the desired
work through any misunderstanding, and replied at once
to Mr. Bell explaining her views on baptism, which were
said to be " extreme " : —
" If you understand by the opus operatuni ' efficacy '
of baptism that all who are baptized are therefore saved
.... I explicitly state that I do not hold that doctrine.
I believe baptism to be ' an outward and visible sign of
an inward and spiritual grace given unto us : to be the
appointed means for admitting members into the Church
The allegation that she belonged to the High Church
party she dealt with : —
" Your second question [i.e. did she belong to the High
Church ?] . . . cannot be categorically answered, since it
has never been defined what are the opinions of the High
Church party ; I would say that I differ from some who
assume that title. ... I think no one could entertain a
greater dread than I of those Romish opinions entertained
by some ' who went out from us, but were not of us ' : in-
deed, during the last six months, I have been engaged
in preparing an English history for the use of schools,
because Ince's " Outlines " (a book used in your college)
inculcates Romish doctrines."
The conclusion of her letter shows how clearly she
realised the effect that might be produced if the Com-
mittee revoked their decision : —
" I have endeavoured to be perfectly candid : should
the Council decide that my views are so unsound that I
am unfit to occupy the position to which I have been
appointed, I shall trust that they will allow me to make
32 DOROTHEA BEALE
as public a statement of my opinions as they are obliged
to make of my dismissal, for I shall feel that after this no
person of moderate views will trust me, and my own
conscience would not allow me to work with the extreme
party in either High or Low Church."
The suspense whilst the Committee's decision hung
in the balance must have been great. Her diary indi-
cates this : —
July 12. — Mr. Bell's letter about High Church from
Cheltenham, and my answer. Some vanity.
(Prayer) for resignation.
July 1 4. — Letter from Cheltenham. Neglect of prayer.
Several times rude.
The Committee, however, seem to have been satisfied
with her letter to Mr. Bell, and another to Mr. Bellairs,
in which she referred him to two friends who knew what
her religious views were, sending him also two books,
" which I have published without my name — not because
I was ashamed of expressing what I thought right, but
because one naturally shrinks from expressing without
necessity one's inner religious life ".
They still had one more question, which Mr. Bell
asked in his next letter : —
" Holding the opinions you have expressed, should you
consider it a duty and feel it incumbent on you to in-
culcate them in your Divinity instruction to the pupils ? "
To this she replied : —
" I quite feel it to be a Christian duty, if it be possible,
to live peaceably with all men, not giving heed to those
things which minister questions rather than godly edify-
ing, but I am sure you would feel I should be unworthy
of your confidence could I through any fear of conse-
quences resort to the least untruthfulness."
The difficulty was thus ended, and Dorothea Beale
entered her kingdom. In spite of the many possibilities
of giving offence, from the beginning she made the
Scripture lessons the very centre of her teaching. To
DOROTHEA REALE IN ISiiO
SMALL BEGINNINGS 33
these she went herself not only with her carefully pre-
pared work but with her heart and soul equally equipped.
She demanded equal reverence in her pupils, and during
times of building at the college the noise of the hammer
was suspended when these lessons were being given.
There is little record about the beginning of her work
at Cheltenham. Twice Miss Brewer, who was to be
Vice-Principal, called upon her : and there are one or two
entries in her diary about "shopping" and "turning-
out ". Even the date (August 4) on which she set out
for Cheltenham with her mother is only known by de-
duction. One can imagine, however, the spirit in which
Dorothea Beale set out into the unknown. Was it to be
failure or success ? Were her powers equal to the many
difficulties that lay before her? Would the Committee
turn out to be the kind of people with whom she could
work ? But we know enough to be sure that she looked
to God as her guide in all things, and that in offering
herself for this great work of education she laid her life
and all her powers at His feet.
Dorothea Beale's first two years at Cheltenham were a
struggle from beginning to end. When she arrived the
College had begun to go down, and many of the elder
girls had left with Miss Procter, so that the oldest pupils
were now only thirteen or fourteen years of age. Mrs.
Raikes in her " Life," quotes a description of her from a
pupil who was at the school when she arrived : —
" I can see her now as she appeared in reality — the
slight, young figure, the very gentle, gliding move-
ments, the quiet face with the look of intense thoughtful-
ness and utter absence of all poor and common stress and
turmoil, the intellectual brow, the wonderful eyes with
their calm outlook and their expression of inner vision."
One of her first decisions was to continue and make
permanent the rule of silence, which Miss Procter had
introduced at the beginning of the college. She was, at
first, full of doubts as to the wisdom of this rule but was
34 DOROTHEA BEALE
50 well satisfied with the results that she never saw any
reason to alter it. Pupils were allowed to speak only with
a teacher's permission, which was always given when it
was necessary. Her reasons for the ordaining of this rule
were to inculcate habits of self-control, to prevent the
making of friendships of which parents might not approve,
to secure concentration and good discipline. It was very
rigidly enforced, and if a girl broke it only a few times in
the term a remark to that effect was inevitably put into
her Report. One of the jokes frequently made against the
Ladies' College was that no Cheltenham girl could talk !
The history of these two years is given very graphic-
ally in Miss Beale's History of the College, from which
the following account is almost entirely taken. When
Miss Beale was appointed there were only sixty-nine
girls left, of whom fifteen had already given notice (of
these only one actually left). Only ;^400 was left out
of the original capital. The ladies who had kept board-
ing-houses gave up on account of the uncertainty, and
several of the original shareholders sold their ii"io shares
" Several birds of prey," said Miss Beale, "were seen
hovering about expecting the demise of the College, and
it would probably have ceased to exist had there not
remained two years of the Cambray lease, for the rent of
which ;i^200 a year had to be found. It is impossible to
give an adequate idea of the hard struggle for existence
maintained during the next two years, and of the minute
economies which had to be practised. Haec nunc menii-
nisse juvat. The Principal was blamed for ordering
prospectuses without leave at the cost of fifteen shillings,
and the second-hand furniture procured would not have
delighted people of aesthetic taste. Curtains were dis-
pensed with as far as possible, and it was questioned
whether a carving-knife was required by the Principal in
her furnished apartments."
The teaching staff was reduced as far as possible and
SMALL BEGINNINGS 35
the Principal and Vice-Principal gave up their half-holiday
to chaperone those girls who took lessons from masters.
The Principal did a great deal of teaching at this time
including Scripture throughout the College.
Everything that could be done in those two years to
curtail expenditure was done. The gain or loss of one
pupil was considered an important event. One day Miss
Beale was at dinner when a father called with two girls.
The maid sent him away, saying that her mistress was at
dinner. Miss Beale, however, sent her at once in pursuit
after the departing visitors. She spoke to the maid after-
wards about this matter and said, " I am never at
At the end of these two years the lease of Cambray
House expired, and, though the deficit was less at the end
of i860 than in 1859, there was not a single member of
the Committee who was willing to take the responsibility
of renewing the lease. Many causes conspired to make
the school unpopular at this time, and the question of
giving it up had to be seriously considered.
Just when things were at their worst a deliverer ap-
peared in the person of Mr. J. Houghton Brancker, who
was asked to audit the accounts. After a thorough
investigation this gentleman gave his verdict that it was
impossible for the school ever to pay its way with the
then system of fees. Accordingly he drew up a scheme
which he considered satisfactory, lowering the ordinary
fees, but making music and drawing, which had hitherto
been included in the ordinary curriculum, extra subjects.
Mr. Brancker was asked to join the Council ; under his
able rule as chancellor of the exchequer, the College
finances began to improve, and grinding anxiety about
money matters soon became a thing of the past. Cam-
bray House was taken by the year until things were in a
more satisfactory state, but such a precaution was un-
necessary, as the College after this had a career of almost
unbroken progress and prosperity.
36 DOROTHEA BEALE
Financial difficulties were not, however, the only ones
that Miss Beale had to fight, nor were they the hardest.
Far greater foes to her peace of mind were those of ignor-
ance, prejudice, and lack of ideals about girls' education.
Practical difficulties, too, stood in the way of high attain-
ment. Dorothea Beale relates some of these in her
" History of the Ladies' College ". It was said that
college life would " turn girls into boys ". Day schools
for girls were unpopular, and the custom of having
morning and afternoon school caused parents a great
deal of trouble in sending maids with their children.
Teachers were scarce and those to be had were very
" Do you prepare your lessons ? " asked Dorothea
Beale of a candidate.
" Oh no ! " she replied, " I never teach anything I don't
Parents looked with horror on the teaching of mathe-
matics and even advanced arithmetic, in spite of the
poverty to which ignorance of investments often reduced
Some reminiscences of former pupils give a little idea
of what Dorothea Beale was like in her teaching and
in her relationship to her children.
" I never remember her raising her voice, scolding us,
being satirical or impatient with dullness or inattention.
She was not satirical even when a small girl, on being
asked what criticism might be passed on Milton's treat-
ment of " Paradise Lost," ventured the audacious sug-
gestion that the poet was ' verbose '."
Her methods were designed to encourage rather than
to repress. A pupil recalls " an afternoon when she
visited the needlework room and found me being most
justly blamed for inefficiency. In kindly tones she said
to the shy and clumsy culprit : ' You ought to sew well,
for your mother has such beautiful long fingers,' and
somehow I felt comforted and encouraged. Then there
SMALL BEGINNINGS 37
was a day when I summoned up courage to go and tell
her that I had been guilty of some small disobedience
as well as others who had been detected and punished.
She seized the opportunity of impressing upon me that
as I was (though only fourteen) a teacher in my father's
Sunday School — a fact of which I did not know she was
aware — I must surely see that obedience to rule was
necessary. I can still hear the low, earnest tones in
which she made her appeal to my sense of justice and
At this period of her life her power was probably as
great as it ever was, though the scope was comparatively
"It is my peculiar privilege," writes one, "to have
spent all my college career in her class, to go through
years of her special personal teaching. In later days
when the College assumed large dimensions, such an ex-
perience must have been rare ; to those who could claim
it, it meant a potent influence for life. How vividly can
I recall her sitting on her little dais, scanning the long
schoolroom and discovering anything amiss at the far
end of it ; or making a tour of inspection to the various
classes with a smiling countenance that banished terror."
Her personal relationship to any of her children in
sorrow was always a very tender one.
" When I was almost a child at College I lost my
mother and shall never forget Miss Beale's tender
sympathy and help. She took such interest in my pre-
paration for Confirmation and brought me herself to my
first Communion — just she and I alone : a day I shall
always remember. All through my girlhood she was a
kind and ready adviser, and continued her interest
throughout my married life. One always felt whatever
happened to one, ' Now I must tell Miss Beale '."
So with the varied joys of teaching, and the difficulties
of narrow means, and the opposition of supporters of the
old regime, did Dorothea Beale's life at Cheltenham begin.
38 DOROTHEA BEALE
Forty years later she wrote of this time : —
" How often I was full of discouragement. It was
not so much the want of money as the want of ideals
that depressed me. If I went into society I heard it
said : ' What is the good of education for our girls ?
They have not to earn their living.' Those who spoke
did not see that, for women as for men, it is a sin to bury
the talents God has given : they seemed not to know
that the baptismal right was the same for girls as for
boys, alike enrolled in the army of light, soldiers of
No knight of olden times who rode forth against the
evils of his day needed greater courage than this woman
who set out to destroy the evils of prejudice, custom, and,
ignorance. I have spoken sometimes with her " old
girls," who were with her in the early days, and were
among the first to enter on paths untrodden by women's
feet. They were like men who seek a new land ; no
sacrifice seemed too great ; no toil seemed too hard.
Following their dauntless leader they knew themselves
to be the vanguard of a great army of women infinite
in number and of unknown power.
" Knowledge is now no more a fountain sealed." — Tennyson, " The
In order to understand Dorothea Beale's work and that
of her many contemporaries who were working towards
the same end, it is necessary to know something of the
depths to which girls' education had sunk in that day.
All readers of Ruskin's •' Sesame and Lilies " are familiar
with his bitter invective against the attitude of parents
towards this important question, and his passionate ap-
ON EDUCATION 39
peal for reform. And Ruskin was only one of the many
men who realised the pity of the paltry and superficial
education that girls received, and the extent to which
the whole world suffered on this account. So strong had
public feeling become among the better educated on this
burning question that, in the year 1864, a Schools' Inquiry
Commission was instituted ; and as far as possible a
thorough investigation was made of the subject. Reports
on Girls' Schools were given by Mr. Fitch, Mr. Bryce,
To all interested in education the Blue Book is an
extremely interesting document. The evidence and re-
ports are based on what was seen and known, and present
a terrible indictment of the then condition of girls' schools.
" Although," says Mr. Bryce, " the world has now
existed for several thousand years, the notion that women
have minds as cultivable and worth cultivating as men's
minds is still regarded by the ordinary British parent as
an offensive, not to say a revolutionary, paradox."
Dorothea Beale's report, the one with which we are
most concerned here, is very comprehensive, and gives
not only her theories of education but also an account of
the methods employed in her school. The questions
asked give a good idea of the many questions that dis-
turbed the minds of thoughtful people of that day ; the
anxiety lest higher education should injure the health
of girls ; the fear of the over-stimulating effects of ex-
aminations, of the publicity of examination results
and of the possible effects on girls' natural reserve and
In her reply to the various questions asked, Dorothea
Beale gave a good deal of information about her own
school and the condition of education it revealed. The
Entrance Examination at Cheltenham showed as a rule
deplorable results. Frequently girls came from expen-
sive schools incapable of writing, spelling, or composing
in their own language, almost ignorant of French
40 DOROTHEA BEALE
grammar and scarcely able to work correctly the simplest
sums in arithmetic.
" I think the remedy for bad work," said she, " is to
bring such work to the light. I think it is because it
has all been carried on in darkness, because the parents
are not able to distinguish between good and bad, and
nobody knows that things have reached such a state."
She then went into some particulars about the work
at Cheltenham Ladies' College, hours of work, the rule
by personal influence rather than by punishments, the law
of silence and her approval of examinations as leading
to more thorough work. She also went into the reasons
why she considered that women were better educators of
girls than men, and ceteris paribus were quite equal to
them as teachers. The education of boys at that time
she considered to be rather unsatisfactory, and too limited
in scope. She did not believe that boys and girls should
be taught on absolutely different lines, as that would un-
doubtedly hinder friendship and camaraderie in marriage
as well as in ordinary social intercourse.
On the question of health Miss Beale was most em-
phatic. She did not believe that study alone injured
health, and in her belief she is more in sympathy with
the thought of to-day than with that of twenty or thirty
years ago. Examinations and study in the early days of
higher education for women seemed to work a good deal
of havoc with health. But when we look back in the light
of modern thought much of the harm seems to have been
wrought by unscientific arrangement of hours of work —
it was considered heroic to " burn the midnight oil " ;
the eating of insufficient or unsuitable food ; the under-
taking of strenuous work by delicate girls unfit for hard
work of any kind; and the lack of wholesome recreation.
When she was asked by Mr. Acland about the effect
of eagerness in study on the health of girls about sixteen,
she replied : —
" I think it improved their health very much, and I am
ON EDUCATION 41
sure great harm is often done by a hasty recommenda-
tion to throw aside all study when a temperate and
wisely regulated mental diet is really required. They
will not do nothing — you cannot say to the human mind
that it shall absolutely rest ; but if they have not whole-
some and proper and unexciting occupations they will
spend their time on sensational novels and things much
more injurious to their health. When I have heard
complaints about health being injured by study, they
have proceeded from those who have done least work at
college. Indeed I do not know of any case of a pupil
who has really worked and whose health has been in-
jured.: we have had complaints in a few cases where the
girls have been decidedly not industrious."
The following emphatic statement expresses the
opinion of most educationalists on the deplorable effect
that " just going to live at home " has on the health of
many girls. There are few things that teachers of senior
girls dread more than an aimless life in a home where
there are no responsibilities and no definite duties.
There is no real reason, of course, why this should be
so, as a girl of leisure at home has often opportunities of
doing work that no one else can do ; but many lack the
energy and enterprise for seeking out such work, and
are, in consequence, idle and miserable : —
'• For one girl in the higher middle classes who suffers
from overwork, there are, I believe, hundreds whose
health suffers from the feverish love of excitement, from
the irritability produced by idleness and frivolity and
discontent. I am persuaded, and my opinion has been
confirmed by experienced doctors, that the want of
wholesome occupation lies at the root of much of the
languid debility of which we hear so much after girls
have left school."
She also gave some account of her own methods of
teaching. French and German were studied before
Latin and Greek. In Geometry she always dealt with
42 DOROTHEA BEALE
the propositions as riders, and employed methods which,
twenty years later, became common in all schools. This
was somewhat extraordinary at a time when many
children, boys and girls alike, understood so little of what
was required, that they learned the propositions by heart.
Science was taught so as to create not specialists but
human beings with an intelligent but general understand-
ing of the phenomena of everyday life. It is interest-
ing to read in a pamphlet published this year, 191 9, by
the Ministry of Reconstruction, that much of the present
day lack of interest in Science is due to the lack of
general training of this kind. Foundations are laid at
school as if every man and every woman were going to be a
scientist, and the average boy and girl leave school with
a certain amount of skill in measuring and weighing, but
with none of that illuminating general knowledge that
makes the world so vastly interesting.
In religious teaching, " we try," said Dorothea Beale,
'* to make our teaching practical as regards the daily
duties of life upon which we are all agreed, instead of
dwelling on points of doctrine wherein we differ ".
Dorothea Beale was always anxious to work in sym-
pathy with parents, not in antagonism to their aims.
She realised, as does every wise teacher, that parents see
a quite different side of their children and was glad of
any information that might be a help in understanding
the child. She was very desirous that people should be
frank with her if there was any cause of dissatisfaction
with the school, and was most anxious to know if a child
was at all overworked. Any complaint of this kind was
at once dealt with, and if a child was overworked the
remedy of dropping one or two subjects was usually
Along with other educationalists of that day Miss
Beale deplored the excessive amount of time given to the
practice of the piano, complaining that it absorbed energies
that ought to be used for the general culture of the mind.
ON EDUCATION 43
She suggested that no girl should give more than one
hour a day to the piano, unless she had decided talent,
that parents should cease to attach so exaggerated a value
to this accomplishment, and that those who had a natural
incapacity should be allowed to leave off music altogether.
Our generation is beginning at last to allow music for
girls to take only its fair share of time along with other
subjects and to train the mind and soul to appreciate
rather than the hands merely to perform. We are be-
ginning to realise that born musicians are few, though
the need for music in life is universal. To train the ear
to hear, the body to feel rhythm, is held to be more im-
portant than the mere technique of piano-playing.
Men say the dreams of twenty-two
The winds of thirty shall undo . . .
We prove them liars, do we not ?
Which of our dreams have we forgot ?
— Frank Betts.
" At the end of five years' hard struggle," writes Dorothea
Beale in 1 863, " it was pleasant to read in the (Examiner's)
Report : ' This examination has convinced us that the
plan and working of this institution are admirable and
calculated to supply a growing want in our community
. . . that of a real and solid higher education for ladies'."
The year 1 864 was a turbulent one. The Principal had
long been dissatisfied with the college hours, feeling that
they were most unsatisfactory for teachers and children.
The new plan was to have school from 9.10 a.m. to I
o'clock, thus increasing the length of morning school and
having no school in the afternoon. This led to a great
outcry in the town. The local papers condemned the
innovation. Teachers who wanted a half-holiday every
44 DOROTHEA BEALE
afternoon were said to be idle. Parents complained that
the children would be on their hands all the afternoon
and they would have to engage governesses. There was
practically war between the local people and the College
authorities. The Council and Dorothea Beale felt very
strongly on this matter, realising indeed that the future
of the school probably depended on the carrying out of
their plans. A memorial signed by the shareholders and
others was sent, and the Council replied that the plan
would be tried for one term, at the end of which they
would consult the wishes of the parents. So successful,
however, was the scheme that at a General Meeting held
at the end of the time mentioned, only eight voted in
favour of the old regime. As every one knows, the plan
which Dorothea Beale introduced against such strong
opposition has since that time been adopted by every
High School, and has in the main made for a higher
standard of work, and better health, both in pupils and
in teachers. A number of children, as a rule, go to school
in the afternoon, but it is chiefly for preparation and
lighter lessons, such as drawing and needlework.
By 1864, under Mr. Brancker's careful administration,
all anxiety about financial matters had come to an end.
The Principal continued, however, to do much of the
teaching herself, and the girls who were there at this
time always reckoned themselves particularly fortunate
that they came so directly under the influence of the
Head. In later days this was, of course, impossible. All
the classes were held in the big hall, but as soon as pos-
sible a schoolroom was provided for the lowest division.
Dorothea Beale, as a rule, took her classes there, except
very small ones which she often took in her own private
The strongholds of prejudice began to crumble. It
became easier to teach Mathematics, Physics, etc., as a
little of the old antagonism began to disappear and the
number of the senior girls increased.
About this time she drew up her tabular scheme for
learning English and World History. Many thought this
system would bring a new era in the learning of dates,
etc., but it does not seem to have been very generally
In these early days at Cheltenham Dorothea Beale
was often distressed by gossip and back-biting. She was
always particularly sensitive to this kind of thing, and her
actions were at times subject to the criticism even of
friends. But she gradually learnt to trouble less about
outside adverse opinion, though she would never have
been able to tolerate the least suspicion of criticism and
disloyalty within the school. On one occasion an untrue
rumour of a serious nature was set on foot against one of
the boarding-house mistresses. Some in the College had
listened to this rumour and the Principal spoke to the
teachers on the subject.
" Now I have nothing to do to judge them that are
without. We must cheerfully bear evil-speaking. But
if it comes from within the matter is for that reason a
serious one ; for this reason I feel it must be traced up
to its source. ... I feel I can appeal to you as lovers
of truth, as those who feel that no advantages of education,
of health, or any other, can compensate for the disadvant-
ages which would arise to any children who lived in an
atmosphere of evil-speaking, lying, and slandering."
More than most Heads, perhaps, Dorothea Beale had
the gift of inspiring loyalty in her staff. As the College
grew older the teachers were largely recruited from Old
Girls. Some women there now, no longer young, have been
at the College since childhood. It would be impossible
to mention the number of teachers whose love and devo-
tion to their Principal did much to ease her work and
cheer her spirit. Perhaps of these none did more for her
than the first Head Teacher whom she herself had trained.
This was Miss Belcher, later Head of the great school at
Bedford. She was in many ways of the greatest help to
46 DOROTHEA BEALE
Miss Beale, not only in practical things but in her
spiritual influence. In addressing the Head Mistresses'
Conference just before her death, Dorothea Beale spoke
of some of the Heads of schools who had been trained at
Cheltenham. Very affectionately she spoke of Miss
Belcher, and told a story of her great loyalty to the
Miss Belcher and another teacher, at a time when
headships were very rare, came to her and told her that
they had determined to apply for one. Miss Beale said,
"Events are imminent which will shake the [College to
its very foundations ". They said, " We shall not apply ".
Her early days at Cheltenham were very full, so much
so that her father wrote in a teasing spirit : —
"You always write as if you were at the top of your
speed, and this is not good. I doubt not you have a
great deal to occupy your time and your attention, but
pray do not be always in a hurry, you will inevitably
break down if you are so — you will lose in power what
you gain in speed as certainly as in mechanics : and with
greater danger to the regularity of the machine. ... I
am really fearful to take up your time. ... I daresay
now that you are scrambling through my note without
that respect to which the writer and the subject are en-
titled. But pray remember that to neglect (the care of
your health) is the worst economy in the world."
In 1 862 Dorothea Beale had the great sorrow of her
father's death, an event which left a great blank in her
Holidays at this time were spent partly at Cheltenham,
partly abroad. When on the Continent she visited
schools and gained new ideas for her work. For, to
her, life and work were one. Nearly everything she
did bore directly or indirectly on the one purpose of
her life. It is impossible to enter into the spirit of her
life unless one realises this singleness of aim. No nun,
bound to her vocation by holy vows, could be more
dedicated than was Dorothea Beale to the great work
of education. It was to her the call of the Master to
forsake all and follow Him.
This spirit in her expressed itself in many ways ; in
her simplicity of life, which she maintained always. Her
way of living was always plain, as was her style of dress.
In later life she dressed more grandly, but this was forced
upon her by others who felt she ought to do so, and was
not the expression of her own wishes. When she went
to Cheltenham, she decided for the sake of her work not
to go out in the evenings. I believe, as a matter of fact,
that it was quite easy to keep this resolution, as Chelten-
ham society was extremely " exclusive " at that time, and
was not sufficiently assured of the social position of
women teachers to invite them out to anything except
perhaps a quiet tea.
Dorothea Beale had very little small talk, and was
too quietly thoughtful to be a great success socially.
She was quite content to go on steadily with her teach-
ing, her careful preparation of lessons, her painstaking
correction of the children's work, her thoughts and plans
for wider work, all of which were slowly but surely
laying the foundations of a new intellectual world for
women. One of the ideas which she was never able
to carry out was that of a Sisterhood of Teachers, con-
sisting of a band of teachers who should live frugal, self-
denying lives in a Community under a Mother Superior,
These should have no personal possessions, but should
live, as nuns do, a life devoted to their vocation. Later
in life she became less anxious for such a Sisterhood,
believing that the inward spirit of consecration could
exist equally well without the outward and visible signs
In our day we urge the necessity of having interests
outside our special calling ; to have hobbies, games, or
a different kind of work which will be recreative ; to
have, as it were, in our brain several lines of rails to pre-
48 DOROTHEA BEALE
vent the chief one from getting worn out. But though
we have become more scientific in the management of
life the main fact remains the same, that the work to
which we are called is a stern mistress and will demand
our whole-hearted service.
Growth is rarely a painless process, and Dorothea
Beale felt that some of her greatest difficulties began
after the College entered on its period of rapid develop-
ment. By the year 1871, it had grown too big for
Cambray House, and a site for a new building was
purchased for the sum of ;^8oo. This purchase had to
be endorsed by the Annual Meeting of Shareholders
in June, but this was considered a mere formality. A
good many shareholders, however, were interested in the
Cambray property, and the meeting decided not to
ratify the purchase but to re-sell the land. This was a
great shock to the Council and the Principal, who knew
the need for having bigger and better premises, and the
Council announced their intention of resigning.
A special General Meeting was called for September
30. At this meeting Dr. Jex-Blake, the Principal of
Cheltenham College, who was in the chair, pleaded most
eloquently the cause of the Ladies' College. I will quote
part of his speech as showing something of the esteem
in which the College was held at this date.
" Teachers so able and energetic and successful," said
he, " have a right to the greatest consideration and the
very best arrangements for teaching. A Ladies' College
so distinguished, second to none in England, has a right
to every advantage that can be secured for it : a right to
be lodged in a building of its own : a building perfect in
its internal arrangements, and outwardly of some archi-
tectural attractiveness : one that should be a College and
should look like a College."
At this meeting those who desired extension carried
the day, and soon the erection of the new buildings was
begun. On Lady Day, 1873, the College moved into
the new building. So quietly and unobtrusively was
this done, that hardly a single half-hour of lessons was
lost Many extensions followed, including the addition
of art and music wings, and kindergarten rooms.
Those who were at the College in those days were
familiar with the continual noise of building ; in 1882 it
ceased : " after this the sound of the hammer was not
heard for nearly four years." Dorothea Beale's policy
of building was a sound one : it was to plan for exten-
sions long before they were necessary, but to build little
by little as the premises were needed and money was
ready for the purpose.
About this time many questions arose that had to be
settled once and for all. One was whether the College
was to be simply a local day school, or an institution for
the furthering of women's higher education generally :
another was the government of the College and the de-
fining of the Principal's powers : a third was whether the
boarding-houses should become an intrinsic part of the
College. Around all these questions storms arose and
the Principal began to feel that in leaving Cambray
House she had left behind her peace and happiness.
The College was finally incorporated under the Com-
panies' Acts, and the government of it revised and radically
altered. The Principal's powers were more clearly de-
fined, and the Council decided to take over full re-
sponsibility for the boarding-houses.
About this last decision she wrote to her friend. Miss
Arnold, the headmistress of the Truro High School: —
" I think I told you that after many years, I have
prevailed upon our Council to take the whole risk of the
boarding-houses — the pecuniary risk is of course very
great, and in case of war or sudden depression I don't
exactly see how we should meet it, but one must have
risks and we find the moral risks of not taking pecuniary
ones so great that we decided for the latter — and indeed
we had to pay pretty considerable sums in law expenses
50 DOROTHEA BEALE
and to get rid of unjust claims too. We could not prove
that these ladies had not lost money, if they said they had
— and if they were bad managers they did perhaps lose
— and an outcry was raised that we ruined poor ladies."
Of her attitude towards a Principal's position and
powers, part of a letter from Miss Buss to Miss Ridley
gives some idea.
" I had a long and grave talk with Miss Beale, who
counsels fight, but not on any personal ground. She
says : ' Resign if there is interference with the mistress's
liberty of action. That is a public question and one of
public interest.' She was so good and loving: she was
so tender: and she is so wise and calm. She told me
some of her own worries and said that sometimes she
quivered in every nerve at her own Council meetings."
At the end of these various controversies it was re-
alised that the College could not be a merely local institu-
tion, but had a great future before it, and was destined to
play a very important part in the higher education of
women from every part of the country.
I must not close this chapter without giving a brief
account of the much-loved Cambray House, in which
the Ladies' College started. For a time after the
College left it was a boys' school, but in 1889, Miss
Beale had the chance of re-purchasing it for ;^2,ooo
and using it as a boarding-house and overflow school for
girls awaiting admission to the College. In 1895 it was
enlarged, and in 1897 the Principal, by Deed of Gift,
made it over to the College, though she still ran it on
her own account. Not until 1906 was it actually
reckoned part of the College. This is only one of the
many instances of how Dorothea Beale spent or in-
vested her own money for the growth and welfare of
WORK OF LOVE 51
WORK OF LOVE.
*' The fellowship we long for is one in which men shall be themselves
as well as fellows to each other, in which each shall know his own desire,
and there shall be a harmony among them because of a holy concord in
their desires." — Glutton Brock.
In the year 1880, the College Magazine was started
under the editorship of Dorothea Beale, who remained
its editor until her death in 1906. Nor was she only the
editor, but a very frequent contributor : many of her
articles which may be seen collected in book form first
appeared in the Cheltenham Ladies' College Magazine.
The contributors were chiefly old pupils, though Dorothea
Beale sometimes sought contributions from writers out-
side College circles. Shortly after the magazine was
started it became a vehicle for news of old pupils, and
was a means of binding past and present students to-
gether. It is interesting to see in old College Magazines
the names of those who are now well-known in the
literary world — Beatrice Harraden and others.
The year 1883 was what the pupils called Miss Beale's
"Silver Wedding": as she had then been twenty -five
years at the College. The Old Girls were anxious to give
her a present on that occasion, and the Principal asked
that they should give something to the College. The
gift took the form of a beautiful organ, to be placed in
the First Division Room — the largest hall at that time
— above the Principal's dais.
The meeting of Old Girls was fixed for July 6 and 7.
Less than a month before it, Dorothea Beale had the
sorrow of losing her great friend, Mrs Owen. She went on,
as was her wont, with the preparations for the "silver
wedding" assembly, quietly and calmly, not letting her
own private griefs intrude on her public duties.
The Principal received her guests at eight o'clock on
Friday evening. About a thousand old pupils were
52 DOROTHEA BEALE
present. To many of them the building was quite new,
and they were charmed with the beauty of it, decorated
for the occasion by flowers and plants everywhere.
On the Saturday morning she had a large breakfast
party, and prayers were held in the great hall. It must
have been a thrilling experience for Dorothea Beale to
hear for the first time so many of her Old Girls sing, " O
God, our help in ages past," to the accompaniment of the
new organ. After prayers she gave an address, chiefly
on music. She spoke first of the different kinds of music,
the noble and the ignoble, the lofty and the base : the
music which, like the song of the lotus-eaters, lulls us to for-
get all sense of duty, and obligation to home and kindred,
and that which arouses all our highest powers. She
spoke then of the different music of life, of nature, of
faith, of every human soul.
The end of this speech expressed an idea that had
been in her mind for a long time, that of forming a guild
of former pupils. The fundamental aims of the Guild
would be to bind old students to their Alma Mater : to
keep them, by means of the magazine and Old Girls'
meetings, in touch with one another: to enable them
to help one another: and perhaps by and by to take
up some corporate work.
This suggestion of an Old Pupils' Association was
taken up at once, and a meeting was fixed for the
A year later the Guild was established. The daisy
had been chosen as the emblem of the Guild and a
brooch had been devised, the design combining the
flower and the monogram of the College. The guests
were welcomed on Tuesday evening, July 8, 1884, and on
Wednesday morning after prayers Dorothea Beale gave
the inaugural address of the Guild. Her outlook on life
was essentially that of the devout poet, who sees in the
visible world the signs and symbols of spiritual truths.
To her, the daisy, the emblem of the Guild, was full of
WORK OF LOVE 53
suggestion. She dealt with allusions to the daisy in
our poets, explaining why they loved this little humble
flower. She spoke of its sturdy independence — "You
never see it turning towards other flowers : it can only
look up ". She took the independence of the daisy as
a symbol of the friendship of middle and later life, the
friendship which means little direct intercourse, only the
consciousness of a union in spirit and a looking towards
the same ends.
"We have chosen the daisy as our emblem, the
single eye, the true sunflower, the real heliotrope that
stands ever gazing upward. It is changed into an image
of the sun himself: it is like a censer ever burning
towards heaven, a speck of heavenly beauty, a star come
down to brighten the dark places of the earth."
The Guild meetings were held every second year, and
were a source of great pleasure, interest, and inspiration
to those who had known Dorothea Beale as Principal.
" She had a wonderful memory," writes one of her
former pupils, " for her Old Girls, especially for those
who, like me, belonged to the old days of Cambray
House, and could remember the excitement and delight
of going into the new building. I shall never forget the
warmth of her greeting at that last Guild or how at the
' At Home ' in the evening she stopped me in the
corridor to say, ' I was told that all five C 's were here,
and I have only seen four. Where is M ? ' I be-
lieve that there were about 1200 Old Girls there, and to
think of her keeping count like that of those whom she
had seen was simply amazing."
Pupils of a later date, who thought Dorothea Beale
had hardly known them at College, were often astonished
to find that their old Principal not only knew them, but
remembered incidents of their College days, or events
which happened afterwards.
An older girl and her sister were both sent to College
and the latter left from the third division because her
54 DOROTHEA BEALE
people left Cheltenham ; but her elder sister, Gertrude,
stayed on and eventually joined the Guild. Years after
the younger one met the Principal and went up to speak
to her and, never thinking that she could possibly re-
member her, meant to explain who she was. But before
she could do so Miss Beale, on seeing her, began
without any preliminaries: "Why has your sister left
the Guild ?"
In the year 1876 Miss Margaret Newman had
made an offer to Dorothea Beale that she would start a
boarding-house for students who wished to become
teachers and found it difficult to obtain the necessary
training. She offered to pay j^75 a year towards ex-
penses, and in addition to give her time and services.
This involved a good deal of strain and work, as it
meant living in a small house with only one maid, and
having in addition the responsibility of the girl students.
At the end of one year Miss Newman became ill and
died after a short illness. Those who knew her felt that
death had been hastened by the devoted work for which
she had hardly had sufficient strength. Her work, how-
ever, was not ended. In the brief space of one year
Miss Newman had won such love and affection for her-
self and such sympathy with her noble object that people
felt her work must go on. It was this strong feeling
which made Dorothea Beale depart from her usual plan
of not asking for money. As soon as she asked, ^1200
was immediately given, half of it by the College staff.
"She had left," said Dorothea Beale, "a legacy of
;^I00 to carry it on, and, as has been mentioned, further
sums were given by friends, and about £600 by the
College staff. The number of students had steadily
increased, and it was determined by the trustees in
whom the management was vested to build a residential
college and trust to the small profits each year gradually
to pay off the debt thereby incurred. They therefore
purchased the site on Bayshill, and arrangements were
WORK OF LOVE 55
made for the erection of the building to designs prepared
by Mr. Middleton. Cheltenham was one of the first
colleges to establish training for Secondary Teachers.
After much thought it was decided to call the new hall
of residence St. Hilda's.
" St. Hilda's," said she, "seemed a particularly appro-
priate ideal for our students. She was consecrated by
Bishop Aidan and made Head of the most important
house of education of her day. She had, Bede tells us,
been diligently instructed by learned men and she was
the patron of our earliest poet, Caedmon. She insisted
much that those under her direction should attend to the
reading of the Holy Scriptures. She taught the strict
observance of justice and other virtues, particularly of
peace and charity."
On November 27, 1885, the building was formally
opened. A beautiful statue of St. Hilda was presented
by a brother of some old pupils. She holds in her hand
the Vulgate open at the words " Videmus nunc per
speculum in aenigmate : tunc autem facie ad faciem.
Nunc cognosco ex parte : tunc autem cognoscam sicut et
cognitus sum " (i Cor. xiii. 12). Over the door are the
words of Plato, ^aXeTra to. Kokd. On the study walls
are these texts — "Shew Thy servants Thy work and
their children Thy glory " : " Knowledge puffeth up,
charity buildeth up " : " Let nothing be done through
strife or vain-glory ".
Seven years later another Saint Hilda's was estab-
lished, this time at Oxford.
Dorothea Beale had for long years realised the enor-
mous advantage to students of living for a time in the
atmosphere of the older Universities. She thought that
a time at Oxford or Cambridge could give to a student,
who had already begun her teaching career, inspiration
and mental stimulus that nothing else could give. Her
idea was that they should have a year for general reading,
rather than for examination work, though those who
56 DOROTHEA BEALE
wished to take examinations should be allowed to
In 1892, Miss Beale purchased from Dr. Child, Cow-
ley House, Oxford, a beautifully situated house, over-
looking Christ Church meadows. The work was begun
in October, 1893, there being at that time seven
students with Mrs. Burrows as Principal. It was for-
mally opened on November 6, the mid-term holiday of
Cheltenham Ladies' College, and many of the staff and
pupils went to the opening ceremony.
St. Hilda's work was soon extended in another direc-
tion, not indeed along Dorothea Beale's lines, though she
was too wise to offer any opposition. In the year 1888
a meeting of the Guild was held, and the proposal was
made that it should take up some definite outside work.
There were several proposals, but an overwhelming
majority of the Guild decided on the plan of starting a
settlement in the East End of London. As a result of
this decision Mayfield House, close to Bethnal Green,
was taken by the Committee. Dorothea Beale was
greatly disappointed and did not conceal the fact. At
a General Guild Meeting in alluding to this subject she
said : —
" I trust we shall be able to try to win harmony out
of notes not altogether concordant. Some of us come
with a feeling of disappointment that the scheme we
desired has been rejected — I am one of these. I not
only accept my defeat, I feel sure that you have sought
guidance of that inward oracle which must ever be our
supreme rule, you have done what conscience bade and
so it is right. As regards my own scheme, I only allude
to it to say that, having now to continue it single-handed,
I cannot help you as much as I could wish, and I just
refer to it to-day in the hope that you will remember it
when I am no longer here."
After some years of work at Mayfield House a house
was built specially for the Guild settlement close to Shore-
WORK OF LOVE 57
ditch Church. The latter was opened in 1895. The
Guild took up this task in the East End with great enthu-
siasm, and many of the members were willing to sacrifice
time and money to help on the work they had under-
Dorothea Beale seems never to have taken kindly to
charitable work. She had a great horror of the demoral-
isation caused by the giving of "doles". Many of her
friends thought that she realised little of the suffering and
demoralisation caused by extreme poverty. After a time
she became much more interested in the Guild settle-
ment, realising what a valuable centre it formed for
training young workers. It was this aspect of the work
rather than its charitable purpose that appealed to her
most strongly. All through her life she touched with a
very doubtful hand enterprises connected with giving to
individuals. She felt very strongly that the effect was
in almost every case demoralising. When free meals
for necessitous school children were introduced, she was
very much concerned about them, dreading the weakening
of parental responsibility. She knew little of the poor,
however, and of the evil effects of poverty itself, and
was in consequence less harassed by doubts than those
of us who see these social problems following one another
in an endless vicious circle. In this connection one
might mention that she never cared much for scholar-
ships, though as time went on she accepted one or two
for the College, and she herself founded one at Caster-
ton School. She preferred to lend money to those
who wished for training which they could not afford.
During her time at Cheltenham she lent money to many
students : it had to be returned when the student began
to earn money, and in hardly any cases did the student
fail to do so. She felt very strongly that people value
much more highly that for which they have to struggle,
and had an almost morbid dread of the demoralising
effect of charity on character.
58 DOROTHEA BEALE
INTERESTS, HONOURS, AND A JOURNEY.
" Glory of Virtue, to fight, to struggle to right the wrong.
Nay, but she aimed not at glory, no lover of glory she :
Give her the glory of going on and still to be."
Those who are called to a great work often pass through
times of darkness, during which they lose for a time their
vision of the eternal realities which have meant everything
to them. Dorothea Beale about the middle of her work
at Cheltenham passed through such an experience. With
weak health and clouded faith she strove, however, to
live in the spirit of Matthew Arnold's lines —
Tasks in hours of insight willed
May be through hours of gloom fulfilled,
and only a few intimate friends knew what she suffered
at this time.
A few extracts from her journal at this time show
something of the ups and downs of her illness, and the
courage with which she fought what at first she did not
realise to be illness. Her diary of 1878 contains many
such entries as : —
February 26. — I have idled away precious time,
neglected individual work. Because my own will
is weak I could not strengthen [another].
February 27. — In bed all day. There are duties still
undone though I see death near.
February 28. — Not in college. Much time wasted
and [I was] disobedient to the voice of duty.
March 1 5. — A little more work for my children to-day.
I thank Thee for some help. May I consecrate
time and energies to Thee.
April 5. — Tried, but not successfully, with my Con-
firmation children. Feeling too ill to do well.
Thy Will be done.
In 1882 she passed through a time of great darkness
INTERESTS, HONOURS, AND A JOURNEY 59
and depression, but she finally won through as one of
her indomitable spirit was bound to do.
When this experience had passed Dorothea Beale had
changed. Her religion had become more spiritual ; her
knowledge of other souls more intimate ; her desire to
help those passing through similar experiences, intense.
One of the immediate results of her time of difficulty
was the starting of Quiet Days or Retreats for teachers at
Cheltenham at the end of the summer term, alternatively
with the biennial Guild meetings. To her, a teacher's
work was first and foremost spiritual ; and she realised
the need of times of refreshment and re-establishment in
the faith for those who are continually "giving out".
The Quiet Days she established proved a great help to
many teachers from all parts, and her letters to old
pupils and others passing through times of difficulty
reveal a great insight only given by personal experience.
To her friend. Miss Belcher, she wrote : —
" We were all so full of hope at first and are much
disappointed that relief has not come ; . . . I think,
perhaps, you may be specially suffering for one, that her
faith may be once more awakened. Every sufferer thus
' lifted up ' does in a measure draw the hearts of others
to Him through whom we are able to reveal the power
To another she wrote : —
"I have just heard of this fresh trouble. Surely you
must be intended to do some work for others specially
needing heart's blood. This paper was put into my
hands just as I heard of your fresh disappointment and
The mediatorial and purifying purpose of suffering is
an idea frequently found in her writing. The South
African War was a great burden on her mind. In 1900
she wrote : —
" It is difficult to keep up one's active powers with
this nightmare; on§ is so sure that all suffering is
6o DOROTHEA BEALE
intended to be purifying and we must glorify God in the
Dorothea Beale always had a great objection to
desultory work, and though she of necessity touched
many interests wider than those of Cheltenham, she kept
the main part of her time and strength for her own
particular work. Her association with various enter-
prises was always greatly valued, and her work and
influence were felt to be a great help. Some of the edu-
cational work in which she was specially interested and
took a part was represented by the Head-Mistresses'
Association, the Teachers' Guild, the Froebel Society,
the Child Study Association, the Parents' National
Union, and Sunday Schools. She would send delegates
from the College to consider any new educational system.
A local institution that always claimed her sympathy
was a Working Men's College started at Cheltenham and
greatly helped by her friends, Mr. and Mrs. Owen.
She read a paper there on one occasion, on self-support
" I do not think there are many," she said, " belonging
to this College, who could not pay a few shillings
annually. Self-denial adds value to energy. . . . Every-
body does not agree with me. Some think you will
misunderstand — think we do not want to help. I do not
think you will ; to judge by my own feelings I like to
Then she spoke of the early difficulties at the Ladies'
College and the lack of money during her first years
"I am quite sure," she went on, "that our College
would not have been what it is if we had had money to
fall back upon. I might myself have left the helm and
gone to sit quietly in the cabin while the vessel drifted
on to the rocks."
Dorothea Beale kept throughout life a youthfulness of
outlook which rnade her able to enthuse over things that
INTERESTS, HONOURS, AND A JOURNEY 6l
strongly attracted her attention and interest. One day
some one brought to her on a lily-leaf a dragon-fly
emerging from the pupa. To her mind, as to Mrs.
Gatty's, this became a symbol of the resurrection. All
that summer the college heard much of the thought it
had suggested, and many were the " transformations "
witnessed. She wrote a paper — "Is Death the End?"
and wanted to read it at a little mission maintained
by her friends, Mr. and Mrs. Owen. They would not
allow her to do so, though she was perfectly sure she
would be able to interest the poor people. This reminds
the writer of a similar incident. A lady had given what
she believed to be a thrilling lecture on the dragon-fly
to a number of East End girls. They listened most
attentively and seemed greatly interested. But the
lecturer's self-satisfaction received something of a shock
when at the end she heard one girl say to another in a
very Cockney accent, " Why, it's nothing but a fly, after
all 1 " Probably Mr. and Mrs, Owen were right-
Dorothea Beale was not directly interested in mis-
sionary work until the year 1883, when Pundita Ramabai
was sent by the Wantage Sisters to study at Cheltenham
College. Under her influence she studied Hindu re-
ligion and philosophy, and became greatly concerned
about the condition of widows in India. When
Ramabai established her Home for Widows at Mukti,
Dorothea Beale became a regular and large subscriber.
Among her papers was found an appeal evidently
intended to reach the minds of educated Hindus.
" My heart," she wrote, " is stirred by sorrow and pity
for those suffering widows of India ; but there are some
whom I pity more — those who inflict the sorrow on them,
since it is far better to suffer than to do wrong. . . . But
what grieves me, too, is the thought of the waste of all
that wonderful amount of energy and life that God has
given your country-women in order to bless others.
" If the men of India believe in God's goodness and
62 DOROTHEA BEALE
wisdom, as I think they must, even though they may not
trust Him, they must think He has not made all those
widows to be a burden and a misery to themselves and
others, but to do good work. What mistakes people
make when they think they are wiser than God,
"I can remember when 'Old Maid' was a term of
contempt in England, but it is not so now ; you have
seen me and sixty old maids working together happy
and content, and if I could send out a hundred women
where I can now send one, I should not have too many,
so constant are the demands for 'old maids,' as you
would call them — for teachers, nurses, missionaries, and
all sorts of good work. . . . India will some time feel all
that her wasted women's life can do."
With regard to missionary work for girls, she was
always afraid lest the glamour and romance of it should
tempt them away from obvious duties at home.
Dorothea Beale, perhaps because of her early ac-
quaintance with Mrs. Lancaster's work, was always
ready to support any agencies for the protection of girls
and women. As far back as '86 she wrote : —
" 1 would . . . urge the formation of a body of
women-policemen who could safely do work which could
not be undertaken by men-policemen or clergymen.
These should undertake to watch over registries for
women, shops where women work, to establish labour
registers themselves and take care that women were not
paid starvation wages ; to enter (under protection) sus-
pected houses ; to watch railway stations, shops," etc.
She was always anxious for the vote to be granted to
women, knowing that many reforms were impossible
without it. She was saddened by Mr. Balfour's Educa-
tion Bill of 1902, feeling that by the abolition of School
Boards on which women had been well represented, the
cause of the vote had received a serious " set-back ".
Many other causes received her sympathy and financial
INTERESTS, HONOURS, AND A JOURNEY 63
help. Ag^es Weston's work among sailors always ap-
pealed to her, as did also all efforts to set discharged
prisoners on their feet again. She had, too, a warm
spot in her heart for sufferers of her own class, impover-
ished women teachers and other workers.
Dorothea Beale never cared much for prizes. She
felt that the work ought to be done for the work's sake,
as it indeed was at Cheltenham. There were prizes
given on the examination results and standards reached,
but these were simply fetched by the prize-winners from
the secretary's room at the beginning of the next term.
No emphasis was laid upon them and they were rather
an acknowledgment of good work than something to be
The College itself did little to attract public attention.
It had no speech-day to draw celebrities to it, and went
on year after year unnoticed save by those associated
with it, and those who had a real interest in educa-
In the eighties, however, outside people began to honour
the College in various ways. John Ruskin was one of
the first to do so, by presenting it with some beautiful
old manuscripts and printed books. He often criticised
the College Magazine. On one occasion he hurt the
editor deeply by criticising the verses of a dear friend.
To her protest he replied : —
" Dear Miss Beale,
" I am grieved very deeply to have written what I
did of your dead friend's verses. If you knew how full my
own life has been of sorrow, how every day of it begins
with a death-knell, you would bear with me in what I
will yet venture to say to you as the head of a noble
school of women's thought, that no personal feelings
should ever be allowed to influence you in what you
permit your scholars either to read or to publish."
And again, a little later : —
64 DOROTHEA BEALE
" Dear Miss Be ale,
"So many thanks, and again and again I ask
your pardon for the pain I gave you. I had no idea of
the kind of person you were, I thought you were merely
clever and proud.
" These substituted verses are lovely.
" Ever gratefully yours,
In 1889 and 1900, the Ladies' College won gold
medals for its educational exhibits at the Paris Exhibi-
tions. In 1894 Dorothea Beale was called to give evi-
dence before another Royal Commission for inquiring into
the condition of girls' schools. In 1897, the Empress
Frederick visited the college, and in 1899 Princess
Henry of Battenberg, the latter to unveil a marble bust
of Queen Victoria.
In the year 1 898 there was an outbreak of smallpox
in England. It was particularly bad in Gloucestershire,
and five times it broke out in Cheltenham.
" Cheltenham," says Mrs. Raikes, " largely owed its
immunity to the exertions of the Lady Principal, who
insisted on re-vaccination where it was necessary for
every one connected with the college. This meant not
only teachers, pupils, servants, but all who had to do
with any college girl in any capacity — all in the homes
of the day-pupils — all in the shops which served the
boarding-houses — the whole railway staff at the different
stations. The College custom was too good to lose and
she carried her point. Such a drastic measure had its
comic side, as was perceived by the saucy butcher boy,
who shouted to a boarding-house cook, " I must know if
you are vaccinated before I deliver this meat ".
The father of a girl who had an important examination
in a few weeks refused to allow her to be vaccinated.
The Head refused to keep her, and a cab was actually at
the door to take her away when a telegram came from
INTERESTS, HONOURS, AND A JOURNEY 65
the girl's father — " May do as she pleases " — which took
away the necessity for the cab.
For personal honours Dorothea Beale cared not at all,
but she valued them because they reflected glory on the
College. Towards the end of her life many honours
were bestowed upon her. She was greatly honoured at
the International Congresses of Education held in Paris
in 1 889. Later she was made Officier de I'Acad^mie, and
in 1890, the Soci^t6 des Professeurs de Langues Vivantes
held its meeting at Cheltenham. Durham University
next conferred upon her the distinction of Tutor in
Letters. In 1898 she was elected a Corresponding
Member of the National Educational Association, U.S.A.
An honour unusual for a woman was conferred on
Dorothea Beale, in 1901, when she received the freedom
of the Borough of Cheltenham. In the words of the
Town Council resolution it was decreed : —
"That in recognition of the great work she has done
for the education of women in England, and especially
of the unique position to which under her direction the
Cheltenham Ladies* College has attained among the
educational institutions of the country. Miss Dorothea
Beale be, in pursuance and exercise of the Honorary
Freedom of the Boroughs' Act, 1885, admitted to the
Honorary Freedom of this Borough."
Dorothea Beale in her reply said : —
" To invite a woman to be a Freeman of a town is, I
venture to believe, an expression of the thought that not
the individual, but the family with its twofold life, is the
true unit and type of the State, that social and civil and
national prosperity depend on the communion of labour,
and that the ideal commonwealth is realised only in pro-
portion as the dream of one of our poets is fulfilled, and
men and women
• Walk this world
Yoked in all exercise of noble ends.' "
66 DOROTHEA BEALE
Shortly after this she was co-opted a member of the
Advisory Board of the University of London.
The highest honour Dorothea Beale received came in
1902. It was an invitation from the University of Edin-
burgh to receive the LL D. degree. Her students and
staff were deh'ghted, and the latter determined to present
her with her robes. These were the most beautiful and
costly they could procure. The degree was conferred in
the McEwan Hall of the University. Others who re-
ceived the degree at the same time were the Lord Chief
Justice of England (Lord Alverstone), Mr. Asquith, Mr.
Austin Dobson, Sir John Batty Tuke, and Dr. Rucker,
Principal of the University of London. Only once be-
fore had the University conferred this honour on a
Sir Ludovic Grant in summing up Dorothea Beale's
claim to a national recognition gave an excellent epitome
of her work : —
" No feature of the national progress during the last
fifty years is more remarkable than the revolution which
has transformed our girls' schools from occidental zenanas
into centres of healthy activity. In the great crusade
which has been crowned with this most desirable con-
summation the foremost champion was the cultured and
intrepid lady who guides the destinies of the Ladies'
College, Cheltenham. It was largely due to Miss Beale's
indomitable advocacy on platform and on paper, that
the barriers of parental prejudice were broken down,
that the ancient idols, venerated by a former generation
— Mangnall, Pinnock, and Lindley Murray — were
shattered, and that barren catechism and lifeless epitome
were compelled to give place to fructifying studies, and
the futile promenade to invigorating recreations. I need
not remind you that Miss Beale's apostolic ardour is
equalled by her administrative abilities. When she went
to Cheltenham her pupils were counted by tens : to-day
they are to be counted by hundreds, and the institution
INTERESTS, HONOURS, AND A JOURNEY 67
in respect of organisation and educational efficiency will
bear comparison with the best of the great English
public schools. Among the collateral benefits resulting
from the great movement for the higher education of
women, in which Miss Beale has played so conspicuous
a part, not the least important is the power which the
Scotch Universities have obtained of conferring their
honorary degrees upon women, and therefore it is with
no ordinary satisfaction that the University of Edinburgh
now exercises this power by begging Miss Beale's ac-
ceptance of an honour which has been brought within
the reach of her sex largely through her own en-
She wrote to the Vice-Principal a delightful account
of the ceremony, which she seems to have thoroughly
" I am persuaded," said she, " that my robes were far
superior to any other." From Edinburgh she went to Glas-
gow where she found herself in the midst of " Old Girls ".
"We are often in spirit in Cheltenham," wrote she,
"and I must send you a few last words to wish you all
very happy holidays. . . , On Monday a large number
of distinguished people were invited to meet us, and
yesterday afternoon we had a party of about thirty
Cheltonians. In the evening we dined with Professor
and Mrs. George Adam Smith. I sat next to Professor
Jones, who has written a book on Browning, and on the
other side was the Rector, Dr. Story. ... I think we
shall come back refreshed and with some new ideas."
She went from Glasgow to stay with other old pupils
in Scotland, then to Newcastle, where she was asked to
launch a ship. She evidently thought this would be a
very damp proceeding and arrived in india-rubber shoes
and a dress thoroughly looped up. " Much as she dis-
liked adventure," says Mrs. Raikes, " she was prepared
to march into the Tyne if the glory of the Ladies' College
68 DOROTHEA BEALE
This three weeks' tour she thoroughly enjoyed, and
came back refreshed and strengthened and warmed in
heart by the love and kindness of her "Old Girls" and
the appreciation shown her everywhere.
In the autumn of 1902 she was compelled to give up
work for a time. Her sight was causing anxiety and
she was not allowed either to read or to write. Miss
Berridge went with her to Bath and wrote of their life
together : —
" We brought with us Adam Smith's work on the
" Minor Prophets" and also Jane Austen's "Persuasion".
At first we stuck to the " Prophets," but at last Jane got a
hearing and since then she has utterly ousted the " Pro-
phets ". It has been rather amusing to note how many
excellent reasons there were for giving Jane the preference.
Miss Beale was — tired — or sleepy — or not very well and
could not attend to anything that required thought, or it
was near lunch — or tea — or supper-time and therefore it
was not worth while, etc., etc., and I think she has really
liked the story very much. . . . Miss Beale is very much
better, though of course far from being her former ener-
getic self. But we have still more than a fortnight before
us and if she makes as much progress in that time as she
has done in the fortnight just gone, we may be very well
She recovered wonderfully and was back at her
work at the end of term. But from this time she
seems to have realised the need for greater care of her
health and the next summer she took a " Kur " at Oeyn-
It was about this time that those who knew and loved
Dorothea Beale began to realise that some day the great
Head would be removed and that there was no worthy
memorial of her : no portrait which would remind her
"children" of their school mother, and would speak to
future generations of the Foundress to whom they owed
INTERESTS, HONOURS, AND A JOURNEY 69
The Council first approached her through their chair-
man, Sir Samuel Johnson. She suggested in reply that
Miss Stirling, who had a modelling class at the College,
should model her portrait in clay or terra-cotta.
After this the Council's request took the form of a
resolution. To this Dorothea Beale replied that she had
a very great objection to a portrait of herself being hung
up during her life : that it would use up funds needed for
improvements in the College, and that it would give
people an exaggerated idea of the work that she had
been allowed to do for the College.
Again she suggested that Miss Stirling should make a
model in clay, which could be executed in stone by Mr.
The final appeal was made by the Guild meeting of
1902, after which Dorothea Beale surrendered, and
allowed her portrait to be painted by Mr. J. J. Shannon.
In her reply to those who were so desirous of having a
worthy memorial of their revered and loved Principal,
she said : —
"The unbiassed artist represents his subject as she is,
not as she seems to be to those who are good enough to
overlook her defects and love her in spite of them."
Whilst the Principal was sitting for Mr, Shannon,
various friends read aloud to her. " Lorna Doone " was
one of the books. It " amused the painter," Dorothea
The portrait, a very attractive one, was presented by
the Duchess of Bedford on November 8, 1904. In
Dorothea's Beale's reply, she said that she looked on the
desire for a portrait as one not for a person but for a
Principal, a representative who would live on long after
the person had passed away. The illuminated book
containing the names of the donors she looked upon as a
The College Jubilee celebrations were held in May,
1905. Lord Londonderry opened a large new wing for
70 DOROTHEA BEALE
science teaching, and well-known people spoke at this
gathering, which was the only public Commemoration the
collie had had.
SOME CHARACTERISTICS AND IDEAS.
" Universal History ... is at bottom, the History of the Great Men
who have worked here." — Carlvle.
Dorothea Beale is one of the few people to whom we
can apply the adjective great. As one reads the story
of her life this quality is very clearly marked. She
was great in her thoughts, great in her plans, great in
her deeds. It is impossible to define greatness, but it
is a quality that is easily recognisable by those who have
the power to see.
She had a well-balanced brain, an extremely desirable
possession in an educationalist. Whether she would have
done superlatively good work in one subject, had she
specialised, it is impossible to say, but she certainly did
extremely good work in many subjects — History, Mathe-
matics, Philosophy, Languages — to mention only a few.
Such all-round capacity is very valuable in a Head
Mistress, as it enables her to judge fairly the teaching that
is being given in almost every subject. Intellectually she
was abnormally active : rest was to her an impossibility,
and up to the end of her life she kept this marvellous
mental energy. The amount of work she was able to
do was prodigious : her administrative duties, her teach-
ing, her literary essays — she wrote a considerable amount
— her vast correspondence, implied a mass of work that
few people could get through. Her great powers made
it rather difficult for her to understand people of limited
capacity, though she tried to do so. Dorothea Beale
was a great organiser. Teachers who went to the
SOME CHARACTERISTICS AND IDEAS 71
Ladies' College from other schools were amazed at the
perfect organisation, and were greatly impressed by
the way in which Dorothea Beale kept in touch with
everything. She was like a centre to which were at-
tached invisible wires from every girl and every teacher.
One of her leading ideas was to work through her staff.
She knew she could accomplish infinitely more with
their sympathy and help than by trying to do things
herself. A piece of advice she frequently offered to her
teachers was to get others to do anything they could, so
as to leave their own energies for the essential part of
their work, the part that no one else could do. The
doctrine of conservation of energy she preached much to
her staff. She dreaded for them the exhausting effect
of even too much enthusiasm. Holidays, she said, were
to be used for the refreshment of body, mind, and soul :
and she advised them to avoid anything that might im-
pair their health.
Her humour was subtle and not always understood.
She frequently said most humorous things with a per-
fectly grave face, so that people who did not understand
her often quoted her jokes to prove her lack of humour.
One day she said to the girls that she believed her friend,
Mr. X., always made a plan of learning poetry while he
shaved, and she commended it to them as a practice
they should all immediately follow !
As life went on, I believe, Dorothea Beale became
rather unpractical in personal matters, and when she had
to do things for herself did them with difficulty. Happily
she usually had some one to look after her.
" I had a great deal of talk with her," wrote one of her
Old Girls, " at one of the Head Mistresses' Conferences,
and I remember her giving me such an amusing account
of her attempts to blow up an air-cushion for herself, that
we both laughed until the tears ran down our faces."
At the age of sixty-seven Dorothea Beale took to
cycling. At first she attempted a bicycle, but this was
72 DOROTHEA BEALE
somewhat difficult at that advanced age, so she took the
advice of her friends and rode, instead, a tricycle. Most
mornings about seven o'clock she was to be seen riding
along the Cheltenham streets, ' ' The milkmen know how
to keep out of my way," she used laughingly to say. The
tricycle was a source of great pleasure to her, as it en-
abled her to get out easily and quickly into quiet country,
where she could enjoy the beauty and solitude of nature.
Her writing became rather illegible, though in youth
it was good. There is a story told of her which sounds
to me rather the kind of anecdote that is applied to
different people in succession. After a Scripture class
a girl received back a written exercise with a remark by
Dorothea Beale at the end. The girl gazed at the re-
mark, looking at it in every possible way, but could not
decipher it The book was handed round the class, but
no one could read the red-ink hieroglyphics. Finally
some genius hit on the interpretation — " Write legibly ! "
The living monument of Dorothea Beale's work is a
testimony to her greatness of soul, her patience and her
power to wait. Yet, curiously enough, she was in smaller
things often very impetuous : sometimes she forgot de-
cisions made hastily and difficulties ensued.
All her life Dorothea Beale had to fight against ex-
treme sensitiveness and shyness. She, who never
shrank from any duty, however difficult, often shrank
from the society of those who might be unsympathetic,
and was sorely wounded by adverse criticism. Yet in a
larger sense, she did not trouble about the judgment of
others, accustomed as she was throughout life to submit
herself to a Higher Judge. She found it difficult to
make advances to other people and always welcomed the
fearless, happy girls who ventured to treat her as a com-
rade and friend. No doubt this sensitiveness helped her
much in her dealings with others. It gave her the
power of sympathising, especially in times of sorrow
and difficulty : one has only to read some of her letters
SOME CHARACTERISTICS AND IDEAS 73
to see how powerful she was in this way. A few
extracts will illustrate this point : —
" I need not tell you I have felt much for you. One
could not have wished the suffering prolonged, and yet
one does not feel the loss less. Happily, one seems
generally to forget, when all is over, the last painful in-
cidents of the sickness, and to remember the past years.
Few have had a more devoted mother. How proud she
was of your success ! "
To another, on her father's death : —
" I must write you one line of sympathy in this great
sorrow. I know how much you loved your dear father
and had longed for this visit, and now there will be a
great blank. You will not think now, ' how glad he
will be if I do well '. "
To one going through great spiritual struggle : —
" Indeed, dear child, I do feel for you. When you are
freer you must come and see me and we will talk over
things. I shall not think you wicked but believe that
you do want to know God, and that He is sorry for you
because you do care, but cannot see."
To her dear friend, Miss Belcher, when the latter was
suffering from the illness which was to bring the end : —
" I am looking forward to Friday. I thought of you
so much on this the Physician's [St Luke's] day as we
sang that beautiful Hymn and Psalm xxx : and our
window told of the raising of the daughter by the
Dorothea Beale presented the perhaps not unusual
combination of the practical woman of affairs and the
mystic. Her business capacity and power of organisa-
tion were remarkable, and yet she had essentially the
mind of a poet. Hers was the type of mind that is
continually seeing a revelation of the spiritual in all
material things, in history, in literature, and in sympathy
with kindred souls.
Her Scripture lessons she considered one of the chief
74 DOROTHEA BEALE
parts of her work. She always took the greatest care
with her preparation for these classes and made them
the subject of prayer. Some used to complain that her
lessons were vague, and not intelligible, but even those
who did not understand felt a greatness and an uplifting
power which were a help to them,
I In 1880 she wrote to a young teacher. "I used to
I prepare my lessons on my knees (don't say this to others),
) You would find it a help, I think, to do this sometimes,"
Her literature lessons were rather unusual. She dealt
with the great writers in a great way, and used these
lessons for conveying moral teaching that could not
very well be given in Scripture lessons. Browning she
loved, and her senior girls never left school without
having been introduced by Dorothea Beale to some of
his great, shorter poems. Her book on Literary Studies
gives one an idea of how she dealt with literature in her
classes. There is in this book a very interesting dialogue,
between a person of the seventeenth and one of the
nineteenth century on the theology of " Paradise Lost ".
After an interesting discussion on the different concep-
tions of God and His ways the seventeenth century
representative says : —
" You do not do justice to us. You do not think
Bunyan meant us to believe Christian took a real
journey away from a particular town. Why do you
suppose Milton meant that Satan was thrown out of a
special place in this, which we call space ? You do not
think that the Red Cross Knight was believed by Spenser,
or Christian by Bunyan, to have been immersed in a dark
On the subject of marriage Dorothea Beale had very
high ideals. She urged girls to become independent by
their own efforts, so that they should never be tempted
to a mercenary marriage. She was very scornful of the
type of modern novel that represents men and women as
slaves of their passions, unrestrained by the bonds of
SOME CHARACTERISTICS AND IDEAS 75
marriage or the claims of morality. Before she finally
accepted her vocation Dorothea Beale was herself for a
short time engaged to be married : but the engagement
came to an end, and the work of a great school, instead
of a quiet home, became her part in life.
Her literary activities were considerable. She wrote
on a good many subjects, but chiefly on those connected
with her work. Some of her essays were published in
the College Magazine, others in periodicals. All her
work gives one much food for thought.
The Bishop of Stepney, at the memorial service held
for Dorothea Beale in St. Paul's Cathedral, gave a very
true epitome of the things that Dorothea Beale stood for.
"She gave a proof that the personality of a teacher
was the most indispensable and enduring power in edu-
cation. The main object of all her work at Cheltenham
and elsewhere was not so much to instruct the mind as
to inspire the character. She held before herself a clear
ideal of what a cultivated woman ought to be, strong
and self-controlled, filling her life with the highest in-
terests, developing herself to the utmost for the glory of
God and the service of man."
" The King there in His beauty
Without a veil is seen :
It were a well-spent journey
Though seven deaths lay between,"
— " Hymn from the last words of Samuel Rutherford."
To those whose life is extended to even the lower limit
of the Psalmist, the world becomes rather sad and
lonely. Gradually, one by one, friends and relations of
their own generation pass away, and there are few left
with the same memories and the same outlook. Dorothea
^6 DOROTHEA BEALE
Beale enjoyed perhaps one of the greatest blessings life
can give, that of being able to work until the end. Like
all energetic souls she wished to die " in harness," and
that wish was granted. But on the personal side her
life had become very lonely, though it was brightened
by the love of her " children ".
Some months before the end she was haunted by the
suspicion of fatal disease, but of this others knew nothing.
In the Guild meeting of 1906 there hovered the feeling
that perhaps it was the last over which the loved Prin-
cipal, now old and frail, would preside. " Old Girls "
linger affectionately on her last speech ; it was full of
humorous touches, and ripples of laughter were continually
passing through the audience. In it she made her appeal
for greater earnestness, greater devotion, so that all the
Guild members might be able to say — using the motto
of St. Hilda's, Oxford — Nonfrtistra vixi.
In the holidays she did a good deal of work connected
with the College and began term as usual, though some
who knew her well realised that she was hardly fit for
the strain of her work.
Her " Old Girls " linger lovingly on that last term.
On the first day she gave, as she usually did, a short
address to the teachers and children. She spoke on one
of her favourite themes — the Parable of the Talents — and
dwelt chiefly on the joy and privilege of being fellow-
workers with God.
On October 16, Dorothea Beale had to go to a
College Council Meeting in London. By accident, she
missed Miss Alice Andrews whom she was to meet at
Oxford and went up to London alone. As soon as she
arrived in London she went to see her doctor, an " Old
Girl," Dr. Aldrich Blake. The doctor confirmed her
worst suspicions and recommended an immediate opera-
tion. Later, she wrote about this visit : —
"On Tuesday (October 16) I went up to London
hurriedly at 6.37, full of the thought of what was before
ANOTHER JOURNEY 77
me. I went straight to Dr. Aldrich Blake, an old pupil.
She condemned me. Then I saw, as I had arranged, a
new attendant. I looked into shops and felt giddy, and
went on to the place of meeting, where I saw two others,
and lastly several friends."
After this she proceeded to the Council meeting, where
she read her annual report with no sign of fatigue. On
her return to Cheltenham Dr. Cardew confirmed Dr.
Aldrich Blake's opinion, and it was arranged that she
should enter a local nursing home on October 22. Up
to the last moment she did her work, taking prayers,
her Scripture lesson — which struck the girls as a most
remarkable one — and doing her corrections until the end
of that day. Some few friends knew of the trial that
awaited her and to one or two others she expressed the
doubt whether she would ever return. After the opera-
tion all went well, until Sunday, the 28th, when she be-
came obviously worse. She rallied somewhat, however,
but the day after nervous prostration set in and after
that there was practically no hope. Mrs. Raikes tells
very vividly the story of the morning at Cheltenham
(November 9) when the bulletin was issued " Miss Beale
is sinking " : —
" ' We went through the morning,' says Miss Sturge,
' feeling like Elisha, " Knowest thou that the Lord will
take away thy master from thy head to-day? Yea, I
know it, hold ye your peace ! " "*
Not in Cheltenham only but far and wide her children
were praying for her : watching for news, and remember-
ing and repeating to each other things she had said. It
was stormy weather, and more than one thought of
Wordsworth's lines — lines which she had often read to
her class — written when he was expecting to hear of the
death of Charles James Fox : —
A power is passing from the earth
To breathless nature's dark abyss t
Dorothea Beale died on Friday, November 9, at 12.15
78 DOROTHEA BEALE
during college hours. It was thought best that the girls
should hear of her death before leaving. When all were
assembled in the Princess Hall the Vice-Principal
said : —
" It has pleased God to take from us our beloved
Principal." In a few words she told the history of the
last few days, and then said : " We feel that it is what
she would have desired — no long waiting in suffering or
helplessness, but to go home straight from her work with
her splendid powers scarcely impaired : —
Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail
Or knock the breast : no weakness, no contempt,
Dispraise or blame : nothing but well and fair
And what may quiet us in a death so noble.
' The readiness is all.' Let us bear our grief with calm-
ness and dignity. We know that it would be her wish
that work should go on as usual. . . . We believe that
love lives on, and that the noble work she did for fifty
years has done much for England and for womanhood,
and that not only we who have been blessed by her
gracious presence, but generations also to come shall
reap the fruit of her toil and rise up and call her blessed.
Let us pray."
Then followed a thanksgiving adapted from the form
of Memorial Service issued by authority in January, 1901,
after the death of Queen Victoria.
Dorothea Beale had prepared for death as she had
prepared for life and had left instructions that her
" perishable body " should be cremated so as not to be a
source of disease to others, and that those who loved her
should not buy any flowers for her funeral, but could if
they wished, bring a few wild flowers or some from their
own gardens, but she did not wish any wholesale de-
struction of life.
Her body was buried in Gloucester Cathedral, where
the funeral took place on November 16. Eight hundred
girls then at the College came voluntarily and walked
ANOTHER JOURNEY 79
silently in twos from the station to the Cathedral, which
was crowded largely with former pupils.
At the same time a Memorial Service was held in St.
In other churches in different parts of the country
thanks were offered for the life and work of Dorothea
Beale. Many newspapers published true and beautiful
appreciations of her work, life, and character, and all felt
that a great leader had gone from the earth.
So in honour passed away one whose work had small
beginnings : who through difficulty, misunderstanding
and prejudice pursued the vision she saw in youth and
lived to see, as perhaps few do see, her dream realised.
Such as Dorothea Beale can never die. She lives still
in her College at Cheltenham, and in the great work
carried on there : in her "children," who in many lands
and many spheres of work still live in the spirit of their
great Head : and in the grateful remembrance of all
women who have been able without hindrance to quench
their thirst at the fount of knowledge.
THE VOCATION OF TEACHING.
" The power of any life lies in its expectancy." — Phillips Brooks.
'* Usefulness is the rent we pay for room upon the earth." — Dorothea
It is only thirteen years since Dorothea Beale passed
over to the other side to enter on the greater service
which we believe is granted to all who toil here in single-
ness of heart. In her theories of education, in her out-
look on life, she was of our day. Her methods of teach-
ing are still employed in our best schools, and the teacher
can still find her essays on teaching suggestive and helpful.
Yet we live in another world. Since August 191 4,
we have passed through experiences that have changed
8o DOROTHEA BEALE
for ever the values of things. Nothing can ever be the
same again. We of our generation are faced not with
one little difficulty or another but with the building of a
new world. The old civilisation lies in dust at our feet.
With it have gone many things that were very dear to us,
our security, our comfort, our national serenity, our
happy-go-lucky individualism. With it, too, have gone
the best of our young manhood, those on whom much
of the work of the immediate future was to rest.
Nor is it without significance that to women at this
hour have come for the first time direct power in politics
and opportunity to do any work of which they are cap-
able. On them must fall the work that the dead and
disabled would have done. To the men of England and
of other countries came the call to give their lives : to
the women no less comes the same call.
Perhaps the greatest need of the world just now is
work : not only for the production of material necessities,
but for its steadying, sanity- restoring power. After
four years of the passions and sorrows of war mankind
has not yet regained its mental balance ; and in honest,
steady work, it will perhaps most surely win again the
gift it has lost.
In the building of a new world there is no force so
great as that of education in its many aspects, the most
important of which is that of the home. Teachers
realise that what is done at school is as nothing com-
pared with the enormous power of home education, com-
posed as it is of all the influences of early childhood.
Parents must always be the chief educators, and for this
reason parenthood must be one of the most sacred of
human relationships and one of the highest callings.
It is at home a child learns to look at the great things
of life from the right or the wrong angle : it is at home
he learns to reverence the good and the true or to hold
them in contempt. Parenthood requires a great pre-
paration of heart and soul, for it brings with it the
THE VOCATION. OF TEACHING 8i
greatest of all responsibilities, that of guiding human souls
into the right pathway.
Of late years the need for teachers has been great,
the supply being less than the demand. Many teachers
are still needed, and to the girl of intellectual interests
and power who is seeking a profession, the question may
well arise, whether she should adopt that of a teacher.
There are many matters to be faced in considering this.
Teaching brings with it few of the rewards for which
the ordinary person craves. Financially, its prizes are
few : for the most part it is a badly-paid profession,
especially considering the years of training it involves.
It brings with it little renown. Even the greatest
teachers are known in a comparatively narrow circle, at
any rate during their lives. Praise and appreciation are
almost unknown, whilst criticism is given, as was the
medicine of last century, in large doses and at frequent
intervals. If it is properly done, the work is hard
Real teaching implies ceaseless learning. It is impera-
tive to keep a mind open to all new thought and new
ideas, not only in the educational work but in the world
at large. It is necessary, too, to acquire the wisdom to
deal with what is new, so that to some extent the true
may be separated from the false, the lofty from the base.
It is a work, moreover, that is a perpetual test of char-
acter, worth, and spirit. There are no teachers worthy
of the name, who do not frequently shrink from the
magnitude of their task and tremble at their own lack
of power. The teacher is called to incessant mental and
spiritual work. Only as he or she lives an active life
in mind and soul can he hope to have any success in
training the young for life.
But the chief question after all is that of personal fit-
ness. There are two essentials ; the first is a love of
children ; the second is some love of study and of teach-
ing. There can be no good work done without love
of the children we teach : a teacher who does not love
82 DOROTHEA BEALE
children would probably be serving God better if she
were breaking stones by the roadside. The love of the
work itself increases as time goes on. As a rule the
desire to teach indicates some aptitude for the work ;
though between the eager expectancy of the untried
student and the quiet joy of the skilled teacher, lie many
dark valleys which must perforce be passed. This,
however, is not peculiar to teaching. It is common
to all work of a personal nature, in fact is inherent in all
For those who wish to teach the great problem arises :
" What kind of teaching shall I undertake ? " It is a
difficult one to solve.
In England the different kinds of teaching for girls are
very clearly defined. Socially, educational establish-
ments are pretty clearly differentiated. There is the
elementary school for the children of those whom, for
want of a better name, we call the people. Next, the
high school or secondary school, largely for the children
of the middle classes. Lastly, the public school for the
boys and the public or private school for the girls of the
wealthy and the aristocracy. These all usually have
their kindergarten or preparatory departments which
offer attractive work to those gifted in dealing with
There is a great need to-day of real peace. Interna-
tional war, hardly ended, has been succeeded by internal
strife of a very serious nature : at the root of this lies
much deep bitterness, the result of the failure of the differ-
ent classes of the community to understand one another.
If a number of girls of the middle and upper classes,
who feel that they are called to the work of teaching,
would take up work in the Elementary Schools or the
new Continuation Schools, it would do much, I believe,
to bring about a better understanding between class
and class. In this way each would get to know some-
thing of the other and the ideals and knowledge of those
THE VOCATION OF TEACHING 83
who have had greater advantages would begin to per-
meate our national life.
Dorothea Beale tried at one time of her work to
establish a school of training for such teachers, but the
difficulties put in her way by the Government of that day
made the continuation of the work impossible. With an
educationalist at the Board of Education many difficulties
have been and will be removed, and elementary teaching
with smaller classes, higher pay, and better buildings, is
made more possible for those who wish to embark on it.
It is useless, however, to take up this work unless one
has in one's heart a great love for little children, whether
dirty or clean, ragged or well-cared for. The elementary
schools have not yet adopted the high school system of
morning lessons and afternoon preparation, and this
makes the hours of teaching long. The corrections and
necessary preparation are usually less than in a high
school : the holidays are shorter, but are gradually being
Some, however, are quite incapable of understanding
those outside their own social class : and such would be
foolish to attempt work in the elementary schools. They
would do better in high, secondary, or boarding schools.
The last are not popular amongst present day girl teachers,
largely because of the restrictions. Yet in a boarding
school a true teacher has opportunities which never come
into a day-school teacher's life. In many ways it is a
much more satisfactory sphere, provided the Head realises
that no teacher can do good work without ample leisure
and opportunity for a life of her own apart from the
school. More and more are our generation realising
that outside interests are absolutely essential for a teacher
if he or she is going to be a person of real power and
influence. Apart from the knowledge of one's own
subject there is nothing so necessary in a teacher as a
knowledge of life ; not simply the life of the schoolroom,
but of life in its many branches. It is often said that
84 DOROTHEA BEALE
unmarried women teachers never grow up. They pass
from school to college, and from college back to school,
and never quite lose the schoolgirl point of view. It is
often the greatest boon to a teacher to be obliged to give
up her own work for a year or two at some period of her
life and to live in a world where people do not measure
time by terms or mark out the day by bells. But in any
case a teacher can always have some interest that has
nothing to do with teaching and has no direct bearing
on her work. Such interests do much to prevent over-
The training for teaching is very thorough and long.
That for secondary or high school work is usually expen-
sive ; but the cost of training for elementary school
teaching is much less, as the Government have their own
training colleges. After January, 192 1, all teachers
registered by the Government will have to be trained not
only educationally but in the art of teaching. Degrees,
now, are almost a sine qud non, or are at any rate very
desirable. All universities admit women to their degree
examinations, though Oxford and Cambridge do not yet
It is a profession where a good standard of health is
desirable, though people of a sensitive, nervous tempera-
ment are often the best teachers. A tired teacher is,
ipso facto, a failure : it is, therefore, work in which the
preservation of freshness of mind and body becomes a
special duty. In the best schools the hours of teaching
are short, and long holidays, wisely spent, ought to keep
the health vigorous. The right use of holidays is fre-
quently overlooked, especially by young teachers, who
often spend them in the fulfilment of claims as strenuous
as their work, and return to school used-up and unfit for
their duties — a form of dishonesty not always recognised
In considering teaching as a possible calling the ad-
vantages of the long holidays are worthy of considers-
THE VOCATION OF TEACHING 85
tion. They give opportunities of friendship, life with
one's own family, travel, study, and pleasures of many
kinds. It is good, too, in these busy days that a few
people have intervals of leisure in which they have time
to sympathise with others, and to think of the little things
of life that are in reality the great things. Holidays
may be the greatest boon not only to oneself, but to all
the people one meets.
Particulars about the training for teaching are to be
found in many books. Two which come readily to my
mind are "The Teacher's Year Book" and "The Eng-
lishwoman's Year Book ". The registrars of the different
universities are always glad to supply particulars if
asked. The Board of Education will give details about
elementary school teaching : these change somewhat
every few years. There are many helps for those who
intend to be teachers, the chief being the scholarships
offered by the different colleges to those who could not
without aid afford the fees. This is especially true
of some of the newer universities. Many large schools
also offer help to their pupils who have the ability and
desire to go on to the universities.
To the girl who feels in her the desire to teach, and
has the power necessary for the task, I should say,
"Accept your work, and I am sure you will have no
reason to regret your decision." For with all its hard-
ships, all its endless striving after impossible ideals, it is
a work which can really be one's life : and surely such
work is always the happiest.
It has many joys. There are few in life greater than
that of seeing gradually awaken in a child interest and
keenness where before there has been apathy and dull-
ness. To be able to give life to dry bones of knowledge,
to rouse from its torpor the still sleeping mind, to turn
the faces of the children we teach towards the light is
surely well worth doing.
It has many opportunities. The teacher's task is
86 DOROTHEA BEALE
not to teach opinions, but to lay the foundations of
sound moral standards on which all true opinion must
The world needs teachers : not the perfunctory worker
who takes up one of the most sacred of callings as a
means of livelihood, but the teacher who is willing to
consecrate herself for the work.
At the end of that powerful novel of Robert Herrick's,
"The Healer," is a vivid scene. The old doctor, whose
gift had been lost through the exacting claims of an un-
suitable marriage, is walking arm-in-arm with a young
student. The older man has recognised in the younger
the power he himself once had, the gift of healing. Very
affectionately he lays his hand on the lad's shoulder.
"Remember," he says — I quote from memory — "this
gift of yours will demand whole-hearted devotion and
will be satisfied with nothing less than your life."
So with the work of teaching. It is a profession that
demands whole-hearted devotion. To those who give
to it their lives it brings many joys, great opportunities,
and the satisfaction that constant giving alone bestows.
It has many dangers and many temptations, but these
lose much of their power over the teacher who tries to
realise in practice as well as in theory : —
"That the influence of personal character has been
from the first the great means of bearing truth into men's
Raikes. " Dorothea Beale of Cheltenham." Constable.
Beale. " Addresses to Teachers." Longmans.
Beale. " Studies in Literature, New and Old." Longmans.
Beale, Soulsby, and Dove. " Work and Play in Girls' Schools." Long-
*' Reports issued by the Schools' Inquiry Commission on the Education of
Girls. Repr;nted with extracts from the evidence and a paper by
D. Beale." 1864.
Beale. " On the Education of Girls." (Paper read at Social Science
The Times. November, 1906. January, 1907.
Cheltenham Ladies^ College Magazine. 1880 and onwards.
A SHORT BIBLIOGRAPHY OF EDUCA-
Basil Matthews (Editor). " Essays in Vocation." Humphrey Milford.
38. (A second and third series are in course of preparation.)
Thrtng. " The Theory and Practice of Teaching."
Thring. " Education and School." Macmillan. 6s.
Thring. " Teaching, Learning, and Life." Allenson. is.
James. " Talks to Teachers."
Paget. "The Hallowing of Work." Rivington. as.
Clutton Brock. " The Ultimate Belief." Constable. 28.
Kidd. " The Science of Power." Methuen. 6s.
Holmes. " What is and What might be." Constable. 48. 6d.
Holmes. '♦ In Defence of What is and What might be." Constable.
Montessori. " The Montessori Method." Heinemann. 7s. 6d.
Mumford. " The Dawn of Religion in the Mind of the Child." Long-
Macmillan. "The Camp School." Allen & Unwin. 38. 6d. Also
" The Child and the State." Nat. Labour Press.
Eileen Power, M.A. "A Bibliography for Teachers of History."
Women's International League. 2s.
Pollard. " Educational Value of the Study of History." Leaflet 36.
6d (Historical Association, 22 Russell Square.)
Dewey. •' Schools of To-morrow." Dent. 5s.
Hughes. " Citizens to be." Constable. 4s. 6d.
Paton. " The Child and the Nation." S.C.M. is.
Richmond. " Education for Liberty." Collins, 6s.
Simpson. "An Adventure in Education." Sidgwick & Jackson, 3s. 6d.
A. C. Benson (and others).. " Cambridge Essays on Education."
Camb. Univ. Press. 8s.
Welton. '* The Psychology of Education." MacMillan & Co.
Welton. " What do we mean by Education ? " MacMillan & Co. 7s. 6d.
Paul, " Some Christian Ideals in the Teaching Profession." Student
Christian Movement. 3s.
H ay ward & Freeman, "The Spiritual Foundations of Reconstruction."
P. S. King & Sons. los. 6d.
Nunn. " Education, its Data and First Principles." Arnold. 66.
Richmond. " The Curriculum." Constable. 5s.
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