Nothing need be said of the merits of this acknowledged on all hands to be one of the very best boy’s books ever written. "Tom Brown" does not reach the point of ideal excellence. He is not a faultless boy; but his boy-faults, by the way they are corrected, help him in getting on. The more of such reading can be furnished the better. There will never be too much of it.
to show why a teacher in the nineteenth century is to preach a lower standard than one in the first.
However, I won't say that the Reviewers have not a certain plausible ground for their dicta. For a short time after a boy has taken up such a life as Arnold would have urged upon him, he has a hard time of it. He finds his judgment often at fault, his body and intellect running away with him into all sorts of pitfalls, and himself coming down with a crash. The more seriously he buckles to his work the oftener these mischances seem to happen; and in the dust of his tumbles and struggles, unless he is a very extraordinary boy, he may often be too severe on his comrades, may think he sees evil in things innocent, may give offence when he never meant it. At this stage of his career, I take it, our Reviewer comes across him, and, not looking below the surface (as a Reviewer ought to do), at once sets the poor boy down for a prig and a Pharisee, when in all likelihood he is one of the humblest and truest and