David Copperfield ran away after Mr Murdstone beat him.
Mr Murdstone had a `lithe and limber’ cane – which he twitched and swished when ever he could.
He thought that David needed to be more careful in his work.
“Mr. Murdstone! Sir! Don’t! Pray don’t beat me! I have tried to learn sir.”
“Can’t you, indeed, David? We’ll try that.” He had my head in a vice….
David used to be given questions which could possibly daunt some of our Eleven Plus candidates:
“If I go to a cheesemonger’s shop, and buy five thousand double-Gloucester cheeses at fourpence-halfpenny each…. “
David did not do all that well over the course of day and Mr Murdstone became more and more incensed with him. David bit his hand and was severely beaten.
David was then locked up for five days. He was subsequently taken from his mother and sent to school in London.
The Eleven Plus moral to this story? The more some children are berated for not achieving as much as their parents would like the more some children will feel inadequate and unready to learn.
The days of the switch and the stick are long gone – but pressure can also be put on by parents. It does not seem likely that any children working over these holidays will have resorted to biting their parents. If mums and dads have been bitten it is possible that their child was trying to tell them something.
“Mum, Dad, don’t nag me. I have tried to learn.”