What are ‘compulsive habits’? What does Maxwell say are the compulsive habits of
(i) school children
Compulsive habits are habits that are impossible to control. According to Maxwell, children on their way to and from school must place their feet squarely on the centre of each paving block; they must touch every seventh upright of the iron railings, or pass to the outside of every second lamp post. Such were the compulsive habits of children.
Opposite to Maxwell’s flat, there was a single-storied primary school. Along its frontage ran a low wall some two feet high. On its way home, Mij would tug Maxwell to this wall, jump onto it, and gallop the full length of its thirty yards, distracting both the pupils and the staff. Such was the compulsive habit of Mij.