So, Mr. M'Choakumchild began in his best manner. He and some one hundred and forty other schoolmasters, had been lately turned at the same time, in the same factory, on the same principles, like so many pianoforte legs. He had been put through an immense variety of paces, and had answered volumes of head-breaking questions. Orthography, etymology, syntax, and prosody, biography, astronomy, geography, and general cosmography, the sciences of compound proportion, algebra, land-surveying and leveling, vocal music, and drawing from models, were all at the ends of his ten chilled fingers. He had worked his stony way into Her Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council's Schedule B, and had taken the bloom off the higher branches of mathematics and physical science, French, German, Latin, and Greek. He knew all about all the Water Sheds of all the world (whatever they are), and all the histories of all the peoples, and all the names of all the rivers and mountains, and all the productions, manners, and customs of all the countries, and all their boundaries and bearings on the two and thirty points of the compass. (1.2.48-49)
The educational preparation of Mr. M'Choakumchild is so completely based on fact that even its mild gestures towards creativity manage to be completely non-creative and instead machine-like and conformist. He seems to be decorative, like a "pianoforte leg." But in reality, it's a leg that is just like all the others that have been made on the same lathe. He can teach drawing, but only "from models", and never from the imagination. He knows history – which in its best form is narrative – but the phrase "of all the peoples" gives us the idea that what he mostly knows is dates and events.