Education for boys in Victorian times seems to have been pretty grim. The author astutely wonders why females of the time, who in better families received private tutoring, envied the opportunities of their brothers so much. Perhaps much of that is retrospective, from educated women of our era with different tradeoffs. It reminded me of CS Lewis's description school in Surprised By Joy, though this seemed even worse. They learned to memorise passages of Latin, perform some minor arithmetic, cheat off each other, and victimise each other.
Still, as John Derbyshire notes, they did go off to rule the world, despite such a pointless education.