The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. XX. No. 1011, May 13, 1899 by Various
[Illustration: THE GIRL’S OWN PAPER
VOL. XX.—NO. 1011.] MAY 13, 1899. [PRICE ONE PENNY.]
BY SARAH DOUDNEY.
[Illustration: “SLEEP, SISTER, SLEEP.”]
_All rights reserved._]
Sleep, sister, sleep, while the lovely light Shines still through the dark old firs; The birds sleep sound in their nests all night, And only the wild wind stirs; Far over the hills and far away The earth is losing its gold; And sheep-bells chime through the twilight grey, While the flocks come home to fold.
Lie down, my dear, in your own warm nest, And sister will sit and sing When mother watches her darling’s rest, And the stars are clustering Like silver flowers in the darkened sky, And the toil of man is done; Sleep, baby, sleep to my lullaby, And wake with the waking sun!
THE HOUSE WITH THE VERANDAH.
BY ISABELLA FYVIE MAYO, Author of “Other People’s Stairs,” “Her Object in Life,” etc.
THE ROOTS OF HOSPITALITY.
Lucy paid no heed to her sister’s words, being diverted by another bit of by-play. “Jessie Morison’s” keen grey eyes had fallen on little Hugh, and her face had instantly broken into a smile. Could this superior, experienced, well-trained woman really want a general servant’s place?
“Yes, ma’am,” said Jessie Morison, “I’m wanting a quiet place that I could keep nice and comfortable.”
“But I have hitherto had quite a young woman,” urged Mrs. Challoner. “There are only myself and the little boy—until my husband comes home from a voyage,” she explained.
Jessie Morison pondered.
“That will suit me nicely,” she said. “Did the girl do the washing, ma’am?”
“Yes,” answered Lucy; “but——”
“I’m a capital washer,” said Jessie Morison, “and I dress well, too. I shouldn’t need help, ma’am—no, not for such a small family. I don’t like strangers coming about my kitchen, they make more work than they do.”
“We dine early,” said Lucy. “There are but few visitors. But you would have everything to do in the house; and while my husband is away, I shall not be able to give much help, as I am busy otherwise.”
“It’s not a very large house, maybe?” asked Jessie, in a pleasant tone, suggesting only that in her opinion a small house was the proper thing.
“No, it is a small house,” said Lucy. “Have you always been in service?”
“Well, ma’am, yes and no. I was in service as a girl. Then I got married. I’m a widow, ma’am. He only lived three years. He was thrown from a horse. I’ve been in service since.”
“How long were you in your last situation, and where was it?” inquired Lucy.
“It was near Edinburgh, ma’am—between Edinburgh and Berwick—and I was there twenty years.” She said this quite simply, as if she had no idea of effect.
“Twenty years!” echoed Lucy.
“Yes, ma’am. I was with the lady and gentleman first, and when he died, I lived on with the mistress. She died last year.”
“What made you come away from all your friends to London?” Mrs. Challoner asked.
“Well, I hadn’t many friends to leave—we’d lived terrible quiet-like—and I had a cousin and his wife with a nice home near London, and they asked me up for a visit, and now I’d sooner stay here than go back.”
“From whom shall I get your references?” asked Lucy, putting the question almost reluctantly.
“Well, you see, the family I’ve been with is all gone, ma’am. And the poor mistress she was bed-rid for nigh ten years, and few folks came about her. When I left the North, I hardly knew what I was going to do—I half thought of a little shop, ma’am—but I thought I’d keep on the safe side in case I decided on another place. So I got lines from the parish minister and from my mistress’s lawyer. There was nobody knew me better as woman or worker than them two. There’s the papers, ma’am, and they said they’d answer any other inquiries; but they couldn’t well say more than they’ve said there.”
Mrs. Challoner took the manuscripts. She read the shorter first. It was from the lawyer. The paper was stamped with a good Edinburgh legal address, and the handwriting was professional and educated. The missive was in note form.
“Mr. McGillvray has known Mrs. Jessie Morison for many years as the sole household help and personal attendant of a lately deceased lady, Mrs. Bruce of Ashfield. She was much valued and trusted by her late mistress, and so far as Mr. McGillvray had opportunity to observe, she was attentive and punctilious in the discharge of all her duties.”
The minister’s testimonial was longer and stronger. The Rev. John Black, of the Established Manse, Mickleton, addressing the unknown as “Dear Sir or Madam,” said that he had very much pleasure in recommending Mrs. Jessie Morison to anybody who would appreciate faithful service such as she had rendered for twenty years to employers who had owed most of their comfort and security to her diligence and devotion. He also knew Mrs. Jessie Morison to be a kind and helpful neighbour. He sincerely hoped that she might find a new sphere in which her capacities and qualities might prove useful to others and beneficial to herself.
“These seem very satisfactory,” said Lucy.
“If you don’t think she is too old, you should be satisfied,” murmured Florence, who had looked over the testimonials while Mrs. Challoner read them.
“Only it is more satisfactory to have a personal reference,” Lucy went on. After what she had recently seen and heard, this seemed so much too good to be true that it flashed across her mind it might be a case of personation. Yet when she looked up at the douce, middle-aged face, she rebuked herself for the suspicion.
Jessie Morison did not resent the hesitation.
“I know it’s awkward,” she admitted; “but you might write to the gentlemen. I tell you they promised me they would answer any question.”
Lucy reflected. She did not see how that would help her. If there was anything unsound in the matter, more written testimonials would thicken the plot rather than clear it. Yet how natural and inevitable the circumstances seemed! How wrong it would be to let this nice woman slip through her fingers merely for the sake of a mere convention!
“Is there nobody within reach who can say a word for you?” she suggested.
“Well, ma’am,” said Jessie Morison anxiously, “of course, there’s my cousins; but I didn’t like to mention them, because most ladies would think relations don’t count for much. They’re highly respectable. He’s got a shop, and they’ve lived in the same house for years, and everybody knows them.”
“I think that will do,” Lucy conceded. After all, it seemed only a question of identity, and this inquiry would surely settle that.
“Very well, ma’am, thank you kindly. There’s my cousin’s business card, ma’am, and the dwelling-house is along with the shop. When will you likely call, ma’am?”
“Some time in the course of to-morrow,” Lucy answered. “Is there any particular time more suitable than another?”
“Oh, no, ma’am, they’re always at home at work—him in his shop, and her in her house. I only wanted to hear that you’d come at once, ma’am, for I’m so eager to get settled.”
“It shall be settled by to-morrow evening,” Lucy promised. “Good morning, Mrs. Morison.”
“Good morning, ma’am, and thank you, and I think you’ll find everything all right.”
Lucy was already joyfully gathering up her possessions. As for little Hugh, he sprang forward and danced a jig with delight at the prospect of departure. His mother turned to take courteous leave of the knitting lady, who looked up with an inscrutable smile.
“I congratulate you,” she remarked. “I suppose you think you have got off easily?”
“I think I am suited,” Lucy said with an air of triumph to the registry clerk, when she found her. “When ought I to pay my fee?”
“You can pay it now, ma’am. Five shillings. Oh, do you think it expensive, ma’am? Remember that for the same fee, if you choose, you can come here every day and all day long till you do get suited! We arrange so in case ladies are not fortunate at first. We make only the same charge for hiring cooks or housemaids, but then they are more easily got than generals, and also they pay a percentage on their wages when they are hired. We charge the ‘generals’ nothing, poor things.”
“Fancy taking out your money’s worth by sitting there ‘till one is suited,’” cried Lucy, when they were once more outside in the fresh air.
“And did you see, Florence, the cousin’s address is at Willesden, and I shall have to lose another whole November day’s light in going there.”
“No, you needn’t,” said Florence, “not if you’ll trust me. I’ve an acquaintance at Willesden to whom I owe a call, so if you like I’ll kill the two birds with one stone. If everything is satisfactory, I’ll engage this woman on your behalf, and send you a wire that it is all right, and naming the day when she can come. You’ll be glad of her as soon as possible. I promised you I’d see you through this, Luce.”
Lucy was glad to feel that the said promise had not been absolutely forgotten, and she gratefully accepted the offered help.
“Of course, she’s too old. I don’t advise you to take her, remember that,” Florence went on. “But your heart is set on it.”
“I can’t bear to talk of such a woman as being ‘too old,’” cried Lucy. “I hope nobody will think me ‘too old’ when I am forty-five! Such years have not reached the infirmities of age, and if they have lost something, surely they have gained more. She may not run upstairs as quickly as a girl, but she must have sense and experience, and can be safely left in charge of the house, which is most important when I have outdoor engagements.”
“You being so determined to have her, and she so eager to come,” remarked Florence, “I think you might have brought down the wages a little.”
“Why, you told me I should have to offer more!” said Lucy, aghast.
“Yes; but people don’t care for servants with grey hair. If she’d an ounce of _savoir faire_, she’d have dyed it.”
“Oh, horrid, horrid, Florence!” exclaimed Lucy. “I can’t bear to hear you talk so. It was the grey hair which helped her to look so nice.”
It was not far past Lucy’s early dinner-hour. So she meant to hurry home. She invited Florence to come also, but Florence said no, she would get lunch near at hand, and then go straight home to dress for afternoon calls.
“I don’t see that you couldn’t do the same if you came with us,” Lucy urged, for she had a hospitable soul, and it hurt her to part from her sister directly she had used her, and when she was willing to be useful again on the morrow. On the other hand, had she gone with Florence to a restaurant, she knew that Florence would not only have refused to be her guest, but would have insisted that Lucy and Hugh should be hers, and would have “treated” them to all sorts of luxuries in a way which always made Lucy wish she could set the same money going in other directions.
But Florence was deaf to all persuasions. To own the truth, she felt relieved to get rid of her sister, for, as she said to herself, “the worry and the bad atmosphere of the last two hours had made her feel so ‘exhausted’ that she meant to recuperate with champagne, and she knew Lucy would be shocked.”
Lucy too, on reaching home, found herself more weary than she would have been after a hard day’s work. However, as the “light” had gone, there was nothing very pressing to do, and she went to bed early—very soon after Hugh’s usual bed-time.
Next afternoon the promised message from Florence duly arrived—
“Everything all right. She will enter service to-morrow before noon.”
“Before noon” proved to be directly after ten o’clock in the morning, when Jessie Morison presented herself as comely and comfortable as before. In expectation of her arrival, Mrs. Challoner had dispensed with the charwoman, and had busied herself trying to give the kitchen its former trim aspect, already somewhat dimmed in the hands of the muddling, untrained worker. After giving a few necessary instructions, she delivered up the lower regions to their new ruler, and betook herself to her sketching. After dinner she would devote the rest of the day to household explanations.
The simple midday meal almost startled Lucy by the savouriness of its preparation, and the daintiness of its arrangement. It was evident that Jessie Morison knew her business. Under her touch the fire glowed into genial brightness. Her skilful shake gave the sofa cushions a tempting rotundity. She received all her mistress’s directions with the masterly comprehension of one who knows the ground already. By tea-time, it seemed as if she had been in the house for months, and when, before retiring to rest, Mrs. Challoner went down into the kitchen to ascertain whether all outlets were properly fastened up, she thought she had never seen a pleasanter picture of middle-aged industry and worth. Jessie Morison sat in the arm-chair, over whose back she had thrown a Rob-Roy plaid. She was busily knitting a long grey stocking. The lamp was drawn up beside her, and its light fell full on the smiling face she turned to her mistress. She wore a grey woollen shawl pinned across her comfortable bosom by a Scotch pebble brooch, and the cap surmounting her silvered hair was no frivolous fly-away dab of mock lace, but an efficient affair whose neat frills were the product of honest laundry-work and goffering irons. It actually came into Lucy’s mind that she might almost be thankful that Pollie had departed in quest of personal happiness, since Charlie might be easily assured that his dear ones and his home were safer than ever in the charge of this matronly, motherly person.
The days passed on. Lucy found herself free to work with an unencumbered mind. The new servant proved as pleasant as efficient. She was not a woman who talked much, but when addressed, she always responded cheerily, expressed herself nicely, and frequently made shrewd remarks, well set off by her Scottish dialect. Lucy was especially touched by the real right feeling she showed in any observation which glanced towards the absent “master” whom she had never seen. She felt that it was a comfort to have in the house this experienced woman, who had known a wife’s love and a widow’s loss. There seemed a human bond between them in the thick clumsy little Bible with the Scotch metrical Psalms, which lay on the kitchen dresser, its fly-leaf inscribed “To Jessie Milne, from her respectful friend Alex^r. Morison,” with a date of the courting days five and twenty years ago.
Christmas drew near. Lucy had wondered a little over Christmas. She felt sure the Brands would invite her and Hugh to their festive board, but she did not want to go there. She knew well enough how the Brands kept Christmas, for she and Charlie had dined with them on one or two Christmas days when they were first married. There would be a great dinner-party—a _chef_ hired for the occasion. With the exception of one or two fawning familiars of the Brand household—and especially obnoxious to Lucy—the guests would be anybody who was in special favour at the time, many of them financial or fashionable acquaintances of the last twelve months. These people would pick over and waste the delicious food placed before them, they would drink much costly wine. There would be toasts, which would range from the last “Company” in which Jem Brand was interested, down to our “Absent Friends,” which he would certainly propose if Lucy were there. There would follow a little confused music in the drawing-room, overmastered by everybody talking at once and yet saying nothing. Then before the party broke up, they would all stand round with linked hands, and these people, who had not a memory, an outlook, or even an interest in common (unless it might be in a “Company”), would ask in London tones, “Should auld acquaintance be forgot?” singing—
“We twa hae paidl’t i’ the burn, Frae mornin’ sun till dine: But seas between us braid hae roared, Sin’ auld lang syne.”
No, Lucy felt that it would be impossible to endure all this just now. It would be too much for her nerves. It would cut her to the quick, tempting her to tears or laughter, both alike of cynicism and bitterness.
Yet Lucy feared that Florence would make a sad fuss if Lucy chose to sit at home alone—but for little Hugh—while a place at her sister’s table was ready to welcome her.
Of late years the Challoners had kept Christmas after their own fashion. They had often been joined by one or two stray young people, teachers or students, who were living in lodgings. But they had had two regular guests. One of these, Miss Latimer, had been governess to Florence and Lucy in their girlhood. She used to go to the Brands for Christmas when they were first married and were not quite so showy as they had since become. Then Florence Brand had turned her over to Lucy, saying that she thought their “crowd” was too much for the old lady, “it only tired and excited her—she was such an intellectual person, there was much more enjoyment for her in a quiet talk with just one or two thoughtful people.” That was true, and Miss Latimer was delighted to get Lucy’s invitation, and to accept Mrs. Brand’s excuses and explanation. But the shrewd old lady knew well enough that it was a truth which Mrs. Brand would not have discovered if Miss Latimer’s dresses had been newer and richer, and if she had driven up in a brougham instead of coming to the street corner in a humble ’bus.
The other regular visitor was he whom Lucy had once named to Florence as “Charlie’s great chum, Wilfrid Somerset.” He was a man of about Charles Challoner’s own age. They had been at school together. Then Charlie had gone, brave and bright and winsome, out into the world, and Wilfrid Somerset had retired to a hermitage in the heart of London. For he had been afflicted almost from birth with one of those dire disasters which set a sufferer apart from his fellows. His walk was a writhing struggle and distortion; his sad, worn face, though pathetically fine when in perfect repose, was convulsed even by the effort of speech. Yet a beautiful soul and a noble intellect dwelt in his wrung frame. Providentially he had a small independency, and was free to work only for pure love’s sake. He had made a high mark in philology, and was a poet of no mean order, though neither those who profited by his researches nor those who sang his songs had ever heard his name or seen his face. Not unnaturally, he was morbidly sensitive. He had apartments in an old house in a deserted corner of the older London, and was rarely out of doors by daylight save when he took an early-morning stroll in the sunlight, which fell subdued on the dreary little square where he lived—a square where nobody else ever walked. He had many correspondents, but few visitors, and he visited absolutely nowhere but at the little house with the verandah. His visits were generally evening visits. The eyes of his fellows seemed to burn his very soul. Lucy had understood how to measure his great friendship when he dared to face the crowd at the docks that he might say good-bye to Charlie on board the Northern steamer.
When, during the first days of her loneliness, any thought of Lucy’s had strayed towards Christmas—prompted perhaps by some question from little Hugh—she had wished she could go on with what Charlie and she had begun, since that would surround her with those who loved him and whom he loved, and would save her from any jar with the Brands or any reproaches from them. Had Pollie been with her, she would certainly have done this. She knew that Charlie, trustful of Pollie’s fidelity, had inferred this would be so. Now, with this reliable woman on the scene it was again not only possible but quite easy. So Lucy called on Miss Latimer and delivered her invitation personally, getting it accepted with tears and embraces.
“If you had not felt equal to inviting me I should have gone nowhere else,” said the little lady.
Lucy wrote to Wilfrid Somerset, and by return of post came his reply, thanking her for “the sacrifice she was making for her friends,” and adding, “I had expected to sit alone this year.”
Then Lucy remembered a young lad of fifteen or sixteen whom some country friend had introduced to Charlie, who had found him employment in the office of his firm. He had had no friends when he came to London, and he had now been in London only three or four months. So she sent him an invitation, and got a prompt, prim little reply. He was a shy boy and did not much care for the thought of a dinner-party, but he had been thinking “it would be very dull at Christmas,” and he knew, too, that his mother in Lancashire would spend a happier Christmas if she knew he was made welcome in a friendly house.
Florence did not put in an appearance at her sister’s house till two days before Christmas, when she came to say that, of course, Lucy and Hugh were coming to her, and she had only called to mention that dinner would be half-an-hour earlier than it had hitherto been. She cried out with deprecation, and even anger, to find that Lucy had already made her own arrangements. Who would have thought of such a thing? She had not sent her invitation earlier simply because she thought it would be understood as a matter of course. She had told two or three of her expected guests that they would meet her sister. What would they think? And what a queer creature Lucy was to wilfully choose the depressing society of a superannuated teacher, a deformed pedant, and a country bumpkin. There was no accounting for tastes.
Lucy was glad to divert her sister’s ire by thanking her for her expedition to Willesden.
“It was you, Florence,” she said, “who have helped me to do what Charlie and I used to do together. Unless I had secured that nice Mrs. Morison, I could not have ventured on my little dinner-party. You have not told me yet what sort of interview you had with her people.”
“Oh, well enough,” answered Mrs. Brand evasively. “It was a poor little place. I should not say they are well off. If they asked her for a visit, I expect they got something off her.”
“I believe she had a little legacy,” Lucy replied. “So if she wanted rest and change, nothing would be more natural than to visit relatives to whom a little board money would be helpful. But you seemed quite satisfied, Florence. You thought they were respectable.”
“Oh, yes, for working people. He is a plumber, as you know by his card, but in a very small way. He’s this woman’s cousin, you know. I didn’t see him, I saw his wife. She told over again what the woman herself told us at the registry office; and when I asked one or two questions about the woman herself, she seemed hesitating, and I began to get suspicious till she said, ‘I shouldn’t like you to think we were wanting to get rid of Jessie, poor body.’ Then I understood why her assurances were not too gushing. She said, ‘Jessie, poor body, had just set her heart on coming to the nice young lady with the pretty little boy.’ Oh, it’s all right. Don’t expect too much. Then you won’t be disappointed.”
“Well, she has been with me nearly two months now,” said Lucy, “and she has come up to all my hopes.”
Mrs. Brand threw her sister a glance of indulgent disdain.
“What did I hear you call her?” she asked. “Didn’t I hear ‘Mrs. Morison’? Is that so?”
“Yes, certainly!” Lucy replied. “One would not call a middle-aged matron by her Christian name.”
“Call her Morison, then,” suggested Mrs. Brand.
Lucy shook her head. “She is a married woman and a widow,” she answered. “I am not going to take her status from her because she is working in my kitchen.”
Mrs. Brand laughed. “Oh, that’s it, is it?” she said. “Well, she is so like a respectable lodging-house-keeper that I’ve no doubt strangers will give her the status of landlady of your house, and you’ll have the status of lodger!”
“What strangers think does not matter to me,” returned Lucy. “She is Mrs. Morison as I am Mrs. Challoner. Who is in the kitchen and who is in the parlour does not alter that.”
“No servant gets her name prefixed with ‘Mistress’ except housekeepers in great mansions,” asserted Mrs. Brand.
Lucy laughed in her turn. “Then, instead of her being general servant of my house,” she said, “we will say she is the housekeeper in my little mansion.”
Mrs. Brand took no notice of her sister’s words, but went on: “And those housekeepers themselves are called ‘mistress’ only by convention, not because they have been married. They are generally really ‘miss.’”
“I know that quite well!” cried Lucy. “I know Miss Latimer has told me that once when she was going through a nobleman’s show palace, the great Dr. Guthrie was there too, and when he heard the housekeeper called ‘Mrs.’ Whatever-her-name-might-be, he whispered to somebody that he shouldn’t have thought she was a married woman, and he was told she was not, but she was styled so because she was the housekeeper. Then said he, ‘Henceforth I’ll call her “miss,” for these special fashions for domestic workers are just badges of servitude and relics of tyranny.’ And he kept his word.”
“You are incorrigible,” observed Mrs. Brand. But now she spoke dreamily, her thoughts having gone elsewhere. “Well,” she said, “as you won’t come to us, there’ll be two places empty, and I’ll invite Mr. and Mrs. Forrest, our new neighbours. They are being very useful to Jem. I knew they ought to be asked, but if you had come there wouldn’t have been room.”
And she went off, leaving Lucy a thankful woman that she had a home of her own, where she needed no perfunctory welcome and filled no place which was wanted for other people.
(_To be continued._)
HOW TO CONTRIVE AND DECORATE A COFFER OR LINEN PRESS.
It often happens that one gets an empty case which one feels ought to be turned to account, and yet the thing is to know what to do with it. Here is one suggestion—make it into a linen press. The case for preference should be long rather than square (see the proportions in sketch). You could get a new one made for about 3s. 6d. or 4s.
The panelling is glued and bradded on. The “stiles” (those parts around the panels) should be got out of half-inch white wood and should be planed. So should the portions of the case where the panels are, if you intend to decorate them in any way, but if you get a case made, order it to be planed. Some builder’s moulding forms the plinth at bottom of chest, and a narrower moulding should be nailed on to the edges of the lid if you want to get a finished-looking article, but of course all these adornments can be left out, though at a sacrifice to appearance. We can sit on a three-legged stool, but we prefer a chair. Four casters should be screwed to the bottom of the chest so that it can easily be moved about. These can be purchased at any ironmonger’s.
The mouldings, stiles, top and sides of chest would look well stained brown. Varnish stain can be purchased, but I found that permanganate of potash (Condy’s fluid) put on with a brush stains the wood a nice brown, and it sinks right into it. Buy the potash by the ounce and dissolve it in warm water, and to obtain a deep colour put on a second coat. As it rots the hairs of a brush, use only a cheap one. This when dry can be either varnished with dark oak varnish (buy this by the half-pint at some good oil-shop or decorator’s supply stores) or can have beeswax dissolved in warm turpentine rubbed on and polished by friction. This is the old housewives’ way of polishing, and those who have seen chairs and tables in some country cottage polished in this way will admit that nothing can exceed the brilliance of the polish thus obtainable, as it improves with time, every rubbing you give it increasing the brilliance. If you use varnish you will probably have to give it two coats, as the first one is likely to sink in. Use a flat brush for putting on the varnish and apply it evenly.
As I want to cater for all tastes and pockets, I will give another suggestion which will involve very little outlay, as you can deal with any suitable strong empty case you may have by you. Get some patent size at an oil-shop and melt it to boiling point by putting it in a gallipot and this in boiling water. This saves contaminating the saucepan and keeps the size from burning. Give the case a good coat, and when dry a second one. Now purchase some Japanese gilt leather paper at some good furniture warehouse or decorator’s. It is very tough material, and will require some good strong paste. That known as “cobbler’s paste” (which you can get at a leather-seller’s or of a friendly bootmaker) is the best. It is too thick as it is, but can be thinned with a little boiling water. Put plenty on, as the paper will soak up a good deal, and don’t attempt to stick it down on the wood until the paste has been on some twenty minutes or so.
In cutting the paper the right size, allow of it being turned over the top and bottom edges of the case, and should there be battens on the box (strips of wood to strengthen the case), I should not attempt to paste a long piece of paper the length of the case, but first of all cut strips to cover these battens (be careful to get the paper well pressed into the angles), allowing enough to come a little way on to the case itself. You then cut pieces to fit into the spaces, taking the edges close up to the battens. The end pieces should be put on last, and should be cut just to fit the width but turned inside the top of the box and underneath.
It would be a good plan to line the case with good stout brown paper, previously sizing the wood. The sizing, I may tell you, makes the paper stick well.
If you like to put the mouldings at edge of lid and at bottom, you can do so now, previously staining and varnishing them. Screw them on with long fine screws in preference to nailing.
No end of useful articles can be made by covering them with this Japanese gilt paper. It is to be had in many patterns and with colours introduced in some of them.
* * * * *
A word or two now as to the decorated panels. You will see that they are of an ornamental rather than a natural character, and the designs can be repeated by reversing them, which will save the trouble of drawing fresh ones for each panel. They can be carried out by outlining the design in vandyke brown mixed with a little copal varnish and a little turps to thin the colour, and a background can be floated in transparently, putting more varnish with the colour. The plain wood will then show through the design.
You can of course paint the designs in simple quiet colours, but I think it would look in better taste to treat the panels in one tone of colour. It need not be brown; burnt sienna with a background of raw sienna, Indian red and burnt sienna for background, Prussian blue with a background of that colour and raw sienna to make it green, are some of the combinations that suggest themselves.
Of course you will understand that you must draw out the designs the size you wish to reproduce them and transfer them to the wood before you start the colouring.
The designs would look well carried out in poker work. By that I mean not an ordinary poker heated in a fire, but one of those “pyrographers” sold expressly for the purpose, in which a platinum point is kept red hot by a spray of some inflammable liquid ejected on to it. These instruments cost about 10s. 6d. each, but the most intricate design can be wrought with them, and most excellent decorative effects produced; but I daresay most of the readers of THE GIRL’S OWN PAPER interested in art work, are quite familiar with pyrography. It is not to be despised as an art, as those who have seen good work can testify.
A STORY FOR GIRLS.
BY EVELYN EVERETT-GREEN, Author of “Greyfriars,” “Half-a-dozen Sisters,” etc.
A SHADOWED HOME.
“Aunt Mary, I am so delighted to see you! I have been so looking forward to this visit!”
“And I too, dearest! I would have come to you before, only I was prevented by so many things. I fear you have had an anxious winter. But Guy is better, is he not?”
“Oh, yes, much better! He is about again now,” answered young Lady Dumaresq, with a smile in her sweet hazel eyes. “Sit down by the fire, Aunt Mary, and let me take your wraps. Now we will be cosy together over our cup of tea. I want to talk to you about Guy before he comes down. He will never be talked of when he is present. He will tell you he is perfectly well. I wish I could believe it myself!”
“You are anxious still, then?”
“I cannot help being. He keeps so weak, in spite of all we do for him, and he has still a great deal of pain, though he never complains. His heart was affected, you know; it is so often the case in rheumatic fever. The doctors think he will get over it in time; but it is so hard to be patient!”
“Poor children!” said Miss Adene softly. “I have been grieved for you. But the little fellow is well, is he not? You have no anxiety on that score?”
The mother’s face brightened with a soft, sweet smile.
“Oh, the little rogue is as well as possible, and Guy’s great resource when he is ailing! It amuses him by the hour to watch the child at play. And then Ronald has been so good, doing everything indoors and out, so that nobody, I hope, has suffered from the absence of the master’s eye. I think it is quite beautiful, the love between Guy and Ronald! They are more than brothers. Oh, yes, Aunt Mary, I have a great deal to be thankful for!”
“And the summer is before Guy too,” said Miss Adene. “He will make great strides, you will see.”
“Yes, I think so truly; but there is one thing that lies before us—all the doctors say that he must not try another winter in England just yet. I believe now we should have done better to go away in November, as some of them wished; but Guy did not seem fit to move and dreaded the thought so much; and it seemed impossible, and our own man was against it then. But what they all say now is that, if he could get three summers in succession by going away for next winter, he might entirely regain his health; and, of course, for the sake of that we would do anything in the world!”
“Of course! And Guy will probably look forward with pleasure to the thought of the flowers, and sunshine, and blue skies, when he is a little stronger. You know how much I have travelled, and how I enjoy it! I declare I will go with you myself, if you will only ask me, when the time comes!”
Lady Dumaresq clasped her hands in a pretty gesture of delight. Her eyes were bright and sparkling.
“Oh, Aunt Mary, do you really mean it? That would be just delightful! You would be like a tower of strength to us.”
“Only you must go to a nice place,” Miss Adene went on, quite pleased and interested by the idea. “I won’t have the Riviera—I tell you that frankly. I don’t like it, and I never did, and it’s not a climate to take liberties in. Everybody gets chills there.”
“Guy has suggested Algiers; he does not care for the Riviera.”
“Algiers is better, but it faces north. And you so soon lose the sun behind Mustapha Supérieur in the winter months. Now I should advise Madeira. I was there once in November and December, and you can’t imagine the delicious softness and steady warmth of the climate, and the glorious wealth of flowers. And such nice hotels too, with English proprietors. I shall talk to Guy about Madeira. I always declared I must go there again!”
At that moment there was a sound outside, and Lady Dumaresq raised her head with a listening gesture.
“There are the two Guys,” she said softly; and the next moment the door was opened and a beautiful little boy of nearly three years old came rushing into the room, making straight for his mother. A little behind him, walking rather slowly with a stick in his hand, came a tall, thin young man, whose pale face and deliberate movements indicated recent illness. Miss Adene rose quickly from her seat and advanced to meet him.
“My dear Guy, I am so glad to find you downstairs after all this long time!”
He smiled, and bent to kiss her, for he was tall, whilst little Miss Adene was short, though she was slim and elegant both in her dress and figure, and had the air of refinement and breeding which goes so much farther than mere good looks. Indeed, that nameless air of distinction characterised the whole party. It was very marked in Sir Guy himself, and in his beautiful young wife.
“We have been looking forward to this visit, Aunt Mary. I am glad now you did not come earlier. We have a sort of make-believe summer just now, though probably we shall get some cold winds later on. You are well?”
“Always well, you know, Guy, and very pleased to be here.”
“Where you will stay for quite a long time if we can keep you,” said Sir Guy eagerly. “It will do Violet a lot of good to have you. She has been looking pale and depressed lately. I am dull company for her, and she ought to go out again and see the world. She will, now that she has you to go with her.”
“Well, I will stay as long as I can! But I have other visits booked later on. Do you remember, Violet, my old friends the Lawrences? They had some money troubles a year or two back, and they had to leave Lakeside. They have got a rather nice old house in the eastern counties, where property is to be had so much more cheaply. I don’t exactly know where it is; but Isingford is their post town, though they are right away in the country. I have promised to go and see them. They say the house and garden are very nice; but, of course, the society is nothing like what they have been used to. There are a few old families living within a drive; but most of the better houses are taken up by people who have made their money in trade and retired. Some are quite pleasant and possible, they say; though, of course, they miss the old set! But that sort of change is going on all over the country more or less.”
“Yes,” answered Sir Guy, “we have all of us to learn the lesson of tolerance, I think—to be catholic in our sympathies, in our religion and social life alike. Some of our neighbours here, who decidedly have not the stamp of Vere de Vere, have been as kind and sympathetic as possible to Violet these past months when life has been rather dreary for her. Hullo, here is the young rascal wanting his Aunt Mary’s notice! Hasn’t he grown a big, strong fellow? He’s getting quite a handful for his parents, I can tell you.”
Little Guy was a very charming young man, as he ought to be with such handsome parents and so much care taken of his education, for Lady Dumaresq had resolutely set her face against having him spoiled, and had got him an old-fashioned nurse, who was quite one with her as to strict rules of simple diet, early hours, and no undue indulgence. So he did not interrupt the conversation of his elders, nor intrude his own wishes at every opportunity. He had an engaging little way of creeping softly up to the person whose attention he wished to attract, and silently possessing himself of a disengaged hand, against which he would lay his soft round cheek in an irresistible caress.
Miss Adene was charmed with him, took him on her knee, and let him prattle to her. In the midst of this talk a step was heard in the hall, and little Guy slipped down and ran towards the door, exclaiming—
“Sat’s Uncle Ronald!”
The next minute Guy’s brother was in their midst, shaking hands with Miss Adene most cordially, and tossing the boy upon his broad shoulder, as the father had not done for many a long day now. He was a very handsome fellow twenty-four years old, two years younger than the baronet, with the same well-cut features and tall, manly figure; only he was muscular and athletic-looking where Sir Guy was thin almost to gauntness, and there were no lines of pain in his brown face, whilst the eyes seemed always brimming over with fun and good humour.
He seemed to bring with him a whiff of fresh air and sunshine. He almost lived out of doors, looking after the estate for his brother, and enjoying his favourite pursuits of shooting, fishing, or hunting, according to the season.
“Yes, always killing something, Aunt Mary,” he replied laughingly to her query—“the typical Englishman for that. I say, Rascal, what do you think of having a professional murderer for an uncle? Isn’t it a shocking sort of thing?”
“I’ll be professional murderer too!” cried little Guy, gulping a little over the long words, whereat they all laughed, and Ronald made such a raid upon the teapot that it had to be sent out to be replenished.
Miss Adene told her budget of family news. She was one of those delightful members of a family, popular with every branch, who have leisure to go about from house to house and act as a connecting-link between those who can seldom meet. She never had an unkind thing to say, was never known to make a particle of mischief, though such persons have endless opportunities of doing this if they have the disposition for it, or are lacking in tact and discrimination. Everybody was glad to see her come, and sorry when her visit ended. She was popular alike with young and old, and had always an interesting way of telling her news that gave it a charm independent of the subject.
After dinner, when Lady Dumaresq and her aunt were alone together, she eagerly asked for her opinion about Guy.
“He looks quite as well as I expected, Violet; but, of course, one can see that he will have to be very careful for some time to come. An illness like that leaves traces behind for a very long time. Still, I don’t see any reason for undue anxiety. He has a fine constitution, and is a young man still. He has everything in his favour, and I cordially approve of taking him away next winter. He will gain ground during the warm weather, but he would very likely lose it in the winter; whereas, if he can be out in Madeira, or somewhere where he can go on living out of doors, and then come back again to another summer here, he would probably get quite sound and well.”
“I told him what you had said about Madeira and coming with us, and the idea quite took his fancy. It is the first time he has shown any enthusiasm over the thought of going away. If he can be brought to like it that will be a great step.”
“Oh, we will make him like it!” cried Miss Adene brightly. “I will tell him things about Madeira that will make his mouth water. Such rainbows hanging over the hills—such sunsets! And everything so curious and semi-barbaric in the town; and yet every English comfort within doors. Oh, we will make him take to the plan! And it’s a fine place for children; they thrive amazingly there! We can take little Guy with us. But it will leave Ronald rather lonely.”
“I expect Ronald will come with us—for a month or two, at least.”
“What, in the middle of the hunting season—or the beginning—for I should not be later than October starting!”
“Well, I fancy Ronald will come out with us. He is fond of travelling, and is an excellent sailor; and living alone would be a dreary thing for him. He always likes company.”
“I wonder he does not marry. Is he engaged?”
“No; we sometimes wish he would choose a good wife for himself. Since he came into that nice little property and income from their eccentric old uncle who died two years ago, he could very well afford a comfortable establishment. But he lets his house on a yearly tenancy and stays on here to be with Guy; and what we should have done without him this past year I cannot imagine. Still, if Guy gets back his health again, and can take up his own work for himself, it would really be better for Ronald to marry and settle down on his own property. But he has never shown any disposition to fall in love.”
“He would have no difficulty in getting a wife,” said Miss Adene with a little laugh. “He is a fascinating boy, and very good company, as well as so good-looking.”
“I’m afraid that’s partly it,” said Lady Dumaresq, laughing. “The girls are all too willing and ready. He is quite the catch of the county; and perhaps they court him a little too much. It bores him, and, though he always makes himself universally agreeable and popular, he takes very good care not to be ‘hooked,’ or ‘booked,’ or whatever you call it. He treats all the girls alike in a provoking sort of way—provokingly equal and friendly. It would do him good, I think, to fall in love and feel a little qualm of anxiety as to his fate. He’s wonderfully unspoiled, all things considering; but it’s never quite good for a young man to feel he has only to throw the handkerchief.”
Miss Adene nodded sagely.
“That’s quite true. It is a wonder he has kept from growing conceited and affected. But he’s a thoroughly nice boy, and a good one too, I think. He does not speak lightly or sneeringly of women. I always think that is a good test. In these days it is such a fashion to sneer at everything.”
“That is not Ronald’s way,” answered Lady Dumaresq thoughtfully. “Aunt Mary, I was quite touched by what I found out about Ronald when Guy was so ill. You know he was prayed for in the little church here close by the park gates? Well, Ronald used to go there regularly every morning all through that time, to the little short eight o’clock service. I never heard about it till long afterwards; but he never missed unless he were taking my place just then in Guy’s room. I don’t think it would be many young men who would do that. He has never said a word, and I don’t think he knows we know. But there he was.”
“That is very nice,” said Miss Adene softly. “I sometimes think, my dear, that, if we had more real lively faith, there would be less sickness and trouble in the world.”
“Do you know, I have thought so myself often?” said the young wife earnestly. “I always thought Guy’s life was given back as an answer to prayer. You know, there was a time when all the doctors had given him up. That is why I feel a sort of confidence that he will be fully restored. I think God would not have given him back only to linger on in more or less suffering, and then be taken away again.”
“God sometimes tries us in ways which we cannot understand,” said Miss Adene in a low voice, “but I think He wishes us to put our full faith and confidence in Him. We must use every means which He puts into our hands, and then leave the rest to Him, and wait calmly and hopefully for the result.”
Lady Dumaresq took Miss Adene’s hand and kissed it.
“That is what I mean to do, Aunt Mary. I will not lose hope or faith. We will do everything we can and leave the rest. I am so happy and thankful to have you here to help me!”
(_To be continued._)
NO TIME TO PLAY ON IT.—At a meeting of a rural Board of Guardians in Devonshire recently, it was proposed to give the Master of the workhouse a honorarium, but one of the members objected, on the ground that the Master was so much occupied that he did not think he would have time to play on it!
A FATAL OBSTACLE.—The greatest drawback to the current of true love is the undertow of selfishness.
A NEW CONUNDRUM.
What is the largest room in the world? The room for improvement.
WHO MAKES THE BEST MATCH?—It is not the girl that fires up the quickest that makes the best match.
THE NARROW MIND.—The mind grows narrow in proportion as the soul grows corrupt.
[Illustration: EARLY SUMMER.]
Oh, brightly, brightly go the days, And merrily we sing, And mosses, ferns, and flowers fair All welcome in the Spring!
The earth is clad in laughing green, The snow has passed away, The sun shines forth with beaming face And bids us dance and play!
We live in nooks of moss and fern, Where grows the blue hare-bell, Which rings whene’er a gentle breeze Wafts softly down our dell.
We ride on graceful dragon-flies, With gauzy wings of light; And glow-worms lie in readiness To shine for us at night.
We go to children in their sleep, And with our fairy art We spin sweet dreams of fairyland To rest each tired heart!
So gaily, gaily run the days, And so we dance and sing, And so the happy flowers bloom And merrily they ring!
A. M. W.
A POOR NEEDLEWOMAN.
A DREAM OF FAIR SERVICE.—CHAPTER IV.
BY C. A. MACIRONE.
A prison in a little seaport town in England—a jail where criminals of every type, sex, and class herded together.
The fresh sea air outside those locked and barred doors inspired health and brightness to the busy population, but within, instead of the rush of the waves, the happy sounds of passing people and children, the rattle of coach and cart, and the cries of hawkers—within, there were sounds indeed, but the vile language of criminals, oaths and curses, whose time was given to gaming, fighting, and quarrelling—unemployed, uncontrolled, without schoolmaster or clergyman, or any attempt at reformation—without any divine worship; it was a place where every wickedness was roused and fostered, and there was neither hope nor help for those inmates who were not entirely lost.
“The place itself was fit for such inhabitants—cells underground quite dark and unventilated, suffocatingly hot in summer, and unfit for the confinement of any human being, the whole place unhealthy and filthy; the prisoners were infected with vermin and skin disease.”
Into this pandemonium in August, 1819, a woman was sent, committed for a most unnatural crime. It was a mother who had forgotten her sucking child! She had no compassion on her helpless infant, but had cruelly beaten and ill-used it.
The inhabitants of the bright little town took cheerfully the accounts of the trial of this woman, and went about their usual avocations as quietly and busily as usual.
But one poor woman, a dressmaker, not peculiarly gifted with any power or influence beyond an intense love and sympathy, plain, poor, and unknown—the horror of the thought of this lost woman, of what she was, what she would suffer, what yet it might be possible to do for her, possessed her whole soul with a mighty impulse to try what even she would do in her Master’s strength and with His blessing.
This young woman, Sarah Martin, lived in the little village of Caistor, near Yarmouth, with an old grandmother whom she tended; she walked to and fro to her needlework, passing the jail, and she had long wished in some way she could help the miserable people within it. If she could only read the Bible to them, show them some love and sympathy, see for herself if there could be any way of helping them, of making them see the divine love and compassion which was the life of her own soul, if any prodigal son could be awakened to the Father’s love—always ready to bless, always glad to forgive—she thought she would die happier. So in her sudden horror of the condition of the condemned mother, all her impulses sprang into active life, and she went to the jail for permission to see her. Of course her petition was refused at first, and obstacles on all sides delayed her success, but her patience and energy were equal to the occasion, and as she cared nothing for herself, and had a sublime faith in the help which is never refused to His children when they ask for it, she won her way at last. “By her love she overcame.” At first, when that mother saw her, she only wondered that anyone would care to come to her. But when the love and pity of real sympathy became a reality before her, tears and thanks gushed from her poor broken heart like the waters from the rock in the wilderness, and the good work was begun.
Once admitted within the prison, her quick intelligence saw what could be done, and her work grew and prospered. She began reading to the prisoners, and that was gradually valued as their greatest comfort. Then she began to teach them reading, so as to improve the hours of her absence; gradually she taught them various works, and small sums were given to her to buy materials. First, (being a very expert needlewoman), she taught the women to make sets of baby clothes, and then these were sold, and made a fund for prisoners after their discharge. The men were taught to make straw hats, bone spoons, and seats; even patchwork the men would delight in, and learnt to sew gray cotton shirts, while she begged for and got materials from anyone who would or could help, and contrived to make odds and ends into materials.
Very gradually and steadily she made the sacredness of Sunday a rest and a blessing—a contrast to the employments of the week. And she borrowed drawings and prints to show and interest them, and one of these was Retzsch’s sketch of “The chess-players,” a young student playing a game for his soul, an angel on one hand, and Satan on the other side. This interested some of the men so much that they begged to be allowed to copy it, and hours of happy study and improvement passed in helping those prisoners to develop powers they never knew they possessed.
All these plans encroached more and more on her own private earnings, but the service of her Master was to her the greatest luxury and privilege, and her own occupations became less and less capable of giving her even the very scanty needs of her own life. Also we must remember that besides her attendance at the prison, her readings and instructions, her classes for needlework and other arts, she had to prepare all her work, cutting it out and arranging it, get together the books and materials used, and on Sunday she managed to get the prisoners together to a morning, and even an evening, service, for which she chose such prayers and Bible readings as she found they could follow, and wrote the addresses which were included in the services, which were eminently suited to that very peculiar audience.
For six or seven hours daily she was at the prison, and converted that which at the best would have been vicious idleness into a hive of industry and order, and a good preparation for a more useful and happy life when that in the prison ended.
There is not on record a single instance of failure in this life of complete self-devotion. Those who at first were stubborn and saucy, shallow and self-conceited, full of cavils and objections, as time went on and her influence made itself felt, became anxious to learn, to be allowed to work, and to share in the busy life around. Young men as impudent as they were ignorant, beginning by learning one verse to please her, went on to long passages, and even the dullest found the interest and refreshment of learning a few lines every day and working to some useful purpose.
We must remember that this was accomplished without any official authority whatever, only the most overwhelming persuasion on their part that her whole heart was set upon doing them good, and making them happier and better. And this was not all. It involved many other claims on her time and strength, inquiries for friends, care for those who had begun a better life, and whom she managed still to keep true to their new resolutions and better lives.
On the few evenings she would be free to see her own friends and those who were interested in her work and would help in it, she would take plenty of work with her, and get all those present to help in carrying out her plans. Old pieces of stuffs, paper, old drawings, scraps that seemed mere litter would, by her active and inventive mind, be turned to some good use.
Her day was closed, after her exhausting labours, by no return to a cheerful home where rest and welcome and sympathy, food and comfort, were waiting for her, but a lonely locked-up room, fireless and cheerless, dark and lonely, where all had to be done by her own tired hands. Her account books, her notes of her work, and the poor for whom she was fighting all the powers of evil, had to be written.
These account books, of every item of her expenditure, are now in the public library at Yarmouth. They record the name and career of every prisoner she visited, her experience of their character and development. And all this time she was living in the most absolute poverty, and yet of total unconcern as to her temporal support. She said, “God was my Master, and would not forsake His servant; He was my father, and could not forget His child.”
Meantime the Corporation had no expense for a chaplain or a schoolmaster. She supplied the place of both, but as time went on some members of the Corporation wished to make some pecuniary provision for her wants out of the borough funds, but they desisted in consequence of her most earnest opposition.
At last it was wisely intimated (as the _Edinburgh Review_ writes) to this high-souled woman, “If we permit you to visit the prison, you must submit to our terms” (in spite of her earnest appeal, and her urging that her work, being known to be a voluntary work, had greater influence). And so these worshipful gentlemen, who were then making use of Sarah Martin as a substitute for the schoolmaster and the chaplain, whom it was by law their bounden duty to have appointed, converted her into their salaried servant by the munificent grant of £12 per annum.
Sarah Martin lived for two years in the receipt of this memorable evidence of Corporation bounty, but her health and strength was failing fast, and it was with increasing suffering and difficulty that she continued her work in the prison until April, 1843, when a most painful disease, increasing rapidly, prevented all exertion.
It is a triumphant sequel to a life of incessant self-denial and heroic exertion to find that this brave woman would cheer the sacred loneliness of her entrance into the dark valley of the shadow of death with songs of victory and triumph, and when the nurse told her that she believed the time of her departure was at hand, she, clapping her hands together, exclaimed, “Thank God! thank God!” and never spake more. It was once truly said, “A little faith will take you to Heaven; but a great faith will bring Heaven to you.”
Captain Williams, the Inspector of Prisons, before quoted, says of her, “Her simple unostentatious, yet energetic devotion to the interest of the outcast and the destitute, her gentle disposition, never irritated by disappointment, nor her charity straightened by ingratitude, presents a combination of qualities which imagination sometimes portrays as the ideal of what is pure and beautiful, but which are rarely found embodied in humanity. She was no titled sister of charity, but was silently felt and acknowledged to be one by the many outcast and destitute persons who received encouragement from her lips, and relief from her hands, and a higher and purer life from her influence, and by the few who were witnesses of her good works.”
We remember, as who does not, the noble faith of Mrs. Fry, who fought a like battle in the walls of a prison. Mrs. Fry was a woman of high education, of assured position, of practised eloquence, and supported by influential and important friends. But Sarah Martin was a poor lone woman, plain and little educated, endowed only by the magnificence of her faith and love with the energy of waging such a war.
The _Edinburgh Review_, in an eloquent article on the _Life and Poems of Sarah Martin_, closes with the following words:
“It is the business of literature to make such a life stand out from the masses of ordinary existences with something of the distinctness with which a lofty building uprears itself in the confusion of a distant view. It should be made to attract all eyes, and to excite the hearts of all persons who think the welfare of their fellow mortals an object of interest or duty; it should be included in collections of biography, and chronicled in the high places of history; men should be taught to estimate it as that of one whose philanthropy has entitled her to renown, and children to associate the name of Sarah Martin with those of Howard, Buxton, Fry, the most benevolent of mankind.”
 See Captain Williams’, the Inspector of Prisons, Report “1836 in Yarmouth Jail, and Sarah Martin’s Work therein.”
SELF-CULTURE FOR GIRLS.
We have discussed the question why, and how, reading should find a place in the daily scheme of life, and have now to inquire what shall be chosen for the culture of the mind and heart. To inveigh upon the necessity of reading, for a would-be student, and never suggest what shall be read, would be about as sensible as to inveigh on the necessity of food for a growing child, without reference to the sort of nourishment that is to build up the physical frame. On its proper quality, health and strength in great measure depend.
It is easy enough in these days to know what foods are nutritious, if anyone chooses to take the trouble to find out, and those suitable for the growing child are comparatively few in number. But alas, for the multitude of books! Who shall discriminate among them? “It is of the greatest importance to you,” says Ruskin, “not only for art’s sake but for all kinds of sake, in these days of book deluge, to keep out of the salt swamps of literature, and live on a little rocky island of your own, with a spring and a lake in it, pure and good. I cannot, of course, suggest the choice of your library to you, for every several mind needs different books; but there are some books which we all need.”
And first it may be said that no kind of culture is possible without a knowledge of the great literature of the Past. You must, therefore, read and study what has survived through centuries of time. Have you ever reflected on the immortality of books, and what it means? Written in the most perishable of materials, nay, at first not written, but handed down by word of mouth, they have outlasted the triumphal arch, the mighty column, the impregnable city of old; have continued, while empires have tottered to their doom, and while one civilisation has risen upon the ruins of another. The shocks of contending armies have affected them not: they have endured, from generation to generation, the same, while all else has changed. What respect, then, and reverence should be paid to the books of olden time!
First, of course, comes the Bible. We are not accustomed to study this Book for literary reasons, and rightly think its claim to our love and reverence rests upon other grounds. But we must never forget that the sublimest poetry, the most beautiful simplicity of diction mingled with grandeur, are to be found in the Old and New Testaments.
“Intense study of the Bible will keep any man from being vulgar in point of style,” said Coleridge.
Also, if anyone anxious for self-culture could take the Bible as a starting-point, and follow up all the different allusions to the nations of the earth—study the early civilisations of Egypt and Assyria, going on to Greece, Rome and Asia Minor, for example—he would find himself well educated in ancient history before he was aware of it.
The influence of Bible study upon the character, even in the way of culture, is very wonderful. Take, for instance, the Scotch peasantry of a generation or two ago. Devout, versed in the Scriptures and probably little else, what a fine mental type many of their children have exhibited! One could name novelists, philosophers, divines, who have traced their power of thought and charm of diction to the influence of the home where riches were not, but a sturdy, simple, religious faith, based upon a daily study of the Bible, prevailed.
“Every several mind needs different books,” but every mind needs the Book of books.
Apart from the Bible, there are two books of which you should know something: the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_ of Homer.
This possibly sounds far too learned to many girls who read this page. They have a vague idea that they must know Greek before they can approach what their schoolboy brothers regard as a task. And if they never hear of these names in the daily run of life, they feel all the more reluctant to attack what sounds repellent and incomprehensible.
If any girl with an average amount of intelligence can get Butcher and Lang’s translation of the _Odyssey_, she will doubtless be charmed, and any such ideas of repulsion as we have mentioned will be swept quite out of her mind. This translation reads like a romance or fairy tale of old. Jebb’s _Primer of Greek Literature_, published at one shilling, will be a help to its full comprehension, and a Greek History may also be useful. Smith’s _Smaller History of Greece_ is very good.
The _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_ are probably at least twenty-seven centuries old; and they still appeal to the human heart. Mr. Gladstone said he felt himself “in heaven when he was breathing the pure atmosphere of Homer.” And a child also can delight in their pages. The present writer will never forget the charm to her, as a little girl, of Pope’s version of the _Odyssey_, with outline illustrations by Flaxman.
Although the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_ are poems, the translations that will appeal most strongly to English girl-readers, we think, are the prose versions by Andrew Lang and his colleagues. These are written in an exquisitely simple style, nearer to the original than the sonorous lines of Pope, Chapman, Lord Derby, Worsley, and many others.
Besides the _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_, which treat of the very dawn of history, there are other works of which you should know something. One might write a volume on the subject of Greek literature, but it is inopportune here to mention more than a few books. The _Apology_, _Crito_ and _Phædo_ of Plato, are translated in Dean Church’s _Trial and Death of Socrates_. They are dialogues telling that immortal story. The plays of Æschylus are issued in English in Morley’s Universal Library, published by Routledge at a shilling. The _Alcestis_ of Euripides has been beautifully translated by Robert Browning in _Balaustion’s Adventure_, which tells the fascinating story of the capture of a Rhodian girl by the Syracusans, and the way in which she won her liberty by reciting the play _Alcestis_. The plays of Euripides as a whole are well translated by Arthur S. Way, M.A. (Macmillan); and the plays of Æschylus by Dean Plumptre. Miss Anna Swanwick has rendered the _Agamemnon_ of Æschylus into charming English.
The student of this literature will find the same names recur again and again. She will soon come to understand its scope, and live in a world of her own—not a forlorn, dry-as-dust world of ruins and ashes, but a bright glad world, which recalls Browning’s words:
“Never morn broke clear as those On the dim clustered isles in the blue sea, The deep groves and white temples and wet caves.”
This world is peopled with noble men and fair women, and all they do and say is chronicled with a sweet, majestic simplicity that appeals to the heart. Sin there is, and its resulting sorrow and doom; but the lesson is that which echoes from the recurrent words in the chorus of the _Agamemnon_:
“Ah, may the Good prevail!”
And when we come down to the story of Socrates, who literally died because he strove to teach that which he knew to be right, we feel that we tread on sacred ground:
“Seeking there, Calm converse with the great dead, soul to soul, Who laid up treasure with the like intent.”
Space forbids, or it would be possible to write pages on the delights of Greek literature. But to any girl who has leisure and inclination, the study of the Greek language itself is most strongly recommended. Translations abound, and are excellent, but the best translation cannot give the beauty of the original. The study of the lovely, flexible language is in itself an education; it is surely an inducement that the New Testament is written in comparatively easy Greek; and the wealth of literature to which Greek constitutes a title-deed may well repay hard labour.
“Can a girl learn Greek quite alone and unaided?” it may be asked. Well, it can possibly be done, but a little help is invaluable, and there are correspondence and other classes of which anyone who is in real earnest can ascertain particulars and avail herself, if she cannot get individual tuition. The task is not easy, but it is worth while to attempt it.
There is a book which, perhaps better than any other, can help the young to enter into the Greek spirit: _The Heroes; Greek Fairy Tales for my Children_, by Charles Kingsley. If all the other advice of our chapter proves unpalatable, surely this may be accepted, as the legends are told in the most fascinating and simple way. Nathaniel Hawthorne, in _Tanglewood Tales_, has embodied olden legends, but in a less charming manner.
Dean Church has recounted for boys stories from Homer, Herodotus, and the Greek tragedians, also from Livy and from Virgil.
The works of Virgil, in Dryden’s translation from the Latin, are published in Morley’s Universal Library for one shilling.
Some knowledge of Latin is more frequently found among girls than a knowledge of Greek, but it seldom extends so far as to afford the enjoyment of reading the classic lore they have learnt with difficulty to spell out at school. And it must be acknowledged that the fascination of Greek literature is altogether different.
Two small books published by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, _Epicureanism_, by W. Wallace, M.A., and _Stoicism_, by Rev. W. W. Capes, are very useful to those who wish to understand a little about the chief philosophies of the ancient world. To older readers the _Meditations of Marcus Aurelius_, and the _Discourses of Epictetus_, will be valuable.
The subject is so vast, it is impossible to deal with it here, and it would be absurd to suppose that one brief article could be a comprehensive guide to Greek literature. But that is not needful, or intended. This point alone we wish to emphasise: that culture is altogether impossible without some idea of the mighty Past. And even the busy and the poor may in the present day obtain a glimpse into its beauty and wonder, by means of the translations we have mentioned. One such glimpse will lead on to another.
_The Heroes of Asgard_, by A. and E. Keary, if still in print, is almost as fascinating in its way as Kingsley’s _Heroes_. It treats of the Scandinavian mythology in a very attractive form, telling of Baldur the Beautiful, of Loki, Thor, and many other names that should be familiar. No one can plead ignorance of ancient lore, when the stories that embody its mythology are within the mental compass even of a child.
One benefit of the study of olden literature is this; that the mental prospect receives a background as it were. The thoughts found in Greek literature are the thoughts that now influence society; the eternal longings and aspirations of the heart of man were expressed in those days of old; while the gladness of the childhood of the world—a gladness that we know now in youth and the soft spring days, and the beauty of the earth—finds expression in immortal verse. So that of the names already mentioned, and of many others, it may well be said, in Mrs. Browning’s words:
“These were cup-bearers undying, Of the wine that’s meant for souls.”
(_To be continued._)
A RAG steeped in turpentine will usually stop severe bleeding of a cut.
STAINS on bedroom basins come off easily if rubbed with a little Brooke’s Monkey Brand soap on a damp flannel.
BEDROOM and sitting-room fires should be always kept laid and ready to light at a minute’s notice in case of an emergency, accident, or illness.
WATER-BOTTLES in bedrooms should be completely emptied each day and refilled with water that has been boiled.
THERE should be a cupboard in each house containing simple remedies for wounds, burns, and cuts, and simple drugs for immediate need; also some lint, linen bandage material, and a pair of sharp scissors with blunt points. This cupboard should, however, be placed beyond the reach of little children.
THE little wooden rollers round which unmounted photographs are sent out are valuable for preservation of face-veils. When these are taken off, they should at once be rolled round one of these smooth rollers in order to preserve the shape.
IF you wish to keep the feathers of any bird that has been shot, be sure and cut off the ends of each quill before you use it, as that contains matter which decomposes.
A GAME OF MEMORY.
“Let me teach you another game,” said Aunt Louie, “and it shall be a game of memory.”
“I hope it is not a dreadful game of forfeits,” cried Carrie.
“Well, for a lapse of memory you forfeit your seat and descend to a lowly one on the floor.”
“Just this amendment I must plead: mothers must be exempted from penalties,” said I, “and may remain in their easy-chairs.”
“Conceded, for dignity’s sake,” replied Aunt Louie.
“Please declare the rules of the game and let us brace ourselves to our task!” cried Cecil.
“Well, we give a tea-party, and as each names the guest to be invited, the names of the first-mentioned guests must be repeated in exactly the same order as given.”
“If that is the case,” said Phyllis, “there must be no flitting from seat to seat, you restless young people. Choose your seats and keep them as long as you may.”
“Are the living only to be invited, or may we summon the illustrious dead?” asked Harry.
“The illustrious dead may be invited,” answered Aunt Louie.
“Now then, Aunt Louie, please lead off!” cried all.
“I shall give a tea-party and invite the hero of Kartoum.”
“And I,” said Eva, “shall ask Lord Kartoum and Major Marchand.”
“I’ll have Lord Kartoum, Major Marchand and Rider Haggard,” said Cecil.
“And I,” said Carrie, “am determined to have Lord Kartoum, Major Marchand, Rider Haggard and her Majesty the Queen.”
“My invitations,” said Phyllis, “shall be sent to Lord Kartoum, Major Marchand, Rider Haggard, the Queen and General Gordon.”
“I’ll have Lord Kartoum, Major Marchand, Rider Haggard, the Queen, General Gordon and Barnum,” added Jessie.
Harry gave “Dreyfus,” and two of the young people added the names of “Nansen” and “Clifford Harrison,” while I contributed “Herkomer,” thus completing the first round. So far no lapse of memory had occurred, and all remained in their seats.
“Now,” said Aunt Louie, “we try another round, and yet another, still repeating the names and keeping each round perfectly distinct.”
At the second round two of our party broke down and subsided on the ground. At the third round two more fell out, and at the fourth round only Cecil remained on the field, so to speak, victor of the game.
A TALE OF THE FRANCO-ENGLISH WAR NINETY YEARS AGO.
BY AGNES GIBERNE, Author of “Sun, Moon and Stars,” “The Girl at the Dower House,” etc.
MOORE’S LAST VICTORY.
In an instant Sir John Moore half raised himself, gazing still with concentrated earnestness, as if nothing had happened, towards the Highland regiment now hotly engaged. Not a sigh was heard. Not a muscle in his face quivered.
Hardinge had sprung down, and Moore’s right hand grasped his firmly. When Hardinge, seeing his anxiety as to the 42nd, exclaimed, “They are advancing!” a flash of joy lighted up Moore’s features.
Then Colonel Graham hurried to the spot. So placid and unchanged was the General’s look that for a moment he hoped it might be no more than an accidental fall from the horse. The next moment he saw—and he rode off at full speed for a surgeon.
It was an awful wound. Almost the whole left shoulder was carried away; the arm was all but separated from the body; the ribs over that intrepid heart were broken; the flesh and muscles were fearfully torn and mangled. Hardinge made an attempt with his sash to check the rush of blood; but with so extensive an injury little could be done.
Sir John was then gently lifted upon a blanket, and all the while he still intently watched the struggle, as if his own state were a matter of very secondary importance.
For a moment his attention was recalled from the front. His sword became entangled, as the soldiers moved him, and the hilt went into the wound. Captain Hardinge began to unbuckle it, but he was at once checked, Moore saying in his usual voice, with calm distinctness—
“It is as well as it is. I had rather it should go out of the field with me.”
So extraordinary was his composure that Hardinge began to hope, even against hope, that the wound might after all prove not to be mortal, that the General might even yet be spared to his country. He faltered something of the kind, and Moore turned from gazing at the battle, to inspect gravely his own injuries.
“No, Hardinge, I feel that to be impossible,” he replied. “You need not go with me. Report to General Hope that I am wounded and carried to the rear.”
He was slowly borne towards Coruña, a sergeant and ten soldiers of the Guards and the 42nd being told off for this service. Hardinge’s sash was arranged so as to give him support.
Two surgeons came hastening to meet him. They had been engaged with the arm of his next in command, Sir David Baird, which was badly shattered, but on hearing what had happened to his Chief, Baird hurried them off, and they left his arm half-dressed. Moore, who was losing blood rapidly, observed—
“You can be of no service to me. Go to the wounded soldiers. You may be of use to them.” But this unselfish order could not be obeyed.
Again and again in their sad progress he desired a halt, that he might watch what was going on, and might listen to the fainter sound of the enemy’s musketry, as the French were driven back.
Presently they were overtaken by a spring waggon containing a wounded officer, Colonel Wynch, who asked, “Who was in the blanket?” On hearing that it was General Moore, he suggested his removal to the waggon. Moore did not refuse, but he looked at one of the Highlanders and asked his opinion—would the waggon or the blanket be best? The man advised the latter.
“It will not shake you so much, sir,” he said; “and we can keep step, and carry you more easy.”
“I think so, too,” Sir John quietly said, and they went on their way as before. By this time the hardy Highlanders and Guardsmen who carried him were one and all in tears.
It was nearly dark when they reached his lodgings in Coruña. Colonel Anderson, his devoted friend and comrade during twenty-one years past, met the mournful cavalcade, and was speechless with distress. This was the third time that he had seen Moore carried wounded from a field of battle; and it was the last.
Moore pressed his hand tightly.
“Anderson, don’t leave me!” he murmured.
Then, as his faithful French servant, François, appeared, in blank horror, with falling tears, he smiled.
“_Mon ami_, this is nothing,” he said.
The surgeons examined the wound, only to find that no hope of recovery existed. By this time the agony had become so overwhelming that Moore could hardly speak, and his face was deathly pale. Yet, after a while, he so far mastered the torture as to utter one sentence and then another at intervals.
“Anderson, you know that I have always wished to die in this way,” came first. And, as the officers of his staff appeared, one by one, he put the same question to each—“Are the French beaten?”
Next, with unconscious pathos, read now in the light of after-misrepresentations—
“_I hope the people of England will be satisfied. I hope my country will do me justice!_”
Now there was the thought of his own relatives.
“Anderson—you will see my friends as soon as you can. Tell them—everything. Say to my mother——”
For the first time self-control failed. His voice broke, and his features were strongly agitated. The love between that son and that mother had been of no common kind. He was utterly unable to speak what he wished, and he turned to another subject.
“Hope—Hope—I have much to say to him—but—cannot get it out? Are Colonel Graham and all my Aides-de-camp safe?”
Anderson hastily signed to others not to tell him that one of the latter had been dangerously wounded, knowing well the strong affection which existed between Moore and his whole staff. The question was evaded.
He then mentioned that he had made his will, and had in it remembered his servants. “Colbourne has my will—and all my papers,” he said. And when Major Colbourne came in, Moore greeted him with exceeding kindness, turning then to Sir John Hope, to say with difficulty, “Hope, go to the Duke of York, and say he ought to give Colbourne a regiment.” Upon Anderson too he urged the same.
He asked again, “Were the French beaten?” In every direction, he was told. “It’s a great satisfaction for me to know we have beaten the French,” he remarked. “Is Paget in the room?” Colonel Anderson, who throughout remained close by his side, supporting him as he lay, replied in the negative. “Remember me to him. It is General Paget I mean. He is a fine fellow.”
A little later came the words, “I feel myself so strong—I fear I shall be long dying. It is great uneasiness—it is great pain.”
This was the only approach to a complaint which passed those patient lips. But the strength of which he spoke was that of the indomitable will, not of the shattered body, for already life was ebbing fast, and the shadows were closing around him.
Yet, surely for him, beyond the shadows, waited a Light Divine.
He met the last enemy as he had met his earthly foes, as indeed he had ofttimes faced the former, with unshaken composure and without dread, no more startled by the summons than if he had been called upon to cross the English Channel. And, as always, his thoughts were for others, not for himself.
“Everything François says—is right,” he told them. “I have the greatest confidence in him.”
Some grateful words were addressed to the surgeons, thanking them for their efforts to give him ease. He spoke kindly to two more of his Aides-de-camp who came in. One of these was Captain James Stanhope, brother to Charles Stanhope, killed that day, and to Lady Hester Stanhope, Moore’s friend. Stanhope’s eyes met those of the dying soldier, and Moore said distinctly—
“Stanhope—remember me to your sister.”
This was his last utterance. He sank into silence, pressing the hand of Anderson closely to his side. A few minutes later, calmly and without a struggle, the grand spirit triumphed over death, and passed away.
And in that still chamber might be heard the sound of smothered convulsive sobbing. The younger officers present broke utterly down, while the elder men looked on with bowed heads, scarcely better able to restrain their anguish. Colonel Anderson still knelt, supporting the lifeless head, gazing, with blanched and parted lips, into the quiet face, which for twenty-one years had been the centre and the illumination of his being, his look of woe being beyond the power of words to describe. On the other side of the mattress, one in sorrow with all these mourning Englishmen, was the faithful and devoted François. French by birth, he cared for little in the world besides this idolised master, over whom he despairingly hung, his hands wrung together, his face matching in pallor those placid features.
For one of the noblest of men was gone from their midst that hour; and a heavy shadow fell upon the victorious British Army.
Upon this sad scene came another Aide-de-camp, George Napier, too late for any of those last words which would have been to him a lifelong treasure. Twenty years afterwards, when describing what he had seen as he entered, he wrote in still unconquered pain—
“That eye which was wont to penetrate the inmost soul was glazed in death. That manly graceful form, the admiration of the Army, lay stretched, a lifeless corpse. The great spirit had quitted its earthly habitation. All around was sad and gloomy. Moore was dead!”
“Dark lay the field of slain; the battle’s strife was o’er, That shook Coruña’s hills, and rent the Iberian shore; Dim twilight veiled the scene of glory and of death, Till o’er the blood-stained snow, The moon, pale, trembling, slow, Revealed each crimsoned wreath.
Low on the victor-field the Warrior Chief was laid; His eye still sought the foe, his hand still grasped the blade; Triumphant was his smile, though dim his closing eye,— While bending o’er the slain, His mournful gallant train Learnt how the brave should die.
* * * * *
No sculptured trophy rose, to deck his honoured head, Or monumental urn, to mark the Mighty Dead; No lettered scroll to point the pilgrim soldier’s way,— The musing foe to greet, And guide his wandering feet To where the Warrior lay.
But o’er his loved remains were choicest honours shed, Tears such as Heroes weep bedewed his lowly bed; A deep responsive sigh from Albion’s woe-struck Isle Swelled o’er the Atlantic wave, And decked his early grave— Who for his Country fought, who for his Country fell.”
(_To be continued._)
 Afterwards Lord Lynedoch.
 Afterwards Lord Seaton, one of the most prominent officers in the British Army.
 Written in memory of Moore by William Stark of Edinburgh in 1813.
THE GIRL’S OWN QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
THE EXAMINERS REPORT ON THE THIRD AND LAST TWENTY-FOUR QUESTIONS.
Our useful and interesting competition is now at an end, and we give here the answers to the third and last instalment of questions. In this final march few competitors have fallen out of the ranks, and it is gratifying to have to record that the quality of the papers has steadily improved in almost every case, as, indeed, was to be expected from the painstaking and enthusiasm displayed at the start. It only remains now to say a few words about the competition as a whole, and to intimate who are the prize-winners and certificate-holders, and for that our diligent girls will not have long to wait.
=49. What epidemic in Italy in the sixteenth century was cured by means of music?=
To illustrate the proverb that a bad beginning makes a good ending, many failed to answer. But it was by no means out-of-the-way information that this epidemic was what is known as tarantism, which prevailed in South Italy to an extraordinary extent during the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, being at its height during the sixteenth century. It was a sort of hysteria, and the different forms taken by the disease were cured by means of different airs, to which the patients were forced to dance till they often dropped down with exhaustion. Bands of players used to go through the country to provide the medicinal music, the melodies they played being spoken of as tarantellas.
=50. What is the mother-tongue of Queen Victoria?=
It depends, says a competitor, on what you mean by mother-tongue. If you mean mother’s tongue, it is German; but if you mean the language of her native land, it is English. This is a sensible reply. The Queen was born at Kensington Palace on May 24th, 1819, her father being the Duke of Kent, the fourth son of George III. Her mother was the daughter of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg. When she came to England shortly before the birth of her child, the Duchess could speak hardly any English, and German was thus a language with which our Queen was familiar in her earliest years. One girl suggests that we should settle this “puzzling question by saying that ‘her Majesty has two mother-tongues.’”
=51. What is the best time at which to water indoor and outdoor plants?=
The best answers to this question pointed out that it depends on the season of the year. In spring and autumn plants should be watered in the morning, whilst in summer the proper time is the evening; and in winter what little water is needed should be given in the middle of the day. Mrs. Loudon’s _Plain Instructions in Gardening_ were quoted by three or four to the effect that, though some people object to watering plants when the sun is upon them, this is not at all injurious so long as the water is not too cold, and is only given to the roots. To give water over the leaves when the sun is on them makes the leaves blister and become covered with pale brown spots.
=52. Is abundant hair an indication of bodily and mental strength?=
Here many girls showed their good sense by giving their own personal observations, and in this way some odd facts were brought forward. The general drift of the answers is pretty well summed up in the following quotation—
“Abundant hair is neither an indication of bodily nor of mental strength, whatever it may be supposed to be. The story of Samson has given rise to the notion that hairy people are strong physically; but the fact is that the Chinese, who are the most enduring of all races, are nearly bald. And as to the supposition that long and thick hair is a sign or token of intellectuality, all antiquity, all madhouses, and all common observation are against it. The easily-wheedled Esau was hairy; the mighty Cæsar was bald.”
One girl, in a spirit of fun, says, “If the brain is over-worked, the hair comes out,” and draws very neatly two pictures of herself, one with a fine head of hair as she was “before answering these questions” and the other with the scantiest of scanty locks showing how she looked “after they had been all replied to.”
=53. How many ways can be named of profitably using broken bread?=
“Some notable housewives,” says Miss Florence Stackpoole, “make the ignominious confession that, in the manner of using up broken bread, they are, in schoolboy slang, fairly ‘stumped.’ How to get rid of it they do not know.” They may now be recommended to consult our numerous band of competitors, who in their replies to this question showed much practical housekeeping sense. “About forty-five ways,” says one girl, and we are inclined to think that we could nearly make up that number by taking all the different ways suggested, beginning with the various uses to which broken bread can be put in cookery and ending with its employment in cleaning pictures, wall-papers, and felt hats; feeding the birds, “who are very glad of it, especially in cold weather”; trapping birds, “for which, no doubt, they are not so thankful”; furnishing bait for fishing, and feeding pigs, chickens and cats.
=54. Was public money ever raised in England by encouraging the spirit of gambling?=
The right answer to this question is that public money was at one time raised in this country by means of lotteries. The first public lottery in England, so far as can be ascertained, was drawn in 1569, and had for its object the repair of harbours and other useful public works. “From that date in the reign of Queen Elizabeth,” says Dr. Robert Chambers, “down to 1826 (except for a short time following upon an Act of Queen Anne), lotteries continued to be adopted by the English Government as a source of revenue. It seems strange that so glaringly immoral a project should have been kept up with such a sanction so long.” A good many girls did not answer this question at all, and several, without referring to lotteries, ran off into particulars regarding the famous South Sea Bubble.
=55. Who was the religious poet so beloved by the parish of which he was rector, that many of his parishioners would stop their ploughs when his bell rang for prayer, that they might offer their devotions to God with him?=
This beautiful example of the influence that may be exerted by a godly pastor appeared to be well known. The poet was the saintly George Herbert, rector of Bemerton, in Wiltshire, who was born in 1593 and died in 1632. And when he died, says Izaak Walton, who wrote his Life, “he died like a saint, unspotted of the world, full of humility, and all the examples of a virtuous life.”
=56. How did the leek come to be the emblem of Wales?=
As was to be expected, for the answer is not to be looked for in well-authenticated history, a good many different explanations were given. According to some this national device of Wales, commonly worn by Welshmen on St. David’s Day, March 1st, was selected for its high position because it possesses the old Cymric colours, green and white. Others had it that it was in memory of a great victory over the Saxons, when the Welshmen, obeying the command of St. David, put leeks into their hats, to distinguish between themselves and their foes. A good many said that it was dated from the battle of Crecy, and backed up their opinion by quoting Shakespeare. One girl we noticed said it was because the Welsh think the leek a lucky plant, and grow it on their cottage roofs to bring good fortune. And a few unromantic competitors said it was all on account of the prominent place occupied by the leek in Welsh cookery.
=57. What famous outlaw has a conspicuous place in ballad literature?=
Many outlaws have a place in ballad literature, but one stands head and shoulders above all the rest, and that is Robin Hood. The numerous and spirited ballads of which he and his companions, such as Maid Marian, Friar Tuck and Little John, are the leading characters, are favourite reading with all who love adventure and romance. Towards the close of the Middle Ages, says a competitor, quoting a well-known authority, Robin Hood was the people’s ideal as Arthur was that of the upper classes. He was the ideal yeoman as Arthur was the ideal knight.
=58. Where can a married couple, after a twelvemonth of matrimony, lay claim to a flitch of bacon after proving that, during the whole time, they have never had a quarrel and never regretted the marriage?=
This whimsical custom, about which nearly everybody seemed to know, is connected with the priory of Dunmow in Essex, and dates as far back as the reign of King John. The earliest instances of the awarding of the flitch have not been recorded: the first we have particulars of is dated 1445. After 1763, the custom fell into the background, but a revival of it was effected in 1855, by Mr. Harrison Ainsworth, the novelist, and since then several have applied for and gained this strange matrimonial prize.
=59. Has anyone ever tried to count the stars?=
“Look now towards Heaven,” we read in the Scriptures, “and tell the stars if thou be able to number them.” Many observers, however, including the two Herschels, have made the attempt. The stars visible to the naked eye are only a fraction of the whole, but according to the estimate of the distinguished German astronomer, Argeland, the number seen by the unaided vision in the latitude of Berlin is 3,256, and for the whole heavens may be put at about 5,000. Another German astronomer makes out the naked-eye stars in the whole heavens to be about 6,800. When the telescope is introduced the number is enormously increased. The larger the telescope the more stars we see. The number has been run up by authorities worthy of respect to as high as twenty million stars, and more, within the grasp of an 18-inch reflector! Some girls, in answering this question, mentioned that there was an International Photographic Survey of the Heavens now going on which is sure to throw light on this interesting problem.
=60. What English Earl once got a box on the ear from a great Queen?=
All competitors were right who said that the receiver of this royal box was the Earl of Essex, and the giver Queen Elizabeth. It was on an occasion when the two had begun to dispute on the subject of an assistant in the affairs of Ireland, to which the earl was going as Lord Deputy. The dispute ended in the earl’s receiving from her majesty a box on the ear, with, we are told, the encouraging addition of “Go and be hanged!” The fall of Essex is generally dated from this circumstance, and it is thought that he never forgave it.
=61. Is what is known as the poisonous upas tree of Java a fact or a hoax?=
It was right to say that it is partly the one and partly the other; about an ounce of fact, however, to a pound of hoax. The name upas—a Javanese word meaning poison—is given by the Malays and people of Western Java to the poison obtained from the gum of a tree that used to be employed in Celebes to envenom the bamboo shafts of the natives.
The famous description of the upas tree, with its effluvia killing all things near it, is a pure fiction, the invention of George Stevens, the Shakespearean commentator, who seems to have had a special turn for mystifying and befooling the public. According to him the tree destroyed all animal life within a radius of fifteen miles or more, and when the poison was wanted it was fetched by condemned criminals, of whom scarcely two out of twenty ever returned.
Several girls mentioned that the upas tree is to be met with in botanic gardens in this country and, says one, “not doing a halfpennyworth of harm to anybody.”
=62. What is the best way of treating a fainting fit?=
Almost all seemed to have an intelligent idea of what to do. They had grasped the fact that the direct cause of fainting is diminished circulation of blood through the brain, and that, therefore, in trying to restore a person who has fainted, the first thing to be done is to alter that condition. The patient, they said, should be laid down quite flat, “so that the feebly-acting heart may not have to propel the blood upward, but horizontally”; tight clothing should then be loosened, cool fresh air admitted, cold water sprinkled down the face, volatile salts, or other stimulant vapours, held at intervals to the nostrils; and a little cold water, either by itself or having in it a teaspoonful or two of sal volatile, or the same quantity of spirits, being given as soon as the patient is able to swallow.
=63. What public punishment was once in use in England for scolding women?=
Women who made free use of their tongues were punished in an original way in old England. They were submitted to the correction of the ducking stool, a chair at the end of a plank which moved up and down over a river or pond—it was a sort of see-saw arrangement. The scold was fastened in the chair, the other end of the plank was lifted up, and down she went into the water, the number of immersions being in proportion to the vigour of her fiery tongue. It was an old institution: we find it mentioned in the Doomsday Survey. In the seventeenth century, the ducking stool was superseded, to a certain extent, by what was known as the branks. This was a scold’s bridle, the chief part of which entered the mouth and pressed upon the tongue, thus forming an effectual gag. “Ducking stools and branks, however,” one writer sadly remarks, “with all their terrors, seem to have been insufficient to frighten the shrews of former days out of their bad propensities.”
=64. What was the origin of the phrase, “The wise fools of Gotham?”=
A good number of competitors had been unable to discover how these Nottinghamshire worthies obtained their unenviable notoriety. According to tradition, King John once intended to pass through Gotham on his way to Nottingham, but the inhabitants prevented him, for some reason or other best known to themselves. The king, in a rage, sent some of his servants to inquire why they had been so uncivil, and the Gothamites, hearing of their approach, thought of an expedient to turn away the monarch’s displeasure—they pretended more stupidity than really belonged to them. When the messengers arrived they found some of the inhabitants endeavouring to drown an eel in a pool of water; some were employed in dragging carts into a large barn to shade the wood from the sun, and lifting horses into lofts to eat hay; and others were engaged in building a hedge round a cuckoo which had perched in a bush. In short they were all employed in some ridiculous task or other, which convinced the king’s servants that Gotham was a village of fools—a reputation it has ever since maintained. Such is the story, but its truth is another matter. In one paper we find a good word for Gotham quoted from Fuller, to the effect that “Gotham doth breed as _wise_ people as any which causelessly laugh at their simplicity.”
=65. Is length of life greater now than it used to be?=
The best answer to this question will be to quote some interesting statistics given by Mr. Holt Schooling, who takes for the basis of his statements the three official English life-tables (for 1838-1854, 1871-1880, and 1881-1890). These tables show an increase in the second period over the first of 1.44 years expectation of life at birth to every male, and 2.77 to every female; and in the third period over the first of 3.75 to every male, and 5.33 to every female. In other words, 3¾ years of life have been added on the average to every male child, and 5¹⁄₃ years to every female child. Thus the children born in any one year in England and Wales will in the mass live more than four million years longer than at the beginning of the period dealt with in these tables.
Girls who puzzled over such old examples as the Countess of Desmond, who is said to have died at 145, Thomas Parr, credited with 152, and Henry Jenkins, who is reported to have died at 169, should take note that the ages of these persons are generally allowed to have been much exaggerated, and that, even if the figures were authentic, it does not do, from a few isolated instances, to infer a general conclusion.
=66. Of what literary work has it been said that it is “perhaps the only book about which the educated minority has come over to the opinion of the common people?”=
The book was the _Pilgrim’s Progress_, by John Bunyan, and he who said it was Lord Macaulay. The general rule, Lord Macaulay points out, is that when the educated minority and the common people differ about the merit of a book, the opinion of the educated minority finally prevails. The _Pilgrim’s Progress_, of which the numerous early editions were evidently intended for the cottage and the servants’ hall, the paper, the printing, and the plates being all of the meanest description, furnishes a notable exception. A wonderful book! “One of the few books,” says Coleridge, “which may be read repeatedly at different times, and each time with a new and a different pleasure.”
=67. Who was the young Fellow of Oxford who, during the latter half of last century, eloped with a banker’s daughter, and came in the end to be Lord Chancellor of England?=
“When on a visit to Newcastle,” writes a competitor, “I was taken to see the window through which Bessy Surtees came when on the 18th of November, 1772, she eloped with Jack Scott, who afterwards became Lord Eldon. He was the Lord Chancellor referred to in the question.” Yes, that is so. By the aid of a ladder and an old friend, “this adventurous young man,” as one girl calls him, carried off the lady from her father’s house, and away they went across the Border to Blackshiels in Scotland, where they were married. It proved a happy and fortunate union, but the example, we need hardly say, is not recommended for general imitation.
=68. What plant was introduced early in the seventeenth century into this country as an ornamental plant, but is now a favourite vegetable?=
We had in view the scarlet-runner bean, which is a native of South America, and was introduced into England in 1633, when “it was at first only cultivated in the flower-garden as an ornamental plant, and it is treated as such by all the early writers on flowers.” Several other plants were named by competitors, and in some cases with a considerable show of reason, but the one we have named is perhaps the most striking example.
=69. Who was the father of English cathedral music?=
Amongst the musicians named by girls as bearing this honourable title were St. Ambrose, Palestrina, Orlando Gibbons, Henry Purcell, Handel, Haydn and Bach. These were given in error. He who is justly called “the father of English cathedral music” is Thomas Tallis, or Tallys, as he himself spelt his name, who was born about 1515 and died about 1585. “His genius,” says Mr. W. S. Rockstro, “has left an indelible impression upon the English school, which owes more to him than to any other composer of the sixteenth century, and in the history of which his name plays a very important part indeed.”
=70. What may justly claim to be the greatest work of imagination in the world?=
This was a question giving an opportunity for considerable difference of opinion. It drew forth many intelligent answers, and gave a good deal of insight into individual taste. We give here the seven principal works named by way of answer, placing them in the order of frequency:—_The Arabian Night’s Entertainments_, _Don Quixote_ by Cervantes, _Gulliver’s Travels_ by Dean Swift, the _Divine Comedy_ of Dante, Spencer’s _Faerie Queen_, _The Pilgrim’s Progress_ of John Bunyan, and Milton’s _Paradise Lost_.
=71. What Scottish sovereign, looking out of the window of the prison in which he was once confined, caught sight, for the first time, of the lady whom he afterwards married?=
The captive monarch was James I. of Scotland. He had fallen into the hands of the English when, a youth fourteen years old, he was on his way by sea to France, and remained a prisoner for about eighteen years. One day he happened to be looking out of his window in the great tower of Windsor Castle, when Lady Jane Beaufort, the daughter of the Earl of Somerset, was walking in the garden below. The charms of her person, and the gentleness of her character won his heart, and they were married with great splendour shortly before James set out for the north to take up his crown. Lady Jane happened to be a cousin-german to Henry IV. of England, “and thus,” remarks John Hill Burton, the historian of Scotland, “romance found the very match which policy would have dictated.”
=72. How many different kinds of clouds may be seen floating in the sky?=
Few failed in this question, the answers going as a rule to show that an observer of cloudland, about a hundred years ago, classified the clouds, and proposed a series of names for them, since very generally accepted. He divided them into seven kinds; three being simple, and four intermediate or compound. The three simple forms are the Cirrus, the Cumulus, and the Stratus. The intermediate or compound forms derived from these three are the Cirro-cumulus, the Cirro-stratus, the Cumulo-stratus, and the Cumulo-cirro-stratus, the last named most often being called the Nimbus.
[Illustration: ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.]
MISS PERT.—We think you are quite right in supposing that your throat is really the cause of your trouble. Deafness is an exceedingly common complication of catarrh of the throat. The ear communicates with the back of the nose through the eustachian tube, and when the mucous membrane of the nose or throat is inflamed, the end of the tube is very apt to share in the condition, and so deafness results. Deafness from this cause is often exceedingly intractable. The treatment of the condition resolves itself into two parts—the treatment of the throat, and the treatment of the ear. Of these, the former is by far the more important. Perhaps it may be necessary to remove enlarged tonsils or adenoids, or to destroy little growths in the nose or back of the throat, or perhaps no such severe measure may be necessary, and the throat condition may yield to medicated applications. We advise you to wash out your throat and nose daily with a lotion made by dissolving one teaspoonful of the following powder in a teacupful of tepid water—of borax, bicarbonate of soda, and chlorate of potash, finely powdered, one part each to three parts of finely powdered white sugar. After having thoroughly washed your nose and throat with this lotion, spray out your throat and nose with solution of menthol in paraleine (1 in 8) used in an atomiser. Having well sprayed, close your nostrils with your hand and blow up into your ears. This last little manœuvre is of great value, for it helps to unstop the eustachian tube, and it carries some of the menthol up into them. When you hear a gurgling during this action, it is a sign that the tube is pervious though not quite healthy. If the tube is quite normal, a single click will be heard in both ears. You want our opinion upon the chloride of ammonium inhaler. Here it is. We thoroughly and absolutely disapprove of it. Theoretically it is all right, but in practice it has been our experience that it does far more harm than good. It is true that finely-divided chloride of ammonium is a very valuable application to diseased mucous membranes. But the reason why the inhaler is harmful is, that it is impossible to obtain chloride of ammonium vapours free from either the vapour of ammonia or of hydrochloric acid. And these do far greater harm than the ammonium chloride can do good.
MOLLY.—We do not advise the biscuits you mention. Of course they are indigestible since they cannot be digested at all! They are occasionally given for wind and tainted breath arising from indigestion, etc., but they are open to grave objections, and we really cannot see their value.
A. G.—We have so frequently detailed the treatment of anæmia that it is not fair to other correspondents to occupy our space, which is very much limited, by going over the same ground again. Look up the back correspondence, and you will find all about anæmia. Do not take quinine and iron, for this mixture is exceedingly indigestible, and anæmic girls must be very careful of their digestions. The best preparations of iron to begin with are dialysed iron, syrup of hæmaglobin, or Robin’s peptonate of iron; the two last drugs are French preparations, and are rather expensive.
DIANA D.—The pain in the left side of your chest may be due to many causes, by far the most likely of which is indigestion. Possibly the illness you had last year was pleurisy.
POPPY.—1. A pale and sallow complexion may either be a natural condition, or else, as is more probable, a symptom of some abnormal state. In anæmia, severe indigestion, constipation, and some more serious affections, a sallow complexion is a common feature. You say you are quite healthy; this excludes most abnormal conditions. But the third mentioned trouble is not excluded by that remark, and as constipation is the commonest cause of a sallow complexion, we think that that is what is troubling you. Just lately we discussed the treatment of this complaint at full length.—2. Do not use any cosmetics. We do not know the preparation you mention, but we strongly dissuade you from using it all the same. The less you have to do with patent proprietary articles the better you will be.
MARION (_Stewardess_).—You should apply at the offices of some of the principal steamship companies, and inquire whether there is likely to be a vacancy which you might fill. Preference is usually given to women who are related to men in the companies’ employ. Nursing experience is also a strong recommendation to an applicant. Salaries vary from £1 10s. to £3 10s. a month with board, and the gratuities of passengers on first-class lines make an important addition to the fixed payment.
VERITAS (_Addressing Envelopes_).—This kind of work is occasionally given out by the law stationers in London, but it tends to become superseded by typewriting. You must forgive us for saying that your handwriting is not very well adapted for the purpose. It is almost essential to write a neat clerkly hand.
DAISY IN THE FIELD (_Nursing_).—See our reply to “Louise” (April 15). It is rather a jump from the kitchen to the Army Nursing Service, is it not? Still, if you feel that you would make a better nurse than cook, you are right in trying to realise your ambition. We advise you to take the full three years’ training at some large general hospital, and at the end of that time you will be in a position to decide what to do next. District and rural nursing we would commend to your notice, for the poor in our large towns and villages want skilled attendance almost as sorely as wounded soldiers, and have very few chances of getting it.
A SCOTCH READER (_Teaching Cookery_).—Since you cannot hear of a vacancy in Scotland, it might be wise to apply to some of the English educational bodies. We would suggest your writing to the Clerk of the London School Board, Victoria Embankment, and the Secretary, Technical Education Board, London County Council, St. Martin’s Lane, London. Study also the advertisements in such papers as the _Schoolmaster_, _Schoolmistress_, _Church Times_, and the _Guardian_. You might see an advertisement for a cookery teacher in one of those journals. Be careful in applying for a post to make a full statement of your qualifications and previous experience (if any) as a teacher. There is a tendency at the present time to prefer teachers who can give instruction in all housewifery subjects to those who can teach cookery only.
LUCY HOOD, Germany (_Club for Teacher of Singing_).—1. We do not know of any residential club in London for teachers only; but there are many excellent homes and clubs for women who are earning a living in various ways. Among these we may mention the Ilchester Club, Ilchester Gardens, Hyde Park, W. (not intended, however, for professional women exclusively), the Beechwood Club, 6, Oakley Street, Chelsea, and the Y. W. C. A. Home for Working Ladies, 91, Great Portland Street, W.—2. We do not advise you to pay fees to an agent in order to obtain pupils. You should not establish yourself in London unless you have the promise of a pupil or two already. In the musical profession social interest is a great advantage. Then the mothers of your pupils could help you by speaking of you to their friends, and still more by giving an “At Home” occasionally, at which you might sing. London teachers very often give concerts at which their musical colleagues and pupils perform. These concerts usually entail expense, but they are regarded in the profession as valuable advertisements.
MYRTLE (_Writing_).—If by writing you mean copying, you would certainly not earn a living by such means; and if, on the other hand, you mean literary work, you will need to obtain a better education than most girls have at your age of 16½. You can hardly be expected to earn a living without being taught any special kind of work. But many occupations can be learnt without great expense. You could learn, for instance, cookery or dairy-work at some of the County Council classes; or you could be trained as an elementary school teacher, after passing the Queen’s Scholarship Examination. The Post Office branch of the Civil Service is also worth considering, especially as you write a good clear hand, and are fond of any occupation that entails writing. In any case it would be worth while to try to pass the examination. Probably some Board School teacher in your neighbourhood would coach you for it out of school hours, if there is no institution in your neighbourhood that you could attend for the purpose.
SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER.—The passage to which you refer is easily explained (“Put Thou my tears into Thy bottle,” Psalm lvi. 8). The practice of preserving tears in bottles is of very ancient Eastern origin. It was done in Egypt as elsewhere, and it exists down to the present day in Persia. In that country it constitutes an important item of funeral ceremonials, when every mourner is presented with a sponge with which to mop the eyes and cheeks; and after the burial is over, these are taken by a priest, who squeezes the tears into a bottle. These sacred tears of mourners are supposed to possess healing properties, and to be more efficacious than any means of cure for several forms of Persian diseases.
MINKA.—There have been such terrible and fatal accidents from using preparations of petroleum for the hair that it is illegal to employ it in this country. “Koko” is a patent, and of it we have had no personal experience.
A. POODRIDGE.—As we have often told inquirers, “pouring oil on troubled waters” is not a quotation—it is an existing fact; and the use of oil for this purpose obtains at sea. Only a week or two ago oil was employed on the Channel to enable passengers to land.
THRIFTLESS.—We think that the United Sisters Friendly Society would suit you. It was founded some years ago in order to enable women dependent on their earnings to make provision for sickness and old age, and to secure at death a sum of money for burial expenses. All women of good health and character between the ages of sixteen and forty-five are eligible for membership; also the Work and Leisure Court, No. 15. For both of these, address Miss Edith M. Maskell, 7c, Lower Belgrave Street, London, S.W. The names of the Trustees of these two Societies are a sufficient guarantee for their stability and honesty.
KAROLEEN.—If you cannot find the card-game you require at one of the large bazaars, we do not know where else you could look for them. Perhaps the bazaar at which you inquire would endeavour to procure them for you in London.
SLOGGER.—You may find illustrations from photographs of some of the most distinguished men amongst cricketers in some of the recent magazines; but you have only to order any you require at a photograph shop, and they will send you a collection from which you may make a selection.
FLORA.—We could not take the responsibility of recommending any security for the investment of money. We do not think a ground rent could be purchased for so small a sum. The Post Office Savings Bank appears to us the most suitable.
FLUFF.—Do you mean the famous and beautiful Duchess, or her successor? In any case, you can only inquire at one of the photograph shops where the windows are full of notables of every description.
BECKY SHARP.—Fine soft hair can easily be made to lie as you wish; but the coarse, stiff, pigs’-bristle sort can only be forced into place by the use of some sort of bandoline, formerly much in use, especially at a windy seaside place. You had better consult a hairdresser.
TOMUEL, MAB, and others, are very anxious to get rid of the rats which infest their houses, but that their death should be painless. We fear any death by poison would be painful, and so it would be by traps; but then the rats are peculiarly obnoxious, so we have to make a choice of two evils. We are told of an old recipe, viz., half a pint of plaster of Paris, mixed with a pint of oatmeal, is an excellent means of killing them. The best plan, however, is to try to stop up all the holes by which they enter with broken glass and tin, and to keep them stopped. To do this may be more expensive, but it will be more satisfactory, if you have scruples about the cruelty of killing them.
AN IGNORANT ONE.—John Smith. Esq., Mayor of Blackford, would be the proper address. In speaking to him, we believe he is addressed as “Mr. Mayor.” You would write to him as “Dear Sir,” or “My dear Sir,” and after signing yourself, would add below his name and address, “John Smith, Esq., Mayor of Blackford.”
DAISY.—Leave two of your husband’s cards where you call, if the lady be at home; in case of an afternoon party, leave your own and his on the hall table as you go out. White is generally worn for confirmation.
A TROUBLED MIND.—Tell the person who wishes to be engaged to you that you would like to see more of him personally, and so have opportunity for a fuller interchange of thought, and that you think he also should have a better acquaintance with you, before entering into any definite engagement, for fear of disappointment; in the meantime that (with your mother’s sanction) you and he might correspond with a view to render that prospective engagement a wise and happy one. Try some “Berlin black” on your grate.
NEW HOUSEKEEPER.—1. In a general way, house-linen of the best kind is now marked in cross-stitch. It may in the case of table-linen be embroidered in satin-stitch. Marking-ink is used for the commoner articles only.—2. _The Girls’ Own Cookery Book_, price 1s., was issued some years ago, and is an excellent manual.
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[Transcriber’s note—the following changes have been made to this text:
Page 523: Arther to Arthur—“Arthur S. Way”.]