The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. XX, No. 1026, August 26, 1899

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Title: The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. XX, No. 1026, August 26, 1899

Author: Various

Release date: September 7, 2021 [eBook #66235]

Language: English

Credits: Susan Skinner, Chris Curnow, Pamela Patten and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at




Vol. XX.—No. 1026.]

[Price One Penny.

AUGUST 26, 1899.

[Transcriber’s Note: This Table of Contents was not present in the original.]



All rights reserved.]



By ISABELLA FYVIE MAYO, Author of “Other People’s Stairs,” “Her Object in Life,” etc.




verybody, not to say every householder, is alive to the acute dangers of escaping gas. Every other thought was suspended for the moment. The hall door was left open, watched over by little Hugh, and everybody, even the stranger, Mrs. Grant, rushed to open some window. The next thing was to find out the peccant burner.

Clementina called from the kitchen that the gas there was properly turned off, save one light still burning. It was the same in hall and dining-room; what was not alight was duly turned off. Miss Latimer, coming downstairs at the moment, reported that there was no odour of escaping gas in the higher regions.

“Well, there’s only my bedroom left,” said Tom, “and I’m certain I turned off mine.”

But as he opened his chamber door his face lengthened. There was no doubt now as to the source of the danger. No light was there, but the cock of the gas-bracket stood “full on.”

The mischief was swiftly remedied, though the room was so saturated with effluvia that it would take a prolonged airing to free it from the fumes. But Tom was terribly perturbed by the discovery.

“I could have made affidavit that I turned off the gas,” he declared. “I had it burning to dress by its light, and if I didn’t turn it off, how came the light to be out?”

“You must have forgotten it wasn’t a candle, and you must have blown it out, Tom,” said Miss Latimer.

“Well, then, I’m getting about as bad as my old landlady’s servant girls,” decided Tom. “I can’t believe it of myself. Henceforth, I’ll never feel sure of having done anything!”

“Perhaps you did turn it out, and then gave it an accidental knock which turned the cock back again,” suggested Miss Latimer; “such things will happen sometimes.”

Tom shook his head.

“The cock is very stiff,” he said.

“You must remember you were in haste. We are all rather put about just now,” Miss Latimer went on. “But you must not dwell on it. All is well that ends well.”

Still Tom remained dissatisfied and unconvinced, and took no part in the eager discussion which had already begun between the two anxious wives seated at the breakfast table.

“I think I know how I’ll manage,” said the Captain’s wife. “I’ll go to the shipping offices myself. No”—she interrupted herself as Lucy made a hasty movement—“you mustn’t think of coming with me. With your face, my dear, you’d never get anything out of them while there was the faintest chance of their being able to hold it back. But perhaps,” she added turning to Tom, “this young gentleman will come with me to show me the way, and to take care of me over those busy City crossings, for I recollect that when I once went with the Captain to the office, there was some clever steering to be done ere we got there!”

Up to this point nobody had remembered that Mrs. Grant did not know Tom. Now Lucy recollected herself and introduced the boy as an employee in Charlie’s office, and at present a member of the Challoner household.

Mrs. Grant beamed on him.

“This is most fortunate,” said she. “For I’m sure your masters will give you an off day to help me find out whether there’s any news of their Mr. Challoner—and of my Captain!”

“I’m sure they will!” cried Tom. “The chiefs are always asking whether we have heard anything. Still I’ll have to go to the office first to tell them why I’m wanting leave of absence.” He suited the action to the word, bustling away, saying, “Wait till I come back—and I’ll be back as fast as I can fly!”

When he was gone, Mrs. Grant and Lucy had time for a little quiet talk. It was very easy for Mrs. Grant to say that on the platform she had recognised Lucy from her old photograph, but she did not add that she was shocked at the change visible in her, the manifold signs of nerve strain and exhaustion.

“If she has much more waiting, she’ll set sail herself for a far-off shore,” thought the good woman. Yet when she found that Lucy had regular duties at the Institute, she would not allow Lucy to dream of absenting herself for her sake.

“No, no,” she said. “I did not come here to upset your regular ways. For one thing, if you begin to change those, people will realise how anxious you are, and then they’ll pull long faces to you, and that will make everything still harder and worse to bear. It’s wise to keep a still sough, as we say in the North. You just go about your usual day’s work, and when you come home, you’ll find me and the young gentleman returned and waiting, and whatever we have heard, you shall hear it all—honour bright, I promise you.”

Lucy had her full share of the sweet womanly instinct of obedience. It is an instinct which is often strong in proportion to the strength of the whole nature. It works so naturally and grows so strong in the fortunate daughter and the happy wife, that it adds terribly to the sense of disaster when the props to which it twines are withdrawn and it is left trailing on the ground. Lucy was quite ready to succumb to the genial domination of this wholesome kindly woman, already her sister in suspense and who might so soon be also her sister in sorrow. She went upstairs before she went away, and came down saying that poor Tom’s mischance with his gas-burner had made her so nervous that she had carefully tested all the upstairs burners.

“Somebody else might have made a similar mistake,” said she, “but they are all right.” So she went off, taking Hugh to the Kindergarten on her way.

“Let her keep regularly to her teaching,” Mrs. Grant confided to Miss Latimer. “Keep her up to that, I beg you. While we wait, and when waiting ends—as it may—there’s nothing helps us as work does. It’s the blessed will of God that what most of us have to do for our bread is exactly what is good for our souls. The wash-tub and the scrubbing brush have done lots for many a poor body who is left behind. I’ve often seen that. It’s not for any widow’s having to work that I’m ever sorry, but because her work is often so ill-paid, that do what she may, she can’t keep her head above water. But, I say,” she added, sniffing, “don’t you smell the gas very strong again?”

“Oh, it is only the remains of the accident in the boy’s bedroom,” answered Miss Latimer. “The breeze through the back windows is driving it more to the front of the house.”

Just at that moment Tom’s key was heard turning in the front door, and directly he entered the house he cried—

“Why, the smell of gas is worse than ever!”

“So I think,” observed Mrs. Grant.

Tom rushed to his own bedroom.

“There’s something at the bottom of all this,” he said. “I’m as positive that I turned it off the first time as we all are that it was turned off afterwards.” He stamped about the chamber, exclaiming, “It’s all right here now, the gas is turned off, and there’s no smell inside here. The mischief is somewhere else.”

“Mrs. Challoner examined all the burners upstairs, and saw that they were right before she went out,” said Miss Latimer. “Perhaps you notice the smell more because you’ve just come in from the fresh air, Tom.”

“But I’ve been in the house all the time,” persisted Mrs. Grant.

Tom sprang upstairs.

“There!” he shouted. “Here’s the staircase burner turned full on, and it’s the same here—and here—and here,” he cried, rushing from chamber to chamber, turning off burners and throwing open windows. “Yes,” he reiterated, as he came downstairs again, “every burner upstairs was started—the only ones turned off are that in my room where the mischief{755} began and in the dining-room where you were sitting.”

“They are all right downstairs,” remarked Clementina from the back of the hall. But Tom went down and made a re-examination before he would be satisfied on that point.

Mrs. Grant and Miss Latimer looked at each other bewildered.

“I’ve not been upstairs to do up the rooms yet,” observed Clementina. “The only room I’ve tidied yet is Mr. Tom’s. I heard the mistress say to you, ma’am, as she went out, that she’d just been over all the burners, and that they were right.”

“Poor dear lady,” said Mrs. Grant; “she has been so flurried and put about that when she tried the handles, she must have turned the gas on and never noticed that she did it!”

“That must have been so, I suppose,” Miss Latimer reluctantly admitted; “but it’s hard to believe. Lucy is so wonderfully careful. However much she suffers herself, none of her duties suffer!”

“Ah, but that’s different,” Mrs. Grant replied. “She thought she was thoroughly doing her duty now; only her mind slipped off, and she did it the other way about.”

“I don’t believe it,” said Clementina energetically.

“What don’t you believe?” asked Tom.

“I don’t believe my mistress made any mistake. I never knew anybody so careful as she is.”

“But what other explanation can we offer?” inquired Miss Latimer.

Clementina answered solemnly, “I believe there is an evil spirit in this house just now.” Then, as if to give emphasis to her words, she turned and marched from the room.

“She is very superstitious,” Miss Latimer observed to Mrs. Grant. “If she gets this sort of thing into her head, as I’ve felt she was doing for some time, she’ll go off, and her departure just now will be a great trial. Are many people in the north superstitious?” she asked.

Mrs. Grant laughed. “Human nature is much the same everywhere,” she answered. “That’s what the Captain always said. He’s known folks black, and brown, and yellow, and every shade that they call white, but he says there are only two differences among them, and that’s goodness and badness, and that you find both everywhere. All the qualities, he says, are sprinkled over the world, pretty fairly divided. As for superstitions, what does the word mean? I believe in evil spirits, of course, but they work through ourselves.”

“Well, I’m very glad I am not going to my pupils this morning,” observed Miss Latimer, “and as I shall spend most of my time supervising the gas-burners, I think you may rely that you will not find the house blown up when you return from your quest.”

Mrs. Grant and Tom started off for the shipping office. As they went, she confided to him her plan of operations.

“I shall send you in first,” she said. “Men often won’t tell a woman the worst, though they know she’s got to hear it. They put off the hard job on somebody else. It’s a cruel sort of kindness. Very likely they’ll tell you plainly what they would gloss over to Mrs. Challoner or me.”

“But they’ll ask who sent me?” suggested Tom.

“Don’t wait till they ask the question,” she answered. “What’s the name of the firm you work for?”

“Patrick, Elsum, and Challoner,” he replied. “That’s the proper name; but as Mr. Challoner only newly got into the firm, his name is often not added. I don’t think it is in the Directory.”

“Then say straight out that you are a clerk at Patrick and Elsum’s, and that you want to know everything they have heard of the Slains Castle. Don’t seem any more anxious than you would be if it was a matter of some client’s cargo. As soon as you come out and tell me all they say, I’ll go in myself with you and have it all cleared up.”

She had to wait rather longer than she had thought, and when Tom came out and advanced towards her, she saw that his face was very grave indeed.

“Well?” she said, quite sharply.

“There is something known,” Tom answered in a low and solemn voice. “They say that a spar and a piece of sail, with Slains Castle painted on them, have been picked up by a Pacific liner.”

Mrs. Grant stood still, and caught her breath.

“I’m going straight into the office,” she said, “to ask why they could not write that to me, instead of bringing me up here to have to get it out of them by guile! And it’s not such a wonderful thing that they need keep it to themselves. One knew something must have happened, and this only shows how something has gone wrong, and how they’ve had to take to the boats and get into any port they could. That’s how I’m going to look at it, and so must Mrs. Challoner.”

Her interview in the office was not very long. As she walked back with Tom, Mrs. Grant’s thoughts seemed of Lucy rather than of herself.

“You see all this trouble has come into her life by an accident, as it were,” she said; “it’s like happening to get shot the first time you handle a gun. But this is the ill wind that I’ve always watched to bring my trials. I laid that to my soul when I married the Captain.”

“I’m so glad that you’ll be with my poor friend,” remarked Tom, himself immensely relieved by this vigorous presence.

“But, my dear boy, I must go straight home by the night train. If any mischance has befallen the Captain, there’s but the more reason for the mate to be at her post. Mrs. Challoner has got Miss Latimer and you to look after her; she couldn’t have kinder people.”

All the little household had gathered in before Lucy came. They had the fire blazing, and the tea set for her return. They could not lighten the falling blow, but they could surround her with loving kindliness.

Lucy heard the news very quietly indeed. She lifted Hugh upon her knee and kissed him two or three times. Then she said she was afraid they would all take cold through wandering about in such disagreeable weather. She put Hugh down, rose, and went out of the room, leading him by the hand.

Mrs. Grant shook her head. “If our husbands are really gone,” she said, “she won’t stay long after them.”

“Oh, yes, she will,” asserted Miss Latimer; “the source of all strength is open to my Lucy, and she will be found ready to do the next thing.”

“I know there’s a great deal in that,” Mrs. Grant admitted. “Grief does not kill according to the greatness of itself, or of the love behind it, only according to the weakness of the constitution; but she looks little more than a spirit already.”

A postman’s knock came to the door. Tom ran to see what had arrived. He did not come straightway back to the parlour, and when he did, he threw Miss Latimer a significant glance.

“I think I’d better run round to the office,” he said, “and let them know what we have heard. And I think I’ll look in also on Mr. Somerset. I’ll be back in good time to see Mrs. Grant to the station, as she is quite determined to go to-night.”

By the time Tom reached the office, his principals had departed. Tom did not choose to tell his melancholy news to any of the underlings; but he was only too anxious to disburden himself to Mr. Somerset.

That gentleman was deeply moved by the tidings of the Slains Castle—so ominous of the true significance of the long silence. Yet he allowed himself to see that there might be some force in Mrs. Grant’s arguments, when Tom repeated them to him.

But Tom had more news. He had to show Mr. Somerset what had arrived by post only the minute before he started to visit him—what indeed had been the controlling cause of that visit.

It was a letter with a black edge so deep that it scarcely left room for the ill-written, ill-spelled direction—

To the Peple
at No. — Pellum Street.

“It is the same handwriting as was on the envelope of the blank sheet that Mrs. Challoner got before Christmas,” said Tom. “Don’t you remember that envelope was torn up at first, but that I got the pieces out of the waste-paper basket and kept them? Directly I saw this I compared the two; it’s the same handwriting, only this is worse.”

Mr. Somerset turned it over and over in his hand. “Did you tell Mrs. Challoner about this?” he asked.

“No,” answered Tom emphatically; “I did not. It would have been too cruel to show it to her to-day—I couldn’t. Besides, it is not addressed to her.”

“You have done rightly,” said Mr. Somerset; “even if it be nothing but the circular of a mourning warehouse, it is not a thing for her to see to-day. Its coming to-day is a very strange coincidence!”

“Is it a mere coincidence?” questioned Tom.

“Well, as you say, it is not addressed{756} to Mrs. Challoner. You are one of ‘the peple’ as much as she is. You have a perfect right to open it, and when we see its contents we can the better judge of its significance.”

The contents were a sheet of thick paper with heavy black borders, between which, on all four sides, was a long “screed,” which seemed to the most careful scrutiny to be nothing but pot-hooks and hangers, dotted i’s, and crossed t’s, making not one intelligible word among them all!

“It is evident to me,” said Mr. Somerset, “that the blank letter and the ‘knocks’ and this letter all emanate from somebody who wishes to annoy and to give pain. I can’t see why they should do so. It is probably the work of some of the servants who have given Mrs. Challoner so much trouble, or of some of their friends. At any rate, the matter is not one in which we can readily move; and to-day we will not call Mrs. Challoner’s attention to it. She has but too much trouble already!”

“Yes, indeed!” sighed Tom. “We’ve all been terribly upset since yesterday. We scarcely know what we are doing. I left my gas turned on this morning, and not alight, and Mrs. Challoner got so nervous that she tried if all the other burners were right, and turned them on by mistake!”

Mr. Somerset did not pay much heed to these domestic catastrophes. He was preparing to accompany Tom back to Pelham Street. He wanted to see Mrs. Grant himself. He did not forget that the Challoners’ woe involved hers, and like their true friend, as he was, he wished to show all the attention and hospitality which he knew they would have desired to tender to a woman under such anxiety.

He found Lucy, as Mrs. Grant whispered, “holding on bravely.” She was even preparing to accompany her guest to the railway station, to see her off on her homeward journey. But she was not reluctant to yield to Mr. Somerset’s request that she would delegate this duty to him—a proposal which Mrs. Grant backed with much urgency.

“Keep her to her work, all you good friends of hers,” whispered that worthy woman. “Never mind her getting tired. For the rest, let her be quiet when she wishes it. Spare her from all the little squalid worries you can; I don’t mean keep them from her, but stand between her and them; let her get them, as it were, passed through you first. Ah, I know!” added Mrs. Grant; “for as I’m a sailor’s wife, so am I a sailor’s daughter, and what we’re bearing to-day, I’ve seen my mother live through thrice—once for her husband, and twice for her sons.”

As their cab drew up at the station, it had to wait a second while a carriage drove off.

“Dr. Ivery’s carriage,” whispered sharp Tom to Mr. Somerset. “So I suppose he is in the station.”

True enough, as they passed through the booking-office, there was Dr. Ivery taking his ticket. Mr. Somerset knew him, having met him several times during Mr. Challoner’s illness. They greeted each other, Mrs. Grant and Tom passing on. Mrs. Grant’s train was already in the station, but would not start for another quarter of an hour.

Tom turned to look at his friend and the physician. He saw that they were in close conversation, and Mr. Somerset had actually produced the black-edged letter! The doctor was carefully examining it under a lamp. He handed it back with a few emphatic words, which Mr. Somerset received with a gesture of surprise and interrogation. Then they both looked at it together, the doctor pointing to details in the superscription, Mr. Somerset eagerly following his words, and alternately watching his finger and looking into his face. Finally, he re-took the letter, and both gentlemen shook their heads, the doctor extending both his hands as though to say that his words opened wide issues. Then, as Mrs. Grant’s train was just starting, they hastily shook hands, and Mr. Somerset hastened back to give the good lady his parting words as she went off.

“Tom,” said Mr. Somerset, grasping the lad’s arm as they re-entered the cab, which Mr. Somerset had retained to drive them back to Pelham Street, “Dr. Ivery is truly concerned about the news I gave him. He has much admiration for Mrs. Challoner’s pluck and determination. Then I thought I would tell him about the little worry of these letters; and, Tom, he has a most startling theory on the subject—indeed, it is no theory, he regards it as a scientific fact.”

“What is it?” Tom asked eagerly.

“He says these letters are written by some demented person; that such things are a well known phase of mental failure; that the very caligraphy is characteristic, the way the letters and lines run into each other, the bad spelling—everything!”

“I don’t see that the doctor’s opinion helps us much,” remarked Tom, almost irritably. “Who is the lunatic? and why is the lunatic concerned with our household?”

“Those questions remain unanswered,” said Mr. Somerset. “There is no need to ask ‘why’ where lunacy is concerned. It is precisely without reason that it acts, and there is little organic unity in its actions.”

They found Miss Latimer sitting alone in the parlour. Lucy had retired.

“Sorrow is sometimes sleepy,” said Miss Latimer, “and it is God’s medicine when it is.” But Lucy had left behind kind “good nights” for Mr. Somerset and Tom, and exhortations that the former was not to think of going home without having his supper.

It was a dreary little meal. While Clementina set or removed the dishes, they did not check their conversation about the general position.

“If these strange freaks be really the work of a lunatic,” said Mr. Somerset, “of course the poor creature cannot be blamed; but none the less we must try that he or she be in some way restrained, as soon as discovered, for nobody knows what they may do next.”

“Those that get called mad are sometimes not so mad as folks think, sir,” Clementina put in, in her civil, sad way.

“It’s strange to discover that we seem to know as little of what is going on beside us, as we do of what is happening to Mr. Challoner at the other side of the world,” remarked Tom.

“Oh, we are badly in want of a sixth sense, such as some of your old Highland seers claimed, Clementina,” said Miss Latimer.

“Aye, but they did not claim it, they had it,” said Clementina confidently; “yet it wrought them little good. They could not use it when they wished, they had to wait for it, and it came only when it listed; often it would not come, and it would never bide.”

“Yet some people claim that these mysterious faculties are being slowly brought into light and order,” observed Mr. Somerset, turning to Miss Latimer. “I do not know anything of the subject myself, and I find it hard to believe. There are people who profess so much of this modern magic that if you gave them Charlie’s last letter, they would pretend to tell you where he is, and what he is doing.”

“The Brahan Seer did that, nigh two hundred years ago,” said Clementina eagerly. “He told the proud Lady Seaforth what was keeping her husband in France, and he got himself burned for his pains.”

“I should think it was bordering on sin to make any such inquiry,” said Miss Latimer. “If there are any mysterious faculties only half developed in human nature, we should not hasten to mix them up with the solemn and sacred things of our lives. We know enough to be sure that many spiritual dangers lie that way. To venture our peace of mind among such risks, is like going into a laboratory and tasting everything, not knowing which is poisonous.”

“Yet, to use your simile, there must be laboratories, and tests, and fit occasions for working among such things,” said Mr. Somerset. “Still I agree with you absolutely in the necessity of keeping the treasures of our hearts and lives out of so tainted and be-fogged an atmosphere.”

“Well, I’m sure these silly letters are not sacred treasures,” said Tom. “Suppose we give one of them to a detective to-morrow, and take him with us to put it into the hand of a psychometric or clairvoyant, or whatever they call the modern wizard or witch, and allow them to clairvoyantly perceive—isn’t that the cant?—the person who sent it. It would be a good test if this did give us a clue, and if it didn’t, or if it misled us, why there would be no harm done—it wouldn’t matter a bit—we should be just where we are.”

Clementina had removed the supper-tray while he was speaking. Mr. Somerset rose up to go. He did not reply to Tom’s suggestion, not taking it seriously, but said “good night,” promising to come back very soon, possibly next day.

In the morning Tom woke rather lazily, but he jumped up in a great fright, seeing that his watch already pointed to half-past eight! “I must have slept very heavily,” he thought, “to have heard no knock nor bell, nor anything!”

And he dressed in great haste.

(To be continued.)



By ELSA D’ESTERRE-KEELING, Author of “Old Maids and Young.”



“Modest as morn, as midday bright,
Gentle as evening.”
(A girl described by the poet Andrew Marvell.)


By the old-fashioned girl is not here meant the girl of a type extinct, but the girl of a type still existing, if in less numbers than of old. I have a sheaf of letters by this girl beside me. None of these letters bears date earlier than 1893. One of them, written on Christmas morning of that year, begins—

“To-day is just like a beautiful Spring morning, the crocuses and buds showing above ground, and all the buds forward.”

A week later, the writer announces—

“The weather is so open that Eva was able to pick some rosebuds on Christmas Day.”

Under date February 12th, 1894, there is the following—

“The kitten Sixpenny is getting plump on bullfinches which the gardener shoots. They do a lot of damage to the fruit-buds.”

The same letter contains this communication—

“The violets and camellias are backward this year, but all the crocuses and snowdrops are now at their best, and we daily examine daffodil buds.”

“Jacob, a jackdaw,” is mentioned in a subsequent letter, where the reference to him runs—

“Jacob, a jackdaw, has been lately acquired. He resides in a big aviary, and sometimes has a rabbit put in with him to get change of air.”

A girl who writes letters like that is a girl who would have been after the heart of Gilbert White of Selborne.

The old-fashioned girl is sentimental in so far as to be sentimental is to have a tender and susceptible heart, for her sentimentality is not of that order the other name of which is mawkishness. In fact, it is of a kind that justifies the singular assertion made by gentle William Shenstone: “The French use the word naïve in such a sense as to be explainable by no English word, unless we will submit to restrain ourselves in the application of the word sentimental.”

This sentimentality, the other name of which is naïveté of feeling, in the old-fashioned girl led her to say the other day to a woman whom she loved, “I wonderfully admire you,” and naïveté of feeling it is that inspires phrasing so charming as this, which I cite from the letter (date May 1st, 1894) of an old-fashioned girl: “It is four years since I have seen you, my friend, except by letters.”

An Infant Phenomenon

There he’s the darlingest dearest cleverest, brightest little fellow in the world. Yes he is.

It has been said in the foregoing that the old-fashioned girl exists in less numbers to-day than in days gone by; so far is she, however, from being as uncommon as the great auk, that I who write this have only to shut my eyes to see a long procession of old-fashioned girls pass before me.

First passes Ann (in her own explanatory phrasing, “plain A-double-N”), who always brings her letters to a close with “believe me,” and uses a nominative of address in writing a postcard.

Next pass Elizabeth, Betsy, Bessy and Bess—no Elsie, mark you.

Elizabeth wears boots with toe-caps, and is, we who know her believe, the last girl who will use the phrase, “canons of good taste.”


There Mrs. Bile I’ve brought you another little pie of my own making

Betsy wears in winter a crotcheted muffler and Ringwood gloves. She always says at a visit’s end, “Now I must be going,” and generally says that she has “paid a visitation.” This makes new-fashioned people smile, and, as Betsy only says it when in merry pin, this pleases her. Betsy is a wag in her old-fashioned way. Thus she always counts her cherry-stones, and affects distress if they come to never. This also makes new-fashioned people smile.

Bessy we call “the quotation girl.” To Bessy, coffee is “the fragrant juice of Mocha’s berry brown,” and Bessy at the tea-table refers to “the cups that cheer, but not inebriate.” Bessy will herself only be described in a quotation—

“Old-fashioned poetry, but choicely good.”

Bess uses what we others call “dictionary words”—such words as pusillanimity and titillation. Bess—does this need telling?—hails from beyond Tweed.

Next passes Susan, who says, “Papa and mamma,” when she does not say “Father and mother.” The new-fashioned girl says “papa and mother.” Susan, too, prefers the word “lady” to “woman,” and “gentleman” to “man.” In fact, she has somewhat aristocratic leanings; but condescension is no part of her manner, for she knows that politeness levels up.

Next pass the Marys, some of whom are Pollys.

An old-fashioned girl


Polly, number one, combines a love of cookery with a love of bookery, to phrase the matter as a certain poet would have phrased it, and to these loves she adds a third, the love of needlework. If you should tell her that a good needlewoman makes a bad student, she will tell you in reply that Minerva beat Arachne in the art of needlework. She is so far from being a bad student that it is only part of her knowledge to know that.

Polly, number two, is not learned at all, but is of marvellous dexterity with her fingers. She should have lived in the days of spears and spindles, some people say. These people are of those who have nothing in their heads but a tongue.

Of the Marys called Mary, there passes first that Mary to whom, albeit her home is London, a Monday Popular Concert is not “a Pop,” and to whom a photograph is not a photo.

Next passes the Mary to whom an Ellen said—

“You must have been born grown-up, like a fly, Mary.”

To whom Mary: “What do you mean?”

“Why, don’t you know, goose, that flies don’t grow, that they—let me think of the way it’s put in the books—emerge from the larva in a perfect state?”

To which Mary, dreamily: “Do they? That’s very interesting.”

A less old-fashioned Mary might not have found a fact conveyed as that fact was conveyed in a primary degree “interesting.”

The old-fashioned girl is not always handled tenderly by the new-fashioned girl. “Here’s a description of you,” so sneers one Muriel, and reads aloud from a book, “A young lady in the possession of all the virtues which adorn the most amiable of her sex.”

To which the Mary sneered at answers, “No, no; that flatters me.”

Lastly, there passes Emma, the old-fashioned girl who heard lately with amazement that (so the new-fashioned girl phrased the matter) “cut glass is vulgar.”

“How can,” said Emma, “glass be vulgar?”

Emma lives in a world in which not only is cut glass still in estimation, but in which the word “vulgar” is used in a sense in which it is inapplicable to glass.

Emma is very fastidious in regard to phrasing. She is never caught using the form “different to,” and she follows the rule which prescribes the use of “better,” where the ungrammatical say “best.” Of her adjectives, which are few and carefully chosen, a favourite one is “elegant,” which she uses elegantly. Her spelling has an old-fashioned look. Thus she writes shew, sew, ribband and bason. She prefers carven to “carved,” and, in regard to another past participle, she is open to the gentle satire of the Cornhill essayist, who wrote in 1885 of “very young ladies” what follows—

“They write first, ‘his health was drunk,’ and then, alarmed at the apparent inebriety of that harmless past participle, alter it incontinently to ‘his health was drank.’”


Emma prefers the sound of “his health was drank” to that of “his health was drunk.” Such archaisms as to pen for to write, and a braid of hair for a plait of hair, are also in favour with Emma, though her notions in style have undergone some modification since she wrote her first English composition, which began, “I sit down to write an essay.” Emma is at present engaged upon writing a novel in letter form, modelled on Sir Walter Scott’s Redgauntlet.{758} That is a secret. Emma has many secrets. New-fashioned girls are said to have none.

Never believe it!

Perhaps the old-fashioned girl is seen to least advantage in a new-fashioned school. The modern system of examination perplexes her. It was not quite a dunce, but merely a bewildered old-fashioned girl who wrote what follows in obedience to the injunction, “Comment on the grammatical peculiarity in the sentence—‘Cromwell was by far our remarkablest governor.’”

Carlyle did not know better English, or perhaps he wanted to make a joke.

Not that the old-fashioned girl is not sometimes a frank ignoramus. This must be allowed to be the case when she defines—I cite here from authentic documents—phenomenon as “a very bad-tempered person,” and emolument as “great flattery.”

In dialogue with the new-fashioned girl the old-fashioned girl does not always come off best, but once and again she scores, if only by the utterance of a bold paradox. Take the following.

“I wish,” said the new-fashioned girl, “I was dead.”

“You are always wishing something impossible, Evelyn,” answered the old-fashioned girl. “The moment you are dead you will be wishing you were alive.”

Paradox of a kind less mordant and less moribund is contained in the following, which I set down as the favourite exclamation of an old-fashioned girl born blind—

“Ah, I see it all now!”

Sometimes the sorrows of the old-fashioned girl are of a kind calculated to rouse the amusement of those who are of a newer fashion. This is surely the case in the matter of one Ada, who writes—

“I have contracted the miserable habit of writing short words backwards, putting ‘dab’ for ‘bad,’ and much more dreadful things than that. I feel that in writing my own name I write it backwards, and that it is only by happy accident that it reads all right. This comes from a game which we have been playing, and which consists of naming words that make sense spelt backwards. The boys like it (this will shock you), because of the word mad.”

Useless were it to tell this Ada that the word which “mad” spells backwards is one in which “the boys” may fairly take delight, meaning merely, as it does, “a bank to confine water.” The stricken Ada knows boys better.

Another innocent

(To be continued.)





“A joyful mother of children.”—Psa. cxiii. 9.

I called the subject of our two last talks all-important, because I could hardly imagine one possessing wider interest for you. But when I introduced it, I alluded to you, my dear girl friends, not only as the wives, but as the mothers of the future. Marriage and motherhood are alike sacred subjects—the latter certainly not less so than the former.

Before the day arrives when the sweet but solemn responsibility of motherhood comes to the young wife, girls who are members of large families have mostly shared in the toil, anxiety, and, let us hope, also in the joy and brightness that the little ones bring into the world with them.

It makes me glad as I call to mind many beautiful pictures of sisters who have been second only to the real mother in their loving care of, and tender sympathy with, the younger members of the family.

Many a delicate ailing mother has been aided on the path to renewed health by the thought that the children, about whom she would otherwise be painfully anxious, are being lovingly watched over by an elder sister. As she has lain, so willing yet so unable to fulfil her maternal duties, her heart has been full of joy, and her thoughts have gone up in praise to God for the gift of the precious daughter who is cheerfully carrying the weight under which she, unaided, must have sunk.

There are, thank God, many girls who are little mothers almost from their cradles. We can find them in rich homes and poor ones. In courts and slums where the direst poverty prevails, the baby, often unwelcome to the elders, is passed over to the ceaseless care of one who is only a few years past babyhood herself.

From the very first the little deputy-mother deems it her baby, her choicest treasure, and finds beauties and charms in it which are invisible to other eyes. Its increasing size and weight may cause her greater weariness, but they are none the less sources of pride and joy, and make her forget her own aching back.

She would go hungry that it might be well fed; cold, that it might be warmly bundled up in the shawl that ought to do duty as covering for both of them. Her baby may be but a caricature of the pink and white loveliness of another infant clad in silk and lace and with two nurses to watch its every movement; but let a ragged dweller in the same court disparage the looks of her darling, and she would fight the slanderer as stubbornly as ever knight of old did in defence of the charms of his ladye love.

I must not dwell on this picture. Long ago when the “G. O. P.”[1] was itself a baby under two years old, I wrote with heartfelt respect of “Little Nurses.” I had studied them in many places, and the sight of their devotion had inspired my admiration and loving sympathy.

Turning from the baby devotee of the slums, and not for a moment forgetting sweet pictures of sisterly devotion which I have seen in other ranks of life, I am going to indulge in a little croak about the decay of the maternal spirit in many of the girls of to-day.

I was journeying northward some three years ago, and during part of the time I had only one companion. She was past girlhood, probably some years over thirty, and in the course of conversation she spoke of her old happy home and the gradual scattering of its inmates, until she found herself the last one left. Her parents had died not long after each other, and brothers’ and sisters’ homes were far apart. That there had been true family union and affection amongst them I felt sure, for my companion could not speak of the good father and mother without a trembling of the voice and tears which she turned away to hide.

Later the talk turned on children. I suppose, as an old mother, I must have expressed my deep love for them, and I was almost horrified when my companion exclaimed—

“I loathe children. I cannot bear even to touch a child.”

The expression on her face proved her sincerity.

Need I tell you, dear girls, that a barrier seemed to rise up between my companion and myself, as I heard these unwomanly, nay, I may say, inhuman words? Only a short time before, the girl had been moved to tears as she spoke of the loving devotion of which she had been an object, both as a child and from her youth up. Yet her memories of her own home life and of the parents she mourned, had not awakened in her cold heart one spark of tenderness for the helpless little creatures who are so dependent on those around them.

A truly feminine nature, with its motherly instincts fostered as they ought to be, instead of being crushed down and stifled, regards every child with tenderness, and would make the surroundings of all the little ones brighter, purer, and holier if it were possible to do so.

It happened on that same journey that a comely Scotchwoman got into our carriage at a country station. At the door she held out one of the loveliest year-old babies I ever saw, and addressing my companion, said, “Here, tak the bairn, please, whiles I lift in the others,” for there were two more youngsters on the platform just a step above each other in size.

My companion fairly shrank into her corner and kept her hands firmly clasped, whilst her face expressed disgust and vexation at the unceremonious request. The mother’s astonishment was almost ludicrous, but I promptly said, “Give me the bairn. I’m used to bairns, you see, and this lady is not.” It was a delight to hold the bonny smiling darling in my arms. Her beautiful clothing and the pretty neat garments of the elder children were eloquent of loving care. And the mother was eloquent too about the object of the half-hour’s journey which was to show the children to “my ain guid mither, who is just wearyin’ for a look at them,” I was told.

I heard about five older ones at home, and how they had to go, two at a time and the baby, to see the grandmother, with many particulars which brought this comparatively young mother into fullest sympathy with me, the old one.

I was quite sorry to give up my pretty charge when parting time came. Sorry, too, that my other travelling companion, who sat silent in her corner with averted eyes, could not appreciate the charms of childhood, or care to impress on her memory the beautiful picture of motherly self-devotion and industry furnished by that sample batch from the flock of eight. How each bright healthy face, each spotless tasteful garment would appeal to the{759} grandmother! How glad and proud she would be to see the fruits of her own training, as she looked at her matronly daughter and those “bonny bairns” of another generation!

Yet how kind was my first companion to me, when the others had left us alone again! We parted at the next stopping-place, but during the waiting interval she was like a good daughter in her care of me. I think that in paying me sweet attentions she thought of the mother of her girlhood whom she had lost. The pity of it was that memory did not take her further back, so that, in thinking of the needs of infancy and her own childhood, she might have been stirred to sympathy with other helpless little ones of the human family.

Another girl, whom I know to be really warm-hearted and affectionate, said of her sister’s baby, “She’s a horrid little creature, more like a skinned rabbit than anything else. I cannot bear to look at her, and I would not touch her for the world.”

We know that newly-born babies are not always beautiful to look upon, but how soon the redness of their faces tones down to lovely pink and white, and the puckered skin fills out and becomes soft as satin to the touch. That girl’s heart must be unwomanly indeed for which a baby’s smile and outstretched arms have not an irresistible charm.

Putting aside the fascination of external beauty, we should bear in mind the great fact that the frailest, least attractive infant that comes into the world is the home of an immortal soul. It brings with it a burden of sweet but solemn responsibility to be borne, first of all by the parents, but shared in a less degree by all whose companionship must influence it for good or evil.

I am not going to imagine that amongst you, my dear girl friends and twilight companions, any can be found who have no warm comers in their hearts for helpless little ones, or who are insensible to the glory and responsibility of motherhood. So, having given vent to the little croak suggested by the sayings of sundry girls whom I have met elsewhere, let us talk about the children over whom we have, or may have in the future, the strongest influence of all. Strongest and best also; if we are only true to our divinely-given instincts, and alive to the vastness of the responsibilities of motherhood. I cannot help thinking that the study of child life and character should form part of every girl’s education. Surely no branch of natural history can be equally interesting.

There can hardly be a more fascinating subject than natural history in all its branches, and we can admire and sympathise with the earnest student who spends the best part of a lifetime in observing the ways of an insignificant insect. Every secret of structure or habit thus revealed is another proof of the goodness and power of God, and adds to His glory in the eyes of His believing children, who exclaim in the words of the Psalmist, “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.” The Revised Version gives the word “creatures,” instead of riches, and truly when you and I, my dear ones, call to mind the little we know about these wondrous minute organisms that scientific research has revealed of late, we are struck with the fitness of the change. It is hard to grasp the idea alike of the vastness and the minuteness of God’s works.

If I had time I could quote many passages of His Word which prove that some of the best men of old were close observers of nature, and to be such is quite in accordance with its teachings. I would plead with all nature students, but, above all, with girls, who will be the mothers of the future, to give the closest, most prayerful study to the young human beings on whose right training so much depends.

Lovers of horses, dogs or cats are generally eloquent about their pets, and can indicate every point of excellence in them, or allude regretfully to the smallest blemish. They spend money lavishly in order to acquire perfect specimens, and are careful to maintain them in health and more than comfort.

These costly pets are so much living capital, and it is safe to say that many a parent could tell more about the disposition and doings of a favourite horse or dog, than of the dispositions of the children who call them father or mother.

It is often said that the baby brings a vast heritage of love with it into the world, and I believe in the truth of this. But sometimes the love gets into the wrong heart, if I may use such an expression, instead of filling that of the mother, who, regarding the helpless creature as a hindrance to what she calls “pleasure,” is willing to relinquish the privilege of caring for her child to other hands. If these are truly womanly hands, and the nurse has in her a motherly heart, the child may lose little by the change during its first years. Later on, Nature asserts herself and only a mother’s love can satisfy a child’s yearnings.

On this subject of motherhood, as in all that you and I, my dear girl friends, have talked about together, we need to look into the Book of books for light and guidance.

Motherhood is part of Nature’s—or should I not rather say of God’s—plan for womanhood. Let us look back together at the earliest chapter of human history, and note how children were regarded then.

Eve, so named because she was “the mother of all living,” or “life,” as the Revised Version gives it, clasped her first-born to her breast and cried in her exultant joy, “I have gotten a man from the Lord.” She looked upon her babe as the direct gift of God. She, like many a mother in after days, could not foresee the sin and the sorrow that would shadow his manhood and her own heart. But in holding her infant treasure to her breast, she would have a present joy and sense of riches that words cannot describe. She, the only human mother, with the only human infant in the wondrous new world which was to be peopled by her children, must have had sensations which none of her descendants could possibly repeat.

And yet, believe me, every loving mother who is worthy of the name, has a like feeling of riches, when she can say, “This is my child, my very own. This wonderful little body is given me to feed, clothe and guard. It is my privilege to see that it is fed with food convenient for it, that the tender frame is shielded from too great heat or biting cold, that it is kept from places and things which might injure its health, or prevent its growth into sturdy boyhood or girlhood.” The true mother was proud of her name in the old days of Bible history, and to be childless was to be a sad and dissatisfied woman.

When Seth was born, after Abel had been slain by his brother, the joyful thought of Eve was that the vacant place in her motherly heart was filled again, and she cried, “God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel whom Cain slew.”

She had sons and daughters, we know not how many, during the ages which followed, but there is no detailed history of them. Still it gladdens our hearts to know of the joy of that first mother, when Seth was given to her in place of the good son who “was not.”

Pass with me down the ages and look into the tent of Sarah, when she held in her arms the child of promise, so long hoped for, even against hope as it seemed. “And Sarah said, ‘God hath made me to laugh; everyone that heareth will laugh with me.’”

Childless Rachel bemoaned her hard fate and cried, “Give me children, or else I die.” Then when Joseph was born she gave him the name which meant “added,” and said, “The Lord add to me another son.”

Yet another picture for us to look at together, my dear ones. It is that of Jacob as he met his brother Esau. After the brothers had embraced and kissed each other, Esau “lifted up his eyes and saw the women and the children, and said, ‘Who are these with thee?’ And he said, ‘The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.’”

Why are we studying all these Bible pictures, and glancing at the domestic stories which they illustrate? Is it not that we may all realise more fully the glory of motherhood, the value set upon children by the mothers of old, and the universal acknowledgment that a child was a precious gift from God?

Ah, there was no talk of loathing children then! No shrinking from the touch of a fair, innocent, helpless babe! No talking lightly or contemptuously of the little ones. The Psalmist calls children “the heritage of the Lord—His reward,” and says that “He makes the barren women to keep house” (or to dwell in a house) “and to be a joyful mother of children.”

Motherhood conferred dignity and made the woman mistress of a home and the head of a household. Ever and always the presence of a child or children added to the sense of riches, being regarded as the special gift of God and a token of His favour.

It is not easy to exhaust Scripture on this beautiful subject, for one Bible mother seems to rise after another and claim our attention and admiration. We see Hannah appearing in the house of the Lord, first pleading that she too may know the glory and joy of motherhood, and then, taking her weaned child to dedicate him to the lifelong service of the Giver. “For this child I prayed, and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him, therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord.”

How self-sacrificing, how sublime was this act on the part of the mother! Just when her little Samuel had twined himself round her heart by the imperishable cords of love; as each day witnessed some new growth and charm in the boy; and the parting must have become almost too great a trial for the tender mother to contemplate, for “the child was young.” Hannah brought him to Shiloh and left him there.

Hers was no temporary sacrifice. She renewed it year by year, rejoicing that her son, God’s gift, was accepted by Him in turn as she gave him back, “and was in favour both with the Lord and with men.”

We have passed by the mother of Moses and her plan to save, if possible, the life of her infant, and other Bible mothers, around whom we might well pause. We must, however, glance for a moment at the Virgin Mother and her Babe lying in His lowly manger-bed, the infant Saviour, “Christ the Lord.”

Stretching across the years, we see Jesus in His manhood taking the little ones in His kind arms, blessing them and saying, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.”

Now, my dear girl friends, what impression has this talk left on your minds? Has it not elevated your ideas of motherhood, and taught you how it was regarded amongst the men and women of the Bible? Is it not a sacred and glorious trust as well as a joyful one?

Are not the little ones, of whom some girls of to-day speak slightingly and worse, to be regarded as God’s good and precious gifts to be nursed for the Lord, fitted for and dedicated to His service?

(To be concluded.)




Just now there is a very general feeling that women need more oxygen than they get. I do not know if it be owing to the largely-published fact that the Queen spends most of her day in the open air; but certain it is that one of the newest fashions is that of walking, and this has taken, with the leaders of London fashions, the place of cycling, to which they were so devoted two seasons ago. Most of the great ladies might have been seen in the Park during the past spring taking an early walk, frequently accomplishing the round of the Park at a good even pace, which meant exercise and health. Of course, now we know that the best way to avoid fat and keep the slender figure of youth is to walk regularly and constantly, and that any dietary or starving process is unsafe, it is easy to decide the matter for ourselves. Three miles a day is said to be enough, though some people say more. At any rate, it is the regularity which contains the charm and makes its success. And the doctors say that oxygen is{761} what is needed to keep the eyes bright and the skin fair and healthy. So, fortunately, walking is cheap besides being fashionable, and it is the only way to find that physical energy without which one is inert and languid. So, now that I have told my readers the latest development in this way, they should try to lay in such a stock of energy during the coming autumn and winter as shall make them perfect giants in ordinary life.


There is another subject which is rather akin to this one, of which I find a note, and that is the general complaints of eye-trouble made this spring and summer by cyclists. It is said to be a form of spring ophthalmia, caused by the particles of dust and decaying matter with which the atmosphere is loaded, which also affect the throats of those who are in the habit of riding with the mouth open. One of the great London dailies has mentioned this subject, and a London specialist of renown has declared that the remedy for the first trouble is to have a pair of spectacles with crape sides—as the wire sides are too hot—and to keep the mouth shut while cycling. A mild antiseptic is used for the eye-trouble, for which a doctor should be consulted.


And now, having informed you of the very latest modes in this direction, we may turn to another note of mine, made at the Women’s Congress in July last, when I quickly noticed one thing, that American women, who are strong on matters of hygiene and ready to take advice on it, had all dismissed veils both with hats and bonnets, and that all the Englishwomen present, with hardly an exception, wore them—of every kind and colour. In fact, an Englishwoman feels her face unclothed without a veil to hide it, and the idea of its becomingness and that it hides the ravages of time is a constantly alleged reason. The American woman, like Gallio, cares for none of these things, and she looks as well. Certainly her skin is as clear and healthy as anyone else’s, and perhaps it is better and rosier in hue. She has attended lectures innumerable on personal hygiene and on physical culture until she knows a few things by heart. They are, that neither sun nor air are enemies to woman’s beauty; and that science declares that veils of all kinds are of no good for anything, and that they affect the eye and its sight most injuriously. The subject of the danger of spotty veils has been frequently ventilated, and yet our women and girls do not seem to have taken notice of the warning. I was much struck with the docility of the Americans in this way; they really tried to follow out every suggestion and discovery which made for better health and improved powers and energies in daily life.


It is difficult to say whether the revival, which has been very evident, of this early Victorian poke will be a lasting one; but I think it will probably extend into the winter in the form of comfortable velvet and feather creations, in which we shall all look more or less like our grandmothers. Some of us will find them very becoming indeed. The new pokes differ from the old ones in showing entirely that pretty coil of back hair which is so charming a feature of present-day hair-dressing. The old pokes of the beginning of the present reign were not made to do this, nor were they furnished with the pretty tulle strings which add so much to their becomingness. To me,{762} this ancient head-covering is always associated with black ostrich tips and pink roses, but I may find out as the seasons roll that new discoveries have been made in this also, and that will be a decided gain, for there was, if pictures may be trusted, an unpleasant sameness about the headgear of one’s forebears.

The French sailor has been really distinctively the hat of the season. It is a wonderful hat, for it suits everyone, and especially all those difficult to suit on account of either having thin faces or possessed of a few years too many. The brim, moreover, is not too wide, and does not cast an unbecoming shadow. Many women invariably select this shape, and fortunately it is always to be found, as its popularity is quite assured. It is easy also to trim them for oneself, and select a black one trimmed with black net, relieved, if you choose, with a paste buckle; or else a white one trimmed entirely with white tulle or net. These were the most fashionable things of this last season. Fancy gauze is also worn, and the net and gauze ruchings that can be purchased ready-made can be used for them.

It has been also much in vogue during the last few weeks to have hats of this French sailor shape in colours, i.e., greys, fawns, browns, even drabs, trimmed with tulles of the same colour. These have been very pretty, and will be in good taste for the autumn season, as they are suitable for wearing with travelling dresses, and they will be found to survive a good deal of hard wear. It is rather the fashion to wear a veil of the same colour with these hats, the meshes of which are chosen large and the veiling clear, with dots very far apart. Violets and blues seem to me very becoming, but I cannot say that I think the same of reds and pinks. Veils of white lace—washing lace as it is called—are very much used with sailor hats again.


Our illustration of a braided gown of fawn-coloured cloth shows the last new style for autumn wear. The braiding is done in a darker shade of fawn; or, in some cases, in black, or in white; but the dark shade of the same hue is more fashionable. The hat is a lace straw, trimmed with ostrich feathers and shaded roses of a dark hue, and strings of black gauze. This hat, and that shown in our illustration of the single head, are good examples of the autumn afternoon hat; and they are suitable both for visiting, and for garden-parties in the country. The autumn hat is of a white chip, or Panama straw, with black feathers, black gauze, and a paste buckle; while under the brim is a cluster of chrysanthemums in mauve and red.

I wonder whether my readers have discovered for themselves the extreme usefulness of voile as a material? I have illustrated a dress which is, of course, suitable for dress occasions only, but which might be modified, and would be just as suitable during the winter for quiet evenings, as it would be for autumn garden parties.

The gown of cashmere is far more simple. It has revers of satin to match the colour of the cashmere, which is rather an uncommon shade of borage-blue—that delightful shade, so clear and yet not at all crude in tone. The hat is of blue, with a wreath of very tiny mauve flowers resting on a scarf of blue, of the very palest shade of the same.

If it should prove to be a fine autumn and winter, I hear it prophesied on all sides that red will be more worn than even during last winter: indeed, that all bright hues will be in favour.

My last few lines must be devoted to the question of “hats in church,” which seems just now a burning question in America. I read an account lately, in an American journal, of the movement in a part of the Methodist body to do away with the wearing of large hats in church, where their use is even more objectionable than elsewhere in any place where people gather together in numbers. It is said by the advocates of the change that it is not contrary to Scripture, for at the time when St. Paul wrote, the women were in a state of servitude and more or less seclusion, and they are not so now. It seems probable that the movement will spread throughout America. You will find that at many public meetings there, and even here during the Congress, many women took their hats off while the meetings were going on.


The register of a bedroom fireplace should never be closed, but left open for free ventilation from above.

Fire-irons and fenders not in use in the summer should not be neglected, but kept constantly rubbed up and not allowed to rust.

Parsley is injurious to fowls, and should not be given to them.





How did you enjoy yourself last evening, Marion?” asked Ada, on the morning after Marion had paid her promised visit to Mrs. Holden.

“Very much indeed.”

“Was it a regular dinner-party?”

“Oh, no, only just ourselves, you know—and Mr. Scott!”

Jane looked very wise.

“Madge made a delightful suggestion,” went on Marion quickly. “How should you like a water-party, Jenny?”

“The most delightful thing for this fine weather, but who would row?”

“Mr. Holden and Mr. Scott are both thoroughly accustomed to it.”

“Jenny and I can take turns,” said Ada; “we have always been accustomed to it, but you never went in for it, did you?”

“No, I can only steer,” said Marion, laughing. “I told Madge that we would bring half the lunch and half the crockery. We can get tea at a cottage that they know of.”

“But you have not told us yet where we are going,” said Jane.

“Oh, I forgot. Madge and her party will meet us at West End Lane Station, and we will take the 9.20 train to Richmond; catch the one that goes on to Twickenham, row to Teddington, land on the bank and have lunch, and have tea at the cottage I spoke of.”

“Just the very thing to brush the cobwebs out of our brains,” cried Ada enthusiastically, “is it not, Jenny? We all want a treat, and we are all rather fagged out. Is it to be this next Saturday?”

“Yes, if we can arrange it in time.”

“Well, there is very little to arrange, when one comes to think of it,” said Ada meditatively, “unless Mrs. Holden thinks of inviting a big party.”

“No, just themselves and ourselves.”

“Did she say what part of the lunch she would prefer to bring?”

“She suggested the meat and also the drinks.”

“Ah!” laughed Jane, “she thinks it wise to ensure something solid for her husband and{763} brother! And we are to bring the sweets, and so on? Then do have a tomato salad; it is the most delightfully cooling thing you can have on a hot day.”

“My good girl, how in the world can we pack it? I suppose you mean to take the tomatoes and make it as it is wanted; but that is rather a nuisance. My experience of water-parties is that you never land for lunch until you are so famished that to make a salad is the last thing anyone wishes, and any materials of that sort are thankfully despatched in the raw!”

“But we can,” urged Jane. “How can an old person like you be supposed to understand the latest contrivances of the age? We can slice the tomatoes and put them in layers in a jam pot with the oil, vinegar, chopped parsley and onion, and tie the whole down. It will stand up quite well in a corner of the hamper, and will not upset.”

“Bravo, Jenny, we will certainly have one. Is that your own idea?

“It is my own idea, and I intend to patent it,” said Jane, with dignity, “so please see that you do not infringe my rights. Now one of you can suggest a suitable sweet.”

“It is rather difficult,” said Marion. “Shapes pack so badly, and pastry is apt to crumble. Jelly has an unfortunate habit of turning into soup just when it is wanted.”

“Perhaps it will be better to stick to fresh fruit,” said Ada.

“We must have something else,” said Marion meditatively. “How would it be if we took the materials for a Cicely pudding? It only takes a few minutes to make.”

This suggestion met with warm approval from the two others, for the Cicely pudding was an old favourite, the brilliant invention of a mutual friend in the country; but for the recipe thereof the gentle reader must be content to wait awhile.

“Very well,” said Jenny, “Marion shall make the Cicely pudding, and I will make the tomato salad. What will Ada do?”

“Make the sandwiches,” said Ada promptly. “There must be sandwiches, some of anchovy and hard-boiled egg, and some of cucumber.”

“Shall I order a sandwich loaf?” asked Marion.

“No, I think not. I prefer ‘Florentines,’ they are handier in every way.”

“Florentines” are little long-shaped milk rolls, something the shape of sponge fingers, but rather larger, and as they only require to be split and spread, much time is saved, and so it was settled.

On Friday evening, whilst Ada was making the sandwiches, Marion made up and looked over the weekly accounts up to that evening. She knew there would be no time on Saturday, as they would be late back. A box of fresh eggs had been sent from her country home on the Monday previous, and this had served famously for the week’s breakfasts.

This is the dinner list:—







The food account was as follows:—

£ s. d.
1½ lb. neck of mutton (cutlets) 0 1
1 lb. veal cutlet 0 0 10 
1½ qrts. gooseberries 0 0
1 lb. cheese 0 0
½ lb. macaroni 0 0
Leeks 0 0
Flavouring vegetables 0 0
Endive 0 0
Potatoes 0 0
1½ lb. neck of mutton (for boiling) 0 0 10½
2 cauliflowers 0 0
2 mackerel 0 0 10 
8 loaves 0 2
Milk 0 1
½ lb. tea 0 0 10 
1½ lb. Demerara 0 0
½ lb. loaf 0 0
Sponge cakes 0 0
Jug of thick cream 0 1
Small jar of greengage jam 0 0
2 punnets of strawberries 0 1
Tin of anchovy paste 0 0
Florentines 0 3
1 lb. tomatoes 0 0
£0 19

“Where are the strawberries?” asked Jane as she looked over Marion’s shoulder. “I have not seen them.”

“We are to call for them at the greengrocer’s the first thing, and have them directly they come from market. I was afraid to have them in overnight for fear of their getting too juicy.”

Early next morning the sunshine streamed into Marion’s room and awoke her with the promise of a happy day. She rose and dressed quickly and was down the first, looking delightfully cool and fresh in a white coat and skirt. She busied herself with packing the hamper, and as she set to work down came Jane, resplendent in blue. She got out the tomatoes, sliced them quickly and arranged them in layers in a large jam pot, sprinkling oil, vinegar, chopped parsley and onion in between. Then she tied a new jam cover over, and put her chef d’œuvre carefully in the hamper.

“You two busy bees make me feel so disgracefully lazy,” cried Ada as she ran in a few minutes later. “I quite intended to be the first to-day. I will get you some breakfast to make amends,” so saying she quickly laid the table in the sitting-room, and made the tea. As soon as the hamper was packed, they sat down to a hasty meal. As they were finishing there was a ring at the bell.

“I declare I had forgotten all about the post!” cried Jane. “A letter without a stamp, I suppose. I hear Abigail speaking to him.”

But it was not the post, for the door opened, and Mr. Tom Scott was shown in.

“I hope you will excuse me, Miss Thomas,” he said to Marion as he shook hands and was introduced to the other two. “I was so afraid that you might find the hamper with the crockery too heavy to carry, and my sister said she thought I might venture to call and see if I could be of any assistance.”

“We are just coming,” said Marion, smiling. “Thank you; I don’t think we should have found the hamper too heavy.”

Ada and Jane disappeared to make the final preparations; Marion picked up her hat from off the little side-table and pinned it on, listening to Mr. Scott as he discussed the day’s proceedings. Soon Jane came back bearing the hamper in triumph, of which Mr. Scott immediately took possession, and so the party set out.

On the way they called for the strawberries as arranged. They got to the station just in time to meet Mrs. Holden and her husband, who had just arrived, having taken the next train after Tom Scott. They had only a few minutes to wait for the Richmond train. Marion was just going to get the tickets for her party, but she was prevented by her friend Madge, who explained that the railway-tickets represented her husband’s share of the entertainment and the boat her brother’s, so it was no good protesting. So, as Jane afterwards described it (with a sigh of content at the recollection), “they went to Twickenham like dukes and duchesses in first-class carriages,” adding sagely, “Being a working woman has one great advantage, for one certainly knows how to appreciate the good things of existence when they fall to one’s share.”

The day was glorious; a deep blue sky scarcely flecked with clouds, brilliant sunshine, not a breath of wind. The train was very full, and there were many other merry parties besides their own. Everyone seemed taking a holiday. At Richmond they had to run quickly over the bridge for the Twickenham train, which they just managed to catch; as they caught a glimpse of the river and saw how crowded and covered with boats it was just there, they all felt glad that they had arranged to start a little higher up, where they would have more space. At Twickenham they got out and walked through the hot streets of the quaint old town to the water’s edge, where under the trees the boat was ready for them.

So they all got in—Mr. Holden and Tom Scott rowing, Jane and Ada comfortably reclining in the bow, Mrs. Holden and Marion in the stern. The boat glided gently along. Marion had never seen this part of the river before, as she had had little leisure for pleasure parties since she came to live in town, and she was delighted with the beauty of the scene. Tom Scott showed her Pope’s Villa and other places of interest. In spite of the heat, Jane seemed blessed with a superabundance of energy, and after a time she took Mr. Holden’s oar and rowed so well that he declared himself surpassed. Now they neared the towers of Hampton Court, and finding a suitable little island shaded by willows, they moored to a tree and prepared for lunch, for which they all had excellent appetites.

“We have to make our pudding, you know,” said Marion, laughing.

“Going to do cooking out of doors?” asked Mr. Scott. “Shall I make a field oven?”

“No, we don’t need to do any cooking, and it will all be ready in five minutes,” she answered, and set to work.

She brought out the sponge cakes, split them in half, and put half of them at the bottom of a large pie-dish that she had brought with her; this she spread with a thick layer of greengage jam, then she put another layer of sponge cake. “Now, Jenny, the strawberries,” she said; but Jenny had already got them out and was busy picking off the stalks. When this was done, she arranged them on the cake in a thick layer, sprinkled them thickly with castor sugar, and lastly spread thick cream, which she had brought in its own brown jar, over the whole. As a last touch, a few “hundreds and thousands” were quickly sprinkled over the top, and the dish was finished, amidst the admiring plaudits of Madge and her party.

Jane’s tomato salad went excellently with the cold lamb which Mrs. Holden had provided, and the whole repast went off well. Ada’s sandwiches kept perfectly fresh, as they were wrapped in a damp cloth before being packed, and they were much liked.

After lunch the indefatigable Jane washed up, Mrs. Holden and Ada helping her, and repacked the hamper. They then rowed across the river to the Palace. Marion suggested{764} looking at the pictures, and Tom Scott offered to conduct her, with an alacrity that was quite surprising, considering that he had been expressing his absolute ignorance of the subject about five minutes before.

“Will you come, too, Madge?”

No; Madge preferred to be lazy and sit out of doors, admiring the orange trees—Mr. Holden also, and Ada. Jane thought she would like to go, and so the three started off. The cool shade of the great rooms was a delightful change after the glare of the gardens, and they sauntered through, admiring the pictures and carving and the beautiful views seen through the open windows. Jane was very much amused with an old Dutch picture representing a street scene with no sky; the perspective was so odd that she declared the people were walking on the wall like flies. She ran back to the other two to tell them to come and look at it, but they seemed so deeply engaged in conversation that she did not disturb them.

“You can’t think how delightful it all is after the lonely life I have been leading for three years,” she heard.

When they went out again to the others, the afternoon was growing cooler. They all went back to the boat, for they were now to row a little way in the direction of Twickenham and to land at a cottage, where tea was ordered beforehand.

Jane rowed again, and by the time the cottage was reached was quite willing to let the old woman in charge make the tea as she was getting just a little tired. She did justice, however, as they all did, to the good things provided—the honey, which the old woman’s bees had made, the strawberries from the cottage garden, the home-made bread and delicious country butter.

In the cool of the evening our merry party started to row back to Twickenham, Marion steering under Mr. Scott’s direction, who was rowing just in front of her. They just caught the train at Twickenham, and so ended a very happy day.

(To be continued.)



By EVELYN EVERETT-GREEN, Author of “Greyfriars,” “Half-a-dozen Sisters,” etc.




scar, now that we are alone, now that nobody can interrupt us, I want to talk to you about my plan.”

Sheila’s face was flushed, her big eyes were sparkling. She looked less the child, Oscar thought, and more the woman than when he had seen her last. He had been struck by this when he first saw her on board the boat. He had thought the same thing many times that day as the thundering express bore them from Plymouth to London. Now they were alone in Sheila’s room in the hotel where they were to spend the night. A big fire blazed on the hearth. The curtains were drawn, and brother and sister were alone together. The rumble in the streets below made a ceaseless murmur, but it was different from the rattle and roar of the train. They could talk at their ease now.

On the way up to town Sheila had poured her whole history into Oscar’s ears, and had heard the story of his own trouble at home, and the shadow which rested upon him. She had not said much, there had been no excited outburst such as he had expected. Perhaps the presence of other people in the carriage was a check upon her, or perhaps she had learned something of the lesson of self-control and reticence.

Anyway she had been unwontedly quiet during the last hours of the journey, and Oscar, who had felt very weary after his long hasty night journey down to Plymouth, had dozed in his corner. But now, after their arrival here, after their substantial meal below, they had come upstairs for a confidential talk which had been impossible before.

“Oscar, I have thought it all out. It came to me first on ship-board, even before I knew anything about you and what had happened in the office. (Why didn’t you tell me in your letters?) I made up my mind then and there that I would never, never, never live at Cossart Place again. Aunt Cossart has behaved infamously to me. She has tried to spoil my life and make me always wretched and miserable. I will never forgive her. I will never see her again!”

Oscar looked straight at his sister, but said nothing, for Sheila was proceeding with her old impetuosity.

“You can’t understand what it was like there. Even Mrs. Reid understood and was indignant. Oh, yes, I know she was, by the little things she said, though, of course, she would not say much. Everybody knew. I feel as though I could never bear to see any of them again. She is a hateful woman. The Barretts told me how furious people were with her when they knew she was going to send me home. Everybody guessed why—that was the horridest part of it. And I had been so happy. Everybody was so kind, and I had to go without even saying good-bye, but I felt I couldn’t—I couldn’t! The Barrett girls declared they believed everybody would cut them for it. I’m sure I hope they will! Oh, I can’t help being angry—I can’t indeed!”

“Sheila dear, don’t get excited,” said Oscar soothingly. “I can understand that it was very hard. It is very hard to be misunderstood, and to have things put down to us that we know we have not done, but we have talked over all that before. Tell me about this plan of yours.”

“Oh, yes. Oscar, you will be twenty-one soon, won’t you?”

“Yes. What has that to do with it?”

“Everything, for you will have command over our money then.”

“Yes; at least over my half, anyway, perhaps over it all. But it is not much, Sheila.”

“I know it is not; but it is enough to make us a little home. Now listen, Oscar, for I have it all planned out. You shall go on at the office if you must, because it’s something to do, and Uncle Tom has been kind in a way, though if he suspects you—however, we won’t talk any more about that. But we won’t go on living with the Cossarts any more, I’m quite determined on that. We shall have enough to have a little home of our own, even if it’s only a lodging; and you will go to the office, and I’ll try and get some music pupils, or little children to teach in the mornings, or something to help. And I’ll keep our home as nice as possible, and we’ll have cosy evenings together, and we’ll have nothing to do with the people who have behaved so badly to us. Oh, I don’t mean that we’ll cut them or anything, but we won’t go on living with them and eating their bread. I couldn’t possibly dream of going back to Cossart Place ever; and they don’t want me at Uncle Tom’s, and besides, how could I go on living in the same house with that Cyril? I can’t think how you can do it, Oscar, I really can’t.”

Sheila leant forward with flushed cheeks and shining eyes. Oscar was leaning back in his chair, his face a little in the shadow. Sheila had been struck on first seeing him with the sharpened look of his features, and the tired expression in his eyes; the same thing struck her again more forcibly at this moment, although she spoke no word of it.

“Say you think it a nice plan, Oscar, for I’m sure you do!” she cried eagerly.

“No, Sheila, I don’t think it would do,” he said slowly.

“Oh, Oscar, what do you mean? I’m sure it would. We should be so happy together, you and I. And it’s often so horrid being with people who misunderstand us. I think we’ve had enough of that. Oh, don’t say you won’t think of it!”

“I am thinking of it, Sheila, I’m thinking hard, for I hate to thwart you; but I don’t think it would do, and you would find that living in a very small way, and trying to earn something yourself, are two very difficult matters for people brought up as we have been.”

“But, Oscar, we should belong to ourselves and each other. We should be free from those horrid things that happen in other people’s houses.”


“But we should have other troubles and worries to face, Sheila. And do you know, I think it would not only be very ungrateful to our relations to take ourselves off like that, but I think it would be very bad for us ourselves.”

“Bad for us? I don’t understand.”

“I think it is always bad for people to rebel too much against the life which—well—which God seems to have arranged for them. Sheila, don’t you think that in the old days you and I had rather too much of our own way?”

“I never thought about it—did we?”

“I think so. Everything was made so smooth for us, and we had so few battles to fight. I sometimes think it might have been better for us if we had had more. Sheila, take my case; it is true I know nothing about this lost money, but in one sense the fault is mine. I always did the thing that was the easiest and pleasantest at the moment, though North warned me again and again that my easy-going ways were slovenly, and might lead to confusion and worse. I never quite believed him, and never seriously tried to conquer my tendencies, and you see what has happened. Whoever is to blame, the thing could not have been but for my fault.”

“Well, I think that’s a very hard way of looking at it; but what then?”

“I have not quite finished, Sheila; I want to talk about your case. It has been something the same with you, little sister. You have always liked to drift along easily with the current, doing what was pleasantest at the moment. If people were kind and made you welcome, you responded to all their overtures, without always stopping to think what Aunt Cossart would like, or if it were quite considerate to Effie. They were quite small things, but little by little they made trouble; and then came this great storm which has made you so miserable. You were not to blame, as I was; I don’t think you were ever warned, and it was difficult for you to see from day to day how things were going; but I think perhaps, Sheila, we have both been selfish in our own way, and have not thought enough——”

“You’re not selfish, you’re not careless,” cried Sheila interrupting excitedly. “I only wish I were one quarter as good. Oh, Oscar, I do believe I have been selfish, though I never meant it. I never thought of such a thing. We have always been used to being happy—to have people like us. It seemed so natural. I didn’t mean any harm.”

“No, Sheila, I am sure you didn’t; but you know life is not given to us just to enjoy for ourselves. We must try and think of other people too, to put them first. It is harder for you than for some, because father always spoiled you; and everybody likes you, and you are so pretty and fascinating.”

But Sheila jumped up and put her hand upon his lips.

“Don’t, Oscar! I don’t want to be praised; I begin to feel that I have been rather naughty and selfish, though I wouldn’t believe it when my conscience pricked now and then. I was wrong to be so furious with Aunt Cossart. Sometimes it made me a little frightened—when I wanted to say my prayers—and didn’t know how to get out ‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive—’ Oh, Oscar, I don’t think I’ve forgiven Aunt Cossart yet. Suppose there had been a storm, and the vessel had sunk! How dreadful that would have been!”

“You will forgive everything, Sheila, when you think about it a little more. When we begin to understand how many faults we have ourselves, we see that we must forgive, we can’t help it. Everything seems to sink out of sight except the thought of His forgiveness of us, and what it cost to win it.”

Sheila suddenly fell upon her knees before Oscar, and looked anxiously into his face. It was seldom indeed he had spoken to her quite so openly. A quick thrill of anxiety ran through her.

“Oscar, have you forgiven Cyril?”

“Yes,” he answered in a low voice. “Indeed, sometimes I think it is he who has to forgive me more than I him. For remember, Sheila, it was my carelessness that put in his way the opportunity—suggested, perhaps, the temptation. When I think of that, I feel that it is I who need the forgiveness.”

Sheila looked awed at the thought suggested—that terrible thought so often overlooked and set aside, that not alone to ourselves do we sin and do amiss; but that in some way or other our comrades and friends may become involved in our wrong-doing.

“‘Sic vos non vobis,’” quoted Oscar in a dreamy fashion. “I begin to understand those words, Sheila, as I never did before.”

“But it is rather dreadful, Oscar; it makes it seem as though our sins went on and on so!”

“Yes, that is what I want to understand better. Our sins are forgiven, but the effects of them so often go on and on. We must think of that, too, Sheila; it will help to make our faults hateful to us. It will make us more patient when we have to bear blame that we do not quite merit; for how much more blame do we deserve than we ever get!”

Sheila was silent a long time, looking up into Oscar’s face.

“And my plan?” she asked tentatively.

“Would be a selfish one,” answered Oscar quickly, “for it would hurt the feelings of our relations; and I think it would be a shirking of the discipline of life, which we both stand in so much need of, Sheila!”

“You don’t.”

“Yes, I do. It would be very much pleasanter for us to have a little independent crib of our own, where we should be able to indulge ourselves and each other, and get away from all the little frictions of life in a family where things are not done quite in the way we have been used to. But it would be like running away from what seems to have been given us to bear; and I expect we should find we soon had a big new crop of worries and bothers, quite as big as the old ones. So I think, Sheila, we will not force things ourselves. We will go back to Uncle Tom’s, and wait and see what turns up. We will both try and be patient, and do what is right, never minding whether or not it is what we like best ourselves. We must try and learn the lesson of not pleasing ourselves always. You know Who set us the example of that?”

Sheila subsided upon the floor, and laid her head on Oscar’s knee, taking his hand between hers.

“You are getting so good, Oscar,” she said, “I am almost afraid of you. You are not ill, are you?”

“Ill? No. Why do you ask?”

“Because you don’t look well, and when people are so very very good, one sometimes fancies they are——”

Sheila paused, and Oscar said with a little tone of mirth in his quiet voice—

“I am not going to die of goodness yet, Sheila! You need not be afraid on that score.”

It was with a good deal of shrinking that Sheila prepared to face the Cossarts on the morrow. She knew that they would by this time have received the letter her aunt must have written, and that Mrs. Cossart would not have drawn her picture with a very strict regard to truth. She would have thought more of justifying her precipitate action than of anything else; and Sheila was terribly sensitive where Ronald Dumaresq was concerned, and felt as though any mention of his name would be worse than the cut of a whip. And her cousins were not sensitive on these points. They would be almost certain to cross-question her and make a joke of everything.

It needed all her courage and resolution to face the meeting; but when they drew up at the door and were met by Ray in the passage, it was not of Sheila’s sudden return that the whole house was thinking. Indeed Ray only gave her a rather hurried kiss, warm and sisterly, but distinctly hasty, and then turned to Oscar and took him by the shoulders, bringing him into the strong light of the window.

“Oscar, how are you? Are you sure you feel well?”

“Y—yes, all right, just a little tired with all the travelling, you know. But what do you ask for?”

“Oh, we are in such a fright. Typhoid fever has broken out in the town. The little office-boy you have been visiting so often has it; and everybody was saying that you were looking ill. Five cases are reported to-day, and they say there will be more. You are quite sure you are well, Oscar? Sheila, did he eat his breakfast this morning?”

“He hardly ate anything either last night or to-day,” cried Sheila, in sudden anxiety. “He has a bad headache. We thought it was from the long journey.”

The girls stood looking at each other in dismay. The same fear was in both hearts. Oscar turned from them and began climbing the stairs with a strange languor in his movements.

“I think I’ll go to my room,” he said, “but don’t bother, I shall be all right there.”

“He’s got it!” cried Ray, under her breath; and Sheila turned white to the lips.

(To be continued.)




An Accidental Cycle I.

Prize Winners (Seven Shillings Each).

Very Highly Commended.

Ethel Beven (Ceylon), Nellie M. Daft (Portugal), Katy Donaldson (France), Hilda Jonklaas (Ceylon), M. R. Laurie (Barbados), H. Low (Canada), Florence Stephenson (Cape Town).

Highly Commended.

Sadie Barrat (Canada), Louis E. Blazé (Ceylon), Elsie Davies (Australia), L. Gamlen (France), Clara J. Hardy (Australia), J. W. W. Hogan (Penang), Josephine E. Jones (Portugal), Jessie Mitchell (Canada), Gertrude E. Moore (New Zealand), L. O’Sullivan (Rangoon), Mrs. Talbot Smith (S. Australia), Mrs. Sprigg (Cape Colony), Mrs. Waddington (Bermuda).

Honourable Mention.

Mrs. H. Andrews (Canada), Maggie Glasgow (Australia), Mabel C. King (Canada), Mrs. Hastings Ogilvie (Deccan), Mrs. W. T. Moore (Bengal), G. Waterstrom (Australia), Gladys Wilding (New Zealand).

An Accidental Cycle II.

Prize Winners (Seven Shillings Each).

Most Highly Commended.

M. Browne (India), Clara J. Hardy, Edith Hardy (Australia), Agnes L. Lewis (Switzerland), Elsie M. Otheman (New York), Mrs. Coupland Thomas (California).

Very Highly Commended.

Sadie Barrat (Canada), Florence L. Beeckman (New York), Elsie Binns (New Jersey), Rose Creed (Lille), Nellie M. Daft (Lisbon), Elsie N. Davies, Maggie Glasgow (Australia), Susan H. Greaves (Barbados), J. W. W. Hogan (Penang), Anna I. Hood (France), Josephine E. Jones (Portugal), Hilda Jonklaas (Ceylon), F. G. B. King, M. R. Laurie, Polly Lawrance (Barbados), H. Low (Canada), Elizabeth MacPherson (Australia), Gertrude E. Moore (New Zealand), James Roberts (Jamaica), Mrs. Rose (India), John S. Sutherland (Antigua), Annie G. Taylor (Australia), M. A. Thomas (California), Gena Thomson (Australia), Mrs. Waddington (Bermuda), G. Waterstrom, Elsie M. Wylie (Australia).

Highly Commended.

Mrs. H. Andrews (Canada), Florence E. Bapty (India), Hilda T. Batten (New Zealand), Winifred Bizzey (Canada), Madeleine Bonzel (France), Mrs. H. Campbell (Demerara), Grace Carmichael (Barbados), Lillian Dobson (Australia), Clara Downs (Barbados), Emily H. Glass (India), Annette M. Gray, Ruby Guest (Australia), L. Guibert (Mauritius), Gertrude Hunt (New Zealand), May Koenig (Germany), Clara Lapata (Brussels), Sarah Lewis (South Africa), Mrs. G. Marrett (India), Jessie Mitchell (Canada), Lottie Moore (Australia), L. O’Sullivan, Hilda D’Rozario (India), Mrs. Sprigg, Florence Stephenson (South Africa), Emily Suttaby (Canada), Ada F. Sykes, Lucie K. Thompson, Herbert Traill (India), Ethel M. Wilson (New Zealand).

An Accidental Cycle III.

Prize Winners (Half-a-Guinea Each).

Very Highly Commended.

Jessie Arthur (New Zealand), Mrs. H. Campbell (Demerara), Florence Deeth (France), Maude Gibney (Switzerland), Clara J. Hardy, Edith Hardy (Australia), Mabel C. King (Canada), M. R. Laurie, Polly Lawrance (Barbados), Mrs. Manners (India), Gertrude E. Moore (New Zealand), Mrs. E. E. Murray (Australia), Helen Shilstone (Barbados), Mrs. Talbot Smith (S. Australia), Emily Suttah (Canada), Ada F. Sykes (India), Annie G. Taylor (Australia), Mrs. Waddington (Bermuda), Mrs. J. Whitton (Tasmania).

Highly Commended.

Florence E. Bapty (India), Rose Creed (France), Emily H. Glass (India), Ethel L. Glendenning (New Zealand), Louise Guibert (Mauritius), Gertrude Hunt (New Zealand), J. W. W. Hogan (Penang), Nellie M. Jenkinson (Australia), Hilda Jonklaas (Ceylon), May Koenig (Germany), Elizabeth M. Lang (France), Clara Lapata (Brussels), Mrs. G. Marrett, Mrs. Hastings Ogilvie, Hilda D’Rozario (India), Maud Saunders (Australia), John S. Sutherland (Antigua), Lucie K. Thompson (India), G. Waterstrom, Jessie M. Webster (Australia).


Training in Housewifery.—“As a regular and appreciative reader of The Girl’s Own Paper, I have become much interested in the question of higher grade housekeeping. I have obtained the consent of my parents to enter a home to be trained. Would you kindly furnish me with the addresses of some establishments where training is given?Kate.

“Kate’s” determination to equip herself thoroughly for the duties of housekeeping, is a most wise one. The girl who is trained in all departments of domestic work can turn her knowledge to account in every situation in life in which she may be placed, and is never likely to find the problem of earning her bread a difficult one. “Kate,” doubtless, knows already the National Training School of Cookery and Domestic Economy, Buckingham Palace Road. This institution is principally intended for the training of teachers, and we judge from “Kate’s” letter that in her case a school would be preferred that trains girls specifically for domestic employment. A School of Housewifery and Domestic Science of this kind has lately been established in connection with the North Hackney High School for Girls, at 101, Stamford Hill, N. “Kate” would be well advised to visit this school and see the classes at work. In the country are many excellent schools. Good housewifery training can be obtained at several institutions in the country. The following are all well recommended: Belsize House, Brunswick Square, Gloucester, in connection with the Gloucestershire School of Cookery and Domestic Economy, principal, Miss Florence Baddeley; Camp End School for Household Training, near Malvern, conducted by Miss Buck and Miss Brander; Fryerne School of Household Management, Fryerne, Caterham, principal, Miss Mitchell; and the Wiltshire School of Cookery and Domestic Economy, Trowbridge, secretary, Miss A. Bridgman. At each of these institutions, resident pupils are received, and the course of training consists not only of cookery, but of household work generally.

Book Illustration.—“I have taken lessons in drawing and painting for five years, and except for holding a second-class certificate instead of a first in one subject, I have gained the art class teacher’s certificate. Just lately I have been taking lessons in black and white work, and should like to become a book-illustrator.—J. L. R.”

We do not wish to damp the hopes of “J. L. R.,” but it takes much more than lessons in the technique of black and white drawing to make a book-illustrator. Girls who become successful illustrators show early a real talent for drawing. They can not only copy an object before them, but they can express in a few strokes certain clever, effective, or humorous ideas, which are born within their own brain. Without the possession of this rare gift, we could not advise a girl to turn her thoughts towards book-illustration or even towards drawing of any kind, if it is necessary for her to earn money by it. All the best illustrators, fashion artists, designers of covers, etc., seem to be agreed that an artist cannot be taught much more than the principles of drawing, but that everything else must be acquired by the individual through constant study and thought. No doubt the beginner is much helped by observing good illustrative work, and even by trying to copy it. It is also a good plan to enter for some of the competitions which are held by the editors of the art magazines. We would, however, seek to dissuade “J. L. R.” from becoming a teacher of art, as it is most difficult for all but the most gifted women to obtain permanent employment as teachers of drawing and painting alone.

A correspondent, E. A. E., asks the association connected with the words “Quo vadis?”

When the persecution under Nero first broke out in Rome, the tradition runs that St. Peter was persuaded by his friends to flee from the city. He was hurrying along the Appian Way, when suddenly he was encountered face to face by his risen Lord. In amazement he asked, “Domine, quo vadis?” (Master, whither goest Thou?) “I go to Rome,” was the answer, “to be crucified afresh.” “But, Lord, wast Thou not crucified once for all?” “I saw thee fleeing from death,” replied the Master, “and I go to be crucified in thy stead.” Abashed at the implied rebuke, St. Peter turned again, cheered by the Divine utterance, “Fear not, for I am with thee.” A little church now marks the legendary site of the interview. This beautiful story is given by Origen, and is also found in the “Acts of Peter and Paul” in Apocryphal Writings (Ante-Nicene fathers).




Mary H. C. (Stewardess).—The position of stewardess is not easy for a girl to obtain who has no connection with steamship companies. The companies usually prefer for these appointments the widows or daughters of employees. It is not also a position for which quite a young girl would be thought eligible. We think your parents are very wise in desiring you to know a trade, as an employment of this kind can always be practised; but there is, as you say, the difficulty that many trades which girls can adopt are of a sedentary character, and might not suit you for that reason. How would you like dairy-work? This is a good business to know, as girls who can take charge of dairies or teach dairy-work are often wanted. You could be well taught in the Reading Agricultural College (where you might also learn poultry and bee-keeping), at the County Council Dairy Institute, Worleston, near Nantwich, Cheshire, or at the Midland Dairy Institute, Kingston, Notts. Laundry-work also is a most remunerative business to anyone who has been trained for the post of manageress in a steam laundry; but as you are not very strong, this might not prove a desirable occupation for you.

Blackamoor (Companion, etc.).—1. You are one of our quite young readers, we divine, and so perhaps will not take it amiss if we observe that your spelling is a trifle weak; but as you write carefully this will doubtless soon be improved. When you are older, we think you will give up the idea of becoming a lady’s companion, and think it rather a poor employment. Some girls make themselves valued in this capacity, but they are young women who understand household duties thoroughly, and can, as the expression goes, turn their hand to anything. But we should like you to try in preference to do some one thing well, in particular, as this is the more useful faculty nowadays.—2. Your second question shows that you have the laudable ambition of a true Scottish girl to become well educated. You aspire to obtain a “bursary,” or, as we call it in England, a “scholarship,” at some school whence you could eventually proceed to Girton. The St. Leonard’s School at St. Andrew’s is a particularly good one. We advise you to write to the Principal, asking her whether any bursaries are offered by the school for which you could compete. You could also obtain some useful preliminary instruction through the St. George’s Oral and Correspondence Classes, of which the secretary is Miss S. E. Murray, 5, Melville Street, Edinburgh. Pupils are helped in home study through these classes, and also prepared for the Edinburgh Local Examinations.

K. L. (Journalistic Work in China or Japan).—China would offer no field for journalistic employment to girls of nineteen, and is almost the last country to select. Japan would be much safer, but we doubt whether it would offer much field for journalistic work. If you wish to become a journalist, surely, as your home is in Canada, it would be much wiser to try the United States. You could at all events obtain journalistic experience there, and a few years later you would be in a better position to judge whether the East could offer you congenial employment. No doubt if you did not require to earn money, it might be quite possible to gratify your wish for Oriental travel; but as this is not the case you would only be encountering insuperable obstacles by trying at your age to introduce Western ideas concerning girls’ employment into the East.

Dolly Varden (Telephone Clerkship).—You wish to know at what age girls can be received into a telephone office. The National Telephone Company accepts girls between the ages of seventeen and nineteen. Their height, it is stipulated, must be not less than 5 feet 3 inches. They must bring with them two letters of recommendation and a doctor’s certificate. Good education and pronunciation are also demanded. Clerks are engaged on a monthly agreement, and are received at first on probation without payment, and afterwards at 5s. a week for half-time, namely four hours a day. When engaged for full time, that is, eight hours a day, less time for luncheon and tea, they are paid 5s. a week, rising by 1s. a week yearly to 15s. Promotion to higher and better paid work is accorded to suitable girls in order of seniority. We rather fear that the complaint from which you have suffered might prove to be an obstacle in your way, as the duties of a telephone clerk entail much standing.

May Désirée (Telephone Clerkship).—See reply to “Dolly Varden,” in which we have dealt with this employment fully.

Topsy (Stewardess, etc.).—1. Positions as stewardess are only to be obtained through the steamship companies; but would it not be wiser, Topsy, to remain a dairy-maid as you are at present? A girl who knows dairy-work is useful in all parts of the country and colonies, and has a far better chance of earning her living, if she loses a situation, than a stewardess out of place.—2. Used postage stamps have no value.


Felicitas.—You cannot be too careful about the baby’s bottle. We suppose the bottle is of value, but it is responsible for so much suffering and illness of infants that we really doubt whether we would not be better without it. There are two forms of baby’s bottles, the old-fashioned torpedo-shaped bottle, clumsy, troublesome, and inconvenient, but withal possible to clean, and necessitating careful feeding, and the newer “Alexandra” bottle, convenient, no trouble, æsthetic, but impossible to keep clean, and allowing carelessness in feeding the infant. Never use the new bottle—it is quite impossible to clean india-rubber; the bottle gets dirty, sour milk collects in the tube, the child gets dyspepsia, and may die simply from a dirty bottle. You must not let a child suck at the bottle at all hours of the day and night, “just to keep it quiet and allow its mother a little rest.” Children must be fed regularly. The habit of giving children things to eat or suck to keep them quiet is responsible for a vast number of deaths and lives of misery and uselessness. Indeed, it is not too much to say that this pernicious practice of giving babies something to eat or drink to prevent them from crying is more fatal to infants than all the infectious diseases from which they suffer put together. You must keep the bottle clean, and immediately after use rinse it out with boiling water, and keep it soaking in boracic acid solution, and again rinse it out with hot water before using it.

Bonnie.—1. The reason why it is easy for you to breathe through your nose during the day, but difficult to do so at night, is that the recumbent position causes the mucous membrane of the nose to become congested. The nose always becomes congested when the person is lying down, but the amount of obstruction varies very greatly even in health. Of course, in the absolutely healthy condition, the congestion is never sufficient to prevent breathing through the nose. But a very slight cause may make nose-breathing quite impossible at night. The best treatment for such conditions is an extra pillow and a nasal spray of menthol in paraleine (1 in 8). Even in health it is the rule to breathe through the nose and the mouth after severe exertions.—2. A hair-wash of quinine, rosemary, and cantharides, is a good preparation to prevent the hair from falling out, that is, it is as good as any other hair-wash. Of course, nothing whatever applied to the hair itself can have the slightest influence on its growth. The remedy must be applied either through the blood or to the hair roots in order to be effective. Quinine often causes headache if taken internally; applied externally it would not have this action. It would not darken the hair. Try borax or very dilute carbolic acid (1 in 1000) to wash your hair with.

Molly.—By the “eye tooth” is usually meant the canine or “dog tooth,” the third in order from the middle line of the mouth. By some persons the first molar or first double tooth in the upper jaw, or the sixth from the middle line, is called the “eye tooth,” and with greater reason than the canine, for the first molar is more connected with the eye than is the canine. Extracting the canine tooth is of no more danger than extracting any other tooth, but as its root is rather long, it is a little more difficult. There are thirty-two teeth in the adult jaw, eight on each side of both upper and lower jaws.

Hester.—You object to our statement that eczema is a local disease, and is not usually dependent upon the state of the blood, because you feel ill when you have an acute attack of eczema and are relieved by internal treatment. But this does not affect our statement that eczema is a local disease due to a local inoculation, and is not due to disease of the blood. We suppose you will admit that a severe burn is a local injury, and that that, at least, is not due to “something in the blood.” Well, often in a severe burn the constitutional symptoms are desperate. We may have to confine all our attention to the heart and nervous system at first when treating a severe burn. But still we maintain that the burn is a local injury, and by local means alone can the burn be made to heal. And so with eczema. Here is a local disease, but the constitutional symptoms may be, although they very rarely are, severe. And occasionally they do need internal treatment. But no internal treatment will cause the eczema to heal without external aid. The treatment for all local disease must be local, although internal medication may be required as well.

A Country Lass.—Wild honey is often poisonous. That made by bumble-bees is usually harmful, giving rise to severe headache, purging, and vomiting. Xenophon, in his Anabasis, accurately describes the effects produced upon his soldiers by eating wild honey, probably made by bees from the Pontic azalea.

E. F. T.—Try an ointment of ichthiol (2 per cent.), and a wash of carbolic acid (1 in 100). You must be very careful that the carbolic acid does not get into your eyes and mouth.


⁂ We may remind our subscribers that there are in connection with the Royal Academy of Music, Tenterden Street, Hanover Square, London, W., twenty-one exhibitions and scholarships, which in most cases entitle the winners to three years’ free instruction at the Academy. The next election for the Henry Smart Scholarship is for female candidates, and will take place at the Royal Academy of Music on Monday, September 25th, 1899. The subjects of examination will be organ-playing and composition. The John Thomas Welsh Scholarship will be competed for on Friday, September 22nd, 1899. Full particulars of these and other scholarships can be obtained of the Secretary, Royal Academy of Music.

Sea-Foam (Chefoo, N. China).—Many thanks for your modest and interesting letter. We regret the delay in offering criticism upon your poems, but can now say that they are very thoughtful, and are not marked by any of the blemishes in construction which we have often to point out to our correspondents. Blank verse, however, is a difficult medium for the novice, and we think “The Rainbow” is your most successful effort. The idea expressed in “Influence” is very good. On p. 2 you use “e’en yet” and “still” together. Only one of the expressions is necessary. You also use “lives” and “endeth” with the same nominative. You should either say “liveth” and “endeth,” or “lives” and “ends.” Never let your words be obviously shaped by the length of a line. “An unspoken thought” is striking. We should advise you to study the laws of versification, and to persevere, selecting some other metre, to begin with, than the ambitious blank verse.

One by One.—We repeat our apology to you. Your sketch of Teddie is pathetic, but shows, as you yourself observe, that you have not studied the laws of composition. On the first page there are far too many “ands,” and it is better not to write of “the joyous little birdies with their bright plumage and their sweet, sweet notes.” (We do not think that the English song-birds are remarkable for gay plumage.) You should procure Dr. Abbot’s little book How to Write Clearly, and read a good deal of good prose and poetry.

Louisa Gregory.—You need to study writing and spelling before you attempt to compose stories. We advise you daily to copy some extract for the sake of learning to spell, and also to practise writing in a copy-book, to teach you to form your letters correctly.


Mariquita, aged 14, wishes to correspond with a French girl about her own age, each writing in the other’s language; the letters would be corrected and returned. Address, 33, Hawthorn Bank, Marslands Road, Sale, near Manchester.

A Bush Girl, Queensland, Australia, would like to correspond with “An Anxious One” and “Armenian Sweet Seventeen,” Smyrna. Will they forward us their addresses for “A Bush Girl” to see?

Miss Gertrude Dickson, King Street, Bangalore, Mysore, India, will be glad to correspond with Miss François. We published the latter’s address, so Miss Dickson might have written direct. She is a collector of stamps; and, if Miss François has found a correspondent—which is probable—would be glad to hear in English from any other reader of The Girl’s Own Paper.

A Propinquer, who collects foreign view post-cards, would be very glad to exchange some with “O Mimosa San,” if she will send her address.

Miss Queenie Clarke, Hillside House, Rawtenstall, Manchester, would like to correspond in French with Miss Gigia Ricciardi (March).

Lizzie van Rees, aged 17, Hilversum, Holland, wishes to correspond with Grete Fromberg, Berlin, and with an English girl of her own age.

Miss Edith Wogaman, Curra Creek, viâ Wellington, New South Wales (19), wishes to correspond with “Miss Inquisitive” or another “nice girl.”

Miss Kate Prout, Bolarum, Deccan, India (19) would like an English girl to write to her at once, and “hopes they will be great friends.”

Miss Beatrice Miller, 2, Talbot Villas, Prince’s Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, would like to correspond with a French girl. She is fond of painting, but backward in French. Letters should be corrected and returned.

Janet and Grace Couper, aged 16 and 14, would like to correspond and exchange stamps with girls in the West Indies, India, Holland, and Central America. Address, Te Waikaha, Havelock, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

Miss Daisy Bouverie (18) would like to correspond with an American young lady. Address, 514, Commercial Road, Landport, Portsmouth.

Miss Nicholls, Laburnum Villa, Leamington, would be pleased to correspond with an Italian lady interested in art, science, or literature—both writing in Italian.



Insecto.—The beetles have been so crushed that it is not easy to say absolutely what they are. But we think there can be very little doubt that they are Anobium domesticum, a wood-boring beetle very common in old houses. The boring is, of course, the work of the larvæ, which are believed to take often three years to come to perfection and change into the pupæ—the little round holes being the open ends of their galleries. Canon Fowler says, “They may, to a great extent, be got rid of by the application of benzine, with which a small quantity of carbolic acid has been mixed;” if they have bored into furniture which is delicately polished, “the benzine had better be applied alone. Unpolished furniture would be best freed from the pest by immersion in boiling water, if the articles are not too unwieldy to admit of such treatment. Moderately strong carbolic acid will at once destroy both grubs, eggs, and perfect insects, but the furniture to which it is applied will require re-polishing.” As the query is as to the destruction of floor-boards, we should think the carbolic acid would not be difficult.

An Impoverished One.—We know of nothing to remove the black marks, unless French chalk may answer the purpose. Scrape a little on them at the back and try.

Dolly.—The smoking of your lamp may be prevented by a little more effort at thorough cleanliness. Take out the wick, soak it in vinegar, dry it well, and cut it exactly straight. Wash the lamp in soda-water, and when you fill it with oil, put a few little pieces of camphor in the latter, as this will improve the light. To whiten the dirty-looking boards, use newly-slaked lime—one part—and three parts of white sand. Another method is to apply moistened fuller’s earth thickly over the stains, and, after about twenty-four hours, rub it in gently, and then clear it off. A third plan is to lay chloride of lime on the boards, damp it frequently, and then wash them well with soda-water.

Birdy.—We quite sympathise with you in the feeling of indignation aroused at seeing the quantity of little skylarks that cover the counters of poulterers in London. Much is said, and great efforts are made, with reference to the slaughter of birds for bonnet decoration. But women’s vanity is not alone to be censured for the destruction of birds with beautiful plumage. The larks and thrushes and other singing birds find a market to supply the tables of men’s clubs. It was calculated some time ago that upwards of 40,000 skylarks were sent up from the country every day during the season, and before long, at this rate, the little bird which called forth the genius of Shelley, Wordsworth, and others of our poets, and inspired such exquisite odes, will become a rare specimen amongst our native songsters. The law should be a stringent one against the destruction of any songster.

M. G. G.—Return the withdrawal order to the Head Office in London if you wish it to be cancelled. Address the letter “Savings Bank, G. P. O., London,” unstamped, saying you wish it to be cancelled. Many thanks to the Parochial Nurse.

Harmony.—We should think that a daily paper would be the best for your advertisement. That is where people usually look, we believe. Very few take an exclusively musical journal unless extremely interested in the subject.

J. Nelson.—We see no reason why you should not give your clergyman a parting present, though it is difficult to say what it should be, unless we knew to what part of the world he was going. Something simple and useful is generally the best. Hairbrushes in a case, a box of nice soap, some handkerchiefs, an old-fashioned housewife well filled, half-a-dozen bedroom towels marked in embroidery; all of these would be useful. But you could ask some intimate friend to tell you exactly what he needed, and you might get a good suggestion in that way.

Curious.—The observation you have made respecting the retreat of the glacier at Grindelwald is quite correct. Some years ago the distance to be ascended to reach it was not nearly so great as it now is. But this is not an isolated case. The gradual retreat of the glacier is general, and in proportion the higher limit of vegetation is coming down. The rhododendron, which formerly ranged up to 2,350 metres some twenty years ago, now reaches only to 2,000. M. Martin ascribes this change to the fact that there is less snow, and less protection against the cold in winter, and less moisture during the heat of summer. The vines do not grow as high as formerly. The mountaineers do not reside at such altitudes as they once did.

A. R.—The stork is a fatal enemy to snakes, and indeed so are all the birds of the marshes, for they check their prodigious multiplication. It is true that snakes may be perhaps a little repulsive in appearance, but they perform great services in the economy of nature, for they make incessant war on the worms and insects which abound in the slimy mud of the swamps in which they generally make their abode. The storks always make their nests on roofs and chimneys.

F. Q. M. J. E.—When a widow marries again, she certainly requires wedding-cards, and she would put the name she bore during her first marriage on her cards, and not her maiden name, unless under peculiar and exceptional circumstances.


Prizes to the amount of six guineas (one of which will be reserved for competitors living abroad) are offered for the best solutions of the above Puzzle Poem. The following conditions must be observed:—

1. Solutions to be written on one side of the paper only.

2. Each paper to be headed with the name and address of the competitor.

3. Attention must be paid to spelling, punctuation, and neatness.

4. Send by post to Editor, Girl’s Own Paper, 56, Paternoster Row, London. “Puzzle Poem” to be written on the top left-hand corner of the envelope.

5. The last day for receiving solutions from Great Britain and Ireland will be October 16, 1899; from Abroad, December 16, 1899.

The competition is open to all without any restrictions as to sex or age.


[1] No. 69, vol. ii.

[Transcriber’s Note—the following changes have been made to this text.

Page 767: county to country—“country to select”.]