The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. XX, No. 990,
December 17, 1898, by Various

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Title: The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. XX, No. 990, December 17, 1898

Author: Various

Release Date: December 30, 2015 [EBook #50795]

Language: English

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The Girl's Own Paper.

Vol. XX.—No. 990.]DECEMBER 17, 1898.[Price One Penny.

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



By AGNES GIBERNE, Author of "Sun, Moon and Stars," "The Girl at the Dower House," etc.


All rights reserved.]




"Mamma! Mother!" cried Roy, bursting into the sitting-room at Fontainebleau one wintry day. "Ma'am, what do you think?"

Roy had by this time quite recovered from his illness, though his face still bore evidence of the same in the shape of several small red pits, which had not yet had time to lose their prominence. His eyes sparkled with excitement. Mrs. Baron was on the sofa, resting after a walk with her husband, and Colonel Baron sat near, book in hand. Ivor, who happened to be in rear of them both, made a silencing gesture, but Roy was much too eager to attend, or to read his meaning.

"Only think, ma'am. Do but hear! All of us are ordered off from Fontainebleau to Verdun. Verdun! Why, that is where Mademoiselle de St. Roques lives. We shall see her again. And I shall like that, though I don't like going farther away from England. That is horrid. Everybody is saying what a shame it is! Must we go, do you think, Den? Verdun is a fortified town, they say, and we are to be in stricter keeping, all of us prisoners."

Roy liked to speak of himself as a prisoner, even while he chafed furiously against the restraints of imprisonment. He could not make up his mind to the indignity of being looked upon as too young to be worth detention. Thirteen years old!—with a Commission in His Majesty's Army already secured! Roy was very conscious of his prospective position. "I am quite as old already as lots of middies," he would declare, "and only two years younger than General Moore when he began to be a soldier."

"You should not startle your mother, Roy," the Colonel said gravely, as Mrs. Baron sat up, her eyes wide and terrified. "It is necessary sometimes to think of other people before yourself. You understand?"

"I'm sorry, sir; but is it true?" asked Roy, too much excited to be penitent for more than three seconds. "Are we really and truly going to Verdun?"

"It is true, unfortunately. Den and I were told this morning of the order at appel. But you should have waited until I spoke."

Roy began to see the nature of his blunder, too late for reticence.

"Then we really are going! I shall like to see Mademoiselle de St. Roques again, only I would rather, ever so much, be going home. Shall we do it by diligence, papa, or poste, or will you have a carriage? Only four of us, and they say we may do it any way we like."

Colonel Baron made up his mind to take the bull by the horns there and then. He would have preferred to tell his wife quietly, with no spectators, but since Roy had hurried matters on, he felt that it was best to speak out at once.

"I shall probably have a carriage for your mother and Denham and myself, Roy," he said slowly.

"And me!"

Colonel Baron was silent, with a silence which spoke more plainly to his wife than to Roy. Mrs. Baron knew what it meant, while Roy merely supposed his own name to have been inadvertently left out.

"What does all this mean, Roy?" his mother was asking, in a low voice. "Tell me."

"Why, mamma, I suppose old Nap wants to have us all more out of the way. Perhaps he thinks Nelson will come and set us free some day." Roy laughed. "Lots of détenus and prisoners are ordered off to Verdun, from here and other places too. And everybody says it is such a tremendous shame, this cold weather? Why couldn't they settle things sooner? It's horrid of him."

Mrs. Baron stood up, and with her slow graceful step she moved across to Roy. Colonel Baron waited silently. He knew that in her mind, as in his, was the promise she had given months before, that if they should have to go farther away from England, she would then consent to Roy's immediate return home. The dread of this had been on her all through the autumn, and now abruptly the blow had fallen.

Mrs. Baron would not draw back from her word—Colonel Baron knew this—but neither would she try to hide what the keeping of it would cost her. The détenus had pretty well ceased to hope for any speedy release from their captivity, and she could not but be aware that a parting from her boy at this juncture might mean long separation. If Mrs. Baron idolised her husband, she idolised her son only one degree less. It was hard to be away from Molly, but in that respect Colonel Baron was the greater sufferer of the two, since he had always especially doted on his little girl. To send Roy away would be to Mrs. Baron simply heart-breaking. Yet she felt that it would have to be. She had promised, and Colonel Baron would not let her off her promise.

She laid one slender hand on either of the boy's shoulders, looking into his face with a fixed wistful gaze, while tears gathered heavily in her eyes. Roy was puzzled.

"Why, ma'am, you don't mind it so much as all that! I would not cry for old Napoleon!"—forgetting a certain little past scene in an upstairs Paris bedroom. "And I'm tired of Fontainebleau. Aren't you? I think I sha'n't mind a new place. I wonder what Verdun is like. Please don't cry, mamma," entreated Roy, holding himself very upright.

"My dear Harriette!" remonstrated the Colonel.

He came close, and she turned from Roy to lean against him, breaking into bitter sobs.

"My dear heart, you must think of the boy—not of ourselves. Think how much better for him to be at school in England. But for Den, this life would be ruination for him." For Ivor, after acting as Roy's nurse, had made himself tutor and guardian and companion to the lad; and Roy by this time was ready to maintain against a world in arms that his equal for either lessons or play did not exist on earth. It had been, indeed, Ivor's chief consolation in captivity to look after Roy, and the two were warmly attached.

"How soon?" Mrs. Baron tried to ask, her voice half strangled with tears.

"In a few days. Not directly. There is time for arrangements. We must find an escort for him, if possible."

"Am I to go home?" Roy inquired, as the meaning of his father's words and his mother's distress dawned upon him. "Will Napoleon let me?"

An exchange of glances took place between the gentlemen.

"I hope so," Colonel Baron replied cheerfully. "You are not a détenu, Roy, and there is no reason why any difficulty should be made. I must apply at once for a passport." Colonel Baron's mind misgave him as he spoke, for he had heard lately of more than one instance in which such an application for a passport had proved a failure. Although English ladies and boys under eighteen were not avowedly prisoners, yet every possible hindrance was beginning to be placed in the way of the return of anyone to England. This made him only the more desirous not to put off any longer getting Roy across the Channel.

Roy stood thinking.

"And I shall see Molly again," he observed. "I shall like that. It does seem an awful long while since I left her. Shall I go to school at once, sir, and shall I spend my holidays in Bath till you and mamma come back?"

Mrs. Baron hid her face.

"Yes, of course. I see—I ought to go," pursued Roy. "It wouldn't do for me to stop on here. In two years I've got to be a soldier, and then Napoleon would think he had a right to keep me altogether. That would stop me from fighting, and I should have to give my parole, I suppose, and to be a regular prisoner. Yes; I'd much better be off. How soon, I wonder? And I'll take letters home. It will be jolly to see Molly again."

Roy was making matters worse, and Ivor stood up, throwing aside his book.

"Come!" he said shortly, with an imperative sign, and Roy followed, not knowing why. Outside the house Ivor said, "You must be more careful. You have to think of your mother's feelings."

Roy looked up in surprise.

"Did I say something wrong? Why, what was it?"

"Could you not see? She is breaking her heart at the thought of losing you. Just imagine what it will be to her, not to have her boy any longer. Don't let her think you are pleased to go."

"But I'm not glad to leave her—of course not. I'm only glad to go to England, and to see Molly, and to be able to fight. I should think she understood."

A curious expression crossed the other's face. "You can hardly expect her to want you to fight. That's not the way with mothers, you know. The last thing she would wish would be for you to hold back, but still, she will be unhappy. And, Roy, don't you see yet that a brave man has to be kind as well as brave, especially where women are concerned? You can't possibly know what{179} the parting will be to her, but still, you can manage to be kind."

Roy showed signs of being impressed. He knew Denham to be so gallant a soldier that words of this sort coming from him had especial weight. Neither spoke again directly. Roy walked fast, doing his best as usual to match Ivor's long stride, though compelled now and then to make a droll little extra step, if he would not be left behind. His face had taken a look of supreme seriousness.

"Yes, of course," he said, at length. "I see. I suppose that's what we men have to do. I mean—we have to try not to make women unhappy. I used to set Molly off crying sometimes. I didn't mean to, but I did, you know. She thought I meant things I didn't mean, and I used to call that stupid. But I daresay it's only that she's a girl, and so she can't help it. When I get back, I mean to do my very best never to say one single word that can make her cry. Because I'm ever so much the strongest, and I'm very nearly a man now. But Den, it won't be going home. I suppose my home will be in Bath, won't it—like Molly?"

"Until your father can return—yes. The London house is let for the present."

Roy's face fell somewhat.

"It won't be the same thing at all, will it? And I shall miss you all too; but I suppose I ought to go."

The application for Roy's passport was duly made, and a formal reply promised attention to the application. There the matter stood still. Days passed, and the time for their start drew near. Colonel Baron deferred their journey as long as possible, hoping that Roy's passport might arrive in time. He took further steps meanwhile, urging upon the officials a speedy compliance; but his efforts were fruitless. He had found an English lady, who also was anxious to return to England, and she had promised to take charge of Roy. But her passport, as well as that of Roy, was not forthcoming. It became evident that obstructions were deliberately placed in the way of their leaving France.

Some discussion took place as to the possibility of leaving Roy behind in Fontainebleau, for the chance of a passport being sent soon, but this was felt to be too great a risk. Such friends as the Barons had made were among the English détenus, and these, like themselves, were ordered to Verdun. A good deal of kindness had been shown to English prisoners by French residents at Fontainebleau, but there was no one with whom the Barons could contentedly leave Roy. They slowly made up their minds that he must go with them to Verdun. Not Colonel Baron only, but his wife also, by this time regretted greatly not having sent Roy home at the first, when passports had been more readily granted.

Roy rebelled angrily. He had liked to talk of himself grandly as a "prisoner of war," all the time feeling that he was free. It was another matter to find himself in truth not free, but almost as much of a prisoner in France as those who were compelled to give their parole.

"It's too beastly disgusting," he declared to his chief confidant, having managed in his mother's presence to restrain his regrets. "That old beast of a Boney! I wish I could shoot him!"

"Roy, you must be more careful; walls have ears in France. If you abuse the First Consul, you will some day get yourself into serious trouble. This is not a land of free speech, like England. Your father and I could do little for you if you fell into the hands of the gendarmes. We are prisoners ourselves."

"But isn't it hateful? Only think—if I'm kept on here for two years I sha'n't be able to go into the Army directly I'm sixteen."

"We may have peace long before three years are over. No use to look forward so long."

"He hasn't any right to keep me. I've a right to go home."

"I'm afraid the First Consul cares little for any man's rights, except his own. But you must be brave and not give way. Think of your mother, not of yourself. We are all sufferers together. And, after all, the passport may arrive later. You could return home from Verdun, though it would be a longer journey. It will not do for us to delay starting any more. We have barely allowed ourselves time to reach Verdun by the latest day specified."

"Den, don't you want to go home?"

Did he not want it? The handsome bronzed face, which had of late grown thinner than its wont, looked quietly at Roy. "Sometimes I would give my right hand to get away," he confessed. "Yes, I want it—more than you can know, perhaps. But these things do not come of themselves. They are allowed, for some good purpose."

"You don't mean that God wants Napoleon to behave in such a way?"

"No; certainly not. But it may be His will that you and I should have this opportunity to be patient and brave. It's a great trouble for both of us—no use to deny that. And to be brave in captivity is much harder than to be brave in fighting. But it will come to an end in time. Napoleon will not be allowed to go on always unchecked."

"I suppose he is angry because he can't make England do whatever he chooses, as he makes Germany and Prussia and Austria and all the other countries. And so he punishes us."

"That may be it. My own belief is that Britain is called upon to save all Europe from a hopeless thraldom, and that in time we shall see her successful. But we may have to wait a while first. Only, while we wait, we mustn't forget that God really is over all. He sometimes lets bad men have their way for a time, but in the end truth and justice and freedom will conquer."

"I don't think mamma is sorry that I'm going to Verdun," Roy said.

"She is sorry for your sake, not for her own. That is much what I feel about it."

Roy looked up quickly.

"Would you have been sorry? Would you have missed me?"

"Much more than you can imagine. I have been wondering what I should do with myself without my friend Roy."

The boy flushed up.

"Den, am I your friend truly? Do you like to have me?" He clutched the young Guardsman's arm, with a quick gesture. "Would you be sorry if I went?" He read a plain answer in the other's face. "Oh, then I don't mind, then I'll be glad I haven't got a passport. I don't care, if you like to have me. I thought I was just a bother."

"I'm not so selfish as to wish to keep you here, and if a passport comes I shall be glad. But you have been no bother. It is bad enough anyhow, going to Verdun. It would be ten times worse if we were leaving you behind. You are the one bit of cheer left to us."

Another furtive clutch on his arm.

"I'm glad. I'd rather be your friend than anybody's. And I promise to work hard and to do whatever you like." Then, in the same breath, "How soon shall we see Mademoiselle de St. Roques?"

"I have had a letter from her. That is one little piece of good news. I wrote to ask if she could recommend us where to go for rooms, and she tells me that the old people with whom she lives would be glad to let the upstairs floors. She promises that they would do their best to make us comfortable, and suggests that we should go there on our first arrival, to try how we like the accommodation."

"And shall we?"

"Your father seems willing. Even if it does not do for a permanency, we shall have time to look out. But probably it will do very well. Prisoners must not be over particular."

"And are the people she lives with noblesse too?" asked Roy, who had heard a good deal about the old French noblesse and their sufferings in the Revolution, during the last few months. "Will they wait upon us? It would be funny to have an old nobleman handing the plates at table."

"No; I think M. and Mme. Courant are bourgeois. But evidently they have been very good to Mademoiselle de St. Roques, whose parents really did belong to the old noblesse. Probably they may keep a servant to wait upon us, and we must not mind if things are rather rough."

"I shall like to see her again. But I would rather go home to Molly—much rather!" murmured Roy, his face falling. "Except for staying with you and the others."

One day later, passports being still withheld, Roy started, in company with his parents and Denham, on the cold and dismal journey to Verdun. The Colonel secured a large roomy old coach or chariot, which had once belonged to some well-to-do person,—probably a nobleman, since decapitated. With relays of horses, even though the horses in question were somewhat sorry beasts, they made fairly quick advance.

(To be continued.)





The life history of the lily is one of perpetual growth. The lily never lies dormant.[1] In the severest frost, or in periods of great drought, this plant is ever developing. As soon as the flower-stem has died down, the bulb begins to form fresh roots and continues to do so until the time comes round again for it to send up its flower spikes. Lilium Candidum throws up a winter crop of leaves during the autumn, but the other lilies perform all their winter labours below ground.

Lilium Monadelphum.

Let us follow the life of the lily through the year and see how each particular season has its special work and dangers.

We have planted our bulbs in November. They will do nothing but form roots till about March. During this period most bulbs will stand any frost that we are likely to have, but those of L. Wallichianum, L. Catesbaei, and one or two others, occasionally die during severe frost. Though cold does not appreciably injure lily-bulbs, it is far otherwise with wet. As we have said before, lilies love rain when the stems are growing, but when the bulbs are making root in winter they do not like much moisture. If the soil is perfectly well drained, we much doubt whether any quantity of rain would cause the bulbs to rot. But in soils where stagnant water can lie about the bulbs, the result of a wet winter is often disastrous.

"Our soil is a stiff clayey loam, but we wish to have lilies. What can we do to render our ground a fit place wherein to grow them?" You can do one of two things. Either you can provide that the lilies are well drained by digging deeply and filling in with crocks, stones, etc., and mixing plenty of sharp sand with the soil; or else you can follow the Japanese plan of placing the lily bulbs on their sides. Bulbs with large, open scales, such as those of L. Brownii, suffer much more from wet than such compact bulbs as those of L. Umbellatum, etc.

The second stage in the growth of lilies dates from the appearance of the shoot till the opening of the flower-buds. We have already described the treatment necessary at this stage. It is at this time that you must guard against drought and slugs, and look out for diseases.

The opening of the flower-buds is the most anxious but also the most exciting period in the life of the lily. When the buds have begun to change colour a good drenching of the roots with very weak liquid manure will materially help to develop the flowers. Do not give liquid manure before this time, and never give more than two doses to any plant.

The green fly or aphis is a very exasperating foe. It does not eat holes in the leaves, but lives upon the upper leaves and buds, usually upon their under surface. Its presence causes the buds to develop irregularly. The bud grows less quickly on that side where the aphides are domiciled, and the whole bud becomes curved or twisted. When this bud opens, it shows but an ugly, deformed flower.

The best way to deal with aphides is to brush them off with a soft brush. This is the only method of dealing with them that can do no harm to the buds. Fumigation or syringing with soft-soap and water are frequently used to destroy these pests.

Another cause which ruins the lily flowers is canker of the buds or blossoms. We described the cause and treatment of this calamity last month.

Very often a lily will produce more buds than it has strength to develop. Some of these superfluous buds will soon show signs of withering and should be at once removed.

It is well to remove every deformed or injured bud as soon as possible, for it gives the plant a better chance of developing the remainder.

When once the flowers have opened, the plant may be left alone till they wither. If possible, lilies should be placed in the shade whilst they are in blossom, as the flowers will then last for a longer time.

Usually one bud will open and then die before another is fully developed. In this case the dead blossom—or rather the seed-vessel, for the perianth falls of its own accord—should be cut off.

After the lily has flowered, it will require but little attention until the flower spike has completely died down. At this period but little water need be given.

The flower spike must never be cut down till it has completely withered to the base. When this has occurred the entire stem can be easily removed by a slight jerk.

The life of the lily for the year is now over. What are we to do with the bulbs? Shall we leave them as they are, or shall we transplant them?

Lilies in the ground do best when left undisturbed for years. Some lilies, such as Martagons and Lilium Candidum, never do well until they have been established for a year or two. Other lilies, such as L. Longiflorum, often dwindle in a very few years.

If the lilies have done well, have not been diseased and have blossomed freely, leave them as they are. If, on the other hand, the plants have borne poor or deformed blossoms, or have become diseased, or, above all, if they have been getting poorer year by year, take up the bulbs, as soon as the flower stems have died down, and plant them elsewhere.

Plant these bulbs in the same way and with the same precautions as you do new bulbs; detach any small bulblets and plant these separately. Never let the bulbs remain out of the ground longer than can possibly be helped.

Lilies in pots must be repotted every year. As soon as the stem has died down, empty the pot, shake out the bulb, separate any offshoots that it may have made, and replant at once.

Very little water need be given during the winter, but the bulbs must not be allowed to become dry. It is a great mistake to winter hardy lilies indoors or in a greenhouse, as it renders the plants tender and liable to disease.

Although all lilies are perennial, that is, they come up every year, there are some kinds, notably Lilium Canadense, which show great reluctance to becoming established, and after coming up well for two or three years, suddenly disappear altogether. This is especially the case when the plants have been allowed to ripen their seed. Indeed, all lilies tend to dwindle when they are allowed to go to seed. One reason why L. Candidum is so much better when grown in neglected situations than any other lily is because it never produces seed in this country.

There are four methods by which lilies may be propagated; by seed; by bulblets, which are formed in the axils of the leaves of some species; by offshoots from the parent bulb, and by detached scales. Again the bulbs often split into two or more parts. If a single bulb has sent up two flower spikes, the bulb will probably be found to have split into two, the scales re-arranging themselves accordingly. If these two bulbs are separated, each will send up flower spikes either next year or the year after.

Growing lilies from seed is a tedious affair and is not worth its salt except when trying to raise hybrids or new species of great rarity.

The seeds should be grown in seed-pans in a mixture of peat, leaf mould, sand and moss. They take from six weeks to two years to germinate. Under glass they germinate more quickly. They never produce flowering bulbs till at least two years after they have been sown. Lilium Tenuifolium grows the most rapidly, and often flowers in the third year. Other kinds take from three to ten years to form a flowering bulb—time enough to exhaust the patience of any amateur. The vast majority of seeds either never germinate, or, if they develop so far, die before they have formed a bulb of sufficient size to send up a flower spike. Not all lilies produce seeds in this country. L. Candidum, Testaceum, Chalcedonicum, and others never do. Most kinds only ripen their seeds in very propitious seasons. So much for seeds.

The second method of increasing lilies is by growing the small bulblets which form in the axils of the leaves. Only L. Bulbiferum, L. Tigrinum, and occasionally one or two others, produce these axial bulblets. Sow the bulblets as you do the seeds. They usually germinate very quickly, and produce flowering bulbs within two years.

The commonest, quickest and best way to increase lilies is through the small bulbs which grow round the base of the parent. These may be removed when the bulbs are lifted and planted at once. They will flower in one or two years.

Before we leave the question of the cultivation of lilies, we will refer to two or three{181} constituents of the soil, the presence of which is by some authors described as imperative, by others as injurious.

L. Neilghervense. L. Philippense. L. Nepalense. L. Parryi. L. Washingtonianum. L. Alexandræ. L. Longiflorum.


Peat is absolutely necessary to L. Superbum, L. Canadense, L. Roezlii, L. Philadelphicum, L. Pardalinum, L. Parryi, and some others. Even those lilies to which peat is not a necessity, are yet benefited by its presence in the soil. This is notably the case with L. Auratum, L. Speciosum and L. Longiflorum. L. Candidum, L. Testaceum and most of the Martagons dislike peat. To L. Szovitzianum and the other varieties of L. Monadelphum peat seems to be positively injurious.

It has long been a moot point whether lilies should or should not have manure administered to them. Here, as elsewhere, we will give our own experience of the matter. Most lilies appreciate manure if it is not too strong or moist. Manure which is likely to turn the earth sour is fatal to lilies. The remains of a hot-bed is the best possible kind of manure to give to lilies. Place a little of the manure below the bulb and a little above it, but do not let it come within two inches of the bulb. The bulbs will rot if manure is placed near them.

Some lilies like a chalky soil, others show distinct aversion to it. The swamp lilies and others which like peat object to lime in the soil. L. Candidum and Monadelphum apparently require a considerable quantity of lime.

All lilies require sand. Sand should be placed round and below each bulb and should also be mixed with the earth in which the lilies are planted. Clean, sharp river sand is the best to use, but sea sand or clean silver sand may be used. Sand is used for the triple purpose of attracting moisture, preventing stagnation, and rendering the soil permeable.

The leaf mould most suitable for lilies is that formed from decayed oak or beech leaves.

Clay is prejudicial to most lilies, but in very dry, sandy soil lumps of clay may be placed about the lily bed. L. Auratum likes a small quantity of clay in the soil.

We have finished our remarks on the cultivation of the lily, and will now glance into the æsthetic side of these noble flowers.

Though every lily is beautiful in itself, it does not follow that it will look well in the flower bed. A garden should be a sheet of beauty, not a herbarium in which curious and beautiful flowers grow singly, each named and numbered, and requiring a guide to point out the various objects of interest. No! A garden must be one harmonious blaze of beauty, and though, of course, individually beautiful objects are necessary to produce this result, a great deal depends upon the proper grouping of the various constituents.

A bed of mixed lilies, in which all kinds were grown together, would look simply ridiculous. To have L. Giganteum, ten feet high, next door to L. Rubellum, of scarcely half as many inches, would be absurd. You must think of the general look of your garden. You must have pleasing contrasts of colour, and the plants arranged according to their height or method of growth.

One of the most beautiful sights that we have ever seen was a garden in Middlesex in which the path leading from the gate to the house was lined on either side with a border of very fine L. Candidum. The effect of the long lines of pure white blossoms was exceedingly fine, but unfortunately this lily is only in flower for about one month of the year. Still no one would grumble at having to wait eleven months if such a splendid effect could be obtained, even if it lasts but a twelfth of the year.

Have you ever seen a bed of L. Monadelphum at the back of the tropical palm-house at Kew? Last year it was a sight never to be forgotten. The lilies were grown in a bed of small azaleas, the green of whose foliage was a beautiful set-off to the gorgeous heads of blossoms which towered three or four feet above the carpet of foliage. There are other beds like this one planted with different sorts of lilies, but only one species is present in each bed. In one bed L. Brownii, in another L. Croceum, and in others again the various varieties of L. Auratum arrested the attention. All were perfect in their way, but none of them gave us such keen delight as this bed of L. Monadelphum.

A large clump of lilies of one variety is always a pleasing sight, and so is a solitary lily rearing up its head high above the other occupants of the flower bed. A small hillock covered with L. Longiflorum, or the side of a stream with the lofty L. Pardalinum is also very beautiful.

When you wish to grow various kinds of lilies in the same bed, a good deal of taste and experience is needed to produce a perfect effect. A gradation in height from the centre to the borders is necessary. Tall lilies planted at the edges of the bed are out of place, whilst the dwarfer lilies are insignificant in the centre. Lilies in the ground flower from April till November, and so a succession of these plants can be obtained throughout the late spring, the summer and the autumn. For artistic effects you must be careful not to place lilies of nearly the same colour together. Never, for instance, place L. Pomponium near to the red varieties of L. Elegans, else the effect is harsh and displeasing. A mixed border of L. Candidum and L. Chalcedonicum produces a fine effect, especially if both plants flower at the same time.[2]

Another fine picture can be caused by a mixed border of L. Longiflorum with the late red varieties of Lilium Elegans.

A considerable amount of taste can be shown in the proper grouping of lilies, and the flower-grower who likes constant variety can satisfy his desire by altering the arrangement from year to year.

(To be continued.)



By JESSIE MANSERGH (Mrs. G. de Horne Vaizey), Author of "Sisters Three," etc.


Esther was preparing for the Cambridge Local Examination at Christmas, and making a special study of "The Merchant of Venice," as the play chosen for the year. Fräulein explained the notes, and expatiated on the Venice of the past and the manners and customs of its inhabitants, but it was Mr. Asplin who had the brilliant idea of holding a Shakespeare reading which should make the play live in the imagination of the young people, as no amount of study could do. The suggestion was made one day at dinner and was received with acclamation by everyone present.

"Oh, how lovely, father! It will help me ever so much!" said Esther. "And Peggy must be Portia."

"I'd like to be that funny little man Launcelot—what do you call it?—only I know I couldn't do it," said Mellicent humbly. "I'll be the servants and people who come in and give messages. But, of course, Peggy must be Portia."

"Peggy shall be Portia, and I'll be the Jew, and snarl at her across the court," said Rob, with an assurance which was not at all appreciated by his companions.

"I've rather a fancy to try Shylock myself," Max declared. "Oswald would make a capital Bassanio, and you could manage Antonio all right if you tried, for he has not so much to do. Let me see: Peggy—Portia; Esther—Nerissa; Mellicent—Jessica (she's so like a Jewess, you see!); you and Oswald—Bassanio and Antonio; Shylock—my noble self. Father and mother to help out with the smaller characters. There you are! A capital cast, and everyone satisfied. I'm game to be Shylock, but I can't do the sentimental business. You two fellows will have to take them, and we'll divide the smaller fry among us."

"Indeed, we will do nothing of the kind. I'm not going to take Bassanio; I couldn't do it, and I won't try. I'll have a shot at Shylock if you like, but I can't do anything else. The cast is all wrong, except so far as Peggy is concerned. Of course she is Portia."

"Proposed, seconded, and carried unanimously that Peggy is Portia!" said Mr. Asplin, smiling across the table at that young lady, who tried to look modest and unconcerned, but was plainly aglow with satisfaction. "For Shylock, as the character seems so much in demand, we had better draw lots. I will write the names on slips of paper, and you must all agree to take what comes and make the best of it. I will fill in the gaps, and I am sure mother will help all she can——"

"Lemonade in the intervals, and coffee for those who prefer it, with some of my very best company cake," said Mrs. Asplin briskly. "It will be quite an excitement. I should rather like to be Shylock myself, and defy Peggy and her decree; but I'll give it up to the boys, and make myself generally useful. Why couldn't we begin to-night?"

"Oh, Mrs. Asplin, no! It will take me days to get up my part! And the costumes—consider the costumes!" cried Peggy anxiously. And her hostess raised her hands in surprise.

"The costumes! Are you going to dress up? I never thought of that!"

"Surely that is unnecessary, Peggy! You can read the play without changing your clothes!" echoed the Vicar; but, from the chorus of disclaimer which greeted his words, it appeared that the young people could do nothing of the sort.

Max wanted to know how a fellow could possibly "talk Shylock" in a white tie and an evening jacket. Oswald thought it equally ridiculous to pose as an Italian lover in English clothing; and Peggy turned up her eyes and said she could not really abandon herself to her part if her costume were inappropriate. Even Esther, the sober-minded, sided with the rest, so the Vicar laughed and gave way, only too pleased to sanction anything which helped the object which he had at heart.

"Dress up by all means, if it pleases you. It will be interesting to see the result. But, of course, I must be absolved from any experiments of the kind."

"Oh, of course! And mother, too, if she likes, though I should love to see her made-up as Shylock! You must not see or ask about our dresses until the night arrives. They must be a secret. You will lend us all your fineries, mother—won't you?"

"Bless your heart, yes! But I haven't got any!" said Mrs. Asplin, in her funny Irish way. "They were all worn out long, long ago." She gave a little sigh for the memory of the days when she had a wardrobe full of pretty things and a dozen shimmery silk dresses hanging on the pegs, and then flashed a loving smile at her husband, in case he might think that she regretted their loss. "If there is anything about the rooms that would do, you are welcome to use them," she added, glancing vaguely at the sideboard and dumb waiter, while the boys laughed loudly at the idea of finding any "properties" in the shabby old dining-room.

Peggy, however, returned thanks in the most gracious manner, and sat wrapped in thought for the rest of the evening, gazing darkly around from time to time, and scribbling notes on sheets of note-paper.

Short of playing Shylock, which in the end fell to Maxwell's share, it seemed as if all the responsibility of the performance fell on Peggy's shoulders. She was stage manager, selecting appropriate pieces of furniture from the different rooms and piling them together behind the screen in the study, whence they could be produced at a moment's notice, to give some idea of the different scenes. She coached Esther and Mellicent in their parts, designed and superintended the making of the costumes, and gave the finishing touches to each actor in turn when the night of the "Dramatic Reading" arrived.

"Taking one consideration with another," as Max remarked, "the costumes were really masterpieces of art."

To attire two young gentlemen as Italian cavaliers, and a third as a bearded Jew, with no materials at hand beyond the ordinary furnishings of a house, is a task which calls for no small amount of ingenuity, yet this is exactly what Peggy had done.

Antonio and Bassanio looked really uncommonly fine specimens, with cycling knickerbockers, opera cloaks slung over their shoulders, and flannel shirts pouched loosely over silk sashes, and ornamented with frills of lace at wrists and neck. Darkened eyebrows gave them a handsome appearance and distinguished air, and old straw hats and feathers sat jauntily on their tow wigs.

The Vicar sat in the arm-chair by the fire, Shakespeare in hand, waiting to fill in the odd parts with his wife's help, and simultaneous cries of astonishment and admiration greeted the appearance of the two actors at the beginning of the first scene.

"It's wonderful! Did I ever see such children! What in the world have they got on their heads? Milly's old leghorn, I declare, and my pink feathers. My old pink feathers! Deary me! I'd forgotten all about them. I've never worn them since the year that——"

"'In sooth, I know not why I am so sad,'" quoth the wearer of the feathers, scowling darkly at the frivolous prattler who straightway hid her head behind her book, and read Salanio's first speech in a tone of meek apology.

There was a good deal of confusion about the first scene, for four people had to read the parts of six, and one of the number was so much occupied with gazing at the costumes of the actors that she invariably lost her place, and had to be called to order by significant coughs and glances. By this time it generally happened that the Vicar had made up his mind to come to the rescue, and both husband and wife would begin to read at the same moment, to their own amusement, and to the disgust of the two lads, who felt uncomfortable in their borrowed plumes, and keenly sensitive about their precious dignity. Antonio mumbled his last speech in undignified haste, and followed Bassanio out of the room prepared to echo his statement that this sort of thing was "tom-foolery," and that he wasn't going to make an idiot of himself any longer to please Peggy Saville, or any other girl in the world. But the words died on his lips, for outside, in the hall, stood Peggy herself, or rather{183} Portia, and such a Portia as made him fairly blink with amazement! Amidst the bustle of the last few days Portia's own costume had been kept a secret, so that the details came as a surprise to the other members of the party. Nerissa stood by her side, clad in a flowing costume, the component parts of which included a dressing-gown, an antimacassar, and a flowered chintz curtain; but despite the nature of the materials, the colouring was charming, and frizzled hair, flushed cheeks, and sparkling eyes, transformed the sober Esther into a very personable attendant on the lady of Belmont. There was nothing of the dressing-gown character about Portia's own attire, however. Its magnificence took away the breath of the beholders. The little witch had combed her hair to the top of her head, and arranged it in a high coil, which gave height and dignity to her figure. A string of pearls was twisted in and out among the dark tresses; her white silk frock was mysteriously lengthened and ornamented by two large diamond-shaped pieces of satin encrusted with gold, one placed at the bottom of the skirt, and the other hanging loosely from the square-cut neck of the bodice. Long yellow silk sleeves fell over the bare arms and reached the ground; and from the shoulders hung a train of golden-hued plush, lined with a paler shade of yellow. Bassanio and Gratiano stood aghast, and Portia simpered at them sweetly in the intervals between dispensing stage directions to the boot boy, who was clad in his best suit for the occasion, and sent to and fro to change the arrangement of the scenery. He wheeled the sofa into the centre of the room, piled it up with blue cushions, and retired to make way for the two ladies, who were already edging in at the door.

A gasp of astonishment greeted their appearance, but when Peggy dragged her heavy train across the room, threw herself against the cushions in an attitude calculated to show off all the splendour of her attire, when she leant her pearl-decked head upon her hand, turned her eyes to the ceiling, and said, with a sigh as natural and easy as if they were her own words which she was using, and not those of the immortal Shakespeare himself, "'By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is a-weary of this great world!'"—then the Vicar broke into a loud "Hear! Hear!" of delight, and Mrs. Asplin seized the poker and banged uproarious applause upon the fender. For the first few minutes amazement and admiration held her dumb, but as the girls moved to and fro, and the details of their costumes became more apparent, she began to utter spasmodic cries of recognition, somewhat trying to the composure of the actors.

Portia's description of her lovers was interrupted by a cry of "My table centres! The Turkish squares I bought at the Exhibition, and have never used! Wherever did they find them?" while a little later came another cry, as the identity of the plush train made itself known, "My portière from the drawing-room door! My beautiful portière—with the nice new lining! Oh, dear, dear! it's dragging about all over the dirty carpet! Don't sit on it, dear! For pity's sake, don't sit on it!"

"Mother!" cried Esther, in a deep tone of remonstrance; but Portia was unconscious of interruption. The other actors held their books in their hands, and, for the most part, read their speeches; but Peggy trusted entirely to memory, and sighed and yawned over the denunciation of her lovers, with evident satisfaction to herself as well as to the beholders. Nerissa read her part "conscientiously," as the newspapers would say, punctuating her sentences in exemplary fashion, and laying the emphasis upon the right words as directed by the stage manageress, but such is the contrariness of things that, with all her efforts, the effect was stiff and stifled, while Peggy drawled through her sentences, or gabbled them over at break-neck speed, used no emphasis at all or half-a-dozen running, at her own sweet will, and was so truly Portia that the Vicar wondered dreamily if he should have to interview the Duke of Morocco in his study, and Mrs. Asplin sighed unconsciously, and told herself that the child was too young to be troubled with lovers. She must not dream of accepting any one of them for several years to come!

At the end of the scene, however, anxiety about her beloved portière overpowered everything else in the mind of the Vicar's wife, and she rushed after the actors to call out eager instructions. "Hang it up at once, there's good children. If you put it down on a chair, Peggy will sit on it as sure as fate! And oh! My table centres! Put them back in the drawer if you love me! Wrap them up in the tissue paper as you found them!"

"Mother, you are a terrible person! Go back there's a dear, and do keep quiet!" cried a muffled voice from behind the dining-room door, as Shylock dodged back to escape observation, and Mrs. Asplin retreated hastily, aghast at the sight of a hairy monster in whom she failed to recognise a trace of her beloved son and heir. Shylock's make-up was, in truth, the triumph of the evening. The handsome lad had been transformed into a bent, misshapen old man, and anything more ugly, frowsy, and generally unattractive than he now appeared it would be impossible to imagine. A cushion gave a hump to his shoulders, and over this he wore an aged purple dressing-gown, which had once belonged to the Vicar. The dressing-gown was an obvious refuge, but who but Peggy Saville would have thought of the trimming which was the making of the shaggy, unkempt look so much desired? Peggy had sat with her hands clasped on her lap, and her head on one side, staring at the gown when it was held out for her approval two days before, then had suddenly risen, and rushed two steps at a time upstairs to the topmost landing, a wide, scantily-furnished space which served for a playground on wet afternoons. An oilcloth covered the floor, a table stood in a corner, and before each of the six doors was an aged wool rug, maroon as to colouring, with piebald patches here and there where the skin of the lining showed through the scanty tufts. Peggy gave a whoop of triumph, tucked one after the other beneath her arm, and went flying down again, dropping a mat here and there, tripping over it, and nearly falling from top to bottom of the stairs. Hair-breadth escapes were, however, so much a part of her daily existence that she went on her way unperturbed, and carried her bundle into the study where the girls sniffed derisively, and the boys begged to know what she intended to do with all that rubbish.

"'They that have no invention should be hanged,'" quoted Peggy, unperturbed. "Give me a packet of pins, and I'll soon show you what I am going to do. Dear, dear, dear, I don't know what you would do without me! You are singularly bereft of imagination."

She tossed her pig-tail over her shoulder, armed herself with the largest pins she could find, and set to work to fasten the mats down the front of the gown, and round the hem at the bottom, so that the wool hung in shaggy ends over the feet. The skins were thick, the heads of the pins pressed painfully into her fingers, but she groaned and worked away until the border was arranged for stitching, and could be tried on to show the effect.

"Perfectly splendid!" was the verdict of the beholders. And so the matter of Shylock's gown was settled; but his beard still remained to be provided, and was by no means an easy problem to solve.

"Tow!" suggested Mellicent; but the idea was hooted by all the others. The idea of Shylock as a blonde was too ridiculous to be tolerated. False hair was not to be bought in a small village, and Maxwell's youthful face boasted as yet only the faintest shadow of a moustache.

The question was left over for consideration, and an inspiration came the same afternoon, when Robert hurled one of the roller-like cushions of the sofa at Oswald's head, and Oswald, in catching it, tore loose a portion of the covering.

"Now you've done it!" he cried. "The room will be covered with feathers, and then you will say it was my fault! We shall have to fasten the stupid thing up somehow or other!" He peered through the opening as he spoke and his face changed. "It's not feathers—it's horsehair! Here's a find! What about that wig for Shylock?"

Esther was dubious.

"It would take a great deal of horsehair to make a wig. It would spoil the cushion if the horsehair were taken away; it would spoil the sofa if the cushion were small; it would spoil the room if the sofa——"

Peggy interrupted with a shriek of laughter.

"Oh, oh, oh! It's like the 'House that Jack built'! How long do you intend to go on like that? Nonsense, my dear! It would be perfectly easy to{185} take out what we want and put it back afterwards. I'll promise to do it myself and sew it up tightly, though, if you desire my opinion, I think the cushion would be improved by letting in a little air. You might as well lean your head on a Bath brick. Max, you are a made man! You shall have a beautiful, crinkly black wig, and a beard to match. We will sew them to your turban, and fasten them with black elastic. It will never show, and I'll finish off the joins after you are dressed. You'll see!"

"You can do as you like! I'm in your hands!" said Max easily. And when the night of the reading arrived, and he was attired in wig and gown, Peggy seated him in a chair and tucked a towel under his chin with an air of business. She had a number of small accessories on a table near at hand, and Max was first instructed to stick pieces of black plaster over alternate teeth so that he might appear to possess only a few isolated fangs, and then made to lie back in his chair, while she stood over him with a glue-brush in one hand and a bunch of loose horsehair in the other.

"Shut your eyes!" she cried loudly. And before he could say "Jack Robinson" a tuft of the wiry stuff covered his eyebrows. "Keep your face still!" And, to his horror, the gum was daubed from the borders of the beard half-way up to his eyes, and little prickly ends of hair were held in Peggy's palm and pressed against his cheeks until they were firmly attached.

This, indeed, was more than he had bargained for! He jerked back his head and began a loud-voiced protest, only to be interrupted by shrieks of excitement.

"Oh, oh, oh! It's beautiful—beautiful! What a fright! What a delicious fright! No one would know you! You look an old hairy monster who would gobble up half a dozen Christians. Do look at yourself!"

Peggy felt the pride of an artist in the result of her efforts, and Max was hardly less delighted than herself as he stood before the glass, gazing at his hairy cheeks and leering horribly to admire his toothless gums. If the result were so hideous as to astonish even those who had watched the process of his make-up, what wonder that the effect upon Shylock's fond parents was of a stupefying nature!

Horror kept Mrs. Asplin silent until the middle of the scene between Shylock and Antonio when the bond is signed, and then her agitation could no longer be controlled, and Shylock's little speeches were interrupted by entreaties to take that horrid stuff off his teeth, to use plenty of hot water in washing his face, and to be sure to anoint it plentifully with cold cream after doing so.

An ordinary lad would have lost his temper at these interruptions; but Max adored his mother, and could never take anything she did in a wrong spirit. Anger being therefore impossible, the only other resource was to laugh, which, in Peggy's opinion, was even worse than the former. A Shylock who chuckled between his speeches, and gave a good-humoured "Ha! ha!" just before uttering his bitterest invective, was a ridiculous parody of the character, with whom it would be impossible to act. It would be hard, indeed, if all her carefully-rehearsed speeches lost their effect, and the famous trial scene were made into a farce through these untimely interruptions!

The second part of the play went more smoothly, however, as the audience settled down to a more attentive hearing and the actors became less self-conscious and embarrassed. If four out of the six were sticks, who never for a moment approached the verge of the natural, Portia and Shylock did nobly, and when the reading was over and the young people gathered round the fire in the drawing-room, it was unanimously agreed that they had acquired a more intimate knowledge of the play by this one evening's representation than by weeks of ordinary study.

"I feel so much more intimate with it!" said Esther. "It seems to have made it alive, instead of just something I have read in a book. It was a delightful thought, father, and I am grateful to you for proposing it. I wish I could do all my lessons in the same way."

"I've not enjoyed myself so much for ages. You just did beautifully, all of you, and the dresses were a sight to behold. As for Peggy, she's a witch, and could make up costumes on a desert island if she were put to it! But I don't know what is going to happen to my poor, dear boy's face. Oswald, what is he doing? Isn't he coming to have some lemonade and cake?" asked Mrs. Asplin anxiously. And Oswald chuckled in a heartless fashion.

"Pride must abide. He would be Shylock whether we liked it or not, so let him take the consequences. He is fighting it out with cold cream in the bath-room, and some of the horsehair sticks like fun. I'll go up and tell him we have eaten all the cake. He was getting savage when I came down, and it will sweeten his temper!"

(To be continued.)

The Old Year's Grief.

When the young year walked the woodlands or climbed the mountain side
He wooed a gentle maiden and won her for his bride.
She brought him golden sunshine & wheresoe'er he trod
She reared a starry blossom to decorate the sod.
From vale to vale they wandered; from hill to hill they went,
Still leaving in their footsteps a harvest of content.
But woe is me! when Autumn had climbed the green hill-side,
Mid wailing of the woodlands the Year's sweet consort died.
No more the soft winds dallied where bracken crowned the hill,
To waft the brown bee's murmur across some golden rill.
The throstle's song was silent. The year's sad step was slow,
And whereso'er he wandered, he wandered through the snow.
His constant song of sorrow was borne by northern gales
Across the leafless forests & through the misty vales.
He rambled by the river where often he had seen
The mirrored face of beauty—his dear departed queen.
But round the frozen sedges deep snow had drifted wide
And ice, with Death's indifference, had bound the pleasant tide.
In vain, in vain. The glory that once his vision knew
Had left, in his dominion, no trace of where it flew.
His days grow short & shorter. 'Twill soon be time to go
And the white year's badge of sorrow is the pure and frosty snow.

John Lea


By H. MARY WILSON, Author of "In Warwick Ward," "In Monmouth Ward," "Miss Elsie," etc.


"I had a noble purpose and the strength
To compass it; but I have stopped half-way,
And wrongly given the first-fruits of my toil
To objects little worthy of the gift."



The urgent word pierced the thick cloak of sleep and scattered fair dreams of the home of her childhood.


She started into a sitting posture, and in another moment was out of bed, for Margaret Carden was saying—

"Mr. H—— has just brought us a croup case, Sister, and a very bad one, I am afraid."

As the nurse hurried away the great hospital clock boomed out the hour—two—and almost immediately the Sister had joined a sad little group in front of the fire that, even during the summer, often was lighted in the huge open grate at night.

Nurse Carden had taken into her arms a poor little child of three, who was fighting and beating the air for the struggling breaths that the tortured throat was strangling.

It was a pitiful sight. The poor young father and mother—scarcely more than boy and girl—stood by, the former uttering sharp clicks with his tongue against his teeth as he watched and was tortured too in the sufferings of "the little chap," the latter literally wringing her hands and moaning with the agony of her mother's heart.

They were trying every remedy without avail. There was only tracheotomy left for them to do. But the father refused his consent.

Cut the fair skin of his boy? No, that they shouldn't!

He was obdurate in his ignorance.

Mr. H—— urged the otherwise hopelessness of the case. His words were impatient, almost angry. But still the man said, "No!"

Sister Warwick drew him aside, and, taking a candle, led him along the ward to the side of a little cot where a smiling, rosy child lay sleeping sweetly. She pulled away the sheet and showed him the little silver tube in her neck.

"She would not have been alive without it," she said. "She was at death's door, like your little one. It saved her life. She is going to be bonny and strong. Let Mr. H—— do what he wants. You must; you cannot say no now!"


They hurried back.

Was the poor little face changing?

"There, do it, doctor, do it! Have your way!"

The reluctant words were scarcely uttered before the clever strong hands were at work.

There was immediate relief, and for a moment they believed that the little life, hanging trembling on such a tiny thread, was to be given back. But suddenly the baby hands dropped, and the little head fell back.

Even then the skilful hands would not yield the battle. They persevered with artificial respiration. They tried every means, until the truth had to be faced. There was nothing more they could do. They must lay down the poor little buffeted body and let it sleep.

This is always a terrible moment for doctors and nurses, and it was with a face quivering with emotion that Sister Warwick left Margaret Carden to the sacred work of tending the little lifeless form, and, leading the poor young mother to her room, took up the harder task of trying to help her in the first bitterness of her grief.

Half-stunned with what had happened, the man sat in the shadows beyond the range of the light from the fire and lamp, and followed with his eyes the movements of the nurse as she went to and fro.

Let us hope that he was not realising the fact that his tardy consent had perhaps cost the child its life.

Mr. H—— laid a kind hand on his shoulder once, with a hearty—

"I am awfully sorry for you;" and he murmured something by way of answer. Then he rose—still half-dazed—to meet his wife who was coming out of Sister's room.

They stood side by side, holding each other's hands—like the children they almost were—and looked long at the sleeping baby.

Nurse Carden had taken the buttercups and grasses from one of the vases on the ward table, and the little fingers were folded round the stalks.

The inexplicable peace of the presence of death stole into the hearts of the poor young parents, and they went quietly away with bowed heads, sharing and bearing together their first real grief.

"Good night, Sister!"

The house physician was going back to his quarters and to the rest that was so often broken.

"Good night," she added, and then, with a half smile, she added: "Don't bring me a case like that again for a long time, please! And yesterday was his birthday too, they tell me—poor mite!"

The doctor's reply to this was a happy one. He said—

"Then we must wish him many happy returns of to-day instead!"

Sister Warwick could sleep no more that night—or early morning rather. She tried, with a conscientious remembrance of the day's work to come. But such episodes tore her tenderest sympathies in a way that the nurses, who thought her hard and cold, would never have credited.

She lay on her couch, not thinking so much in detail of the scene of conflict she had just been through, as of the ever-recurring wonder that such things had to be. These sudden, dashing, jangling chords in life seemed so inexplicable; and for children to suffer so, and for peaceful lives to have such dark passages! And then some lines of Browning flashed into her mind, and she repeated them to herself over and over again, till the meaning sank in and soothed her.

"Why rush the discords in, but that harmony should be prized?
Sorrow is hard to bear, and doubt is slow to clear!
Each sufferer says his say, his end of the weal and woe;
But God has a few of us whom He whispers in the ear;
The rest may reason and welcome, 'tis we musicians know."

The quiet of the night was broken by a sudden trampling of feet in the hospital square. Sister Warwick guessed what it meant—an operation in the theatre. She could hear the even tread of the porters as they carried the stretcher and the clank as it rested on the stone floor. Now a messenger was running round to the college and stopping beneath the students' windows. His voice reached her ears—

"Operation! Operation!"

Coming in the darkness and shrouded by night, it would all have seemed weird and uncanny if custom had not reconciled her to the strangeness of the sounds. As it was, the discordant noises only served—by some connection of ideas—to turn her thoughts to another anxiety—the special "crook in her lot" just now. She lay and tried to put the matter clearly before her mind.

There was no doubt that in spite of the fact that Nurse Hudson had passed her exams and won the nurse's buckle, she was not trustworthy. Something was probably exerting a wrong influence over her. It was sadly evident that, as a nurse, she was deteriorating, and Sister Warwick acknowledged bitterly that she herself had failed to arrest that course.

What could she do now? There were too many lives at stake to allow to remain unnoticed these recurring acts of carelessness, and, worse still, these signs of hardness and want of tenderness in her dealings with the patients.

Yet how her kind heart shrank from the strong measure of a complaint to the matron! She had spoken a few decided, and she hoped calm and "Sisterly" words of warning to her that very evening as she was leaving the ward. Should she now wait and see if they took effect? Surely it would be only fair to give her one more trial? Meanwhile she herself could use greater diligence in overlooking the work done in the ward.

After much thought she settled it so, and then tried to put the anxious matter aside. Did she err in her judgment? If so, it was on the side of mercy—the way we women would all prefer to lean.

(To be continued.)





I am afraid that as this account of the doings of our three friends unfolds itself, some of my readers may be tempted to complain that it seems to be always meal-time at "The Rowans." Indeed, I must admit that from their point of view the complaint is a just one, but I would beg them to remember that my object is to give an account of the culinary doings of the household; their meals, and how they were contrived, and the cost thereof; and as, like the old woman in the nursery song,

"Victuals and drink were the chief of their diet,"

the food question must perforce be continually before us.

As a girl of fourteen I had to take the reins of government and direct the house during my mother's long illness. It would certainly have helped me greatly to have been able to follow the chronicles of some young housekeeper and to have learnt how she arranged matters. But at that time Marion and the Orlingburys were all in short frocks and had no experiences to unfold for my benefit.

The trials of the members of our household during the time of my rule were doubtless very severe. The chief thing that I remember is that my favourite sultana pudding was served about four times a week, with sauce; on the last point I was most particular.

I had always a great longing to go down in the kitchen and cook myself, but my father forbade this, saying that if I worried the cook she would probably give warning; and that, if in addition to my mother's illness and other present ills (of which I fear my housekeeping was one) we were left without a cook, he should not know what to do. This was a sore disappointment, for as yet I had never been able to make any attempt at cooking, except on one occasion, when at the age of six I had been discovered surreptitiously frying chocolate creams on the shovel in the dining-room, for which I was sent to bed. At a yet earlier period, having heard somewhere that toffee was made with butter and sugar, I put a small pat of butter and a tablespoonful of sugar into an empty sweet-box, and, hiding it amongst my toys, waited with anxiety for it to turn into toffee, looking in the box with keen interest every morning and hoping for the joyful day when the sticky mess should become a neat brown slab of finest toffee; a day, alas, which came not, as was not strange, and the end of it was that the nurse found the hidden treasure and promptly threw it away.

To come back to "The Rowans," where Marion, having finished her morning's cooking, is reading a letter in the sitting-room. The letter is from an old playmate, now grown up and lately married, who is living on the other side of London.

"Tulse Hill,
"Jan. 10th.

"My dear Marion,—Do not look for any interesting news in this letter, and make up your mind to exercise all your good nature.

"I am writing to you for advice and consolation, for I am at my wits' end. How I wish I were a clever housekeeper, like you, and how I envy the Orlingburys for having secured you to live with them. I should so like to run over for a chat, but you are such a busy woman, I do not know when I should find you at home without disturbing you in your work, and it would be too bad to make you talk business{187} on your only holiday—Saturday. Do tell me, Marion—in the strictest confidence—are you afraid of your servant? I am of mine—horribly! Oh, dear me! When I first married I thought I was going to do wonders; to do such a lot of cooking, and to manage and contrive so cleverly. Let me explain a few of my troubles.

"To begin with, I have a cook who was recommended to me as 'a perfect treasure,' but I do not find her any sort of a treasure, and I am happy to say she is now leaving. She has a terribly superior manner, and resents it very much if I go into the kitchen at all. On days when I have attempted to do any cooking she is frigid beyond words. She is not a good cook herself—I could put up with a great deal if she were that—and the only things we have that are nice at all are curries and fricassees made in the stewing jar after your fashion. I heard about the jar about a month ago from a mutual friend—your Aunt Anne.

"Cook makes the most abominable pastry and cannot roast at all; our poor little joints of meat are shrivelled up and hard, so she has really no need to give herself such airs. With regard to the roasting I really am most perplexed, and hope you will be able to advise me. I have by me a standard cookery book, which assures me most positively that a joint should be put in a hot oven to make a casing to keep in the juices, and then it is to be cooked more slowly. This, I know, has been done, but the result is far from satisfactory, and I wonder if the oven is too hot.

"Only last night a beautiful little piece of loin of mutton was served nearly black and as hard as a brick. I was so distressed for poor Arthur's sake. It does so worry me to think of his coming home hungry from his office to such a dinner. He was most amiable over it and only smiled, telling me not to worry, I would soon learn. But the question is, how long will he keep on smiling if he often has bad dinners? One must look these matters in the face, must one not?

"I do not want to vex him too often; in fact, I do not want to vex him at all, but what can I do? And then his mother is coming to stay in a week or two, and although she is kindness herself, and very fond of me, I feel quite sure that she will feel a profound pity for her unfortunate son if she sees a black joint on the table.

"Her pastry—I mean cook's, of course—is so bad, that a week ago I plucked up my courage. Venturing into the kitchen, I tried my hand at making some. I rubbed seven ounces of dripping into a pound of flour that had first been mixed with a teaspoonful of baking powder—that was right, was it not? Then I mixed it with water to a dough and rolled it out. It kept sticking to the board, and I got very nervous, for I felt the cold, unsympathetic glance of the cook was upon me. But I persevered and made it up into a pie and baked it; but every time I went to the oven to take a peep—about every three minutes—the dripping was running out as fast as it could. Surely pastry is very wasteful. What is the use of putting it in if it only runs out again? And to eat, it was hard beyond words! And to see cook's scornful smile when, on the following day, she asked politely if I wished the remains sent up to table.

"Now, as I tell you, she is leaving shortly. I have heard of a girl who might do. She makes good soups, cooks vegetables well, roasts and boils fairly well, and she is very clean. I know she is a nice girl, and not at all inclined to be refractory, if I could only make up my mind as to the best way of starting. As I tell you, my mother-in-law is coming to stay soon. Marion, do advise me.

"Your perplexed friend,
"Madge Holden."

Marion read all this very carefully and thought it over. Then she answered Mrs. Holden's letter.

"My dear Madge,—I shall be only too pleased if I can help you, but you must not overrate my powers, as I think you are inclined to do. To begin with, I have had opportunities of learning housekeeping such as few have. You see, we all have to help at home, and mother is such a good manager; it would be odd if I had not picked up some of her household knowledge. You ask if I am afraid of my servant. If you could see her, I think your own question would amuse you. She is only fourteen, and she knew absolutely nothing when she came to us; by dint of great exertions, I am gradually teaching her to dish up our dinners and to wait at table. She can also turn out a room (with assistance) and wash up, but as she has learnt this under me, it would be odd if I felt afraid of her. If I had a real cook and housemaid like you, I might perhaps tremble in my shoes, but really I think there is no need. I am glad you find the stewing jar useful. If your cook cannot even roast a small joint of meat without spoiling it, she has nothing to be very conceited about.

"The rule you quote from your cookery book is quite correct for large joints, but it does not do for small ones. If you put a big joint into a hot oven, it crisps the outside nicely, but a small joint put into the same temperature will soon become hard right through. Put small joints in a gentle oven and cook them slowly, basting often. Shortly before you serve it, let the oven get hot or else finish it before the fire, so that it may brown. Of course, the oven must not be too slow or the meat will not cook at all. This point you will gradually learn, and so will your new cook if she is intelligent. I am glad you allude to her as a 'girl.' A young person is, as a rule, more teachable, although an older person will probably know more. As Dr. Johnson remarked of Scotchmen, 'Much may be done with them if you catch them young.' When you engage your new cook, just say that you are in the habit of cooking occasionally—mention it as a matter of course. Do not start by being afraid of her. It is really most absurd.

"With regard to the pastry. You do not seem to have made it quite rightly, as it should not stick to the board. You made it too wet, and your oven cannot have been hot enough if the dripping ran out. Pastry should go into a hot oven, then the starch grains in the flour burst and enclose the particles of dripping; but if the oven is not hot enough, the reverse happens; that is to say, the dripping melts and encloses the starch grains so that they cannot burst. Try again.

"I am wondering if it would help you to see a list of our dinners for the week; I send one in case it may be of use and also my food bill. The quantities will seem very small to you, but you must remember we have no 'downstairs' to consider. Our girl only comes for a few hours each day. This makes a great difference in our expenses. In fact, if we did not make this arrangement, I do not think we could continue our present mode of living. Now, do not worry. If you are so anxious to have everything nice you will succeed in time, and if your mother-in-law is so kind and so fond of you, I am sure she will not pity her son too much, even if your cook does make one or two failures. Could you not get her to postpone her visit until you are a little more settled.

"Here is the dinner list—








"You see, we live very simply.

"The stewed steak was cooked the day before and warmed up; the mince pies also.

"The 'tripe à la Normandie' is made with a thick brown gravy; the tripe made in rolls with pieces of ham in each and a few mushrooms to flavour. We have half a ham in the house just at present, so it was a good time to have the dish. The brown soup on Thursday was made of the broth in which the sheep's head was cooked; the fish mould is made by pounding half a pound of breadcrumbs, one ounce of butter, a beaten egg and a gill of thick white sauce; season this well and steam in a buttered mould. The callops are minced beef, which I buy at threepence each callop.

"Here is the food account—

One pound and a half of chuck steak01
Two pounds of best end of neck of mutton01
One pound and a quarter of tripe00
One sheep's head00
Half a pound of suet00
Four callops01
Quarter of a pound of mushrooms00
Flavouring vegetables00
One pound of sprouts00
Eight pounds of potatoes00
Fresh haddock00
Half a pound of macaroni00
One tin of cocoa00
Best eggs, one dozen01
Six cooking eggs00
One pound and a half of fresh butter at 1s. 4d.02
Two pounds of demerara00
One pound loaf00
Half a ham (three pounds and a half)02
Half a pound of tea0010 
Eight loaves02

"Let me know if I can be of any further use,

"Yours affectionately,
"Marion Thomas."

Three weeks later Marion received a hurriedly-written note.

"Many, many thanks, my dear Marion, for your letter. I have been waiting to profit by your instructions before writing to you, and now I am so busy I can only write a few lines. The new cook is an amiable girl, and I am getting on famously—thanks to you. Mrs. Holden is here, and I am enjoying her visit very much. She is so kind and helpful. You are quite right; it is ridiculous to be afraid of one's own cook, and I now enter the kitchen with an easy mind. Also, my cooking has improved so much, that I quite enjoy eating my own pastry, which I thought would for ever be an impossibility.

"Your grateful friend,
"Madge Holden."

(To be continued.)




How to Decorate Furniture with Stencilling.

The idea of decorating your own furniture seems to be an extraordinary thing to many readers, and yet I hope to show you that this much to be desired consummation is quite within your reach. In the former article I gave as an illustration a portion of a chiffonier I decorated with stencilling, as can be seen by referring to it, which, by the way, is reproduced from a full-size design which was actually stencilled with the same stencils as I used on the chiffonier. Stencilling is a very simple business indeed if you will take ordinary care. Indeed the mere getting of an impression is a mechanical matter, as can be seen by the way packers mark boxes with stencils of letters. The art is seen in the way you colour the patterns and the use you make of your stencils, for with some four or five stencil plates, as I shall hope to show later, many combinations are possible; you can evolve new patterns as it were by taking a portion of one and combining it with a portion of another.

Fig. 1. Stencilled border of butterflies and sprigs with background, suggested by a spider's web. For details see Figs. 1B and 1C.
Fig. 1A. The right-hand half is white on black ground, the reverse of the left-hand half. For details see Figs. 1B and 1C.
Fig. 1B.
Fig. 1C.

Some years ago, I forget how many, I described in these pages how to cut a stencil, but I had better for the sake of the newer readers very briefly explain the method. Good drawing paper I generally use from which to cut my stencils. Draw out your design upon the paper, and with a sharp penknife cut on a sheet of glass, so that the knife travels over the smooth surface and enables you to cut a quite intricate design with ease. Have a small oil-stone at hand to keep the knife in condition, for you ought to be able to cut clean without pressure.

If you refer to the designs accompanying these articles you will notice that each form where it comes against another seems outlined in white. This effect is caused by the "ties" as they are termed. If we consider a moment we can realise that as our design is formed by the pieces we cut away an intricate design must be tied together, or the whole thing would fall to pieces. Take a simple case, the letter B. We must not cut out the letter without adopting some plan to keep the two pieces forming the loops in their place, so we tie them in so


We put a second tie in the lower loop to strengthen it as I have done in several cases among those designs given. Take another case, the flower in Fig. 1C. By cutting each petal separate and the centre as a circle we get a very effective stencil, for the "ties" give form to the design. Take them away, and instead of a daisy we should only have a circular open space of no interest. One of the arts of successful stencil cutting is to make the "ties" form part of the design, and by a little management this can be done. I don't wish to point to my own work more than to say{189} you can learn the method of stencil cutting by referring to the designs I have given to illustrate the subject.

Peacock-feather border. The complete impression is given at 2, and requires the plates 2A and 2B to produce it.

"Ties" which are left to merely strengthen a design, and which therefore do not help the effect, can be put in with a brush while the colour is wet if it be thought desirable.

If by chance you cut through a "tie" while cutting your stencil or break one when using it mend it with gummed paper or stamp edging. By keeping your stencils in repair they will last you years and do any amount of work. When the stencils are cut give them a good coat of varnish back and front, and allow it to dry hard. This makes the paper waterproof and greatly toughens it. "Knotting," which you can procure at a good oil shop, does very well for this purpose, as it dries quickly.

Repeating stencil of fish and arrow-head, with insects and water lines. For cutting this stencil, see Figs. 4A and 4B.
Detail of Fig. 4.

Those readers who prefer it can enlarge some of my designs and cut them, but others may like to try and originate them for themselves, so a word or two to them. Make your designs simple, and you mustn't attempt foreshortening (that is, drawing in perspective), as you cannot render such an effect in a stencil. A flat treatment is necessary, as though the plant you take to found your design upon were pressed between blotting-paper, like a dried specimen. You must not attempt to be too natural. An ornamental treatment is more effective, and you want to develop the decorative features in the plant you take, for you must not think of drawing a flower or plant so much as making a design based upon the particular plant.

Detail of Fig. 4.

Birds, insects, fish, can all be cut as stencils if you attend to this ornamentalising which is necessary. The two flying birds, Figs. 5 and 6, are modelled on Japanese designs, and by a little management very excellent effects can be produced. Butterflies too can be made into very effective stencils, and in one case I have introduced a background suggested by a spider's web, Fig. 1. By only using the butterfly out of one plate and the web background out of the other we obtain a third combination as in Fig. 1A.

In the case of the large butterfly, Fig. 1A, it will be noticed that a pattern is stencilled on the wings, and to do this it is necessary to have a second stencil, Fig. 1B. I give impressions of these two stencils, Figs. 1A and 1B, so that you may see what is cut out in each plate and how the two fit together. You cut some one or two details out of both plates as a guide in placing them when in use, see Figs. 2, which requires the two Plates A and B to produce it.

Flying bird in stencil, after the Japanese.
Flying bird in stencil, after the Japanese.

In cases of stencils which repeat so that spaces of any length may be covered, it is necessary to cut a small portion of the next impression out of the stencil and put this{190} in, so that when you shift the stencil on to take the next impression, the left side of your stencil is placed over the right-hand side of the impression first taken. In the butterfly referred to in Fig. 1, the tip of the left wing is cut on the right-hand side of stencil, which is a guide for placing the stencil when we shift it for our next impression. In Fig. 4 it will be noticed that the nose of the fish is stencilled on the right-hand side to show you, when you shift the stencil along, exactly where to place it. In stencils requiring two plates to produce them, you draw out the design and then arrange in your mind the portions you will cut out of the first plate. When you have cut them stencil them on to the piece of paper to form the second plate, and having drawn or transferred the rest of the design to this second piece of paper you cut out the rest of the pattern. By stencilling the first plate on to the second plate you see how far to cut, for it is obvious that the two plates should fit together like a puzzle and form one design. The object of having two plates is that you can obtain an impression in two or more colours. Thus in the butterfly design having stencilled the insects in the first colour you can put on the markings and web-background in much lighter colours. If the sprig is to be put in and you want it against the web-background, you stencil this latter in first, and when dry the sprigs upon it.

By cutting a design out of two plates you can get a much more elaborate design and scheme of colour. The water in the arrow-head and fish frieze, Fig. 4, is a case in point, for the water lines and flowers can be in light tones of colour, while the fish and foliage are in darker ones, and by this means relief is obtained.

Were the water lines cut out of the same plate as the foliage, it would be impossible to keep them in a distinct colour and the design would look confused. The stencil too would be very weak, as the "ties" would have to be so numerous. This is a practical disadvantage, for if a stencil is very weak it is apt to break all up while you are using it. By the use of the two plates, Figs. 4A and 4B, we get two fairly strong stencils.

(To be continued.)




This is one of the coldest, if not the coldest, months of the year; the time when we most need to put on our thinking-cap in order to provide such things as will best supply that extra consumption of fuel that goes on in the human engine. Some starchy foods we must have and a goodly proportion of fats and oils—more than at any other time of the year. Now we find both these elements in grains and "pulse," peas, beans, lentils, etc., and we can supply the necessary amount of fats by good wholesome puddings that contain a little suet, and home-made cakes, also in eating a fair amount of nuts.

For breakfast every morning we might begin with a plateful of Quaker oats, "H. O.," or any other kind; these are splendid food, and however small the portion, everybody would be the better for having some. Some people like sugar with their porridge, but it is a fact that sugar does not help the digestion of oaten food—rather retards it in fact.

Coffee is better for breakfast on winter mornings than tea, for all who can take it: not because it is more nourishing, but because it possesses staying qualities, and so is more satisfying.

Eggs, bacon, fish, or a well-cooked sausage should be ready to tempt the appetite of the older members of the family, but a little stewed fruit and brown bread and butter would be better than these for children. Say stewed Peras, figs, or prunes, and a cupful of milk or coffee.

Cheese is a good and nourishing food for cold weather, perhaps because it contains so much of that essential oil that we need. Toasted cheese should never be given to anyone of weak digestion, however, for it is one of the most difficult of all things to deal with. As an experiment in the line of "savouries," I would recommend the trial of grated cheese with a plate of oats; it is by no means to be despised.

A typical menu for January would be the following—

Chestnut Soup.—Boil a pound of chestnuts until they seem tender, peel off the shell and brown skin; return the white part to the stewpan and cover with water, add a finely-minced onion, an ounce of butter, pepper and salt. Let this simmer for an hour or more, then rub all carefully through a sieve, add a pint or rather more of boiling milk and a dessertspoonful of cornflour previously mixed smooth with cold water, and stir this again over the fire until it boils. Serve fried croutons with this soup.

Lemon Soles should be filleted before frying them, and they should be dipped in beaten egg and fresh crumbs of bread and sprinkled with seasoning. Fry them to a golden brown in boiling lard or beef dripping, squeeze a little lemon juice over them and serve garnished with fried parsley.

Ragout of Mutton.—A piece of the middle neck, or the shank half of the shoulder, the meat taken from the bones and trimmed into neat pieces, is the best for this. Flour each piece lightly, lay in a stewpan with thinly-sliced onions, sliced turnip, a few sprigs of savoury herbs and seasoning. Pour over all a teacupful of water and cover tightly. Let this simmer in a corner of the oven for about two hours, and then arrange the meat on a dish, add a spoonful of mushroom ketchup to the gravy, with more water if it seems too thick, and pour over the meat.

Mash the potatoes and beat them up with milk till like thick cream; pile this up in a buttered pie-dish, and put the dish into a quick oven to brown the surface.

Mash the artichokes also and press them into a shallow dish, sprinkling breadcrumbs over the top and a bit of butter, and brown these also.

Snipe require a very quick hot oven for their roasting, and about fifteen minutes is long enough to allow. Place them on a strip of crisp toast, and some tiny frizzles of bacon with them, and sprinkle fried crumbs over. No sauce will be needed.

Chelsea Pudding.—Shred and chop very finely two ounces of suet, add to four ounces of flour into which a teaspoonful of baking powder has been rubbed, also a pinch of salt and two ounces of castor sugar, the grated rind of a fresh lemon or a pinch of spice, mix well, and make into a soft dough with a beaten egg and a teacupful of milk. Grease a shaped pudding-basin and sprinkle the inside with brown sugar, pour in the pudding-mixture and bake until it has risen well and is of a rich brown colour.

The sauce for this pudding is made by placing half-a-pound pot of plum or currant jam in a saucepan, with a few lumps of sugar and an equal amount of water. Let this boil for a little while, then strain it through a tamis and pour over and around the pudding when that has been turned out.

Suitable dishes for the dinner-table in cold weather are the following: Beefsteak pudding, Irish stew, stewed steak, sea pie, camp pie, haricot mutton, liver and bacon, etc.—very homely dishes, it is true, but good and nourishing for all that.

Avoid having large joints that would leave much cold meat on hand in cold weather. Not many families care much about cold meat when the thermometer is near freezing point, and twice-cooked meat is not nearly so nourishing as fresh, however savoury it may be made.




A Puzzle-Solver.

1. There once was a maiden who tried
To find a new fall for her pride,
By attempting to solve,
Without earnest resolve,
The puzzle we monthly provide.
2. Ignoring the fanciful guile
With which we these efforts compile,
Her attempt was slap-dash,
And was fated to clash
With all proper notions of style.
3. So, finding her failure complete,
She fell at the Editor's feet—
And acknowledged that she
Was cured of her latest conceit.

Prize Winners.

Seven Shillings and Sixpence Each.

Five Shillings Each.

Equal with First-Prize Winners.

Mrs. J. Cumming, Edith E. Grundy, E. St. G. Hodson, E. Lord, M. Theodora Moxon, A. C. Sharp, Ellen C. Tarrant.

Equal with Second-Prize Winners.

Eliza Acworth, Lily Belling, F. M. Morgan, E. R. Oliver, Isabel Snell, G. S. Wilkins.

Most Highly Commended.

Ethel B. Angear, Florence M. Angear, Elsie I. Bale, Elsie Bayley, Mabel Brownlow, M. J. Champneys, Helen M. Coulthard, Rose D. Davis, E. H. Duncan, E. Ross Duffield, Dorothy V. Foley, A. Goakes, Mrs. W. H. Gotch, Alice L. Hewlett, M. Hodgkinson, G. D. Honeyburne, F. W. Hunt, Alice E. Johnson, Elizabeth A. Lord, Rev. C. T. McCready, Ethel O. McMaster, Benjamin Marcroft, Isabella M. Maxwell, Mrs. Nichols, Margaret G. Oliver, Gertrude Pegler, A. Pentelow, A. T. Porter, Constance M. Reade, Annie Roberson, Winifred H. Roberts, Kate Robinson, J. C. Scott, Lucy Shattock, James J. Slade, Gertrude Smith, Ethel Tomlinson, Etheldreda, M. Viner, Emily Wilkinson, Henry Wilkinson.

Very Highly Commended.

Edith K. Baxter, Elsie Benians, Rev. F. Townshend Chamberlain, Maud Chinn, Leonard Clark, Leila Claxton, Nina E. Coote, H. Cope, Vera F. Cremer, Mrs. Crossman, E. G. Dalton, Eva M. Edwards, William H. Edwards, Beatrice Fitzhugh, Marjorie A. Forbes, Edith A. Freeman, Will L. Freeman, Mabel Frewen, Ada J. Graves, Florence Graves, F. S. A. Graves, C. B. C. Hancock, Eleanor Hearsey, Julia A. Hennen, Percy E. Herrick, A. Hughes, W. R. Hughes, Minnie Ives, Annette E. Jackson, Gertrude J. Jones, D. Langley, Clara E. Law, B. M. Linington, Fred Lindley, M. Dorothy Long, Florence Lush, Winifred M. Macallister, C. Y. MacGibbon, Nellie Meikle, Nellie Minchener, Blanche A. Moody, Mrs. C. F. Morton, Charles Martin Morris, May Morris, Charles Nunneley, jun., G. de Courcy Peach, L. Pentelow, Ada Mavee Pleasance, Jessie C. Poole, Alexandrina A. Robertson, Dora O. Robinson, Elizabeth Russell, Mary Sheriff, A. J. Selwood, Kate C. Sinclair, Clara Souter, William Stradling, Margaret B. Strathorn, Mollie B. Taylor, Muriel Thompson, Lilian S. Toller, Aileen M. Tyler, Katie Whitmore, Helena M. Wilson, Alice Woodhead, Emily C. Woodward.


Once again we have been unable to satisfy every claimant for a prize, and in order to reduce the list to manageable limits we have been obliged to exclude all solvers who have been enriched during the last year.

As for mentions, space forbids us to indulge in anything less honourable than "very highly commended," and even that has been much more deserved than usual.

Concerning the special difficulties we need only refer to the mysterious M in line 1 and to the adjective in line 6. It was rare indeed for any solver who surmounted both those to fail elsewhere. The first stands for "maiden" in cricket parlance, being the manner in which a "maiden" over is recorded on the score sheet. It is not the first time in which the device has been employed in these puzzles, and yet it was interpreted in no less than twenty-six different ways.

The second difficulty is not so easily disposed of, as several adjectives equally well describe the fanciful G. But few of them are really appropriate as qualifying "guile," and to select the right one severely tested the solver's ability.

For instance, "flowery" describes the G exactly but is not at all a happy qualification of guile. We think that "fanciful" is, on the whole, the best word for the double duty, but we have also accepted "beautiful," "wonderful" and "exquisite." "Picturesque" would have been good but for the necessary transference of the accent from the last to the first syllable.

We observe with great pleasure the much larger number of solutions giving the form of the verse correctly. Failure in this respect in this puzzle marks the difference between the solutions most highly and very highly commended.

As to punctuation, actual mistakes had to be counted, and we found two of a glaring character in several papers, namely a comma after tried and after clash! Let no one say in regard to such errors that they are matters of opinion.

Many solvers still persist in ignoring the title, and others will write their names at the foot instead of at the head of their solutions. But on the whole the difference in carefulness between the solutions we now receive and those of three years ago is amazing. So much for the educational value of Our Puzzle Poems.


Girls' Employments.

Emigration.—"In which part of South Africa should I have the best prospect of obtaining employment as a useful help? Owing to a delicacy of the chest, I have been advised to seek a dry climate."—Christine.

Domestic servants, pace the latest report from the Emigrants' Information Office, are in less demand in South Africa than in Canada and Australasia. At the same time active girls, who are willing to rough it and to work hard, can usually obtain respectable situations with good wages. South Africa, however, is a large tract of country, and it may be of value to "Christine" if we quote some passages from an interesting letter which we have recently received from Miss Plunkett, who has lived for some time at Johannesburg. Miss Plunkett writes:—"Personally I cannot advise young women to go to Johannesburg; salaries are much lower; situations are scarce, and there are many other reasons why they should avoid the Transvaal altogether. British possessions are certainly to be preferred. Young women intending to go out to South Africa ought to procure reliable facts from the Agent-General of Cape Colony or Natal, or the United British Women's Emigration Association, Imperial Institute, South Kensington, who can extend information and advice on Rhodesia also." Miss Plunkett (to whom we tender our thanks for this helpful letter) adds the information that the Women's Residential Home, to which we referred some months ago, is now at 91, Bree Street, Johannesburg, and has passed under the care of Mrs. Matthews.

Nursing.I am anxious to become a trained nurse, but I could not pay a premium. I have been engaged for four years as a children's nurse. I am twenty-three, and have no home.—S. E. C.

Under the circumstances "S. E. C." mentions, we think she might find it difficult to be taken as a probationer into one of those hospitals to which a recognised training-school is attached, while if she entered certain others which might be eager to have her, the drawback would be that in middle life she would be thrown out of this kind of work because no hospital would appoint to a paid post a nurse who was not, in the technical sense, "fully trained."

On the other hand, there is a great demand at the present time for what are known as "Cottage Nurses," and few women come forward to fill these posts. A cottage nurse is one who nurses the poor of a rural district in their own homes, sleeping and living under the cottager's roof during the period of illness, and helping to keep the house in order in those cases where the patient is the cottager's wife. The salary, usually £25 to £30, is paid to the nurse by an association or a local committee. If "S. E. C." cared to consider this suggestion further, she must write to the Hon. Secretary of the Holt-Ockley Association, Mrs. Hervey Lee Steere, the Cottage, Ockley, asking whether the association would be willing to have her trained for this work. There are other similar associations—one, for instance, is the Mid-Oxon Association, in which the Countess of Jersey is much interested, and another has lately been established under the best auspices in Norfolk.




Kathie, Janet, Tulip, G. P., Ella Burns and Four other Correspondents.—Here are nine correspondents asking the oft-asked question—how to cure blushing and nervousness. We gave a very long answer on this same subject a few weeks ago, but to fully discuss this most complicated subject is quite beyond the scope of the "Answers to Correspondents." We will soon publish an article dealing fully with the matter. We will therefore defer answering your questions until you have read that article. Before that paper appears read the advice that we gave before.

Josephine.—Yes, your nose is the seat of your trouble. You have a chronic catarrh of the nose. The slightest aggravation of this brings on acute catarrh or "cold in the head." Wash out your nose with the following wash three times a day:—bicarbonate of soda, twenty grains; glycerine of carbolic acid, five drops, water to the ounce. Use the solution warm and wash out your nose very thoroughly. After you have washed out your nose, spray the nose well out with a solution of menthol in paraleine (1 in 8) with an atomiser.

Dora Russell.—In most cases of the kind bicycling does good rather than harm. It is, however, quite impossible for us to give a definite opinion with nothing but the scanty information contained in your letter to go upon. We think, however, that bicycling would do your daughter good.

R. M.—What do you mean by "X-shaped legs"? Do you mean "knock-knees"? Or do you mean that your legs cross each other? We cannot answer this question without further details. If your "X-legs" are "knock-knees," a half an hour's very gentle gymnastic exercise every day would improve your legs and strengthen your back. Any exercise in which you indulge must be gentle. Violent exercises only do harm.

An Unlucky Girl.—You are indeed an unlucky girl and we deeply sympathise with you in your misfortune. If you can go to a good skin specialist we think that it would be worth your while to do so. The best thing for you to do is to tell your physician that you wish to see a specialist about any possible treatment different from what you have already tried. We suppose that it is hardly necessary to tell you to be sure to go to a respectable qualified specialist. There are some men in England who call themselves "skin specialists" who are unqualified. To fall into the hands of one of these might be your ruin. Of course you know as well as we do that lupus is a very serious disease, and that though in itself it is not very dangerous to life, it is very disfiguring and most refractory to treatment. Personally we are of the same opinion as your family doctor regarding the treatment of lupus by Kock's tuberculin. That you derived no benefit from the X-ray exposure is in no way surprising to us. Of course you are not getting too old to be one of our girls. "Our girls" are of all ages from four to fourscore.

Freckles.—1. Your headaches are almost certainly due to the condition of your eyes. Probably you have got a small error of refraction. The error would not be noticed until the eyes were tired with work. Headache is very often due to untreated errors of the eyes. We advise you to have your eyes seen to at once.—2. We hope to publish an article on blushing shortly. We have already frequently discussed the various causes of blushing and nervousness in this column. It is, however, too complex a subject for us to deal with effectually in the form of an "Answer."

L. and E.—The curious symptom which you two suffer from may be due to anæmia or indigestion. But in all probability it is nervous in origin. It is obviously the reverse of blushing, and blushing is usually due to "nerves." So we suppose that your symptom is likewise due to the same cause.

Eronica.—When you had anæmia, did you suffer from indigestion? The symptoms which you describe are very likely to be due to indigestion. They may, however, be due simply to muscular weakness. You should read the articles on indigestion which we published in last year's volume of The Girl's Own Paper. Gently rubbing your side with camphor liniment will ease the pain.

Zeribos Rapraud.—It is a ridiculous myth that "little moustaches and bad writing" are signs of intelligence. Where did you discover this remark? There are people who say that they can read the character of a person from her handwriting. We do not pretend to possess such a power, nor do we advise you to consult anyone who says that he does possess it.

Lancashire Lass.—It is a very widespread superstition that the seventh son of a seventh son possesses healing powers from his birth. In Lancashire the belief in this superstition is very general. There was a case in the paper the other day about a "doctor" of this kind. We cannot do better than echo the words of the physician who was employed in the case, to examine the "doctor's" mind, that "the superstition is not held by members of our profession."


Elspeth.—You will see your question answered in our September part. The quotation—

"Ships that pass in the night, etc.,"

is from Tales of a Wayside Inn, by Longfellow, Third Evening, Theologian's Second Tale, Elizabeth, Part IV. Many thanks for your pleasant letter.

Money Spinner.—When you "meet a bishop in society, but do not know him very well," you should perhaps once in the course of the interview address him as "my lord."

Jennie.—1. We do not know of any French paper that would find you a girl correspondent. You had better send us your name and address, as our other readers have done, and no doubt some French correspondent will observe it.—2. We can only suggest that you should ask all your friends and acquaintances to save you any crests they may come across in the way of correspondence.

Amy.—Your verses, while they show devout feeling, cannot receive much commendation from a poetical point of view.

"As at the close of day the trials and care"

is a halting line, "trials" being a dissyllable. We prefer your prose sketch, which is pathetic, yet we think "Granny" was a little selfish in preventing her son from being a sailor. With practice and study you might possibly write stories that would be "fit to publish." One defect in "Granny's Hero" is the mode of beginning the story—a sort of double introduction. "We were talking of heroes (not heros) to-night," and again, "We were sitting in the gloaming one dull winter's evening." The first two paragraphs should be omitted.

Haha.—Your story is immature. You show a certain amount of intensity and passion, but it is ill-regulated; you "strike twelve all at once," as the saying is, by rushing immediately into violent emotions into which you cannot carry your readers with you, because you have not shown any cause, or prepared them for such a climax. You evidently have a keen eye for natural beauty, but you need to curb the exuberance of your descriptions. "Old Sol" is not a satisfactory expression. Read all the good prose and poetry you can, and try to "form" a style.

M. S. W.—Your verses are superior to the average of those we receive for criticism, yet we can hardly say they are sufficiently good for you to expect payment for them. You could offer "Donald's Away" to another magazine, if you have not sold the copyright; but you would be obliged to tell the editor it had already appeared elsewhere, and this would prove a drawback. "Long ago," and the two verses you enclose, are very creditable work, and it is possible, of course, that you might receive remuneration for them; but it is very difficult thus to dispose of "magazine verse," the supply being large and the competition keen.

Purple Heather.—We are afraid we must reiterate to you the unpalatable advice of our last answer. The verses are not bad, but it is very unlikely that you would ever receive any payment for them. Poetry of real merit is slow in finding acceptance in the present day. We must advise you to turn your attention to some more practical way of making money. There are many occupations besides teaching by which you could earn something.

Isobel.—1. Your poem, "I Long to be There," is not sufficiently original to be worthy of publication. The chief criticism we should offer upon it is that we have frequently read hymns expressing the same sentiment in very similar words. This is not wonderful when the same idea possesses many Christian hearts, but it would diminish the value of your composition from any editor's point of view.—2. Do you wish your poems "published" or "printed"? If you only wanted one copy, the cost would not exceed a few shillings; but much depends on the quality of paper, type and binding. Consult the nearest printer of good business reputation.

Emma Portlock.—Your verses, considering your circumstances, do you credit. You should entitle a poem "In Memoriam," or else "Memoria," not "Memoriam" alone, as it is not grammatically correct. Do not use "thee" and "you" alternately in addressing the same person.

A. B.—We can never reply "in the next number" of The Girl's Own Paper, as we go to press long before you receive your magazine. We are sorry to seem generally discouraging, but "Evening" contains nothing original, nor would it be likely to find a publisher. Poetic genius is the dower of a very few; but there must be something "fresh" about work that commands success.

Nannee.—Your poem "Speculations" is very interesting, though here and there is a halting line, such as

"Or not till my soul's new birth,"

where the emphasis would have to fall on "till" to make the line scan. We can tell you, however, that the thought expressed is not commonplace.


Lassie.—We suppose you mean the "Rose of Jericho," which is a very curious cruciferous plant which grows in the sandy deserts of Syria, Arabia, and North Africa, and is remarkable for the hygrometric properties of its old withered annual stems. When in flower the branches spread rigidly, but as the seed ripens the leaves begin to wither and drop off, the branches curl inward, and the plant becomes coiled up so as to resemble a small ball. In this state it is loosened from the soil and is drifted about with the sand over the arid plains. Should rain fall, or should it be blown into the water, the branches expand, the pods open, the seeds fall out, and it is a remarkable and newly-discovered fact that in the short space of twenty hours the seeds germinate and root. The plant will retain its susceptibility for years.

Violet Heather.—We have read your very interesting letter with pleasure. We have already given a description of crétonne articles illustrated, which will be useful to you, and we think you would find Weldon's needlework series, published monthly at twopence each, most suggestive and helpful.

A. W.—To preserve your summer eggs for a scarcer time, the following is a good recipe:—Pour 3 gallons of boiling water on 3 lbs. of quicklime; when cold, add 1½ oz. of cream of tartar, and 1 lb. and 2 oz. of salt. When quite cold put in the eggs, and be particular not to move the jar when the eggs have been placed in it.

Sussex Trug.—What you have heard of Lewes having once been a seaport is true. There was a marshy island called Hamsey in the estuary of the river Ouse, which entered the sea at Seaford. The great storm of 1570 changed its course permanently, and Newhaven became a port at the new mouth of the river. At that time, Pevensey and Selsey were islands till the silting up of beach and sand annexed them to the mainland. Selsey, by which one island was called, meant seal island; which animals were once natives of that coast.

Dodo.—Your steel buttons could be freed from rust by immersing them in a strong solution of cyanide of potassium, half an ounce in a wineglassful of water. Then clean them with a paste composed of the same stuff mixed with castile soap, whitening and water, till of the consistency of thick cream. Then rub well with a chamois leather. If this prove unsuccessful, you will have to send them to a jeweller.

Young Mother.—We can give a few general hints so as to distinguish between the cries of a sick infant and indicate the locality of the pain. A child often cries because a pin has been left in the clothes. Always employ "safety-pins," and examine the newly-made clothing for fear of concealed needles. If suffering from pain in the stomach, the cries will be continuous and loud, with showers of tears, and it will draw up the legs. If the pain be in the head, it utters frequent sharp shrieks, moaning between whiles. If it suffers from inflammation of the chest, a short, hacking cough will help to indicate the locality of the pain; it will shed no tears, but will give a short sharp cry occasionally. If lacking in experience as to the care of infants, you should have a medical opinion, if the child should appear to be feverish as well as suffering. Teething pains must also be expected, and the state of the gums examined. Boys cut the teeth with more difficulty and danger than girls, as a general rule.

Nora.—Of course it is pleasanter to the feelings of any refined person to see as little resemblance in the animal food placed on our tables to the living creatures we see around us. And this feeling is carried out in the nomenclature we have adopted for meat. The generic term "meat" is an improvement on "flesh." We owe this refinement to our Norman ancestors, who employed the terms beef, veal, pork, mutton, and venison, which are never employed to denote the living animals.

J. Thompson.—Your question is one which often arises, and the charge made by the Railway Company is an illegal one, although it frequently meets with success, especially where ladies are concerned. I will repeat your query—"A train runs from A to C; a passenger gets in at B; can the Company charge the traveller the full fare from A to C?" If the train is a parliamentary one stopping at B in the ordinary way, the Company are not entitled to charge the passenger the full fare from A, because the contract between the passenger and the Company began at B and ended at C. The Company could, if they pleased, have prevented the passenger from entering the train at B without a ticket, but having tacitly waived their right by allowing him on the platform, they cannot subsequently impose a fine on him by making him pay for the whole journey. If, however, the train was a special express, or an excursion train running on special terms with the passengers, they would be in their rights by making the passenger pay for the full journey, because the Company only contracted to take the passenger subject to certain conditions.


[1] That is, in the natural condition when left in the ground. If the bulbs are taken out of the ground in August they will remain dormant for a month or two.

[2] Lilium Chalcedonicum usually flowered about a fortnight or more later than L. Candidum, but occasionally both species flower at the same time.

Transcriber's note—the following changes have been made to this text:

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. XX, No.
990, December 17, 1898, by Various


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