The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. XX, No. 989, December 10, 1898

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Title: The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. XX, No. 989, December 10, 1898

Author: Various

Release date: December 3, 2017 [eBook #56111]

Language: English

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




The Girl's Own Paper.

Vol. XX.—No. 989.]DECEMBER 10, 1899.[Price One Penny.

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



All rights reserved.]



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



Mrs. Bryce could seldom be happy for long together in one place. Before the end of September she had decided to quit Folkestone for Sandgate. Polly, nothing loath, chimed in with the plan eagerly; and Mr. Bryce, whatever he thought or wished, made no objection.

“If Buonaparte should come, my dear, what then?” was all that he ventured to suggest; and Mrs. Bryce snapped her fingers, not at him, but at the First Consul.

“Let him come, if he will. Pray, my dear, do you consider that we are bound to shape our course with a view to pleasing old Nap?” demanded the vivacious lady.

Mr. Bryce disclaimed any such meaning. He wondered privately what his wife’s feelings would be, if one day a round shot from a French ship should rush through the room in which she might be seated. But in that respect Sandgate was no worse than Folkestone; and since he never expected logic from his wife, he made no effort to convince her that she might be in the wrong.

To Sandgate therefore they went, on a rainy autumn day, when the sea wailed dismally, and the wind howled more dismally still, and the lodgings which Mr. Bryce had managed to secure wore an aspect most dismal of all. Even Mrs. Bryce’s spirits were affected by the state of the atmosphere.

Books in their possession were few, and had all been read. Jack failed to appear so soon as they had expected. Mr. Bryce sallied forth, despite the rain, but the ladies could not think of following his example. Mrs. Bryce, in despair, turned to one or two old volumes of the Gentleman’s Magazine, lying in a corner, and in so doing, to her gratification, she fished out two or three recent numbers of the same serial, including the current number for September, 1803.

“Ah, ha, my dear Polly, now we shall do!” she declared cheerfully. “Now we may defy the elements, and you shall get on with your purse-netting, and I will find something to read aloud for your entertainment. I wonder much that Jack does not come.”

“Jack is busy, or he would be here,” Polly said confidently. Just as she had her half-netted blue silk purse nicely arranged between foot and knee, Mr. Bryce walked in, carrying letters, at the sight of which Polly dropped her work and started up.

“Nay, not from France. Nothing from France,” Mr. Bryce said, with quick understanding; and Polly returned to her seat languidly. “One from Bath for you, and one from Norfolk for my wife. Two letters in a day! You may count yourselves fortunate.”

Mr. Bryce disappeared anew, and Polly remarked—

“My grandmother has written to me.”

“Read it aloud, Polly. ’Twill serve before the magazine,” quoth Mrs. Bryce; and Polly complied, looking ahead, lest she should stumble upon any sentence meant only for herself. The letter[1] ran as follows:—

“Bath. Oct. 28; 1803.

My dear Polly,—Yours to Molly has very seriously disquieted my mind, I assure you. If General Moore, with his gt experience, considers that the French landing may be apprehended as likely soon to Take Place, ’tis sure the height of imprudence for you to remain in that neighbourhood, where the French Army, if it lands, will doubtless Pillage and Burn to the best of their Ability.

“Nor does it appear to me, my dear Polly, that you will be greatly the better off in Lonn, where certainly the Invading Army will immediately march, so soon as it has effected a Landing.

“I am therefore about to Propose what seems to me the wiser plan for all concerned. Which is, that you and Mrs. Bryce shou’d return again to Bath, without Delay, leaving Mr. Bryce, as Dou’tless he will desire, to take his proper share in the Defence of our Country. If Mrs. Bryce be willing to act according to this plan. I most gladly offer to her such Humble Accommodation as is in my power to bestow. The aspect of affairs is truly Alarming; and if it be seriously apprehended that Lonn is like to be in greater danger of Bustle and Trouble than Bath, there is no Necessity for you all to remain in that part of England. If Mrs. Bryce can dispense for awhile with the Good Table, to which she is used, and can put up with more Humble Fare, then every friendly Accommodation in my power is at her Service.

“Last Saturday there appear’d before the Market Place forty-three Blacks, who said they had been prisoners to the french, but had been retaken, and were come to offer themselves volunteers to King George. The Countrymen stared at them, and the women cried out upon them for ugly creatures. The next morning here arrived a coach-full of the same colour. They are all sent to Marlborough, how to be disposed of I don’t know.

“My love to Jack, who I hope will not be spoiled by his many friends—alas, too frequently the case in these days of scarcity of Good Young Men. Molly is well and behaves herself.

“Bath, it is expected, will soon be crowded with Irish Company. A great many large houses were engaged last week. The Bristol people think that, were the french to effect a landing on some of the Welsh coasts, they might soon expect to be troubled with them there and at Bath. Several meetings have been held on this subject. But ’tis the opinion of most that Lonn lies in greater danger.

“Yesterday was a solemn day for humiliation. The places of worship were well attended; and the Clergy here exerted themselves, I trust, to the best of their Abilities.

“May God avert from old England so great a Calamity as the presence of an Enemy on her Soil.

“Adieu. Your affectionate Grandmother,

C. Fairbank.”

Mrs. Bryce listened attentively, and pronounced the writer’s mode of expression to be “vastly old-fashioned.”

“But when you write, you may thank her all the same, Polly. Mrs. Fairbank means kindly, and if I thought old Nap would come in truth—but ’tis all bluster and empty boasting. For my part, I put no sort of belief in no invasion of our shores. But you may tell her that I am most sincerely grateful, and that, should occasion arise, I will not fail to avail myself of her generous hospitality.”

With which Mrs. Bryce settled herself comfortably in an apology for an easy-chair—real easy-chairs had not yet been evolved—and read her own letter.

“From my cousin in Norfolk. And if you’ll believe it, Polly, they’re all in a bustle and fright there too, lest Nap should land first on the eastern coast. He’ll have enough on hand, if he’s to go everywhere that’s expected of him! And if he goes there, they’ll get them away into the fen country, where ’tis thought the French Army won’t be able to follow.”

Presently the letter was put aside, and Mrs. Bryce betook herself to the Gentleman’s Magazine, not without another passing allusion, contemptuously worded, on the state of alarm into which folks in general seem to have fallen.

“Listen now to this, Polly. ’Tis vastly entertaining. ‘Human nature is too fond of novelty.... Never did it seem to be running so much from its proper course as in the present age, when we observe night turned into morning, and the mornings change into night.... Where are the good days of old Queen Bess? The sun-rise breakfast, the noon-tide repast, and the twilight pillow of repose?’”

Mrs. Bryce stopped, to indulge in a{163} laugh. “But for my part I have no especial wish to go back to the manners of Queen Bess. Nor to change luncheon into dinner once more.” Then she went on reading:—

“‘But among the most prominent foibles of the age is dress. Every breeze (until the present war) wafted over some new Parisian extravagance and impropriety, and we had sufficient of our own without any importation of such French fashions, French manners, and French ruinations.’ Then, my dear, the same writer goes on to relate how, after an absence of fifteen years, he returned to his natal town, and on Sunday, when in church, he could not resist observing the dress of a certain young woman in his front. She wore ‘the Spanish cloak, the dome hat, the single thin muslin petticoat, and the still thinner loose robe that hung from her shoulders,’ all this making him suppose her to be some personage of no small importance. But, to his amaze, he found the young female to be—the butcher’s daughter! ’Tis a paper dated ‘August,’ and signed ‘Old Square Toes.’”

A pause, during which Polly’s thoughts flitted away to Fontainebleau, and then Mrs. Bryce started anew:—

“Listen next to this. ‘Definition of old gentleman of a civil shopkeeper. “His familiarity goes no farther than to accept whatever kind of weather I am pleased to bring, and to take in good part my opinion of the invasion.”’ Vastly entertaining. And now do but listen to somewhat else——”

But the “somewhat else” was never read, for Jack walked in unannounced, and with him a young fellow, Albert Peirce by name, nephew to the Admiral, and subaltern in a newly-arrived regiment at Shorncliffe.

Introductions followed, Polly bestowing one of her most graceful curtseys upon the new-comer, in consideration of his relationship to their old friends, Admiral and Mrs. Peirce. No doubt, too, Polly liked to be admired, as was natural in so pretty a girl, and she read instant appreciation of her charms in Mr. Peirce’s rather good-looking face. So she did her best to be agreeable to him during the next two hours, and seemed to be in tolerable spirits. Whether those spirits remained equally good, after she had disappeared from general observation, retiring to her room for the night, none about her could know.

Early the next morning Polly was roused from profound slumber by agitated sounds.

“Polly! Polly! Polly! Wake up this instant, Polly! I vow and protest the child is crazed! Wake up, Polly! Polly, do you hear? Polly, they’re coming!”

Polly roused herself with great deliberation. She was always a heavy sleeper in the morning, though lively enough at night, and she dragged herself to a sitting posture, with half-shut eyes and loosely-hanging hair, looking, it must be conceded, not quite so lovely as when generally visible to the world.

“Must I get up already, ma’am? ’Tis early.”

“Get up! And already, quotha! ’Tis time you bestirred yourself in right earnest. Polly, Polly, I entreat of you to make haste. For they’re coming; they’re on their way hither.”

“Jack and Mr. Peirce?” Polly indulged in a yawn.

“Jack and Mr. Peirce indeed! Why, of course ’tis the French. Cannot you understand, child? Will you awake? We’ve not a moment to lose. I’ve always said ’twas nonsense, and they’d never truly come. But they’re off; they’re on their way. And the wind is favourable, and ’tis all up with us.” Mrs. Bryce frantically wrung her hands, standing beside the curtained bed, in her flowered dressing-gown, her hair too hanging loose, though not descending so low as Polly’s abundant mane, while her face was yellow-white with terror. “And what we’re to do nobody knows. Two French fleets of transports, and a whole French army aboard! And bonfires alight, and folks all astir, and there will be fighting, and people will be killed. And Mr. Bryce will sure be in the front of everything, and he will get shot, and I shall be left a widow, Polly.” Mrs. Bryce collapsed on the foot of the bed. “And we might have been safe away out of it, if I hadn’t made such a prodigious fool of myself, never thinking for a moment that old Nap meant a word of it all. I protest, ’tis enough to drive one distracted. I’ll never in my life go to the sea-coast again, not for no sort of consideration. And they say old Nap’ll be here in a few hours, and there’s no way of getting off—not a horse to be had for love or money! If I’d had a notion of it, I’d never have stopped here.”

By this time Polly had grasped the situation, and her drowsiness was gone. She sprang out of bed upon her little white toes, and made a movement akin to dancing, as she flung a pink wrapper round her shoulders. This was being in luck, she would have said, if she had spoken out her first thought. To find herself in the very thick of it all—as safe as if a hundred miles away, with Moore and his soldiers to protect her, yet able to see everything—it was delightful. Polly was a high-spirited girl, not easily alarmed, and fear found no corner in her mind this morning. She was simply eager and excited, whereas Mrs. Bryce, who, from sheer perversity had refused to believe in even the possibility of an invasion, and who from sheer lack of imagination had failed to realise beforehand what such an invasion might mean if it ever came, was overwhelmed with terror.

“Has Jack been?” asked Polly.

“Jack! No! How should Jack be spared? He is wanted, of course. They’ll all be wanted,” moaned Mrs. Bryce. “And they’ll all be killed. And we shall be taken prisoners, and be carried away to France, and put into dungeons, and never see England again.”

“I shouldn’t mind going to France, if they would let me be where somebody is!” murmured Polly. “But they won’t—they won’t. Napoleon has no such easy task before him. They’ll never get past our soldiers. Why, think—General Moore is here!”

“Nay, but he’s not; that’s the worst. He away at Dungeness Point. And the French may land before ever he can get back. Everything is gone wrong. Alack! Oh, dear!”

“Where is Mr. Bryce?”

“Gone off to see what’s being done. There was no keeping him back. I protest, he’d no business to leave me. If the French came in here, I declare I should die of terror on the spot.”

Polly executed another dainty pas on the bare boards.

“Hadn’t we best make ready, ma’am, before they come?” she cheerfully asked.

“It’s no manner of use, child. They may arrive any moment. Any moment, I tell you! And what on earth shall we do then?”

Polly suggested a preference for seeing the French in her frock, rather than in a condition of undress, and after much coaxing she managed to get Mrs. Bryce into the next room. With all possible expedition, she made her morning toilette, flitting lightly about, and wondering what would happen next. Then, discovering that Mrs. Bryce’s maid had fallen into a fit of hysterics over the prospect of “them mounseers a-comin’,” she took the maid’s place.

By the time that they both were dressed, Mr. Bryce returned, with a good deal to tell. The whole place was in a grand commotion. An express had been despatched to General Moore at Dungeness Point, telling him of the news received from Folkestone, and informing him that the brigade was already under arms. The volunteers had turned promptly out, also the sea fencibles; and one and all were prepared to do and dare each his utmost in defence of home and country.[2]

“Not a dull face to be seen, nor a frightened one, except——” declared Mr. Bryce, rubbing his hands, with a glance at the wan cheek of his usually lively wife. “All the world in high spirits, specially the soldiers. Jack only hopes that nothing may turn back the fleet. ’Tis time Napoleon should have a sharp lesson, he says. Heigho, Polly, you are as fresh as a rose this morning. Come, we’ll have our breakfast while we may. I see no need to starve out of compliment to the First Consul.”

“And pray, sir, take me out after,” implored Polly.

“Nay, child, you’re safer in here. Perchance you’d be hurt in the bustle. Besides, it maybe, Jack will run in for a word, and he would be vexed to find you gone.”

This was a cogent argument, and Polly submitted. She roved about the room, looking much out of the window, and singing under her breath scraps from ballads of the day. First came—

“‘Our bugles sang truce, for the night-cloud had lowered,
And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky.
And thousands had sunk on the ground, overpowered,
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.
       *       *       *       *       *
“‘Stay, stay with us—rest—thou art weary and worn;
And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay.
But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.’”

Polly made a break here before her sweet voice took up another strain, more softly uttered:—

“When you’re parted, Polly Oliver,
Parted from your own true love,
Will you be true, Polly Oliver—
True to your own true love?
“Yes; though the waves divide us,
Yes; wheresoever you rove,
I’m ever your own little Polly—
Ever your true true love.”

She had altered it slightly, half by instinct, dropping the surname in the last verse.

“In truth, Polly, you seem mighty indifferent to Napoleon’s doings,” objected Mrs. Bryce; after which she inquired of her husband how they were to escape inland.

“Why, that I do not precisely see,” Mr. Bryce answered, with exasperating satisfaction. “Every man in the place will be wanted, and not a horse can be spared. Doubtless General Moore will arrange matters. I think ’tis needful that we should wait a while, and see what may happen. Depend on’t, Nelson has his eye upon the French fleet, and ’tis a question in my mind whether they ever can get so far as e’en to the coast of England.”

Mrs. Bryce recurred hysterically to her former assertion that the French might arrive at any moment.

“Hardly that, since ships must take time to go. But ’tis true they’ve signalled from Folkestone that the enemy’s boats had left Calais, and that the transports and ships at Ostend were also out and steering westerly. So, with this wind, they’ll probably be here in a few hours, if Nelson doesn’t cut them out on their way with his fleet. And I promise them, they’ll have a right good reception if they come. Eh, Polly? We’re making ready for ’em.”

“I can’t have you leave us again, not for no sort of consideration,” objected Mrs. Bryce. “Your duty, my dear, is to protect us. If the French come, what may Polly and I do?”

“They’ve a few small difficulties to surmount first,” Mr. Bryce remarked drily. “’Tis no case of walking quietly on shore. I’ll be back in good time, my dear, to protect you both, though, indeed, should the French arrive, my place would be in the ranks with others.”

Mr. Bryce had not been in such excellent spirits for many a day. He was a quiet and meek-mannered little man commonly, but the prospect of a fight made him feel quite young again. When next he returned he carried a musket with supreme satisfaction. Few middle-aged men have not some remnants of boyhood in them, and all the boyhood in Mr. Bryce came that day to the surface. He studied his new weapon with glee, talking much to Polly of “firelocks,” fingering daintily the touch-hole, showing her how the spark from the flint would set the gunpowder on fire, and foretelling the certain death of some unfortunate French conscript, forced to fight for Boney against his will.

“Nay, sir, but you need not kill him,” remonstrated Polly. “Only fire at his limbs, pray, and we will nurse him till he is well again.”

“I have writ a letter to your grandmother, Polly,” Mrs. Bryce said, in quavering tones. “Where is the wax? I wish it fastened at once. I protest I’ve scarce strength to lift a penholder. But I’ve informed her we will go to Bath so soon as ever we may. I trust only that we’ll not be made prisoners for life, before ever we’re away from this.”

Somewhat later, no further news having reached them, Mr. Bryce again sallied forth, and this time he consented to take Polly, both of them promising to return to Mrs. Bryce, on the very first intimation that the invading fleet had been sighted. They had not walked far, when a man on horseback drew near at a quick trot.

“’Tis himself!” Polly exclaimed, with enthusiasm. Both she and Mr. Bryce knew well the soldierly figure, with its peerless ease and grace of bearing, and every line of those fine features was familiar to them.

“All will now go well,” murmured Mr. Bryce.

“The General! ’Tis the General, sir.”

They stood still, and Moore, drawing rein sharply, sprang to the ground. He was well bespattered with mud, and he had the look of having ridden hard and fast.

“So,” he said, breaking into a smile which lighted up his whole face, “so, ’tis a false alarm this time!”

Polly’s exclamation contained a note of something like disappointment. Mr. Bryce seemed more gratified than astonished. The General’s keen glance went from the one to the other.

“Due to a mistaken signal,” he remarked briefly, “which the signal-officer at Folkestone understood to mean what it did not mean. The French transports have not left their stations, either at Calais or at Ostend.”

“And you, sir, were at Dungeness Point,” observed Mr. Bryce. “You must have ridden thence at a great speed.”

“At full gallop the entire distance. My horse, poor fellow, is, I fear, the worse. Not this one; I have mounted another. But the alarm is scarce a subject for regret. The spirit displayed on all sides has been of the best.”

“Will Napoleon really come, think you, sir?” asked Polly, half shy, half brave.

“If his intention be to come before the winter, he has little time to lose,” Moore answered courteously, also with a touch of reserve, for privately he had not much faith in the threatened invasion.

“And you think he may do so, sir, in very truth?”

“He may doubtless make the attempt, if he choose. The question is rather,—what will he gain by it? It would seem that Government has greater apprehension of invasion now than awhile since. Three more regiments join me next Tuesday.”

“’Tis better to be over-careful than under-careful,” suggested Mr. Bryce.

“And the stronger front we present, the less likely are we to be attacked. But I must away. Sir David Dundas will be arriving soon. My compliments to Mrs. Bryce. She is not, I hope, the worse for this alarm.”

“Somewhat shaken, sir; but we will return to cheer her up. She proposes flight to Bath for safety.”

“She might perhaps go to a worse place,” remarked the General, as he mounted and rode off, with a parting salute.

“Well, Polly?” said Mr. Bryce, when they had watched him out of sight.

“Well, sir?” echoed Polly, in arch tones.

“The false alarm, at least has served to show of what metal some folks are made,” said Mr. Bryce drily.

(To be continued.)


Bread and milk for invalids should be made by crumbling the bread into a basin, pouring the boiling milk over it and warming it through on the fire in an enamelled saucepan. Care should be taken that there are no lumps or hard crusts.

When a head of long hair has to be washed, the hair should be first plaited and the scalp washed carefully, then the hair washed separately unplaited. This saves many tangles and loss of both hair and temper.

Flowers cut or picked in the early morning last much longer than those gathered later in the day, and, if they are to be sent by post, should be placed in water for a short time before being packed.

When having hair shampooed at a hairdresser’s, be careful to shut your mouth and breathe as little as possible while stooping over the marble basin. Otherwise you run great risk of illness by inhaling sewer gas from the waste pipe which should not be, but is sometimes, connected with a drain.

Stair-carpets should occasionally be taken up, the steps cleaned, and the carpet replaced so that what was on the edge of a step before should be now in the middle. Carpets treated this way will last much longer and not look shabby so soon.

A coal-scuttle should be kept by the kitchen fireplace to hold sifted cinders, and if these are damped and put on where there is a good coal fire, they make a fierce hot fire and save the coals; but they should be well damped with clean water just before using.



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


Although Fräulein had charge over the girls’ education, Mr. Asplin reserved to himself the right of superintending their studies and dictating their particular direction. He was so accustomed to training boys for a definite end that he had no patience with the ordinary aimless routine of a girl’s school course, and in the case of his daughters had carefully provided for their different abilities and tastes. Esther was a born student, a clear-headed, hard-thinking girl, who took a delight in wrestling with Latin verbs and in solving problems in Euclid, while she had little or no artistic faculty. He put her through much the same course as his own boys, gave her half an hour’s private lesson on unoccupied afternoons, and cut down the two hours’ practising on the piano to a bare thirty minutes. Esther had pleaded to give up music altogether, on the ground that she had neither love nor skill for this accomplishment, but to this the Vicar would not agree.

“You have already spent much time over it, and have passed the worst of the drudgery; it would be folly to lose all you have learnt,” he said. “You may not wish to perform in public, but there are many other ways in which your music may be useful. In time to come you would be sorry if you could not read an accompaniment to a song, play bright airs to amuse children, or hymn tunes to help in a service. Half an hour a day will keep up what you have learned, and so much time you must manage to spare.”

With Mellicent the case was almost exactly opposite. It was a waste of time trying to teach her mathematics, she had not sufficient brain power to grasp them, and if she succeeded in learning a proposition by heart like a parrot, it was only to collapse into helpless tears and protestations when the letters were altered, and, as it seemed to her, the whole argument changed thereby.

Fräulein protested that it was impossible to teach Mellicent to reason, but the Vicar was loath to give up his pet theory that girls should receive the same hard mental training as their brothers. He declared that if the girl were weak in this direction, it was all the more necessary that she should be trained, and volunteered to take her in hand for half an hour daily to see what could be done. Fräulein accepted this offer with a chuckle of satisfaction, and the Vicar went on with the lessons several weeks, patiently plodding over the same ground without making the least impression on poor Mellicent’s brain, until there came one happy never-to-be-forgotten morning when Algebra and Euclid went spinning up to the ceiling, and he jumped from the table with a roar of helpless laughter.

“Oh, baby! baby! this is past all bearing! We might try for a century, and never get any further. I cannot waste any more time.” Then, seeing the large tears gathering, he framed the pretty face in his hands, and looked at it with a tender smile. “Never mind, darling! there are better things in this world than being clever and learned. You will be our little house-daughter; help mother with her work, and play and sing to father when he is tired in the evening. Work hard at your music, learn how to manage a house, to sew and mend, and cook, and you will have nothing to regret. A woman who can make a home has done more than many scholars.”

So it came to pass that Mellicent added the violin to her accomplishments, and was despatched to her own room to practise exercises, while her elder sister wrestled with problems and equations.

When Peggy Saville arrived, here was a fresh problem, for Fräulein reported that the good child could not add five and six together without tapping them over on her finger; was as ignorant of geography as a little heathen, and had so little ear for music that she could not sing “Rule Britannia” without branching off into “God save the Queen.” But when it came to poetry!—Fräulein held up her hands in admiration. It was absolutely no effort to that child to remember, her eyes seemed to flash down the page, and the lines were her own, and as she repeated them her face shone, and her voice thrilled with such passionate delight that Esther and Mellicent had been known to shed tears at the sound of words which had fallen dead and lifeless from their own lips. And at composition, how original she was! What a relief it was to find so great a contrast to other children! When it was the life of a great man which should be written, Esther and Mellicent began their essays as ninety-nine out of a hundred school-girls would do, with a flat and obvious statement of birth, birth-place, and parentage, but Peggy disdained such commonplace methods, and dashed headlong into the heart of her subject with a high-flown sentiment, or a stirring assertion which at once arrested the reader’s interest. And it was the same with whatever she wrote; she had the power of investing the dullest subject with charm and brightness. Fräulein could not say too much of Peggy’s powers in this direction, and the Vicar’s eye brightened as he listened. He asked eagerly to be allowed to see the girl’s MS. book, and summoned his wife from pastry-making in the kitchen to hear the three or four essays which it contained.

“What do you think of those for a girl of fourteen? There’s a pupil for you! If she were only a boy! Such dash—such spirit—such a gift of words! Do you notice her adjectives? Exaggerated, no doubt, and over-abundant, but so apt, so true, so strong! That child can write: she has the gift. She ought to turn out an author of no mean rank.”

“Oh, dear me! I hope not. I hope she will marry a nice, kind man who will be good to her, and have too much to do looking after her children to waste her time writing stories,” cried Mrs. Asplin, who adored a good novel when she could get hold of one, but harboured a prejudice against all women-authors as strong-minded creatures, who lived in lodgings, and sported short hair, inky fingers, and a pen behind the ear. Mariquita Saville was surely destined for a happier fate. “When a woman can live her own romance, why need she trouble her head about inventing others!”

Her husband looked at her with a quizzical smile.

“Even the happiest life is not all romance, dear. It sometimes seems unbearably prosaic, and then it is a relief to lose oneself in fiction. You can’t deny that! I seem to have a remembrance of seeing someone I know seated in a big chair before this very fire devouring a novel and a Newtown pippin together on more Saturday afternoons than I could number.”

“Tuts!” said his wife, and blushed a rosy red, which made her look ridiculously young and pretty. Saturday afternoon was her holiday-time of the week, and she had not yet outgrown her school-girl love of eating apples as an accompaniment to an interesting book, but how aggravating to be reminded of her weakness just at this moment of all others! “What an inconvenient memory you have,” she said complainingly. “Can’t a poor body indulge in a little innocent recreation without having it brought up against her in argument ever afterwards. And I thought we were talking about Peggy! What is at the bottom of this excitement? I know you have some plan in your head.”

“I mean to see that she reads good{166} books, and only books that will help, and not hinder her progress! The rest will come in time. She must learn before she can teach, have some experience of her own before she can imagine the experiences of others; but writing is Peggy’s gift, and she has been put in my charge. I must try to give her the right training.”

From that time forward Mr. Asplin studied Peggy with a special interest, and a few evenings later a conversation took place among the young people which confirmed him in his conclusion as to her possibilities. Lessons were over for the day, and girls and boys were amusing themselves in the drawing-room, while Mr. Asplin read the Spectator, and his wife knitted stockings by the fire. Mellicent was embroidering a prospective Christmas present, an occupation which engaged her leisure hours from March to December; Esther was reading, and Peggy was supposed to be writing a letter, but was, in reality, talking incessantly, with her elbows planted on the table, and her face supported on her clasped hands. She wore a bright pink frock, which gave a tinge of colour to the pale face, her hair was unbound from the tight pig-tail and tied with a ribbon on the nape of her neck, from which it fell in smooth heavy waves to her waist. It was one of the moments when her companions realised with surprise that Peggy could look astonishingly pretty upon occasion, and Oswald, from the sofa, and Max and Bob, from the opposite side of the table, listened to her words with all the more attention on that account.

She was discussing the heroine of a book which they had been reading in turns, pointing out the inconsistencies in her behaviour, and expatiating on the superior manner in which she—Mariquita—would have behaved had positions been reversed. Then the boys had described their own imaginary conduct under the trying circumstances, drawing forth peals of derisive laughter from the feminine audience, and the question had finally drifted from “What would you do?” to “What would you be?” with the result that each one was eager to expatiate on his own pet schemes and ambitions.

“I should like to come out first in all England in the Local Examinations, get my degree of M.A., and be a teacher in a large High School,” said Esther solemnly. “At Christmas and Easter I would come home and see my friends, and in summer time I’d go abroad and travel, and rub up my languages. Of course, what I should like best would be to be head mistress of Girton, but I could not expect that to come for a good many years. I must be content to work my way up, and I shall be quite happy wherever I am, so long as I am teaching.”

“Poor old Esther! and she will wear spectacles, and black alpaca dresses, and woollen mittens on her hands! Can’t I see her!” cried Max, throwing back his head with one of the cheery bursts of laughter which brought his mother’s eyes upon him with a flash of adoring pride. “Now there’s none of that overweening ambition about me. I could bear up if I never saw an improving book again. What I would like would be for some benevolent old millionaire to take a fancy to me, and adopt me as his heir. I feel cut out to be a country gentleman and march about in gaiters and knickerbockers, looking after the property, don’t you know, and interviewing my tenants. I’d be strict with them, but kind at the same time; look into all their grievances, and put them right whenever I could. I’d make it a model place before I’d done with it, and all the people would adore me. That’s my ambition, and a very good one it is too; I defy anyone to have a better.”

“I should like to marry a very rich man with a big moustache, and a beautiful house in London with a fireplace in the hall,” cried Mellicent fervently. “I should have carriages and horses, and a diamond necklace and three children; Valentine Roy—that should be the boy—and Hildegarde and Ermyntrude, the girls, and they should have golden hair like Rosalind, and blue eyes, and never wear anything but white, and big silk sashes. I’d have a housekeeper to look after the dinners and things, and a governess for the children, and never do anything myself except give orders and go out to parties. I’d be the happiest woman that ever lived.”

Lazy Oswald smiled in complacent fashion.

“And the fattest! Dearie me, wouldn’t you be a tub! I don’t know that I have any special ambition. I mean to get my degree if I can, and then persuade the governor to send me a tour round the world. I like moving about, and change and excitement, and travelling is good fun if you avoid the fag, and provide yourself with introductions to the right people. I know a fellow who went off for a year and had no end of a time; people put him up at their houses, and got up balls and dinners for his benefit, and he never had to rough it a bit. I could put in a year or two in that way uncommonly well.”

Rob had been wriggling on his chair and scowling in his wild-bear fashion all the while Oswald was speaking, and at the conclusion he relieved his feelings by kicking out recklessly beneath the table, with the result that Peggy sat up suddenly with a “My foot, my friend! Curb your enthusiasm!” which made him laugh, despite his annoyance.

“But it’s such bosh!” he cried scornfully. “It makes me sick to hear a fellow talk such nonsense. Balls and dinners—faugh! If that’s your idea of happiness, why not settle down in London and be done with it! That’s the place for you! I’d give my ears to go round the world, but I wouldn’t thank you to go with a dress suit and a valet; I’d want to rough it, to get right out of the track of civilisation and taste a new life; to live with the Bedouin in their tents as some of those artist fellows have done, or make friends with a tribe of savages. Magnificent! I’d keep a note-book with an account of all I did, and all the strange plants and flowers and insects I came across, and write a book when I came home. I’d a lot rather rough it in Africa that lounge about Piccadilly in a frock coat and tall hat.” Robert sighed at the hard prospect which lay before him as the son of a noble house, then looked across the table with a smile: “And what says the fair Mariquita? What rôle in life is she going to patronise when she comes to years of discretion?”

Peggy nibbled the end of her pen and stared into space.

“I’ve not quite decided,” she said slowly. “I should like to be either an author or an orator, but I’m not sure which. I think, on the whole, an orator, because then you could watch the effect of your words. It is not possible, of course, but what I should like best would be to be the Archbishop of Canterbury, or some great dignitary of the Church. Oh, just imagine it! To stand up in the pulpit and see the dim cathedral before one, and the faces of the people looking up, white and solemn.... I’d stand waiting until the roll of the organ died away and there was a great silence; then I would look at them, and say to myself—‘A thousand people, two thousand people, and for half an hour they are in my power. I can make them think as I will, see as I will, feel as I will. They are mine! I am their leader.’—I cannot imagine anything in the world more splendid than that! I should choose to be the most wonderful orator that was ever known, and people would come from all over the world to hear me, and I would say beautiful things in beautiful words, and see the answer in their faces, and meet the flash in the eyes looking up into mine. Oh—h! if it could only—only be true; but it can’t, you see. I am a girl, and if I try to do anything in public I am as nervous as a rabbit, and can only squeak, squeak, squeak in a tiny little voice that would not reach across the room. I had to recite at a prize-giving at school once, and, my dears, it was a lamentable failure! I was only audible to the first three rows, and when it was over, I simply sat down and howled, and my knees shook. Oh, dear, the very recollection unpowers me! So I think, on the whole, I shall be an authoress, and let my pen be my sceptre. From my quiet fireside,” cried Peggy, with a sudden assumption of the Mariquita manner, and a swing of the arms which upset a vase of chrysanthemums, and sent a stream of water flowing over the table—“from my quiet fireside I will sway the hearts of men——”

“My plush cloth! Oh, bad girl,—my new plush cloth! You dreadful Peggy, what will I do with you!” Mrs. Asplin rushed forward to mop with her handkerchief and lift the dripping flowers to a place of safety, while Peggy rolled up her eyes with an expression of roguish impenitence.

“Dear Mrs. Asplin, it was not I, it was that authoress. She was evolving her plots.... Pity the eccentricities of the great!”

(To be continued.)




Hermia.—We have never seen nor heard of cancer occurring in a girl of eighteen. The earliest age at which we have seen cancer of the breast was twenty-four. The disease is exceedingly rare before thirty-five. You have probably got a simple swelling. Go to a surgeon and ask his advice. Possibly a trivial operation may be needed to remove the lump.

Ma Tante.—What is your work? This is the first question to ask anyone who is troubled with roughness of the arms. We would have been pleased if you had given us a description of the roughness of which you complain. Roughness above the elbows may be due to so many causes. If there is nothing to see upon your arm, no spots or patches, but simply a slight scaliness of the arm, wash the place in warm water and soap, and then smear on a very little lanoline or simple ointment.

Complexion.—1. We have published many long “Answers” on the subject of face-spots. In last year’s volume you will find a very long account of “acne” in an answer to “Fair Isabel.” In 1896 we published an article on face-spots. You should read these and they will tell you practically all that you require. The little article on the complexion, recently published, will also help you.—2. The soap that you mention is made for household and not for toilet use. We strongly dissuade you from using it for washing your face.

Tiger.—We are always pleased to answer questions about the feet and hands, for the subject has great fascination for us. The cause and treatment of flat-foot are well understood; but it is far more easy to prevent the feet from becoming flat, than it is to restore the natural arch of the foot after it has once been broken down. The causes of flat-foot are numerous. Occupations which necessitate prolonged standing. How often we see flat-foot in policemen. Occupations in which you sit down all day. The office clerk is generally flat-footed. Weakness of the muscles of the legs, whether part of a general weakness or not, is another cause. Lastly, and vastly the most important cause of all is ill-fitting foot-gear. We do not believe that flat-foot would ever occur if people did not wear boots or shoes. If your boots are very well made, and do not bend at the waist, but are flexible in the toes, they will not produce flat-foot. But by far the greater number of boots bend in the waist only, the result is, that the centre of the foot, where nature intended that but little movement should take place, is the only part of the civilised foot which is free to bend. Its joints are dragged open at every step, the tendons and ligaments give way, the arch collapses and the foot becomes quite flat. To treat flat-foot, get boots which fit well, and which are prevented from bending in the centre by being stiffened with a steel waist. Pads are often used for this complaint. The pads are shaped like a division of an orange and are placed in the boots to support the instep. If they fit and are comfortable they are useful. If, as is usually the case, they do not fit, they cause extreme discomfort and do great harm. Walking on tip-toe for half an hour a day, without boots or shoes on, will help to strengthen the foot and relieve the flatness. Walking, running and jumping, are excellent exercises for the relief or flat-foot. Skipping is a pleasant and useful pastime for flat-footed girls.

Forget-me-not.—1. We are much pleased to hear that your daughter’s hair has improved from using the wash. Continue to wash her hair once a week with the boracic acid. After having washed and dried her hair rub a little sulphur ointment into the scalp. It is useless to apply the ointment to the hair itself.—2. Your second question is rather difficult to answer. Your daughter is certainly suffering from blepharitis—a most intractable disease. The treatment that you are carrying out is the best we know; but we would suggest that she should bathe her eyes twice a day in warm solution of bicarbonate of soda (5 grains to the ounce). In your daughter’s case it is probable that something more than lotions and ointments is needed. It is well worth your while to consult an ophthalmic surgeon. The longer the disease has lasted the more difficult it is to cure. You should attend to the general health of your daughter and feed her well.

Hesperus.—Do not feed your children on condensed milk alone. If you continue to do so you will have five rickety children to look after. Cow’s milk diluted with fresh barley water is the best artificial food (excluding asses’ milk which is very expensive) for infants. The elder children may be allowed to eat much the same as you do yourself. It is always well to let children have plenty of milk even when they can digest ordinary adult diet. Give the child with “weak legs” a little cream with her milk.

Ursula.—1. A pale swollen tongue is a symptom of many complaints. Usually it denotes indigestion, constipation or anæmia. It is constantly present in atonic and amylaceous dyspepsia.—2. The incubation period of mumps is rather variable. It is usually from two to three weeks.

Roly Poly.—1. The usual expedient adopted to cure children from the habit of biting their nails is to dip their fingers into tincture of aloes or solution of alum. If you cannot cure yourself of the habit by rational means, you might try one of these measures; but surely a girl of seventeen can restrain herself from such a habit. It is a very silly trick to get accustomed to, for it interferes with the proper development of the nails, and, consequently, spoils the look of the hands.—2. Clean your nails well and rub a very little lanoline into them.

Janet.—Go to an ophthalmic surgeon and get your eyes seen to at once. If taken in time squint is usually cured without operation.

Miriam.—We cannot too strongly insist upon the foolishness of taking patent medicines. How anyone can trifle with her health in this way we cannot conceive. When you take patent medicine, what are you doing? You are throwing into your blood a decoction of which you know nothing. You are feeding yourself upon drugs which, for all you know, may poison you. And what do you take these drugs for? Oh, for a headache, or for biliousness! And yet you have no stronger authority for taking the stuff for your ailment than the assurance of the company who sells the medicine. Of course we know that most patent medicines are inert; but only this morning a case is related in the newspapers of a woman who died from taking somebody’s pills. Give up your silly habit of taking drugs at all. If you were not careless with your health you would probably not be suffering from your present troubles.


Soldier’s Friend.—The Royal Artillery College is at Woolwich. The Royal School of Military Engineering is at Chatham. We do not quite comprehend your question. The candidate would have to pass the entrance examination, of course.

Fiancée.—At a reception after a two o’clock wedding the refreshments would consist of tea, coffee, or iced coffee, cups of any kind you may like; sandwiches, jellies, blancmanges, trifles, ices, cake, bread and butter; plenty of flowers, and the wedding-cake. You could have some tiny tables arranged about the room, but the refreshments are what are called “standing up,” exactly like a large afternoon tea. The bride’s father provides carriages for the bride and the family in the house. Her bridesmaids should meet her at the church, and if needful a carriage should be provided for their return; but it is not customary to provide any for the guests, unless the church be at a great distance off. In this case it is better to invite the guests to the reception only, but this is optional. You would take your father’s left arm to walk up the aisle, and you return in the same carriage that brought you, unless the bridegroom should possess a carriage of his own, when the bride sometimes returns in that, but not always.

Mabel.—For a mayor’s reception held in the evening you and your husband should both wear evening dress. The lady mayoress generally receives her guests, and you should give your names to the servant who announces you, and then go forward and shake hands.

Sophia.—“The King’s Daughters” form an order of Christian service, which was first founded in America, where it has over 200,000 members. It has now been made international. The branch for Great Britain was formed in 1891. The object of the Order is to develop spiritual life and to stimulate Christian activity by creating a world-wide sisterhood of service among all women who are doing anything to uplift humanity. Their badge is a small silver cross, bearing the initials of their watchword—“In His Name.” It is now worn all over the world. In all 400,000 men, women, and children have taken the little cross as the outward symbol of their pledge of love and service for Christ’s sake, and there are more than 1,000 different lines of work carried out by the Order. It was founded by ten women in New York City on January 13th, 1886, and its progress may be considered quite unique, as it is one of the most remarkable of the great religious societies of the day. In England the Hon. Secretary and Treasurer is Miss M. Stuart, 17, Morpeth Mansions, Victoria Street, London, S.W., from whom all information can be obtained.

Rowena.—The personal property of an unmarried sister would be equally divided between mother, brothers, and sisters; but if the father were living, the whole would go to him. Real property would all go to the eldest brother, unless there were a father, when it would all go to him. You will find all about intestates’ estates in Whitaker’s Almanack, from which we take the above.

Clematis.—The word “Beryl” is pronounced as having two syllables—Ber-ril; and the word “minx” is pronounced as spelt—minks.

Isabel.—February 13th, 1847, was a Saturday.


The sixth and last instalment of questions in this instructive Competition is given below. Full details as to prizes and certificates of merit appeared on page 14.

Questions 61-72.

61. Is what is known as the poisonous upas tree of Java a fact or a hoax?

*     *     *     *

62. What is the best way of treating a fainting fit?

*     *     *     *

63. What public punishment was once in use in England for scolding women?

*     *     *     *

64. What was the origin of the phrase “The Wise Fools of Gotham?”

*     *     *     *

65. Is length of life greater now than it used to be?

*     *     *     *

66. Of what literary work has it been said that it is “perhaps the only book about which the educated minority has come over to the opinion of the common people?”

*     *     *     *

67. Who was the young Fellow of Oxford who, during the latter half of last century, eloped with a banker’s daughter and came in the end to be Lord Chancellor of England?

*     *     *     *

68. What plant was introduced early in the seventeenth century into this country as an ornamental plant but is now a favourite vegetable?

*     *     *     *

69. Who was the father of English Cathedral music?

*     *     *     *

70. What may fairly claim to be the greatest work of imagination in the world?

*     *     *     *

71. What Scottish sovereign, looking out of the window of the prison in which he was once confined, caught sight for the first time of the lady whom he afterwards married?

*     *     *     *

72. How many different kinds of clouds may be seen floating in the sky?

The answers to the above questions, Nos. 61-72, together with the answers to questions 49-60, which appeared on page 135, must be sent in on or before February 24, 1899.

Address to The Editor, The Girl’s Own Paper Office, 56, Paternoster Row, London, E.C., and at the left-hand top corner of the envelope or wrapper write the words “Questions Competition.”






Written and Composed by Herbert Harraden.

[Transcriber's Note: Click on the [Listen] links to download and listen to MP3 files of the music, and on the [XML] links to download the notation in MusicXML format. Click the [Larger version] links to see larger images of the notation. If you are reading this e-book in a format other than HTML, you may not be able to use these links.]


HyacinthiaThe Fairy of the Dell.
Fairy Governess(Elderly looking).
FlibbieAn Elf.
AliceA Mortal Child.
Fairies and Elves in attendance on Hyacinthia (but these can be dispensed with).

Introduction: Play the Accompaniment of No. 3 for the Introduction.

Scene: A Dell.

Enter Fairy Governess.



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1. For me the sun doth ne - ver shine,
For me there is no peace,
A wea - ry, drea - ry lot is mine,
My troubles nev - er cease,
A wea - ry, drea - ry lot is mine,
My troubles nev - er cease.
A stranger to joy and glee,
With ne - ver a mo - ment free,
There’s rest for me ne - ver,
For ev - er and ev - er
A Go - ver - ness I must be,
A sad and sor - row - ful, tired - out
Go - ver - ness I must ev - er be.
2. And will the sun ne’er shine a - gain
As in the days of yore?
Ah, no! my hopes have been in vain,
And will be ev - er - more.
Ah, no! my hopes have been in vain,
And will be ev - er - more.
A stranger to joy and glee,
With ne - ver a mo - ment free,
There’s rest for me ne - ver,
For ev - er and ev - er
A Go - ver - ness I must be,
A sad and sor - row - ful, tired - out
Go - ver - ness I must ev - er be.

Gov. (sitting down). Ah! it is a cruel punishment! Once I was a mortal child, but that was years ago, and when I came into Hyacinth Dell I was made a Fairy, and was appointed Governess to the most trying and perverse Elf in all Fairy Land. I don’t dare to think that I was as trying and perverse to my Governess. She told me that this Dell was enchanted, and forbade me to enter it, and only when it was too late did I regret my disobedience. Here comes my precious pupil.

Enter Flibbie.

Gov. Now, Flibbie, late again! You are always unpunctual. It is very wrong to be unpunctual. Come here at once!

Flib. (slyly). Please, Governess, is it worse to be unpunctual than disobedient?

Gov. Whatever you do that is not right is wrong.

Flib. That is rather an artful answer.


Gov. How dare you speak to me like that?

Flib. (laughs slyly).

Gov. Don’t laugh!

Flib. (serious). I’m not laughing.

Gov. But you were laughing. And how many times have I told you not to twiddle your thumbs?

Flib. I really don’t know, Governess; it never occurred to me to count.

Gov. We will commence with History. How was William Rufus killed?

Flib. With an arrow.

Gov. There’s a good Flibbie! You see you can be good if you try. And who killed him?

Flib. A sparrow.

Gov. A sparrow?

Flib. Yes, Governess. “I, said the sparrow, with my bow and arrow.” Shakespeare!

Gov. But I was asking about William Rufus.

Flib. Oh, I beg your pardon, Governess, I thought you were asking about Cock Robin. Of course, William Rufus was killed by Sir Walter Squirrel.

Gov. “Sir Walter” is right, Flibbie, but not “Squirrel.”

Flib. Oh, I beg your pardon, Governess, I saw one on that oak-tree, and it diverted my thoughts. Of course, it was Sir Walter Tyrrel.

Gov. Quite right, Flibbie. And why was William called Rufus?

Flib. On account of the colour of his hair.

Gov. And what colour was his hair?

Flib. Blue; and he had a big beard of the same colour, and he had ever so many wives, and he cut off their heads, and, and—hung them up in the drawing-room, and locked the door—and——

Gov. No, no, Flibbie! You are thinking of Blue Beard. What colour was the hair of William Rufus?

Flib. Green.

Gov. No.

Flib. Magenta.

Gov. No.

Flib. Vandyke brown.

Gov. No.

Flib. Crimson lake.

Gov. Oh, Flibbie, how trying you are!

Flib. Pink.

Gov. No.

Flib. Vermilion.

Gov. No.

Flib. I recollect, now. Red.

Gov. Quite right, Flibbie.

Flib. And for this reason the boys at school called him “Carrots.”

Gov. I don’t think that’s in history, Flibbie.

Flib. Then, please, Governess, I think it ought to be.

Gov. Now for Geography. What is an Island?

Flib. An Island is a piece of water surrounded by land.

Gov. Oh, Flibbie, how can you be so irritating? I must insist upon knowing what an Island is.

Flib. Don’t you know? As you are a Governess, you ought to know.

Gov. Of course I know, but I want you to tell me what an Island is, so that I may know that you know.

Flib. An Island is a piece of land surrounded by water.

Gov. Quite right! Why didn’t you say that at first?

Flib. Didn’t I?

Gov. Flibbie, you know you didn’t. What is Sheffield celebrated for?

Flib. For the crocodiles that infest its shores.

Gov. Flibbie, your behaviour is shameful.

Flib. Oh, I beg your pardon, Governess, that’s the answer to “What is the Nile celebrated for?” Sheffield is celebrated for its cutlets.

Gov. For its cutlets?

Flib. I beg your pardon, Governess, I meant cutlery.

Gov. And now for Grammar. What is Grammar?

Flib. A nuisance.

Gov. I don’t want your opinion of Grammar, Flibbie, I want your definition of it.

Flib. Please, Governess, I cannot give my definition of it, but I can give Webster’s.

Gov. Very well, Flibbie.

Flib. Grammar is “the science of language; the theory of human speech; the study of forms of speech, and their relations to one another.”

Gov. Very good indeed, Flibbie. Now, what is a Conjunction?

Flib. It is a place where different lines of railways meet. There’s one at Clapham.

Gov. No, Flibbie, you are thinking of a Junction. What is a Conjunction?

Flib. Oh, I beg your pardon! A Conjunction is “a connective or connecting word; an indeclinable word which serves to unite sentences, clauses of a sentence, or words.” Also Webster. And, please, Governess, there is a little point of grammar that has always puzzled me. Will you kindly explain it?

Gov. Certainly, Flibbie. What is it?

Flib. Is it correct to say “Four and seven is twelve,” or, “Four and seven are twelve”?

Gov. Why, of course, Flibbie, it is correct to say “Four and seven are twelve.”

Flib. (laughing). Please, Governess, I’m sure it isn’t, for four and seven are eleven. I caught you there!

Gov. Was there ever such an imp! Now for Spelling.


(Governess and Flibbie.)

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1. How do you spell Cat?
Please, Go - ver - ness, did you say Rat?
No, I said Cat.
I beg your par - don! I thought you said Rat.
No, I said Cat!
I thought you said Rat.
Spell Cat!
I can ea - si - ly do that.
K A T, Kat.
You are so wil - ful and per - verse,
It’s real - ly ve - ry sad;
Each day you’re get - ting worse and worse,
And soon you’ll drive me mad!
I’m ve - ry sor - ry, Go - ver - ness,
I real - ly can’t be good;
How much I try you can - not guess,
I on - ly wish I could.
2. How do you spell Fat?
Please, Go - ver - ness, did you say Mat?
No, I said Fat.
Kind - ly ex - cuse me! I thought you said Mat.
No, I said Fat!
I thought you said Mat.
Spell Fat!
I can ea - si - ly do that.
P H A T, Phat.
You are so wil - ful and per - verse,
It’s real - ly ve - ry sad;
Each day you’re get - ting worse and worse,
And soon you’ll drive me mad!
I’m ve - ry sor - ry, Go - ver - ness,
I real - ly can’t be good;
How much I try you can - not guess,
I real - ly wish I could,
{Governess. / Flibbie. }
{You are so wil - ful and per - verse, / I’m ve - ry sor - ry, Go - ver - ness,}
{It’s real - ly ve - ry sad; / I real - ly can’t be good;}
{Each day you’re get - ting worse and worse, / How much I try you can - not guess,}
{And soon you’ll drive me mad, / I real - ly wish I could,}
{Each day you’re get - ting worse and worse, / How much I try you can - not guess,}
{And soon you’ll drive me mad! / I on - ly wish I could.}

Flib. Please, Governess, I’m tired of lessons. Take me for a little walk.

Gov. Very well, Flibbie, but you must try to walk slower. I am not so active as you are.

Flib. I’ll try, Governess. (Aside) Won’t I lead her a dance! That’s all.

Gov. Come along, then!

Exeunt Governess and Flibbie.

Enter Alice.

No. 3. “I’M NOT TO DO THIS.”


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1. I’ve es - caped from my Go - ver - ness! Oh, what a treat!
Some fault she has al - ways to find;
And when I get home, with a scold - ing I’ll meet,
{172} But not in the least shall I mind.
She’ll be in a ter - ri - ble fright, I can tell,
But she’ll hunt for me vain - ly, I fear;
She for - bade me to en - ter this beau - ti - ful Dell,
And that is the rea - son I’m here.
I’m not to do this, I am to do that,
I’m grum - bled at all the day long;
What - ev - er I don’t do,
What - ev - er I do do,
I’m sure to be told it is wrong, wrong, wrong,
Ne - ver right, ne - ver right, al - ways wrong.
2. And this is the Dell that’s en - chant - ed, she said,
I’m sure it looks harm - less e - nough;
The sto - ry in some chil - dren’s book she has read,
So it must all be non - sense and stuff.
Of course she will say to me, “Where did you go?”
And the truth I will cer - tain - ly tell;
And then I can tease her and laugh at her so,
For be - liev - ing in Hy - a - cinth Dell.
I’m not to do this, I am to do that,
I’m grum - bled at all the day long;
What - ev - er I don’t do,
What - ev - er I do do,
I’m sure to be told it is wrong, wrong, wrong,
Ne - ver right, ne - ver right, al - ways wrong.


Alice (looking off). But who is this coming so slowly along? She certainly looks as if she wanted stirring up a bit.

Enter Governess. Alice retires to the back and listens.

Gov. (sitting down). I seem to get weaker and weaker and more tired every day. I’m sure it is hard enough to have to take Flibbie out for a walk, for he goes so fast on purpose, as he knows that I am obliged to keep up with him; but when it comes to have to run after him, it is intolerable. Of course, if he gets into mischief, I get into trouble for it; and as he is always getting into mischief, on purpose, I am always getting into trouble. He’s run away and hidden himself somewhere. I’ve hunted for him high and low, and it’s almost time for his Euclid lesson. Oh, dear me! Who’d be a Governess, a miserable Governess!

Alice (coming forward). Oh, tell me that I have not heard rightly. Tell me that you are not a Governess.

Gov. (rising). A mortal child! Unhappy One! Why, oh, why did you venture into Hyacinth Dell. I am a Governess—a Fairy Governess.

Alice. Then what my Governess told me was true! Why didn’t I believe her?

Gov. What did she tell you?

Alice. She told me that this Dell was enchanted, and forbade me to enter it.

Gov. History repeats itself. It was the same in my case.

Alice. She told me of a child called Alice—and my name is Alice, too—and how the other Alice lived with her parents in Ivy Hall, where we are all living now; and my Governess told me how the other Alice disobeyed her Governess and came into this Dell, and how her parents never saw her again, and how they both died broken-hearted, for she was their only child, and was very dear to them. But I only laughed at her.

Gov. Poor child! There will be no more laughter for you. I am that other Alice.

Enter Flibbie.

Flib. Oh, there you are, Governess! I’ll report you for leaving me during school time.

Gov. (to Alice). This is my pupil.

Flib. (seeing Alice). Who’s this? What’s this? Why, it’s a mortal child! Oh, naughty, naughty! Haven’t you put your foot into it! (dancing round her). What fun, what fun!

Alice. Oh, let me go! (To Governess) Help me to get away.

Enter Hyacinthia with Attendants.

Hya. No, Alice, that cannot be.

Alice (to Hyacinthia). Who are you?

Flibbie seats himself at the side and silently expresses his delight during the following Trio.


(TRIO.—Hyacinthia, Fairy Governess, and Alice.)

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I am the Fai - ry of the Dell,
And on it there’s a spell!
A - lice! A - lice!
You know a - bout it well.
The words of your Go - ver - ness scorn - ing,
And heed - less of her warn - ing,
In - to my realms you’ve dared to stray,
And the pe - nal - ty you must pay.
This is a dream, a ter - ri - ble dream,
Ah! would that I could wake!
This is no dream, un - hap - py child!
All hope you must for - sake!
Governess (to Hyacinthia).
Oh! save her from the grief in store!
{174} Spare her, spare her, I im - plore!
Spare her, spare her, I im - plore!
Hyacinthia (to Alice)
1. Your Go - ver - ness was good and kind,
And pa - tient as could be;
But ah! how good and kind she was
You nev - er seemed to see.
You al - ways did your ve - ry best
To vex her in each way,
And e’en the slight - est wish of hers,
At once you’d dis - o - bey.
Such bit - ter pain as you have caus’d,
Now, A - lice, you shall know,
And com - ing ’neath my ma - gic power,
No mer - cy may I show.
Hyacinthia (to Alice)
2. Your dis - o - be - dience you will rue,
Your pun - ish - ment is great;
You’ll find it more than hard to bear,
So lis - ten to your fate.
From hence - forth it will be your task
To try to teach this elf,
Whom you will find as cru - el and
As wil - ful as your - self.
He’ll mock at you, and jeer at you,
And vain - ly you’ll com - plain,
And in this Dell as Go - ver - ness
For ev - er you’ll re - main.
{Alice. / Governess.}
Spare {me, / her,} I im - plore!
Oh, spare {me, / her,} I im - plore!
No! in this Dell as Go - ver - ness,
{Hyacinthia. / Governess & Alice.}
{For ev - er you’ll re - main. / Oh, spare {her, / me,} I im - plore!}

Flib. (coming forward). Well, this has been a treat. I haven’t enjoyed myself so much for ever so long.

Alice (to Hyacinthia). Oh, spare me!

Hya. Why should you be spared? Did you spare your poor, patient Governess?

Alice. Bitterly, most bitterly do I repent my conduct. Ah! let me go back, and I will make up to her for the past.

Hya. It is too late.

Flib. (to Alice). Cry-Baby!

Gov. Shame on you, Flibbie! How unkind you are!

Alice. And am I to remain in this Dell for ever?

Hya. For ever.

Alice. Shall I never again see my parents, nor my sisters and brother?

Hya. Never!

Flib. Nor your pet rabbit, Cry-Baby.

Gov. Flibbie, how heartless you are! And besides, how do you know that she has a pet rabbit?

Flib. She looks that sort of girl.

Hya. (to Alice). All that you hold dear is forfeited.

Alice. Spare me! Forgive me!

Hya. I would spare you, I would forgive you, but I am powerless to do so, except under one condition.

Alice. Oh, what is it? I promise faithfully to perform any condition.

Hya. I may not tell you. It is a secret entrusted to me, and only to me, by the Queen of the Fairies.

Gov. (to Hyacinthia). Mistress, have pity! Long, long ago, when I was a mortal child I disobeyed my Governess and came into Hyacinth Dell. For all these weary years I have borne the bitter punishment of being Governess to this Elf. I have lost every happiness, and there only remains the memory of the bright and golden days of my childhood to make me more unhappy still. Ah! do not doom poor Alice to such a fate as mine. I know that by the laws of Fairy Land the coming of this mortal child releases me from my dreadful post. I know that she will have to fill this, and that I shall be appointed to a lighter punishment; but rather than that she should suffer as I have suffered, ah! let me remain still a Governess, and set Alice free!

Hya. All your pleadings would have been in vain, but you yourself, unknowingly, have fulfilled the condition. Your loving words of self-denial have broken the charm, and Alice is free.

Alice. Free!

Flib. Oh, I am sorry! I was so looking forward to having a Cry-Baby for a new Governess. I’d have given her something to cry for. Never mind! I’ll give the old Governess a worse time of it.

Alice (to Flibbie). You horrid little monster! (To Governess) Oh, but this is too terrible! How can I leave you to all this misery, and for my sake? I should always be thinking of you. No! you shall not make this sacrifice for me. (To Hyacinthia) Fairy, forget what she has said, and give me my punishment!

Hya. No, Alice, that cannot be, for the charm is broken! But be comforted, for there is also happiness for her who has restored you your happiness. (To Governess) Once having been made a Fairy, you must always remain a Fairy, but the memory of the days when you were a mortal child shall fade away, and only glad thoughts shall be yours. You have aged beneath your constant cares, but a Governess no longer, be young once more, and let a bright raiment be in keeping with your Future!

Hyacinthia waves her wand and a change comes over the Fairy Governess. She is now young looking, and she wears a glittering dress.

Hya. (to Governess). I appoint you to be Alice’s Good Fairy; to watch over her, and to guide her lovingly all through her life.

Alice (to Governess). Ah! how beautiful you are, and as good as you are beautiful!

Hya. Look your last on her, Alice, for you will never see her again. When you have left Hyacinth Dell she will be invisible to you, but she will always be with you, and you will only feel her presence.

Flib. And what about me? Without any Governess to tease and torment, life won’t be worth living.

Hya. Then, Flibbie, I will make it worth living. Your nature shall change, and, from being the most wilful and perverse Elf in Fairy Land, in future all the other Elves will look upon you as a model of obedience, sweetness, and goodness, in your new appointment as aide-de-camp to Alice’s Good Fairy.

Flib. (to Governess). For the last time ask me to spell something!

Gov. (laughing). No, Flibbie; you are sure to make a mistake on purpose. I know your tricks.

Flib. Ask me to spell “A phenomenally exquisite Dear.”

Hya. What a big word for such a little thing.

Alice. I half think I couldn’t pronounce that long word. It must be at least twelve syllables; and I certainly altogether think that no one could spell it.

Flib. (to Alice). I beg your pardon! I can. (To Governess) Please, ask me to spell “A phenomenally exquisite Dear.”

Gov. Oh, Flibbie, Flibbie, I know perfectly well that you’ll spell “phenomenally” with an F instead of with P H; and “exquisite” with K S, instead of with an X; and as to “Dear,” there are two ways of spelling it, and I don’t know which one you mean.

Flib. Please, ask me to spell it.

Gov. Very well, then. Spell “A phenomenally exquisite Dear.”

Flib. (embracing her). Now hear me spell it, quite correctly, and in one letter.

Gov. In one letter, Flibbie?

Flib. U.


No. 5. FINALE.

(Hyacinthia, Fairy Governess, Flibbie, and Alice.)

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Flibbie (to Governess).
I’m your hum - ble slave!
You’ll see in fu - ture how well I’ll be - have.
I’m sure of that.
For my bad con - duct your par - don I crave.
Is there good rea - son why for that you should ask?
No! To be naughty was your du - ty, and you well performed your task.
Dear A - lice, ne’er we’ll meet again,
And now you may de - part;
I’m sure this les - son will re - main
For ev - er in your heart.
Alice (to Governess).
Oh, Fai - ry! words I cannot find
To tell my thanks to you;
Your kind - ness I will bear in mind,
For all my lifetime through.
{Hyacinthia. / Governess, Flibbie, and Alice.}
Oh! nev - er {you’ll / I’ll} for - get the day
That brought {you / me} to this Dell;
No long - er here must {you / I} de - lay,
{So / I’ll} hast - en home, Farewell!
No long - er here must {you / I} de - lay,
{So / I’ll} hast - en home, Fare - well!


[1] In this and later letters, many literal quotations are inserted from MS. letters of that date, indited by a great-great-aunt of my own, Miss Charlotte Giberne, then resident in Bath.

[2] This scare actually took place at the date and place and in the manner described.