Thursday, 5 May 2016

19 June 1880 - Answers to Correspondents - Cookery

A SUBSCRIBER - 1. Pink blancmange is coloured with prepared cochineal, to be procured from a chemist. 2. A good recipe for a sponge-cake - Place 8 eggs into one side of the scales, and their weight of pounded loaf-sugar in the other; and the weight of 5 of the eggs of good dry flour. Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs, beat the former, and put them into a saucepan with the sugar, letting them remain over the fire til lukewarm, stirring them well. Then place them in a basin, add one tablespoonful of brandy, and the grated rind of one lemon, and stir all together; dredging in the flour very gradually. Whisk the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth, and stir them in the whole mixture. Then beat all for 15 minutes, and place it in a buttered mould which has been sprinkled over with a little sifted sugar, and bake the cake in a quick oven for an hour and a half. You may flavour with a few drops of essence of almonds, if you prefer that to the lemon peel.

PRIMROSE - To make vegetable marrow jam; the marrows should be pared, seeds taken out, and cut into pieces about the size of walnuts. To 1lb of fruit add 3/4lb of sugar dissolved in cold water, and boil with a muslin bag containing a little ground ginger and a few cloves After it has boiled sufficiently add a few drops of essence of lemon.

DEWDROP (Surry) - "Sir Watkin's Pudding" is a good one. Take 1/2lb of beef suet, chop finely, 1/2lb white sugar pounded, 1/2lb bread crumbs, the rind and juice of two lemons, and the yolks and whites of two eggs, well beaten; mix all thoroughly together, and boil for four hours. Serve with wine sauce.

DAISY (Guildford) - "Hominy" is the inside part of the Indian corn. It is used as a vegetable, and puddings. As a vegetable, boil it for four hours in plenty of water, and strain through a colander. Use instead of potatoes. For a pudding, mix the boiled hominy with milk, two eggs, raisins, and a little suet; tie up in a basin, and boil for two hours. To be eaten with sugar and melted butter or treacle.

SCOTCH LASSIE should make her rhubarb wine at once, while it is plentiful. Extract the juice by bruising it and leaving it for some time in cold water. To make 10 gallons of wine, it will need 50lbs of rhubarb, and 37lbs of fine moist sugar. The tub should hold from 15 to 20 gallons, and to the proportions specified 4 gallons of water should be added and well stirred, and a blanket should be laid over it, while standing for 24 hours. Then draw off the juice through a tap low in the side of the tub, add another couple of gallons of water to the pulp, stir well, leave it to settle again for an hour or two, draw off and mix the two liquors together, and in it dissolve the sugar. Then cleanse the tub, return the wine to it, and cover with a blanket, keeping the temperature of the apartment not below 60 Fahrenheit, and leave for 48 hours, or at least till there is an appearance of fermentation, and draw off into a 10 gallon cask, which must be filled to the bung-hole with water, and as the fermentation proceeds and as the wine diminishes, it must be filled-up daily during ten or twelve days. The bung may then be put in, and a gimlet hole made at the side fitted with a spile. This latter should be removed every two or three days during ten days, to allow the carbonic acid gas to escape. Pour in at the vent hole a little liquor once a week, during a month, and then at intervals of a month till the end of December, when it should be drawn off the lees, the turbid part being strained off through flannel. This should be done on a fine frosty day. Clean the cask, return the pure wine, dissolving one drachm of isinglass into it, stir all together, and bung up the cask till March. A clean dry day should be chosen for bottling it. Use champagne bottles for ordinary ones will not be sufficiently strong and the corks secured with wire. 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

12 June 1880 - 'A Girls' Walking Tour' by Dora Hope - Part One of Two



In which six young ladies take themselves on a walk through the countryside, sans chaperone or male protectors, in defiance of the patriarchy. 

I think the idea of our rather novel walking tour, first originated in the long winter of '78-'79, when a large party of our country relatives and friends had, as usual, met to spend Christmas and the New Year together. One evening, before the gas was lighted, we girls had congregated round the fire, as we always were very fond of doing, to have a cosy chat, between the lights, before dressing for dinner. WE were, on this particular evening, mourning over the various pleasures that girls are debarred from, just because they are girls, and not men, who can do anything they choose without anybody being shocked or scandalised. We spoke of the delights of cricket, some sighed for football or paper-chasing, others acknowledged a hankering after rowing or canoeing, which latter girls certainly cannot indulge in without being considered "fast," unless it be in private waters. We all united in denouncing the arbitrary laws of Society, which forbid us these and other delights including walking-tours, unless accompanied by gentlemen, or, at any rate, a chaperone; when one of our party, who had been silent for some moments, electrified us by saying; 'Well, for my part, I do not see why we should not go for a walking tour. I have just been considering the matter and, as we six are all good walkers and delight in the country, I believe we could make a glorious tour together, without a single gentleman or chaperones to interfere with us."

This startling speech was received with rapture by us all, and we instantly set about making plans; and that we would have such a tour when the summer came was decided without loss of time.

But the first thing to be done was to obtain our respective parents' consent. Some of them certainly demurred slightly at first; it was such an heard-of thing, they said, for six girls, the eldest of us only twenty-four, to go "skylarking" about the country and getting into all sorts of mischief and difficulties, with no one to look after us. We assured them we had not the slightest intentions of getting into any difficulties, and if we did, as it unfortunately is quite impossible to get out of the reach of railways in England, we should simply come straight home by train. Besides this, one of the party said she had, from her earliest youth, been taught to regard the skylark as a model of early rising and general good behaviour, and it was very hard to be stopped directly we tried to imitate that most exemplary bird.

At last a consent was wrung from these obstructionists, and we felt that the only obstacle to our holiday was removed.

I need not trouble my readers with all the ideas that suggested themselves and were talked over with the greatest zest before the time, place and duration of our walk were finally decided upon. It will be easily imagined that our brothers and male cousins at first begged to accompany us, but, finding that all entreaties met with a stern refusal they took quite a different tone, and jeered and ridiculed us unmercifully; some of them threatened to join us on our way, but this design was frustrated by our agreeing to keep our route a profound secret from all save a few trusty friends, from whom we were obliged to ask advice as to suitable hotels and distances. It was at last decided that, weather permitting, we would start on a certain Monday, early in June, from the house of a friend near Relgate, returning to the same place the following Saturday.


As we found our equipments all that could be desired, it may be interesting to mention what we took with us, and what we wore. We all had dresses of thin olive green serge, made quite short, and waterproofed to save carrying cloaks, quiet-looking hats of the same, and gloves to match, which, however, were generally discarded, except on occasions of ceremony; light, but strong, boots, and of course, woollen stockings. One of the party, who, fortunately  for the rest of us, looked much older than her years, was set up with a cap and spectacles, and would have looked quite an imposing chaperone had one been needed; but, as it happened, in every hotel we had the coffee-room to ourselves. As to luggage, we each took what we wanted in a knapsack, which we carried orthodoxly on our backs; but, on this subject, let me breathe a word of caution to any inexperienced walking-touristess. Do not take anything more than is absolutely necessary in a knapsack, its weight seems to increase amazingly as the day wears on; though, if not too heavy, one soon gets accustomed to carrying it; in fact, some of our party went so far as to say that they preferred carrying one to walking without. Also take care that your shoulder straps are broad enough. Mine happened to be rather thin and narrow, and my poor shoulders suffered much in consequence, so much so, that I was obliged to get some new straps put on at the first village boasting a saddler's shop. One of our friends had presented us with a charming little portable cooking stove, the weight of which was said to be so extremely small, that the one to whose lot it fell would hardly know she was carrying it, but alas! I chanced to be that one, and never for a moment forgot the fact that I had to carry; and last, but not least, we had a small pocket filter, which we found most useful.

The long-talked of Monday came, and I rose with the lark, so as to be at our appointed meeting-place in good time to start at nine o'clock. As I said before, we were to start "weather permitting"; but,  for the first half of the day, so far from permitting, the skies were decidedly forbidding, and we were obliged to wait a few hours in hopes of a change in the weather, so that when we did start, at half-past-one, the rain having ceased and the sun shining, we were constrained to take train as far as Dorking, to make up for lost time. Arrived there, and fairly outside the town, we shouldered knapsacks and set off, in light marching order, the vanguard consisting of the President and Pathfinder, the main body represented by the Poet and Artist, whilst the Treasurer and Secretary brought up the rear.

These titles, perhaps need a little explanation. I ought to have mentioned before that in making our plans we had deputed the eldest of our party to be Treasurer during the tour. She was to pay all the bills, and to keep a strict account of every penny spent. Very severe she was, never allowing any reckless expenditure on luxuries or souvenirs, and woe betide the rash individual who should even propose such a thing. Another of our number, officially known as pathfinder, acted as guide, carried the ordnance maps of the country, and informed us every evening how far we had walked during the day. Her tender feelings were sometimes lacerated when, at any perplexing juncture, some of the company insisted on taking the advice of local rustics in preference to trusting her and her maps I held the honourable post of Secretary. My duties were to despatch daily post cards to our friends reporting progress, to see that everyone duly wrote their diaries, and to keep a specially detailed one myself. So my work was really arduous; and why the secretary should have to carry the cooking stove I never could discover. Lest the others should feel injured at not holding any official position, we dubbed one Special Artist, and another Special Poet, apparently because this member never wrote a lien of anything but prose in her life. The remaining one installed herself as President, whose duties were of a vague and uncertain nature. After devoting our best consideration to the question, the rest of us concluded that the presidential avocations consisted solely in suggesting a rest every few miles.
 

Our first night was to be spent at Gomshall; the road thence from Dorking, though interesting in association and certainly pretty, does not call for special remark. One pleasing incident of the afternoon was our invaluable President's opportune discovery of a mill-pond, whereon lay a boat sheltered from the morning's rain by an overhanging tree, just at the time when we were all fain to confess that a few moment's rest would not be disagreeable. We were just comfortably settled in the boat, however, when a man, whom we took to be the owner thereof, was espied striding towards us, so, by way of having "first fire," two of our number started to meet him, and politely requested him to permit our resting in his boat He graciously assented, and we finished our siesta in peace.

We had agreed that on entering ay town or large village we would divide into two or three parties, and go in separately at intervals of a minute or two, so as not to attract the attention that all of us together might do, and also that two should always go forward and secure rooms at the hotels  for the night. But we need not have troubled ourselves about being conspicuous in Gomshall; for, although it being a tolerably large place, there was not a soul to be seen save one stolid villagers, who vouchsafed us not even a glance. After securing rooms, ordering tea, and depositing knapsacks, our irrepressible pathfinder insisted that we must go for a stroll, "to make up the mileage," whatever that may mean; so, with a few gentle remonstrances we started again. Picking our way up a remarkably muddy lane for some distance, we climbed a high mound on gaining the summit of which the president, who affects archaeological tastes, gaspingly requested a halt, ostensibly because the mound was artificial, in her opinion a Roman remain. We were nothing loth, and enjoyed the lovely view of fertile valley dotted with farm-houses and pretty cottages, which was spread out before us, whilst our chief diligently poked about amongst the gorse bushes, seeking, I suppose, for further proof of the Roman origin of the mound. After our tea came the writing of diaries, which process was so frequently disturbed by the portentous yawns of certain of the party, that it was thought well to bring our literary pursuits to an abrupt conclusion and to retire at an early hour.

Early next morning, just as the sun was rising, my companion and I were aroused from our downy slumbers by a vigorous hammering at our door, for we had given stringent orders to be called betimes, and the deaf chambermaid was determined to do her duty. When she was at last convinced that we were really awake, she repeated her laudable battery at all the other doors with so much success that in a short time we were ready to start.

"Really a very moderate bill," said our treasurer, complacently, as we set out; "and, if not luxurious, everything was, at any rate, clean and comfortable."

"Quite true as it happens," said the artist; "but I believe our respected treasurer would think the accommodation in a workhouse princely, provided the bill were small."

"I was under the impression," remarked our poet, with a fine air of innocence, "that board and lodging were provided gratuitously at those establishments."

"So I believe; and it's a splendid idea," cried the treasurer; "and, since you have suggested it, we will by all means go to the casual ward to-night at Farnham; it will be a great saving of money, and quite a new experience too." On the whole, however, as we disliked gruel, and did not know how to pick oakum, we decided not to act on our treasurer's suggestion.


This conversation brought us to the village of Shere, where there is an interesting old church, kept locked up, however, according to the foolish custom in England. The stairs to the gallery are outside the church, and there is a curious Norman doorway. Obtaining the key, which is itself a curiosity, being nearly as long as my arm, we entered and admired the fine modern window, old brasses, and other interesting objects.

We were all familiar with the Silent Pool, which lay about a mile away, and had often looked in wonder at its limpid depths of moonlight clearness, and had gathered the wild sweetbriar and forget-me-nots from its banks, so on this occasion we did not diverge from our path to visit the favourite spot, but proceeded at once by a field-path into a park, called, according to the map, "Albury," where our artist was in constant raptures at the lovely effects of sunlight on the trees, and the picturesque glimpses of hills beyond. She was also anxious for us to stop to admire some Channel Island cattle, but I was of opinion that in this case discretion was the better part of valour, and so did not pause until I was safe on the further side of the fence.

Shortly afterwards we were directed by our pathfinder to leave the high road and clamber up a steep grassy hill, as the top of which we should find "St Martyr's," or, as it is now called, "Martha's," Chapel. "Here," she said, when she had recovered her breath after the climb, "here the Canterbury Pilgrims, in whose steps we have been treading all day, used to stay for rest and prayer." "Oh, pathfinder," cried the president reproachfully, "you surely do not expect us to believe that they would come so far out of their way, and up this dreadful hill, to say their prayers and to rest, forsooth, when they could have done it just as well by the roadside." The pathfinder immediately prepared to prove by an overwhelming mass of authorities that the pilgrims much preferred hilltops for their resting-places; but her attention was diverted by the poet to the lovely view of verdant, smiling country, while the president proceeded to examine the chapel, and pronounced it "quite modern, and not very interesting." Notwithstanding this adverse verdict, the artist and I attempted to sketch the building and its few simple grave-mounds, but before we had succeeded to our satisfaction we were obliged to move on towards Guildford.

When we reached the outskirts of this "fine, neat, old town" (vide guidebook), we separated for a time, the president and treasurer going to buy the materials  for the out-of-door lunch, which was part of our scheme, the pathfinder and poet vanishing without any explanation, and the artist and I endeavouring to visit the Castle, which we had been told we ought to see. We found, however, that the keep was the only part remaining, and that was occupied by a party of school-boys, who informed us that visitors are no longer allowed to go over the place. We therefore rejoined the rest of our party in the lower part of the town, where we were just in time to witness the wrath of the treasurer, who had taken that spendthrift couple, the post and the pathfinder, in the very act of buying unnecessary oranges.

The president now appeared, laden with the various constituent parts of our lunch, and, after distributing the parcels as fairly as possible, we began to ascend the steep road which leads up to the Hog's Back.

A carter who was going the same way kindly offered to add our knapsacks to his load; but, as we did not fancy the look of it, we politely declined, and pretended that we quite enjoyed carrying our burdens.

The view from the Hog's Back is very beautiful and varied, with hills and dales, heathy ground, broad sheets of water and corn-field, mingled with park and pasture, but, unfortunately for pedestrians, the hedges on each side of the road are very high, so that it is only through a gap or a gateway that it can be seen. This made the walk rather monotonous, so, as we were all accustomed to singing in parts, and there was no one to be scandalised at such conduct, we cheered it with song" for a considerable distance. Then, and always, we found it a wonderful help when we were tired or the road was dull to unite our voices in any well-known ditty, the more spirited the better.

Before very long, however, we came to a most inviting bank, and all agreed that it would be foolish to pass by so good a chance of lunching in comfort.


We, of course, took off our knapsacks, and then set up the cooking stove, while one of us begged some water from a cottage near, the mistress of which, scorning our diminutive teapot, insisted on lending us a large pitcherful.

The poet, who certainly ought to have been writing an ode on the occasion, displayed a previously unsuspected genius for poaching eggs, and turning them daintily on to the slices of bread held to receive them. They were a great success, and though the tea had prismatic colours on its surface, from some peculiarity in the pot, which made most of the party decline to drink it, on the ground that it was poisonous, preferring to quench their thirst from the pitcher instead, on the whole we felt the first course of our first al fresco meal to be quite satisfactory. Bread and marmalade made a sumptuous second course, and we should also have had a slice of cake each, but  for the reprehensible conduct of the president.



We were sitting by the road-side, and we were intent on our cooking, so that none of us noticed, til they were quite close, that several cattle were being driven past. Suddenly the president screamed, and, leaping up, seized an umbrella with which to protect herself from her pet aversions, which she had just perceived. Her quick movement caused one of the cows to stop and look at her with mild and gentle wonder, which so added to her terror that when the drover made the animal proceed she thanked him effusively, and actually presented him with the remains of our cake, "as a reward," she said, "for saving all our lives." Our feelings were too deep for words, so she escaped the reproof she so richly deserved.

With little delay we returned the pitcher to its owner, and continued our march along the Hog's Back, pausing at every gap to gaze at the lovely view, and after several miles taking a short rest on a road-side hillock. We were soon astonished by an exclamation from the treasurer. "Poet," she cried, and that ingenuous damsel started as though accused of some fresh crime. "I beg your pardon. I retract all my protests against your purchase of the oranges. The dust of this abominably long road has nearly choked me, and the juice of your generous present will save me from suffocation."

"It is the distinguishable mark of a great mind to confess when it has been in error," said the poet gravely, "so, treasurer, I forgive you."

In her turn she produced an orange from her knapsack, and we were all following her example, in an attitude, I fear, rather of comfort than of elegance, when three young ladies most fashionably arrayed in lawn-tennis costume passed by, and, as we fancied, eyed us with lofty scorn. I hope they enjoyed their tennis as much as we did our oranges, but I hardly think it possible. The rest of the way to Farnham we walked without a halt, and at the ancient hostelry there we had time for a pleasant stroll in its pretty garden before retiring to our rooms, where we were speedily lapped in balmy slumbers, living over again in our dreams the lovely views and delightful events of the day.

(To be concluded.)

Sunday, 1 May 2016

5 June 1880 - Answers to Correspondents - Miscellaneous

NELLIE - The best cure for cold feet is to take good exercise, such as skipping with a rope, and to wear woollen stockings. Of course, your face and nose will be red if your feet be cold. The blood must go somewhere. Going into a warm room, out of a cold atmosphere, especially if you sit close to the fire, will heat the outer skin, while the flesh is cold inside, and do you harm. Were you to put your feet to the fire when cold you would probably get chilblains.

ZIL - We cannot give you any recipe for destroying a nerve in a tooth. It is not at all to be recommended, as you will certainly lose one so treated sooner or later. Nature will make efforts to get rid of a dead tooth, and you will suffer much from inflammation to the gum while it is gradually loosening.

ELAINE AND MAY - 1. You may wash your face in tepid, not hot, water in cold weather. In the summer it is not necessary to warm the water. 2. We cannot give you a recipe for "making" you fair, nor "making" your neck nice and white. Nature alone bestows that. Consult your doctor with reference to your bad digestion. 3. You can buy a little powdered orris root, or any other scent, at a chemist's for your sachets.

KITTY - Home-made wines are wholesome, rhubarb wine especially so; but to certain habits of body various excellent drinks and edibles are unsuited. Of any personal peculiarities which may exist in members of the same family your doctor will be the best judge.

SNOWDROP - We advise you to watch for opportunities for being obliging and useful to the school-fellow whose especial regard and affection you wish to win. Do not hang about and follow her. Probably it is to this that you owe her endeavour to avoid you. Young girls are often very teasing to older ones, whose affections they desire to win.

CLARA - 1. In reference to the proper arm to take in walking with a gentleman, all depends on which is the inside or outside of the path or pavement. It is not etiquette for a man to take the inside, whether he gives an arm or not. He must change sides whenever he finds the lady on the outside. In entering any place of assembly, or going in to dinner or supper, it is  for the gentleman to offer his arm; not for you to take it. So, the selection does not rest with you. 2. The third finger of the right hand is the popularly recognised one for an engagement ring.

ATTENTIVE READER - The amount of pocket money suitable for a little girl of twelve years old depends on the circumstances of her parents, and of course should be decided by them alone.

LITTLE MITE - You should not feed your dog with meat at all, and had better give it up at once. "Won't" is not the word to apply to a puppy, for if properly managed, dogs will eat anything. Sopped bread and milk is good for it.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

5 June 1880 - 'Sunday School Treats'

Who that has had anything to do with the management of Sunday schools cannot recall some protracted teachers' meeting convened at the beginning of summer to discuss the plans  for the children's summer treat? First there is generally a warm discussion as to whether they shall have a treat in the summer at all, or whether an entertainment in the winter would not be better; but when everyone else is thinking of their approaching holidays, it seems hard that the poor little children, particularly those in the back slums of our large towns, should not have one day's enjoyment of the fresh pure country air.

We think a change of air once a year to the country or seaside almost a necessity to the children of the higher classes, but hundreds of poor little creatures, cooped up all the year round in close rooms and narrow alleys, would never have a change of air, nor see the fields and lanes of the country at all, but for the annual excursions which have now become so general in all Sunday and ragged schools.

For children living in the country, who have plenty of fresh air all the year round, and a far larger share of healthy play than falls to the lot of the little ones in towns, there is much to be said in favour of winter treats instead of summer excursions. Being held in the schoolroom, there is not the fear that a storm of rain will damp the children's spirits and spoil their best clothing, and the anxious and responsible teachers are not kept in a constant panic by rumours that a boy has fallen into the river, or a girl is lost in the wood; and last, but by no means least, it is considerably less expensive. But, on the other hand, a very strong argument  for the excursions in the summer is that they afford a great, often the only, opportunity for a teacher to become on a friendly footing with the scholars. The lower classes of scholars are too apt to look upon their teachers, either secular or religious, as their natural enemies, only one grade less obnoxious than the policeman, and these holidays give us an opportunity of showing them, by entering heartily into their happiness, that we are their friends as well as their teachers; and, indeed, that religion, of which we are in their eyes the representatives, makes us better able to sympathise with others in everything, their enjoyments as well as their troubles.

In most schools the discussion ends in favour of the summer holiday, and if this conclusion is come to, the next question to be decided is "Where shall we go to?" the details and minor arrangements being usually left to a select committee.

It has been said that if Rome had been built by a committee it never would have become the mistress of the world, and happy the school which has one competent person who will undertake all the arrangements and so dispense with the endless discussion of a committee meeting.

But to return to the question of a desirable spot  for the excursion. This is generally a very knotty point, and a unanimous verdict in favour of any one place is as difficult to arrive at as though it were left to the decision of twelve stubborn jurymen. One timorous person puts his veto upon a lace, perfect in other respects, because it is too near the river, and children seem to make a  point of getting drowned if within a mile of water. Another has a ghastly tale of tell of youthful scholars, decoyed away by gipsies, when it is proposed to pitch their camp  for the occasion in a wood.

In choosing a suitable place the distance should always be considered, as the cost of conveyance is a serious matter to a poor school. Except in large towns, it is seldom necessary to travel far; the convenience of the place is the chief thing to be considered in the selection, for beauty and scenery are not so much the attraction to the children as the novelty of a picnic out of doors and of having a whole day with nothing to do but play. Nothing can be better than a large field, particularly if it contains a few trees, to which swings can be attached; for though in a limited space like a field it is necessary to provide more amusements, the extra trouble is more than compensated for by the comfort of knowing that all the children are safely under your eye and not getting into any of the mischief which children are so expert in finding out. Failing a regular field, we might put up with a common, or wood, or any private park which is open for parties.

One important consideration which must not be overlooked is the chance of obtaining shelter in case of rain. No one who has not suffered it can fully sympathise with the despair a teacher feels who has no means of sheltering the children, on seeing them huddled together during a heavy storm, like a flock of sheep, and looking very minute more wet through and miserable. One experience of this kind is generally quite enough to prevent its recurrence. It is most important that the superintendent, or some other competent person, should visit the place first to ascertain that there is a barn or room that can be used if required. If there is no such accommodation to be had, the best plan is to hire one or more large tents, the comfort of which will be found quite worth the outlay, and as the owner will always send men to put up and remove them, they are no trouble.

In the country, when a field can be had for the purpose close at hand, the greatest difficulty of these summer treats, that of conveying the children to their destination, is avoided, an advantage which country teachers cannot too highly appreciate. Comparatively few schools, however, are so fortunate; but there are contractors to be found in nearly all towns who will provide covered vans at a moderate cost, and most of the railway companies make special arrangements to convey schools at less than half price, so that the travelling expenses need not be so large as is generally imagined. The trouble and anxiety is a much more serious consideration, though if the teachers will all come forward t do their part even that is a very trifling matter.

It is generally arranged to meet at the schoolroom, when the children are divided into small parties, each party being assigned to the care of a teacher, who undertakes to see that they neither get into a wrong train nor are left behind altogether. This arrangement saves the superintendent a great deal of anxiety, and, indeed, if going by train, is almost a sine qua non.

And now, having reached our destination, how are we to amuse our young guests? As usual, the boys are most troublesome to cater for; but we generally succeed in making them very happy by providing some cricket-sets, a large ball for football (the goals have to be improvised on the spot), some bats for rounders, and any other games after which boy-nature is supposed to hanker. The number of each provided depends, of course, upon the size of the school.

In addition, we generally organise some jumping and running-matches, and other athletic sports. The prizes need not be at all valuable. We give simply a rosette of ribbon, which makes the winner proud and happy for the rest of the day, and is a most trifling expense to the school.

 For the girls we take balls and a quantity of rope, to be cut up into swings and skipping ropes, both single and long ones; but they are much more easily entertained than the boys, and are usually quite content with different games which do not require any materials providing. Here comes in a splendid opportunity for a teacher who is fond of any kind of natural history to persuade those who are tired of games to notice the different flowers and birds and insects around them, explaining a little about each. It will be found that some of the girls will think little walks with their teacher a delightful change after a surfeit of games.

By the time the children have played for a couple of hours they will probably begin to get hungry. In most schools who go  for the whole day no dinner is provided, but the children are expected to take their own; generally, however, their provisions are eaten, if not before their arrival, at least very shortly after it; so that when the proper dinner hour arrives they are very hungry and have nothing left to eat. In anticipation of this, it is customary to give each child in the middle of the day, either a large biscuit and cheese, or a thick slice of bread and butter, on the strength of which they can go till tea-time, which is generally about four o'clock. This meal, being the only one, is an important feature of the day; and the arrangements for it, unless it is contracted for, generally fall into the hands of one of the lady teachers.

When practicable, it is very much less trouble to put the whole thing into the hands of a contractor, who will provide a good tea, with crockery, tables and seats, for about sixpence a head; some of the large contractors do it for less. In consideration of the great saving of trouble and the little extra expense, this plan is much to be recommended.

For the assistance of those who are out of reach of these advantages, and compelled to manage the commissariat themselves, I will give a list of the average quantities supplied for 50 children.

Tea, 1lb; milk, five pints; sugar 4lb, bread, four quarterns; cake, 20lb, butter, 2lb.

If the children have not left home till after their dinner rather less than these quantities of bread and cake will be sufficient; but when they have been playing all day, with only such dinner as they take with them, their appetites become sharpened to a marvellous extent, and this supply will not be found at all too large.

The best time for treats has not been mentioned, but no rule can be given for it; as it must depend upon the convenience of the teachers, their presence in good numbers being of the first importance. Generally speaking, July is the favourite month, because as far as we can judge at all in our variable climate we expect more settled weather then than earlier in the year; there is also the advantage that the hay harvest being over, there is less difficulty in obtaining the use of a field.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

5 June 1880 - 'Our Own Schools'

"Lay in wisdom as your store for your journey from youth to age, for it is the only certain possession". So said one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece, and the advice is as good now as it was in his day.

Our object in this paper is to show the principal public schools of the country, by attending which girls may lay in this wisdom and prepare themselves for being useful members of society. We shall speak only of schools, and leave those institutions which deal with the higher education of women to be treated another time.

London is the best point to start from, and in London we find a number of schools quite as remarkable  for the excellence of their organisation as  for the thoroughness of the education they afford. There are not so many, it is true, as there might be, but the last few years have witnessed a great improvement, and now that the country has come to realise the value of sound training for "our girls," we may hope to have schools established equal in number, at any rate, to the demand.

We have a model institution, to begin with, in the North London Collegiate School for Girls, established by Miss Buss in 1850, and now endowed by a grant from the trust estate of the late Alderman Richard Platt, administered by the Brewers' Company. Here girls may acquire a thorough education, beginning with plain needlework and ending with political economy. Pupils can only be admitted as vacancies occur, and these are filled up according to the order of application, provided the entrance examination can be passed. The fees are sixteen guineas a year, but pupils entering above sixteen years of age pay nineteen guineas. Pianoforte, harmony, and solo singing are extras, as, indeed, is the case in most young ladies' schools. The number of pupils at present attending the North London Collegiate School for Girls is about four hundred and fifty.

The Camden School for Girls was founded by Miss Buss in 1871, and shares in the same endowment as the North London Collegiate. The pupils number about four hundred, who pay six and a half guineas a year, or four guineas and a half should they have entered before ten years of age.

In both these schools there are several scholarships, exhibitions, and prizes to be competed for.

At Queen's College School, in Harley-street, girls of from five to fourteen years old can receive

London is the best point to start from, and in London we find a number of schools quite as remarkable  for the excellence of their organisation as  for the thoroughness of the education they afford. There are not so many, it is true, as there might be, but the last few years have witnessed a great improvement, and now that the country has come to realise the value of sound training for "our girls," we may hope to have schools established equal in number, at any rate, to the demand.

We have a model institution, to begin with, in the North London Collegiate School for Girls, established by Miss Buss in 1850, and now endowed by a grant from the trust estate of the late Alderman Richard Platt, administered by the Brewers' Company. Here girls may acquire a thorough education, beginning with plain needlework and ending with political economy. Pupils can only be admitted as vacancies occur, and these are filled up according to the order of application, provided the entrance examination can be passed. The fees are sixteen guineas a year, but pupils entering above sixteen years of age pay nineteen guineas. Pianoforte, harmony, and solo singing are extras, as, indeed, is the case in most young ladies' schools. The number of pupils at present attending the North London Collegiate School for Girls is about four hundred and fifty.

The Camden School for Girls was founded by Miss Buss in 1871, and shares in the same endowment as the North London Collegiate. The pupils number about four hundred, who pay six and a half guineas a year, or four guineas and a half should they have entered before ten years of age.

In both these schools there are several scholarships, exhibitions, and prizes to be competed for.

At Queen's College School, in Harley-street, girls of from five to fourteen years old can receive preliminary education fitting them for entering on a four years' course of study at Queen's College. A general idea of the rate of fees may be gained when we state that the payment for a girl under ten is four guineas a term.

The City of London College for Ladies, City-road, Finsbury-square, embraces the whole world of education, from instruction on the Kindergarten system to preparation  for the Cambridge, Oxford and other higher examinations for women. In the senior departments the fee for ordinary class subjects (not extra subjects) is a guinea a term for each subject.

The Burlington Middle-class School for Girls in Boyle-street, Regent-street, was founded as far back as 1723, and has an income of £300 a year. Girls are admitted here at seven, and may remain till they are sixteen years of age. As an example of the scale of fees we may mention that pupils entering the school above ten pay £1 10s a term. AT this school there are two hundred and twenty pupils.

The St Martin-in-the-Fields Middle-class School for Girls is situated in Castle-street, Leicester-square. It was founded in 1700, and is endowed to the amount of about £400 a year. The number of scholars is about one hundred and fifty, who pay the same fees as those at the Burlington Middle-class School.

At Hackney there is Lady Holles's Middle School for Girls, attended at present by about two hundred and fifty pupils. Girls are eligible for admission here at eight years of age, and they may remain till sixteen. The fees per term are  for the general course; lower class, £1 6s 8d; middle class £1 13s 4d; and upper class, two pounds.

Another school for girls of considerable importance is the Haberdashers' Aske's Girls' School at Hatcham. Pupils are admitted here at the age of eight, and may remain till they are seventeen. Instruction is given in the English language and literature, French, German, Latin, arithmetic and mathematics, history, geography, natural sciences, drawing and music, household management and needlework. The fee for tuition is £8 a year.

The Mary Datchelor Girls' School at Camberwell is a school for girls of the middle-class, at which daughters of persons connected with the City of London are entitled to priority of admission. The fees are £3 a term.

We come now to speak of a great enterprise in connection with girls' schools. This is the work of the Girls' Public Day School Company. The object of this company is, by an ample staff of competent teachers, and by employing the best methods of instruction, to ensure for girls an education adapted to their requirements, and as sound and thorough as that now furnished to boys in the best grammar schools. The schools of the company are eighteen in number, and are the means of affording instruction to over two thousand six hundred and fifty pupils. They are situated in different parts of the country, several being in London, and the rest at Bath, Brighton, Croydon, Gateshead, Ipswich, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford and Sheffield.

Priority of admission is given to the nominees of the shareholders, and there is an entrance examination. The fees for pupils under ten are three guineas a term; for pupils remaining after ten, and for pupils entering the school between ten and thirteen, four guineas a term during their whole stay in the school, and for pupils entering above thirteen five guineas a term during their whole stay.

We have now mentioned the leading girls' schools of the metropolis, and may turn our attention to those in regions more remote.

In several of the busy towns of the West Riding of Yorkshire there are excellent public schools for girls. At Bradford, for example, there is a Girls' Grammar School, attended by two hundred pupils. To gain admittance an examination must be passed, varying in difficulty according to the age of the applicant. Pupils may remain at the school till they are nineteen years old. The fees are four guineas a term for those entering under twelve, and five guineas for those entering over that age. The scholarships to be competed for in connection with this school are worth noticing. Amongst them are two of a hundred pounds each, granted to girls who have been in the school for at least three years. The successful competitors must proceed to study at someplace of higher education for women, approved by the governors of the school. There is another scholarship of £50, the holder of which may study either at Girton College or at Newnham Hall.

At Leeds there is a Girls' High School founded in 1876, at which a sound education is to be obtained at a cost of four guineas a term for pupils under ten years old, five guineas for those from ten to thirteen, and six guineas for all over thirteen. Boarders with the second mistress pay fifty-four guineas a year.

Halifax has also a High School for Girls, founded in 1877. The teaching here is on a Scriptural, but unsectarian, basis, and is as sound and thorough as that which boys now receive in grammar schools of the highest class. In the Kindergarten school the fees are two guineas, in the preparatory school three guineas, and in the upper school four guineas a term. Board is charged at the rate of £40 a year.

The Endowed High School for Girls at Wakefield is also deserving of our notice. This school, which was begun in 1878, and now contains about a hundred and twenty pupils, is open to all girls of good character and sufficient health residing with their parents or guardians, or in some boarding-house established under sanction of the governors. An easy entrance examination has to be passed. The tuition fees  for the whole course are £3 6s 8d a term.

Lancashire can boast of good girls' schools, in both Manchester and Liverpool. The girls' school in Manchester was founded in 1874, and is now attended by four hundred pupils, who receive a sound education for four guineas a term in the case of girls entering under fourteen, and five guineas for those above that age.

In Liverpool there are the Liverpool College for Girls, at which the instruction is based upon the principles of the Church of England, and the Girls' School connected with the Liverpool Institute.

At Leicester we have Wyggeston Girls' School, possessed of a more ancient history than most of the institutions we have been considering. True, it was only founded as a school in 1878, but it had existed over three hundred and fifty years previously as a hospital. The tuition fee in the junior departments is, for girls under ten, £1 a term; from ten to twelve £1 6s 8d; above twelve, £1, 13s 4d. In the senior department it is, for girls under fifteen, £1 13s 4d a term; and above fifteen, £2. The number of pupils is now about three hundred.

Newscastle-under-Lyme possesses Orme's Girls' School, attended by a hundred and forty pupils. The fees per term are, for those over fourteen, £1 15s; and for all under that age, £1 8d. Board is thirty guineas a year.

Edgbaston High School for Girls, founded by a limited liability company, and opened in 1877, contains about a hundred and eighty-four pupils. The fees per term are, for girls nominated by the shareholders, between eight and ten, £5 5s; between ten and fourteen, £6 6s; over fourteen, £7 7s. For those not nominated by the shareholders the fees are in each case one guinea a term higher.

In the south of England we have the Southampton Girls' College, founded in 1875 by a limited company. This institution is divided into three departments - the Kindergarten preparatory school for both boys and girls between four and eight years of age, the middle school, and the upper school. The fees per term are, Kindergarten, £2; middle school, lower division, £3; middle division, £3 10s; upper division, £4; upper school, £5.

Proceeding westward, we find a large High School for Girls at Clifton, founded in 1878 by a limited liability company. The girls attending it - and there are at present about one hundred and seventy of them - pay five guineas a term when under twelve, six guineas from twelve to sixteen, and seven guineas above sixteen years of age.

At Exeter there is a High School for Girls, attended by a hundred pupils. This school, which was founded in 1876, enjoys an endowment of about £300 a year. The fees for tuition are £15 a year, and the charge for board - in the case of girls coming from a distance - is £40 to £50.

Plymouth forms the headquarters of a High School for Girls, where there are no fewer than two hundred and thirty-five pupils. The nature of the fees may be judged of by the quotation of six guineas a term for girls above sixteen, when their parents or guardians are shareholders in the limited liability company which owns the school, and a guinea more when they are not. Board is forty to fifty guineas, exclusive of school fees.

Scotland has always held a high place in matters connected with education, and at Edinburgh, in the Merchant Company's Ladies' Schools, we have educational establishment of a thoroughgoing-class. These schools include the Edinburgh Ladies' College and George Watson's College for Ladies, the arrangements in both being precisely the same. The education given includes all the branches usually taught in the principal institutions and boarding schools in the country for young ladies. It comprehends English, French, German, Latin, lectures on literature and science, writing, arithmetic, book-keeping, algebra, mathematics, drawing, vocal music, pianoforte, drill, calisthenics, dancing, needlework, cookery. The scholars are divided into three departments, elementary, junior, and senior, and the numbers in each class are strictly limited. The fees  for the entire course are,  for the elementary departments, 12s, 6d a quarter; for the junior departments, lower div £1 7s 6d; upper division £2; senior departments, £2 10s; advanced, £3. Boarders are received by the ladies' superintending both schools.

At the old university town of St Andrew's there is a school for girls established in 1877 by a limited liability company, and now numbering about eighty pupils. A girl here above fifteen would pay eight guineas a term for tuition, and should she be a boarder, thirty pounds additional for board. There is a scholarship of the value of £50 connected with this school, and falling to the lot of the schoolhouse girl who obtains the highest marks in the July examination.

The capital of Ireland has a large school for girls, known as the "Alexandra School." This was established in Dublin in 1873 by the authorities of Alexandra College, an institution at which girls over fifteen can obtain an advanced education. Alexandra School contains about one hundred and fifty pupils, all of whom are between the ages of ten and sixteen The fees  for the course are -  for the senior school, £9 per session, or £3 10s a term;  for the junior school, £8 per session, or £3 a term. Board and lodging is charged £45  for the school year.

There are many schools in England of a denominational character. Of these we may mention, as specially connected with the Church of England, St Anne's School at Abbot's Bromley, where the standard of education aimed at is one that qualifies girls to become governesses or school mistresses, and where they are also trained  for the homely duties of life, to become good accountants and good needlewomen,  and first-rate domestic managers. Other schools of this class are - St Michael's School, at Bognor; the Episcopal Middle School for Girls, at Exeter, now imparting instruction to about a hundred and ninety pupils; and at Leeds, the Parish Church Middle School where from a hundred and sixty to a hundred and seventy girls are taught.

The Primitive Methodists have a Ladies College at Clapham, established by authority of the Conference. Here the fees for board and tuition are thirty-six guineas if the girl is under twelve, and thirty-nine guineas should she be over that age. Music, drawing, German and Italian are extras We may add that there are classes for girls in connection with the Wesleyan Methodist College at Belfast. The fees for that these classes are reduced in all cases where the pupils are sisters or daughters of Wesleyan Methodist ministers.

At Bishop's Stortford there is a Nonconformist Girls' School, established in 171, by a limited company.

Daughters of clergymen and girls whose fathers have been officers of the army and navy, have had several schools devoted to their special service. Clergymen's daughters can go to Casterton, where there is a school, instituted in 1823, and now attended by about a hundred and twenty pupils. The object of its foundation was to enable clergymen with limited incomes to give a suitable education to their children. The charge for board and a complete English and French education is only £18 a year. There are eight scholarships of £30 a year to be competed for, and seventy exhibitions of £7.

Irish Clergymen's daughters may obtain a suitable education at the Irish Clergy Daughters' School, at Dublin.

There is a school  for the daughters of Independent Ministers only, at Gravesend - Milton Mount College. The fees and board are from fifteen pounds a year to thirty-five pounds, the number of pupils at present being one hundred and fifty.

In Queenswood School at Clapham Park, London, and in Trinity Hall, Southport, we have schools  for the education of the daughters of Wesleyan ministers. The former is attended by about sixty-two pupils, the latter by nearly as many.

At Walthamstow there is a school, founded in 1838,  for the education of the daughters of missionaries. The number of pupils is at present about sixty. For those under twelve the amount paid for fees and board is fifteen guineas a year; for those above twelve - and girls can remain in the school til they are seventeen - the charge is twenty guineas.

As to schools  for the daughters of naval and military officers, we have the Royal School for Daughters of Officers in the Army founded at Bath, in 1864. Girls are admitted here from ten to eighteen years of age, by the votes of subscribers, by payment of £80 a year, by purchased nominations of from £200 to £400, according to age, or a pupil may be kept in the school in perpetuity for a payment of £1,500. A liberal education is given of the highest order. There are about seventy pupils attending this school.

The Royal Naval Female School at Isleworth was established in 1840, for educating the daughters of naval and marine officers. Girls are admitted by the votes of subscribers. A limited number of pupils are received at £50 a year. Granddaughters of naval and marine officers are also admitted at this figure, priority of admission always being given to daughters.

We have now gone the round of perhaps the most conspicuous of "Our Own Schools." With few exceptions, it will have been seen, they are of recent origin. Our grandmothers had no such splendid opportunities of becoming well informed, and it is surely not too much to expect that, having such advantages within reach, we will make the best possible use of them.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

29 May - Answers to Correspondents - Miscellaneous

ELEANORA DE BERRI - We are much struck with your father's kindness, inasmuch as you have insulted him by a refusal to share his home, without having even made a trial of living with your future step-mother.  You are not even of age, and we consider that you have no right to say that, although "he wishes you to live with him," you "cannot do that!" Pray, what hinders your submitting to your parent's wishes? Of course, there are circumstances under which you would be quite justified in leaving home, and earning  subsistence for yourself. But it does not appear that you have any excuse for undutiful conduct. If you had, doubtless you would have availed yourself of it. We counsel you to return to your obedience. Do your utmost to leave peaceably with your father's wife. Try to earn her esteem, during the year of your minority yet to elapse, gratify your father by your submission to his wishes, and prove your thankfulness to him for his indulgence in placing a furnished house at the disposal of one who would wilfully abandon the home, and the living which he accorded to her gratis. In a year's time let us hear from you again. To say the least - your withdrawal from your home against a parent's wish and to occupy a house by yourself - without any chaperone or guardian, and especially as a minor - would seriously damage your character; and be likely to prejudice all right-minded people against you.

Monday, 25 April 2016

29 May 1880 - 'Lissom Hands and Pretty Feet' by Medicus

"Like dew on the gowans lying
Is the fa' o' her faity feet,
And like winds in summer sighing
Her voice is low and sweet."
"Annie Laurie."

The poet evidently sings of his lady-love; that a child might understand, and the simile expressed in the first two lines could not well be sweeter. "Gowans," I should tell my English readers, is a word signifying mountain daisies - the wee, modest, crimson-tipped flowers mentioned in the verses of the rustic bard. It is very natural for a young girl to wish to have pretty hands and I would have them lissom as well as pretty. A shapely hand is one that is moderately small and plump, the fingers beautifully tapered, the joints supple, and the nails delicate and well formed. it is in youth the hands should be take especial care of. I do not advocate too hard work for any girl, but I do aver that the hands, if they are to be shapely, are not to be idle. If they are, I'll tell you what will happen  they will grow long and lank, and bony; and if there is any tendency to indigestion or to rheumatism, it is just possible that the joints may get thicker than they ought. Even such simple work as sewing, knitting, embroidering, painting, or playing gives just that amount of exercise to the hands and fingers which is necessary to keep them in a healthy shape.

The nails require care to keep them nice. They should be seen to every day at toilet. What are called hang-nails, or, by some, rag-nails, is a very painful affection, which can very easily be prevented. In this way - three times a week the skin that overlaps the lower end of the nail should be well pushed downwards, because if it is allowed to attach itself to the nail the skin gets stretched and torn. It should always be pushed back but never cut. The free end of the nail should be pared with a knife or cut with a scissors into the shape required. The inner part of the free edge of the nails should be kept perfectly clean with a crush and soap and water, but not interfered with by knife or scissors. The surface of the nail should never be scraped. The white spots which appear on the nails of the young at times are not dangerous, although they don't look pretty. They are caused by hurts or blows.

When the hands are well taken care of and moderately exercised, they should be of a beautiful delicate pinkish white colour, and as soft as the finest satin. Exposure to any amount of daylight does them good, exposure to the sun turns them brown or yellow, exposure to cold and wet hardens and kills the skin, and produces roughness and chaps. Gloves, then, are worn in summer to protect the hands from the sun, and in winter from the cold. The wrists at both seasons should be protected - by kid in summer, by fur in winter. When at any time the hands feel uncomfortably hot the gloves ought to be taken off; by retaining them at such a time you are only spoiling the life and beauty of your hands. Some girls, especially those with a somewhat delicate constitution and tender skin, suffer much from chapped hands after exposure to cold or to wet. At times this is so painful and persistent an affection that the doctor should be called in. But if this should not be deemed necessary, so long as the hands are bad kid gloves should be worn not only by day, but by night as well. If it is persistent, the hands had better be damped with a solution of potash and water - half a dram of the solution to one ounce of water, and then afterwards dressed with the benzoated oxide of zinc ointment, to which a drop or two of otto of roses has been added.

But any one suffering from chapped hands should take a little medicine to cool the blood about twice a week, and if at all weak, either the quinine wine already recommended or the tincture of iron, or a little of both. If the stomach is weak, much advantage will be obtained by using a teaspoonful of gentian bitter in half a wineglassful of water before breakfast and dinner. As a mild application to the hands if rough or inclined to chap, I recommend camphor ointment, or, perhaps better than anything else, the preparation called rose glycerine. After exposure of the hands and before their exposure to cold or the sun, this rose glycerine is invaluable.

Now, here is a little bath  for the hands, for which I am sure you will feel grateful. It is easily prepared, and if the hands are soaked in it for about ten minutes morning and evening in summer, it tends to keep them nice and white and free from roughness. You put a pinch or two of powdered alum and a teaspoonful of powdered sal ammoniac in about a pint and a half of warm salt and water, and dissolve; then, when you have added a little toilet vinegar, this elegant hand bath is ready for use.

The same may be used for clamminess of the hands; but as this latter is generally a symptom of a low state of health, I would also advise the use of light-brown cod liver oil - about a dessert spoonful or more three times a day. "Nasty," did you say? Well, there you have me in a corner. But you soon get over the feeling of loathing which it at first excites, and, oh, dear me! There is really no end to all the good that cod liver oil is capable of doing. By the way, chewing a bit of orange peel before and after taking the little dose helps to disguise the taste of the oil.

Glycerine and water - rain-water, mind, always use rain-water for face and hands, at least - is a good application for damping the hands with. And a mixture of pure lime-juice, or lemon-juice, and lavender-water, equal parts, is another nice preparation for whiting the hands. The hands should never be rubbed with a coarse towel, but with a very fine one, and afterward with a piece of soft flannel. The soap you use should be very mild and transparent. Carbolic soap is, in cases of chapped hands, useful, and so is tar soap, but neither are very elegantly perfumed.

I hope I am not writing for any girl who bites her nails. It is a disfiguring habit, and any of my readers guilty of such a thing should be tried by court-martial by her brothers and sisters, and condemned to wear gloves day and night for a month, for beautiful nails are a very great adornment.

Both feet and hands, if at all tender - or I might almost say whether or not - should be washed every night before lying down, and every morning. If this is done, and sometimes a little alum added to the water, you will have very little trouble with corns or any other painful disfigurement. The feet should be wiped thoroughly dry, and the toes seen to. The nails should never be cut short; they should be a medium length, and, mark this, they should be cut straight across, and not from the sides like the fingernails. They ought to be well cleaned and brushed, but never scraped, and the scarf-skin should be gently pressed back.

There are few things more painful than an in-growing nail. It ought to be seen to at once, or the nail may have to be removed. It is generally caused by wearing too short shoes, which presses the nail back and causes it to thicken and grow downwards instead of forwards.

The feet should never be cramped up in a tight boot, while, on the other hand, a too loose boot or shoe is often the cause of corns. The stocking ought to be very soft, but not too thick, as thick stockings make the feet excessively tender.

When hands or feet are cold, warm them by exercise or friction; but never hold them to the fire, else chilblains may be the painful result.

Everyone knows what a common chilblain is, so I need not take up space by describing it, but content myself by giving a prescription for its cure. It is as follows - Soap liniment, one ounce; tincture of lytta, two drams; laudanum, two drams. Mix and apply three or four times a day.

Friday, 22 April 2016

29 May 1880 - Answers to Correspondents - Cookery

LADY JANE GREY and JOSEPHINE - To make tea cakes, put 2lbs of flour into a basin, and half a teaspoonful of salt, and rub in 1/2lb of butter or lard. Heat up one egg, and add to it a piece of German yeast of the size of a walnut, with enough of warm milk to make the flour into dough. Knead it well, and let it rise near the fire. Make into eight tea cakes, and bake from a quarter to half an hour.

JOLETTE and E. WITHERS - To make a Madeira cake, take three eggs, the grated rind of a lemon, 6oz of lump sugar, and half a gill of water; make a syrup of the lemon, sugar and water, and add it to the eggs - when well beaten - at boiling point. Beat the eggs and sugar, keeping them as hot as possible for 15 minutes, then add 5oz of flour, warmed, 2oz of butter, creamed to the cake batter, beating all thoroughly. Pour it into a mould, and bake for 15 minutes, then add a slice of citron peel to the top, when 15 minutes extra will be needed to finish the baking.

WEE BAIRNIE - Cut half a pound of beef into small square pieces, and place in a baking jar with a well-fitting lid. Add to it 1 pint of water and a little salt and bake for three or four hours in a warm but not a hot oven, or else leave it all night in the oven. This will make good beef-tea.

NELL - To make dessert biscuits, take 1lb of flour, and mix with the yolk of an egg to make into a stiff paste. Add sugar according to your taste, and flavouring; roll out very thinly, and cut them into small biscuits. Then bake them in a slow oven.

VEASE - To make mushroom katsup break up the mushrooms, and add 1/4lb of salt to every 3 1/2lb of mushrooms. Let them stand for a couple of days, and drain all the juice you can procure from them by pressure. Then boil it slowly for an hour, with 2oz of salt, a few cloves, and 1/4oz of peppercorns and whole ginger to each quart. Then strain, and when cold bottle - using new corks, and sealing them down.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

29 May 1880 - 'Bread and Bread-Making, in two chapters' by Ruth Lamb - Chapter One

I wonder how many out of the millions of people who sit down two, three or even four times a day to eat bread together ever bestow a thought as to the origin of the loaf of which they partake so frequently, and which forms a portion of nearly every meal. Most of us know that our ordinary bread is made from wheaten flour, water, salt and yeast in some form. Everybody eats it, from the Queen upon the throne to the meanest of her subjects, and knows  that to want bread is deemed one of the most terrible calamities that can fall on any person.

Yet bread, being such a very common thing, we are rather apt to class it with water, and to look upon it as a mere matter of course.

Few of us consider how many experiments must have been tried, failures experienced, and inventions perfected before the fair white loaf, as we have it now, was ever placed upon a table, to say nothing of the endless varieties which have sprung from it.

When I was a little girl, and for a good many years afterwards, it used to be considered no mean accomplishment to make good bread; and children were taught to do it very early, especially in country homes. Well can I recall the feeling of pride when as a little mite of a lass I was first allowed to try my hand at bread-making. How I put on my wide pinafore, and scrubbed and washed at hands and nails until they satisfied my mother, one of the most particular of human beings as to cleanliness. We children had nothing but short sleeves in those days, so there were none to tuck up, and I plunged my little red arms up to the elbows in flour in a sort of ecstasy of delight.

I felt positively almost grown-up, so impressed was I with the importance of my work as family bread-maker.

Betty, our old kitchen servant, looked on approvingly, and was little less interested than myself. I had seven pounds of flour in a yellow earthenware pancheon, a small handful of salt, some brewer's yeast, and a large jug of warm water, and I supposed nothing else was wanted. But Betty said - "Now, Miss Ruth, if you want your bread to be real good, you must not stint it of one thing."

"What is that?" I asked. "Mother told me there were only these four things wanted to make my bread with."

Betty replied to my question b asking another. "Do you remember going with me to my old mother's cottage last summer, and asking what made the round table that was turned up in the corner, as bright as a looking-glass?"

"Yes, and you told me 'nothing but elbow grease.'

"I asked where it was bought, and you all laughed at me; but when I came home mother told me it meant good rubbing, which exercised elbows, and was called in joke 'elbow grease.'"

"That's it, my dear," said Betty, "and you want plenty of it in bread too; not in the way of rubbing, but kneading. Work it well. Don't spare labour and the bread will pay for it."

"So it did. I thought no loaf had ever tasted so sweet as did my first. My little arms ached, but I forgot that when they all praised my bread next morning; but I never forgot Betty's lesson, though conveyed in a homely fashion, that one  great secret of good bread-making is good kneading, or, in her words, plenty of elbow-grease.

I cannot help regretting that amongst city girls especially bread-making is daily becoming a rarer accomplishment.

I have asked many girls, "Have you learned to make bread?" and the almost invariable answer has been, "No, the baker brings ours." I am tempted to wish that they might all in turn be transplanted for a few weeks to some out-of-the-way country place, where a baker's visits are unknown, and obliged to make and bake their bread before they ate it.

The world was more than two thousand years old when bread, as such, was mentioned in the Bible, as being brought out by Melchisedek  for the refreshment of victorious Abram. But of what kind it was we know nothing.

It is, however, possible to tell what the first loaves ever used were made of, and there is at present no kind of bread which at all corresponds with them. The grain was neither ground nor bruised. IT was soaked, or in some cases boiled wheat, pressed into shape and dried. A very sticky indigestible sort of cake this would be, not too pleasant to the taste; probably a little of it would go a very long way.

The next step was when the happy thought struck somebody to bruise or pound the grain. Hard work it would be, and even when another step was achieved and corn was actually ground, the labour was very great, as it was all done by hand. The women slaves were employed to do the grinding by means of portable millstones, the uppermost being turned by a sort of wooden handle.

Such mills were used in Egypt, as named in Exodus. Such were still in existence in this country not so many generations back, and they were called querns.

Who first found out the art of making leavened bread is as much a mystery as the inventor of the first mill, and the process of fermenting dough by means of leaven was as tedious as the primitive mode of grinding corn and separating the husk from the finer portion of the grain, which we call flour.

This would be the reason whether Abraham, Lot and, several centuries later, Gideon offered unleavened cakes baked on the hearth to their angel visitants. The use of leaven was known; but leavened bread could not be quickly prepared, baked and served fresh and hot from the hearth like those cakes made without it.

Look back, dear girls of this nineteenth century, some nineteen hundred years more, beyond  the era from which we date, and try to realise what sort of a batch of bread was baked by Sarah  for the entertainment of the guests who were espied by her husband as he stood at his tent door on the plains of Mamre.

As nearly as can be calculated those three measures of mine meal - they had learned the art of sifting it, you see, in those days - made fifty-six pounds weight of bread, all baked in thin cakes on the hearth.

This would be heating by means of a fire which was burning on the bread stone, while the meal was simply mixed with salt and warm water into a stiff dough, and rolled out into very thin cakes. Then the hearth-stone was clean swept, the cakes placed on it and hot cinders above them. In this primitive fashion was the great batch of unleavened bread prepared; and by whom?

Not by servants, but by a lady, a princess by station, who had a vast retinue of attendants ready to do her bidding; the wife of an enormously wealthy man, who was the ally of kings, the friend of God Himself!

A beautiful lady, too, - so fair, indeed, that twice in her life, at the age of sixty-five and at ninety, she was admired and sought after by kings. But when Abraham bade her get ready the meal, knead the dough, and bake the cakes, she simply and cheerfully obeyed him whom she called "lord."

Not many of you, dear girls, are born to fill such a position as here was; but I am afraid plenty of modern young ladies are to be found who would rebel if requested even to superintend such a baking. But if any of you should be tempted to despise what may appear in your eyes such menial work, think of this princess of a bygone age, rich and fair, and learn a lesson as you catch a glimpse of her on a baking-day.

In these days unleavened bread still appears in many forms, and as this is the most primitive kind we will look at its varieties first. Amongst these are the Jewish Passover cakes - extremely thin, crisp biscuits, still eaten for a week by Jews during the seven days of the Passover.

Scotch oat bread, made of oatmeal, salt and water, into a stiff paste, rolled thin and baked on an iron girdle or thick plate of iron with semi-circular handle. In the North Riding of Yorkshire girdle or griddle cakes used to be baked on the top of a flat stone heated from below in the same way as the iron article. It was called a bak'ston', or bakestone, by country folk.

A farmer's wife was made extremely happy by the gift of an iron girdle; but she retained the old name for her baking apparatus, and was wont to shout to her serving maid, "Jenny, bring me the iron bak'ston'."

American damper is made without leaven, but the cakes are thicker than the Scotch oaten bread.

Then there are corn cakes," made of the meal of Indian corn. "Hominy cake," the same grain boiled to a pulp, and afterwards baked in thin cakes.

In Lincolnshire, my native country, unleavened cakes are very common. They are precisely the same thing as those made by Abraham's wife, only they are rolled out round and thin, and baked in the oven instead of on the hearth.

In the mowing season and during the harvest the labourers' wives would be up between four and five in the morning to bake these cakes for their husbands. They were eaten very hot, and either split open and buttered or accompanied by thin slices of fat bacon. Then a goodly pile of these bacon sandwiches, prepared while hot, would be packed up  for the good man's refreshment when afield.

I asked the wife of one why she got up so early to bake every morning, and made this kind of cake. "Oh!" she said, "they stay on the stomach longer, and a man can work far better on these than on lighter bread. I never grudge the trouble for our George (her husband), for mowing's hard work."

It was easy to understand this explanation. These hot cakes were less digestible than ordinary bread; and hard work in the open air, with the profuse perspiration caused by labouring in the broiling sun, made him require frequent nourishment and of a very solid kind.

"He'd feel empty and hungry directly on light bread. 'Sad cakes' are best," said she, "for working men."

A visitor in my old home heard the expression "sad cakes" - meaning unleavened - and inquired what kind of things they were. On being told, she looked much astonished, and said, "I thought they must be cakes used for funerals."

"Sad bread" is simply heavy bread, whether made without yeast or any kind or with yeast that has done its duty imperfectly, and has left the loaf close and sticky, instead of light and full of small holes.

Before leaving the unleavened varieties of bread, I should like to show you how those large, thin, crisp sheets of oat-cake are made and baked in the west of Yorkshire, where I spent one very happy year as a girl in a country parsonage.

I was told when I went there from a county in which oat cake was unknown that I should soon learn to like it. And so I did; and I was curious to know how these large sheets could be rolled to such a delicate thinness.

"They are not rolled at all," said my friend, "they are thrown."

I was more puzzled than before, and asked what she meant.

"You had better go to our baker's and see the process," she replied, "and you will understand it much better than by my description. To-morrow is a baking day and you can go in the morning with Lily," meaning her daughter. "Many of the cottagers take their own meal to the baker, or bakeress. Mrs Marsden, and she charges them three-halfpence per four pounds weight for making and baking it."

The next morning we went to the bakehouse and found Mrs Marsden literally at full swing with her oat cake. Her stove was a thick iron plate, about two feet long, set in brickwork, and heated by a fire underneath it. Beside her stood a wooden vessel like a barrel churn, containing a batter made of oatmeal, salt and water. I am inclined to think a little yeast was used to lighten this, as bubbles kept rising on the surface. A bowl of dry meal, a pasteboard scored in diamonds instead of being smooth as is usual, a wooden ladle, and an oblong piece of coarse linen, completed her materials. First throwing a handful of dry meal o board, she next poured on it a ladleful of the batter, and shook it into an even shape. Then she dexterously transferred the latter from the board to the mealy cloth, which she lifted with both hands, laying lightly hold of opposite corners. Then, with a rapid movement, she threw the batter in a large oblong sheet on the heated iron plate, dropping the lower corner of the cloth as she did so. In half a minute the cake was ready to be turned with a wooden spatula, and in a similar time to be taken off and hung across a wooden rail.

The rapidity with which this operation was performed showed the fruits of long practice, together with the steady hand and correct eye of the baker. The stream of batter always ran along the iron plate almost to its edges, and so thinly was it spread that it was absolutely in small holes, yet without ever being broken. T throw oat cake very thin is deemed a mark of an accomplished hand.

Whilst we stood waiting and looking on, piles of these newly baked and perfectly soft cakes were brought away by the neighbouring cottagers. Each had with her a clean towel, folded lengthways in the middle. This was thrown across one arm, opened, the dozen of oat cakes placed on it; then they were covered with the other portion, and so carried home to be hung on the rack - a wooden frame suspended from the kitchen ceiling. IN a few hours, the cakes would be perfectly crisp and as brittle as thin glass.

Biscuits of various substantial kinds contain no leaven, especially those used at sea. They are made with very little water, and dried very much in the baking. The name means twice baked.

In another short chapter an account will be given of the various kinds of leaven, yeasts, and of plain and fancy breads now in use in various countries, with reliable recipes for young readers to follow, if they wish to become good bread-makers.

Monday, 18 April 2016

22 May 1880 - Answers to Corresponents - Miscellaneous

MINNIE - Ladies do not accepts presents from gentlemen as a general rule, unless from near relatives or very old family friends. If there be any question of possible proposals of marriage, accept no present until engaged.

GRACE - The three balls of the pawnbrokers form part of the arms of the Dukes of Medici; from whose States, and from Lombardy, nearly all the early bankers  came. These capitalists advanced money on valuable goods, and gradually became pawnbrokers. Hence the name Lombard-street, in the heart of the money-making part of the city, where these Lombards established themselves, and were the first moneylenders in England. The origin of the arms of the Medici is traced to the fact that they were doctors of medicine, and the balls were gilded pills; at the same time that they were amongst the richest merchants and money-lenders of Florence. In the first instance, the pills were blue, and were afterwards gilded - probably in reference to their dealings with gold.

MARIOTTA - You ma "leave off playing with dolls" when you can cut out and make all their clothes neatly and creditably for your age.

MABEL wants "a remedy for stopping decayed teeth."We advise her not to stop them, if doing so requires "a remedy." If, on the contrary, she requires a remedy for teeth *not stopped, we advise her to fill her teeth with a bit of soft wax, until she can go to a dentist and have it properly done.

HYACINTH - Do not attempt to "improve your figure" otherwise than by holding yourself well up, and resting your back when fatigued by lying down on a hard sofa.

AMABAL - 1. Your writing is peculiar which you evidently design it to be. 2. The first day of January became our New Year's day, legally, in the year 1752, in the reign of George II. England was the last amongst all European nations to adopt the change of the day from the 25th of March, which was the date of the commencement of the old Jewish year.