Tuesday, 9 February 2016

10 January 1880 - 'Healthy Recreations - Skating'



I have taught many girls of various ages how to skate, and it would be unjust to them not to say that they were far better pupils than boys of the same ages. They seem to have a better idea of balance, and they mostly do as they are told, which is more than can be said for boys in general. And, in consequence, when they are taught to be skaters they rarely degenerate into scuttlers, though they too frequently abandon the ice altogether.

Some years ago lady-skaters were at a disadvantage. Numbers of girls learned to skate very creditably, and if they had pursued their ice-studies steadily, they would have I have taught many girls of various ages how to skate, and it would be unjust to them not to say that they were far better pupils than boys of the same ages. They seem to have a better idea of balance, and they mostly do as they are told, which is more than can be said for boys in general. And, in consequence, when they are taught to be skaters they rarely degenerate into scuttlers, though they too frequently abandon the ice altogether.

Some years ago lady-skaters were at a disadvantage. Numbers of girls learned to skate very creditably, and if they had pursued their ice-studies steadily, they would have developed into good figure skaters. Now, even with male performers, figure skating is the very poetry of motion, and no more graceful sight could be imagined than the figures when performed by a "set" of eight accomplished lady skaters.

Yet, scarcely any of these girls ever learned even to execute the alpha of figure-skating, i.e., the figure 3, and I never yet saw a female skater who could take her part in a "set".

The reason for this decadence is to be found in Fashion. Young girls dressed in a way which allowed fair freedom to their limbs, and so they got on very well with their skates. But when they grow up, the tyrant Fashion seized upon them and put them into crinoline, within which metal or whalebone prison no human being could ever skate.

Now, however, female dress has assumed a much more sensible form, and costumes have been made expressly for skating as they have been for bathing; and, as no true skater kicks the legs about, but always keeps the feet close to each other, the close-fitting and short skirt of the skating dress does not in the least interfere with the necessary freedom of the limbs.

And, if the sensible fashion of feminine skating dress will only continue for a few seasons, we may hope to see the poetry of motion in its most perfect and attractive form, and that the coveted "Silver Skate" may be worn at a lady's necklace as well as at a gentleman's button-hole.

As I hope that every girl who reads this magazine will either wish to learn the art of skating, or to improve her style even if she be a tolerable skater, I will give a few hints such as I always gave to my pupils, and begin with stating what to avoid.

Of course, a beginner will have her skates chosen for her by someone who knows how to skate, and she should never hire skates from the men who infest the ice.

Their skates are always of the worst possible kind, and made in the cheapest possible way. The edges are never sharp, so that there can be no hold of the ice, and the steel generally terminates before the screw instead of passing well behind it.

Then, their skates almost invariably have upturned points, which are not only useless but dangerous, and they have the heel cut off square instead of being rounded. In a good skate the steel barely projects beyond the wood in front, and is equally rounded at either end. The skate dealers will tell you that these sharp heels are useful in stopping suddenly.

Do not believe them.

Certainly, by raising the toes and digging the sharp heels into the ice the skater can stop herself within a yard or two, and at the same time cut a couple of long, deep grooves in the ice; but she can stop herself in half the distance by simply spinning round, as every skater knows how, and without damaging the surface of the ice.

I must not be understood to recommend expensive skates for a young girl, especially if she be a beginner. Girls grow, and so do their feet, and it is very seldom that a pair of skates will last a growing girl more than a couple of seasons. Besides, a beginner would spoil a good pair of skates in a few days.

As to length, the skate should be just the length of the boot. It may be a trifle longer, but in that case it must be set rather backward on the boot, so that it projects behind the heel, and not in front of the toe. Boots, of course, should be worn by the skater, and they should be laced and not buttoned or fitted with side springs. They should fit exactly but easily to the feet, so that their tightness can be regulated by the laces. Skating in loose boots is almost impossible, and a tight boot will cause indescribable agonies.

Avoid the straps which cross the instep. One broad strap, with double ends at the toe, and one heel strap, are all that are needed. Indeed, if the boots are perfectly fitting, the heel strap is scarcely needed. I use it myself, but merely employ it as a safeguard in case the screw should break, and I always have it drawn so loosely that a finger can be passed between the strap and the boot.

It will be an advantage to buy the skates for some months before the frost comes on, so as to soften the straps thoroughly before they are wanted. New straps are a great nuisance, as they are stiff and apt to stretch, while a strap which has been repeatedly soaked in warm grease or oil, and then stretched, and pulled, and rubbed, will remain as soft and pliable as silk, will accommodate itself closely to the foot, and moreover will be impervious to wet and consequent rotting.

Grease should also be rubbed daily into the junction of the steel with the wood, as in that case there will be no danger of weakening the steel by rust.

Do not employ any vegetable oil  for the straps. Colza oil will do well enough  for the skates, but neat's-foot oil is best  for the straps. In default of neat's-foot oil, clarified lard perfectly freed from salt will answer very well if the lard be heated. I have before me a set of straps more than twenty years old, which have been used in sixteen skating seasons. They are now as serviceable as ever, and will probably be used again this season.

If possible, a special pair of boots should be kept for skating, at all events during the season. Then the skates can be attached to them, the straps placed lightly over them, and thus they can be carried in the hand-bag, which every skater ought to possess. They can be slipped on in a moment, the straps and boot-laces tightened, and thus the tedious and troublesome operation of putting on the skates can be avoided.

Boots last much longer in this way, because they are not pulled to pieces by the repeated insertion and removal of the screws. In a soft substance like leather, the hole soon becomes "screw-sick" and the screw has no hold. Then, either the hole must be plugged, or a new hole made, which will alter the bearings of the skate.

Moreover, when the skater comes off the ice, she has only to loosen the laces and straps and slip her feet out of the skate-boots. The comfort of changing the boots after skating is quite indescribable.

Should no such spare boots be available, the skates should always be fitted to them before they are on the feet. The screw-hole can be then placed exactly in the central line of the foot, which is a matter of no small importance. This hole should be filled in with tallow before starting, and when the skater arrives at the ice all that will be needed will be to clear out the grease.

In the bag should be carried a knife, a small gimlet, a brad-awl for making fresh holes in straps, a little bottle of oil, a large piece of old rag, and a pair of old leather gloves. These are to be worn while putting on the skates, and while drying, wiping, and oiling them after leaving the ice. Also, I very strongly recommend a piece of waterproofing, which can be spread as a seat. It often happens that the skater has to sit down, either to rest or to alter the skates, and if there should have been a slight thaw, or if the sunbeams should have melted the snow or hoar frost, sitting down is scarcely practicable.

Carry nothing in the pockets except a handkerchief.

We will now suppose that a young girl has been supplied with skates, etc., and has arrived at the ice. Although it is obviously impossible to teach the art of skating by means of the pen, it is possible to give a few useful hints which will save much time and trouble.

In the first place, use every means to be accompanied from the first by a really good skater, so that you may not acquire bad habits, which can scarcely ever be shaken off. Do not lean on the back of a chair, as is so often advised. You will get into a nasty stooping round-shouldered style, and will hardly ever be able to acquire the straight, but flexible form which distinguishes a good skater.

Still less depend on a stick. I regret to say that the skater dealers often sell sticks with spiked ends  for the use of beginners. Learning to skate by means of a stick is as wrong as learning to swim with the aid of corks.

No good skater ever carries a stick on any pretence whatever. However skilled she may be a strap may break, or she may come against an unseen pebble or pinch of sand frozen into the ice, and in either case down she goes. Should she have a stick in her hand, she will instinctively grasp it as she falls, and will probably inflict a severe blow upon any one who happens to be near.

Do not allow yourself to be towed along by two skaters  for the purpose of getting used to the ice. In the first place, you must stoop and will stoop more and more as the pace increases. Moreover, you will be sliding and not skating, and will be confirmed in the idea that ice is slippery. So it is to a slider, but not to a skater, who has a firm hold of the ice by the sharp edge of her skate.

Just at first, you may cling to the arm of your instructor, but after a minute or two, depend entirely on yourself. You will feel the most helpless of beings; you will stoop forward; your feet will diverge, in spite of all endeavours to keep them together, and down you will come. You will not hurt yourself, as there is nothing hard in the pockets.

Being down, you will think that you will have to stay there, as getting up seems impossible. There is, however, no difficulty about it. Kneel upright. Now put the right foot on the ice, lean forwards, and you will be on your feet. Most probably you will tumble down again almost before you are up. Never mind it, but get up again, and after two or three such harmless falls you will find that your skates have edges, and that by means of these edges you can at all events prevent yourself from slipping sideways.

This is a most important point gained, and you will now be able to try locomotion.

Place the feet as in the "third position" in dancing, nearly at right angles to each other, | --- , the perpendicular line representing the left foot, and the horizontal line the right.

Now, lean a little to the right,  fix the inside edge of the left skate well into the ice, and so push yourself towards the right, bringing up the left foot as soon as you find yourself moving. When you can go towards the right with some certainty, reverse the position of the feet, and push yourself towards the left by pressing against the inner edge of the right skate.

The next step is to make these strokes alternately, and as regularly as possible, and if you persevere, in half-an-hour or so, you ought to get along with some little speed, and to direct your course as you like.

I strongly advise the beginner to continue the first day's practice as long as possible, for the next day she will find herself so absurdly stiff that she will hardly be able to put one foot before another. Still, she ought to make her way to the ice, notwithstanding the stiffness, and will find that the best cure is the homeopathic principle.

It is remarkable, by the way, that when any one has become a really good skater he or she will never find themselves stiff, even though they may not have seen the ice for years. Neither do they forget the art.

I remember, many years ago, when the floods round Oxford were frozen, that an old gentleman who had in his time been the crack skater of Oxford, but who had abandoned the ice for some thirty years, could not resist the temptation of many miles of clear black ice, hard as marble and as smooth as a mirror. So he put on his skates and after half an hour or so was delighting the spectators with an exhibition of the old school of skating, in which the arms were raised and lowered alternately with the skates, something like the left arm of a fencer when standing on guard or thrusting.

Of course, he could not continue the exercise very long, but he was not in the least stiff, and came on the ice every day as long as the frost lasted.

It is the same with riding and swimming, neither accomplishment ever being forgotten after it has once been attained.

The foregoing instructions are quite sufficient to enable a girl to travel over ice and guide herself in her course. But, as I hope that none of my readers will e content with the mere alphabet of skating, but will desire to make progress in the art, I will give them a few hints.

Here I may observe there are just two kinds of legitimate skating, i.e., "travelling on skates" and "figure-skating", both of which depend wholly on the outside edge.

Skate-travelling is seldom used in this country, owing to the brevity of the frosts, and the lack of long, narrow pieces of piece on which to travel. In Holland, however, where canals form almost the chief feature of the country, and the frosts last for a long time, skating forms the chief mode of locomotion in the winter, and the people learn to skate, not as a pastime, but as a mode of travelling.




Children skate to their schools, market-women skate to the markets, bearing their laden baskets on their heads, and a young couple will skate twenty or thirty miles to be married, and then skate back again.

Naturally, a peculiar kind of stroke has come into use, and is popularly called the "Dutch roll". It is executed wholly on the outer edge, the strokes being long and sweeping, and each describing a slight curve some twenty yards in length. It is very deceptive in appearance. It appears to be slow, whereas it is only deliberate, and the swiftest English skater, if put on a Dutch canal, and matched against a Dutch market-woman, with a heavy basket on her head, will be hopelessly beaten in a long race.

At first he runs away from her and leaves her far behind. But she keeps steadily on her course, with her long, steady, unchanging roll. After the first few miles, the distance between them gradually diminishes, and, strive how he may, the man will find his antagonist gradually creeping up to him, and at last forging ahead. He may put on as many spurts as he likes, but they will be of no use. She will not alter her pace in the least, but swings herself along with the same unvarying roll, reaching the goal far ahead, and as fresh as when she began.

The skates are made for this mode of travelling, and are quite unfit for figure-skating. They are long in the steel, which projects far in front, and in women's skates curls over the toe. Mostly, they are fluted, and the edges are nearly straight instead of curved as in our English skates. Then, in the Dutch travelling roll, the knee is allowed to be bent, which is a heresy in a figure-skater. No matter how accurately a skater may be able to perform the most intricate figures, he will never obtain admission to the Skating Club if he allows the knee of the acting leg to be in the slightest degree bent.

Now for a little advice as to the outer edge.

Some teachers advise that at each stroke the feet should be crossed, so that the outside edge must be brought into use. Certainly, it has this effect, but it has two serious defects. In the first place, it is impossible to keep a straight knee if you have to cross the right foot over the left or vice versa, and in the next place you get into the habit of steering your course by the swing of the off leg, and not by the balance of the body as ought to be done.

The following plan will be found to answer admirably, and will give a good carriage to the body. Put on the ice some conspicuous object, and skate round and round it, keeping the right side towards it, the face always turned towards it, and the arms slightly hanging towards the right side.

In order to do this, the inside edge of the left skate and the outside edge of the right skate will be pressed against the ice.

When you feel yourself at home in this circle, take the left foot off the ice, and you will be on the outside edge. At first you will have to put down the left foot almost immediately, but in a little time you will be able to proceed for a yard or two on the right foot alone. Now go round in the opposite direction, keeping your left side inwards, and going on the outside edge of the left foot.

Now leave the circle and try to skate forward, but instead of going on the inside edge of the skates as you did before, go on the outside edges. Do not be afraid of leaning well towards the outside edge. You will not fall, although at first you will feel as if you must topple over on your side.

Persevere in these  movements, making your strokes longer and longer, and always keeping the knee of the active leg quite straight. When you can make these strokes long, even and deliberate, which you ought to do after two or three days' practice, you will be fairly set upon your outside edge, and will be ready to begin a course of instruction in Figure Skating.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

10 January 1880 - 'How We Saved the Poor Birds in the Winter'


Now that the cold weather has set in, I should like to interest every young reader of the GIRL'S OWN PAPER on behalf of the birds, so that something may be done to preserve such of our dear little feathered friends as are now left to us. I say such as are left, for no doubt both town and country girls have noticed how few birds there are about, and how silent the fields and woods have seemed to be this year in comparison with former ones.

It would take up many pages to tell the stories of bird-distress, famine, and death from starvation which took place during last winter's long frost. I was in the English Lake district in the summer, and there I was told how the songbirds were found dead in all directions.

"The fruit hangs on the trees untouched except by human hands, and last year we could hardly get a ripe cherry from that large tree," said a lady friend to me. "This summer I have not seen a single blackbird, and the only uninvited visitor that has shared with us is the little brown fellow yonder," pointing to a bushy-tailed squirrel which was at that moment busy amongst the boughs.

"It makes the garden quite dull," she added. "I would rather have less fruit and more birds."

A gentleman at the same table told us of his experiences on the shores of Derwent Water during the long frost, and said one day he was surprised to notice a bonny, spotted thrush standing quite still on one foot, and with his head under his wing. It did not move as he came near, and, on touching it, he found it was frozen to death. In fact, our English birds perished by thousands of hunger and cold.

Now, I want to tell you how we saved our birds last winter, and I hope all who read this will do something to preserve those in their own neighbourhoods, should they again need a helping hand.

We live in a sort of oasis of green fields, surrounded now with a brick and mortar desert, which has gathered all about us without being able to enter the Polygon as our enclosure, or park, with its few good houses, is called. Though comparatively near a large busy city, we have great numbers of birds living amongst us. Both kinds of thrushes, chaffinches, countless starlings, and sparrows, and an occasional blackbird and robin may be seen and heard in due season.

We scatter food for them all the year round, every scrap of crust or morsel left on the plates being put aside, the hard bits soaked and thrown out on the grass at the back, each day, for bird consumption.

One day, as I was dressing before dinner, I noticed that a pear-tree opposite my window was swarming with birds. And what a clatter they were making!

I asked the waitress, who was bird-almoner at that time, if she could give any reason for the uproar.

"Oh, dear, dear," she said ,looking quite guilty and troubled. "I had forgotten to feed them!" and rushing out, basin in hand, she soon made things right with the birds, and the noise ceased.

They are used to a chirrup or whistle, and as soon as it sounds, though not a bird might be visible the moment before, little knowing heads begin to pop out from the eaves and the ivy, which is packed with nests, and down they come in all directions to share the feast.

But about our special arrangement for last winter, these being our all-the-year-round arrangements.

One day, when the snow had been long on the frost-bound earth, the greengrocer's boy came into the kitchen in a state of great excitement.

"There are two big crowd in the Polygon, seeking for something to eat," said he.

We have no rookery in our neighbourhood, the nearest being about a couple of miles away, so their appearance set me thinking what could be done, and I decided to institute free breakfast and dinner parties for their benefit. Instead of confining ourselves to crumbs, we began to gather all the odd bits of fat, gristle, scraps of rind of meat, occasional bones, spare potatoes, in fact any and everything that could help to feed these feathered vagrants.

The first spread was made on the lawn in the forenoon, and repeated at three o'clock.

The two rooks were at the first, and at the second there were five, and members of other birds.

The next day everybody in the house came to look at the assemblage. There were nine rooks, six chaffinches, three thrushes,  one dear little robin, more than a hundred starlings, and innumerable sparrows. Daily through all the cold weather we continued our free meals, all made up of odds and ends that would neither be missed nor wanted - most of them, indeed, would have been thrown away.

The birds knew our times and, if we were a little late, would be sitting on the trees, waiting for their supply. As soon as the chirrup of the feeder was heard, down they came, and as the children used to say, "it seemed to rain birds all round them" for the hungry creatures did not trouble themselves about the presence of the youngster, who was scattering the food, but set to work, with right good will, to secure an ample share of the feast.

There was another pensioner that used to join; but he went on four legs, and had a furry coat instead of a feathered one. It was a huge Tom Cat with white breast and paws, evidently homeless, poor fellow! He knew these meal-times as well as the birds, and came to claim his share amongst them. He used to feed, literally in their midst, with the birds not a yard off him; for after a time or two they were so accustomed to his presence that they took no more notice of him than he did of them! Poor Tom! We used to invite him in for a warm by the kitchen fire, and a share of our pussy's milk and scraps. He is one of many stray animals of his kind, left behind them by people who remove from streets of small houses which run up to our ground at the back, there being, amongst some persons, a foolish superstition "it is not lucky to flit the cat".

Believe me, it is always lucky to be kind to every creature that God has made.

We continued to feed the birds until quite the early summer months, and used to like to see the rooks with their fashionable black satin dresses, glistening in the sunshine. Often the children used to laugh at these great, greedy fellows cramming piece after piece into their mouths, until the distended beaks would hold no more, and then flying off to a little distance to consume their spoil. The first pair stayed with us, or rather visited us daily, long after the others had gone back to their homes, and were too busily occupied with family cares to spend any time in lounging round the Polygon, like study beggars. So we ceased to feed them when we felt they could shift for themselves; for we did not want to encourage pauperism or demoralise even the rooks when self-dependence was possible, and the best thing for them.

I should say the little gentle hedge-sparrows which live in the next garden were too timid to join the bird throng on the lawn, with puss in their midst, so we always made a little separate spread for them under the hedge where they could eat in peace.

Thus we saved our birds at literally no cost, except that of a little trouble, and occasionally a few pence spent in potatoes or stale bread. Even every drop of gravy left on a plate was mixed up with the scraps to make the meal more savoury.

If in each house a little were saved for our feathered neighbours, and all the children in our homes were accustomed to do something to preserve our bird-life, our woods and fields would soon be flooded with melody again, and there would be no more complaints of the unnatural silence amongst the trees.

We need not be ashamed of caring  for the birds, and thus acting as the almoners of the Heavenly

Thursday, 4 February 2016

10 January 1880 - 'Winter Clothes and How to Make Them' by Dora de Blaquiere

This is the first of Dora de Blaquiere's pieces for the G.O.P. Whilst the paper certainly had some purely aspirational content, especially to do with fashion and dress, its principal demographic was middle-class girls who were expected to shift for themselves to a certain extent, and make themselves useful. The rich girls might be able to purchase all their garments from the finest dress-makers and shops, or only approach DIY dressmaking as a hobby, but here's to everyone else, making do. 

I like to see everyone looking nice, especially girls, and am of opinion that no small part of their future happiness depends upon their complete understanding of the whole "Art of Dress". The subject is indeed a wide one, from the choice of the materials to the right methods of cutting out and making them up for use. Economy, wearing-qualities, colour, suitability, and last, but not least, that which we have only lately begun to study, the hygienic principles of dress - should all form part of the education which fits a young girl for her battle with life.

This winter Dame Fashion favours those who have to make the best of half-worn garments,  for the jackets, mantles, and paletots worn differ but little from those that were fashionable last season, and the universal adoption of short walking-dresses is an admirable assistance in renovating and remodelling old ones. But I must begin, I think with the

HAT OR BONNET,

And here we are fortunate to the,  for the "poke" bonnet - the favourite shape of the last spring and summer - will be quite fashionable this winter, and those amongst "our girls" who had them in black straw can use them, re-trimmed, throughout the next season. They are now most generally lined with a coloured satin, and are trimmed on the outside with black velvet, or satin, or else with a scarf of coloured Indian-looking material, in various rich hues. Half a yard of this is enough to drape round the bonnet in folds, with a small tie. Strings need not be added, as they are more worn by elderly ladies than girls. Even, if the "poke" bonnet be white, it is not necessary to despair, as it will dye very nicely. The only difference in the shape this winter is that the front is wider and more flaring. The handkerchief-crowned hats, with gathered velvet rims, are still worn very much, and they are exceedingly pretty when made of the same stuff as the dress. Almost any girl could manage to make one of them if she purchased the foundation, which only costs 6d. The first thing to do is to bind the rim with velvet cut on the bias, slightly gathering it at each edge. This velvet may be had cut from the piece on the bias, and I think half a yard should be found enough, cut into two lengths and joined. The lining of the hat is put in next, and for this, if great economy be desired, old silk will answer as well as new. Lastly, the head-covering should be put on, and this should be cut into an oval shape and larger than necessary. The gathered or puckered effect of the top is easily produced by taking a few irregular stitches on the wrong side, and drawing them lightly together. A little observation will enable a girl to make a very pretty hat out of cheap materials, if she have the determination to succeed.

I have commenced with the hat, as a principal part of the winter cloths, because it is sometimes one of the young girl's greatest difficulties, but it is one which may be surmounted, just at present, with more ease than usual, as the fashions worn are simple and easily understood. The out-of-door garment is much more troublesome, and I think that a wise and prudent maiden will first try her "'prentice hand" upon the alteration or turning of an old

JACKET OR MANTLE.

By this simple means she will learn the proper method of making-up cloth. She will find the seams, after being sewn, were flattened with a hot iron on the wrong side, and afterwards laid over with a narrow galloon hemmed down on either side. The edges are also generally finished with this narrow galloon, which is the best and neatest method of treating all seams that are intended to be durable. Black linen-thread should be used for sewing all thick and dark materials - not cotton, which cuts and wears rusty. For stitching seams, which are intended to be seen, and also for button-holes, tailor's silk twist must be procured. This is sold by the yard, in all colours, as well as black. Buttonholes are a sad trouble to most amateur workpeople; but I hope that my readers have already passed through a complete course of careful instruction, and that as regards these tailor's buttonholes, experience will soon teach them the right method of making them strongly. They are cut in the shape of an elongated  . ^ , the wide end at the outside edge, to allow of its lying flat when buttoned, and to give room  for the shank of a large button. The quantity needed to make an ordinary jacket of tweed, for a girl of fifteen, would be one yard and a quarter, three yards of serge or linsey, and a little more of diagonal or coarse frieze.

PAPER PATTERNS.

One of the things which must be learnt by all girls who desire to be comfortably dressed on small allowances, is cutting-out and this seems to me not nearly so difficult a matter as people are inclined to make out. A few experiments should be first tried with newspapers, in the following manner. Take three or four sheets of it and paste the ends together in a long length of several yards, the whole length to be, say, 24 inches wide. Then lay your paper patterns down on this, remembering that all backs, fronts, sleeves and skirts run up and down the selvage, and that any deviation from this settled rule will spoil your dress or jacket. The right and wrong side of the stuff must also be remembered, as well as the pattern, and if it runs up or down.

It would be difficult to mention a single article of dress of which a paper pattern may not be procured in the present day, at prices which vary from sixpence to a shilling. I remember a little girl of my acquaintance, some years ago, being fired with the ambition of making a dress for herself. She bought out of her own pocket-money, 8 or 9 yards of print for 4s., and after arduous study of her own dresses, she managed one day to produce, to her mother's astonishment, a dress for herself, which could only be regarded as wonderful for a maiden of 13! She had received no help from anyone over it, and the cutting-out and making had been entirely her own work. I am inclined to think that many girls might be induced to attempt dressmaking for themselves if some small prize were held out, by either father or mother, as a reward.

THE DRESS.

The three materials most suitable  for the ordinary every day dress of a girl are tweed, serge and French merino. The latter, which has just returned to fashion, is more suitable for best dresses, perhaps; but it is, without exception, one of the most durable and charming of materials, and bears hard usage, washing, dyeing, and turning, as long as it can hold together. Tweed has the great drawback of being frequently mixed with cotton; but when quite pure, all wool, and not too fine in texture, it is also interminable in its wear. Serge is open to the same objection and, in addition, is sometimes so badly dyed that the hands are embued with a blue hue as long as the dress lasts. It is also liable to fade, and wears white; and when torn it makes such an ugly jagged hole, which the wearer will find most difficult to darn. It should always be bought at a good shop, and, if possible, the cheaper kinds should be avoided, as unsuitable to those who have little money to spend, and must have that money's worth. The large loose-grained serges are said to be the best, and the prices range from one shilling to five or six per yard. From five to seven yards, fifty-four inches in width are needed for a skirt-bodice and jacket. The most suitable trimming is flat mohair braid of good quality, and wooden buttons. The skirt is generally made with a keep-kilted flounce, which is unlined, the kiltings being kept in place by two tapes, to which each kilt is sewn in their due order. The bodice is shaped with a plain long basque, and to hide the meeting of the skirt and bodice a folded scarf is tied round the hips. The out-of-door jacket to this serge suit, if nicely made, and well cut, should answer for other dresses, and any extra warmth can be added by putting a small knitted woollen waistcoat underneath.

CAPES

The present mode of wearing coachmen's capes is a very pretty and a very economical one, especially to young girls, as they can manage with a lighter and, perhaps, an older jacket  for the winter, when they have secured the additional warmth of the pretty and becoming fur cape. They are not expensive either, and are quite within the reach of a small allowance. The best to choose are, I think, those of black fox, though, of course, the coney skins are the cheapest. The drawback to the latter is that they will not bear wetting, and that the hairs are very easily plucked off in tufts, leaving an ugly bare place.

SHOES AND STOCKINGS

It is a peculiarly good thing for those who must think of how to spend their money to the best advantage, that nearly every fashion of this year tends to assist the thrifty. Shoes, for example, which are so much worn, are far cheaper than boots; and a good strong and nice-looking pair can be purchased for five or six shillings, where equally good boots would have cost ten. Black stockings, too, are both becoming and economical, and the pretty deep-red ones are very much affected by young girls, who, with a morsel of red in the hat, thus contrive to lighten an entirely black costume. It is singular how opinions change. A few years ago it was considered quite an unheard-of thing for a young girl to wear a black dress or bonnet.

And now, having disposed of the hat, bonnet, jacket, dress and shoes, for walking purposes, we must return to the indoor raiment. And here it is that I must especially charge my readers to endeavour to be neatly and prettily dressed - tidy hair, shining from the constant care bestowed on it, clean cuffs and collars, and, above all, neat shoes and stockings, are none of them too expensive luxuries for girls to aspire to possess. But perhaps even as you read these words there may be some shabby old dress which seems hopelessly "done for" staring you in the face. Even of this you need not despair, with the present pretty fashion of aprons and pinafores to help you hide all defects. Your own fancy may also be called into play to invent something which shall be inexpensive, and yet pretty and quite original. I saw such an elegant pinafore-apron the other day, made by a young girl to hide her old winter dress. The material was a cheap sateen, of a dark pink shade, decorated with little flowers, and trimmed all round the edge with a cheap embroidery. The bill was triumphantly produced for my inspection, and amounted to two shillings and tenpence halfpenny! The cheap cottons, with blue or pink stripes, are very pretty for the making of these winter pinafores; or, if these should be thought too cold, or their washing too expensive, there are so many pretty flowered Pompadour-like materials, that no difficulty will be found in selecting something pretty and inexpensive.

And now I am going to conclude my chat on Winter Clothes with a few explanations, and a little advice about purchases, and the cutting-out of

MATERIALS.

It may be thought that I have suggested a very short list of materials from which to select a winter dress. To tell the truth, the essential part of economical dressing, both for young and old, is to choose good all-wool, and quite unremarkable materials, avoiding mixed fabrics of wool and silk, or wool and cotton. So with this view I have left out all such combinations from the list for your choice. Everything pronounce in style, or at all peculiar in shape, must be avoided, and for two reasons - that it shows the date of its purchase, and the true lady should be neither dowdy, nor antiquated. All peculiarities of dress are sure to be commented upon, and however good-natured our friends may be, we should endeavour in this way to avoid giving them subjects for either, that no difficulty will be found in selecting something pretty and inexpensive.

And now I am going to conclude my chat on Winter Clothes with a few explanations, and a little advice about purchases, and the cutting-out of

MATERIALS.

It may be thought that I have suggested a very short list of materials from which to select a winter dress. To tell the truth, the essential part of economical dressing, both for young and old, is to choose good all-wool, and quite unremarkable materials, avoiding mixed fabrics of wool and silk, or wool and cotton. So with this view I have left out all such combinations from the list for your choice. Everything pronounce in style, or at all peculiar in shape, must be avoided, and for two reasons - that it shows the date of its purchase, and the true lady should be neither dowdy, nor antiquated. All peculiarities of dress are sure to be commented upon, and however good-natured our friends may be, we should endeavour in this way to avoid giving them subjects for either discussion or caricature.

CUTTING-OUT.

In cutting-out a costume, first cut out the skirt, then the bodice and over-skirt. With the aid of a little ingenuity, the under portions of the sleeves will probably come out of the pieces .Leave the trimmings to the last, at any rate, and use up the scraps for it. It will frequently be found that, by facing the fronts, instead of turning down the hems, of jackets and bodices, and by adding small pieces where they will not be seen under the arms, both the fronts may be cut from the same width of material. The safest way of proceeding is to lay all the pieces of a pattern on the material at once, as it will then be possible to judge of the most advantageous method of cutting it out. When it is a striped material, try to place a perfect stripe in the middle of the front, and in the centre of the back, if there be no seam. But, in any case, be sure that the stripes, or checks, match, and that those of the two sides correspond.

The straight part of the sleeves should come above the elbow, and the bias part below. Whenever anything has to be cut on the "bias" be sure to do so exactly, or it will not hang nor sit nicely. In cutting out a skirt, the front sides of the gores must always be straight, and the sloped or bias sides towards the back, carefully avoiding a seam either down the back or the front breadths.

In cutting materials that are figured, or that have a nap, be very careful to have all the parts of the pattern cut the same way of the material, that is, with the figures placed all the same way, the nap of the cloth running downwards, and the pile of velvet running either all up, or all down, as may be preferred.

And in conclusion remember three things: - that, to be really well dressed we must select such clothes as will be suitable wear when we pursue our daily avocations; that we must be comfortable, both in and out of doors, and that we must always strive to look exactly what we are; as true and upright girls, without silly vanity or foolish finery.

Monday, 1 February 2016

3 January 1880 - Useful Hints

CHEAP QUILTS AND PILLOWS - In the absence of eider-down, or other expensive quilts, a warm coverlet can be cheaply made by sewing cotton wadding in brown paper. A pillow, far more cool and wholesome than one stuffed with feathers, can be cheaply made by filling the case with waste paper, cut or torn into small pieces. Old letters will do, but not printed paper - the effluviam from which, when heated, may be as bad as that from badly-dressed feathers.

CHILBLAINS, HOW TO CURE - The following mixture is useful for allaying intense itching caused by chilblains. Sulphurous acid three parts, and glycerine one part, diluted with the same quantity of water. Apply with a soft camel-hair pencil.

HORSERADISH SAUCE - This is a capital addition to cold roast-beef. Take a stick or two of horseradish, grate them until you have enough pulp to fill two table-spoons. Dissolve a tea-spoonful of Swiss milk in the same quantity of ordinary milk, mix in a tea-spoonful of made mustard and a tea-spoonful of vinegar, add the horseradish pulp and mix together.

TEA - If a pot of tea has boiled on the hob, the bitter taste can be removed by adding a little cold water.

BAKING - A bowl of water put into the oven while baking will keep cakes and pastry from burning.

GILT FRAMES, TO REVIVE - After carefully dusting, wash with an ounce of soda beaten up with the whites of three eggs.

OLD BLACK SILK DRESS, TO RENOVATE - Dissolve some glue or gum-arabic in boiling water. Mix with sufficient cold water, and sponge the dress all over with it on the wrong side; dry the silk, sprinkle it a little, roll up tightly in a towel, let it remain thus for several hours. The with an iron, only moderately hot, iron it carefully out and your dress will be as good as new.

EVERTON TOFFEE, HOW TO MAKE - Procure a pound of treacle, a pound of moist sugar, and half a pound of butter. Put into a large saucepan over a clear fire. The butter of course goes in first, and then the treacle and sugar. Stir slowly with a knife; drop a little into cold water to ascertain if it is done, and if everything is satisfactory it will come out quite crisp. 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

3 January 1880 - 'Our Cookery Class' by Phillis Browne - Chapter One



This is part one of the first series of cookery essays Phillis Browne wrote for the G.O.P.

Cookery is one of the Arts. Those who would excel in it must, like other artists, be educated for it. It would be as reasonable to expect that a girl could play one of Beethoven's sonatas, because she had the score, a piano, and a music stool, as it would be to suppose that she could prepare a dinner because she was in possession of a cooking apron, a rolling-pin, a pastry board, and the materials for making an apple pie.

A knowledge of cookery consists in the understanding of a number of details connected with the subject. To be a cook is to be able to set upon that knowledge. This power can only be gained by practice and experience. No one can learn to be a cook by reading papers on cookery any more than they can satisfy their hunger by looking at a sirloin of beef.

It will be my endeavours in these papers to write down the details of cookery as plainly as I can. The girls who read them must, if they would become cooks, go down into the kitchen and prove for themselves whether or not what I say is right. They will feel at first a little awkward; things will not come exactly as they want them. But if they will persevere they will soon become skilful, and after a time they will be able to congratulate themselves on being able to cook. This means that as long as they live they, and more than themselves - those whom they love - will never be dependent upon others  for the comforts of home; that whatever position in life they may occupy they will be able to cook food for themselves or to direct others in doing it; and that they will have gone a long way in the road which leads to their being good daughters, good wives, good mothers, and good mistresses. In addition, they will gain one of the finest things a woman can gain - the power to use their own hands for a useful purpose.

There are six different ways of cooking food. Roasting, broiling, boiling, stewing, baking, and frying. Of these roasting and broiling may be described as the most nutritious; stewing and boiling as the most economical and digestible; frying and baking as the most convenient and speedy. I will begin with roasting.

ROASTING.

We English are continually being told how very much better the French cook their food; but at any rate we may pride ourselves on this, they do not roast meat so well as we. A great French cook once said that in England all women roast well, and certainly the roast beef of old England is celebrated all over the world. Those who have travelled on the Continent know that wherever the English go it is thought necessary to provide them with "rosbif", and as a rule I imagine experienced travellers avoid the dish and regard it as a delusion and a snare. Our real roast beef is quite a different thing. Let us see what makes it so excellent.

The first consideration is the joint itself. The superior pieces of meat are generally chosen for roasting. The coarser parts are reserved for stewing. Red meats - that is, beef and mutton and game - should be hung for awhile before they are roasted, for only when this is done can it be expected that they will be tender. White meats, on the contrary - such as lamb, veal and pork - taint quickly, and require to be roasted w- fresh.

The time that meat should be kept must depend upon the weather and the time of year. In cold dry weather a leg of mutton can be hung for three weeks with advantage. In hot, and particularly in what is called "muggy" weather, it will not keep for as many days. In buying meat, therefore, the state of the weather should first be considered. If it is favourable, inquiry should be made when the joint is bought, as to the time which has elapsed since the animal was killed. If it is freshly killed do not be persuaded to roast it at once. Hang it - not lay it in a dish - in a cool, airy larder, and examination it every day. Do this with particular care if the weather should change. If it should get to look at all moist in any part, cook it at once. Good beef, however, does not become moist with keeping. A good many cooks will flour a leg or a shoulder of mutton all over to prevent its becoming moist, and this is a very good plan.

One thing I must not forget to say, and that is that a joint must not be allowed to freeze; if it does it will be sure to be spoilt. When there is a frost, it is advisable to put meat that is to be roasted in the warm kitchen for awhile, in order to soften it, before putting it down to the fire. Houses are built in such a way now that it is not every one who has a "cool, airy larder" in which they can keep meat. When this is the case, there is nothing for it but to trust to the butcher. If you ask him to supply you with well-hung beef or mutton, he will doubtless do so, or will hang the meat for you.

If meat is to be roasted before an open range, the fire must be looked after, fully an hour before the meat is put down. It would be of no use to hang meat before a fire that had just been made up. It would only get a smoky, unpleasant taste, and the juice would be drawn out of it, instead of being kept in the meat as it ought to be. A good cook is very particular about her fire. She first pokes it well underneath, to clear it thoroughly from the dust and small cinders which will have settled at the bottom, pushing the live coals to the front of the range. She then puts fresh coal on the fire, choosing for her purpose not large blocks of coal, but what are called "nubbly" pieces. She does not throw these on from a scuttle, but arranges them with her fingers, protected by an old glove, so that they shall be packed closely, yet leaving room for a draught of air to pass between the lumps. She then sweeps up the hearth, collects the cinders, and places them with some coke or damped coal-dust at the back of the fire. A fire made like this will last a long time. As soon as the front part is clear and bright it is ready  for the meat. It must not be forgotten, however, that it must be watched, and fresh pieces of coal or coke added occasionally, in order that it may be kept up until the meat is roasted.

The dripping-tin, with a good-sized lump of dripping in it, should be put down ten minutes or so before the meat. This is to be done so that there may be dripping at hand to baste the meat with as soon as it is put down. The goodness of roasted meat depends very much upon its being frequently basted, and this is particularly necessary when the joint is very close to the fire, as it is at the beginning. If a meat-screen is used, it also should be put before the fire, so that it may not be cold when the meat is put into it.

While the dripping is melting the meat may be got ready. It should be looked over and trimmed neatly if required, any rough or jagged pieces, or superfluous fat or suet being cut away with a sharp knife. A leg of mutton should have the knuckle bone cut off, and the skin from the thickest part of the leg, where it joined the loin, cut away. These trimmings must of course be preserved. They can be stewed, and will make very good stock. A sirloin of beef should have the soft pipe that runs down the middle of the bone taken away. This has a very unpleasant appearance if left on the joint. All white meats are better for being wrapped in greased paper before they are put to the fire.

Some cooks think it necessary to wash meat before putting it down. If the joint has been bought of a respectable dealer, and has not been roughly handled, it is most undesirable that this should be done, as nothing draws the goodness out of meat more than washing it. If there is any suspicion that it has been touched by dirty fingers, it may be scraped and wiped with a damp cloth, or if it is in such a condition that it must be washed, it should be plunged in and out of hot water. The business must be performed as quickly as possible, and the meat must be dried at once and thoroughly with a soft cloth. If it should happen that the meat has been kept a little too long, or if it is discoloured in any part, it should be washed quickly with vinegar and water and wiped dry afterwards.

The next thing is to wind up the meat-jack, to weight the joint, and then to hang it on the meat hook. And here it must be remembered that the meat is to hang by the small end, so that the largest or thickest part should hang a little below the hottest part of the fire. The thickest part of the meat will take more roasting than the rest, therefore the fiercest heat of the fire must fall upon it.

It is a great object both in roasting and boiling meat to keep in the gravy or juice. In both cases this is best effected by cooking the outside very quickly, so that it shall be a sort of case through which the juices of the meat cannot escape. It is for this purpose that the meat should be put quite near the fire to begin with - that is, as near as it can be not to burn the outside; and it should be basted immediately to prevent its becoming hard and dry. Then in about five or six minutes it may be drawn back to the distance of about a foot from the fire, and basted frequently till it is done. By frequently I mean as much and as often as possible, for meat can scarcely be basted too much. It is the lean part of the meat that requires basting. The screen that is put round it will keep the cold air from blowing upon it.

This is a very important part of roasting, and I should like to impress it upon you. I once heard a very clever cook say that in every dish she made there was a secret; and her great desire was to keep the secret very safe, so that no one might make such good things as she did. We will act quite differently. We will try to discover the secrets, and if they are worth knowing we will tell them all around.

As to the time that meat will take to roast, that will vary with its quality, its thickness, and the heat of the fire. This is one of the points on which a cook cannot go by a book, but must use her common sense. The great general rules are a quarter of an hour to the pound and a quarter of an hour over for red meat, and twenty minutes to the pound and twenty minutes over for white meats - lamb, veal and pork. These rules, however, cannot always be followed. A thick, solid piece of meat, such as rolled rib of beef, or the topside of the round of beef, or a loin of mutton boned and rolled, would need to be roasted longer per pound than a shoulder of mutton or a loin of mutton that was not rolled; while a joint that had a good deal of gristle and bone in it, such as the thin flank of beef, would need to roast half-an-hour to the pound. Then the time of the year has something to do with it. Meat requires longer roasting in winter than it does in summer time. This is one of the lessons that only experience can teach.

There is one very important point that I must not forget to mention, and that is - take care of the dripping. This is a most valuable article. It can be used for a great many purposes, which we will speak of later; therefore we must look after it now. It may be that we have a dripping-tin made with a well to receive the fat, and if this is the case it will be kept free from dust and cinders without any difficulty. But a very great many people have merely a shallow tin or wrought-iron pan to put under the meat. When this is the case, the fat must be looked after. If any cinders fall in they must be removed, and the fact must be poured away once or twice whilst the joint is roasting, to prevent its getting burnt. Of course, enough dripping must still be left in the pan to baste the meat. If dust should fall from the fire to soil the side of the tin, the opposite side should be at once turned to the fire.

And now we have kept up our fire and basted our meat vigorously, and the time is drawing near when it should be sufficiently roasted.  I am quite sure that a pleasant odour is making itself felt which is enough to make our mouths water. The dishes and plates are on the plate warmer, and everything seems ready. But what about the gravy? We must leave that until the next lesson.

The New Posting Regime!

Sooooo I have a LOT of material to get through here. Over twenty consecutive years' worth.

Henceforth I am going to post two or three times a week, and I will be going back to start from the beginning, with the first paper published in the first year of the run, 1880.

The plan is to try to stick to a mostly chronological order, but let's be honest, there will probably be a few random jumps back and forth in time. This will be according to my own capricious whim as the boss of this blog, but if there's anything that you know is several years away but would like to see sometime soon, please leave a comment or email to let me know. :)

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

26 October 1890 - 'A Week in Paris for Six Pounds' by Evelyn Upton


However much people may differ as to the desirability of visiting other celebrated localities, I think all will be agreed that no man or woman should cross the English Channel without making a point of seeing Paris. Its historical association alone would entitle it to a visit. And perhaps the reason that many more who could appreciate and enjoy its attraction do not participate in them, is either on account of an exaggerated fear of journeying difficulties, such as language, foreign coinage, etc., or else the very common complaint of a limited purse. With regard to the first set of obstacles, they usually vanish into thin air when resolutely confronted; and with regard to the second, when I have shown how a week may be spent in Paris profitably and pleasurably  for the small sum of six pounds, including the return fare, some of my readers may be tempted to make the trial.

Although I only give the scale of expenses for one person, I do not for a moment propose that one lady - least of all a young lady - should spend a week in Paris by herself. It would, indeed, be the height of impropriety. In fact, every young woman, whether she be of gentle or humble birth, who visits Paris, cannot remember too often that more discreetness of behaviour is necessary there than in any other city in the world. This I can vouch for from my own observation. 

It is obvious that to limit the expenses of a week in Paris to six pounds will involve a certain amount of economy. I should arrange the various items thus -

Return Fare, via Dieppe, 2nd Class - £2 2s. 3d.
Saloon on Return Voyage - 4s. 6d.
Registering Luggage - 2s.
Board and Lodging for Six Days, at 8s per day - £2. 8s.
Sightseeing and Conveyance for One Week - 10s. 6d.
Extras - 12s. 9d.
Total - £6.

I leave a wide margin for extras, as this must include gratuities to hotel servants, railway porters, etc., which, however, will be lessened by being shared by your companions. Then it is impossible to gauge accurately another person's power of walking or enduring fatigue, though as a rule I have allowed for no walking except to and from the omnibus office, and for convenience I am supposing your hotel will be within easy reach of the Place de la Concorde. Of course none but a tolerably strong young woman would attempt to crowd the following programme into one week. And if your hotel only provides breakfast and table d'hote, you will require some refreshment in the middle of the day; but in the buoyant air of Paris a modest lunch, costing half a franc, will be found quite sufficiently sustaining.

Most people have friends who, from personal experience, are able to recommend moderate hotels in Paris; but failing this, the most direct plan is to apply for Cook's hotel coupons.  For the sum of ten francs, or eight shillings per day, you secure bedroom, lights, and service, plain breakfast and table d'hote. Some hotels even provide three meals a day  for the same sum. In any case you must engage your room beforehand, and I think also it is best to change a sovereign into French money before starting; for one cannot depend on one's fitness for monetary transactions after a long and perhaps rough sea voyage, and the relief of finding yourself already provided with current coins is great. But mind you get small as well as large change, for one cannot afford to throw away even a sou recklessly.

As only 56 lbs weight of luggage is allowed each passenger, a small tin box or valise holding one dress, one change of raiment, and the few other indispensables, will be found quite sufficient for such a short visit. There is the other alternative of taking your luggage with you under the carriage seat, but to my mind a shilling expended on registering it through from London to Paris is the far better plan, as when this is done your responsibility concerning it ceases altogether. Nothing can be nicer for the wear and tear of daily sight-seeing than a well-made travelling dress of light texture.

As to whether you choose the day or night service from London must depend partly on your qualifications as a sailor, and also on your powers of enduring fatigue ; for there are not many women who, after travelling all night, would be able to spend the succeeding day in sight-seeing. We will suppose, therefore, that you decide on the day service, and that you leave London on a Tuesday morning at nine o'clock. On arriving at the Saint Lazare station in Paris as soon as you have rescued your luggage from the tender mercies of the Douane - and most probably your small box will escape inspection entirely - hire a voiture and drive to your hotel. Paris cab fares are regulated on a different scale to the London ones. Of course you will start provided with a good Guide to Paris, in which cab and omnibus fares as well as several other important pieces of information are given. A very comprehensive Guide can be bought for one shilling and as you will have at least one companion, the cab fare to and from the station on arrival and departure will be halved.

Wednesday - Versailles, Trianons, S. Cloud.

If your first day in Paris appears likely to be fine, you cannot do better than spend it at the historical palace of Versailles. Leave by the ten o'clock tramcar for Versailles, or earlier if possible. It starts from the Quai de Louvre, and before taking your seat outside you must first enter the omnibus office and procure a numero or ticket. Always go outside the omnibus or tramcar when the weather is fine; it is cheaper, and you will get a much better view of Paris. You will find it more convenient to join the tramcar at the Champs Elysees office. The drive is a very pretty one, running parallel with the Seine for a great part of the way, and then passing through S. Cloud and Sevres, and ultimately landing you at the very door of the Palace of Versailles.

To see it thoroughly would take several days. One must therefore be content with a hurried survey of the miles of paintings, principally battle pieces, covering the walls of the great picture gallery on the ground floor. Ad in like manner must the Galerie de Sculptures be treated. The whole place so teems with historical memories that wherever you tread you are brought in contact with the great dead and gone monarchs of France. In the Kings' apartments are numerous relics of Louis XIV., and also a piece of sculpture - the death of Napoleon I., which, though modern, struck me very much indeed on account of its realistic power. The splendid hall of mirrors, with its 242 feet of polished floor, and its unique view over the lovely gardens, takes one back to that bleak January day, when, surrounded b his generals, the grand old king of Prussia was proclaimed Emperor of Germany. And lovers of Carlyle's "French Revolution" look with heightened interest at the celebrated Oeil de Beouf, in which so much public mischief, gigantic in its results, had its origin. But most interesting of all to my mind are the private apartments of the ill-fated Marie Antoinette - the furniture still retaining its coverings of pale blue brocaded damask - and the small secret stair down which she fled, when, on 6 October 1789, the infuriated mob broke into these very rooms.

But when your time is so limited it is impossible to linger long in the palace or the grounds; so taking a bird's eye view of the gardens, it is best to walk on to the Trianons, Great and Little, situated half a mile distant, and easily reached by a direct road through the park. They both contain many objects of interest, but they do not take long to inspect., and the loiterings in the lovely gardens must be so curtailed as to allow of your reaching Versailles in time to catch a return tramcar to S. Cloud, where you should descend to view the shell of the ruined palace, and to stroll quickly through the magnificent avenues of the beautiful park. Then back by steamboat to Paris, for it is best to vary your routes as much as possible, and where it is practicable go and return two different ways. But if when you are planning out your day you find the steamboat would not bring you to your hotel in time for table d'hote, you must either give up one of the above named sights, or else take S. Cloud on the way to Versailles, and return from Versailles by railway, which, however, makes the difference of a franc in the expense. If not too tired, walk down the Rue de Rivoli, and spend the evening in the arcades of the Palais Royal, as the shops are seen to best advantage when illuminated. I have carried out this programme in one day, so I know it can be done.

Expenses - Tram to Versailles, 85 c. Versailles to S. Cloud, 50 c. Steamboat, 30 c. Total, 1 franc, 35 c.

Thursday y - S. Denis, Palais de Justice, Saint Chapelle, Musee de Cluny, S. Sulpice, Palais de Luxembourg.

As the tramcar for S. Denis starts from the Rue Taitbout, by leaving your hotel a little earlier, you will be able on the way to inspect the Grand Opera, the largest theatre in the world, built at a cost of a million and a half pounds sterling. S. Denis is the Westminster Abbey of Paris, the burial-place of the French kings since the third century; and the Abbey has had a share in all the subsequent history of Paris. Here Joan of Arc hung up her banner, and here also was carefully laid up the oriflamme, the royal standard with the flames of gold always carried before the king when he led his troops in person to battle. Among the royal tombs are those of Louis XVI, and Marie Antoinette. After life's fitful fever they sleep well in this grand old abbey.

S. Denis can easily be seen in a morning; so early in the afternoon take the tramcar to S. Michel, and visit the Palais de Justice, the site of a palace for a long time the residence of the Kings of France, but now principally used as Law Courts, very little of the original structure being left. But the whole place is historical. One the facade overlooking the Quai de l'Horloge is the entrance to the Conciergerie, so notable in the history of the great Revolution. To view it an order must be procured from the Bureau de Police. Here Marie Antoinette found her last earthly shelter before she laid her head on the guillotine. By a sort of solemn mockery the cell was afterwards turned into a chapel, but burnt by the Communists in 1871. Here also the notorious Robespierre was imprisoned, and in an adjoining hall the famous Girondin conspirators supped together on the night before their execution. It is a relief to turn from these gloomy memories to the lovely little Sainte Chapelle, the palace chapel, so rich in Gothic carvings, and the most superb stained glass windows.

The Musee de Cluny must next be inspected. If time presses, a walk through the rooms will just give a general idea. The Roman alter in the gardens is said to be the oldest existing monument in Paris. The church of S. Sulpice being close at hand also claims a visit on account of its fine frescoes. Finally, a glance at the sculptures and the picture gallery in the Luxembourg, and a stroll in the gardens, listening to the military band, which plays on Thursdays  only, from five to six o'clock, will compete the sight-seeing for the afternoon. By taking the tramway back along the Boulevard S. Germain, you will pass the Church of S. Germain de Pres, one of the oldest churches in Paris, and several large public buildings, the principal of which is the Palais Bourbon, where the legislative body hold their assemblies. In crossing the Place de la Concorde you see the very spot, now marked by the Luxor Obelisk, where, a century ago, the dreadful guillotine stood. Here Charlotte Corday met her death; here also Robespierre ended his bloody life, and Danton met the just reward of his crimes. Here, too, perished, during the Reign of Terror, the weak-minded Louis XVI., the stately Marie Antoinette, the gentle Madame Elizabeth, and a great number of others, more than 2,000, whose names have not been preserved on any earthly record - "Martyrs by the pang without the palm!" The evening may be spent on the Boulevards watching the Parisian outdoor life.

Expenses - Tram to S. Denis and back, 60 c.; admission to the Royal Tombs, 1 franc; tram to S. Michel and back, 30 c. Total, 1 franc, 90 c.

Friday - Tuileries Gardens, Louvre, Place de la Bastille, Pere la Chaise, Buttes Chaumont.

At least one whole morning should be devoted to the Louvre; and more time if you could spare it. For it is one of these museums which you may hurry through in an hour, or spend several days among its priceless treasures without having examined them. You can approach it through the Tuileries gardens, and view the spot where for three centuries stood the historical Palace of the Tuileries, but which is now, alas! no more. Then crossing the Place du Carrousel, so named from its having been the scene of a tournament in the days of Louis XIV., you face the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, built by Napoleon I. to celebrate some of his victories. Originally the top was decorated by the famous chariot and four horses from S. Mark's, at Venice but after the peace of 1814 it was taken back to Venice. The Palace of the Louvre dates from the time of Francis I., and most of the sovereigns since have had a share in its construction and embellishment. Were it only  for the fact that from one of its windows on the western facade Charles IX., with his own hand, fired on the Huguenots during the massacre of S. Bartholomew, it would be invested with undying interest. As there is so much to see in the palace, it is best to read up an account of it beforehand, and then determine how you will spend your time. Speaking broadly, the works of art are divided into sculptures and paintings. Whatever else you do not see, do not fail to look at the Venus de Milo, one of the two perfect statues of the female figure the world possesses, the other being the Venus de Medici at Florence. In the picture galleries the most time must be devoted to the Salon Carre and the Grands Galerie, which contain matchless Murillos, glorious Titians, and priceless Raphaels. With many of them we have become familiar through photographs and engravings. And the French galleries, rich in masterpieces of Poussin and Claude Lorraine, must by no means be overlooked.

By quitting the palace through the entrance in the Place de Louvre, you will see in front of you the church of S. Germain l'Auxerrois. From this very church, more than three hundred years ago, in the solemn stillness of the summer night, the great bell sounded out the signal  for the massacre of the unsuspecting Huguenots.

In the afternoon walk through the Place Vendome and notice the column erected by Napoleon I. to celebrate his victories over the Austrians and Prussians. At the Madeleine take an omnibus which will pass along the great Boulevards des Italiens, Poissonniere etc., through the Place de la Republique, and will land you at the Place de la Bastille. Today the Colonne de Juillet is all that marks the site of the most famous prison in the annals of history. The number of state prisoners who pined away and died in its dungeons will never be accurately known. The story of the Man in the Iron Mask has invested the castle with a mysterious interest for all young readers of French history. In the Revolution the fortress was stormed, the brave governor and his companions beheaded, and the castle levelled with the ground, a fitting culmination to all the previous tragedies that had been enacted there.

Leading out of the Place de la Bastille is the Rue S. Antoine, once a fashionable quarter, but a century ago the hot-bed of revolutionary conspiracy. It is frequently mentioned in Dickens' attractive story "The Tale of Two Cities". The Place de la Bastille is about a mile from the cemetery of Pere la Chaise, which you can reach either by omnibus or on foot.

The guide will point out the most interesting tombs, among which are those of Abelard and Heloise, Bellini, Chopin and Count Lavalette, who was rescued by his wife from prison and death. Then walk to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, and view the spot where the murdered body of the brave Admiral Coligny was exposed on the gibbet. Return to Paris by the Centure Railway, and spend the evening at a cafe concert in the Champs Elysees.

Expenses - Omnibus to Pere la Chaise, 30c.; Guide in cemetery, 2 francs; Centure Railway, 2nd class, 55 c.; cafe concert, 1 franc; total, 3 francs, 85 c.

Saturday - Arc de Triomphe, Jardin d'Acclimitation, Bois de Boulogne, Chateau and Park of Vincennes.

Any omnibus will take you up the avenue of the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe. The extensive view from the top is well worth the somewhat fatiguing climb. Another omnibus will take you to the Jardin d'Acclimitation, the Parisian Zoological Gardens, after exploring which you can walk about the Bois in the vicinity of the lakes, which are situated near the entrance. If preferred you can hire a voiture and drive to the Grande Cascade and back by the lakes; but of course this is more expensive, and I do not think the Grande Cascade at all worth seeing. On the return to Paris, descend for a look at the Parc Monceau.

Afternoon - to see the Chateau of Vincennes, one must reach it by tramway from the Louvre soon after three, as the castle is closed to visitors at four o'clock. Within its walls of gigantic thickness many eminent prisoners have been confined, among whom were the great Conde, the famous Duc d'Enghien, and Mirabeau, of "oaken strength", who crowded more work into one day than most men do in a month. If you feel equal to it, and times and seasons fit, walk through the Bois de Vincennes and take the boat at Charenton back to Paris.

Expenses - Trams to Bois and back, 60 c.; Jardin d'Acclimitation, 1 franc; tram to Vincennes, 20 c.; steamboat, 30 c.; total, 2 francs, 10 c.

Sunday - On all accounts it is best to make Sunday as much as possible a day of rest. Church of England services are held in the Church of the Embassy in the Rue d'Aguesseau and also at Christ Church, Boulevard Bineau. This latter is situated outside the fortifications, and is consequently some little distance from the central parts of Paris. Those who take an interest in mission work should visit Miss Leigh's Home for Governesses in the Avenue Wagram, or Miss de Broen's Belleville Mission at the Rue Clavel, near Buttes Chaumont. And those who are anxious to see for themselves what a French Catholic service is like can witness the celebration of Mass in the beautiful church of La Madeleine. Before entering be sure to study carefully the exquisitely carved figures over the front entrance. As I gazed upon them I understood  for the first time in my life how the sculptor's chisel could bring undreamed of beauty and life out of the solid marble block. Very fine musical services are held in the Catholic churches of S. Roche in the Rue S. Honore, and S. Eustache, in the Rue Montmartre. This last is also architecturally interesting, as being a very fine example of the late Gothic and Renaissance periods. The richly decorated chapels, with their fine frescoes, claim more than a passing glance.

Monday - Halles Centrales, Notre Dame, Morgue Pantheon, S. Etienne, Church of the Invalides, Tomb of Napoleon.  It is very necessary to bear in mind that Monday being the cleaning day, most of the galleries and museums are closed to the public. Consequently, I Have reserved the principal churches in Paris for this last day. You can begin by taking the tram down to the Halles Centrales, and the earlier the better. It is the largest market in Paris, and is well worth seeing; but for intrinsic beauty I think most visitors would prefer the flower market held on the Boulevard de la Madeleine just behind the church. Then if you walk past the Tour S. Jacques, a comparatively modern erection, and the beautiful Hotel de Ville which has succeeded the one burnt down by the infuriated Communists, you will soon reach the Cathedral of Notre Dame, one of the finest Gothic churches in Europe. It has several times narrowly escaped destruction. In the Revolution it was doomed, but the decree was not put into execution, and in 1871 the Communists actually attempted to burn this splendid cathedral, but most happily failed. The whole exterior should be carefully studied - the beautiful carvings, the statues of the twenty-eight French kings, each in his separate niche, which adorn the west front, and the flying buttresses at the east end. As soon s you enter, the tout ensemble of the nave and double sides, and the glorious colouring of the stained glass, through which a subdued light shines, cannot fail to impress you most forcibly, even though you were the most impassive of mortals.

Although you may not believe in the authenticity of the relics, it is as well to see the treasury in which they are kept; and the same fee will also include admission to the chapter house, choir, and sacristy. Immediately behind Notre Dame stands the Morgue. As one of the sights of Paris, though a ghastly one, I mention it; but I do not recommend anyone with sensitive nerves to visit it.

It seems hardly fair to go straight from Notre Dame to the Pantheon, for naturally the two churches will not bear the least comparison. But the frescoes in the Pantheon are very interesting. Almost the only historical associations connected with the building were done away with when the bodies of Mirabeau, Marat and Voltaire were removed from the vaults. The neighbour Church of S. Etienne du Mont, has a far more beautiful interior. Its exquisite choir screen and spiral staircase are unique in their way. It stands on the site of an ancient abbey, founded by Clovis, the first Christian king of the Franks.

A steamboat taken from the Pont du Neuf will land you at the Pont des Invalides, a very short distance from the church of the same name. Beneath its dome repose the ashes of the great conqueror - Napoleon I. After you have looked and wondered and reflected on the end of all human greatness, walk to the Champs de Mars, the site of the International Exhibition. Return on foot along the Quai d'Orsay, and fill up  for the remainder of the day with shopping in the Rue de Rivoli. The Louvre Magasin is also specially worthy of a visit. Then be ready to leave Paris by the evening tidal train, and cross by the night service, via Dieppe and Newhaven, arriving in London about 9 o'clock next morning. You will find it best to take a transfer ticket  for the saloon on board.

Expenses - Tram to Halles Centrales, 15 c.; Notre Dame, 50 cc.; steamboat, 15 c. Total, 80 c.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

21 August 1880 - 'Our Aquarium at the Seaside'



How to bring a bit of the natural world into the sitting-room.

Nothing is more interesting, during a visit to the seaside, than the institution of an aquarium; but, unfortunately, it is not always so popular as it is interesting.

The lodging-house keeper is apt to say that she "don't want them nasty things lol-olloping all over the place, and making a swim everywhere;" and if we are as careless as some young people I have known, who put scratchy shells and damp seaweed on polished tables, and spilt fishy water over new carpets, I do not much wonder at the poor woman's objections. But a little suavity and a good deal of care will probably soon soothe her into resignation, if not acquiescence, and a square of oil or America cloth laid under our aquarium will be a further balm to her suspicious fears.

But if we are to have a successful aquarium, more than this will be required of us.

We must be endowed with some proportion of those useful qualities, patience and perseverance, as our fish will die and our pans become unsavoury mortuaries if we are not both constant and tender in the care of our marine nursery.

And first we must be particular as to the kind of vessel in which we place our aquarium, for fishes and anemones will not live anywhere and anyhow.

The pan or pans must not be of glass, if we are to make the inmates happy, for these little rovers and climbers of the deep love occasional darkness and retirement.  For the same reason they should not be left too long in the sun or before a glaring window.

Then, again, they must not be too deep. A large surface is absolutely necessary for evaporation, and  for the water to absorb sufficient of the oxygen of the air, without which our fishes could not live or breathe. The liquid, again, should be renewed daily. But we need not trudge all the way down to the sands for this. Our bedroom jug, if tolerably fresh, will do, for soft water may be put in without injury, since the salt remains when the water evaporates. Then put in a little sand, a few pebbles, and only the right sort of seaweed.

Green laver - (Ulva latissima), a common seaweed, with a thin green crenellated leaf, like a broad ribbon, is a good kind, as it absorbs the gases given out by the fishes, and itself gives out the oxygen gas which they require. Purple laver is equally good. Now raise a cone of stone or sand - a miniature Mont Blanc - in one part of your aquarium, for your crabs and other animals to "take the air" when they desire it; but take care that your cairn is not near the edge of your vessel, or you will soon have all the crustaceans and shell-fish taking voyages of discovery over your sitting-room floor.


From all this you will see that those showy glass tanks kept in the fashionable shops are not at all the right things to have, and that earthenware pans, though less ornamental, are really far better for your little prisoners. They will by no means disdain a footpan if you are short of better accommodation.

But now  for the inmates themselves.

We will begin with bona fide fishes, for it would never do to have only crabs and anemones (or crustacean and acalepha, as we ought to call them) in our aquarium.

The grey mullet and the basse are both nice fishes, if not too big for us. The grey mullet is specially lively, and thinks nothing of taking a flying leap out of his tank on to the floor, to his own inevitable destruction, so that we must be careful to see that his prison is covered.

The basse is very hardy and very lively, and if we can manage to get a small one out of the fisherman's seine net, his blue back and silver stomach will look well darting about our aquarium.

The pluck, or pogge, is a very queer little fish, with a striped brown body, white underneath, and covered with a quantity of spiked tubercles, that gain for it in some parts of the country the name of the armed bullhead. We must decidedly get a seiner or a shrimper to find a pogge for us in their nets.

Among fishes that we may find for ourselves by hunting among the rock pools is the spotted gunnell. It is a little, dappled brown, eel-like creature, ornamental along the bottom of the dorsal fin with a line of black spots in a white rim, and is so agile and slippery that it requires a wary fisher to entrap it even with the net. It is a little bit large, perhaps, for our collection, being unusually about six inches long, but is hardy and a curious variety.

Montague's Blenny is its cousin, and is another pretty fish that we may capture for ourselves when we clamber over the slippery rocks at low tide.  It is much more highly coloured than its relative, however, wearing a dark green coat, spotted with blue, with a white waistcoat, and orange-dotted fins.


At the same time we may "happen" across a goby, a dark little fish belonging to the same family, but of quaker-like dress, who is distinguished by the rapidity of his motions and by his habit of carrying off his prey, when caught, to some convenient retiring place, where, like a dog with a bone, he devours his prey in private.

It is decidedly worth while, and by no means difficult, to get one of the pipe or bill fishes for our marine happy family. They have most queer, snake-like little bodies, long and thin, and their tails are prehensile. That is to say, they fasten themselves to the seaweed tufts by these appendages, precisely as monkeys do to forest trees. They have a decided predilection, like monkeys, for hanging head downwards; but, unlike monkeys, they show an equal enjoyment in balancing themselves the other way up, upon the tips of their tails! The dorsal fin of the pipe fish is beautifully and delicately formed; and it is by means chiefly of this fin that the owner can perform his acrobatic feats.

The pipe fish, too, has another peculiarity. If he resembles the monkey in his tail, he resembles the kangaroo in his pouch. In this pouch the paternal pipe fish carries about his numerous little family, until they are old enough to be cast adrift and to provide for themselves.

If we have room for another fish in our aquarium, we should not omit to put in one little dab or flounder. The movement of these flat fishes when swimming is the perfection of undulatory grace, and the brown and silver curves rippling through the water, circle in and out like a broad ribbon.

But we must begin now to think of shellfish for our aquarium, and of course we must have some crabs, both common crustaceans and hermit crabs. The common green crab is not a very desirable inmate, although he is an amusing and lively fellow. But his voracious appetite and sanguinary proclivities make it advisable for us either to give him a separate establishment of his own, or to choose from his species one young and small enough not to be a very formidable foe. We must also take care to provide him with a dry landing place, remembering that crabs are amphibious creatures. But we must look to his security.


I had, a few years ago, an interesting little crab who met with a most untimely fate. He had attained to intimate and almost affectionate terms with me, when one day, to my sorrow, he disappeared, and my footpan knew him no more.

I had almost forgotten my little crab, when, a week or two latter, happening to remove the sofa cushion against which I had been leaning, I found the stiffened corpse of my friend pressed between it and the sofa back. What induced him to go to such an unsuitable place I never knew; whether curiosity, or desire for warmth, or simple chance. I fear, however, it could scarcely have been affection for myself.

The way the crab eats is very interesting, using his claws like a human hand to hold and to dissever. 

The spider crab is a curious-looking little animal, worth having, and easily obtained at low water; and the velvet fiddler or lady crab is a handsome creature, with soft velvety brown back, and legs striped blue and scarlet. But of all crabs the hermit or soldier crabs will interest us most. They are called hermits, I suppose, because of their solitary lives, and soldiers because of their pugnacious love of warfare.

But they might, with reason, be called cuckoo crabs, too, since, like that dishonest bird, they have the audacious habit of turning their neighbour out of house and home, and appropriating his tenement.

The hermit chiefly affects the whelk's shell; but he is not above putting up with a less suitable one if that is not procurable, and, watching his absurd efforts sometimes to insert the whole of a large body into a very small shell, one is irresistibly reminded of an overgrown schoolboy in last year's trousers.

The hermit crab's excuse for his burglary lies in the fact that nature has not provided a shell for his body, which at one part is soft and defenceless.  At its termination is a sort of T-shaped hook or grasper, by which he clings so tightly to his stolen property that you may tear the animal to pieces before dislodging him. 

The soldier crabs will fight fiercely over an empty shell placed between the two of them, and I had one valiant specimen that used to go out to battle with a cuttlefish six inches long. The opal-coloured cuttlefish blushed all over in crimson patches with anger at the crab's temerity and at his opening nips, but after a minute or two always got the best of it, and persuaded the crab (who scuttled ignominiously away, shell on back), that discretion was the better part of valour.


Belonging to the same family are the shrimps and the prawns, of which we must have one or two. The shrimps we can catch for ourselves in the rock pools, and we shall do well to examine their method of swimming and the delicate shell-plates upon their "tails," so constructed as to enable their possessor to dart through the sea with a marvellous rapidity. The prawns, too, are pretty little creatures in the water, with their glowing eyes and diamond-hued bodies. Perhaps, however, some of my readers may agree with a small friend of mine who, on first seeing a live prawn, exclaimed in disappointment, "O, auntie, I like the pink prawns much better!" 

A minute ago I named the cuttlefish. Mine was a very fine specimen, and rather rare on these coasts, I fancy; but the squid may be procured almost anywhere with a little care, and is a better size for our aquarium. He is a most singular little creature, looking all head, eyes, and suckers, and well worthy of our observation.

We may perhaps hatch our squid from the eggs which are to be found, about June, upon the seashore, and this of course will double our interest in our eccentric little friend. If we have a taste for hatching marine animals, we may do the same with the whelk's eggs, which are found in such countless clusters on the rocks.

The Trochus zisiphinus, or top shell, is a pretty inhabitant for the stones at the bottom of our pan, with its dappled pink, white, and mauve shell; and the dog winkle, also, though we must beware he does not use his long sword-like tongue (with which he perforates the abode of his enemies and devours them) to work too much havoc amongst his companions.



As for limpets, a few of the handsomest common limpets, or fisherman's hats (Patella vulgate), and of the common periwinkle, will be sufficient for us. The latter is a useful member of an aquarium, as he keeps in order for us the too luxuriant, freshly-growing seaweed, with his long scythe-like tongue. This tongue, covered with its numerous teeth, is a most interesting object under a microscope.

If we have our friend with the dredge still at our beck and call, we must get him to try and fish up for us one of those beautiful creatures called Aphrodite aculeate, or the sea mouse. It is not unlike the shape of a mouse, only requiring legs and tail, but is covered all over its sides with spines or hairs of every conceivable shade of brilliant colouring. These spines change their hue with every fresh ray of light, making the sea mouse a thing of rare beauty. 



It seems strange that so fascinating a creature should prefer darkness and retirement, but so it is; and we shall find some difficulty in persuading it to display itself to our admiring eyes. The Aphrodite is essentially a practical-minded animal, and what little energy it possesses, it lends to the cause of gastronomy, eating up many of its more defenceless companions by means of a terrible aggressive proboscis, which it can dart out, when hungry, to a surprising length, but which it keeps almost concealed when not in use.

But (at the risk of mixing up our company without much regard to ties of relationship or rights of precedence), I must remind you that we must not forget to get a sea-cucumber for our aquarium. He is a most curious-looking, though retiring animal, often found in the dredge, and owes his name to his queer shape, which is not unlike that of a cucumber with a bunch of leaves at one end. His skin is spiny and perforated with holes, out of which come curious suckers, used in breathing and digestion. 


This Holathuria, as he and his family are called, has one very odd and unpleasant trick, which is, that he will not only at times turn himself inside out, but will subsequently, if properly nourished, live to replace his ejected inside.

The holathuria differ as to their choice of homes, some living in the deep sea and some burrowing in the sand or hiding under rocks or seaweed. The poor people of Naples sometimes eat them; whilst the Chinese have a perfect mania for a certain member of the holothurian fraternity, which they call "trepang."

They make it into rich soups and stews, and thousands of pounds worth of these queer unsavoury-looking animals are yearly imported into China  for the delectation of the Celestials.

A sea urchin, too, we must have, or sea hedgehog, as his picturesque spikes entitle him to be called. In Latin he is termed the echinus. The empty shell of the echinus, that very probably we have picked up on the shore, bears very little resemblance to the beautiful creature when alive. It was bare, smooth, and brown, and covered with little circular sockets.

But when the echinus is alive every socket bears its pointed spike, so delicately fixed that it can move at will; and intended party as a means of defence, and partly as numerous crutches to assist the little suckers which serve as feet.

The echinus differs a good deal in size on our own shores; but he excels both in beauty and magnitude abroad. I have picked up very beautiful ones by the Mediterranean - a rich brown, deep purple, and even crimson, in colour, nearly four inches in diameter, and with spikes quite three inches long.

The sea urchin does not look a tempting dish to us, but both Greeks and Romans of old appear to have thought it so. It was served up at marriage and other feasts, flavoured with vinegar, sweet wine, and herbs, and considered quite a dainty.


Belonging to the same family as the sea cucumbers and the sea urchins, although to a different branch, are the star-fishes, which lie all about us as we climb along the rocks and over the loose shingle. After a storm these fat, red stars almost cover the shore, thrown up by the retiring waves; and in some places their corpses have even been used to manure the land.

It is worth taking a star-fish (Uraster rubens) home with us, in order to study the action of the five rays, or limbs, which, covered with their thousands of strong minute suckers, make themselves useful as feelers and as propellers. It is a funny thing to see a star-fish walk or turn himself over. He is a lively and intelligent animal, and although apparently he has no eyes, he boasts a pair of little organs like insect antennae, which are very sensitive. But if you keep a star-fish, he must be put into a pot by himself. Mind you do not let him associate with the rest of the marine aquarium or you will find your aquarium speedily turned into a slaughter-house, with only shells of the inhabitants left to explain their mournful ends. For our friend has a vulgar appetite, and a fierce and determined mode of gratifying it. In his turn, however, he is much relished by larger fish, and especially by cod and haddock, and has many foes to contend against.



The stellerides, as they are called, are remarkably full of vitality, and indeed may almost be said to have  as many lives as a cat, since, were every one of their arms lopped off by a cruel hand, each to which a little portion of the circular body adhered, would become in time a new starfish.

Another kind of starfish, called the brittle star, may be found on the shore or among the rock pools at low water, generally buried among the tufts of green seaweed. The brittle stars are delicate and pretty, and more lively than their heavier cousins, the common stars, and owe their name to their embarrassing habit of tumbling to pieces when touched or frightened.



But all this time we have forgotten the actiniae, or sea anemones, who perhaps after all will form our chief delight in our new aquarium. The commonest kind, found all over England, is the beadlet (I will not attempt its terrible scientific name, which boats sixteen letters in one word).

The beadlet, when closed, is a little roundish lump of crimson or green jelly, sticking firmly to the rock; when open, he is a soft hamper, full of waving leaflets, a rim of bright blue ornamenting the base of the hamper. The beadlets, when on their native rocks, are often to be seen surrounded by a happy family of baby beadlets, and will populate the aquarium rapidly with fresh members. They are very hardy little animals, and will stand unintentional neglect or maltreatment with greater good temper than most of our marine friends. 



There is another fish, the dahlia wartlet. It is another common but beautiful sea anemone. This fine creature is more than five inches in diameter, and is coloured white, crimson and green. When open it resembles a soft basketful of fine buds, something like the dahlia in appearance. Its name of wartlet it gets from the little protuberances, like warts, which cover its body. These protuberances attract small bits of shell and stone, which so cover the anemone that it is difficult to discover it when closed.

But the dahlia wartlet, like the starfish, is a dangerous addition to an aquarium. It is a hungry creature, and so skilful with its tentacles, that shellfish, crabs, and even prawns fall victims to its voracious dexterity. There is no such objections to the plume anemone (Actinoloba dianthus), who is an exceedingly pretty little fellow, white, yellow, and red. When open its outer edge is beautifully fringed, resembling a circle of fairy feathers. This little anemone loves the dark, and I have found a beautiful species of it in caves on the Bristol Channel, coloured scarlet, with a white fringe.

Another curious anemone is the snake-locked (or Sagartia viduarta), which, when closed, is an uninteresting little object, like a flattened lobster-pot, but when open becomes a long waving arm, the hand being represented by a numerous quantity of snake-like locks floating in every direction.

A few acelepha or sea jellies will make a nice variety in our aquarium. I would scarcely advise you to burden your can with one of those huge rainbow-hued crystal bowls lying upon the sands, but I would advise you, in passing, to bend down and admire its opal, transparent brilliancy; and then, turning it gently over, to mark its strange india-rubber-like appendages or tentacles, and the shape of its body, which - convex or pointed above  is concave or hollowed below.


Many of the jelly-fish are called Medusida on account of the long tendrils which fall from their bodies or float after them like the locks of Medusa - as they lie lazily and gracefully on the summer sea.

In the region of the tropics, jelly-fish or Medusae of all kinds and sizes swarm, extending for miles over the sea, and positively checking the progress of ships, whilst the phosphorescent light they emit gives the appearance of an infinite host of stars twinkling and dancing over the bosom of the waters.

The medusa, however, is an unpleasant customer to deal with when out bathing, as he has a most irritating sting.



One of the prettiest ornaments for our aquarium will be the cydippe or sea acorn - a little cone-shaped medusa, with long dependent strings - which is exquisitely formed and tinted, and which can be caught in a net a little distance from land. When first captured, it will appear like a little colourless ball of jelly; but, when freed and at ease in the aquarium, it will spread out its tentacles, adopt its rainbow hues, and become an object of beauty.

Who has not heard of "Portuguese Man of War," with its luminous body and its tentacles of two lengths - the longer used to capture the prey and convey it to the shorter, which are furnished with mouths to receive it?

And now, before turning homewards with our well filled can, may I ask you to bend down and carefully gather up that little lump of sandy tubes lying at our feet upon the wet shore?

And don't say, contemptuously, "Why, those are nothing but worms!" for you will find, when you keep an aquarium, that some worms can be interesting acquaintances.



This sabella, as he is called, is very delicate, and you must beware that his house does not fall to pieces in your hands; but you will discover in time that he is a clever architect and industrious builder, who will carry on his work with perfect equanimity in captivity, if supplied with material.



Another "worm," probably not far off, and decidedly prettier, is the "terebella."

The sabella looks like a writhing mass of sandy pipes; but the terebella has the appearance of one large distinct tube, covered with sparkling incrustations of broken shell and grains of sand, from one end of which protrude many little snaky tentacles.

The terebella is sometimes a foot long, and is a burrower as well as a builder, often burying his body in the sand, leaving uncovered his tentacle and a part of his tube.

This tube is only the shell of the animal, which is quite distinct, and can not only move about the habitation, but if denuded of it can build a new one from surrounding materials by means of its skilful tentacles.

But we must pause. One could go on for ever enumerating new instances of the intricate beauties of creation, and the loving care of a divine Father. But we have now more than sufficient to stock the moderate aquarium of a beginner, who will find that a careful study of the habits of even these few among the countless multitudes of strange and beautiful little creatures will open out to her new fields of ever-widening thought, and many an hour of unexpected enjoyment.