A HOME-BIRD:- 1. We read your nice letter with interest, and heartily congratulate you on your double success, regretting that we have not the pleasure of your acquaintance. Accept our best wishes. Possibly the water may be too hard for your goldfish, or you do not feed them sufficiently. Boil the yolks of eggs hard, dry and powder them, and add a few small breadcrumbs and flies. The water will not require to be changed very often if there be aquatic plants in it. When you change it, remove the fish, and place them in another vessel. Clean the tank well, rinsing with Condy's fluid. Wipe your fish gently with a weak solution of the fluid and a soft sponge, and aerate the water well by squirting water into it from a glass syringe. This is very essential. Fungus is never found on fish when the water is kept well aerated. 2. The slight rustic frames made of laths of deal, stained, as a foundation, an arrangement of very small pine-cones, scraps of rough cork, and ivy leaves twined about them, all well varnished, would perhaps suit you. There is no particular order observed in the list made of certificates awarded.
IOLANTHE:- The bride is not expected to provide anything but her own trousseau. The bridegroom is bound to take her to a home ready furnished and wish everything essential for household use. But of course there could be no objection to the bride's adding any articles which she may possess, or likes to provide. We are obliged to you for your good wishes. Attend a little more carefully to your spelling.
ETTIE:- You do not name your age. If a minor, your engagement not a legal one; it can only be conditional. As a rule, clandestine engagements are objectionable, and few combinations of circumstances can justify them, so long as one parent still survives. We do not see why you do not make a confidant and friend of your married sister. She stands nearest to you, if not under the care of an aunt, after your mother. Ask her advice and aid, and put the gentleman into communication with her. He should then go to your father, like an honourable man, and state his wishes and circumstances, and your sister will, if desirable, say a word in his favour. But remember, our wishes are not always in accordance with God's will.
D. MAUD:- 1. A little schoolgirl of fifteen years of age might certainly be very warm-hearted, and of as affectionate a nature as a grown person, but the term you employ must be unsuitable in such a case. 2. It is not "the fashion" to cut the hair short, at least in reference to the upper-classes.
GRUNDY:- Your impertinent letter (from 2, Milkstreet, Bristol) does not merit any reply. But although you have so far forgotten yourself, we think that by answering your question all the same, and forgiving your presumption this time, you may "come to yourself" and to a better state of mind. We must teach the ignorant in manners, as well as in any other department of their education, and we do so gladly. Pronounce "Chopin" after the French method of sounding the terminal letters "in"; not as in English, but with a nasal sound thus, "Shopin", the second syllable as in the French word for bread, i.e. "pain".
AGNES MARIA:- writes to inquire "what situation a young lady of nineteen years could take," being "uneducated, bad speller, and not even a good reader, and as a bad memory". Unfortunate "young lady"! You are as much to be blamed as your parents for their neglect of you. Why do you not learn to read, write and spell? And if you have so little mental control as to allow yourself to be forgetful, you are not even qualified for domestic service. Learn all these things, adding arithmetic, and then you may aspire to assist in some drapery or stationery shop.