Monday, 26 May 2014

15 March 1884 - Answers to Correspondents - Miscellaneous

It's kind of like Jeopardy!, isn't it.  The questions themselves are anybody's guess.

D.P. – Certainly; no one, employer or not, has the smallest right to take possession of another person’s private letters, whether picked up in their house or obtained by other means, and whether with or without her knowledge.  It is possible that, under certain peculiar circumstances, such as the recognition of a son’s writing and discovery of a clandestine correspondence with one enjoying their confidence, thus dishonourably abused, they might be tempted to act in a manner equally dishonourable on their part.  But this betrayal of their confidence confers no legal right on them to steal or read the letters.  Their proper course would be to present them unopened and unread to the governess, and to say that the writing outside being recognised, they must request, for the sake of the mutual regard between all parties, that an explanation be given.  But either to read, to retain, or to obtain any letter “privately” would be highly reprehensible.  But we are only suggesting exceptional circumstances.  In your case you should write and say that “a third application proving fruitless, you would be reluctantly obliged to take legal prgs”.  This you could do by sending them a lawyer’s letter, for which they would be charged 6s. 8d. each time.

TAFFY – We consider £25 the least salary that could reasonably be offered you, and £30 more in proportion to all that you had to do.  But we warn you not to give up a home, if otherwise satisfactory, at your early age, unless very certain of securing one as agreeable at a higher salary.  Clergymen are often unable to give much beyond a home, where all meet on equal terms, and live together.  A certificate for a short term of residence does not carry much weight.  We recommend patience.

AUTUMNA – It is not at all necessary that you should thank your hostess for “a most agreeable evening” if it have been a particularly dull one.  Give her a pleasant smile, and do not let her see any look of dissatisfaction.  Nor is there any reason why you should give any opinion of the prettiness of a baby.  Smile at it, and take its little hand, and give kind looks at it, which will obviate any apparent obligation to tell stories.  As to a picture, to give no opinion is unfavourable.  Ask some question instead, or remark on the picturesqueness of the view instead of speaking of the workmanship.  To remove the inkstain from the white marble, try cream of tartar and salts of sorrel, one ounce of each; mix well, and keep in a stoppered bottle. 

GIPSY – To marry at seventeen would be very unwise.  A girl should be in the schoolroom at that age and when introduced into such society as that to which her parents belong, she should wait for two or three years at least – so as to make more acquaintances and have a choice – before taking so serious a step in her life as marriage.  The young recruit sees little more than the becoming uniform, the delights of travel, and the inspiring drum and fife and military band.  Just so the raw, inexperienced schoolgirl contemplates the trousseau, the fete and wedding presents, and the dignity of being a matron over a household of her own.  And so both rush blindly into anxieties, pains and penalties, of which neither had previously formed any idea.  To “stick to a fellow, although all the world would be against him” may be praiseworthy in a wife, but would be an evidence of a very headstrong, perhaps undutiful, girl – wanting in commonsense, under any other circumstances.

“THE MOST MISERABLE GIRL THAT EVER LIVED” – is the name adopted by a little girl only just brought into association with older people.  She feels shy, and has not been so raised as to feel otherwise than awkward and out of her place.  We doubt that her condition, painful as it is, could justify our shy little friend’s claim to such a name.

QUANDUM – It is very vulgar to say “beg pardon” and the phrase does not mean what the speaker intends.  It means “I beg your pardon” instead of which, by omitting the “I”, he commends you to beg his!  When anyone thus desires you to excuse any accidental unpoliteness on their part, you should reply “Pray do not mention it” or “Thank you, it is of no consequence”, or “Not at all!”; “No harm is done, thank you!”

A PAISLEY CAT – is informed that we do not answer impudent letters, and hers is consigned to the wastepaper basket on this account. 

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