Sunday, 14 August 2016

27 November 1880 - Answers to Correspondents - Miscellaneous

We learn from the final two letters this week that (1) humble-bragging and (2) fishing for compliments precede the era of online social networking. 

CANARIENSIS AND OTHERS - 1. Paddle away as much as you like, as it is wonderfully strengthening to the feet and ankles. 2. We are almost afraid to offer any advice as to the length of time which girls ought to pass in the water. We have frequently offered our advice at the seaside and it has invariably been rejected. Our private opinion is that twenty minutes will make a very fair average, but much depends on the constitution of the bather. When a bather of either sex finds that the finger tips become white instead of pink, it is a sign that the bath has been too long. Giddiness on coming out of the water tells the same story.

BERYL ORSMOND - 1. Make the diet of your cockatoo as simple as possible. Perhaps you have been allowing her to nibble at bones or to eat animal food. Give her a bath by all means, but don't put her in it yourself. If she needs a bath, instinct will teach her to use it. 2. You do not mention your age, so we cannot tell how much character your writing ought to have; it certainly is not too small, and it is perfectly legible, but it has a sort of character of its own, the lines slanting downwards instead of upwards, as is the usual feminine fashion. Practise writing with black-lined paper, and you will soon find yourself falling into the right way.

ZULU HAT - 1. Of course you do not "make both ends meet of your income" if on £300 per annum and you "keep three servants." One is all you ought to keep, and you should undertake the light part of the household work yourself. 2. Wreaths of grapes and a few poppies serve best as trimming for a Zulu hat.

ALPHONSIA - 1. Your handwriting is very good for your age. But don't be satisfied; make it still better. 2. Who is afraid? Why, bring common-sense to bear upon it. You should live where we do, and go upstairs at midnight to hear the owls hooting in the wood. Whenever you feel particularly nervous repeat to yourself the fourth verse of the 23rd Psalm; it is a fine cordial for all timid folk.

AN UNSOPHISTICATED CHILD OF NATURE - Kindly choose a shorter *nom de plume when next you write. Do not be uneasy about your tortoise. The little gentleman has very likely got a will of his own. Try him with cabbage or greens, but he will go off to sleep by and bye, and when summer days come, he will most assuredly make up for his long fast.

JARVIS STREET - We regret to tell you that our editorial staff is complete; and we already have close connections with Canada.

LILIAN MARY GRAHAM - Both your friends failed in good breeding. The gentleman should have taken the penny to pay  for the stamp, as he had already laid the lady under an obligation by his prompt kindness in offering it to her. But allowing that the gentleman failed in good breeding that is no excuse  for the lady's declining the stamp altogether. Finding she was not allowed to pay for it, she should have accepted it with a graceful expression of thanks  for the gift. Of the two, the lady's fault was the greater.

CLARINDA - 1. We do not know - and do not wish to know - who wrote the morbid lines which you quote. We think you had better consult your doctor for you are evidently in a very bad state. 2. Your writing is scandalous.

HAZELDYNE - Why do you say that care not for music, and yet  acknowledge that you play Bach, Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart. Your sister says that you play well and have a very good touch. WE counsel you not to be silly, for you are getting out of the dry-bones part of learning, and will be thankful, when you are older, that you are an accomplished pianist. Your writing is rather nice, and so is your sister's.

A LEFT-OUT ONE - If it is true that you are selfish, lazy, bad-tempered, plain and unaccomplished, we do not wonder that nobody cares for you, and we trust that you will always keep at a respectful distance from us. Your portrait which you enclose, however, is that of a charming young damsel.

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