Saturday, 11 March 2017

16 July 1881 'The Art of Shopping' by Mary Selwood

What is it in shopping which so attracts the feminine mind? It must be admitted that the sterner sex are, as a rule, indifferent to the charms of such expeditions, and will suffer much, rather than accompany a lady to a round of shops. And yet a charm there must be, or else why all this crowd of people invariably found at every favourite establishment, many of whom, if they told the strict truth, must own to having come for some trifling purchases which might just as well have been indefinitely postponed, or done without altogether?

Others will go shopping, as they wrongly call it, simply to look in at the windows on the chance of seeing something pretty and cheap, when they rush in and buy it, and go home rejoicing and boasting to all their friends of the bargain they have lighted on.

Let such foolish ones lay to heart this axiom: "Never buy a thing simply because it is cheap."

"Oh, but it is sure to come in some time," they reply.

Perhaps it may, sooner or later, probably later; and meanwhile it will be laid aside, getting dingy and out of date, and when at last a use comes for it its freshness is gone, and you wish you had never bought it, and could go and get new.

Some members of the shopping world have wonderful notions of economy. They will walk long distances to save a few pence in their purchases, not taking into account the wear of shoe leather or the waste of time, or the mental and bodily fatigue, which surely is of some account if our energies are worth anything.

"Oh, why don't you go to Brown's for that ribbon? I got the very same thing there for 5 3/4 d only yesterday," such a one will say to a friend who is paying 6d for it at Jones's. Now Brown's is nearly a mile away and this economical lady forgot to mention that by the time she got to the shop she was so exhausted that she had to take a hansom home, so that in the end she lost considerably by the transaction.

Certainly there is no object in paying more than is necessary, even though it is but a farthing a yard; but a great deal of extravagance is practised and called economy by people who have not studied the art of shopping. As a rule it is not economical, but the reverse, to buy cheap imitations instead of the real thing; they are in the end not cheap, but dear. A poor thing, of bad material or badly made, may pass muster for a little time, but very soon its outside gloss of respectability begins to fade, its true self shows through, and everybody can see that it is nothing but a sham. And do we not all in our hearts despise shams? And rightly too, for they are the very essence of vulgarity.

But buy a good thing, and besides lasting ten times as long as the inferior, it will look good and respectable, and unspeakably more refined, even when worn away to its last threads. So the true wisdom and economy is to have honestly good things, and, if necessary, fewer of them, and not to deck our houses and ourselves in an ostentatious super-abundance of "bargains (which are not bargains) picked up so cheaply" here and there and everywhere.

Unless one can afford to fritter away an amazing amount of money, it is well on entertaining a tempting shop not to think: "Now what shall I buy, what do I want?" but to keep in mind the query: "What can I do without?"

A prudent shopper will keep her eyes from straying amongst the tempting array as she walks up the shop, lest, seeing thee temptation to buy should be too strong for her strength of mind. She will turn a deaf ear to the insinuations of the shopkeeper anent a "special cheap line in gloves," or "a manufacturer's stock of ribbons at less than cost price," conscious that though they may be cheap in one way, they would not be so to her, because she does not want them.

Shoppers may be arranged in three classes; probably we can all fix on one of our acquaintances as typical of each class.

First, then, the desperately economical, not to say stingy, shopper, of whom mention has already been made. Having possibly abundant means, yet nothing gives her so much pleasure as to buy her goods more cheaply than anyone else. Always on the look out for bargains, she moves her patronage from one shop to another, not because the goods are better, but she has the idea that they may be cheaper, or that the vendor may be more readily beaten down in price.

For this dreadful individual, on being shown any article, immediately, and as a matter of course, begins to persuade the shopman to take less than the price. Perhaps in the hope of retaining her custom he does abate a trifle at first, but, finding that there is no end to her bargaining, he becomes impatient and indifferent whether she goes elsewhere or not.

The members of the 2d class are not so numerous as those of the other two, but still they exist in no small numbers.

A lady of class number two will not and cannot believe that anything is good unless the full or more than the full price is paid for it.

"This is nice tender beef, my dear," she says to her daughter, the housekeeper .

"It is American, mother, eightpence half-penny a pound."

"Ah, well, I thought it was very flavourless all the time."

Or, after admiring the new carpet in a friend's room, she is told it was bought at a little reduction because the pattern was not fashionable, she will say, sympathisingly, "Well, it won't wear of course; it is such a mistake to buy underpriced goods when you want wear."

No shops are to be patronised except those "good old-fashioned" ones, which charge a trifle more for everything than everybody else. The addition to the price appears to add flavour and air to the wares  which is quite wanting in those bought at more reasonable prices.

Ah, well, class two, you are foolish, prejudiced, aggravating, but nevertheless to be preferred to your predecessor.

In the third class we find those who understand how to shop. Without being niggardly, they will not pay more than a thing is worth, though it will be on sale at the best and most old-fashioned shop in the world. On hearing the price, if she thinks it excessive, she will say so, quietly but straightforwardly, not in the hope of getting it reduced, but to explain her not purchasing it. The truth is much better than a number of foolish groundless reasons which the attendant probably sees through in a moment and despises accordingly.

Again, if she be pleased with an article in quality and price, she will gratify the shopkeepers by saying so equally frankly.

On the other hand, she will never buy cheap rubbish; she carefully examines it and detects the good from the bad, and lets no amount of persuasion or cheapness tell against her own good judgment. She chooses out certain shops and goes to them as much and as continuously as she fairly can. She knows what she wants before going in, or if she does not know exactly she tells the attendant clearly what purpose it is for, and he is always willing to suggest. By this means she avoids the annoying practice of getting the counter covered with unsuitable goods, and finally departing without purchasing at all.

Should she have unavoidably caused extra trouble, or taken up a good deal of time, a polite "I am sorry to have troubled you" will mollify the poor tired server, and do away with the grumbling remarks which would probably be made after her departure.

If she meets an acquaintance in a shop, after greeting her she will finish her purchases before entering into conversation, so as not to keep the attendant waiting, for his time is valuable, though she may have plenty of leisure.

But a word must be said about servers. Are they themselves always perfect? Can they know how much custom they sometimes drive away from their masters' shops by their surliness and unwillingness to oblige? As a rule, they are amazingly patient and good-humoured, but still one hears too frequently such a speech as this. "Oh, I never go to Brown's, they have such disagreeable, uncivil people to serve; I prefer to walk a little further on to Jones's. It is not such a good shop, but they are so polite, and seem so anxious to please."

If they only knew how pleasant it is to be served by a civil, obliging person, and how annoying to have an impatient or unwilling one, they would certainly exert themselves to preserve at least an outward show of patience and good temper, even if they cannot manage to affect the interest in their customers which is such a charm in the attendants at many shops.

The importunate shopkeeper, too, is very annoying, who, when one is in a great hurry, persists in bringing out box after box of "special lines" and displaying them, regardless of your assurances that you d not require anything more.

Also, it is very provoking to be told that a certain article matches your pattern, or is suitable for your purpose, when it is quite evident that it would not do at all. This importunity is often due to the "rules of the house," where the assistants are paid a commission on articles which they contrive to sell. It is never done at the stores, and hence one of the comforts of shopping at these places instead of at shops. Pressing people to buy in that way seldom has the desired effect, and certainly makes them reluctant to go to the shop again.

The one thing to be considered on both sides by sellers and buyers is how to do to others as we would be done by.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

9 July 1881 - 'The Duties of Servants' by Sophia F.A. Caulfield, Part Two

While the world lasts there will be the rich and the poor, the rulers and the ruled, the employer and the employed; each class enjoying its own rights, privileges, and responsibilities. Those employing your labour, be assured, are fellow-workers, even if not for hire, and have to bear the cares and anxieties which belong to their position, many of which are far heavier than your own, and with which you have little or no acquaintance. Do not wish to exchange your lot for theirs. You can elevate your position and gain the respect of your employers as well as your fellows by your propriety of conduct, manners and dress. Common, cheap finery is as little becoming as it is unsuitable, and those who wear it are not those who obtain first-class situations and become elevated to confidential positions amongst their employers. The common-looking, vulgar style of wearing what a low class of servant-girls in lodging-houses call a "flag" at the back of the head stamps them at once as belonging to the lowest grade of untrained and cheap servants. A real cap is pretty and becoming, and is suitable to those whose work must make their hair dusty, and the exposure to draughts disarrange it. That most respectable and high-class race of servants who used to live from twenty to fifty years, or for life, in the same family – dying in the home of their adoption, beloved and respected; or else were pensioned on the death of their employers, to enjoy independence in a home of their own – these were not people who wore a strap of crochet work on the back of a dusty head. They had no desire to look "shabby genteel" either. They wore good, plain dresses and pretty white caps. And so in the gentry, the maid servants are dressed as in olden times, following in the steps of those who rose to positions of competence and future independence. The lady's-maid alone is exempt from wearing a cap, simply because she is always about her mistress, and her work does not exposure her to any chance of looking dusty and disarranged. But as she advances in life she also adopts a cap, as the hair becomes grey and possibly thin.

It is said that "there is honour amongst thieves." If not influenced by better and more sacred motives, at least you might be ashamed to degrade yourself to a lower standard than theirs. Yet, rightly or wrongly, young servant girls are accused of being very dishonourable, in being much given to what is called "tittle-tattle," as well as charged with trying hopelessly to look like what they are not. It should be regarded as a point of honour amongst you never to repeat outside the house, nor even in the servants' hall nor kitchen, what you were trusted to hear at your master's table or in your mistress's apartments. Never stop to listen to their conversation (which you might misunderstand if you did), but give your whole attention to your own business. With reference to the respect due to them, to the duty of "not answering again," of abstaining from purloining, and "showing all fidelity," I refer you to the words of Divine inspiration, which have given no "Uncertain sound" in their directions both to masters and servants. Having known of several instances within the circle of my own family and connections of those who have lived from five-and-twenty to upwards of fifty years in the same family, deservedly beloved and respected, I know how to appreciate the faithful and high-principled amongst them, and am ready to believe in the extensive existence of such, in the class to which you, my readers, belong. Strive early to emulate such bright examples, and ever remember that amongst the most humble in birth and circumstances there is such a thing as "Nature's nobility" – the highest sentiments of honour and feelings of propriety, combined with the greatest humility and modesty of demeanour, and of that good sense which makes a man or woman know and live according to their natural position in life; and are placed in that position of trust and trial only as a temporary training for a state of far higher existence.

"Be thou faithful in a few things, and I will make thee ruler over many things."

To the mistresses of families I would now make two or three suggestions. The inefficiency of domestic servants, the rare examples of grateful and loving service rendered, the silly vanity which induces ignorant young girls to ape a position they can never attain and thus even throw a doubt on their moral character – all these points form subjects of perpetual fault-finding, sour your temper and prejudice you against the whole class.

Doubtless you cannot "make bricks without straw," and you have much cause for dissatisfaction. A servant professes to know all the duties and method of performing, for which she expects all the wages you may be induced to give, with all the comforts of a home, and you discover that she possesses but a very superficial idea of any of them. She wastes your provisions perhaps by bad cookery or forgetfulness of them; articles destroyed by neglect of repair, and every description of disaster and annoyance. We all suffer in a greater or less degree, paying honest wages for dishonest services. Alas! "That which is crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot be numbered."

But if we feel so keenly our own wrongs we should apply ourselves all the more zealously to redress them; and if we judge the shortcomings and misdoings of our maid-servants, let us take care that our own conduct be absolutely above reproach.

If, as a general rule, the young domestic servants of the present day are inferior as regards both their efficiency and manners, as well as devoted fidelity to their predecessors, the fault is not always and entirely to be laid to their charge. Those whether employ them very frequently show themselves utterly ignorant of their own duties towards them, and the great responsibility which lies on their own shoulders. Apart from all higher motives, the old saying, "Noblesse oblige" seems little to influence their deportment towards them. There is a petty and most vulgar meanness in the ostentatious way in which ladies of no real position in society themselves will order about their attendants as if they were only automatons, and not persons under their benevolent care and wise judicious training. The more or less uneducated need as careful and considerate training as children.

Every household should remember that by a Divine decree it is the mistress who is to "guide the house," and the duties which this sacred charge involves are to be gravely accepted and prayerfully carried out. It is not to be supposed that she has only to give her servants certain orders, and to scold or dismiss them if they be not fulfilled. In a very extended sense, she has the souls and bodies, health, training, and the present and eternal well-being of those under her authority placed in her charge; or, to say the least, within her influence – an influence for good or evil for which she will assuredly have one day to render an account.

The service which she buys with gold may be rendered for love. How often has this been realised when reverses have changed the order of the household, and the faithful servant has selected to share the scant necessaries of life with the beloved and revered heads of the family; not grudging the least extra service that seems to outweigh the gold in the balance set against it, but, thenceforth, as the tried and tested and deservedly trusted friend, clinging with affection and respect to her unfortunate master and mistress?

But money alone will not purchase fidelity like this. "If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned." Of course there are the naturally high-principled, as well as the God-fearing, amongst little-educated people, as well as amongst those who have had the benefit of the best intellectual culture. Faithful service, even in little matters – out of sight, perhaps, and unappreciated – will sometimes be found here, even when mistress – who pays her servant, and gives her a home – is not to be classed among "the good and gentle." But "as a man sows so shall he reap" is a rule of very general application. If kindness and consideration, supplementing honest payment of service, do not always meet a just reward at the hands of our servants, so we have no right to expect a cordial, hearty, cheerful service for a cold return in money only.

To claim unquestioning obedience – a respectful address and answers – a suitable style of dress – a strict conformity to the hours and rules of the house – and of the performance of the work, in conformity with your own directions – are all requirements perfectly within the limits of your rightful authority. But be careful to give each servant, before her entrance into your family, the complete list of the rules by which she is to be guided; so that if she should demur at any of them, she may do so at once. In the same way, make her acquainted with the amount of rest and recreation you can allow her; and after her ready agreement to your proposals, then let her find that – strict as you may be on certain points – you are no niggard in kindly consideration for her, and that her pleasures are given with an ungrudging hand. Above all things, remember that if you lose your temper in speaking to her, you lower yourself in her estimation. Speak firmly, and gravely, if need be; but do not forget yourself for a moment, or lower your dignity by saying anything in haste that you would not like to hear repeated in the servants' hall as a specimen of an ill-governed temper. Such outbreaks, however justly you may have been offended, may make your servants fear, but never respect you.

In reference to the recreations to which I alluded, a few suggestions should be given. Going out after dark is by no means include amongst them, unless it to be to take turn with other servants in going to church or chapel. Let no Sundays pass without sending each servant to a place of worship once in the day. They need out-of-door air, as well as their mistress. Send them for their weekly outing while the sun shines, or at least that the daylight lasts, to see their families and friends, or do their shopping. Do not grudge a cup of tea "once in a way," to the relative or friend who may come to see them when the chief work of the day is over.

Supply them always with some nice book – such as a volume of magazines (for instance, our own paper, the Sunday at Home, or the Leisure Hour), for, apart from the kindliness of the act, it is your duty to educate their minds; and in so doing you are also training them to be more efficient servants.

Some little time should always be allowed – if not every day, at least once in the week – for their own needlework, the necessary mending and making of their clothing and caps. It is equally for your own satisfaction that they should be accorded some time for this, as otherwise their appearance will be unsuitable to your house; and sitting up late at night – as many are obliged to do – is most undesirable on every account.

Remember that while all familiarity should be avoided, there is a quiet dignified politeness of manner and mode of address that invariably calls forth a politeness of response. Do not allow your self-respect and self-assertion to border upon an ostentatious demeanour. You will never elevate your position in their eyes by so doing. The lady-like politeness of your own manner will invariably be reflected to some extent in that of the servant whom you address.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

2 July 1881 - Answers to Correspondents - Miscellaneous

C.J.S. – Avoid writing to other people's husbands, beyond a note on business, of course; and on all occasions let it be openly done, and to be read freely to the wife. Of course, the father of the bride should, in the case you name, take his aunt out of the church.

SHORT INTELLECT – Why should you "cultivate a bad memory"? Better to cultivate a good one. This may be done by daily learning by heart some pieces of poetry or prose.

MARGERITE – Thank you  for the exquisite flowers. It is very kind of you to send them after all our inattention to your enraged sister's letters. We are sorry to hear that, notwithstanding all we say in THE GIRL'S OWN PAPER, you find nothing to do that "nobody wants you," and that "everything is a dreary monotony." We cannot believe that you are anxious to be of service and to do your duty aright, for if you were you would soon find plenty of employment for your hands, head and heart.

IMPERIAL LILY – 1. At fifteen years of age you are far too young to become a hospital nurse. You should be learning your lessons in the schoolroom. Eighteen would be quite early enough for such a vocation. On the efficiency of a nurse the life of a patient mainly depends, under God's providence. 2. Do not send your dove on a long journey till mild weather has returned, and then cover the cage well. We should not imagine that the other would die from the loss of the other hen's companionship. If you have reason to think that their friendship was exceptionally romantic, get a mate for her without delay to fill the "aching void," before any sad catastrophe should occur.

AN ENGLISH GIRL – So you think that our correspondents are "imaginary people"? If so, you must be "an imaginary person" yourself, being one of them. Taking your view of the matter, it would be unnecessary to answer the query from a sham "English Girl"; but granting her "the benefit of a doubt" we answer this impatient little lady forthwith, to relieve her extreme anxiety on the question of "whether a leather belt may be worn over a jacket bodice"? Under a sense of deep responsibility we venture to say that it is a matter of no consequence whatever where little girls are concerned. Grown up persons do not wear them at present. Judging from her writing, "English Girl" must be about nine or ten years old, and she writes badly even for that.

DUMPS – We truly commiserate poor "Dumps." Your powers of attraction do not depend on mere personal beauty, but on a good and pleasing expression, gracious and gentle manners. Do not anticipate the possibility of a single life with dread. You need not suffer from loneliness on that account; but even that would be far preferable to married life under many circumstances that we might name. Ask God to provide for you as shall be for your best interests, in this life, and in that which is to come.

CURLEW – We are amused by our youthful reader's anxiety to know what chance there is of her being afflicted with lunacy, "on account of the high pressure of the age." This pressure, she says, "is without doubt felt by every single person in however remote a place he may be living." Our anxious little friend excludes from consideration (she adds) "those who become insane from over-taxing the mind." Be calm, dear reader, we do not live, even here, in such a terrible steam-engine for grinding out our brains as you imagine, working them as we do. As many become dull and even imbecile from extreme low "pressure" idleness, and lack of wholesome interest in the family and home business of their lives. Take note of that.

LITTLE RIGGLE – Thank you  for the pretty and nicely made pen wiper. Your writing is too stiff.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

2 July 1881 - 'How to Improve One's Education' Part One

The numerous readers of THE GIRL'S OWN PAPER must vary so much in age, position, and education, that it is not possible to write on such a subject as we have chosen exactly in the way that will give most satisfaction to everyone. Nevertheless we will undertake to say that no girl who carefully reads what follows on the question of self-improvement will regret having done so; on the contrary, it is hoped that each one will be either refreshed, or encouraged, or stimulated to adopt at once one of the methods here suggested for increasing her own usefulness.

The subject of "Finishing Schools" will be a familiar one to many. In all probability some who read this will already have left such an establishment, with a "finished" education; it is hoped to attract and rouse these to the reality that as long as we live we shall find something to learn, and that our life and our education must terminate at the same time.

There are also probably many amongst our readers who regret that they have not been able to enjoy the privileges that a dear friend has enjoyed, so far as early teaching is concerned. More than this, that circumstances have arisen to cause a gap in educational work just at a time when the mind is most ripe to receive instruction. Perhaps, too, during this unfortunate period much with which one was one familiar has been lost, hopelessly lost, it seems. Let these remember that it is never too late to learn, and that much can be done in the way of making up deficiencies in early education by patient and persevering study. One's own desire and strength of purpose are large factors in such work: we hope to guide the way and encourage those who are patiently plodding on.

Another class of readers, possibly not a very small one, if one could hear the silent assent which follows the reading of the remark, may include those who, having been provided with the best means of obtaining instruction, have not felt a sufficiently strong desire to learn much. They have done what was absolutely necessary to be done at school, but were glad when the time came to leave school. Let us hope that at least these also fall within the number of those who are really desirous to do something for self-improvement.

Though it would be possible to select other classes of readers, we will rest satisfied for the present with asking (1) all those who think they know all that it is necessary for them to know; (2) all those, who from a variety of circumstances apart from themselves, have been unable to receive a good education; and (3) all those who, having had the opportunity of good teaching, have not been able to appreciate it, and so have lost much from their own want of wisdom, to spend a quiet half hour with us.

The question now occurs, What is a good education? Opinions vary very much as to what standard should be acknowledged as the test of a good education, but no one will dispute the point, that position in life must always be an element in determining this. For instance, the education which one would call goods  for the upper classes in a Board school, would not be entitled to the same epithets in the upper classes of our middle class and high schools; and what would be a good education  for the housemaid could not be considered in the same light when speaking of the ladies of the house. In every grade and rank of life however, the intelligence which is given to us has to be cultivated, and it behoves each one to do the best that is possible to improve and elevate the mind. It has been said that "the best part of one's education is that which one gives to one's self," If this be realised, then there can be no stronger inducement necessary to urge forward those who have hitherto thought to impossible to teach one's self.

Begin to study at once. As soon as the effort is made much pleasure and a good deal of knowledge will be sure to follow. We shall not now expect to be met with the remark, "Yes, some people are clever, and can work alone;" only believe that all people can work alone, and do very much real good to themselves, if they will not e faint-hearted, and give up in despair at the first difficulty which presents itself.

But we have not yet fixed our standard of what we ought to know. Let us adopt then as our motto the well known words of a well-educated man who decided that we ought to know "something of everything, and everything of something." Let us also remember with this the French proverb, "Les demi-connaissances sont plus dangereuses que l'ignorance."

The field is wide when we feel that we must know something of everything, but then we have made up our minds and we shall not readily be turned aside by difficulties. We already, too, have a foundation of general education to work upon, and the whole of our life may be devoted to the perfecting of our mind. The question now is, How are we to work?

Well, one has to find out what one already knows, and this may be done by testing one's self by getting copies of questions given at a general examination, say the College of Preceptors, for instance, and answering these questions. Of course one must be very strict with one's self with regard to keeping the rules and correcting the papers when done; no fault must be allowed to pass unnoticed, and one must answer the questions at once – that is at sight; no looking up of little points must be allowed when once the questions have been read, and everything must be done in the given time.

It would be well, if not very advanced, or not in the habit of working examination questions, to test one's self first with the third class papers, then with the second, and so on. When finished the answers may be compared with a book on the subject and all mistakes marked. Something is now accomplished. The difference between real and fancied knowledge has been made plain, and knowing now what you do not know helps to fix for you what you want to know Now take a schedule of some examination, or form a definite plan of work, fixing the subject, or subjects of study, and the time to be devoted to it, taking care to keep most steadily to the plan laid down. Make it a duty and remember that "England expects that every man will do his duty," and every girl too!

Before saying more on the details of study we will consider a few points of general interest. They will not be exhaustive, neither will they be new to all our readers, but they will, it is to be hoped, open out some new veins of thought to many minds. To those who are very anxious to work we say –

1. Do not attempt too many subjects of study at once if you are much occupied with household duties or engaged in teaching. Remember that regular and systematic study spread over a period of time, even though the time be in half-hours, will enable one to store up a good deal of knowledge in the course of a few years. To those who think differently let me say very earnestly try it.

2. Make an effort to surround yourself with useful books. Many girls find in their homes wonderful stores of books; they know the book-cases, but are often astounded when an occasional visitor tells them that the information they seek is in such and such a book, on such and such a shelf in a particular bookcase in their own home! Besides having books, know what is inside them, examine and criticise them as you do your acquaintances, and be able to give the good and bad points in them. Make them your friends and companions. You will seldom have time to feel dull. With many, however, the case is different, and it is not easy always to get books. One good plan to adopt is to keep a list of books by you that you really want, and when asked by friends what you would like for a birthday present, Christmas present &c., to name one or two of your long-desired friends.

3. Cultivate the friendship of those who are better informed than yourself take every opportunity, without of course being tedious, of talking with well-read people, listening with the utmost attention, and asking for explanations when you do not understand. Much help and guidance in the choice of books may be obtained from these people.

4. Read carefully and thoughtfully. The habit of reading man story books and missing over the "dry" parts is very unhealthy, and is by no means a good preparation for study. Nothing can make up  for the want of regular and careful reading. "Reading," as Bacon tells us, "maketh a full man;" he also gives us a very good piece of advice on reading, "Read not to contradict nor to believe, but to weigh and consider," preparing us  for the fact that much that we read must be questioned and tested before we are to accept it as fact, and this throws us back on the judgment of those who are wiser than ourselves and who best know what books we should read. The same great writer tells us further that "some books are to be tasted, and then to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."

5. In order to be quite sure of the real benefit derived from reading it is necessary to examine one's self from time to time and recapitulate and summarise what has been done. Another good plan is to keep a book for extracts.

The following is a good introduction to such a book:-

"In reading authors, when you find
Bright passages that strike your mind
And which perhaps you may have reason
To think of at another season,
Be not contented with the sight,
But take them down in black and white;
Such a respect is wisely shown,
It makes another's sense one's own."

6. It is also a good plan to write short essays on subjects that have been read. This will help wonderfully in giving readiness and precision in expressing one's thoughts, and it is also a guarantee that one knows a subject. It is not possible to write clearly upon a subject of which one is altogether ignorant.

7. Where possible it is also a good plan to discuss certain points in reading. It is an advantage to acquire the habit of good speaking. Many people speak indistinctly or incoherently, who are of necessity obliged to speak in public. This would not happen if the art of speaking or debating were more usually adopted. A few girls, sisters and their friends, might have weekly, fortnightly, or monthly meetings, choose a president or umpire, and speak on a given subject, say for five or ten minutes each, with very great advantage. Of course it is hardly necessary here to suggest that the subject should be prepared, and that there should be no gossip and no temper admitted into these little societies. An afternoon tea would be a genial close.

8. Another very interesting mode of self-improvement, known and practised possibly by many readers of this paper, is that of forming a kind of literary society, or club, the members of which write papers on given or self-chosen subjects, to be read and remarked on in writing, by each member of the club. The prize schemes of THE GIRL'S OWN PAPER are a public form of this method; an appreciated one also.

9. Among girls, too, it is very customary to have Dorcas meetings. It is a good plan here for one to read aloud. A lighter kind of literature, or poetry, will form a pleasant and healthy recreation here, as well as at the evening needlework, where fathers and brothers join the circle, and sometimes become the reader.

Many more points occur as showing their advantages, but doubtless our readers have already framed some additional ones of their own; if so, our object in this respect is already gained.

In gathering up in conclusion the thoughts put forward here, our readers will readily agree that our centre of observation is on the choice, accumulation and use of books. THE GIRL'S OWN PAPER has already shown "how to form a small library." Of books not to be found in this library, and not included in the list of gift books spoken of, and yet needed, the lending library, of which nothing has been said, will supply the place. There are students' lending libraries, as well as circulating libraries, which contain little but novels. Books then are within reach, and we hope also that every girl has some one to guide her in the choice of books; may she use them well when she has the! She will not regret the work when she has acquired the knowledge which gives pleasure in its search, enjoyment in the possession and satisfaction in its distribution; which makes her a happier, more intelligent, and more useful member of society, and a help-meet  for the best of men.