OUR SHORT STORY. I THE INVETERATE LOVER. I By RADCLIFFE MARTIN. I Latin grammars are all very badly arran° ged. They always start the verba with am 0--1 love. Scores of innocent youths never get any farther. They start ??o-ing at an early age; they acquire the -ha-bit; they never get rid of it. Rec" ,aie Danvers was one of these unfortu- nates. He was a confirmed lover. I have seldom known him in love with less than three at once—not counting casual flirta- tions with barmaids, waitresses and post- office girls. He could even wh^ isper sweet «o things to a post-office girl with a queue behind him waiting hungry for stamps. I ■have known him squeeze a hand and a packet of postcards simultaneously. That ought to show you what kind of man he Vas. One day he came to me all aglow. "Who is she? I asked. t "I've done it at last, old man," he said. "Is it the hazel-eyed daughter of the vicar, or the blue-eyed granddaughter of the wealthy stockbroker, or the sparkling., dark-eyed progeny of the whisky mer- chant? inquired. (This inquiry at first sight seems to have a strong flavour of French exercises, but I knew Reggie's girls mainly by their eyes. He was great on eyes. He always stared •right into the pupils of a girl's eyes. I ihave known him look into the eyes of a to- bacconist's assistant till she let him have three boxes of matches after stoutly declar- ing she had none in the shop.) "Those! said Reggie Contemptuously "those were mere flirtations. This is a girP I met when I was week-ending at the Selsbys'. We played billiards together on Saturday night. I sat next to her in church on Sunday morning and squeezed her hand all through the sermon-forty minutes it was, and it didn't seem to last five: there's a wheeze for you if you're bent on church-going—proposed to her in the afternoon, and spent a delicious evening in the garden." "She accepted you, then?" "Oh, yes, provided that her father gave his consent. She would on-ly agree to be en- gaged provisionally till then. Fine trait in a girl's character, respect for her father. I pnly hope my daughters "Before discussing the behaviour of your problematical daughters, Reggie, I should like to know if you have asked Pa? "Arranged to go over and see him this evening. It'll be all right, I think." "What coloured eyes?" I inquired. Deep chestnut-brown lakes of light," said Reggie solemnly. You've got it badly. Occupation of father? "Solicitor. But he's retired. Wealthy -old bird, I think. Lives in a big house— denha-m." S y"Ri-,ht I replied. "Chestnut-brown, solicitor. I shall know her when you talk about her. What's her name? "The most beautiful name in the world— Angela." "Reggie," I appealed, "get fixed in your ideas as to which is the most beautiful name in the world! I've already had from you Margaret, Vera, Ermyntrude, Mabel, Caroline and Betty—besides others." "This, old man, is final. From this day I shall never look at another girl. If you could only see the deep glow of her eyes and the little ringlets round her ears! "Then Angela shall have the toast-rack I bought when I thought Caroline was a dead cert. Bought it at a sale, thinking I'd save money, and I've been losing the interest on the money ever since." "Don't kid! What should you say to her father? "Oh, be kind and tactful. Don't try to borrow money or do anything that will up- set him." "Can't you be Ferious for a moment? I thought of telling him that I had five hun- dred a year of my own besides what I win on horse-racing. and that I have a wealthy aunt of seventy who thinks the world of ane. She does, too. She's always giving me good advice." "Oh, leave that horse-racing clause out and put a vear or two on to your aunt's age, and you'll do. You can't he sure of a lady's age. Say she's nearly seventy-five. And you might hint that her health is deli- cate. At that immense age it is sure to be. Have a Scotch with me now to drink success to your expedition." No," said Reggie; "it would never do to go smelling of Scotch. I must make a good impression. I'll look in late to-night 0 and tell you how I've got on." "Good' We'll have a Scotch then." It was very late when Reggie came "Good!" I said. "No signs of violence. Did the old gentleman blesa you? Had the shortage of young men impressed him so .much that he clasped you to his bosom? "After all, I didn't go." "Coward! "No, I was intending to go; in fact, I was on my way when, just as I was chang. ing at Clapham Junction, I saw a girl with -wonderful sapphire eyes. On the impulse of the moment I turned and followed her, got into the same carriage with her, and asked her if she'd like the window up or down— jolly useful things carriage windows are— and we were talking at once. At least I was, for she didn't say much. I went with her to her destination and saw her home- or, rather, nearly home. She wouldn't let me go all the way. She was a bit shy. you know. All the nicest girls are. Anyhow, I kissed her when she was leaving me. She seemed a bit upset, and told me I ought mot to have done it. I gave her my address, and she promised to think it over land write to me. If she does that I'm all right even if she sayg 'No,' for I shall know where she lives and I can easily come across her. I think if she's promised to write it'll be all right, don't you? "How can I tell you after my limited ex- perience with a mere half-dozen girls? If you don't know no one on earth can tell I you. What I'm more concerned about is the old solicitor." "Oh, of course, I looked after him. Slipped into a post-office and wired that I !had a sudden attack of influenza. and couldn't come. All sorts of apologies, of course. Cost mo two-and-nine. You see, I'm only provisionally engaged. I feel that I mustn't tie myself up till I am absolutely sure of myself. This is a splendid girl— sapphire eyes and a wouderful silence. Says -scarcely anything, but her radiant eyes apeak. "That's a good quality in a wife. J. should prefer a. wife myself who only spoke with radiant eyes. But I am just a little bit sorry for the chestnut-brown lady." I should not be doing the straight thing by her if I married her when my heart was another's." "Beware of jilting a girl whose father is a solicitor." "I haven't jilted her. Angela is a. won- derful girl, but how cau-I marry her if I am thinking all the time about those sapphire eyes?" < Two days later I met Reggie again. "Well, how's the harem?" I asked. "Girls with sapphire eyes are deceptive," -said Reggie sternly. "She sent me a note without any address to say that she was engaged and could not • see me again, and that I ought not to have kissed her. As if a girl who lets a fellow take her home doesn't expect to be kissed. Very curt, badly expressed note. I feel, after all, that Angela is the only girl in the world for me, I sent her some roses yesterday, and I'm going to see Pa to- i night. "Take care that you don't give the old gentleman influenza. He may not want to Bee you. "That's all right. I wrote explaining to him that it wasn't influenza. Chill with temperature. Doctor jumped to conclusion. Qitite well again, and going to call to. night. You'd better go blindfolded in c ase you .see someone else in the train." "No my mind j is made ajp. Angela is absolutely the ordy girl in the wo Id for me. You've got to be my best man." "And this is the reward of my long friendship. It will never do. I'd be calling Angela Caroline or Betty. You are welcome to the toast-rack, Reggie, but I decline the responsibility of getting you to the altar." "What place would you choose for a honeymoon if you were ine?" If you press me on the point, I say that a desert island without a single person on it save you and Angela. But you ve got to get Pa's consent first. We'll dieliuss honey- moon localities to-night." # • Early that evening Reggie came into my rooms, and I saw by his face that some- thing terrible had happened. "Wasn't your aunt old enough? I asked. Did you put i n that bit about horse-racing? "I went in," groaned Reggie, "and the old chap seemed delighted to see me. He was really sympathetic, and I felt that I was on a dead cert. Then when we'd been over my aches and my splendid recovery he smiled sweetly and said, But I believe, Mr. Danvers, that you called upon me to- night with a definite object.' I thought it was very decent of the old bird to give me a decent opening, so off I went declaring my love for Angela, and telling him about my income, and putting up my aunt's age to seventy-six. He listened most approvingly. Really, Mr. Danvers,' he said, you seem an exceedingly eligible son-in-law for any- body; but may I tell you a little story? Perhaps you remember that on Wednesday night there was a dreadful rainstorm. Oh, you would be in bed. Yes,' said the old bird; you were best in bed on a night like that. For my part, I was just going out to catch the last post when I saw an inmate of my house with a letter also on the point of going out. I took the letter with mine. When I got to the pillar-box I went through my letters. Judge my astonishment when I saw a letter addressed to you not in my daughter's handwriting. When I returned to the house I sent for the person whose letter I had posted and made a few judicious inquiries. The result was—but let me ring the bell.' He rang it, and in a moment two girls entered—Angela, and the girl with the sapphire eyes in a housemaid's dress. I just stared, and couldn't say anything. 'A ner- vous situation, is it not? said the old gen- tleman. Now, I uno-erstind that Mary there, with great good sp-tise, decided that she would have nothing to do with you. My daughter, with equal good sense, is follow- ing her example. A young gentleman who, on the way to visit his prospective father- in-law, runs off in mad pursuit of another girl and wires that he has influenza is not. in my opinion, a desirable addition to my family.' I couldn't stand those two girl glaring at me. They had fine eyes, but you can have too much of fine eyes. I think I'd better go,' I said. That remark show excellent good sense,' said the old josser. I may also add that you had better not re- turn. Your hat and coat are here. Be care. ful as you go home, Mr. Danvers. Beware of the influenza-the blue-eyed influenza, the silk-stockinged influenza, the yellow- haired influenza. Good-bye.' I stared at Danvera as he concluded his story. "Tell me what I am to do," said the de- spairing youth. "My heart is broken." I took out the toast-rack. Take this old man, and go to your proper spher-s.11 "Where's 'that?" "Salt Lake City."
I MISTLETOE AND KISSES. In paying honour to their great god Thor. romantic Scandinavians built great fires called "Jule" or "Yule" fires. In thi i old days the higher the flames towered through thu forests the greater pleased wa. Thor. The men soon learned that the treei awm which mistletoe clung would give tht brightest fires They believed this was dUE to the great Thor himself, who caused tht mistletoe to grow on those trees to let his people know which were best for burning ir his honour. The trees upon which quantities of Hit mistletoe grew were sapped of their vitality, j and, being drier, burned with a brightei flame than other trocf that were full oj sap. So when anyone met under the mistle- toe in the great forests, no matter how great enemies they were, they dropped then weapons and greeted each other kindly; nor ^ould they take up arms against each other antil the suurise of another day. This was their tribute in honour of Thor. They began to take bits of the mistletoe into their homes and hang it over the door- ways. and if any enemies came they could not enter the houses beneath the mistletoe without becoming friends of the people in- side so long as they remained there. From this camo the habit of greeting people who stepped under the mistletoe wftli an em- brace or a kiss, and at indoor feasts tho mistletoe was hung up in the room and the people greeted each other with kisses. So in these days tiln couple kissing be- neath the Christmas mistletoe in a spirit of fun or romance carries on a custom the £ candiuavians had a thousand years before Christ. PLUM PUDDING AND MINCE PIE. I The Christmas pudding in its contents is thought to symbolise, as does mince pie also, Xhe rich offerings made by the Wise Men to the Infant Christ, and dates back to Ujc early Christians. "Once upon a time" plum pudding waa called "hackin," signifying the "hackin" or chopping of the ingredients-m eats, suet, fruits, and ispices. After the revolution that enthroned the "merry monarch," Charles II., the "hackin" of our ancestors was baptised plum pudding." It seems to have survived in its original form only in England, where it is our National dish. It is said that a Frenchman will not taste thereof. There is a funny story that a French nobleman, wishing to please an English ambassador on Christmas Day by serving a plum pudding, procured a recipe and gave his chef minutest lnrtriictions a-4 to ingredients, the quantity of water in the kettle, etc., forgetting only one thing, the pudding cloth, and the dish was served up like so much soup in a large tureen, to the surprise of the honoured guest. CHRISTMAS CANDLES. I Burning candles at Christmastide is a cus- tom derived from the Roman Saturnalia. Not only were candles used for the purpose of illumination during that festival, but they were aloo exchanged as gifts in token )f cheerfulness and goodwill. It is prob- able that the employment of candles was derived from tho Jewish Feast of the Dedi- cation, which was held about the same time if the year as the Saturnalia and the Yule. The burning of candles was one of the inci- dents of the feast, and it is not unlikely that at the tinio of the birth of -lestit; thousands of candles were brightly burning throughout Palestille--a lifting, though unintentional, proclamation of the Light that had come I into the world. A fact that hears out this supposition is that tho Catholics of the Cireek Church call Christmas the "Feast of Lights." CHRIST'S TREE. I Saint Wiafried, who was, in the Eijfhth century, a missionary to the Scandinavians, is credited in an ancient legend with having caused to be set up the first home Christ- mas-tree. He tried to show the people that the Druid priests had made them worship- pers of trees only, and not of a living God; and on Christmas Eve he hewed down the great oak tree around which they had gathered to offer a human sacrifice. As it fell a young fir tree seemed to appear miraculously beyond it, and Winfried said lo the people: "Here is the living tree, with no stain of blood upon it, that shall be the sign of your new worship. See how it points to the sky. Call it the tree of the Christ Child. Take it up and carry it to the chieftain's hall. You shall go no more, into the shadows ?f the forest to keep your feasts with secret rites of shame. You shall keep them at uome, with laughter and songs and rites of love. The thunder oak has fallen, and I think the day is coming when there shall act be a home in all Germany where the children are not gathered around the green 5r tree to rejoice in the birthnight of "'b rist.
PENSION PROBLEMS: HOW TO SOLVE THEM. By AN EXPERT. A Detailed Statement of the Matters Upon Which the Local War Pensions Com- mittee Can be Consulted-A Catalogue of Opportunities—Admiralty Medals for War Service. FREE ADVICE TO QUR READERS. The inquiries which reach me from readers from time to time show that even now the services which the Local War Pensions Committee can render are imperfectly understood. That being the case, it will serve a useful purpose to all and sundry if I here recapitulate their many powers and duties. < < < The Ministry of Pensions is represented in every district by a Local War Pensions Committee, whose address can be obtained at any Post Office. Disabled men and the widows and dependents of those who have fallen have a right to apply to their Local Committees when they want advice or help. Your Local Committee may be consulted upon any of the following matters:— Delays in receiving discharge papers, or errors in the same. Payment of temporary allowances and grants pending award of pension or of disablement gratuity. Advice to disabled men where to apply and how to proceed if in doubt about National Health Insurance. Claims to disabled men and widows to alternative pension, which is based upon pre-war earnings. Supplementary or special allowances. Preparation of appeals and application for review of pension. Treatment of all kinds—hospital, con- valescent or home treatment, and supply of extra nourishment under certain condi- tions. Payment for loss of remunerative time while undergoing treatment. Travelling expenses incurred in connec- tion with treatment or the taking up of employment. Advice to disabled men as to where and how to apply for training. Recoverable advances towards the cost of clothing when entering institutions for treatment. < Even this catalogue does not exhaust the scope of the assistance that is offered. You may consult the Local War Pensions Com- mittee on these points as well:- With regard to constant attendance allowance where necessary. This ranges from 10s. to 20s. a week. Nursing attendance at patients' homes. Application for mechanical chairs, car- riages, hand-propelled tricycles, artificial limbs, surgical boots, appliances, etc., re- newals and repairs. Training for war widows. Educational g ants for children of de. ceased sailors and soldiers. Grants for the supply of tools or books. where necessary, on the completion of training. Directions as to lip-reading instruction for the deaf. Dental treatment (if the condition is due to service or aggravated by it). Grants from the King's Fund for dis. abled men,. widows, orphans and nurses In certain circumstances, grants to meet funeral expenses on the death of a discharged disabled man. Consideration of all cases of delay and hardship, and assistance to men, widows, and dependents in all matters concerning pension or allowance. From this you will see how advisable it is to keep in touch with your Local War Pen- sions Committee. Do not forget; you have a right to claim its help. The Admiralty will issue two medals to the personnel of the naval services for their work in the war. Provided that the claims are approved by the authorities, the British war medal will be granted to all those who performed twenty-eight days mobilised ser- vice, or lost their lives in active operations before completing that period between August 5, 1914, and November 11, 1918, in- clusive. Those eligible include officers and men of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Indian Marine, Royal Naval Reserve (including the trawler and fishery section), Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, the Dominion and Colo- nial Naval Forces. This list does not exhaust the scale of eligibity, and I should, therefore, be glad to answer any questions arising out of this announcement, for the list is too long for me to print. The Victory medal will also be issued to nearly all the foregoing, provided that they were mobilised and rendered approved ser- vice (1) at sea between midnight on August 4-5, 1914, and midnight, November 11-12. 1918; or (2) on the establishment of a unit within a theatre of military operations. Trained pilots and observers and men of the R.N.A.S. employed in actual flying from naval air stations at home or overseas pat- rols will be eligible, but not the members of nursing units or medical organisations other than Queen Alexandra's Nursing Service and Reserve. Medals earned by officers and men de- ceased will be issued to their legatees or next-of-kin. ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. M. C. (North Shields).—If you were in a position to draw separation allowance and are in necessitous circumstances, communi- cate fullest possible particulars to your local War Pensions Committee, the address of which you can obtain at the post office. W. C. K. (Baddesley Ensor).—If renewal of pension is refused, you can apply through your Committee to have your case sent be- fore the Statutory Appeal Court. A. T. W. (Dover).—Report your case, with full Service particulars, to your local War Pensions Committee, the address of which can be obtained at the post office. The par- ticulars you send are insufficient for me to form an opinion. Your quickest and best way is to do as I suggest. F. H. G. (Selling).—(1). Carries 6d. a day; apply to the Secretary, War Office (A.G. 10), Pilgrim-street, Ludgate Hill, London, E.C. 4. (2). You can only wait. (3). Communicate with the Secretary, Board of Agriculture, 4, Whitehall-place, London, S. W. 1. W. F. H. (Folkestone).—Allowances to wives of disabled men are now payable as from Septem ber 3 last If you hear no- thing in a week, make inquiry of your Com- mittee. Our Pensions Expert is anxious to assist Bailors and soldiers and their wives and de- pendents in dealing with intricacies of the War Pensions System. Address your queries to "Pensions Ex. pert," c/o Editor of this paper. All essen- tial facts should be stated as briefly as pos- sible, such as name, number, rank, regi- ment of soldier, name and rating of sailor, particulars of families and separation al- lowance and (in inquiries concerning civil liabilities) pre-war or pre-enlistment in- come, present or war income, and full lia- bilities. Do not send any documents, birth certificates, or discharge papers, etc.
President Wilson is now able to rise un- assisted, and walk with the aid of a stick. To cover losses on exchange France will impose a tax of 55 centimes (nominally 5 £ d.) on foreign telegrams. Mrs. Vanderbilt has been awarded the Legion of Honour for her work as Red Crose nurse and organiser of military hos- pitals. The steamer River Clyde, of Dardanelles fame, is awaiting at Malta an opportunity of being towed to England. It is under- stood that she will be preserved for the nation. Swansea police have been abked to keep funerals off the tramways track.
I Extracts From Annuals. i I IS THE TSAR ALIVE? I A very interesting article is contributed to the "London Magazine" by M. S. Marsden, dealing with the question as to whether the Russian Royal family was assassinated or not. The writer deals with the subject very exhaustively, and incidentally observet3 "it is difficult to believe that the Bolsheviks would execute the Tsar, Tsarina, and all the members of his family. If their object had been to exterminate the Romanoff family, they presumably would not have spared the Tsar's nearest relatives and have permitted them to escape to England. If they did not desire to exterminate the Romanoffs they had no special object to gain by executing the Tsar, Tsarina, and mem- bers of the Imperial family. "Had the Tear been caught plotting to re-establish the monarchy, there would then have been a good reason for the Bolsheviks wanting to execute him; but is it conceiv- able that such a plot could have been going on without the Tsar's nearest relatives being concerned in it? And is it conceivable that if they had been concerned in such a plot the Bolsheviks would have spared their lives? "It may be asked if the Tsar and the members of his family are still alive, why were the various reports of his death so widely circulated? One answer to that ques- tion is that the reports may have been prompted by political motives. The fact remains, at any rate, that all the re- ports of the Tsar's death or murder are con- tradictory, and none of them have been con- firmed by reliable authority." I IN AN EARTHQUAKE. I Writing in the "Wide World Magazine," Harry A. Franck gives the following ae- :ount of his experiences in what he terms "My First Earthquake." "Next morning the passenger train lifted as back to Huigra, where a new experience awaited me," he observes. "That evening I at writing in the railroad quarters. Two fellow-countrymen were parading the bread second-storey veranda of the light wooden building. The only other sound was the muffled chatter of the stream below. Sud- denly the heavy table beneath my arm began to move as at some spiritualist seance, the windows took to rattling as if anxious to escape from their frames, the wall decorations swung backwards and for- wards like pendulums, and for what seemed like a long minute the entire building shook as with a fever. I opened my mouth to pro- test against what I took for a moment to be physical exuberance of the veranda paraders; but I closed it again as I realised that I had passed through my first earth- quake, and had gone on writing for a line or more before I recognised my good for- tune at being in a wooden house. "Outside, the strollers had not even in- terrupted their chat except to remark, Pretty good one, eh? In the morning the telegraph wire brought, word that the in- struments of Duran ;had registered seven quakes,' and that several adobe houses I and a church had fallen in the interior." I REVENGE IS SWEET. I I remember as a boy being rather sweet I on a certain girl. When I wanted a chat with her I used to stand outside the house and blow a bugle. It was more a musical signal for her to come out than anything serious in the serenade line, but I suppose her parents didn't exactly like it. At any rate, when they gave a Christmas party I regret to say I was not included among the guests. So, not to be vindictive, of course, but from perfectly humorous motives, I fixed up the iron entrance cates-both front and rear with some very heavy pliable wire. Then, when the carriages began to arrive with the guests in evening dress, white shawls, and so on, there was a considerable amount of fun. But the most enjoyable part of the spectacle from my point of view was to see my might-have-been host emerging into the enow and slush in his dancing pumps, armed with a candle—which kept on going out- and the family chopper with which to attack the wire. They did better lately in France. "Another Christmas yarn—though it hap- pened years afterwards. There was rather a shabby old fellow who applied to a friend of his, the manager of a theatrical company, for a. job in pantomime. The applicant had been rather a decent comedian in his time, but had not taken care either of himself or his money, and, dropping on evil days, vras very much a fallen star.' Yes,' said the manager, wishing to do a little for a hard case, I can give you a walking-on part. How'd five-and-twenty shillings a week suit? Twenty-five bob I growled the old man, disgustedly. Why, I could borrow more than that off you! "—Harry Tate (in an interview in the "Capta I A CHURCH-GOING DOG. I Dog-lovers especially will be interested in ) an article from the pen of Percy R. Steven- son in the "Cornhill Magazine," entitled "Sir Walter Scott and His Dogs." Sir Walter Scott's affection for his nume- rous canine friends amounted almost to a passion (he says), and evidence of this may be traced in his private letters, in his Journal, and throughout the Waverley Novels. Byron professed to love dogs for ;heir unlikeness to men, but Scott, who took a broader and a deeper view, loved his dogs for the human traits which they possessed. He studied their different temperaments, enjoyed their companionship, and enriched the pages of his imaginative writings ac- cordingly. His early life had thrown him much into the society of shepherds with their flocks and dogs, and we know from his own pen how deeply these first impressions left their mark. The dull, depressing routine of the eigh. teenth-century Presbyterian Sunday, Scott has described in his autobiographical note. Attendance at divine service both morning and afternoon was rigorously enforced. But an occasional ray of sunshine penetrated "the gloom of one dull sermon succeeding to another." It is recorded that a Newfound- land dog belonging to the Scott family fre- quently found its way into church, and young Walter, who was always on the look- out for his four-footed friend, used to smuggle him into the pew for the remainder of the service. It was only by a chance occurrence that the Newfoundland invoked the assistance of the future author of "Waverley"—that bond of sympathy had been cemented by many a joyous prank during the preceding week THE LOST GOOSE. Pearkes Withers writes a delightful Christmas-Eve comedy in "Cassell's Maga- zine of Fiction," one gem of which is as follows:— "My opinion is," said the landlord, "that you left that goose o' yours in the tramcar. When did you miss it?" Mr. Cripps wrinkled both his brow and his nose in a violent effort to recall the past. "About the third drink in the 'Arean- ounds," he said, after a while. "Or maybe it was the fourth, I dunno. Anyway I went to show it to some chaps-and washn't there! Gorn "You'd better go to the tram dep6t," I suggested. "The goose is probably waiting for you there." "W aeher take me for?" demanded Mr. Cripps. "Ain't I bin s-silly depot once t'night? Ain't that why I'm sittin' here? If I hadn't bin s-silly depot an' got wettern ever, wouldn't I bin 'cross other end o' the town by now? Depot! I don't want any s-silly depot. I want my goose! Finest, fattest goose11 "P'raps I never took myself away from the Three Fishermen, suggested the land- lord. "P'raps I never took myself away from Three Fish'men," said Mr. Cripps tearfully, as he turned his empty mug upside down and leered at it. "P'raps I never iwon goose at all! P'raps all a dream! P'raps I'm a fool! P'raps we're all fools—'cept that I gen'leman over there with the nasty cigar!" "What did they say at the tramway depot?" I inquired. 'You're beashly drunk!" said Mr. Cripps. "How dare you!" I exclaimed. "Thash what they said t' me," declared Mr. Cripps. "An' what you said t' me is zhust what I shed t' them But I lost my goose all same for that!" FILLING THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING The art of choosing presents is discussed in an article in the "Quiver" by Bertha Bellows Streeter. One of the greatest pleasures of childhood (she says) is afforded by a mysterious pack- age. Do you remember how large a part this played in your own child life? Will you ever forget the pleasure experienced when father returned from business trips and let you children rummage in his hag for the presents he had brought? And the fun undoing the packages to see what was in them? Let the memory help you be a-n artist in filling the Christmas stockings now for your own wee ones. A little retrospection as to what afforded yon the greatest pleasure when you were a child will help you select toys that will give the greatest amount of happiness, for the children of each generation are like those of the previous one. You may object that when you were a child they did not have such toys as can be found now in even the bazaars. True, there were no such worlds of mechani- cal contrivances, each of which does but one thing, nor the realistic reproductions of the household utensils and furnishings that so delight the hearts. of small women. But if you inquire at the large stores you will learn that the mechanical toys are not as lasting in their attraction to children as you may have supposed. I THE OLD WOMAN GHOST. Some "Ghost Stories" are told in The Home Magazine," by A. M. Burrage, from which we select the following:— I once heard a ghost story about a certain well-known actor who subsequently met his death in the war, although then he was well over military age. By something of a coincidence I met him shortly after having heard the story, and, though I came to know him quite well, I never cared to question him about it. It seems that when he was a very little boy, living in a Scotch town, he used to speak to his mother and nurse about an old lady who used to wander about his nursery, and who was invisible to all save himself. His parents were at first alarmed, deeming such an imagining to be unhealthy, but they knew such things were not uncommon with children, and, as the little boy seemed more pleased than otherwise to see his strange visitor, they took little notice. I may add that they did not believe in ghosts. The boy used to describe the old woman as having a very kind face, and she used to smile at him and nod at him and encourage him to play. Now comes the sequel. One night the family were sitting at dinner, when, from the top of the house there came a scream, followed by a crash. They rushed up to find that the little boy had fallen downstairs and tay unconscious on the landing below the nursery. When he was brought to, he said that he had jumped downstairs because the old lady had spoken to him; but nothing would induce him to divulge what she had said. Enquiries soon brought to light a rather vague legend that that particular room was supposed to be haunted by an old woman; and the family made haste to move. The little boy, when he grew up, would aever tell thjs storv; but he w."s willing to Oiiiit it under pressure. But he never told a soul what the old woman said to him, and the secret now lies buried with him under a -wooden cross. Perhaps—who knows?—she told him about the scarred slope of Hill 60 and a predestined shell. THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING. (A Recipe.) Take some human nature—as you find it, The commonest varietv will do- Put a little graciousness behind it, Add a lump of charity-or two, Squeeze in just a drop of moderation; Half as much frugality—or less. Add some very fine consideration, Strain off all of poverty's distress. Pour some milk of human kindness in it, Put in all the happiness you can, Stir it up with laughter every minute, Season with goodwill toward every man. Set it on the lire of heart's affection, Leave it tiil the jolly bubbles rise, Sprinkle it with kisses-for confection, Sweeten with a look from loving eyes. Flavour it with children's merry chatter. Frost it with the snow of wintry dells, Place it on a holly-garnished platter, And serve it with the song of Christmas bells. —"Sphere." THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOVE. Men are absolutely idiotic about women once they fall in love, says Elinor Glyn, writing on "The Man's Side" of the above subject in the "Grand Magazine." They cannot see their faults; they appear to have no intuition which warns them they are being deceived; they are bamboozled and led by affectations which would not for an in- stant impose upon women! But because men's senses are delighted, their reason sleeps, and they court their own unhappi- ness. So do try to remain awake, Richard, and strip off the glamour from your emotion for Kathleen, and see if there is "anything to it." We will suppose you do this, and find she is quite a nice girl really, regardless of her attractions; then go ahead! If she is fond of you she will not want to lose you, and if she is not, you had better retire in any case—the abj ect lover is such a pitiful creature! But to make her love you in the beginning, when she seems to be indifferent you must use intelligence. Nothing pleases a woman so much as a quiet self-confidence in a man and his show- ing that he is taking trouble about her.
WHERE THE MONEY GOES. I One hears a lot about profiteering, but what would you think of a dressmaker who charged £ 4 for sewing on a button, and < £ 30 for some small alterations. This is not fiction, but the records of a suit against the dressmaker in question by a customer in the year 1901 show the charge to have been made. Again, in another case a customer showed bills to prove that she had been charged £ 184 for four hats. Some years ago a certain London gun- smith made a claim for compensation in respect of certain premises which a railway were acquiring, and put in his books to substantiate his claim. From these it ap- peared that a certain wind-gauge which he Bold for < £ 2 14s, cost him only 9s., a profit of 500 per cent. On gunpowder he made 200 per cent. profit, while on certain articles with a small turnover the profit ran to 800 per cent.! At a meeting of the shareholders of a London woollen company ten years ago a speaker mentioned the fact that the fashion of wearing coats some two inches longer than formerly was costing his company quite fifteen hundred a year, yet retailers ) complained bitterly at paying an extra nine- < pence a suit. He found, he said, that those dealers who bought the ready-made suit never made a profit of less than 50 per cent.
"OUTED." I Members of the Bermondscy Profiteering Committee who were members of the old Borough Council have had their appoint- ments revoked by the new Council, and new members have been appointed. Councillor Craigie said the old Profiteer- ing Committee had done nothing except to appoint a woman inspector, which appoint- ment turned out to be a fiasco.
Mr. F. A. Harman Oates has been ap- pointed keeper, secretary, and accounting oSoer of the London Museum, and Colonel the Hon. M. V. Brett deputy-keeper and librarian. A message from Halle (Saxony) states that Kilian, who exercised there a despotic reign of terror during the Independent revo- lution, has been sentenced to three years' imprisonment. "There is much IF-so demand for beer to- day than in 1918. When people could not get beer they weTe clamouring for it; now they can get plenty they don't want half of it," said a licensee at a brewers an4 licen- sees' conference at Lichfield.
[ NOTES ON NEWS. In connection with the Spen Valley by- ?lection, Mr. Bonar Law has addressed a -etter to Colonel Fairfax which is of interest io all those who are seriously considering the question of party politics. Mr. Bonar Law says: "The present contest is, I think, the most direct challenge which has yet been made to the system of a Coalition Govern- ment. The issue which the electors are called on to decide is whether we should en- deavour to deal with the very difficult, and in many respects entirely new, problems which the war has creattd in a national or in a party spirit. Your Liberal opponent f-eem.s to be convinced that the British people is clearly divided between the sheep and the goats, and that any Government must be insincere, if not dishonest, which is not based on this decision. This is, I am sure, a delusion. During the war there were three Governmente, and of those the one in which there was the least unity of purpose was, in my opinion, the first—a purely party Government." I Something Accomplished. In a single session the present Govern- ment has passed a larger amount of legisla- tion which the war has rendered necessary than would have been possible in any other way, or has ever been carried by any pre- vious Government in a whole Parliament. It is also, in my belief, due to the same cause that the country has passed success- fully through the critical year of unrest which has been so marked throughout the whole world, and I am convinced that the elc-ctors of Spen Valley will show by their votes that they do not believe that the time has come when it is safe to return to the pre-war party divisions." I Farming With Explosives. An interesting experiment is being con- ducted at Dartmoor, which is rapidly being transformed by explosives into productive farm land. Gelignite is inserted into holes in the hard ground and discharged by elec- tric current. The explosives break up the subsoil, and at the end of a few months the ground^ is ready for cultivation. An ex- panse cf 150 acres, which formerly was un- productive of anything but heather and gorse, has grown this year excellent crops of hay, carrots, swedes, turnips, potatoes, and peas. This method was devised by Mr. Henry Vendelmans, an agricultural en- gineer, and a graduate of the University of Louvain. The charges of gelignite are in- serted from eighteen to twenty-seven inches dec,) in the ground, and sometimes fifty charges have been used in one spot. Each charge is from half to three-quarters of an ounce. On these being exploded the hard- pan, through which the water could not soak, ia broken, but the operation has ele- ments of danger in it through pieces of flying rock or stone. I Taming the Wild Child. The training of the unruly child has often proved a tiresome problem, and the ques. tion is often to what extent can re- f^xiiialory hnJ Industrial schools attain the ideals set before the public elementary schools of the country? Mr. Arthur H. Norris, chief inspector of reformatory and industrial schools, has issued an appeal to managers and superintendents of Home Office schools, in view of the new financial scheme which will come into force on April 1 next, to take stock of their position and, bearing in mind that education means not merely schoolroom work, but the general development of each shild's mind, body, and character, to consider how best to concen- trate their energies on high educational ends. He insists on less institutional work. The "half-timer" has been abolished by the Act of 1918 so far as ordinary children are concerned, and Mr. Norris points out that it is incumbent on managers of reformatory and industrial schools to see that their chil- dren are no worse off in that respect than other children. He says: "The more diffi- cult the children the greater the need for uplifting their minds." I Transport Workers' Wages. The application of the National Transport Workers' Federation for a general revision of wages of dock and waterside workers with a view to the establishment of a national minimum of 16s. per day has been further considered at a joint conference of representatives of the Federation and the National Council of Dock and Waterside Employers. It has been, stated that it is too early to talk of a crisis, although it is considered that negotiations have been greatly prolonged, and the men are said to be pressing for an early settlement. Some of the employers, particularly the London Waterside Manufacturers and the London Chamber of Commerce, are asking for an inquiry by the Mini-try of Labour into the rates of wages in the transport trade, and they contend that tho industry cannot under present conditions bear the burden of the new demands. It is considered possible that the matter may be ireferred to the new Industrial Court. Payment of Teachers. At a mass meeting of London school- teachers the findings of the Standing Joint Committee on a national scale of pay for teachers were considered. Mr. Herbert Sprigge alluded to the proposed maximum salary of .£300 a year for assistant masters, and said that if that was an adequate sum for rural schoolmasters, the question arose what addition will local authorities be pre- pared to give for those working in indus- trial areas. The Association asked for £ 500—< £ 200 more than the national scale agreed upon. Another clause, he said, abrogated their power to strike or any other power which they had possessed since teachers' organisations came into existence. A National Scale. At the conference on the question the following resolution was passed: "That this maæ meeting deplores tne lack of con- sideration for schoolmasters working in the Metropolitan and extra Metropolitan areas shown by the Standing Joint Committee in the framing of a national scale of salaries for teachers." Mr. A. W. Instrell, who moved this resolution, said that the pre-war pay of X140 would have to be made £ 350 in order to place it on a pre-war economic standard. A delegate pointed out that young police- men who came to evening continuation schools now had a starting wage of 9180 a year, as compared with the teachers' start- ing salary of .£160. Independent Air Force. The scheme for the future of the Royal Air Force, as suggested by General Trenchard, is outlined in a White Paper. The total expenditure which Mr. Churchill contemplated was 254,000,000, but this scheme is based on an expenditure of < £ 15,000,000, which Mr. Churchill tells us has been approved by the Cabinet as the RA.F. scale. General Trenchard's idea is that the R.A.F. shall consist of an independent force, together with a personnel carrying out aero- nautical research. There will be a small part specially trained for work with the Army and a small part for work with the Navy, and he contemplates that these two small portions will become an arm of the older services. The effect of this will be clearly to revert to the old system of avia- tors under the command of the generals and the Navy, but to maintain by its sIde a large independent force under apparently an air general. Movable Aerodromes. I From this it seems obvious that the aero- nautical experts intend to have a more inde- pendent future. The memorandum proposes to reduce the service squadrons to those re- quired in India, Mesopotamia, Egypt- .Niesopotamia ?f the air" "which is the Clapham Junction of the air" —certain naval bases and coaling stations. There will be a very small number of squadrons in the United Kingdom as a re- serve for co-operation with the Fleet, and the whole of the remainder of our resources should be concentrated on the training of officers and men. The Admiralty proposes to keep two aircraft-carrying vessels in com- mission, so that fleets may take their aero- dromes with them in the shape of a carrier. The time probably may come when all work in co-operation with the Navy will be done bv seaplanes, and so it is proposed to main- tain a small squadron at Howden, where re- search work and development can continue.
t FUN AND FANCY. Black: "Life is really a very hum-drum aff-ir." White: "Yes, nothing 'but berths, marriages, and debts!" Rosenberg: "You vas a liar and a scoun- drel Do you hear dot?" Einstein: "I hear you already, and I dinks vol vas talking to yourself." Young Man: "So Miss Lily is your eldest ?ister? Who comes after her?" Small Urother: "Nobody ain't come as yet; but pa says the first fellow that comes can have her." Husband (angrily): "What! Eight Erl,iu.e,,vs for a hat:" Wife (soothingly): "Well, dear, just think what I saved you on your income tax:" Jack: "You told me that you couldn't pos- siblv live with Miss Bagsful, and now the weddinor is announced." Jim: "That's right. I found upon going into my affairs that I could not live without her." Constable: "Come along: you've got to have fi bath I" Tramp: "A bath! What, with water?" "Y es, of course." "Couldn't you manage it with one o' them vacuum cleaners ?" "My teacher gave me an am-ful rowing be- cause I use d inter for iufern. Was that such a bad mistake, dad?" "Well, my son, I would call it a grave sort of mistake." "But," he protested, "I have admitted that I was wrong. Isn't that enough?" "No," she replied. "You must also admit that I was right." Wife: "According to the programme this play has a moral, but I fail to see it." Hus- band (who paid a guinea plus tax for the seats-bitterly): "Oh, it's plain enough. 'A fool and his money are soon parted. First Barber: "That was a bad cut you gave that old man while shaving him?" Second Barber: "Oh. there's a reason for it! I'm courting his maid, and that cut will let her know that I can meet her this evening." Two cats were about to have a duel. "Let us have an understanding before we begin," said one. "About whaV" asked the other. "Is it to be a duel to the death, or shall we make it the best three out of five?" "Well, Albert, I've been acting on your advice. I put twenty-live pounds in the bank this month." "Fine' It isn't so hard, is it?" "No; I simply tore up all the bills I received." New Dentist (in Wild West Town): "Will you take gas?" Brorco Bill: "Will it hurt if I don't," "It will." "Then, stranger, for your sake I think I'd better take it." The Father: "But have you enough money to marry my daughter?" The Suitor: "Well, sir, at the moment I only get ten pounds a month, but by going on strike every month for higher wstges, I shall be getting a hun- dred pounds by the end of the year." ———— "I hope your little boy never tells a lie.* "I don't know. I do know that at times he tells a lot of embarrassing truths." Mother: "Were you good at the party?* Bobbie: "Yes, mother." "You didn't ask twice for anything at the table?" "No, I didn't. I asked once, and they didn't hear me, so I helped myself." Lawyer: "Then I understand you to swear, witness, that the parties came to high words?" Writness: "No, sir. Wot I say is, the words was partcularly low." "I suppose," remarked the facetious stranger, watching a workman lay down a carpet from the church door to the kerb, "that is the high road to heaven?" "No," promptly replied the man, "merely a bridal path." Lady: "Why is a great, strong man like you round begging?" Tramp: "Oh, madam, it is the only profession in which a man can address a beautiful ladv without the for- mality of an introduction." Tramp: "Please, &ir, I don't suppose you don't know of nobody that don't want to hire nobody to do nothing, don't you?" "Yes, I don't." Tony: "My uncle left me only a thousand. pounds? Wonder if I could break his will?" Fred: "It should be easy' He must have been crazy to lepre you anything!" "Don't you think a real friend ought to feel sympathetic when one needs money?" "I think a good many friends in such cases are touched." Miss Vane: "Someone told me to-day that I was the handsomest girl in our street." Miss Cute: "Oh, that's not incurable!" Miss Vane: "What do you mean?" Miss Cute: "Your habit of talking to yourself." Father: "So you were playing poker last night? Haven't I told you time and again to have nothing to do with games of chance?" Son: "It wasn't a game of chance. I had no chance from the beginning." Captain Daehaway: "Yes, while we were stationed in Egypt we visited the Pyramids. They were literally covered with hierogly- phics." Mrs. Newrich: "Ugh! Wasn't you afraid some of 'em would git on you?"
THE WAY TO BE STRONG The possession of physical fitness is a more urgent necessity than ever in these times. Health is essential to all who would maintain that high efficiency which is increasingly in demand. Physical fitness and all that the term implies—vigour, energy, activity, a sense of well-being and a capacity for hard work or full enjoyment-can only be realised if the digestive system is sound and healthy. The way to be strong is so easy that it is astonishing how many people miss it. You have just to keep your digestive system in good order and you will rarely be ailing. It is, therefore, well to remember that, in the great majority of cases, a good digestion can be ensured by the use of Beecham's Pills. This famous medicine will strengthen the stom. ach, promote appetite, stimulate the liver and kidneys, regulate the bowels and purify the blood. All those who value sound and stable health will be well advised to take BEECRJWS PILLS. In bcxM, labelled !?3d Md 3?M. I In bcjcc4 ItlxlW IsU "it