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The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
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Aunt Mai's Budget.

By Mrs. Francis F. Steinthal.
Volume 10, 1899, pg. 61



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My Dear Children,--It is a great delight to me to be able to write to you from my own home, and to feel that I am once more among you all, and can again work for and with you. Since I last wrote, we have visited Genoa, Florence and Venice, and it would take three or four years' letters to you to tell you all we have seen and enjoyed. Of course I looked at all the designs on the palaces and in the churches, and found that the rules you now know so well were never broken by the old artists. I have copied a great many, and shall let the members of the Art Club see them. Where must I begin? I think that this month we will not talk about the pictures, but I will tell you about some very old travellers, whose house I saw in Venice.

In 1260, about six hundred and fifty years ago, two brothers, called Niccolo and Matteo Polo, left Venice, carrying with them a stock of jewels, to exchange for carpets, ivories, spices, furs and leather, in Central Asia. They crossed the Sea of Azof, and after three years' travelling, reached the court of Kublai Khan. The Prince was delighted with his visitors, and at last asked them to return home and request the Pope to send him a hundred Missionaries, to teach his people Christianity; and above all, he begged them to bring back some of the oil from the lamps which burnt before the Sepulchre of Christ at Jerusalem.

The Khan gave the travellers a royal warrant on a tablet of gold, commanding all men to help them; but in spite of this, the brothers spent three years in weary travel before they reached Rome. Then they learnt to their dismay that the Pope had just died, and a new one had not been elected. The Polos then concluded that they might as well go to see their family in Venice, which they left fifteen years before. Niccolo found his baby boy quite big, and interesting. Months went by, and no Pope was elected. Then Niccolo got tired of waiting, and began to wonder what the great Khan would think of their broken promise. At last they determined to take the boy Marco with them, and at any rate to get the oil ready for their long journey. Just as they were starting, and had said good-bye to their friends, they heard that an old friend had been elected Pope, so at once they went to Rome and asked for a hundred Missionaries. But the new Pope, Gregory X., although he was much pleased with the request, had not got so many to send. All he could do was to send two monks to do what they could for Asia. But when the two found that they not only had a long journey, but also that several times they would be called on to fight, their courage failed them, and after giving up their letters to brave merchants, they fled home to Italy. Was it not a pity for the world, that brave men could not have been found at this time who would have taken Christianity into the heart of Asia?

The honest men were altogether eight years away from the Prince, and probably he and his people had given up all hope of seeing them again. Would they not be delighted when they saw them return with the holy oil, and also with a young companion?

For twenty years they disappeared, and the family who had left the house I have just seen had quite forgotten them. Their father and mother died, also their elder brother, and the nephews were carrying on the great merchant business of the Polos. Suddenly, one evening in 1295, there appeared at the gate of the great family house, which is standing to-day, three wild-looking figures, in coats of coarse homespun, and sheepskin collars, with dark complexions, and scarcely able to speak Italian. Who could imagine that these men were once stately Venetian gentlemen?

Of course the relations could not believe that these wild beings belonged to their family, so at last the travellers made a bargain with them. They invited all their relations to a great banquet. "When the house came, the three came out of their room dressed in long robes of crimson satin. When water had been offered for their hands, they placed their guests at table, and then taking off their satin robes put on rich damask of the same colour and ordered that the first should be divided among the servants. Then after the first course, they rose from the table and again changed their dress, putting on crimson velvet, and giving as before the damask ones to the servants, and at the end of the repast they did the same with the velvet, putting on garments of ordinary cloth such as their guests wore. The persons invited were struck dumb with astonishment at these proceedings, and when the servants had left the hall, Messer Marco, the youngest, rising from the table went into his chamber and brought out the three coarse coats in which they had come home, and immediately the three began with sharp knives to cut open the seams and tear off the lining, upon which there poured forth a great quantity of precious stones--rubies, sapphires, carbuncles, diamonds and emeralds--which had been sewed into each coat with great care, so that no one could have suspected that anything was there. The exhibition of such a treasure of jewels and precious stones, which filled the table, struck everyone dumb with astonishment and they at once recongised their honoured relations and embraced them with fervour." Because Marco always stated the revenue of the great Khan to be from ten to fifteen millions in gold he got the surname of Marco Millions, which may be seen noted in the books of the republic. Don't you think this scene is as wonderful as any fairy tale?

Marco was, after his return home, regarded as the greatest story-teller in Venice, and the Venetians often gathered round him while he told of the wealth and magnificence of the court of the great Khan, and the hair-breadth escapes on the return journey from assassins and robbers. Some day when you are older you will read his tales with interest, as written down by Rusticiano while Marco was talking. But always remember that he was the first traveller to trace a route across the whole longitude of Asia, naming and describing kingdom after kingdom which he had seen with his own eyes. He was the first traveller to reveal China in all its wealth, its mighty ruins, its huge cities; the first to speak of Java, of Ceylon, of Zanzibar, and even of Siberia. And it was at the door of this man's house that we also knocked in the year 1899.

I am sorry that so many artists have had to write for their drawings this year. Owing to my boy's illness, I was obliged to neglect many outside duties, and could not find the time to sort and post over two thousand drawings. In the first years I could easily do this, but our members have increased so rapidly the last two that I must make a new rule, that drawings cannot be returned. Last year the drawings covered the floor of two rooms and a landing, and we often had to walk all round to find where a certain set were lying. It took one whole day to arrange the drawings into sets, and two days to make up the parcels and address them. This year it would take me at least a week, as my former helpers are all at school.

The critic who has taken the drawings in my absence, and who is a great authority on design, tells me that she is surprised at the excellence of the designs and drawings sent in, and that the work done in the Club is better than in any other children's Art Club she has criticised. So work away children and learn all you can.
Your loving,
Aunt Mai.

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Competitions.

All competitions are open to children of readers of the Parents Review. Members are reminded that their fees became due on January 1st. As only one-third have paid their subscriptions this year, the attention of members is called to the following rule:--

Rule I.--A fee of 1$. entitles a child to work in any competition. Rule II.--All work and drawings to be sent to Aunt Mai, Wharfemead, Ilkley, before the 30th.

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Little Authors.

Frances Mary Petty, Sylvia Power, Olive Miles, Eric Lovel and Phyllis Lovel each get three marks. Noreen Sim and Dorothy Lovel also send.

Dorothy Brooks and the Ladies Gwendolin, Olga and Dorothy Osborne send tales on "What the Wind said to the Sea."

Frances Mary Petty and Helena Scruby have written "Little John's Wonderful Journey."

Write this month on "The Clouds' Quarrel with the Lark."

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Little Workers' Society.
Founder: Mrs. Edmund Strode.

Each member makes two garments a year for a child known to the worker.

In June send a pinafore for a little girl.

This competition was formerly taken up more heartily. As the monthly sewing competitions are not being held this year, a special appeal is made to all children to make the pinafore this month. The pleasure of making one for a poor little child known to the worker ought to be very great. At least fifty garments ought to be sent in. The two best made pinafores in each of the four classes get a prize.

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Aunt Mai's Cot.

"I am sorry that we cannot give a good account of Ellen for the past month, and we have been very anxious about her. Her leg has healed up splendidly, but some new pain has developed in her side, which has resulted in a bad cough, and she has not been able to leave her bed for some time. It is very disappointing that this fresh trouble has come on, as we were hoping to be able to send her away when her leg had healed up sufficiently.

"'Curley' is in want of her new pinafores, if she could have some sent her; and we should be grateful of two new frocks for her this summer."

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Art Club.

Rule I.--No drawing must exceed 12 by 12.
" II.--Drawings must be sent flat.
" III.--All work must be original.

Work for June:--
I. Draw and paint your front door wide open, with the view beyond. The artist can sit about nine feet from the opening.
II. Design a cover for a railway time table.
III. Juniors under nine can paint a wild flower.

The following artists have sent drawings:--
Dorothy Brooks, Mary and Ronald Rees, Cicely Cholmondeley, Nellie and Dorothy Goodwyn, Margaret Preston, Harold and Jessie Dickson, Rachel and Christina Barclay, Catherine Cecil, Katie Swan, Octavia, Dorothy and Josephine Scruby, Dorothy Marriott, Grace and Lorna Lawrence, Violet Todd, Gladys Kennedy, Ruth Edminson, Madgie Crook, Josephine, Philippa and Eric Hickson, Irene and Maitland Durant, Stella, Audrey and Naomi Peake, Marion and Eveline Thompson, Sylvia Power, Winifred Villiers Stuart, Basil Leverson, Dorothy Woods, Dorothy, Marguerite and Kenneth Yeo, Lady Dorothy Osborne, Lady Olga Osborne, Margaret and Lillie Ragwell, Lawrence Cadbury, Evelyn, Marjorie and Sylvia Powys, Eileen Godfrey, Beryl Durand, Winifred Edminson, Margaret Barbour, Erica Stevenson, Dora Hatherly, Margery Webb, Dorothy Ker, Myra and Christie Hebbert, Joan and Christina Abbay, and Lady Gwendolin Osborne.

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Letters.

The cooking department has been so well and admirably conducted by Miss Steinthal for four years, that by looking at past numbers of the "Budget," girls can find plenty to cook for a very long time. This class will, therefore, be suspended for a time, and in its place it has been suggested that letters shall be printed, written by children, either giving any information that may interest others, or asking questions about any points that they do not understand, such as in games, or botany, or charades, or books. This month a letter is given, which was sent by a boy a short time ago, to show the kind of letter that is wanted:--

I was very interested in hearing about the Christmas tree for the birds, in your letter in December and January's "Budget." Last winter we had a stand made to put the bread for the birds on; it is about six feet in height, and five feet from the ground is a broad piece of wood, whereon we put the bread. About a foot above this board are two iron hooks, to which we hang up suet for the tom-tits. This stand stands outside the dining-room windows, and robins, sparrows, tom-tits, and sometimes blackbirds and thrushes, come to eat the food which is provided for them; we sometimes hang cocoa-nuts up too. I have taken up the study of fungi these holidays, and have found several species, as they flourish in the damp weather. When I get the fungi I paint them, as I find it is impossible to preserve them in any other way. I have also been taking plaster-casts of birds' footprints, and find it very interesting work. I have also been taking casts of medals. I first grease the medal with olive oil, and then surround it by a slip of cardboard; I thin pour a thick solution of plaster of Paris on to the medal and then wait till it is dry. I then take it off, and have got a mould by which I can obtain a cast in the same way.
Your loving Nephew,
Willie Harvey.

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The Pig With a Straight Tail.

Mrs. Pig was always wishing she had children, till one day seven little pigs were born to her. Six of them were pretty little things with curly tails, but the seventh had a straight tail, his name was Spotty. He was a little white pig with black spots on him. Spotty was Mrs. Pig's favourite, she used to weep hours over his straight tail; Spotty tried to comfort her, but she would say:--"Look at your brothers and sisters--what lovely curly tails they have." "Never mind, mother," said the pig, "perhaps some day it will curl." A few weeks after, the pig's mother fell ill; each day she got worse, till one day she called her little pigs and said to them:--"My dear little pigs, by to-morrow I know I shall be dead--and you, Spotty, take care of your little brothers and sisters." Then saying good-bye to her pigs again, she died. Each little pig went to his corner of the sty and cried. The next day they heard men's voices at the door, and three men came into the sty. "This one is the best," said one of them, pointing to Spotty, "he will sell well, he is so fat." Then, putting a string round his neck, he led him out on a strange road which Spotty had never seen before; they walked for a long way, but at last they got to the market. On the way they met lots of boys and girls who laughed at his straight tail. When Spotty got to the market, he was placed amongst a lot of other pigs. Spotty tried to get up conversation with some of the other pigs, but they all snubbed him and would not talk to him; Spotty felt very offended at being not answered. Presently a gentlemen came up to the man that was with Spotty and spoke to him for a little while, and then Spotty was led off to a new sty. There were four other pigs; at first they were a little bit cross to him because of his tail, but soon they found him so good-natured that they got to like him. One day Spotty saw lying on the ground a bit of ribbon. "I know," he said to Blacky, "I have always been wishing to have a curly tail, but instead I will have a bow on my tail." Then all the pigs stood on their hind legs to do it up, and between them all they made a kind of bow. Then Spotty was happy for the rest of his life.--The end. Dorothy Osborne (9 1/2).

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Curley's Adventures in Fairyland.

Chapter I.

Curley was a dear little boy. One day he went to bed early, so as to make the time pass more quickly, for the next day was his birthday, and he would be eight years old. He was lying in bed thinking of what presents he would have, when, all of a sudden, he heard some sweet music, and he saw on the bar of his bed, a tiny little man, all dressed in white, with wings like a fly's; beside him was a little boy, about half his size, dressed exactly the same, carrying a flute, which he played. Curley sat up in bed, and the fairy called out, "Curley! Curley!" Curley answered, "Yes, I'm here, where did you come from?"

"I came from fairyland, and, as you are a good boy, I am going to give you a treat, you are coming to fairyland with me, and I am going to show you all the sights." Curley thanked him, and said, "Where is it?"

"You shut your eyes, and hold with one hand on to me, and one hand on to this little boy, and we'll do the rest."

He did as he was told, and all of a sudden, the bed and all seemed to be tumbling right down. They soon got to fairyland, and Curley found himself as small as the little boy; and they flew off the bed, for he had wings now. Then the bedroom and all vanished suddenly, and he walked on with the man and boy to a great sunflower, which they climbed up, and the top looked like an enormous maze, which they entered; in the centre was a big palace which they also entered. The fairy told Curley that he was the king of the fairies, and this was his little son; he also said that he would shew Curley the queen. When Curley heard that he was the king, he bowed, thinking it was the proper thing to do. The hall of the palace was all gold, and the rooms were all made of little petals of forget-me-nots, being a lovely light blue colour. After they had been all round the palace, they went into a bigger room, made of heartsease petals. All round the walls there was a kind of low, broad shelf, on which was every kind of fairy refreshment, such as cups of dew-drop lemonade, pollen sherbert, the juice of sunflower seeds, and every other kind of seeds for fruit. The heartsease petals rendered a delightful odour to the air, and the smell of the delicacies made the room most pleasing. In the middle of the room there was a small golden table, on which were a lot of papers, where an account of the naughty things, and the names of all the naughty mortal children, was kept. Last, but not least, were two thrones exactly alike, made of gold and scarlet-stained wood, and mother-of-pearl backs, on which were heaps of cushions, etc. On the left-hand one was a lovely fairy, evidently the queen. The king went and sat on the other throne, and Curley bowed to the queen as he had done to the king. She took him and kissed him gently on his cheeks. Meanwhile, the king told one of the courtiers, whose name was Sunbeam, to take Curley to see all fairyland, at least all the principal sights. So Curley bade good-bye to the king and queen, and the little prince, for whom he had now a great liking. The queen gave him a little red stone, which she told him to keep as a very precious thing, and that if he wanted any help, he was to rub it, for it was magic.

Chapter II.

Curley started off with Sunbeam out of the palace and out of the maze. Sunbeam whistled twice, and a little tiny chariot drawn by two motes, or sunbeams, appeared. Sunbeam told them to got to Iris Hospital. They were flying through the air, and Curley exclaimed, "Oh, how lovely!"

Indeed it must have been lovely flying at that pace through the scented air! However, that did not last long, for the two motes went exceedingly fast.

When they arrived at Iris Hospital, Sunbeam helped Curley out, and pressed a knob in the wall. A nurse came out and took Curley, and Sunbeam waited outside in the little car, telling the nurse, whose name was Blythe, not to keep Curley too long, as the impatient steeds were waiting. Blythe took Curley in and showed him all the cots, and medicines and bandages. The invalids were all kinds of insects, such as ants, bees, flies, wasps, etc. There was one dear little worm which had been cut in half by a spade. It was all sewn up, and had a lot of bandages on. Tears came into Curley's eyes, for it was such a dreadful sight to see this poor worm. Then Blythe took him on to a little green fly, who had one of its wings pulled off. At last, when he had been all round the hospital, Blythe took him back to Sunbeam, who told him to get into the chariot and also told the motes to go to Rhododendron Cathedral. It did not take so long to go there as it had done from the palace to the hospital. Sunbeam did exactly the same as she had done before, and a fairy, dressed like a clergyman, came out. He took Curley into the Cathedral, and there was a marriage going on. The clergyman, whose name was Time, had a long white beard, and hair hanging on his shoulder. He shewed Curley the organ which was truly wonderful. It was made of a lot of little fibres of leaves in a row, with a stalk to keep them together on the top and bottom. Behind each fibre there was a pair of bellows, which, when one of the keys was struck, the corresponding bellow blew on to the fibre and made most lovely sounds. When Curley had been all round the Cathedral, he was taken out to Sunbeam, who again directed the motes to go to Daisy School. When they got there, a fairy whose name was Silver, came out and took him round the school. In the yellow "eye" in the centre sat the mistress, and on each petal sat two of the pupils. This was soon inspected. Sunbeam took Curley all round the rest of the places, which would take a week to describe. Curley expressed his wish to go back and see his friends the king and queen, but Sunbeam told him there was not time, so he told the two steeds to go to where Curley had flown off the bed. They went up, up, up; all of sudden, crash!! and Curley woke up. He felt about, and lo and behold! there was the red stone that the Fairy Queen had given him. He got up and there was a fairy story-book awaiting for him. I wonder whether Curley's story was in it. His mother told him that she had given him the red stone, and that it was a ruby and it was of great value. When Curley grew up it belonged to him, and then he understood the real value of it!
G. D. Henzell Pidcock (Aged 11 3/4).

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Senior Art Club.

This Club is intended for Aunt Mai's pupils when they leave her at the age of sixteen, but it is open to any readers of the Review, either lady or gentleman. The terms are 6$. for six months. All work marked for exhibition is criticised by Mr. David Murray, A.R.A., on the yearly "Pupils' Show Day," in Miss Stewart Wood's studio, 44, Holland Street, Kensington. All particulars of the Club can be obtained from Miss A. Y. Davidson, Secretary, 41, Bessborough Gardens, London, S.W.

Rule 1.--Work is sent to Miss Stewart Wood, 44 Holland Street, Kensington, by the 23rd of every month, and the portfolio leaves her on the 1st of the month following. Subjects are issued on the 21st of each month, but members may receive subjects for a term in advance on application to the Secretary.

Rule 2.--The name and address of contributor is written on the back of each study, and paper is placed over the face of the principal subject for protection and for the writing of criticism. Secondary subjects are usually numbered and criticised en masse. Oil students are required to use thin French canvas (Young, Gower Street, London 2$. per yard), to reduce postage. For same purpose no mountings or stretchers are allowed.

Rule 3.--All work marked "for exhibition" is shown to Mr. David Murray, A.R.A., at the end of the winter term: Miss E. S. Wood writes his criticisms, and occasionally a letter of her own advice to the students, and lends them examples of good work. Studies are returned in June, or if a member especially wishes, in December also.

Rule 4.--All dues to be paid between the 20th and 26th of month preceding a new term, by those who wish to join for six months. Members may join for a month on payment of 1$. per month, but have only one subject criticised. Summer: May-October; Winter: November-April. Subscription, 6$. per term. Fines: 6d. for failure to send in principal subject; 6d. for sending in work late; 1$. for keeping portfolio for more than a night (unless Sunday intervenes); 1$. for damaging or failing to return, within a specified time, books, casts, &c., borrowed from the critic or other members. Fines, and any extra donations, go to defray heavy postage expenses of Critic and Secretary. All complaints, suggestions, and payments sent to the latter, 41, Bessborough Gardens, London, S.W.

Subjects for June.

I. Haymaking.--There is such a variety of grasses to be found in English fields that come to the scythe in due rotation, that there will hardly be any difficulty in finding a spot to answer to this subject. The long swathes of grass after it is cut form beautiful lines in perspective which are vary valuable in a picture, and the gradation of tone as the heaps come nearer is very subtle and interesting to observe. The distance will probably be bounded by a darker line of hedge or distant trees, and against their dark the gleam of the haymakers' white shirts and sun-bonnets will give life to the scene.

II. A Sky Study.--Midsummer is perhaps the time when we most notice those light and peculiarly beautiful clouds of the upper sky which are often crowded together in masses of mingling light. To seize their brilliance when they are seen against a very light blue sky is a most interesting study. Shelley describes such clouds as
         "A multitude of dense white fleecy clouds
         Were wandering in thick flocks
         Shepherded by the slow unwilling wind."

Subjects for July.

I. Standing Corn.--A field of ripe wheat, barley or oats, is not hard to find in England, and the colour is so rich, especially in the first-named, that it is a most excellent study, if not always very manageable in a picture. The gradations of tone learnt in your former studies will be of use here, for the glow of the field, even in the distance, is so intense as to make it confusing at first to decide on the strength of tone necessary for the foreground. Some of the heads of corn will shew more in detail in the nearer parts.

II. A Sky Study, similar in character to the June subject.

III. A Close Study of cottage gardens, old barns, a bit of old paling, or any objects not likely to change rapidly. A grey day is preferable, as the lighting is less apt to change.


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Loan Training Fund Bazaar.

During May, Mrs. Johnson, 24, Netherall Gardens, South Hampstead, has kindly sent Syrian silk and embroidered bag and table cloth worked in Beyrout, to the value of £1 1$.

E. B. Eastbourne is also thanked for her postal order of 5$.

A Bazaar will be held in Manchester, in November, to raise £15,000 for the Gentlewoman's Employment Association. Part of this will be given to the Loan Training Fund, which will enable gentlewomen from any part of the country to obtain training for any profession they may wish to enter.

The following notice from their report may interest my readers, and explain why it has been decided to have a special "House of Education" Stall:--

"Thirty-two ladies have received help from the Training Fund since its establishment in 1892."

"Eight of these have been trained at the House of Education, at Ambleside, about which a few words of description may be of interest. The House of Education was the outcome of the views of the little group of educational enthusiasts who founded the Parents' Review and the 'Parents' Union,' and was an attempt to put the home teaching of children on a more rational and systematic basis than heretofore. Very wisely, however, it was the training of the teacher that was resolved upon, and this training is so real and thorough, as carried on under the stimulating supervision of Miss Charlotte Mason, in the beautiful house overlooking the lake and mountains at Ambleside, that every girl comes away fired with enthusiasm for her calling, and what is still more important, capable of inspiring the children who may fall to her care.

"It is recognized that book learning is but a small part of the education of a child; every aspect of nature and of life is studied, that the growing mind may be supplied with material suited to it, interest awakened in small things and great, the eye trained to see and the hand to perform, while all the time the individual character is studied and developed.

"The students must have previously received a thoroughly good education, and must be over eighteen years of age. There is a small practise school in the grounds at Ambleside, in which are six or eight children of ages ranging from five to fifteen, the idea being to approximate the teaching to that required in a home schoolroom, where the pupils are of necessity of different ages and calibre.

"That such an Institution is welcomed by parents is obvious from the fact that the students of the House of Education have hitherto never had to wait for an engagement, but are able to undertake unusually well-paid work, immediately after the training is completed.

"To return to those who have been trained here by means of the Loan Training Fund. Only one of the seven has required to borrow the whole of the fees (£65 a year for two years), but it is practically certain, that without the help of the Fund, these seven ladies would have been teaching as nursery governesses, at salaries varying from £20 to £25 a year, with the prospect before them of even this modest remuneration being out of their reach as soon as their youth was past.

"Whereas now, they are in receipt of salaries in resident situations ranging from £45 to £125, and are possessed of that special knowledge which is a valuable capital for the whole of their working life. One of these ladies was considerably older than the rest, being forty years of age, when she made the application for the loan. Her circumstances, however, were of such an exceptional character, that the committee felt justified in giving her the help she asked for, and events have proved that they acted rightly. An exceedingly well-educated woman, she had been a successful (but uncertificated) governess, when severe illness overtook her, and was the cause of the gradual disappearance of the bulk of her savings. When she regained her health, she decided to invest the remainder of her little capital in the training at the House of Education, but found herself to the amount of £33 short of the sum required. This was granted her from the Loan Training Fund, and was repaid the following year, when she received an engagement as a daily governess to one child, with a salary of £80 a year, and an additional allowance for board and lodging. The first girl trained here through the Association received £70 in her first situation, and now gets £125 as a resident governess.

"One has just completed her training, and taken up a post with a salary of £76; one will finish her course this year, and another has only just entered the College. All the others have repaid their loans under the time allotted, and there is every reason to hope that these also will be able to do the same with equal facility."

Postal Orders or gifts of work will be gratefully received by the president of the stall, Mrs. Francis Steinthal, Wharfemead, Ilkley.


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