English Language and History .com is a collection of two-minute tales drawn from history, myth and fiction. Each tale is accompanied by word games testing grammar and expression, based on textbooks used in British schools from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Latest
The Arts of Fair Rowena
two-part story
Music: George Frideric Handel
Charles Dickens believed that Britain’s Saxon invaders gained power by force of arms – but not by weapons.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

THEY sent a letter to Rome entreating help — which they called the Groans of the Britons; and in which they said, ‘The barbarians chase us into the sea, the sea throws us back upon the barbarians, and we have only the hard choice left us of perishing by the sword, or perishing by the waves.’

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Six Posts
Kate gets a Dressing-Down
Music: Muzio Clementi
Kate Nickleby must bite her lip as she experiences snobbery for the first time.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

SHE was awkward — her hands were cold — dirty — coarse — she could do nothing right; they wondered how Madame Mantalini could have such people about her; requested they might see some other young woman the next time they came; and so forth.

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Redeeming Time
two-part story
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
Pip Pirrip never misses a moment of visiting time with Abel Magwitch, the convict who made him into a gentleman, in the prison hospital.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

“DEAR boy,” he said, as I sat down by his bed: “I thought you was late. But I knowed you couldn’t be that. God bless you! You’ve never deserted me, dear boy.”

I pressed his hand in silence, for I could not forget that I had once meant to desert him.

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The Train of a Life
Music: Ignaz Moscheles
In Charles Dickens’s tale set around Mugby Junction, a man sees his life flash by like a ghostly train.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

AS the belated traveller plodded up and down, a shadowy train went by him in the gloom which was no other than the train of a life. From whatsoever intangible deep cutting or dark tunnel it emerged, here it came, unsummoned and unannounced, stealing upon him and passing away into obscurity.

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Presumption and Innocence
Music: Henry Purcell
Charles Dickens chastises those who alter the plots of classic tales to push some social agenda of their own.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

IT would be hard to estimate the amount of gentleness and mercy that has made its way among us through these slight channels.

Forbearance, courtesy, consideration for poor and aged, kind treatment of animals, love of nature, abhorrence of tyranny and brute force - many such good things have been first nourished in the child's heart by this powerful aid.

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Alfred Learns To Read
Music: Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Even as a child, King Alfred couldn’t resist a challenge.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

AT twelve years old, Alfred had not been taught to read; although, of the sons of King Ethelwulf, he, the youngest, was the favourite.

But he had — as most men who grow up to be great and good are generally found to have had — an excellent mother.

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The Duel
two-part story
Music: Ralph Vaughan Williams
Sir Mulberry Hawk’s coarse conduct towards Kate Nickleby has awoken a spark of decency in Lord Frederick Verisopht.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

THEY turned to the right, and taking a track across a little meadow, passed Ham House and came into some fields beyond. In one of these, they stopped.

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All Posts
Tagged Charles Dickens (18 posts)
page 1
1 The Arts of Fair Rowena
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Charles Dickens believed that Britain’s Saxon invaders gained power by force of arms – but not by weapons.
2 Twelve Poor Men and True
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Charles Dickens explains the thinking behind Jesus Christ’s choice of friends.
3 The Train of a Life
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
In Charles Dickens’s tale set around Mugby Junction, a man sees his life flash by like a ghostly train.
4 Redeeming Time
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Pip Pirrip never misses a moment of visiting time with Abel Magwitch, the convict who made him into a gentleman, in the prison hospital.
5 The Great Baby
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Charles Dickens rails at the way Parliament and do-gooders treat the public like an irresponsible child.
6 No Thoroughfare
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
and Wilkie Collins
(1824-1889)
At twenty-five and owner of his own business, Walter Wilding thought his world was secure, but it was about to be rocked to its foundations.
page 2
7 The Duel
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Sir Mulberry Hawk’s coarse conduct towards Kate Nickleby has awoken a spark of decency in Lord Frederick Verisopht.
8 One Last Question
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
English lawyer Sydney Carton goes to the guillotine in place of a French aristocrat.
9 Huskisson’s Legacy
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Charles Dickens explains how cutting tax and regulation on Britain’s global trade made everyone better off.
10 How Liberating the Slaves also Clothed the Poor
Based on an article by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
The closure of slave plantations following the Abolition of Slavery Act in 1833 had a curious side-effect.
11 Mr Snawley Thinks Ahead
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Mr Snawley has two stepsons he would like to offload, and Mr Squeers seems just the right person to help him.
12 Kate gets a Dressing-Down
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Kate Nickleby must bite her lip as she experiences snobbery for the first time.
page 3
13 Alfred Learns To Read
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Even as a child, King Alfred couldn’t resist a challenge.
14 Richard of York: One Hand on the Throne
Based on an account by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
The Wars of the Roses pitted two royal houses against each other for the crown of England.
15 The Insect on the Leaf
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Scrooge begs the Spirit of Christmas to tell him what will happen to Tiny Tim.
16 ‘Please Sir, I Want Some More!’
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Oliver was elected as the unwilling spokesman for all the hungry children.
17 Presumption and Innocence
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Charles Dickens chastises those who alter the plots of classic tales to push some social agenda of their own.
18 The Story of ‘Oliver Twist’
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Fate and a vicious professional thief named Fagin conspire to trap orphan Oliver Twist into a life of crime.

Word Play: Adjectives

New Stories
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
To the poor of England, the Worcestershire man gave affordable pots and pans, and to all the world he gave the industrial revolution.
After Louis XIV’s grandson Philip inherited the throne of Spain, the ‘Sun King’ began to entertain dreams of Europe-wide dominion.
New Puzzles
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Try writing complete sentences using these nouns as either the subject or the object of a verb.
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
Polyword ‘Sycamore’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Work out these percentages in your head. See how quickly you can solve the sums.
Do you know ‘cup’ (6 letters), and ‘unit of resistance’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FALL and finish with RISE.
Do you know ‘cowardly’ (6 letters), and ‘historic Greek victory in 479 BC’ (7 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with WIND and finish with CASH.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (359)
Fiction (77)

letters game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: ‘Scrabble’ letters game Games with Words

numbers game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

More like this: Maths Steps Mental arithmetic