honest (adj.)
I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), ‘I keep six honest serving-men’
Wild asiatic asses, India. © Shaunak-Chitgopkar, Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0.
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english language and history .com
two-minute tales and exercises for work in grammar and composition
UK summer time

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.

Judicial Iniquity
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
John Stuart Mill reminds us that governments and the courts must never be allowed to criminalise matters of belief or opinion.
By John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873)

BORN in an age and country abounding in individual greatness, this man [Socrates] has been handed down to us by those who best knew both him and the age, as the most virtuous man in it; while we know him as the head and prototype of all subsequent teachers of virtue, the source equally of the lofty inspiration of Plato and the judicious utilitarianism of Aristotle, the two headsprings of ethical as of all other philosophy.

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Six Posts
Mr Snawley Thinks Ahead
Music: Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Mr Snawley has two stepsons he would like to offload, and Mr Squeers seems just the right person to help him.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

‘EACH boy is required to bring, sir, two suits of clothes, six shirts, six pair of stockings, two nightcaps, two pocket-handkerchiefs, two pair of shoes, two hats, and a razor.’

‘A razor!’ exclaimed Mr. Snawley, as they walked into the next box. ‘What for?’

‘To shave with,’ replied Squeers, in a slow and measured tone.

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Arthur MacPherson
Music: Frank Bridge
MacPherson’s tireless afforts to promote Russian sport earned him a unique Imperial honour, and the enmity of the Communists.

ARTHUR MacPherson’s grandfather, Murdoch, had moved from Perth to St Petersburg in the 1830s. But where Murdoch’s business was shipyards, Arthur was an investor, timber merchant, and sports promoter.

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Ireland’s First Railway
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
The Dublin to Dun Laoghaire line opened in 1834, and proved a remarkable testimony to the speed of technological progress.

THE first railway in Ireland was the Dublin and Kingstown Railway, which opened on 9th October 1834 with a train of eight carriages drawn by the steam locomotive ‘Hibernia’, a 2-2-0 designed by Richard Roberts of Manchester.

The line was paid for by Dublin businessmen, keen to transport goods in bulk between the city and the port at Kingstown, better known today as Dun Laoghaire.

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The Ugly Duckling
Music: Sir William Sterndale Bennett
It’s not where you came from that matters, it’s where you belong.
Based on a fable by Hans Christian Andersen
(1805-1875)

A MOTHER duck hatched a fine family of ducklings. Except for one. He was late in coming, and uncommonly large. He swam beautifully, but - such an ugly duckling! Even his quack sounded strange.

All the ducks in the yard pecked him and shunned him. ‘How ugly he is!’ some cried. ‘Like a turkey!’, sniffed others.

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Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Music: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
A gifted composer of classical music in the romantic tradition, admired by Stanford, Elgar, and Sullivan.
Music by Samuel Coleridge Taylor
(1875-1912)

AT the age of five, Samuel Taylor began violin lessons with a local music-teacher in Croydon. Fifteen years later, he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, where he changed course to study composition, under Charles Villiers Stanford.

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Somersett’s Case
Music: William Herschel
James Somersett’s new Christian family used every available means to keep him from slavery.

WHEN Charles Stewart, a customs officer, was in Boston (at that time a town in Massachusetts Bay, a British Crown Colony in America) he purchased an African slave named James Somersett, and brought him back to England. There the young man escaped.

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AZ Index

See a complete A-Z List of all the stories on this website.

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘The Second World War’ (10 posts)
page 1
1 The Outbreak of the Second World War
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
2 Alan Blumlein
Railway enthusiast, music lover, and the man who gave us stereo sound.
3 Benno Moiseiwitsch
One of the twentieth century’s greatest pianists, who put himself and his art at the service of his adopted country.
4 The Battle of Britain
Britain’s desperate defence against a much larger, better-prepared military machine was a costly victory.
5 Wilfrid Israel
Wilfrid Israel used his Berlin department store as cover for smuggling thousands of Jewish children to safety in Britain.
6 The Evacuation of Dunkirk
The fate of the British army hung by a thread in May 1940, but ships large and small, military and civilian, came to the rescue.
page 2
7 Leslie Howard
Howard gave his life to saving the ‘great gifts and strange inconsistencies’ of Britain’s unique democracy.
8 Britain’s Destiny
By Leslie Howard
(1893-1943)
In a Christmas broadcast in 1940, actor Leslie Howard explained why British sovereignty was worth fighting for.
9 The Bishop’s Gambit
The mayor and bishop of Zakynthos went to extraordinary lengths to protect the most vulnerable people of their island.
10 Penicillin
An improbable chain of coincidences led to one of the great medical revolutions just when it was most needed.
New Stories
By John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873)
John Stuart Mill reminds us that governments and the courts must never be allowed to criminalise matters of belief or opinion.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Charles Dickens sketches for us the shyly ingratiating youth who gets himself in a tangle in the presence of Beauty.
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.
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 ‘Malt’
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
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FISH and finish with CAKE.
Show you know the difference between these frequently confused words.
Do you know ‘move in a zig-zag fashion’ (4), and ‘a 1711 opera by Handel’ (7)?
Do you know ‘raised stitching on a cricket ball’ (4 letters), and ‘a 1901 Kipling novel’ (3 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (360)
Fiction (78)

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

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

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

numbers game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Maths Gym Mental arithmetic