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English Language and History

The brief stories below are taken from history, myth or fiction. Each one is accompanied by games and exercises in essential grammar and free composition, based on old school textbooks.

A to Z Index

Happy Government
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
Lady Glencora scolds the Earl of Brentford for political inactivity, but he warns her to be careful what she wishes for.
By Anthony Trollope
(1815-1882)

“WHAT a nice, happy, lazy time you’ve had of it since you’ve been in,” said she to the Earl.

“I hope we have been more happy than lazy,” said the Earl.

“But you’ve done nothing. Mr Palliser has twenty schemes of reform, all mature; but among you you’ve not let him bring in one of them. The Duke and Mr Mildmay and you will break his heart among you.”

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Two Posts
‘God Tempers the Wind to the Shorn Lamb’
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
Mary Mason could not forgive herself for a past misdeed.
By Anthony Trollope
(1815-1882)

I MAY, perhaps be thought to owe an apology to my readers in that I have asked their sympathy for a woman who had so sinned as to have placed her beyond the general sympathy of the world at large.

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Mrs Bold’s Thunderclap
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
There comes a point in some relationships when words just aren’t enough.
By Anthony Trollope
(1815-1882)

“AH, Eleanor, will it not be sweet, with the Lord’s assistance, to travel hand in hand through this mortal valley which His mercies will make pleasant to us, till hereafter we shall dwell together at the foot of His throne?”

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AZ Index

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

Featured Topic
page 1
1 Perilous Waters
King Saul’s jealousies drove those who loved him away, but David was a very different kind of leader.
2 The History of Susannah
A young Jewish woman in ancient Babylon falls victim to a heartless conspiracy.
3 The Judgment of Solomon
The tenth-century King of Israel demonstrated his legendary wisdom in a delicate custody battle.
4 The Story of Esther
A young Jewish girl is chosen as the Queen of Persia, but quickly finds she has enemies.
5 Daniel and the Priests of Bel
An apparent miracle is revealed as sleight-of-hand.
6 Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve are set in a Garden of carefree delight, but the Snake swears they are victims of a cruel deception.
page 2
7 Elisha and the Fiery Horsemen
The King of Syria goes on a mole-hunt, but Elisha does not seem to mind being his prime suspect.
8 Elisha and Naaman the Syrian
Naaman had very fixed ideas about what it takes to get a miracle.
9 Noah’s Flood
God’s love proved to be bigger and stronger than all man’s wickedness.
10 David and Bathsheba
David’s scheme to steal another man’s wife succeeded, but he could not keep his secret from everyone.
11 Cain and Abel
Smarting for his outraged ‘rights’, Cain lost his reason — but not God’s pity and love.
12 Daniel in the Lions’ Den
The King who condemned him to the den of lions felt far worse about it than Daniel did.
page 3
13 Belshazzar’s Feast
Prince Belshazzar’s disrespectful behaviour left him facing the original ‘writing on the wall’.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Verb or Noun?

Use each of the words below once as a noun and once as a verb:

Man. Set. Name.

By Ethel Smyth
(1858-1944)
Composer Ethel Smyth buys a new-fangled ladies’ bicycle, and scandalises the neighbours.
By Lewis Carroll
(1832-1898)
Alice meets Humpty Dumpty, and it turns out that she has been using words wrong all her life.
The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone warns voters not to leave foreign policy in the hands of interventionist politicians.
Cut
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.
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.
Polyword ‘Truly, Madly’
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
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FULL and finish with STOP.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with LONG and finish with JUMP.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FREE and finish with KICK.
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
Do you know ‘amusing play on words’ (3 letters), and ‘leaf of a pine tree’ (6 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (375)
Fiction (81)

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.

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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