All Posts (649)
Nos 381 to 390
Thomas Erskine, 6th Earl of Kellie
Extracts from Literature
By the Toss of a Coin
The Master and his brother Henry must decide which of them goes to fight for Bonnie Prince Charlie.
By Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850-1894)

“WHEN very obstinate folk are met, there are only two ways out: Blows — and I think none of us could care to go so far; or the arbitrament of chance — and here is a guinea piece. Will you stand by the toss of the coin?”

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No. 381
George Frederick Pinto
Extracts from Literature
Practice Makes Perfect
Making friends is, like playing music, not just a matter of natural talent.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

“I CERTAINLY have not the talent which some people possess,” said Darcy, “of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”

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No. 382
Jan Ladislav Dussek
Liberty and Prosperity
The Small Compass
The role of government in a nation’s prosperity is important but limited.
By Jeremy Bentham
(1748-1832)

THE motto, or watchword of government, on these occasions, ought to be — Be quiet.

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No. 383
Edward Elgar
Tales from the Bible
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
Five young women cared enough about a man’s wedding-day to make the smallest of sacrifices, and received the best of rewards.

TEN virgins were chosen to escort a bridegroom into his evening wedding. Each was given a lamp, but five of them foolishly brought no oil from home, perhaps thinking more would (and should) be provided by the happy couple on the day.

Evening came, but the bridegroom was late, and all ten virgins dozed off.

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No. 384
Edward Elgar
Lives of the Saints
St George, Patron Saint of England
George was born in Israel and served in the Roman army, yet makes an ideal patron for England.

IN 1552, the English government forbade banners depicting Christian saints, considered idolatrous by the country’s newly Protestant churchmen. An exception was made, however, for banners of St George, popular in the army since Richard the Lionheart’s crusade to the Holy Land.

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No. 385
George Frideric Handel
Lives of the Saints
St George the Triumphant Martyr
One of the Emperor Galerius’s most trusted generals openly defied him.

IT was on 24th February 303 that Galerius issued an edict that the Christians’ churches should be demolished and their Scriptures burned, and that they should sacrifice to the traditional gods of Rome or face execution.

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No. 386
George Frideric Handel
Tales from the Bible
The Sunday of Palms and Willows
For centuries, northern countries from Russia to England have laid the catkins of the willow tree before Jesus as he enters Jerusalem.

PALM Sunday commemorates the occasion when Jesus entered Jerusalem seated on a donkey, in deliberate fulfilment of the prophet Zechariah’s promise that one day Israel’s king would return to her capital in just that fashion.

His excited followers laid palm fronds in his path, and called him their King, crying “Hosanna to the son of David”.

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No. 387
George Frideric Handel
Classical History
‘Stand out of my Sunshine!’
Alexander the Great dropped a hint to his sycophantic entourage.
By Plutarch
(AD 45-120)

THE Greeks assembled at the Isthmus of Corinth, and voted to march against Persia with Alexander as their general. Dozens of statesmen and philosophers came to him to offer their congratulations, and Alexander hoped that Diogenes of Sinope, who was on holiday in Corinth, would do the same.

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No. 388
Muzio Clementi
Aesop of Samos
The Hare and the Tortoise
One had natural talent but no discipline, the other had discipline but no natural talent.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos

ONCE upon a time, the hare made fun of the tortoise for his horny feet. ‘I would still beat you in a race’ the tortoise replied, ‘fleet of foot though you be.’

‘Words, just words!’ laughed the hare. ‘But by all means put it to the test, and see for yourself.’

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No. 389
2 two-part story
Muzio Clementi
Extracts from Literature
In Good Company
Anne Elliot resents being expected to court the society of anyone simply because of social status.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

LADY Dalrymple had acquired the name of ‘a charming woman,’ because she had a smile and a civil answer for everybody. Miss Carteret, with still less to say, was so plain and so awkward, that she would never have been tolerated in Camden Place but for her birth.

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No. 390
Polywords (182)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Path
Added on Monday December 11th, 2017
Doublets (34)
Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
Latest: Stardust
Quickwords (46)
A mini-crossword of everyday vocabulary and general knowledge.
Triplets (23)
Find one common letter that will turn three words into three new ones.
Latest: Triplet No. 23
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
See how ingenious you can be in combining three randomly chosen words in one sentence.
Compose sentences showing the difference in meaning, grammar or usage between these words.
Practise your basic arithmetic, from multiplation tables to percentages.
Latest: Target Number
Take command of English grammar and composition with these traditional exercises.
Latest: Letters Game
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Today in History
1878 The death of Alfred Bird, Birmingham pharmacist and confectioner
From our Archive
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
George Stephenson won the admiration of French navvies by showing them how a Geordie works a shovel.
By Mark Twain
(1835-1910)
Mark Twain covets the supreme sensation of being a trailblazer.
A crackdown on dissent in England’s established Church drove a band of Nottinghamshire townspeople to seek new shores.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
Abbot Elfric praised St Thomas for demanding hard evidence for the resurrection.
Based on a story by Charlotte Yonge
(1823-1901)
Horatius Cocles was the last man standing between Rome’s republic and the return of totalitarian government in 509 BC.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (394)
Polywords (182)
Georgian Era (107)
Fiction (84)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Triplets (23)
Railways (23)
Stuart Era (16)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Satellite’
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.

More Word Games
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
Do you know ‘additional’ (5), and ‘reject contemptuously’ (5)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with WIND and finish with CASH.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.