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All Posts (664)
Nos 241 to 250
Francesco Geminiani
Liberty and Prosperity
Out of Touch
William Pitt the Elder berates Parliament for treating the public like know-nothings.
By William Pitt the Elder
(1708-1778)

MY lords, I myself am one of the people. I myself am by birth an English elector, and join with the freeholders of England as in a common cause. Believe me, my lords, we mistake our real interest as much as our duty, when we separate ourselves from the mass of the people.

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No. 241
2 two-part story
Nikolai Medtner
Stories in Short
The Peasant, the Penny and Marko the Rich
Marko adopts drastic measures to get out of repaying the loan of a penny.

ONCE upon a time, a peasant gave a penny to a beggar in the street. Marko the Rich decided he would do the same, but borrowed his penny from the peasant on the plea that he had no small change. ‘Come to my house tomorrow,’ he said, ‘and I will repay you’.

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No. 242
2 two-part story
Muzio Clementi
Greek History
Demetrius the Diver
A survivor of the infamous massacre of Chios in 1821 goes to Marseilles, but discovers he has not entirely left the Turks behind.
Based on an article by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

IN the port of Marseilles lived a poor Greek named Demetrius Omeros, who scraped together a living by diving for stray francs and copper sous. He had appeared in the city shortly after the massacre of Chios, but except for this and for living frugally on melon, bread and sour wine, little else was known of him.

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No. 243
Johann Baptist Cramer
Lives of the Saints
Aaron’s Rod
The Victorian practice of hanging sugared nuts on a Christmas tree was bursting with Biblical symbolism.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)

GOD bade Moses, the leader, take twelve dry rods from the twelve tribes of the people of Israel, and lay them before the holy ark within the great tabernacle: and he would by those rods declare whom he had chosen for bishop.

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No. 244
2 two-part story
George Frideric Handel
Mary, Queen of Scots
Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603)
Mary Queen of Scots
Henry VII’s great-granddaughter Mary never grasped that even royalty must win the people’s respect.

JAMES V of Scotland enraged his uncle, Henry VIII of England, by refusing to support the spread of Protestantism, and paid for it with defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss in 1542. James died shortly after, leaving his crown to his infant daughter Mary, barely a week old.

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No. 245
2 two-part story
Jan Ladislav Dussek
Lives of the Saints
How St Euphemia Saved Christmas
The martyr St Euphemia played a vital role in preventing the message of Christmas from being watered down.

IN 428, Nestorius, the new Patriarch of Constantinople, delivered his first Christmas sermons amid controversy.

For generations, Christians had wonderingly acclaimed Mary as ‘Theotokos’, God’s birth-giver, but some in the capital now protested that it was an offence to God’s dignity. How could the Almighty undergo physical birth, or have a mother?

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No. 246
Felix Mendelssohn
Poets and Poetry
Six Honest Serving-Men
A professional journalist and author recognises that he has met his match
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)

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.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

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No. 247
2 two-part story
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Stories in Short
No Thoroughfare
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.
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
and Wilkie Collins
(1824-1889)

WHEN a tearful mother left her baby son at London’s Foundling Hospital, she went away knowing only that they had named him ‘Walter Wilding’. He was eleven when she returned and claimed him by that name, lavishing a mother’s love on him until she died thirteen years later.

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No. 248
Sir William Walton
Plantagenet Era
King Henry V (1413-1422)
The Battle of Agincourt
One of the best-known of all battles in English history, but not because of the conflict of which it was a part.

IN 1340, Edward III was persuaded by his Flemish allies to assume the title of ‘King of France’, precipitating the Hundred Years’ War. Initial success gave way to a truce in 1396, and in 1415 the young Dauphin, Charles, impatiently demanded that Henry V renounce his great-grandfather’s claims, or come over and prove them in battle.

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No. 249
2 two-part story
Alice Mary Smith
Discovery and Invention
Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
The London and Birmingham Railway
The textile moguls of Manchester and Liverpool engaged the Stephensons to complete their link to the capital.

THE London and Birmingham Railway opened on September 17th, 1838, connecting Euston to Curzon Street via Rugby and Coventry in five and a half hours. At Curzon Street, passengers could change to the Grand Junction Railway for Manchester and Liverpool, whose cotton-merchants and mill-owners had paid for the link to the capital.

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No. 250
Polywords (183)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Weir
Added on Sunday January 14th, 2018
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.
From our Archive
When Edward III sent the Earl of Salisbury to take her absent husband’s castle, Agnes brushed his attack aside - literally.
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)
Richard Hannay reflects on the innocent lives lost, when the lust for power or the desire for revenge makes us less than human.
By William Shakespeare
(1564-1616)
John of Gaunt watches in despair as his country is milked for its wealth and shared out among the king’s favourites.
Henry VII must decide how to deal with a boy calling himself ‘King Edward VI’.
From ‘History of the Wars’ by Procopius of Caesarea
(c.500—c.560)
The Roman Emperor Honorius, so the story goes, had more on his mind than the impending sack of one of Europe’s iconic cities.

A to Z Index

Top Topics
History (406)
Polywords (183)
Georgian Era (111)
Fiction (84)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Railways (23)
Triplets (23)
Stuart Era (17)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Coy’
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 ‘current of cold air’ (7 letters), and ‘e.g. fascinator’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with NAIL and finish with SHOE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.