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Nos 291 to 300
Alice Mary Smith
Character and Conduct
Music at Midnight
To do one’s duty is to peep into the mystery of life, and taste reward from another world.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

THERE is much in life that, while in this state, we can never comprehend. There is, indeed, a great deal of mystery in life — much that we see ‘as in a glass darkly.’ But though we may not apprehend the full meaning of the discipline of trial through which the best have to pass, we must have faith in the completeness of the design of which our little individual lives form a part.

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No. 291
William Byrd
Mediaeval History
Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) to King James I (1603-1625)
Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter’s dizzy life brought him fame and fortune in dangerous places, the most dangerous of which was Court.

WALTER Raleigh’s soldiering in Ireland, putting down the Desmond Rebellions, so impressed Queen Elizabeth I that in 1584 she engaged him to organise the founding of a gold-mining colony at Roanoke Island in the New World.

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No. 292
George Frideric Handel
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Erymanthian Boar
Snaring a wild boar turns out to be much less dangerous than keeping centaurs away from their wine.

AFTER the fiasco of the Cerynaean Hind, Eurystheus abandoned subtlety and went back to basics with the rampaging wild boar of the snow-capped Erymanthus Mountains. Heracles was ordered to bring him back alive, ideally coming to grief in the attempt.

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No. 293
2 two-part story
Orlando Gibbons and William Byrd
British Myths and Legends
The Legend of King Leir
An early British king discovers what he is really worth to his daughters.

IN the days of Ahab, King of Israel, and the prophet Elijah, there lived in Britain a King named Leir, from whom Leicester is named. He had three daughters, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia, and in his old age he decided to divide his kingdom among them, after finding each one a suitable consort.

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No. 294
John Marsh
Tales from the Bible
Daniel and the Priests of Bel
An apparent miracle is revealed as sleight-of-hand.

IN the days of Cyrus, King of Persia, there was in Babylon a temple to the god Bel, to which the King went daily for worship. Each evening, wine, flour and sheep were set before the idol in its inner sanctuary, and by next day they were gone.

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No. 295
William Babell
Lives of the Saints
Cuthbert and the Dun Cow
The magnificent cathedral at Durham owes its existence to a missing cow.

THE monks who cared for the coffin and body of St Cuthbert decided (this was in 995, during the reign of Ethelred the Unready) that they would take the saint back from Ripon to Chester-le-Street, where he had rested through much of the previous century.

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No. 296
John Garth
Lives of the Saints
King Henry VIII (1509-1547)
Cvthbertvs
Henry VIII’s experts declared that saints were nothing special, but St Cuthbert had a surprise for them.

IN 1537, Henry VIII’s experts Dr Ley, Dr Henley and Dr Blythman travelled to Durham Cathedral to superintend another demolition: the shrine of St Cuthbert.

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No. 297
2 two-part story
Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Extracts from Literature
The Sign from Heaven
Was it an over-excited imagination, or an answer to prayer?
By Charlotte Brontë
(1816-1855)

“WERE I but convinced that it is God’s will I should marry you, I could vow to marry you here and now — come afterwards what would!”

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No. 298
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Modern History
King George II (1727-1760)
Pirates at Penzance
The people of Penzance in Cornwall did not think an Algerian corsair much better than a French warship.

IN the small hours of 30th September, 1760, Penzance was woken by the firing of guns, and news spread that a large and unusual ship had run aground near Newlyn. A crowd gathered in the grey dawn, fearing to see a French fleet massing in the Channel.

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No. 299
3 three-part story
Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky and Edward Elgar
Mediaeval History
Britain and the Tsars
Britain’s ties to the rulers of Russia go back to the time of the Norman Invasion.

IN 862, just four years before Ivar the Boneless came west to capture York, another Viking named Rurik went east and settled at Novgorod on the Volkhov River, together with his people, the Rus’. Askold, one of his captains, settled in Kiev, five hundred miles to the south, and twenty years later, Oleg of Novgorod made Kiev his capital.

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No. 300
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
The Nazi-collaborating Vichy government in France paid Rugby League the supreme compliment: they banned it.
Based on a fable by Jerome K. Jerome
(1859-1927)
A little fable of encouragement for all the suffering.
On October 28th, 1940, the Kingdom of Greece surprised everyone by refusing to become part of the German war machine.
By Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of Nawanagar
(1872-1933)
The great British public leaves a German tourist speechless during a county match at the Oval in London.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
Abbot Elfric expounds a Palm Sunday text to explain how Christianity combines orderly behaviour with intelligent and genuine liberty.

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History (406)
Polywords (183)
Georgian Era (112)
Fiction (84)
Quickwords (46)
Doublets (34)
Triplets (23)
Railways (23)
Stuart Era (17)
Tudor Era (11)
Adam Smith (10)
Polyword ‘Hive’
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 ‘amusing play on words’ (3 letters), and ‘leaf of a pine tree’ (6 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FLAG and finish with POLE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.