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All Posts (664)
Nos 631 to 640
2 two-part story
Stories in Short
The Kitchen Cat
Part One. Ruth Lorimer’s strangely comfortless life changes when she finds a scruffy little cat on the stairs, but not everyone is pleased.
Based on a short story by Amy Walton
(1845-1925)

HIGH up in a rambling town house in Gower Street was a nursery, and for most of the day Ruth Lorimer played disconsolately in it.

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No. 631
Thomas Erskine, 6th Earl of Kellie
Music and Musicians
Fiddler Tam
An 18th century bon viveur and virtuoso violinist, Thomas Erskine is currently being ‘rediscovered’ by the classical music industry.
Music by
Thomas Erskine, Earl of Kellie

AS a young man of twenty Thomas Erskine, Sixth Earl of Kellie, was passionate about music, but scarcely able to tune his own violin.

A four-year visit to Joseph Stamitz in Mannheim changed all that.

On his return in 1756, his new-found virtuosity earned him the nickname ‘Fiddler Tam’.

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No. 632
George Frideric Handel
Music and Musicians
The Story of Handel’s ‘Water Music’
Handel’s German boss fired the composer for spending all his time in London. When they met again, it was... rather awkward.

IN 1712 George Frideric Handel, court composer to George, Elector of Hanover in Germany, visited London, with his employer’s warning that he expected him back ‘within a reasonable time’ ringing in his ears.

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No. 633
Character and Conduct
‘Better Habits, Not Greater Rights’
The extraordinary productivity and social mobility of the Victorian era is to the credit not of the governing class, but of the working man.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)

IN all times men have been prone to believe that their happiness and well-being were to be secured by means of institutions rather than by their own conduct. Hence the value of legislation as an agent in human advancement has usually been much over-estimated.

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No. 634
Modern History
The Boston Tea Party
In the time of King George III, Parliament forgot that its job was not to regulate the people, but to represent them.

THE Tea Act of 1773 grudgingly allowed American companies to import tea, but deliberately weighed them down with burdensome regulation and taxes unless they dealt with the East India Company in London.

The colonists could do nothing about this, because they had no representatives in the English Parliament.

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No. 635
International Relations
Peace By Free Trade
The blessing of trade free from political interference was one of most important insights in British, indeed world history.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)

FREE Trade! What is it?

Why, breaking down the barriers that separate nations; those barriers, behind which nestle the feelings of pride, revenge, hatred, and jealousy, which every now and then burst their bounds, and deluge whole countries with blood. [...]

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No. 636
Liberty and Prosperity
There is no Liberty without Self-Control
Anti-Christian governments don’t make us free, they just impose their own, illiberal morality.
By Edmund Burke MP
(1729-1797)

MEN are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, - in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity, - in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, - in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves.

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No. 637
Ignaz Moscheles
Tales from the Bible
The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Love doesn’t make people pay for past mistakes.

ONCE there was a farmer with two sons. The younger of them asked for everything he was due in his father’s Will, and went off excitedly to see the world.

Very soon all the money had been frittered away, and the unhappy boy found himself keeping pigs to survive.

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No. 638
Muzio Clementi
American History
The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
When Parliament sent the Army against American colonists, people still calling themselves ‘British’ had to decide very quickly what that meant to them.

FOLLOWING Samuel Adams’s ‘Boston Tea Party’ protest in 1773, London quartered some three thousand soldiers from the Regular army all around the port, with orders to destroy the rebels’ stockpile of weapons at Concord, and arrest Adams and John Hancock, then in Lexington.

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No. 639
American History
King George III (1760-1820)
The ‘Jay Treaty’
The Jay Treaty can be seen as the start of the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and America.

IN 1783, the American Revolutionary War came to an end with the Treaty of Paris. Six years later, the French people overthrew their own King, and many in America, especially the Jeffersonians, saw the new republican France as a more natural ally than Britain.

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No. 640
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
In the time of King George III, Parliament forgot that its job was not to regulate the people, but to represent them.
By William Cowper
(1731-1800)
A kind of Aesop’s Fable in verse, about mutual respect among those with different talents.
A man born blind is healed by Jesus, but finds himself a social outcast as a result.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
In Charles Dickens’s tale set around Mugby Junction, a man sees his life flash by like a ghostly train.
By Mark Twain
(1835-1910)
As proof that ‘Providence protects children and idiots’, Mark Twain recalls his first taste of ten-pin bowling.

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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 ‘Bray’
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 ‘a temperature scale’ (6 letters), and ‘a bit of useful advice’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FISH and finish with CAKE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.