The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Aunt Mai's Budget

by Mrs. Francis F. Steinthal.
Volume 7, 1896, pgs. 545-555

[Emeline Petrie Steinthal, 1855-1921, was a sculptor, painter, and co-founder of the P.N.E.U. with Charlotte Mason. She was married to Francis Steinthal. They had four children: Paul Telford, Dorothea, Francis, and Paul Cuthbert, who all lived well into adulthood.]

My Dear Children,--When I write this letter to you, you are all enjoying your holidays, and storing up strength and many happy memories. I am getting many pleasures out of mine, as I have met for the first time several nieces face to face. It may be that an aunt wears coloured spectacles, but I feel quite convinced that my nieces are one and all specially nice children, and that I am the luckiest aunt in existence. Perhaps you will find aunties who do not agree with me, but we all love to nurse a few pet theories, do we not? A great many prizes were sent out last month, and if any niece has not received hers, will she kindly write and tell me. Visitors, and holidays, and picnics do somewhat disarrange one's business habits; but if the forgotten one will forgive me, and work again, I shall be comforted.

I am most anxious that the Christmas Magazine should be better than the first one, good though it was. Several nieces have already written to say they will write, and three tales have been sent, which are very nicely written. Read the directions in the August number again.

The August Portfolio will begin this month at the end of the alphabet and the present one at the beginning.

Your loving,



These competitions are open to all the children of readers of the Parent's Review. There is no entrance fee, but stamps must be sent for return postage. Each article must have a label on it, with child's name, address and age clearly marked on it. "My Dollie's Wardrobe" (see Advt.) will be used for patterns, which fit a doll 26 inches long. All work in this and other competitions to be sent before the 30th to Aunt Mai, Wharfemead, Ilkley.

In September the nightgown will be taken.

Class I. Age 11 to 15.--Marian Lander wins a prize. The hats sent by Muriel Rees, Dorothy Sayer, Freda Hollis, and Emily Mackenzie are also very pretty and well made.

Class II. Age 10 and under.--Mary Priestman wins a book. Eleanor Chance, Muriel Baumann, Sybil A. Baker, Ellie Hollis, Ethel C. Brawn, Katherine Metcalfe (who sent work last month which was overlooked), Cicely Wicksteed, Agatha Tibbits, Madgie B. Crook, and Esmé Lane also send dainty hats.

Founder: Mrs. Edmund Strode.

The pink dresses sent without names were made by Ethelwyn and Kathleen Hosking.

During the year, the members of this class undertake to make two garments for a child who is known to them. In June, print dresses were made. Before November 30th, a warm cloak or top covering to be made and sent to Aunt Mai. Marks are given for sewing, neatness and button-holes. The two highest in each class win prizes.

Will Dorothy Joseph kindly forward her address? The name of her house has been sent, but not the town. Aunt Mai would be glad if her nieces would write, when after due time, they do not receive their garments, as the delay is always caused by insufficient addresses being given. At the present moment a Queen, a vest and two doll's skirts are waiting for owners. A label arrived from Ireland last week, but no parcel: the postal authorities are now trying to find it. Several months ago the same thing occurred, and the parcel has never been recovered. The moral is--that parcels must be well tied.


Vera Simpson (10) wins a prize for a bonnet, and Dorothy Senior, Ruth Newman, Winifred Tibbits, Eva Mackintosh, Margaret Kendall and Joan Newman have sent pretty bonnets or hats. A dark blue bonnet without name has also been received.

In September make a dress.

Each competitor makes a garment a month which will fit a child, who thus receives a full outfit at Christmas.


Drawings will be kept until Christmas, and returned to the artists next January.

The following artists have sent brush drawings of their favourite flowers, and illustrations to "Winken, Blinken, and Nod."

Marjorie Franklin (8), Madgie B. Crook (10), Wilfred H. Crook (8), Dorothy Rope (12), Dorothy Senior (11), Lucy M Wilson, Eleanor Senior (14), Margaret Senior (13), Katharine Marriott (12), Freda Rope (11), Joyce Sayer (10), Dorothy Ker (10), Phyllis Sayer (11), Marjery S. Webb (12), Muriel Baumann (10), Archie Baumann (7), Marjery Dunthorne (14), Marion Broadwood (9), Winifred Grice (13), Kathie Parke (8), Dorothy Storey (12), Marjorie Storey (7), Willie Harvey (11), Sylvia Powys (5), Ethel Lomas (13), Cecile Parke (7), Tom Parke (7), Marjorie Powys (8), Eleanor Dowding, Rachel Barclay (11), Marguerite Dowding, Cecily Cholmondeley (10), May Lewis (13), Clinton Lewis (10), Marguerite Hume (14), Frank Osler (14), Mary Sayer (8), Eric Baumann (5), Renee Hall (12), Grace E. L. Lawrence, Evelyn Powys (11), Marjery Webb (12), Mary Dowding (13), Lorna L. Lawrence (9), Marion Thomopson (6), Mary Acland Anson (9), Phoebe Rennell (12), Frances Anson (5), Gabrielle Lomas (15), Daisy Betts (14), Mordaunt Betts (12), Maud Bowyer (12), Gladys Rimmington (12), Marjory Rimmngton (10), Dorothea (12), Telford (13), Eric (9), and Paul (8) Steinthal, Vera Dawson (12).

As so many sketches have been sent, the August Portfolio will start at the end of the alphabet, and the present month will go first to the artists whose names begin with letter at the beginning.

The rules of the club are as follow:--
1.--That all drawings must be sent flat, not rolled.
2.--That no drawing must exceed 12 by 12.

Subjects for September.

One illustration from the following.--

"Especially do I desire that they (children) should see the fairy of the daisy, a little, chubby, round-eyed child, with such innocent trust in his look. Even the most mischievous of the fairies would not tease him, although he did not belong to their set at all, but quite a little country bumpkin. He wandered about alone and looked at everything, with his hands in his little pockets, and a white nightcap on, the darling! He was not so beautiful as many other wild flowers I saw afterwards, but so dear and loving in his looks and little confident ways."--"Phantasies," by George MacDonald.

The younger ones may paint three or four daisies, if the illustration is too difficult.

Cecilia Coote sends Anne Boleyn, and wins a prize.
In September, dress Queen Elizabeth.

"Marie Antoinette." HELENA SCRUBY (8).
"Lady Godiva, the mother of 'Heweward the Wake'" JOSEPHINE SCRUBY.


The following outline of a favourite book was omitted last month, on account of want of space:--

I really think my favourite book is "Little Men," by Louisa M. Alcott. It describes the games and life at Plumfield, a school or home which was kept by a Mr. And Mrs. Bhaer. Mr. Bhaer was a kind-hearted German, who married Jo March an American girl, of whom we hear in "Little Women." They decided to have a school, and make it a real home for boys and girls, rich or poor. The story opens with a boy called Nat Blake coming to Plumfield with a letter from Mr. Laurence, Mr. Bhaer's brother-in-law, to ask if they would take him in and let him live there, as he was homeless and friendless. Mr. and Mrs. Bhaer received him extremely kindly, and he got on very well. A few months after his arrival Nat came to Mrs. Bhaer to ask if a boy called Dan, who had been a great friend of his, might come and live there too. Mrs. Bhaer was rather surprised, but on Nat's pleading for his friend, she agreed to give him a trial; however he behaved very badly, and had to be sent away for a few months to a Mr. Page, from whom he ran away, and came back to Mrs. Bhaer, as he really loved her and her little boy Teddy, though he was to proud to own it. One of the most amusing characters was a boy called Tommy Bangs, he was always getting into mischief, and playing all sorts of tricks. One day he was asked by Nan and Daisy, the two girls in the school, to a dinner-party which they gave, and he, seeing a large plate of patties, stole them all, and when Daisy's brother Demi and Nat Blake tried to get them back, pelted them with the stolen cakes. This got them all three into great trouble with Mrs. Bhaer, who would not allow them to talk or play with the girls for some time after, when Demi, Nat and Tommy made some kites, and then asked them to a surprise-party, and gave them to Nan, Daisy and Bess (Mr. Laurence's little girl who was then on a visit). My favourite chapter is that called Damon and Pythias--where Nat was supposed to have taken a dollar of Tommy's. Nat denied having done it, but everybody suspected him except Daisy, who believed in him firmly. Dan finding that Nat was bullied and teased by a boy called Ned Barker, told Mr. Bhaer that it was he who had taken the money. Mr. Bhaer was dreadfully grieved, as Dan had been doing much better lately, and still more grieved when Dan told him, in a sullen way, that he did not want to be forgiven, and for days he went about in this same manner. Shortly after, when Dan was passing through a grove of beech-trees, he stopped a moment to watch the boys playing there, they climbed up the trees, and then swinging themselves down again as the stem bent till the top touched the earth. Presently Jack (one of the boys) took his turn, but, unfortunately, chose too large a tree, and the trunk only bent a little way, leaving him hanging at a good height from the ground; he tried to get back to a safe place, but was unable to do so, and called out that he must drop. Dan, seeing the danger, scrambled up the tree, and his added weight bent it much lower. Jack dropped safely, but the tree, lightened of half its load, flew up, and Dan lost his hold and fell heavily, but luckily did not hurt himself much. Next day Jack was missing, but they found a note, which he had written, saying that he had run home, and that it was he who had taken the money, and not Dan. Another interesting chapter is that called "Crops," it tells about the flowers and vegetables they grew in the little gardens Mr. Bhaer gave them each. The last chapter is called Thanksgiving Day, in the evening of which they had a little act, and a few exercises in French, spelling, and sums, and one or two other things, and to end up dancing; and while Mr. and Mrs. Bhaer were standing together talking quietly of all that had been done that year in the school, the children joined hands round them, singing a little song which Mr. Laurence had taught them, and which ended up with--

    And we come to offer
    Thanks, where thanks are due,
    With grateful hearts and voices,
    Father, mother unto you.



THE AQUARIUM (Fresh Water).

The first consideration is the tank, or vessel capable of holding a sufficient quantity of water. A square-sided tank of thick glass is the best and most roomy, but an ordinary bell-glass, such as is often used by gardeners for raising seeds under, answers the purpose well, but like the common globe that gold fish are sold in, it requires a stand to keep it firm. A cover of perforated zinc or a sheet of glass will be required to prevent the captives from escaping, but there must be space for air to get in, else your pets will die. Never put mud in your tank, clean river sand and small well-washed gravel will answer the purpose. Water plants of some sort are almost essential to the health of your fish. If your tank is small, a little duck-weed which is to be found on every pond, also water crowsfoot, which in May covers the ponds with its snowy white blossoms, are to be got at easily. I need hardly tell you that the gravel, sand and plants, should be comfortably settled before the water is put in. This should be done gradually, else all will look loose and out of place. Last of all put in your fish. Gold and silver fish are pretty, and little trouble. Also sticklebacks and minnows, small eels, and by all means some tadpoles. Newts, water-beetles, water-spiders, water-snails will all live in an aquarium. There are many other fish and water plants, but it is better to have few than too many inmates. Clean brook or pond water should be used, not pump water. From time to time change and refresh the supply, by quietly taking out some water, and replacing it with fresh. Do not stand your aquarium in a very sunny place. Fish like to be able to get in the shade when so disposed. And great heat makes the water unwholesome and may cause sickness and death. At once remove a dead fish.


Fifteen patient and keen little botanists sent in lists of flowers found on the 12th of July or thereabouts. The original list contains only thirty different kinds. An attempt has been made to find out special flowers mentioned by each collector; but this idea has had to be given up, owing to the lists being so long, and the different names given in each county to one flower.

Marian Lander gathered 82; Ethelwyn Hosking and the Bedford Botany Club, 81; Coralie Porter Porter, 74; Mary Wardlaw Ramsay, 74; Edith Robin Broadmead, 65; Dorothy Yeo, 63; Iole MacDonnell, 60; Joan Newman, 53; Dorothy and Marjorie French, 50; Muriel Foster (6 ½ years old), 49; Hope, Roger and Norton Dixon, 41; Cecily de Freville, 41.


I. Soufflé.--Take one egg for each person, and one dessert-spoonful of castor sugar each egg. Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs and beat the yolks with the sugar for quite ten minutes, then whisk the whites to snow and stir all lightly together. Butter a soufflé tin or pie dish, put in the mixture and place in a hot oven for about ten or fifteen minutes, then serve at once, as the beauty of the soufflé is to serve it before it falls. The soufflé can be flavoured with lemon juice or the rind of a lemon grated with a piece of sugar, or vanilla, whichever is preferred. The flavouring must be added at the same time as the sugar.

II. To Cook a Mutton Chop.--Have a chop newly cut from an old killed loin of mutton, it should be nearly an inch thick. Have ready a hot, clear fire, place the chop in a thoroughly clean gridiron or frying pan, let the pan be quite hot, place the meat on the hot pan, turn it continually so as to let the inside of the chop cook slowly and so remain tender. Be careful not to put the fork into the lean part of the chop, or the juices will escape. Cook for about fifteen minutes. When ready sprinkle a pinch of salt over it, and serve immediately, and very hot.


The following members have sent answers and received marks, viz.:--Div. I.--Grace Laurence (4), Madeleine Graham Watson (5), Bernard Ward (5), Susan Venables (6), Kathleen Bird (6), Alexander Colles (6), Winifred Grice (6), Pearl Borrer (5), Joan Campion (6), Elsie Alexander for two papers (12), Honora Sneyd (6).

Div. II.--Rhoda Goddard (5), Lorna Laurence (1), Janet Brooke (5), Esmé Graham Watson (4), Eva Hudson (6), Kathleen Hosking (6), Dorothy Senior (6), Kathleen Sandbach (6), Cicely Foster (6), Hawthorne Robertson (6). Div. III.--Ethelwyn Robertson, (6), Kathleen Colles (4), Dorothy Yeo, Hampstead (6), Kenneth Yeo (6), Hester Sandbach (6), Joyce Reid (6). Answers to be sent not later than the 29th of the month to Miss Phoebe Allen, Ileden, Bonchurch, L.W.


"One and two and--it won't come right, horrid old thing!" and Gwen gave the music-stand a kick that sent it and its classic burden to the floor with such a bump that the rafters rang again and again.

"'Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast,' but it seems to have the reverse effect upon you, why, I don't know." This soothing sentence came from the ingle-nook where Louie was sitting, to all appearance deeply interested in Virgil.

Gwen turned round, saying crossly, "It's my practice time, I wish you'd clear out."

"Why should not music have charms for me? The rhythm of those three last bars is perfectly fascinating."

"You're horridly mean," retorted her sister, laying down her fiddle (not too gently) and making a made charge with her bow, but Louie, evidently deeming valour the better part of discretion, beat a hasty retreat in time to save herself and the tip of her sister's bow from damage.

Left alone, Gwen relinquished all thought of practice, and flung herself upon the window seat. "It is hard that Louie should be so clever and I such a dunce. There is she, deep in Greek and Latin, French and German at her fingers' ends, while I have not yet mastered the five declensions or the four conjugations! Here am I struggling with these awful trills and runs, while Louie is coolly writing verses in the turret about this lovely sunset--how I envy her!"

She opened the casement and looked across the garden where the pigeons were fluttering and cooing about the moss-grown sun-dial; down the yew walk towards the wood, behind which the fiery sun was sinking, the western sky was suffused with golden light, across which stretched bands of gloom--bars on the way to Heaven.

"Could I but write of this, describe the awful grandeur, the eerie charm, but I can't."

At the end of the yew walk were statues of two of the "tuneful nine"--Euterpe with her double flute, and Calliope with tablets and stylus. Euterpe had a broken nose, and the stumpy proboscis her votary was meditatively stroking seemed out of joint too.

"'Wingéd words,'--yes, they flutter away, leaving a track of sunlight behind--but who ever heard of winged notes?"

"I have," said the voice of her old music-master behind her; "go into some cathedral, listen to the music as it rises to the vaulted roof and sighs down 'the long-drawn aisles,' then do not doubt that notes are winged."

"Nature cannot be described in music as in poetry," grumbled Gwendolyn. "Not? Have you forgotten Beethoven's sixth symphony?"

"There cannot be a second Beethoven. Does ordinary music give as much pleasure as poetry to ordinary folk?"

"More I think," replied the music-master, "whereas good verses appeal only to the 'cultivated few,' good music pleases all. You find the very children of the streets singing tunes that--though they may not be classics--are often beautiful."

Gwen was worsted; she stooped, righted the music-stand, and then, to give turn to the conversion, said, "I've practiced this wretched thing to Le Claire's two mortal hours today, yet it won't come right, and I don't believe it ever will."

"You want to reach the top of the hill at a bound, instead of climbing it step by step as ordinary folk have to do. 'Tambourin' is difficult, but with practice you will get the runs to go smoothly."

"You say that to make me stick to it; will this ever come right? Listen," answered the amiable Gwen, as she picked up her fiddle and commenced those trills and runs that follow the andante movement in such contrast with its sadness.

"There is room for improvement," said the professor, as his pupil broke down in a vain attempt at the staccato notes; "now you listen," and taking his fiddle from its case, he played the bars that had been the cause of so much spleen and discontent.

Gwen stood listening. "It's so lovely, it's worth any amount of trouble to get right," she thought; but all she said was, "You might play the 'Sarabande' as well."

And as the last high notes of Le Claire's wonderful piece died away in the twilight, Gwendolyn's discontent vanished.


Once upon a time there lived a sea-king, who had three pretty daughters, but youngest was the most beautiful. Her name was Girlie, and her father loved her best. The king allowed them to do very much as they liked, and he was only strict about one thing, that was, that they were never to put their heads above water, for he said that something dreadful would happen to them if they did. Girlie did not like this at all, her sisters minded less, they had seen mortals; they said they were ugly things, not half so pretty as themselves, they had actually no tails, but funny straight sticks on which they walked about, this however only made Girlie more curious and discontented. Well one day when she was lying in shallow water near the beach, she felt something hit her, and looking to see what it was, she found it was an ugly stone, not like the lovely white ones she was used to, but a hard brown one. She was so angry, that, not stopping to think, she jumped out of the water, and knew nothing more until she found herself on a lovely green bank with birds singing sweetly around her. Her first impulse was to go and tell her father and sisters how beautiful it was on the earth, she was just going to get up and run home, when she felt a cold hand on her shoulder, and saw two black eyes peering down at her. It was a witch, who said in a hoarse voice--"Child, you have disobeyed your father, and you shall be punished as you deserve"--and then with one wave of a wand she held in her hand she said--

    "Thou lovely maiden of the sea
    Into a sea-gull changed shalt be."

Immediately there was a great flapping of wings, and Girlie found herself encircled by a large number of birds, and to her surprise she was one of them. From that day to this the sea-gulls have hovered over the sea, perhaps looking for those relatives Girlie lost long ago, for she was never allowed to return to them, and thus suffered the terrible punishment of her discontent.

Proofread by LNL, Oct 2020