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THE EMPIRE ANNUAL FOR GIRLS

Edited by

A. R. BUCKLAND, M.A.

With Contributions by

LADY CATHERINE MILNES-GASKELL.
Mrs. CREIGHTON.
Mrs. MACQUOID.
Mrs. BALFOUR MURPHY.
Mrs. G. de HORNE VAIZEY.
A. R. BUCKLAND.
FRANK ELIAS.
AGNES GIBERNE.
SOMERVILLE GIBNEY.
EDITH C. KENYON.
M. E. LONGMORE.
MAUD MADDICK.
M. B. MANWELL.
FLORENCE MOON.
E. B. MOORE.
MADELINE OYLER.
HENRY WILLIAMS.
Etc., etc.

With Coloured Plates and Sixteen Black and White Illustrations.







London:
4 Bouverie Street, E.C.
1911.


* * * * *


UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME
384 pp. demy 8vo, cloth gilt, with Coloured Plates and
16 Black and White Illustrations.

THE EMPIRE ANNUAL FOR BOYS

Edited by A. R. BUCKLAND, M.A.

With contributions by MORLEY ADAMS, W. GRINTON
BERRY, TOM BEVAN, A. W. COOPER, W. S. DOUGLAS,
FRANK ELIAS, LAURENCE M. GIBSON, W. J.
GORDON, F. M. HOLMES, RAMSAY GUTHRIE,
C. H. IRWIN, J. B. KNOWLTON, W. C.
METCALFE, A. J. H. MOULE, ERNEST
PROTHEROE, GORDON STABLES,
C. E. TYNDALE-BISCOE,
ETC., ETC.


* * * * *



[Illustration: RACE FOR LIFE. _See page 72_]





CONTENTS

PAGE
THE CHRISTMAS CHILD
MRS. G. DE HORNE VAIZEY 9
_The story of a happy thought, a strange discovery,
and a deed of love_


ANNA 22
MRS. MACQUOID
_A girl's adventure for a father's sake_


TO GIRLS OF THE EMPIRE 39
MRS. CREIGHTON
_Words of encouragement and stimulus to the daughters
of the Nation_


MY DANGEROUS MANIAC 45
LESLIE M. OYLER
_The singular adventure of two young people_


JIM RATTRAY, TROOPER 52
KELSO B. JOHNSON
_A story of the North-West Mounted Police_


MARY'S STEPPING ASIDE 59
EDITH C. KENYON
_Self-sacrifice bringing in the end its own reward_


A RACE FOR LIFE 66
LUCIE E. JACKSON
_A frontier incident from the Far West_

WHICH OF THE TWO? 74
AGNES GIBERNE
_A question of duty or inclination_


A CHRISTMAS WITH AUSTRALIAN BLACKS 89
J. S. PONDER
_An unusual but interesting Christmas party described_


MY MISTRESS ELIZABETH 96
ANNIE ARMITT
_A story of self-sacrifice and treachery in Sedgemoor days_


GIRL LIFE IN CANADA 114
JANEY CANUCK
_Girl life described by a resident in Alberta_


SUCH A TREASURE! 120
EILEEN O'CONNOR
_How a New Zealand girl found her true calling_


ROSETTE IN PERIL 131
M. LEFUSE
_A girl's strange adventures in the war of La Vendée_


GOLF FOR GIRLS 143
AN OLD STAGER
_Some practical advice to beginners and others_


SUNNY MISS MARTIN 148
SOMERVILLE GIBNEY
_A story of misunderstanding, patience, and reconciliation_


WHILST WAITING FOR THE MOTOR 160
MADELINE OYLER
_A warning to juvenile offenders_


THE GRUMPY MAN 165
MRS. HARTLEY PERKS
_A child's intervention and its results_

DOGS WE HAVE KNOWN 183
LADY CATHERINE MILNES-GASKELL
_True stories of dog life_


DAFT BESS 197
KATE BURNLEY BENT
_A tale of the Cornish Coast_


A SPRINGTIME DUET 203
MARY LESLIE
_A domestic chant for spring-cleaning days._


OUT OF DEADLY PERIL 204
K. BALFOUR MURPHY
_A skating episode in Canada_


THE PEARL-RIMMED LOCKET 211
M. B. MANWELL
_The detection of a strange offender_


REMBRANDT'S SISTER 221
HENRY WILLIAMS
_A record of affection and self-sacrifice_


HEPSIE'S XMAS VISIT 230
MAUD MADDICK
_A child's misdeed and its unexpected results_


OUR AFRICAN DRIVER 238
J. H. SPETTIGUE
_A glimpse of South African life_


CLAUDIA'S PLACE 247
A. R. BUCKLAND
_How Claudia changed her views_


FAMOUS WOMEN PIONEERS 260
FRANK ELIAS
_Some of the women who have helped to open up new lands_

POOR JANE'S BROTHER 266
M. LING
_The strange adventures of two little people_


THE SUGAR-CREEK HIGHWAYMAN 285
ADELA E. ORPEN
_An alarm and a discovery_


DOROTHY'S DAY 294
M. E. LONGMORE
_A day beginning in sorrow and ending in joy_


A STRANGE MOOSE HUNT 310
H. WILLIAM DAWSON
_A hunt that nearly ended in a tragedy_


A GIRL'S PATIENCE 317
C. J. BLAKE
_A difficult part well played_


THE TASMANIAN SISTERS 342
E. B. MOORE
_A story of loving service and changed lives_


THE QUEEN OF CONNEMARA 362
FLORENCE MOON
_An Irish girl's awakening_




ILLUSTRATIONS


IN COLOUR

ROSALIND'S RACE FOR LIFE _Frontispiece_

_Facing Page_

"THE SON OF MAN CAME NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, BUT TO MINISTER" 44

"YOUR SISTER IS COMING?" HE SAID 80

MRS. MEADOWS' BROTHER ARRIVED 130

AT THE SHOW 184

"DO FORGIVE ME, MOTHER DARLING!" 232

HER HOSTESS HAD BEEN FEEDING THE PEACOCKS 308


IN BLACK AND WHITE

"I SHAN'T PLAY IF YOU FELLOWS ARE SO ROUGH!" 38

GERALD LOOKS PUZZLED 46

IT WAS UNDER A NOBLE TREE THAT MAX ASKED MARY TO MARRY HIM 64

"GALLANTS LOUNGING IN THE PARK" 98

LOOKING AT HIM, I SAW THAT HE WAS HAGGARD AND STRANGE 106

GOLF FOR GIRLS - A BREEZY MORNING 144

SELINA MARTYN GAVE HER ANSWER 158

"I SUPPOSE YOU'VE COME ABOUT THE GAS BILL" 170

THE ROCK SHE CLUNG TO GAVE WAY 200

SPRING CLEANING 203

HORRIBLE DREAMS OF MONSTERS AND DEMONS 216

HER VERY YOUTH PLEADED FOR HER 249

BARBARA'S VISIT 268

"AS HE KISSED HIS FIRSTBORN UNDER THE MISTLETOE" 340

"NOW I AM GOING TO FAN YOU," SHE SAID 348

EILY STOOD A FORLORN, DESOLATE FIGURE ON EUSTON PLATFORM 366




INDEX TO AUTHORS


PAGE
ARMITT, ANNIE 96
BENT, KATE BURNLEY 197
BLAKE, C. J. 317
BUCKLAND, A. R. 247
CANUCK, JANEY 114
CREIGHTON, MRS. 39
DAWSON, H. WILLIAM 310
ELIAS, FRANK 260
GIBERNE, AGNES 74
GIBNEY, SOMERVILLE 148
JACKSON, LUCIE E. 66
JOHNSON, KELSO B. 52
KENYON, EDITH C. 59
LEFUSE, M. 131
LESLIE, MARY 203
LING, M. 266
LONGMORE, M. E. 294
MACQUOID, MRS. 22
MADDICK, MAUD 230
MANWELL, M. B. 211
MILNES-GASKELL, LADY CATHERINE 183
MOON, FLORENCE 362
MOORE, E. B. 342
MURPHY, K. BALFOUR 204
O'CONNOR, EILEEN 120
OLD STAGER, AN 143
OYLER, LESLIE M. 45
OYLER, MADELINE 160
ORPEN, ADELA E. 285
PERKS, MRS. HARTLEY 165
PONDER, J. S. 89
SPETTIGUE, J. H. 238
VAIZEY, MRS. G. DE HORNE 9
WILLIAMS, HENRY 221




[Sidenote: A happy thought, a cross-country journey, a strange
discovery, another happy thought, and many still happier thoughts
hereafter!]

The Christmas Child

BY

MRS. G. DE HORNE VAIZEY


Jack said: "Nonsense! We are all grown up now. Let Christmas alone. Take
no notice of it; treat it as if it were an ordinary day."

Margaret said: "The servants have all begged for leave. Most of their
mothers are dying, and if they are not, it's a sister who is going to be
married. Really, it's a servants' ball which the Squire is giving in the
village hall. Mean, I call it, to decoy one's maids just when one needs
them most!"

Tom said: "Beastly jolly dull show anyhow, to spend the day alone with
your brothers and sisters. Better chuck it at once!"

Peg said firmly and with emphasis: "_Heathen!_ Miserable, cold-blooded,
materially-minded _frogs_! Where's your Christmas spirit, I should like
to know? . . . If you have none for yourselves, think of other people.
Think of _me_! I love my Christmas, and I'm not going to give it up for
you or any one else. My very first Christmas at home as a growed-up
lady, and you want to diddle me out of it. . . . Go to! Likewise, avaunt!
Now by my halidom, good sirs, you know not with whom you have to deal.
'Tis my royal pleasure the revels proceed!"

Jack grimaced eloquently at Margaret, who grimaced back.

"With all the pleasure in the world," he said suavely. "Show me a revel,
and I'll revel with the best. I like revels. What I do _not_ like is to
stodge at home eating an indigestible meal, and pretending that I'm full
of glee, when in reality I'm bored to death. If you could suggest a
change. . . ."

Margaret sighed; Tom sniffed; Peg pursed up her lips and thought.
Presently her eyes brightened. "Of course," she remarked tentatively,
"there are the Revells!"

Jack flushed and bit his lips.

"Quite so! There are. Fifty miles away, and not a spare bed in the
house. Lot of good they are to us, to be sure! Were you going to suggest
that we dropped in for a quiet call? Silly nonsense, to talk of a thing
like that."

Jack was quite testy and huffed, for the suggestion touched a tender
point. The Revells were the friends _par excellence_ of the family of
which he was the youthful head. It seemed, indeed, as if the two
households had been specially manufactured so that each should fit the
wants of the other. Jack was very certain that, in any case, Myra Revell
supplied all that _he_ lacked, and the very thought of spending
Christmas Day in her company sent a pang of longing through his heart.
Margaret cherished a romantic admiration for Mrs. Revell, who was still
a girl at heart despite the presence of a grown-up family. Dennis was at
Marlborough with Tom; while Pat or Patricia was Peg's bosom chum.

What could you wish for more? A Christmas spent with the Revells would
be a pure delight; but alas! fifty miles of some of the wildest and
bleakest country in England stretched between the two homes, which,
being on different lines of railway, were inaccessible by the ordinary
route. Moreover, the Revells were, as they themselves cheerfully
declared, "reduced paupers," and inhabited a picturesquely dilapidated
old farmhouse, and the problem, "_Where do they all sleep?_" was as
engrossing as a jig-saw puzzle to their inquisitive friends. Impossible
that even a cat could be invited to swing itself within those crowded
portals; equally impossible to attempt to separate such an affectionate
family at Christmas-time of all seasons of the year.

[Sidenote: Peg Startles Everybody]

And yet here was Peg deliberately raking up the painful topic; and after
the other members of the family had duly reproached and abused, ready to
level another bolt at their heads.

"S - uppose we went a burst - hired a car, drove over early in the
morning, and marched into church before their very eyes!"

Silence! Sparkling eyes; alert, thoughtful gaze. Could they? Should
they? Would it be right? A motor for the day meant an expenditure of
four or five pounds, and though the exchequer was in a fairly prosperous
condition, five-pound notes could not be treated with indifference.
Still, in each mind ran the echo of Peg's words. It was Christmas-time.
Why should they not, just for once, give themselves a treat - themselves,
and their dear friends into the bargain?

The sparkle deepened; a flash passed from eye to eye, a flash of
determination! Without a word of dissent or discussion the proposal was
seconded, and carried through.

"Fifty miles! We can't go above twenty-five an hour through those bad
roads. We shall have to be off by nine, if we want to be in time for
church. What _will_ they think when they see us marching in?"

"No, no, we mustn't do that. Mrs. Revell would be in a fever the whole
time, asking herself, '_Will the pudding go round?_' It really wouldn't
be kind," pleaded Margaret earnestly, and her hearers chuckled
reminiscently. Mrs. Revell was a darling, but she was also an
appallingly bad housekeeper. Living two miles from the nearest shop, she
yet appeared constitutionally incapable of "thinking ahead"; and it was
a common experience to behold at the afternoon meal different members of
the family partaking respectively of tea, coffee, and cocoa, there being
insufficient of any one beverage to go round.

Margaret's sympathies went out involuntarily towards her friend, but her
listeners, it is to be feared, were concerned entirely for themselves.
It might be the custom to abuse the orthodox Christmas dinner, but since
it _was_ a national custom which one did not care to break, it behoved
one to have as good a specimen as possible, and the prospect of short
commons, and indifferent short commons at that, was not attractive.
_Who_ could be sure that the turkey might not arrive at the table singed
and charred, and the pudding in a condition of _soup_?

Schoolboy Tom was quick with a suggestion.

"I say - tell you what! Do the surprise-party business, and take a hamper
with us. . . . Only decent thing to do, when you march in four strong to
another person's feed. Dennis would love a hamper - - "

"Ha! Good! Fine idea! So we will! A real old-fashioned hamper, full of
all the good things they are least likely to have. Game pie - - "

"Tongue - one of those big, shiny fellows, with scriggles of sugar down
his back - - "

"Ice-pudding in a tin - - "

"Fancy creams - - "

"French fruits - - "

"Crackers! Handsome ones, with things inside that are worth having - - "

"Bon-bons - - "

Each one had a fresh suggestion to make, and Margaret scribbled them all
down on the ivory tablet which hung from her waist, and promptly
adjourned into the kitchen to give the necessary orders, and to rejoice
the hearts of her handmaidens by granting a day's leave all round.

On further consideration it was decided to attend early service at
home, and to start off on the day's expedition at eleven o'clock,
arriving at the Revell homestead about one, by which time it was
calculated that the family would have returned from church, and would be
hanging aimlessly about the garden, in the very mood of all others to
welcome an unexpected excitement.

Christmas Day broke clear and bright. Punctual to the minute the motor
came puffing along, the youthful-looking chauffeur drawing up before the
door with an air of conscious complaisance.

Despite his very professional attire - perhaps, indeed, because of it - so
very youthful did he appear, that Jack was visited by a qualm.

"Er - er - are you going to drive us all the way?" he inquired anxiously.
"When I engaged the car, I saw . . . I thought I had arranged with - - "

"My father, sir. It was my father you saw. Father said, being Christmas
Day, he didn't care to turn out, so he sent me - - "

"You are a qualified driver - quite capable . . . ?"

[Sidenote: A Good Start]

The lad smiled, a smile of ineffable calm. His eyelids drooped, the
corners of his mouth twitched and were still. He replied with two words
only, an unadorned "Yes, sir," but there was a colossal, a Napoleonic
confidence in his manner, which proved quite embarrassing to his
hearers. Margaret pinched Jack's arm as a protest against further
questionings; Jack murmured something extraordinarily like an apology;
then they all tumbled into the car, tucked the rugs round their knees,
turned up the collars of their coats, and sailed off on the smooth,
swift voyage through the wintry air.

For the first hour all went without a hitch. The youthful chauffeur
drove smoothly and well; he had not much knowledge of the countryside;
but as Jack knew every turn by heart, having frequently bicycled over
the route, no delay was caused, and a merrier party of Christmas
revellers could not have been found than the four occupants of the
tonneau. They sang, they laughed, they told stories, and asked riddles;
they ate sandwiches out of a tin, and drank hot coffee out of a thermos
flask, and congratulated themselves, not once, but a dozen times, over
their own ingenuity in hitting upon such a delightful variation to the
usual Christmas programme.

More than half the distance had been accomplished; the worst part of the
road had been reached, and the car was beginning to bump and jerk in a
somewhat uncomfortable fashion. Jack frowned, and looked at the slight
figure of the chauffeur with a returning doubt.

"He's all right on smooth roads, but this part needs a lot of driving.
Another time - - " He set his lips, and mentally rehearsed the complaints
which he would make to "my father" when he paid the bill. Margaret gave
a squeal, and looked doubtfully over the side.

"I - I suppose it's all right! What would happen if he lost control, and
we slipped back all the way downhill?"

"It isn't a question of control. It's a question of the strength of the
car. It's powerful enough for worse hills than this."

"What's that funny noise? It didn't sound like that before. Kind of a
clickety-clack. . . . Don't you hear it?"

"No. Of course not. Don't be stupid and imagine things that don't
exist. . . . What's the difference between - - "

Jack nobly tried to distract attention from the car, but before another
mile had been traversed, the clickety-clack noise grew too loud to be
ignored, the car drew up with a jerk, and the chauffeur leaped out.

"I must just see - - " he murmured vaguely; vaguely also he seemed to
grope at the machinery of the car, while the four occupants of the
tonneau hung over the doors watching his progress; then once more
springing to his seat, he started the car, and they went bumping
unevenly along the road. No more singing now; no more laughing and
telling of tales; deep in each breast lay the presage of coming ill;
four pairs of eyes scanned the dreary waste of surrounding country,
while four brains busily counted up the number of miles which still lay
between them and their destination. Twenty miles at least, and not a
house in sight except one dreary stone edifice standing back from the
road, behind a mass of evergreen trees.

"This fellow is no good for rough roads. He would wear out a car in no
time, to say nothing of the passengers. Can't think why we haven't had a
puncture before now!" said Jack gloomily; whereupon Margaret called him
sharply to order.

"Don't say such things . . . don't think them. It's very wrong. You ought
always to expect the best - - "

"Don't suppose my thinking is going to have any effect on rubber, do
you?" Jack's tone was decidedly snappy. He was a lover, and it tortured
him to think that an accident to the car might delay his meeting with
his love. He had never spent a Christmas Day with Myra before; surely on
this day of days she would be kinder, sweeter, relax a little of her
proud restraint. Perhaps there would be mistletoe. . . . Suppose he found
himself alone with Myra beneath the mistletoe bough? Suppose he kissed
her? Suppose she turned upon him with her dignified little air and
reproached him, saying he had no right? Suppose he said, "_Myra! will
you give me the right?_" . . .

No wonder that the car seemed slow to the lover's mind; no wonder that
every fresh jerk and strain deepened the frown on his brow. The road was
strewn with rough, sharp stones; but in another mile or two they would
be on a smooth high-road once more. If only they could last out those
few miles!

[Sidenote: A Puncture]

Bang! A sharp, pistol-like noise rent the air, a noise which told its
own tale to the listening ears. A tyre had punctured, and a dreary
half-hour's delay must be faced while the youthful chauffeur repaired
the damage. The passengers leaped to the ground, and exhausted
themselves in lamentations. They were already behind time, and this new
delay would make them later than ever. . . . Suddenly they became aware
that they were cold and tired - shivering with cold. Peg looked down at
her boots, and supposed that there were feet inside, but as a matter of
sensation it was really impossible to say. Margaret's nose was a cheery
plaid - blue patches neatly veined with red. Jack looked from one to the
other and forgot his own impatience in anxiety for their welfare.

"Girls, you look frozen! Cut away up to that house, and ask them to let
you sit by the fire for half an hour. Much better than hanging about
here. I'll come for you when we are ready."

The girls glanced doubtfully at the squat, white house, which in truth
looked the reverse of hospitable; but the prospect of a fire being
all-powerful at the moment, they turned obediently, and made their way
up a worn gravel path, leading to the shabbiest of painted doors.

Margaret knocked; Peg rapped; then Margaret knocked again; but nobody



Online LibraryVariousThe Empire Annual for Girls, 1911 → online text (page 1 of 28)