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'Shure it's Doblin and the Liffey,' said Captain O'Grady; ‘isn't it the handsomest city in creation, and she's the most beautiful river! (Liverpool and the Mersey,' * Lisbon and Tagus," "Rome and Tiber,' were rapidly suggested by one or another. 'I must tell you that these two words must always have the same number of letters,' added our instructress, and in this case there are six.' Then it's Doblin and the Liffey, of course,' said O'Grady; ' for isn't there six of one and half a dozen of the other ?' We all echoed Dublin and the Liffey, declaring that must be the right guess, when Dr. Drawley, in his ponderous way, came out with, 'If I might venture to guess, I should suppose the words required might be our own city, London, and the river Thames.? Dr. Drawley is right,' said Lady Felicia, “it is London and Thames. The city unrivalled for wealth and power, and the river that flows by it. Now you have not done. Please to write down these words at the head of your paper, and then put down in a column the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. A pause, during which all were busy writing, and a good deal of discussion arose as to why, where, and how the numbers were to be put. At last, all being done, Lady Felicia continued: Now in order to prove that these words are right, you must find out all the words described by the following lines, and see whether they in their order begin and end with letters that form the two words London and Thames. Thus, for instance, the word suggested by the first line must begin with L and end with T.
'1. No work of art am I, though cast and drawn.' * We were all puzzled. 'A cab,' suggested Miss Spencer, on the ground of its being drawn. The Duke's statue,' cried Cousin Jack, 'which is certainly no work of art, though cast and drawn.' A net,' suggested FitzJoy. Very good,' we said; it must be Net.' 'Softly, softly,' interposed Lady Felicia, you are forgetting that this word must begin with L, and end with T, which Net does not. 'I can't see how that matters; can you ? sighed Mr. Maxwell Hyde to me. Though slightly in darkness myself as to all this guessing, I replied, with faith and firmness, ‘Of course it does.' Again Dr. Drawley came in to our assistance. Fortunately deaf to all the little buzzings of sound that distracted our acuter senses, he, elated by his first success, bent his whole mind upon the subject, and haring partly heard Lady Felicia, and had every word repeated by Mrs. Spencer, with shut eyes he pondered a while. I have it, I think, at last,' he said ; ‘is it Lot? You draw a lot, you cast a lot, and it is no work of art. Moreover, it begins with L and ends with T. We grew enthusiastic, and clapped the doctor, who was now thoroughly restored to good-humour, and looked round upon us with a smile. "Now write the word "Lot” after the figure i upon your papers,” said her ladyship; 'and then for No. 2.'
2. Break me; but if you do you'll be forsworn.' Pray attend to the letters this time; the second letter of London is? "O!'ve all exclaimed. And the second letter of Thames is- -?' 'H, we replied. “Then No. 2 must begin with O, and end with H.'
Oath!' exclaimed Cousin Jack and myself, simultaneously. And the oath was recorded.
Now for No. 3,' said our president. 'It begins with N, and ends with A; and this is the line that describes it:
'3. Phonetic horses sure would spell this way.' 'Fanatic horses?' said Dr. Drawley. Phonetic horses,' firmly repeated her ladyship. “I think some one must have misinformed your ladyship, possibly,' said Mr. Syme, deferentially; ' but, as far as I know, there is no such race of horses in our country.' Faith! nor in Ireland either,' said
* Phonetic,' thought I; 'now Mr. Hyde's turn is come. Mr. Hyde, pray tell me how could a horse spell phonetically?' 'A horse ? Dear me, how odd! I could tell you better how a donkey could; he! he
(“I believe you,' I thought.) 'But, Mr. Fogey, it would depend upon what the horse wanted to say, of course.' Why, Neigh, certainly,' cried Miss Smart, who was close by. And N A spells it phonetically, does it not, Mr. Hyde?' 'Quite right,' pronounced Lady Felicia. It took some time to explain this thoroughly to all the company. Mr. and Mrs. Smythe were hopeless quite, but wrote down mechanically, as they were told, without the least idea of what it meant, but quite sure it was 'a very pretty game.'
‘No. 4. Tired reason sleeps, while unchecked fancies play, beginning with D, and ending in M. Delirium,' said Dr. Curry, promptly; but this would not quite do; and Mrs. Spencer hit upon the right solution in ‘Dream.'
No. 5. The eyes' soft glance charms only to destroy. O and E.' 'The eyes' soft glance,' said Cousin Jaok, looking up at Miss Gentle, 'charms only to destroy? What can that be?' Miss Gentle blushed. Spooner must guess it,' continued Jack. 'If it began with a G instead of O, I could answer it.' 'O, E: '“The eyes'soft glance,"'murmured Mr. Spooner. The eyes' soft glance,' repeated Fitz-Joy, and O'Grady. Here Miss Primeval opened her mouth for the first time in the game. She is a middle-aged spinster, sharp as a needle, bright as a spoon. * I do declare it must be Ogle,' she said. I have heard my poor dear mother say that in her younger days every one used to ogle, but we could not do it now; only she would have said, “ The eyes' bright glance.'
We can find all about it in the “Spectator," said Miss Smart. • Perhaps it depends entirely upon the eyes,' said Mr. Syme; “it would be hard to deny the power of ogling to a soft or to a bright eye, when doubtless either would be sufficient to "destroy” the peace of mind of any victim among our weak sex.'
• Soft, or bright, for I like the correction Miss Primeval suggests,' said Lady Felicia; "the word is Ogle. And now for the last of all.'
'6. They call me Ben, though neither man nor boy.' ' Ben-Ben. What can it be? Beginning with N, and ending with S. 'I can't think of any word beginning with N, and ending with S, but News. 'And Nereus, said Miss Smart. And Nephews and Nieces, said Mrs. Spencer. And Nuts,' said Harry Pickles. And Neighbours,' said Mr. Spencer. ‘And Nauseous,' said Dr. Curry. And Nautilus,' said Lieutenant Warpe. "They call me Ben. It won't do. We gave it up, and entreated a hint at least. "Have you ever been to Scotland ?' said Lady Felicia: ‘that may help you.'
· Ben Nevis ! Miss Silverdale exclaimed, blushingly eager. And Ben Nevis it was.
• The Acrostic is done,' said the president. "And now look at your papers, and you will see what I mean. The two wholes to be guessed are London and Thames : and you will find that the first letters of the words you have discovered, reading them down, form the word London, and the last letters the word Thames. As thus:
1. Lo T 2. Oat H
A 4. Dream 5. Ogl E
6. Nevi S. 'Do you understand ?
• How do we make two holes ?' said Mr. Hyde, who was still puzzled by this. With a penknife, to be sure,' said Cousin Jack, blandly. *Just prod
your paper with it, and it's done directly.' 'For shame, Jack !' said Mr. Spencer.
Lady Felieia went over her explanations slowly and gently, until all with whom such a process was possible were enlightened. Then we begged for another. She gave us the following, telling us she would not afford a single hint this time:
A tyrant, who most justly lost his life;
The failing of his hardly rescued wife.
'Tis well you can prove yourself far from the scene.
9. The sweet, simple song we could hear o'er and o'er. Observe, there are nine letters in each of the two words to be found out.' Then the tyrant can't be Nero;' 'or Robespierre;' 'or Charles the First;' 'or Julius Cæsar.' 'A tyrant, sighed Miss Silverdale. 'Oh! I am sure 'we learned about him in Mangnall.' 'Let us try the words,' some one suggested, and accordingly we did so. Captain O'Grady pronounced the 'watchfire' line to be Bivouac. The priest was decided upon as Eli. The lightener of the slave's gloom Banjo. No. 7, Alibi. And so by degrees the whole words were discovered to be Bluebeard and Curiosity: and then the other words were decided upon, as—2. Landau; 3. Uther; 6. Egeus; 8. Rest; and 9. Ditty.
Now I noticed that Dr. Drawley had taken no part in this one of Bluebeard and Curiosity, rather to Mrs. Spencer's relief, who was thus set free to devote a fuller attention to the various problems in the solution of which she was very clever. But when she announced to the doctor that the discovery was made, and pointed out the row of answers complete, he nodded his head graciously, and asked for a slip of paper, upon which he at once began to write. "Oh, Charles !' said Mrs. Spencer, delighted, · Dr. Drawley has made an Acrostic himself. Now you must not laugh; I dare say it will be very nice.' 'Lady Felicia,' said Dr. Drawley, rising, and advancing to her ladyship with a bow,' will you condescend to use your ingenuity in unravelling this Acrostic, made in humble imitation of your own?' Lady Felicia did condescend, and read it out for our benefit.
My First's bright hair floats in the midnight sky.
Combine these letters in their order due,
Adorn with equal lustre the same page. ' Bravo! bravo!' resounded on all sides. Indeed,' said Lady Felicia, this "humble imitation" far sirpasses the original. Let us guess the
England is the land of the free!' shouted Fitz-Joy. “Her name in youth, and that in riper age. Britain and England: that
must be it,' said Lady Felicia. Young Pickles hummed 'Rule Britannia' audibly, while we set to work to find out all the Acrostic.
1. My First's bright hair floats in the midnight sky. B, and E.' · Boreas,' said O'Grady, without reflection. “Berenice,' said Lieutenant Warpe. 'I thought she was a queen,' objected Miss Rowley. 'I forget the story,' he replied; but Coma Berenices, or Berenico's Hair, is a constellation we sailors know pretty well.'
• My next's a trifle. R, and N. 'Oh, Doctor Drawley, how can you call a ribbon a trifle!' said Miss Spencer; 'to us it is a most important affair sometimes.' 'How is it ever an honour?' asked Miss Silverdale. Why, faith!' replied O'Grady, ‘if Her Majesty (long life to her!) was to summon you to her presence, and tie a blue ribbon round your neck, and say, "Pat, you villain, kneel down, and I'll make you a K.C.B.,” would not that be an honour, do ye think?'
We could not guess I and G at all. Ironing was suggested, but failed; so Dr. Drawley consented to inform us that Infra dig. was what he meant. Miss Rowley thought Latin and Greek ought not to be allowed; but the rest let it pass. The 4th was soon found to be Tell; the 5th was guessed by the youngest Miss Silverdale to be Austria ; the 6th Ivan the Czar; and the 7th we all felt sure was Nod. The doctor was happy, and the curate smiled again. We now all set to work to compose acrostics, and in the intervals of labour (for I, too, hammered these old brains to produce something in emulation of the doctor) it was amusing to watch the varied expressions on the faces of the would-be authors. Cousin Jack was alternately in fits of laughter at some joke that crossed his brain, or pulling a portentously long face-squeezing out some rhyme I felt sure. Miss Gentle had a pensive frown-a very unusual mark on her young face. O'Grady contorted all his features. Miss Primeval alone was unaltered; and her face gave no sign of the mental effort going on within. Mr. Maxwell Hyde wrote short-hand profusely. Dr. Curry wrote off a few pithy lines, and signed them with his well-known monograph, as if it was a prescription. Jack told me afterwards he had guessed it, and it really was Senna and Salts; but I do not more than half believe him.
Lady Felicia's composition was a marvel of ingenuity. It proved to be a Double Double Acrostic, every word with a double meaning. It was this :
One deals destruction with a steady sweep;
A lordly dwelling, and its inmate brave.
1. Many a throat has been stopped by me;
A harbour fair, and a spreading tree. 2. A barren spot 'neath a burning sun,
Where the desert king rests when the night is done. 3. A palace, the name of which promised a lot
Which is no man's share in palace or cot. 4. In England each object, little or great;
In Iceland (see Dasent) a part of the state.
Was known by this name in days gone by.
What the building is when it stauds alone. What a head she has!' I said to Mrs. Snencer, when my own had been racked in finding out the words. "Splendid woman! true blue every inch of her!' Mrs. Spencer echoed my enthusiasm.
My little effort was then called for. It was only this :
In the sky, and in the sea,
Object of our schemes.
A race of days gone by.
Himself may never pass.
Stuff! Throw it all away.' It was very favourably received, and, to my surprise, pronounced rather difficult. Then Mr. Spooner modestly declared that he really could not write poetry, but had made a little acrostic with the help of Byron, which he would venture to read to us. 'Not “Don Juan," I hope,' said Miss Rowley, sternly. I didn't think Spooner had so much in him,' whispered Cousin Jack.
• Here, where the Sword united nations drew,
Our countrymen were warring on that day.' • The battle-field, where Persia's victim horde
First bowed beneath the brunt of Hellas' sword. 1. “The First may turn, but not avenge the blow.'
My daughter! with thy name this song began,
My daughter! with thy name this song shall end.' 3. 'This weapon of her weakness she can wield,
To save, subdue; at once her spear and shield.'
Blend a celestial with a human heart?'
To note how much the life yet left could bear.'
His glove on earth, and forth his sabre flew.'
. Each zone Obeys thee, thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.' This was too much for Mr. Hyde. "Where has Spooner got all that stuff from, I wonder," he said. “And who is his daughter he speaks about? I did not think he was married. I thought he admired Miss Gentle. A widower, perhaps ? 'He is only quoting Lord Byron,' I explained ; ' and Lord Byron, you know, had a daughter. "Ah! I see; very singular,' replied Mr. Hyde. Spooner helped us through his poetical mystery, which really was very clever. Then Mr. and Mrs. Spencer gave us their joint effusion, short, and not too difficult:
Where first young Zephyr breathes his tender sigh,
1. A very penetrating little thing.
4. What idle schoolboys love to play, 'tis said. We soon guessed it, though put off the right scent as to No. by Pickles and Fitz-Joy, who enumerated a variety of juvenile pastimes, ană
us back for a while.
was announced long before we had done acrostic making and guessing; and some of the ladies, who I am sure had written very pretty