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sent to me at 224, Great Portland Street, London, W.1, and marked " Blinded Soldiers' Children Fund.”
(Sir) ARTHUR PEARSON 224, Great Portland Street,
will never see. They will be known only by the sound of their voices and by their characters as they develop. Their little faces will become familiar by the touch of the hand that caresses them. And they will grow up to responsibilities that other children do not know. It must often fall to the children of the blind man to be the special companion of their father, to wait on him, to guide him, to become, in a sense, the guardians of their parent.
I feel certain that those whose joy is to look on the faces of their children, to watch their smiles and their play, to see them grow up, will be eager to help the men from St. Dunstan's to care for the little ones, known to them so strangely, like the children we see in our dreams. The heroism of the blinded soldier is not a matter of the battlefield alone, for to face life joyously and usefully in a world that is dark requires an enduring courage.
The generous help that has come to me for these men seems to be a message from the public that they want them to live the happiest of lives possible; we do not want the men who have given their sight for us to be hampered by difficulties that forethought can remove from their way. To give blind soldiers the assurance that the children who come to brighten their lives shall be provided for till they are able to make their own way in the world is the object I have at heart. It is wonderful for the blinded soldier to have the love and constant care of a wife. And in a world of darkness what visions of light are called into existence by the laughter of children, the sound of their feet, the touch of their hands? It is my hope to be able to raise a Fund to provide an allowance of 5s, per week until the age of 16 for each of these children who are not cared for by the State. The total required will certainly amount to—and may even exceed £250,000.
A sum large can only be raised by an effort worthy of this cause, which will, I am sure, appeal to everyone. May I beg the hospitality of your columns to ask for the support of your readers both for subscriptions and for help in collecting this Fund? The object is one which will, I am sure, appeal above all to the women of this country. All requests for information and all donations should be
THE ALLIES' WHITE CROSS.
SIR,-An organization under the name of “The Allies' White Cross," a cross without a stain, is now being established in America, and its founder is no less a person than the great educationist, Dr. Maria Montessori. In the United States the movement has been received with the utmost enthusiasm. “ The Allies' White Cross” is a body similar to the Red Cross, but designed to treat the children of war, to gather up the new human generation, and to save it by a special method of education. Dr. Montessori, whose method, as we all know, has exercised a wonderfully calming influence on nervous children, suggests the preparing of teacher-nurses who should go to the assistance of the depressed and terrified children, who are threatened with the perils of degeneration. The plan is to start a free course to prepare volunteers to undertake the intellectual care of children, and it will include first aid, knowledge of nervous diseases, dietetics for infants and children, isolation, special psychology, domestic science, agriculture, language, and a theorectical and intensely practical course in the Montessori method as specially applied to these children. Dr. Montessori, who is giving her services gratuitously, will prepare the “White Cross” workers with the assistance of medical specialists in nervous diseases. The plan is then to send out working groups to France, Belgium, Serbia, Roumania, Russia and other European countries, each consisting of four to six persons : head, secretary, two teachers and two outside workers. Each group would be located in places where refugees are already gathered. Dr. Montessori is not trying to found new institutions, but to supplement those already established, which are doing a vital but necessarily partial work in providing physical care. It is not sufficient to build up the bodies of these unfortunate children, and to leave their minds and spirits weakened
and incapable of shouldering the heavy burdens which will fall upon them in the period of reconstruction; and the aim of these “White Cross” workers, who will be specially trained in mental hygiene, should be to restore these injured minds to normal activity and joy. These groups of workers should then, as soon as they are in the field, prepare others, such as
war widows and orphan girls, and thus the work of this new Society will multiply rapidly. It would seem that the possibilities of Dr. Montessori's inspiring plan are practically unlimited, and the organizers are very anxious to obtain the co-operation of all in Britain who are interested in this work, so that its success may be assured. Dr. Montessori insists very strongly that should not wait for the end of the War to begin this supremely important work. She has already formed a committee in America, and she and her collaborators earnestly desire to see similar committees speedily established in all the allied countries. To this end, offers of voluntary aid and of funds are urgently needed. Those who are interested in the scheme are invited to communicate with me at 20, Bedford Street, London, W.C.1.
C. A. BANG. 20, Bedford Street,
steadily, and effectively. The HomeReading Ilagazine has been widely circu. lated in camps and military hospitals; and the book lists drawn up by the Union have helped much in selection of books sent out to soldiers at the Front. The main work of the Union, however, continues to be among the nation at home, and particularly among the young. It claims to be helping in no small measure to maintain in the present, and secure for the future, a standard of high thought, intelligent interest, and true patriotism. All who wish to become members of the Union, or to give it their support, are earnestly invited to write for particulars to the Secretary, 12, York Buildings, Adelphi, London, W.C.2. The Secretary will also gratefully, receive donations, large or small, towards the ordinary expenses of the Union, or towards the Emergency Fund which has been raised to meet the increasing demands on its very slender resources.
Chairman of Council.
Committee. 12, York Buildings,
THE NATIONAL HOME-READING
UNION. Sir,- We desire to call attention to the work which the National Home-Reading Union is carrying on during its fourth war session, and to appeal for continued public sympathy and support. The national emergency has brought to the Union many difficulties. Its aim is, now as before, to turn the power of reading to good uses, so as to make it a joy in the home and to help towards the conduct of daily life. The courses of reading pursued at the suggestion and with the help of the Union, which offer a large choice to readers of all ages, tastes, and acquirements, have been found, in time
a steadying, refreshing, and heightening influence. Systematic reading has proved itself a powerful antidote to the spirit of unrest, and an aid towards carrying on national service cheerfully,
THE DECIMAL ASSOCIATION.
SIR, -You will be aware that the demand for the simplification of our present system of coinage continues to make headway, and that many influential bodies are contemplating taking steps to secure the passage of the necessary legislation. *The efforts of the Decimal Association are now reinforced by the recommendations of the Institute of Bankers and the Association of Chambers of Commerce, and all these three bodies are in agreement that the desired change can best be accomplished by retaining our present £ sterling as the monetary unit and by dividing it by 10, 100 and 1,000 instead of by 20, 240 and 060 as at present. A step towards decimalization was given when the florin was coined (as it represents the exact tenth part of the £), and it will be seen from the enclosed circular that most of our existing coins down to and including the sixpenny piece are available and suitable for incorporation
in a decimal system of British coinage without any alteration whatever in their respective values. Efforts to divide the florin into 100 parts and thus arrive at a complete decimal system of coinage, notwithstanding its manifest advantage (which every other nation in the world already enjoys), have hitherto been beset with insurmountable difficulties largely because the change involved a slight reduction in the face values of the penny, halfpenny and farthing. Whenever this step has been discussed pathetic pictures have been drawn to illustrate the dire results which must follow (particularly to the working classes) any attempt to tamper with the penny, which became invested with a quite fictitious sanctity. The War has, however, changed many things, and the value of the penny is among them. It is not too much to say that the purchasing power of the penny has completely changed and that the inflexibility of our subsidiary coinage has been one of the causes accentuating the high prices of daily necessities which have been found to be the root of so much industrial unrest, and the present proposed changes, instead of being against the industrial classes, will be of advantage to them. One has only to recall the many instances of the prices of halfpenny goods and services being raised to a penny and of penny goods being raised to three halfpence for lack of an intermediate coinage to realize the truth of
the statement. These advances of 100 per cent. and 50 per cent. respectively have been made when perhaps 20 per cent. would have reimbursed the sellers for their increased cost, and the introduction of new subsidiary coins, having values intermediate between our present halfpenny and penny, and between our penny and three halfpence, would accordingly be a great boon to the consumers of
pennyworths" in any form. It is certain that the pre-war level of prices cannot be restored for a long time to come (if ever), and that the provision of an enlarged range of low denomination coins in closely graduated steps would accordingly afford much relief to our hard-pressed people, while enabling the seller to get a fair increase of price for his article. If we can simultaneously provide the desired relief and reap the benefits of decimal coinage we shall have done something to merit the gratitude of our countrymen both now and in the future. With these notes we commend the details of our proposals to your sympathetic consideration in the hope that your undoubted influence may be enlisted in their support.
BELHAVEN AND STENTON,
Finsbury Paviment, E.C.1.
WAYS AND MEANS.
Under this heading descriptions are given of preparations and appliances, new and old, likely to be
of service in the study and management of child life. Every care is taken to procure reliable notices based upon practical knowledge. In this way trustworthy information is available regarding the work of inventors and the products of manufacturers, which it is believed will afford valuable guidance to all engaged in the care of infants and the protection and education of children.
ANNUALS. War-time conditions are adding much to the perplexities of editors and the troubles of publishers, but it is good to find that annuals for youths and children are appearing in their customary form and with but little sign of impairment in their attractiveness and powers for service. The issue of a number of new annuals under favourite titles reminds us that the end of the year is in sight and that preparations must be made for Christmastide gifts. Confections and non-essentials are not likely to be available in any large amounts this year, so it is to be hoped that parents and teachers and friends of children will use wisely such money as they can spare for presents. No better form of gift for recreation and instruction can be found than the old-time annuals in their up-todate dress. The Religious Tract Society, as usual, lead the way in attractive and helpful annuals for boys and girls. “The Boy's Own Annual ” is now in its thirtyninth annual volume. We well remember the thrill of joy with which as schoolboy we discovered the first issue of the B.O.P. And this wonderful magazine continues to fascinate boys. This year's Annual in spirit and substance is up to standard. The volume does not appear to have suffered diminution in size, and the illustrations, paper, and stories and articles are all first-class, There are five stirring serial stories full of adventure and written by well-known experts. The collection of coloured plates makes the volume particularly attractive; the frontispiece is a tine folded coloured plate giving the official crests of the Royal Navy. In addition to numerous stories and a large number of illustrations and many humorous notes and interesting novelties, there are admirable articles of an informing nature, suggestive, constructive and educational.
The mantle of the late Mr. G. Andrew Hutchison, the first Editor, has fallen on the present Editor, and the high level of this premier journal for boys is fully maintained. The companion volume, “ The Girl's Own Annual,” under the experienced editorship of Miss Flora Klickmann, seems to grow in literary and artistic grace and beauty. The present volume is ideal for girls and adolescents on the threshold of womanhood and it is doubtless read with interest by many wives and mothers who have no wish to throw off the spell of early days and are still held by the attractiveness and intrinsic value of this famous magazine. The artistic form of the volume is very satisfying and the numerous illustrations are of exceptional interest. There are striking serials, fascinating stories, informing articles, practical notes, thoughts to strengthen mind and invigorate spirit, and suggestions, directions and instructions for making the best of self and others, home and friends, earth and heaven.
There are a number of fine full-page coloured plates. These two volumes are productions of which the staff of the R.T.S. may justly be proud. We hope that parents and heads of schools will see to it that these volumes reach the coming citizens to whose service they are dedicated. These Annuals occupy a special position among national possessions, and even war and its concerns must not be allowed to rob our youth of these aids to life's fullest development. It should be noted that the price of each volume is as of old, 75. 6d. net.
We are glad to be able to welcome again the excellent annuals which have appeared for so many years from the well-known house of Messrs. S. W. Partridge and Co., Ltd. Sunshine," edited by C. D. Michael, is now in its fifty-sixth volume. It claims to be a magazine for
the home, the school, and the world.” It contains three good serials, many short stories and sketches, much good verse, lots of general notes, and a great wealth of pictures. There are also two fine coloured mounted plates. The volume will make glad the heart of many a boy and girl. The price is is. 6d. net. “The Children's Friend Annual for 1918” consists of the twelve-months parts for 1917. It is also edited by C. D. Michael, and is intended "for boys and girls at home and at school.” Mr. Rowland Walker has supplied the serial story. Among special features sketches of “Boys who Wondered," Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Humphry Davy, George Stephenson, John Ruskin, Hans Andersen, Charles Darwin, and: Robert Louis Stevenson. There are also a number of interesting Nature studies. Praiseworthy features are the excellent special pictures and reproductions of photographs. There are several full-page coloured pictures. The price is IS. 6d. net. “ The Infants' Magazine Annual” is now in its fifty-second volume, and the current issue contains the twelve monthly numbers for 1917. It is a charming book for young children. is good, the pictures numerous, several appearing in colours, and with a great variety of stories and verses and humorous sketches such as little folk love. The price is is. 6d. net.
“ Bibby's Annual," Vol. III, No. (price is. 3d. net, by post is. 8d.), published by the Priory Publishing Press, and is unique production which merits more than mere praise. Its preparation and issue is to be counted as a contribution to the service of mankind, an offering in the interests of noble art and righteous living. The current issue contains an unusually fine collection of beautiful reproductions of some of the best pictures of such masters as BurneJones, Romney, G. F. Watts, Lord Leighton, W. P. Frith, Thos. Faed, Turner, Constable, Joseph Pennell, and Didier Pouget. These beautiful examples of colour lithographic printing are just the very thing for the decoration of homes and schools and other places where young lives and unfolding minds are in the making. The annual also
contains a fine gathering of striking and original articles by well-known writers. We advise all parents and teachers to lose no time in doing their utmost to procure a copy of this notable annual.
The new annuals issued by the wellknown house of Cassell and Company maintain their astounding high standard. “ The British Girl's Annual," compiled by the Editor of Little Folks (price 5s. net), is a particularly delightful volume. It is substantial in size, with a large number of admirable pictures in colour and blackand-white and a grand gathering of striking stories. Miss Ethel Talbot contributes “the long complete story," and shorter tales and numerous articles are contributed by well-known writers, among whom are the following : Angela Brazil, Marjorie Bowen, Dorothea Moore, Bessie Marchant, Christine Chaundler, Ethel M. Methley, . and Doris A. Pocock. The editor announces an easy and attractive postcard competition which should prove most popular. As a gift-book for schoolgirls this artistic and satisfying volume cannot be beaten. “ Cassell's Children's Annual” (price 55 net) is intended for young boys and girls. It is a large hand
volume with bold type and a wonderful collection of seventy-three charming stories and 140 illustrations in colour and black-and-white. The authors include many well-known favourites, and among the artists who have contributed are Harry Rowntree, Mabel Lucie Atwell, C. E. Brock, Lewis Baumer, Arthur Rackham, Ernest Aris, Florence Mary Anderson, Rosa Petherick, Dorothy Rees. and Hilda Cowham. This annual is just the sort of Christmastide gift-book which the little people will know how to appreciate. “Bo-Peep : A Picture-book Annual for Little Folks” (price 25. 6d. net) has been specially designed to meet the needs of “the infant mind." It is an artistic and amusing collection of fairy-tales and other stories, humorous verses and wonderful pictures in colour and black-andwhite. It has been skilfully compiled by an experienced editor who fully understands what young children desire. As an inexpensive and acceptable present the “Bo-Peep" annual occupies a unique place.