Miss Mary Hooper Books

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Nelson's Home Comforts - Little dinners - Cookery For Invalids - Every Day Meals - Hints on Cookery Good Plain Cookery - Handbook For The Breakfast Table - Weekly Telegraph Cookery Book - Our Dog Prin - Ways and Tricks of Animals

Lily's Letters from the Farm  (USA)- Wives and Housewives (a story for the times) Papers on Cookery (no image) For Better For worse (no image)


Victorian Book for Children

" ...Lily's Letters from the Farm




Walter and Lily Dobson had been born and brought up in London, and they knew nothing whatever of a country life. They had, it is true, gone every year to the seaside for the sake of their health, but there, you know, they had no chance to see anything of the ways of birds or animals. So it was with great joy, one fine summer day, the children heard they were going to pay a visit to their aunt, Mrs. Leman, who lived at Burton, in Yorkshire. When Lily left home she gave her mother a promise to write as long an account as she could every week of all she saw and did at Burton, Lily, you must know, was but seven years old, so she could only write little letters, and as Walter was still younger, of course he could not do even so much. The first letter Lily wrote was all about the journey, and how, though people said it was a fast train, she thought they never would get to Burton. Then she told her mother what a lovely place the old Hall was, and something about the park, and the boat on the lake, and the fine old trees, and of how kind dear Auntie Leman was to them both. Lily's second letter was an account of the visits she and Walter paid to cottages and to farm-houses. "Dearest Mamma,'' said she, ''we have seen nothing yet so funny as the pigs. I had no idea they were such clever animals, because I heard Nurse say one day that "Toby was as stupid as a pig." Mrs. Grant, you know, is the wife of Auntie's coachman, and she lives in a cottage in the park. We went to see her on one of her washing days, and she said she would show us how she used up her soap suds. Well, Walter and I both thought she would fetch a pipe and blow bubbles, but it was nothing so babyish, I can tell you. Mrs. Grant took a scrubbing brush and a great pail of suds, and we followed her into the yard to the pig stye. As soon as the old sow saw her coming she really danced. I wonder, dear Mamma, if you ever saw so lively a pig? Walter and I clapped our hands, for Auntie said it was as good as a play.



When Mrs. Grant went into the stye with her pail and brush, piggy stood as still as a mouse, giving a low grunt, and shaking her curly tail. ''Now then, my pet," Mamma, fancy a pig being called a pet said Mrs. Grant; "she shall have a nice scrub, that she shall." The pet stood quite still, and Mrs. Grant scrubbed away at her back Just as cook scrubs the kitchen table, and the fun of it was, Mrs. Sow liked it so much. When it was done, Mrs. Grant's pet looked lovely, "fit," as she said, "for the Queen's drawing-room," Many a grunt, by way of thanks, was given to Mrs. Grant, who said the pig knew Monday was washing-day as well as she did, and as she had none of the work, liked it by far the best of the two. ''When the scrubbing was over, Mrs. Grant went into a shed close by the stye; and do you know. Mamma, we really thought the sow would have climbed out of it. She put her fore paws on the top rail, and stood upon her hind ones, and tried all she could do to get over. "We soon saw why Mrs. Sow was in such a state, for the peas were kept in that shed, and she knew it, and Mrs. Grant said she was as fond of peas as we were of sweeties. After we had given the nice old sow a good lot of the peas, Mrs. Grant took us to see her other pigs fed; but we thought them greedy and selfish, because they almost knocked one another over to get served first. But Mrs. Grant said they were only young, and had not been taught manners like the old sow, so we must not be hard upon them.''


Lily's Letter about the Horse Rory.

''Dearest Mamma, we have been over the stables this morning with Auntie, and she has given Walter a pony to ride whilst we stay at Burton; and she says, if you had a stable for him, we might bring him home with us. I am to have Rory, Auntie's dear old horse, though, of course, I cannot ride by myself yet, and the groom will lead him. Cousin Bertie laughs at me, and says I shall have to be tied on the saddle, or else be held on; but you know, dear Mamma, I am not such a baby as that.



Rory is a tall horse, and very gentle, and there is no fear of his running away with a little girl like me. Auntie used to ride him almost every day for years, and when she was ill nobody else was allowed to use him, and they said he seemed to fret after her. I do not wonder Rory should miss her, for she goes every day into his stable and takes him a piece of bread and an apple, and when the horse hears her footstep or her voice, long before she reaches the door, he shows signs of great joy. But if anybody else gives Rory nice things he does not seem to care more for them than he does for his everyday corn; so it shows he loves Auntie for herself, and not for what she takes him. "A very strange thing happened once about Rory, and not all the clever people on the farm  could make it out for a long time. Because Rory is such a pet, he has a nice stable shut off from the others and the door is fastened by a bolt, which can be opened from the inside. ''You remember what a long, sad illness Auntie once had, and so I am sure does Rory. One morning, when some weeks had gone by without his seeing his dear mistress, the groom found the stable empty, the door open, and Rory gone. Nobody knew anything about him, but at last, after a long search, they found Rory standing close to the stone steps on which Auntie always mounts her horse, looking, as if he would say, "I am here, do come for a ride.' The groom saw Rory was fretting for his mistress, so he spoke kindly, and took him back to the stable. After this the groom took care to see that the door was safely bolted at night, but for all that, Rory got out several times, and was always found at Auntie s mounting place. The groom thought it must be one of the boys who let Rory out, for the fun of the thing, and so he made up his mind to watch, He got up very early one morning, and crept quietly to a spot where he could see the stable door, and you can think how surprised the man was when he saw Rory with his mouth push back the bolt. The door also was soon opened by the clever horse, and out he walked, with slow step, to the old" place, where he hoped to find his dear friend. ''It was not thought well to take any no means to prevent the horse going to the stone, and he continued to do so until Auntie got better. At first she was not able to go to the stable, so Rory was taken round to pay her a visit under her window. From the day he saw Auntie, he left off going to the mounting stone, for no doubt he understood then the reason she could not ride, and knew also she would not forget her dear horse Rory, who had such a true and faithful love for her.



Lily's Robin Letter.

''You know, dearest Mamma."' wrote Lily, ''how we have longed to see a Robin Red-breast. We get any number of sparrows in London, but not even when it was very cold and hard weather has a Robin ever come to get any crumbs at our windows. Auntie told Blake, the gardener, if he found a nest of Robins to let us know, and so one morning he came and asked us to go and look at one, built in a thick creeper against a wall. Blake fixed a ladder quite safe for me, and although I was a little afraid, never having been on one before, I went up it, and saw the nest with four tiny little heads peeping out. Blake said the old birds were close by, and that they would come back and feed the baby Robins as soon as we were gone. Afterwards Walter got a little peep at the nest, but Blake said we must not stay long, because the parent birds would be uneasy if we did. A day or two afterwards Blake told us he thought some of the boys in the village must have seen us looking at the nest, for they had found it out, and if he had not happened to be near at the time they would have carried it away. Blake was busy at work, and he thought he heard a Robin cry, as though he was in trouble, so he went at once to see what was the matter.



The poor father Robin was on a bough watching three cruel boys who had got his nest and his dear little ones, and Blake said he was wild with grief. Dear Mamma, was it not lucky Blake was there at the time, for he went after the boys at once, and took the nest from them? He put it back in its place, and he said the old birds flew round him all the time. Then he went a little way off and watched, and very soon they came and fed the little ones, and they were once more all happy together.


Lily's Letter about Tom-Tit.

"Dearest Mamma, I have the most interesting tales to tell you about Auntie's wild birds. She has made many of them as tame as our canaries. There is a sparrow we call No-Tail, for he has lost all the feathers out of it, and he looks as much like a ball as a bird. He comes very often to the window of the morning room, and brings a lot of little sparrows to pick up crumbs. "No-Tail does not go off when Auntie opens the window, but flies about her hand, and shows the little ones how to pick up. If he wants food, No-Tail flies up to the window, and taps it with his beak, sometimes giving a loud chirp, as if getting cross at being kept waiting. But the dearest little bird is a Tom-Tit, which lives partly in and partly out of the house, and goes to and from Auntie's room much in the same way as the canary goes in and out of his cage. Tom roosts in Auntie's bedroom on a book-shelf, which has a rail at the top, and he never thinks of getting up in the morning till Auntie calls him. Then he helps her to dress, for he pulls the buttons of her bodice through the holes with his little beak, and he no doubt thinks she cannot do her hair without him, for he perches on her head, and she is obliged to keep driving him off. When it is time to go to breakfast, Auntie carries Tom on her finger down stairs. Then he flies about the room till she begins to eat, when he makes believe to fight her for a bit of her toast, and he makes fun for all of us by his merry, pretty ways. As soon as breakfast is over, Tom has a saucer of cold water put for him, and after he has taken a bath in it, the window is opened, and he goes out for the day or for a few hours, as he likes, always coming back before it is time to roost. One evening Auntie was in trouble, for as Tom was later than usual in getting home she feared he might have been hurt in some way.



But after all he got home in time for supper like a dear good boy. Of course we asked Auntie how Tom grew to be so tame, and she told us that she found him one day when walking in the garden. He had somehow got away too soon from the nest, and the old birds had lost him, and poor Tom was almost dead for want of food. So Auntie took him home, and soon fed him into a strong bird, and he became so fond of her that, although, when he was able to take care of himself, she gave him his liberty, he came back to her, and has stayed with her for three years, as I have told you. Auntie thinks Tom never goes far away from the house, because nearly always when she goes into the garden he comes and hops about her, and when she calls, is sure to come in a few minutes. Is it not nice, dear Mamma, to have a little bird to be such a friend of its own free will? When we get home, Walter and I mean to try if we can tame some of our London sparrows to bring little ones for crumbs like Auntie's No-Tail. How I do wish you could hear the birds singing together, almost before it is light in the morning. The blackbird is the chief songster now, and he has such a sweet, low note. When we first came the thrush was most heard, and his note sounded just like "Make haste up.'' Sometimes, you know, dear Mamma, at home I am lazy about getting out of bed, but here I can hardly wait for Nurse to call me; and very often creep to the window to watch the birds getting food for their young ones, and then I think how much more I should enjoy it all if you were with me.


Lily's Letter about Johnny's Fall.

"I have a sad story to tell you, dearest Mamma, about one of the boys who stole Robin's nest. Blake says they are all three bad boys, always playing truant and getting into mischief. He scolded them well when they took our Robins, and said one of these days something bad would happen if they did not leave off their idle ways; but they only laughed at Blake, and made up their minds to go birds nesting again, the first chance they could get. Johnny Jinks is the youngest of these boys; his mother is a widow and she has hard work to get her living by taking a few flowers and a little fruit into the town for sale. She tells Auntie that Johnny is very good, and worlds in her bit of garden out of school hours, and that it is the other two boys, Joe and Sam Bond, who are always leading him into trouble. One day last week Johnny, as his mother thought, went off to school in the morning, but really he was in the wood with Joe and Sam, looking after birds' nests. Those two boys are bigger than Johnny, and if there is anything difficult or dangerous to be done, they make him do it. The way they manage is to tell Johnny he dare not do anything they want him to do, and that puts the little fellow's pride up, and he tries to do it at once. The boys had been out all the morning in the wood, and had not taken any nests, but at last they saw a linnet's nest rather high up in a tree. Johnny said it was out of reach. "Stuff," said Joe, "you are a little coward. I could get it." ''And so can I," said Johnny. "We will see if I am a coward." So up the tree the boy went, the others watching him from below. He grasped the nest, containing three little linnets, and shouted to the others. Johnny was coming down the tree with the nest in one hand, and in two minutes would have been safe, had he not planted both his feet on a rotten branch. It gave way, and in an instant the poor boy fell to the earth.



Joe and Sam ran up to him, and they thought he was dead, for they could neither make him speak nor move. "Now you will see what cowards those boys were, for they ran out of the wood, leaving poor Johnny lying there senseless; and worse than this, they went home to dinner and never told anybody what had happened to Johnny. When evening came, Mrs. Jinks was anxious because he had not come home, and on asking about him at the schoolhouse, she found out that he had played truant with the Bond boys. At first Joe and Sam pretended they knew nothing about Johnny, but afterwards they got frightened and told the truth, saying they believed he was dead. Poor Mrs. Jinks could hardly make her legs carry her to the wood, she was so grieved about her boy. At last, guided by Joe, she reached the spot where Johnny was lying, and, to her great joy, found he was not killed, though very badly hurt. Johnny was faint from pain and from having had no food, so they gave him some milk, and as soon as possible two men carried him home and fetched the doctor. Then it was found that Johnny's leg was broken, and that he must go to the hospital. The poor boy was very sorry for his fault, and for all the trouble he had brought on his mother; and he told her that when he gets well he will try and make up for it, and be a good, dutiful son to her always. I am sure he will never again play truant or be led away by such bad companions as the Bonds, for he has seen what sort of friends they were, to leave him lying as if dead in the wood all day. ''Walter and I wished to know what became of the three little linnets, and Mrs. Bond said she was afraid they had been killed in falling with Johnny. Of course we were sorry, but Auntie says it is better so than that they should have got into the hands of the Bond boys, who would very likely have made them die slow and painful deaths.


Lily's Letter about the Swallows and Cat.

"Now, dearest Mamma, I must tell you about the Swallows. They have built some nests in the eaves over Auntie's room, and they allow the Tom-Tit to visit them. They fight sparrows and other birds, but they seem to know that Tom will do them no harm, and they are so friendly with him. You must know, dear Mamma, that Auntie keeps no cat of her own, but there is one belonging to little Nell, at the lodge.



She is a lovely cat, and Nell is very fond of her. One day Auntie sent for Nell, to give her a little present. She came into the room with the cat in her arms, dressed out in all sorts of smart ribbons, and Auntie made us laugh by asking Nell if she was not afraid of making Pussy vain by so much finery. You know, the window of Auntie's room is a French one, and opens on to the garden, so when Nell put Puss down, she took it into her head to walk out. Well, we suppose the Swallows thought Puss was there for no good, and they began to "twit, twit" to one another, as if to say, "Beware of the cat." Now, I do think Puss is too well fed to care about a young swallow for her supper; but, of course, when they went on in that way, she looked up at them. The Swallows thought, no doubt, that it would be best to drive Puss away if they could, and so two of them flew down close to her head with such a flap, flap, that she ran off in a great fright. Faster and faster ran the cat, the swallows flying close to her head, and making a great noise. At last she got in such a state that she seemed rather to fly with the birds than to run. We cannot think how long the race would have lasted, had not Puss jumped through an open window at the lodge, and so got away from the Swallows. Mrs. Jones came out to see what had put Puss in such a fright, for she said "the cat shook all over like a leaf." She told us she saw the Swallows flying about for some time, as though watching for another chance to teach Puss not to look again at their nests.


Lily's Farewell Letter.

The last week that Lily and Walter were to stay at Burton, she wrote: ''You know, dearest Mamma, how glad we shall be to see you again, but if only you could come and be with us, I should never wish to leave the country. We shall miss very much, in London, all the birds and animals which have amused us so much, and which we really love. I shall have much more to say of all we have learned about them than I can write; but now I must tell you about a wonderful talking Raven which belongs to Auntie. He is a large black bird, with a great beak and strong claws, whilst his eye is so bright and so fierce you cannot help feeling afraid of him. The first time he came and perched on a rail close to me, as I was watching the chickens, I was so frightened, I ran away. However, there was no real cause for fear, for Ralph is quite gentle, and, as you will see by my story, has a very kind heart. Once, when Auntie went away from home, she left Gun, the old housedog, to the care of Mrs. Jones, at the lodge. His kennel was put in the little yard, where Mrs. Jones tied him up and left him. The next day she was so ill she could not get up, and poor Gun was left in the yard without food, and quite forgotten. Now Ralph had always been friends with Gun, and as he was out on his travels he heard Gun whine, and paid a visit to him to see what was the matter. Ralph saw in a moment that poor old Gun was hungry, and he went at once to Cook, and tried to make her understand he wanted some meat. But Cook, who knew nothing of Gun's trouble, and had given Ralph a good breakfast, told him he was a greedy bird, and had better take himself off. "Please do. Cook," said Ralph, over and over again; but she took no notice, and at last he made up his mind to steal some meat for his friend.



Ralph hopped about as though he was thinking of nothing at all, and the moment Cook's back was turned, he caught up two slices of the mutton she had just cut up for hash, and one of the men saw him take it straight to Gun in the yard. Almost as soon as the Raven had gone, Cook missed the mutton, and was very cross indeed, for she had only just enough for the servants' dinner. Ralph was much too clever to let Cook see him come again into the kitchen whilst the meat was about; so he watched till she went into the garden to get some herbs, and then slyly made his way to the dish of meat and got two more slices. 'You can think. Mamma dear, how angry Cook was at having been twice cheated in this way, and she ran out to see if she could find Ralph. The man who had seen him take the meat to Gun told her where to find him, and when she came near the yard she saw such a pretty sight she could not be cross with Ralph any more. He was perched on a sort of stone bench with the slices of mutton in his beak, and Gun was begging to him, just as our little Toby at home does for sugar, only Gun was not kept so long waiting as Toby sometimes is, for Ralph soon gave him the meat. Perhaps it was because he saw Cook coming. As soon as she got into the yard, Ralph set up his loud laugh, and as he flew off cried, "Oh Cook! oh Cook"' Since he had stolen the meat to feed poor hungry Gun, Cook forgave Ralph, and she went home and fried eggs and ham to make up enough for the dinner, and so you see nobody was much the worse.



Illustrations by Harrison Weir and Others



Rediscovering the Gelatine Factory



The Gelatine Factory

A comprehensive account 1899

from Round About Warwick


George Nelson



Nelson's Emscote Mills 2009



T B Dale


Charles Nelson


The Nelson Brothers


William Nelson


George H Nelson


Sir E Montague Nelson

Charles Nelson's

Cement Works at Stockton


A Visit to

Messrs. G. Nelson, Dale & Co. 1880



Nelson Works

Tomoana New Zealand


Guy Montague Nelson

Nelson Village

Charles St, Warwick


The Lawn at Emscote


Nelson's Lozenges

 packaging & adds

Nelson's Club

Isinglass Wars

Swinborne v Nelson


Nelson's 1950's

Warwick Advertiser account 1953



Descendants of George Nelson


George Wyatt A city trade jubilee



Nelson's Heritage Walk


Gelatine and its uses


Davis Gelatine


Home Comforts


Mary Hooper



Mary Hooper Letters

 Mary Hooper Book Collection


Nelson's Home Comforts

Mary Hooper


Wives and Housewives

Mary Hooper


Little Dinners

Mary Hooper


Cookery for Invalids

Mary Hooper


Every Day Meals

Mary Hooper


Hints on Cookery

Mary Hooper

Good Plain Cookery

Mary Hooper


Handbook for the

Breakfast Table

Mary Hooper


Weekly Telegraph

Cookery Book

Mary Hooper

Our Dog Prin

Mary Hooper

Ways & Tricks of Animals

Mary Hooper


Lily's Letters from the Farm

Mary Hooper

Charles Wentworth Wass

Round About Warwick

Walter Nelson

Fleur De Lys

The Pie Factory at Emscote

Sir E Montague Nelson's Cuttings, Letters and Keepsakes Circa 1882 Randolph Turpin


Cookery & Home Comforts

Mrs Wigley


Byron Accused






Mary Hooper Books Wanted


Rock's Royal Cabinet

Leamington & Warwick 1880





Anthony Leahy



Anthony Leahy


Art & Photography

Anthony Leahy


A Major Arcana

Kathleen Forrest


The Drumroom

Anthony Leahy


Compiled for the benefit of Warwickians and Others by Anthony James Leahy




 A Walk in Warwick






Book Wanted Handbook For The Breakfast Table

Book Wanted Wives and Housewives A Story For The Times


3 The Butts






PAT Portable Appliance Testing


Amber Leahy Graphic Design