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December 13, 1896


Mr. Big Hat's statement:
     Mr. Big Hat has been glad to note that much of the chat among the older cousins in the department has drifted into the discussion of books and literature.  He has been silent himself on this subject, so far as particularizing any class of writers, that he might note the preference shown by the cousins.  He can not say, however, from what he has observed, that he approves wholly of the favorites expressed by the majority.
     There are several things beside the thread of the story itself to be considered in classifying a novel, or a work of fiction.  Mr. Big Hat is aware that there are those who do not hesitate to say that all novels are detrimental, because they are not true.  Mr. Big Hat does not agree with this opinion.  Great truths may be impressed more forcibly, and reach a larger number of people through this medium than any other.  When the Savior wished particularly to impress his hearers with some lesson they were in need of, he put it in the form of a parable, which was nothing more, nor less, than fiction.  Consequently, the fact that a novel is fiction should not prejudice one in its disfavor.  It may be eminently more capable of influencing the mind for good than the reading of some horrible tale, whose only merit is that it is based on fact.
     But, a novel must do something more than merely excite one's interest in the plot, to deserve reading.  At the same time, it is not absolutely necessary that it contain valuable information.  But, it should be wholesome in tone and presented in such choice of language as will educate the reader to delight in a correct and refined manner of expression.  There is no excuse for any one's using bad grammar and faulty English, if the reading has been carefully selected. It is true these objections are not made apparent in the average novel by absolute blunders, but where the style is sensational, the reader is so engrossed with the plot itself, that he takes no thought of the value of the book from an educative standpoint, and does not observe how unnaturally its characters speak and behave.  Anything that is unnatural is an offense against good literature and injurious in its effects.
     There is a certain charm in sensationalism for the mind of the young.  Boys delight in mysteries, outlaw narratives and detective stories, while girls take it in milder forms in "Tempest and Sunshine," "Dora Thorne" and "St. Elmo."  Mr. Big Hat finds the cousins prove no exception to the rule, the admirers of Mary Jane Holmes, "The Duchess" and Augusta J. Evans seeming far in the lead.  Their impossible heroes and heroines, who hold pages of remarkable conversations in words of five syllables and more, seem to charm in proportion, as they mystify.  Yet, the names of these authors are scarcely to be found in standard text books on literature, while the name of Louisa M. Alcott, who wrote the most simple, but life-like stories in the most simple, everyday language, is placed high in the rank of classic writers. Her stories are not "love stories," it is true, yet, they are just as entertaining, and are read by old and young alike.
     If the cousins are old enough to enjoy a "sentimental" story, there are plenty of them that avoid sensationalism.  Some complain that the writings of Dickens, Scott and Hawthorne are not easy to comprehend.  One of the easiest of novelists to follow is E. P. Roe, whose writings, while not as finished and artistic as Mr. Big Hat would like to have the cousins choose, are, at least, always wholesome and true in their teachings.  Charlotte Bronte's "Shirley," George Eliot's "Mill on the Floss," and writings by later writers, such as J. G. Holland, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Amelia E. Barr, Mary E. Wilkins, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Helen Hunt Jackson, Sarah Orne Jewett, Harriett Prescott Spofford, Constance Fenimore Woolson and a dozen others equally as good, can always be relied upon.  Edward Eggleston and Joel Chandler Harris are enjoyed best by those who love dialect stories, and for humor, Mark Twain and James Whitcomb Riley can not be excelled.
     Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who is known the world over as a literary critic, not long ago, gave a list of the one-hundred books for boys of 15 years or more, that he considered the best.  The first ten were: Bullfinch's "Age of Fable," T. B. Aldrich's "Story of a Bad Boy," Dana's "Two Years Before the Mast," Hawthorne's "Grandfather's Chair," Longfellow's "Hiawatha," Parkman's "Oregon Trail," Thoreau's "Maine Woods," Cooper's "Spy," Irving's "Bracebridge Hall," and Lowell's "Bigelow Papers."  For the benefit of the cousins of younger years, Mr. Big Hat will name some books suitable for either boys or girls, that fulfill all the demands of good literature: Any of the works of Louisa M. Alcott, Sophia May, Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney, "Oliver Optic," T. S. Arthur, "Pansy," and Margaret Sydney; the child's histories, by John S. C. Abbott, and those deservedly popular books, "Tom Brown's School Days," "The Wide, Wide World," etc.
     There are a great many books considered classic, so far as literary style and manner of expression goes, that lack moral purpose and sound teaching.  They are unwholesome in their tendencies, and are, therefore, unfit to become factors in forming the minds of the young.  The growing mind needs the best and soundest food, just as the growing body does.  Rich and highly-seasoned viands can not do the damage, in either case, when body and mind is matured.  For this reason, the large proportion of French writers, whose works are translated into our language, are to be avoided.  Better not to read any, than to read some, for the present, at least.  When you choose a book, use as much care as you would in choosing a companion.
     One of the cousins criticizes the writings of the department humorists.  She must remember the old rhyme: "A little nonsense, now and then, is relished by the best of men."  He who makes us smile puts us in his debt for a moment's happiness, and is no less our benefactor, than he who instructs or entertains us in a serious mood.  The cousin, herself, closes her letter with a playful allusion to a department joke that will not bear inspection if she is going to be too critical.  But, all enjoy it, if it is not of especial value as an instructive agency.
     The News has on hand, a limited number of beautiful illustrations of the world's fair of 1893, and to every cousin whose subscription is renewed before the pictures are exhausted, four of them will be sent free.  These pictures are contained in the "Book of the Builders," which Cousin Hedwig Paula Pfeffer praises in her letter in this issue.  They are every bit as artistic as paintings, and when framed, would make handsome decorations for any wall.  They would make appropriate Christmas gifts framed in inexpensive moldings.  Mr. Big Hat saw a very pretty frame a young girl had made of some heavy cardboard.  The surface was spread with glue or paste, and sprinkled thickly with rice.  When dry, it was gilded.  Thin pine strips could be decorated in the same way.  For the outlay of a dime, a number of pictures could be framed attractively.  It does not matter if your subscription does not expire for some months.  Renew now, and The News will forward you the "Book of the Builders" in time for Christmas.

Votes for Floral Emblems.

Alexis Henderson, Red Hill, Cass Co., Tex., red rose.
Clinton Reames, ---------, red rose.
Della Oliver, Mount Vernon, Titus Co., Tex., white rose.
Stella Oliver, Mount Vernon, Titus Co., Tex., white rose.
Eula Hightower, Kingwillow, Navarro Co., Tex., yellow rose.
Laura J. Arnett, Kosse, Limestone Co., Tex., cape jasmine.
Dora Clement, Elm Mott, McLennan Co., Tex., lily of the valley.

TO CORRESPONDENTS -- When writing a letter to this department, first give your full name, postoffice and state. Use pen and ink, on smooth paper, not larger than note size. Write only on one side of the paper and do now sew, paste or pin the sheets together. These rules must be observed to insure publication.

PRESTON FULLER, Mobile, Crockett Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here comes a little boy 14 years of age to join the happy band. My papa has taken The News about two years. I enjoy reading the cousins' letters. I will vote for the "yellow rose of Texas," that beats the girls Tennessee. I hear the cousins talking about their pets. My pets are a pretty yearling and my little brother. It soon will be time for Santa Claus.

CATHERINE FULLER, Mobile, Crockett Co., Tex. -- Another little girl, 9 years of age, wants to join your happy band. I have been reading the cousins' letters for a long time. Miss Big Bonnet, come again. You are so pretty. I have two pets; one is my baby brother, and the other is a yearling heifer. I have three brothers and one sister. I like the white rose the best. My papa lives on a farm. It is very cold. Do you reckon Santa Claus will come this year?

MOSLER J. ROOMERSES, Hamilton, Hamilton Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I rang for admittance half an hour ago, and you have just now opened the door, while I was standing out here in the cold. You see, I have just got a good shave, and I am wearing my Sunday clothes and my shoes are blacked. I am about to freeze. I will not stay long, though, for ma said for me to hurry back and hunt the eggs for supper. Also, to-morrow is wash day and I must help ma make soap. I am going to school now and the professor gets after me right smart. Now, Miss Lantie V., I am going to cast my vote for the cape jasmine.

OBIE JACKSON, Kosse, Limestone Co., Tex. -- Little Mr. Big Hat and cousins: As this is my first attempt to write you, I will try to make it as pleasant as I can. I have about fourteen pigeons. One pair of them are snow white with top knots. This pair, I think very pretty, indeed. I also have a poll parrot. I will tell you about her. Her head is yellow and her wings are tipped with red. She is about eight months old, and can talk real well. She can call Carlo, my Newfoundland dog. Brother raises chickens. He has some very fine buff Cochins and Langchangs. Papa is going to get him some Brahmahs. Guess I had better stop, or I will tell all I know, and this will find a place in the waste basket.

VALERIE REEVES, Texarkana, Bowie Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I want to join the happy band. I am 9 years old. This is my first experience at writing to The News. I study the third grade studies. I have two brothers besides the baby. I have read some of the cousins' letters and the floral list. I should like to send in my vote. My favorite flower is the pink moss rose.

NEWTON CALEY, Guion, Taylor Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Will you admit another little boy to join your happy band? I am 10 years old. I am going to school, and I am in the fourth reader. I have two ponies. I have one brother and one sister. I am a farmer's boy. I can help papa plow, and I like to plow very much. Feed Peggy some oats before she sees my letter. I cast my vote for the white rose.

LILLIE HIGHTOWER, Kingwillow, Navarro Co., Tex. -- Little Miss Big Bonnet and cousins: This cold Sabbath afternoon, as the howling north wind, with its wintry blast seems to mock all gentler nature, I make my debut. I address my missive to Little Miss Big Bonnet (through sympathy), for the cousins, in general, seem to show partiality. Whether they think women never amount to much, or not, I do not know. But, I must hasten on, for already, I discern the frown of impatience fast gathering on Mr. Big Hat's brow. Cousins, when Mr. Big Hat is so kind as to give us space in his paper, should we not make it beneficial to all? Is it right to nourish such fairy stories as Cousin Herbert's? Now, Herbert, do not stamp your No. 9's so loudly, please. But, time is so precious, we should rightly employ each fleeting moment. When Cousin Herbert was relating his buzzard ride and cotton-picking story, could he not have give us a true story -- something that would have elevated our minds to a loftier sphere? We all extend to Cousin Ludie, our deepest sympathy. Alas! too true, are our cherished hopes often blighted. But, abide by the following:

Never give up trying,
   Let results be what they may.
The sky may glow to-morrow
   Where the clouds have hung to-day.
If you fight the battle bravely,
   You may live to build, at last,
The palace of the future
   On the ruins of the past.

    How many enjoyed Thanksgiving? I did, for one. Heedless of the twenty-four hours' rain which lasted until 9 o'clock, Thanksgiving morn, we, with many others, splashed through the mud to the church and proceeded with our programme. Prayer service, essays, music and recitations, and last, but best of all, dinner in abundance. The turkeys, oh my! Mr. Big Hat, you would have forgotten Peggy for an instant. Hark! What was that unearthly sound I heard? Casting my vote for the pure water lily, I hastily wave my courtesy and escape by the nearest window, to evade that dreadful little mule.

LULA FOSTER, Chase, McLennan Co., Tex. -- I never called on the Cozy Corner before, but I would like to be admitted into your department. I am staying at my uncle's, going to school. I am in the fourth reader. I have five studies. My uncle has a baby boy named Roy Abner Foster. He is 7 months old. I have neither father, nor mother. They died when I was an infant. I help my aunt with her work, tend to the baby, wash, iron and sew.

FANNIE ROUNTREE, Brookston, Lamar Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: I guess you all have forgotten me by this time, as it has been about two years since I wrote to the Corner. Papa has taken The News for four years, and I have been a reader of the Cozy Corner for over two years. I do not think I could do without it, as it is my best companion. It is very lonesome where I live. My home is on a hay prairie. I have not started to school yet. Will not get to go before Christmas. I do dearly love to go to school. I have pieced two quilts, one nine-patch, and one friendship. What kind of Thanksgiving did the cousins have? I had a very nice one and went to an infair dinner. I expect to have a nice Christmas. Some of the cousins speak of dancing. I do not know much about dancing, but I think there is more harm in dancing, than in going to church and shouting, as one of the cousins said. Cousin Lantie, I cast my vote for the white rose. I think the white rose will beat. My age is 14 years.

HEDWIG PAULA PFEFFER, Reinhardt, Dallas Co., Tex. -- Little Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Here I come from Reinhardt, but I am the same girl who used to write from Kenney. I came up here with three of my sisters when the Dallas fair opened. Reinhardt is but eight miles from Dallas, so we attended the fair, too. I enjoyed it very much. Cousins, were any of you at the fair, and wore a star? When my sisters and I sat down to take a rest, sister saw a girl pass by, who had a gray (or blue, I couldn't see the color plainly) star pinned on her breast. Sister called my attention to her, and said: "I guess she wants to meet with some other girl." Was it any one of you, cousins? Mr. Big Hat, how do you like this cold weather? I don't like it a bit. We had some ice about three inches thick. And, how did all of you spend Thanksgiving? I hope all of you had a better time than Reinhardt had, for we had nothing but rain and a high wind. Dear little folks, I will write you of the misfortune that happened to my nephew. It will be a month ago next Thursday evening, when Eddy (my nephew) was bitten by our own dog. Eddy says he tried to play with the dog, when the latter jumped at him and pulled him down. Eddy just screamed. We ran out and saw the dog standing on Eddy's head. Eddy was picked up and brought into the house, and the blood just streamed down his head. The dog skinned a place nearly as big as my hand on the left side of Eddy's head, so that the skull could be seen very plainly. The skin was torn in several places, and at the top, the ear was torn off a little. It took twenty-two stitches to sew all this together, and one ounce of chloroform to get him to sleep. Eddy never complained of any pains, but of the itching it did, the next few days. There was a good crowd of people here that night, but I guess not one expected to see Eddy as he is now, as he is up, and is as well as ever. Mr. Big Hat, as I am not at home, and my brother-in-law, where I reside now, does not take The News, I didn't get to read the Cozy Corner for a long time. And oh! how I did miss those interesting letters, and when I wrote a letter home to papa, saying that I wanted my sister to send the Cozy Corner to me every week, papa subscribed for the paper for me. Oh, how happy I did feel when I got that paper! I received those three books called "Glimpses of America." I like them so much. I will, some time, read them through. Mr. Big Hat, I liked the Summer School so much this year. I guess I will join it next year, too. That is, if you will have me; and another thing is, if you think I am sensible enough. You can see that by my letters, can't you? Some of the cousins say they don't believe in dancing. I don't agree with them. I sure love to dance. The Reinhardt boys get up a dance nearly every week. I like it, but I think it is getting too cold to go to dances. I had to miss two, on account of the cold weather the last two weeks. I had a pleasant time at a dance about two weeks ago. One Sunday evening, I went to a singing with three of my friends. The singing was nice, but, oh, me, what a time we had while going there. We had to creep under the wire fence, which we didn't expect. First, I tried to climb over it. Cousin Frankie Assiter, when we came to Dallas, I looked for you in Blum, and we saw one boy there waving at the train, and just laughing. I said to sister: "That's Frank Assiter." Was it you, Frankie? It was Oct. 10 when we came through Blum. The boy wore a sailor cap. John Criddle, the way you learned about the forget-me-not's name is different from the way I learned. I think this is the way it got its name: When God had called all his flowers to him to name them, one of them came back and cried bitterly. God asked what was the matter, and the flower answered: "I forgot my name." So, God said: "As you forgot your name, I shall therefore name you 'Forget-me-not.' " The flower was satisfied with it, and never again forgot its own name. Cousin, Maud Foy, I read your letter, and I sent you some seeds the 23d of November. And, to-day, I read another letter from you, and I noticed that you are going to move. I am afraid the seeds will get lost now. So, please write to me as soon as possible, to let me know whether you received them, or not. When you write, address Reinhardt, Dallas county, Teas. Ella Clark, I will write a poem for you to translate. If you can, I will translate yours, too. Here is the poem:

"Oh! wie ist es kalt geworden,
   Und so traurig od' und leer,
Rauhe winde wehen von norden,
   Und die Sonne scheint nicht mehr."

    I would be glad to have this translated in rhyme, but you would look in vain, should you look for rhyme in my translation of your poem. Oh, me! we won't get the violet for an emblem, will we? I guess the white rose will have the most votes.

GUS FORD, Farmers Branch, Dallas Co., Tex. -- Now, Cousin Lee, I don't think it is fair for you to try to deceive the cousins. When you say that Peggy won't turn your hair white, my idea is that your hair is already white. It is Saturday, and I don't have to go to school. Oh, I forgot to tell you that we were going to have an eight-month school. You know, it is a country school, and generally lasts just five months. I wish to say that I think all the prize articles were good, especially Paula Evans. Cousins, I think if you would not talk so much about Cousin Walpaper A. Shinplaster's name, he would come again, which, I wish he would. I am glad to say that the weather here is not hot, but cold. Cousin Ella M. Clark, I think you write as good a letter as your sister, Wilhelmine. Willard Myrick, I sympathize with you, although, I can not tell you anything of your brother. Well, wait till I pop my wax. Pop! Pop!! I expect I had better explain. The sunflower weed will make rezin, if the sun shines on it hot enough. You all know that the sun was hot enough this summer, so we have plenty of wax. You may gather the rezin and put bamboos in it. Bamboo is a little rubber substance that is in a little black berry. Take the rubber and mix with the rezin. When mixed good, you can stretch it out and suck it in, and then there comes the pop. Pop! Pop! My sister popped it then. I guess most of the cousins knew this, but I don't think all of them did. Cousin Lantie, I think you ought to have told us which flower was in the lead. Well, cousins, what did you do Thanksgiving? I drank all the boiled custard that I wanted! Our teachers gave us a holiday, which I guess, all teachers did. I am expecting a better time Christmas. Early C., I hope it won't make you go wild, but that you will write oftener, when I say that you are the best writer of the Corner. John B. Collins, I hope you will soon deliver your raccoon hunt. Well, girls, I hope you are not all like a girl that I know. She washes dishes with a fork. I will ask a question: In what year and month was La Salle killed, and by whom?

LOUISE BREEDING, Eddy, Eddy Co., New Mexico -- I am a little girl 11 years old. I live in Eddy, N. M. My grandfather has been taking The News for many a year. There is a sugar factory in Eddy. It has not made any sugar yet. My grandmother says if they get sugar before she makes her fruit cakes, she will use the sugar made here. We live about a block and half from the factory. They give employment to a great many men. The people work day and night to keep the syrup from cooling. To make the sugar, there are a great many beets raised in Eddy, and a great many on the farms, about three or four miles away from town. The school had no school Thanksgiving, which was Thursday, and Friday was the teachers' meeting, and so, we had no school then. We ate dinner at grandmother's, and, of course, we had a nice time. I have four cousins, coming Christmas, and expect a fine time. We are going to eat dinner at our grandmother's, and there will be thirty people, but twenty of them are children. The factory will produce sugar about next Monday.

DAISY WILLIAMS, Jacksonville, Cherokee Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat, Miss Big Bonnet and cousins: As I have written twice before, and my letters were published, I write again. I live in a very pretty little town. It has two schools -- the college and public school. I go to the public school. I am in the fifth grade. I go to the Methodist Sunday school. I have four sisters, and I am the oldest. How many of the cousins have a grandma and grandpa? I have two. They live in the country. I always have a nice time when I go to see them, for they have a great deal of fruit. Well, cousins, Christmas is drawing nigh. I guess Santa Claus will visit most of you. I guess he will visit me. I am 11 years old. I will ask Ella M. Clark to translate the poem she asked us to, for I want to know what it is.

LENA MAY WIESE, Jones' Prairie, Milam Co., Tex. -- If Mr. Big Hat will allow me space for this time, I will promise not to intrude again soon. As Mr. Big Hat has so many unpublished letters on hand, I wouldn't write until Christmas holidays, but I do not expect I will have time, even then. I wish to say to the cousins who have been writing me letters, that I didn't have time to answer them. Myrtle Riggan, I think your letter in the issue of Oct. 30 was almost, without exception, the best in the department. Helen Harlan, I am glad my letter was interesting to somebody, as space is valuable. I made a mistake about the road to Blockhouse Springs, though. Mollie[?] Borden [Boren?], are you any kin to Florence Borden, who wrote to the Constitution from Brazil, several years ago? Maud Carson, you are always welcome. Ferdi Howard, you are right about books being "lighthouses on the shores of time," and "a house without books is like a house without windows." I agree with you in everything you said about books, though, I do not admire Dickens much. Perhaps, I might like him better, if I read more of his works, but I have never tried to read but three of his books, namely, "David Copperfield," "Pickwick Papers," and "Our Mutual Friend." I admire Scott, Kingsley or Carleton more than Dickens. Some portions of Dickens' works are real entertaining, some amusing, some ridiculous, and others, flat. I admire Irving, and, like Joe Dawson, have read and re-read his "Legends of Sleepy Hollow." It is all very amusing, but I believe his description of Ichabod Crane the most amusing part of the story. Longfellow is my favorite poet. I admire all his poems, but I am partial to "A Psalm of Life" and "Excelsior," though, I think "Evangeline," "The Wayside Inn" and "Hiawatha" are grand poems. I wonder how many of the cousins preserved the piece written for The News a year or so ago, entitled, "Longfellow's Wayside Inn?" I did, and now that I have the opportunity to read that excellent poem, it is much more interesting to me, than it would have been. Do any of the cousins like Josiah Allen's Wife's works? I do not, principally, because her language puzzles me. I do not like her general style of writing, either. However, I think there is a great deal of common sense in some of her writings, which is all that ever tempts me to read anything from her pen. I like to read religious books. Talmage is a favorite of mine. If any of the cousins want to read a good religious book, read "Lofton's Character Sketches." I think it is real good, and any of the cousins can be benefited by reading it. I hope none of the cousins ever spend a cent for story papers, or novels, either, except standard works, written by an author who has a good moral reputation. There are plenty of good books to be found, if the world is flooded with trashy books and story papers. I think it would be a great thing for the present generation of boys and girls, if all the trashy literature in the world was burned, and the publication of such stuff, entirely suppressed. Next to environment, books have more to do with shaping our characters than anything else. Then, how important it is that we should read good books, instead of poisoning our minds and demoralizing our sentiments by reading trash. John W. Criddle wrote a splendid letter, but wrote as if nobody should read at all, unless they can read a whole library. Now, I believe in everybody cultivating his mind and gratifying his love of reading by reading what books he can, if he can't read what he would like to. Hattie Friend, I have read "Beulah" and liked it splendidly, though, I can not say I thoroughly understood her gropings in the darkness of metaphysical science. I greatly admire Mrs. Wilson, judging from what I've read of her, and will tell the cousins something about her life. She was the daughter of M. R. and Sarah Howard Evans, and was born in Columbus, Ga., where her mother was a member of one of the proudest, most honorable and influential families in the state. At an early age, her parents moved to Texas, but remained only a few years, as the schools were then very inferior to what they are now, and the social conditions of the state were disorganized, on account of the war with Mexico. A few years later, the family removed to Mobile, Ala. As Augusta was always delicate, and physicians forbade the confinement of the schoolroom, she was educated at home, her mother, a woman of rare intelligence, being her teacher. She commenced her literary work at the age of 15. Her first novel was "Inez," a story of the Alamo, in which the scenery, experiences and associations of her sojourn in San Antonio, Tex., are strikingly portrayed. "Beulah," her second novel, was written in 1859, before she was scarcely out of her teens. She was devoted to the south, as her own words attest: "The sole enthusiasm of my life was born, lived and died in the eventful four yeas of tears, prayers, vigils beside hospital cots, of nights passed on my knees in prayer for dear ones in battle line -- those few, vivid, terrible years constitute for me the most sacredly sacrificial portion of my life." She sewed for soldiers, visited them in camp, and numbered among her personal friends, many of the prominent confederate leaders. She wrote for the press and to members of congress in Richmond, laboring to correct certain evil tendencies that threatened to demoralize the struggling commonwealth. At this time, she published "Macaria; or, Altars of Sacrifice," printed on coarse, yellow paper, then the best that could be procured in the south. The federals burned every copy they could secure, but the book strayed through picket lines, and was printed by a New York publisher, who proposed to "confiscate rebel property": and pay no copyright, but the prompt action of friends defeated this confiscation scheme and the author received a handsome sum as copyright dues. One of her most popular books, "Elmo," was published in 1866. It was a remarkable success and sold wonderfully and steadily, and even now, after the lapse of twenty-five years, retains its hold upon the public heart, requiring new editions annually. I believe her next was "Vashti; or, Until Death Do Us Part." She was married Dec. 2, 1868, to Mr. L. M. Wilson, an honored citizen of Mobile. In deference to her husband's wish, she ceased writing for several years and employed her time beautifying her home. She is as devoted to her flowers as she is to her books, and her large, comfortable southern house is literally surrounded by beautiful flowers. Some of her camellias have grown into trees, that, in season, are glorious with brilliant blossoms. The house is approached by an avenue of stately liveoaks. Mrs. Wilson will not write the short stories, now so popular, neither will she allow cheap editions of her books to be issued, though a publishing house offered her $35,000 cash for that privilege. "Vashti" sold for $15,000 in manuscript, and the copyright was afterward restored to her by the publishers to whom it was sold. "Infelice" was her next novel, and ten years later, her latest book, "At the Mercy of Tiberius," was issued. It is said that the author considers this last book her best. Cousins, I like the plan of having an emblem flower for our department, but hope it will not interfere with Mr. Big Hat's picture. In this beautiful world of flowers, I don't see how the cousins can name a favorite. They are all beautiful to me, and my favorite is generally the flower I hold in my hand, though, I am just a little partial to roses, pansies, lilacs and chrysanthemums. Now that winter is drawing near, I am partial to the white chrysanthemum. Some one has beautifully and truly said, "Flowers are God's undertones of encouragement to the children of the earth." I think the emblem should be a sunflower, rather than the jasmine or violet, though, I think both are prettier, so our department might be called the sunflower department, a beautiful and suggestive name.

SALLIE JOHNSON, Paris, Lamar Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat: I guess Peggy got my last letter, so I will write again. I know you all are tired of my old letters, but I can not stay away. I will vote for the Easter lily; it is so white and pure-looking. I would like to write to some of the girls who write to the Cozy Corner. I take music lessons from my cousin. I must not call her name, for she might blush. Do you like music, Mr. Big Hat? I do.

MYRTA PITTMAN, Groesbeck, Limestone Co., Tex. -- Mr. Big Hat and cousins: Good morning to all! After a long absence, I will come again. I am going to school now. I like my teacher. He is married and has two children. I have two brothers and one sister. My grandma is here at our house. I will vote for the pink rose for my favorite flower. My studies are grammar, spelling, arithmetic and geography. I am a girl, 11[?] years old. I have no pets, but a little sister.

- December 13, 1896, The Dallas Morning News, p. 14, col. 4-7.
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