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Verses for Children by Juliana Horatia Ewing was published in 1895.

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October 25, 2012

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The Convalescent

Published under the direction of the General Literature Committee.

Preface


It has been decided in publishing this volume to reproduce the illustrations with which the verses originally appeared in Aunt Judy's Magazine. In all cases Mrs. Ewing wrote the lines to fit the pictures, and it is worthy of note to observe how closely she has introduced every detail into her words. Most of the woodcuts are by German artists, Oscar Pletsch, Fedor Flinzer, and others; but the frontispiece is from an original sketch by Mr. Gordon Browne. In accordance with his special desire, it has only been used for Mrs. Ewing's poem, as the Convalescent was a little friend of the artist, who did not live to complete his recovery. The poem is the last that Mrs. Ewing wrote for children, and it was penned when she herself was enduring the discomforts of convalescence with all the courage she so warmly advocates.

Mr. Randolph Caldecott's illustrations to "Mother's Birthday Review" first appeared in his Sketch Book, but the letterpress that accompanied them was very brief, and Mrs. Ewing could not resist asking permission to write some verses to the pictures, and publish them in Aunt Judy's Magazine. This favour was kindly granted, and by Mrs. Caldecott's further kindness the sketches are again used here.

The contents of this volume have been arranged chronologically as far as is possible.

"The Willow Man" and "Grandmother's Spring" were both written to protest against wantonly wasting Dame Nature's gifts, and the Note on page 69 shows that Mrs. Ewing had learnt this lesson herself in childhood. My Father has lately recalled an incident which he believes first roused our Mother to teach the lesson to us. They were driving to Sheffield one day, when on Bolsover Hill they saw a well-known veterinary surgeon of the district, Mr. Peech, who had dismounted from his horse, and was carefully taking up a few roots of white violets from a bank where they grew in some profusion. He showed Mrs. Gatty what he was gathering, but told her he was taking care to leave a bit behind. This happened fully forty years ago, long before the Selborne and other Societies for the preservation of rare plants and birds had come into existence, and Mother was much impressed and pleased by Mr. Peech's delicate scrupulousness.

"A Soldier's Children" was written in 1879, whilst many friends were fighting in South Africa, and ten years before a story bearing the same name was issued by the writer of Bootles' Baby.

The "Songs for Music" appeared in 1874 in a volume called Songs by Four Friends, except the two last poems, "Anemones" and "Autumn Tints." The former was given by Mrs. Ewing to her brother, Mr. Alfred Scott-Gatty, to set to music, and it has recently been published by Messrs. Boosey. "Autumn Tints" was found amongst Mrs. Ewing's papers after her death, and is now printed for the first time.

HORATIA K.F. EDEN.

June 1895.