Thirty years had passed since her interest had been aroused in the poor of our great city. Again she took a memorable walk, and this time under the escort of a medical man in Seven Dials, then the worst and most dangerous slum area in London. Mrs. Ranyard'a heart was stirred with the desire to do something for the mother and children in those terrible abodes which she passed. She recognised the impossibility of women of her own class attempting to get an entrance into the houses.

It occurred to her that what she and her friends could not accomplish might be done by a table woman of the poor. She consulted with a city missionary, who was able to recommend a suitable woman for the work. Her name was Marian, and the story of this, the first biblewoman of the mission, is an interesting corollary to that of its founder.

The First Biblewoman

Marian was connected with respectable people but, owing to the habits of a drunken father she had been brought to live in a

London slum. In a miraculous way, the young girl kept herself apart from the evil around her. She taught herself to read by gazing at the shop windows. At eighteen she married a steady man, but as poor as herself. She had no shoes or stockings to be married in, and he had no coat. They at least had a home, though only a single room in a very poor court.

Marian continued to thirst for knowledge. She was attracted to a mission library, intending to borrow "Uncle Tom's

Cabin," but a stronger influence prompted her to ask for a Bible. She studied it as only a person with one book and a craving for knowledge would study. Later, illness brought Marian into the hospital, and when she came out she unfolded to her friend the missionary a desire which she had to do something for the poor outcasts who sought admission to the hospitals. She proposed to cleanse their rooms, wash their persons, repair their garments, and render aid in sickness. Here was the born district nnrse, and who shall say that this poor, humble woman had not received her baptism of lire as truly as Florence

Nightingale, with whose name the whole world was then ringing.

The "Council of Friends"

Mrs. Ranyard found in her the " missing link ' she had been seeking. Marian was equipped with a stock of Bibles, and began her rounds of visitation, selling the Scriptures an agent of the Bible

Society, using her influence in the homes she was thus enbled to enter, and reporting to Mrs. Ranyard cases of distress and sickness. In such way the Biblcwomen's

Mission was founded in 1857 with one worker.

The experiment Proved so successful that other biblewomen were trained for the work, and a mission was founded, with the Earl of Shaftesbury as president, and a "Council of Friends" formed. A training home was started for the biblewomen and ,a shelter for girls. On the suggestion of Miss Agnes Jones, the friend and pupil of Florence Nightingale, a nurse's branch was added to the mission in 1868.

Mrs. Ranyard continued to be the organiser and inspirer of the work until her death, in 1879. She was succeeded as hon. super intendent by her niece, Mrs. Selfe Leonard, who, as a young girl, had become an enthusiastic worker for the mission. She in turn has been succeeded by the present hon. superintendent. A deeply interesting account of the work is given by Miss Rose Selfe in "Light Amid London Shadows."

The mission is supported by voluntary contributions. Sixty pounds a year supports a biblewoman, eighty-five pounds a year supports a nurse, and twenty pounds a bed in the convalescent home.

Christmas Preparations

A visit to the headquarters at 25, Russell Square when Christmas is approaching is an experience to be remembered.

In the glass corridor at the back of the house numbers of biblewomen, in their neat black uniforms, may be seen engaged in what looks like a parcel-making competition, for on one day in each week biblewomen come up from the poor districts where they work to receive clothing from the stores of the mission for very necessitous people.

Down below, in the storerooms, those in charge endeavour to find the right things to fit all requirements. "A black skirl wanted for a widow," 'boots for a boy," "Nighties for two little girls." Perhaps a black skirt cannot be found for the widow, for all the "black" in the stores has already been appropriated to put a family in mourning for a funeral. The cupboards are filled with warm and useful garments sent in by the ladies' sewing parties, and there are many gifts from friends things for the old and infirm, for the children, and, above all, for the mothers and babies, but never enough to supply all the sad cases of destitution which the biblewomen report.

Special Christmas parcels are prepared with toys and sweets for the little ones, and invalids.

Christmas parcels are also being prepared for the mission's convalescent home at St. Leonards, which at this season has not many patients, and is used for giving some thirty or so elderly women from the mission districts a week's holiday. They have a C hristmas-tree, and the usual jollities of the Yule-tide.

The reserved carriages for the party are a great satisfaction. "Makes us feel like Royalty," they say; and then the sight of the sea when they arrive is an experience never to be forgotten.