Vesta (Latin) - "Home dweller." Among the Romans Vesta, and by the Greeks, Hestia, was the name given to the goddess who presided over the hearth and home. The priestesses of her temple were called vestal virgins, whose chief duty was to see that the sacred fire of Vesta was never extinguished. For one thousand years this Order of "Vestals" existed, to be abolished at length by Theodosius the Great, 390 a.d. If by sad mischance this "Heaven-kindled fire of the earth" was ever allowed to go out, the luckless virgin was severely punished for her carelessness, and the fire rekindled by glasses from the rays of the sun. From its association with fire and light, the name "Vesta" has been given to wax matches.
Veva (Celtic) - "White wave." Contraction of Genovefa.
Vevina (Scottish) - "Melodious-voiced."
Victoria (Latin) - "Conqueror." This name, so familiar to all British subjects, is derived from the past participle (victus) of the verb vinco, to conquer. The original Victoria was a Roman virgin, martyred during the Decian persecution. "Vincent" and "Victor" are likewise derived.
Victoire - French form.
Victorine (French) - "Victorious."
Vittoria - Beautiful Italian form.
Vida (Hebrew) - "Beloved." Feminine contraction of David.
Viola (Latin) - "A violet." Italian form.
Violante - Used in Spain.
Violette - French endearment.
Virginia (Latin) - "Flourishing." Italy, England, and particularly America use this form.
Virginie - French variant. The original Virginia was the daughter of a Roman centurion. Her beauty attracted Appius
Claudius, the Decemvir, who was on the point of stealing her away when her father arrived, and. plunging a knife into her breast, declared that she should die by his hand rather than be given to such a tyrant. The soldiery in the camp rose against Appius, and seized him, but he destroyed himself in the prison ere he could be executed.
Vivia (Latin) - "Lively."
Viviana - Italian variant.
Vivienne - French form. Vivien is French masculine.
Vyvyan - "Lively." Another spelling of Vivian, which has often been used for both sexes, like Valentine and Evelyn and Cecil.
Wendela (German) - "Wandering one."
Wendeline - "Wanderer."
Wenefrede (English form of Celtic) - "White waves."
Wilhelmina (Teutonic) - "Helmet of resolution." English form.
Wilhelmine - German derivative.
Wilmert - Pretty and uncommon English contraction of Wilhelmina. The true feminine of William.
Winny (Irish) - "Famine."
Winnie - Diminutive of Winifred. All the above somewhat confusing variants of Winifred are the various compound English forms of the Welsh word Gwen - white. In Welsh, "white" is translated either by Cwen, Gwen, Guin, or Gwynne, and as a woman was white or fair, Gwen also signifies that. Apparently, English tongues could not readily take to the G, so we find Wen or Win more popular in this country. Cornwall, however, managed it in the form of Guinevere, rendered famous for all time in the person of King Arthur's hapless queen.
The soft, warm air and semi-tropical sun of Australia play an important part in the development of the Australian child. The abundance of bright sunlight and pure, fresh atmosphere that surrounds the babe from its birth are vigorous life-giving agents to each little human that opens its big - generally brown - eyes in the largest island of the world.
To these genial influences may be attributed - at any rate, in part - the freedom from rickets that distinguishes the Australian child in its earliest years; that depressing sight, a "rickety" baby, is rarely seen in Australia.
The warmer temperature naturally leads to an earlier short-coating of his Majesty King Baby, and as he discards his swaddling clothes at a more youthful period than his little cousins in Great Britain, so other baby practices and privileges are sooner rejected, and the baby learns to "mind" itself. This is especially the case among working folk.
In the course of some parochial visiting I found some jolly little twin babies. The mother was busy ironing; the infants were reposing in a cradle made from an orange-box. It was placed on rockers and fitted as a comfortable bed.
In a more wealthy family in a bush district I saw a child of four sitting up at a seven o'clock dinner, eating with excellent despatch a full plateful of meat and vegetables, then energetically demanding a second edition. This was given without hesitation, and promptly disposed of by the little person just four years old." I think the average mother would have been horrified. However, the small gentleman retired to bed, and nothing more was heard of him until next morning, when he appeared "quite fit."
This method of feeding is the exception rather than the rule in Australia, though undoubtedly children do have more meat in their diet than in England, possibly because it is cheaper there. It is a debatable point whether so much animal food is good for a child. The climate is stimulating and exhausting; children grow fast, necessitating the wherewithal for growth.
Australian children are frank, original, and courageous; the greater facilities for outdoor life make them more independent; they earlier learn to "run alone." This is particularly noticeable with small boys. They are less under feminine jurisdiction than in England, nor are they so long controlled by nurse or governess. They take themselves to a boys' school near, or go by train to a high school or grammar school, tor there is nothing like the number of private boarding schools there that flourish in England.
Underwood & Underwood
A unique punishment was enforced at one small private school a few years ago. If a child used an objectionable or profane word, its mouth was washed out with soap-and-water. The principal was a lady of rather rigid ideas, and this was her method of purifying their lips and language.
Education, except at the State schools, where it is free, or nearly so, costs more than it does in Great Britain; hence many sons of professional men are day scholars at some good collegiate or grammar school, and are under some discipline during school hours, and little or much at other times, according to the ideas and energies of their parents. King's College at Parramatta, in New South Wales, and other similar establishments, represent some of the best educational organisations, and are most nearly akin to an English public school; but there are none quite like Eton and Harrow.
Underwood & Underwood
The Australian boy is a plucky little fellow. I have known a boy of six stand up to poultry thieves and assert his father's ownership to fowls in the run on which the men were about to lay hands. Later, when a servant appeared, the would-be thieves admitted that "the little youngster stopped them."
Australian children are less pampered and blase than some British and American children, though I have known a nice little fellow of seven, who at a juvenile party was asked by a lady if he would like to dance with her, reply with condescension as he consulted his programme: "I haven't a waltz left, but I could give you the first extra."
The delightful children who animate the pages of Miss Ethel Turner's (Mrs. Curlewis) books are invariably lifelike and charming, though it is only fair to state that all Australian children are not quite so mischievous. Yet I have known children in the flesh who, being seized with a desire to play circus, painted the white pony pink and artistically adapted the best tablecloth for drapery. Abundant hair and fine, brilliant eyes are some of Nature's dowers to little Australians, albeit she steals the rosy tints from their cheeks in summer-time.
A small Australian girl who came to England to visit her grandmother was introduced to various friends as "My little Austra-lian grandchild," "My little niece from Australia," etc. She became rather over-conscious of the importance of herself and her birthplace. When visiting a big exhibition wherein was an Australian section, finding herself uncomfortably crushed, she called out: "Please to make room for me. I'm an Australian." Some interesting Australian children who had been imbued with the old-fashioned story-book idea that very good children died young were overheard to say: "We must not be too awfully good because we don't want to go to heaven quite yet, and all the very good children do."
Australian children are decidedly quick to learn and easy to teach. An English lady said to me: "Your Australian girls are delightful to teach. They learn so readily, but they cannot stand close application so well as girls of colder climates."
One point to be borne in mind is the strong "call of the open." There are nine months of delightful weather, when any healthy child seeing a glorious day outdoors thinks longingly of the tennis court, the sailing boat, a swim in river or sea, a canter over an open plain, or a cricket match.