'sometimes their utterances betray character, as of the little boy who, when the tiger's growls behind the sofa had become too realistic for human endurance, burst forth with "Mother! mother! don't growl so loud; it frightens granny"; or the self-conscious infant who rushed to leave the lion-house at the Zoo because, he said, "The lion is peeping at baby" - as if that wide-eyed majesty were conscious of anything nearer than some Libyan desert visible to his mental gaze. Often they are questions to confound the wise. "Mother, does anyone have to-morrow before us? and will they use to-day when we've done with it?" has a flavour of Oriental wisdom about it difficult to meet. Most grandparents can supply you with genuine expressions and utterances drawn from nursery life, and they are willing to do so on the smallest encouragement; it is in them that children find their most intelligent sympathisers. We noticed two of the most distinguished men of the present day in deep and confidential discourse at a State entertainment in London the other season. To the superficial observer they appeared to be settling the affairs of the nation, but in reality they were capping stories about their respective youngest grandchildren, and their confidences lasted long and late.

'It seems strange that with an inexhaustible field of observation open to everyone the children of fiction should not be more lifelike and less sentimental than is usually the case; but the subject is one that might be indefinitely pursued.

'Memory, it is true, is apt to play us false when we try to re-enter the realms of our youth; but few of us seem ever to have listened at the nursery door, or to have looked through the eyes of childhood into the make-believe world it inhabits.'

I knew a little boy once who used to go out into Hyde Park when the soldiers were exercising, and on his return give long and detailed accounts of the real battles he had seen. His elder and less imaginative brother would stand by in silent amazement at what seemed to him absolute untruths. The child in a way knew he had not seen what he described, and yet, as he had seen with the eye of imagination, it was real and true to him.

Here is a little child's song, the words by E. Nesbit, set to music by Liza Lehmann. I think it charming, and so illustrative of the kind of imagination children have, knowing quite well that what they think is not the actual fact, though true to them:

When my good-nights and pray'rs are said And I am safe tucked up in bed, I know my Guardian Angel stands And holds my soul between his hands. I cannot see his wings of light Because I keep my eyes shut tight, For if I open them I know My pretty Angel has to go. But through the darkness I can hear His white wings rustling very near. I know it is his darling wings, Not mother folding up my things.

I never refuse to name anything I like when I am told 'Everyone knows that,' for 'everyone' is a very limited London circle, where bright, pretty things come like beautiful bubbles, are seen by what is called 'everybody,' and are gone in a moment. I think of my kind unknown friends who are far away bearing the white woman's burden, and who have written to me saying they enjoyed the little breath of home my last book brought them. They may not have seen or heard what I have and even here in Surrey I find that often the thing that 'everyone knows' does not even reach the next parish.