Through my whole official life I did my best to improve the style of official writing. I have written, I should think, some thousands of reports 鈥?many of them necessarily very long; some of them dealing with subjects so absurd as to allow a touch of burlesque; some few in which a spark of indignation or a slight glow of pathos might find an entrance. I have taken infinite pains with these reports, habituating myself always to write them in the form in which they should be sent 鈥?without a copy. It is by writing thus that a man can throw on to his paper the exact feeling with which his mind is impressed at the moment. A rough copy, or that which is called a draft, is written in order that it may be touched and altered and put upon stilts. The waste of time, moreover, in such an operation, is terrible. If a man knows his craft with his pen, he will have learned to write without the necessity of changing his words or the form of his sentences. I had learned so to write my reports that they who read them should know what it was that I meant them to understand. But I do not think that they were regarded with favour. I have heard horror expressed because the old forms were disregarded and language used which had no savour of red-tape. During the whole of this work in the Post Office it was my principle always to obey authority in everything instantly, but never to allow my mouth to be closed as to the expression of my opinion. They who had the ordering of me very often did not know the work as I knew it 鈥?could not tell as I could what would be the effect of this or that change. When carrying out instructions which I knew should not have been given, I never scrupled to point out the fatuity of the improper order in the strongest language that I could decently employ. I have revelled in these official correspondences, and look back to some of them as the greatest delights of my life. But I am not sure that they were so delightful to others. Horatia. [Aside to Barbara.] Strange, is it not? He concerns himself also with the most difficult problem that confronts the flying man of to-day, namely, landing effectively, and his remarks on this subject would be instructive even to an air pilot of these days: 鈥楴ow the ways and means by which the speed is slackened at the end of a flight are these. The bird spreads its wings and tail so that their concave surfaces are perpendicular to the direction of motion; in this way, the spreading feathers, like a ship鈥檚 sail, strike against the still air, check the speed, and so that most of the impetus may be stopped, the wings are flapped quickly and strongly forward, inducing a contrary motion, so that the bird absolutely or very nearly stops.鈥? Very awkward for him, if he really has lost his money. But I should not be surprised to learn that it never was posted at all. He took her hand and pressed it gently in silence. Then, after a long pause, when she had dried the tears from her streaming eyes, and was lying faint, and white, and still, caring very little what became of her poor remnant of life, he said softly鈥? Maxfield could not but acknowledge to himself that the young man was honest and straightforward, and spoke fairly. He was well-looking too, and had the air of a gentleman, although there was not a trace about him of the peculiar airy elegance, the graceful charm of face and figure, which made Algernon Errington so attractive. Neither had he Algernon's gift of flattery, so adroitly conveyed as to appear unconscious; nor鈥攚hat might, under the present circumstances, have served him equally well with the old tradesman鈥擜lgernon's good-humoured way of taking for granted his own incontestable social superiority over the Whitford grocer. Maxfield had his doubts as to whether this young man, ex-usher at the Grammar School, a fellow who went about to people's houses and gave lessons for money, could prove to be a fine enough match for his Rhoda, even though he should become head-master at Dorrington鈥擬axfield had so set his heart on seeing Rhoda "made a lady of," in the phraseology of his class. For one second, perhaps鈥攊t could scarcely have been more鈥攖he smooth surface of the glass gave back the two women's faces: one youthful, lily-hued, innocently surprised, with chestnut eyebrows and shining chestnut curls, and tender rosy lips parted like those of a child; the other yellow, worn full of fretful creases, with glittering eager eyes, and a thin mouth set into a straight line, and yet over all the undefinable pathos of a suffering spirit; behind the two, Algernon looking into his wife's dark eyes and recognising something there that he had never seen in them before. SCENE I. Mrs Keeling rose.