17th August, 1869.
THE OCCUPATIONS OF A RETIRED LIFE.
By Edward Garrett. London: Strahan & Co.
GARRETT'S narrative (which is reprinted
from the Sunday Magazine) would have been much more
attractive had it been shorn of the redundancy of detail which
surrounds almost every incident. He is picturesque enough, but
his colouring is too thin, and the patience of the reader is often
taxed unnecessarily. Some of the incidents, too, might have
been excluded with advantage, as being too commonplace to excite
Mr Garrett relates the story of his own experience. He
was brought up in the village of Mallowe, and having lost his father
early, was sent to push his fortune in London. He began life
as junior clerk in a merchant's office, and in course of time became
a merchant. His only sister Ruth, who is one of the leading
characters in the story, remained at home to attend her mother and
look after the little shop which supported them. After fifty
years of city life, interrupted only by occasional visits to
Mallowe, Edward Garrett resolved to retire from business, return to
Mallowe, and there spend the remainder of his days in doing good to
those who might require his assistance. Neither Ruth nor her
brother had married, and they looked forward with delight to the
time when circumstances would admit of their enjoying each other's
fellowship in the quiet retreat of their native village. These
are some of the old man's thoughts on quitting business and going
down into the country:—
"Yes, I, the old merchant mean to
rest for the remainder of my days. Yet, at the same time, I
remember her charge, that in the quietest life 'there's more
to do than water flowers and go to sleep.' Ruth will help out
my slow comprehension with her keen eyes and clear voice. I
only wish there had been a touch of romance about her. It
would have made her as perfect as mortals can be. But romance
is always sorrow. Therefore, I thank God for my sister's
"Now for one more star-lit gaze from my narrow window.
To-night I see the dim moonbeams over the graveyard of the vanished
church, and so far as silence goes, I might be on Snowdon instead of
in the heart of London city; but I know that almost within a stone's
throw of my window nestle courts and closes where infamy need never
hide its head, even in such polluted daylight as can enter there.
I know, too, that in some of the giant houses round me toil men whom
the world respects and honours, but whom God ranks with those other
felons who snatch watches to buy bread they are too cowardly to
earn. And I own that Lucy's words are true; this vineyard has
been too large for me. My heart has not been strong enough for
its burden. I have done a little, or rather I have helped
others to do it, but it is such a little that I have no temptation
to stand where the Pharisee stood, and boast of my good deeds.
"To-morrow night I expect to look out on a far different
scene—on quiet meadows with great hills rising behind them.
Perhaps I shall hear the nightingale below my windows and the lights
will all be out in the few cottages within ken, just as if each were
an abode of domestic peace and love. But I must not forget my
Lucy's words— 'There's plenty of work where there are sin and
sorrow, and sin and sorrow are everywhere.'"
The old man cultivated the acquaintance of his neighbours and
gives numerous sketches of their peculiarities of thought and
action. Here is a passage which may be taken as a sample:—
"We learned that May-day did not
pass unobserved in Upper Mallowe, but that it was a time much
dreaded by all prudent fathers and mothers. The festivities
were a mere degeneration of the old May-poles and dances, having
forfeited whatever beauty and merriment those possessed, and
retained only their riotous licence, thereby drawing to our quiet
village all the disorderly characters within ten miles thereof.
"Mr Marten [the rector] knew and deplored the evil, and it
was he who first mentioned it to me along with his own unsuccessful
attempts to grapple therewith. He had preached about it with
stern and sorrowful lamentations; he had made personal appeals to
the younger members of his flock, nay, when the fateful day came, he
had startled the godless scene with terrible words of warning and
condemnation. Startled it truly but not to awed repentance,
only to coarse jests and rude laughter. And now, when the time
of trouble drew nigh, he came to me, saying, 'What shall I do?'
"'The Sunday before May-day,' he remarked, 'I always look
round my church, and wonder which boy or which girl I shall never
again see in the accustomed seat. It never passes without some
"'And have you never tried a counter-attraction?' I asked.
"'Last year I got up a lecture on the "Origin of Old
Customs," with illustrations,' he answered, with a ludicrous
expression of hopelessness.
"'And who attended?' inquired Ruth.
"'A few old people, and two or three very small girls,' he
"'Did they like it?' pursued my sister.
"'I cannot say,' he responded.
"'Did you like it?' she asked, pointedly.
"'I might have preferred a walk in the fields,' he answered,
looking up with a rueful smile.
"'Then judge others by yourself,' said she.
"'The only remedy lies in a counter-attraction,' I remarked,
'and it must be prepared very carefully for each failure will make
the matter more difficult. And in these things we must always
remember that although it is sometimes good to unite instruction and
amusement, yet the combination can never supply the place of pure
"'Ah, yes,' observed Ruth, 'whenever I hear a child say it
likes "sensible games" best, I always think, 'You little idle
simpleton, you'll choose differently when you've done some real
"'Then you would ruin the makers of scientific toys,' says Mr
"'No I would not,' she answered, 'they can make them for the
schoolroom. Let a child learn about steam-engines and so
forth, but don't expect it to find merriment therein.'
"'Sir.' I said, 'will you clear your conscience from the
burden of these May-day sports, and lay it upon mine?'
"'Most gladly will I do so,' he replied, 'if—if I ought.'
"'I think you should,' I answered, 'and I will explain my
reasons. Perhaps I shall succeed better than you, just because
I am not a clergyman.'
"'Is it so? he sighed; 'will people never believe it possible
that a clergyman honestly wishes their good?'
"'Not exactly that,' I responded, 'but their instincts cry
out for "fun," and they have a notion that a clergyman will give but
a diluted draught thereof, and will only tolerate that for the sake
of the "moral."'
"'And as there's never smoke without a little fire,' put in
Ruth, 'so there's no popular notion which has not some reason for
it. The sooner such reason is destroyed the better; only till
that time, there are certain wholesome movements in which a
clergyman's best place is the background.'
"'Well, if you and your brother will kindly devise some
successful May-day celebration, I am sure I shall be most happy to
appear as your most insignificant guest,' said Mr Marten, humbly.
"'And then you will have a magnificent chance of convincing
your parishioners you are none the less a man because you are "a
parson,"' I said. 'I think it's a very good thing for all
parties when a clergyman has an opportunity of appearing among his
people in an unofficial character.'"
The New Englander
Vol. XXXIII., 1874.
All who have read “Occupations of a Retired Life,” from the same
authoress—for Mrs. Mayo is no longer concealed under the assumed
name—will need no other inducement to take up this work, which is
marked by the same simplicity of style, fidelity to nature, sympathy
with humanity in all conditions, felicity of delineation, and
profound yet not obtrusive sense of spiritual truth. The charm
of her descriptions is the more wonderful if it is true, as we have
heard, that she is yet young, and her life has been confined to the
city,—another instance of the truth of Sir Walter Scott’s saying, in
effect, that the knowledge of human nature is instinctive or
intuitional, though the knowledge of manners may depend on
intercourse with the world. The matter of the book answers to
the title, portraying “struggles and hopes” in the hard lots or
“crooked places” of common life, with discriminating recognitions of
a divine Providence and of Christian truth. The lessons are
not only moral but evangelical, yet in no wise forced or
conventional. We cordially recommend the work both for
interest and profit. It is fitly dedicated “to the memory of
Thomas Guthrie, D. D., whose friendship was a treasure on earth, and
is now laid up a treasure in heaven.”
Vol. XXXVI., 1875.
"Doing and Dreaming" (New York, Dodd & Mead, 1875) is a little story
of a decidedly religious character, which may well find its place in
a Sunday-school library. Within a very moderate compass we have one
young man go blind, one young woman die, another half kill herself
by copying to pay her father’s debts, and still another neglect her
work in order to read and write poetry and indulge in useless
reveries. This is not a story that will ever supplant The Initials
in the common estimation, but it will probably suit the public for
which it is designed. At any rate, it has the advantage of conveying
religions instruction without at the same time inclining the young
reader to adopt bad grammar or vulgar ways, as some books of
excellent moral aim do. But even with this great merit in its favor,
the unregenerate reader will find it hard to forgive the writer’s
bloodthirstiness in regard to her characters. They are created but
to die untimely at the most harrowing moments.
3rd August 1877.
Edward Garrett has earned a reputation for quiet domestic stories,
full of practical wisdom and of a good religious tone.
Doing and Dreaming shows
how ignoble a life of selfish inactivity becomes when set against
one full of work and self-sacrifice. The character of
Charlotte Withers seems a favourite type, and is as good as anything
already done by this author. The tale is one of pathetic
interest , and well calculated to stimulate moral thoughtfulness in
mind of the reader, young or old.
14th November, 1878.
A volume which will be prized for the excellence of its literary
contents is the Magic Flower Pot, and other stories, by
Edward Garrett. Most of the stories have, it seems, appeared
from time to time in the "Quiver" or other magazines, and only a few
are now first printed. Those who have made acquaintance with
any of them will desire to have more, and will be glad that they
appear thus in one volume. The author writes with a kindly
humour, and tells the stories with a simplicity and grace which are
highly attractive. In short, the book is a capital one for a
Illustrated London News
Vol. LXXIV January to June 1879.
If conception of beautiful characters were sufficient of itself
to make a novel attractive, then The House by the Works, by
the author of "Occupations of a Retired Life" (Tinsley Brothers),
would be sure to meet with very wide acceptance; for the two volumes
contain several examples of that conceptive gift. The author,
moreover, exhibits a broad humanity, a noble sympathy, a catholicity
of religious sentiment, which are most creditable, most admirable,
and most delightful. He (sic) shows no little knowledge of the
human heart, and no slight acquaintance with the ways of life and
the modes of thought which are likely to prevail among employers and
employed in a great manufacturing community. It is to be
feared that he is only too correct in the picture he draws of the
young man whose self-made father, rolling in wealth, buys a position
for him and puts money at his command, and who uses the position and
the money for vicious purposes and wicked indulgence.
Quakeresses are nearly always charming in novels, and in this
particular novel there is a particularly charming Quakeress―an
old one, a mother, the mother of a fair daughter named Lois, who,
though not a Quakeress herself, is a semi-Quakeress, and in her
simple beauty, goodness, courage, and piety is even more charming
than the Quakeress her mother. There is, besides, a Miss
Barbara Pendlebury, who lives in "the house by the works "—that is,
of course, a house hard by a certain factory, and who is a model of
what a prosperous manufacturer's sister in a Christian country
should be. There is also the worthy Else, the thrifty, shrewd,
faithful, God-fearing serving-woman, friend and even instructress,
as well as domestic servant, glorying in the honest discharge of the
duties appertaining to her position, belonging to a once highly
respected and most respectable class, which is said to have become
almost extinct in these latter days. And there is Kate Pride,
daughter of the plebeian millionaire, a girl of handsome appearance
and of handsomer instincts and conduct, who comes out from the
furnace of adversity like pure gold tried in the fire. Besides
all these, there are some portraits of exemplary personages of the
other sex, but they are in bare outline, rough, meagre, altogether
shadowy. As for the heroine, she is drawn rather truthfully
than pleasantly or impressively; though the scene in which we first
have a glimpse of her is described with considerable power, pathos,
and picturesqueness. Nor does she dominate the whole tale, as
an interesting heroine should. In fact, the story is deficient
both in substance and in art, as well as in literary graces; the
incidents are for the most part, not a little common-place, and
those which are uncommon are introduced after a brusque, arbitrary,
inconsequential fashion, as if the gods of fiction were hurling
about thunderbolts promiscuously.
Vol L., 1882.
"Family Fortunes," a domestic story, by Edward Garrett (Dodd, Mead &
Co.), is a refined story of sentiment, with the customary Scotch
figures. It would seem as is Scotland had invented no new
characters since story books began to be written, but perhaps what
we vaguely want is a new Scotch language.
9th October, 1886.
The Family Council (James Nisbet & Co.) is a little book in
which Mr Edward Garrett, author of "Occupations of a Retired Life,"
presents a kind of home-history of a Christian family; its sorrows,
trials, and struggles—chiefly in the form of conversations among the
members of the household, elicited by the various experiences
through which they have to pass. The Intention of the book is
excellent, and its tone high and pure, but it has an overwhelmingly
"goody-goody" flavour which will pall on many readers.
Vol LXV., 1890.
"Life's Long Battle Won," by Edward Garrett. (Dodd, Mead & Co.)
A carefully written story, with conventional incidents, but
well-considered characters and a delicacy of touch. There is a
gentle religious tone which underlies the story, and is not
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
24th March, 1890.
At the monthly meeting of the Aberdeen branch of the Educational
Institute on Saturday, Mrs Isabella Fyvie Mayo read a paper entitled
"What the Young People Read," in which she severely criticised the
character of the novels which were written for young people, and
stated a variety of ways in which teachers might assist their pupils
in selecting wholesome literature.
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
22nd September, 1891.
"THE SUN" (Alexander
Gardner & Son, London and Paisley).―There
are in all six papers in the current number of "The Sun," the most
important being from the pen of Mrs Fyvie Mayo, and entitled "A
Mouth opened for the Dumb." It is a powerful and stirring
appeal in behalf of the victims of the vivisector, and in protest
against the licence recently granted for the establishment in London
of "An Institute of Preventive Medicine," where "the operations of
Pasteur can be carried out"―these
"operations" according to the quoted evidence, including horrible
and revolting cruelties practiced in the name of science. . . .
10th November, 1891.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
"THE SISTERS OF HELP."
1A Albyn Place, Aberdeen,
SIR,—On all hands
we hear no longer of the difficulty of securing good household help,
but of the impossibility of securing any household help at all!
The waste of time, temper, health, property, and comfort involved in
such a state of things cannot be calculated. It has been said
that "many ladies are reduced to doing their own work," a matter not
to be regretted where it is possible. But one woman,
single-handed, cannot do everything in a family house, and what is
to become of the aged, the invalid, or of those widows or spinsters
who, maintaining themselves and others by professional labour of
some kind, are emphatically house-upholders before they can be
house-mistresses? Yet we hear that women are turned by the
thousand from the doors of our hospitals, where they clamour to be
admitted as nurses! They have been taught to see in this line
of life a service to humanity, and their work in this direction has
received recognition and honour. Yet, is not "prevention
better than cure," and should not work which secures health, peace,
and happiness in thousands of honest homes take precedence of work
which can merely mend that which is already more or less marred?
Have we looked at domestic service in its right light? And if
not, is it not time we should do so?
Is there no lady of rank and leisure who will make herself
the saviour of the kitchen, as Florence Nightingale made herself the
saviour of the sick-room?—and, by doing so, make it easy for
well-educated young women, of respectable position, to follow in her
Might it not be possible to make a start with a little guild
of "Sisters of Help," who would enjoy a common ideal and share
mutual aspirations, possess a centre, and be strengthened by a sense
Such a guild might enlarge itself all over the kingdom, or,
better still, inspire the establishment of sister guilds, varied
according to varying views and requirements.
To prevent such a guild from merely ministering to the
rapacious luxury of wealth and idleness, its members, at least in
the beginning, might be forbidden to enter any household where there
were more than two servants in the kitchen. It is precisely
within this circle that the present need pinches sorest.
The members, without question of social rank, should be all
able to pass simple—very simple—examinations in English, writing,
and arithmetic, and, without any question or distinction of
religious denomination, should be all members in full communion with
some religious body. Those intending to labour as cooks should
possess certificates of competency, and those prepared to undertake
laundry work should do the same. A pretty and suitable uniform
should be selected, and each member should be spoken of by her
employers as "sister" in prefix to her Christian name.
The most stringent rule of such an order should be that no
sister on duty should refuse to do any task whatever necessary for
the health or comfort of the household where she abides. The
word "menial" must vanish from the mind of every "sister of help,"
and be relegated only to that "superfluous" class, the snobbish
It is too true, doubtless, that in many middle-class houses
the arrangements made for domestic help are not now very comfortable
or considerate. But it must be remembered, on the other hand,
that while things remain as they are, the best of such arrangements
may be planned, with the sole result of disheartening waste. I
have known an ignorant slut in one week evolve a scene of muddle and
smash from a kitchen and bedroom which her predecessors had
maintained for years in neatness and pleasantness. Such women,
too, ignore labour-saving arrangements, and damage and break
their-machinery. The power of the mistress is no longer on the
ascendant, and the helper who maintains order and peace in the
kitchen, has her comfort, I fancy, very much at her own command.
Everybody knows that in these days no woman of character and
capacity to render domestic help need find herself driven into "a
Each "sister" would go out, of course, under rules concerning
her salary, her leisure, and her holidays, such as have been found
to work well, in nursing organisations.
The rock from which any such scheme must steer clear is the
old one of the "lady help," which practically meant an idle woman in
the house interfering with the servants!
But in a letter like this I can but throw out an
idea for others to elaborate. I am a busy professional woman
with little time or energy to spare, but if any persons reading this
are inclined to further such a scheme in any way, I shall be glad to
open a correspondence and put such people in communication with each
other.—I am, &c.
ISABELLA FYVIE MAYO
also Chapter IX., In the
Kitchen, of Mrs Mayo's "Recollections."
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
14th December, 1891.
MRS FYVIE MAYO
AND SIR CHARLES DILKE.
Mr Seivwright has handed us the following letter which has been
addressed to him by
Mrs Fyvie Mayo―"Perhaps you will
pardon me for congratulating you upon the action you have taken
concerning the shameful opening of our Trades Council Exhibition.
I only wish something could have been done sooner that the dishonour
might have been averted. We must not forget that it is some
amongst ourselves who have brought it upon us, and that is why I
feel that those who are agreed on such a matter should make
themselves known to each other, that concerted opposition might be
easier, should another juncture ever arise. I felt that there
should have been an earlier appeal to exhibitors to suspend or
withdraw their exhibits. But who was to make such an appeal?
During the past twelve months we in Aberdeen have had some curious
illustrations of the kind of past history which is thought to make a
man―or a woman―a
fit object for honours and adulation. But the labour party
will do well not to copy their opponents in this matter. Wrong
may be buttressed by evil, right can only be undermined by its
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
22nd March, 1893.
THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE.―The
first of the second course of lectures under the auspices of the
Aberdeen Sabbath School Union was delivered on Sunday night in the
hall of the Ferryhill Parish Church by Mrs Isabella Fyvie Mayo.
There was a large attendance. On the platform with Mrs Mayo
were Rev. H. W. Wright, who presided, Mr Alfred Mcleod, president of
the union, and Mr James Russell, surveyor of taxes. The
chairman having touched on the claims of the Bible not only as a
Revelation but for its pure literature, introduced Mrs Mayo, who
held the attention of her hearers with a lecture showing a wide
knowledge of literature. At the outset she touched on the
modern tendency to regard the Bible with lessening reverence,
illustrating this characteristic by reference to two remarkable
articles of the critical type which appeared recently in a religious
journal, and the appearance of which, she asserted, would have been
absolutely impossible a very few years ago. After explaining
at some length the position she occupied in trying to do justice to
the Bible, she enforced
and illustrated the importance of reading its books in chronological
order, which she explained did not invariably mean the order in
which they are arranged. She recommended in this connection a
book lately published, "Clues to Holy Writ." Having afterwards
dealt with the Bible as a Revelation, the lecturer passed on to say
that the next duty, after studying it chronologically, was to
endeavour to catch the particular standpoint from which it was
written, and in doing so she showed that many difficulties which had
puzzled commentators would be overcome by illustrating this, amongst
others, by reference to that oft-quoted passage where the sun and
the moon are represented as standing still in the valley of Ajalon.
The difficulties of the Imprecatory Psalms and other passages, she
showed, would also melt away when the standpoint of the writer was
understood. The Bible was afterwards shown to be the great
teacher of the plain truths of human nature; it was also shown how
it had done more than any book to carry imagination into children's
hearts, and how much such a painter as Millet, and Ruskin, the
greatest master of English prose, owed to the Bible, the former
taking everything from the Psalms, and the latter forming his style
on his mother's scriptural teaching. Many other points were taken up
and treated with great ability, and at the close, on the motion of
the chairman, seconded by Mr Mcleod, a very cordial vote of thanks
was passed to Mrs Mayo.
The Woman's Herald
13th April, 1893.
March 30, Mrs. Fyvie Mayo delivered a lecture in the West End
Mission Hall to the members of the Elgin Young Women's Christian
Association and South Free Church Y.M.C.A. The Rev J. S. Swan
presided, and Mrs. Mayo gave an impressive and interesting address
on the subject of "The Bible as literature."
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
23rd October, 1893.
PLEASANT SUNDAY AFTERNOONS.
Yesterday Mrs Fyvie Mayo delivered the address in connection with
the P.S.A. meetings in Blackfriars Hall, Aberdeen. There was
an unusually large attendance, and many were unable to gain
admittance. Mr John Leith presided. Mrs Mayo's subject
was "An Unpopular Virtue," which she treated in an original manner,
making it at the same time highly interesting and practical.
The address was listened to with the deepest attention, and was
frequently applauded. The choir was present under the
direction of Mr Sykes. Miss Matthews sang two solos.
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
13th November, 1893.
The November issue of "Atlanta" ("Atalanta" Office, 5A Paternoster
Row, E.C.) is above average both in letterpress and illustrations.
Two serials, "Sir Robert Fortune," by Mrs Oliphant, and "A Costly
Freak," by Maxwell Gray, make excellent reading in the department of
fiction. A graphically written and capitally illustrated
article on Warwick Castle is contributed by Mrs Edwin Oliver.
Under the heading of "Things in General," Mrs Oliphant discourses on
the "Coal Strike" regretting the difficulty of finding out how
matters really stand, and advocating more attention to the problems
of labour and wages on the part of young readers. Mrs Fyvie
Mayo writes on "The Domestic novel as represented by Miss Austen,"
and points out, incidentally, the similarity between her letters and
her novels. "It is often hard," says Mrs Mayo, "to believe
that Miss Austen's letters are not chapters from her own novels.
One can scarcely tell whether she is writing about the movements of
her living acquaintances or of her characters." Mrs Mayo's
estimate of Miss Austen is aptly illustrated by quotation.
Belfast Weekly News-Letter
13th January, 1894.
The chief feature of the current number of "Atalanta" is the serial
by Mrs Oliphant, "Sir Robert's Fortune." The knowing smile of
the old minister, the "innocent lee" (lie) of Bessie, the heroine's
way of explaining the accident, the denseness of Dougal, the
suspicion of his wife, and the delayed departure of Ronald, all lend
attraction to the whole. "A Costly Freak," by Maxwell Grey,
well deserves its place in the journal. An article written by
Isabella Fyvie Mayo on Garibaldi's visit to london, is certain to be
read. The general's character is shown in the following
visit to this country came to a rather abrupt conclusion.
There were perplexities, misgivings. He was an uncomfortable
figure for politicians to find in their narrow and sinuous paths.
He not only told simple truths, and nothing but the truth, but he
told all the truth. He did not understand reserves. In
political life he was as awkward a subject as a plain-spoken
school-boy at an afternoon tea, where the polite people cannot help
loving him even while they sigh, 'Oh dear, dear, what will he say or
do next?' That is about the worst that can be said of General
Garibaldi―that his faults were
virtues carried to an extremity. He was a man of action, not
of argument or of artifice" . . . .
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
12th February, 1894.
Last night Mrs Fyvie Mayo was the speaker at the Labour Church
meeting in Skene Terrace, her subject being "Labour and Luxury." Mr
John Anderson presided, and there was a crowded attendance. They had
all, Mrs Mayo said, in these latter days learned that labour had its
rights, and that capital owed as much to labour as labour owed to
capital. The world had discovered that there was something wrong
about the fact that many of those who did work were poor, while many
of those who did nothing were wealthy and comfortable. She then
addressed herself to that aspect of the right of labour of which
they did not hear half enough―the right of labour to do work and
earn its bread by work which was worth the doing. Some people said
they did not care much what work they did so long as they were not
overworked and got pretty fair wages. They did not, however, really
mean that, for she did not believe that there was a man or a woman
living who would go on receiving excellent pay for work which, when
it was done, was taken from them and thrown into the fire. And, yet,
she proceeded to argue, a great deal of work was no better than
that, and she condemned the system which made men eat bread for work
which was useless. This led the speaker to denounce the doctrine
which justified luxury on the ground that, even though wealth
was not spent wisely, money was put in circulation, a position with
which even working people often agreed, on the plea, that such
things were good for trade. Luxury, she proceeded to show, almost
invariably at anyrate in large cities, existed side by side with the
most abject poverty and starvation, and it was, she declared, a
fallacy to say that luxury was a benefit to society in general. Dealing next with the argument that people who had money had a right
to do what they liked with it, she strongly denied that proposition,
asserting that nobody had any right to do what he liked with
anything, but only what was right. Work that was useless, she showed
was wasted labour. Labour and capital, she afterwards said, were
equal but different, and labour had a corrupting influence on
capital when it rushed to be hired for work that was not useful and
good, and the making of cheap luxuries raised the price of the
necessities of life. In order to counteract the evils she had
mentioned, she urged each to strive individually to illustrate in
their own lives the principles which they wished to be general in
society . . . .
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
23rd April, 1894.
THE SALT OF THE EARTH.
The closing lecture of the series in connection with the Aberdeen
Sabbath School Union was delivered last night, in the Ballroom of
the Music Hall Buildings, by Mrs Fyvie Mayo. There was a large
audience―the largest that there had yet been during the season.
Mr Alfred MacLeod, the president of the union, who presided,
conducted the opening service, and introduced Mrs Mayo. The
lecturer began by intimating the title of her lecture―"The Salt of
the Earth"―and explained that she meant the force of the individual
life. Small beginnings often led to great endings, and she
proceeded to illustrate her doctrine by referring to the causes
which ultimately produced Bunyan and his work, and which produced
the Glasgow Foundry Boys' Organisation through the labours of a
factory girl. Taking next the negative aspect of her subject,
Mrs Mayo went on to show how evils might be averted by the force of
individual heroism, illustrating that position by the story of the
heroic figure who leaped into the arena of the Coliseum to separate
the gladiators, and who, while suffering the penalty of death, was
the means of putting an end to such brutalising sport. In
connection with American slavery Mrs Mayo, taking a more modern
figure, gave the touching history of Mary Mercer, of Maryland, who
by an act of self-renunciation freed all her father's slaves, and,
while losing her fortune, obtained an honourable living by her own
abilities, which she had fostered at an earlier period of her life.
People were not to suppose, however, that in the present day there
were not opportunities for such daring renunciation. There
were indeed upward paths waiting for them to climb; and the lecturer
proceeded to put before her hearers the economics of humanity which
they should set themselves to fight, such as the various forms of
unwholesome occupations in which workers were employed, the
cruelties practised by men upon birds, whose wings were to be used
for the adornment of women, and especially the great enemy of
humanity, war, which she characterised as murder, theft and
drunkenness on a large scale. These points were dealt with in
considerable detail, and with much eloquence, and at the close, on
the motion of the president, the cordial thanks of the union were
conveyed to Mrs Mayo.
Aberdeen Weekly Journal,
23rd May, 1894.
MRS FYVIE MAYO
ON "LABOUR AND WORSHIP."――Mrs
Fyvie Mayo addressed a large congregation on this subject in the
Labour Church, Crooked Lane, on Sunday. She said that they
knew that the founder of the Labour Church was, to use his own
words, "seeking to make it a real Church wherein men and women may
find their own lives brought into communion with higher life, and
all their sorrows and joys, their failures and victories illuminated
with new meaning, which shall fill their hearts with hope." (Applause.)
She pleaded that the Labour Church should not shut its Bible.
The Bible was emphatically the layman's book. She hoped the
Labour Church would be so conscious of its power that it would move
with caution and consideration, and not damage or destroy anything
which the next generation would regret and wish back again. (Applause.)
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
8th October, 1894.
"THE MODERN GOLDEN
Labour Church in Aberdeen was reopened for the season last night in
Greyfriars Hall by an address from Mrs Fyvie Mayo. There was a
large audience, and the chair was occupied by Mr John Anderson.
After a few words of introduction and reading, Mrs Mayo delivered a
stirring address on "The Modern Golden Calf," in the course of which
she combated the delusion that money could do everything―pointing
out that it could not buy love, health, and moral, upright
character, and that true worth was entirely independent of wealth.
Referring incidentally to the municipalisation of the drink traffic,
Mrs Mayo denied that it would do anything to cure intemperance.
Distillers and brewers, she said, were a form of capitalists which
the working classes could speedily overthrow by ceasing to
contribute from their wages to their support. The moment a
poor man ceased to worship the golden calf poverty would lose many
of its terrors and horrors and the time would cease when a man was
judged by his bank account. Mrs Mayo was thanked for her
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
12th November, 1894
Mrs Fyvie Mayo, who has been a resident in Aberdeen for a number of
years, and as taken a prominent part in social and educational
affairs, and whose departure from the city last week was noticed in
our columns has had time among her public exertions to produce
another novel, which has been issued as one of Messrs Oliphant,
Anderson and Ferrier's Christmas series. Mrs Fyvie Mayo, as is
generally know, writes under the nom de plume of "Edward
Garrett." The authoress dedicates the present work, "To C. A.
M., my beloved and faithful friend through the storms and the
sunshine of all my life." The title of the story is
and the scene is mainly laid in the Tweed district, of which
half-a-dozen beautiful etchings on copper are given in the book.
These beautiful little vignettes are by the delicate needle of
Haswell Donaldson. This is, perhaps, one of "Mr Garrett's"
most ambitious and powerful efforts. There is a well-conceived
plot, and the story is admirably told with great knowledge of the
topography and dialect of the district, and of the character of the
people who inhabit it. We are sure that many in Aberdeen who
have been interested in the striking personality of the gifted
authoress will peruse "Rab Bethune's Double" with deep interest and
pleasure . . .
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
14th November, 1894.
MRS FYVIE MAYO
who has been a member of Aberdeen School Board since the last
election, is, it is understood, about to leave Aberdeen for the
south of England. For some time Mrs Mayo has been in
indifferent health, and it is thought that a change of climate may
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
21st October, 1895.
Yesterday the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon series of services were
reopened in the Ballroom of Aberdeen Music Hall, when an address
upon "The Gospel of the Hills" was given by Mrs Fyvie Mayo.
The room was packed in every part, and over 200 persons had to be
refused admission. Mr John Leith presided. Mrs Fyvie
Mayo, in the course of her address, pointed out the many sweet
messages that could be read in the hills, which were symbolic of
rest and security. The mountains were a splendid type of the
unchanging truth of God's law of right and wrong. They could
not get rid of the mountains, but they could tunnel through them.
People like to say that "circumstances alter cases," but they did
not alter truth. Gambling, which meant making gain by the loss
of others, was as much a sin in the man who made his fortune in
dealing in South African Stocks and shares as in the little boy who
played pitch and toss on the pavement. "Circumstances may
alter cases" in man's judgement of the matter, and the little boy
was taken down to the east end of the city and placed before the
magistrate, but the speculator went up to the west and stood before
kings―bonanza kings, oil kings, and
silver kings. They, however, had both alike to quit their
ill-got gains at the last. It was the fashion to speak as if
there was one law of right in national politics and another in
private morality, but she held the same names should be given to
public crimes as to private vices. Instead of talking about
"the goldfields of South Africa" and successful speculations
therein, why should they not say, "Great Gold Robbery in South
Africa"―"Successful Resettling of
the Stolen Goods in Great Britain." Why did they not talk
about "The British Burglary at Chitral"; why not the papers announce
"The Coming Murder in Ashantee?" The system of having double
names for the same thing was utterly bad, but it did not alter the
truth. The same law applied to individuals. If a servant
girl did not tell the truth, they said "She told lies"; but if a
young lady offended they said, "Oh, she told fibs." If one was
well off he was never a thief; he was only a kleptomaniac. The
publicans were much more abused than the distillers, and at the
present time they heard a deal of talk about the municipalisation of
the drink traffic, but so far as she knew there had not been a word
about the municipalisation of the drink manufacture. People
didn't care to visit publicans, but half the peerage was married to
brewers' daughters. The truth, however, would remain, and one
by one these mists of falsehood and error would fade away. (Loud
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
23rd November, 1895.
MRS FYVIE MAYO'S
Fyvie Mayo gave a lecture in the Ballroom, Music Hall, Aberdeen,
last night on "Modern Egypt," a subject upon which she was able to
speak with knowledge and authority by her recent visit to the land
of the Pharaohs. Rev. S. G. Woodward presided. The
lecture was extremely interesting, and was illustrated by means of
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
14th December, 1896.
MRS FYVIE MAYO
ON "MODERN EGYPT."―At
Skene Street Congregational Church Literary Society on Saturday
evening, Mrs Fyvie Mayo gave a lecture, illustrated by lime-light
views, recalling scenes and incidents observed on a recent visit to
Cairo. The lecturer's interest was chiefly directed to the
social and domestic manners and customs of the modern Egyptians, as
seen in the streets and bazaars. In one respect, the lecturer
was glad to say, the sturdy Moslem character has as yet resisted the
evil influences of European life. Although there were in Cairo
numerous bars and drinking saloons, and usually plenty of drunken
English soldiers and sailors and Europeans generally, the native
population to a man were total abstainers. This was a most
agreeable feature in Eastern life. Nowhere in a holiday crowd―and
she had seen several―was there the
slightest vestige of coarseness and brutality too often begot by
strong drink in a holiday crowd at home. Indeed, the more
intimately one became acquainted with these Eastern people, the more
one felt inclined to admire them for the many amiable
characteristics which were evident to anyone who took more then the
merest superficial interest in their ways of living. At the
close a very hearty vote of thanks was proposed by Mr John
Henderson, and seconded by Mr John Leith, and readily accorded to
Mrs Mayo by the large audience.
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
21st May, 1900.
Mr S. C. Cronwright-Schreiner, the "Stop-the-War" orator, yesterday
visited Aberdeen, and the city was the scene of the most turbulent
proceedings in the annals of modern times. The visit was
arranged by the Social Democratic Federation, and Mr Cronwright
-Schreiner was announced to speak in the Trades Hall at 7-30 p.m.,
but in the matter of being a public meeting the proceedings were a
perfect fiasco. Two hours before the advertised time of
commencing thousands of people had assembled in Belmont Street, and
soon it became evident that the utmost efforts of the large force of
policemen present, under the personal superintendence of Chief
Constable Wyness, would be powerless to prevent the crowd taking the
hall by storm if the doors were opened. Time and again the
crowd drove the constables before them, although it could not be
said at this time that the conduct of the people was disorderly.
The policemen had their duty to do, however, and frequently batons
had to be drawn to keep back the mob. These incidents were
alternated with the singing of loud and patriotic melodies, the
waving of Union Jacks, and cheering loud and long for the Queen and
the various political and military leaders. Presently, as some
of the patriotic members of the crowd got near to the hall door,
where the Socialists were assembled, a series of free fights took
place, and details of the unparalleled proceedings are subjoined . .
. . .
. . . . Mrs Fyvie Mayo, who was cordially received, seconded
the resolution. She was somewhat interrupted in her speech,
and was somewhat sarcastic upon the young men, who she informed she
was paying Queen's taxes when they were in their cradles. She
made a vigorous protest against the war, and said that if any war
should have been prevented it was that war. The war party, she
said, were taxing old women to pay the expense of sending out their
brave soldiers to die for the rights of Anglo-Saxons. If there
was such a desire to give the franchise, why not go to the famished
millions of India. The promoters of that war, she said, were
men like Rhodes. (Applause and interruption, and a Voice―"What
about Stewart of Lovedale?") To this Mrs Mayo retorted―"What
about Dr Andrew Murray?" The concluding portion of Mrs Mayo's
remarks was somewhat impatiently listened to, owing to some extent
to the fact that she was imperfectly heard.
Aberdeen Weekly Journal
29th June, 1900.
THE BREAKING OF MRS FYVIE MAYO'S WINDOWS.
AN AMUSING SEQUEL.
In Wednesday's "Morning Leader" appears the following under the
heading of "The Indian Famine Fund":―
"Sir,―After an attempt at
free speech in Aberdeen my windows were broken and my
gates defaced by a midnight mob of students who had been prowling in
the streets for hours previously. The magistrates declined to give
compensation on the extraordinary ground that "there was no mob." On
"Pretoria Day" a group of school-boys, thus encouraged, entered my
grounds and one more pane of glass was broken. Ultimately the police
discovered the juvenile stone-thrower. They told me that the boy was
willing to apologise and pay, but that had nothing to do with their
charge―though a suggestion of mercy
from me might be considered. The boy came to me, got a quiet
lecture, wrote an apology and a promise that he would not again
mingle in such scenes of violence, and paid his damage (2s 6d) which
I told him I would send to the city Indian Famine Fund.
"Accordingly, on 20th June, I wrote to the Aberdeen town
clerk as follows:―A Grammar School
boy having found manliness enough to confess his share of the damage
done to my house on Pretoria Day, I have pleasure in forwarding his
forfeit (2s 6d) to the Indian Famine Fund. Please acknowledge in in
public list as Restitution by Grammar School boy for window broken
on Pretoria Day." This morning one of the town sergeants has waited
on me bringing back the 2s 6d, and a verbal answer that "owing to
the terms of my letter, the money could not be taken."
"I cannot see wherein my letter (as given above) could give
offence. Perhaps its opening phrase indicated, that in my opinion,
the conduct of the secret midnight stone-throwing students was not
manly, but surely not even the Aberdeen magistrates are prepared to
state that it was."
There was no signature attached to this letter but yesterday
(Thursday) the following also appeared in the "Morning Leader":―
"The end of the letter under this heading (the Indian Famine
Fund) describing the extraordinary conduct of the Aberdeen
authorities in relation to a subscription to this fund was, by an
error, omitted from yesterday's paper. The letter should have
"I now send 2s 6d to you. Thirty pence I have been told will
maintain a starving Indian for 30 days, and it seems to me that
anybody refusing this sum in such an interest rather than tacitly
admit that secret stone-throwing is unmanly, incurs a grave
responsibility. Yours etc., (Signed) "ISABELLA
"3 Albyn Place, Aberdeen, 25th June."
26th August, 1901.
The "Sunday at Home" for September (the Religious Tracts Society)
contains the first of a series of papers on Dundee in Reformation,
Revolution, and Reform times—written in a pleasing manner by
Isabella Fyvie Mayo. In this paper a sketch is given of the
early history of the burgh with special reference to the connection
of the reformers with it. The other contents are of a readable
nature, and the part is well illustrated.
22nd February, 1912.
Mr C. W. Daniel, London, has published a series of six neatly
appointed booklets compiled by Isa. Fyvie Mayo to give unlearned
readers instances of Old Stories and Sayings from Many Lands. The
volumes draw their material respectively from the proverbs, fables,
and folk-lore of the following places: — Great Britain and Ireland,
Northern Europe, Southern Europe: India, Ceylon and the Near East;
Japan and China; and Africa. "Each book is in itself a readable
little medley of popular wisdom and fancy, and the series has many
interests for readers who take pleasure in studying contrasts and
characteristics due to geographical surroundings.