Candles have always been magical to me; from the consoling gleam of my nightlight in the nursery down to yesterday when, at the cinema, the screen showing a picture of a candle-lit shrine in a church.
heard a woman behind me say, "Aren't the candles lovely?" which proves that I am not alone in finding them attractive.
For all the efficiency of modern means of illumination, from the soft splendour of flood-lighting to the great arc-lights of the streets, cannot detract from the romantic quality of candles. Can one imagine our descendants, a hundred years hence, cherishing some brass electric bulb holder as we to-day cherish the brass candlesticks of a hundred years ago?
The idea is absurd, because efficiency has no history, and history means romance, And we are all of us romantics at heart; even the most hard-boiled, snappy, modern Miss amongst us; and candles recall the scented softness of that century of boudoirs, the eighteenth, and bring to any room they grace something of the elegance of those leisured days.
Their Shape is Unaltered
It is interesting to reflect how little candles have changed in shape from the days of the " tallow dip." The latter is one of the most ancient forms of illumination; and was for centuries a house industry.
Up to fifty years ago, in Norfolk and other remote parts of the country, tallow candles were made from mutton fat whenever a sheep was killed for home consumption.
The process roughly was as follows. A box-like frame held suspended from crossbars, some twenty or thirty metal tubes, about two inches in diameter. Hanging down, from the same hook that suspended the mould itself, through, approximately the centre of the mould, was the wick. The mutton fat was boiled down in a large cauldron and then ladled into these metal moulds. When cold the candles thus made were hung up by their wicks, left long for the purpose, in a cool cellar.