PRECIOUS POSSESSIONS.

There is nothing-absolutely nothing-that is clung to more tenaciously than family plate. The store may consist of a safe full of rare old silver handed on from one generation to another, including pieces of the reign of Queen Anne, and perchance a caudle cup of the Stuart period, or it may be the modest family plate of the middle classes-a silver tea-set, spoons, sugar-tongs and helmet-shaped cream jug, with perhaps a pair of salts and a pepper box. Such relics, and especially sets, are hard to divide, and according to old traditions are often handed on to the eldest son, or to one who bears the family name corresponding with the initials engraved upon the silver. The market price of old silver plate increases, and, therefore, there is an accruing value about the family treasure box ; but that is not the only reason why these oddments are retained and the old spoons treasured, it especially for the successive plate marks of the silver stored under such conditions, telling of brief breaks in prosperity, or of national troubles, when no silversmiths found employment, and again of days of success and lives lived under happier conditions and even luxury. The family plate chest is undoubtedly a precious asset and should be jealously guarded. It is a sad pity when its treasures are divided, and the solid record of the family history, telling of its standing in the past, is deviated or split up. When once dispersed or stolen family plate is rarely recovered, it is seldom that there is any chance of a prosperous descendant tracing it or of finding old silver that belonged to his family, although initials and still more surely crests are sometimes useful guides to its recovery.