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GOSSIP FOR THE LADIES.

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GOSSIP FOR THE LADIES. Sousa's Forthcoming Visit. Where Men do Women's Work. 'Wrinkles in Housework from the "Heathen Chinee." (BY "VERA.") Swansea is. I must confess ,:t. very Siocum- cum-Mud. so far as social events are con- ■cerned. We seem incapable of scaring above a church or chapel bazaar, and that only at rare intervals. However, as a break in the ennui of the next lew weeks, we may expect a visit from Sousa and his world-famous band. Sousa, of course, is pre-eminent both as con- ductor and composer, and his talents would enable him to shine in the one without the other. His marches in truth have become too popubr-they have reached the summit of popular fame (some would call it the deepest depth), viz., the barrel organ, but between hearing them played at an occasional ball by a scratch band of musicians, and hear- ing them from his bund, conducted by him- -sels, there is a vast difference. There are. I hear, about fifty-five instrumentalists, and a few vocalists, who will help to break the montony and vary the proceedings a trifle. Too much brass band music in a lump wearies and deafens the ear, except in rare cases. An accomplished band playing the Tann- hauser overture is a thing of beauty and a joy for ever; that is just where the genius of these masters comes in. As with an old Ital- ian or Dutch masters paintings, so with such immortal compositions as the above, one can gaze on them and listen to them endlessly, without satiation. No doubt the "Honeysuckle and the Bee" catches the ear quicker than Rossini or Don- izetti, but, sparkling and tuneful as it evi- dently is, its notes speedily become equivalent almost to an attack of neuralgia. One wear- ies of the ephemeral beauties of these popular trifles in five minutes, but further acquain- tances with the masterpieces of vvagner can only develop still further awe at the majesty of the music and the genius of its author. Education, of course, is essential if you wish to fully understand these beauties; at first Tannhauser or Lohengrin are but a vast jumble of incoherent chords, apparently dis- cordant as the notes of a mighty storm. It is like the harder specimens of the picture puzzle craze to try and disentangle the plot, the leit motif, from the maze of sounds. But once disentangled, you never weary of it. These musings have caused me to stray a good deal from Sousa and Co. Well, it is pretty sure the Albert Hall will be packed'; possibly not in the afternoon. Does not the God of Football reign supreme tyrant over all in Swansea on that day? But in the even- ing-well, I should not be surprised if our four theatres and music halls did extremely poor business. Swansea has shown that it can appreciate a good brass band—mention not the German variety—on its merits almost as much as an Irving or Kendal. The Black Dyke's visit, for instance, was extremely suc- cessful. True, the Albert Hall was more than half empty on the Monday afternoon when the Black Dyke held forth but who is at liberty on a Monday afternoon? In the even- ing, however, the hall was crowded with a. most enthusiastic audience, and the visit proved a big financial success. Formerly this combination was amateur like a Welsh football fifteen, and about as accomplished. But it is said that the evil of professionalism has infected it. Foreigners charge us, by the way, with being a sober, unemotional, stupid, and obtuse people. But can France, sunny country as she is. show a rival to this intense devotion to music amongst her cor- responding classes?—the miners of Lille and the steel-workers of Le Creusot, where the Long Toms, among a good many other iron things, come from. I do not believe so. And Germany? Doubtless, in that home of the brass band, everyone can play a little, just as everyone in Wales can sing a little. But they could never rival Lancashire—we know that too well, from the efforts of the hideous combinations they export to us. The "soul" of the German "homey-handed" finds its out- let. I believe, more in the perusal of Grimm's Fairy Tales than in music. This indicates the possession of "soul." as the French would call it, but the outlet seems ridiculously child- ish for grown-up men. Fancy a Dowlais rollerman or a Morriston millman reading such books by the glare of a furnace! I admit even* condition of life up in the grimy North of England make for the growth of "stupidity" and a brutalised indifference to the finer things of life. The great manu- facturing towns are all of a likeness—rows upon unending rows of houses, dull, ugly. almost squalid in fact in their sheer, unre- deemed ugliness; with smoke for a sky; work at the loom or in the forging-shop or in the pit which begins for all alike—master and man—at an hour in the morning when others in the sleepy south are but half awake. Sucli gloom is depressing enough to satisfy the most rigid of Puritans; but while it undoubtedly lends to the life of the Northern workman an element of greater strenuous- ness' that is lucking in workmen elsewhere, it does not convert him into the mere me- chanical worker, who goes through life with no ears for aught but the roar of the furnace and the rattle of the loom. Here extremes meet with a venge inco. There are dozens of bands such as the Black Dyke scattered over Lancashire and Yorkshire -<is plentiful as choral societies in Wale*. So in the one phase of the North countryman's life you have de- pression. squalor, and' gloom: on the other the deepest and most intneate chords that the mind of a master ever knitted together— or forged would perhaps be the better verb to employ, for the Titantic works of Wagner, yet we are charged with every attribute of our climate and surroundings by the short- sighted foreigner! One has only to peruke any of the popular Jadies' magazine, to discern that the culture of beauty has a great deal of attention now-a- idays. The advertisement colums are crowded with descriptions of the specialities of the various face doctors, and complexion beaur- iifiers. There is a great change, too, in the attitude of women towards the subject of complexion treatment. There was a time— and not. far distant either when people would not have dreamt of owning that they took trouble to improve their appearance. Now it is not unusual to come upon a party •of ladies seriously debating this or that cream, or So and So's system of face-massage. But, lit would never' do, for us to be led away (entirely by these seducive advertisements; indeed, if you compare them. you will find -that the specialists all have different methods, .and while one strongly favours steaming the face with hot water, for instance, others lio-ld that this has a tendency to make the 'skin:flabby. This again verifies the proverb :re doctors disagreeing, etc. \ho, then, are we to believe': Well. T think that on the principle of what's one man's cure is another man's poison, everyone should discover for themselves what best suits their particular •case. It is generally agreed, however, that. there is great advantage to be derived from mas- saging the face with cream, unless there is any tendency to the growth of superfluous hair. Vegetable creams are preferred by • some; wool-fat is upheld by others. The former include permaceti, almond-oil, and bee's wax. Some of the cheapest remedies are best. such as oatmeal, slices of lemon, and a piece of raw cucumber, and a great point to remember is that the rubbing should be firm, but gentle, and always directed upwards and outwards. A few days ago I enjoyed a. delightful little chat with a friend of mine, who has travelled a great deal, and the conversation happened to turn upon Chinese as domestic servants. It is well-known that especially on the Pa- cific coast ,they are largely employed in this •capacity. And I was asked whether I knew how differently a. Chinaman wed an iron from the method employed by women at home. paving pleaded ignorance on the point, my friend said. "Well you know. when a woman Tons, she gets it at the right heat for use. and conseauentiy it soon cools, and she con- sumes much time in changing her irons. The Chinjsirian. on the cont.ray, gets his iron 'ttiuch too hot for use. When he begins to use his iron lie pb;"<jeg it quickly into cold water. J The heat from the interior then begins to come to the surface, and continues to do so for some time, about as last as it is cooled by use. So that the necessity forfrequent cliang- ing of irons is obviated. There! that's a wrinkle for you," concluded my friend, and as such, I pass it on to you. This thought of men employed for domestic work, led me to consider in how many ways men do women's work. We are for ever hearing from men complaints about women taking men's positions in the world, but when we come to consider the matter, things are more equal than the "lords of creation" care to admit. Is it not a fact that the most famous dressmakers in Parisl, and other countries, are men? The most expensive and the best titting dresses—yes, let us give credit where its due—that women wear are "tailor- made" by men, and even in millinery the most expensive hats are made by men. In what is considered to be women's special work—nursing—many men are employed, women not being equal to the labour of lifting helpless patients. Again, the very finest and best paid sewing is done by men in fancy tailoring. Since the introduction of the sewing machine, the proportion of men sewers has increased in those branches in which the work is heavy, and requires strength for long hours of labour. Further, the best cooks are men; in the clubs, hotels and restaurants etc., wherever expert cooks are required, they are men. Men have medk cookery one of the fine arts. It is true, however, that the great artists in food disdain to be called cooks, and are known as chefs, and it is not uncom- men for them to command salaries of which the average successful barrister would be proud'. One could go on enumerating similar cases, and fill a column, but I have mentioned enough to show that our sex is not the only one guilty of trespassing on other's preserves, and if we do not defend ourselves when charged with the offence, it certainly is not because we haven't "it leg to stand upon!" It is certainly most trying for most of us t > suddenly find that the bright, spring sun- light and the clearer atmosphere of the fast lengthening days mercilessly show up the weak points in our clothes. The dark tailor made dress, which looked quite smart and suitable only a few short weeks ago, now appears a trifle dusty and uncomfortably hot and heavy on a spring morning. For econ- omy's sake, we may make up our minds to possess our souls in patience through the Lenten season, but if we are at all provident. we will take care to prepare a fresh morning dress in addition to smarter clothes for Easter- tide. There can be no longer an excuse that we are wating for new ideas, as during the last couple of weeks, the shop windows have all blossomed out with their new season ma- terials. There is a great variety of choice. There are the new flaked tweeds in practically every colour. These give the effect of snow sprink- led over a plain colour, somewhat after the style of the flaked zibelines of last winter. Then there are the simple pastel clotlis of lovely artistic shades, and voiles and eta- mines will be called into requisition for prom- enade gowns. They are even now being made up into becoming suits. The favourite col- ours are the rich yet pale shade of brown that is technically called chestnut, a. delicate grey, a blue that is known as Chinese, and a soft pinjv. For Icnock-labout gowns navy blue serge is smart, brightened with a distinctive touch of some more arrestive colour about the bodice. It is to be feared, as well as expected, that the lace cape or pelerine will be bought by all and sundry, regardless of its unsuitability to one type of figure, though of other types it is so becoming. In form quite round, and very long. the cape admirably suits Llle sicii- der; but to the broad woman it adds breadth, and to the short-waisted it acts as a curtailer of length and a diameter of grace. Unless it is worn over a gown with sleeves inserted in the armholes without any fulness, it does not assume the drooping form it is intended to take; its main object in fact is to lengthen the shoulder line. Rather a curious feature in millinery is the crownless hats, the place of the straw crowns being taken by an upstanding box-pleated quilling of ribbon, round the centre of which a wreath of flowers is arranged. Extremely fiat. crowns and broad brims, the latter often turning back sharply off the face wittL the trimming resting 011 a bandeau close to the head1 in front, are the most noticeable features of the smartest hats. The long chache- peignes of lace and ribbon are rather demode and it is considered much smarter to have the lace draped curtain-wise round the brim shading the face in a becoming manner. Mauve and blue are the favourite combination in straw and chiffon on toques. The shades have to be carefuliv chosen, or a aiscord may be the result. A deepmauve and dark blue would jar horribly. but when both tints are pale the result is artistic. Black is the only permissible trimming for Tuscan and burnt straws. Some of the prettiest of toques —and there are many to, be found in our local show-rooms at present—are made almost en- tirely of daintily coloured straws, soft and flexible as ribbon. Black and white are as much worn in unison as ever, and some of the straws in this combination are made up with folds of tulle alternating with rows of straw. Black tulle and white are mingled on hats that have nothing to do with mourning, as is testified by the bright colour of the costume it accompanies.

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