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LIVING OR dead. I

CHAPTER V.

AUNT PARKER.

CHAPTER XIX.

CHAPTER XX.

FEMIXINE FANCIES, FOIBLES,…

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FEMIXINE FANCIES, FOIBLES, AND FASHIONS. By A LADY. [All Rights Reserved.1 The New Year has opened quietly in London, the dampness and dulness of the weather rendering holiday excursions somewhat uninviting. It is all very well when you are starting for a pre- arranged evening's entertainment. Then you must take a cab or other conveyance and proceed to your appointed destination, no matter how the skies may frown. But when there is a choice in the matter it is a different thing. We cannot ali of us afford to despise the cost of cab hire, and the omnibuses and urban railways, which are now such favourite means of transit, take you inexorably in their own particular direction. They afford no facilities for that pleasant loitering and looking at the shops which ladies like to practice in holiday seasons when one does not want to march straight on like an army bent on attack. The shops have suffered from the reign of mud and mire. It is of little use for them to deck their windows with holly and mistletoe and arrange their wares in the most tempting profusion if nobody stops to look, and the pretty Christmas novelties an, New Year's gifts smile in vain upon pissers-by hurrying nlong under drip- ping umbrellas, only thinking how to get home as fast as possible. Even the juveniles who are home for the holidars-now, ,iia.-j! fast vanishing-find their wings clipped by the clerk of the weather. Anxious materfamilias is afraid to trust them out for those delightful mornings at the Bazaars or Zoological Gardens which constitute so attractive a feature in their Christmas programme. The pantomime, however, stiil holds its ows, and comes under a different category. One novel pantomime, however, stiil holds its ow&, and comes under a different category. One novel feature in connection with these entertainments of late years is the employment of children in the accessories of the piece. As the work is done under certain limitations, it is not so injurious as might be supposed to the young folks, but affords them the opportunity of making a little money in winter time which is highly appreciated by the parents. There are, however, the drawbacks, moral and physical, entailed by working late at night and by familiarising children with a phase of social life which, whatever its merits, has its undoubted dangers, to girls especially. The chil- dren themselves are willing enough to play. I was amused the other evening, when I had been asked to a large Christmas treat in connection with parish schools. A boy of about ten or eleven had to leave before the amusements had well begun. Asked the reason, he replied that he was going on the stage." And what are you going to do there?" was the natural inquiry. "I am sold as a slave," he replied solemnly. Talking of the stage, I may mention that Mr. Henry Irving, the celebrated actor, gave all the working members of the Lyceum staff the very welcome Christmas present of a goose or a turkey and a bottle of spirits. The children engaged at the theatre received toys or clothes. Why are our dramatists so fond of murders and other crimes as the staple of their pieces? No doubt such things are sometimes effective, but the extent to which they are now introduced is very objectionable. A new play just brought out in London turns upon the ghastly incident of a wronged and revengeful woman signing her little daughter's forehead with her father's blood, and pledging her to make it her one object in life to avenge his death upon his murderer. Such an out- rageous plot can hardly fail to be dismal in its working out, and, so far as I can see, is neither calculated to please nor to profit a civilised and cul- tivated audience. This is, no doubt, an extreme instance, but the same tendency is shown in many less horrible dramas. I wish that women would generally set their faces against it, both on the stage and in literature. I am sure that it is a bad one. If it does not lessen the horror naturally felt at crime it certainly encourages a morbid taste which is unwholesome for mind and body. I have always thought it a great pity that our gracious Queen has, since her great bereavement, entirely given up the theatre. I can easily under- stand that it seemed to jar upon her sorrow, but her influence was potent for good, and I am certain she would have kept in check many of the grow- ing evils of the time. It is currently said that her Majesty was very much vexed that any members of her family should have shown themselves at a theatre during the mourning of the Court for the late King Con- sort of Portugal, who was related to the Queen. The Prince of Wales and the Princess Louise were the culprits, though the Prince, contrary to his usual custom, kept at the back of the box during the performance. The Queen is a very strict observer of the formalities of mourning, which, it is easy to understand, are sometimes irksome to younger people, especially when referring to a comparative stranger. Notwithstanding her retirement, however, the Queen keeps an active watch over the social as well as the political affairs of her kingdom, and is especially prompt in expressions of sympathy and kind attentions to those unusually afflicted. She has just sent a very timely present of L30 to the fund for the relief of the unemployed in Aberdeen, Exceptional distress prevails in that town. I am sorry to find that the report of the capture and imprisonment of an English bishop in Central Africa is, unfortunately, too well founded. Mrs. Hannington, the wife of the bishop, who is now staying at Brighton, is not, however, alarmed at the news, as her husband had prepared her for such a possibility, and other missionaries had been seized with )u t, any evil results ensuing. Let us hope it will be the same in this case. The last letter which Mrs. Hannington received from her husband was dated August 11. He was then about 200 miles distant from Mombasa, but at the time of his arrest he was only two days' jilurney from Uganda. Every effort is being made by the British authorities to obtain the bishop's release from the King of Uganda. Much interest and sympathy has been excited by the death of Mrs. Howaon. wife of the late Dean of Chester. Some weeks ago Mrs. Howson met with a serious accident through the carelessness of a servant and fractured her leg. She was still suffering from this disaster when she joined her husband at Bournemouth, and ministered to him on his dying bed. After his death she returned home, but only to die. Her funeral was attended by many friends, who sympathised deeply with the doubly-bereaved orphans. A loss of this kind always strikes one as particu- larly sad when it occurs at a season when all the rest of the world is rejoicing. A very mournful event has just occurred in a family well known in Hertfordshire. Mrs. Charles Dimsdale, the young wife of the eldest son of Baron Dimsdale of Esscn- down, died on New Year's Day, leaving her husband and young son to deplore their loss. Some three years ago I was present at her wedding in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. It was a brilliant affair, for it was a double marriage, the two sister brides being the daughters of Mr. Moule, M.P., a gentle- man holding a high position in the mercantile world. The brides we"e splendidly dressed in brocaded white silk, with large lace veils, and an animated assemblage of fashionable friends sur- rounded them with smiles and congratulations. What a contrast to the darkened house and the bereaved widower of to-day! It is a striking in- stance of the vicissitudes of life. I spoke the other day of the favour now shown to costume balls, but we have not yet in this country adopted the plan followed in Melbourne where a social club gives a prize for the invention: of the most original costume. The dress, be it understood, must be worn by the inventor. The last prize of the kind was given to the daughter of a newspaper Her dress repre- sented Sport,, the Spirit of the Times," and if it (displayi-. ;ginality in the invention it was equally remarkable, I should think, for the courage shown in wearing it There was a pink satin bodice, with a gold cap and sash to illustrate the colours of a favourite race- horse. On the front of the bodice was a pcrfrait of another racehorse, nnd on the back a third. Then the sleeves displayed a noted Australian cricketer and a football player. The skirt was decorated with a picture of an exciting finish for the Mei-• bourne Cup, and the back displayed quite a gallery of portraits of the famous j'Jckeys, wrestlers, bicyclists, and other sportsmen of the day. Besides these there were representations of yachts and yachtsmen. Everv winter we hear of terrible accidents from fire, but this year they have been more frequent and disastrous than ever. A lady receiving her family and friends at Holloway last week set her dress on fire, and died from the effects the next day. More melancholy still was the accident to the Misses Fitzroy. in Devonshire. They were dressing for a ball, when one of tiiem set her dress alight. Her sister rush°d to help her, and also was in dimes. When the fire was extinguished both were so terribly burnt that the youngest speedily succumbed to her injuries, and the other is not expected to survive. A gentleman of my acquaintance, talking over these tragedies, j attributed them to the tasiiion of wearing crinolettes. There may be something in this suggestion, and I would advise my readers to be careful of their extended skirts when near a fire. I would counsel, also, the practice of more self- control and presence of mind when startled, since there is no doubt that the danger in these cases is immensely aggravated by the victim's frantic rushing about. The best thing to be done if one's clothes catch fire is to lie down and roil a piece of carpet or rug round the burning clothes. By lying down the spread of the flame is checked, and, if it has not got too firm a hold, it will be crushed out. If it has gone too far for that the recumbent posture keeps it back and allows those who are near to extinguish it more effectually. One of the novelties in head-gear this season is the opera crush hat for ladies. A hat that can be folded up and stowed away has long been recog- nised as indispensable for gentlemen, but ladies who wear hats or bonnets in going to places where evening dress is essential have been compelled to leave their bonnets in the cloak- room. The new hat obviates this necessity, though it sounds rather mannish to oid- fashioned ears. Muffs are very much worn, and the small ones are still preferred. An attempt was made to introduce a larger size. but it has failed. 1 Everybody has heard of the controversy that arose over the publication of Carlyle's Life and Letters," which showed the treat writer in a very unamiable light. Now. howev-r, his niece, Mary Ailsen Carlyie, is compiling a volume of her uncle's letters, which. I understand, will represent him very differently from the selection made by Mr. Froude. One of these letters was written to Mr. Browning on his marriage with the gifted poetess, Elizabeth Barrett, which Carlyie describes as a marriage made in heaven." Here is a receipt for a potato pudding, as a variety from the more savoury Christmas fare. Line a basin with light suet paste, pare eight mealy potatoes, and put them in layers, with salt, a lump of butter, pepper, and a little water. If desired, pieces of meat or bacon may be added. Fill the basin, and put the cover on boil an hour and a half.

THE CARDIFF PANTOMIME.

POOLED MYRIORAMA AT CARDIFF.

LIFEBOAT SERVICES IX 1885.

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Y R A LeE S TIS. j.

jOT FOR JOE.

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