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LONDON GOSSIP. A FRIDAY CHRISTMAS. "If Crysitmas day on a Friday be, the fyrste of wynter harde shalbe, with froste and snowe." Whether or not, that old say- ing was based upon the ancient super- stition that Friday is unlucky, it has met the fate of most prophetic rhymes, and not proved reliable. There are numerous prophetic rhymes concerning the results of being born on a certain day of the week, and it is the same with the inci- dence of Christmas. One result at any rate is to absolve Roman Catholics, and Anglicans, from Friday fasting. Last year there was' a dispensation for a Friday Boxing Day on account of the difficulty of proaurdng abstinence food during the Xmas dosing, and it would somewhat mar the joyous character of the Christmas festival if the customary Friday abstain- ing were enjoined on that day. THE NEW-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS. The prevailing fashion of spending Christmas away from home is no where more marked than in London, but it is by no means restricted to the metropolis. The middle classes are rapidly following ilie example in the provinces, and there is scarcely an hotel or boarding-house, at all the seaside and health resorts, which are popular in the summertime, that has not its accommodation taxed to the wtmost for the, Xmas holidays. Dickens, if he could return, would shed tears over the decay of old Christmas customs, whi,ch are fast becoming obliterated by modern fashion. Other times, other manners, and there is little doubt thaA the new-fashioned Christmas has come to stay. Various causes have helped to bring this about, and undoubtedly one is the servant problem. The modern domestic servant is apt to thing it a hardship if she has not her freedom at Christmas, and in a great many families this is one reason for the desire to escape the trouble and expense of entertaining at home. OBVIOUS ADVICE. The ability to laugh at will, like that of commanding sleep, is given to, few of us. An eminent nerve specialist says that a certain cure for nervous diseases is to laugh regularly, every day, but it is easier said than done, and the only value of such advice is to induce us to- anticipate cause and effect. It, is of no use to tell the nervous sufferer to laugh, when, at, the best he can only grin, but it may be some use to tell him whilst he is well that laughter and endeavour to take a cheerful view of life will help to keep him in health. It is the same with much of the advice offered to the sleepless. Various great men have been stating their opin- ions and experiences in one of the Re- views, on the art of commanding sleep, and in nearly all cases there is the recom- mendation "not to worry." The better recipe is, "not to have anything to worry about," and try as far as possible to act on this adviice before the trouble of sleep- lessness comes upon us. TOO PRIM AND TIDY. Tidiness is a virtue, but a mania for arranging things has undoubtedly wreck- ed a good deal of matrimonial happiness. The husband, after his day's work, puts some business papers under his tobacco jar, he leaves his book on the sideboard, his pipe on the floor by the coal scuttle, and his matches on the mantelpiece. When he next needs these things they are none of them there, and he then goes searching round in a profane silence, which is not always inaudible. So with children. An eminent, doctor says that it is a mistake to insist on too much tidiness and out- ward decorum. They should be allowed to play without being constantly repri- manded about dirty hands, and soiled clothes.. One, however, is inclined to doubt whether young folks require any special encouragement during the festive season to go in for a "bully-tiime." Mostly they have their fling, whether or no, in spite of what too prim and austere folks may say. < WOMiEN DOCTORlS AND THE' VOTE. Whatever the majority of women may think about the franchise question, there is no room for doubt as to the opinion of the woman doctors on this subject. The result of a canvass carried out by a com- mittee of registered medical womeni in the United Kingdom, shows that 538 are in favour of the extension of the Parliament- ary vote to women, and 15 against it. That is a definite and authoritative ex- pression of opinion on the part of a body of women representative of the highest intellectual circles. Nearly all of them are graduates of Universities, and their approval of woman's point of view should be represented in the legislation of the country. THE DUTCH AUCTION IN SHOP- LAND. Among the latest devices adopted by the shops an order ito attract custom, is that of putting articles in the window dated, and marked ait a certain figure, with the announcement that the price will be re- duced so much each week until sold. It is not altogether a. new idea, but is capable of indefinite extension if once it, became popular. The milliner would offer some of her choicest creations on this system, and prospective buyers would delay, and come again, and wonder whether they dare wait another week, or act on Lowell's advice that "Chance is like an amberill. It don't take twice to lose it." So many attempts are made nowadays to combine business with the gambling instinct, that, it would not be surprising if this sort of Dutch- auction became popular in shopland. OSTRICH FEATHERS, We have had ostrich feathers long, and ostrich feathers short ostrich feathers curled, and ostrich feathers uncurled, buft for the first time in the history of modes, we now have the ostrich feather half- ^urled and half-uncurled. The whole of one siide the spine of this costly item is curled as tightly as possible, until indeed it resembles a tight roll, while the other side is left, limp and straight, and strag- gling. These funny feathers—for the most part of great, length and breadth- present an extraordinary appearance, when round the crown of a haii, and fall- ing over the hair behind, and it, is to be hoped that the exclusive milliners who are "running" them at the moment will speedily see the error of their ways. AMETHYSTS BOOMING. Again amethysts figure largely in the jewellery selected by the Queen for Christ- mas presents. There are rugs). pendants, chains, brackets and bands for the hair, in which amethysts appear, set round either with diamonds or pearls. It has been said, and with truth, that amethysts look their very be3t. when worn by fair women, and with a primrose-yellow- chiffon or velvet frock, but numbers of brunettes manage to don these stones with success. The Queen of Italy for example possesses a famous set of amethysts, which she frequently wears, indeed it was Queen Elena who first interested our Queen in these beautiful Eastern gems. The most valuable amethysts come from Asia, but they are also found in Eiurope, and some years ago a vein of amethyst was opened in Kerry Head, Ireland THE THUMB RING. Although several rings found a place among the jewellery selected by Queen Alexandra for Xmas presents, the thumb ring wa,sconspicuous by its absence. It had evidently ndt met with Royal ap- proval. This thumb ring was much worn in ancient times, especially by men, as old prints frequently testify, and just now the jew œs are trying to revive the idea. Many wo a en possessed of beautiful hands are seen wearing this broad gold band upon the left thumb, Miss Alice Craw- ford, at present acting in "The Passing of the Third Floor Back" beiing among them. By the way, visitors to London should not fail to see this wonderful play at Terry's Theatre. life is entirely out of ithe: com- mon, and, the acting is superb.




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