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LONDON GOSSIP. ON MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. The piano is of very modern or com- pared with other musicaJ instruments, such as the harp, the bagpipes, or the harpsicord, but it is said that the pianola and other mechanical instruments are slowly but surely leading to the neglect of the art of pianoforte playing. The piano was invented in Italy just 200 years ago, but from the first the Germans have been pre-eminent among the nations for its manufacture. The earliest public, notice of the piano in this country was made in a Co vent Garden playbill, in 1767. The harp was known to the ancient Egyptians, and was common in Ireland and Scotland long before the bagpipes, which, con- trary to general belief, are said to be of English origin. The pipes to which Shakespeare often refers, were the Northumbrian pipes, which, although similar, were not the same as those of the Highlands. THE STREET ORGAN BUSINESS. The skirt, piano-organ is an improve- ment upon the old-time "hurdy-gurdy," and German band, but like other trades, it has its vicissitudes. For instance, one notices in the. lugubrious list of bank- rupts, a "proprietress of street, organs." On the other hand, during the recent bear- ing of an action at Torquay, it was stated that one of the parties, an Italian, earned as much as C60 a month in summer, by means of a piano-organ. We may be a nation of shopkeepers, but; as waiters, and street-organ grinders, the foreigner is nearly always on top, and it may be that this Italian had a particularly fine instru- ment, which was a musical treat. That, however, is not always the case, and it is because the, street organ is nowadays so commonly made the excuse for a thinly- veiled form of begging, that one often sees the notice displayed in the quiet Central London streets and squares, "Organs and street cries, prohibited near here." SPRING CLEANINGS. The spring-cleaning carnival never fails as an interesting subject for the cartoon- ist, who always pictures it as a sort of demoniacal invention, got up for the tor- ture of patient husbands. For the house- wife it is supposed to be pure selfish de- light, a time of real enjoyment, and the longer it lasts, the better. That is how the "mere man" presents the matter, with but little regard for the realities of the situation. Some women, it is true, are inclined to go to extremes, over the an- nual turn out, and if the house is kept scrupulously clean all the year round., there is no occasion to make this a formid- able business. In any case the men folk can generally more or less get away from it all. Some take a spring-cleaning1 holi- day to the advantage of all concerned, and the more speedy finishing of the work. There is no such escape for the housewife, who must superintend, if, she does not her- self have to do a, good deal of the. labour Of course much trouble may be. saved by the prine. pIer of doing one room at, a. time, but if the painters and whitewashers are in possession, that plan is very often im- possible REST CURES. For some time past doctors have been advising all women patients who can do so, to breakfast in bed. Such a, plan, they say, saves much wear and tear of the nerves, and no doubt they are quite right in this direction. It is to be, doubted, however, if leisured women generally will so cheerfully follow the latest medical decree, namely to stay in bed from Satur- day night. till Monday morning. Thirty- s'x consecutive hours rest weekly is ab- solutely necessary if we would keep well, and live to be old, so say leading lights in the world of medicine, and for some un- explained reason, they prefer their patients to give up the week-end for this purpose. AT HOME" DAYS. The day for "receiving," for years so carefully set forth in the corner of our visiting cards, is no longer in-vogue. Pos- sibly the principal cause for this state of affairs lies in the fact that we have grown more sensible, and decline to give up a whole afternoon, or perchance two after- noons a month, to entertaining people we don't want to entertain. Any way the At Home Day no longer exists when we want our friends we make special appoint- ments, and at other times they have to take their chance of "discovering" us. The Bridge afternoon too has almost fizzled out, and the tendency at the moment is to be serious. A liittle party is arranged to chat, over the abolition of the undesirable novel; the exportation of worn-out horses, or some particular charity, and undoubtedy this is a happier, healthier state of affairs than was the wasting of many hours in playing cards, very frequently for larger sums of money than could be afforded. USE FOR THE COURT TRAIN. The Court, train, destined when its initial object is accomplished, to be trans- formed into an opera cloak, or form the basis of another gown, is chosen with this end in view, hence, the prevalence at the two early Courts of the new reversilbil,e satins. These fabrics are, obtaina,ble m many delicate combinations of colour, such as pale pink on one side and silver grey on the other, both sides being equally soft and silky. It would be diffic-ulti to find a material more suitable for evening wraps, then the reversible satins, they have moreover found their way-and most successfully—into the realm of the sri-ia-i tea, and "rest" gowns. THE, DRAPED SKIRT. The notion of drawing the skirt in tight- ly—by means of a sash or other draperies —just below the knees, goes merrily on, and not only do modish women find it difficult ito walk gracefully in robes so fashioned, but discover themselves quite unable to negotiate a deep step. One can but admire the foresight of a Society leader, who insists upon the knee sashes of her draped skirts being built to fasten and unfasten. Possibly she recollects a little incident which occured not long ago, when the chauffeur had to lift his mistress from the pavement to her motor car. DULL-FADED FLOWERS. The woman past her youth would do well to ignore the very brightly-coloured flow- ers, in evidence in shopland. Soft-faded tones are best for her, especially in com- binations of terra-cotta and purple. Where very bright hues have been select- ed and are proving unbecoming, the best plan is to veil the flowers Lightly with mole or tan-brown chiffon. It is better, however, unless one possesses the bloom of youth, and clear beautiful coloring, to avoid bright, startling colour trimmings in our headgear. THE BANDEAU AGAIN. Very few of the new hats are being put on straight, and the bandeau is to the fore again. At the moment this, is built up of flowers, and not exaggerated in any way, but we can scarcely expect this happy state of affairs to continue. Exaggeration is sure to follow, and possibly before the spring months are past a terrific tilt in some or other direction will be Dame Fashion's decree.

H. M. STANLEY'S HOME. ,----.--

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