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Dress of violet poult de soie, the skirt trained and raised en pouf. The front breadth trimined fron; the waist with bands of velvet, and having on each side a vertical pleated frill of poult de soie. Jucket bodice trimmed with bands of velvet. Echarpe of a paler shade of violet poult de soie.
Sbirt, tunic, and bodice of grey blue serge. The skirt is trained, and trimmed at the lower edge with five graduated bands of worsted braid. Jacket bodice trin med to correspond, and baving a narrow frill of the serge arranged half-way to the waist, where it is terminated by a bow of blue grey silk. Pochets of serge, and fancy buttons on the cuffs.
SOMETHING TO DO.
PROMISED in my first letter on the subject of Some
thing to Do few a words on Wood-cutting ; but since writing that, I have met with a little book, a slight sketch of the contents of which may prove generally useful to our readers than the meagre information I could offer on one special subject. This little book is called "The Year Book of Women's Work,” and is published with the view of giving assistance to women who are seeking employment with remuneration. Many of our readers, no doubt, are anxious for something to do merely for the sake of doing something, filling up empty, and brightening colourless lives. Work brings brightness, if it is congenial work. But some of our readers may be obliged to seek for a path in life which shall lead to independence, and for these I quote the admirable words of the author in her preface :
“A voluntary acquiescence in any ideal short of the highest possible to each individual is the first step towards deterioration of the whole character, and I therefore beg no woman to feel herself degraded by the discovery that she has to earn her own living, but rather to welcome the necessity as a divinely-appointed ordinance, by which she may, if she will, mount higher in the scale of humanity, and perform her portion of its duties still
"All for love, and nothing for reward.'" Those who are not born in the ranks of life in which women are worked as well as men, are, even in these enlightened days, too apt to think that working for bread is a disgraceful thing. If we could count the women who now, in Great Britain, lead lives bare of enjoyment, stripped of grace and narrowed to a line, by living on insufficient incomes, we should find hundreds such. Rather than “demean themselves” by engaging in any remunerative employment, they live without books, except stray volumes which are lent, and with very little society, because they are not rich enough to entertain their friends in return, until mind and spirit become cramped and dwarfed, and the only amusement they can afford them. selves-petty gossip about their neighbours' affairs-becomes the occupation of their lives. If such women were to take up some employment and throw their energies into it, they would be better as well as happier, and we should have fewer Mrs. Grundies. And nothing stands in the way of this freer, nobler life but a foolish pride that will—let us hope it-be old-fashioned and outof-date in another fifty years.
The review taken in the Year Book of the employments to which women have been admitted, proves that new paths are now being opened to those of us who want “Something to Do." Book-keeping was once exclusively a man's employment; but now there are many women book-keepers. In Leeds a lady has been employed by a well-known firm, as overseer of the women employed in its factories; and in some of the large shops in London where numbers of young women are engaged, the same idea has been put in practice, to result, doubtless, in the best effects to both employer and employed.
Owing to the increasing demand for infant-schools on the Kindergarten system, the author tells us,
“ There is hardly a large town in England where a lady, thoroughly versed in the real system, taught by Fröbel's disciples (not in the base imitations which too often pass current for it here), might not earn a good living by keeping an infant-school of perhaps two grades, one for the children of gentletolks, and another for those of tradespeople.”
There is a demand for lady lecturers on sanitary subjects, and also on cooking ; and women secretaries are now frequently met with, whereas, a few years ago, such a thing was almost unknown.
On the subject of wood-engraving our author says:
“Engraving on wood is well adapted for ladies, either as an agreeable and interesting occupation, or as a remunerative employment. The wood blocks and few engraving tools, being small and clean, can be carried in a work-bag of moderate size, and be ready at all times to take up. Hand impressions can be taken, to show the progress of the work, or the final result.
"To a lady who could copy diagrams, or design other more ornamental subjects, to superadd wood-cutting, after designs made on the block, would be a pleasing pursuit, easily acquired. With a few hints from a wood-engraver, in a single conversation, I found no difficulty in executing a diagram, and the tools cost about eight shillings.”
In the chapter devoted to the consideration of “Home Employments," the author makes an excellent suggestion, to which I give place here in its details, hoping by so doing to bring it before the notice of some who may not see the little book from which I quote it, and who may be both willing and able to assist in making the idea a practical and benevolent reality.
'Could not private persons-gentlemen or ladies-rich enough to bear the incidental expenses of correspondence, carriage, etc., constitute themselves a sort of medium between a few poor ladies and the Trade. Let me instance the industry of making Fishing-flies as one which may illustrate my meaning : ascertain the kind of fly most in demand in the trade, and the season at which they will be required, the agent would supply her clients with the materials and directions for making them, pay her workers promptly the fair market value of their work, and retaining or not, as she may choose, the cost of the material, hold herself responsible for any loss. All payments should be made immediately on receipt of the goods. The materials should always be bought wholesale, and of the best description. A worse attack of illness, or a longer interval of enforced idleness, would give a superior claim. Thus, all working expenses being done away with, many of the disadvantages which accruc to the existing organizations for the sale of ladies' work would be obviated."
In old times, rich people tried to purchase salvation by building a church or an abbey. We know better nowadays; but we are apt to run into the other extreme, and content ourselves with yearly subscriptions handed over mechanically to some persevering collector. But here is an opportunity for some benevolent rich person to lay the first stone of an undertaking that may grow into a very St. Paul's among buildings. And would not one rather be the originator of a project that would brighten many sad lives of ailing women than even be a Sir Christopher Wren?
Costly your habit as your purse can buy,
Neat, but not gaudy. IT T is to be feared that, while but a small minority of trimming, though not so profusely as it has been.
persons dress much within their means, the majority I saw a very pretty one for a girl at Messrs. Jay's, conact up to a very liberal rendering of the first line quoted sisting of white chip, in shape rather like the oldabove. Indeed, some tailors and milliners might say fashioned gipsy hat of long ago, trimmed with black with truth that “Your habit, costly as the system of velvet and white flowers. Strings are coming in again, credit will permit," would seem to be the acknowledged or rather a pretence of strings, for they are simply long axiom on which some persons dress. However this may ends of tulle or ribbon, which either float at the back or be, the age of elaboration in dress is revived to a cer- tie loosely in front or at the side, with the ends falling. tainty. Dress has become one of the arts. One of its One of our correspondents wrote last month saying prime ministers is Worth, who, like some other geniuses, that Sylvia ought to consider middle-aged as well as began life without many advantages. He made his busi- young Englishwomen, and I bore this in mind in my ness into an art, and in so doing raised himself. And visit, and inquired particularly about coiffures suitable for when we see the results of study in the art of dress, we ladies who are too young to wear caps, and yet like to sometimes can do little but admire, and forget to settle wear something over their hair. I was shown several in our own minds whether it is high art, low art, or no very pretty models in white muslin, crêpe lisse, and art.
ribbon and Valenciennes for both morning and evening. At the present moment the modes are particularly Those trimmed round with a soft fluting of crêpe lisse, becoming to those who are tall and slight. In fact, with bow of ribbon, and puffe of crêpe lisse, are, I think, absurd as it seems to say so, it is the fashion to be tall the most becoming. They are worn either with or and slight! All the pattern dresses are made for figures without ends at the back. that unite these qualifications. The following dress, for I saw also some pretty coiffures of this kind at instance, which I saw at the mourning establishment of Messrs. Debenham and Freebody's, Wigmore Street. Messrs. Jay, 259, Regent Circus, would scarcely look so They are made with ribbon of all colours, with a flower well on a short, stout woman as it did on the tall and sometimes peeping from under a little arch of lace. graceful girl on whom I saw it. It was a black silk, Some of the bonnets at this establishment are very pretty. with a tablier in silk also, but with stripes of black simu- Quantities of flowers are used in trimming them. As to lated embroidery on white, alternating with plain black the hats, they are enormous. Indeed, if they were not, stripes. This tablier was so long that if it had been no one would know them from bonnets. The parasols allowed to fall its full length it would have been several are of rather large size, with moderate handles, and are inches on the ground. It was caught up, however, at all more or less trimmed. I saw here a great variety of about ten inches from the ground in two or three folds ties trimmed with lace, gauze ties in every colour, and at each side, was draped with a scarf in black silk, coquettish little black silk aprons, prettily trimmed with formed of many close folds, this scarf coming diagonally silk, lace, and jet. across the front. The tablier was trimmed round the One of the indispensables of being well-dressed aclower edge with black and white tape fringe, and up each cording to the well-known French rule is to be bien side of the back, where it was perfectly straight, with gantée. Cheap gloves, as a rule, are a delusion and a white thread lace. The waist was very long, as they are snare, but the Copenhagen Glove is satisfactory as well as to be worn so now, and the dress tied back very tightly cheap. Jannings and Son, 16, Fenchurch-street, have indeed. This dress will convey a very good idea of the them in all the new shades at 2s. a pair, and 2s. gd. with style likely to be in favour for the next few months, long two buttons. Their White Cotton Stockings also deserve waists, long skirts, long tabliers, long ends at the back, praise, being fine in appearance and durable, having deep basques, and coat sleeves.
double heels and feet. An attempt is being made in Paris to revive the now Another novelty has made its appearance this season, old-fashioned white bonnets. Black bonnets, however, and it will no doubt be a very useful one. It is a Corset are so much more becoming that I do not think the and Dress Improver in one. It is patented by Williamattempt will succeed at present. Perhaps when the hot son, of Leighton-Buzzard, under the title of the Pro weather comes we may see a few white bonnets, that Tem, but can be had of any good draper throughout the is, if the hot weather will be so kind as to make any country. The Dress Improver can be taken off if stay with us. The cold weather does not object to do wished, but the satisfactory combination of both articles that, but the visits of real summer weather are too much saves not only trouble and time, but expense also. like those of angels. The present style of bonnet looks
The Beatrice Collapsing Dress Improver, that I mencurious in the hand, but is remarkably becoming. The
tioned last month, is patented by Messrs. Skinner, of shape is more oral than round, and jet is still used in Cox's court, Little Britain.