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fellow will remember how finely it has been employed by the former in his “Dream of Fair Women,” and by the latter in his poem on the death of the Duke of Wellington, “ The Old Lord Warden."

While on the subject of books, we may notice the issue of three new volumes of the popular“ Rose Library,” published by Messrs. Ward, Lock, and Tyler. “The Autobiography of a Five Pound Note,” by Mrs. Webb, is an excellent story, well told; and equally interesting and somewhat more exciting are, “ Zenon, the Roman Martyr," by the Rev. R. Cobbold, and the same author's “Mary Anne Wellington, the Soldier's Daughter, Wife, and Widow." Our readers will thank us for directing their attention to these attractive little volumes.

A merchant of Liverpool, Mr. R. L. Jones, who died a few days ago, has left the immense sum of £325,000 to be divided among various charitable institutions of his native town. If the shades of this gentleman and of Mr. Attwood of Chertsey, also recently dead, meet in the Elysian fields, they may, perchance, discuss the question whether it is better to accumulate enormous wealth, and leave it in a lump to posterity, or to make magnificent donations, as occasion may arise-to seize present opportunities of doing good, or to reserve benevolence for possible opportunities in the future. Mr. Attwood, an old gentleman, living very unostentatiously in the country, was, as has been discovered since his death, the anonymous

contributor of the thousand pounds' donations which so opportunely arrived just when they were most wanted. He gave away £350,000, in that manner, nobody knowing whence the money came.

Sir Francis Chantrey's gift to the public has just been made available by the death of his widow, who had a life interest in it. The famous sculptor bequeathed a sum yielding about £3,000 a year, to be expended by the Council of the Royal Academy in the purchase of fine works of painting and sculpture by British artists; the works so bought to be the property of the nation. The money need not be expended every year, but may accumulate for five years, so as to afford a large sum for the purchase of veritable masterpieces.

The son of the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia, and first cousin of the Duchess of Edinburgh, has been declared by an Imperial ukase to be mentally afflicted, and incapable of managing his own affairs. Some months ago, the young man, the Grand Duke Nicolai, committed an act which could only be attributed to remarkable and hitherto unsuspected moral depravity, or to insanity. He actually stole family jewellery from his parents and gave them to an unworthy woman. The Emperor having placed the young Grand Duke under medical supervision, he arrived at the conclusion that his mind is affected, and he is accordingly entrusted to the guardianship of his father, the Grand Duke Constantine.

SYLVIA'S LETTER.

ABOUT the fourteenth

of this month the

postman will become even a more important personage than he always is, and Young Englishwomen's bright eyes and pink cheeks will grow brighter and pinker when the wellknown knock is heard. I am now going to describe some of the pretty valentines that will be brought to their door on or about that date, laying no claim, however, to the title of prophetess, but acknowledging that I have seen all the charming productions I am about to describe, at MR. Rimmel's establishment at 96, Strand. The series of cards entitled “The Language of Flowers" is among the prettiest of the novelties. Cupid is represented in a medallion in the corner, sitting in a business-like manner at a desk. The little god is mending a pen, and a dove is bearing to him an official looking letter which is not supposed to contain much that is official. Flower-wreaths are painted above and around him, and an appropriate quotation from a classical author occupies a portion of the card, which has a gold background. The “Open Sesame” card will be sure to please children. You pull a string and the two lower cards curve outwards, giving a view of a fountain playing in the distance, and a young gentleman bearing a bunch of flowers in the foreground. The cards called

“ The Four Stages of Love” are very ingenious, while the spray

of flowers on the outside is one of the prettiest of Monsieur Rimmel's flower-strewn pages. There are also Japanese valentines, to meet the general demand for Japanese styles in everything. The colouring of these is very effective, and some of the designs most original and bizarre.

If we are to believe novelists, gentlemen sometimes find great difficulty in making a proposal of marriage gracefully. We all remember Anthony Trollope's hero, who asked the lady of his heart, Mary Thorne, to marry him, in these terms: “Will you?

Won't you?

Do you? Don't Those to whom words do not come readily in situations like these could not adopt a

more graceful means of asking the momentous question than by sending Monsieur Rimmel's "Holly Hymen ” valentine to the object of their regard; and at the same time they would be evidencing their good taste, for it is among the most artistic of the many chef d'auvres I saw. The delicate sprays of foliage and berries that surround the page are painted on a bluish-grey grovud, and contain the same tints as those seen in the 1.aves and berries that drape the central figure. Among the more elaborate valentines are some, the flowers in which are entirely

you?

formed of Brazilian feathers. The effect of these is exquisitely soft. Others contain parures of turquoise, Spa wood, Bohemian garnets, silver filagree, gold rings, garnet rings, scent-bottles, gentlemen's cravats, and glove sachets, for those who like to send something useful as well as sentimental. More expensive than these are beautiful little satin boxes, from which, on touching a spring, issue the silvery sounds of a musical box. Among the smaller varieties, I ought to have mentioned the series called the “Heraldry of the Heart," on which is represented a shield in two shades of colour, with a delicately painted flower on the shield; and also the little scarlet post pillar with a little Cupid inside. I hope all our readers may receive as many of these pretty things as they would like to get, during the month.

In a late number, a description was given of the new style of work for ladies, consisting of birds and flowers cut out from cretonnes and appliqués on silk, satin, and velvet. The most beautiful cretonnes we have seen are those of John and James Simpson & Co., furniture printers and warehousemen, 89, Newgate Street, London. The birds and flowers on some of their satteen cretonnes are so beautifully drawn and finished that they require very few stitches in the silk, and thus save much time, which seems to be the great object even in fancy work now-a-days. The same firm has an immense variety of silk and worsted damask, moreens, dimities, and orris and bias lace. Chintzes and cretonnes seem to increase in favour with every month. They are a thousand times prettier than the stripes which were quite the rage for drawing-room furniture a few years ago, when the chairs were covered with strips of ffancy work and strips of rep placed alternately, and this motif was continued through the whole room, until the eye was quite wearied with the endless straight lines. The soft colours of some of Messrs. Simpson's cretonnes are very pleasing to the eye, and the arrangement of some of the groups both artistic and effective. I am glad to think that we are getting a little cured of the notion so prevalent until quite latelynamely, that to be tastefully furnished, the insides of our houses should rival the outsides in sombre gloom and unrelieved browns and greys, like the dull tints of our atmosphere. Our national taste in colouring is now becoming more cultivated, so that we can venture safely to leave the charmed circle of traditional greens, blues, and reds of positive shades, and we now venture on combining the neutral tints that are so invaluable in furniture as well as dress, with a result of brightness and lightness that adds a new charm to home. How seldom now do we see a dining-room hung with dark paper, dark curtains, and with a still darker carpet, which all made it impossible for the brightest gas even to make the room look well-lighted or appear cheerful.

Cheerful! Ah me! what a sad beginning had this New Year to many! The Old seemed to close and the

New to begin amid a frightful nightmare of horrible accidents. How we all felt on Christmas morning when we opened the newspapers, for those who, the day before, had been expecting their friends and relatives down by the Great Western to spend their Christmas, and instead of the happiness of welcoming them, had to receive the terrible news of the calamitous railway accident by which thirty persons lost their lives, and after a certain inevit. able period of suspense, to learn that their own expected guests were among the killed. Truly, Peace has its victims as well as War, and Death held carnival during the last hours of our departed old friend, 1874.

Among the greater sufferings incident to such trials as these, the lesser evils of having to attend to the getting and making of inourning garments have to be encountered. These are the times when we like to have our thinking done for us. Therefore we are always ready to give our best attention to queries on the subject of mourning that come to us. Among these, inquiries as to the best mode of making crape trimming are very frequent, and as, of course, the mode of placing the crape on the dress depends very much on the depth of the mourning worn, it is difficult to give general rules. One piece of information however, I can give without hesitation, for I have proved its truth by personal experience; that is, that the ALBERT CRAPe, manufactured by Messrs. Kay & Richardson, is more durable than any other description of crape at present manufactured. It is less expensive than the ordinary crape, because of the great additional width. It is now universally in demand, on account of its excellent intrinsic qualities. I have proved to my own satisfaction that it wears well, for I had a dress trimmed with three deep tucks of Albert Crape; and after wearing it for four months, I converted a portion of one of the tucks into a pretty pleating to go round the open square body of a black silk dinner dress, put a little star of bugles on the centre of each pleat, and wore the trimming until I left off crape, about three months later.

We are not all of us philosophers like Pope's lady, who was “mistress of herself though China fell," and yet she had probably more reason to grieve over the fractures in her pet pieces of glass and old china, than we have in these days when a bottle of Messrs. Kay BROTHERS' COAGULINE Cement can be obtained to remedy the injuries received from a careless hand. The unsightly rivets that were formerly the only means of joining broken china, are now replaced by this compound, which is in colour clear as crystal, while at the same time it is so strong as to be able to resist an enormous strain. It makes such a satisfactory join that, to those who take an interest in this kind of work, it would form quite a nice kind of fancy work for the now-lengthening days, to mend all the pretty little cups and jugs of precious wares which have lost their handles under the housemaid's careless duster.

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77.-JACKET BODICE (BACK).

Full-sized patterns for cutting out this Bodice are given on the Large Sheet. tinted foliage. The corsage is of pleated tulle over trimmed very differently in front and at the back. In blue faille. A chatelaine sash of blue faille gives an front is has a short tablier, rounded and draped up at elegant finish to this toilet. This sash commences the sides, and from under this tablier to the bottom upon the left shoulder, where it is fastened with a of the skirt with alternate flounces of white lace and rose, it then comes down to the waist, where it is straw-coloured silk. Two similar flounces placed in joined to a small pleated basque also of blue faille ; the opposite direction, mark the division between the from this basque a long lappet falls over the tulle train, back and front part of the skirt on either side from

the waist down to the bottom. The train is long and full; it is caught up in the upper part by a wide sash of black velvet, coming down in two separate lappets on either side from the waist, and joined together in a large bow and ends under the puff. A beautiful spray of yellow roses is fastened on one side. The plain low bodice is trimmed with a double frilling of lace and silk, loops of black velvet and sprays of yellow roses upon the bosom and shoulders and in the hair.

A more simple toilette, but very elegant, also, is of white gauze de Chambéry over white silk, and trimmed with cerise satin. The under-skirt of gauze over silk is arranged in bouillons put on lengthwise, and divided by narrow bias and bows of cerise satin. The skirt is finished with a scalloped-out flounce, trimmed to correspond. A second skirt of white gauze, is looped up on one side only with a very wide sash of cerise satin and a few sprays of lilies of the valley. This second skirt is trimmed round with one narrow frilling, and with two bias of cerise satin. Low cuirasse bodice of cerise satin with plain basque, moulding the figure. Berthe formed of bouillons and frillings of gauze with bias and bows of cerise satin and sprays of lilies of the valley. Cluster of the same flowers in the hair, with bow of cerise satin for the Catogan.

For young ladies, white tulle dresses are made flounced at the back, and arranged in front in a series of bouillons divided by narrow bouillons of white or coloured silk. A wreath of flowers is often thrown across the dress and fastened behind in a cluster, so as to take the place of a sash. The bodice is also trimmed with a light wreath or small clusters of Aowers. The low cuirasse bodice of faille or satin is very fashionable for ball dress; it is generally made perfectly plain, but completed by a berthe of tulle gauze or lace. On the whole, the corsage is not cut so low as formerly; the shape which left the shoulders almost covered, and was cut very low in front and at the back, has been exchanged for the corsage cut moderately low all round, which is infinitely more graceful and becoming; the other alterations to note are, that sleeves are not quite so short, waists much longer, and skirts longer also, especially at the back. Skirts are also made narrow, and very plain in front, with a full train at the back. None but quite young girls wear the dress only touching the ground in a ball-room. The generality of full dress toilettes have a train, while the front part of the skirt is trimmed en tablier, or with flounces put on spiral fashion.

A handsome dinner dress of faille and velvet is made thus :Skirt of dark blue velvet, with one deep flounce put on with a heading and bias of pale blue faille ; train of blue velvet arranged lengthwise into bouillons divided by bias of light blue faille. Upper-skirt of the light blue faille, forming tablier in front and wide lappets gracefully chiffonnéd into a bow and ends at the back. This skirt is untrimmed; it is lined throughout with white net, so as to sit better. Low cuirasse bodice of dark blue velvet, white tulle berthe, with bows of light blue faille, and

sprays of Gloire de Dijon roses. Coiffure to corre. spond.

If made of light materials, evening dresses, as a rule, are very elaborately trimmed; but if heavy fabrics are selected, they can be made up simply, if preferred. A favourite combination consists in a velvet train, with the front part of the dress in silk, trimmed with flounces put on en spirale, and a velvet cuirasse bodice.

Another is this :-.Plain silk front, wing-like lappets of velvet or matelassé at the sides, full train disposed in flounces and bouillons. Jacket bodice, with peaked basques in front and at the back.

Again, dresses are made with plain front and back, and very elaborately trimmed robings. In fact, so many models are admitted by fashion, that ladies may choose for themselves according to their style of figure. Fashion, indeed, has an idea of her own of how a figure should be. She wills it long and slender, and her votaries do what they can to come up to her standard. For this purpose the long corset is once more resorted to, and there is a great revival of tight-lacing among our elegants. Doctors and savants imagined they had achieved great things in this age of superior light, because ladies had left off the above-named long and tight-laced corset. But they were greatly mistaken. Fashion had for a time been on their side, that was all, and patronised for a time a loosefitting style of dress. Now she has changed her whim, and we are doomed to tight-fitting cuirasse and stiff whaleboned long-waisted bodice. All the supposed wisdom of the female community is melted away like snow, and old errors are taken up with fresh eagerness. So then the cuirasse bodice reigns supreme; it is the one unchanging point in modern dress, which is full of variety in shapes and trimmings.

Walking dresses are still made chiefly of coarse-looking woollen materials, or of cashmere or vigogne combined with velveteen, which is much used for under-skirts.

The jacket with wide sleeves, or the circular fastened in the middle of the back, and also with wide Dolman sleeves, continue to be the favourite shapes for mantles. Opera cloaks are made of a circular shape with wide sleeves.

Beading is still in great favour, but is not likely to survive after this winter. We noticed for a dinner dress a very pretty toilet of pale blue silk, white crêpe de Chine, and white jet. The under-dress was of plain blue silk, with trained skirt and low bodice. The crêpe de Chine upper-skirt was worked in a light spreading pattern of white jet beads, with heavier pattern and deep fringe round the edge. It formed a tablier in front and train behind, and was looped up at the side with loops of blue ribbon. The bodice was a cuirasse of white jet beads, with tight blue silk sleeves, drawn into narrow bouillons, and finished with cuffs of crépe de Chine embroidered with white jet.

For demi-toilette evening dress, several new models of fichus have been introduced this month.

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