« IndietroContinua »
T is a pity that the “Shrimp Girl” cannot be made the heroine of the legend which depicts sturdy, pugnacious Hogarth as coming to the rescue of a lowly beauty in a London street, soundly thrashing her tormentor, perhaps one of the young rakes of the “Hell-fire Club,” and triumphantly walking off with the tearful fair one, who afterward sat as the model for several of his pictures. But the legend itself is a dubious one, and those who accept it make the heroine the drummer girl in Hogarth’s “Southwark Fair.” Yet the “Shrimp Girl” belonged to a very similar class, and as she is presented here she is a reality—as exact a type of London eighteenth-century street life as her sisters, “the descendants of Orange Moll,” who offered their golden fruit at the theatres as in the “Laughing Audience,” “plucking the beaux by the sleeves, and simulating a pleased interest in their bald chat,” or as the buxom milkmaid, carrying her pail upon her head, whose resonant call pierces the ears of “The Enraged Musician,” or as the apple-woman flattered by roistering gallants at Covent Garden. This is not a painting from chic, a “made-up” picture of a pretty model, but it is what the artist saw, and it is now a page of history. No chance to study character or customs escaped him. Every face which attracted him he sketched at once with a few swift strokes of his pencil, or on his thumb-nail if there were no paper. And it was in this way no doubt that the “Shrimp Girl” came to be handed down
to us. She appears in none of his famous compositions, like “The Rake's Progress" and “Mariage à la Mode,” and although a lurking moral or satire is suspected in everything painted by this Aristophanes of the brush, here is a picture painted for love of a handsome, sparkling face. If such a face in those days were unlikely to prove a happy possession for a shrimp girl, it is for others to supply the shadows. The painter's colors are clear and bright. The French are never weary of telling us that Hogarth was essentially a moralist painter, while Reynolds and Gainsborough, his contemporaries in art, although his juniors in years, were artists in the true sense of the word. All that can be said of Hogarth's “story-telling,” his heavy, sombre manner, and weak points in color and drawing, may be granted without affecting his pre-eminent rank as a satirist, or the fact that he also painted “for art's sake,” as in the “Shrimp Girl,” which is doubly interesting because it illustrates a phase of Hogarth's art commonly little recognized. Yet it would seem that little is left to be said of an artist who, in addition to the industrious crowd of commentators and cataloguers, has had so brilliant a band of eulogists as Lamb, Coleridge, Hazlitt, Thackeray, and in later years Sala and Austin Dobson. The London in which the “Shrimp Girl” lived, and of which Thackeray wrote with such intimate understanding, was well worth knowing, and one can sympathize with Dobson when he says: “It would be a pleasant task to loiter for a while in that passed-away
London of Hogarth, of Fielding, of Garrick—that London of John Rocque's famous Map of 1748, when ‘ cits had their ‘country boxes' and ‘gazeebos’ at Islington and Hackney, and fine gentlemen their villas at Marylebone and Chelsea, when duels were fought in the ‘fields' behind the British Museum, and there was a windmill at the bottom of Rathbone Place. We should find the Thames swarming with noisy watermen, and the streets with trotting Irish chairmen; we should see the old dusky oil lamps lighted feebly with the oil that dribbled on the ‘Rake' when he went to court, and the great creaking signs that obscured the sky, and sometimes toppled on the heads of his Majesty's lieges underneath. He gives us unromanced and unidealized ‘the form and pressure, the absolute details and accessories, the actual mise on scène, of the time he lived in. But he has done much more than this. He , as peopled his canvas with vivid types of the more strongly marked actors in that cynical and sensual, brave and boastful, corrupt and patriotic age.”
"Like Hogarth's portraits of Peg Woffington and Garrick, the painting of the “Shrimp Girl” is not dated. It may be roughly ascribed to about the middle of the eighteenth century, for the picture appears to have been left in the artist's studio at his death in 1764. At least the picture, then entitled “Shrimps!” was in the possession of Mrs. Hogarth in 1782, when the first engraving after it was made. This was an engraving in stipple by Bartolozzi, and the result is unsatisfactory, although nearly everything which
Hogarth painted lends itself readily to engraving. As Nichols said, however, the chief characteristic of this face is spirit rather than delicacy, and Bartolozzi, who, of course, was an engraver on metal, would have done better to work in line than in stipple. The publication line reads, “Engraving from a sketch in oil by William Hogarth in the possession of Mrs. Jane Hogarth, published by her 1782.” The size of the painting is two feet one inch high by one foot eight inches wide. After various changes of ownership the picture was purchased at the Leigh Court sale in 1884, for two hundred and fifty-six guineas, and added to the National Gallery at the same time with Botticelli’s “Assumption” and Poussin’s “Calling Abraham.” As we know the details, the white cap, dark cloth over the head, and broad wicker tray with the little metal measure, and heap of shrimps covered with sea-weed are all true to the time. As to the face, with its clear sparkling eyes firmly modelled features, full lips, and strong white teeth, it will be felt that Sala should have included it in the list of pretty faces painted by Hogarth which he compiled to answer Nichols's assertion that Hogarth was “an analyzer not a painter of beauty.” Yet it was Hogarth who painted both this piquant beauty, whose red lips, let us hope, were not often stained by Billingsgate slang, and that “pretty milkmaid” whom Thackeray calls “such a giri a.S Steele charmingly described in the Guardian a few months before this date singing under Mr. Ironside's window in Shire Lane her pleasant carol of a May morning.”
MIP. POINDEXTER. BY HARRIET PRESCOTT SPOFFORD.
OW I'll leave it to you whether anything could be more provoking, more mortifying,
more unexpected, and if you don’t think we had every right, if we chose, to be thunderstruck and indignant and all that; that is, if anybody could be indignant with the dear beautiful creature; and if we weren't obliged to laugh at ourselves in spite of ourselves the moment she shut the door, after kissing each of us, and went out and left us, in her gentle, proud fashion, looking blankly in each other's faces. We had been talking and combing out our hair, we three girls, Iris and Prim, the twins, and I, their younger sister.
“There's no denying it, Prim, he's an excellent match,” Iris had said, half an hour before, “He belongs to one of the oldest and best families in the country.”
“And one of the wealthiest,” said Prim; “which is quite as much to the purpose. You can't live on the bones of your ancestors.”
“Well, ancestors look down from the walls of every room in Poindexter Place. And it is very comfortable, and gives you quite the sense of being better than the best to have such witnesses to your claims as those—undoubted ones too, bought at no auction sale. And then, although
it's not been opened to guests since the old Poin-.
dexter left this sphere, the city residence is a perfect treasure-house.” “How do you know?” “Oh, I’ve taken pains to find out—quite accidentally, of course, you may be sure. It is just full of old Turkey rugs worth three and four thousand dollars apiece.” “Looking ready to fall to pieces, I suppose.” “And Gobelin tapestries, and old hammered silver, and Sèvres, and porcelains, and bronzes, and wonderful glass, and a picture-gallery. Oh, there's nothing like its dim rich splendor! And I must say it would be a very agreeable thing to queen it in such a house as that, especially with an adoring husband. And somehow I never look at Mr. Poindexter without feeling sure that he will love the woman he makes his wife with his whole heart and soul.” “You’re so romantic, Iris 1" said I. “I must confess he's a little too high and mighty, a little too stately and intellectual and all that.” “He’s going to be a Senator of the United States, the proudest position on earth, especially when it's our Senator, and he ought to be high and mighty,” said Prim. “But you'll never be familiar with him, and it's shocking to be afraid of your husband.” “Afraid of him s” said I. “Why, he's awfully handsome, and he's not forty.” “But then,” Iris went on, “we don't know. He mightn't be so very stately and intellectual if he ever had a chance to unbend, if mamma wasn't always by. He might let himself down from that level and take a little interest in agreeable trifles. I've no doubt that if mamma sat in another room, as other people's mothers
do, we should find that he could laugh and jest:
as gayly as Harry Freeman. I saw him looking at Sue as if he relished her laughing ways the other day. These grave dons like to be amused. But there ! he never gets a chance; mamma's always here, with her absurd notions about chaperonage. And then, too, I don't think she's ever found out that she's not young now. None of the other girls' mothers think of hanging round the way she does, and she always keeps the conversation at such heights, and there's so much majesty and manners and all, that he never has an opportunity really to know us and see what there is of us. And for my part I can't quite make up my mind which of us three it is he really comes to see—at least I couldn't tell today. Sometimes I’ve thought he likes Sue's spirits, and then I’ve been sure it's my eyes, and now I see plainly that it's your demureness that's so taking.” “Do you know,” said Prim, “it doesn't quite suit my notion, this sort of talk—as if we were waiting for the Sultan to throw his handkerchief.” “But such a Sultan l Not a flaw about him, I heard some one say. And he looks like what he is, the very soul of knightly chivalry. There isn't a man in all our set that compares with him—a perfect prince. And then the Poindexter diamonds, Prim l’” “Oh, it won't do to talk so!” said Prim. “As for to-day, it means nothing. Perhaps he only comes here because it is a pleasant place to pass the time. He said something once about the atmosphere of mamma's drawing-room—” “Oh, of course! He has to kow-tow to the mammas, and say things like that if he wants their interest with the daughters. They all do, always.” “But I like that atmosphere too.” “Certainly you do. You're Prim.” “I must acknowledge,” maintained Prim, “that it's always pleasant to me to be where mamma is.”
“Except when Mr. Poindexter comes. And then I wish she was—further.” “No ; it's contenting to look at her. She's an
object of pleasure to the eyes. What eyes hers are, too—those soft blue-gray eyes, like great jewels, half veiled in their black lashes! And what a tea-rose skin it is l And her figure, and the way she walks: she is like some one you read of; she's my ideal of woman.”
“You’re her darling. She had you in possession an hour before she had me, that's the reason. Still, it is true that if we only had mamma’s shape, and her complexion, and her eyes— but then she's not done with her eyes yet,” said Iris, with a satirical emphasis.
“Well, there are not many girls who have such a mother anyway.”
“I should hope not,” said Iris. “It’s mighty uncomfortable having a person who's not too old to be your companion, and who yet holds such authority over you as to tell you when to go to bed.” “Why, Iris, I shouldn't think you were fond of imamma at all.” “Fond of her? I'm as fond as most girls are. But mamma is so—so exasperatingly young, it really isn't respectable.” And just then the door opened, and mamma came in. But I may as well tell you here that I couldn't help agreeing with Iris, if it was undutiful. Mamma was so exasperating. And as for that's being undutiful, you couldn't feel the sense of duty to any one so entirely your companion, except now and then when she put on her imperial garments. To be sure, she was only seventeen years older than the youngest of us, silly as that was. But it's the truth. And I was the youngest, and just seventeen myself. But it did use to seem to us that, being our mother, like all other girls' mothers, she was already old as any mother, too old to think of without disagreeable sensations, and we wondered what she had to look forward to, and sometimes we pitied her a little, feeling as if really she had nothing but the end of all things before her, and that all the happiness she could hope for lay in our affairs. We regretted that her hair wasn't gray, just as a matter of propriety. It seemed an assumption of youth, an affectation, that she should still have her own teeth, and just as if made of nice pearl too. And her complexion was absurd ; everybody must suppose she painted, with that rich color; and why in the world she still wanted pretty things to wear passed our understanding—at least, you know, Iris's and mine; Prim never quite sided with us, although sometimes she had reason to be a little disturbed about it all herself. When Uncle Melvyn sent home to mamma that white crape shawl, lovely as a cloud, I felt sure that if he had only known how we had grown up he never would have sent it to mamma, almost an elderly person with one foot in the grave. Somehow Iris and I didn't like to say a great deal about it, but it was really painful to us that mamma had such gay and youthful manners; that she laughed like a chime of bells, quite as if she had never grown old; that she absorbed so much of the conversation when callers came. We did wish she could conduct herself in a way more becoming her years, and we resolved that when we were nearly thirty-five, as she was, we would try and remember the dignity that ought to come at that period of life, especially after having lost a hus
band and being the mother of three full-grown
daughters. And then, too, it really was mortifying when new acquaintances looked their surprise at mamma, with her three great girls, to have to let them form their own conjectures about her people as being low-bred and ignorant, seeing that they had married her off at fourteen, and she had been a widow since she was seventeen. Somehow it seemed as if they must have been backwoods savages to have allowed such a thing, instead of being educated and wellto-do as they were. Really mamma was ashamed of it herself; perhaps all the more so that her husband had turned out a tyrant, whose death in three years after her marriage was a relief. You can judge what a tyrant by his insisting on calling the twins Primavera and Iris. But I was born just as he died, and mamma immediately
made use of her liberty to name me for her mo–.
ther, plain Sue. He ought to have been ashamed to take advantage of such a child anyway, if he was my father, and that's what I said to mamma. But she became all at once very Jofty, and told me never to speak in that manner again. And do you know, I quite admired her then, and wished she was as imperious and proud and dignified as that always. And yet I knew she could hardly remember papa, and would have been terrified and unhappy enough to sink into her grave if he had come back from his, after all his cruel treatment of her that she had half forgotten now. Somehow I am not sure that his children did not inherit and carry out his ideas that way. But I should like to know how you would feel if a person coming to see you should suddenly leave you to wear the willow, so taken up by your mother's bloom and sparkle and bright pleasantry, her smiles and graciousness and all that, as to forget you were in existence, and come again and ask for her / You wouldn't like it a bit. And neither did Iris and I. If mamma had had gray hair and worn a cap over it, and a smooth muslin handkerchief on her shoulders, and had dressed in modified mourning on the street, and walked slowly, and used glasses, and read serious books with them a good deal, and left to us the front drawing-room when our friends came, while she darned things in the back room and wore gloves with the finger-tips cut off, and had gone to bed early with a rubber bag of hot water and a maid carrying her shawls and books, and we opening the door and appearing perfectly lovely and solicitous—why then she would have been about the sort of mother we should have liked to have. But there she was, five feet five, not a bit of stooping to her round supple figure, black-haired, and jewel-eyed, and damask-skinned, and smiling with a dimple, and walking with a spring as if the earth were something elastic; and the more our friends used to admire her and like to be with her, the more sure we were that it was nonsense and make-believe and a bore to them, and it annoyed us beyond measure anyway. And this annoyance was particularly poignant when Mr. Poindexter began to frequent our house. For everybody knew that Prim and Iris were exceedingly pretty girls, and that I—well, I was plain Sue, to be sure—but I was rather bright, you know; and he came to see us; and the moment he laid eyes on mamma, sitting by the fire with a book in her hand, and rising to meet him like a queen, extendiug that long, sculpturesque, bare
hand of hers—mamma never wore rings; her hand was too fine for that—then he never had five words more for any of us that day. Sometimes, on other days after that, when mamma was keeping us in the background this way, Iris would shrug her shoulders, or even Prim would raise her eyebrows at me, when mamma held the conversation over our heads; and once I ventured some rather sarcastic piece of my mind on the subject. “Susette,” said mamma, “you have not yet prepared your history lesson. Pray go upstairs and do so at once.” Just as if I were in pinafores! I felt it a regular bread-and-butter insult. But of course I went. I suppose I might have made a fuss; but I knew better than to have a scene. And then the fact is that all the fuss in the world would really have made no difference. Mamma might be as young as the youngest of us, but we had to obey when she said so; and Prim liked it. Well, one day, after this thing had gone on for some time, Mr. Poindexter happened to meet Prim and me out walking. It was just the lovely walking weather which comes in the middle of a well-conducted spring. After the salutations he asked why Miss Iris was not the third that day, as in all classic lore the sisters always appeared in threes or nines. “Oh,” I answered, “she is with mamma to-day—doing the family charity.” “I beg your pardon ?” he said. “Making visits, you know, on our poor people and in the hospitals. time began, and thinks it part of our education.” “Oh, indeed. And she spends much time that way?” he asked. “We take turns with mamma every other morning. Thursday is our Flower Mission day. It is my turn Thursday.” “What a lovely life s” he said. “One makes a sort of expiation in that way for having more than one's equity in this world's blessings, as we phrase it. What a lovely nature that finds its pleasure in such work!” And then I was sure it was Iris to whom Mr. Poindexter was attracted. He went on with us a little way; and as I looked up at his serious, proud face, and saw anew his lofty stature and bearing, I couldn't help admiring him a little on my own account, and wishing it had been I who had been out with mamma that morning, and had been found on the angelic business. But then, I reflected, if I had been I should not have had the present bliss of being in his society and making my poor little mark. And I reflected too how mamma would have despised me if she could have known my state of mind. And yet I knew very well that I was not in the least affected by any personal power of Mr. Poindexter; it was the power of his bank account, of his position, of his house in town, of Poindexter Place, that moved me, and that I confess— But just as I was going on in this way in my thoughts we were crossing King Street, on the separate flag-stones, side by side, and Mr. Poindexter's head was bent to hear what Prim was saying, and I was looking at them, and all in a heart-beat, as you may say, and before we heard a sound two huge horses' heads were rearing over our shoulders, and four great shining forefeet were pawing the air, and Prim had slipped and fallen and was under them. I never admired any one so much in all my life—although I was too frightened to know it —as I did Mr. Poindexter at that moment, when with his figure flung to its full height and his
face white and fixed, he grasped those horses by
the bridles and held them and forced them back with a perfectly gigantic strength, before the driver checked them too, while some one—I’m sure I don't know who—pulled Prim, who had fainted, out of the way, and I was screaming at the top of my voice. Then Mr. Poindexter called a coach and drove home with us, it seemed to me, while I was crying over Prim, as fast as the wind blows over the top of Mount Washington. But fast as we drove, the news of what had happened was before us, and mamma was rushing to the door: she was awfully fond of Prim, and never made any secret of it; Prim was her comfort and her darling. And when Prim, pale and teary, had flung herself into mamma's arms, and mamma had exclaimed and kissed her and cried over her as if there wasn’t another person in the world, suddenly she tore herself away, the tears still pouring over her flushed face, her eyes all suffused with them till they looked like melted sapphires, and ran to Mr. Poindexter and seized his hand in both hers. “Oh,” she cried, “you have saved to me the dearest thing I have 1 How can I ever thank you?” “I know a way,” Mr. Poindexter murmured, and murmured so low that I guessed rather than heard what he said. “Aha!” thought I to myself, as I helped Prim, who was considerably torn and soiled as to her garments, from the room, “now I am absolutely sure he is going to ask mamma for Prim. It won’t make much odds about her new spring suit's being ruined by those hoofs; there’ll be wedding garments presently. Well, I don't care. I shall have just as good times in Poindexter Place as if it were mine; and I’ve no doubt that some of the Poindexter splendor will overflow on me from Prim's pin-money.” And as afterward, looking from the window, I saw mamma and Mr. Poindexter pacing up and down the little garden-place where the grass was just greening and the crocuses blooming out, I made no doubt that he was arranging with mamma the settlements to be made on Prim; all the surer when, as he was going away, he took off his hat and bent as Sir Lancelot might have done, and kissed that white hand of hers. “That settles it,” said I. “And I’m sure I’m relieved, Prim, on the whole, that it's not I who have to play Esther to Ahasuerus. And I must say, I think you'll do credit to your position, you're such a pretty little pale thing with your
Mamma has done it since
black hair and long eyelashes, and you'll be so like a lady of romance in your great big house, and your big carriage, and in your evening toilettes just a-glitter with diamonds.” “Oh, that—that isn't the way to look at it!” cried Prim. “I-I'm afraid we're very merce. nary for young girls.” “We have to be,” said Iris. “Papa's money, now that gowns and things have become so much more costly, is just next to nothing, and I'm tired into my soul of turning dresses and retrimming hats.” “For all that,” said Prim, “it isn't pleasant to think you're really, after all is said, doing no more than fixing a price on yourself. And—and the fact is, he's very splendid, and all that, but I don't see how any one can be in love with Mr. Poindexter.” “I don't know,” said Iris, hesitatingly. “Well,” said I, “as I said before, that's because we never are able even to get acquainted with him. How can people be in love with a per
son when they're not acquainted; and how can
they get acquainted with a person when the fond mamma is always in the foreground, talking Greek choruses, or German music, or Early English art, I should like to know? The moment that any one gets talking to us freely, and we're going on about the other girls, or the favorite actor, or which opera we like best, or the last fashion, and singing snatches of the Gilbert and Sullivan and Offenbach things in glides, mamma, like the Queen of Hearts after her tarts, and present-oo: ly the conversation is all up on the Browning -plane, or the humanities, or politics, and we're-nos better than dummies.” - o “What are the humanities, Sue 2" “Pshaw l’” “Well, I do wonder,” said Prim, “what made mamma so very brilliant, and us such dunces.” “You’re not, Prim. You're awfully engaging; you know you are,” said Iris. “And as for us— why, mamma just absorbed it all herself. It's queer; she doesn't even say, the way Mrs. Freeman does, that she will not be thrust aside by ill-mannered young girls with no experience of the world, and nothing but complexions; it never enters her head that she could be thrust aside; she just treats us as if it never occurred to her, and couldn't to any one else, that we were of any consequence when she was to be seen, except as her daughters.” “If we could only get mamma to do the way Nellie's mother does, the way Sallie's mother does, and Hattie's mother, and all the other mothers! How do you think it would do if we asked her to let us have one of the upstairs sleeping-rooms furnished for a sitting-room ? And then we could all be sitting there together, and when a caller—Mr. Poindexter, say—came, we could go down and leave mamma still sitting up there.” “I think I see you doing it,” said Iris. “It would only end by everybody's going up there where she was,” said Prim. “It’s an awful pity,” said Iris. “But it's no use. It would be in so much better taste if mamma would put herself in the shadow a little, so
much less pronounced. I know that if Mr. Poin
dexter has common-sense he must think so—” “There's the dinner-bell,” said Prim. “I think some hot soup and a glass of wine will make me all right, and I hope to take my lesson in counterpoint this afternoon.” “I wonder if the time will ever come,” said I, “when mamma will let us have late dinners? It is just like dining in the nursery.” “Did you notice,” said Iris, that night, as we sat in Prim's room combing out our hair and talking, “how strange mamma was at dinner today? Not a bit like herself; almost timid and trembling.” “That's because she knew that she is to lose Prim presently to Mr. Poindexter, and be thrown back on cold comfort, on her Regan and Goneril, on you and me, Iris,” said I. “Well, there's no denying it, Prim, he's an excellent match,” exclaimed Iris, as she had done a hundred times before. And we went on ex- . . tolling Mr. Poindexter and his advantages, and disparaging mamma, till Prim had said, “Why, Iris, I shouldn’t think you were fond of mamma at all !” and Iris had answered: “Fond of her ? I’m as fond as most girls are of their mothers. But Imamma is so—so exasperatingly young !” And it was a moment afterward that mamma opened the door of the room and came in. She had been with Mrs. Freeman to the opera, which was having a late second season, and Mrs. Freeman had brought her home. Somebody had come home with her—it was as much as an hourago—but we had been so busy talking we did not notice the time fly, although we remembered now that the hall door had closed only a few moments since. But it was too late at this hour
know it. I think, indeed, you have a right to know it.” “I should rather think we have, indeed,” thought I. “Mr. Poindexter,” she went on, “did me—did us all—a great service to-day.” “Here it comes 1’’ thought I again. “Prim for certain l’” “And—and it was not easy to refuse him anything, if I had wished to do so. And he has asked me—” “Oh, mamma!” we all cried, breathlessly. “He has asked me—to be his wife, and I have promised to marry him in May.” “Oh, mamma!” cried Prim again, springing up and throwing her arms about her, “I am so glad | It is what I suspected, what I hoped, but I never said a word. I am so glad ''' But as for Iris and me, we just looked at each other. And now I ask you, as I did in the beginning, did you ever know of anything more provoking, more mortifying, more exasperating? One's own mother l
TY old friend Colonel Snipe regards the race of poets with emphatic contempt, chiefly, as he avows, because poets do not take proper care of their digestions. Colonel Snipe is an epicure; he is an expert cook himself, and he finds as much delight in inventing new and complex dishes as a woman finds in the cultivation of her beauty. Coarse and reckless eaters are, in the eyes of my friend, abominations. And by coarse and reckless eaters I do not mean simply that class of persons which makes no discrimination between eating and gorging. I mean all those persons who fail to bring to the dinner-table an exalted sense of its importance. A man might as well eat fish with a knife, in the opinion of the Colonel, as accept an ill-made dish or show indifference to the refinements and subtleties of the kitchen. Colonel Snipe would not condescend to taste a canvas-back which had been left in the oven one-tenth of a minute over schedule time; and between swallowing a goblet of ice-water and drinking Burgundy at the wrong temperature, he would certainly choose the ice-water, although there is nothing, perhaps, that he looks upon with so much aversion. " One of the Colonel's theories is that there will be no absolutely great poets in the world until poets are fed on the natural elements of poetry. If the celestial delicacy of canvas-back and terrapin depends upon wild-celery, then celestial poetry should, he argues, depend upon things cor-" responding to wild-celery. “You can't make a poet—or rather cultivate a poet—with beer and ham sandwiches,” he said to me one day. And then he continued, gravely: “Poetry should be the essence of exquisite cooking, and only exquisite food should be cooked for poets. And the wine for poets should hoard the warmth and splendor of the sun; furthermore, it should be served with scientific precision.” Finally, when I suggested that the majority of poets lacked the opportunity to eat like epicures, and that, after all, most of them produced very good verse on the strength of beer, ham sandwiches, and other vulgar but wholesome articles, the Colonel gazed at me with frank disgust, and asked me if I had never read these lines by Ben Jonson :
“Say that thou pour'st them wheat, And they will acorns eat; 'Twere simple fury still thyself to waste On such as have no taste l To offer them a surfeit of pure bread Whose appetites are dead!... No, give them grains their fill, Husks, draff to drink or swill; If they love lees, and leave the lusty wine, Envy them not; their palate's with the swine.” I had the courage to reply that this was rubbing in the truth pretty hard, and it is quite possible that I had a grieved air. At any rate, having exhausted his explosive anger, the Colonel smiled pleasantly, and remarked:. “I hope you will pardon my candor. While I have a grudge, a very serious grudge, against the poets—and you are something of a verseleter yourself, eh?—I am interested in the genus, and I should like to observe it in a correct state of evolution. Shakespeare would have been a perfect poet if he had not fed his stomach with sack and other monstrosities. Byron drank gin, Poe whiskey, Burns everything, and so forth. No wonder they fell short of the ideal | Now I say to any brain-worker, ‘Eat well, drink well, and be sure that your cook is not the Evil One in disguise, nor your wine acid and logwood.’ To the poet, above all, I say, ‘Eat well, drink well, and be sure that your cook is an artist, your wine the mellowed juice of the grape. Beer, my dear sir, will never give us another Shakespeare or Milton; but terrapin, Beaujolais, Tokay—ah, what a poet could be made out of them s” Here I interposed: “You forget, Colonel, what I have said. Poets are proverbially—” “Poor wretches,” he hastened to exclaim. “Or, at least, they used to be. Some of them appear to be doing well enough now. I fancy that few of them imitate certain of their distinguished predecessors and starve in garrets. You see, the poets have solved the bread-and-butter problem like the rest of us. Granting, however, that my theory could not be put generally into practice, I insist upon the fact that poets might easily give up their usual habits and pay more attention to their palates.” I was nonplussed, and could only hint that, for myself, I should like to try the experiment. “You shall try it.” he said, vivaciously, the color rising to his thin, nervous face. “And you shall begin at the top. Get your poets together, and I will give them a dinner. Do you agree to this 2° “Certainly,” I answered, with visions of the season's delicacies crowding upon my brain. The
time of the year was early spring; the markets, I knew, had never been more plentifully supplied with fruits and vegetables from the South; and I was well enough acquainted with the Colonel's hospitable and generous nature to be assured that he would not stint money in the illustration of his scheme of poetic gastronomy. So I promised readily to invite twelve of my poet friends, in the Colonel's name, for the dinner; whereupon, stirred to unwonted enthusiasm, he declared vehemently that he would arrange his menu at Once. Taking two long strips of paper, and after a few minutes spent in profound deliberation, he wrote the following menu, the poetic scraps giving proof of his extensive reading:
HE season which scatters Parisians to the four points of the compass is also the season in which Fashion arrests its steps preparatory to starting afresh for the winter. The latest novelties of summer contain the germs of the winter fashions; hence their details are not merely of momentary interest, but can be studied with an eye to the future. The white toilettes which form so conspicuous a feature out-doors at this time will continue to be worn in the winter at home. White is worn in all fabrics, and the pure white of some years since is now worn again, without prejudice to
cream, in silk, wool, and cotton; next to white :
come écru and mauve. The white and cream stuffs are worn universally, from the simple lightweight flannels up to India cashmere, including veiling, batiste, barégé, crape (not excepting Eng.
lish crape), foulard, and surah. Combination toilettes are made with these white fabrics, of which the following is a specimen: the skirt of the dress is of fine alpaca in pure white; it is gathered at the sides, and pleated in narrow fan pleats to the bottom of the back; the front, similarly pleated in fine pleats, is framed on each side by two rather wide deep pleats; the corSage is of white surah, with a pleated basque and a round belt of gold galloon; the front and back both open on a plastron of fine pleats, framed in gold galloon, and the collar and sleeve trimming are also of galloon. It would be difficult to describe the exact shape of the corsages worn at present, first because the variety is so extremely great, and again because the majority are made of two fabrics variously combined. Scarcely a single corsage is uniform in color or plain in shape. Almost all open on a plastron, frequently on two plastrons, one in the front and another in the back. In addition most of them are trimmed with a drapery or with fichu folds extending from the shoulders down and bordering the opening of the front, sometimes straight to the bottom, sometimes crossing to one side, which is plain. Most toilettes being made of two different fabrics, there will frequently be the front and back of a corsage, either full or plain, of the principal fabric, while the sides and sleeves are of the other. The loose open corsage with a drawn-out bouffant plastron is still fashionable, but the polonaise, which for the time is called a blouse, increases in numbers and favor over all other styles of corsage. Made of thin stuffs it is unadjusted, and often crossed on the bust, with the waist defined by a pointed girdle that is placed as low down as possible, to give a long effect. There is a return to very long corsages, some of them too long. The collar of corsages is still immoderately high, which in hot weather is a species of torture. Some women seek to escape it by cutting down
| the neck of the dress at the front and back,
leaving the throat a trifle exposed, and wearing a small lace or embroidered net fichu; a narrow ribbon is knotted around the neck. With these corsages principally, but with many others besides, the sleeves are made very short; often the sleeve is only a cap, terminating well above the elbow, and held in by a band. The gloves then are very long, and should cover the entire arm, terminating under the sleeves. The high collar of a combination dress is usually made of the two materials, the main part being like the corsage, while the piece above the plastrón is of the plastron material. The tournure still exists, but women who dress well seek rather to fall short of than exceed the average or equal the exaggerations affected by some women who dress to excite attention and challenge criticism. For trimming light toilettes—white, cream, and
| light gray—gold galloon is much used, and also
gold braiding, with some light ornaments in bright colors; but to be tasteful such trimmings must be used sparingly—around the neck and sleeves, and occasionally a bretelle or a frame for a plastron; in any case they never pass beyond the corsage, not being used for trimming skirts. There are gauzes brocaded in gold, of which fichus are made, and corsage draperies, and also tiny capotes, which are worn perched on the summit of the hair. Breton embroidery and Byzantine embroidery —the latter more elaborate, the former simpler and in better taste for general wear—form a feature of many summer toilettes. Beads usually form a part of the Byzantine embroidery, and it is hardly suitable for other than evening toilettes. The Breton work is charming on white, cream, and light gray dresses. Lace dresses are as much worn as ever, but more generally of a single color, as, for example, écru lace over écru faille or foulard, with perhaps bows of sapphire blue velvet for looping the draperies. A different dress is of cream piece lace with the pattern outlined in gold thread. The under-skirt and the bouffant plastron are of red Surah. The corsage is a coat-basque of silk which has a red ground strewn with large cream bouquets; the ends of the coat hang very long at the back upon the lace skirt; the sleeves stop at the elbow. A pretty summer toilette has a gathered skirt
of écru embroidered linen, with a lace flounce
around the lower edge. The corsage is of the same embroidered linen, faced on the shoulders and the lower part of the sleeves with bishop's violet velvet; the velvet pieces are adjusted to the dress, but separate from it; the sleeve pieces come to a point. The over-skirt is of embroidered linen, and separates on the left side to show a panel of violet velvet. The hat is of black straw, rolled on one side, and trimmed with bows of violet velvet, and three spikes of wheat laid on the brim. A parasol is made of the linen of the dress, with a lining of violet silk, and knots of violet velvet at both ends of the handle. Strawcolored gloves, and bronze shoes with violet silk stockings. A striking toilette is of mauve peau de soie, with sprays of embroidery executed in crape, with veins of fine beads; one long branch ornaments one side of the tablier, which is very little draped. Another spray of smaller size is on a Lamballe fichu of silk muslin, which leaves the throat a trifle uncovered; a knot of mauve ribbon is at the neck. The Directoire hat is of straw, with mauve plumes, and the parasol of cream lace, with a profusion of loops of the narrowest mauve ribbon at each end of the handle; this is a new as well as light and pretty orna
ment for the parasol. .
A dress for a young girl which I have recently seen was of cream barége. The skirt was plain, straight, and gathered all around, almost flat on the front and sides, the fulness being massed at the back, where it fell in very ample easy folds. The plain corsage had a belt fastened with a
chased gold buckle; a fichu of the dress fabric
had its ends passed under the belt. The sleeves
were half-long and quite full. Very handsome toilettes are in preparation for
the grand dinners at the chateaux and villas. *
Among these was one of very light ciel blue moiré antique, with stripes of satin of unequal widths and several very delicate tints. The décolleté corsage was veiled by a Marie Antoinette fichu, one side of which—the left—was of draped silk muslin, while the other side was entirely of lace with light sprays of myosotis. A charming toilette for a dancing party is of net with double meshes, striped with insertions of Valenciennes lace of the same width as the net stripes that separate them. The skirt is full and straight, and is placed over a silk foundation skirt of Bengal rose—a fashionable shade of pink. The very high corselet is of English green velvet, with a guimpe and half-sleeves of net like the skirt; the guimpe and sleeves are drawn or shirred on narrow pink ribbons. A pink ribbon is worn in the hair, clasped with a large enamelled beetle. The very long gloves are of cream Suede, with bracelets of pink ribbon, each fastened with a beetle. From the preceding data a few inferences can be drawn in regard to the coming season. White toilettes, for the reason I have suggested at the beginning of my letter, will be most extensively worn for dinners and evening receptions, even for comparatively simple entertainments. Corsages will be crossed and worn with a fichu. Gold galloon and gold braiding will be in favor, and plastrons of gold-brocaded gauze. shorter full sleeves promise to be worn even with the less elaborate toilettes for evening, dinner, or the theatre. The tournure will be moderate, and waists long, even very long. Corsages will be as varied as ever in style and material, and intricately and ingeniously trimmed. It promises to be long before we return to plain fitting and plain colored corsages. As for wraps, they will be sharply divided the coming season, as they were last winter, into protecting cloaks, which will be very long, and dress wraps, which will be very short and very ornate, much embroidered and extremely varied. EMMELINE RAYMond.
ANSWERS To corrispoNDENTS.
GERMANY. —A Southern way of eating an orange is to cut it in two across the sections, and use a teaspoon for taking out the juice. Use a small d when writing “My dear Miss Smith.” L. O. H.-Your striped silk is in fashion again, and will look well for an entire dress made with shirred basque and long drapery over a pleated skirt. ANDA.—Consult an almanac for the year 1886. M. S. B.-The feather stitching is not needed on your dress. Any fancy-work store will arrange the monograms for you. KATRINA.—Have a plain blue surah silk with a basque, pointed apron, and back drapery like that of your sample, and a vest, collar, and cuffs of blue vel
... vet. Have a blue straw bonnet or round hat with
braid, or else of striped blue and white flannel. The lace and silk bodice will be suitable for summer afternoons at the lake-side. L. R.—You should use inexpensive silk for the foundation of your É.i. dress, but silesia will answer for that of the brown silk. C. B. M.–Your pretty lace can be used now. We cannot give you the personal information you ask for. Mioli.-Make your pretty brown silk with a pointed apron, pleated skirt, and long back drapery. Trim the basque with your bead trimming set on revers next a vest of old-rose silk or of pleated pink surah. Have an écru straw hat or a small bonnet trimmed with brown velvet and some pink roses. CATALINA.—The red and white toilettes are suitable for the Park. Read Gray’s “Elegy in a Country Church-Yard” for the quotation you ão. Romola.--White California flannel embroidered with daisies and roses will be pretty for an infant's afghan. ELsir.—Get some gray-blue silk or else blue and white striped silk for a plain skirt to wear under your polonaise. Make the polonaise shirred at the shoulders and waist line, with short curved paniers and two long points in the back. . . . . strilla.—Manners and Social Usages will be sent you from this office on receipt of $125. It is a volume of convenient size in which you will find the information you desire, and much about matters of eti
quette generally. R.
G. C.–Get gray, brown, or blue Cheviot for early fall, and make by any of the tailor designs lately given in the Bazar, with long pleated drapery, as that style will suit a short fleshy person. The plain satin dress should have a basque, slight drapery in front of the skirt, and long flowing train; it will be in good taste with a tulle veil. Have your black silk mantle very small and nearly covered with jet fringe of fine beads in long strands. Get a beaded bonnet or one of shirred tulle for dress occasions. Siik.-Answer at once an invitation marked R. S. W. P. Send a formal reply in the third person, accepting or .."; Oild SuissoRiiskit.—Girls of six years wear large poke bonnets of straw or of shirred mull, or else large Leghorn flats with the brims unlined and not wired, and a trimming of ribbon and ostrich feathers. Make girls' dresses of challi, India silk, piqué, or muslin, with guimpes, pointed waists, and full skirts. Gingham and percale dresses are made with high neck, round belted waist, and gathered tucked skirts. Sailor blouses and kiltskirts are also used for ginghams, and for flannel dresses of navy blue, or of striped blue of two shades, or blue with white stripes. RAMona, AND OTHERs.-P. P. C. on a visiting card stands for pour prendre congé, or to take leave. R. S. V. P. stands for répondez s'il vous platt, or reply, if you please. When a visiting card is bent it means the call was made in person. L. D. C.—Certainly, if you want to show your friend an attention, leave your husband's card with yours; that she is a widow has nothing to do with the case. A Constant Subscribior.—The initials P. D. A. affixed to a card stand for the Spanish words para decir adios, or to say farewell. These initials are rarely used, the French form, P. P. C., being preferred even in Spanish-speaking countries. ...” LINDLEY.—See Manners and Social Usages page 57. E. B. N.—Accordion-pleating is pressed by machinery in fine folds that open or close with the motions of the wearer....The ladder stitching is a succession of small bars like the rounds of a ladder, and is used to join thin fabrics, laces, etc., together. Mits. W. H. A.—If you will specify the crochetterms which puzzle you, they can be explained here. The description is necessarily conched in the briefest terms, and is intended to be helped out by the illustration,