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AN IDEAL ExCLUSIVENESS
To would be an ideal exclusiveness which would only admit
the cultivated, the good, the wise, and the elegant. We dream of such a society—a society which could exist only in Utopia. But where then would be the crowded halls of fashion ? We fear very lonely, for, in spite of a determined exclusiveness the most disagreeable men and women get into the most fashionable society. It is to be feared that the possession of wealth is more desired therein than any other attribute, and that much is forgiven the rich man which would be rank heresy in the poor one. We have no such lofty standard that we can rate Dives and Lazarus before their death as they were rated afterward. Dives gives too good dinners; we enjoy his terrapin and his music. A handsome, fascinating woman who can amuse the company is not made the subject of too severely scrutinizing inquiry. She is apt to get into our parties in spite of even a supposed exclusiveness. An ideal exclusiveness, therefore, which in society is like the test of credit in Wall Street, has this advantage: it causes a lady to pause and to inquire into the general characteristics of her guests, their moral and social standing.
Fig. 2. —Figured INDIA SILK DREss.
To a young person entering society we should recommend a certain exclusiveness. It is always wise to choose one's friends slowly and with a certain considerateness. We are not perfect beings ourselves, we do not wish to be intimate with too much imperfection. A broken friendship is a very painful thing. We should think twice before we give our intimate friendship to anybody. Still less should we recommend a young person to choose his or her friend from the worldly point of fashion or wealth alone. Try to find out who are good and true, honorable, generous, and wellbred, well-educated, and well-mannered, wherever they may be. It is then of no consequence what is the shade of fashion, these people are always good society.
It is not at all impossible to find such people in the highest ranks of fashion, for good company makes many virtues. Politeness, self-possession, fine manners, strike in as well as out, and the gay salom shows many a glimpse of beautiful characters. By no means suppose, because some leaders of fashion are insolent, that all are. Try in all conditions of life to read character first, and then to be slow in denouncing any class as a class.
It is curious to observe in every city, every small village, every watering-place, how soon there grows up an attempt at exclusive
Fig. 3.-Young GIRL's SERGE DREss.
ness, and how soon it may degenerate into snobbishness, which is the undergrowth of fashion. It is the shadow, the toadstool, the malaria of good society. A rich young man often thinks it an aristocratic thing to do to insult some one less well known than himself. He of course becomes unpopular; unfortunately he is called exclusive, thus injuring a good word. There are always weak people who wish to be invited to his parties, and who will curry favor by submitting to his insults. The law of primogeniture in England has, it is feared, made a class of selfish men who are painfully exclusive. It is a dangerous power to give a young man, to enable him to turn his mother, sisters, and younger brothers out-of-doors when he becomes of age. It engenders the profoundest selfishness; it makes a privileged class who can throw dust with impunity. The younger brothers cannot complain, because they want patronage. Fortunately we have no such class in this country. There is no doubt that in a selfish point of view exclusiveness helps a fashionable woman. It gives her a sort of dignity and prestige which those cannot claim who open their doors to all the world. It seems to say that she is superior to society in general. On the other hand, no man or woman, not even an idea, has ever improved society, if it represents narrowness and a small exclusiveness. It is the bold idea, the grand men, the great generous wome". who have governed the world, not alone that small part of it which we call society, but church, state, and literature. - A hostess should of course exercise a wise.9%; clusiveness, such as Lady Palmerston described when she said she “passed Lord Palmerston's acquaintances through a coarse sieve.” No woman who entertains should invite her guests carelessly. The very respect which she owes to herself and her guests should prevent, this. A* * clever woman in London once said, “I am never flattered at being asked to Mrs. J 's camp.” No woman should allow her house to be degraded to a camp. One should winnow the chaff from the wheat. Let us look, therefore, with some degree of respect upon those whom the world calls, perhaps unjustly, fantastically, or snobbishly, exclusive. There can be no surer way of being sought after, but perhaps no more cruel rôle, for the person who adopts it hurts more than she helps; but, after all, it may help society. A lady in entertaining has to remember always to invite those who are congenial. No one in this country can afford to make her parties either political, musical, or literary exclusively; but one should have a general idea of sets and of their tastes, and of who would like to meet whom. Especially is this important at a breakfast or a dinher, where the guests must sit and talk for two or three hours together: there is no such ordeal of agreeability. To invite a vaporous, airy, foolish woman to sit next an Oxford professor who has a specialty on which he wishes to talk, and which she would not understand, is to make them both miserable. To ask a young poet to sit next an old campaigner, who has nothing to talk of but the dissection of character, who is given to social parboiling, is to make both miserable, and will ruin one dinner at least. To ask a busy politician to sit next an abstract philosopher would not be half as bad. Therefore a woman has much to consider before she begins to entertain. To form a salon in America has been said to be impossible, because there are no people to whom society is a business, as it is in Europe, and the very people who could do it prefer to invite their own exclusive set. But we believe that this is an exploded idea. The salon begins to live in America in spite of the fashionable expert who makes her position a mere opportunity for wreaking slights on people whom she dislikes. She invites only those who may benefit herself; she conducts her social policy as certain politicians conduct the government, merely seeking, those friends who will advance a selfish popularity for herself. She has no large ideas, therefore she will never found a salon. The number of modest people who have real merit, but who are kept out by what is called the “exclusiveness of society,” must be very large. Yet if they have tact, and care for society, they will get in. The most certain way to please is to show a certain indifference to the smiles of the great, and the surest way to fail is to push. No one likes a pusher. Although few families have much right in America to lay claim to long descent, there are some who have; but an aristocracy in America is apt to be one of talent or money. The man of the hour is the man of family here. The old aristocrat is apt to be a very modest man in comparison. There are different kinds of exclusiveness. A lady who gives much time and thought to the subject may arrive at the cap-sheaf of fashion, She likes to have a worshipping crowd who will burn incense at her shrine, many who shall come and see her splendor, do her homage. But she does not wish to shine alone in her solitary grandeur. Who is good enough to come up to her icy throne? There is another kind of exclusiveness—that which includes the fast, the furiously gay. While the former parties are splendid but stupid, these parties are amusing but degenerate. Both may be the fashion, and fashion is a curious thing. morality. It is a lamentable fact—a lamentable commentary on human folly and on the snobbishness which is said to underlie all the virtues—that a leader of society can sometimes alter the public view of what is virtue by making vice the fashion. One side issue is shown by the tremendous exertions, humiliations, and pecuniary sacrifices which American fathers and mothers, and, alas, young girls themselves, will go through for the sake of an alliance. fashion. Then, again, where fashion has its morality, it is in its way a good one. It is the fashion in the gay world to pay one's debts—at least social ones; to keep one's engagements; to dress well; to make one's self agreeable. No doubt fashion makes the world more brilliant, a better place to live in. It brings to its adornment flowers, music, gay colors, gems, fine furniture, vases, carriages, good dinners. The “pride of life” is a superb thing. It is useless to undervalue it. Cultivated people, unfortunately for the rest of us, are apt to be exclusive. Having neither intrigue, nor fashion, nor money to think of, they are apt to depend very much on books for their companions, and so when they come into society they cannot talk of dogs, horses, yachts, cards, polo, lawn-tennis, dress, or the last scandal. Too exclusive people can never be agreeable ones. The most gifted, the most rare and uncommon people, have not been exclusive. Sir Walter Scott could know everybody without sullying his own bright genius. It is therefore a question whether one does not write himself down as somewhat cowardly who is plainly dreading contact with his kind. Much of this, however, may be temperamental. It is a curious fact that
We may say that fashion has its own’
It is the worst weakness of
the most exclusive social leaders are often the victims of the most specious adventurers. Nothing is so hard as to doubt a prince, a marquis, or a lord. A prince, a Russian one at that, with a world-renowned name, once picked pockets in New York drawing-rooms. A lady was obliged to apologize for having to send for a policeman to at least frighten the high-born villain. When she asked his Minister for his character, he said, “Yes, madame; one of the worst rascals in St. Petersburg; he is never admitted to a salon there.” - So, with the best of care, villains will get in, and modest people, worthy people, will be kept out. It is a sad state of things when there is no social weighing-ground where the true qualities of a guest can be tested. Yet, like water, society finds its own level. The ideal exclusiveness could only be possible in a society founded on the highest principles of good-breeding, which in itself comprehends that intimate knowledge of all that is rešned, amiable, befitting, and elegant in manner and conversation learned first at the mother's knee, and kept up by much intercourse with society.
that young girls in gay life wore white
cambric frocks all winter, cut low in the neck and with short sleeves, with low, thin slippers whose strings laced daintily over instep and around ankle, and with no under-flannels at all, and very little underclothing of any sort, so far as warmth went. This, too, at a time when stoves and furnaces were not heard of, and all the leat came from huge fireplaces that kept only one side at a time warm. How these gay and happy damsels preserved merely their animal heat, not to speak of any other, is a riddle that might puzzle the sphinx, making their toilettes, too, as they did, in rooms so cold, as a rule, that water would freeze in them, and wearing short might dresses, little more than dressing-sacques, at that. Doubtless very many of them died; but it only illustrates the old saying that pride will keep one warm when we see that any of them lived. But fresh young blood and happy hearts and dancing exercise will do a great deal themselves in the way of keeping warm, and of course enough of these half-clad and badly exposed young creatures did live, and live to think that if their grandchildren dressed and did as they did it would be sheer madness—their grandchildren in close under-wear carried to the throat and to the heels, with buttoned boots, and long-sleeved and high-necked dresses of thick stuff, with long night dresses and warm rooms, with nothing as it was with themselves except the same young blood, the happy hearts, and the dancing exercise. In their days, and something later still, the more delicate and unfit for life a young girl seemed, the more irresistible were her charms thought to be, and one cannot but think that the youths of the day were of a very sentinental and romantic sort to ex
perience such emotion as love for those
pallid and peaked beings, and not rather to have turned away with pitying repulsion
from the languid spindling to the first rosy and buxom milkmaid in the way. But in our own day a girl who is pale and languid and spindling stands but little chance in the race for the prizes of youth beside her fresh, lively, and rosy cousin. Lovers not only have the sense to know that they do not want to burden themselves with a sick woman, and all the sorrows and suspenses, the anxieties and expenses, incident to such a care, but without stopping to think anything about it in that light, they experience, if not a natural aversion to the pining weakling, yet a natural attraction to the blooming and wholesome, the girl who is the picture of health, who defies disease through her obedience to the laws of health, and who looks so well and strong with ruddy life that one feels as if her very health were contagious, and one is the better for being in her atmosphere. When one meets the girl who nowadays replaces the delicate and ailing beauty of the past, who had to be handled as tenderly as one handles a rare specimen of moth or butterfly lest one rub the down from the wings, one cannot but admire her rich color and clear skin, her bright eye, her firm muscles, her fine texture, her rounded curves, her easy carriage, her noble step ; and one feels as if mind and soul and heart had all something of the same gracious largeness and nobility, and one marvels as to what has produced the difference between her and the early dead sisters and cousins of her grandmother. There are probably many causes, we shall be told ; one certainly is the improved way of living of the immediate parents and their progenitors, which has given better blood to father and mother, and so to herself; father and mother have lived nearer to the rules that govern health; they have walked and rowed, dressed more fitly, eaten more wisely, and in many ways prepared the path for the generation that walks along it now in such an assured fashion. If they have not done all they should themselves, they have seen, at any rate, that the daughter did; there have been no bare shoulders in her childhood; and no bare legs, but yokes and pleatings have covered the one, and long stockings gartered from the waistband the other; and not only that, but under the stockings warm flannels have made a first covering, and the shoes have been no paper-soled and pretty things to make the feet look small, but stout, strong barriers against cold and damp; it has been recognized that it is of no consequence to have the foot look small, that a small foot is too often disproportionate, and so bordering on deformity, and that a foot should be allowed to grow, uncramped by bonds, and be able to support the body that grows too, and should be clothed at all times in thick articles of wear, and in winter with arctic shoes, so called, sheltering the ankles from dampness. Corsets too have in many instances been discarded for strong waists, that by series of buttons, like the cartridgebelt of a border ranger, support the weight of the clothes, all of which are loose to the last point of keeping on, whence comes much of the perfect ease of motion, warmth and comfort having been consulted to the utmost. In diet, too, a more wholesome course than of old has been pursued; plum-cake and whipped creams and rich puddings have not been allowed the child because the elders had them and other indigestible comestibles; and a reform as important as any of the others has been accomplished in finding it best never to wake the sleeping child, but to understand that nature in a child takes no more rest than it needs. With all this care and study of what is probably the best thing to do in the case, it would be strange if a superior generation had not risen in point of health, and of looks too. The young lady now has the thick boots that protected the feet of her childhood, possibly a trifle thicker at need; her short skirts do not let the moisture invade the back of her ankles, do not tire her back with their dragging heaviness, nor her hand with holding them up, and all her unimpeded progress can thus be rapid enough to set the blood spinning; she knows she is expected to look warm, and would be dismayed were her nose red and her face blue, as if she had not on enough clothes, and she takes care to be warm. Her dress, which she insists on having fitted, in her own graphic term, as if she were melted and poured into it, is in every way conducive to the ease and comfort of her out-door life, and so she has no reason for not being out-doors a good deal, oxygenating and purifying her blood; and, in full health, she is alive and alert, as most healthy people are; she is not ashamed to eat sufficient; her complexion is rich; her digestion is good; and her digestion being good, she is amiable, bright, and cheerful, and altogether a delightful thing to have in the
so YHERE has come to be a general dissatis
faction felt at the result of the work of our graded schools, from which so much was expected at their opening, and a fair trial of which threatens to produce a generation crystallized into precisely the same thoughts, tendencies, and habits, into that general sameness, in fact, which already marks the Chinese. It has been thought by those perhaps not more interested than others in the purposes of education, but who have given the subject more consideration, that something of this danger may be obviated, and at any rate the scope of the schools immensely widened, by combining with the instruction given from books that given from objects, teaching every boy and girl how to turn to use all the learning they may acquire, and, in point of fact, to be able to earn a livelihood, were it necessary, on the moment of leaving school. It is not intended, of course, that the part of education derived from books is to suffer; it is only to be supplemented. Not only is it expected that this manual or industrial training will be useful for future effort and support in monied ways, but it is hoped that it will round out and perfect the individuality as mere mental training cannot do, and this is what is most insisted on ; for it teaches the child not only to turn his intellectual faculties to account, but to use and perfect his bodily resources and powers, making a more harmonious and symmetrical development than has before been reached save with the exceptional few.
WOMEN AND MEN. DEMOCRACY IN A DRESSCOAT.
EORGE SAND pointed out in her autobiography that, in spite of the advance of wealth and luxury, French society must be growing more democratic, since the footmen, who in her youth stood up behind genteel carriages, were at last provided with seats. The American visitor in England makes the same reflection when noticing the simplification of liveries, and the difficulty of getting sight of a servant in powdered hair. Liveries are coming to be there, as they are here, something distinguishing and professional, but not, as in Thackeray's time, grotesque; they mark a coachman or a groom as a person assigned to a particular function, like a railway official, but they do not make him a ridiculous being like Jeames Yellowplush. It will be remembered that when railway uniforms were first introduced among ourselves they were seriously objected to as undemocratic, though this feeling is now rarely expressed. Supposing servants' liveries to be undesirable, as I think, it is clearly an advantage that they should cease to be insulting. It is a curious fact that side by side with their decline in England comes also a gradual disappearance of those robes of the peers which are so gorgeous in the opera of Iolanthe, but are now rarely worn in public. At the Queen's Jubilee, if I mistake not, they did not appear. As our own fashionable society grows more rich and better appointed, it is curious to know how far it is receding from contact with popular institutions, or how far approaching them.” So far as the costume of men goes, its basis is now absolutely democratic. It is the tradition that a certain Prince Esterhazy, once the type of fabulous wealth in Europe, lost a thousand pounds sterling every time he put on his best coat for an evening entertainment, since he was sure to drop from it precious stones to that extent before he got home again. But a fashionable entertainment may now cost millions and yet see every male guest arrayed in the same black suit that is worn by the fiddler who plays in the orchestra or the waiter who serves the chicken salad. Here is one clear instance of a democratic and levelling custom in the very midst of splendor. We have only to imagine a similar transformation to come over the costume of women—a consummation which some philosophers expect—and we should see the external aspect of polite society pretty effectually transformed. There would then be absolutely no visible difference between classes on occasions of ceremony, unless it might be in that greater personal cleanliness of the more favored classes, which Tolstoi declares to have been already carried so far as to have become unreasonable and irritating. The roaring Irishman in Cherubima, or the Adventures of a Heroine, complains of his more polished rival's ultra-refinements, and says, “He had a pair of nice white hands, which I verily believe he washed every day of his life”; and perhaps the last lingering trace of social antagonisms will be that existing between the man who wears one clean shirt in a week and him who puts on three every day. We can see a similar tendency in other ways. During a recent visit to Newport at the height of the season it was easy to observe—after some years' absence—an increase in luxury and fashion. But it was also curious to observe a distinct advance in certain ways toward a freer social intercourse. Bathing on the common beach has again come into fashion since the erection of new and attractive buildings; and the beautiful grounds of the Casino are opened to all comers, who can thus have afforded to them for fifty cents the refinements of social pleasure. To be sure, there is within the walls of that institution an inner Holy of Holies called a club-house, with all the usual appointments of a gentlemen's club, and in this respect quite surpassing the modest Newport club-house of other days, which did not even call itself a club, but only a reading
Night-GowN For GIRL FROM 4 to 6
APRON For GIRL FROM 10 to 12 YEARs old. For pattern and description see Supplement APRON For GIRL. From 10 to 12 YEARs old.
For pattern and description see Supplement, No. XVII., Figs. 65 and GG. No. XIII., Figs. 49–52. : For pattern and description see Supplement, No. XI., Figs.45 and 47.