Going up into the clouds in a balloon, and dropping therefrom by means of a parachute, seems to be becoming quite a common amusement nowadays ; but Mr Percival Spencer’s feat of going aloft, with no parachute provided for the return journey, was indeed a daring one, Calcutta was the scene of the ascent, and the crowd assembled to see it was something enormous, for, haying disappointed the spectators once, owing to the gas supply being insufficient to inflate the balloon, he gave this exhibition gratis. As far as the eye could reach was a sea of dark faces and turbaned heads ; while in the Maidan alone, from which the ascent was made, there were something like 200,000 spectators, including the Viceroy and Lady Lansdowne, with many officials and leading members of both European and Native society. Again the supply of gas failed, there being enough to carry the aeronaut himself up, but not his parachute ; so rather than disappoint the vast crowds he ventured without it, and did not consider he ran any very great danger, his only fear being that he might be carried over the sea ; bat he thought he was sufficiently far inland to make this unlikely. The excitement was intense, and as only those immediately round where the balloon started knew he had no parachute with him, his descent was momentarily expected. Away he sailed, until he became but a speck in the far distance, and strange to say nothing more was heard of him for three whole days, and people naturally concluded that he was killed. He reached earth safely, however, only thirty-five miles from Calcutta just one hour and a-balf since he had left it, having been as high as 12,000 ft, where he suffered much from the cold. He had to stand up in the sling in which he had been sitting to rub his legs and feet, which had become numbed. Imagine coolly doing this at such an altitude! Of course the danger was no greater than at 100 ft, bat one feels it must be worse ; like Mrs Aleshine, who, when floating with Mrs Leeks and their companion with life-belts in mid ocean, says: “ Good gracious me ! I hope we are not over one of them deep spots,” when Mrs Leeks remarks that there are parts of the ocean six miles deep. The reason for the delay in hearing of Mr Spencer’s safety was his having fallen amongst Natives who spoke no English, and his difficulty in finding his way to a distant telegraph office—all communication with those who found him when he lightly and easily touched earth being by signs. At first they took him for a spirit, he coming apparently from the sky, and were only assured of his humanity by feeling his coat, which was of a decidedly terrestrial fashion.
Mr Spencer shows one sort of heroism. Father Damien another, and of a far nobler kind. One is almost glad to hear that his sufferings are over, although his loss to that pitiable little leper community most be great. I have always read of him and his efforts with the deepest interest. His great example has speedily found followers, for he leaves another priest to take his place, and a woman, too, has gone to the aid of the suffering people. When is science going to find a cure for this terrible disease ?
Writing of these people, who have given their lives to a good work, reminds me of Miss Lambton who is such a loss to Dunedin, where for years she has interested herself so much in various charities and philanthropic works. The idea of getting np some memorial to her is sure to meet with support, and will, I hope, take the useful form of a library, which is one of those suggested. She was especially interested in young women, so a library in connection with the Y.W.C.A., with which she identified herself, seems a very suitable project. The people to be benefited by the memorial would at once feel the good of it, as there would be no preliminary expense in building, etc., but the money collected could be used entirely in the purchase of books suitably bound and stamped as belonging to the “ Lambton Library.” This is perhaps entering too much into detail, and I must shunt myself on to some other subject. Suppose, for. a change, I describe a pretty gown—l don’t think I have given anything smart in the way of apparel lately. This was worn by a bride who, instead of the regulation white satin, orange blossom, bridesmaids, and all the pageantry which people seem so fond of nowadays, wore her travelling dress, and had a quiet wedding, surrounded only by her relations and special friends. I can’t tell what the material of the gown was, but it was of a delicate electric grey color, some of it having a white pattern on it, which had a silvery effect. This effect was enhanced by the many rows of silver braid upon the jacket fronts, sleeves, and collar. The vest was of deftly folded white satin, A little silk bonnet to match, with a white wing in it and a white veil, finished a most becoming costnme. Terra-cotta was the prevailing tint amongst the guests’ dresses, there being no less than three in the small party that were assembled together. What is Dunedin going to do without its Ocean Beach for holiday-makers to sport upon ? If the tides behave in their present aggressive fashion wo shall soon have neither a beach to walk upon nor sandhills to stop their encroachments. At St Clair there is seldom any hard, dry sand for walking. Of course we never believed in the stability of the sea wall. It being built upon the sand, we had Scripture authority for its speedy downfall, and it did not belie the prophecy ; but we did hope to have our pleasant walk always secure. The sandhills are quietly melting away to an alarming extent, and in one place a recently fenced-in section is now only a few feet from the verge of one of them. New Zealand authors don’t seem to be making much way in. the literary world just now. In my last letter I spoke of having read Sir Julius Vogel’s book, and, not thinking much of it, since then I have run through Fergus Hume’s last, ‘The Girl from Malta,’ and itfs rubbish, about on a par with ‘ Mr Potter of Texas,’ which I never could understand being by the same author as ‘Mr Barnes of New York,’ the latter being amusing and original. Now for my dainty dishes; but, as a preliminary, I must give a recipe for brown thickening, or Liaison-au-Bovx, which is simply fried flour. Take 41b butter, and melt it in a stewpan over a slow fire, add lib flour, and stir it occasionally till all becomes of a uniform mahogany tint. It will seem hopeless at first, being dry and granulated, but persevere, and a. smooth, brown paste will be the result. Put it in a jar with a cover over it. It will keep well, and is always ready for gravies, etc., so that you are soon well repaid for the trouble of making it. There is no need to make so much at a time ; all you have to be careful of in the quantity is, that yon use twice as much flour as butter. When you want to use it for gravy yon put a teaspoonful, or what amount yon require, id your pan and gradually stir into it the stock, taking care that you keep it smooth. The result will be a thick, deep brown stfuce, with a pleasant flavor of caramel from the burnt flour. Salt will be needed in addition, and a very little port wine is an improvement. Hashed mutton is usually considered an insipid lodging-house concoction, but can be made quite a dainty dish. Cut neat slices of the mutton, free of fat, gristle, or skin. Take half-pint of stock and mix with it & dessert spoonful of Worcestershire sauce, three dessert spoonfuls of Tarragon vinegar, one of curry powder, a small lump of sugar, pepper, and salt; add your Liaison-mi-Jiotix; and lastly, lay in the slices of meat, and warm all over a slow fire. If yon boil it yon make the meat hard ; it only needs to be made thoroughly hot through. Yon can make it more savory by the addition of fried onions. Serve within a wall (if mashed potatoes, or with sippets of toast. This is called “ The epicure's hash,” and Is deserving of its name. This brown thickening comes in for many things—for the . sauce in which to serve beef olives, or croquettes, for instance—for which 1 will give you recipes another day. Bat 1 advise yon to try “ The epicure’s hash.” In my house the outcry is not when a hash is pat on the table, but when too long »time is allotted to elapse without one.
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FEMININE FANCIES., Evening Star, Issue 7910, 18 May 1889, Supplement
FEMININE FANCIES. Evening Star, Issue 7910, 18 May 1889, Supplement
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