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FEMININE FANCIES., Issue 8000, 31 August 1889, Supplement
What is described as a " large and fashionable" audience assembled to hear the rehearsal given by the Exhibition Choir the other evening. At first I waa wofully disappointed ; the chorus with which it opened seemed so very poor, and not the volume of sound one expected from such a body of singers. The second piece, however—' The heavens are telling '—was a wonderful improvement, and two or three of the choruses from ' Elijah' went well. Seeing the many disadvantages under which the choir labored from the acoustic defects of the Garrison Hall when comparatively empty (as it of necessity was with the gallery alone as auditorium), we cannot take this performance as a true test, aud we shall, I prophesy, have a very agreeable surprise when we next hear it. The last of the afternoon concerts given by Mr Towaey and Miss Annette Wilson was a remarkably good one, and makes one regret that it was the last of the series. Mr Schacht's playing on the violin is always a treat for his audience, and Mr ToA'sey's accompaniments are admirable; he seems to be so thoroughly in sympathy with the voice or instrument for which he is playing, and though giving so much expression, yet keeps the piano subordinate, as it should be. The three " songs without words " that he played were a special pleasure to me—notably the ' Duet' and * Spring song,' Why is it we so seldom hear these lovely things of Mendelssohn's, I wonder ? for it is certainly the exception to have them at a concert. Charles Halle is one of the few great pianists whom I have heard play them before. The selections Miss Annette Wilson chose showed her brilliant playing, and with Mrs Rose and Mr Densem as vocalists, we could not fail to enjoy ourselves. To go from one art to another (for I suppose dressing may rank amongst the arts), I must describe Mrs Rose's costume, which was both handsome and becoming. Her gown was of a soft shade of Havannah brown, and opened over a skirt of an old-gold tint, richly braided, which revealed it?elf in several places between the brown draperies; a narrow vest of the same showed on the body, and a hat of something of the old " pork pie" shape, which is again in vogue, was trimmed with a cluster of brown bows. I hear that in Christchurch the shops have anything extra lovely in the way of dress placarded " For the Dunedin Exhibition," and that there the women folk are reserving their new costumes for display down here, or rather delaying the buying of new c'othes until the time draws near for the opening of the Exhibition. Oer shop windows will soon blossom forth with spring novelties, and from all I hear I expect when we go to buy our summer toilettes it will be a case of an embarras du choix. At Home our old friends the foulards aud the delaines are amongst the fashionable materials. These things are like comets, returning to us at long or short intervals according to their various orbits. We have just had watered silk and moiie-antique back again after a very long absence, and the homely gingham of my youth but lately returned under the more alluring n3me of zephyr. Like this latter, the foulards and delaines are coming back iu more artistic form than when they left, and make up into ravishing toilettes. Costumes may be quite countrified in their simplicity and yet be of the best lon this year, which will be good news for those who have limited purses or are their own dressmakers. If amateurs in this line would content themselves with making simple gowns they would escape the home - made stamp, which is so apt to mark such efforts. For those who can emp'oy an accomplished modiste the Incroyable, the Empire, and the Directoire styles can be indulged in, and with the richest materials if they like. This beautiful weather not only makes the shop windows gay with new things, but some of the gardens brilliant with spring flowers—the yellow crocuses in particular, some housei having bands of their golden blossoms as a setting. One in particular has such quantities that one can hardly believe they have all sprung from a few treasured roots brought out from the O'd Country—many years ago, I allow. They remind one of the willow trees which abound in the Bay of Plenty, and which are said to have come from slips of Napoleon's famous one at St. Helena. Flowers certainly blossom wonderfully out here, but, at the same time lose some of their characteristics—the violet, for instance. Wordsworth would never recognise the flower to which he likened his Lucy in tho assertive blooms that uprear their heads without embarrassment in the full light of day—the idea of being "half hidden from the eye" by a mossy stone must be quite foreign to them. Perhaps it is something in the air out here, for children generally have the same entire want of diffidence. Martha. P.S.—Since writing my letter I have been to see ' The Union Jack' at tho Princess's Theatre, and was so pleased with it that I must add a few lines on the subject. The name is, to me, the only feeble thing about it, and I fail to see the point of it. The company is a strong one, by far the best we have had in Dunedin for many a day ; and the mounting of the piece unusually good. The painting of the distance in the second scene was bo real that it was a little startling to hear the apples with which the delightful Peter Fly pelted Tom Chuckle hitting with a thud the canvas, instead of falling into the water. Again, in the last act, where we had the toll-gate on a snowy night, the realism was so strong that I actually found my teeth chattering with the cold. The scene in Aldershot Camp was ano'hi r in which the distance painting was admirable, the dash of broad sunlight behind the commissariat waggons being particularly effective. Mrs Bland Holt wore some lovely costumes. Her first was a walking dress of silver grey silk, made with a folded vest, and with no bustle. This was the marked characteristic of all the costumes ; they were graceful and flowing, with no humps or excrescences. (I-hear the same thing from Home. Pads and steels have quite gone out.) Her grey hat, to match, I had some red roses in it. In the second act she had a very handsome black velvet redingote, trimmed with gold braid, some soft scarlet silk forming both loose vest and wide knotted sash. The hat worn with this was a most becoming one of black velvet, much turned up, trimmed with scarlet ostrich tips and gold braid. In the last act she had a delicious violet cloak completely covering her gown, with the long hanging sleeves now so fashionable. It was p'nked out at the edges, and lined with a tender peach color, with knots of ribbon of the Bamr. Miss Alice Deorwyn, as Ruth Med way, had an olive green gown with wide lace collar in the first act, and a complete costume of a delicate dove color in the second, gloves and hat to match ; tho latter of a very pretty shape, flit crowned, and with a simple cluster of ribbm bows at the back. Miss Blanche Lewis, too, had soft flowing costumes with no ornaments—a pale blue in the first act, a white polonaise over green in the second, and a handsome tea gown of crimson plush in the last, opening over a cream-colored lace petticoat. Polly was the merriest of handmaidens, and wore dainty coquettish costumes. Her simple mauve frock and beribboned hat in the Aldershot scene was Kate Greenawayish in style, as were the russet-hued gown and hooded cloak in which we regretfully saw the last of her. The scenes between her and her two sweethearts were delightful, especially the one in camp. Next week I hope to desoribe ' The Ruling Passion,' for, having seen one of these plays, I now want to see all. Martha.
FEMININE FANCIES., Issue 8000, 31 August 1889, Supplement
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