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FEMININE FANCIES., Issue 8030, 5 October 1889, Supplement
I read in a paper, the other day, of a hen and a catli ving together on the most amicable terms in a place that had been deserted by their owners. It reminded me of two instances of the same kind of companionship that took place amongst my own pets. The first was many years ago, in England, We had a favorite Persian cat with kittens. Soon after their birth, three baby chicks were left orphans, and the weather being cold I didn’t know what to do with them. Whilst trying to procure them a more suitable stepmother, I suggested to my pussy-cat that she should give them a home pro tem. To my surprise she jumped at the proposal, and soon was not happy unless her two-legged, as well as her .fourlegged, babes were nestled in amongst her long fur. When the little chicks got out of the nest and ran about, she tried to take them up in her mouth as she would her kittens, but could never catch them, and would mew piteously to us for help with her uhruly family. In spite of all her efforts, poor old thing, she didn’t manage to rear the little aliens, and they all died.
The second case of fraternisation was a year or two ago, and in Dunedin. We had moved into a new house, and my first step, almost, was to stock the poultry yard. We soon noticed a cat amongst the hens, and supposed it had been left by the last inmates of the place. It always fed with the fowls, accompanied them in their afternoon walk when they were let out for a run on the grass, and I often found it lying asleep in the nest in which the eggs were being laid. It was very wild, and refused all invitations into the house, preferring the feathered companions it had chosen for itself. This tale, too, has a tragic end, for three officious dogs who were calling upon us with their master and mistress put a sudden stop to poor inoffensive pussy’s peaceful life. October has come in like a lamb this year, instead of with its usual leonine roar. lam curious to see if we shall escape the snow storm that we always expect this month. Being such a phenomenal season, it is very possible it may for once be left out of the year’s programme. What good omens our Jubilee Exhibition has started with. I don’t suppose there has been a day’s delay in its erection, thanks to the calm, dry weather, and I feel confident that the same good fortune will folio v it throughout; and if we have as splendid a summer as we have had a winter, what a grand advertisement it will be for the colony !
Lately I have assisted at the ceremony of opening two boxes from Home of finery for the coming season, and have come to the conclusion that it is not only a very costly way of getting things, but that they seem in no way superior to those one sees in the shops here. There are really lovely things now on view', and I had a good inspection lately helping one of my friends to choose a ball gown. We got exactly what we wanted, all the component parts matching to perfection, and at a price whose moderation surprised me. Amongst the things sent straight from Home were some very dainty little shirt fronts, or sham vests, or whatever they are called, each made of a delicate tint in Liberty silk, prettily puffed and with a dandy little frill of the same meandering down the centre. A silk sunshade of the same silk in two shades of terra cotta (the darker outside) was very pretty, and the fact of the tips of the riba being gilt, and both riba and spokes being covered with the silk, added much to the effect, a bow of the two colors on the handle putting the finishing touch of excellence. An ingenious person could improve a sunshade herself, I think, given these suggestions. Skirts seem to be much the same as ever—very simple, and with no bustle to speak of. Those arranged with box plaits are very wide. I measured one, and it was yards round. Unless very thickly plaited it will not sit well. “ Husband beaters ” arc no longer required it seems, for parasols and en tout cas have shrunk considerably as regards length of handle. Is it that husbands have shown due submission, I wonder, or do these weapons of warfare only aggravate ? Lunching out the other day, I saw a lovely arrangement for the table, though I grieve to say it gave mo doubts os to the probity of my hostess, as I will explain anon. It consisted of masses of pear and cherry blossom, with here and there a cluster of apple, the tender pink of the latter relieving the other’s snowy whiteness —the whole was set off with spraysofthenative ivy, which trailed off amongst the dishes. I supppose the flowers were in saucers, but the wreathing ivy hid all signs of them. On coming away I glanced scarchingly round for the fruit trees, and, seeing none, came to the conclusion that the robbing of orchards is not confined to boys alone, and that, at this season, their owners may suffer from more lusthetic plunderers.
Whilst on the subject of decoration, I must describe some work that has just been scut mo from the School of Art at Home. One piece is a sideboard strip in fine white linen with a wide hem all round. The pattern is of conventional foliage, the outlining and veining being done in shades of terra-cotta linen thread, filled in with satin stitch in white. The effect is admirable. In the larger and more complicated leaves some spaces of the linen are left bare, which prevents them looking heavy. Pistils and stamens too are worked in the color with French knots. By hem-stitching the hem round, instead of only working it in the sewing machine, it would look all the daintier.
My one and only dissipation lately has been a parish tea meeting in connection with St. Peter’s Church. There was a fine display of good things on the several tables, which, however, vanished like summer snows before the onslaughts of the small boys. After even their appetites were satisfied, and the hall cleared of the tables, we were entertained with first the reading of a piece of poetry upon an incident in the American War, called ‘ The Little Girl and the President.’ It was a touching little tale, to which the reader did full justice. Miss Horne then sang a song, which was heartily encored, after which an amusing little farce called ‘ Gregory’s Blunders ’ was played by some of the members of St. Paul’s Young Men’s Association. The evening’s amusement ended with a dance, and seemed to be enjoyed by all, MARTHA,
FEMININE FANCIES., Issue 8030, 5 October 1889, Supplement
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