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MISS COLONIA IN LONDON., Issue 10417, 11 September 1897, Supplement
MISS COLONIA IN LONDON.
CONFIDENCES TO HER COUSIN ACROSS THE SEAS. London, July 23. Dear Cousin, — The quality of mercy is not strain’d. It droppeth as the gentle rain from Heaven Upon the place beneath ; it is twice blessed. Just so ; and I expect you to bless me, for I am going to spare you my impressions on the Jubilee. Of course, I 'saw it all. The procession from a window in Fleet street; the Naval Review from the deck of the Dunera • and the Aldershot Military Review from one of the War Office stands. But one lot of impressions on these subjects resemble most others, as far as I can see, as
much as one pea is like another. There 'is but little individuality. It amounts to the stringing together of a lot of sentences about magnificent pageants, splendid regular?, martial colonial troops, tremendous lovalty, and, in the end, it simply amounts to' this : everything was very effective. The superlative adjectives have been drawn on to a great extent, and then everyone who has written anything about the procession of June 22 has not failed to discover and dilate on the fact that the Queen was greatly touched by the reception she received, as if they were the only ones who observed a most obvious fact. I have not been greatly struck by the power of the descriptive writers of the London Press, but the volume of their outpourings has left nothing to be desired. The final scene of the Jubilee was played last Saturday in the Queen’s open letter—through the Home Secretary— to her people, and the curtain has been rung down. The letter is only a monarch’s acknowledgment of a nation’s homage and a sovereign’s recognition of her subjects’ loyalty, but also a woman’s thanks for her people’s affection. WOMEN' AND DEGREES. We were all sorry that the voting had gone against degrees being granted to women by Cambridge University ; but, no doubt, there was a great deal to be said on the antiwomen side of the question, which, of course, the advocates of women’s rights to degrees would not admit. It undoubtedly meant the bringing about eventually of mixed colleges, and the entire revolution at some future, though possibly distant, date of the mode of university life so highly prized by those who do not go to study seriously. Then there was a great deal of truth in the contention that women could create their own degrees, and as soon as it was seen that these degrees were held by women of mark they would quickly acquire value and prestige. However, there are undoubtedly a great many bitter enemies of women gaining educational honors, and no doubt the poem that appears in the Jubliee number of ‘ Isis ’ is the work of one of these. It is called ‘The Vindication of Man,’ and this is a specimen verse;—
From Cambridge town on joyous wires, O’er Afric’s sunny strand, O’er Swiss cantons and English shires, Spitsbergen, Baffin’s Land, The message flies: " They laugh who win, And Cambridge laughs to see There are no female Wranglers in The year of Jubilee.” - The “ felicity ” of auoh verse is about oh'a' par with its taste. AFTER THE BALL. Some rather, good stories are going the rounds about that now historic social function the Duchess of Devonshire’s ball. The costumes were nothing if not realistic, and everyone took the utmost pains to study the
character they were to represent and to ffiakV; as great a success of it as possible. It is* said of one elderly lady, who could not bo, called wasp waisted, that, finding; out tbat> her waist was much greater injure um f eren'cQ. than was in accordance witK, the historical: personage she intended counterfeiting, with a determination that would make the fortune of an actress she set about overcoming the difficulty. For two or three days beforehand she lived quiedy on charcoal biscuits and weak tea, and every little : while . her, maid, would lighten her up a bit.' Whether'this' iih7 pleasant course of treatment proved successful or not I did not hear.’ - A number of the gentlemen were in armor, 3 but I believe that they played such havoc with the ladies’ beautiful laces, and trod so severely, though unintentionally, on "their pet weaknesses, that they were requested to adjourn to the garden after supper. Same of the stories told of the efforts to obtain invitations are probably more amusing than truthful. It is said of one lady who had the honor of knowing the Duchess of Devonshire that she was so positive iliat v-ould receive an invitation that she selected her character and had an expensive costume made. The expected invitation did not, however, come, and at last the lady got desperate.. The day before the ball she drove up to Devonshire House and sent up a note asking point blank for an invitation, at the same time intimating that she would wait for any answer. Her chagrin can be better imagined than described when the servant returned and told her that there was no answer. Yet another little story of over-confidence is told in connection with the ball. The Duchess of Davotflhire, so runs the tale, went to a well-known costumier’s to see about a costume for herself. Noticing in the costumier’s room a dress just completed very like what she intended wearing she commented on it, and was told that it was for Lady and was for her ball. When the duchess returned home she found the lady’s name down on her lists all right, but the invitation had not been issued up to that time, so she quietly erased the name from the list. ROYAL HENLEY. I was enabled to do Henley in the proper style this year—that is to sav, to view the proceedings from a house-boat, and a most jolly lime I had ; Henley is certainly an astonishing place. For the greater part of the year everything is 'as dull as ditch water, and it is with difficulty that the enthusiastic bicyclist is able to run down even a dog let alone a pedestrian, but what a change comes over the scene a week before the annual regatta. People come flocking into the little town, and the cheerful tootle of the whistle of the cheeky tug towing up the fashionable house-boat from all parts of the river is heard from morning till night. Then a day or two before the regatta the boatmen, with their strings of small pleasure craft, spring from everywhere, till, on the morning of the first day of the regatta, hundreds, or, perhaps one might more
correctly say, thousands, of boats, from the wobbly-looking Canadian canoe to the comfortable punt and the round-bottomed ordinary typo of pleasure skiff, of all sizes, fairly darken the river in the vicinity of the town. All available accommodation in and about Henley is taken up, aud on the morning of the regatta trains come running into the little station from London literally packed with excursionists. They do not arrive at lengthy intervals, but every few minutes, from early morning till well on in the day, Ihen comes the boatmen’s harvest. In the morning they generally ask something like £5 for a medium-sized boat, but they quickly cease trying bare-faced robbery of this description, and most of the boats let for the fair price of from 30s to £2. Henley is not a fashionable function. It is a great middle-class gathering. As a beauty show you cannot do better than go to Henley. The ladies this year were dressed almost without exception in white muslin. Everything was light and airy, and fortunately the weather kept faith, for it was beautifully fine for the whole three days, and parasols were very necessary. I noticed a good sprinkling of brilliant red sunshades, which, contrasting with the general white costumes, produced a fine effect. Large numbers of Japanese sunshades were also used, and they of course looked remarkably well too. Henley is about the-only function where the men discard their regulation attire and come out in flannels and light clothes, and during the whole three days I think I only saw one old Johnny with , a top hat. On Friday, the 16th (the last of the three days), everything was particularly active, and the river really looked as if it could not hold half a dozen more boats without causing an absolute jamb. But even on Friday the brilliancy of the spectacle on the river could not vie in color with the gaily - painted houseboats, ..with their striped awnings, which, lining right along one: bank, were regular bowers of brilliant flowers, principally geraniums and lobelias. On the_ Friday the real. attractions did not begin till,the close of the day. In the daytime,. to look down upon the Water from the bridge, from a house-boat, or from one of the club stands was to louk down upon what in the distance looked like a most beautiful bed of flowers, covering in places the entire surface of the river; but at night, when one looked down from, the building, the flowers.., had, turned into glow-worms darting about here and there, crossing one another and passing : one. another in indescribable movement. The fireworks in the meadow were lit up, and the floating minstrels had great crowds round them, and there was not room between banjoes for the tunes to separate themselves. The bridge
.was outlined in light, and the house-boats made -long lines of Jightahd music, and the moon ; sboua down on the N river, and little craft-with Japanese lanterns swaying, at bow a °a;Mern darted,, hither and .thither;' And ? au the piotuiesqbeneas of Henlev the most picturesque Jibnr had coma.
MISS COLONIA IN LONDON., Issue 10417, 11 September 1897, Supplement
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