1 . • At oar English court on the occasion of a State entertainment applause is unknown, and the writer of this paragraph has keard Madame Albani sing some of her most beautiful notes, the only signal of success being an impressive hush on the part of the audience and a gentle tapping on the hand by the Princess of Wales with her fan. • . • " Oae of the moßt lucrative branches of my business is that of taking care of and tending the plants of people who are temporarily absent from London," said a nurseryman and florist. * . * The- Duchess of Devonshire was a great beauty in her time. She is of Spanish de"- , scent, and her present husband was ia love, with her before she married the Duke of Manchester. She is mistress of eight magnificent country scats and town houses, a chateau- in France, a villa on the Riviera, and has a daughter married to a man who bears three dukedoms — Hamilton', Brandon, and Chatelheraulfc. She herself has been twice led to the altar by a duke. • . . Lidy Oarew is fond of wearing a jewel that she describes as "a funny piece of gam." It is the most magnificent utcut ruby in the world. It weighs about 130 carats, and is about the size of a large walnafc. • . • A story of a pretty marriago proposal and an equally pretty acceptance is goiog the rounds. A joucg artist who desired to become engaged to a young lady, herself a disciple of the mablstick, tent her a bit of canvas, on which he had painted a wedding ring. At its side he placed a note of interrogation, and underneath bis initials. The canvas came back, and on examination he found it tp be his own drawing ; bat the ring contained a dainty finger, the note cf interrogation was made a note of exclamation ; and another initial was placed in front of the signature. * . * The mnsical instrument girl is, says a Home writer, coming in sgain 1 That doss not mean that the mußican will be fashionable, or that music will be particularly dear to tbe heatts of society damsels. Bat it means tbat the picturesque possibilities of the guitar, the mandolin, and the violin arc once' more appreciated at their full value, and that the schools whtre one is taught to hold the«e objects gracefully and to keep from producing actual dUcord on them are to be throDged- with pupils. When timid, retiring, young men call, the valoe of the guitar or ' * mandolin is greatest. It soggeets a subject for conversation ; it fills in the pauses in the conversation. At the same time, no young man can find its stray, sweet, elusive strains an interruption if he is conversationally incliaed. •.• Madame Surah Earnhardt is not only ▼cry generous, bat sbo is one of thoee rare people wild never forget a kindness, as the following tine story will show. Amongst her many pets is a' little snake, which comes in fcr more than a fair share of his mistress's favour. One day when in London this pet was lo»t, and great was its owner's grief until a lady who had found the snake in the road, and knew from the j«wel it wore that it bslorged to the celebrated actress, brought it baclr, carrying it in her sunshade. Madame Bernhardt's gratitude was very great, and the lady was the recipient of a box for the theatro during the rest of tbe season. Not only that, but the next Christmas brought her a card and a bsautif al diamond ring from this generous actress. ■ . • Writing of Princesß Christian, " Lady Mary" says, in The Woman at Home: — " On a recent occasion I watched her Royal Higness at a bazaar. With her usual good nature she went from stall to stall making purchases, Prince Christian 6towiog away small parcels in his pockets. One article purchased, however, was of some considerable s'ze ; so the attendant put the question, • Shall I send it for yon, madam ? ' to which the Princess made answer, ' Oh ! yes, send it to Buckingham Palace, if you please.' 'To whom shall I address it 1 ' was tbe next query ; and her Royal Highness— who dearly loves a joke— gave the Prince a comical warnlcg look, and said : • Address it to Mfs Christian.' The attendant was . quite unsuspicious of the rank of her customers, and so the parcel was duly despatched to ' Mrs Christian, Buckingham Palace."' • . • You must understand, eald a wellknown West End florist to a London journalist who found himself in his delightful private office, that we only do business with aristocratic customers. We would never think of making up a small buttonhole for less than Is 6d, and if a client wants an unusually fine and large one wo charge him from 3s 6d to 53 for it. Sjme bouquets are very expensive. An heir to an earldem called in tho other day and ordered one which oost £10 10 a. It was composed of poinsettias and lilies. The former flowers cost 18s a dozen, and six dczen were used. They were so delicate that the van in which they were brought from the nurserj had to be warmed. I had only an actual profit of a guinea and a-half on this transaction. Some West End florists would have charged £12 12s for the same bouquet. If I sent an ordinary £10 10s bouquet it would be about 3£fb in diameter and 104 ft' in circumference. I sent a very pretty bouquet to a young clubman recently. Ha did not want a' variety of flowers, bnt roses onlj. I made him up a beautiful basket, which stood 3ft high. The basket alone cost 17s 6d. I guessed this was for his sweetheart, and I see tbat the engagement is announced in the soolety papers. Her name was Rose. Birthday bouquets seldom run into much money. I always know when a young fellow wants to make his sweetheart a 'preient. He is so particular in asking the • meanings of. the different flowers, When he
wants to Bend a birthday floral offering to bis mother or bis sister on their respective birthday?, tbat is quite another matter. He usually wants big value for his money then, and never asks much about the meanings of the flowers, though he generally arranges for a liberal supply of forget-me-nots and lilies of the valley. • . • The present appearance of the sorelytried Dowager Empress of Russia will excite the deepest compassion in the most callous beholder. On her face a stony and extremely painful expression has settled, utterly unknown in former days. • . • In a very interesting article, " The Wives of Eminent Statesmen," in the Woman at Home, we read of a romance connected with the marrißge of the present Marquis and Marchioness of Salisbury. A judge's daughter was not considered a sufficient match for the son of a marquis. The late Lord Salisbury tried to prevent the match, bnt as his son, then Lord Robert Cecil, was persistent, he so far relented as to make terms. These were that Lord Robert should undertake not to see or communicate with Miss Alderson for an entire year. " The young lovers stood the test, and at the close of the year he obtained his father's consent ; but the Marquis, while continuing his allowance of £600 a year, declined to increase it. So runs. the. story, and it has been said that the necessity of doing something for his own support; may have assisted to develop the noble lord's talent. " Lord Rosebery," the article gees on, " has no wife now to receive his guests and- to represent him in the drawing rooms of Mayfair. He entertains small parties of politicians at dinner during the session, but male dinners are, in general, not amusing. A peep into Lord Rjseberj's homo life was given in a letter by the late Lord Houghton while staying with him in 1880. • Rosebery,' he wrote, 'is devoted to his baby, whom he carries about sll day.' The death of bis wife —one of the kindest ladies who ever lived — drove him long from public life. It was partly in order to assuage his grief that Mr Jonn Morley induced him to write the life of Fitt*n the 'Twelfth English Statesmen' series." ' . • Writing of the recent Battle of Flowers at Nice a Home correspondent says : — " The twice postponed Battle of Flowers came eff at Cannes in splendid weather. Of course, the English element was predominant, and there were many well-appointed carriage?, of which it is impossible in the short space allotted me to mention the twentieth purr. The Prince of Wales came in a soft grey suit and black hat in a hired break drawn by four "horses, in which were seated Sir Richard and Lady Winslow, Biron6ss Hoffmann, Sir Ohristophor Sykes, and Mr and Mrs OgdenGoelet. Too Princa joined in the battle, though he tried as usual to remain in the background as much as possible. He eat with his back to the coachman with two ladies on his left. " The carriages I most admired were the following :— Lady Nina Belfort drivisg a restless littre cob, harnessed to a oharreite anglaise. The colours were violet and resgda, Lady Nina weariug violet, and Lady Evelyn Macdonald reseda; the cushions and spokes of the wheels covered in reseda, the harness and shafts in violent ribbon ; the floral decorations consitting of violets and mignonette, with an arch of flowers above the ladies' heads ; a smart groom gave the finishing touch to a very chic little turn out, which obtained one of the 30 banners distributed. These banners cost the committee from 150fr to 200fr each, and many of them were embellished with a hand-painted view of Cannes, or its suburbs. "Mr and Mrs D^nnistoun, of Golf hill, a very handsome couple, came in a large pbaston covered with the purest white lilac; for which many a hothouse must have been emptied ; the l*mpa were hidden under large bouquets of large red anthuriums, the whole interspersed with bunches of red and black sash. rlbboD, thus introducing the Cannes golf colours. The owners wearing red and white ribbons on their straw bats completed a very distingue carriage, to which •was given a banner, and later on an additional prize in the form oi&fouet dhonneur. These whips, ten in number, had a tilver band with the town arms engraved on ir, and a salver knob, on which we read, ' Bataille de Fleurp, Ville de Cannes, 1593.' " ' Cannes en 1893 ' was a carriage decorated in memory of the bad season we have bad this year. It was covered in snow and frost covered palms and some orange branches, fruit attached. The occupants were dressed in bright red costumes, and at the back of the carriage one read ' Cannes en 1895.' The canopy of frost and snow half bid the occupants, who were Mr KeithStewart and daughters of Lennox Gordon and Mrs Spencer Chapman and Miss Helen. Then, followed a baby's nest, drawn by a tiny donkey. The nest was a snowball from which emerged the faces of Miss Aline and Master Walter Stewart. 11 Three young ladies, Parisian girls, came in a buggy, diessed in green and white, very effectively got up as marguerite?, the carriage being decorated with the same flower, and had a bright, spring-like effect. Miss R. Savile Clarke and Misa Willoughby drove a little charretle anglaise, decorated to represent a tunnel, with peach blossoms, other flowers, and ribbon bows, a very fresh-look-ing and graceful apparition." Some Home Fashions. There is no good blinking the fact — • SKIUTS ARE GROWING WIDER round the foot every day. In Paris the stiffened tkirtis a fait accompU; here it is BtilJ, so to speak, in the tentative stage ; but the plunge will be taken with the first real burst of spring weather. We thought this had come to stay last wesk, and some of ns ventured to don pretty light shirts instead of the comfortable flannel, velvet, or knitted ones we had been wearing, but the wiser ones abstained, and clung to their furs. As one woman remarked the other day — " You see, it isn't a question of a cold, but of influenza nowadays I" and this wisdom is justified, for we are all shivering again, and wonder icg drearily as to our Easter prospects I Just at present I must say it looks very much as if vulgarity pure and simple were to be THE KEY.NOTE OP THIS SEASON, for the goods to be seed* labelled as " Parisian modes," fee., are in many cases outrageous. For instance, there is an awful bonnet —
j toque — I do not know what to call it — which is neither more nor less than a bat, laid flat on the bead with wide wings outspread, giviDg one an eerie feeling that the wretched wearer is a prey to the traditional vampire I Not a nice idea in connection with a pretty woman, is it 1 Tbhn the mixture of colours I Pink, blue, yellow, mauve, and green have my horrified eyes beheld assembled on one bonnet I To confess the honest truth, what disgusted me most was that when I got in front of the wearer and saw her full face I was obliged to confess that the weird mixture suited her 1 Bat ifc ought not ! and very sure I am no other woman could venture on such an omnium gatherUm in safety, though, worse luck i plenty will try it ; in fact, I beheld one stout matron very evidently taking notes for future use I THEN THE JACKETS ! Double revers, large and rather effusive lace " jabots " (of the kind Geoff calls disrespectfully " Sambo ties "), huge soup - plate buttons, and basques at the waist standing out pleated and gored like the white " f ustanella " skirt of an Albanian peasant or a caique-jee at the Olympian "Orient" combine to make up a decidedly startling whole. Needless, however, to say that, once the weather gets mild enough to make us all take to Epring gear, the worst of these exaggerations will be toned .down, our eyes will grow accustomed to .what is left, and we shall be reconciled to and probably admire what now makes us open our eyes with horror. Blouses [and Bhirts will retain their popularity, that is evident, and tbe convenient jacket and skirt will hold its own, though the Eton jacket shows Bigns of sharing its general favour with the Bolero, which is practically a sleeveless Eton. BLOUSES are most convenient, and also economical, for their wearing out does not imply a whole new turnout, as is the case with one's dress body, and besides they are so adaptable for all times and seasons, even evening blouses having obtained a recognised position, instead of being, what they were originally considered, make-shifts. Striped silks are much worn for these, and very becoming they are if skilfully made. They should be so cut as to allow the stripes to converge sharply at the waist, are generally fulled into a square velvet yoke, and have elbow sleeves finished with a deep frill of accordion-pleated chiffon or lace, and, if liked, a trimming of the inevitable sequins. Chine silks are also liked for afternoon, and very dainty they are. Here is a specimen. A pale cornflower-blue cloth of a soft tint that ia scarcely blue, and yet is not grey, made with a plain skirt full at the foot and gored at the hip?, a full blouse of a still paler blue silk, with tiny bouquets of carnations all over it in that hazy, misty style so peculiar to chine silk, falling loose in front, with three paste buttons down the middle box-pleat, a soft sash of the chine, fringed out at the encr, being drawn carelessly in loop 3 through a handsome pasta buckle, and falling loosely at the side, and the full silken sleeves showing from the sleeveless Bolero of the cloth ; a black lace picture hat with a posy of carnations, and much black satin .ribbon, being sent home with it. FOR HABD WBAB, to my mind, nothing boats the so-called tl golf " jersey, a most comfortable garment, pulling down neatly and smoothly on the hips under the skirt, with full sleeves to the elbow, and thence tight to the wrist, and so buttoned on the shoulders as to obviate the discomfort of the old jersey of the days gone by, which could only be got out of by a process of skinning, all but impossible without outside help. By the bye, be careful about your SPRING .DRESSES, for the Princess make appears likely to be much and well worn this season; already 'some have been seen, worn by women who dress well. They are austerely simple in cut, the only alleviation of their plainness being the ribbon bretellcs, starting from shoulders-knots, goiog down into the folded belt, under rather full rosettes, and then falling in loose ends on the ekirfc. SHATTERED IB>OLS. Do they come in every lifetime, 'ihose sweet enchanting chcams Of notilc aspirations. Of glorious lovely scones? Of a life well *peofc and useful, Of a gentle loving bride, Who knows your heart As you know hers, And is ever by your side? Of children sweet and beautiful* • Of loving f i iends and true : Oh, tell rcc, you who read thif, Hava you not dreamed them too 2 To many they are i ealiscd, But many more, alas I Have only sh&ttered idols, Fond illusions of the pa&t. Will th«re come a time hereafter^ To those who've felt the naio. Of sweet desires unEalitfied, And longings ever vain, "When all Iho3e fond illusions, Dream fancies of the past, Will be living, sweet realities, Iv a fairer laud at la3t ? Fan. tt~f» Descriptions ofbails, ftc, must be endorsed l>y either the Witness correspondent for the distiict or li> the secrctarj to tho hull committee. The MS. of any correspondents who rto not comply null this rule will be sent to the secretary for endorsement prior to appearing.— RMMKLlN'E. To ensuru publication In the forthcoming issue, letters should reach ttu: Witness olllce If poinlile on Saturday night, but oa no account later that Mouda> nicht. SURPRISE PARTY. Dear Emmemnb,— On Friday, 21st vtlh, at about 8 p.m., a party of between 40 and 50 ladies and gentlemen, many of them provided with baskets well filled with the good things of this life, called upon Mrs W. Daweon, of May Villa, Duucan street, taking her completely by surprise. After being warmly we'eomed the visitors assumed command of the house, and socn from their stores provided an excellent supper, after which songs were sung by Mr and Mrs Il'.I I . L. Jones i and Mr Manson. to the accompaniment of Mr | Moore. Signor Squarise played a bolo on the violin, and Mr M'Guinness greatly delighted those assembled with a comic song. It was a terribly stormy night, but the adverse elements did not daunt the visitors from venturing out to visit such a favourite amorigst them as is Mrs Dawson, who on this occasion was transformed into a guest in her own house, tbe visitors doing the entertaining part in a thorough and agreeable manner. A most enjoyable night was spea!-, dancing to the inspiriting strains of Mv ITogo'a music being kept up until an early hour, and the visitors gave three hearty cheers for their guest and sang "Auld lang syne" with great glee before venturing out into the storm once more to seek their home?, exceedingly pleased with the happy and pleasant result of their surprise visit. —One of the Party. WEDDING AT ROMAHAPA. Dear Emmeline,— The Messrs Abernethy gave a. very successful party in honour of their only rista's wedding to Mr D. Wilson, of Milton.
About 50 guests assembled in response to the invitation. The wedding breakfast finished, the 100 m was cleared for dancing. The evening's proceedings were enlivened with songs by Messrs Cunningham, Lonnie, Bates. » ulloch, and Harm, and several step dance 3 by Mr Milburne (Milton), lue bncle was dressed in a very prstty figured navy blue costume, and wore a veil and orange bkHboms. The bridesmaid, Miss Wilson (sister of the bridegroom), was dres*«l in black and white. Mr Peter Abernethv, jun. (brother of the bride), acted as best mm. The weather being very rough most of the ladies word dark diesses. Mrs P. Tulloch, black skirt- and white blouse ; Mrs J. Abernethy, black ; Mrs P. Abernethy, black, and velvet blouse ; Mrs Ross, black. Amongst the young ladies I noticed Mis s Jennie Hay, black and jet; Miss Rociero, pretty black dre*s with white front ; Miis Sutherland, black, and cream front ; Miss M'Pherson, black and piuk ; Miss Dunn, brown akirb and ere tm blouse; Miss Mulrine, brown ; Miss Mai shall, black trimmed with velvet; Miss Jessie Dunn, marcon skirt and cream blouse ; Miss L. Mulrine, black ; Miss Ledingham, grey skirt and red blouse ; Miss Murray, black ; Miss K. Wilson, fawn ; Mrs Peterson, grey ; Mis Geo, Wright, grey. Dancing was kept up till daylight, and the bride and bridegrom left for Christchurch next day. — A Guest. HOME INTERESTS. Macaroki Soup. — Take as muck good meat stock as will be needed for the quantity of soup required. Bring the stock to boiling ; skim off all the scam. Chop fine one turnip, two carrots, and four onions ; fry them in a helping fcableBpoonful of butter until a light brown, stirring constantly to prevent burning.. Tarn them into the - boiling soup, bjing careful to save every particle of the butler. One tsaspoenful of peppercorns, and salt to taste, and let it simmer two hours and a-haif. While thin is cooking prepare £lb of macaroni. Break it into small pieces, wash sjb well in several waters. Put into a covered saucepan with plenty of boiling wafer and a little salt. Let it boil rapidly for 25 minutes. Turn it into a colander, pour some cold water over it, let it drain thoroughly. Lay the macaroni into a warm soup turoen. Strain the boiling soup over it, and serve. Calf's Liver and Bacon.— Call's lirer fried with bacon is a homely dish, but a tasty one if cooked nicely. Liver lib, bacon £lb, will make a moderate-sized dish. Firtt cut the liver in slices about £in thick, wash each ulice. wipe dry in a clean cloth and sprinkle wi h a lit! le ftotfr. You will obseree we say wash the liver. We do not generally approve of the practice of washing meat, but liver is an exception, but do not let it stiy in the water. The bacon fried, take out of the paa, aud keep hot on a dish ; when the liver is a delicate brown on'botu sides and cooked quite through, arrange it nicely en the dish with the bacon. Gravy to make : Stir a tablespoonful of flour with the tame of mushroom ketchup, season with pepper and salt. Add half-pint or perhaps more of water, stir together and pour in the pan ; etir till it boils, then pour into the dish. Baked potitocs are sice with this dish. Duchess Loaves — Put half a pint of milk into a stewpau, with soz flour, 4oz butter, 2oz sugar, 2oz chopped almonds, and a little lemon juice. Place the pan upon the fire, and stir until the mixture boils and for about three minutes after. Take from the fire, and into the paste mix in', one at a time, three eggs. Divide the mixture into small roucd balls, the bi'zo of a pigeon's egg ; place them upon a baking sheet spread with butter, aud bake t i a light brown colour. When cold, make an incision down the side of each, and fill the loaves with strawberry j*nj, sprinkle with desiccated cocoanut, dish, and send to table. Potato Croquettes — Rub 2b cold cooked pofcatjes through a sieve, put lcz butter and one tablespt onful milk into a ttewpan, and whqn ■ hot stir in the pjtatoes ; remove off tbe fire, and break two yolks of r-ggs into the potatoes, stir in one tableppoonful of chopped parsley and a little pepper and salt. Whoa quite cold, shape this mixture into balls, egg and bread crumb, and fry in boiling fat. Serve with dried parsley. Orancje Cake. — TaCe one cupful anda-half of sugar, two cups of flour, half cup t f warm water, yolks of four eggs and whites of three, two teaspoonfuls of baking powder, grated rind and juice o? one orange. B*ke the cake in four layer?, and for filing, make a frosting of the other white of egg with powdered sugar. Grate an orange in and spread like jelly cake. Kicb Creasi.— Boil one cupful^pf rice in sweet milk until tender, add two tabjespooufuls of powdered sugar arid pour into a dish. Drop over a spoonful of currant jelly. Beat the whites of fives eggs with half a teacupf ul of sugar and five ttacupfuls of thick cream, flavour with vanilla and pour over the rice. Serve very cold. Stewed Parsnips. — Boil two moderate-s'zed parsnips until tender, then draio, and cat them in slices about £in thick and 3iu long. Make a li tie good white sauce with 2 z bufct er, a tftb'espoonful of fl'iur, a tablcpoouful of stock, the third part of a piet of new milk, and a little salt and pepper. Stir this sauce over the fire until it is smooth and thick, put in the sliced parsnipp, simmer for a few minutes, and serve.