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straws and a rosebud, or a tag of lace and a coarse gilding on the base token, and shuts bunch of glass beads. If there is a reaction her eyes to the hideous figure in the midst, against an excess of Rowland's Macassar, and the foul legend written round the edge. and hair shiny and sticky with grease is It is this envy of the pleasures, and indifferthought less nice than if left clean and ence to the sins, of these women of the demihealthily crisp, she dries and frizzes and sticks monde which is doing such infinite mischief hers out on end like certain savages in to the modern girl. They brush too closely Africa, or lets it wander down her back by each other, if not in actual deeds, yet in like Madge Wildfire's, and thinks herself all aims and feelings; for the luxury which is the more beautiful the nearer she approaches bought by vice with the one is the thing of in look to a maniac or a negress. With all in life most passionately desired by the purity of taste she has lost also that far other, though she is not yet prepared to pay more precious purity and delicacy of per- quite the same price. Unfortunately, she ception which sometimes mean more than has already paid too much all that once appears on the surface. What the demi- gave her distinctive national character. No monde does in its frantic efforts to excite at- one can say of the modern English girl that tention, she also does in imitation. If some she is tender, loving, retiring, or domestic. fashionable dévergondée en evidence is re- The old fault so often found by keen-sighted ported to have come out with her dress be- Frenchwomen, that she was so fatally rolow her shoulder-blades, and a gold strap manesque, so prone to sacrifice appearances for all the sleeve thought necessary, the girl and social advantages for love, will never be of the period follows suit next day; and set down to the girl of the period. Love inthen wonders that men sometimes mistake deed is the last thing she thinks of, and the her for her prototype, or that mothers of least of the dangers besetting her. Love in girls not quite so far gone as herself refuse a cottage, that seductive dream which used her as a companion for their daughters. to vex the heart and disturb the calculations She has blunted the fine edges of feeling so of prudent mothers, is now a myth of past much that she cannot understand why she ages. The legal barter of herself for so should be condemned for an imitation of much money, representing so much dash, so form which does not include imitation of much luxury and pleasure that is her idea fact; she cannot be made to see that mod- of marriage; the only idea worth entertainesty of appearance and virtue ought to be ing. For all seriousness of thought respectinseparable, and that no good girl can affording the duties or the consequences of marto appear bad, under penalty of receiving the contempt awarded to the bad.
This imitation of the demi-monde in dress leads to something in manner and feeling, not quite so pronounced perhaps, but far too like to be honourable to herself or satisfactory to her friends. It leads to slang, bold talk, and fastness; to the love of pleasure and indifference to duty; to the desire of money before either love or happiness; to uselessness at home, dissatisfaction with the monotony of ordinary life, and horror of all useful work; in a word, to the worst forms of luxury and selfishness, to the most fatal effects arising from want of high principle and absence of tender feeling. The girl of the period envies the queens of the demimonde far more than she abhors them. She sces them gorgeously attired and sumptuously appointed, and she knows them to be flattered, fêted, and courted with a certain disdainful admiration of which she catches only the admiration while she ignores the disdain. They have all for which her soul is hungering, and she never stops to reflect at what a price they have bought their gains, and what fearful moral penalties they pay for their sensuous pleasures. She sees only the
riage, she has not a trace. If children come, they find but a stepmother's cold welcome from her; and if her husband thinks that he has married anything that is to belong to him- -a tacens et placens uxor pledged to make him happy-the sooner he wakes from his hallucination and understands that he has simply married some one who will condescend to spend his money on herself, and who will shelter her indiscretions behind the shield of his name, the less severe will be his disappointment. She has married his house, his carriage, his balance at the banker's, his title; and he himself is just the inevitable condition clogging the wheel of her fortune; at best an adjunct, to be tolerated with more or less patience as may chance. For it is only the old-fashioned sort, not girls of the period pur sang, that marry for love, or put the husband before the banker. But she does not marry easily. Men are afraid of her; and with reason. They may amuse themselves with her for an evening, but they do not take her readily for life. Besides, after all her efforts, she is only a poor copy of the real thing; and the real thing is far more amusing than the copy, because it is real. Men can get that whenever they like;
she is piquante and exciting when she thus makes herself the bad copy of a worse original; and she will not see that though men laugh with her they do not respect her, though they flirt with her they do not marry her; she will not believe that she is not the kind of thing they want, and that she is acting against nature and her own interests when she disregards their advice and offends their taste. We do not see how she makes out her account, viewing her life from any side; but all we can do is to wait patiently until the national madness has passed, and our women have come back again to the old English ideal, once the most beautiful, the most modest, the most essentially womanly in the world.
and when they go into their mothers' drawing-versation to doubtful subjects. She thinks rooms, to see their sisters and their sisters' friends, they want something of quite different flavour. Toujours perdrix is bad providing all the world over; but a continual weak imitation of toujours perdrix is worse. If we must have only one kind of thing, let us have it genuine; and the queens of St. John's Wood in their unblushing honesty, rather than their imitators and make-believes in Bayswater and Belgravia. For, at whatever cost of shocked self-love or pained modesty it may be, it cannot be too plainly told to the modern English girl that the net result of her present manner of life is to assimilate her as nearly as possible to a class of women whom we must not call by their proper or improper― name. And we are willing to believe that she has still some modesty of soul left hidden under all this effrontery of fashion, and that, if she could be made to see herself as she appears to the eyes of men, she would mend her ways before too late.
It is terribly significant of the present state of things when men are free to write as they do of the women of their own nation. Every word of censure flung against them is two-edged, and wounds those who condemn as much as those who are condemned; for surely it need hardly be said that men hold nothing so dear as the honour of their women, and that no one living would willingly lower the repute of his mother or his sisters. It is only when these have placed themselves beyond the pale of masculine respect that such things could be written as are written now; when they become again what they were once they will gather round them the love and homage and chivalrous devotion which were then an Englishwoman's natural inheritance. The marvel, in the present fashion of life among women, is how it holds its ground in spite of the disapprobation of men. It used to be an old-time notion that the sexes were made for each other, and that it was only natural for them to please each other, and to set themselves out for that end. But the girl of the period does not please men. She pleases them as little as she elevates them; and how little she does that, the class of women she has taken as her models of itself testifies. All men whose opinion is worth having prefer the simple and genuine girl of the past, with her tender little ways and pretty bashful modesties, to this loud and rampant modernization, with her false red hair and painted skin, talking slang as glibly as a man, and by preference leading the con
MY PHOTOGRAPH BOOK IN THIRTY
My book is out of date now;
You'll find it very slow;
Thirty long long years, and now
That one? Well that's myself — yes;
I hadn't any wrinkles then,
My hair was brown, not gray,
And this? Ah dear, how pretty, too,
It's faded like the rest, though,
Dear! what a girl that was, sir!.
Such eyes and such a nose;
This fellow, such a noodle too -
Then is the time with our spirits and hearts in | Their earlier selves are but the budding grain — it, Young, green, and useless: let them reach full
Masks on our faces and domino-clad,
Off we all rush to play pranks and our parts in And if Heaven deem them worthy of the war,
Let all its dread battalions press upon them: Let the keen scythe of trouble lay them low, And rend in shreds their very core of pride; Let the pure wrath of noon scorch up their bloom,
And let the evening dew weep sad upon them,
The threshing-flails of scornful human hearts;
SHORT ARTICLES:- - Cicindelæ, 210. Improved Tools, 210. Milton's Mulberry Tree, 225. Capt. Montgomorie, R. E., 234. Tennyson, and imitation thereof, 234. The Coronation Stone, 254. Louis of Bavaria, 256. American "Court Dress," 256. Tom Paine's Bones, 256. FireProof Buildings, 256.
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