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LÄDT CLUBS.

In 1848, .(writes "Ivan" in the Melbourne Argúa,f% woman's club was established in jPáíisi ¡' Probably the members' fon¿l}t with each other, and did net pay .their sjbsorfpi .tiona {'anyhow, jbhere was the club, and its existence made the Parisian map, even the advanced man, angry. There was no good

reason for that when one comes fer think of it ; bnt I suppose -the novelty < infringed en thejsverage male ideaUand suddenly reveal, ed a new and ttnexped kind of woman with claims to be 'thonght about, in addition-to other troubles-all whioh waa irritating. Io! the following June, when dire tumults broke out agaitfin Paris, ** the mob " raided the woman's club, and so dealt there and then with the unhappy members present that for some hours afterwards the latter, if request^ ed te take a chair, said that they were really not tired, and seemed to prefer to rest standing on their feet. This uncouth action of the Paris mob utterly dissolved the club'. Erects have marched rapidly since then. We live under a new dispensation truly. Who indeed could have predicted in the vyear 1848 that by the'end of the century the Hon. J. W. Fortescue would probably be the first elected Governor«¿ef the Commonwealth of Australia, and that there would be five or' six ladies' clnbs comfortably established in the West End ef London P England is, BO. oording to French critics, the land ef "shocking," a unique word to whioh the French give fresh and genuine value by their mispronunciation of it. Yet it is England whioh has made the most successful experi- ment in ladies' 'clubs. There is, in fact, room both for dub women and for those women who would still call the acts, words, and ideas indulged in by olnb women shooking!. The ttw©-schools, - or-orders; t>f female humanity do not clash, nor mix. with ¡each other ; indeed, they are soaroely conscious of

each other's existence.

A score of West End clubs for men are quite nndistinguishable^-mere copies of one another. Male members of political, mili- tary, literary, and sporting clubs all leok very muoh alike ; and they all perform about the same actions and saj the same tbingB when they are inside the club premises. Not so with-the women. There is no similarity be. tween any two ladies'1 clubs in London! Classing them according to the an.onnt of the subscription, the " Albermarle " would oome first. There is a club for both men and women. There is no éntranos fee, but the annual subscription is £5. The club-house io in a street off Piccadilly, and it is a coraT fortable, sociable plaoe. During the season, especially from abont fo'nr to six o'clock in the afternoon, the scene "is both lively and impressive ; carriages dash up to the door, everybody seems to have plenty of money and food and clothing. Here flit to and fro oeldly beautiful Americans, an occasional actress of undoubtedly correct antecedents, and married ladies who take fashionable life

most seriously, and give sober thought to shopping in Bond-street, whioh is close handy. At afternoon tea time, and when dinner parties are made up before the theatre, the Albermarle members are seen at their mest brillant moment. ' It seems to be a settled prinoiple at thie club with both male and female guests to behave even more ir- reproachably at those hours than ordinary people do in private life. No one ever really was so desperately proper as some of the members of this club look np to nine or ten o'olook at night. Supper parties after the theatre are an institution here, and then it is rather otherwise.

Very different in the " Alexandra Club " in Grosvenor-8treet,not very far off. No lady can become a member here unless she be also eligible for presentation at Court. To belong to this club is really to take part in a demonstration to formally proclaim one's achievements. Beyond that, the Alexandra is a vjery dall club. The annual subscription is only three gnineas for town members and two for country members. There is an en- trance fee of five guineas. This is the only residential ladies' club in London, for al- though certain other hostels call themselres olnbB, they are, as a matter of faot, merely boarding-houses for women, where the members have to observe sundry rather strict rules and regulations. There are six bedrooms at the Alexandra for ladies who wish to sleep ia Londea, and two rooms for their maids. <A lengthy code of rules and regulations exists. One queer rule seems to imply that ladies, even of an exalted and aeleot description, are not above interfering with servants and trying to secare a good one at the expense of their fellow members. Another speciality at the Alexandra Club is that no man is permitted, on any pretence whatever, to set foot within the dub premise«. This rule is the outcome of experience, doabtle«s. The Orleans Club on the Thames, at Twickenham, once a very pleasant and successful men's club, where women were admitted (a very different thing from a woman's clnb where men are admitted), was finally wrecked by the circumstance that it, was also a residential dub. Some of the members and guests got confused on the residential question, and there were awful nesses.* The summer prlaee of the Lyric Club at Barnes, frequented by real ladies, is rigidly non-residential. -The grounds are ex- tensive and badly lit.

The "Victoria Club," now closed-they say only for a time-was also a residential olnb. The committee not long ago took two large houses in Holies-street, Cavendish square, splendid premises. Besides drawing, dining, reading, and bed rooms, all furnished in first-rate style-plenty of bevelled mirrors and panelling and Oriental carpets, snug ehairs and sofas, glitter and colour-there was a wonderful chamber here, called a fitting-on room, where ladies oould see their dressmakers, and devote that earnest and zealous attention to business, without which successful undressing and dressing are im- possible. This fitting-on room must have

been the theatre of decisive events. The en- trance fee at the Victoria was two gnineas ; annual subscription three guineas - not nearly sufficient, I fanoy. Ladies belonging to county families patronised this club. But owing to the agricultural depression of recent years they did not smoke and drink as men do ; hence the profit of wines and cigars so helpful to club finance, as a rule, was wanting.

Another^nioe, qoiet^dnolfensive club 4s ttof one for Unjv**wity^Jj|Éa|es, in New AenôV streft^àjungal sMesViptien and «entrance fee pne t^Vte^^mg^ßtmiam ¡axe modest* anougb,,oo||s|stingf«^one large handsomely* furms^Mm>MBg room and reading room

eolnaineA^^p^Dg out of this is a smaller

writing~rOomVand beyond "that a good-sized dressing room. On the floor above is a lnncb or dining room. The housekeeper, who lives on'tile premises, does the coeking. ~ The Charges are moderate, and the members eat and drink muoh less than at a dub like the Albermarle. - - -

Differing in almost every respect from the clubs already mentioned io the New Somer- ville Club, close to Oxford Circus. This is perhaps the most interesting ead representa- tive'of London women's clubs. There is no attempt at seleetness here. Indeed, the original intention was to have made it a working, women's elah, for shop-girls, female clerks/typewriters, post-office seraphs, ¿cr But the English lower- middle class girl

isn't, and letns hope never will be, Bohej

mian or emancipated. Shop girls, clerks, telegraphists, r.4c, in regular employment generally have a home to go to. Besides, they are rather afraid of the type of married ladies, divorced "in principle," who largely patronise this dab at present. Anyhow the ideal working girl wouldn't .come, and the 'Somerville would have collapsed if another elass more emancipated and with some money had not taken tho enterprise ap. The Somerville now includes women who " do something"-professional aromen, I was go^ng to say; bntwhat is a, professional woman ?-female leotnrors, writers, agita, tnrs^and enthusiasts. It would, perhaps; be a Bohemian club were it not that there is ata-a strong religious and intensely respecta able contingent whioh. keeps the balance level. The Somerville Club literature is a cariosity in itself. 'The members insidiously scatter about newspapers and magasines re. presenting.their own particular religious or heathen'beliefs,JJp1oliticál predilections, and special types of .insanity. Odd numbers of the Anti-Vaccinator, the Vegetarian, Lucifer, or the Hyleplasmie Review may be found on the hospitable table of the somerville, in addition to the regular daily, weekly, and monthly burthens. Many of the members are very old and serious-looking. They have 'had historiée-stale and spun-out tragedies

in many acts. The good ^ones havosbeexj treated badly by their husbands, and the baa ones* have treated their husbands shabbily. "No happy women "come here," said an official of this dub onoe. "They have no need te tell me.r W°«a they join there is something wrong, *I know well enosgh, at home«" r The, Somerville Club is over an Aerated Bread Company's shop, and not- withstanding thor Complaint that the female employés of that company do not participate in the vast profits of the undertaking, the members of the Somerville get meals from the aerated bread shop sent np to the general

room1 above, a bright and very prettily fur|

nisbed apartment. "Men are admitted to this club as guests. " Social evenings" are cele- brated onoe a month, and the entertainment is wonderfully good. Plenty of people can sing, or recite, or' play some instrument fairly well nowadays, and they are glad to make themselves - knows. Then there are lectures and debates, in which well-known personages sometimes join. Mrs. Besant

gave a lecture on " Thöosophy " here a while' ago, which was reported, and no barm esme of it. The Somerville managers try indeed very hard to provide social and intellectual diet for members', and the place is becoming tather more of a polytechnic than a club. Indeed, several members, especially the lady journalists, complain that they have found themselves shut out of the " silenoe.room," where they wanted to do their writing, be- cause some class or lecture was in progress. On one occasion a harmless lady member, not remarkable for any distinctive quality» suddenly entered the silence-room and found a gronp of lady anatomists disseoting a rabbit. The scene, I am assured, was " any- thing but pleasant " If they were vivisect- ing the rabbit, the victim must have con- cluded that ladies' dubs were, on the whole; failures. - Yet,c although the subscription to the Somerville is only 10s. a year, with a like entrance fee, the dnb pays its way and has a good balanoe at its bankers'. It has 700 members, however.

Lately London lady journalists and writers have started at project for a "writers' club," consisting of women. They have held various meetings, whioh were of conree elaborately reported, but the idea does not seem to make much progress. Over a hundred members are said to be already enrolled, although some ladies who were very enthusiastic at first are now bitterly hostile. Mrs. Arthur Stannard, "John Strange Winter," is the president. The subscription is to be a guinea a year for town members, guinea entrance fee. That seems to be far too slight a financial basis. The " writers " want to find premises Fleet-street, way, so as to be able to write up till twelve o'oloek at night, and te have drawing-room and dressing rooms, meals, Ac. Rents are, however, too high in that quarter, and the lady journalist is not fond of spending money. The success- ful lady novelists and " swells " would not go near the place once a month, and it is very doubtful whether such a club* could pay its

way.

The Somerville has over 700, the Alexandra 790, the University 200, the Albemarle over 300 members. Thus, exclusive of ¿he sus- pended Victoria, more than 2,000 ladies be- long to London dubs. «?

These women's dubs are either demoralis- ing or deadly dull. The same might be said of men's dubs. Only, with men it doesn't matter so muoh. For a man may serve' various useful purposes in this world if he is half bad, extensively demoralised, and' difficult to recognise as a perfect work of God. A woman cannot stand much spoiling and soiling. The many women belonging to these dubs who have husbands, and no children, are shunned and outlawed, and they know it, though no one says it. By-' uid-by they take to cigarettes, and, as that furrows a woman's nervous system far more' leeply than a man's, later on they take te* drink and to morphia-eonvenient pocket' rices, whioh fold up, so te speak, and ooeapy little space.

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