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1 correction by peter-macinnis - Show corrections

WOMEN'S CHATS.

By Sigma,

I am staying in the country; and to-day we went jilgie fishing. Have you ever been jilgie fishing ? or do you even know what it is ? A jilgie is the native name for a fresh water shellfish, which in every- thing but size exactly resembles a crayfish. When the river begins to dry up into muddy-looking pools, as it does at this time of year, then is the time par ex-

cellence for catching these table dainties,   for I assure you they are very delicious, and to my idea much superior to the cray- fish. But to proceed with a description of our fishing expedition. Arrived safely at our destination, we chose a sufficiently muddy and likely looking pool and cast our nets. These were of very primitive manufacture, but are exactly suited to the peculiar taste of the fresh water lobster, who, by the quantities we caught, found them a very tempting bait indeed. The nets were simply pieces of bagging stretched, not too tight, over a small hoop, and with a junk of raw meat sewn into the middle, three strings are fastened to the outside edge, which when tied to a long stick causes the net to hang evenly, this is lowered on to the bottom of the shallow pool, and the angler proceeds to watch events. After a little while, a dark shadow is observed to creep over the edge of the net, and then another, and another, until five or six are counted at once attacking the bait ; but now comes the difficult part. Tha net must be moved very slowly at first, for the jilgies are very timid and very agile, and when near the top of the water a sudden jerk up must be given, and you may consider yourself lucky   if one of the six lands safely on the banki without-as was the case with two of our party-losing your foot- hold on the slippery black mud on which you are standing, and you may perchance find yourself landed on your back in the soft clay, and the sole remaining jilgie swims off none the worse for his adventure. But if you be a true angler, you pick yourself up, fish your stick out of the water, where it has followed the escaped jilgie, and after a few attempts you become quite an expert. One of the party is generally told off to catch the jilgies when they are thrown up on the bank, and I can assure you that this posi- tion is no sinecure. There are, say, six fishers sitting a good distança apart along the bank of the pool, and all together are catching fish. The catcher has to run from one to another with a bucket half full of water, and catch the jilgies, which are very lively and fierce, and very severe nips they can give with their lobster-like claws. As this is supposed to bo of interest to women, and every sport nowaday has its own particular modes of dress, I must describe the kind of cos- tuma best suited to the engrossing pursuit of jilgie catching. As you have to stand often ankle deep in mud. good strong boots, which are warranted to wash, are the most suitable,. Stockings are left lo indi- vidual choice. If none are worn there is so much the less to get wet and dirty, owing to frequent tumbles and slips into the water from the treacherous banks. An old skirt and blouse and a large hat to keep the sun off, and a gossamer veil to afford a like pro- tection against the flies and mosquitoos, complete a toilette more useful and striking than strictly beautiful.

*****

Which is the more deairabl«-the mar- riage of affection, or the marriage of con- venience ? To some romantic souls it may seem nothing less tham sacrilege to ask such a question. At the same time there is much to bo said in favour of the view that matrimony is ¿>ne of those matters which they order better in France than in English speaking countries. French women of the upper and middle classes seldom, 1 need hardly remind my readers, maka marriages of so-called affection or passion. The airangements are all made by the parents, and it may be presumed that the system, though strange according to English notions, answers as well if not better than the other, in which the decision rests with tho young people themselves, whose knowledge of life is lirnif ed, and who cannot be very good judges of character. A French lady giving her experiences, des- cribes how on leaving the convent where she had been educated, she was taken to Paris, and was soon after informed by her father that sha was to be married in six weeks time,and not to a young officer with whom she had fallen "madly and des- perately ia love." Describing her posi- tion in her own language, she says:

' I thought it horrible, and was more hor- rified still when I wa3 told that my suitor was M.-, an elderly manufacturer, who used to pay special attention to me, but whom I persistently avoided. He was rough, unlettered, and seemed almost re- pulsive. He could not waltz like the dragoon, nor even like my cousin, a young 'hobereau' or country squire, who often

came to see us. He was as awkward as

bear-in fact, I often called him, su6 rosa, im ours mai leché. He knew nothing about music, and was never able to turn over my Wagner books while I was at the piano-a movement in which the adorably-moustachioed dragoon ex- celled. He abominated all my novelists and poets, lumping them together as silly scribblers, as he pointed to the substantial chimneys of his own manufactory. AVell, sir, I had to marry that man, my parents arranging the engagement and the wed- ding in the usual legal and social man

According to the novelists so ill-assorted a union could only have an unhappy end- ing, but then it has also been said that a little preliminary aversion is an excellent guarantee of future happiness, and such, at any rate, it proved in the present instance. The young lady thus wedded against her will soon learned to be thank- ful for her parents' compulsion. " What," she asks, "is the consequence? I am a perfectly happy matron, with three lovely children to-day. My husband is rich and powerful, and surrounds me with every luxury. My children, ou whom I dote, will be well provided for. Had I married the officer it would be otherwise, and I feel and see clearly that this would have been the case, for his pay and my dowry would not have been sufficient for thorough family comfort. I see him sometimes, and without a pang. He is growing grey and stout, and Î am by no means an attenuated matron. My husband is growing very old, too, but he is as tough as Li Hung Chang, and will live, many, a year yet.. Thus, by tha wise, conventional action of my parents, who engaged me and married me, I am leading -a life devoid of care of any. sort," I leave my readers to draw what moral they like from this story of an experience,

* # * w *

With summer almost upon us it seems needless to talk of jackets, butstill anything to do with dress has interest for the pro- perly-regulated feminine miud.and it is not, therefore, too soon to be thinking of tha kind of jacket we shall wear five months hence, when our winter will again ha be- ginning. If we follow the example set by the fashion centres in the old world-of coursa we shall-we will have our jackets much shorter than they have been for two seasons past, and their basques, instead of standing out in stiff flutes, will be flatter. Sleeves are rapidly diminishing, and by degrees they will be made perfectly tight fitting, in decided contrast to to-day. In London it is now difficult, nay almost au impossibility, to obtain a tight fitting jacket. The large majority are either in the sacque style or semi-fitting. These latter are fastened at.one side with two large pearl buttons, or rather I should say only two are visible, one near tho shoulder, and the other below the waist. The other three or four, as the case may be, are of cloth and very small, and ara placed invisibly. Large revers are quita out of dato now. They have been replaced by others which aro very small and square. On the whole, though, jackets are likely to be comparatively few in number in London this winter, so that it is premature to pronounce decidedly as to the style that will rule. Those at present out are almost entirely devoid of trimming.

* * # * m

Fashions may come, and fashions may go, but the blouse goes on for ever. For once our sex shows its good sense even

matters sartorial, and refuses to discard au extremely useful aud becoming portion of its garb. Evan a blouse, however, needs

ft ft» jreü ma.?, aad tto1fflfri^jjffiftge

by some'of tha specimens to be_een about, not always remembered. I believe that

blouses are to bo worn as much as ever during the winter in England as they are here during the summer, and velvet will again be in great request. Many of the velvets are printed, others are of the glaca order figured with Japanese designs, and others again ara shot. Evening blouses ara being made principally of a gauzy material with a satin stripe. It is described as being light, soft, and young looking. Valenciennes lace is generally used as a trimming for blouses of this material, with perhaps a touch hero and there of some sort of jewelled passementrie. A most becom- ing blouse of rich rod satin had the front entirely veiled with black jewelled net, which hung over at the waist, forming a pouch front. The sleeves were quite tight, the only fullness being a tiny puff at tho top of the arm, almost on tho shoulder. For evening wear chiffon has not yet. been replaced, and is not likely to be, for it lends itself so well for tho purposes of draping, and looks so soft and pretty. The effect is greatly enhanced by the jewelled passementerie, which is still being much,

used.

* * * * #

A. noted ladies' tailor in London has been interviewed on the great sleeve ques- tion, and as a forecast of the fashions' of to-morrow his remarks are interesting. "Ladies," he said, "won't wear the per- fectly plain sleeves yet, but there is no doubt they will come to it before the winter is ove". ïor the present we are adding a little fulness to the top of tho sleeve, either in the shape of an added puff or a falling frill, but I feel sure we shall be making plain coat sleeves before very long. I am making a military over- coat just now with perfectly plain sleeves, and I daresay when it is finished I shall have many orders of the same kind. It is to be exactly like the regulation military coat, with a band fastening at the back, with the ends tucked through the belt at the back. It is being made to gratify the whim of a young lady who wants to have an outer garment made exactly like her brother's. It is quite a long coat, long enough to cover tho dress. But everything military is in fashion just now. Look at this blue cloth capo, fastening down at the sids-seams aU the way from throat to hem with buttons and gold braid in the Hussar style. Then nothing is so fashionable as military scarlet, as I supposo you have noticed ; in fact, the fashions would very much delight the author of ' Bootle's Baby' if she were only in London this

winter."

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