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A New Atmosphere by Gail Hamilton

The gingham will last longer than the barege


But

granting to variety all the importance that is claimed for it, are we using the lever to advantage? Suppose the gown is changed every day, while the face above it never varies, or varies only from one vapidity to another, and what is gained? If variety is the desideratum, why not attempt it in the direction in which variety is spontaneous, resultant, and always delightful? You may flit from brown merino to blue poplin, and from blue poplin to black alpaca, and be queen of all that is tiresome still. But enlarge every day the horizon of your heart: be tuneful on Monday with the birds; be fragrant on Tuesday among your roses; be thoughtful on Wednesday with the sages; be chemical on Thursday over your bread-trough; be prophetic on Friday with history; be aspiring on Saturday in spite of broom and duster; be liberal and catholic on Sunday: be fresh and genial and natural and blooming with the dews that are ready to gather on every smallest grass-blade of life, and a pink-sprigged muslin will be new for a whole season, yes, and half a dozen of them. Take example from the toad: swallow your dress; not precisely in the same sense, but as effectually. Overpower, subordinate your dress, till it shall be only a second cuticle, not to be distinguished from yourself, but a natural element of your universal harmony.

What are you going to wear to church this summer? I say church, because I am speaking now to people whose best dress is their Sunday dress.

I am not writing for the Newport and Niagara frequenters, who know no currency smaller than gold eagles. You will not have many new clothes because it is "war-times," but you must have a silk mantle; that will cost fifteen dollars. You could have bought one last summer for ten dollars, but silk is now higher. You will have a barege dress, which, with the increased price of linings and trimmings and making, will cost before it is ready to be worn fifteen more. Your gloves will be a dollar and a half, and your bonnet, whitened and newly trimmed with last summer's ribbon, will be three dollars or so. The whole cost will be about thirty-five dollars. But suppose, instead of a barege gown and silk shawl, you had bought a pretty gingham and had it made in the same way, dress and mantle alike, and had taken that for your summer outfit; and had substituted for your kid gloves a pair of Lisle-thread at sixty-two cents. The gingham will last longer than the barege, and will be good for more uses after it is outworn as a dress. It will last as long in the mantle as the shape of the mantle will be fashionable, and then it will make over as economically, and into a larger number of articles. The Lisle-thread gloves will last as long as the kid, and will be much better on the whole, because they will wash. "But I should make a figure, walking up the broad aisle in a gingham mantilla!" Be sure you would, and a very pretty figure too. For you look, in it, perfectly fresh and tidy; and because you have not been fagged and fretted with its great cost you will be quite happy and pleased, and that pleasure will beam out in your face and figure, and your young, elastic tread; and there is not a man in church who will suspect that everything is not precisely as it should be. Men judge in generals, not in particulars; and the few who are conversant with minutiae, and look beyond the facts of becomingness or unbecomingness into the question of texture and fabric, are such microscopic sort of men that you do not value their opinion one way or the other. You are triumphant so far as the men are concerned.

The women will not let you off so easily. Mrs. Judkins


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