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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 11 (February 1, 1936)


At various times grandmothers, and even aunts, our own and other peoples, have drawn comparisons, useful and otherwise, between Then and Now. Then, of an evening, the girls of the family gathered round the lamp-lit table with their “work” and sewed industrously, even Miss Seven clenching small teeth on lower lip and forcing an obstinate needle in and out, in and out, along an apparently endless seam. Idleness was a disgrace.

* * *

Such harkings back we can receive with a complacent smile. Small girls Now are not forced to unwelcome wielding of a needle, but, somehow, as they grow, handwork interests develop. Our older maidens do not put endless hours of fine stitchery into trousseaux, but confidently embark on cutting-out and machining, leaving such finishes as buttonholes, hemstitching and pleatings to the firms who specialise in these things.

* * *

Emulation and economy seem the driving forces to-day. If Nancy-over-the-road can knit a green pullover for golf, we can match it with a sweater for the boy-friend and start a fashion up our street for macramé belts and bags, knitted “nests” for tea-pots, porcelain button-holes or anything else that intrigues our busy fingers.

* * *

No, we are never idle. The girls of Now, besides dining, dancing, first-nighting and the rest of the social occasions, besides swimming, riding, fishing and the remainder of the sporting activities, must be ready for all these things, internally and externally. That is why physical culture experts hang their sign on every second building, why doctors are listened to by the young with unusual deference, why purveyors of paper-patterns set up their show-cards from Yuma to the Hebrides—and why you never find a young thing indulging in that sin of our grandmothers—idleness!