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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 8 (February 1, 1933)

Manners and Modes — -Woman's Page-

page 59

Manners and Modes
-Woman's Page-

A Matter of Mood.

Women are universally believed to be creatures of temperament, who are totally at the mercy of their moods—one moment gay, flippant and attractively senseless; the next dreamy, quiet and vaguely sad. It is expected of them. Even Solomon with all his wisdom and his great experience of our sex, said that no man could understand the moods of women. Anthony found Cleopatra somewhat of an enigma; Henry the Eighth made several attempts to cope with the seven; the Chinese never try; poets rhapsodize but leave it at that. Woman, they say, is an enigma—a delightful puzzle never to be solved by adventurous man. He good-humouredly indulges her in her moods with a tolerant shake of his sensible head, or he storms at her capricious inconsequence, or he plods faithfully behind hoping to “catch up” sometime. How we achieved this reputation is incomprehensible now—but there it is. Are we going to live up to it—or establish another? Are we going to continue to charm by our sweet unreasonableness, or shall we allow our native commonsense to come into its own? They tell us that our attraction lies almost entirely in this matter of moods—certainly we are excused a great deal on account of them. It seems, that with modern ideas we no longer leap with dramatic swiftness from gaiety and giggles to melancholy musings. Life simply won't allow it! The modern woman is busy and active and independent and natural—no longer a phantom Beatrice to the Dantes of this world, or an ethereal vision to the Shelleys, or a childish clinging Dora to the David Copperfields. She is intensely occupied with the business of living and has little time to cultivate her moods—in fact they rather annoy her. She can't allow her mind to float away into a cloud of depression and vague sadness, when she is taking down letters at top speed in shorthand, or seeing the children off to school, or playing bridge or working with energy in the garden. I think the women of history and romance had too little to do!

Now we can observe that men themselves are rather inclined to be moody and not very skilful at disguising it from us. Burnt toast or a late night or a collar-stud can ruin a man for the day—even as a business deal, or a drink, or reducing his handicap at golf, or catching a fish, can make him a very delightful creature.

Anyhow, life would be very dull if we were always the same, uninfluenced by weather, beyond the softening atmosphere of a good dinner, quite aloof from the jovial page 60 spirit of a crowd, impervious to twilights, and moons and music.

Life is a matter of moods and always will be.

* * *

New Zealand Trees.

Surely in all the world there is no country whose trees are more varied and more eloquent of wealth than here in this remote Pacific dot. They talk of the greenness of England, of her oaks great with the years, of her poplars and slender ash and elm, of her softly weeping willows. They tell of the grandeur of German forests, dark and old and sublime, parent of firs and Christmas; they show us Canada from shore to shore cherishing her wide timber lands, where wolves prowl and lumber camps are many. Books have been written of the Australian bush, with its adventures and its secret cool beauty. But here in New Zealand we have it all—trees of other lands flourish in our islands and rise arrogantly among our splendid natives. There is all the greenness of England, all the majesty of Canada, all the tangled tortuous undergrowth of Java.

I climbed a great range in the Thames peninsula and found myself, indeed, on a road, but otherwise in the heart of impenetrable forest, unequalled in its amazing beauty through all the world. Out in the bay the islands of Auckland slept in a haze of blue; below, flaming pohutukawas growing grotesquely from sheer cliffs hung into a tepid sea—the Christmas tree of the Maoris. Giant kauris—kings of the forest—rose in tremendous pride their delicately tinted trunks straight and strong—trees which have given, wealth to the land. Luxuriant growths clustered greedily in every fork—ratas and rimus and strange climbing things. Just beyond, in the valley, were poplars like sentinels, and English willows and fairy fragile birches.

Let the lover of oaks, he who admires space and strength and massive virility in trees, let this man stand beneath the shadow of a great puriri tree, looking up into the luscious greenness of its leaves, at its fruity bright berries, at its branching dark trunk—let him look and love.

* * *

Eyes in Summer.

February sun, giving to hair a brilliance and light, to skins a warm golden-brown glow, to cheeks a pink flush of health, to minds a swift happiness—is often rather unkind to eyes, which have so longed to see it. Long days on the beach watching the white surf and the yellow sands, tramping along hot dusty roads, tearing in motor cars through space—all these demand rather too much from eyes which have been focussed for many months on figures. They become “gritty” and inflamed; they ache, tiny crow's-feet appear at the corners, lashes become bleached, in fact they make themselves felt rather unpleasantly and demand your attention. You will find that wearing dark glasses when the sun is too bright, will save your eyes tremendously. Pop them on to sun-bathe on the beach. You might look distressingly intellectual, but you can put up with that to appear in the evening with clear, bright, beautiful eyes. An eye-lotion is a necessity and not a luxury in summer. Bathe the eyes every evening for a few minutes. As for lashes, a touch of castor-oil applied with a cork will keep them dark and glossy, and a little smear on the lids will do no harm.

Remember how important are your eyes—how, to be expressive, they must be protected a bit from summer sun.

* * *

Our Fashion Note.

It is no longer an adventure to have a new evening frock—and no longer a torture of fittings and fussings. For many generations women have relied on the skill of a long-suffering dressmaker and the subtlety and sheer beauty of countless yards of silk to adorn a figure which was quite unlike what Mother Nature intended in her scheme of things. At the cost of health and happiness, our grandmothers were able to float gracefully through the ballroom, their sylphlike waists ample reward for the cruel page 61 armour beneath. Now we have sun-tanned arms, freedom of movement, and an easy swinging step—we are concerned with our shape first and our clothes afterwards! Hence we are not so dependent upon the actual materials from which to evolve our frocks. We are building on a good foundation, and often we can look quite devastating in something which once would not have been thought worthy of serving as a curtain for the maid's bedroom!

An evening frock can still be an adventure to the woman who realises that it is herself who really matters and who can make the most of her good points—this woman understands the philosophy of dress. What a personal interest we can take in the thing now—when we buy the stuff, see the result long before the scissors have even touched it—when we cut and drape and create and feel ourselves into the beauty of a new evening frock.

In London and Paris there is at present an absolute craze for effect and cheapness. Girls appear at great balls in creations of gingham and print! and proudly inform the
Learning adds a precious seeing to the eye.“—Shakespeare. (Rly. Publicity photo.) University College, Auckland, New Zealand.

Learning adds a precious seeing to the eye.“—Shakespeare. (Rly. Publicity photo.) University College, Auckland, New Zealand.

assembly that the frock cost actually four and nine!

So that for all our informal parties and pictures and dances this summer, we can choose almost anything and wear it with confidence and dash. If you are sun-burned from the holidays, be careful that the colour enhances the golden brown of arms and back and that the cut shows no white strips or patches on shoulders.

Let your evening frock be vivid—there are innumerable very cheap materials for you, and patterns now are excellent. I saw a dark girl the other right in scarlet cotton crepe, with bare brown ankles, and round her dusky head lay a wreath of crimson poppies—entrancing.

Flowers are very much in vogue, as necklets, and even shoulder-bands. Nearly all evening frocks have tiny puffed sleeves and graceful frilled skirts—1933, but with tremendous differences, eloquent of woman's emancipation, freedom and progress. See what you can do with a few yards of voile, gingham, crepe or print—you will be surprised.