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fashions and follies.

PLUSH, plush-and always plush !” is the motto of the winter, till Jeames, putting his hands in his primrose pockets, begins to think the material not so bad after all, since he wears it in company with “ Missus and the young ladies."

And for a young light figure, let me tell you that a short tight-fitting dress of this same primrose plush, worn with antique silver ornaments, is something to remember, and like nothing so much as a cloud of little downy ducklings at the only period of their history when they reach beauty. A deep warm blue is also lovely, holding lustrous shades impossible to velvet ; but of whatever hue, plush is alike costly and delicious both to eye and touch, a caprice to the rich, a will-o'-the-wisp to the moderate—to be sighed after by the poor, and carefully eschewed by those wise virgins who, being limited as to frocks, do well to choose something they can sit down upon.

And more beautiful than the dresses are the plush cloaksnow shaped like dolmans and edged with rich fur-now touched with grey and gold passementerie, "concluded” with brown ribbons—for carriage wear in dead-gold plush, with bonnet to match; and for evening, of silver edged with marabout, or as crimson linings to white brocade edged with silver fox.

Unapproachable in its luxurious warmth and lightness, it will yet pass with the spring, by which time the stern fact, whispered but heretofore in artistes ateliers, will be known and accepted, how crinolined we must be—or dowdies.

It seems but yesterday that we smiled pityingly at Leech's cartoons in Punch, but crinolines, as Mme. de Staël observes of a woman's moustache, is what we begin by laughing but end by crying at; and to this last we must soon come, or be hopelessly out of the field.

The roundest-limbed Venus could not endure to be so left behind in the race; perforce she must quit her narrow garments, and groaning, enter the arena but to be beaten, for the reign of the fat woman has begun. Formerly, though, by fair means or foul, she could coerce her waist into decent limits, all else was beyond her ; but now, the jimp proportions of her middle being reached, crinoline leaves to the imagination all that may be symmetry-or the reverse.

And she who will boldly face the fact that crinolines are in, and the blurred Greek lines out, may be leader of her own little set, and, panoplied in whalebone, endure to be greeted with smiles where presently she will be followed with respect. Most women, and men too, like a trim waist, especially when in company with pretty shoulders, that, rising above a moderately distended skirt, give a new charm to what was growing stale ; but alack! if we cannot outdo our neighbour in the width of our petticoat, where are we? And so a new reef is put in to-day, and another to-morrow; and soon we are able to compare notes on the fair's ankles as she steps in or out of her chariot, or takes a walk down Bond Street. But while the petticoat increases, the head remains small, and the modest close bonnet holds its own. The French have adopted it as they do everything of ours that is good style (what rivals they would be but for their sallow skins ?-polls the masses of mankind, and complexion wins the day against eyes, lips, nose, style, what you will), but our Tam-'o-Shanters they indignantly repudiate. By children these hats will still be worn, but, as a rule, the scarlet and blue fisher-caps with white bear coats will carry the day. Cloaks will be worn till the crack of doom, which may be supposed to be very nigh

And the world to an end shall come,

In eighteen hundred and eighty-one. Meanwhile, they are beyond the reach of any but the moderately rich; and, as I heard one slattern observe to another as she pressed her nose against a shop window-pane, "Only gentlefolks can wear they!

From throat to heel, in costliest materials and most sumptuous linings, they are the ruin of the costumes, as more than one Court milliner will inform you.

The waggoner's smocks and Mother Hubbards still hold the field-paving the way, probably, for the inevitable crinoline, above which they will set out like dominoes-scanty, but willing

As regards the head, we are to be wreathed, like Corinne, in velvet leaves, shaded from brown to red, and from red to brown, in the so-called hues of a Virginia creeper, that we might believe in if

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we had never seen it. Velveteens, too, will beat velvets out of the field, and a tight-fitting silver grey body, buttoned high to the throat, over a good shape that has been previously laced by Festa, might make a millionaire's wife bury herself beneath her own piles of Genoa. Coat bodies may be still worn at home, but in the street will disappear; and this may, perhaps, rehabilitate the character of that unfortunate gentleman who is always described as infesting young ladies of a fine figure, though at first-hand we have never encountered him.

Of evenings, however, long bodices of brocade or broché velvet will be de rigueur, cut low or square on the shoulders, with skirts of gauze and tulle below them, short enough to display that stumbling-block of most pretty women,her feet. To wear a long skirt at a ball is to proclaim yourself a chaperone, or a person mysteriously incapacitated from dancing; if your feet are hopeless, stay at home, and don't make bad worse by advertising it to a hundred spectators.

Gloves may be expected to gently fan their wearers like sails as they glide, for no mortal woman could fasten the whole thirty-two buttons that are indispensable. They must dangle at your elbows, and you must smart for the folly of some one who, in revenge for her own lean members, invented a disguise to hide one of woman's most exquisite charms.

And that reminds me—a woman's greatest charm-her husband—will this winter and next spring come into fashion again; in short, like crinolines, husbands will be in and cicisbeos out, save in certain high salons, where Virtue would blush even to hear herself mentioned.

A 2 Niece of asarin.

THE DUCHESS OF BOUILLON.

DURING the most brilliant period of the reign of Louis the Fourteenth, when the Court of the young Monarch was at the zenith of its splendour, one of its brightest ornaments, distinguished alike for her personal attractions and intellectual acquirements, was the seventh and youngest niece of Mazarin, Marie Anne Mancini, born in Rome in 1649. She remained under her father's care until she had attained her sixth year, when by the desire of her mother, who had taken up her abode in Paris, she was conducted thither; the exact date of her arrival, September 1, 1655, being mentioned by Scarron in one of his poetical epistles.

Even at that tender age, her precocity and infantine grace were so remarkable as to charm the frequenters of the Louvre and the Hôtel Mazarin ; Loret, in his “Muse Historique,” speaks of her as

Marie Anne de Mancini,

Fille d'un mérite infini; and she is reported as having been the author of more than one bon mot and smartly turned couplet which were freely circulated at Court, and above all delighted her uncle, the Cardinal. With him, during his absence from the capital, she was in constant correspondence, her letters being partly in prose, partly in verse; one of the latter eliciting from him the reproach that “as she grew older, her rhymes became poorer.” The matter, however, was often more interesting to the recipient than the style; the effusions of the little lady not only included whatever she could pick up of the gossip of the hour,

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* The remaining children of the Cardinal's two sisters, one of whom married Lorenzo Mancini, a Roman baron, and the other Girolamo Martinozzi, were- e-Laure Mancini, Duchess of Mercour; Anne Marie Martinozzi, Princess of Conti; Laure Martinozzi, Duchess of Modena ; Olympe Mancini, Countess of Soissons; Marie Mancini, wife of the Connétable Colonna ; and Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin. Besides these, Mazarin had two nephews, both of the Mancini family: Philip, Duke of Nevers, and his elder brother, killed at the battle of the Faubourg St. Antoine in the last days of the Fronde.

but also chronicled with minute exactness the sayings and doings of her sisters Marie and Hortense ; although, as she indignantly remarks, they took especial care to send her out of the way when they wished to talk secrets. Mazarin, who at this moment was greatly embarrassed and annoyed by the growing attachment of the young King to his niece Marie, eagerly profited by the scraps of information his correspondent unconsciously furnished, and stimulated her epistolary ardoor by never allowing her letters to remain unanswered. An extract from one of them will give an idea of the habitual mode of expressing herself adopted by this miniature Sévigné: “As for news, I must tell you that I regret your absence very much, and also that of the King, for I like the King extremely. If you want more news, you must know that Madame de Venelle [her governess) and I have each written a song, which I will send you by the next post; the Queen [Anne of Austria] thinks mine excellent, and Madame de Venelle's horrible. My sisters do not write because they are not clever enough, and they are angry with me because I am. Come back soon, very soon. Monseigneur, I request your pardon if I have not called you your Eminence, and I beg you to make my compliments to the King, and to answer this pretty letter.-Your very

humble servant, Mademoiselle Marianne."

In high favour, as may be gathered from the above, with the Queenmother, and the recognised pet and plaything of the Court, “ Mademoiselle Marianne " had naturally her place in the ballets organised by the gay and gallant Louis; and by the grace and piquancy of her movements, and her imperturbable assurance, completely outshone her sisters, and, as Loret tells us

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A l'âge de six ans
Charmoit roi, reine et courtisans.

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As years went by, her attractive qualities became more and more apparent, and in 1661, on the production at Fontainebleau of a ballet called the Seasons, and got up with extraordinary splendour, she surpassed all her previous efforts, and received from the courtly poet Benserade the following well-merited compliment :

Cette petite muse, en charmes, en attraits,

N'est à nulle autre inférieure.

She was then between twelve and thirteen years of age, and her establishment in life was already a matter of serious discussion. An alliance with one of Mazarin's nieces had long been an object of ambition to the family of Bouillon, and during the last illness of the Cardinal, overtures had been made to him by Marshal Turenne with a view of obtaining his consent to the union of the young duke, his

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