Nowhere, perhaps, is the Easter egg so popular as in America, where thousands of cleverly modelled and elaborately decorated candy eggs are produced annually for the benefit of little folks and also of their elders.
Every Easter Monday a delightful ceremony is performed in the beautiful grounds of the White House, Washington, U.s.a., where a vast concourse of children meet to participate in the fascinating pastime of egg-rolling down the steep slopes. Hard-boiled eggs are, of course, employed, and there is much friendly rivalry among the contestants. American children also frequently blow raw eggs, and indulge in a species of football game, played upon a table with the shells. Two parties are formed, and the eggs are wafted from side to side until one is broken.
Tiny cradles for Lilliputian dolls or wee, downy chicks can be ingeniously contrived from empty eggshells, cut to shape, edged with ribbon, fitted with minute rockers, and the daintiest of bedclothes. Or, a realistic little boat can be fashioned with stiff paper sail and a wooden match for a mast.
Flower-holders, intended to contain little bunches of violets, primroses, or any of the smaller spring blossoms, are very neat, made of large empty eggshells, gilded inside and out, and securely glued to a base made of rough bits of stone cemented to a morsel of broken slate, also gilded. After these have served their purpose as a novel Easter table decoration they may be utilised as match-holders.
Fillings for Easter Eggs
Decorative trifles such as these, formed of genuine eggshells, usually enjoy but a brief term of existence, however, and it is the more solid contents of manufactured eggs that generally prove of most interest to modern young people. Truly marvellous are the treasures these cardboard cases are made to contain. Dolls, with their trousseaux, baths, and miniature sets of furniture figure in some of these; while boys welcome with delight those in which may be discovered a toy engine, a model aeroplane, or a regiment of soldiers.
Chickens very appropriately figure largely in those intended for very small people, together with the inevitable Teddy bear, and all the other strange and grotesque creatures dear to the heart of up-to-date infants.
A German form of Easter gift takes the shape of a hare carrying the symbolic egg or eggs on or about its person
An Erroneous Impression Removed - Gymnastics an Aid to Beauty and Grace - Feats are Simpler than they Seem - The Importance of Graceful Style - Some Useful and Easy Exercisesvalue of Gymnastics for Women nter a gymnasium or hall where a squad E of lady gymnasts is giving a display, note the artistic effect of the dainty, and at the same time eminently sensible, costumes favoured, the combined grace and precision of the well-ordered movements, and it will be admitted that few. other athletic exercises have the right to be compared with gymnastics as a medium for the display of pleasing physical action.
across the horse
Rhythm and smoothness of action, precision without stiffness, mark the performance of all gymnastic movements, and certainly there is none of the strenuous physical strain incidental to the playing of some games - as, for example, lawn tennis and lacrosse.
Some persons profess a dislike of the work usually associated with a gymnasium, being under the mistaken impression that such requires great physical strength, leads to awkward bodily development, and is not without danger.
This is far from the truth. Suppleness and activity are developed. The work is such as to give a most beneficial stimulus to the body, eliminating weakness, strengthening the nervous system, promoting improvement in blood circulation, and instilling into the worker a self-confidence that did not previously exist.
Every girl to whom it is possible should go through a course of gymnastics, not for the purpose of acquiring the activity to perform certain feats upon the different apparatus, but for the all-round physical benefits resulting. Among those to be derived she would find a reduction of any tendency towards indigestion and like complaints, the removal of that so common feminine trouble coldness in the extremities during the winter months, and a gradual bracing up of the nerves.
To any girl it must come as a relief to get away, even if only for a short period, from the confinement of her ordinary dress, decreed by Dame Fashion without the slightest concern for its practical suitability. It is only because she has not the same opportunities as her brother that a girl indulges less in active movements. She cannot run, or jump, or stoop quickly, or lift her arms above her head because of the restrictions of her attire. But in the gymnasium all these restrictions are removed; her body and limbs get the freest of play, and one has only to go inside a gymnasium on a class night to realise how thoroughly a girl can relish her temporary freedom.
One of the most satisfactory influences of gymnastic work is evidenced by the superb carriage of those who indulge in it. Gymnastics create muscular control, without which there cannot be true grace of movement. In the gymnasium any form of ungraceful walking speedily becomes corrected, because the pupil, by development of the necessary muscles and self-control, is able to rectify those physical deficiencies which are at the root of the trouble.
Games are not to be despised at all; the value of them is undoubted. But the playing of every game in which a girl can take part will never give to her those advantages consequent upon the learning of the work she will do in gymnastic classes.
Parents are sometimes opposed to their daughters taking up gymnastic work from a belief that it is liable to be dangerous, owing to its excessive muscular strain. This is not the case.
In the first place, the teacher or instructor takes very good care that no pupil enters upon work for which she is not physically fitted. Moreover, gymnastic feats have the appearance of being far more severe than is actually the fact.
Actually only feats on the horizontal bar call for the exercise of great strength, and for this reason the high bar enters very little into gymnasium work for girls.
The same is not to be said of the parallel bars and the vaulting horse. With the latter a spring board comes into use. Placed beside the horse, on the side from which the performer takes off, it imparts an impetus which renders the jump to the apparatus quite easy.
In the first illustration (Fig. 1) is shown such a feat. A more elementary one is to bring the knees, instead of the feet, upon the saddle, as the space between the two hand-rests, or pummels, is named. The performer (Miss Sandell, instructor, Regent Street Polytechnic Ladies' Gymnasium) has jumped at the moment of the hands gripping the rests, and the spring, entailing no great muscular effort, has brought her into the indicated position.
Style, of course, is a desideratum; and it is in the acquisition of style - the obtaining of the straight back, the up-held head, and the flat shoulders required - that the pupil gains that muscular control the evidence of which is so pronounced in graceful body carriage.
Want of grace means generally (after carelessness) weak muscles and indefinite control of them. Gymnastic work, by requiring the mastering of certain positions, corrects these. From the position shown the pupil learns to alight in a manner requiring absolute command of body, with the legs stiff, the back hollow, and the hands above the head. By the learning of these positions, unconsciously there is gained the power which eliminates the slouching, rounded shoulders, crooked back, bent knees, and general looseness inevitably associated with want of grace.
Any undue development of muscle - which is ugliness - need not be feared. In gymnastics for women lightness, delicacy, and grace of movement and activity are pursued. All show strength feats are eliminated.
The vault illustrated in Fig. 2 is for more advanced pupils.
The parallel bars offer opportunity for some of the prettiest work of the lady gymnast, and as almost all movements are two handed, and are performed on both the right and left sides, there need be no fear as to unequal physical improvement. In bar work of this kind every part of the body is brought into play.
Most of the movements start from a position between the bars, a hand on each. Then a spring is taken and the body lifted, hanging between the bars and supported by the straight arms. The legs should be straight, toes pointed to the floor, back hollow, and chest advanced, while the chin is drawn in. From this position a large variety of exercises is possible.
Fig. 2. A right-hand vault. With the right hand on the pummel, a jump is taken from the spring board and the legs are brought sideways across the horse
In every good gymnasium the instructor will note the effect of each of the exercises upon the members of the class, and take steps to modify or change them according to the needs of each individual, if it seems advisable. Those who have any physical idiosyncrasy or weakness should always mention the same to the instructor on first joining a class, and special arrangements will be made for them.
Photo, Lallie Charles