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[163]

Now all these successive transformations were the work of women, and they suggest the question, If woman is thus the born and appointed decorator of the home, why should she not be trained to do it artistically and professionally? It is not truly artistic to plunge at once into the most exclusive extreme of the present fashion, whether it lead to black, or white, or a multiplicity of hue, but to take what is truly the best of each period and adapt it gracefully to modern use and to the needs of each separate family. In many houses this is now exquisitely done; no one can deny the great improvement in our “interiors” within twenty years. But if it is to be done systematically for the community, it is impossible to leave it wholly to amateurs. The modern decoration implies architects, designers, and artificers of its own. In the foreman of an art-blacksmith's shop I found the other day one whom I had previously known as a working jeweller; he had simply transferred his energy and skill from gold and silver to brass and iron, and was laboring with hands harder than before, yet no less cunning, upon graceful gas-fixtures and in-door ornamentations of his own designing. It must be the same with women; they must undergo professional training to do their best. Here is this whole continent waiting to be made graceful and beautiful in its in-door homes. It is said by dealers that, outside of a few large

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