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The Palace of Varied Industries
The Palace of Varied Industries, where we spend a good deal of time, is a beautiful building in the old California Mission style, and has some fine doorways. The statuary used around the building is meant to say that work is honorable and desirable.
It is wonderful how many kinds of work there are in the world. We never stopped to think until we came to this Fair, that everything that is made has first to be thought out. And then all the little things that go with it have to be thought out, even to a little flower in the wall paper, or the way icing is put on a cake.
All Madame World's families have sent samples of work to this palace: There are the loveliest little hand-knitted sweater dresses for children from the Argentine, laces from Spain, cocoanut fibre hats from the Philippine Islands, wood-carvings from Switzerland, and some equally as pretty from South Carolina made by boys in a private school.
Mrs. Adelaide Robineau has some wonderful porcelains from Syracuse, New York, which are very beautiful.
We admired the jewelry; there are gems of all sorts in hand-wrought mountings, both ancient and modern.
There are wonderful opals, tinted like the gleam in a bubble, some very lustrous pearls, which you would think were worth the king's ransom which you always read about in stories, but which are made from the scales of a little three-inch fish found in Russian waters.
We nearly forgot to tell you about the silkworm exhibition. It was the thing we liked best in the whole palace. The silkworms eat a very great amount of mulberry leaves, and are most inexcusably particular about their diet, and when they are ready they go into their cocoons, and that is the last of them.
Only a few are allowed to become butterflies, but they are not pretty butterflies, anyway. When they have spun enough, and just before they would hatch and spoil the silk, they are sterilized, and then the silk can be unwound. They were doing that when we saw them, and they have a delicate machine which winds the silk into nice soft yellow skeins, ready to be woven. It is one of California's new industries, and will be more profitable as time goes on.
There are so many things to choose from, we are not able as yet to decide what we shall do.
Your loving cousins,
Jane and Ellen.