Victorian London - People - Madame Rachel


    To what kind of beings is it possible the subjoined advertisement, from the Morning Post, addressed?-

BEAUTIFUL WOMEN. - MADAME RACHEL begs to inform her lady patronesses, the nobility, and aristocracy generally, that she has opened her ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION list for the supply of her Costly Arabian Preparations for the restoration and preservation of female loveliness, which have obtained for her the patronage of royalty - these being manufactured entirely by MADAME RACHEL, who has no agents, and cannot be obtained from any other source. Terms as usual, 20 guineas per annum, which includes every requisite for a most recherché toilet, and two attendances by MADAME RACHEL, viz. one drawing-room and one state ball.

    To advertise cosmetics as being costly instead of cheap, if the advertisement were addressed to rational creatures, would be to adopt a style of puff about as judicious as the cry of unsavoury fish. Soft indeed must be that sex to which the costliness of any article could be a recommendation of it. The softness which can accept Arabian Preparations, manufactured entirely by MADAME RACHEL, as Arabian in any other sense than that in which they may possibly be associated with a Mosaic Arab seems quite waxy. The female loveliness which these preparations may be supposed calculated to restore and preserve, appears indeed to be, as it were, that of the ladies in the hairdressers' windows, bright and brilliant with their glass eyes - radiant in red and white wax. Imagination pictures MADAME RACHEL'S patronesses as having been fashioned out of that plastic material, and animated with a faint life by a disciple of FRANKENSTEIN. What real lady would be allured by such a phrase as "a most recherché toilet?"
    In another advertisement MADAME RACHEL describes herself as "the Enamellist." This notification is, like the foregoing, headed "Beautiful Women." Accordingly, we must suppose that beautiful women of a sort are the subjects of MADAME RACHEL'S enamelling processes; and what sort of women can that be, but an artificial one? Pretty women, indeed, they probably are. Fancy an enamelled object of affection! The nearest thing to it well imaginable is, perhaps, a whited sepulchre.

Punch, March 26, 1859