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[-101-] THE HAIR.
Fair and Dark Women-Blondes and Brunettes.
Is there a woman living who has not
coveted the "mantle of a king" sung by Musset?
"Cette chevelure qui l'inonde,
Plus longue qu'un mauteau de roi."
[-102-] And in truth it is a splendid ornament that Nature has bestowed on her chosen ones, and which they ought to know how to preserve-as, indeed, everyone ought, no matter what kind of hair they have been given.
Of course, to be really beautiful, hair should be abundant, fine, and brilliant. But let not those despair altogether whose hair is thin, short, coarse, or lustreless; these faults may be somewhat, if not a great deal, diminished by intelligent efforts.
All the beautiful qualities we have enumerated will not suffice for many women if their hair is black as a raven's wing. They want to be fair, as all, or nearly all, the fatal and fascinating women of history have been.
Eve, they say, was fair as honey; the locks of Venus streamed over her divine shoulders in a golden flood; the hair of Ceres was the colour of the harvest; Helen the beautiful, whom even the old men of [-103-] Troy could not see without emotion, crowned her adorable head with fair hair like ripe corn; Salome, who asked for and obtained the head of John the Baptist, had yellow hair-at least, the old masters painted her fair, like the young Jewesses of high birth ; Lucretia Borgia, Lady Macbeth the murderess, and Queen Mary were all blondes; Queen Elizabeth had red hair; and Catherine and Marie de Medicis were also fair.
Cousin thus describes the hair of his adored Duchesse de Longueville: "Her tresses were of a blond cendré and of the utmost fineness. They descended in abundant curls, inundating her admirable shoulders, and ornamenting the delicate oval of her face."
Anne of Austria, again, was a blonde; so was Madame de Sevigné, whose way of dressing her hair is still famous; and the gentle La Vallière was also fair.
The fair hair of Marie Antoinette and [-104-] of Madame de Lamballe would have been enough to make them beautiful. Madame Emile de Girardin also had a remarkable head of fair hair; and one of the beauties of the Empress Eugénie was her very blonde hair.
I confess I admire this fair hair - whether cendré, golden, or auburn--and this taste has been shared from antiquity. In the time of Pericles the Greeks washed their hair in soap-suds and water to take out the colour, afterwards rubbing it with the fat of goats, beech-ashes, and yellow flowers. Then they let it hang over their shoulders to dry. The Germans were proud of their light hair, and those who had it not by nature had recourse to art to help them. Washing the hair with beer was supposed to be efficacious for making it fair, and also an application of lime. Roman ladies cursed their sombre-coloured hair, and Ovid relates that they covered their heads with blonde wigs bought in [-105-] Germania at high prices. Everyone knows what pains and trouble the Venetian women took in order to attain that flame-coloured copper-tint for their hair which is called the blond Titien.
Nowadays there are some who get their hair dyed mahogany colour in the most scientific and approved manner ; it is perfectly hideous. Others who are blondes by nature make the colour of their hair still fairer with the help of oxidised water, Englishwomen wash their hair with rum and an infusion of colocynth, to prevent it from becoming browner with advancing years.
It seems that in olden days (those happy olden days !) there were many more blondes than there are now. Do you wish to know why, even in northern countries, the hair becomes darker century after century ? "Heaven," says a humorist, "sent a great many golden-haired women on the earth to charm the other half of [-106-]humanity. Seeing this, the devil, who hates man, sent us cooks: they with their sauces and ragouts have disordered the human hair, and these disorders manifest themselves outwardly by the sombre colour of the hair." Some grain of truth may perhaps lie hidden under this absurdity.
Arab women and the subjects of the Shah prefer dark hair, and they dye their beautiful black hair darker with henna. The leaves of this plant, reduced to powder and mixed with water, form a cosmetic with which the hair is carefully covered. This paste is taken off some hours after, by washing with water tinged with indigo, which leaves the hair a splendid colour for some days afterwards.
The Russians admire nut-brown hair above all others, affirming that Christ had hair of that colour.
Auburn or light chestnut hair is much thought of in England; it suits the fresh faces of the daughters of Albion.
[-107-] How to Dress the Hair.
In spite of my avowed preference for
fair hair, I would advise no one to change
the colour of their hair, were it as dark or
black as Erebus. Nature gives to each face
the frame which is most becoming to it,
and it is impossible to improve or correct
her on this point.
To make the best of whatever hair we possess is to choose the best way of dressing it. But it is curious that in arranging their style of hair-dressing, women never consider either the colour or the texture of their hair.
We should not try to curl smooth hair, any more than we should flatten down curly or even wavy hair. It is certain that some faces require the frame which their naturally fuzzy and curly hair gives them. Black hair and the faces it goes with are not improved by being frizzed; they need smooth bandeaux, long lustrous curls, large plaits. Red hair should be frizzed; when [-108-] fuzzed out and separated, the colour becomes softened. Heavy tresses of brown hair are very pretty. Blonde hair will hear almost every style of dressing: it is charming in smooth polished bands, adorable in a halo round the forehead.
Why do not women dress their, hair to suit the particular character of their own faces, instead of making themselves ugly by following whatever is the fashion? Women ought even to have the courage to allow their hair to become white. All dyes founded on silver or lead are dangerous. Moreover, they only make the hair and complexion ugly. Let us accept the snows the years bring; they harmonise with the countenance which time and suffering have given us-and framed in white hair, certain faces become strangely softened and improved. There is both grace and dignity in disdaining to repair the irreparable ravages of time. "And what about powder?" I shall be asked. I would not [-109-] powder even white hair. Powdered hair makes the features look hard, as does everything that is not natural. The refined faces of the eighteenth century would have been even more charming if Richelieu had not thought of concealing his first silver threads with flour. Moreover, as there is nothing new under the sun, the conqueror of Port Mahon has not even the credit of inventing powdered hair. The ancient Greeks, who sometimes dyed their hair white, had the custom, too, of powdering it, so as to render it the azure colour of the skies and waves; or by means of coloured powders to give it the changing tints of a pigeon's throat, or that of the honey of Mount Hymettus.
If the hair is drawn too tight, plastered down, or too much twisted, it is no longer an ornament, and looks as if the owner was anxious to get rid of it, instead of treating it as an embellishment. Indeed, the effect is disastrous. A certain amount of freedom [-110-] and abandon should be allowed to the hair; and this is also good for the hair itself.
Very deep thick fringes coming down low on the forehead give an animal look to the face; but a few small light little curls on the top of the forehead are very becoming.
To dispose the hair becomingly, the feature and structure of the figure should be considered. A small thin woman looks ridiculous if she enlarges her head too much by the way she wears her hair. If the forehead is high and prominent, and the features large, dragging the hair up a la Chinoise will be simply hideous. If you make your parting a very little to one side of the head, it will take five years off your age; but a parting quite at the side will make the most delicately moulded face appear masculine. Everyone should avoid an eccentric coiffure; and the size of the head should never be increased by a mass of false hair. The head will have more [-111-] refinement and distinction if left its natural shape, and will be more in harmony with the figure to which it belongs.
A worn and elderly-looking woman will find herself wonderfully improved by covering her hair, even if it is still plentiful, with a lace mantilla, which will veil the ravages of time about her face, and will form a graceful frame for it. An old woman looks frightful with a tare head; and the light shadows thrown by lace will do much to dissimulate the effects of age.
How to Take Care of the Hair.
The fashion of frizzing the hair, whether
with hot irons, pins, or any other artificial
means of making it wavy, is, it must be
confessed, a disastrous one for the beauty
and growth of the hair. And what would
become of us, with these short hairs
round the forehead that have become
crisp, stiff, and coarse by frequent cutting and curling, if the decree went forth
that the fashion for smooth bands should
I know that many women, thinking themselves very clever, wear a false fringe. But this opens up new danger. Very often false hair, in spite of the purifying it has undergone, has communicated skin disease to the wearer. Hair cut from the heads of the Chinese is specially apt to spread this infection. Fortunately, the hair of the Celestials is easily discerned; very coarse, harsh, black, and brilliant, is this hair that comes from the extreme East.
False hair should be often renewed. It it is cut off the head of a living person it keeps its vitality for about two years, or a little longer. After that it becomes unequal, stiff, and rough, and can no longer be used. Hair taken from the dead is never used by hairdressers who value their reputation. It cannot be frizzed or curled without great difficulty.
As few hair-pins as possible should be [-113-] used for confining the hair, so as not to irritate the skin of the head, as they often do. I am speaking of black japanned hairpins. Those made of tortoise-shell (either real or imitation) and the thick-gilt wire hair-pins have not this drawback, for they cannot make painful pricks.
It is well sometimes to change the way of dressing the hair for a day or two; it makes the hair grow thin if it is always done exactly in the same manner, and is always twisted in the same direction.
If the hair is parted it should be done afresh every day. This daily operation keeps the parting very narrow and close, and the contrary happens if this trifling trouble is neglected.
It is further necessary to cut about aim inch off the ends of the hair at the new moon during the first quarter. The hair will gain as much from one new moon to another; there is no fear, therefore, of diminishing its length. At the end of the [-114-] year it will be found to be the same as at time beginning; and some hair will even grow much longer, thanks to this habit of pointing it. I do not believe that the tranquil queen of the night has really much to do with the growth of the hair; but who knows? - for, after all, there are occult and mysterious influences which science has not yet explained. It is doubtless to the regularity of the proceeding that the good effects are to be attributed. One thing is certain - that hair which has the ends cut at every new moon will grow more abundantly.
It is best to sleep with the head uncovered. Hair that is left free at night will be finer, more silky, and neater than if it is imprisoned in a cap. But one must be used from childhood to sleep with nothing on the head. In this case the hair should be raised above the ears, without pulling it, and loosely plaited in one large plait, tied with a ribbon, and not fastened in any other [-115-] way. Beware of plaiting the hair under a cap or net; the more free and separated it is, the more shining and lustrous it will become. Above all, let no one wear such a thing as a starched cap ; the starch is sure to get among the hair, and to spoil it.
Those who have been used from childhood to wearing night-caps will be likely to catch colds, toothache, or earache, if they change this habit, especially in winter. Amid even those who have never had the habit will do well to adopt a night-cap in old age.
To keep the hair nice, it should be brushed on going to bed at night, as well as when dressing in the daytime, with a soft brush. The best brushes are those with short bristles, and unbleached. The hair should be disentangled from the extreme end, after having divided it into as many tresses as necessary. If you begin to comb from the roots to the ends, without having separated the hair into three or four parts, [-116-] you will do a great deal of damage. You will certainly break it, and make it ugly and impossible to give it a cared-for aspect. It is very good to burnish the hair with the hand. In Turkey the slave who has charge of the sultana's hair caresses and rolls it about in her hands until it is as supple, soft, and brilliant as a skein of silk.
It is as well to use as little grease, oils, or pomades as possible.
The Roman ladies thought that walnut- juice made the hair luxuriant.
How to Clean the Hair.
The frequent use of a fine toothcomb is
fatal for the hair, especially when it is
falling out. Nevertheless it is necessary to
keep the hair and the scalp clean.
One of my friends, who has the prettiest hair in the world-soft, neat, wavy, and burnished-cleans it from time to time with a mineral essence.
The Chinese, who have good hair, [-117-] although stiff and coarse, use a mixture of honey and flowers.
English people use the following solution :-A teacupful of salt in a quart of rain-water. This can be used after it has stood for twelve hours. To one cup of the preparation add a cup of warm rain-water. Wash the hair well with this, rinsing and rubbing it, as well as the scalp, with a towel till they are quite dry.
Italians, who are blessed with very vigorous heads of hair, wash it and the scalp with a decoction made from the roots of nettles.
The Creoles of Cuba make a decoction from rosemary leaves, which they consider cleans, strengthens, and softens the hair.
An excellent lotion is made as follows:- Boil 1¾ oz. of roots of soap-wort in a pint and a half of water. The preparation should be used warm, and the hair and head must be dried quickly with warm towels.
The yolk of an egg is very good for [-118-] cleaning the hair, and helps to make it grow. The skin of the head should be well rubbed with the yolk, and then rinsed with. warm water. The white of eggs, well beaten up into a froth, is also one of the simplest and best preparations; it should be used in the same way as the yolks.
Here, finally, are some more elaborate lotions for those who disdain simple remedies:-
1st. One that is useful for washing the hair, besides being good when it is falling out, and for headaches :-Take half a pint of rectified and sweet-smelling spirit, dissolve in it 8 grains of sulphate of quinine, and leave it to infuse for two days in a bottle hermetically corked. After that time, add a pint of old rum and 1¾ ounces of yellow quinine in powder. Leave these together for three days; then rinse the sediment with about two-fifths of water, and mix the two liquids, filtering them through paper.
2nd. A chemist gives this recipe to [-119-] enable one to make a quinine wash oneself for washing the head :- Sulphate of quinine 46 grains, enough eau de Rahel to dissolve it; opoponax 5 drams, dissolved in the necessary quantity of rectified alcohol at 96º; add 3 drops of patchouly, 2½ drachrns of essence of violets, and 2½ drachms of essence of bouquet. Make it up to six quarts by adding enough alcohol at 40º. Throw into the liquid 2½ ounces of powdered orris-root; leave it to stand for eight days, and then strain it.
3rd. Shampooing mixture used in England :-A quart of hot or cold water, in which 1 ounce of carbonate of soda has been dissolved and half an ounce of Pears' soap cut into small pieces. Add to this some drops of perfumed essence and 1 ounce of spirits of wine. After washing the hair with this. preparation, it should be rinsed with tepid water, and then both the head and hair should be rubbed with warm towels till they are dry.
[-120-] It is always well to dry the hair rapidly and thoroughly; and after drying, it should be allowed to hang loosely over the shoulders for an hour or two. The hair will get much less matted if after shaking it out it is allowed to hang loose over the shoulders while one is dressing and undressing.
White hair (and, indeed, some other hair) can be admirably cleaned with flour; it, as well as the skin of the head, should be rubbed with the flour, and then carefully brushed. I think this is perhaps the best way of all. It is a pity that it is difficult to use it with dark hair, for obvious reasons.
Diseases of the Hair.
Dandruff is not only very unsightly, but
brings baldness in its train. This affection may be obstinate, as it is often due to
a bad state of health; but before having recourse to medical treatment simple remedies
like the following can be tried
1st. Melt 2 ounces of crystals of soda [-121-] in a quart of water, and 1 ounce of eau de Cologne. Dip a hairbrush into this water, and pass it over the affected parts several times a day.
2nd. Apply lemon-juice to the scalp; the juice should touch the hair as little as possible.
3rd. Take 2½ drachms of Panama wood, and boil it in a pint of rain-water. With the decoction wash the parts affected two or three times a week.
When the hair falls out without reason, there must be some disease ; and the same may be said when it splits at the points. Grief causes the hair to fall out and get thin. There is no remedy for this but time and forgetfulness and happier days.
Often the hair falls out without any apparent cause; when it does, be sure you are out of health, perhaps without knowing it yourself-especially if your hair becomes dead and rough. We know that an animal is in good health when its fur is silky and bright. [-122-] With all due respect it is just the same with men and even women. Watch yourself in this case, and find out what the mischief is. Under such circumstances a good treatment for the hair is to soap the scalp and then anoint it, rubbing in well a mixture of castor-oil, oil of sweet almonds, and of tannin.
A girl of fifteen may suddenly find her beautiful hair falling out without any appreciable cause. It should then be cut off to about the lobe of the ear, and a stimulating lotion applied to the scalp. There is no need for anxiety, unless the hair does not begin to grow again. A doctor would advise in. that case that the head should be shaved, and washed three times a week with the following preparation: - Half an ounce of colocynth in a pint of good Jamaica rum. This should be strained at the end of three days, and the infusion poured into a bottle and well corked. The head should be vigorously brushed before [-123-] the application. The hair will grow again, and it will be supposed that it is the colocynth that has changed its former tint to a charming golden one.
A man may put up with being bald, for
he has so many fellow-sufferers; moreover,
a man s face is not much the worse for this
defect. But a bald woman is indeed to be
pitied. She cannot accept this misfortune--
at least, she must hide it by every conceivable means. She must take refuge in a
wig, or in wearing before her time lace caps
or mantillas in the house, which always ages
the wearer a little.
Nevertheless, the number of bald women increases every day. This state of things is attributed to the curling-irons, which have been too much used; to the wigs; to the false hair, which has caused the real to fall out; to the woollen fichus thrown over the head to keep it from the cold either in [-124-] the house or garden; to the velvet bows worn on the top of the head; etc. etc. There is very likely some truth in all this; but in my opinion it is to the dyes, above all, that the evil is due.
People do not wait now for their hair to turn white before they dye it; they vary the colour of their hair with their toilette. One day they appear blonde, the next red or brown. Those who have black hair get it dyed an indelible mahogany tint. When women with fair hair see it getting darker, they immediately try to make it light again with oxidised water, which spoils the texture of the hair.
Those who find their hair turning white would go to the Prince of Darkness himself to conceal the snows of time, and one soon perceives that they have used infernal measures. This is a sad want of common- sense. We must remain what we are, or what we have become. It is high time to remedy the evil for the sake of future [-125-] generations. We must go back to simple hair-dressing, without the addition of false hair or crimping-irons. People will take care to cover their heads with silk and not woollen kerchiefs; velvet will be given up as an ornament for the hair; and, above all, dyes will be renounced. The natural colour of the hair will be kept; it will be allowed to darken, and then to grow white; and grey hair itself will not be powdered. At this cost the hair will remain abundant and vigorous, even in those of advanced age, and will allow of being prettily and grace. fully dressed.
Are not thick bandeaux, even at the pepper-and-salt stage, preferable to a bald head or to false hair, which it is easily seen does not belong to the head it is on?
There is but one way of remedying feminine baldness, and that is by inventing pretty lace caps to hide it; and mothers who are thus afflicted should teach their [-126-] daughters how to avoid the necessity for this addition to their toilette.
Recipes for Preventing the Hair from Falling Out.
Brunettes may stop their raven locks
from falling out by the application of lemon-
juice to their scalps.
Another remedy for the same evil is the following :-Wash the head every night with this mixture, rubbing it in hard: A teaspoonful of salt and one scruple of quinine, added to a pint of ordinary brandy; shake the mixture well. The following recipe I have seen made, and have known good results from its use :-Three common onions cleaned and put into a quart of ruin for twenty-four hours; the onions are then taken out, and the rum used to rub the scalp with every other day. The slight odour of onions it may retain evaporates in a few minutes.
The Lancet recommends the following [-127-] pomade for hair falling out:- 5 parts of tincture of jaborandi, 3 parts of lanoline, 20 parts of glycerine; mixed with the help of a little soft-soap; the head to be rubbed every night with a little of this pomade on the end of your finger.
A friend of mine derived benefit from a decoction of the leaves of the walnut in water, with which he wetted the scalp every night by means of a sponge. He had been obliged to give up the use of a fine comb, and the following had been ordered for use in dressing his hair in the morning:- Unguent of balsam 30 parts, tannin 1 part, tincture of benzoin 3 parts. Again, a man who was having pilocarpine injected for his sight recovered all his hair, at the age of sixty.
The head should not be shaved after an illness. The hair will at once stop falling out if it is cut three times (I am, of course, speaking of women's hair). Each time a certain length should be taken off in [-128-] proportion to the length of the hair; the third time it should be left longer than to the lobe of the ear. One must resign oneself to wearing the hair like a boy at first, then like a little girl as it grows longer. The most grievous results might ensue from wearing a wig or false hair of any kind, for one would risk losing what remained of one s hair without hope of recovery. From the day on which the hair is begun to be cut, the head should be rubbed with an infusion of quinine and a mixture of rum and castor-oil in equal parts.
Tepid sage-tea is also recommended on condition that the head is well dried with warm towels.
Pomades and Hair-Oils.
Some hair is so dry that it cannot
do without pomade for fear of breaking it.
A doctor recommends oil of vaseline very
much rectified (liquid vaseline), and perfumed according to taste.
[-129-] If other oils or pomades are preferred, they should be prepared at home, for bad pomades cause or hasten the loss of hair. Care should be taken above all to clarify the grease or oil used, and for this it must undergo a preliminary preparation. The oils or marrows should be put into a bain-marie with 3 parts of powdered benzoin, and 3 parts of powdered balm of Tolu to every 100 parts of the grease. It must be stirred often with a wooden spoon. After two hours' boiling, the oils and grease are strained through a cloth. The benzoin acid, like vanilla, possesses the property of preventing fatty substances with which it is incorporated becoming rancid. Vaseline never becomes rancid. To make another pomade, take 3 ounces of the grease prepared in the best manner, 2 ounces of beef marrow, and 1 ounce of sweet-almond oil; before these substances are quite stiff and cold, perfume them with 30 minims of essence of bergamot and 1 drachm of essence of violet.
[-130-] Some people use water instead of pomade; nothing is worse for the hair. The habit of using the saliva to smooth the hair is a disgusting and often a dangerous one.
How to Clean Combs and Brushes.
There is nothing better than ammonia
for cleaning hair-brushes; it does not soften
the bristles as soap and soda do. Put a
teaspoonful of ammonia in a quart of water;
dip the brush into this, preserving the ivory
or wooden backs as well as possible. An
immersion of a few seconds will suffice to
take out all the grease. The brush should
then be dipped in clear water and dried in
the open air, but not in the sun.
Combs must never be washed. They can be cleaned with a tightly-stretched string or with a card, by sticking the teeth into cotton-wool, or by using a little flat hard brush, or any of the implements invented by hairdressers for the purpose. There are [-131-] special brushes for brushing out the combs every time they are used.
The greatest neatness is necessary for all implements used for hair-dressing.
Ammonia and the Hair.
Ammonia takes the colour out of the hair. Beware, therefore, if you use it in your bath, not to wet your hair. Indeed, the hair should be kept from all contact with water, except what is actually necessary for cleansing purposes.
THE purity of the breath has a great
effect on the beauty and preservation of the
teeth; and, moreover, if that purity is
altered, one's fellow-creatures withdraw
more or less to a distance from one. It is [-132-] obvious, therefore, that the freshness of the
breath is of the greatest importance, and
that we must not disdain the means by
which it may be preserved, or restored if
Sobriety, health, complete abstinence from strong flavours (such as garlic and onions), and clean and healthy teeth: these are the conditions, in a word, which will admit of our preserving to old age, and even till death, a breath as sweet and fresh as a child's.
Diseases of the mouth and stomach, neglected and decayed teeth, the abuse of alcoholic liquors, too high living, rich and spiced dishes, are all compromising to the breath. If the cause should arise from the stomach, from ·the teeth, or from a disease of the mouth, the use of purgating mineral waters, powdered chalk, or magnesia and bicarbonate of soda, are all indicated.
Bad teeth should be extracted relentlessly. If it is impossible to go at once to [-133-] the dentist, small pieces of iris-root should be kept in the mouth to counteract the effect of the bad state of the teeth.
The people of Java eat the bark of cinnamon to perfume their mouths and make them sweet. The famous little dancers of Kampong, at the Paris Exhibition, had brought a large provision of it.
The resinous substance which flows from an incision made in the bark of a gum-tree is an astringent for the gums, and gives a delicious odour to the breath. It is gum in tears; the sultanas make much use of it.
If we are to believe Martial, the Roman ladies used tooth-picks cut out of the wood of the turpentine-tree.
A mixture of tincture of camphor and myrrh is excellent for gargling and washing out the mouth when any accident of health affects the breath temporarily: a few drops of each in a glass of water. If myrrh alone is used, ten drops will suffice.
When you have eaten cólelettes à la [-134-] soubise, or any other dish in which there is onion, swallow a cup of black coffee immediately after. Coffee is an antidote to the atrocious odour which that bulb communicates to the respiratory organs. As for garlic, let no one ever touch it.
I have heard of a very easy and practicable remedy for the unpleasant evil of which we are speaking, namely
Powdered charcoal - 1part
Powered white sugar 1 part
Powdered good chocolate 3 parts
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie, then add the sugar and charcoal; mix them all very well together. After the preparation has been allowed to get cold on marble, cut it up into small squares, and eat three or four of these during the day.
I should hardly be forgiven if I left the
subject of the mouth without mentioning
[-135-] To be beautiful, the lips should have the red of raspberries, and they should be soft, and not chapped. Red lips are incompatible with certain temperaments. In such cases people must resign themselves to pale- coloured lips, for all attempts to heighten their colour will only succeed for the moment, and be detrimental to the softness and the suppleness of the tissues.
Do not have recourse, therefore, to friction with alcohol, vinegars, or cosmetics; you will certainly lose more in the long run than you gain temporarily. If your lips are not rough, they will always have a certain freshness and smoothness, which in itself is a charm, in spite of a pale pink colour. Alcohol, vinegars, and rouge will destroy the exquisite delicacy of the epidermis, so essential to this feature. How often do children say to women who kiss them, "Your lips prick," because they have made their skin harsh by using stupid remedies. Many women bite their lips on entering a [-136-] room, to make them red. But, besides the fact that the colour thus obtained only lasts a few seconds, the habit of biting the lips makes them sore and inclined to chap.
If your lips are naturally dry and rough, rub them a little every night with equal parts of water and glycerine.
Do not pass your tongue over your lips; for, besides being against the rules of polite society, the dampness thus produced is not good for them.
If pimples from feverishness come and disfigure your lips, touch them lightly with powdered alum, and they will soon be cured.
Extravagant laughter on all occasions, for everything and nothing, must not be indulged in by those who wish to keep their lips pretty. Avoid contortions of the mouth in speaking - does not everyone know people who draw in and push out their lips when they speak? Beware of tricks: I knew a dressmaker who stuck out her lips every time she drew out her needle. It is [-137-] easy to understand that excessive laughter, contortions of the face, and tricks, will disfigure the mouth and bring on premature old age, while many matrons remain pretty from knowing how to preserve the freshness of their lips and the charm of their smile.
To reduce lips that are too thick, rubbing with tannin may be tried.
Pomades for the Lips.
One of the small and disfiguring ills of
life-chapped lips-may be easily cured.
Here are some prescriptions which are very good in this case:-
(1) Pure wax ... 2 parts
Olive oil ... 11 parts
Melt the wax over a gentle fire, and add the
oil, mixing them well together. Perfume
it with a few drops of tincture of benzoin,
and allow it to get cold.
(2) White wax, oil of sweet almonds, essence of rose, and a little carmine.
[-138-] (3) Pommade a la Sultane
White wax ... 1drachm.
Spermaceti ... 1 drachm.
Balsam of Peru ... 1 drachm.
Sweet almond oil ... 6½ounces
Rose-water ... 10drachms
Balsam of Peru
Dissolve the wax and spermaceti in oil au bain-marie; pour them into a marble mortar warmed with boiling water; heat vigorously, then add by degrees the rose-water and the balsam, still stirring quickly, till they are completely mixed and the water is all absorbed.
(4) Oil of sweet almonds... 15 drachms
White wax ... 6 drachms
Butter of cacao ...2 drachms
Spermaceti ... 2 drachms
Orchanet ... 4 drachms
Amalgamate these ingredients well over a
gentle fire au bain-marie; strain through
muslin, and perfume with attar of roses.
These pomades should be put into very small pots, and carefully covered or corked.
[-139-] The Teeth and How to Keep Them Clean.
Théophile Gautier speaks somewhere of
"a dazzling smile of pearls."
It is certain that nothing increases the charm of a smile so much, and nothing is so necessary to it, as a double row of perfectly good white teeth, disclosed when the lips open to smile.
Pretty teeth are a sine qua non to beauty. Good teeth - which are almost always pretty - are indispensable to health. "No teeth, no health," is a strictly true aphorism formulated by Professor Préterre, a surgeon- dentist who is justly celebrated in France and elsewhere.
The premature loss of the teeth brings on old age before its time. It is possible, I know, to restore to the mouth the "mobilier" it has lost (as they said in the eighteenth century), but at the cost of what endless worries to our persons is this reparation made?
[-140-] It is better to guard jealously what nature has given us. Let us take care of our teeth, then, so as not to be disfigured by their loss, so as to escape destructive diseases, and the terrible sufferings caused by teeth that have been spoilt, and also to preserve the purity of the breath, which is a charm above many others.
Cleaning the teeth is the surest way of combating the causes of their ruin. They should be cleaned by careful brushing, both night and morning; and it is an excellent thing to rinse out the mouth after every meal that one takes at home. Particles of food which stick between the teeth decompose, and bring by degrees the horrible decay so fatal to the teeth and to the freshness of the breath.
Some people use cold water for cleaning their teeth and rinsing the mouth; I advise the use of tepid water always for both purposes. A slight infusion of mint may be used for cleaning the teeth, or the following mixture:-
[-141-] 1½ drachtns of borax and 4½ drachms of pure glycerine in a quart of luke-warm water. The first prescription, however, is the simpler, and may suffice.
The tooth-brush should be small and nearly round, so as to get into every corner of the mouth. I shall further speak of those dentifrices and tooth powders which seem to me free from dangerous ingredients; for the majority of things of this sort, and those most advertised, only increase destruction of the teeth. There are, however, some that are efficacious, and of these I shall give the recipes.
It may be enough to use soap for the teeth three or four times a week (besides the usual brushing twice a day). For this, very pure white soap, such as Marseilles soap, should be used. At first the operation seems, I admit, very disagreeable; but one very soon gets used to it, and it is followed with happy results. Soap is an alkaline preparation, and alkalines are much recom-[-142-]mended for the teeth; it is an antiseptic, and every mouth requires, more or less, an antiseptic. Lastly, it removes the tartar which covers the teeth, which the most celebrated tooth-powder can only do by damaging the enamel to some extent.
Some people simply use salt, and with great advantage to themselves; they rub the teeth with it, brushing and rinsing the mouth afterwards with tepid water. These people have very white teeth, and their gums are firm and red. Still, I should be afraid that this treatment would not suit everyone, while the soap may be adopted without fear, no matter what the teeth or the temperament may be.
The teeth should not be brushed length- ways. If this is done, the points of the gums will be injured and the teeth loosened. The upper teeth should be brushed from the top downwards (from the gums to the ends of the teeth), the lower teeth from the bottom upwards, also from the gums to the [-148-] extremity of the teeth. The inside of the teeth should be brushed in the same fashion, and as carefully as the outside.
The gums must be taken care of, for
when they are in a good state the teeth are
likely to be the same.
When the gums are soft, here is a powder that will make them firm:-
Quinine - 15 drachms.
Ratanhia in powder - 6 drachms.
Chlorate of potassium - 5 drachms.
These powders should be well mixed together so as to form but one, with which the gums are to be rubbed three or four times a day.
By degrees the gums should be accustomed to a more energetic friction. If they are very soft and bleed easily, they should be strengthened by often chewing cress or scurvy-grass (cochlearia), or by washing them with an infusion of gentian or of [-144-] bramble-leaves, in which a few drops of quinine or eau de Cologne should be mixed.
Lemon also has a very good action on tender or even ulcerated gums. Dip a camel's-hair brush into the lemon-juice and tap the affected parts with it, without touching the teeth. Equal parts of tincture of ratanhia and tincture of Spanish camomile used in the same manner is much to be recommended. It should be done at night.
Another mixture with which the gums may be touched daily is the following:-
Tincture of cochlearia - 50 grains
Hydrate of chloral - 5 grains
But this is a strong remedy, and should not
be used without medical advice.
A decoction of myrrh, tannin, and oak-bark would be an excellent wash for tender gums, as it acts as an astringent.
Some foods, such as sugar, bonbons, and confectionery, are bad for the teeth. It is [-145-] said that dates and radishes, because they are acid, are also bad for the teeth. Too much acid destroys the enamel of the teeth. Figs, like sugar, weaken the teeth, and oils and greasy substances do them no good.
Beware of drinking immediately after taking hot soup, unless what you drink is lukewarm. If it is cold or iced, the teeth will suffer from this sudden change from a burning hot to a polar temperature. You should breathe through the nose, especially in cold weather (indeed, it is well to keep to this habit in summer also, for the health of the lungs). If you breathe through the mouth in winter, you expose your teeth to a current of air of a much lower temperature than that of your body. From this come inflammations of the periosteum and of the teeth themselves, and congestions of the mucous membrane, with acid secretions - but I must not become too scientific. All sensible people will understand that it is bad for the teeth to breathe through the [-146-] mouth or to sleep with the mouth open, which generally happens when one lies on one's back. It is dangerous to pick the teeth, or even to touch them, with pins or any other metallic substances.
"When you eat," says an ancient author, "eat with both sides, so that one may relieve the other."
When you suffer from toothache, mistrust the ordinary remedies that are recommended. Creosote, cloves, essence of cinnamon, etc. etc., may perhaps ease your pain,
but they will destroy your teeth. Go at
once to the dentist; and if you are obliged
to delay doing so, use only such remedies as
are evidently harmless. For example, roll
some parsley with a little salt up into a
small ball, and put it into the ear on the side
where the pain is. Or, again, paint the
cheek with lemon-juice, or apply a hot
flannel to the face. A scanty diet and [-147-]
warm baths will sometimes calm the toothache. If the teeth have been hurt by an
acid, seltzer-water will reduce the irritation.
I have known a violent toothache cured by applying, on the advice of a doctor, a poultice composed of flour, white of egg, brandy, and gum, at the angle of the lower jaw, on the spot where one feels the beating of the artery. It was a tooth in the lower jaw, which was causing intolerable suffering. Toothache may be caused by acidity of the saliva, from which inflammation and irritation of the teeth arise. A strong solution of bicarbonate of soda is the remedy for toothache when produced by this cause. Rinse the mouth well with this solution, and apply a little bicarbonate of soda to the teeth and gums with a brush. Try this remedy when you suffer from toothache; and if you find relief from it, you will have discovered the cause of the pain. From henceforth use bicarbonate of soda in brushing your teeth.
[-148-] Several persons have assured me that they cured the decay of their teeth by the following means :- Fill the hollow teeth with alum powdered very fine; as the alum melts in the tooth, the pain disappears. The operation must be repeated whenever the pain returns, and in the end it will be conquered and the decay stopped.
This decay is due to the destructive action of the particles of food which stick in hollow teeth, remain there, and become corrupt. Alum is known to be an antiseptic; hence its virtue in the cases which now occupy our attention.
Nevertheless, whenever it is possible have recourse to the dentist, and to a good dentist: for anything else is a foolish economy, which will cost a great deal more in the end, to say nothing of the needless worries, accidents, and sufferings.
Stopping, and especially gold stopping, done in time, may preserve our teeth indefinitely, and save us from horrible suffering.
[-149-] All neglect on this point is reprehensible, and will often cause us infinite regret.
Tooth-Powders, Dentifrices, Elixirs.
If you are determined to use powders
and elixirs, be very careful in your choice
of them; I should even advise you to
prepare them at home, to be quite sure that
they contain neither cream of tartar, bole,
or calcareous salts-all substances which
would be fatal to the enamel of the teeth
and to the purity of the breath.
Here are some recipes, of which I will guarantee the excellence, with which tooth- powders and elixirs can easily be prepared. I have the authority of doctors and chemists for them
(1) Carbonate of precipitated chalk ... 40 drachms.
Powder of Bol d'Arménie ... 40 drachms.
" of magnesia ... ... 10 drachms.
Root of Spanish camomile ... 5 drachms.
" of cloves ... ... ... 5 drachms.
Bicarbonate of soda ... ... 4 drachms.
Essence of peppermint ... ... 1 drachm.
Mix all together carefully.
[-150-] (2) Powdered quinine ... 10 drachms.
Tannin ...10 drachms.
Charcoal ...10 drachms.
Pound them in a mortar, and keep in china or a wooden pot.
(3) Phosphate of dry chalk ... 2 ounces
Iris powder ... 1 ounce
Powdered myrrh ... 8 grains
Mix these and add
Solution of cocaine ... ... 1 drop.
Eucalyptus oil ... ... ... 12 drops.
Mix and heat them all well together, and strain. This powder is very good for delicate teeth and spongy gums.
(4) Take precipitated chalk as a basis, and add
Powdered soapwort 4 drachms.
Eucalyptus oil ... 4 drachms.
Carbonic acid ... 4 drachms.
An elixir recommended by a chemist:-
Green anis ... 6½ drachms.
Cloves ... 2½ drachms.
Cinnamon 2½ drachms.
Quinine ... 2½ drachms.
Root of Spanish camomile ... 2½ drachms.
Essence of peppermint ... 1½ drachms.
Cochineal ... 1 drachm.
Alcohol (rectified 90º) 1 quart.
These various substances to be infused in the alcohol for a month, then filtered through paper.
[-151-] Here is a mixture recommended by a
good dentist, who prefers it to eau de Botot:-
Thymol ... 3 grains
Benzoic acid ... 2 scruples
Tincture of Eucalyptus ...46 minims
Water ... ...12 ounces
Shake the bottle.
The mouth should be rinsed with this mixture before going to bed. It is during
the night that the mouth and teeth suffer
most from the fermentation and secretions,
which are formed more profusely during
sleep. Thanks to this lotion, decayed teeth
are purified, and can no longer become a
source of destruction and suffering. The
existing cause will have been eliminated and
In the summer season the most delicious and the best dentifrice is the strawberry. It cleans the teeth to perfection. It should be bruised on the brush, the teeth rubbed with it, and then rinsed out with tepid water. An infusion made with the petals of the pink [-152-] procures the best of elixirs also during the summer. The pink is an antiseptic.
I recommend you to eat a small crust of bread at the end of every meal, after the dessert.
In spite of all washes and dentifrices,
tartar will form, with rare exceptions, even
on the most carefully kept teeth. People
subject to gout and rheumatism will find
tartar forming on their teeth to some extent,
in spite of all their care.
For those who have not this temperament, energetic brushing will at least in some degree prevent or delay, and sometimes even destroy, the appearance of tartar. Alum is ordered to prevent tartar. Take a little on your brush, which should be very slightly wet, and brush your teeth with it every morning for three or four days at a time. Rinse your mouth with honey and water afterwards, to correct the strong astringent.
[-153-] But it is often necessary to resort to more vigorous measures for getting rid of the evil. Dr. Magitol, whose name is famous in the records of dentistry, does not hesitate to use the steel to deliver one from the dreaded tartar. Once the patient is in his hands, there is no way of escape; and he does not let you go till he has made an end of the stony concretion which has formed on your teeth.
Your mouth is sometimes filled with blood, and you wish to stop the practitioner's hand, but he will not let you go till he has delivered, you from this first cause of the destruction of the teeth.
The subsequent treatment is very simple. You have only to suck pastilles of chlorate of potassium; but be sure that they are pastilles in which the preserving ingredient is not absent, as is often the case.
As to black teeth, it is perhaps dangerous to whiten them with the aid of chloric acid. Many conscientious dentists refuse to [-154-] perform this operation. Salt may be tried for this unpleasant growth which sometimes invades the human teeth, if the person thus inflicted is made too unhappy thereby.
With regard to salt, there is another occasion on which it may be of great use in connection with the teeth: if, after having a tooth extracted, the mouth is filled with salt and water, there need be no fear of haemorrhage.
Care should be taken of the teeth from
the moment they begin to show themselves.
What a moment of suffering and pain for
the poor little ones-and for the mother,
who sometimes dreads fatal accidents at this
The cutting of the first little teeth will be facilitated by rubbing the poor baby's gums with Narbonne honey. It will make the flesh tender (at the same time strengthening the stomach and intestines), and the [-155-] teeth will come through without causing the suffering which sometimes leads to convulsions, and even death. A crust of bread, a root of marsh-mallow, the coral invented by nurses, are all useful for promoting dentition.
The importance of attending to children' s teeth is evident to the meanest capacity. It has a double object-to prevent suffering which they are at the moment too weak to bear, and to ensure them good and fine teeth in the future.
When the second teeth come, there are often deleterious influences to be combated. There is always more or less chance of decay or of the formation of tartar; care must be taken, advice asked, and precautions must not be neglected for putting a spoke in the wheel of the evil in time. A true mother will also watch over the growth of the teeth as carefully. Dentists can correct by immediate attention all such dental deformities as may begin to show themselves.
[-156-] THE VOICE.
A PRETTY voice is a powerful attraction
in a woman; and a fine masculine voice,
full and sonorous, that has not yet undergone any change, is also very much to be
We ought, therefore, to watch over the organ that Nature has bestowed upon us, so as to keep it in a good state and to improve it. A harsh voice may be softened by the force of will, of study, and of work. A loud crying voice can be subdued in tone, a rough one may be made gentler.
A woman should speak in a rather low voice, but distinctly. To shout in speaking denotes vulgar habits, and sometimes shows a domineering spirit; many people talk too loud for others to be heard in discussion, to [-157-]prevent their opponents from expressing their thoughts fully, or to keep them from making some just or judicious remark. It is well not to spoil the tone of the voice by talking across a room or from the top of the house to the bottom, as is often done without any necessity. In doing so, both persons are obliged to shout at the top of their lungs to make themselves heard - a proceeding which must coarsen and wear out the voice at last.
There are people, too, who, when they are spoken to and do not quite take in what is said to them, pay no sort of attention, either from distraction or want of interest in what concerns others; the speaker has in that case to begin all over again, raising the voice to the highest pitch, which then becomes a habit, though often a useless one. These things generally happen in family life, where politeness and mutual consideration are so often wanting, and where they are more needed than anywhere else.
[-158-] We should have self-command enough never to shout, even when under the influence of anger, indignation, or pain. Such outcries spoil for ever the chords of a musical voice.
Children should not be allowed to scream out when they are playing. I mean those strident screams, which are hideous, and which they so often. give. When very little children scream in a fit of rage, it is well to throw a few drops of water in their faces, and go a little away from them without saying anything. They will then stop those screams which might be dangerous to such frail little creatures.
One doctor claims to have discovered a way of making all voices much more harmonious. He claims for peroxide of hydrogen the power of improving the voice in strength as well as in timbre. He inculcates, therefore, that it should be used by tenors, baritones, prima-donnas, etc., as well as by ordinary mortals desirous of possess-[-159-]ing a voice of gold or of crystal. His theory is that the peroxide is a constituent of the air and the dew in Italy, and that the beauty and richness of trans-alpine voices are due to its presence. This doctor has invented a chemical compound to replace the air of Italy. After inhaling it, the voices of those who did so were said to be fuller, clearer, richer, and more mellow in tone.
Slight Diseases of the Throat.
How many voices are worn and hoarse
from the effects of useless excesses and
fatigues! What a drawback to a woman,
and even to a man, is a hoarse, indistinct,
disagreeable voice! And generally this evil
might have been prevented, or at least
But there are some kinds of hoarseness which arise from involuntary causes; for instance, that which is caused by the larynx being too wide. It should then be contracted, to prevent the ugly hoarse tones so [-160-] afflicting to a delicate ear. Lemon, orangeade, and water acidulated with verjuice, are good in such cases; and cold drinks should always be used. A gargle of water and verjuice mixed may also be used with advantage.
If the hoarseness proceed from bronchitis or a slight quinsy, use a gargle made from the wild mustard (sisymbrium officinale). This herb is a tonic as well as an expectorant.
In every case of hoarseness it is better to talk as little as possible and in a very low tone, to drink barley-water, and to eat black-currant jelly. Nero is said to have drunk leek-water to keep his voice in good condition. Onions will have the same effect on our voices. Apples baked in their skins, pippins especially, are much recommended to orators; and everyone knows that many singers swallow, or are supposed to swallow, the yolk of a raw egg every morning before breakfast, to clear the voice.
[-161-] Butter-milk refreshes the voice when it is fatigued.
Tobacco, alcohol, and all violent stimulants are bad for the voice. Hot, spiced, and savoury food should be avoided by those who care for the elasticity of their voice.
Recipes for Clearing the Voice.
The Arabs have a very agreeable remedy
for aphonia. The patient till he is cured
is fed on the pulp of the apricot, cooked in
the ordinary way, and dried in the burning
sun of Sahara.
If a slight irritation of the throat spoils the sweetness and musical sonority of your voice, gargle with salt-and-water (Common salt). It is very good to inhale the steam of hot milk in which figs have been boiled, if you want to mellow the tone of the voice. Fumigations are also excellent. Mix a little powdered amber and myrrh together, put them on a red-hot shovel, and inhale the smoke.
[-162-] An infusion of male Veronica with a little sugar-candy is also recommended. A glassful should be taken before breakfast.
The Language of the Eyes.
SOME eyes are so beautiful that they
make one forget irregularity in the features,
and even other physical defects. They
exercise a fascinating and Sovereign charm.
Their power does not lie in their Colour; it
matters not whether they have borrowed
the tint of the corn-flower or the flash of the
black diamond, whether they reflect· the
June sky or hide their velvety softness
under long lashes; it is the expression
which makes them beautiful.
They must reflect a soul-a soul strong and great, tender, sweet, loyal and sure, ardent and loving. The inner being must [-163-] show itself in the eyes; we must feel, thanks to them, that beneath this outer shell of flesh there is an immaterial spirit, which animates and will survive the material body.
If the eye is without expression, it is because the individual soul is heavy and asleep. Those lifeless eyes will never awaken vivid and deep sympathies in others; they will draw forth neither the heart nor the intelligence; they will be utterly powerless.
Some people like blue eyes, others adore dark ones. There are certain conditions necessary to the beauty of the eye; it should be long, almond-shaped, and fringed with long lashes. Some wish them to be gentle, others demand that they shall flash. Above all things, the eye should open wide, with a fine, frank, direct look-a look which is not afraid to meet the regard of others. I am not in any way condemning, be it understood, the timid regard of a young girl who turns away surprised and almost frightened [-164-] from a passionate glance; but I dislike a furtive, suspicious look.
It is well to give children the habit of looking you straight in the face: not insolently, but simply, and with the noble assurance and confidence that all honest beings should have in themselves and in others. Nor should enthusiasm and ardour be repressed in young creatures when it is excited by what is beautiful, and great, and good. If they are obliged to hide their delight, and still the beating of their young hearts, their looks will become subdued, and their eyes will lose their frank expression.
The most beautiful eyes are those which express all the feelings sincerely and directly. I know some that are good, tender, and sweet, but they can flash like lightning in moments of indignation or enthusiasm. These eyes can hide nothing; you may have confidence in those who have them.
[-165-] Beware of the man whose eyes are impenetrable. He may not be actually a bad man, but he may become one. There are eyes which seem to flood one with light; others seem to have a veil drawn over them.
Those who know something of life divine the moral nature from the looks; and if we examine the eyes of others attentively, we shall not often be deceived in this world. We shall then know whether the being we are trying to decipher is artificial or loyal, frank or reserved, hard or tender, energetic or weak, keen or indifferent.
Two beings that love each other can speak with their eyes, and have no need of any other language. "Love," says an English poet, "springs from the eyes"; unfortunately he adds, rather frivolously, "like the potato," alluding to the germs or eyes of the tuber from which other potatoes grow. How often have we not heard it said, "One glance from her is enough to captivate and enslave me for ever !"
[-166-] True, there are eyes so splendid in expression, so admirable in their limpid clearness, that they take hold of one's heart and soul, and it is impossible to resist them.
There are eyes so powerful that they almost hypnotise one. It is lucky if their fascination is only used for good.
In my opinion, eyes are only really beautiful if they reflect good and wholesome thoughts and noble sentiments. Righteous indignation does not diminish their attractiveness, and I like to see them burn with the fire of enthusiasm.
But let jealousy, cunning, envy, or brutal rage depict themselves in the eyes, and they will at once lose all their charm and power, no matter how perfect they may be in form and colour.
The Care of the Eyes.
But although it is true that the greatest
beauty of the eyes lies in their expression,
they must not be red, inflamed, tired, or [-167-]
without eyelashes, if they are to keep all
their seductive fascination.
Never rub your eyes, if you do not want to have red eyelids. Even if something gets into your eye, do not irritate it by trying to get rid of the intruder by violent measures. Close your eyes quickly, and wait patiently thus even for a quarter of an hour, if necessary. The natural watering of the eye will expel the foreign substance.
If your eyes are red from the wind, bathe them in tepid water with a little common salt in it.
Veils, and especially spotted veils, are very bad for the sight. They should only be worn, therefore, in the winter months to protect the face from the cold.
Sitting up late, and artificial light, make the eyes red and tired. Lamps should always have large shades on them. It is dangerous to the sight to look at the sun or at the centre of an electric light. Gas, candles, and ordinary lamps [-168-] should all be subdued by screens, smoked glasses, etc.
Do not amuse yourself by watching the play of the flames in the grate, or considering the designs formed by the red-hot coals. A screen is a necessity, even if you are sitting at one side of the fire.
White walls on which the light is vividly reflected, the snow, or roads whitened by the rays of the sun in summer, are very fatiguing to the eyes, unless they are protected by coloured glasses ; on the other hand, some oculists consider these glasses injurious. Wide-brimmed hats, shading the forehead well, are the best headdress for the summer, as they protect the eyes from the fierce light and from the sun's rays.
However strong your eyes may be, grant them a little rest after two hours of continuous work, whether with the pen or the needle, etc. If they are weak, do not occupy them much with any work which involves fixing them on minute objects. Do not [-169-] write, read, sew, or do anything which demands an effort of the sight when the light is insufficient. Whatever work you are doing, close the eyes every now and then for an instant. Let them wander to a distance, too, at intervals.
The most restful colours for the eyes are green and blue. Do not surround yourself with very bright colours. Red is blinding. Choose soft shades, very much blended, in hangings, stuffs, wall-papers, etc.
Very dark shades are unsuitable either for decoration or furniture, and strong contrasts are equally tiring to the eyes.
The light should come from the side, not in front. In working, it should come from the left-hand side.
You should write on tinted paper, and only read books and newspapers that are well-printed. Avoid stooping too much in reading, writing, or sewing, etc., to avoid congesting the head and face. It is bad for the sight to read in the train, or while [-170-] driving and walking, or in bed when one is tired or recovering from illness.
Take care of the stomach. It is said that Milton became blind not only from overworking his eyes, but also because he suffered from dyspepsia. Living in a damp place often weakens the sight. Hygienic conditions are important for the eyes; sobriety and absence from all excesses have always been rewarded by excellent sight. But absence of good food would be as bad, on the other hand. Beware of too sudden changes from heat to cold, or from darkness to light. In consideration of this, beds should be placed in such a position that the eyes will not face the daylight or the sun's rays on first awakening. The light should come to them from the side. It is well to wait for a few moments in coming out of the dark into a brilliantly-lighted room before beginning to read, write, or work.
Montaigne advises the application of a plain piece of glass on the page when reading, [-171-] and in this way to delay the use of spectacles. Under the glass the paper of the book or newspaper is, in fact, less staringly white, and the characters appear more distinct. The light of the lamp should, of course, not be allowed to strike directly on the glass. Never rub your eyes on awakening, and prevent little children from acquiring this habit.
Use magnifying - glasses, microscopes, and eye-glasses as sparingly as possible, and take off your glasses whenever you can do without them-when out walking, talking, etc.
Bathe your eyes pretty often, especially morning and evening. If you are at all afraid of congestion, use tepid water. An infusion of weak black tea is good for bathing sore eyes.
Avoid all eye-washes that have not been prescribed by a good doctor or oculist. If your eyelids are inflamed, wash them with rose- and plantain-water. Strawberry juice [-172-] well strained through a cloth is also very beneficial.
An experienced doctor recommends elder- flower water for the pricking one sometimes feels in the eyes. The juice of chervil and of lettuce is also refreshing when the eyes are irritable.
The following recipe is recommended by a doctor :-A quart of soft water, a pinch of kitchen salt, and a teaspoonful of good brandy. Let them dissolve, and shake the bottle before using the mixture. This wash strengthens the sight quickly, and restores it to its former vigour. The evening, says the same doctor, is the best time for bathing the eyes.
To be beautiful, and protect the eyes
well, eye-lashes should be long and thick;
and under these conditions they give great
softness to the expression of the eyes.
It is asserted that a medicinal pomade, called "pomade trichogene," will make them [-173-] grow. Some women have the points of their eye-lashes cut by a practitioners to make them thick and long.
Rubbing the eyes is a bad habit in more ways than one; it makes the lashes fall out.
I cannot advise blackening the lashes, in spite of the attraction it may lend to the eye. All making-up so near to the precious organ of sight is doubly dangerous.
Bushy eyebrows give something brutal
and fierce to the face. Very tiny fine combs
have been invented to keep them in good
Fine arched eyebrows that look as if they had been painted with a brush give an air of serenity to the countenance. On the other hand, rather thick eyebrows are becoming to the eyes.
Scanty badly-formed eyebrows, which make a red line over the eye, are a real defect. Rubbing them every morning with a little [-174-] petroleum after bathing them in cold water may help to make them grow. Cutting them also makes them grow thicker.
If you wish to lengthen or darken your eyebrows, I would advise, in spite of my horror of making-up, a means which is absolutely harmless: a solution of Chinese ink in rose-water. This is a secret of the harem.
It is asserted that squinting is often due
to the placing of the cradle where it receives
a bad or false light. The baby on awaking
is forced to squint.
A child's bed should therefore be placed with discernment The light should come from the side, never in front or behind the head.
Happily, strabism may be corrected or entirely destroyed. We counsel those who are so afflicted to submit to the treatment which will restore their eyes to that straightness of look which is their chief beauty.
[-175-] The expenditure of time and money, even suffering, should deter no one. The result obtained will amply repay all the sacrifices made.
Your nose may be chiselled in the most
exquisite manner, but if the roses of your
cheeks have spread over it, you will wish
that instead of your inflamed Greek nose
you had a common snub one, if only it
were quite white. And you would be right
if there were no remedy for this little misfortune.
When a red nose is not due t~ the cold, but to the dryness of the nasal duct, or to the delicacy of the capillary vessels, it is easy to stop the inflammation. You prepare a wash in the following manner :-Powdered [-176-] borax 154 grains, a teaspoonful of eau de Cologne, soft water 5 ounces. Melt the borax in the water, then add the eau de Cologne. It will be sufficient to damp the nose with this lotion, and to let it dry without wiping it. If the nose should begin to burn again, repeat the treatment. Here is another mixture, which does not differ very much from the first, but I give it, all the same. Dissolve 30 grains of borax in half an ounce of rose-water and the same quantity of orange-flower water. Wet the nose at least three times a day with this refreshing lotion, and do not wipe it off.
Redness of the nose often proceeds from a kind of congestion. In this case it should be washed with warm water only, on going to bed at night.
This unpleasant redness may also be imputed to the kind of constitution. Scrofulous persons are afflicted with it. They must abstain from ham, or pork under my form, meat, bacon, fat, and sausage-meat, [-177-] and also from salt meats or highly-spiced foods.
Redness also comes from a bad state of the nostrils; in that case, wash with hot water. Cold water will increase the redness. Never touch your nostrils with your fingers. Sniff up a little hot water, and eject it gently. A little thick cream spread on the irritated part will protect it very much against the effects of the open air, and will soften the inflamed surface. A chill in the head will aggravate the evil, so the head should be covered during sleep.
Wearing the clothes too tight, especially the stays, and a feeble action of the heart, may also be the cause of a red nose. In the first case, it is evident the clothes should be worn loosely. In the second, a great deal of rest is necessary; while a cold bath on getting up in the morning, rubbing vigorously with a flesh-brush after it, will be found beneficial. Dry yourself well till the [-178-] skin is warm. Pure air is also a necessity at all times.
Hairs in the Nose.
The masculine nose of all kinds is often
ornamented by hairs growing on the end of it. There is no reason why this
inconvenient growth should not be pulled out with
a pair of tweezers.
But this would be a dangerous method of getting rid of the hair which sometimes grows inside the nostrils; the inflammation caused by pulling out these hairs, or by using a depilatory, might endanger the shape, or even the existence, of this important olfactory organ. You must be content with cutting these unfortunate hairs, if you have them.
Small Black Spots.
As to the little black spots with which
many noses (and sometimes cheeks) are
spotted, I will not decide what causes them;
whatever it is, the way to extirpate the [-179-]
secretion is to squeeze the black spot out
between your fingers.
Washing with fresh water, or water with a few drops of tincture of benzoin in it, is advisable; also frictioning with diluted glycerine. A chemist recommends friction with soft soap. A doctor also prescribed this soap, put on in thin layers on the affected parts; this should be done going to bed at night.
The Science of Rhinoplasty.
This science, which concerns the nose,
has made such progress that it is possible
now to modify, even to change, the shape of
the nose. The methods employed belong to
the regions of medicine.
I may, however, suggest to persons afflicted with a large nose the means of diminishing its size. To do this, it will be sufficient to wear a pince-nez, without glasses in it, at night, and in the day-time whenever you are alone.
[-180-] If the nose is a little on one side, or deviates from the central line, it must be blown exclusively on the defective side until it has become straight.
In New York the society women remould their noses, so as to make them Greek, Roman, or Jewish, according to their fancy, by means of an instrument worn at night.
I SHALL perhaps be thought to be going into
very minute particulars if I insist on the
necessity of cleaning the exterior of the ear,
as well as the auditory duct, very carefully.
Many scrupulously neat people, from not
being able to see this part of their body in
detail, and from using only a sponge and
towel for washing it, do not succeed in
perfectly clearing all the little corners of the [-181-] ear from dust or other matters that soil it.
A little ivory implement is necessary for the
purpose. It should be covered with the
corner of a wet towel, and it will penetrate
perfectly into all the turns and corners of
the pavilion and auricle, which should be
first soaped, and which fingers, however
delicate they may be, could not perfectly
accomplish. These ear-pickers, always
covered with a towel, serve to free the external auditory duct of the wax which is
necessary to the ear, but which accumulates
in useless and even harmful quantities, and
is very unpleasant to the eye if the excessive secretion is not carefully taken away
I have seen the most charming little ears, the shape of a bean and lined with rose-colour, but seeming profaned by want of minute care in cleaning them. Instead of being delightful to look at, as they might have been, they presented an almost repulsive aspect. If this is so with a pretty ear, [-182-] what must it be in a commonplace or ugly one?
Precautions for avoiding Deafness.
If you have any tendency to deafness,
or even are a little hard of hearing, take
great care not to wet your hair. You must
not plunge into a cold bath-you should
even wear an oiled silk cap in your bath.
If the inside of your ear is irritable, never scratch it with the head of a pin or hairpin, the point of a pencil, or any analogous object.
If your ears are at all delicate, it is bad for the hearing to let your feet be cold. Beware of the damp for your extremities, and never sit with your back to an open window. Such imprudence will increase your infirmity.
Never pour any liquid into your ears which has not first been warmed. Neither should oil, milk, or other fatty substances, be used for relieving ear-ache. All the [-183-] grease is liable to become rancid, and will only set up inflammation.
If a live insect gets into your ear, do not be alarmed; the bitter wax will soon make it get out again. Besides, if you get a little warm water poured in the ear, the insect will be drowned, and will float to the surface, where it can be taken away with the fingers. A few puffs of tobacco-smoke, too, will stupefy this intruder into a place where he had no business to go.
Never box a child's ears; you might break the tympanum and cause incurable deafness by your brutality.
I wish to point out to women who have
a certain form of nervous deafness a very
simple and easy way of diminishing this disagreeable infirmity, which puts those who
have it almost out of human fellowship by
preventing them from hearing what is being
said or taking part in conversation.
[-184-] They should always have close at hand a Japanese fan made of bamboo canes split in two and covered with paper. When they want to hear, they must at once take up the fan, spread it out, leaving: the wide edge against the jaw (on the deaf side or on the side next whoever is speaking), and spreading it enough to stretch the bamboo canes to some extent. These persons will be quite surprised to find that they hear as well as if they were using an audiphone or a dentaphone, to say nothing of the more pleasing appearance of the fan.
[nb. grey numbers in brackets indicate page number, (ie. where new page begins), ed.]