Monday, 26 January 2009
The Girl's Own Paper
Last year I found a lovely book called "Great-Grandmama's Weekly", by Wendy Forrester. Never was £1.99 better spent! It has extracts from this magazine from between 1880 and 1901 and is an absolute hoot to read in places, and in others, really shows how women have moved on.
Here are some extracts:
How Can I Look My Best? Happy is the girl, I say, who can take and enjoy a bath in pure cold, soft water every day of her life . . . Avoid coloured and over-scented soaps. Another mistake is the use of too rough a towel . . . a moderate degree of friction is all very well, but, dear me, you do not need to rub your pretty skin off.
To ensure perfect cleanliness, the hair should be washed once a fortnight. Do not use soap; the yolks of two new-laid eggs must be used instead. The water should be rainwater filtered - lukewarm to wash with, cold to rinse out. Afterwards, dry well and brush.
Why Am I So Pale?
Bad meat and fish are expensive, and three times the amount of good blood can be made from pea-meal, oatmeal, good bread, lentils, and mealy potatoes, with a littler butter and plenty of milk, for half the money . . . In conclusion, let me remind my readers of one lamentable fact: it is this - thousands of girls suffer from paleness of countenance through tight lacing . . .
It is not clear what a reader signing herself M.R. Norwood boasted of to merit the scolding she received in 1886, but it sounds rather like tight -lacing. She is told: We pity you! To what a miserable, unwholesome state of deformity you have reduced yourself! We do not open our columns to readers who boast of having so far degraded themselves . . . (Some girls wished to reduce 20" waists to 16"!!)
Lady Clarissa has our thanks for her receipe for certain troubles connected with the wearing of tight, hard, or ill-fitting shoes; but of which (we find it requisite to tell our girls) no one ever speaks in "polite society". It is very vulgar to speak of them excepting in the privacy of a bedroom, and to a very intimate associate. However, we willingly give the recipe . . . 1887. (I found this little short of amazing, when you think what is written or shown on tv in this day and age.)
Then there was the following recipe for a tooth-powder which I for one, would not care to use:
Charcoal is unsightly but very effective, and it can be made more so by rubbing up with an ounce of it as much quinine as will lie on a sixpenny piece; a few drops of otto of roses may be added. Ugh!
How to Look Well in the Morning:
Perfumed cod-liver oil may be rubbed well in around the eyes before lying down. This may not seem a very fascinating way of treating coming wrinkles, but it is often an effective one, for in this way the tissues under the skin are nourished to some extent, and kept full. Face massage may also be used.
I look foreward to your comments on living thus!