Wednesday, 16 October 2013

12 June 1880 - Answers to Correspondents - Miscellaneous

Today's excerpts from Answers to Correspondents comes from an early volume (the first, actually), at which point categories such as 'Medical' were not always used, lots of things appeared under a general catch-all 'Miscellaneous'. 'One of the Girls' comes in for a particular dose of snarkiness (the GOP editors remain apparently unfond displays of over-confidence in their girl readers) but is compensated with being allowed three answers when the usual entitlement is two. (Or maybe 'What do you think of my penmanship?' was considered a free question as so, so many girls want to know.) And given the period of time that could extend between a girl sending in her question and reading the published answer, whether 'Beta' starved to death or eloped before the GOP could advise her on a sensible course of action is anyone's guess.

ANNIE:- We have several times given advice in reference to freckles; but will give you another prescription in case they should have failed. Take of lemon juice 1oz., powdered borax 1/4 drachm, sugar 1/2 drachm, mix and let the wash stand in a glass for a few days. You should always wear a veil.

E.P.C.:- We think it unlikely that you will be able to learn swimming by yourself. You should get someone to give you some practical instruction; watch others, and study some little book on the subject.

ONE OF THE GIRLS:- We congratulate you on having had the benefit of so "charming" a journal for a year past. You quote our comments on the bad writing and spelling of many of our correspondents; allow us to observe that you write in a very crabbed little hand yourself, and it slopes the wrong way too. We must also observe that, whether deficient in the accomplishment of spelling accurately or not, the general tone of the letters we receive is modest and ladylike and decidedly far less assuming than your own. 2. Should it be a matter of convenience to you to make use of a white satin dress on the occasion you mention, you should combine tulle with it, to make it less old-looking for so young a girl. 3. Try lemon juice and glycerine for your hands, and wear gloves.

PEARL:- You write very carelessly. You leave out words and do not join your letters, and the effect is ungraceful.

FLORENCE WILSON:- Neuralgia is usually a complaint needing good living and warm clothing. Over-fatigue should be avoided, and late hours and hot rooms. If in the face, heat a flat iron, as hot as if ti iron linen, wring out a double piece of thick flannel previously dipped in vinegar, lay it on the iron, and hold it as near the face as you can without touching the skin. Shut the eyes, for the fumes would make them sore. This is a famous remedy; repeated two or three times in the day, for about 20 minutes at a time, it will often prove a cure. Sometimes the first trial proves sufficient. But as the complaint may be a result merely of some other which  needs attention, treatment of quite a different description might be requisite. A decayed tooth may be the origin if the pain, or a disordered liver. Let your father try the fumes of vinegar and see what good it may do him.

ILDEGONDA AND HYACINTH:- For perspiring hands we recommend fequent washing in tepid water containing a few grains of alum, sal ammoniac, sulphate of zinc or a teaspoonful of vinegar - which latter or else the alum you had better try first. A damp hand - if at all excessively so - is indicative of some weakness of constitution, or a disordered stomach. "Ildegonda" is advised to use "Vaseline" for her hair, which any chemist could procure for her, and which is much employed by the medical faculty. One of our correspondents recommends common petroleum oil, of which vaseline is composed, but we should be afraid lest any careless young person should approach too near a candle to be safe under the circumstances. Ildegonda's hand is free and legible, but her t's are bad. Flourishes of the pen like those are vulgar and inartistic.

FLOREY:- 1. Neither sloping shoulders nor very square ones are desirable; the former usually accompany feebleness of constitution and of frame, the latter look inelegant and masculine. A very slight slope to broad shoulders is most to be admired on every account. 2. We have no prescription for arresting the decay of teeth. Camphorated chalk might be of service so far as decay is concerned, but it makes the teeth very brittle. Keep them well washed, and attend to your health, for decay in the teeth arises from constitutional delicacy. Your digestion is bad, and your diet should be attended to.

BETA:- We feel very sorry for you if your aunt is so cruel as to deny you sufficient to eat. But you only give us half confidences, and this precludes the possibility of our giving you advice. You must tell us honestly what reason your aunt has for influencing your father against your marriage. When we know all particulars we shall give our best consideration of the case. We approve of your very proper hesitation in taking the extreme measure to which you have been invited.

GUENNIE:- 1. The habit of eating things uncooked, which should be either boiled or baked, is a very bad one, and a girl who does so needs medical advice. Boil the rice for your sister - if so fond of it - either in milk or water, but do not let her eat it dry. 2. Girls leave school according to the requirements or wishes of their parents. Sometimes a girl remains at school until eighteen, when she becomes old enough to be introduced into society; but her studies should by no means be considered as complete.

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