Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gowland's Lotion, Boils and Balls!

Lydia Bennet's Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia's online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet's Story, begins.

Friday, November 20th, 1801

The weather has been foul all day and we have not been able to move outdoors. Rebecca, our sweet maid, helped Kitty and I make a mask of egg whites and fuller’s earth for our complexions. Lord! how we laughed when it dried to a paste and then cracked, because we neither could look at the other without giggling. Mama’s bottle of Gowland’s lotion is half used and now hidden behind the wig stand on her dressing table but our skins are glowing and radiant!

Saturday, November 21st, 1801

It is still raining and despite our pleas, mama has forbidden us to go to Meryton today. She has suggested that we may catch a cold or worse and then infect Jane who is still in a delicate state. Moreover, she declared that she is not prepared to miss the ball to stay in and nurse invalids who are silly enough to go tramping through mud and dirt in pursuit of mere trifles such as shoe roses and velvet hairbands.
We haven’t had a glimpse of an officer for days now - I am sure they will think we have forgotten all about them and our promises to visit. How I wish I could write but I know nothing gets past Hill and she will only tell my mother and then we will be for it!! Besides, I am not sure I would wish Mr Wickham, Mr Denny or anyone else of our acquaintance to see the gargantuan boil that has sprouted on my chin during the night. Kitty professed that it must be lanced and chased me round the parlour with a hot needle for a full ten minutes this afternoon, until mama pronounced that we would be denied dancing and balls for a month together and be left behind on Tuesday with cold cuts and cold fires, if we did not desist and consider her nerves.

Lydia Bennet

Gowland's lotion was a preparation for the complexion that acted as a chemical peel. A recipe follows:

The formula sanctioned by the medical profession is to take of Jordan almonds (blanched), 1 ounce; bitter almonds, 2 to 3 drachms; distilled water, 1/2 pint; form them into an emulsion. To the strained emulsion, with agitation, gradually add of bichloride of mercury (in coarse powder), 15 grains previously dissolved in distilled water, 1/2 pint. After which further add enough water to make the whole measure exactly 1 pint. Then put it in bottles. This is used as a cosmetic by wetting the skin with it, and gently wiping off with a dry cloth. It is also employed as a wash for obstinate eruptions and minor glandular swellings and indurations.

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