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teeth with cigar ashes, or causing the gums to bleed with the tooth-pick or brush, or rubbing them with cream of tartar or any other acid. But they may, if they please, in the early summer crush a ripe strawberry around the teeth before retiring, and let the pulp remain there during the night. It is a marvellous secret for giving the enamel a lustrous hue, and the breath a richly fruity aroma, comparable to the zephyr wafted from some Isle of Eden in a summer sea. A lotion of permanganate of potash, which is esteemed very highly in Europe, we shall mention later, when we come to speak of offensive breath, and how to prevent it.
A curious fact in physiology will make an appropriate close to this section. It has, moreover, a direct connection with the beauty of the teeth. Though they have no real circulation, their color is found to change with the changes in the health. In bilious people they become yellow; in scrofalous and consumptive patients they show occasionally an unnaturally pearly and translucent whiteness. It is absurd, therefore, for all to wish to have teeth similar to the most admired models.
What a touch of nature is that where Lear, bending with unfathomable sorrow in his aged eyes over Cordelia's body, thinks he hears some half-whispered
word, and lest those around should utter the doubt he feels himself, says:
Her voice was ever soft, Gentle and low; an excellent thing in woman! This is the verdict of every society. A harsh, masculine voice, strident, loud, or shrill, we associate with fish-wives, with throats rasped by fiery liquors, with viragos, and common-scolds. It was not with such a tone, but “in a clear, melodiously-piercing voice,” as the chronicles are particular to say, that the Empress Maria Theresa appeared, babe in arms, before the black-bearded Magyars of Hungary, to appeal to them to save her crown. The proud, semi-barbaric nobles were touched, overpowered, by the sight and the tone. They sprang to their feet, swung aloft their naked swords, and with one voice shouted, Vitam et sanguinem pro rege nostro Maria Theresa; “Our life and our blood for our King Maria Theresa”—not Queen, for a queen to rule over Hungary, those haughty magnates would never brook-in grammar.
A soft, clear, modulated tone of voice should be assiduously cultivated. It is a valuable acquirement in society to read well, especially poetry. Children should be trained not merely to pronounce distinctly, but to express feeling in tone. For this, parlor theatricals are admirably fitted, and have ever been favorite amusements in polished circles. Our national talent is much inferior in this respect to that of the Italians
for example. We are hardly equal to their system of private dramas. They fix on the plot, the acts, the scenes, and the incidents, and then, the parts being assigned, leave each participant to fill up the words for himself or herself. Travellers say it is really astonishing with what wit and fluency they acquit themselves.
Some persons are very subject to hoarseness on every exposure, to “a frog in the throat,” as it is familiarly called from the croaking sound of the voice. They will find this frequently prevented by bathing the throat night and morning in cold water, or salt and water, by gargling every morning with a weak solution of tannic acid, or alum, and by guarding against varying the protection of the throat. When the hoarseness is already present, it can be often dispersed by inhaling the fumes of iodine, or the steam from hot water poured on chlorate of potash, or by taking slowly the white of an egg, beaten up with sugar. Still more efficient, and a favorite with singers, is a tumbler of water containing five or six drops of dilute nitric acid (Acidum nitricum dilutum, U.S. P.) swallowed slowly twice a day. A lemon is often sucked for the same purpose. When the hoarseness is permanent, as it often is in clergymen and other public speakers, the use of the Turkish bath twice a week has a most excellent effect.
The training of the voice in singing is a subject of
THE VOICE IN SINGING.
such importance that we cannot enter upon it here. Suffice it to say that very useful hints may often be learned by having the throat examined by the laryngoscope, either when there is a difficulty in forming certain sounds, or where the voice becomes "cracked," or“broken." These latter conditions depend generally on some local debility in the throat, which can be treated and amended. No singer who values her powers should sing in the open air, or too long at a time, or on a higher key than is easy for her, or at a period when her general health is at all below par. We know an instance where a single infraction of these rules has ruined completely and irremediably an exoellent soprano.
Often a course of natural sulphur waters, at one of the "Sulphur Springs" in Virginia or elsewhere, is of signal service in restoring and improving the failing powers of the voice.
When shallowness of the purse, or other reason, prevents one from taking this agreeable prescription, an artificial sulphur water can be prepared and used at home with good, but not so good effects.
We can go through the world comfortably without singing; but we cannot get along at all pleasantly without the power of distinct speech. It is, therefore, a most important branch of cosmetic surgery to remedy defects in the articulation and the pronunciation of letters, syllables, and words, such as lisping,
stuttering, stammering, thickness or indistinctness of the voice, loss of voice, or difficulty in enunciation. Most of these difficulties depend upon remediable
But it is singular how completely this branch is neglected by most physicians.
When, for instance, we commence to devote our attention to the methods recommended to cure stammering, we do not find a single author in the English language who treats it from a scientific point of view. It has been left in the hands of elocutionists and charlatans, who are given to lauding some individual method of their own as successful in every case.
Such claims bear upon their face their own refutation. It is as if a man pretended to cure blindness by some one remedy. Blindness arises from a host of diverse conditions of the organ. So does stammering. may
be the innervation which is at fault, and then electricity promises much. It is sometimes an inborn muscular debility, and then we can employ the instruments devised by Dr. Itard and others, with fair prospects. Occasionally it is owing to a contraction of certain muscles, and these were the cases which the famous surgeon Dieffenbach cured by cutting those muscles. Not unfrequently it is of the nature of chorea, when we must treat it with internal remedies as we do that disease. Frequently, certain letters and sounds only are stammered, and then a series of lingual gymnastics will be followed by prompt amend