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THE MARKS OF HANDICRAFT.
the circulation, nor loose enough to rub on the wrist joint. If, as is sometimes the case, they cause an irritation of the skin, they should be laid aside altogether.
THE HAND AND FINGERS.
Many a fine lady takes more pride in a beautiful hand than in any other feature of her person. "Good Queen Bess," royal old coquette that she was, is an example in point. At her levees she used to take care to have one of her hands prominently displayed. They were small, white, soft, and well proportioned, so she had a right to be proud of them.
To have such a delicate hand as hers is not in the power of every one. Most of us are under the law of toil, and bear upon us the indelible imprint of our handicrafts. An eminent French surgeon has asserted that by the inspection of this member alone he can tell, nine times out of ten, what is the avocation of the individual. Every trade, every employment-except the tread-mill-calls for some assistance from the hand -that "divine tool," as old Aristotle called it. "The miller's thumb," broad and flattened with testing of the grain between it and the forefinger, is a proverbial expression. The fiddler's left hand, with its flattened and horny finger tips, betrays his trade. Shakspeare, in that touching sonnet which reveals the bitterness with which he saw himself, with all his divine spirit,
forced to dress as a clown, and tickle a dull crowd to laughter for a sustenance, exclaims :—
"Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,
And almost thence my nature is subdued
To what it works in, like the dyer's hand."
Lifting heavy objects, sweeping, washing, scrubbing, when long continued, and especially during growth, destroy the admired shape and elegant contour. The hand of little use not only has the daintier touch but the daintier form; the fingers are round and tapering, the joints are small, the skin smooth, the lines shallow. In the words of Ariosto, it is :
"Lunghetta alquanto e di larghezza angusta." Compare such a one with the hand of a washerwoman, and note how beauty wins through idleness. Does the game pay for the candle? Ah! that is a serious question, which each must decide for herself.
Even the lighter employments deform, to some extent, this complex member. In writing, if the pen is held awkwardly, or in a cramped position, it will soon leave a slight disfigurement. A too small thimble will distort the finger tips. Rings are often left on the fingers until they are half buried in a deep crease, and it is next to impossible to remove them. The arm should be elevated and the finger soaked in ice-water for ten or fifteen minutes, then immediately anointed with glycerine, and the ring slipped off. If this fails, the finger should be very tightly wrapped in fine,
strong, well-waxed sewing silk from the tip upward; when the ring is reached, the end of the silk should be slipped beneath it with a blunt bodkin, and then, as the string is unwound, the ring will be forced down. Sometimes even this does not succeed, and the ring has to be filed off, or what is far better, thoroughly cleansed with ether, and rubbed with quicksilver for some minutes, when it will readily fall to pieces, and can be thus removed without pain, delay, or exertion.
We have known at least one instance where the hand had become puffy and ill-shaped by wearing gloves fastened too tightly across the wrist. And we remember seeing President Lincoln's right hand on one occasion when it was actually swollen by a series of violent handshaking. Why is it that this absurd custom of "paddling palms" has been allowed to become so universal among us? It is a severe infliction on public men. General George Washington, it is well known, had a strong aversion to it, and at his levees always stood with his hands behind him, simply bowing with dignified courtesy as one after another was presented. Our best society, we are glad to see, are discountenancing hand-shaking as a general custom, and reserve it for a mark of personal, kindly feeling.
It is needless to emphasize the importance of the use of gloves. The best are those of animal fibre, as kid, doeskin, or buckskin. The court ladies in old times probably could never boast of their pretty white
hands, for the fashion of wearing gloves in full dress was first introduced in England by Anne Boleyn, the unfortunate queen of Henry the Eighth. They were not at all popular at first, and the great ladies of the court, jealous that the country girl become a queen should thus outstrip them in the arts of beauty, circulated the report that she had six fingers, and took this mode of concealing the deformity.
In later days the fops transcended the belles in their mania for this luxury. Beau Brummell and the Count d'Orsay each used to wear six different pairs daily, and never put on the same pair twice.
Softness and whiteness of the hands are prized by every beauty, and many a one who don't pretend to be a beauty. It is supposed to be something difficult to attain. Not at all. In the first place, do not expose them to the wind and sun too freely. Never employ strong soaps, or hard water.
"But if the water is hard?"
Put a teaspoonful of powdered borax in the basin. "And if we have no borax? A lady don't carry a drug-store with her on her travels."
Don't wash the hands. It is as a rule superfluous, în fact an injury, from a cosmetic point of view, this constant moistening the skin.
The Baron Alibert was some years since the most celebrated of all the Parisian surgeons for treating diseases of the skin. One day a lady said to him:
THE SECRET OF ALIBERT.
"Doctor, how white and smooth your hands are. Why don't you tell us your secret for keeping them so?"
"Madam," replied the doctor, "if I were to tell you, you would not believe me; or at any rate you would not imitate me."
"Oh yes I will, doctor; do tell me."
"I never wash them
"With what then?"
"With the best olive oil of Aix. Don't you remember that the ancient athletes anointed themselves daily with oil? You may be sure those gallants were never troubled with skin diseases."
Since Baron Alibert's time we have discovered something even better than the oil of Aix; it is glycerine. A bottle of pure glycerine-but chemically pure, remember, without any of those salts of lime or of lead which are found in much of the glycerine sold, and which will discolor and irritate the skin-should form an indispensable adjunct in every lady's toilet set. A tablespoonful of it in a pint of water will soften and protect the hand from the air. It should be rubbed in, but not wiped off.
To whiten the hands promptly, five or six grains of chlorinated lime may be dissolved in the water, which in all cases should be as near the temperature of the body as may be. The lotions which contain corrosive