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GOLDEN HAIR FLUIDS.

285

Duke of Burgundy, had met his death in battle with the Swiss, his body was taken from the ditch where it was found, and interred with princely pomp. On liis face he wore instead of the natural growth, a long beard of golden thread.

The ancient method of producing this color artificially is lost, but a score of others have risen in its place. Those that produce the best effect are likewise the most critical to use, and are probably injurious. We have before us the analyses of four of the most popular “ golden-hair fluids,” 6 warranted to impart a rich, golden, flaxen shade, to hair of any color after a few applications." They are all alike, and are all but modern adaptations of the plan of the Spanish damsels three hundred years ago, which we have mentioned above. The active ingredient in all of them is muriatic acid, which they contain in about the proportion of twenty drops of the officinal” dilute nitro-muriatic acid to the ounce of distilled water. Coloring matter and aromatic substances make up the remainder of these magic preparations. No doubt they would effect the purpose for which they are intended, but whether they would do so without hurting the skin or hair is less certain.

The acid thus weakened does not irritate an ordinary skin, it is true, but doubtless would one which was delicate. We have not had the opportunity to ascertain whether they cause falling of the hair. Those

willing to take the risk can use them, as no bad results to the general health follow the external application of a weak solution of this acid. On the contrary, it is a useful addition to a bath for “ bilious” persons.

If persons will use a golden dye, this is the one we recommend. Many of the others contain a salt of mercury (the yellow sulphuret), or one of lead (the acetate, nitrate, or yellow chromate), or of antimony (the yellow sulphuret), all of which are poisonous, and objectionable.

66

ON FALSE HAIR, CHIGNONS, ETC. The most crabbed moralist, we presume, will hardly object to false hair in the shape of a wig—but when it comes to a “ chignon,” or a “rat,” or a

curl,” the offence is singularly apparent. We confess to a want of power to see this difference, and believe that if it is proper in the one instance to improve the looks by the use of borrowed locks, so it is in the other. Women are quite right to wear what amount of false hair they need to dress their heads becomingly.

The trade in human hair is a very important branch of commerce. It has increased more than fourfold within the last twelve years, and yet the demand so far exceeds the supply that the prices have also increased fourfold. In Philadelphia, where we write, a goodsized braid of very choice hair, weighing about sixteen

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ounces, costs from five to ten dollars the ounce, as we learn from dealers.

These may seem èxorbitant figures, but if we compare them with the prices in former generations, we find they are not at all unparalleled. A story is told in the Percy Anecdotes of the Countess of Suffolk, in the reign of George I. She was visiting with her husband the Court of Hanover, and, as is not unfrequent with travellers, they ran out of money at some town where they had no acquaintances. The Countess had, however, magnificent hair, and as she was a shifty woman, she sent for the most fashionable friseur, and sold it to him for the amount of twenty pounds sterling, a sum equal in value to a hundred and fifty dollars in gold to-day.

We have found even higher figures than this, much higher, obtained for fine hair. One instance is recorded of about the same date, where one hundred pounds sterling was paid for an uncommonly fine head. This eclipses any price we have heard quoted in our day.

The chief cause why some colors are so much dearer than others, is the great difficulty of dyeing the hair after it is cut. It is next to impossible to persuade it to take the bright, delicate, glossy hues most admired.

A century ago the hair trade depended chiefly on wig-making. It was de rigueur that every gentleman should wear an immense wig when in full dress. On

one occasion Lord Bolingbroke was sent for in haste by Queen Anne about some pressing public business. Aware of its importance, he hurried to her presence without taking time to change his wig, which was a “tie," and not a “full-bottomed” one, as he should have worn on entering such august presence.

The Queen noticed the neglect, and after he was gone, pettishly exclaimed:

“I suppose his lordship will come next time in his night-cap."

The trade of the perruquier in those days was by odds the most important of the cosmetic callings. These old-fashioned wigs are still retained in England by judges on the bench, and, singularly enough, by the liveried footmen of the wealthy. No one else dreams of wearing them.

The demand for hair now comes chiefly from the ladies, and the commodity is made up not so much in the shape of wigs, toupées, etc., as into braids, curls, chignons, etc. The London trade-reports, however, showed that during our civil war a brisk business was carried on in false whiskers and moustaches. It commenced at the beginning and dropped off at the end of

It puzzled the Londoners to account for this sudden and large demand, as well as for its equally sudden cessation when our armies were disbanded.

As, in following our destiny, it so happened that during most of the war we held a position in the army

our war.

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which let us into divers secrets of the service, the solution of the puzzle was easy enough to us.

There were, in the first place, thousands of spies, secrets agents, and fugitives, both men and women, who resorted to these artifices for disguise. Secondly, and here the bulk of the trade was, very many officers, especially in cities, were accustomed to be absent without leave, and to frequent places where they did not wish to be recognized by their superiors, or by the enlisted men of their commands. Hence, they kept by them a citizen's dress and these disguises, for use on such escapades. This we know was a very general habit.

A few years ago an absurd clamor was raised by some sensational papers about the alleged discovery oi minute ova

—nits, in plain terms on the hair sold for chignons. It was asserted that any one who wore them exposed her head to the invasion of very unwelcome guests of the insect kind. Small masses called gregarines were pointed out on some hair as these pretended ovå. There was not a word of scientific truth in all this, The methods employed to prepare hair for market. will certainly clean it thoroughly from all such impurities, and the gregarines, when examined by competent microscopists, turn out to be nothing but very minute fungi, entirely harmless to the skin, and also very rarely met with on false hair offany kind.

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