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STYLES OF THE BEARD.
to any true sense of beauty, as the tattooing of the savage or the striped face of the clown. Nor should any cut of hair or beard be adopted which assimilates
-as many of them do-the divine human face to that of the lower animals, making it a caricature of that of some brute.
Fashion, indeed, has at various times sanctioned many quaint and curious styles, as we may readily see by walking down some long gallery of old portraits, for instance, that at Versailles, and we might fill many pages with descriptions of the vagaries so brought to our notice. The virtuosi in such matters have delighted to arrange and classify these styles under various names, often drawn from some great man, who affected a peculiar cut. Thus, we have the Blücher moustache, long and overhanging throughout its whole length; the Gustavus Adolphus moustache, waxed and with the ends straight; the Vandyck moustache, in which a triangular piece of the upper lip just at its centre is shaved clean; the T beard, often mentioned in English writers of the seventeenth century, so called because the moustache was waxed, and worn only with a narrow goatee, giving the shape when seen in front of a capital T.
But it is not with such follies that our business lies, or we might never get through. For even as far back as 1660, an old English ballad writer exclaims:
'Now of beards there be
Of fashions such a throng,
That it is very hard
To treat of the beard,
Tho' it be ne'er so long."
In a general way, only, do we care to call the attention of our friends to the fact that unless they wear their beard of the proper cut, not only do they throw away an important element of good-looks (which often aid a man so much in life), but they leave room for a just doubt about their taste in other matters of deeper moment. A well-shaped whisker has been worth money to many a man. There was Juan de Castro, for example, a sturdy fighter of Portugal in the days of Queen Catherine. He had command of a regiment in India, and did good service there. Once he ran out of money and out of food, so that it seemed as if his troops must disband or starve. But Juan had a resource which no general had ever before thought of. He cut off one of his whiskers, sent it to the city of Goa, and asked the ruler of that place to take it as security for a loan of a thousand pistoles. "I value that whisker," wrote Captain Juan, "at ten times the sum I ask you for, so you need not doubt but that I shall repay you." He got his loan, and what is not less singular to us, who are such strangers to the Spanish pun d'onore, in due time he redeemed his whisker.
Let no style be chosen simply because it is the fashion, or out of a foolish desire to imitate somebody else. Moustaches are much in vogue now, but, as we have hinted, they are far from suiting every face. Neither need our young friends think, as they so often do, that such an ornament enhances their powers with the other sex. We don't acknowledge, in this country, the German proverb, that Ein Kuss ohne Schnurrbart, ist wie ein Ei ohne Salz. The play of the features, variety of expression, often beauty of outline, are concealed by the beard, and frequently a smooth face sets off even manly charms to the best advantage
THE CARE OF THE BEARD.
A handsome beard is a boon rarely granted by nature to the men of our stock. It requires assiduous cultivation, as a rule, and how to give it this is our present theme. Undoubtedly the most efficacious stimulus known is frequent shaving, for several years after the beard begins to sprout. The earnest desire to sport a beard, so common to young men, usually leads them to neglect this, and the consequence is, they never obtain a vigorous growth. Properly, until about the age of twenty-five, the razor should be unsparingly used.
We frequently see nostrums advertised "to cause the beard to grow." All of them are utterly useless. Some of them are at least harmless, but of many of
them even this cannot be said, for they contain irritating ingredients likely to inflame and injure the skin. We distinctly warn against the use of any of them. Shaving is the only method which has any virtue in it by which we can increase the growth of the beard.
It is an art which all should learn for themselves, as it is not wise, especially in travelling, to trust one's self to the tender mercies of every barber's boy, and it is not pleasant to be lathered with the brush which the minute before has been rubbed on the face of we don't know whom. A saying of Prince Talleyrand's is here in point. One day this celebrated diplomatist was dining with the poet Rogers. The latter was inquiring about the personal habits of Napoleon Bonaparte, and among other things asked whether he shaved himself. "Yes," replied the Prince. "A man who inherits a kingdom is shaved by another, but one who acquires kingdoms shaves himself."
It is an opinion which we have found expressed by some writers on this subject that the beard, to be displayed in its greatest beauty, should never be cut at all, even with a scissors, until it has attained a considerable length. They say that its softness and delicacy of texture are destroyed by repeated clippings. We are unable to say much on this point, as we do not remember ever to have seen a beard which had never known either razor or scissors.
When the beard is grown, the same attention should
be bestowed upon it in reference to cleanliness, combing, and brushing, as on the hair. When thick, it should be brushed out every morning with the following mixture, which will keep it clean, and strengthen the roots:
A WASH FOR THE BEARD.
Mix, and keep in a well-corked bottle.
If the hairs are bristly and uneven, they should be carefully trimmed, and one of the pomades may be used, sold for the purpose. They are usually of an innocent character, being a variety of soap perfumed and colored to the taste, and often with the addition of a little wax to give them greater coherence.
Care should be taken not to pluck at, twist, pull, or rub the beard, as so many have a habit of doing in moments of reflection or embarrassment, as thereby the hairs are loosed, and soon a rough or ragged appearance is produced.
DISEASES OF THE BEARD.
There are some diseases which are peculiar to the portions of the face covered with hair. The simplest of these is dandriff, that excessive deposition of minute branny scales which we have already mentioned in connection with the hair. It can be cured by the means there recommended.