Okay, so I've been going through a training program for this Thing I've wanted to explore and possibly do for a very long time, but only now got around to doing something about it.
Yesterday, a member of the Most Awesome Overlord Team walked us through one of the key houses as part of the educational program. We have to know what we're talking about when guiding visitors through these houses. During that 2 hours of Fascinating, we were presented with a piece of furniture and a piece of It Has A Function, Actuallly, lace on that furniture, and the first thing that popped into my head at that moment of explainer was JERI CURL, but I didn't say anything at first. Instead, internal mind hilarity ensued before I opened my mouth. When our Overlord said yeah, they oiled up their hair with Serious Intent? EVEN MORE internal hilarity!
Don't belive? Here is Mr. Beeton's recipe for perfect Victorian hair pomade:
An excellent Pomatum.
2256. INGREDIENTS.— 1–1/2 lb. of lard, 1/2 pint of olive-oil, 1/2 pint of castor-oil, 4 oz. of spermaceti, bergamot, or any other scent; elder-flower water.
Mode .— Wash the lard well in the elder-flower water; drain, and beat it to a cream. Mix the two oils together, and heat them sufficiently to dissolve the spermaceti, which should be beaten fine in a mortar. Mix all these ingredients together with the brandy and whatever kind of scent may be preferred; and whilst warm pour into glass bottles for use, keeping them well corked. The best way to liquefy the pomatum is to set the bottle in a saucepan of warm water. It will remain good for many months.
IT WILL REMAIN FOR A GOOD MANY MONTHS.
Of course I'm going to make a batch, just to see What Happens. I will report back. I will do so not actually having placed a drop of this stuff on my actual head because I'm rather fond of my head. Bascially I'm gonna see how long before it all goes rancid.
The housemaid who studies her own ease will certainly be at her work by six o’clock in the summer, and, probably, half-past six or seven in the winter months, having spent a reasonable time in her own chamber in dressing. Earlier than this would, probably, be an unnecessary waste of coals and candle in winter.
THAT LAST BIT. WAIT. WHAT. LET ME READ THAT LAST LINE AGAIN. READ IT ALONG WITH ME WON'T YOU?
And then I get to the WAIT. WHAT. of the part where servant is expected to clean the rust spots from a fire grate with a large smooth pebble from the road, sufficiently large to hold comfortably in the hand, with which rub the steel backwards and forwards one way, until the desired polish is obtained.
I mock, but the small bits I have learned about Beeton since discovering this work yesterday? She's badass (within the frame of being a privileged middle class sort of white woman, which came with its own restrictions of the period). The original work I'm snagging snippets from is over 1, 100 pages long. She started compiling it at age 21. She died at age 28. She was supposed to be just somebody's wife, but decided to be a wife *and* journalist instead.
Technically I don't need to know a lot about Mrs. Beeton in personal detail. Mainly I need to quickly get a grasp on the wide influence of her work. But the teeny bits I've learned about her so far as a person? Makes me want to learn more.
ps: Think that recipe is bad? That's only becuse you haven't seen the one that requires 2 ounces of Fuller's Earth - aka absorbent cat litter - 1 ounce of dried fowl's dung (fowl not specified, let alone how you're supposed to collect an ounce of it), and the juice of two big onions. All of which is to be boiled with vinegar and soap before being applied. #OMFG