The Follies and Foibles of Paris.
Man never was guilty of as many follies as he is at this time.
There is not a "fast" young man here — and you know we are all "fast" --who has not his hair-dresser to go with him everywhere.
All the huntsmen who have quitted Paris
to shoot the birds during the ornithological St. Bartholomew
, which custom sanctions during this month, have carried their hair-dresser with them!
Go into a fashionable barber's shop and have your beard shaved, Figaro will ask you at the end of the operation, "Shall I make your face, sir?" Make means paint — a little touch of rouge on your check to heighten it with health's glow.
We shall see men wearing as many rings as rosettes yet. Already everybody has signet-rings; diamond shirt buttons are on every wristband.
If you look attentively, two or three costly rings may be detected among the charms on our watch chains.
We wear veils when we return from races.
Some bold fellows have ventured on parasols and fans.
The other sex are not one whit behind us. The etruscan ear-rings they wear are like Alexander Dumas
' novels; they have no end. Every woman makes her point of honor to wear at least three new dresses a day. There was a little actress from the Follies Dramatique
, who went down to Trouville, and she displayed one hundred new dresses in the ten days she was there.
A hundred dresses in ten days! I see you stare your unsophisticated eyes!
Impossible! Wait a moment.
Hold up your fingers.
. She wore one dress in the morning, when she went to take her ante-breakfast airing.
One, isn't it?
She wore another to breakfast.
Another to after breakfast walk.--Three, eh?
Another to the bath.
Four that makes?
Another to the post lustration walk.
Hold up your thumb for five!
Another to luncheon.
Give us your little finger, and call it six.
Another for the walk after luncheon.
Arn't that seven?
Another for horseback exercise before dinner.
Sing out eight.
Another for dinner.
Pray, isn't that nine?
Another for the ball.
Give us your thumb and say ten; and look you, never again pretend to fathom a lady's bandbox and trunk. "But she did nothing but dress"! Silence, sir!
That is none of your business.
Besides, isn't it better a woman's whole time should be taken up by her dress than by gossiping, or getting her husband into hot water?
Would that dressing and undressing were the only follies of our women!
The mode now is for them to imitate the color of the Empress
We laugh at the courtiers who had operations for imaginary fistulas performed because Louis XIV.
Was so afflicted, and here all the women are imitating the Empress
's Spanish walk and color of her hair.
I do not wonder that so many people are carried to the mad-house — the wonder is that some monstre
commission de lunatico inquirendo
be not sued out against us all, and result in all of us being sent to Charenton, where the Paris Bedlam
Would you know the process by which jet — black hair is transformed into golden hair?
for our fair dames of Court and all our Lorette
(they rather began it) sacrifice their beautiful hair as freely as a red head with you sacrifices his carrot.
You wish to hear how the metamorphosis is obtained?
At the appointed hour, the candidate for golden honors enters the dressing-room, attired in a long white dressing gown.
Her hair floats loosely over her shoulders, unsecured by comb or pin.--The "artist" is there.
He begins by seeing that the hair is thoroughly separated; then he, by degrees, pours over the head a vial of some "water"--which probably holds in solution corrosive sublimate, or some equally deadly poison — and he takes hair by hair and saturates it with water from one end to the other.
This takes two hours. He allows fifteen minutes to elapse, and then he soaks the whole hair in ice water; next he pours another vial of his "water" upon the hair, and kneads the hair with his hands.
Another respite of quarter of an hour is given, which is followed by soaking the head in ice water, which is succeeded by a new vial of his "water." These processes take two hours and fifteen minutes more.
The "artist" then takes two tailor's "gooses" heated to a high degree of temperature.
The chambermaid holds the ends of her mistress's hair, and the "artist" moves backward and forward the "gooses" within a few inches of the hair until the hair becomes red.--This ends the operation, which has lasted five hours, and leaves the lady with red hair, an intolerable headache, jangled nerves, and eighty dollars less in pocket.
I say eighty dollars; not eighty francs, but four hundred francs.
, the hair-dresser, who invented the operation, is making more money than ever, and before he resorted to this method he was literally coining money.
So we go!
The city is not only changing its appearance and even its names, but the women themselves are undergoing metamorphose.--You quit your brunette in Rue de Cluny in an old-fashioned house — be absent a few months — you find her living on the same spot, but the street is called the Rue Victor Cousine
; the name has been changed, the house has been pulled down, and a vast caravansary erected on its site, and she has become red-headed.
Wonder after this that so many of us are going.