Friday, August 17, 2007

The 17th-century "Cosmopolitan"

An edition of a rare 1694 manual, The Ladies' Dictionary: being a General Entertainment for the Fair Sex, is going up for auction next month. This 300-year-old book is the 17th-century version of Cosmopolitan magazine. The author, identified only as HN, has some weird tips on women issues, such as diet, fashion, make-up, and adultery. Well, those tips might have been good suggestions at the time, but they do sound bizzard now.

This book was found in the private library of the late Tony Hattersley, a Yorkshire book dealer. His whole collection is believed to be worth £300,000 (approx. Cdn $630,934). The Ladies Dictionary is expected to fetch £2,000 (approx. Cdn $4,207).

For rapid weight loss, bathing in claret wine infused with "wormwood, calamint, chamomile, sage and squinath" is apparently best. This book also contains a receipe for unwanted fatty bits and for breasts that are beginning to suffer from southern drift: “Take an ounce and a half of oyl of foxes, oyl of lillies, and capons grease, and goose grease, each two ounces; pine, rosin Greek pitch and turpentine, of each two ounces.” Boil the brew in an earthenware pot, adding an ounce of oil of elder and “a quantity of virgins wax, as much as will stiffen the mass”. Wrap it in a cloth and let it cool before applying it as a plaster “to the place that languishes, or does not equally thrive”.

Anyone wants to try this ancient recipe?? You'll have a hard time finding all the ingredients...

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