As we learned yesterday, Isabella’s window overlooks her neighbor’s backyard. This morning, she watched a bride prepare for her wedding.
First, the hair, which was helped along by a female barber. “The coiffure is an erection,* a complete work of art. Two divisions, three inches apart, were made at the top of the head, and the lock of hair between these was combed, stiffened with a bandoline made from the Uvario Japonica**, raised two inches from the forehead, turned back, tied, and pinned to the back hair. The rest was combed from each side to the back, then tied loosely with a twine made of paper. Several switches of false hair … with the aid of a bandoline and a solid pad, the ordinary smooth chignon was produced, to which several loops and bows of hair were added, interwoven with a little dark-blue crepe, spangled with gold.”
Every age and class of woman has her own culturally proscribed hairdo, btw. And once in place, the hair stays in place for a week or more. The traditional wooden pillow helps it from being crushed.
Once arranged, the barber then plucks “every vestige of recalcitrant eyebrow… and every downy hair which dared display itself on the temples and neck.”
The lady herself applies white powder “until her skin looks like a mask. With a camel’s-hair brush she then applied some mixture to her eyelids to make the bright eyes look brighter, the teeth were blackened, or rather reblackened,*** with a feather brush dipped in a solution of gall-nuts and iron-filings — a tiresome and disgusting process… and then a patch of red was placed upon the lower lip.”
The girl’s entire process of getting prepared took three hours. Isabella is lukewarm on the result.
“I cannot say that the effect was pleasing, but the girl thought so, for she turned her head so as to see the general effect in the mirror, smiled, and was satisfied.”
* look, you
** seems to be some kind of creeping vine