Things that I have found quite interesting

Early Agony Aunts


It is, perhaps, surprising to learn that people have been seeking advice and consolation from magazines for several centuries. In 1708 a nameless lady wrote to 'The British Apollo' to ask:

What is more unhappy than an ugly old maid?

The reply was philosophical rather than comforting:

It is possible for a handsome young maid to be more unhappy than an ugly old one.




Here are some useful responses from 'The Ladies'Newspaper' 1848 - 1849

(Note that names are now used, although the problems are only hinted at):


Azella: Do not think about your looks in church, & you will feel less of the inconvenience alluded to. However, avoid all slops in your diet.


Lady Geraldine Neville: You can obtain the elastic kneecaps from any French corset-maker.


Blanche: Skipping and dumb-bells will correct the malformation. Leave the spot alone.


Henrietta: The cause of the infirmity is the advanced age of your friend. The use of a MAGNET to suspend such natural progress of mortality is absurd,and not at all consistent with that resignation which should mark the thoughts of one who can number of years, threescore and ten.


Priscilla: Undoubtedly the best thing you can do is to leave your nose alone and not meddle with it. It will probably improve if left in peace.




From 'Conversazione' The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine ,1867


Nanny: We do not tell characters by handwriting; your handwriting is not good, whatever your character may be.


Louise A tells us that she can draw,play the piano and make herself useful. She has been in love several times,but in every case her love has been unrequited. She wants a husband,& applies for a recipe to get one;also for removing pimples on the face.


The best way to get a husband is not to look for one. The second question is more grave.

Pimples on the face indicate a bad bodily state - just as harping on the subject of beaux shows a bad state of mind. Take advice from a medical man about the pimples,and from a sensible lady friend about the sweethearts.




From 'Girls' Own Paper ,' 1899


Endymion: There is not the slightest objection to your marrying because you have had pneumonia.


Mystic: Beer poured over a red-hot horseshoe will not cure dyspepsia. On the contrary, it will make it worse.


Emily asks about her tennis dress:

What material would be most suitable? Also, what flower is likely to be fashionable to embroider on it?


I would recommend fine flannel or cashmere as suitable materials. Fruit is more fashionable than flowers for ornamentation; in our opinion, pomegranates are most favoured.




And finally, from The Young Ladies' Journal in 1876:


Lady Clare: Soak the feet in warm water, and pick the corn out with a penknife.


Freckly Face: We are sorry to hear that you have any brothers so ill-bred and unkind and unmanly as to comment on your personal defects. Try ' never to mind.'

There is no cure for freckles except to shut yourself up in a box. It is caused by a 'rusting' of the skin.



Piccolo Regina:

The way to make a postage-stamp snake - the stamps must be strung on purse-silk. They are cut very small at the tail, getting larger towards the head. The snake should be rather more than a yard in length. The head is made of gray silk, lined with scarlet,a tongue projecting.







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