Hygiene

Hygiene in the early nineteenth century was not what it is today. Most discussion of hygiene would have been viewed as too intimate to print in a novel in the early nineteenth century, but since the silver fork novels were so focused on appearance, a few of them were able to touch upon the subject lightly.

'Travelling Notes'. Punch (London, England), Saturday, August 24, 1844; pg. 83. New Readerships.

‘Travelling Notes’.
Punch (London, England), Saturday, August 24, 1844; pg. 83. New Readerships.

 

  • “Diplomacy is almost the only profession where a man gains nothing by appearing a beast. Slovenliness is esteemed an evidence of scholarship in almost every calling save that which renders one the mouthpiece of kings” (Cecil 24).
  • “George [“Beau”] Brummell [was] a great reformer, – a man who dared to be cleanly in the dirtiest of times” (Cecil 103).
  • “The Colonel . . . began to wash out his mouth; and having proceeded to clean his teeth with the napkin deliberately and in detail, he wiped his hands, folded up the towel . . . kissed his left hand to the master of the house, and retired to the drawing-room.” (Sayings and Doings, Second Series, Vol. I 77).
  • “Grojan, drawing himself up and rubbing the under part of his minute nose with the cuff of his snuff-coloured coat” (Sayings and Doings, Second Series, Vol. II 144).
  • “Avoid dressing-gowns; which argue dawdling, an unshorn chin, a lax toilet, and a generally lazy and indolent habit at home. Begin your day with a clean conscience in every way. Cleanliness is honesty. A man who shows but a clean face and hands is a rogue and hypocrite in society, and takes credit for a virtue which he does not possess” (Sketches and Travels in London 215-216).
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