+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

so attenuated, it will permanently remain
about a ninth longer than it was at first.
The application of the curling-irons shows
how tractable hair may become. The natural
curling of hair depends upon its flatness.
Thus the hairs of a negro are much flatter
than those of damsels who oblige themselves to
retire to rest en papillote. These peculiarities
enable the amateur to fashion it by degrees that
it may be fitted to take part in the construction
of a locket or brooch. The jeweller must do
his part, after the professor and the lady have
done theirs; for the artistically-twisted hair
must be mounted and adorned and fashioned
into a bracelet, a locket, a brooch, or any
such trinket.

We have said that the peasant girls of
Brittany receive a few francs for their tresses:
probably five francs per pound for a good
specimen. The agents who collect it send
the hair to their employers, by whom it is
dressed and sorted, and sold to the hair-
workers in the chief towns at about ten francs
per pound. That portion of the hair which
is to be made into perukes is purchased by
a particular class of persons, by whom it is
cleaned, curled, prepared to a certain stage,
and sold to the peruke maker at a greatly
advanced price: it may be twenty or it may
be eighty francs per pound. The peruke
maker gives to the hair that form of
combination which constitutes it a peruke, and
which, in its best form, from the best
"artistes," readily commands twice its weight
in silver. Here is one artiste who has
produced "an original design in hair-work, after
the Tuscan order of architecture, surmounted
by a bronze figure of Britannia holding a
medallion likeness of Her Majesty; also,
ornamented with wreaths, a medallion of His
Royal Highness Prince Albert."  Here is an
artiste who fascinates us with "bracelets of
new design and construction, composed of
human hair and gold, mixed throughout; the
hair plaited by hand."  Here is a master
genius, who has produced "a vase, twenty-four
inches in height and eighteen inches
in circumference, composed entirely of human
hair, with the mountings and ornamental
parts in metal gilt."  Another has presented
us  with "a bouquet of variously-coloured
hair." In short, there is a pretty extensive
range of application, useful and ornamental,
of the cropped crops of human beings.


I HAVE a story to tell which my readers
may believe if they like, or bring a battery of
scientific explanation to bear upon, if they
like. I can offer no impartial opinion on the
subject, being the party interested.

I only undertake to tell the story as it
happened to me.

I was born in one of the midland counties
of England, miles away from the sea, in a
large old-fashioned house of black and white,
the upper story of which overhung the lower,
and the door of which stood back in a deep
porch. The joists and floors were of fine oak,
and all the tables, benches, pressesindeed
all the furniturewas of oak: some of it rude
and clumsy, but the greater part beautifully

My first notions of Bible history were taken
from my mother's bedstead, which was
entirely of oak, and carved all over with figures
of angels, Adam and Eve, the serpent, and
the Virgin and Child.

The house was still called the Old Hall,
although it had become little better than a
farm-house. It stood at some distance from
the road; a gate on the road-side led up a
paved way with a row of sheds filled with
carts, ploughs, and farming implements, on
one hand, and a large cattle pond on the
other, into a spacious farm-yard built round
with stables, barns and outbuildings, all
wearing an old Saxon stamp that I have
never seen elsewhere. A wicket gate on the
side of the yard opened into a large garden
which fronted the house. This garden had
several broad gravel walks, and two alleys
covered with turf, and hedged with yew
trees cut into all manner of quaint devices.
Beyond the garden was an orchard containing
amongst other trees, some old mulberry trees,
which my sister and myself were taught to
regard with great reverence.

Beyond this orchard, lay ploughed fields
and meadows all belonging to my father. No
other dwelling was in sight, except a few
cottages belonging to the farm servants.

My father and mother were cousins, and
both were descended from the same old
Saxon family, who had possessed their land
long before the Conquest. In the course of
years the property had dwindled down to
the farm on which I was born. We had no
relations. There certainly was an uncle, a
merchant in Liverpool, of whom I sometimes
heard; but he was an offshoot of a distant
branch, and, being in trade, was considered
to have forfeited all claim to be considered
one of the family.

I was the only son. I had one sister two
years younger than myselfa gentle, pretty
child, with long golden locks. She was called
Edith. All the education I received, was two
years at the grammar schoola curious old
endowment, held by a "clerk in orders,"
to teach Latin and scholarship to all the boys
in the parish of Ledgeley Laver. There were
about a dozen besides myself; and unless the
master had been endowed with the common
sense to teach us writing and arithmetic, and
a few common branches of education, I don't
think we should have had more learning than
Tom Thumb carried in money from King
Arthur's treasury: which, as everybody
knows, was a silver threepence. My
companions were the sons of small farmers, and
came at intervals when they were not wanted
at home.