Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mouse Fur

In Chains, our heroine (Isabel) is watching her owner get ready for a formal dinner party.  Mrs. Lockton uses glue to attach strips of mouse fur to her brows to get the full, bushy look.  Seriously?!

Now, I know Anderson often sets her novels in historical periods.  And I have the utmost confidence in her research, so I am sure that this detail is historically accurate.  Just to be sure, I did some browsing this morning.  Modes in Makeup describes lots of odd things people did to enhance their beauty.  Both mouse and oxen fur have been used to give fullness to brows.  Ew.  Really glad that times have changed.

Another note on changing times.  I am having a really difficult time placing the age of Isabel.  My current estimation is that she is 10 years old.  The issue I am having is that the cues we use to estimate age when reading a novel are not consistent from one era to another.  The normal activities of a 10 year old in America today are vastly different from those of a 10 year old slave in 1776.  Isabel walks, alone, through the streets of NYC at all hours of the day and night.  Now, even an adult would use caution with those same activities.  Today, 10 year olds might be out from under the watchful eye of an adult only when they are in the bathroom!! 

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