The Mauve Measles
Medical Treatment, Mental Illness, Amusement, Gender
Discussion of a highly contagious 'malady', which some regard as an English form of 'mild insanity', but which others, including Dr Punch, consider to be a 'species of measles' of French origin. The affliction is the passion for wearing mauve ribbons, which Dr Punch analyses as if it were a species of measles. For example, he observes that 'like the other form of measles, the mauve complaint is very catching: indeed, cases might be cited, where the lady of the house having taken the infection, all the family have caught it before the week was out'. Warns that no specific cure for the disease has been discovered, but suggests several courses of action, including the use of the 'scissors', 'amputation' of married ladies' pin money, cautery, and burning. Dr Punch, however, recommends a 'gentle dose of reasoning', 'Confinement to the house', and 'Total abstinence from flower-shows'.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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