Eleven Modes of Suicide: 1868

One of those lethally thin tulle ballgowns.

Death lurks in the folds of this deadly ballgown. Ladies–don’t forget your wrap!


1. Wearing thin shoes and cotton stockings on damp nights and in cool, rainy weather. Wearing insufficient clothing, and especially about the limbs and extremities.

2. Leading a life of enfeebling, stupid laziness, and keeping the mind in an unnatural state of excitement by reading trashy novels. Going to theaters, parties, and balls in all sorts of weather, in the thinnest possible dress. Dancing till in a complete perspiration, and then going home without sufficient over-garments, through the cool, damp night air.

3. Sleeping on feather beds in seven by nine bedrooms, without ventilation at the top of the windows, and especially with two or more persons in the same small, unventilated bedroom.

4. Surfeiting on hot and very stimulating dinners. Eating in a hurry, without half masticating the food, and eating heartily before going to bed, when the mind and body are exhausted by the toils of the day and the excitement of the evening.

5. Beginning in childhood on tea and coffee, and going from one step to another, through chewing and smoking tobacco and drinking intoxicating liquors; by personal abuse, and physical and mental excesses of every kind.

6. Marrying in haste and getting an uncongenial companion, and living the remainder of life in mental dissatisfaction; cultivating jealousies and domestic broils, and being always in a mental ferment.

7. Keeping children quiet by giving paregoric and cordials, by teaching them to suck candy, and by supplying them with raisins, nuts, and rich cake; when they are sick by giving them mercury, tartar emetic, and arsenic, under the mistaken notion that they are medicines and not irritant poisons.

8. Allowing the love of gain to absorb our minds, so as to leave no time to attend to our health; following an unhealthy occupation because money can be made by it.

9. Tempting the appetite with bitters and nicotine where the stomach says no, and by forcing food into it when nature does not demand and even rejects it. Gormandizing between meals

10. Contriving to keep in a continual worry about something or nothing. Giving way to fits of anger.

11. Being irregular in all our habits of eating and sleeping. Going to bed at midnight, and getting up at noon. Eating too much, too many kinds of food, and that which is too highly seasoned.

The Ladies’ Repository, Volume 28, 1868

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Given this lengthy list, the reader may consider that she has been lucky to escape with her life. Mrs Daffodil herself does not indulge in trashy novels, bitters, nicotine, marrying in haste, mental excesses or ferment, nor anything highly seasoned. She does, however, have a soft spot for the irritant poisons.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find more fashion hints, fads and fancies, and no irritant poisons.

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.



One thought on “Eleven Modes of Suicide: 1868

  1. Pingback: A Corpse Dressed for a Ball: 1830s | Mrs Daffodil Digresses

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