'A Trustworthy Receipt to Fade FRECKELLS...' by Kathryn Kulpa

A Trustworthy Receipt to Fade FRECKELLS, & Other Blemishes of the Skin,
by a Lady of Quality.


1. Take and let stand, a half pail or quartern jug of MILK.

How big is the pail? And is a quartern jug the same as a quart, and isn’t that a lot of milk? They didn’t have refrigeration in 1813, but perhaps that’s the point. “Let stand” for how long? Time is relative, and maybe back then it didn’t matter so much. You read somewhere that modern-day time wasn’t really invented until the railroads came. (Mental note: check citation.) People didn’t wear watches—or maybe a few did, if they were rich, and men. Nobody carried phones. In 1813, you’d have no way to know that he was seven minutes late, then twelve, then fourteen. You wouldn’t have to keep checking your messages for texts that didn’t come. You wouldn’t keep wondering whether to message him or not. You’d just wait for what seemed like a goodly time, and then you’d decide that maybe his horse was lame or he’d been set upon by a band of highwaymen and brutally murthered. And then you’d get up and walk home.


2. Into the Milk take and squeeze one LEMON, if available, or a Lime may be substituted, if not, together with a pinch of Saleratus, and stir well, and let rest, until mixture is thicken’d.

Is saleratus salt? Are lemons and limes equal? How thick is thicken’d? Thick as pudding or ice cream or crusty gravy that sat on top of diner French fries for too long?
None of which you should be eating, in any case. No wonder people don’t come to meet you in Starbucks when they say they’re going to, or even bother to text you to say they’re not coming. Eat your frozen Lean Cuisine dinner and shut up.


3. Apply mixture, with a clean Cloathe, to the Face, & let stand, until a Drawing sensation is noticed upon the Skin; at which time it may be spong’d off; & upon Faithfull application each day, will result in a blameless & admirable complexion; with the admonition to young Ladies, to avoid further exposure to the Elements.

Drawing: like a poison. A poison that should be purged and cast off. A poison that should be blocked, even if he does send a half-hearted apology two hours later. Even if he does suggest meeting up another day. You won’t be there. You’ll be home, applying sour milk to your blameless complexion. Stay out of the elements, you tell yourself. Or the malady will certainly repeat itself.

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