PASS THE SMELLING SALTS!

The per­fect rem­edy for the swoon­ing ladies at the feet of Mr Darcy

History Revealed - - REWIND -

Pick up a clas­sic novel or watch a cos­tume drama and no doubt you will soon en­counter a swoon­ing lady.

Swoon­ing is a trope used in clas­sic and pe­riod lit­er­a­ture de­pict­ing peo­ple (mainly women) faint­ing from dis­tress, hor­ror or de­sire for a par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive suitor. But in real life, the tight corsets pop­u­lar dur­ing the 19th cen­tury also led to a propen­sity to faint.

En­ter this ‘fainted lady re­viver’. It would have been filled with smelling salts and swiftly de­ployed to rouse even the deep­est of slum­bers. Smelling salts con­tained per­fume and am­mo­nium car­bon­ate, which causes an in­hala­tion re­flex – a faint­ing fix.

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