Sunday, 6 April 2014

Woof! Cholera Babe Parade!

It's no use struggling against the unavoidable: the Cholera Babe Parade has been conga-ing inexorably in our direction, and now it's here! It was bound to happen sooner or later, so we may as well bow to the inevitable and bid the Cholera Babes welcome as they thrust their way into our lives and take over everything.
Discerning readers may be scratching their heads, wondering what in the name of arse a Cholera Babe actually is. Put simply, it's a red-hot Victorian babe in the process of dying from cholera! The symptoms of cholera include, Wikipedia informs us,
[d]iarrhoea and vomiting of clear fluid. These symptoms usually start suddenly, half a day to five days after ingestion of the bacteria. The diarrhoea is frequently described as "rice water" in nature and may have a fishy odour. An untreated person with cholera may produce 10 to 20 litres of diarrhoea a day. Severe cholera kills about half of affected individuals. Estimates of the ratio of asymptomatic to symptomatic infections have ranged from 3 to 100. Cholera has been nicknamed the "blue death" because a person's skin may turn bluish-gray from extreme loss of fluids. 
If that's not sexy we're not worthy of gazing at pictures of be-cravatted Austen heroes!

Other symptoms of cholera include, as Unreasonably Attractive Friend noted, the sudden appearance of "a lower-cut dress".
Image from Wellcome Images.

Shewee Fiend Friend says:
"I like how she still does her hair. If I had cholera and was starting to look like a zombie,
I don't know that I would bother with making sure I had excellently coiffed hair."
Image from Berndt Tallerud's Skräckens tid: Farsoternas kulturhistoria (Stockholm: Prisma, 1999), p. 127.
Originally an etching by A. Gerardin, 1832, from H. Vogt's Das Bild des Kranken.

Woof! A (very attractive) friend of ours says,
"Haha, the first one looks familiar.... I believe I saw it in the bathroom mirror this morning".
Image from Wellcome Images.

Shewee Fiend Friend remarks, amusingly, "She didn't bother to do her hair I see. Standards are slipping".
Kick-Arse Suffragette Friend says, and we can only agree, "Them's some sexxy toes".
Image from Wellcome Images.

Shewee Fiend Friend continues her diverting quips, commenting,
"It looks like you're required to wear these hats if you're too dead to do your hair".
Image from Wellcome Images.

"A woman extravagantly equipped to deal with the cholera epidemic of 1832; 
satirizing the abundance of dubious advice on how to combat cholera."
Image from Wellcome Images.

"A mother looks askance at her daughter, whom she suspects of having contracted the cholera."
Image from Wellcome Images.

A French doctor delighted to have found a genuine cholera victim/babe.
Image from Wellcome Images.

The babe to out-babe all babes: Florence Nightingale! Here she is tending to cholera victims in the Crimea.
Image from Wellcome Images.

Dr Jekyll's vaporiser is effective against cholera, rheumatism and yellow fever.
Wouldn't surprise us if it was a hell of a hangover cure, as well.
Image from Wellcome Images.

London water - frequently the cause of cholera.
Image from Wellcome Images.

Turns out he knew something, John Snow.
7 September, 1854: Dr John Snow breaks the pump handle in Broad Street, to prevent the spread of cholera! HUBBA HUBBA!
Image from Wellcome Images.

Stay tuned for the Cholera Babe Pin-Up Calendar. (We meant to write a book about this in future, but it turns out someone already has.)

Other reasons a lady might turn black and blue:

Festive video: Jane Austen's Fight Club

Related Reading
More about John Snow and cholera: Plumbing, Blessed Plumbing
The Vikings had issues with clean water, too. Jorvik: In Rude Health
Help people get access to clean water: The Privy Counsel Helpfully Sort Out Christmas!
A comical tale about cholera in the wild, wild West: A Rootin', Tootin' Toilet Tale
More historic health hazards: Book Club: Cocoa and Corsets
Pestilence and Hygiene
Syphilis, Bathing, and Dentures. You know It Makes Sense

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