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Sarah Bernhardt's cold prevention recipe

previous: New York, Jan. 24, 1892

26 West 31st Street, NY
Feby 7th 1892

Dear daughter Neppie,

Enclosed I send you a recipe to make "sedative water" for sponging the body over after a bath. It prevents taking colds and (as the ingredients tell you) is very strengthening. I tried it last night for the first time, slept like the proverbial "top" and feel almost free from the pains in my joints and limbs this Morning.

For [grandson] Edward I would take half a teacup full of hot water and add a tablespoon full of the mixture. Rub him all over and wipe him dry with a towel very briskly. I think it would also be very good for you – strengthen the muscles and keep the cold out and give you an appetite. Try it - and for [Neppie's husband, EJP's son] Albert  after a drill or fire. He will likely need it after performance on the 22nd.

Miss [Maud] Harrison obtained the recipe from Sarah Bernhardt and she tells me she has been using it for sometime and has never had a cold since using it, though very subject to them before, as I know. I expect to grow quite young under its influence, judging by my feelings this morning after one application.

I enclose one dollar to have it made up, with my best wishes that it will be beneficial to you all. Love and Kisses to you, Edward & Albert from your loving Mother

A paper in EJP’s handwriting, is headed

A recipe from the great: Sarah Bernhardt

A preventive from colds – for external use

2 oz – Spirits of camphor

2 oz – Spirits of ammonium

2 cups of alcohols

Cup of sea salt

Dissolve Sea Salt in boiling water. Put in quart bottle. Add the other ingredients and fill up the bottle with hot water. Wet a sponge and apply all over the body. After a bath is the best time to use it  
______________________________

I think this might be good for Edward – a tablespoonful will be enough to use at a time, or even less for him. Do not put it on his face. He might not like it, though it would not impair him.

Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) French actress who made her American debut at Booth’s Theatre in 1880. The New York Times index of theater reviews include a number of plays in October- December 1891 and Theodora Jan 5 1892.  She was in the audience when Alabama was produced at Palmer's Theatre in 1891. Did EJ Phillips see her act?  Seems almost certain that Maud Harrison did.

Toured America 9 times. Except on rare occasions, in later years, she always performed in French. Her celebrated roles included Frou-Frou and La Tosca

EJ Phillips' colleague Jessie Millward asked Sarah Bernhardt why she had never learned English, and reported on her stage roles.

I was at a reception given by Miss Marbury and Miss Elsie de Wolff at their charming house in Irving Place, and there I met Madame Sarah Bernhardt. Ever since — many years before — I had seen her as Camille, I had worshipped the great French artist, for her performance as Camille first opened my eyes to the wonderful possibility of sinking oneself into a character and entirely losing one's own identity. Camille had lived before me, and Bernhardt had lived and suffered as Camille. Later, three times in one week I went to see her as La Tosca during one of our vacations at the Adelphi, and I would return home exhausted myself after that wonderful torture scene. She was, of course a frequent visitor at the Lyceum, and often and often would I gaze furtively at her box from the stage and marvel at her. Therefore I was nervously flattered and excited when I found that she remembered me and asked to meet me. We chatted for a time through an interpreter, and she reminded me of many of the parts I had played at the Lyceum. Then she said that she had heard that I was to play in " Diplomacy," and asked what part I had selected. I told her that I had chosen the part of Zicka. 
 
" Wise girl," she said, nodding her head ; " that is the part." 
 
And then I summoned up courage and asked her why she, who could do nearly ever\T:hing, and had such 
multitudes of admirers in England and America, had never learnt English. 
 
She laughed. 
 
" Madame has never had the time," explained the interpreter. 
 
Wonderful Sarah Bernhardt! 
 
When a critic on a New York paper hinted delicately that her frizzy hair was false and that her teeth were 
too good to be her own, she called on him, and letting down her hair before him : 
 
" Pull eet ! " she exclaimed. " Is eet real or not ? " 
 
And then, taking his finger, she bit it. 
 
" Are zey false ? " she demanded. 
 
At all events the great Sarah knew enough English to make herself understood. But another descriptive 
reporter, I fancy, drew on his imagination when he wrote that with some difficulty he had penetrated the 
great tragedienne's hotel sitting-room to make enquiries as to her future arrangements, and had asked, among 
other things, whether she intended visiting all the States. 
 
"Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Baltimore, Minneapolis, sure — but nix on the punk towns," was the 
reply that the divine Sarah was reported to have given.  Jessie Millward, Myself and Others, Hutchinson  1923 http://www.archive.org/stream/myselfothers00milluoft/myselfothers00milluoft_djvu.txt  

Bibliography
Sarah Bernhardt/s autobiography Memories of my Life 1923 [Oxford Companion Theatre]
Sarah Bernhardt Pages  http://www.sarah-bernhardt.com/
Skinner, Cornelia Otis, Madame Sarah,   http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005WBP5/...

Sarah Bernhardt and Sister Carrie http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Sister_Carrie/Chapter_37  
Sarah Bernhardt, Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Bernhardt 

video Sarah Bernhardt in Daniel 1921 with recording of Phedre 1902 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiQ-W6vT6hQ
video Sarah Bernhardt La Samaritaine 1903 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjyB18FVGNc&feature=related

video Sarah Bernhardt with a man in a car 1916 http://www.videosurf.com/video/sarah-bernhardt-with-a-man-in-a-car-united-states-1217863833  no sound

next: New York, Feb. 5, 1892

Last revised Dec 28 2014

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