Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Harryo's Orthodontic Adventure

Many people get to share the joys of a trip to the orthodontist. Ah yes, poking, prodding, teeth molds making you gag, the whole experience tends to be a joyous affair. But as much as we all enjoy the thrill of a new head gear our excitement couldn't even match that of Harryo when the dentist came to visit her at Hardwick Hall to fix some crooked teeth.

Knowing what we do about the art of dentistry in the eighteenth century you may not be surprised when I say Georgiana wrote as a fretful and concerned mother about her twelve year-old daughter's experience.
"My poor Harryo has had her four front teeth brought over by Mr Bott. The operation lasted 3 hours, and, I am afraid, was dreadful, but she is setting by me tollerably easy and with three very pretty even teeth instead of their standing edgeways ; and besides, there is now perfect room for her eye teeth which before were so close we were afraid she must have had 2 double teeth out to make room. The agony was, I fear, very great. I dar'd not go to her lest I shd destroy her courage. She describes it like the slow pain of drawing out a tooth, continu'd a long while without the crash."
Ouch!  One must wonder what she did in her recovery time to keep herself occupied since movie rental wasn't invented yet.

10 comments:

Alexa Adams said...

Harrowing indeed! And I thought I was brave when I bore the ministrations of the only orthodontist in Dublin while living there in the early 90's.

Heather Carroll said...

*Shudder* The only orthodontist in Dublin? That sounds like could be both frightening service and/or prices!

Rebecca said...

...Ouch. and when she was twelve? Brave girl, that's all i've got to say =/

Anonymous said...

Can I ask where you find these excellent quotes? I'd love to read more of Georgiana's (or anyone of the periods) letters about everyday type things!

Laura said...

*Shudder*

As a long-suffering child and teen orthodontic patient, I sympathise here!

Heather Carroll said...

I was a twelve year old in multiple orthodontics so I can almost relate!

@Anon, This particular quote is from Georgiana's personal correspondence which is sadly missing many letters due to the Earl of Bessborough's editing, but it is still a wonderful book.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

I just had dental surgery yesterday, which was pretty painful by modern standards. I can't imagine the pain that little Harryo and Marie Antoinette went through during the 18th century.

Fabulastic said...

Have you heard the latest news about the French King's Palace?

It seems one will be able to sleep there next year.. How marvellous is that?

To know more just came and see me at Queer the Pitch.

Amirak101 said...

which teeth are referred to as "eye teeth"?

Heather Carroll said...

Canines, I believe