It would be rash to venture a guess as to the number of thousands of playgoers of all ages and many nationalities Miss Pauline Chase has bewitched by her marvellous interpretation of the boy who never grew up. She is indeed the true Peter Pan and on her Time will never, we feel, make an impression. In this specially contributed article, Miss Chase generously imparts her magic secret of youth and beauty, which, like so many of the things that really matter, is one of sublime simplicity. By following these lucid suggestions, the readers of Every Woman's Encyclopaedia should be able to attain to the full measure of what beneficent Nature intended should be their portion of her precious gifts am not a doctor, and I don't keep a beauty I parlour. I am just a girl who, having been gifted by Nature with some advantages, tries to make the most of them and preserve them so that they may last as long as possible. I cannot pretend to be able to speak dictatorially on the subject of beauty culture, or to write any wonderful recipes or prescriptions by which any woman can become beautiful. I only wish I could. Then my fortune would be made, for I should have the largest clientele in the world.
What I can do is to tell all the things I do, so that those who wish to follow my example may do so. One thing I can say, that my rules of health are so simple that no one need have the least difficulty in following them, and they will impose no hardship upon any woman or make such demands on her time that she will not be able to get them in with her ordinary work.
First of all, I should like to say this - that I am convinced that every woman has a beauty of some sort, and she owes it to herself to make the most of it, and ignore those things which are not beautiful. It may be hair, it may be eyes, it may be complexion, it may be any feature or quality which people admire in a woman. It will be there, and if she will only cultivate it simply and without parade, she will always find people who will admire it.
And when you come to consider life in its broadest aspect, you must admit that the people we all love best are not the most beautiful or the most brilliant, but they are the dearest, sweetest souls in the particular world in which we live.
And now for my own rules of health and beauty.
At the head of them I should place the nine hours' sleep I always have when I am acting, and especially when I am acting Peter Pan twice a day. I am sure every woman, or nearly every woman, could manage nine hours in bed every night if she would give up parties, as I do, if her work does not allow her to remain in bed late in the morning. Nine hours' sleep regularly every night will restore most tired nerves, and if a woman's nerves are in good order she is bound to feel well and to look well.
When I am not acting I need only eight hours' sleep, but then I always sleep very well. I need not labour the advantages of sleep, for everyone knows them. It is not only the nervous system which is rested and refreshed, but the whole body as well, so that we not only feel bright but we look bright. And the bright look in the eye and the bright look in the expression are great beautifiers.
As we live by what we eat, the question of food and meals naturally plays a great part for good or ill in our lives, and, therefore, in our health and beauty. In London, and when I am acting, I eat only two meals a day. I suppose a great many people who have four or five meals a day would think I did not eat often enough. Do not smile at the idea of anybody eating five meals a day, for many people do. They have tea and toast or bread-and-butter in bed, breakfast at 8.30 or 9, perhaps a glass of milk or a glass of wine and a biscuit at 11, lunch at 1 or 1.30, afternoon tea at 4.30 or 5, dinner at 7 or 7.30, and a glass of milk before going to bed. That makes seven big and little meals a day.
A Simple Rule of Life
The consequence is the stomach is overworked all the time, and then people suffer from indigestion. Indigestion is a fatal foe to health and beauty. Among other things, it makes the nose red and the skin coarse. And what woman can be beautiful with a red nose? Again, some people eat a lot of fatty foods, and take little or no exercise. They are amazed if their skin becomes muddy and they put on weight. I should be astonished if they did not.
As the nature of my work prevents me getting to bed before midnight, I am never called until nine o'clock in the morning. A cup of tea is brought to me at half-past nine, and I read my letters and the papers in bed. I always have a lot of letters when I am acting, for children write every day to me as Peter Pan.
I get up at eleven, and have a hot bath. It is a very hot bath. I don't think it is really good to have it so hot as I take it, but I simply love a bath as hot as I can get into it, so I have it.
In my bath I have no bath-bags, and I use nothing but a plain, good soap. After my bath, however, I rub myself all over with a little eau-de-cologne, as that makes me feel very fresh and nice, and then I dress quietly. I always spend from ten minutes to a quarter of an hour brushing my hair, so that it may look bright and keep in good condition, and I strongly advise every girl to do the same. If she cannot find time in the morning, because she likes to lie as late in bed as she can, then I recommend her to do it at night before she goes to bed.
There is no use insisting on people doing things at times which are wrong for them, or saying because I do this you must do so likewise. We are all only human, and we must make allowances for people's foibles. But get in that good brushing of the hair. It's splendid, and it makes you feel splendid. I never use cosmetic for my face, only cold water. I do put a little powder on my face and neck, but I wipe it off again with a soft rag, so that it never shows.
At night, after I get home from the theatre, I wash my face thoroughly with cold-cream, so as to get out every particle of the make-up I have used for the stage, and I find that keeps my skin nice and soft and free from chapping.
My dressing in the morning is finished by twelve, and then I have my first meal, which is a combination of breakfast and lunch. I have an egg or two, and a piece of chicken or meat of some kind. And I drink one little cup of coffee. My breakfast is a very light meal, because I could not play Peter Pan on a heavy one; and you must remember that I have to be at the theatre at one o'clock, and I remain there six days a week until half past eleven at night. When I am playing two performances a day, I never go out after the matinee, but rest in my dressing-room.
My dinner is sent in to me at half-past five, by which hour I have changed my Peter Pan clothes and taken off my make-up. I am very hungry from flying when dinnertime Comes. My dinner consists of plain soup one day and fish the next, but never both on the same day, a bird of some sort - a duck, a partridge, a pheasant, or a small chicken - and I eat the whole of it. Then I have some salad and a sweet, generally a milk-pudding with a lot of cream. In fact, what I really take is a little pudding with my cream. At dinner I drink water, unless I am very tired, when I take a little whisky and water. That, however, is very rarely. As a matter of fact, I drink so little at any time that my doctor says he does not know how I can get through two performances of "Peter Pan" without getting thirsty. After dinner I rest until half-past seven, lying down and reading, and at half-past seven I dress again and go through another performance. I get home between 11.30 and 12, and go straight to bed. If I am more than ordinarily tired, I have a glass of milk or a cup of cocoa, but that is not often; but I never have anything to eat.
You will notice I have not said a word about exercise. When I am playing I never go out for a walk, for I find that I have enough exercise on the stage. On Sunday, however, I always go motoring or flying, in order to get a good blow in the open air.
When I am not acting I live in the country, as I have a house in Burnham Beeches. Then I have three good meals a day, breakfast at 10, lunch at 1.30, but I don't dine until 8, so that I may feel quite grown up, unlike Peter Pan.
Miss Pauline Chase in flying costume. The charming creator of the title role of "Peter Pan" has experienced the delightful sensations of flight in that modern miracle the aeroplane as well as under the more untrammelled conditions of Mr. Barrie's magic dream-country
Photo, Elwin Neame
At these times breakfast consists of the usual eggs and bacon, with tea, and sometimes jam or fruit, a simple cold lunch, but dinner is a rather more elaborate meal, with the usual courses. The result is that I get a little fatter than when I am acting, but I soon lose this extra weight when I begin playing Peter Pan. During these holidays I walk or ride or play golf. So, you see, my rules for health and beauty practically come down to one - live simply.
There are two other maxims I would like to add. The first is to try to keep happy. If you keep happy you keep well. I say this from personal experience. I am never ill unless I get unhappy. Then I run down at once. For this reason I would entreat every woman to look on the bright side of things. It is amazing how soon one can get into the habit of doing this, or, at any rate, of shutting one's eyes to the dark side of things. In ninety-nine cases out of one hundred the things we worry about don't happen, and there is nothing which ruins the nervous system more than worry. It ruins the digestion as well, and it plays havoc with every attribute which makes for beauty.
Another maxim of my life is never to get angry. "Anger is worse for the face than smallpox." It was Miss Ellen Terry who told me that, and I pass it on to the readers of Every Woman's Encyclopaedia in the hope that other women may learn it and heed it, and so add a very important thing to the list of the exercises they adopt for the cultivation of beauty. It is the spirit which informs the flesh, and I am certain that everything we do which makes for beauty of spirit and serenity of mind will help us to get beauty of poise if we cannot have beauty of feature, and, after all, this is most surely a gift worth having.