Barbe

(Ste.) The powder-room in a French ship; so called from St. Barbara, the patron saint of artillery. (See Barbary.)

A barbe de fou apprend-on à raire
(French). An apprentice is taught to shave on the chin of a fool.

Tel a fait sa barbe, qui n'est pas beau fils
(French). You may waste half the day on making your toilet, and yet not come forth an Adonis. You cannot make a silk purse of a sow's ear. Not every block will make a Mercury.

Heap lying curls a million on your head;
On socks, a cubit high, plant your proud tread,
You're just what you are—that's all about it.

Goethe: Faust (Dr. Anster), p. 163.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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