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Perhaps Michael will be able to explain this a bit better than I can, but when women would curl their hair in those days, they would wrap the curlers in paper (to keep them from burning their hair?). The OED lists these references; I'm not sure if they're helpful or not:
6c. A curl-paper. (Usually in pl.)
 
  a1746 M. LEAPOR Poems (1748) I. 5 Let Isabel unload her aking Head Of twisted Papers, and of binding Lead. 1772 J. WOODFORDE Diary 21 Apr. (1924) I. 114 We..caught my Sister Jane at table with her hair up in papers. 1819 KEATS Let. 16 Apr. (1958) II. 92 Do you put your hair in papers of a night? 1838 DICKENS Nich. Nick. (1839) vii. 60 The lady..was dressed in a dimity night jacket with her hair in papers. 1876 M. E. BRADDON J. Haggard's Dau. ix. 122 Take their hair out of papers.

So, Eliot was most likely describing a woman taking curlers out of her hair, along with the papers. This may not be exactly accurate -- hopefully Michael can clarify.
 
Will Gray

>>> [log in to unmask] 06/13/03 01:36PM >>>
Thanks you Michael! It was a great explanation.
 
Also, I forgot about one paticular line -- 'where / You curled the papers from your hair'.
Alas, what about those papers?
 
Cheers --
Sara