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THE FAMILY DOCTOR
teachers will stilt hold in reserve, to be used in some cases as a last resource, and as a sad necessity. But it should be a last resource. It should never be used until all other measures have failed. Then it should be used well. In the same way that the most humane war is that which is short and decisive, so the rod should be used with decision when the necessity arises, so as to bring about the wished-for result with the least delay, and with the smallest chance of failure or the necessity for repetition. Here is an example of my meaning. I have brought up my children practically without corporal punishment. but about two years ago one child, presuming upon its age and immunity from any punishment for which it really cared, became deaf to my admonitions and defiant of authority. I made up my mind that the time had arrived when its future welfare necessitated determined action, and that it would be culpable weakness in me any longer to withhold the rod. A whipping was given, to the great astonishment of the child, and the result was successful beyond my most sanguine expectations. From that moment all trouble ceased. Only once, when the memory of the whipping seemed to have grown faint, had I to mention the word "rod." The little word acted like a charm. I have never had to repeat it. The mention of this word after the whipping had more effect than months of kindly entreaty, and, indeed, years of previous exhortation, supported only by minor punishments. This happy change was the effect of only eight strokes! But I doubt whether the whipping would have been so effective if the punishment had not been given in a very solemn and impressive 111anner. I am confidp.nt that regulation and deliberation are necesiiary to the success of corporal punishment when, unfortunately, it has to be given. The bpst plan, I believe, is to lay the culprit, in its nightdress, face downwards on a pillow placed at the end of a narrow table, a strap being passed over the bod.y and fastened under the table. By this means all struggles which are derogatory to authority, are avoided. The punishment can be given slowly, deliberately, and effectively, with words of kindly admonition between the st·rokes. The fact of the child feeHng itself helpless is also conducive to submission, and there is less likelihood for the element of temper to enter into the punishment. A rod nlade of hirch twigs i~ by far the best instrument to use. If birch twigs cannot be obtained, then an ordinary garden broom, if taken to pieces, will supply very respectable rods. There is no reason, therefore, why any other instrument should ever be used. It i~ by far the safest, and does not raise wales. If any 'parent finds himRelf or herself in the difficulty I was in two years ago, I would strongly advise the course I have recOlnlnended. In conclusion, I believe the following propositions to be founded on reason and common sense- 1. That implicit obedience :to authority, "\\-h:ch i3 the foundation of education, should be insisted upon in every household. 2. That authority should, in the first instance, be supported hy only moral measures. 3. That in the event of nlOral measures failing, authority should be r;upported by minor punish!nents ; but never by bribery. 4. That if nlinor punishments fail, the rod s~ould then be used. 5. That when the rod is used as a last re~o~.p·ce, it should be administered with forethought an:l deliberation, and with sufficient severity to prevent t'le necessity of its further use. 6. It being ef equal importance to the welfare of children of both sexes that respw:t fe:.· authority should be 111aintained, it is right that the rod, when required, should be used in the ca3e of both sexes. Any other course would be manifestly unjust.-I am, your obedient servant, COMMON SENSE.
TIGHT LACING AND MALE ATTIRE FOR LADIES.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FAMILY DOCTOR.
SIR,--I have been much interested in the discussion which has taken place in your columns upon these two subjects, and should like, with your permission, to make a few remarks. Until I saw a copy of your valuable paper upon a bookstall I must confess that I knew little or nothing of the items which go to the making of a well-dressed woman. Of course, I knew in a dull, masculine way when my sisters or any other lady of my acquaintance were well dressed, but by what means this end was accomplished I did not endeavour to discover. My sisters' slender waists did not much excite my curiosity, not that I supposed them to be natural: but although I thought they looked more trim and chic than larger waisted girls, I did not trouble myself about the matter.
I bought a copy of your paper and showed them some of the letters, and also the illustrations on the front page of young ladies whose waists were certainly smaller than any I have seen. They seemed delighted with the pictures, and asked me to let them see the paper every week. I asked the eldest (Maude) whether she tight laced. "Hardly at all," she replied. "Why, my waist is 18 inches; half as big again as this girl's," pointing to one of the figures in your paper: "but I shall lace a little tighter now, sba'n't you, Belle ? "
Belle, my youngest sister but one, who admitted to twitching her staylaces a little, and had a waist of 17 inches, said she should. My sisters, even the youngest (aged sixteen), have since "gone in" for waist nipping with not only my mother's sanction. but even approbation. They had stays made at one of the best corsetières, and pulled themselves in inch by inch until all three possessed waists of 16 inches.
They admitted suffering much pain, and they told me "the pinching sensation was at first perfectly horrible," but after few hours only a dull, numbed feeling came; and although their faces were very white and bloodless, and their thighs felt numb and dead, they did not faint or suffer any pain worth mentioning. Of course, their round, small waists, tapering figures, and full busts were lnuch admired. They were none of thern satisfied, however, and made up their minds for 15 inches, or perhaps a trifle less. Corsets of the requisite size were got and laced on, but after a fortnight's trial all, except my youngest sister, had to give them up. The agony of such compression was so intense that even she, slight though she was, had to give up lacing below 16 inches, as my mother got frightened at her constant headaches, loss of appetite, and giddiness.
My sisters seem to think that to lace below 16 inches (the size to which they now confine themselves) is impossible for any length of time--at least, to anyone but a girl whose waist has been systematically compressed from early childhood.
I have seen and met with, and so have they, a few girls who, comparing their waists with my sisters', must certainly have been two or more inches smaller; but they have, without an exception, suffered from listlessness, headache, and ultimately spoiled complexions, and, to my mind, looked absurdly attenuated and out of proportion.
With reference to ladies adopting male attire, I think there are occasions when it would not only be quite admissible, but even advisable. That it is much more comfortable than their own I think is beyond doubt. The fear that it would be ugly we can leave to the ladies, who would, no doubt, be as well able to exercise their taste in trimmings, materials, and colour of their knickerbockers (and I bar trousers as unredeemably hideous) as they now do in their skirts. The reason that" male attire" is not adopted is not because it is more immodest than their own dress, but that fashion and custom have not thrown their influence into the scale; whenever they do this the costume will be adopted.
My sisters, tight-lacers (from fashion) though they are, say they would be thankful for the change, and never felt so free and comfortable as when they appeared in the extreemly scanty attire which is supposed to be worn by the faries when taking part in some of Andersen's Fairy Tale tableaux for a charity. "The feeling," they said afterwards. "of having no clogging skirts lower than to within 6 or 9 inches of our knees was delightful."
This mock modesty about showing a lady's ankle is a great piece of cant when one comes to think of It. For does not the public sanction, and even applaud, on a brightly-lighted stage far more exposure than it would with mock indignation allow in a private drawing-room ? The whole gist of the matter seems that ladies must seldom be supposed to possess two legs anywhere except on the stage, and there the more of them shown the better. If it is immodest for some women to show these particular limbs, it is immodest for all. There can be no half-way house, and thousands of educated and well-mannered people pay n1ghtly to see (or at least knowing that they will see) what custom says shall be hidden.
I am not speaking of the ballets at the Alhambra or Empire, where a great many men who go there would hesitate to take their sisters, and where not a few of the danseuses. what with low bodices and scanty skirts, practically appear, as a certain person has said, "mit noddinks on." I refer to the higher types of theatre, where brevity of skirt on all suitable and unsuitable occasions seems to be in popular demand. In a piece (now withdrawn after a lengthy run) one of the leading ladies of the cast, whose skirts were appropriately (?) brief, used nightly to throw herself into a position, as a lady friend remarked, "Which would allow the dramatic critics and lady correspondents of the fashion journals to correctly and minutely describe the material and filmy lace trimmings of her expensive lingerie (underclothing)." For the first few nights this pusture. which would hardly be tolerated as an illustration in a paper, was received almost in silence, although the situation was a strong one. The public, however, soon began to take it as a matter of course, and at length, to judge from their faces, thoroughly fell into the humour and delicacy (?) of the lady's action. Such is our cant and mock modesty.
I must apologise for the length of this letter, which, however, I hope you will be able to insert.--Faithfully yours, L. J. M.
P.S.--How is it that in ordinary life male attire for women is looked upon as indelicate when boy's parts are almost universally played by women upon the stage I Can anyone suggest an answer to this enigma 1 London, W., D~c. 20th, 1838.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FAMILY DOCTOR.
SIR, -Your fair correspondent. " Sweet Seventeen," seems to doubt that men ever really wear corsets. Permit me to set her mind at rest upon this point, as I myself am an enthusiastic votary of the corset, though not an excessively tight lacer-24 inches for a height of 5 ft. 7 ins. I am a pupil in a civil engineer's office here, and twenty years at age. It may be vain, and it may be effeminate, but I mean to stick to it in spite of the " warning voice," and if England ever is in danger I dare say I shall do my duty, as I am a member of a corps of rifle volunteers.
I am now studying a girl's part in a piece we are going to do at a large house where I am invited this Christmas (my people are abroad), and find a good deal of fun in rehearsing my lines in costume at home every evening, and I can a~sure you there are many worse looking young ladies than yours truly, Hull, Dec. 18. 1888. W. R.
THE BOVRIO TEST in America has had an important educational value: That one ounce contains more res nourisment than fifty ounces of Liebig's is not a little star ling.
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1. from L. J. M.
2. to "Sweet Seventeen"; from W. R.
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