But this distortion brings upon woman peculiar distresses. The pressure of the whole superincumbent mass on the pelvic or lower organs induces sufferings proportioned in acuteness to the extreme delicacy and sensitiveness of the parts thus crushed. And the intimate connection of these organs with the brain and whole nervous system renders injuries thus inflicted the causes of the most extreme anguish, both of body and mind. This evil is becoming so common, not only among married women but among young girls, as to be a just cause for universal alarm.

How very common these sufferings are few but the medical profession can realize, because they are troubles that must be concealed. Many a woman is moving about in uncomplaining agony who, with any other trouble involving equal suffering, would be on her bed surrounded by sympathizing friends.

The terrible sufferings that are sometimes thus induced can never be conceived of, or at all appreciated from any use of language. Nothing that the public can be made to believe on this subject will ever equal the reality. Not only mature persons and mothers, but fair young girls sometimes, are shut up for months and years as helpless and suffering invalids from this cause. This may be found all over the land. And there frequently is a horrible extremity of suffering in certain forms of this evil, which no woman of feeble constitution dressing in present fashion can ever be certain may not be her doom. Not that in all cases this extremity is involved, but none can say who will escape it.

In regard to this, if one must choose for a friend or a child, on the one hand, the horrible torments inflicted by savage Indians or cruel inquisitors on their victims, or, on the other, the protracted agonies that result from such deformities and displacements, sometimes the former would be a merciful exchange. And yet this is the fate that is coming to meet the young as well as the mature in every direction.

And tender parents are unconsciously leading their lovely and hapless daughters to this awful doom.

There is no excitement of the imagination in what is here indicated. If the facts and details could be presented, they would send a groan of terror all over the land. For it is not one class, or one section, that is endangered. In every part of our country the evil is progressing.

And, as if these dreadful ills were not enough, there have been added methods of medical treatment at once useless, torturing to the mind, and involving great liability to immoralities.*

In hope of abating these evils, drawings are given (Fig. 62 and Fig. 63) of the front and back of a jacket that will preserve the advantages of the corset without its evils. This jacket may at first be fitted to the figure with corsets underneath it, just like the waist of a dress. Then delicate whalebones can be used to stiffen the jacket, so that it will take the proper shape, when the corset may be dispensed with. The buttons below are to hold all articles of dress below the waist by button-holes. By this method the bust is supported as well as by corsets, while the shoulders support from above, as they should do, the weight of the dress below. No stiff bone should be allowed to press in front, -and the jacket should be so loose that a full breath can be inspired with ease while in a sitting position.

Fig. 62.

Fig. 62.

Fig. 63.

Fig. 63.

* Some extracts from medical writers in Note A will give the views of the most respected physicians all over the land on this point.

The proper way to dress a young girl is to have a cotton or flannel close-fitting jacket next the body, to which the drawers should be buttoned. Over this place the chemise; and over that, such a jacket as the one here drawn, to which should be buttoned the hoops and other skirts. Thus every article of dress will be supported by the shoulders. The sleeves of the jacket can be omitted, and in that case a strong lining, and also a tape binding, must surround the arm-hole, which should be loose.

It is hoped that increase of intelligence and moral power among mothers, and a combination among them to regulate fashions, may banish the pernicious practices that have prevailed. If a school-girl dress without cersets and without tight belts could be established as a fashion, it would be one step gained in the right direction. Then, if mothers could secure to their daughters daily domestic exercise in chambers, eating-rooms, and parlors in loose dresses, a still further advance would be secured.

A friend of the writer informs her that her daughter had her wedding outfit made up by a fashionable milliner in Paris, and every dress was beautifully fitted to the form, and yet was not compressing to any part. This was done too without the use of corsets, the stiffening being delicate and yielding whalebones.

Not only parents but all having the care of young girls, especially those at boarding-schools, have a fearful responsibility resting upon them in regard to this important duty.

In regard to the dressing of young children, much discretion is needed to adapt dress to circumstances and peculiar constitutions. The leading fact must be borne in mind, that the skin is made strong and healthful by exposure to light and pure air, while cold air, if not excessive, has a tonic influence. If the skin of infants is rubbed with the hand till red with blood, and then exposed naked to sun and air in a well-ventilated room, it will be favorable to health.

There is a constitutional difference in. the skin of different children in regard to retaining the animal heat manufactured within, so that some need more clothing than others for comfort. Nature is a safe guide to a careful nurse and mother, and will indicate, by the looks and actions of a child, when more clothing is needful. As a general rule, it is safe for a healthful child to wear as little clothing as suffices to keep it from complaining of cold. Fifty years ago, it was not common for children to wear as much under-clothing as they now do. The writer well remembers how girls, though not of strong constitutions, used to play for hours in the snow-drifts without the protection of drawers, kept warm by exercise and occasional runs to an open fire. And multitudes of children grew to vigorous maturity through similar exposures to cold-air baths, and without the frequent colds and sicknesses so common among children of the present day, who are more carefully housed and warmly dressed. But care was taken that the feet should be kept dry and warmly clad, because, circulation being feebler in the extremities, this precaution was important.

It must also be considered that age brings with it decrease in vigor of circulation, and diminished generation of heat, so that more warmth of air and clothing is needed at an advanced period of life than is suitable for the young.

These are the general principles which must be applied with modification to each individual case. A child of delicate constitution must have more careful protection from cold air than is desirable for one more vigorous, while the leading general principle is retained that cold air is a healthful tonic for the skin whenever it does not produce an uncomfortable chilliness.

Sometimes it is asked, Why are women, especially young girls, so much more delicate and sickly than in former days? The true reply would be, it is because parents and teachers are doing every thing they can do to produce such mischiefs.

Sleeping in unventilated chambers; living in school-rooms and parlors heated to excess, and charged with poisonous gases; exposed to sudden variations of temperature from mismanagement; eating unhealthful food at irregular hours and to a dangerous excess; supplied with unhealthful confectionary to eat at any hour; indulging in exciting amusements, with late hours for sleep; the brain stimulated by a multitude of school duties and studies unrelieved by sufiicient sleep or by muscular exercise; the dress contrived to impede vital functions, so as to force the upper organs on to the lower, generating the most cruel displacements and mental and bodily diseases; overheating the parts most injured by such treatment, and exposing the parts most important to keep warm; compressing feet and ankles so as to impede circulation, with high heels throwing all the muscles out of natural play, so as to increase all the dangerous tendencies to internal displacement; these are only one portion of the many contrivances adopted or allowed by parents and teachers to destroy the health of women and young girls.