What a Young Woman Ought to Know
by Mary Wood-Allen
1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

* * * * *

- Transcriber's Note: Inconsistent hyphenation in the original document has been preserved. -

* * * * *

Commendations from Eminent Men & Women

What A Young Woman Ought to Know

COMMENDED BY REV. F.B. MEYER The Eminent English Preacher and Author

Minister of Christ Church, Westminster, London, Author of "Israel, A Prince with God," "Elijah; Tried by Fire," "The Bells of Is," etc., etc.

"The questions which are dealt with in the 'Self and Sex Series' of books are always being asked, and if the answer is not forthcoming from pure and wise lips it will be obtained through vicious and empirical channels. I therefore greatly commend this series of books, which are written lucidly and purely, and will afford the necessary information without pandering to unholy and sensual passion. I should like to see a wide and judicious distribution of this literature among Christian circles."

COMMENDED BY CHARLES M. SHELDON The Eminent American Preacher and Author

Pastor of Central Congregational Church, Topeka, Kansas; author of "In His Steps," "The Crucifixion of Philip Strong," "Lend a Hand," "Born to Serve."

"It is a pleasure to call attention to the books of the 'Self and Sex Series' which have been prepared with great wisdom for the express purpose of teaching the truth concerning the subjects which are painfully neglected."

COMMENDED BY MRS. M.W. SEWALL The Eminent American Educator

Principal of the Girls' Classical School; former President of the International Council of Women; and Nominee of the International Congress of Women.

"I am profoundly grateful that a subject of such information to young women should be treated in a manner at once so noble and so delicate that any pure-minded teacher or mother may read or discuss its pages with young girls without the slightest chance of wounding the most delicate sensibilities, or by being misunderstood."

COMMENDED BY MRS. M.L. DICKINSON The Eminent American Christian Worker

Former President of the National Council of Women; General Secretary of the Order of The King's Daughters; Emeritus Professor of Literature Denver University; Editor of "The Silver Cross;" Author of "The Temptation of Katharine Gray," "One Little Life," etc., etc.

"Any young woman, knowing all that this volume teaches, has an essential foundation for whatever other knowledge she may acquire."

COMMENDED BY MRS. M.B. CARSE The Eminent American Christian Worker

Founder of the Woman's Temple, Chicago.

"As a mother, I can truly say that my heart goes out to you in endorsement of this book. It is pure and instructive on the delicate subjects that mean so much to our daughters, to their future as home-keepers, wives and mothers, and to the future generations. It can but create a more reverent ideal of life in every girl who reads it, and I wish every daughter in the land could reap of its benefit."

COMMENDED BY MRS. E.C. STANTON The Eminent American Lecturer and Author

Noted Woman Suffragist, Lecturer and Author.

"Your books I consider a valuable addition to the literature of the day on social ethics. The many facts you state are not only important for a knowledge of social science, but involve good health and morals."

COMMENDED BY MR. C.N. CRITTENTON The Eminent American Philanthropist

Founder of the National Florence Crittenton Mission

"The frequent excuse which parents give for not enlightening their children on these most important points is that they have never known how to do so. This excuse can no longer be considered valid.

"Dr. Wood-Allen has a remarkable gift in the facility and refinement with which she is able to approach the most delicate subject without arousing a single morbid and sensitive impulse."

COMMENDED BY MRS. H. CAMPBELL The Eminent American Author and Educator

Dean of the Department of Household Economics in the Kansas State Agricultural College. Author of "Prisoners of Poverty," "Wage Earners," etc., etc.

"I cannot speak too warmly of your invaluable series. There is hardly a woman in America so thoroughly qualified by education, long experience, deep sympathies, and, most excellent of all gifts, as deep common sense, as Dr. Mary Wood-Allen, to meet the growing need, or rather the growing sense of need. Mothers and fathers alike will be helped and enlightened by these simple, clear-phrased, wholesome books, and they deserve all the success already their own."

COMMENDED BY L.M.N. STEVENS The Eminent Temperance Worker

President of National Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

"I consider the book 'What a Young Wife Ought to Know' a wise and safe teacher. It is a careful and delicate presentation of vital truths which have to do with the happiness and welfare of home life."



Author of "The Song of Life," "Life and Love," "The Bee People," etc.

"There is an awful need for the book, and it does what it has undertaken to do better than anything of the kind I have ever read. You may rely upon me to make it known wherever I can."


Superintendent of the Newport Hospital, and Associate Editor of the Ladies' Home Journal; Author of "The Care of Children," etc.

"'What a Young Woman Ought to Know' is characterized by purity of tone and delicacy of treatment.

"It is one which a mother can place with confidence in the hands of her daughter. Reverent knowledge is the surest safeguard of innocence, and it is every mother's duty to see that the young girl committed to her charge is duly forearmed by being forewarned of the dangers that lie around her."

Pure Books on Avoided Subjects

Books for Men

By Sylvanus Stall, D.D.

"What a Young Boy Ought to Know." "What a Young Man Ought to Know." "What a Young Husband Ought to Know." "What a Man of 45 Ought to Know."

Books for Women

By Mrs. Mary Wood-Allen, M.D. And Mrs. Emma F.A. Drake, M.D.

"What a Young Girl Ought to Know." "What a Young Woman Ought to Know." "What a Young Wife Ought to Know." "What a Woman of 45 Ought to Know."


IN ENGLAND THE VIR PUBLISHING COMPANY 4 Imperial Bldgs., Ludgate Circus, London, E.C.

IN CANADA RYERSON PRESS Cor. Queen and John Streets, Toronto, Ontario


Self and Sex Series



National Superintendent of the Purity Department Woman's Christian Temperance Union; Author of "What a Young Girl Ought to Know," "Marvels of Our Bodily Dwelling," "Child Confidence Rewarded," "Teaching Truth," "Almost a Man," "Almost a Woman."




Entered at Stationers' Hall, London, England.

Protected by International copyright in Great Britain and all her colonies and possessions, including India and Canada, and, under the provisions of the Berne Convention in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain and her colonies, France, including Algeria and the French colonies, Haiti, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Tunis.

All rights reserved


Copyright, 1889, by SYLVANUS STALL Copyright, 1905, by SYLVANUS STALL






The first great lesson to learn, your own importance—Probably twelve million young women in the United States—What it means for one of them to be sick—Woman's work in the world—The using of spiritual forces—How much are you worth to your home, to the community, to the state, to the nation, to the race? 21



Your body is your dwelling—It expresses you—We can judge of character by the external appearance—The body also an instrument and should be taken care of—Not "fussy" to take care of it in youth—We should prepare for life 27



A desire for health creates a desire to know how to obtain it—The question of diet—We eat to repair waste and to supply new material—Overstudy less a cause of illness than wrong eating—Tea and coffee not foods—Alcoholic beverages interfere with digestion—Dyspepsia produced by worry—We should give ourselves to our friends—Young women should study scientific cookery 33



Every thought, activity, or motion causes expenditure of force—In sleep the energy restored—Amount of sleep needed—Effect of sleeplessness—Causes of unrefreshing sleep—Ventilation of sleeping rooms—Beauty sleep 39



How often we breathe—What is accomplished by breathing—Office of oxygen in the blood—Breathing our measure of ability—Breathing gymnastics, their value—Importance of the diaphragm in breathing 47



Effect of sitting attitudes—How to counteract this—Wrong positions in standing—Restrictions of clothing—Rule for the tightness of clothing—Why tight dresses may feel comfortable 55



The effect upon the heart—Danger of exercising in tight dress—Effect of tight clothing upon the kidneys, upon the liver, stomach, and bowels—How the bowels are held in the abdomen—Influence of tight clothing upon the pelvic organs—Upon the circulation—A tapering waist a deformity 61



The purpose of physical culture—Balance between waste and supply—Gymnastic dress a necessity—Value of housework—Bicycle riding—Dancing—Skating—Lawn tennis—Running up and down stairs—Bathing 69



Beauty of complexion—Condition of skin indicates condition of digestive organs—Pimples—Constipation—Thermal bath—Foot bath—Time to bathe—Daily baths—The use of soaps—Wrinkles—Care of the hands 77




We have Godlike powers: reason, imagination, conferring life—Organs of individual life same in both sexes—Differences between the sexes in size—Dignity of man 87



Babies born deaf, dumb, blind and helpless—The activities of the baby build its brains—Our brains develop through cultivation of the senses—Certain areas of brain govern certain movements of body—Can learn how to build up any part of brain—Professor Gates' experiments in training dogs—Creation of habits—Effects of malevolent passions, such as anger, worry, etc. 93



You are neither body nor mind, you are spirit—Your relationship to God—God's obligation to us—Our obligation to Him—God's school—His method of teaching us. 99



Differences between boys and girls—Boys need our sympathy—The crisis in the girl's life—Sex in mind—Description of the sex organs 105



All life from an egg—The human egg—Menstruation—Girls may injure themselves through ignorance—Value of sex. 113



Menstruation should be painless—Dr. Mary Jacobi's opinion—Dr. Emmett on the artificial life of young women. 119



Woman not necessarily a semi-invalid—Effects of wrong clothing on the young girl—Evils of novel reading—Evils of constipation—Congestions produced by displacements—Serious results of abdominal displacements—Value of abdominal bandage—How to make one—How to wear it—Effects of wrong attitude—Standing on one foot—Correct attitude. 123



Displacements of uterus—Leucorrhea—Patent medicines—Honest physicians—Sitz baths for reducing congestions—Age at which menstruation first appears—Non-menstruation and consumption—Mechanical hindrances to menstruation— Suppression—Scanty flow—Profuse flow—Treatment. 135



No long walks or rides—May pursue usual avocations—If pain, keep quiet—Do not use alcoholics of any kind—Use of heat—Use of cold—Should you bathe at this time—Arrangement of clothing and napkins—Mental serenity. 145



Its results—Causes—Lack of cleanliness—Pin-worms—All functions attended with pleasure—Sex not low—Its development accompanied by increased power—How overcome the bad habit?—Remove causes of pelvic congestions—Train the senses—Study clouds, leaves, shapes, birds, etc. 151



What is real fun—The effects of a wrong idea of fun—Flirtations—Familiarities—Criticism of girls by young men—Class of girls who are most respected—Responsibility of girls—The conduct of a pure woman the safeguard of man. 159



The meaning of friendship—Mother the girl's wisest confidante—Kissing—Friendship between brothers and sisters—Platonic friendships—The value of noble companionship. 169



Gushing girls—Manly friendships—The highest type of friendship—To love truly is to grow strong by true giving. 177



Correct dressing—To overcome curvature—Round shoulders—To strengthen the back—To develop the chest—Abdominal muscles—To restore displaced organs. 181



Walking—Running—Riding—Skating—Rowing—Cycling—Tennis— Swimming—Skipping—Dancing—Card-playing—Theatre-going. 187




Different ideas of different people—Much that is called love is selfishness—Love at first sight—Present conditions of society unnatural—Parents unwilling to teach their children, yet permit flirtations, etc.—What is love?—One word to express different phases of regard—Love of man and woman—Love should include mental congeniality, spiritual sympathy and physical attraction—Young people should have opportunity to get acquainted—Comradeship of young people—Love is a growth. 199



Who is the young man?—What are his antecedents, his talents, his habits?—What sort of a family does he belong to?—The wife marries her husband's family—Girls should know this—A mother's privilege. 209



A strange will—Should study the law of inheritance—Plant heredity—Race heredity—National characteristics—Individual inheritance—We are composite photographs—The law of heredity a beneficial law—Transmission of evil a warning—Bad tempers inherited—Atavism. 215



Alcoholism produces nerve degeneration—Tight lacing may have the same result—Nerve degeneracy may lead to alcoholism—Idiocy and inebriety increasing—Effects of wine—Evils of patent medicines—Inebriety of parents entails injury on offspring—Folly of marrying a man to reform him—Hereditary effects of morphine, chloral, etc.—Dangers of the tobacco habit—Inherited effects of tobacco. 223



The law of God not a double law—The inherited effects of immorality—Millions die annually from its effects— Transmitted to child or wife—Contamination through a kiss. 235



Inheritance of good so universal that we fail to think of it—Mercy shown to thousands of generations—Heredity not fatality—Effects of education transmitted—Experiments of Professor Gates on dogs—A divine inheritance. 241



What is the young man's inheritance?—What are his ideas?—What is his estimate of woman?—What are his defects?—Are there adequate reasons why some should not marry?—May not married people be happy without children—A girl should know something of the personal habits of her future husband—Should consider her own personal habits—How freely may young people talk together? 247



Becoming engaged for fun—May not engaged young people throw aside restrictions?—Long engagements—The benefits of an engagement—Evils of a long engagement—Engagement a time of preparation—Sexual attraction not limited to local expression—Duty of the engaged young woman to her own family—Jealousy the quintessence of selfishness—Trust a suggestion to be true—Common sense needed in marriage—Hold your lover to the highest ideals. 255



Folly of preparing an elaborate trousseau—The way of one sensible girl—The wedding gifts—Bridal tours—The realities of wedded life. 267


During a number of years it has been my privilege to be the confidante and counsellor of a large number of young women of various stations in life and in all parts of the United States.

These girls have talked freely with me concerning their plans, aspirations, fears and personal problems. It has been a great revelation to me to note with what unanimity they ask certain questions concerning conduct—queries which perhaps might astonish the mothers of those same girls, as they, doubtless, take it for granted that their daughters intuitively understand these fundamental laws of propriety.

The truth is that many girls who have been taught in the "ologies" of the schools, who have been trained in the conventionalities of society, have been left to pick up as they may their ideas upon personal conduct, and, coming face to face with puzzling problems, are at a loss, and perhaps are led into wrong ways of thinking and questionable ways of doing because no one has foreseen their dilemma and warned them how to meet it.

The subjects treated in this little book are discussed because every one of them has been the substance of a query propounded by some girl otherwise intelligent and well informed. They have been treated plainly and simply because they purport to be the frank conferences of a mother and daughter, between whom there can be no need of hesitation in dealing frankly with any question bearing on the life, health or happiness of the girl. There is therefore no need of apology; the book is its own excuse for being, the queries of the young women demand honest answers.

Life will be safer for the girl who understands her own nature and reverences her womanhood, who realizes her responsibility towards the human race and conducts herself in accordance with that realization.

Life will be nobler and purer in its possession and its transmission, if, from childhood onward to old age, the thought has been held that "Life is a gift of God and is divine," and its physical is no less sacred than its mental or moral manifestation; if it has been understood that the foundations of character are laid in the habits formed in youth, and that a noble girlhood assures a grand maturity.

Dear girls who read this book, the mother-heart has gone out to you with great tenderness with every line herein written, with many an unspoken prayer that you will be helped, uplifted, inspired by its reading, and made more and more to feel

"A sacred burden is this life ye bear. Look on it, lift it, bear it solemnly; Stand up and walk beneath it steadfastly; Fail not for sorrow, falter not for sin, But onward, upward, till the goal ye win."








When I see you with your young girl friends, when I look into your bright faces and listen to your merry laughter and your girlish chatter, I wonder if any one of you understands how much you are worth. Now you may say, "I haven't any money in the bank, I have no houses or land, I am worth nothing," but that would only be detailing what you possess. It is not what you possess but what you are that determines what you are worth. One may possess much wealth and be worth very little.

I was reading the other day that the first great lesson for a young man to learn, the first fact to realize, is that he is of some importance; that upon his wisdom, energy and faithfulness all else depends, and that the world cannot get along without him. Now if this is true of young men, I do not see why it is not equally true of young women.

It is not after you have grown old that you will be of value to the world; it is now, in your young days, while you are laying the foundation of your character, that you are of great importance. We cannot say that the foundation is of no importance until the building is erected, for upon the right placing of the foundation depends the firmness and stability of the superstructure. Dr. Conwell, in his little book, "Manhood's Morning," estimates that there are twelve million young men in the United States between fourteen and twenty-eight years of age; that these twelve million young men represent latent physical force enough to dig the iron ore from the mines, manufacture it into wire, lay the foundation and construct completely the great Brooklyn Bridge in three hours; that they represent force enough, if rightly utilized, to dig the clay from the earth, manufacture the bricks and construct the great Chinese Wall in five days. If each one were to build himself a house twenty-five feet wide, these houses would line both sides of eight streets reaching across the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific. For each one to be sick one day is equal to thirty thousand being sick an entire year.

Now, if there are twelve million young men in the United States, we may estimate that there are an equal number of young women. Although we cannot calculate accurately the amount of physical force represented by these young women, there are some things we can tell. We know that for each one of these young women to be sick one day means thirty thousand sick one year. Just imagine the loss to the country, and the gain to posterity if it can be prevented!

Rome endeavored to create good soldiery, but was not able to produce strength and courage through physical culture of the men alone. Not until she began the physical education of the women, the young women, was she able to insure to the nation a race of strong, hardy, vigorous soldiery. So the health of the young women of to-day is of great importance to the nation, for upon their vigor and soundness of body depend to a very great extent the health and capacity of future generations. We are told that in the State of Massachusetts, in one year, there were lost twenty-eight thousand five hundred (28,500) years of time through the illness of working-people by preventable diseases. Dr. Buck, in his "Hygiene," tells us that one hundred thousand persons die every year through preventable diseases, that one hundred and fifty thousand are constantly sick through preventable diseases, and that the loss to the nation, through the illness of working-people by diseases that might have been prevented, is more than a hundred million dollars a year. So we can see that each individual has a pecuniary value to the nation. You are worth just as much to the nation as you can earn. If you earn a dollar a day, you are not only worth a dollar a day to yourself and to your personal employer, but you are worth a dollar a day to the nation; and if, through illness, you are laid aside for one day, the nation, as well as yourself, is pecuniarily the loser.

Young women could not build the houses that would line eight streets from New York to San Francisco, but, rightly educated, they could convert each one of these houses into a home, and to found a home and conduct it properly is to help the world. It is so easy to measure what is done with physical strength. We can see what men are doing when they build railroads, construct immense bridges and towering buildings, but it is more difficult to measure what is done through intellectual and spiritual forces; and woman's work in the world is not so much the using of strength as it is the using of those finer forces which go to build up men and women. With this thought in your mind, can you answer the question, How much are you worth? How much are you worth to yourself? How much are you worth in your home? How much money would your parents be willing to accept in place of yourself? How much are you worth to the community in which you live? How much are you worth to the state, the nation, the human race?

You can recognize your value in the home when you remember how much you are the center of all that goes on there, how much your interest is consulted in everything that is done by father and mother. You can realize your value to the state when you realize how much money is spent for the education of young people, how cultured men and women give the best of their lives to your instruction. You cannot measure your value to the human race until you begin to think that the young people of to-day are creating the condition of the world in fifty or one hundred years to come; that you, through your physical health, or lack of it, are to become a source of strength or weakness in future years, if you are a mother. It is all right that young women should think of marriage and motherhood, provided they think of it in the right way.

I want you to reverence yourself, to realize your own importance, to feel that you are a necessity to God's perfect plan. When we are young and feel that we are of no account in the world, it is difficult to realize that God's complete plan cannot be carried out without us. The smallest, tiniest rivet or bolt may be of such great importance in the construction of an engine that its loss means the incapacity of that piece of machinery to do its work. As God has placed you in the world, He has placed you here to do a specific work for Him and for humanity, and your failure to do that work means the failure of His complete and perfect plan. Now can you begin to see how much you are worth? And can you begin to realize that in the conduct of your life as a young woman you are a factor of immense importance to the great problem of the evolution of the human race? In the light of these thoughts I would like to have you ask yourself this question every day, How much am I worth?



The question "How much are you worth?" is not answered by discussing your bodily conditions, for your body is not yourself. It is your dwelling, but not you. It, however, expresses you.

A man builds a house, and through it expresses himself. The external appearance causes the observer to form an opinion of him, and each apartment bears the impress of his individuality. To look at the house and then to walk through it will tell you much of the man. The outside will tell you whether he is neat, orderly and artistic, or whether he cares nothing for the elements of beauty and neatness. If you go into his parlor, you can judge whether he cares most for show or for comfort. His library will reveal to you the character of his mind, and the dining-room will indicate by its furnishings and its viands whether he loves the pleasures of sense more than health of body. You do not need to see the man to have a pretty clear idea of him.

So the body is our house, and our individuality permeates every part of it. Those who look at our bodily dwelling can gain a very good idea of what we are. The external appearance will indicate to a great extent our character. We glance at one man and say, "He is gross, sensual, cruel, domineering;" at another and say, "He is intellectual, spiritual, fine-grained, benevolent." So we judge of entire strangers, and usually find the character largely corresponds to our judgment, if, later, we come to know the person.

The anatomist and microscopist who penetrates into the secrets of his bodily house after the inhabitant has moved out can tell much of his habits, his thoughts, his capacities and powers by the traces of himself which he has left on the insensate walls of his dwelling. The care of the body, then, adds to our value, because it gives us a better instrument, a better medium of expression.

The old saying, "A workman is known by his tools," is equally true of the body. The carpenter who cares for his saws, chisels and planes, who keeps them sharp and free from rust, will be able to do better work than the one who carelessly allows them to become nicked, broken, handleless or rusted. The finer the work which one does, the greater the care he must take of the instruments with which he works. A jack-knife will do to whittle a pine stick, but the carver of intricate designs must have his various sharp tools with which to make the delicate lines and tracings.

When we speak of health and physical conditions in discussing the question of your value, we are discussing the instrument upon whose integrity depends your ability to demonstrate your value.

Many young people think it nonsense to pay attention to the preservation of health. I have heard them say, "O, I don't want to be so fussy! It will do for old folks to be coddling themselves, but I want a good time. I'd rather die ten years sooner and have some fun while I do live."

I wonder what these same young people would think if they should hear a workman say, "Well, I have here a fine kit of tools; I am assured that if they are destroyed they will never be replaced; but now, while I am learning my trade, I don't want to be 'so fussy' about keeping them in order. It will do for 'boss workmen' to take care of everything so constantly, but now I want to break stones with these delicate hammers, to cut nails with these razor-bladed knives, to crack nuts with these slender pincers. By and by, when I am older, I'll use them as they should be used, but I think it's all nonsense to be so careful now." If in later years you should hear him complain that he had nothing to work with, would you feel like pitying him?

No "kit of tools" was ever so complete as is the bodily instrument given to each one of us. Its mechanism has been the inspiration of inventors; it combines all forms of mechanical devices; its delicacy, intricacy, completeness and adaptability challenge the admiration of the philosopher, the engineer, the master mechanic.

I cannot here tell you of all its wonders,[1] but I would like to give you such an exalted idea of its importance that you would look upon it with reverence and take a justifiable pride in keeping it in perfect working order. I would like to make you feel your personal responsibility in regard to its condition.

You know that in the ages past men believed the body to be the individual, and they endeavored through care of the body to build up mental as well as physical power. In those days the acrobat and the sage were found working side by side in the gymnasium, the one to gain physical strength, the other to increase his mental ability, and each profited as he desired.

When men made the discovery that the body is not the individual, but merely his dwelling and instrument of expression, they came to feel less regard for it, and lost their interest in its care and culture. Even the early Christians, forgetting what Paul said about the body as a temple, began to call it vile, and thought it an evidence of great piety to treat it with contempt. I have read of one religious sect who believed that the Creator of the body could not have been the Creator of the soul, and held that the chief object of God's government was to deliver the captive souls of men from their bodily prisons.

When men began to understand that the thinking principle was the real self and the body merely a material encasement, it was no wonder that they valued the body less and held mind as of great value. They failed to see that mind without a material organ of expression is, in this world, of no account. A great pianist with no piano could not make music, and he would be considered a strange being if he did not care for his instrument most scrupulously. Think of a Rubinstein voluntarily breaking the piano strings or smashing the keys, while he made discordant poundings, and excusing himself by saying that it was "fussy" to take care of a piano until it was old. You cannot imagine such a thing. We can all appreciate the value of a man-made instrument or machine; but the God-created body, a combination of machines and instruments of marvelous power and delicacy, we neglect or treat with absolute, positive injury, and excuse ourselves on the ground that when it is old we will treat it more kindly.

Melville says it is a sin to die, ignoring what is to be done with the body. "That body," he says, "has been redeemed, that body has been appointed to a glorious condition."

It seems to me we prize the body far more after its use for us is at an end than while it is ours to use. We do not neglect the dead; we dress them in beautiful garments, we adorn them with flowers, we follow them to the grave with religious ceremonies, we build costly monuments to place over their graves, and then we go to weep over their last resting-place.

After all, is it not life that we should value? Life here and hereafter, not death, is the real thing for which we should prepare, and earthly life without a sound body is not life full and complete. Life is joy, vigor, elasticity, freedom from pain or illness, enjoyment of all innocent pleasures in maturity as well as in youth. We have no right to look forward to decrepitude, to failure in zest of living, to lessening of real enjoyment because of coming years. Life should increase in beauty and usefulness, in ability and joyousness, as the years bring us a wider experience, and this will be the case if we in youth have been wise enough to lay the foundation of health by a wise, thoughtful, prudent care of our bodies and our minds.


[1] This Dr. Mary Wood-Allen has done in a volume entitled "Marvels of Our Bodily Dwelling." This book teaches physiology and hygiene, by metaphor, parable, and allegory in a most charming way. Superbly illustrated. 12mo. Price, cloth, $1.50, post free.



If I can arouse in your mind a most earnest desire to be strong and vigorous, I shall not find it necessary to give you very minute directions, for if you have the ambition you will find the way. If I could excite in you an intense longing to visit Paris, I should know that you would begin to seek for the way of getting there. If I could create in you an earnest aspiration to be well and physically strong, I should know that you would seek for the books that would give you the necessary instruction. It will not be needful to talk of rules and restrictions if I can make you feel the glory of having a sound body.

If you were starting on a journey, I should not need to warn you of by-paths, of traps, or of dangers if I could be assured that your eye was fixed upon your ultimate destination. So it is in the matter of health; and yet there are some general rules or principles which I might lay down for your consideration.

In regard to the matter of diet. I do not want you to be hampered by "don'ts" and restrictions as to what you shall eat, but I do want you to eat with the thought in view that eating is to be governed by judgment and not by the pleasures of sense. Why do we eat? Not merely because the food tastes good. There is a better reason. We eat to live. We know that the food which we take into our bodies is digested, elaborated and assimilated—that is, made over into ourselves—and unless this digestion, elaboration and assimilation is properly conducted, we shall not be fully and completely nourished. Our body is made up of cells; the food which we eat is transformed into cell structure, and this new cell-material takes the place of the worn-out cells. Our reason would tell us that if too little material is furnished, cells will not be properly repaired and ill-health will follow. Our reason would tell us in the same way that if too much material is furnished, the machine will be clogged and the work will not be properly done. We will also understand at once that an irregular supply of new material would interfere with the elaboration of that which is undergoing the process of digestion and assimilation. We can see, too, that unless the various tissues receive the material which they can transform into themselves, they will not be fully repaired. If material is taken into the system which supplies no tissue with what it needs, this material becomes a source of irritation.

These general rules borne in mind are sufficient to guide us into a wiser life than if we do not understand them; and, understanding these general principles, we will be anxious to study the particular rules which govern digestion and assimilation.

I have known young women in college to be so absolutely ignorant or indifferent to physiological law as to be injuring themselves constantly by disobedience of such laws. I knew one girl, supposed to be a very fine student, and to have brought on "fits" by overstudy, while away at school. I had an opportunity to investigate the case, and I discovered that she had been eating from morning till night. She carried nuts, and candy, and apples in her pocket, had pickles and cake in her room, and studied and munched until it was no doubt a disturbed digestion, rather than an overused brain, that caused the "fits."

If you will eat regularly of plain meat, vegetables, fruits, cereals, milk and eggs, plainly prepared, and avoid rich pastries, cakes, puddings, pickles and sweetmeats, you will have compassed the round of healthful diet, and need give yourself very little anxiety in regard to anything more. I should like to emphasize the fact, however, that tea and coffee are not foods. They are irritants, stimulants, nerve-poisons. They bring nothing to the system to build it up. They satisfy the sense of hunger without having contributed to the nourishment of the body. If you are wise you will avoid them. You will not create for yourself any false necessities. You will avoid the use of alcohol in all forms, whether wine, ales, beer or cider, as well as in the stronger forms, because you will know that these products interfere with digestion. Dr. Kellogg, of Battle Creek, has made an experiment which proved that sherry to the amount of 1 per cent. of the contents of the stomach retarded digestion nearly 4 per cent.

He calculates that 1 per cent. of sherry would be equal to two tenths of 1 per cent. of alcohol, and it would be necessary to take less than an ordinary tablespoonful of the wine to obtain this percentage.

When 3 per cent. of claret was used (equivalent to three-tenths of 1 per cent. of alcohol), there was marked diminution in digestive activity. This certainly proves that even the so-called light wines are injurious, and certainly the drinks that contain a large per cent. of alcohol must be that much more hurtful.

If you use good judgment both as to the quality and quantity of foods, you need then give the matter very little thought. People sometimes make themselves dyspeptics by worrying about what they eat. Eat what is set before you, making a judicious choice both as to variety and quantity, and then determine that your food shall digest.

When you live upon the higher plane of thought, you will not be so much interested in the question of food as regards gustatory pleasure. You will understand that eating is a necessity, but you will not be thinking about it; you will not be desiring to please the sense of taste; you will see that there are higher forms of sociability than mere eating with friends, and you will not be so interested in late suppers, and in various forms of sense gratification because you enjoy more thoroughly the higher pleasures. You will serve your friends with delicate food, simply and daintily prepared, and seasoned with that wit and wisdom which remain as a permanent mental pabulum. You will make them feel that when you come to visit them you come not to get something to eat, but to enjoy them, to receive from them the inspiration which they can give. We often treat our friends as if we thought they came as beggars for physical food. It is a much higher compliment to treat them as though we thought they came to exchange thoughts with us, to walk with us in the higher paths of living, and that the physical food we give them is only incidental. I was once entertained where a company of intelligent, cultured people were assembled, and we did not see the hostess from the time we entered the house until supper was served. She sat at the table, worried and anxious, and after the supper was over she did not make her appearance until just as we were about to leave. She did not pay us the high compliment of giving us herself, but she bestowed upon us that which a hired cook might have given.

You remember what Emerson says: "I pray you, O excellent wife, cumber not yourself and me to get a curiously rich dinner for this man and woman who have just alighted at our gate. These things, if they desire them, they can get for a few shillings at any village inn; but rather let that stranger see, if he will, in your looks, accents and behavior, your heart and earnestness, your thought and will, that which he cannot buy at any price in any city, and which he may travel miles and dine sparely and sleep hardly to behold."

It would indeed be worth your while to study food scientifically, to know how to prepare dainty and tempting dishes wholesomely, and then to serve your guests with such beauty of manner, such graciousness of courtesy, that they will remember the meal they have taken with you as idyllic in its simplicity, beauty and helpfulness.



Shakespeare writes of "Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care." The metaphor is striking, but not accurate. To knit up that which is ravelled implies using the old material in repairing the damage, but that is not the way in which the body is rebuilt. The old material is thrown out and new material put in its place, and that largely takes place during sleep. We have read of brownies who came at night and swept and churned and baked while the housewife slept. So, in our bodily dwelling, the vital forces are our brownies, and they can work more uninterruptedly while we are asleep than when we are calling on them to move us from place to place, or to aid us in various activities.

Much of life's processes must remain a mystery to us, but certain things we have learned, and one is that perfect health cannot be maintained, strong nerves cannot be constructed, nor a clear brain be built without plenty of sleep. The baby sleeps almost continually because he is building so much new structure. The growing child needs more sleep than the adult; but even after reaching maturity sleep cannot be materially lessened without injury to the whole organization.

We appreciate the need of food. We are often very needlessly alarmed for fear that we shall starve from one meal to the next, but few of us realize that food cannot be assimilated, built into tissue, without some hours in which the vital forces can devote themselves wholly to the work of assimilation. During the working hours of the day we are expending force. The brain is using it in thought, the muscles are calling for force in various activities, the emotions are expending energy, and each of these activities is creating changes in the cells of the body. We know that life in the body is only possible through constant death of the atoms of which it is composed. We can only live because we are constantly dying. Huxley says, "For every vital act, life is used up. All work implies waste, and the work of life results directly or indirectly in the waste of protoplasm (which is the cell substance). Every word uttered by a speaker costs him some physical loss, and in the strictest sense he burns that others may have light."

Each word, thought, activity, emotion causes expenditure, and unless expenditure is in some way made good, there will be bankruptcy. How shall we get back the energy we have expended and so restore our vital forces to their equilibrium? The protoplasm of which our cells are made we can obtain from the protoplasm of animal and vegetable substances which we eat, but we cannot use the material unless we are sometimes at rest, and by quiescence of brain and muscle give a chance for worn-out cells to be removed and new material put in their place. It is when we lay our bodies down in the beautiful repose of slumber that this process can go on with most perfect results. Then, when all the forces can be concentrated on the process of nutrition, will nutrition be most perfect. When we awake refreshed after a night of sound sleep we are really fed. It is quite doubtful if, in a normal condition, we would want food until we had been at work some time and by destroying tissue have created a demand for more new material.

If we were only half as anxious that food should be assimilated—that is, made over into ourselves—as we are that it should be put into the stomach, we would be very careful to secure for ourselves a due amount of good sleep. And what is a due amount? That depends. I once heard of a servant girl whose mistress complained of her because she did not get up early in the morning, and the girl's excuse was, "But, ma'am, I can't get up early because I sleep so slow."

It seems a ridiculous statement, and yet there is a germ of truth in it. In some people the vital processes go on with such rapidity that the old, worn-out material will be eliminated and the new material built into the body in a comparatively short time. Seven hours of good sleep, perhaps, make them feel strong and rested and able to start on a new day's work with courage and ease. In others the vital processes are hindered or work feebly and slowly, and eight or nine hours of sleep scarcely suffice to complete the work of restoration. What is the obvious inference? Simply that each one shall judge for himself; but each should be wise enough not to confuse sleeplessness with having had sufficient sleep.

Very frequently the loss of sleep makes it difficult or impossible to sleep, and not until the excited condition of nerves can be calmed, can refreshing slumber be obtained. Young women who attempt to be in school and in society at the same time often bring themselves into the condition of insomnia or sleeplessness, and foolishly fancy that because they do not sleep they do not need it.

It is not at all difficult to understand that if you are constantly taking money out of the bank, you must also be constantly putting money in, or some day you will be told that your account is already overdrawn and your draft will not be honored. One can overdraw for a time, and right here is the danger with young people. They fancy, because they are not at once told that they are overdrawing, that their bank account is unlimited, and then, when it is too late, they find themselves on the verge, if not clear over the verge, of bankruptcy.

How shall you know whether you sleep enough? If you will make it a rule to go to bed by ten o'clock every night, and go to sleep at once, and sleep soundly and waken with a clear head and a rested feeling, you may infer that you have slept enough. If you are still tired or dull, something is wrong. You may have been in bed long enough, but your room may not have been ventilated, and so you may be poisoned by breathing over and over again the emanations from your own body. Or for some reason the process of digestion and assimilation may not have been carried on, and poisons have been created instead of being eliminated.

If you waken unrefreshed, I should want to inquire into your habits of life. Was there opportunity for fresh air to enter your room? Was there in it no uncovered vessel, no old shoes in the closet, no soiled underclothing, nothing that could contaminate the atmosphere? Did you eat a hearty supper late in the evening? Is your system oppressed with a superabundance of sweets? Are you living on simple, wholesome food, or eating irregularly of all sorts of trash? There may be many causes, you see, for your "tired feeling" in the morning, and instead of taking some "Sarsaparilla," or other drug, I should try to find out the cause and remove it.

Many people are afraid of night air, and scrupulously shut it out of their sleeping-rooms, and yet, what kind of air can you get at night but night air? And is it not better to have pure night air from out of doors than the impure night air of a close room? I once went with two ladies to ascend the Rigi in Switzerland, in order to see the sun rise. One of these was a Polish countess, who took with her a little black-and-tan terrier. The hotel at the Rigi Staeffel was crowded, and we thought ourselves very fortunate to secure a room with three beds. The Countess disposed herself in one bed with her little dog, and I took one bed, saying to my friend, "You'll please open the window before you go to bed?" "O certainly," she replied.

The little Countess sprang up in evident alarm. "Open the window!" she cried; "why, we'd all take our death of cold! I beg of you don't do it. I could not sleep a wink if the window were open."

My friend spoke reassuringly to her, and she at length grew quiet, when my friend surreptitiously raised a window and we went to sleep. The next morning the Countess asked, with a strange air of incredulity, "Were you in earnest when you spoke about opening the window? Why, I never heard of such a thing in my life. I know I should have been ill if you had persisted in having the window open."

My friend and I exchanged glances silently. We knew she was not ill and she had slept with the window open, but doubtless she would have been ill had she known it was open, for she had a wonderful imagination. When we were called at three o'clock to get up and go to the top of the mountain to see the sun rise, she turned herself luxuriously in her bed and said she could imagine it. She had taken this journey and "climbed the mountain" (that is, was carried up in a chair, with her dog in her lap), to see the famous sunrise on the Rigi, and then remained in bed and imagined it! Her imagination seemed entirely satisfactory, and so we did not quarrel with her.

Sleep is the most positive beautifier, the best cosmetic. The term "beauty sleep" is no misnomer. Sleep freshens the complexion, smoothes out wrinkles, clears out the brain, strengthens the muscles, puts light into the eyes and color into the cheek.



The first thing you did when you came into this world was to inspire, that is, to breathe in. The last thing you will do will be to expire, that is, to breathe out. And between your first inspiration and your last expiration there will have been the process of respiration, that is, breathing in and out at an average rate of twenty times a minute. Twenty times a minute means twelve hundred times an hour, or nearly thirty thousand times a day, or over ten million times a year. If you should live to be fifty years old, you will have breathed in and out over five hundred million times. We eat three times a day, twenty-one times a week, over a thousand times a year, fifty thousand times in fifty years, but we breathe over five hundred million times in fifty years.

We realize the importance of eating, but we can live days without food. On the other hand, we cannot live many seconds entirely without air. We must infer from all this that breathing is more important than eating. How can it be? From our food our body is rebuilt. What life-process is accomplished by breathing?

To understand this, we must learn what processes are going on in the body, by means of which food is converted into tissue, into heat and energy. These processes we find are chemical, and may be likened to the combustion of wood or coal in the furnace. We know that fire must have air in order to burn. Burning is the process of oxidation or combustion of oxygen with the atoms of fuel and the formation of a new substance thereby. Coal, we are told, consists of carbon and nitrogen, both of which readily combine with oxygen, and in the process of uniting heat is liberated, and waste compounds thus formed pass off through the smokestack or chimney. We may not understand this scientifically, but we know that if we want the fire to burn well we must give it draft or air.

Our bodies are living engines, and use food and air instead of coal and air. Food in the body without air is like the coal in an engine without air; and air is useful only because it brings oxygen to unite chemically with the food. This process is going on all over the body. Each little microscopical cell is a furnace in which oxidation is taking place; and not only is energy liberated, but reconstructive processes are going on, new tissues are being formed, and old tissues removed.

But how can the oxygen get to the cells in all parts of the body? We can readily see how it gets to the air-cells of the lungs, but it would do little good if it stopped there. It must be carried in some way to all the minutest cells of all the tissues. This is done through the breathing. The blood goes to the lungs, and there it gives out the waste material it has collected in its journey through the body and takes up oxygen. The blood goes to the lungs dark in color from its load of waste. It is changed to a bright red by taking up oxygen. Each red blood-corpuscle takes a load of oxygen, carries it to its destination, and gives it to some tissue to be used up in the chemical process of oxidation, upon which depends our life and energy. During the hours of rest the tissues are busy in this process, and during exercise the energy stored up in the tissue-cells is liberated and waste created. So we see that the process is a continual round of taking food and air, using them in rebuilding tissue, then using up the tissue by exercise and casting out the waste products. And now we can begin to understand that we live in proportion as we breathe. Dr. Holbrook says: "The activity of the child is in close relation to the strength of its lungs; so, too, is the calmness, dignity and power of a man in proportion to the depth and tranquility of his respiration. If the lungs are strong and active, there is courage and boldness; if feeble, there is cowardice and debility. To be out of spirits is to be out of breath. To be animated and joyous is to be full of breath." "Breathing," writes Dr. von der Deeken, "is an actual vivifying act, and the need of breath as felt is a real life-hunger and a proof that without the continual charging of the blood-column with the proper force, all the other vital organs would soon stagnate and cease action altogether."

Now I wonder how many young women really know how to breathe. "Why," you say, "we have always breathed!" And I reply, "So you have, to some extent; but do you really breathe, or do you just let a little current of air flow gently through a part of your lungs, not reaching the minute air-cells at all, or have you crippled a large part of your lung-power by the restrictions of tight clothing?" Now you shrug your shoulders and say, with a little irritation, perhaps, "O, now she is going to scold about corsets and tight-lacing, and I do not wear my clothes tight." But I am not now going to talk of lacing; I am going to talk about singing, and speaking, and real living. The highest class of living creatures are those that have most power to breathe. The cold-blooded animals breathe little, and are slow-moving creatures with deficient sensation and small powers of action. Man has large lung-capacity and should be full of life and power, and will be, if he understands himself. One benefit of exercise is the added impulse given to the heart and lungs, calling for more breath, and bringing more blood to the lungs to receive the added supply of oxygen.

If we were wise we would practise the art of deep, voluntary breathing, as a daily form of gymnastics. What would it do for us? Wonderful things, if we may believe the doctors. Even in the old Greek and Roman times the doctors recommended deep breathing, the voluntary holding of air in the lungs, believing that this exercise cleansed the system of impurities and gave strength. And all our scientific discoverers have proven that they were right, and modern doctors have only learned more of the process and added to the wisdom of the ancients. Professor Lehwess says that he uses deep breathing not only as a health remedy but as a cure for muscular convulsions, especially chronic spasms; and he says that he bases his method for the cure of stuttering mainly upon respiratory and vocal exercises, "whereby," he says, "we work on enervated muscles, and make their function bring them into permanent activity and make them obedient to our will." Thus not only will the respiratory system be enlarged and quickened, and the lungs strengthened, but the blood circulation is promoted and those injurious influences overcome which often take away the stutterer's courage for speaking.

Dr. Niemeyer, of Leipzig, urges breathing in these words: "Prize air; use good, pure air; breathe fresh air in your room by night and day." Dr. Bicking says that respiratory gymnastics are the only effectual remedy for pulmonary affection, especially for consumption. The Marquise Ciccolina claims that by the teaching of breathing gymnastics she has cured people of a tendency to take cold easily; she has benefited cases of lung and heart trouble, and she has cured nervous asthma even in cases that have lasted from childhood to maturity. Dr. Kitchen asserts that if the various structures of the body, including the lungs, are in a sufficiently healthy state, consumption cannot find a soil in which to commence its ravages, or, if already commenced, can be cured by attention to the general health, by pure air and deep breathing.

All this proves that the breathing is of great importance—of just as much importance to women as to men. It used to be thought that women breathe naturally with the upper part of the chest and men with the abdominal muscles, but we have now learned that in the breathing of both men and women the diaphragm should be used and the lower part of the chest expanded. The breathing should neither be thoracic—that is, with the upper part of the chest—nor abdominal. It should be diaphragmatic; that is, with the expansion of the sides of the lower part of the chest, thus filling every air-cell and bringing the life-giving oxygen to the blood. The importance of the diaphragm as the breathing muscle cannot be overestimated. A diaphragm, you know, is a partition across a cylinder; the diaphragm is a muscular partition across the cylinder of the body, dividing the lungs from the abdomen. In breathing, the diaphragm becomes tense, and in becoming tense becomes also flattened, just as an umbrella does by being opened. In fact the opening and shutting of an umbrella gives a very good idea of the motion of the diaphragm in breathing. We can realize, then, how much larger around the body will be when the lungs are fully inflated than it is when we breathe the air out and the lungs are empty. A few minutes spent each day in exercising in diaphragmatic breathing would be of great advantage in increasing beauty of form, in giving strength and power to the voice, in improving the complexion and adding to the health, and therefore to the happiness. In taking these exercises, one should either stand erect or lie flat upon the back and draw the air in through the nose, keeping the mouth closed. Draw in gently, allowing the chest to expand at the sides, hold the air for a little time, and then breathe out slowly.

These exercises performed in a room that is well ventilated, or, better still, in the pure air of outdoors, will do much toward driving away headaches, clearing the brain, giving better judgment, stronger will, and a clearer, happier, brighter disposition.



This little conversation will be on the hindrances to deep breathing, for if we make up our minds that it is so important to breathe deeply we shall be very anxious to know how to avoid the hindrances to deep breathing. First, let me speak of attitude. If you study physiology and note the arrangement of the internal organs, you will very easily see that when the body is compressed in a sitting attitude there must be a hindrance to full and deep breathing. The girl who is running the typewriter or the sewing-machine, or the girl who is working as bookkeeper or stenographer, or the girl at her studies, is sitting so that it will not be possible to breathe deeply, for the lungs are encroached upon by the crowding together of the other viscera (which means the vital organs) and the action of the breathing muscles is impeded by compression. As you will readily observe, there can be no lifting of the chest in this compressed attitude, no complete flattening of the diaphragm, no full inflation of the minute air-cells; therefore, as we have learned, the blood is not thoroughly purified, and actual poisons created by the vital processes accumulate in the brain and tissues until you feel overpoweringly weary and stupid. You cannot think, because you cannot fully breathe.

You have often found, when sewing, that the machine would get, as you say, bewitched. It wouldn't feed, the thread would break or the needle would snap, and the whole work go wrong. Put the machine away, take a rest, and the next day, without doing anything at all to the machine, you find that it runs perfectly. The trouble was with yourself. It is so with the girl who is running the typewriter. She finds that it makes mistakes in spelling, things go wrong altogether. It "acts up," as she would say. So with the girl who is bookkeeper. The figures will not add themselves up right. Now if, under these circumstances, the girl would get up, go to the door, take a few deep breaths and expand the lungs fully, she would relieve the internal congestion consequent upon the cramped position, the brain would be freed from the accumulated poison, and as a consequence the troublesome problems would soon be solved, the typewriter would spell correctly, the figures would add themselves up accurately, and life would become brighter at once. Five minutes spent each hour in deep breathing of pure air would add both to the quality and quantity of work done, and so be a saving of time. This certainly is of great value to you in your work in the world.

After working-hours are over, the girl should make a special effort to sit erect for other reasons than that of breathing, though that is reason enough.

But wrong sitting-postures are not the only attitudes that interfere with deep breathing. Very often the position in standing is also objectionable. When one stands with the weight resting on the heels the body is thrown out of balance, and as a consequence the shoulders are not on a vertical line with the hips. In this attitude it is impossible to manifest fullness of life, because the lungs are not fully inflated with air at each breath. We live, enjoy, accomplish only in proportion to our breathing ability. As one writer says, "The deep thinker, the orator, the fine singer, must of necessity be a good breather."

The most serious hindrance to deep breathing is found in the restrictions of the clothing. I do not say of the corsets, because tight bands or waists can also compress the body and make full breathing impossible. Of course you say your dresses are loose, and you run your hand up under your waist to prove it to me. I will not argue the question with you, but I will ask you to argue it with yourself.

If breathing is the measure of your living and doing, then if, in the least degree, you limit by your dress your breathing, the dress is too tight. "Well," you ask "how shall I know if I am hindering my breathing? My dress feels comfortable. It seems to me that I breathe. Is there any way that I can prove whether my dress is tight or not?"

It is true that one becomes accustomed to uncomfortable things and scarcely realizes that they ever were uncomfortable. The dress may seem a little tight when you first put it on, then it begins to grow comfortable, and after a while it feels loose, and you say it certainly is loose. I will give a simple rule by which you may know whether your clothing is loose enough or not. Unfasten every article of clothing; dress, corset, skirt-bands, everything. Now breathe in slowly until every air-cell is full. It may take some practice to do this, but persevere until you find the chest elevated and filled to its utmost extent. It should swell out at the sides along the line of the insertion of the diaphragm. There should be no heaving of the chest. Now, with the lungs so completely filled with air, bring your dress waist together without pulling a particle. Will it fasten without pressing out a bit of air from the lungs? If so, it is loose enough. If, however, you have to pull it together, even to the tiniest extent, you have pressed out some of the air. The minute air-cells that have thus been emptied cannot be again filled while the dress is fastened. Therefore you are defrauded of your rightful amount of air, and because part of the air is pressed out, the lungs take less space and the dress seems looser. You can understand how that would be.

The trouble is that our dresses are usually fitted over empty lungs. The dressmaker pulls the dress together, squeezes the air out of the lungs, and fastens the dress. Now you can readily understand that it will be impossible to fill those air-cells so long as the dress is worn, and yet it may not seem uncomfortable, because we become accustomed to it. Nature has made us so that we can accustom ourselves to many things that are not absolutely healthful, but this should not make us willing to live unhealthfully when it is possible to avoid it.



We have talked of the effect of tight clothing upon the breathing power. Let us see what other injuries arise from wearing the dress too tight. In the first place, the action of the heart is impeded. The heart is a hollow muscle which must be continually filled with blood and emptied again many times a minute from the moment of birth till the moment of death. You have been lying down for an hour; let me count your pulse. Now sit up for a few moments. I find, now, that it beats faster. Now stand up, and it beats still faster. You see, it increases continually as you get into the erect position. Now walk quickly across the floor and you will see how much it has increased again in rapidity.

You will realize how much the dress interferes with the action of the heart better from an illustration. Professor Sargent made an experiment with a number of girls. One day they were dressed in perfectly loose clothing. He counted the pulse of each. It beat on the average of eighty-four times in a minute. He had them run five hundred and forty yards in the space of two and a half minutes. The pulse was again counted. It had increased to one hundred and fifty-six beats in a minute. This illustrates the effect of exercise even in loose clothing. The next day at the same time, dressed with a corset which reduced the waist to twenty-four inches, they ran the same distance in the same length of time, and then he found that the pulse had run up to one hundred and sixty-eight beats in a minute, showing how much harder it was for the heart to do its work when restricted by tight clothing. No acrobat would attempt to perform feats of strength or of agility if restricted even so much as by a belt.

The Russian Government has issued an edict that the soldiers must wear their pantaloons held up by suspenders, for it has been demonstrated that when they wear them supported by a belt around the waist they are not able to do a fair amount of work. The Austrian Government has also decreed that the pantaloons of soldiers are not to be suspended by belts because of the increase of kidney difficulty caused thereby.

We will understand why kidney difficulty is caused by tight clothing when we study the location of the kidneys and how they are affected by compression of the ribs. Most people think the kidneys lie low down in the back, but in reality they lie up under the short ribs, and the pressure of tight clothing brings the ribs to bear directly upon the kidneys, injuring them in such a way as often to cause disease.

The heart and lungs are protected by a bony framework called the thorax, but below the thorax there is no protection for the internal organs except that of the muscles, therefore the corset or tight clothing can do most damage to the vital organs below the diaphragm. The largest of these is the liver. It should lie close up under the diaphragm, from which it is suspended. Under the influence of tight clothing it is often pressed over on the right side, sometimes extending over the whole front of the body, or even as low down as the navel. It is rutted by the pressure of the ribs. The corset liver is well known in the dissecting-room. Sometimes, where corsets are not worn and tight skirts are worn, supported by the hips, the liver has almost been cut in two, the pieces being only held together by a sufficient band of tissue to keep them from dying.

When Hiram Powers, the great sculptor, was in this country, he once attended an elegant party, and was observed watching very intently a beautifully dressed, fashionable woman. A friend, noticing his interest, said to him, "What an elegant figure she has, hasn't she?"

"Well," said Powers, "I was wondering where she put her liver."

You see, Powers had studied the human body, and when he saw such an outline as the figure of a fashionable woman, he knew that some internal organ must be displaced in order to create that tapering waist, and his anxiety was for the internal organs. As an artist he did not admire the tapering waist, as is shown by the beautiful marble statue which he made. No artist would perpetuate in marble the figure of the fashionable woman.

Not only is the liver thus displaced, but the stomach is often pressed out of its original position, which should be also close up under the diaphragm, towards the left side. By the pressure of clothing it is sometimes pushed down until it lies in the abdominal cavity, even as low down as the navel. This is the statement of Dr. J.H. Kellogg, who, in his sanitarium at Battle Creek, examines hundreds, or even thousands of women in a year, and asserts that it is almost impossible to find a woman whose stomach is where it belongs. This is a serious matter, because no organ can do its work properly when it is out of its rightful position. We understand this in any machinery except that of the human body. We would not meddle with a man-made machine because that would hinder its perfect working, but we do not hesitate to interfere with the body, forgetful that it, too, is a machine, divinely created, and with powers most fateful to us for weal or woe.

But the harm is not all done by the displacement of the organs mentioned. The bowels suffer, and we can best understand what is done to them when we understand how they are placed in the abdominal cavity.

Let me take the ruffle you are making. The mesentery is a delicate, narrow membrane about twenty feet long. We will compare it to the ruffle. Folded in it at one edge are the small intestines, just as I can run this bodkin into the hem of this ruffle. The other edge of the mesentery is gathered up as you have gathered the ruffle. It is gathered into a space of about six inches in length, and is fastened up and down the spine in the region of the small of the back. You can see, if I gather up twenty feet of this ruffle into a space of six inches, how the mesentery, with the intestines folded in the free edge, are held in the abdominal cavity. They are held loosely, and at the same time so that the intestines cannot be tied in knots or loops upon each other. In this way the ruffle flares out into the abdominal cavity. The intestines should stay in their place close up under the liver and stomach, but if pressure is brought to bear around the body at this point, the bowels begin to sag into the abdominal cavity. The abdominal walls lose their tonicity because they are so compressed that they cannot have a perfect circulation, the bowels sink down still further into the pelvis, and pull upon their attachment in the small of the back, creating backache. The stomach sags down into the cavity; the liver sinks, and all the organs pull upon their attachments; so it is no wonder that women have backaches and headaches, and their eyes feel bad, and they are unable to stand or walk. We don't want small rooms in our dwelling-houses, we don't like it if we haven't sufficient space for our furniture; but in this bodily house in which we dwell we are quite willing to constrict the rooms in which the vital organs or furniture are placed, until everything is huddled together in the closest pressure, so that the organs are unable to do their work. It wouldn't matter in our parlors if the chairs and tables were huddled close together, for they are not constantly changing in size, but it does matter in a room where machines must have space to work and such space is not permitted them; and we cannot expect good work where we crowd machinery so that it does not have adequate room.

The influence of tight clothing upon the pelvic organs is to displace them and create a great many difficulties which we know as "Female Diseases." But these, in my opinion, are not the most important things. The important things are the displacement of the vital organs of the body—those organs without which we cannot live, and those organs the perfect working of which is necessary both to our health and our happiness. If we are wise we will be exceedingly anxious that every vital organ shall be allowed to hold its own position, to do its own work, with plenty of room.

The impeding of the heart-action by tight clothing is not in itself the most serious effect of this restriction. The serious trouble is in the disturbance of the circulation. Upon a perfect circulation depends perfect nutrition. The blood must go in sufficient quantity to every organ in order that it may be fully nourished. When the waist is compressed the organs do not receive their full amount of blood. It is retained, and therefore the organs are congested. The feet are cold because the blood does not reach them in sufficient quantity, and the brain, it may be, is hot, because the blood is not taken from the head with enough rapidity and furnished to the other organs. So we find that tight clothing interferes with the integrity and health of every organ in the body, and consequently with our happiness and with our usefulness.

The reason we admire the tapering waist is because we have been wrongly educated. We have acquired wrong ideas of beauty. We have accepted the ideals of the fashion-plate rather than those of the Creator. We find that some form of physical deformity maintains in almost every country. The Chinese deform the feet, and we think this is barbarous, but it is really not as serious as the deforming of the vital parts of the body. The Flathead Indian is deformed in babyhood by being compressed between boards until the head changes its shape. Among some savage nations the leg is bandaged for a few inches above the ankle and for a few inches below the knee and the central part is allowed to expand as it will, and this deformity to them constitutes beauty. Among other nations, holes are made in the ears and pieces of wood are inserted. The size of these pieces is gradually increased until the lobe of the ear will hang down upon the shoulder and a piece of wood as large as a man's arm be worn in the ears. All of these things seem to us most horrible; yet, after all, they are not as much an insult to the Divine Architect of the body as the deformity practised by civilized and so-called Christian people, who by restriction of the waist interfere with the vital organs and prevent the body from being perfect in its development, or perfect in its action. The activity of the body is an evidence of its life, and if it is so tied up that it cannot be active, it certainly is not in the fullest condition of life.



You said to me, my daughter, that you wanted to join the class in Physical Culture. I asked you why, and you said because you thought you needed to build up in certain parts of the body. You were defective in muscular development; you needed also to acquire grace, you thought. And I said, "Is muscular development the primary object of physical education?" You seemed to think that it is. Now I want to talk to you a little along that line, and to demonstrate to you, if I can, that physical education is not primarily for the building up of big muscle, or for the gaining of power to do great feats of bodily strength or skill. The object of physical education is to develop a quickly responsive, flexible instrument for the soul to use, for that is what the body is. Physical culture, rightly conducted, aims to secure the highest condition of the body through the exercises that are required by the laws of the body. Law, physical law, governs the body, and exercise should be according to this law. The first object of exercise is to make a vital supply for the whole body. This is first secured by proper attitude. If we stand or sit properly we gain a proper position of the vital organs, and then they will do their work well, and the result will be more perfect nutrition.

The use of certain organs increases supply, and the use of others quickens waste; a balance should be maintained between the two. We must nourish the life-sustaining organs before using the organs which use up brain-supply, therefore we want to be sure that we are working according to these laws. A great many people have an idea that physical culture means building up big muscle. They measure the muscles of the arm and of the leg, and judge by their increase in size of the value of the exercise. This is not a correct measurement. Individuals may weigh themselves down by development of muscles until they have not sufficient internal vital force to carry so much weight. If we could only balance between the organs which supply nutriment and the organs which use it up, we would keep in perfect health.

We want to learn how to secure a maximum of results with a minimum of force. That is, we want the body to be quickly responsive, to be flexible, to be so that we can use it for the things we want to do without wasting strength, and yet without being weighed down by a superabundance of muscular tissue.

The first desideratum in taking exercise is to have every organ of the body free, therefore a gymnastic dress is a necessity. Then we should have the exercise conducted by some one who understands the peculiarities of each individual and knows just what exercises are suited for her in her special physical condition. They should also be directed by one who understands perfectly that the girl with an anaemic brain, that is, with a brain having too little blood, cannot be conducted on the same plan as the exercise of the girl who has a superabundance of blood in the brain.

The best exercise is that which employs the mind pleasantly. A good deal of exercise may be obtained in housework, and, if conducted with pleasure in the work, may be of great physical advantage. Not long ago I listened to a very charming talk by a lady whose dress betokened her a woman of society. She wore white kid gloves, a dainty flower bonnet, and in herself appeared an exponent of leisure and happiness. Her address was entitled "The Home Gymnasium," and I supposed that it would consist of descriptions of machinery that could be put up in one's own dwelling for gymnastic purposes, but I soon found that her home gymnasium meant household duties. She said one could scrub the table and obtain the best exercise for arms and chest, and at the same time produce an article or piece of furniture which would be a delight to the eye in its whiteness and brightness. She said that in scrubbing the floor one obtained very much the same movement that would be given in the gymnasium, while at the same time the exercise would conduce not only to the personal advantage but to the happiness of the family. She spoke of sweeping, and dusting, and bed-making, and expressed herself as competent to do all these kinds of work, in fact, as doing them. And she said she never felt more of a lady than when scrubbing her kitchen floor, and she was not ashamed to be seen by her friends at this work. If any one rang the door-bell, she said she would simply put on a clean apron and go to the door, and remark without hesitation that she was just scrubbing her kitchen floor, but she was glad to see her friends.

This sort of a home gymnasium is at the command of nearly every girl, and if she can bring herself to feel an interest in this home gymnastic exercise, she may find it conducive not only to her own physical well-being, but to the comfort and happiness of all about her.

The question is often asked whether bicycle-riding is injurious for girls, and I would say that in my opinion it depends largely upon the girl. Has she good common sense? Of course I am speaking of the girl who is in a normal condition of health. A girl of extreme delicacy, or who is subject to some functional difficulty, or the victim of some organic disease, might not find it advantageous to ride. A physician should, in these cases, be consulted. But for the ordinary girl, the girl of fairly good health, if she will learn how to sit properly upon her saddle, will have the good sense to ride with judgment, it seems to me that the exercise must be productive of great good.

My own experience is somewhat limited. I made some discoveries in my attempts to ride. In the first place, I learned that it was important to know how to sit. In reading a book on "Physical Culture and Hygiene for Women," by Dr. Anna Galbraith, I found this sentence: "Sit upon the gluteal muscles, and not upon the perineum." This was a revelation to me. I found that I had been doing the thing which was not proper, and bearing the weight almost entirely upon the perineum had caused constant rectal irritation. The gluteal muscles, closely held together, form a firm support for the body without injuring any of the vital organs. I found that by distributing the weight—a little upon the handle-bars, and some upon the feet—I was able to sit with less weight and heaviness upon the saddle. I found, too, that it was quite important to have the saddle high enough, so that the legs might be fully extended at each stroke, and with these precautions I found the wheel a source both of enjoyment and of strength.

The harm done by the wheel I believe in most instances to be due to an ill-adapted saddle or a lack of good judgment in the amount of exercise taken. It is such a fascinating exercise, one seems to be flying and scarcely realizes how much of nerve-force is being expended. If the girl learning to ride will be prudent, gauging the amount of exercise by her amount of strength; if she will gradually acquire the needed strength before attempting long wheeling trips; if she will be judicious and not ride, perhaps, during the first two or three days of menstruation, there seems to be no reason why the ordinary girl should not be entirely benefited by this most delightful form of exercise. It is not as objectionable, to any degree, as the exercise of dancing. Dancing is a most fascinating amusement, and if it only could be conducted under proper circumstances it would be very delightful. In itself it is not so objectionable as in its concomitants; the late hours, the improper dressing, the hearty suppers in the middle of the night, the promiscuous association and the undue familiarity of the attitude of the round dance are what make dancing objectionable. If dancing could be conducted out of doors, in the daylight, with intimate friends, without the round dances, only those forms of dancing which may be likened to gymnastics, as the contra-dance, the cotillion, the objections to dancing would be largely removed, but I am of the opinion that a large share of the fascination of dancing would go at the same time.

Skating is a delightful, invigorating form of exercise, if conducted with judgment. One objection to it is that the girl will skate until wearied, and then, in that exhausted condition, perhaps ride home, or take a long, tiresome walk from the pond to her residence, all of which is sapping her unduly and annulling the value of the skating as an exercise.

Lawn-tennis is delightful and beneficial, provided it is undertaken with due judgment and the girl is properly dressed. In fact, the subject of dress is so closely associated with that of exercise that they can never be considered separately. Even the moderate exercise of walking, conducted in the dress of the fashionable woman, is in itself an element of danger, whereas more violent exercise in a loose dress becomes a means of increased strength and vigor.

I am often asked if girls should be allowed to run up and down stairs. I see no reason why girls should not go up and down stairs just as freely as boys, if they are properly dressed; but going up and down stairs in tight clothing is certainly very injurious.



You and your girl friends take much pains with your personal adornment. You spend time in curling your hair and in putting on ribbons and laces, but I sometimes think you do not pay as much attention to personal cleanliness as you ought. It would seem as if some of you thought that powder would cover a defect in cleanliness and perfumery would conceal the odors of the person; but indeed it seems to me that the stylish make-up of your dress or the curl of your hair is of very little importance compared with the care of your health.

You each desire to have a beautiful complexion. I used to be told in my childhood that beauty was only skin-deep, but I have learned better. I know that even the beauty of the complexion depends upon the integrity of the nutritive organs as well as upon the care and attention given to matters of personal cleanliness.

I read the other day of a discussion between two young men concerning the cleanliness of girls of their acquaintance. One young man noticed that although one of the girls wore a very pretty dress-gown, she had forgotten to clean her finger-nails. The other remarked that many things in regard to a girl's personal cleanliness could be learned by riding behind her on a tandem. The two then commented favorably upon the girl whose nails were pink, whose ears and neck were clean, her teeth white and dazzling, and her hair well brushed. I might say, in passing, that this hair-brushing time at night may be well employed in reviewing the experiences of the day in order to learn the lessons they teach, and thereby to avoid to-morrow the mistakes of to-day.

These same young men also said that the complexions of some girls suggested the idea of too little fresh air and too much candy. This, they agreed, it was impossible to hide with powder. So we see that the care of the skin is quite important if one would have the respect and the admiration of her associates.

The skin is a very beautiful, complex and delicate covering of the body. It consists of six layers, and contains arteries, capillaries, lymphatics, nerves, sweat glands, sebaceous glands, pigment, etc. So you see that the care of the skin involves much. One writer has said, "At the skin man ends and the outlying universe begins."

The skin, filled with nerves, is continually reporting to the brain concerning what is the condition of all parts of the body. The condition of the skin reflects the condition of the digestive organs. Many girls are trying to cure pimples on the face by the use of salves and lotions, when in all probability all that they would need to do to gain a good complexion is to pay attention to diet, to quit eating between meals, and not to eat so much pastry, pickles or sweetmeats. Our athletes and pugilists are learning that they must take care of the skin if they would keep in good condition, and they are what in horses would be called well groomed. The skin is rubbed, cared for, kept active, because it is understood that it is an organ of sensation, of secretion, of excretion, of absorption, and of respiration. More solid matter is thrown out from the skin than from the lungs, in the proportion of eleven to seven. It is even more than the excretion from the bowels.

The skin is an organ of breathing. This seems strange to us, but it really does take up oxygen and give out carbonic acid, so upon the condition of the skin will depend very largely the condition of the general health. We can detect a constipated condition of the bowels through the color and odor of the skin.

Many girls feel that it is more delicate to neglect the care of the bowels than to attend to a daily evacuation, but if they would remember that it is just as indelicate to carry effete or dead matter about in the bowels as it would be to carry it upon the person in any other way, they would realize that it is only politeness and refinement to see that this part of their bodily housekeeping is duly attended to. If the bowels do not do their work the skin will be obliged to take extra labor upon itself; so, as we have said, by the odor of the skin we can detect the fact that the skin is doing the work that should be done by the bowels. When a person is sick the condition of the internal organs is shown in the complexion, and nothing more clearly indicates health than the condition of the skin.

If this is so important, how shall we care for the skin? First, by bathing. The tin bath-tub of the Englishman accompanies him in all his travels, and has penetrated even to the jungles of Africa. Bathing appliances are marks of civilization, and the bath-room is becoming a necessity. Where the bath-room does not exist it is easy to bathe thoroughly and completely. A wash-basin of water, with a sponge and towel, furnish all that is absolutely necessary. A most convenient bath is the portable thermal bath, an arrangement of rubber cloth that can be opened out to form a square enclosure in which the person sits, with the head in the free outside air, the body enveloped in steam generated by an alcohol lamp. This, followed by a quick sponge-bath of cool water, is a most efficient way of cleansing the skin; and this bath may be used in any room, no matter how beautifully furnished, without soiling the carpet or furniture in the least.

One great secret of healthful bathing is, when warm or hot water is used, to follow it by an immediate application of cold water, which leaves the skin in a tonic condition. In preparation for going out in cold weather, nothing is so efficient a protection from the cold as a foot-bath. Soak the feet for a few minutes in water as warm as is comfortable, then plunge them into cold water and remove immediately, or throw cold water over them, wipe them thoroughly dry, rub them with a little olive oil, draw on a pair of clean, warm hose, and the feet are not only warmed, but are protected against cold and will stay warm. These precautions will prevent one taking cold from the foot-bath. Care of the feet is a great necessity not only for health, for equalizing the circulation, but for the prevention of unpleasant odors.

As to time of bathing, I suppose that the body is at its highest point of vital power at about ten o'clock in the morning, but this is, for most people, the most inconvenient time for a bath. The circumstances of the individual are to be consulted, and also the effect of bathing. There are those who are made nervous by taking a bath, consequently they will not be benefited by taking one just before going to bed. In other cases the bath conduces to slumber. This depends very largely upon the amount of blood in the brain. A person with an anaemic brain will not be benefited by the bath at bedtime, but the person whose brain is overcharged with blood will find the evening bath quieting.

I would not advise everybody to take a daily bath. There are those who are benefited by it; there are others who might be injured by it. It is best to study personal peculiarities and to watch the effect of the bath. If, within a few hours, or the next day, there is great exhaustion, one might naturally conclude that the bath was not altogether beneficial. There are those in such delicate health that a cold bath at any time does not seem desirable; but constant attention will secure perfect cleanliness, as the arms and chest can be bathed one day, the abdomen and back another, the lower extremities still another day, and so the whole body be compassed twice or more in the space of a week.

In regard to the use of soap for bathing purposes, the finest, purest soaps should be used, and these alone. It is generally supposed that pure, white castile soap is the best. Various soaps are widely advertised, while some that claim to be of the very best are not always up to the requisite standard. Yet one can tell by a little experience what soap is of pure quality, and such soap can be applied even to the face without injury.

In washing the face the hand is probably the best instrument, with the thumb under the chin, the fingers turned toward the upper part of the face. The manipulation should be against the direction of forming wrinkles, wherever there is a tendency for wrinkles to appear. They can be held in check by the judicious manipulation of the fingers in the opposite direction. Wrinkles are created by obliterating the capillary circulation of the skin. The manipulation increases the circulation, and so tends to overcome wrinkles. The expression of the face may form wrinkles. I saw a girl the other day on a street-car who continually held her eyebrows elevated, forming longitudinal lines across her forehead, which had become as fixed in her youthful face as if she had been seventy years of age. This was a lack of care in the governing of the expression of the face, and also a lack in keeping up the capillary circulation.

The care of the hands may be considered also while discussing the question of bathing. The hands should be kept clean, the finger-nails particularly cared for, as much of the beauty of the hands depends upon the delicate appearance of the finger-nails. The manicure sets, which are at the disposal of almost every young woman of the present day, are a very great addition to toilet appurtenances. The curved scissors, the polisher, the blunt ivory instrument for pushing back the fold of skin from the root of the nail, all of these used but a few moments in the day will conduce to great beauty in the hands, even for those who are doing housework.





It is a wonderful thought that God shares His divine endowments with man; that He, being our Father, hath bestowed upon us the power to manifest His characteristics. We are proud of these Godlike powers. We talk of our Godlike reason, and it is divine. We know that God reasons. We have evidence of it in the material world about us, and when we use our reason we are "thinking God's thoughts after Him."

God has the marvelous power of imagination, using that word in its noblest sense. He has the power to conceive something in thought before it actually exists. He must have seen all the glories of the material universe, worlds upon worlds circling through space, moon and stars, the beauty of forest and stream, of tinted flower and iridescent insect wing before they were brought into being, and He had the power to create them. Man has this wonderful gift of imagination. The inventor sees the machine in his thought before he attempts to build it. The poet has the germ of his poem in mind, even the rhythm and rhyme, before he puts it on paper. To the imagination of the artist the canvas glows with color before his brush has touched it. The sculptor, looking at the rough block of marble, sees within it the imprisoned shape of beauty which his genius shall liberate to delight the world. The musician hears, singing through his brain, the marvelous harmonies which, put upon paper, shall entrance all hearers. Certainly this glorious gift of imagination is Godlike. But it would be useless if it were not accompanied by creative power. The inventor must be able to create as well as to imagine the engine. The poet, the musician, the artist fails of deserving the name if he cannot embody his thought in a form that others may recognize. He must not only imagine, but create. In some degree every intelligent human being has these powers. The housewife imagines her dinner before she prepares it, and a well-cooked dinner, placed upon a well-appointed table with care and taste, manifests something of the ability of the inventor and the artist. The same may be said of her who designs and creates an elegant costume, or arranges a room with taste and skill.

1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse