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fruitful source of evil, for which parents are largely reponsible, is the supplying of school-girls with quantities of rich pastry, cakes and sweetmeats, which are eaten, of course, between meals, and often just before going to bed. In one instance a young lady, previously in perfect health, in the course of two years made herself a confirmed dyspeptic, simply by indulging night after night in the indigestible dainties with which she was constantly supplied from home. This is her own view of the matter in looking back.
The following words from the two lady physicians who have been longest connected with the Seminary, give the results of their professional experience there:
Extracts from the letter of Dr. (Belden) Taylor, formerly physician at Mt. Holyoke Seminary :
“ In regard to regular study producing pain, hæmorrhage or irregularity, I do not think these disturbances are caused so much by application to study as by want of care and prudence at the menstrual period, and of fresh air and exercise during the interval. * * * I think that labor, both mental and physical, should be diminished at the menstrual period, for at this time the ovaries and uterus are intensely engorged, and the nervous system is in an unusually excitable condition. Do not understand me that girls should be excused from all physical labor, but only that they should not undertake unusually hard work, and should avoid long walks, giving themselves as inuch rest as possible. *** I do not think, however, that any of these things should debar a woman from pursuing a regular course of study, only let her exercise care and prudence at the menstrual period. It is not uncommon for this function to be arrested by any great change
of circumstances, as when a girl leaves home and goes to school, where there is almost an entire change of habits. Many cases came under my observation while at the Serninary, among the junior class (first year), of suppression or irregularity for three or six months, all then proceeding regularly without medical interference. I think women suffering from ordinary female troubles are benefited by regular exercise ; for a want of proper exercise affects injuriously the general health, thereby increasing the uterine disorder. If a girl with any great female trouble should enter the Seminary, her troubles would be increased, not from the regular work, but by going over the stairs.”
Letter from Mrs. Arnold, of Milwaukee, formerly Dr. Homer, physician at Mt. Holyoke Seminary in 1860–64:
“A large number of cases of irregularity in the form of suppression, were always met with during the first year, especially the first months of that year. Often the health was not seriously affected, and the trouble would right itself or readily yield to mild remedies. Had this derangement been caused by hard study in the pursuance of a regular course, it would have been most common ainong pupils in advanced classes. The fact that it was not, shows that it must be accounted for in some other way. Neither do we need to look far. There
There is change of circumstances, of employments, of diet, of sleep; often of climate, many coming from a distance, and, more than all, coming from quiet homes to dwell in such a large family, where there is enough of novelty and excitement to keep them constantly interested—perhaps I should say absorbed—in new directions. It is common for change to produce like results elsewhere, as well as in
school life, especially during the early years of womanhood. Again, those thus affected are quite as likely to be the dull or inattentive as the studious.
“Cases of excessive or painful menstruation were far less numerous, and had their origin also in other causes than hard study.
“As to the effect of regular brain-work upon those already suffering from diseases peculiar to the sex, I do not recall any cases where the mere matter of intellectual labor had any effect to increase the trouble. Other circumstances connected with school life might aggravate such complaints, e. g., much going over stairs, but a temperate application to study, even of the sterner kinds, by giving occupation to the mind, I consider highly beneficial.
“The great cause of diseases ineidental only to the female sex is to be found in want of sensible, intelligent thought, and an unwillingness to act in accordance with the convictions such thought would bring. The follies and frivolities of fashionable life slay their thousands where hard study slays its one. Tight-lacing, I believe, was never more prevalent than at the present time, and its victims are a host. * * This matter of dress, so difficult to be reformed, has a very large share in making women weak and helpless.
“Of course, it cannot be denied that many young women come out of school with broken health. Do not young men also ? The fact that so many girls are enfeebled by the course pursued with them from their very infancy, easily accounts for their broken health, without attributing it at all to study. It cannot but be apparent to any one, that a feeble, sickly girl or boy is unfit to attempt a severe course of study. Again, girls are often
in such a hurry to finish,' that they overdo, and suffer the consequences in after life.
“It has long been my opinion that we are in danger of pushing the graded school system' too far. There should be more latitude allowed, more optional studies in all our schools. The question may be asked, Does not this system bear equally upon boys and girls? If so, why do girls suffer more in health? I affirm, not because of the difference physically, but because the custom of society shuts the girl up in the house to her books, if she is conscientious, and she is more likely to be so than her brother—while the boy is turned loose, to have just as good a time as if he were at the other end of his class. *
* When we attempt to compare the ability of the two sexes to endure the strain of continuous mental work, there are many circumstances to be considered, many things that are not as they should be. If women were trained from their infancy as they might be, and as they ought to be, there would be no need of arguing. But so long as the present fetters of fashion and custom are submitted to, the question will remain unsettled.” Such is the testiinony from Mt. Holyoke.
MARY O. NUTTING. South Hadley, Mass.
Dr. CLARKE's experience and success as a physician give him a right to speak, and that with the tone of authority. He has spoken, and in such clear and unmistakable words that all must hear, the startling truth, that American women are sickly women; that proofs of this fact are not confined to any class or condition, but that “everywhere, on the luxurious couches of Beacon Street, in the palaces of Fifth Avenue, among the classes of our private, coinmon, and Normal schools, among the female graduates of our colleges, behind the counters of Washington Street, on Broadway, in our factories, workshops and homes," pale, weak women are the rule, and not the exception. This is the one permanent impression which the book makes. It is for this reason that we are thankful. It matters not that the presenting of this fact was not the author's main object. It matters still less, that he failed in his object; for, if his theory had been a true theory, and he had succeeded in convincing the world of its truthfulness, he would have benefited but a sinall class of our Ainerican people. Only a few women, comparatively, are found in our colleges and higher schools of learning
Man often means one thing while God means another. Luther meant to reform the Roman Church-God meant to reform the world. Dr. Clarke meant, as he tells us in his preface, to excite discussion, and stimulate inves