“The period of courtship is one full of importance. A young woman of unripe experience must decide from what she can see of a man during the intercourse of a few months, whether he will suit her for a life-companion. She has no knowledge of human nature; and what would it avail her if she had, when at such a time a suitor is careful only to show his eligible traits?”
I was going to make a snappy point that c’mon, even the contestants on “The Bachelor” have six months to decide which young ladies will be their lifelong helpmates, but upon further investigation, it appears the show is filmed within six weeks.
“Boarding-school life, city life, mental disturbances — these are the three fertile sources of disturbances in the sexual functions of girlhood.
No one rates at higher value than ourselves the training of the mind; but we do not hesitate a moment to urge that if perturbations of the functions become at all marked in a girl at school, she should be taken away. Better live at home in seeming idleness for a year than become a dead-weight, through constant ill-health, on her husband in after life.
So of the unwholesome excitement of a city life. There is a poison in crowds, and it acts in a thousand unseen ways. With the ceaseless noise, the broken sleep, the late hours, the impure air, and the nervous tension which all these produce, it requires no strength of imagination to perceive that the city is no place for the delicate girl.”
“The advantages of rest cannot be overestimated. A striking example of how it occurs to our mind. Most readers are aware how toilsome are the lives of the Indian women among our Western tribes, and also how singularly easy and almost painless is their child-bearing. The pangs of travail are almost unknown to them. The cause of this has puzzled even physicians. We can tell them. It is because it is an inviolable, a sacred rule among all those tribes, for the woman, when having her monthly sickness, to drop all work, absent herself from the lodge, and remain in perfect rest as long as the discharge continues.”
“There is a disease of the nerves to which girls about the age of puberty are very subject, particularly in the higher circles of society, where their emotions are over-educated and their organization delicate. It is called hysteria, and more commonly hysterics…
This disease is apt to produce a similar affection in other girls of the same age [14 or 15] who see the attacks. For this reason, hysterical girls should not be sent to large schools, but cured at home. Often a strong mental impression restores them. The anecdote is told of a celebrated surgeon (Boerhaave) who was called to a female seminary where there was a number of hysterical girls. He summoned them together, heated a number of iron instruments before their eyes, and told them that the first one who had a fit should be cauterized down the spine. They all recovered immediately.”
“The most wonderful of all the changes which attend pregnancy are those in the nervous system. The woman is rendered more susceptible, more impressible. Her character is transformed. She is no longer pleasant, confiding, gentle, and gay. She becomes hasty, passionate, jealous, and bitter. But in those who are naturally fretful and bad-tempered a change for the better is sometimes observed, so that the members of the household learn from experience to hail with delight the mother’s pregnancy as a period when clouds and storms give place to sunshine and quietness.
In some rare cases, also, pregnancy confers increased force and elevation to the ideas, and augmented powers to the intellect.”
Elevated ideas and increased intellect?! Why, isn’t growing a human inside of her enough? The nerve!
Dear Readers! You may notice the shiny new blog banner as done by Ms. Erin Burke of Yardsale. While I really liked the B&W option – particularly the nutso look in the perfume lady’s eyes – I ultimately chose the red banner (even though my friend Phineas deems it “not disapproving enough”).
“As for happiness, those who think they can best attain it outside the gentle yoke of matrimony are quite as wide of the mark. Their selfish and solitary pleasures do not gratify them. With all the resources of clubs, billiard-rooms, saloons, narcotics, and stimulants, single men make but a mock show of satisfaction. At heart every one of them envies his married friends. How much more monotonous and more readily exhausted are the resources of woman’s single life! No matter what “sphere” she is in, no matter in what “circle” she moves, no matter what “mission” she invents, it will soon pall on her.
Would you see the result? … Some of them are sad stories, and this is one of the saddest: Of those unfortunates who, out of despair and disgust of the world, jump from bridges, or take arsenic, or hang themselves, or in other ways rush unbidden and unprepared before the great Judge of all, nearly two-thirds are unmarried, and in some years nearly three-fourths. And of those other sad cases — dead, yet living — who people the madhouses and asylums, what of them? Driven crazy by their brutal husbands, do you suggest? Not at all!”
“From the day of marriage the woman undergoes a change in her whole structure. She is similar to her former self, but not the same. It is often noticed that the children of a woman in her second marriage bear a marked resemblance to her first husband. In the inferior races and lower animals this obscure metamorphosis is still more apparent. A negress who has borne her first child to a white man, will ever after have children of a lighter color than her own.”