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THE FINGER NAILS.
of the nails. They grow curved over the ends of the fingers and are usually in perceptible ridges.
Of course more serious matters than the treatment of the local malformation demand our attention when this is the case.
HE author of that excellent little book “Vulgarisms
and other Errors of Speech,” censures with just severity the American prudery which substitutes in conversation, "limb," or "extremity," for leg. The latter is the proper and the only proper word, and those who shun it so anxiously lead one to suspect that they are in the habit of indulging unbecoming thoughts. Like that literary prude, who once said to Dr. Johnson, the lexicographer:
“Doctor, I am so much pleased with your Dictionary, and especially because you have omitted all im
“So, madam," replied the caustic old humorist, "you searched for them, did you?”
In anatomy, the leg extends from the knee downward, the thigh from the knee upward, and both these, together with the foot, are called “the lower extre
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A DELICATE HINT.
mity,” or “the lower limb.” The bones of this extremity are differently arranged in woman and in man. One of the consequences of this is that no woman can run gracefully. They run, says a witty Frenchman, as if they intended to be overtaken.
The knee should be midway between the lower line of the body and the ground. Below the knee the calf should rise rapidly, full and round, and taper gently to a slender ankle.
A handsome leg is a rarity, we had almost said an impossibility, among American women. The reason of this is the place where they wear their garters. No Frenchwoman, no Englishwoman of cultivation, now-adays wears her garter below the knee. It is ruinous to the shape of the calf. More than this, it has serious consequences of another kind. The principal vein of the leg (vena saphena brevis) runs just beneath the skin until it nearly reaches the knee, when it sinks between the muscles. Now if this is constricted at its largest part by a tight garter, the blood is checked in its return to the heart, the feet are easily chilled, and more liable to disease, the other veins of the leg are swollen into hard, blue knots, become varicose, as it is called, and often break, forming obstinate ulcers. This is a picture which a physician sees nearly every day.
With the garter fastened above the knee all this pain and deformity is avoided. An ungraceful carriage is sometimes owing to "bow
legs,” or “bandy-legs.” This condition is brought about by allowing children to walk too soon. Every mother should be on her guard against it, as it is a source of much mortification, and cannot completely be hidden even by long dresses. Nothing can remedy it.
False calves, manufactured of cork, and fastened to the leg beneath the stocking, are a device of the toilet which we have never, to our knowledge, observed out of Paris, and which might as well be allowed to remain as one of the peculiar features of that great capital.
THE FOOT AND SHOE.
A pretty foot, says Goethe, is the one element of beauty which defies the assaults of age. If properly cared for, it remains as perfect at seventy as it was at seventeen. We have the cheering certainty, therefore, that the attention we bestow on it will repay us as long as we live.
Yet how little do we give to it! What a sight it is in bathing hours on the sea-beach, to see the distorted, red, corned, bunioned, and swollen feet of the bathers ! No wonder “corn-doctors" do a thriving business, and can build handsome houses on their neighbors toes!
A well-formed foot is scarcely to be found in modern. civilization. The late actress, Madame Vestris, whom we have already mentioned, was said to have had the
THE BEAUTY OF THE FOOT.
handsomest of any woman of her day—so far as the observers could learn. She devoted uncommon care to its preservation. She always wore white satin slippers, exquisitely fitted, and not laced or buttoned, but sewed on every morning, and ripped off at night. So she wore a new pair every day.
The foot should be slender, rounded, in length a little less than one-eighth of the height of the body, the heel only slightly prominent, and the middle of the foot arched.
A flat foot has never been admired. It is brought about either by carrying heavy burdens, or wearing illshaped shoes. Therefore the arched foot used to be considered a sign of high-birth, and delicate breeding. In Spain, one of the proofs of ancient lineage, of true old “sangre azul,” was to stand on a marble pavement, and let a tiny stream of water flow under the arch of the foot without wetting it.
If the natural beauty of this member is so much defaced, the shoemakers must answer for it. Their art is wofully behind the age in an æsthetic as well as a hygienic point of view. We cannot reform them, and we don't intend to try, so we shall content ourselves with giving a few hints to those who would display their feet to the best advantage, and preserve them in the most comfort.
First, then, every one with the slightest wish for either of these good things, should have a last made