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A BAD HABIT.
to do away with it. An avoidance of the cause, and appropriate gymnastic exercises promise the most.
We have previously remarked (page 29) that writers and painters, sitting as they usually do, with one arm elevated, holding the pen or brush, and the other at rest or nearly so, almost certainly come to have one shoulder higher than the other. This gives the whole bust a one-sided appearance, eminently unpleasing. Young ladies who are of a literary turn of mind, therefore, or are artistically inclined, and yet whose devotion to ideal and intellectual beauty does not quite lead them to the neglect of that physical beauty which nature has bestowed on them, will act wisely to correct this tendency by constant care and exercise.
A bad habit or some local weakness occasionally leads to holding one shoulder slightly in advance of the other, or to bringing them both forward, giving the chest a hollow, "dished" appearance, exactly the reverse of what it should have.
Such a conformation is the more unsightly in woman, as she has naturally a more prominent chest than man. Her collar-bones are longer, and her shoulders are pressed by them farther outward and backward, in order to give room for spreading that banquet for an unborn guest, which it is her duty and her destiny to furnish. There should be no salient bones or angles, but the outline should sweep in a series of gentle curves from the neck downward, each slightly in
advance of the other, until they merge in the semicircular arcs which define the chief and highest beauty of woman-the breasts.
There should especially be no hollows under the collar-bones, over the apex of the lungs. When present, they signify more than a want of comelinessthey betoken the danger, if not the actual presence, of that fatal and frequent disease, pulmonary consumption. It is precisely in that spot that the physician searches for the earliest warnings of this malady, and who can think of mortal, perishable beauty, when he sees the stealthy hand of death already claiming these charms?
THE BREASTS AND WAIST.
Symbols of maternal love and fruitfulness, deeply in sympathy with all feminine instincts and sensations, well-formed breasts have ever been considered by artists essential requisites of beauty. They should be firm and elastic, rising from the chest true hemispheres in shape, situated neither too high nor too low. The distance from the nipple to the lower edge of the collar bone of the same side should equal that from one nipple to the other, which, in turn, should be precisely one-fourth of the circumference of the chest at their level. The space between the bases should equal the diameter of the base of either.
Yet alas! in this artificial life of ours, how often
have we seen a female bust that answered these demands? Or rather, have we ever seen one? "I never knew before I came to Egypt," says Lady Duff-Gordon in her recent book of travels, "what a female breast is. We never see it in Europe." Neither do we in America, without it may be in some vigorous young country girl, who has grown up in ignorance of the arts which thwart nature.
A CURIOUS FASHION.
Not that taste approves now-a-days that fashion which early in the last century prevailed in France and Spain. Then, in accordance with the mode of the day which despised everything which was spontaneous and delighted in the artificial and the abnormal, the type of elegance was a perfectly flat breast. The fine ladies used to wear from early girlhood circular plates of lead, strapped firmly against their breasts, in .order to cause their absorption. Of course, these noble dames were utterly disqualified from nursing their own children, but this troubled them little.
Unfortunately, modern ladies, in their desire not to appear flat-breasted, are guilty of precisely the same violation of nature's laws. From early youth they wear pads of hair or cotton, which they fasten over the breasts with straps and the corset, so as to make a "form." These act in a similar manner as the plates of lead. The breasts are flattened, distorted, partly absorbed, and often completely unfitted for their natural function. The nipples are drawn in, and be
come retracted and tender. Physicians daily encounter the evil results of such folly, and many a mother has to forego the sweet toil of nursing her own children by having injured her breasts at the behest of fashion.
If something of the kind must be worn to make up the form in obedience to the mode, let it be the hollow hemispheres of vulcanized India-rubber or of woven wire, which are at once firm and elastic, which exert no pressure on the gland itself, yet give a perfect and fascinating outline. They are now manufactured of various sizes to suit, and may be had in this and other cities.
An instrument, which seems to have claims as a promoter of health and beauty, has been invented for improving the shape of the breast. It is a bowl of glass to which is fitted a stopcock. The air is exhausted by means of an air syringe, and a flow of blood to the part follows. It is highly likely that this device would be of considerable service, and that the breasts would be rendered much more shapely, and better adapted to fulfil their functions. The theory of the instrument is philosophical, and if used regularly for a sufficient time must certainly restore the organs in great measure to their proper shape, size, and function. As the breasts are delicate, and liable to various inflammatory diseases, proper caution should be observed not to injure them by too violent applications, and whenever tenderness is produced, the instrument
should be laid aside until the sensation subsides. having had them once explained, any one can use these vacuum cups with readiness and safety..
The opposite trouble, breasts of inordinate and inconvenient magnitude, also occurs. We know a lady, who with every opportunity and faculty to shine in social life, has denied herself to general society for years, on account of this malformation. In her case, as in most, it is associated with an undue mental sensitiveness regarding her form, which is a constant source of unnecessary distress to her.
Sometimes the overgrowth is astonishing. Professor Gross, of Philadelphia, mentions one case where each breast weighed fifteen pounds, and not long since, a case was operated on in Paris, where each weighed nearly thirty pounds. When the excess in size is moderate, the breast can readily be reduced by constant inunction of an ointment of cadmium or iodine, the administration of iodide of potassium internally, and especially by long-continued, firmly-applied bandages of adhesive plaster. This treatment must be adopted under the supervision of a medical adviser, as ignorant management may very easily lead to severe suffering.
Those who would improve the contour of the chest, can do so with great certainty and in a short space of time as follows: Loosen the clothing, and standing erect, throw the shoulders well back, the hands behind,