Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/142

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138
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

NARROW JAWS AND SMALL FEET
By RICHARD COLE NEWTON, M.D.

MONTCLAIR, N. J.

A FEW simple precautions in rearing our children would redound to the development of the race in quite unexpected ways. The writings of Bogue and others have proved that the small jaws and irregular teeth of Americans are due to the simple fact that the teeth and jaw bones have never been developed by chewing hard foods as nature intended us to do. As one consequence of this non-development, the teeth are poor in their chemical constituents, which, added to their irregularity and consequent non-occlusion, renders them so prone to decay that a middle-aged man or woman with a complete denture (i. e., 32 teeth) is so great a rarity that dentists are wont to rejoice when they discover such an one, even as the angels are said to do over one sinner that repenteth. In like manner the chiropodist might be supposed to rejoice, if one in his humble calling has the springs of joy within him, over the equally great rarity, a perfect adult human foot. For there is only one other thing so generally distorted and defective as the average human jaw, and that is the average human foot. We bring our children up to despise the Chinese who deliberately distort and malform the feet of their female children. Our virtuous conversation incites in our children's minds a horror of the foot-binding process by which the Mongolian parents prevent the natural growth of their daughters' feet and thus improve (sic) upon nature, and yet we allow our daughters to wear so-called Cuban heels and French heels and pointed-toed shoes, sometimes called one-toed shoes, until their feet are as truly malformed as the Chinese woman's, albeit in a less degree.

There seems to be more logic in the Chinaman's distortion of the foot than in that of the occidental races. We are assured that no Chinese woman of rank can expect to marry well if she has natural feet, like a working woman, any more than our girls expect to marry well if they have a natural waist. A Chinese lady of high degree abroad upon the highways must be attended by two or three maids or helpers supporting her, to show to the admiring multitude that she can not walk without help. This is what her feet have been compressed for. This proves that she is a lady and fully fitted to marry a gentleman of rank and attainments. The gentleman, on his part, has also taken pains to show that he is incapacitated for manual labor. His finger nails have been allowed to grow to an incredible length and for fear that they may