Hour after hour, they turn from side to side upon their couches, exhausted even to prostration by mental action, yet unable to compose their excited, erratic feelings. Bright thoughts flit like meteors across their mental horizon only to vanish in midnight darkness. And if tardy sleep at last folds them in his unwilling arms, frightful dreams disturb their shallow slumbers, till they awake enshrouded in deep melancholy and inpenetrable gloom. They feel most keenly only to feel most wretchedly. At short intervals, a sigh, or groan, or 'Oh dear me!' escapes them, and they internally feel, 'Oh wretched man that I am ! 'not because they feel guilty, but because they are nervous. They feel burthened with they know not what, but this only aggravates their oppression. Things, otherwise their joy, become their tormentors, and every sweet is rendered bitter. Their nervous energies are wrought up to the highest pitch of inflamed action, and yet they have no strength to stand this preternatural excitement. Days and weeks roll on only to augment their miseries. Their excited mind seeks relief in books, especially novels, which only increase their sufferings. The cause of these sufferings is a disordered mental temperament, and tight-lacing has a direct and necessary tendency to cause this predominance, first by retarding the action of the vital organs and hindering digestion, nutrition, and circulation; and secondly, by inflaming the nervous system, and giving the blood a tendency to flow to the head, by preventing its flowing to the extremities of the skin. On inquiry into the private feelings of tight-lacers, into the secret recesses of their hearts, they will be found to feel as above described. If they have no real cause of trouble, they have some imaginary one; yet never once dream that this; girting of their waists sends the blood up to their heads, and thus morbidly excites the brain, and at the same time cuts off those vital energies which alone can sustain it; thereby producing that disorder of the mental temperament which causes and perpetuates this awful state of feeling. And it is right; for tight-lacing is a great sin, and should be followed by severe punishment.
My conscience constrains me reluctantly to allude here to one other evil connected with tight-lacing. If I could omit it in justice to myself, in justice to my work, in justice to tight-lacers, and in justice to those who may marry small waists, I would gladly do it. One thing is certain, I do not do it to gain popularity, for I know it will injure (at least for a few years) the popularity and sale of this work. I introduce it because it ought to go in—it ought to be known that it may be guarded against. Who does not know that the compression of any part produces inflammation? Who does not know that, therefore, tight-lacing around the waist keeps the blood from returning freely to the heart, and retains it in the bowels and neighbouring organs, and thereby inflames all the organs of the abdomen, which thereby excites amative desires? Away goes this book into the fire! 'Shame! shame on the man who writes this!' exclaims Miss Fastidious Small Waist. 'The man who wrote that, ought to be tarred and feathered.' Granted; and then what shall be done to the woman who laces tight? If it be improper for a man to allude to this effect of lacing, what is it for a woman to cause and experience it? Let me tell you, Miss Fastidious, that the less you say about this, the better; because I have truth on my side, and because it is high time that men who wish virtuous wives, knew it, so that they may avoid those who have inflamed and exhausted this element of their nature. It is also high time that virtuous woman should blush for very shame to be seen laced tight, just as she should blush to be caught indulging impure desires.
I know, indeed, that I have now appealed to the most powerful motive possible—to that of woman's modesty; and therefore I made this appeal because it is thus powerful. I wish to make woman ashamed to lace tight, and this will do it. No woman who reads this will dare be