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would judge me worthier or more beloved if I explained to you what we are precisely worth, keeping nothing secret from you, or if I deceived you declaring I had more than I really had, showing you false money, chains of brass instead of gold, counterfeit precious stones, red instead of scarlet, and false purple instead of pure and good.' She replies: "The gods forbid that you should be such an one.' He then recalled to her her deceptions; and when she inquired how she should be fairer in reality and not appear so only, he gave her as counsel, that she should not sit still like a slave or a bondwoman, but go about the house like a mistress and see how the works of the house go forward; look after all the workers and sometimes work with her own hands, by which exercise she would have a better appetite for food, better health and better favoured colour of her face. While likewise the sight of the mistress, more cleanlily and far better apparelled, setting her hand to work and, as it were, striving at times with her servants who should do most, would be a great comfort to them by leading them to do their work with a good will instead of doing it against their will. For they that always stand still like queens in their majesty will be only judged of by those women who are triumphantly arrayed. And now, good Socrates,' Ischomachus in conclusion is made to say, 'be you sure that my wife lives even as I have taught her and as I have told to you.'
Were a modern sanitary scholar,-such an one as now speaks, for example, to presume to lay the basis of sanitary reform, through the influence of woman, on rules as simple as those given above, he might suffer for his trouble, which, in truth, might be called a presumption. Happy, therefore, is it that he finds the basis ready laid by two such masters as Solomon and Xenophon. Their sufferings are over; hidden in the inaccessibility of historical distance. Their words alone remain faithful as ever, and as true for today and for to-morrow as on the days when they first went forth. They are the basis of modern sanitary law with women as its administrators. I would not dare to add a syllable to their majestic Good wives of the type of the wife of Ischomachus would in one decade make domestic sanitation the useful fashion and order of the nation they purified, beautified and beatified.
I quote this basis of wifely work and duty, because I feel more deeply, day by day, that until it is admitted, and something more built upon it, sanitary progress is a mere conceit, a word and a theory, instead of a thing and a practice. It is in those million centres we call the home,' that sanitary science must have its true birth. It is from those centres the river of health must rise. We men may hold our Congresses year after year, decade after decade; we may establish our schools; we may whip on our lawgivers to action of certain kinds; we may be ever so earnest, ever so persistent, ever so clever; but we shall never move a step in a profitable direction until we carry the women with us heart and soul. Adam had no paradise in Paradise itself, until Eve became the help meet for him. How then, in a
world which is anything but a paradise, shall we transform it into anything like one till the Eves lend us a hand, and, combining their invincible power with ours, give us the help that is essential to success? We must go entirely with Xenophon in the belief that the human being is neither perfected in thought nor in action, until the two natures are blended in thought and action. The man invents, the woman applies the invention; the man conquers nature, the woman makes useful the victory; the man discovers, the woman turns the discovery to due and faithful account; the man goes forth to labour, the woman stays at home to watch the centre common to them, and tend the helpless there. Yet both have remembrance, both have diligence, both have the power to refrain from doing what is wrong, and whatever either of them does better than the other is best for both. And, because the natures and dispositions of both are not equally perfect, they have so much the more need the one of the other, since what one lacketh the other hath. In the art of cultivating sanitary science this mutual understanding is necessity itself.
We ought not to blame womankind because it seems that women are behindhand in the work. They are not, in point of fact, behindhand at all; they are rather the forerunners in the race. Long before the word sanitation was heard of, or any other word that conveyed the idea of a science of health, the good, cleanly, thrifty house. wife was a practical sanitary reformer. Nay, if we come to the question of organisation itself, we have in this country, in that admirable institution the 'Ladies' Sanitary Association,' the first of the great sanitary societies, which, by its publications, its practical aid to mothers, its out-door recreative parties to the stived-up children of the metropolis, and by various other means, has set an example that will one day be historical as a part of the great movement in the promotion of which so many earnest workers are now engaged.
There is not, therefore, one single difficulty in the way of making the woman the active domestic health reformer. The only thing that requires to be put forward is the method of bringing her universally into the work, and, if I may so express it, making the work a permanent custom or fashion, to neglect which would be considered a moral defect. There are in England and Wales alone six millions of woman to be influenced. The first suggestion is that the beginning of the crusade shall be a beginning that shall not drive but lead, that shall not dictate but patiently suggest.
If what Pope said of man be true—
Men should be taught as though you taught them not,
in respect to the sex still more susceptible and impressionable, especially when those truly feminine duties which are connected
2 The Ladies' Sanitary Association, 22 Berners Street, London, W. Secretary, Miss Rose Adams.
with domestic health and happiness form the subject of advancement, it may with equal truth be said :
Women should ne'er be taught a thing unknown,
It should be credited as all their own.
Nor can any finer or nobler occupation be imagined than is implied under this head of domestic care and nourishment of health. There are women who think it the height of human ambition to be considered curers of human maladies; content at best to take their place with the rank and file of the army of medicine, and not perceiving that the only feature in their career there is its singularity, a feature that would itself become lost if the wish of the few became the will of the many. I would not presume to interfere on this point even Iwith the wish of the few. At the same time I would with all my strength suggest to women that to be the practitioners of the preventive art of medicine; to hold in their hands the key of health; to stand at the thresholds of their homes and say to disease:-'Into this place you shall not come, it is not fitted to receive you; it is free only to health, and a barrier to disease;' to conjoin in this work so effectually as to be able to say to every curative doctor who invades their cities: You may come in if you please, and settle down if you please, but there will be nothing for you to do, except to write up, after a time, as a warning to practitioners of the curative school, "Who enters here leaves hope behind ";' to exercise practical power in such a manner would, I venture to indicate, be as much above the exercise of a curative art as the art of making unsinkable ships would be above the toil of working at the pumps of a sinking vessel that was only sinking because it had been allowed to fall into a hopeless state for resisting the strain of the deceitful sea.
I press this office for the prevention of disease on womankind, not simply because women can carry it out, not simply because it pertains to what Xenophon describes as their special attributes, their watchfulness and their love; but because it is an office which man alone never can carry out, and because the whole work of prevention waits and waits until the woman takes it up and makes it hers. The man is abroad, the disease threatens the home, and the woman is at the threatened spot. Who is to stop the disease at the door, the man or the woman? What does a man know about a house, about the very house he lives in, if he be a man employed at all? I asked as good a man of business as ever went on Change how many rooms he had in his house. His reply was :- What an absurd question.' 'Why absurd, the house is your own?' 'Yes, but I have never thought about it. You should ask my wife if you want to know; she will tell you all about it, from the butler's pantry to the cockloft; but as I only go into two or three rooms myself, how should I be likely to remember? It is not my department.' That is so generally. The woman knows all about it, or if she does not, then she ought; it is in her department to have the whole matter by heart. The house is her citadel.
There probably is not a person who is given to reflect who will not in the main agree with me in these conclusions. The strongestminded woman, the woman who would assert to her heart's content the right of womanhood to assume manhood, would, I think, agree with me in the main. She might, and possibly would, affirm that I do not go far enough; she might feel the position I have assigned to woman as too feminine in its tenderness, and as a retrogression from the design of attaining the equality of power which she would consider necessary for the perfect liberty of woman from the bondage imposed by men. At the same time she would agree so far as to admit that if her fellow sisters everywhere could claim and hold and maintain such a power of practical knowledge and skill as I have pointed out, their mission in this world would be more greatly advanced and more nobly utilised than it is at this time. Nay, perchance, when she has heard me to the end, and has well considered the tremendous power which the completed scheme would give to her sex, she might feel that her ambition would be more than satisfied by its accomplishment.
While women in general will, I feel sure, almost think it im possible that so much useful influence could be attainable, the majority will ask By what process of training can we so govern domestic life that diseases may be prevented wholesale; that life in all its innocence and fascination may never, except by the most vulgar accident, be invaded by death; that adolescence in all its beauty and unfolding strength may be equally guarded; that manhood and womanhood may have the same protection; that middle age may be extended in intellectual and physical perfection into the grand decline; and that the grand decline itself may be so gentle, so peaceful, so beautiful,-yes, so beautiful, for there is a beauty in healthful old age that is unsurpassed,-that life shall be but a dream, and death but a natural sleep?' They will ask, I repeat, the majority of them, by what process of training can they help towards a triumph of science so beneficent?
I devote myself from this point of my discourse to give some answer to that question. I state at once that the training required is simple beyond simple; that every woman who wills to go through it may go through it, and may become mistress by it of the destinies of the world. Not the Fates themselves were more mistresses of the destinies of the race than the women of an educated Commonwealth who were conversant with the art of the prevention of disease and premature decay.
Ischomachus, content to have his wife taught housewifery pure and simple, would, I think, in this day be not quite so content. He would wish that she should know everything about the house in which she and he and their family dwelt; he would wish also that she should know something of that house of life which belongs to herself and to all hers. He would not desire that she should become
a profound anatomist; he would not care for her to enter on the subject of experimental and practical physiology; he would scarcely aspire that she should try to emulate Hippocrates in diagnosis, or Dioscorides in therapeutics. But with our modern knowledge in his possession he would, I venture to suggest, have begged of her to learn a few principles which would help her to understand the reasons for the necessity of her domestic cleanliness and wifely care. As he has gone before these desires could be current, I will, with much respect, take his place, and indicate what every woman who aspires to be a practical sanitarian ought to learn.
She should master physiology so far as to understand the general construction of the human body. She should know the nine great systems of the body: the digestive, the circulatory, the respiratory, the nervous, the sensory, the absorbent and glandular, the muscular, the osseous or bony, and the membranous. She should be led to comprehend the leading facts bearing on the anatomy and functions of these systems. She should understand what part food plays in the economy; the nature of the digestive ferments; the primary and secondary digestions; the method by which the digested aliment finds its way into the blood; and the specific purpose which is answered by and through the application of foods, proximate and elemental. She should be rendered fully conversant with the different changes of food that are required for the digestive process in different periods of life; the extent to which the digestive powers should be taxed in infancy, childhood, adolescence, maturity, first and second decline, and old age. She should be made aware what substances, taken as food, are of real and what of spurious quality. She should be taught the relationship which solid foods hold to fluid foods or drinks. She should be told what drinks are foods, and she should specially understand what are the particular foods required for the young during the periods of active growth. In illustration of the value of this last named information, it may be stated that if women only knew what foods were requisite to feed the skeleton or bony framework of the living body while that skeleton is in the course of growth, and if she would act upon her knowledge, as she almost certainly would if she possessed it, there would hardly be one deformed child left in the land in two or three generations. Rickets, with all its attendant miseries of bowed legs, crooked spines, and humped backs, would pass away as if by the spell of an invisible enchantress.
After the understanding of the digestive system, the woman should learn the principal facts relating to the circulation of the blood, the organs of the circulation, the heart, the arteries, the capillaries, the veins, and the blood itself. She should know completely the mechanical construction of the heart, its coverings, its cavities, its lining, its valves, and the uses of the parts. She should understand the work of the heart; how it rests when the body reclines; how easily its daily tonnage of work can be increased by perfectly unnecessary No. 611 (No. CXXXI. n. s.)