But the woman's apparel not only goes beyond that of the modern man in the degree in which it argues exemption from labor; it also adds a peculiar and highly characteristic feature which differs in kind from anything habitually practiced by the men. This feature is the class of contrivances of which the corset is the typical example.
"To-morrow we will see what we must do." She went back to her own bed, ripped open the corset, and read Brigaut's two letters, which confounded her. She went to sleep in the greatest perplexity, not imagining the terrible results to which her conduct was to lead. The letters sent by Brigaut to old Madame Lorrain reached her in a moment of ineffable joy, which the perusal of them troubled.
Woman likes to look like a wasp, and if she could she would move her poor system all out of place for the sake of a waist hideously small. But, providentially, a waist squeezed too mercilessly gives a bright pink tip to the end of the nose; and for the sake of the color of that nose-tip the poor waist gets a rest the corset is let out.
And Grandma's up to Billy Evans' trying to keep him from going crazy or I could have borrowed one of hers. So I 'phoned Central to see if she couldn't hunt up somebody to bring me that new corset from Jessup's. Well, who does she get hold of but Denny, just as he's going past with a telegram for Jocelyn Brownlee.
Keep the front locks on pins all night, and let them tickle his eyes all day, pinch his waist into a corset, and give him gloves a size too small, and shoes the same, and a hat that will not stay on without torturing elastic, and a little lace veil to blind his eyes whenever he goes out to walk, and he will know what a woman's dress is." Now you think you have done it, don't you sis?
He confronted me for a moment, white and menacing; then suddenly he stepped aside. "Help her then," said he. I threw myself on my knees beside her, and loosened, as well as I was able, her dress and corset; but while I was thus engaged, a grasp descended on my shoulder. "Keep your hands of her," said Northmour fiercely. "Do you think I have no blood in my veins?"
She will not wear mops at the bottom of her dress to sweep up the filth of the earth. She will not wear shoes that injure her as the heathen do. She will not put her body in the vice of a corset, displacing the organs of her body, unfitting her to be a mother, causing more than half the surgical operations in the hospitals. She will then discuss character more than fashion.
Those who have studied the work of such writers as Westermarck, and who cannot but agree that on the whole he is right in the contention that each sex desires to accentuate the features of its sex, will be prepared to accept Dr. Havelock Ellis's interpretation of the corset. By constricting the waist it accentuates the salience of the bosom and hips.
The phrase was even taken up by the paragraph writer, called forth excited letters from similarly situated victims, was commented on in humorous editorials and served as a text for pulpit denunciations of the growing craze for wealth; and finally, at his dentist's, Ralph came across it in a Family Weekly, as one of the "Heart problems" propounded to subscribers, with a Gramophone, a Straight-front Corset and a Vanity-box among the prizes offered for its solution.
To this corset may be fixed two or three bands of silver coins. Her armlets of brass or silver extend as far up as her elbow. As many rings as she possesses are on her fingers, and she wears necklaces of small beads, worked in very beautiful patterns, and finished off with a tassel of beads, or else a large number of big silver or brass buttons strung together round her neck.