The Health Reformer



January 1, 1874

Fashion! Feebleness! Death!


While journeying in a Western State, some things came under my observation which led to serious reflections in regard to the causes of so much sickness and suffering everywhere existing at the present time. The questions are often raised, “Why do the youth become invalids so young?” and, “Why do many die prematurely?” These questions I find answered as I journey in winter, and have an opportunity to observe more fully the habits and customs of the people who are in direct violation of the laws of life and health. HR January 1, 1874, Art. A, par. 1

While we were waiting at a railroad station, we had an opportunity to read the character and habits of those who were, like ourselves, waiting for the cars. We observe a young lady who looked faded and feeble. Bright red spots were upon her cheeks which at first sight appeared like the hectic flush indicating the advanced stage of consumption. She had a very aggravating cough. I entered into conversation with her in regard to the condition of her health. She told me she was not very sick, but was suffering from general debility. By closer observation, I saw that the bright spots upon her cheeks were not what I had supposed them to be. They were irritations of the skin, caused by the use of cosmetics. The entire skin of the face had lost its healthy, velvety smoothness, and showed an unnatural, disagreeable roughness. In the appearance of her face, thus marred by poisonous substances, and in the bright glow upon either cheek, giving such an unnatural appearance, we could trace causes for her ill health. Here was one of fashion's slaves who had sacrificed health and natural beauty in using poisonous preparations which had been taken up by the pores of the skin and diffused through the system. HR January 1, 1874, Art. A, par. 2

Our attention was next called to a little girl about ten years of age. It was one of the bitterest days of winter, and yet this little girl's limbs were naked for full half a yard, with the exception of flannel stockings. The upper portions of the body were abundantly clothed. She had a warm dress, a nice waterproof cloak and cape lined with flannel, a fur tippet over the cloak, and a muff for her hands. Her dress gave evidence of a tender, thoughtful mother's care, except the neglected limbs, that portion of the body of all the rest which needed the extra coverings because they were so far from the heart. This delicate, bright-eyed child was suffering with severe cold and cough. It was difficult for her to breathe because of catarrhal affection. HR January 1, 1874, Art. A, par. 3

Robust boys with coats and overcoats, and warmly lined pants protecting their limbs, were shivering with the cold and hovering about the only stove accessible; but the limbs of the delicate little girl were dressed after the most approved fashion, and hence exposed to the chill air of a January day. Her almost naked limbs could not but be chilled while bathed in a current of freezing cold air. HR January 1, 1874, Art. A, par. 4

The dress of this delicately organized child must be prescribed by fashion. She could not have the privilege of dressing comfortably like the robust boys. HR January 1, 1874, Art. A, par. 5

Health and life must be sacrificed to the goddess, fashion. The heart was laboring to do its work in propelling the blood to the extremities, while the fashionable mother, in exposing the lower extremities, was working against nature, in chilling back the life current, and thus breaking up the circulation and robbing the limbs of their proportion of blood. Over the vital organs, where there is naturally more warmth than in other portions of the body, there were no less than eight coverings. If some of these had covered her limbs to induce blood to the extremities, she would have been more sensibly clad. HR January 1, 1874, Art. A, par. 6

The many coverings worn over the heart, where is the greatest amount of natural heat, while the limbs are nearly naked, calls the blood from the extremities. The limbs being robbed of their due proportion of blood become habitually cold, while there is too much blood in other portions of the body. The vital organs are burdened with blood, while the unprotected limbs have not a sufficiency. HR January 1, 1874, Art. A, par. 7

I could not but look forward in imagination a few months, or years at most, when the little busy hands and feet would be still, and the little form clad in its burial shroud, while a mourning household, bereaved and afflicted, were almost murmuring at the providence of God which had robbed them of their darling treasure. HR January 1, 1874, Art. A, par. 8

The people, in their pride and ignorance, give God the credit of mysterious dealings in robbing parents of their precious jewels. If the facts were known, it would be seen that in dressing their children to keep pace with fashion, the life forces were weakened, and disease and death were the result. Most diseases have their origin in an unequal distribution of the blood. Parents who dress their children in a manner to expose their limbs to cold and chilliness, imperil their lives. HR January 1, 1874, Art. A, par. 9

The feet and limbs that are not sufficiently protected from cold by a proper amount of clothing, cannot have a proportionate amount of blood. The slender limbs of many children show that the blood has not nourished and vitalized them as the Creator designed it should; therefore the limbs are not naturally developed, being nearly fleshless. HR January 1, 1874, Art. A, par. 10

Chill back the current of blood from the extremities, and other portions of the body will be congested, while the extremities will be cold, feeble, and small. When too much blood is thrown upon the vital organs, the heart is overworked at every beat, in freeing itself from the blood carried to it. The heart labors to throw the life current to the extremities. And if the blood is hindered, because of insufficient clothing, from flowing freely to the limbs, double labor is thrown upon the heart. This organ becomes feeble, and there follow palpitation, pain in the heart, and general breaking down, and death. HR January 1, 1874, Art. A, par. 11