Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/161

This page has been validated.

sition movement that bids fair to abate the grievance in the course of another generation or two, having already exploded the chief outrages on hygienic and artistic common-sense—corsets and the crinoline. Mrs. Abba G. Woolson's "Dress Reform" should be the sartorial textbook of every girl's mother.

The Turks and Hollanders, though differing so widely in their general mode of life, agree in preferring warm clothes to heated rooms, and when the in-door atmosphere can be made tolerable only by air-tight window-sashes and glowing stoves, it is a curious question whether a warmer dress would not, on the whole, be the lesser evil. It would save fuel, sick-headaches, and constipation, and by adding or removing an extra blouse, à la Normandie, the several occupants of a moderately warmed room might exactly adapt the temperature to their individual feelings. A German author, who admits hardly any excuse for excluding the fresh air from a sitting-room, proposes an ingenious remedy for cold hands—the only cogent objection to an open study-window: a box writing-desk, namely, with a double lid, the writing-board resting on top of a box full of hot sand, that can be warmed in a common baking-pan and warranted to retain its heat for five or six hours. A cold garret library was Goethe's favorite refuge from sick-headaches; and the Chevalier Edelkranz reminds his fur-loving countrymen that, when the difference of temperature between the external air and that within-doors is inconsiderable, it would be useful to "put on an extra coat on returning home, instead of doing it when going out, since the exercise in the open air produces the necessary degree of warmth, which, in the chamber, in a sedentary state, can only be supplied by additional clothing."

In our climate, however, there are days when a child of the Caucasian race has urgent need of all the overcoats his shoulders can support, and the natives of northern Michigan have taught their Saxon neighbors some useful lessons in the art of surviving a Lake Superior snow-storm. Experience has made them eschew our common headgear; they wear "Mackinaw hoods," a sort of monk's cowl, buttoned to the mantle-collar and covering every part of the face but the eyes and a small space between the mouth and the nostrils; double woolen mittens, reaching half-way up to the elbow; baggy trousers, fastened around the ankle, and shoes that admit three or four pairs of worsted stockings. Their particular care seems to be to protect the neck, hands, and feet; and it might, indeed, be accepted as a general rule that the parts of the body farthest from the heart are most liable to suffer from the effects of a low temperature. All extremities—toes, fingers, nose, and ears—are especially apt to get frost-bitten, but marching against a cold wind also produces a peculiarly uncomfortable sensation about the neck, and I can not help thinking that there is something wrong about our fashion of cropping our boys like criminals. A good head of hair may be something more than an ornamental