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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/337

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FEMALE EDUCATION.

in our cities. If boys need play, fresh air, games, muscular development, I have no hesitation in saying that girls need them all to the extent applicable to their constitution and strength still more. For boys will have them to some extent. If you don't give a boy a playground he will play on the street, which is better than no play. Now, the exigency of public opinion will not allow our young ladies to amuse themselves on the streets; and, if not, how are they to get the fresh air and muscular exercise that are absolutely necessary for their health and proper development? You can not starve a girl's life of these things without doing her harm, any more than you can with impunity keep her on a short allowance of food. A girls' school without a play-ground, a gymnasium, or public park near, I look on as a garden without sunshine, or a boat with one oar. It is deficient and one-sided; it is a machine for production without sufficient provision for the renovation of wear and tear. Mind can't grow except by growth of brain; brain can't grow but through good food, fresh air, work, and rest, in proper proportion. The blood will not renew itself properly in youth but by brisk circulation, and this can only be got by exercise in the fresh air. The muscles won't grow and harden but by having plenty of good blood and exercise. The fat, that most essential concomitant of female adolescence, won't form in the proper way, except the blood is rich. Fat is to the body what fun is to the mind, an indication of spare power that is boiling over and available for future use. I don't mean an excessive amount of fat; I mean that amount that gives roundness, plumpness, and beauty. This little estimated substance is, with form, the great source of female beauty. Without it, form can not make a perfect woman; without it, a young woman can not be said to be really in health; without it, the body generally has, in most instances, too little spare energy to resist and to recover from disease. Therefore, a proper amount of fat should, in its way, be as much looked to in a young woman as intellectual power or keen feeling. The right sort of fat, firm and smooth, gives the lines of beauty and the idea of softness and health to woman. But to the physiologist its great value and importance are as an index of good nutrition and a reserve of spare material, not needed for work just now, but called up in any illness. When anything is both a beauty and a strength, it should not be decried or spoken disrespectfully of. I knew a man not a lunatic who always said it was his highest ambition to be fat. Certainly there are many more foolish wishes for our growing adolescent girls than that they should all be fat. It is just because this seems to be incompatible with the work in some of our modern city high-class schools, that I think that work must be conducted to some extent on wrong principles.

I am no educationalist, and may be accused of speaking about what I am ignorant of, if I suggest that too many things are taught at the same time, and too little time is taken for the whole process.