and those of others to frank analysis. She came to the conclusion that the sentiment of physical modesty was one arising from a sense of one's own imperfection; that if one could be quite conscious of perfect proportion and beauty, there would cease to be any motive or impulse to conceal the body and limbs. Perhaps it is as well that misgivings on this point are pretty universal; but, seeing that it is fixed by an utterly arbitrary rule what portions of the body may be displayed and what may be concealed, it may be permitted to enter a protest against the tyranny which forbids one young lady to show her ankles because another one finds it expedient to conceal hers.
One longs for redemption from the barbarities of feminine fashions. One sighs to exchange the long, wasp-like waists and tight-lacing for the simple, easy gowns of our grandmothers, to replace the girdle where the Grecian zone was bound, just clear of the ribs. But one has an uneasy foreboding that the simplicity of classical toilets might be interfered with by the diabolical devices of milliners. At the close of last century, before small waists came, in the inscrutable movement of the female mind, to be counted a beauty, there was an atrocious fashion of wearing pads below the girdle, so that the drapery should fall in unbroken sweep from the bosom to the ground. Many were the shafts aimed by ribald writers against this extraordinary device; many the unjust imputations to which it gave rise:
This sham swelling garb to put on:
For how, with these false bills of lading,
It passed away, and the last ninety years have seen the beginning and end of many other modes more unsightly and not less absurd. Is it hoping too much that, seeing how fast the fashions fly, all the ludicrous, hideous, and hurtful ones will, in the fullness of time, have been discarded, and a return be made to the only faultless model the world has ever seen?—Abridged from an article entitled Clothes in Blackwood's Magazine.