Stays, if rightly used and shaped, undoubtedly do good, it is only misuse and faulty design that is injurious. I hold that most of the corsets at present on the market are quite wrong in design, and do not allow the free expansion of the lungs, nor do they do much to improve the graceful contour of the figure. They are, in fact, instruments of torture, not aids to beauty. But is it fair to condemn altogether the use of this article of attire because some patterns are badly designed? Is it right that we should forego the advantages of binding because some stays press on the wrong place?
As to the aesthetic effect of the corsets such as I advocate, all I have to say is that I have always worn them. I have lived in the public eye for many years, I have visited every nation,and dwelt under every sky, so in your hands, gentle sisters, do I leave the verdict.
Another foolish affectation there is in young virgins, though grown big enough to be wiser, but that they are led blindfold by custom to a fashion pernicious beyond imagination; who thinking a slender waist a great beauty, strive all that they possibly can by straight-lacing themselves to attain unto a wand-like smallness of waist, never thinking themselves fine enough until they can span their waist. By which deadly artifice they reduce their breasts into such straights that they soon purchase stinking breath; and while they ignorantly affect an angust or narrow breast, and to that end by strong compulsion shut up their waists in a whale-bone prison, or little-ease; they open a door to consumptions, and a withering rottenness.