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"round dances," especially of the waltz. In addition to the associated
dissipation, late hours, fashionable dressing, midnight feasting,
exposures through excessive exertions and improper dress, etc., it can
be shown most clearly that dancing has a direct influence in stimulating
the passions and provoking unchaste desires, which too often lead to
unchaste acts, and are in themselves violations of the requirements
of strict morality, and productive of injury to both mind and body.
Said the renowned Petrarch, "The dance is the spur of lust--a circle
of which the devil himself is the center. Many women that use it have
come dishonest home, most indifferent, none better."
We cannot do better than to quote on this subject from a little work
entitled, "The Dance of Death," the author of which has given a great
amount of attention to this subject, and presents its evils in a very
forcible light, as follows:--
"A score of forms whirl swiftly before us under the softened gaslight.
I say a score of _forms_--but each is double--they would have made two
score before the dancing began. Twenty floating visions--each male and
female. Twenty women, knit and growing to as many men, undulate, sway,
and swirl giddily before us, keeping time with the delirious melody
of piano, harp, and violin.
"But draw nearer--let us see how this miracle is accomplished. Do you
mark yonder couple who seem to excel the rest in grace and ardor. Let
us take this couple for a sample. He is stalwart, agile, mighty; she
is tall, supple, lithe, and how beautiful in form and feature! Her head
rests upon his shoulder, her face is upturned to his; her naked arm
is almost around his neck; her swelling breast heaves tumultuously
against his; face to face they whirl, his limbs interwoven with her
limbs; with strong right arm about her yielding waist, he presses her
to him till every curve in the contour of her lovely body thrills with
the amorous contact. Her eyes look into his, but she sees nothing; the
soft music fills the room, but she hears nothing; swiftly he whirls
her from the floor or bends her frail body to and fro in his embrace.
"With a last, low wail the music ceases. Her swooning senses come back
to life. Ah, must it be! Yes; her companion releases her from his embrace.
Leaning wearily upon his arm, the rapture faded from her eye, the flush
dying from her cheek--enervated, limp, listless, worn out--she is led
to a seat, there to recover from her delirium and gather her energies
as best she may in the space of five minutes, after which she must yield
her body to a new embrace."
"And now tell me, friend of mine, did you not recognize an old
acquaintance in the lady we have been watching so closely? No! Then
believe me; she is no other than the 'pure and lovely girl' you so much
admired earlier in the evening, the so desirable wife, the angel who
was to 'haunt your dreams.'"
The author just quoted publishes in his little work a letter from a
woman of great ability and strength of mind, of unblemished character
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