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The "hired girl" is often an equally efficient agent for evil in the
instruction of little girls in this debasing vice. Some time ago, the
very intelligent parents of a bright family of children were awakened
to the importance of this subject from the perusal of the first edition
of this work, and upon investigation were horrified to find that their
oldest child a promising daughter of ten, was already a victim to the
vile practice, having been initiated by a "hired girl." After using
in vain every means he could bring to bear upon the case, the father
brought her to us, and with tears in his eyes gave his story. After
telling of his unsuccessful attempts to effect a reform, he declared
that he would far prefer to place his daughter in the grave than to
see her grow up a wretched victim of this vice. We were most happy to
be able, after a few weeks' treatment, to restore her to her parents,
as we hope, permanently reformed. Not a few such cases are constantly
coming to the attention of the medical profession.
The Instructor in Vice.--Are these lines perused by any one who has
ever taught another this vice so vile, and so certainly followed by
penalties so terrible--penalties not upon the instigator but upon the
hapless victim? let such a person clothe himself in sackcloth and ashes,
and do penance for the remainder of his life. The only way in which
he can hope to atone even in some small degree for such a heinous crime,
is by doing all in his power to warn those in danger against this sin.
When all men receive their just deserts, what will be the punishment
of such a one who has not, by thorough repentance and a life spent in
trying to undo the work of ruin so foully wrought, in some measure
disburdened himself of the consequences of his act!
Sending children very early to bed before they are weary, "to get them
out of the way," or for punishment, is a grave error, as this may give
rise to the vice. Confining children alone in a room by themselves is
an equally reprehensible practice, as it favors the commission of the
act, at least, and may afford a favorable opportunity for its discovery.
Allowing children to form a habit of seeking solitude is an evil of
the same nature.
Local Disease.--In the male, a tight or long foreskin is a frequent
cause of the habit. The constant contact of the prepuce with the most
sensitive part of the organ increases its sensibility. The secretion
is retained, and accumulates, often becoming hardened. In this manner
irritation is set up, which occasions uncomfortable feelings, and
attracts the hands to the part. Owing to the great degree of excitement
due to irritation, but a slight provocation is necessary to arouse
voluptuous sensations, and then the terrible secret is revealed. The
child readily discovers how to reproduce the same, and is not slow to
commit a frequent repetition of the act; and thus the habit is formed.
An Illustrative Case.--A case in which the vice originated in this
manner was recently under our observation. The patient was a man of
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