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uneducated. Uuluckily, however, the average woman, and it is she with whom we are concerned, is not of the first order but of the second. For every woman there is of the first order there are, in all countries alike, many, many women of the second. Thus, from the national standpoint, it is a more serious matter that women of the second order should have their heads turned than women of the first. And that many women of the second order have had their heads a little turned, since female suffrage came into force, almost every common-sense Finnish man, I know, and most of the common-sense Finnish women, stoutly maintain.

According to these men and women-some of them live in towns, others in the country, and they belong to the most diverse categories-since female suffrage came into force a fairly large section of town-dwelling Finnish women have lost considerably in what one might, perhaps, call'sweet reasonableness.' They are now so keenly alive to their own rights that they are apt to forget that other folk have rights, and that they themselves have duties. They have lost in balance, too : politics are for them now the be-all and end-all of life; they have not a thought in their heads for any other subject, excepting perhaps feminism. They seem never quite happy unless at a public meeting, listening to political discourses, or, better still, delivering them. No political question is too complex for them to deal with in their present frame of mind; they will produce at a moment's notice solutions for problems which have baffled statesmen for years; and will start off on lecturing-tours at the slightest provocation. They are much more eager to be out in the world than in their own houses; home-life, indeed, has lost all attraction for them. They would rather work the whole day in an office than spend a couple of hours setting their own houses in order. Some of them go so far as to hold that it better befits them, as full-blown citizens, to issue railway tickets, or sort letters, than to tend their own babies. Babies, indeed, are rather at a discount among them in this our day. The opinion is gaining ground rapidly that, when once they are born, it is for the State to look after them, not their own mothers. And this is not due to any burden-shirking propensities on the part of these mothers; for the very women who clamour most to be relieved of the burden of child-tending and housekeeping, are most eager to bear other burdens, especially other folk's burdens. There is no outside work they will not do and for starvation wages-nay, for no wages at all-even though they themselves be half-starved. They are practically never at rest : early and late they are on the go, to the detriment, of course, of their nerves, and through them of their health, and much besides.

Now, rightly or wrongly, they who talk in this strain hold that the change which has undoubtedly come over many Finnish women, since they have had votes, is due chiefly, although, of course, not solely, to their having votes. They hold, too, that the change is a change for the worse all round, one fraught with danger to the whole community. And they point to recent Finnish statistics as proof that, in speaking thus, they are speaking advisedly.

Madness is increasing everywhere, but nowhere quite so rapidly as in Finland, it seems. Local authorities there are at their wits' end; for, let them build as they may, they have always more lunatics to house than they can house. In 1905 only twentyfour women committed suicide in Finland ; in 1908, the last year for which reports are issued, the number was fifty-one, an increase of 112 per cent. in three years. In those same years the increase among men was only 27 per cent. On the 1st of January 1905, there were 363 women in the Finnish prisons; on the same day in 1908 there were 505, an increase of 39 per cent. In 1906, 1178 women were condemned in the first instance; in 1908, 1698, a'n increase of 44 per cent. in two years. In this case the increase was, significantly enough, confined in a great measure to towns.

These statistics, it must be admitted, are none too cheerful reading : even ardent suffragists must find in them surely cause for heart-searching, and ardent patriots cause for anxiety. Still, whether they in themselves are, as these Finnish informers of mine hold, proof that female suffrage is working woe, not weal, in the land, it is not for me to say. I may, however, venture to relate two little personal experiences I had while in Finland, as they have a certain bearing on this point, it seems to me.

I paid a visit one day to a Poor-law official, who was responsible for the relief of the destitute in a huge district, and I had not been with him five minutes before he exclaimed : Oh, if only our ladies here would give a little less thought to politics, and a little more thought to the poor!'

He was feeling depressed, and I did not wonder; for he had set his heart on bringing about a great reform in Poor-law administration, and every newspaper in the country was telling him roundly that his new system, the Elberfeld, would not do at all for Finland, as he would never find helpers enough there to work it. Women with votes have more important business on hand, it seems, than looking after the poor. There are fourteen of them in the Finnish Diet, but only one on the Helsingfors Poor Board.

Another day I met a Finnish lady, who straightway began to lavish on me much warm sympathy. She was very sorry for me, more sorry than she could say, she assured me; and when, after waiting in vain for her to tell me, I ventured to ask why, she looked at me in amazement.

* Because of the painful position you are in, subject as you are to such cruel oppression,' she replied.

I had not an idea in my head as to what she was driving at, but when I said so she seemed incredulous.

* You must know that you English women are sorely oppressed,' she remarked rather tartly.

Oppressed by whom?' I inquired, not, as she seemed to think, through sheer perversity, but because I really did not know.

'By men, of course,' she retorted indignantly.

I tried to explain that I did not think English women were oppressed, and that I was quite sure I myself was not oppressed; whereupon she waxed wrathful, and took to rating me soundly. Of course we were all oppressed, she declared; and it was sheer folly, nay worse, on my part to try to conceal the fact. She had, she said, just been reading a terrible account-blood-curdling it must have been from the tone in which she spoke-of what English women have to endure at the hands of men; and she believed it every word. And she believes it still, no doubt, in spite of all my protestations, to which, indeed, nothing would induce her even to listen.

It would, of course, be grossly unfair to regard this lady as a typical Finnish lady of the new régime. Still, the same odd lack of sweet reasonableness which marks her, marks also a fair number of her kind, in this our day. And it was not thus ten years ago.

EDITH SELLERS.

THE PREVALENCE OF DENTAL CARIES IN MODERN CIVILISED COMMUNITIES

THERE is no doubt at all that decay of the teeth is far more prevalent in England to-day than it was a hundred and fifty years ago, also in the United States of America and in all British Colonies. In varying degrees continental nations tell the same tale. Furthermore, it is an undoubted and indisputable fact that this disease tends to encourage sequelæ in the form of gastric intestinal disorders. By diminishing the power of mastication it lessens the possibility of healthy nutrition. It not only shortens the life, while lessening the usefulness of the individual, but it strikes at the root of national prosperity by decreasing the power of reproduction of the species. Lastly, there is no doubt that this already prevalent disease is increasing daily, and while it has already advanced sufficiently to constitute a grave danger to public health, it promises at no far-off date to multiply its evils to such an extent that, if allowed to proceed unchecked, its ultimate consequences may prove disastrous to the well-being of civilised man.

These facts are all recognised in those branches of surgery and medicine which are brought into immediate contact with the problem, but the person whom they will ultimately affect is ‘the man in the street,' and therefore it appears to me that no time should be lost in laying the facts of the case before him. It is for this reason I am seeking publication in a lay periodical rather than in the pages of a professional journal.

The problem of the prevention of dental caries will be more than half solved when we have discovered the circumstances which favour its existence. With this object I have for some time been engaged in examining skulls of various races and periods (both at the Museum of the College of Surgeons and at the Natural History Museum), with a view to discover the degree to which various peoples have been subject to the disease, and then, by examining their environment and habits, to deduce the predisposing causes of caries, the avoidance of which may lead to the prevention of the disease.

Thirty years ago W. Jennings Milles and myself, at the International Medical Congress of 1881, suggested for the first time that dental caries was not (as was then the almost universally accepted theory) a simple chemical change, but that it was due to the activity of an invading army of micro-organisms. We showed the various forms of cocci and bacilli in the dentinal tubes. We showed that the annihilation of the micro-organisms arrested the process. We cultivated the special varieties in Agar-agar, and exposed dental tissues to their activity, and so produced artificial caries. The theory, notwithstanding the unanimous opposition of American and German authorities, received prompt support from the Tomes, father and son, and was soon accepted in England. Professor Koch, who visited our laboratory specially to see the specimens, said he was convinced we were right, and carried the theory back to Berlin, where it was enthusiastically received by his young American disciple, afterwards Professor Miller. The latter investigator worked out the subject in every detail, and it is now the established theory, and received throughout the scientific world.

This résumé of the establishment of the present accepted pathology of dental caries appeared to me a necessary preamble to a full discussion of the prevention of the disease.

If the disease be due to an invasion, there are obviously two elements essential to any scheme of prevention : (1) The limitation of the activity of the invading force, and (2) the strengthening of the natural defences.

Under the first head may be included considerations of cleanliness and uncleanliness of the individual to be protected, and all the precautions that a human being can take during his or her lifetime to frustrate the pernicious activity of these microorganisms.

It must be taken for granted that the enemy will be always at our gates; nothing we can do can materially affect the numbers or the vigour of the micro-organic army; the rapidity of their proliferation is such that the idea of rendering such a cavity as the mouth surgically aseptic for more than a few minutes could only occur to the untrained mind of a vendor of a patent mouth-wash and his equally uninformed clientèle. The only thing possible in this direction is, by the adoption of certain precautions, to limit their access to the dental tissues.

The presence of decaying food in the interstices between the teeth, or in the pits or crannies of their surfaces, for any length of time, affords the micro-organisms an opportunity, by the production of acids, to roughen and eventually destroy the surface of enamel, the integrity of which is essential to the safety of the tooth ; therefore the cleansing of those parts after every meal is

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