Concerning the communication quoted by Mr, Ellis,a in which it is stated that the girls of Japan, after their bath, would mingle freely with the men, holding out their hair as if for innocent admiration, until they were forced into greater privacy while bathing by the insults of those who misconstrued a harmless custom, I desire to say that in the Japan of today these matters are quite changed. When I was in Yokohama in 1902,1 found that, outside the houses of prostitution—to which latter, I solemnly aver, my personal experience did not extend—the girls were equally as modest and retiring in bathing, as well as in their other habits, as our own most fastidious damsels;" and I was credibly informed by a gentleman whose scruples did not prevent an occasional visit to even these chateaux a convert, that the behavior of the inmates, outside the bare act which constitutes their profession, and means of existence, was orderly and decent in the extreme; and that in hygiene and prophylaxis they are fully abreast of the times, tablets of potassium permanganate being passed around by the thoughtful young ladies immediately after the sexual congress.
An author who had much opportunity of noting the great beauty of Japanese women in their national dances, performed naked, points out that the Japanese seem to have " no aesthetic sense for the nude. "* At the Jubilee Exhibition at Kyoto was a naked figure representing the Greek Psyche, or Truth, and it seemed to be the first time the natives had been treated to the nude in art, for there was a great deal of giggling and blushing, and some by their gestures clearly showed their disapproval. He discovered that, while nakedness was in no way offensive to them in real life, it was not considered aesthetic to paint a woman naked; at a fountain in the middle of the same city, the very men and women who manifested this repugnance to the picture, standing naked together, while the water, supposed to possess medicinal virtue, ran over them.
The institutes of Lycurgus prescribed that at solemn feasts and sacrifices the young women of Sparta should dance and sing, naked, the young men forming a circle about them; and Aristotle remarks that in his time Spartan girls wore only a very slight garment. As described by Pausanias, and as evidenced by certain statues in the Vatican, the ordinary tunic of the female, when running, left entirely bare the right shoulder and breast, reaching only to the upper third of the thigh.1 The Lydians considered it a disgrace for a man to be seen naked,1 but in both the Olympic games and the wrestling matches of Sparta, and in Asia, the contestants appeared entirely naked, with the exception of the girdle.1
Among the Tyrrhenians, Timseus relates that the female servants waited upon the men completely naked; and Theopompus, in the forty-third book of bis " History," states that " it was a law among that people that all their women should be in common."- The latter practised gymnastics among the men quite naked; and so indifferently was the sexual relation regarded that, if a visitor asked for the master of the house, he was quite frequently informed, and without any attempt to refine the information, that he was in the bed-room enjoying himself with his wife.
The influence of the naked female form in stimulating the sexual appetite has been frequently made use of. Tiberius, when he supped with Sestius Gallus, a worn-out old reprobate, was waited upon by a beautiful naked girl. David fell in love with Bathsheba from seeing her naked; as did Apelles with Campaspe, while painting her; and Leonicus states that at set banquets among the Romans naked women frequently waited at the tables.* Both Nero and Heliogabalus filled their chambers with nude and lascivious pictures, etiam coram agentes, tit ad venerem incitarenl, and too many young men of the present day adopt the same practice as an aid in secret masturbation.
Christianity, at its introduction among both Greeks and Romans, appears to have profoundly affected the sexual as well as religious habits of the two peoples; instituting both masculine virtue and feminine modesty, at least publicly, where before the greatest and coarsest indecency prevailed. Tertullian well portrays the position which the Church of those days assumed in the matter when, in his treatises, "De Pudicitia" and * De Culta Feminarum," he remarks—"salvation—and not of women only but likewise of men—consists in the exhibition principally of modesty. Since we are all the temple of God, modesty is the sacristan and priestess of that temple, who is to suffer nothing unclean or profane to enter it, for fear that the God who inhabits it should be offended."
The private vices which followed the outward enforcement of these strict rules of continence, as I have before remarked, while flagrant and wide-spread, were the result rather of natural causes, due to the application of arbitrary laws to what is really a natural instinct, than to any laxity in their enforcement; and only proved, what has been proven hundreds of times since, that men and women cannot be legislated into virtue and morality.
The Church can only succeed which attacks motives, rather than men. The creeds of Anaxagoras and Epicurus, and Zeno and Spinoza, were magnificent; but they have perished from the earth. Why? Because they dealt with laws and men, rather than with lives and motives. What is the secret of the success of Moody and Spurgeon, and Savonarola and General Booth? Personal magnetism, says one; popular ignorance and superstition, says another. It is neither. They were simply social reformers along primitively religious lines. They attacked the very basis of society, and carried, therefore, the Master's signet of authority graven on their palms. With them, churches, systems, institutions, were nothing, the man everything. It was the great spiritual lever with which Paul overturned all the polished intellectuality of Greece and Rome, and which is embodied in the Sermon on the Mount. Men know they are bad—most of them desire to be better; and, with an inborn consciousness of this primal fact, any motive of reform addressed to that consciousness cannot be long destitute of results.