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The Social Plague Spot


We are told that the festering gangrenous spot of adultery upon our social body is a necessity. It is no more such than all voluntary reckless living, as in murder, drunkenness, and theft. Still, sons and daughters, as precious and beloved as our own, are daily falling a prey to the fell disorder. To protect those outside the festering line of the deadly physical infection, a law is in force in many European coun tries, and urged as an essential in our own, requiring every public courtesan to be subjected every month to skilful medical inspection, and, if found diseased, to be placed at once under proper treatment.

Every experienced physician knows how many secret hiding-places syphilitic diseases find about the pelvic organs of both men and women. The urethra, the seminal ducts, the mucous folds of the vagina and rectum, the bladder and intra-uterine cavity, are not the least intricate of these hiding-places. For our private patients infected in their homes, we know that weeks and months are often requisite to discern and reach all these diseased surfaces. If one slight spot is overlooked, as is possible in the cavity of the body of the uterus, the drainage will soon extend the • irritation as it touches the adjacent surfaces, and they become as bad as ever. The prostitute requires just

as thorough care, or she is not safe. After the best care, if she returns to her old life, in two weeks she may be ready to dispense the horrible contagion, having taken it from her earliest visitant. There is no safety for her or for those who go after her, but that the adulteress be kept from contagion, as this is the only means by which she can be " kept well." It is not possible to do this unless every guest vis iting her be " inspected," and, if diseased, be put at once under medical care and restriction till cured (?). Justice and safety demand protection for one as much as the other, and should not common human ity prompt some security for her whose life is at best so pitiful? The most casual honest thinker can see at a glance how vain must be the attempt to "inspect" a tithe of the avenues open to spread infection. The line of protection drawn by the strongest legal enact ments will never have the power of a cobweb to prevent continuous and extensive inoculation to the body; and from the soul-blight, so much more bale ful and deadly, where is our protection?

diseased, body, care and protection