mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
(Who was, by the way, a suffragist, and one of the founders of the first women's professional club in America.)


I HAVE never, in any temperance discussion, written or spoken, heard or seen any mention of this class of inebriates; and yet the drunkards on tea are just as surely sapping the foundations of life, as the devourers of whiskey or gin. That women only, or mostly, are the victims, does not lessen the importance of my statement. I say mostly, for I have in my recollection at least two literary men of note, who primed themselves on strong green tea, without sugar or milk, for any literary effort, when overtasked nature flagged. One of them became in consequence subject to distressing fits, and has since deceased.

But it is the women who practise this form of inebriation of whom I would now speak. The working-girls, the sempstresses, the tenders in shops, who, being able to pay but slender price for board, get badly-cooked, poor food, and, in consequence, often three times a day, call for the fatal "cup of tea," which, for the moment, "sets them up," as they call it, and enables them to shoulder again the load they have dropped, till another fit of exhaustion overtakes them, worse than the preceding, to be followed by a repetition of the same pro-tem. remedy. Then follow indigestion, headaches, sleepless nights, and the usual long train of miseries, which any physician who has ever been called upon to prescribe for these overworked, underfed unfortunates, will immediately endorse. Tea to the working-girl, taken in this way, is like the "corner-grocery-drink" to the working-man, and just as deadly in its results as if it sent her reeling through the streets, as rum does him; although she neither sees, knows, nor would admit it, any more than he would. Sometimes, when you speak to them about it, they reply, "But I must have something to keep me up; I have no appetite for food; I am so tired all the time, and tea makes me feel so good."

The old plea of the drunkard the world over. Look at these weary women, with dark circles about their eyes, nervous almost to insanity, ready to "cry" at the slightest notice, the blue veins on their temples looking as if they were painted outside the skin. Look at their long, thin, sick-looking fingers, and their slow, weary steps, from which all the spring and elasticity of youth has long since departed. See them swallowing "pills" by the dozen, and trying every quack medicine afloat, instead of resisting the enemy which has done all or two-thirds the mischief.

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mme_hardy

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