“Locked in a Box”

This story is about Lady Mary Wortley Montague, who is not Victorian, but she is pretty amazing.

“In 1741, while living in Sophia, Turkey [her husband was England’s ambassador to Turkey], she found herself enchanted by the goings-on in a women’s bath, and afterwards wrote to a friend, ‘One of the highest entertainments in Turkey is having you to their baths. When I was introduced to one, the lady of the house came to undress me, which is another high compliment that they pay to strangers.

‘”After she had slipped off my gown and saw my [corset] stays, she was very much struck at the sight of them and cried out to the other ladies in the bath, “Come hither and see how cruelly the poor English ladies are used by their husbands. You boast of the superior liberties allowed you when they lock you up thus in a box!“‘”

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