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That the phenomena described in minute detail by Obici and Marchesini
closely resemble the phenomena as they exist in English girls' schools is
indicated by the following communication, for which I am indebted to a
lady who is familiar with an English girls' college of very modern type:--
"From inquiries made in various quarters and through personal observation
and experience I have come to the conclusion that the romantic and
emotional attachments formed by girls for their female friends and
companions, attachments which take a great hold of their minds for the
time being, are far commoner than is generally supposed among English
girls, more especially at school or college, or wherever a number of girls
or young women live together in one institution, and are much secluded.
"As far as I have been able to find out, these attachments--which have
their own local names, e.g., 'raves,' 'spoons,' etc.--are comparatively
rare in the smaller private schools, and totally absent among girls of the
poorer class attending Board and National schools, perhaps because they
mix more freely with the opposite sex.
"I can say from personal experience that in one of the largest and best
English colleges, where I spent some years, 'raving' is especially common
in spite of arrangements which one would have thought would have abolished
most unhealthy feelings. The arrangements there are very similar to a
large boys' college. There are numerous boarding-houses, which have, on an
average, forty to fifty students. Each house is under the management of a
well-educated house-mistress assisted by house-governesses (quite separate
from college-teachers). Each house has a large garden with tennis-courts,
etc.; and cricket, hockey, and other games are carried on to a large
extent, games being not only much encouraged, but much enjoyed. Each girl
has a separate cubicle, or bedroom, and no junior (under 17 years of age)
is allowed to enter the cubicle, or bedroom, of another without asking
permission, or to go to the bedrooms during the day. In fact, everything
is done to discourage any morbid feelings. But all the same, as far as my
experience goes, the friendships there seem more violent and more
emotional than in most places, and sex subjects form one of the chief
topics of conversation.
"In such large schools and colleges these 'raves' are not only numerous,
but seem to be perennial among the girls of all ages, from 13 years
upward. Girls under that age may be fond of some other student or teacher,
but in quite a different way. These 'raves' are not mere friendships in
the ordinary sense of the word, nor are they incompatible with ordinary
friendships. A girl with a 'rave' often has several intimate friends for
whom affection is felt without the emotional feelings and pleasurable
excitement which characterize a 'rave.'
"From what I have been told by those who have experienced these 'raves'
and have since been in love with men, the emotions called forth in both
cases were similar, although in the case of the 'rave' this fact was not
recognized at the time. This appears to point to a sexual basis, but, on
the other hand, there are many cases where the feeling seems to be more
spiritual, a sort of uplifting of the whole soul with an intense desire to
lead a very good life--the feeling being one of reverence more than
anything else for the loved one, with no desire to become too intimate and
no desire for physical contact.
"'Raves,' as a rule, begin quite suddenly. They may be mutual or all on
one side. In the case of school-girls the mutual 'rave' is generally found
between two companions, or the girls may have a 'rave' for one of their
teachers or some grown-up acquaintance, who does not necessarily enter
into the school-life. In this case there may or may not be a feeling of
affection for the girl by her 'rave,' though minus all the emotional
"Occasionally a senior student will have a 'rave' on a little girl, but
these cases are rare and not very active in their symptoms, girls over 18
having fewer 'raves' and generally condemning them.
"In the large school already referred to, of which I have personal
knowledge, 'raving' was very general, hardly anyone being free from it.
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