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OMEN are now young longer than they are beautiful. This book is designed to teach them how to be beautiful longer than they are young. Is it worth while to do this? Let us look in history for a reply.
The most intellectual woman at the court of the First Consul was Madame de Staël; the most beautiful was Madame Récamier. Madame de Staël was not pretty, and her talents brought her fame rather than love. Madame Récamier, though with some claims to be a bel esprit, gained no distinction by her learning, but brought every one to her feet by her beauty. The two were not rivals, and therefore they were friends. Each saw the other's power, and we have it on record that Madame de Staël said more than once that she would gladly exchange her intellectual superiority for the beauty of Madame Récamier.
Does it need this anecdote to vindicate the power of personal charms, "the proud strength of beauty," as an old writer fitly expresses it? We could relate a hundred others to the same effect. There is Coleridge, the most brilliant talker of this century, who somewhere complains with comical chagrin how often, as in some ball-room he held a circle of listeners spellbound by his wondrous discourse, he had seen his hearers slip away one by one when the belle of the evening appeared. It was so in all times. Phryne, the most beautiful woman of Athens in the days of Phidias and Praxiteles, had a cause of importance to try before the court. Lest her peerless charms should deflect the scales of justice, she was ordered to appear veiled. But when she found the judges were about to pronounce against her, she threw aside her drapery, and so biased their minds by the sight of her beauty that straightway they decided in her favor.
Would Judith, think you, have saved her country and won a fame imperishable, had she not been as comely a Jewish maiden as ever crushed with white feet the purple grapes of Olivet?
This is true that the poet sings—
"Plus oblige, et peut davantage,
Un beau visage,
Qu'un homme armé.”
As nothing is more powerful, so few things are more noble than personal beauty. It is a shallow