Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/401

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THE paramount importance of retaining human beauty is a fact requiring so little demonstration as to simulate a fundamental truth. All historical records bear witness to this verity. Popular interest seems extraordinarily awakened in this direction of late years, and in particular the daily press teems with observations on the subject. Much of it, however, is misleading and liable to bring a really vital subject into contempt. This paper is the expression of a desire on the part of the writer to place the matter on the plane which it deserves. Whatever merit the following observations contain, at least they seem to the writer worth offering, being the result of practical labors in the right direction, and from which satisfactory results are known to have come to a few faithful followers. It will be admitted, too, that the theme eminently merits the attention of all; for if so much of beauty as has been vouchsafed to each can be retained beyond the period when that elusive quality ordinarily subsides, it is a quest justifying some effort.

It is not to be expected that delicacy of coloring in skin or hair, the special prerogative of youth, shall be preserved beyond early middle life. Arduous attempts to modify the inevitable changes which normally appear in these tissues, are of doubtful efficiency, even questionable propriety. It is true that through the exercise of care and temperance much may be done to postpone serious marring of the skin texture and quality, but coloring must change. Nor is it advisable to resent this. Beauty of youth is sui generis; so is that of maturity; and it is the part of wisdom for each one to adopt measures which shall bring about a fitness in appearance consistent with the actual age reached. It is, however, entirely possible to postpone indefinitely those changes in bulk and contour, in form, in poise, in gait and carriage, which arise chiefly from neglect of suitable precautions; for these defects need not obtrude till toward the end of a long and busy life. History, both ancient and modern, is replete with examples of persons who, appreciating these facts, have enjoyed well-deserved reputations for great charm of appearance, especially grace and symmetry, well beyond the fifth and sixth decades. We have in our time conspicuous instances of