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BEAUTY IN THE COUNTRY.

I. THE MAKING OF BEAUTY.

Ir takes a hundred and fifty years to make a beauty-a hundred and fifty years out-of-doors. Open air, hard manual labour or continuous exercise, good food, good clothing, some degree of comfort, all of these, but most especially open air, must play their part for five generations before a beautiful woman can appear. These conditions can only be found in the country, and consequently all beautiful women come from the country. Though the accident of birth may cause their register to be signed in town, they are always of country extraction. Let us glance back a hundred and fifty years, say to 1735, and suppose a yeoman to have a son about that time. That son would be bred upon the hardest fare, but, though hard, it would be plentiful and of honest sort. The bread would be home-baked, the beef salted at home, the ale home-brewed. He would work all day in the fields with the labourers, but he would have three great advantages over them -in good and plentiful food, in good clothing, and in home comforts. He would ride, and join all the athletic sports of the time. Mere manual labour

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stiffens the limbs, gymnastic exercises render them supple. Thus he would obtain immense strength from simple hard work, and agility from exercise. Here, then, is a sound constitution, a powerful frame, well knit, hardened-an almost perfect physical existence.

He would marry, if fortunate, at thirty or thirtyfive, naturally choosing the most charming of his acquaintances. She would be equally healthy and proportionally as strong, for the ladies of those days were accustomed to work from childhood. By custom soon after marriage she would work harder than before, notwithstanding her husband's fair store of guineas in the iron-bound box. The house, the dairy, the cheese-loft, would keep her arms in training. Even since I recollect, the work done by ladies in country houses was something astonishing, ladies by right of well-to-do parents, by right of education and manners. Really, it seems that there is no work a woman cannot do with the best results for herself, always provided that it does not throw a strain upon the loins. Healthy children sprung from such parents, while continuing the general type, usually tend towards a refinement of the features. Under such natural and healthy conditions, if the mother have a good shape, the daughter is finer; if the father be of good height, the son is taller. These children in their turn go through the same open-air training. In the course of years, the family guineas increasing, home comforts increase, and manners are polished. Another generation sees the cast of countenance smoothed of its original ruggedness,

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while preserving its good proportion. chin becomes rounded and not too prominent, the cheek-bones sink, the ears are smaller, a softness spreads itself over the whole face. That which was only honest now grows tender. Again another generation, and it is a settled axiom that the family are handsome. The country-side as it gossips agrees that the family are marked out as good-looking. Like seeks like, as we know; the handsome intermarry with the handsome. Still, the beauty has not arrived yet, nor is it possible to tell whether she will appear from the female or male branches. But in the fifth generation appear she does, with the original features so moulded and softened by time, so worked and refined and sweetened, so delicate and yet so rich in blood, that she seems like a new creation that has suddenly started into being. No one has watched and recorded the slow process which has thus finally resulted. No one could do so, because it has spread over a century and a half. If any one will consider, they will agree that the sentiment at the sight of a perfect beauty is as much amazement as admiration. It is so astounding, so outside ordinary experience, that it wears the aspect of magic.

A stationary home preserves the family intact, so that the influences already described have time to produce their effect. There is nothing uncommon in a yeoman's family continuing a hundred and fifty years in the same homestead. Instances are known of such occupation extending for over two hundred years; cases of three hundred years may be

found now and then one is known to exceed that, and there is said to be one that has not moved for six hundred. Granting the stock in its origin to have been fairly well proportioned, and to have been subject for such a lapse of time to favourable conditions, the rise of beauty becomes intelligible.

Cities labour under every disadvantage. First, families have no stationary home, but constantly move, so that it is rare to find one occupying a house fifty years, and will probably become much rarer in the future. Secondly, the absence of fresh air, and that volatile essence, as it were, of woods, and fields, and hills, which can be felt but not fixed. Thirdly, the sedentary employment. Let a family be never so robust, these must ultimately affect the constitution. If beauty appears it is too often of the unhealthy order; there is no physique, no vigour, no richness of blood. Beauty of the highest order is inseparable from health; it is the outcome of health-centuries of health-and a really beautiful woman is, in proportion, stronger than a man. It is astonishing with what persistence a type of beauty once established in the country will struggle to perpetuate itself against all the drawbacks of town life after the family has removed thither.

When such results are produced under favourable conditions at the yeoman's homestead, no difficulty arises in explaining why loveliness so frequently appears in the houses of landed proprietors. Entailed estates fix the family in one spot, and tend, by intermarriage, to deepen any original physical excellence. Constant out-of-door exercise, riding,

hunting, shooting, takes the place of manual labour. All the refinements that money can purchase, travel, education, are here at work. That the culture of the mind can alter the expression of the individual is certain; if continued for many generations, possibly it may leave its mark upon the actual bodily frame. Selection exerts a most powerful influence in these cases. The rich and titled have so wide a range to choose from. Consider these things working through centuries, perhaps in a more or less direct manner, since the Norman Conquest. The fame of some such families for handsome features and well-proportioned frames is widely spread, so much so that a descendant not handsome is hardly regarded by the outside world as legitimate. But even with all these advantages beauty in the fullest sense does not appear regularly. Few indeed are those families that can boast of more than one. It is the best of all boasts; it is almost as if the Immortals had especially favoured their house. Beauty has no period; it comes at intervals, unexpected; it cannot be fixed. No wonder the earth is at its feet.

The fisherman's daughter ere now has reached very high in the scale of beauty. Hardihood is the fisherman's talent by which he wins his living from the sea. Tribal in his ways, his settlements are almost exclusive, and his descent pure. The wind washed by the sea enriches his blood, and of labour he has enough. Here are the same constant factors; the stationary home keeping the family intact, the out-door life, the air, the sea, the sun. Refinement is absent, but these alone are so powerful that now

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