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sultations of the mirror; what varied ex their beauty consists in their relation to pressions; what smiles, what coquettish each other, of comparative degrees of fat? airs; what graceful swanlike arching of We are inclined to think that Diderot, necks; what curveting and yielding, and who was a Frenchman, and had a pracvoluptuous movements of form; what tical eye for beauty, would, in spite of his tightening of waists and expanding of theory, go elsewhere for his Graces. Sir busts; what anxious sidelong glances; Joshua Reynolds was of opinion that what sly sprinkling of pearl powder and mediocrity was the secret of beauty ; that cunning touches of rouge; what deceptive average form, color and expression, was lures; what positive orders to mantua the lex suprema, by which handsome makers, and such overwhelming bills at men and women were to be judged. Then Stuart's and Beck's! Compose yourself, an ordinary woman must be a handsome Miss Belinda, it is not art, but nature; it woman. We leave Sir Joshua in the lurch is not fashion, but humanity; it is not the of this reductio ad absurdum and his folpaint pot, but health; it is not you, but lowers, without any rivalry on our part, your maid, that has any concern in this to make love to all the ordinary women, matter.
in accordance with their theory. Hogarth By what theory of beauty are we to be held that beauty consisted in a crooked guided in discussing this momentous ques line, and would, of course, prefer a bowtion ? Enough good and bad has been leg to a straight one, or the turned-up nose written about it, from Plato to Lord Jef of a shrew, to the regular one of the frey. Plato says that there is nothing beauteous Helen. Alison and Jeffrey beautiful but mind, and would have us contend that beauty consists in its associaset our cap at an abstract idea, embrace it, tion with the emotions of the mind; hence, and remain childless in the cold comfort all women must be beautiful, when in the of Platonic love. St. Augustine is said to calf-sucking era of youth, any thing with have written an elaborate treatise on the show of a petticoat excites the emotion beauty, but it has never come to hand, of juvenile love. Others again, hold that and posterity has reason to congratulate beauty consists in utility; we need not itself; for it was, probably, as was proper say that this not only would make the in a reverend divine, only a heavy sermon maid necessarily handsomer than the misupon the lightness of vanity, or a long tress; but we would be bound, in obedience homily upon the short-comings of this to this law, to admire our Irish cook in world; or possibly a commentary, too slow the kitchen, in preference to our young for this fast generation, upon the seventh wife in the parlor; the former being equal commandment. Leibnitz held that beauty to all the responsibilities of the cuisine, consists in perfection ; so do we. My while the skill of the latter would be Lord Shaftesbury, who did not believe in puzzled, as much as George the Third, a Supreme Being, had an undying faith in with the perplexity of an apple dumpling, a supreme beauty; and contended that and wonder with that sapient monarch, man was endowed with a specific sense "how the devil the apple got in.” to recognize it, and fall down and worship We can get no aid from the philosoit. The great Burke, in his essay on the phers. Let us question the practical exSublime and Beautiful, holds that all ob perience of nations. Does beauty consist jects that have the power of relaxing the in the forty stone of John Bull
, or the nerves and fibres are beautiful; ergo, feather weight of Jonathan? Is Anglisays Lord Jeffrey, a warm bath would be can Daniel Lambert, the fat man, or the handsomest thing in all creation. The Yankee Calvin Edson, the living (dead nerves of Burke were evidently relaxed now, by the by) skeleton, the type of by the beauty of Marie Antoinette, and beauty? Was the Hottentot Venus, who he gave the world an immortal illustra suckled her young over her shoulders and tion of his theory, in his panic-struck carried the rest of her family upon her book on the French Revolution. Diderot natural bussle, or Madame de Pompadour, says, beauty consists in exciting the idea a beauty ? Is the King of the Brobdigof relation. The idea of relations has a nags or the King of Lilliput the genuine great deal to do, undoubtedly, with the Apollo ? Is the tall Patagonian or the modern conception of beauty ; it is an short Esquimaux, the handsome man ? axiom in fashionable life, that a woman, Is white, black, red, tawny or copper the with rich relations, is a beauty; and that color of beauty ? Is the chalk and bricka woman, with poor ones, is decidedly the dust of a New York fashionable who danreverse. How would Diderot solve this ces every night from 11 P. N. to 4 o'clock proposition of Jeffrey in illustration of A. M., or “the black, sticky varnish, a his theory? Given: three old women, good deal like conserve of grapes," with fat, fatter, and fattest: find their beauty. which the Thibetan women of fashion, as Would he answer, they are beautiful, and M. Huc tells us, daub their faces, the veri
table complexion ? Will the club feet of distinguished men. The pictures are all the Chinese or the splay feet of the negroes, warmed with the intensest of rose-color, walk the course for the prize of beauty ? and done upon the smoothest of ivory Will the black nails of the oriental beau “ Martin Van Buren has beautiful red ty, filthy with henna, or the rosy-tipped hair, and bewitchingly frank and easy fingers of morn, bear away the palm ? manners, and a voice that conjures men's Shall we whisper our love in the small hearts out of their bosoms." "The Hon. ear of England's aristocratic dame, or in Mr. Benton has much senatorial dignity, the monstrous speaking-trumpets of the a robust and muscular frame, inclined to Peruvian squaw ? Shall we look for corpulency, a massive forehead, and a the beauty of wisdom in the flat heads broader nose, fuller lip and less wide and squat faces of an Indian council, or in mouth than is usual in the American the long heads and long faces of the His contour; and with a neck and chest of torical Society?
very large proportions; has a gentle selfWe are completely at a loss for a stand possession." "Mr. Winthrop is fair, and ard of beanty ; both theory and experi his color comes and goes when he is ence are at fault, and we must fain judge speaking; his bearing is highly aristoaccording to our liking. We confess to a cratic. Í shall never forget," says our preforence for Americans, for the royal lady," the sweet faces of himself and his family of the sovereign people, for our family.” “Bishop Hughes is a glorious sons of enterprise, and our daughters of prelate; his violet robes, and his fiery the household.
character, his garments of delicate lace, Almost all English travellers say flatter and his manners so gentle, are charming ing things of the good looks of the American to observe; his mystic signet ring of conpeople. Mrs. Trollope fell in love with trite amethyst, and his dignified address, the seemly appearance of the men, how unusual and peculiar," and Mrs. Maury un ever she may have turned up her nose at derstands that "the Bishop has a peculiar their manners, and would have been and inherent love of fine linen, which often pleased to have seen more of their hand distinguishes men of exalted character." some faces and less of the soles of their “I could occasionally,” says the lady, "deboots. It is true, Dickens's portraits are tect a dash of the soft dialect of his coun not flattering; but his Americans are mere try in his flexible and varied tones.” And scarecrows of the imagination to fright there are Clay, Webster, and Quincy en away his countrymen who settle like Adams, and others to complete the gallery crows in never-ceasing flocks upon our with all the beauty of the Greeks, the land. Thackeray, in his Kickleburys on nobleness of the Romans, the grace of the the Rhine, paints a young American, as French, the dignity of the English, and the perfection of a dandy Apollo, ele the bright colors of Mrs. Maury. gant by nature and faultless by art, with Whether the stock of English aristoca good form in a perfect coat, with small racy is depreciating or not, we cannot tell. hands in the smallest and smoothest of We should think, however, that it was. Paris gloves, and diminutive feet in the A young friend of ours, Tom Snip, a genneatest of French boots. As for the mor tleman by profession, who inherited a als of the young gentleman, the less that handsome fortune from his father, of the is said about that the better; of course late firm of “Snip & Cut,” Merchant TaiThackeray would not be Thackeray if he lors, Broadway, has been abroad lately, did not spoil the confection, by his usual and having got in payment in full for a sprinkle of a grain of salt or rather pep handsome loan to a distinguished Senator, per, by way of reservation. Miss Marti a letter of introduction to the American neau too fell in love with all Congress Minister in London, of course shook hands assembled, and if she did not indite verses with all the court and the best society. to their eyebrows, wrote whole pages of Well, Tom Snip, who was well up, and a prose about their eyes. She quite lost believer in Sir Bulwer Lytton and the herself in the profound depths of the cav Hon. Mrs. Gore, had not the least doubt ernous eyes of Webster, went astray that every English nobleman looked the among the wrinkles of Calhoun, and did lord and the Apollo Belvidere at the same not get fairly into plain sailing, until she time, and every woman of rank looked launched out upon the broad forehead of the noblewoman and the Venus de Medicis some ordinary Congressman or other. besides. That was certainly Snip's delib
Mrs. Maury, in her book of travels, dis erate opinion; but Tom has returned plays quite a gallery of miniatures of our home, a wiser man, ever since a hump
• Montaigue says, “In Peru, the greatest ears are the most beautiful, which they stretch out as far as they can by art. And a man now living, says that he has seen in an eastern nation this care of enlarging them in 80 great repute, and the ear loaded with so ponderous jewels, that he did with great ease put his arm, sleeve and all, through the hole of an ear."
backed fellow was pointed out to him as of him! Mr. Fillmore is tall, portly, and a lord of the realm, and a red-haired has a frank, expansive face. Louis Navirago as a peeress in her own right. poleon is short, meagre, cold, and reserved;
However the fact may be, as to the de his face hidden for the most part in a thick, preciation of the race of English nobles, set beard, where an expression of lust and there is no doubt that the barons of Eng violence lies in ambush. Louis, though land have carried off some of our beauties, no beauty himself, has, however, a taste as the Romans did the Sabine women, and for beauty in others, especially for the probably for the same purpose, though golden hair, the dark eyes, the blooming doubtless with less urging. There are the face, and the seductive graces of the Spannoted Court Beauties; the Duchess of ish Señorita Montijo. Having a caprice, Leeds, and her two sisters, Lady Stafford as the French say, for la belle Espagnole, and the Marchioness of Wellesley, all Bal and unable to corrupt, he has sworn, with timore women; and Mrs. Bonaparte too, his bloody hand upon his heart, a Napoleon who, if she had her own right, would oath, to love and cherish her in the holy reign supreme in the court of her nephew bonds of matrimony. Looking at General Emperor Louis; and there is the New Scott, with the eye of an artist, where can England girl, Mrs. Van de Weyer, the you find a better model of a military hero? Belgian minister's wife; a galaxy of beau Lofty in stature; lifting his head high tiful women, rare, and highly appreciated above the crowd of ordinary men; well abroad; jewels that have been taken from proportioned; with broad shoulders and the regalia of the sovereign people; but as swelling chest; a firmly placed foot and bright and plenty of them still adorn our erect posture; a brow of command; an eye diadem, and though they may be set of concentration; and a mouth of firm reless richly, shine with no diminished lus solve; he has the look and bearing of a tre. Whenever we hear of distinguished gallant soldier, and no wonder he scatterforeigners being among us, we begin to ed the Mexicans, and stalked into their tremble for our belles, for fear that some capital a conqueror. The shade of Daniel marauding English baron may be on the Webster rises high among us in our Selook-out for beauty, or some French count nate and tribunals, and in the assemblages on a foray for booty. The women had of the people; solemn and portentous; with better be on their guard, and fortify their the serious aspect of the anxious patriot ; citadels with outworks of triple whale the brow brooding with thought; the eye bone ; intrench themselves within the looking steadily into the darkness of fustrong fortifications of home, and take in turity; the lips closing, upon their last a stock of the domestic virtues to sustain words of eloquent utterance, in fixed rea siege from the enemy:
solve; a dark cloud gathering upon the Look at our notabilities ; are they not manly face and presaging fate; and he passgood-looking ? better looking than most es away in the gloom of death. There notabilities elsewhere? Take for exam never was a more noble-looking man than ple our new President Pierce, and com Daniel Webster, and it has been truly pare him with Prince Albert; the former said that in appearance he was the ideal was certainly not chosen for his good of a great statesman. Our poets and aulooks—the latter was. The artists have thors, Cooper and Irving and Longfellow, done their best for Victoria's consort, and Melville and Lovell, are handsome and suin spite of all their art, their cunning arti perior-looking men. Our artists too, for fices, their flattering touches, their inge the most part, can find no better life studies nious disposition of light and shade, and than in their own looking-glasses. their courtly concessions of the true to Our crowds and public gatherings, our the ideal, there is not a picture of Prince thronged streets show the best-looking agAlbert in which he himself is not essen gregate of humanity, male and female, in tially the most insignificant object; the the world. Walk up and down Broadfeathers and boo the drapery and the way. Are there such becoming crowds background are infinitely more dignified on the Parisian Boulevards, or in the Lonand impressive; Albert's great pasty roll don parks ? Such streams of life, glowing led out face without a line or an emotion, with beauty and glistening with bright looks always like a blank spot in the pic eyes, and flowing on like a glad river ture. President Pierce, no thanks to art, sparkling in the sun. Was there ever has a face with a concentrated expression such a holiday people? They are workof energy, with lines of thought, and with ing men all, it is true, as most Americans eyes full of fire. President Fillmore, too, are, with their wives and daughters, but would take the precedence of any crowned there is none of the Pariah look about head, in the court of beauty. How Na them, nor are they to be stared out of poleon le petit, the Emperor of all the countenance by the impertinence of the French, dwarfs and shrinks by the side old world's bloated importance. The men
have certainly an unquiet look, but it is more cleanly cut; his proportions more rethe eager intelligence of enterprise, full of gular; his features more sharply chiselled; hope ; not the sodden, worn, careful face and his action more free. The latter is born of discontent with the present, and altogether too superfluous and clumsy ; uncertainty about the future.
his proportions want regulating; his belly Did a handsomer set of fellows ever is too protuberant; his neck too thick; march to the beat of drum, than our holi his feet too spreading; his hands too large day soldiers. Though their service-and
and podgy ; his lips too spongy and evertmay they grow veterans in that and no ed; his cheeks too pendulous; his nose too other—be confined to the corporation pro- lobular, blunt and bottle-like; his expresgramme of a Fourth of July glorification, sion altogether too beef-eating; in a word, and their longest march be from the Bat according to our taste, John Bull won't tery to Union Square, we would pit them do, and must be done over again; but against any army in the world in an at tastes, of course, differ, and our taste is tack upon—a woman's heart.
only an American taste, after all. Our fire-boys and train-bands, recruit The doctors tell us there is less deformed in the Bowery, nursed on the blood ity in the United States, than elsewhere. of the shambles, fired with the spirit of It is easier, say the midwives, to come into independent youth and the pot-house, and this world of America, as it has been exercised in the rough-and-tumble of row easier, before the Ericsson, to go out of it, dyism, could unstrip and show muscle than in any other world extant. The with any Farnese Hercules extant. And mothers of America are so rarely deformhas not our country the honor of giving ed, and their “as well as may be expectbirth to Tom Heyer, the champion of pu ed” means so very well indeed, that the gilists?
medical ushers of the bed-post, like most Nature diffuses, art combines; the for other dignitaries on great occasions, have mer has no ready-made Apollos or perfect really quite a sinecure of it. Venuses on hand; the latter is obliged to It is true, Tom Thumb is a native, and get them up to order. The artist, in looking although we think him no beauty, they up his material for the manufacture of his evidently thought so abroad; and Vicideal, must gouge out an eye here, pull a toria kissed and fondled him very much nose there ;. pluck a beard in one place, as Gulliver was kissed and fondled by his cut off an ear in another; pocket one man's Brobdingnag nurse, Glumdalclitch. The hand, walk off with another man's leg ; climate, however, is not favorable to the steal the locks of one pretty girl, embrace undergrowth of dwarfs, for we have the the form of another; take his pick out of word of Barnum's agent for the fact, that the beauty of one family, and run away he succeeded once in finding an English with the female head of another. Well, dwarf, to whom Tom Thumb was a giant, with all due admiration for beauty, and on bringing him to New-York, he wherever it may be diffused, we believe had hardly been here a week, when he that the artist would have less of a steeple grew as tall as a bean-pole; and his early chase in his hunt after the ideal, in Ame death alone prevented Barnum from exrica, than in any other country under the hibiting the former English dwarf, as the Sun. A short walk in Broadway, would great Kentucky giant. supply him with material for a whole The Americans are undoubtedly a thin Louvre of artistic beauty, for any number people; thin-skinned at any rate, some of gods, goddesses, and cherubs,-men, will exclaim, but that is not the question women and children. Americans being a just now. If quantity is to carry the day, race made up of every variety of people, and not quality, Jonathan must yield to their style is necessarily of the composite the forty stone of John Bull. But there order. But whatever their origin, they is not one of the philosophers who holds, all have specific American characterestics. that beauty is to be measured by the exThe very foreigners are hardly landed, be panded size of the girth, and the enlarged fore they are melted up and turned out of circumference of the belly. Africa alone, of the American mould, very passable speci all nations, though Turkey has a leaning mens of Yankees. The fat Englishman that way, sets up fatness as a standard of is melted down and reduced into working beauty. Cuffey, it is true, expands female shape; the light Frenchman acquires sub loveliness beyond the limits of the emstance; the heavy German is lightened up; brace of any ordinary mortal; lards it with the wild Irishman is made tractable; the layers of fat, like a plump partridge preslumbering Spaniard opens his eyes and pared for the spit; and feasts his dainty stirs his stumps.
imagination upon the oleaginous charms of Jonathan
be described as the finish female blubber. But Cuffey is not aced model of the Anglo-Saxon, of which knowledged by the rest of the world as the John Bull is the rough-cast. The former is arbiter elegantiarum. Americans are
thin; they have too much to do, and too but as the anatomist, into head and neck, anxious to do it well, to allow of the necessa body and extremities. ry repose for the quiet accumulation of fat. The American head is generally large, But they have muscles, strong and active, which the phrenologists may attribute as that spring to their work, quick messen they please, to increased development of gers of an energetic will.
Our women brain. There are all varieties of face, have not the embonpoint of the English, though the oval predominates ; all kinds but they don't imbibe London stout by of eyes, though the black prevail ; noses the imperial measure, nor retire to their of every shape and size, Grecian, Roman, nuptial couches, torpid with strong brewed and the English turn-up, though the botale and old Stilton. Fashionable ladies tle and snub are rare ; mouths of many dance themselves down below the average kinds, voluptuous and ascetic, firm and size, dissolve themselves by their dissipa relaxed; and diverse chins, double and tion into impalpable shadows, and pass single, square and pointed. These feaaway as ghosts in a decline. We have no tures are, however, for the most part, excuse for such, but thank heaven, there more sharply chiselled with us, than in are American women who are not fashion any other people. Our foreheads are able ladies. “A true female figure," whis higher and wider and we seem to be proud pers Leigh Hunt, “is falling, and not too of them, and not content with the generbroad in the shoulders ; moderate, yet in osity of nature in this respect, try to exclining to fulness rather than deficiency, tort from her more than is our due. A in the bosom; gently tapering, and with high, expanded, arched forehead, may be out violence of any sort, in the waist; na excellent in man, as indicative of intellecturally curving again in those never-to-be tual force, the power of knowledge; but it without-apology-alluded-to hips; and final is a positive blemish in a female, whose ly, her buoyant lightness should be sup most attractive characteristics are delicacy ported upon natural legs, not at all like a and tenderness. The ancients admired a man's; and upon feet, which, though little, low forehead in a woman, and their sculpare able to support all the rest." Was it tors, always true to beauty, gave their Mrs. Bull, who stood as a model for that female statues such. Horace says, insigpicture ? No! she would make a dozen nem tenui fronte Lycorida, Lycoris reof such ; it must have been, with all due markable for her low forehead; which reverence for our grandmother, be it said, he evidently puts down to the credit of her lightsome daughter, America. her beauty ; and Martial speaks admiring
The average height of our men, is about ly of the frons brevis, the short forehead. five feet ten, oftener above than below. Leigh Hunt says a large, bare forehead, The Americans are very evenly measured, gives a woman a masculine and defiant and would range without picking or look. The word effrontery comes from choosing, in a level platoon, that would it. Now ever since phrenology began to delight the eye of a military martinet. finger our craniums, our vanity has been Kentucky is supposed to supply Barnum very busy in smoothing the way for its with his giants, and the supply seems to titillating advances.
Men and women, keep up wondrously. Among other mar too, have been so much engaged, with the vels of that State, where the inhabitants aid of brushes and depilatories, in brushare said to be half-horse, half-alligator, ing up and putting in order the outworks, and are capable of going the whole hog, that they have neglected to fortify the which means, we suppose, taking in a full citadel within. As an untrod path may sized animal in a single swallow, there is lead to a deserted house, a smooth foreno doubt the men are tall, and, as they head may point to an empty brain. The talk, very large. Frederick of Prussia prevailing practice of combing back the would not have wanted for recruits for hair of young girls, and keeping it there his tall grenadier guards, if he had had with a force that draws the blood from the run of the West. Kentucky, Ohio, its roots, and skins the eyeballs, is the and Tennessee, would have supplied him ugliest possible of practices; when these with an army of them. Put Lord John
young girls grow up wiser than their Russell and Daniel Webster, the Duke of mothers, as they surely will, it is hoped Wellington and General Scott, back to they will not have the effrontery to scold back, and mark how the Americans over at their mammas for having spoiled their top their English relatives.
beauty. A good word has, it is true, been Let us analyze the American, not as spoken in favor of the large forehead; it the chemist, who tells us that man is 45 has been likened, in its relation to the lbs. of carbon and nitrogen, diffused through face, to the broad sky in a landscape, five and a half pailsful of water (the Amer lightening up the whole expanse. The ican, we are inclined to believe, has con Italian women used to pluck out their sideraby less water in his composition), hair to in ease the height of heir fore