Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Secret of Looking Young.
The world to-day is full of mothers who look as
if they might be a year or two older than their
daughters.  New York is prodigal with youthful
    One encounters them everywhere-- on the stage
and in all classes of society--women whom we know
have reached the high-noon mark on life's dial, and
even gone well past it, yet whose bloom will defy
the touch of a moist towel, and whose smooth,
unfurrowed faces have the freshness of youth with
the subtle added charm of the expression of expe-
    They exist in society and in the realms of art;
and, while their beauty is of many types, their
mentality seems to be peculiarly similar, if one is
to judge by the stereotyped phrases all these women
use when approached on the subject of the remark-
able preservation of their charms.
    Invariably, these lovely creatures tell their inter-
locutors that they do nothing whatever to preserve
their youth--that they abhor cosmetics, and rely
on soap and water, and if they look young, it is really
a matter of accident or inheritance, or due to a
cheerful disposition.
    Not long ago one of these well-preserved beauties,
whose life has been a succession of tragedies and a
continuous performance of adventures, told an inter-
ested inquirer that her youthful appearance was due
to having "led a quiet life."
    The truth is, a quiet life does not keep a woman
    Women of forty in the country usually look as if
they might be the mothers of city-bred women of
that age.  Change, variety, a certain amount of
excitement, new thoughts, fresh emotions--all are
great factors in keeping women young.
    Nothing is so disastrous to beauty and youth as a
settled expression of worry, discontent or melan-
choly, or even dullness.  Look at the faces of
women as they sit in the church pews or in the
"Town hall"  at an entertainment in a remote coun-
try place, and you will find but one, perhaps, in the
whole assemblage that is lighted with enthusiasm,
or which reflects varied emotions.  They are not
serene--for serenity comes only after the heart has
experienced all the emotions, and risen superior to
them; but these faces are dull--often hopeless--fre-
quently discontented, and worried almost invari-
able.  Yet these women lead "quiet lives."  They
retire and rise early.  They look not upon the wine
when it is red, or upon the salad when it is indigest-
ible.  They use no paint or powder, but, as a rule,
they might be the great-aunts of city women who
do none of the things they do and nearly all of the
things they do not do.
    A change of mental diet is as necessary to a
woman's good looks as a new bonnet now and then.
Activity of mind and body is a great cosmetic.
    Besides the variety and change which city life
affords women, it gives them the advantage of
patronizing all sorts of health baths--rest cures--
and beauty specialists which skill and science pro-
vide so plentifully to-day.
    And these women-- the youthful, well-preserved,
charming women we meet socially and in the world
of art--do take advantage of all these methods of
preservation, and do make a careful study of every-
thing which can possible aid them in clinging to
their beauty of face or form.
    It is to their credit that they do.  It is their duty,
and it should be their pride that they succeed.
    What a delight it would be to meet one who
frankly confessed it!  How novel and interesting
she would make herself to her own sex, and how
she would broaden and educate men if she would
say: "Yes, I have studied the preservation of the
good looks my Creator bestowed on me, as an art,
and I think I am repaid for the time and attention
I have given to it.  Baths, massage, diet, exer-
cise, rest, skin tonics, all form a part of the treat-
ment.  I have no time to give you the details, but
if you care to turn your attention to the subject,
you can learn for yourself how to keep away fat and
    Instead, we hear the same stereotyped, inane
remarks from each one--and we know all the time
how untrue these remarks are.
    When we compliment a Calve or a Duse upon
her art, she says: "Yes, God gave me a great
talent; but, oh! how I have worked and do work to
enrich it and develop it!"  She does not say:  "God
gave me a voice, and I sing, although I never take
any care of it or give it a thought, or try to pre-
serve it.  We would not believe her if she did, nor
would we respect her if we believed.
    I have seen, with my own eyes, a check for a large
sum to a skin specialist, signed with the name of
one of the women who afterward told a coterie of
friends "that she never did a thing to keep her
complexion so fair and smooth--except to avoid
worry and to cultivate a cheerful disposition."
    I have known another, who talked the same empty
twaddle, to employ a specialist two hours a day to
massage away a tendency to superfluous fat, and to
apply tonics to a skin deleted by overwork.
    It seems to me one of the greatest pleasures in
knowing a good thing is to impart it to others.
And why should any woman be ashamed to confess
that she has studied the art of being beautiful?
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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