Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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        Physical charm.
    The question may seem a trivial one to the seri-
ous minded, yet there was never a woman so
serious or so spiritual who did not feel secretly
pleased at the consciousness that she posessed
physical charm, and secretely sensitive at the
thought that she was devoid of it.
    Physical charm does not always necessitate
beauty.  Many of the most fascinating women in
the world's history, women who have inspired great
loves and helped mould the destiny of nations, were
devoid of actual beauty.  But they posessed the
charm of manner and of expression, and the subtle
magnetic quality  which leave the impression of
beauty upon the beholder.
    When beauty of face and form is supplemented
by these attributes, the world gives way before it.
When it is devoid of them, it is often as ineffectual
as a snow image to arouse more than a passing
    But even she who is possessed of all the charms
must yield her scepter, eventually, to time.
    Man, the higher animal, however his develop-
ment may be aided by culture and religion, finds
woman attractive only during the years when she
suggests the possible mother.  To the immature
girl he is indifferent; the elderly woman he respects
for what she has been.  But his interest revolves
about the young maiden or the ripe matron.
    He may be a bookworm and a crusty bachelor; he
may despise children and believe in the extinction
of the human race; yet without knowing why, and
from an instinct stronger than his theories, his
glance rests with pleasure and interest only upon
the woman who could perpetuate his species.
    We may expatiate upon the mental comradship,
and preach of spiritual virtues; yet it is the eternal
mother in a woman which attracts.  It does not hold,
unless the other qualities supplement it.
    There are women who seem never to posess the
suggestive physical charm so dear to the sterner
sex; women who are pronounced spinsters of fifty
at sixteen, and there are others who seem to retain
it into old age.  American women are wonderful in
the present day for their skill in looking and seeming
young, at a time when their mothers were old
ladies.  I have never yet seen a middle-aged French
woman who posessed a vestige of youth; yet his-
tory has it that a French woman--Ninon de L' En-
clos--retained her physical attractions to the age of
    At one of our army posts a few years ago, a
woman who became a reigning belle was discovered
by investigating rivals to be past fifty years of age.
    To the young girl of fifteen, twenty-five seems old
age.  Yet when she reaches twenty-five, she finds
herself in this era of prolonged youth, in the very
morning of life.
    To the woman who has found her happiness only
in the light of men's admiring eyes, the passing of
physical charm is a tradgedy.  The greatest tragedy,
however, is when she fails to realize what is potent
to all observers, and when she demands from men,
by coercion or strategy, the attentions she once re-
ceived as voluntary tributes to her attractions.
    Repose and dignity are as essential to age as the
Indian summers to the dying year.  They should be
cultivated with the advent of the first wrinkle.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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