WHAT is beauty? Successful beauty is individuality. Will I be forgiven if I betray some of the secrets of studio life? "The end will justify the means" if I give to the public impressions, opinions, suggestions and information, which, in my contact with all classes of my own sex, I have gathered from time to time. Ladies from the " upper ten " and models from the " lower five" have each contributed their share in my conclusions of what beauty really is.
An artist goes through life look ing for the beautiful in this everyday world of ours, Where others see a common bit of clay, a dreary sandy shore, a beggar girl in tatters, he discovers material for a picture that has only to be given color, atmosphere and thought to show that beauty exists everywhere. If with this common-place foundation the artist is enabled to produce a picture that gives pleasure to the observer, why not go further and impress upon our maids and matrons the power they have within their grasp to make themselves beautiful? An artist to insure success must paint from practical scenes and living models; but the tatter s of the beggar girl are arranged to display the beauty of the wearer, the poise of the head shows the contour of the beautiful throat. As the artist brings to view the hidden beauty of the beggar, so any woman can make herself beautiful, for it is a truth that every woman has beauty in some form, whether consciously or unconsciously.
A beautiful hand, a beautiful foot, lovely hair, a fine pair of eyes, regular teeth--any one of these gives a woman a claim to beauty. And how many times they catch the wandering heart of some man, making the possessor, to him, a beautiful woman.
Nature has not endowed the majority of women with regular features, nor is it necessary to gauge beauty by them. Sparkling eyes, a lovely complexion, a fine figure, agreeable manners, are much more noticeable, and within the reach of all women, if they will give themselves the same studied care and attention that the artist gives his models to insure the success of the picture.
I became particularly interested in the subject in the early part of my studio life, when my ambitions were far greater than my executive ability, and I was endeavoring to find what sympathy there might exist between art and money for actual necessities. A beautiful woman came to me for a portrait. I say beautiful, and yet it was hard to tell wherein her beauty lay. Her features were not regular, but there was an exquisiteness, a magnetism, a charm about her that was indescribable and certainly irresistible. She seemed to fill the studio with sunlight, where the shadows had been so dense.
She gave me her name, and I recognized it as that of a prominent society lady, noted for her beauty, not only in this country but abroad as well. A close friendship sprang up between us, and through her I learned that a woman n of ordlnary looks can be transformed into a reigning beauty.
It is not necessary to go into the details of her early marriage to a young law student; her one ambition to make home beautiful for the husband; of the transition from a quiet life as the wife of a country lawyer to the brilliant life of a senator's wife in a gay capital; of the heartaches caused by the seeming preference shown by the loved husband for beautiful women by whom they were surrounded; women without the intellect, perhaps, that she possessed, but women who understood their own charms and knew how to make the most of them. She discovered that simply to have striven to make home beautiful, and to have lived only for the comfort of her husband, was not enough to retain the love she saw slipping away from her. She needed physical beauty and attractiveness as well. She commenced to study herself. "As in a looking glass" she saw herself plain and commonplace. In her aim to make home beautiful and attractive she had forgotten to study the thousand and one little details that make women, the plainest of them, charming. She had never been particular that the color of her dress brought out the brightest hues of her hair, that her foot was encased in the daintiest of shoes and slippers; that the length of her sleeve showed to a nicety the curve of her wrist and forearm; that her waist line was not marred by needless bands and gathers; that her hair was arranged to soften her face and show the shape of the head to the best advantage. She had never realized, until now, that in living for her husband alone, and reserving her smiles for him, there might come a time when he would lessen her value, and be flattered by the pleasant little attentions and agreeable manners of the women who know so well how to make each word a subtle flattery and the hearer consider himself the favored one. All these things were foreign to their quiet country home, and yet now seemed to play so important a part in their social, political and home life. She resolved, if such a thing could be accomplished, she would make herself the greatest power, not only in the heart of her husband, but in their social life as well. Her complexion was dull, the skin torpid from lack of exercise, fresh air and systematic bathing. Under the advice of a well-known physician she practically demonstrated the relationship between these habits and perfect health. She studied physical culture. A noted artist gave her hints as to harmony in color. To be agreeable and to be " fascinating" she soon discovered meant quite as much to be a good listener as a good talker. In six months time there was no one more surprised than herself at the transformation. She was not only a social power, but the embodiment of health and beauty. To her I am indebted for many of the suggestions and formulas to be found in the following pages. If I dared mention her name the value of each of them would be enhanced ten fold.
Having been fortunate in my advice and suggestions to a few personal friends, at their earnest request I have taken the information I have carefully collected on the subject of beauty in general, and endeavored to show my readers in the simplest manner how to retain the freshness of youth, or how to bring back the roses that have been left to wither and fade. A profound treatise on the human system is left to older and wiser writers. "A woman is no older than she looks," according to a French proverb. It rests with herself whether she will grow old or not. Youth's freshness can be retained to a good old age. If in the rush and whirl of our American life and severe changes of climate wrinkles have stolen in, with attention and perseverance they can be made to disappear. The foundation of all beauty is cleanliness, consequently the question of bathing the first to be considered.