There is probably no better or more reliable measure of whether a woman has spent time in ugly duckling status at some point or all throughout her life than her inability to digest a sincere compliment. Although it could be a matter of modesty, or could be attributed to shyness- although too many serious wounds are carelessly written off as “nothing but shyness” – more often a compliment is stuttered around about because it sets up an automatic and unpleasant dialogue in the woman’s mind.
The beauty of some women has days and seasons, depending upon accidents which diminish or increase it; nay, the very passions of the mind naturally improve or impair it, and very often utterly destroy it.
It is a great mortification to the vanity of man that his utmost art and industry can never equal the meanest of Nature’s productions, either for beauty or value. Art is only the underworkman, and is employed to give a few strokes of embellishment to those pieces which come from the hand of the master.
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassions, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
As in the case of painters, who have undertaken to give us a beautiful and graceful figure, which may have some slight blemishes, we do not wish them to pass over such blemishes altogether, nor yet to mark them too prominently. The one would spoil the beauty, and the other destroy the likeness of the picture.
Even though the genius of man might make various inventions, attaining the same end by various means, it will not invent anything more beautiful, or more economical, or more direct than nature, for in nature’s inventions nothing is wanting and nothing is superfluous.