Influence of the Mind as regards Beauty.
All passions give their corresponding expression to the countenance; if of frequent occurrence they mark it with lines as indelible as those of age, and far more unbecoming. To keep these under proper control is, therefore, of high importance to beauty. Nature has ordained that passions shall be but passing acts of the mind, which, serving as natural stimulants, quicken the circulation of the blood, and increase the vital energies; consequently, when tempered and subdued by reason, they are rather conducive than otherwise, both to beauty and to health.
It is the habitual frame of mind, the hourly range of thought which render the countenance pleasing or repulsive; we should not forget that “the face is the index of the mind.”
The exercise of the intellect and the development of noble sentiments is as essential for the perfection of the one, as of the other, fretful, envious, malicious, ill humoured feelings must never be indulged by those who value their personal appearance, for the existence of these chronic maladies of the mind, cannot be concealed.
“On peut tromper un autre, mais pas tous les autres.”
In the same way candour, benevolence, pity, and good temper, exert the most happy influence over the whole person;—shine forth in every look and every movement with a fascination which wins its way to all hearts.
Symmetry of form is a rare and exquisite gift, but there are other conditions quite as indispensable to beauty. Let a woman possess but a very moderate share of personal charms, if her countenance is expressive of intellect and kind feelings, her figure buoyant with health, and her attire distinguished by a tasteful simplicity, she cannot fail to be eminently attractive, while ill health—a silly or unamiable expression, and a vulgar taste—will mar the effect of form and features the most symetrical. A clever writer has said, “Beauty is but another name for that expression of the countenance which is indicative of sound health, intelligence, and good feeling.” If so, how much of beauty is attainable to all! Health, though often dependant upon circumstances beyond our control, can, in a great measure, be improved by a rational observance of the laws which nature has prescribed, to regulate the vital functions.
Over intellect we have still more power. It is capable of being so trained as to approach daily nearer and nearer to perfection. The thoughts are completely under our own guidance and must never be allowed to wander idly or sinfully; they should be encouraged to dwell on subjects which elevate the mind and shield it from the petty trivialities which irritate and degrade it.