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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/407

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CONSERVATION OF HUMAN ENERGY.

a mobile charm, which breathed of forces long maturing and almost perfect. She regarded life from a standpoint of abundant humor but never to the detriment of highest ideals."

In man old age is admittedly a crowning of honors won and esteem earned. It remains for him to secure or lose this reward. Fate rules, it may be, but his rulings can be potently modified by him who wills and acts. To woman advancing years come as the sealing of a well, if she has eyes only for the surface of things, and is blind to the warmth and life of the under-currents whose power is oftener overlooked than weakened. It is far more a question of what manner of woman she was, or has become, than of age or appearance as judged by the critical. If she feels tempted to grow slovenly in the niceties of pose and expression or in her dress, let her check this as a sin: for sin it is, and an offence against God and his good gifts. Women of three, or even four, score years have reigned queens in society. Many prefer a smaller kingdom, content with modest spheres of influence; but let them exercise care as to the line and direction of ambitions and be sure of their fitness to fill the niche of their choice. Once chosen it is a simple equation between vigilance and tact, rather than between the inherent worth of their charms and the fusing points of their subjects.

If hints are needed how to attain exalted posts of honor or ornament, here are some modest ones. Interest in the doings of her fellows, exhibited judiciously; a capacity to listen with an air of real interest to the fountains of speech artfully loosed; a clarity of mind on matters of the day, private and public; a gentle dignity coupled with what we may call graciousness; these will carry a woman miles beyond another in the esteem of her fellows who, making light of these gifts, yet possesses much intellect, endless accomplishments and striking physical beauty. If a woman tends to become giddy or frivolous, especially in her later years, so soon as she realizes this ruinous bias let her quell it or seek a cloister without delay. If she acquires, moreover, a manner of condescension or patronage, she may attune her mind to move thereafter much alone.

It may be said by any one who has read so far, that generalities may incite to reflection, but specific directions are required to demonstrate how each one may attain that grace and elasticity which is the very basis of original, and much more so of retained, comeliness. Beauty may be given to a few, and fewer are able to hold it without effort beyond the ordinary period when it tends to fade. It is a plain physiologic fact that comeliness may be enormously enhanced, but it is necessary that intelligent effort be exerted to secure a continuance of this endowment. Again, a person may possess many, or enough, of the elements of beauty and yet so abuse these gifts by omitting to