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nearly perfect,” said my friend. “I have seen her several times before, and were it not for a chin slightly out of proportion, I should be obliged to confess that there is at least one handsome woman in the city.”
3. “And but one, I suppose,” said I, laughingly. “That I am sure of,” said he. “I have been to all the churches, from the Catholic to the Mormon, and on all the Corporations, and there is not a handsome woman here, although she whom we have just passed comes nearer the standard than any
other." 4. Just as if there were any standard of beauty, fixed, arbitrary model of form and feature and color! The beauty which my friend seemed in search of, was that of proportion and coloring; mechanical exactness; a due combination of soft curves and obtuse angles, of warm carnation and marble purity!
5. Such a man, for aught I can see, might love a graven image, like the girl of Florence, who pined into a shadow for the Apollo Belvidere, looking coldly on her with his stony eyes, from his niche in the Vatican. One thing is certain : he will never find his faultless piece of artisticalperfection, by searching for it amidst flesh and blood realities.
6. Nature does not, as far as I can perceive, work with square and compass, or lay on her colors by the rules of royal artists, or the dunces of the academies. She eschews regular outlines. She does not shape her forms by a common model. Not one of Eve's numerous progeny in all respects resembles her who first culled the flowers of Eden. It is in the infinite variety and picturesque inequality of Nature, that her great charm and uncloying beauty consists.
7. Look at her primitive woods, scattered trees with moist sward and bright mosses at their roots, great clumps of green shadow, where limb entwists with limb, and the rustle of one leaf stirs a hundred others —stretching up steep hillsides, flooding with green beauty the valleys, or arching over
with leaves the sharp ravines, - every tree and shrub unlike its neighbor in size and proportion, — the old and stormbroken leaning on the young and vigorous, – intricate and confused, without order or method !
8. Who would exchange this for artificial French gardens, where every tree stands stiff and regular, clipped and trimmed into unvarying conformity, like so many grenadiers under review ?
9. Who wants eternal sunshine or shadow? Who would fix forever the loveliest cloud-work of an autumn sunset; or hang over him an everlasting moonlight? If the stream had no quiet eddying place, could we so admire its cascade over the rocks? Were there no clouds, could we so hail the sky shining through them in its still, calm purity? Who shall venture to ask our kind Mother Nature to remove from our sight any one of her forms or colors? Who shall decide which is beautiful, or otherwise, in itself considered ?
10. “Handsome is that handsome does — hold up your heads, girls!” was the language of Primrose in the play, when addressing her daughters. The worthy matron was right. Would that all my female readers, who are sorrowing foolishly because they are not in all respects like Dubufe's Eve, or that statue of the Venus " which enchants the world,” could be persuaded to listen to her.
11. What is good looking, as Horace Smith remarks, but looking good? Be good, be womanly, be gentle-generous in your sympathies, heedful of the well-being of all around you, and my
word for it, you will not lack kind words of admiration. Loving and pleasant associations will gather
12. Never mind the ugly reflection which your glass may give you. That mirror has no heart. But quite another picture is yours on the retina of human sympathy. There the beauty of holiness, of purity, of that inward grace “which passeth show,” rests over it, softening and mellowing its features, just as the full, calm moonlight melts those of a rough landscape into harmonious loveliness.
13. "Hold up your heads, girls!" I repeat after Primrose. Why should you not? Every mother's daughter of you can be beautiful. You can envelop yourselves in an atmosphere of moral and intellectual beauty, through which your otherwise plain faces will look forth like those of angels.
CHAPTER X XIV.
The sweet south wind, so long
In the bright Land of Song,
The laborer at his toil
The aromatic spoil
The bursting buds look up
Opens its azure cup
The reptile, that hath lain
Up to the light again –
Continual songs arise
A second Paradise !
Nor unto earth alone-
Telling of Winter flown,
THE GREAT CLOCK OF STRASBURG.
1. There is no subject which I can think of which will be so likely to interest you, as the great astronomical clock which I saw the other day in the cathedral at Strasburg. This cathedral, by the way, is one of the finest and oldest in Europe. It is very large, and its tower or steeple is the highest in the world. It is twenty-four feet higher than the great pyramid in Egypt, one hundred and forty feet higher than St. Paul's in London, and three or four times higher than the Old South Church in Boston.
2. The astronomical clock stands in the inside, in one corner of it, and is a most imposing and beautiful edifice. Five or six hundred people visit it every day at twelve o'clock, - when it performs some extraordinary feats, which I shall mention presently,—and several millions in the course of the year.
3. There have been two or three clocks in the same place, upon the model of which the present one is formed; but it is almost a new one, and was constructed by a mechanic, whose name was Schwilgue, in 1838, to whom a nocturnal fete, or festival, was given by his fellow-citizens, on the occasion of its completion.
4. To give you some idea of the size of this clock, I will compare it with some other things with which you are familiar, instead of saying that it is so many feet high, and so many feet wide, &c. Well, then, you remember the size of the old State House, in Washington street, Boston. It is as high as that, and about as wide, or nearly so. Its top would reach to the very summit of our meeting-house, and its front would
go about half across the front of the meeting-house. 5. On the top of it is a figure of the prophet Isaiah, about as large as life; on its two sides are stairs to go up into it. Its front is beautifully painted, and has places upon which the hours of the day, the days of the week, the revolutions of the stars, the motions of the sun in the ecliptic, the days of the month, the seasons of the year, the phases of the sun and moon, and a great many other things, are indicated.
6. Here, also, in niches prepared for them, are movable images of the Saviour and his twelve apostles; Death, and Time with the scythe ; the four ages of human life, and several other forms which I cannot mention.
7. To give you a little further idea of its magnitude, let me say that there are means of going into the inside of it, and that ten or fifteen people, perhaps more, might stand together in its very heart, and examine the machinery. Mr. Neale, two other gentlemen, and myself, with the conductor, went into it and spent about an hour there.
8. We went first into a lower, then into a higher, and then into a still higher apartment of it, and saw the various parts of the machinery-consisting, I should think, of more than a thousand pieces, - splendidly polished, and all dependent for their harmonious action upon the short, thick, brass pendulum, which swings in the centre.
9. But I must tell you what this clock does. It not only points out the hours and the days, but the times and the seasons, the revolutions of the stars, the solar and lunar