**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

by [?]

Women endowed by nature with the indescribable quality we call “charm” (for want of a better word), are the supreme development of a perfected race, the last word, as it were, of civilization; the flower of their kind, crowning centuries of growing refinement and cultivation. Other women may unite a thousand brilliant qualities, and attractive attributes, may be beautiful as Astarte or witty as Madame de Montespan, those endowed with the power of charm, have in all ages and under every sky, held undisputed rule over the hearts of their generation.

When we look at the portraits of the enchantresses whom history tells us have ruled the world by their charm, and swayed the destinies of empires at their fancy, we are astonished to find that they have rarely been beautiful. From Cleopatra or Mary of Scotland down to Lola Montez, the tell-tale coin or canvas reveals the same marvellous fact. We wonder how these women attained such influence over the men of their day, their husbands or lovers. We would do better to look around us, or inward, and observe what is passing in our own hearts.

Pause, reader mine, a moment and reflect. Who has held the first place in your thoughts, filled your soul, and influenced your life? Was she the most beautiful of your acquaintances, the radiant vision that dazzled your boyish eyes? Has she not rather been some gentle, quiet woman whom you hardly noticed the first time your paths crossed, but who gradually grew to be a part of your life–to whom you instinctively turned for consolation in moments of discouragement, for counsel in your difficulties, and whose welcome was the bright moment in your day, looked forward to through long hours of toil and worry?

In the hurly-burly of life we lose sight of so many things our fathers and mothers clung to, and have drifted so far away from their gentle customs and simple, home-loving habits, that one wonders what impression our society would make on a woman of a century ago, could she by some spell be dropped into the swing of modern days. The good soul would be apt to find it rather a far cry from the quiet pleasures of her youth, to “a ladies’ amateur bicycle race” that formed the attraction recently at a summer resort.

That we should have come to think it natural and proper for a young wife and mother to pass her mornings at golf, lunching at the club-house to “save time,” returning home only for a hurried change of toilet to start again on a bicycle or for a round of calls, an occupation that will leave her just the half-hour necessary to slip into a dinner gown, and then for her to pass the evening in dancing or at the card-table, shows, when one takes the time to think of it, how unconsciously we have changed, and (with all apologies to the gay hostesses and graceful athletes of to-day) not for the better.

It is just in the subtle quality of charm that the women of the last ten years have fallen away from their elder sisters. They have been carried along by a love of sport, and by the set of fashion’s tide, not stopping to ask themselves whither they are floating. They do not realize all the importance of their acts nor the true meaning of their metamorphosis.

The dear creatures should be content, for they have at last escaped from the bondage of ages, have broken their chains, and vaulted over their prison walls. “Lords and masters” have gradually become very humble and obedient servants, and the “love, honour, and obey” of the marriage service might now more logically be spoken by the man; on the lips of the women of to-day it is but a graceful “facon de parler,” and holds only those who choose to be bound.