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from the aspect of those very modern but apparently remote days which Dana described in his "Two Years Before the Mast." It had been burned down twice, and had arisen from its ashes each time improved. By some few years it had become, in 1859, a city like any other of America, as well paved, lighted, and otherwise appointed for comfort. There adventurous spirits of all sorts, from men who had money to invest to those who had nothing but muscle, had congregated. There, on the streets of San Francisco, the lavish Southerner, the penurious Yankee, jostled each other, while the Chinaman scuttled along, only too happy to escape to his quarter unmolested. An entirely new condition of affairs surrounded most of the denizens of the place. Views were enlarged, sympathy and helpfulness were unstinted, generosity was unbounded. Men who had been brought up in the narrowest way expanded, body and soul. The new generation showed the greatest possible physical improvement. Under an equable temperature, in the enjoyment of out-door air and exercise, the young generation had such arms and legs and trunks as their progenitors had never dreamed of, and this, the blood being the same, came about from simple change of conditions. The changed conditions were numerous, it is true, but so it is always, change of only one or two conditions, with change of region and climate, being inconceivable.
All observers agree that it is absurd to think of the English as being in physique as they were personally well known to our forefathers to be, and through pictures almost equally well known to us to have been. The broad-visaged, bluff Englishman is a variety of man which has rapidly disappeared. The exigencies of modern times, with their requirements upon the nervous system, have made and are continuing to make of him a type more nearly approaching the American than any other. The same effect, from the same and additional causes, is to be seen in France. The type of the haute noblesse has almost disappeared,
and with it the air of distinction. The tendency in expression every where is toward that of the bourgeoisie. Except in the remote and exclusive atmosphere of the Austrian court, distinction of air and manner has largely disappeared. It is notorious that it does not exist in Prussia, except in the military form. It is everywhere disappearing, if indeed it is not gone already, engulfed in the commercial activity engendered by the demo-. cratic spirit of the age.
Look at the case of the prognathous, or projecting-jawed, emigrants who often land in New York. They represent the last term of a long struggle for existence, in ignorance, dirt, foul air, ill-housing, and overworking for generations. They find themselves in quite changed surroundings. The law of natural selection does not work by set times for a given result, an age being sometimes required for a change which at other times a few years may effect. The reaction of the organism to the surrounding conditions must be taken into account. In this case the relation of the organism to the external conditions results in rapid change. It takes place with marvelous strides. Such emigrants often become within the remainder of their life-time so bettered as to be hardly recognizable, and leave to their children an inheritance of good-looks which never had previously appeared in the stock.
We see the Chinese mostly as laundrymen, and elsewhere in this country they are known as that and also as the pickers-up of unconsidered trifles, and in all places are seen with somewhat changed habits. Where, however, the Chinaman is of a rank not to go bare-foot, he generally wears the Chinese shoe. That shoe on the sole is about half an inch thick, with no more bend to it than has a pine board, ability to walk in it being secured by a change of the angle of the sole about two-fifths of the way from the toe. In consequence of this, Chinamen who have worn their native shoes for generations have scarcely any develop
ment to the calf of the leg. Going slippered and booted as, among the lower classes, they are largely doing in this country, is for the first time enabling all those heretofore destitute of calves to procure them.
The most fearful thing in nature, a writer once said, is a ballet-dancer's leg and foot, with their stumped toes and abnormal muscular development of the calf. But there is one thing more fearful than that, in the change of nature by art, in the high-caste Chinawoman's foot. We once picked up on the parlor-table of a gentleman, who had lived twenty-five years in China, an ebony, life-size model of the foot of a Chinese woman of rank. A question regarding it led to an account by him of how he once, by means of bribery, had obtained sight of the horrible reality. A little girl's toes, except the great toe, are broken and turned under the sole of the foot, which is by that treatment and the following procedure arrested in growth. That procedure is swathing the foot with bandages, tightly compressed, with which the child pays agonized tribute to fashion for having been born highly aristocratic, continued by the further tribute of stumping on short stilts through life. The description of this horrible practice is mentioned here, for the bearing which it has upon the disease now known among us as "Morton's toe," and upon what is to be further said on the subject of feet, when we come to the discussion of feminine grace.
Enough cases have now been presented to elucidate the statement with which we set out, that change in the human organism may be so rapid as to be conspicuous even within the space of an ordinary life-time, and, therefore, that it often lies largely within our power to control its direction and amount. Upon the basis of matters which we have duly considered,— those relating to structure, we can now best study those belonging to function, as exhibited by easy movement, and especially that form of it known as feminine grace.
GRACE THE CROWN OF BEAUTY.
OVEMENT may be in itself beautiful, and when so, and appropriately combined with beauty of the human form, it constitutes the highest conceivable beauty. So associated in the mind is living form with movement, and symmetry of the living form with exquisite movement, that a sense of deficiency is experienced if the movement does not correspond with the apparent requirements of the form. So intimately are they associated in the mind, that we feel the absence of due relations between them, even when the idea of movement conveyed is, as in the statue, only suggested by the counterfeit presentment of life. The colossal statues of Egypt sit grandly erect with their Atef crowns, but stolidly, and wholly unsuggestive of movement through all eternity. The Greek statues, on the contrary, be the portrayal of the human form never so reposeful, from the massive-shouldered, resting Hercules to the elegantly-limbed Apollo, through all the intermediate delicacy of womankind, everywhere suggest form energized by potential action, ready to deploy itself in manifestations of strength and grace.
It is movement that makes grace. When we say of a figure that it is graceful, it is not the figure itself which is properly thought of as graceful, but the effect which would be exhibited if only it should move. This proves how closely our ideas of form and movement are associated, when we actually transfer the complex perception of moving form to form alone. The conception from a perception is instinctively transferred to and identified with the figure itself, as its exclusive attribute.
If the reader desires to seize and hold firmly the principles underlying grace, it will be well, first of all, to consider that it
is not the exclusive possession of human beings, nor even of animate things generally, and that it is an element of beauty which may be absent from form otherwise beautiful. Everywhere, however, that it manifests itself, it is found associated either with life or with that which is life-like through presenting the appearance of life. Thus, we witness it in the gracefulness of a yacht under full sail, bounding over the sea. We need not go to Byron's line," She walked the waters like a thing of life," to know, if we have ever seen it, how full of apparent life and purpose is the careening craft among the billows. Even the movements of a kite are manifestly life-like and graceful, resembling the soaring of birds. We find among the lower animals several kinds which are exquisitely graceful; witness, for instance, certain species of antelope and deer, and the species of birds to which allusion has just been made, as affording the high standard by which we judge of the movement of the kite. The horse, too, not as he sometimes appears, trained even to tricks, but free as nature itself, is of almost unsurpassable gracefulness, in his gathered form, arching neck, flaming or fearful eye, when he sometimes becomes an embodiment of grace and picturesqueness difficult to match.
It is, however, only when we reach the human form that symmetry and grace can be so conjoined as to be beyond comparison. This is said, of course, with due regard for the fact noted in the preceding pages, and to be kept in mind, that we are constrained to speak of that which most nearly approaches our highest conception, as the ideal, although, of course, the ideal is a conception beyond anything that we perceive. Even the Apollo Belvidere has been discovered by modern anatomists to be defective in the delineation of the muscles of the chest, and the equally celebrated, in its way, group of the Laocöon exhibits in the brow of the distraught father imperfection in delineation of the muscles which there represent the corrugations of despair.