“Age need not destroy beauty. There are people who grow more beautiful as they grow older. If age means to them an expansion and development of character, this new mental and spiritual state will have its effect on the physical. A face which in the early days was only pretty or even dull will be transformed. The eyes will attain mysterious depths, there will be a gesture in the whole face of greater sensibility and all will appear coordinate.
About the portrait Whistler painted of his mother I have always had a great feeling of beauty. She is old. But there is something in her face and gesture that tells of the integrity of her life. There is nothing wabbly about her face, as there is in the faces of those whose integrity has been uncertain. A wonderful record of woman’s beauty would have been lost to the world if her son had seen fit to look for any other beauty than that which was present.
There she sits, and in her poise one reads the history of a splendid personality. She is at once so gentle, so experienced, and so womanly strong. She may have had other beauty in her youth, but it could not have surpassed this, which charms and fills us with reverence.
It is more the gesture of a feature than the feature itself which interests and pleases us. The feature is the outside, its gesture manifests the inner life.
Beauty is an intangible thing; cannot be fixed on the surface and the wear and tear of old age on the body cannot defeat it.
Nor will a “pretty” face make it, for “pretty” faces are often dull and empty, and beauty is never dull and it fills all spaces.
The lace on a woman’s wrist is an entirely different thing from lace in a shop. In the shop it is a piece of workmanship, on her hand it is the accentuation of her gentleness of character and refinement.”