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CHAPTER IX.

SOCIETY.-WOMEN.

The women of America are unquestionably, physically, as far as beauty is concerned, and morally, of a higher standard than the men ; nevertheless they have not that influence which they ought to possess. In my former remarks upon the women of America I have said, that they are the prettiest in the world, and I have put the word prettiest in italics, as I considered it a term peculiarly appropriate to the American women. In many points the Americans have, to a certain degree, arrived at that equality which they profess to covet ; and in no one, perhaps, more than in the fair distribution of good looks among the women.

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This is easily accounted for: there is not to be found, on the

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one hand, that squalid wretchedness, that halfstarved growing up, that disease and misery, nor on the other, that hereditary refinement, that inoculation of the beautiful, from the constant association with the fine arts, that careful nurture, and constant attention to health and exercise, which exist in the dense population of the cities of the Old World; and occasion those variations from extreme plainness to the perfection of beauty which are to be seen, particularly in the metropolis of England. In the United States, where neither the excess of misery nor of luxury and refinement are known, you have, therefore, a more equal distribution of good looks, and, although you often meet with beautiful women, it is but rarely that you find one that may be termed ill favoured. The coup-d’qil is, therefore, more pleasing in America -enter society, and turn your eyes in any direction, you will everywhere find cause for pleasure, although seldom any of annoyance. The climate is not, however, favourable to beauty, which, compared to the English, is very transitory, especially in the Eastern States; and when a female arrives at the age of thirty, its reign is, generally speaking, over.

The climate of the Western States appears, however, more favourable to it, and I think I saw more handsome women at Cincinnati than in any other city of the Union ; their figures were more perfect, and they were finer grown, not receiving the sudden checks to which the Eastern women are exposed.

Generally speaking, but a small interval elapses between the period of American girls leaving school and their entering upon their duties as wives ; but during that period, whatever it may be, they are allowed more liberty than the young people in our country; walking out without chaperons, and visiting their friends as they please. There is a reason for this : the matrons are compelled, from the insufficiency of their domestics, to attend personally to all the various duties of housekeeping; their

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