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their sensations quite as certainly as we do; yet they apparently never exhibit any emotion of admiration or any appreciation of the beautiful; their intellect is too small or too barren to endow an object with the qualities which, as we shall presently find, cause admiration; consequently, those qualities not being inherent in the object itself, brutes are unable to draw upon them at all. So also savage races and ignorant people either have very depraved notions concerning beauty, or else have none at all. They may have a code of beauty, but to us it is an atrocious one; they may admire certain objects and certain arrangements, but to us such objects are hideous and such arrangements are abominable; they may admire black teeth, and blacken them accordingly; they may admire the absence of teeth, and knock them out accordingly; they may admire flat heads, and flatten them accordingly; they may admire saucers in their ears and “sprits ” in their noses, and insert them there accordingly; they may admire tattooed skins, and tattoo themselves accordingly;—but civilised nations regard these codes of beauty as monstrous, the result of lamentable ignorance and degraded understandings. Howbeit similar barbarisms still cling to the skirts of culture and refinement in the form of compressed feet, high heels, false hair, wasp waists, powder, pomatum, hoops, and other monstrosities, permanent or periodical; but persons of large intellect or a liberal education never adopt or admire such deformities.
Again, the lowest classes in every community, the uneducated mob, the dregs of the people, are always looked upon as holding paltry or perverted views concerning beauty, or as actually incapable of experiencing true æsthetic emotions. We do not look for an estimate of genuine grace or an appreciation of correct symmetry among those who can neither read nor write; but, on the other hand, we listen with attention to whatever is uttered on these matters by the learned and the wise, although their learning and wisdom lie in quite another direction. It appears, then, that education and mental discipline are requisite to create the qualities which we call beautiful, and to exert the faculties so as to produce the emotion we term admiration, and that the truth of the aesthetic code or standard in any country, community, or class varies with the standard of education in that class, community, or country. If any confirmation of this position be required, let it be found in the fact that we have all of us sometimes failed, I think, to appreciate genuine beauty at first sight; that we all trace back some portion of our admiration to the teaching of a friend who, by having called our attention to certain features or qualities, has presented an object to us for the first time in such a light that it has ever since appeared beautiful.
Let it never be forgotten, however, that some educated persons are comparatively destitute of æsthetic susceptibility, almost incapable of admiration or awe; to these persons the most beautiful flowers are but coloured vegetation, the most beautiful birds but feathers and fowl, the most beautiful sunsets but clouds and light, the finest music but runs and vibrations, and the best poetry but fanciful circumlocution. Whether these persons have risen above such delicate experiences, and can afford to look down upon them as effeminate affections, I shall not stop to inquire. Certain it is that men differ as much in mind as in body; and as some are impressed to ecstasy with the beauties of nature, so others have scarce the least admiration to accord to such things, and marvel how their fellowmen can concern themselves about sentimentality, vagueness, and abstractions. Such minds have no share in the formation of codes of beauty, and are necessarily disqualified from criticising; they are in the minority, and their peculiarities need not be consulted in investigating the beauties of the flowered or the feathered tribe, the potent pathos of music, or the fine sublimity of song. Admiration, though not experienced equally by all, does nevertheless exist, and constitutes a powerful force in human nature—a force which it would be idle to ignore and folly to deny. Let us therefore inquire into the occasion of this emotion, for that admiration is the subjective element proper in a recognition of the beautiful, and unnecessary further to be dwelt on, I shall by this time take leave to assume. We now proceed to the objective element proper.
II. THE OBJECTIVE ELEMENT OF BEAUTY CONSISTS IN THE
QUALITY OF SUGGESTIVENESS.
THE objective element of beauty—and the same applies to all æsthetic phenomena—is the quality of suggestiveness; and it is the response of the intellect to this suggestiveness which causes the emotion of admiration. Of course, when I speak of a suggestive quality being objective, I do not imply any necessary objectivity, but merely that which the mind itself has previously endowed the object with. This endowing by the mind of suggestive qualities is done by what is called association of ideas. We see a certain object, and we recollect certain sensations which we believe to co-exist in that object, and which we have before experienced in connection with it; we see it of a certain colour, and we recollect something else of a similar colour; we see it of a certain shape, and we recollect something else of a similar shape; we see it with a certain motion, and we recollect something else with a similar motion; that is, we associate with the object before us, its colour, shape, or motion, other objects with their colours, shapes,
ormotions not before us. This postulate can only be established by analysis : to analysis, therefore, we proceed.
Beauty is twofold—natural and artificial; and the artificial seems to consist in imitating the natural; natural beauty, therefore, shall engage our attention first. Suggestive qualities, being attached by the mind to the object, operate afterwards by a reflex action whenever the object acts upon our appropriate senses and the mind is at leisure
to allow such reflex action to take effect. A beautiful quality is one which, directly or indirectly, proximately or remotely, suggests, not communicates, a pleasant sensation; and where there is no such suggestion there is no beauty-no admiration. I must assume that some objects are beautiful before I inquire why they are so. I must assume that certain plants, flowers, insects, fruits, birds, animals, and scenes are beautiful, or more beautiful than others. I shall assume, for instance, that a maidenhair fern, a primrose, an orange, a tortoiseshell butterfly, a swan, a squirrel, and clear sunsets are specimens of beautiful plants, flowers, fruit, insects, birds, animals, and scenes; and having made this assumption, I shall endeavour to prove that these things are beautiful by their suggestiveness, and by no other quality or means.
The maidenhair fern is beautiful because of its suggestiveness, and whoever has endowed it with the greatest number of suggestions, having a basis in pleasure as before mentioned, will experience through the reflex action of those suggestions the largest admiration and will find the object most beautiful. What, then, does this fern suggest ? Evidently a great and complex multitude of things ; let us specify some of them. The maidenhair fern may suggest the “chequered shade” when we are walking in a spacious grove on a summer's day and the sunlight is seen filtered by the leaves above, and the heat screened by interlacing branches; it may suggest a bunch of young and tender grapes; it may suggest the feathers on a thrush's breast or in a peacock's tail-soft to touch, warm to wear, or pleasant to look at; it may suggest the spray of a fountain turning to descend in drops and curving in a natural sweep; it may suggest the spangled sky on a starlight night, or when the moon's face is veiled from naked brightness by intervening trees and verdure, or it suggests a piece of lace delicate in texture and excellent in pattern and execution; but what necessity is there to go beyond the name of the plant itself? With its delicate dark