What was my working hypothesis of the Perfect Woman, towards whom I was thus leisurely strolling?
For, if you reflect a moment, you will see that, while it is easy to choose what virtues we would have our wife possess, it is all but impossible to imagine those faults we would desire in her, which I think most lovers would admit add piquancy to the loved one, that fascinating wayward imperfection which paradoxically makes her perfect.
A charming old Italian writer has laid down the canons of perfect feminine beauty with much nicety in a delicious discourse, which, as he delivered it in a sixteenth- century Florentine garden to an audience of beautiful and noble ladies, an audience not too large to be intimate and not too small to be embarrassing, it was his delightful good fortune and privilege to illustrate by pretty and sly references to the characteristic beauties of the several ladies seated like a ring of roses around him.
Though she had some indistinct idea of the method of these optical phenomena, still the illusion was almost perfect enough to warrant the belief that her husband possessed sway over the spiritual world.
She felt how much more precious was such a sentiment than that meaner kind which would have borne with the imperfection for her sake, and have been guilty of treason to holy love by degrading its perfect idea to the level of the actual; and with her whole spirit she prayed that, for a single moment, she might satisfy his highest and deepest conception.
"The concoction of the draught has been perfect," said he, in answer to Georgiana's look.
No faint sign of fear marked her perfect
brow--only haughty disdain for her priests and admiration for the man she loved so hopelessly filled her thoughts.
Hath not the world just now become perfect? Round and ripe?
Hath not the world just now become perfect? Oh, for the golden round ball!--
But that perfect
state had lacked one thing even for mechanical perfection--absolute permanency.
Therefore, I can see no difficulty, more especially under changing conditions of life, in the continued preservation of individuals with fuller and fuller flank-membranes, each modification being useful, each being propagated, until by the accumulated effects of this process of natural selection, a perfect so-called flying squirrel was produced.
It must not be inferred from these remarks that any of the grades of wing-structure here alluded to, which perhaps may all have resulted from disuse, indicate the natural steps by which birds have acquired their perfect power of flight; but they serve, at least, to show what diversified means of transition are possible.