The literary heroine of the future will no longer have to depend in order to captivate her thousands, upon the questionable charms of a delicately tinted cheek, or the alluring curve of a car mine lip, if one can take stock in the theories of Professor Charles Lalo, of the Sorbonne, who has just published monumental treatise on "The Bankruptcy of Beauty." Professor Lalo asserts that "mere youth" presumably with its attendant attractions "must not hope to compete in the lists of gallantry with the riper charms of experience, conscious coquetry, and the maturer ability of self-abnegation."
So far, this is all admirable; it is the comment of an intelligent mind, and above all it displays a typically Gallic politeness toward those whose day of conquest is generally considered past; but when the savant undertakes to award prizes to those writers who mention heroines of notably advanced ages, he may fairly be suspected of harboring somewhere in the depths of his soul a sour-grapes complex, Balzac, for example, receives the Prix d'Excellence for six heroines adored anywhere between forty and forty-seven, and for one beloved at fifty-five. Any author who has a candidate over thirty receives a Good Mark, but conspuez those arrant sentimentalists whose damsels begin counting their scalps at the unripe age of eighteen and even less!
It is unfortunate that the Professor has left untouched the fertile field of American literature, for he would have found there much to cheer him. F. P. A., to take only one, is known for his callousness toward the seductive charms of feminine inexperience; and it is the off-expressed opinion of Mr. H. I., Mencken that although it is theoretically possible for woman to possess real beauty, from an aesthetic point of view, she so rarely does that she is forced to rely, on the alternative attractions of intellect and understanding. Moreover, the writers of popular songs whose favorite theme is going home to Mother are legion; and certainly America's own Montague Glass would be awarded at the very least an Honorable Mention for "our Miss Cohen", who, it will be remembered, was "a perfect thirty-six."