chapter  5
12 Pages

‘She cannot smile the smile that wells from the heart’

Beauty, Health, and Emotion in Six to Sixteen and The Secret Garden
ByMichelle J. Smith

Beauty ideals for girls were intimately connected with the concept of health in late nineteenth-century print culture. The healthy girl would necessarily have a cheerful character and a pleasing appearance. In contrast, in the Girl's Own Book of Health and Beauty, Gordon Stables, a former Royal Navy surgeon who wrote the medical advice column for the popular British girls' magazine, the Girl's Own Paper, explains that unhealthy girls could be neither beautiful nor happy: Brightness of eyes, clearness of complexion, and happiness of expression, belong only to the possessor of health. The guide book is typical of representations of girls in fiction and advice of the period in its correlation of health with beauty and happiness. The Girl's Own Book of Health and Beauty implicitly argues against any form of external cosmetics by glorifying the relationship between inner health and pleasing external features.