Dear Mr. Knightley,
Is a woman far more beautiful in the circumstance that she creates a synthetic face each morning and forbids anyone from seeing her God given face? Or is it more likely admired bare and organic? Think in terms of her face being seen by both men and women.
Dear Organica (goodness!),
It has often been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but, while this may be true, there are certain perimeters that do exist. Many a lady had driven a man from her door by descending her staircase painted like a Cheapside harlot. And just as many could have retained the objects of their desire, had they paid a little more care to the condition of their eyebrows or the state of their hair.
This is not to say that one ought to change one’s appearance completely. First, because even if your husband never surprises you in your boudoir before you have a chance to dab some rouge, you can rest assured that there will come a day when you are either too ill, or too far removed from civilized society, or too great with child that you won’t be able to maintain your facade and he will see your true face. But more importantly, the further a woman removes herself from the position nature bestowed upon her, the more artificial she seems, and believe me when I say that while none of her friends may comment on it, everyone in society will be able to tell. And unfortunately society always speaks.
No, a woman is best suited to use her powders and colours not to hide defects but rather to enhance and exhibit the graces that nature has already gifted her with. To proudly exhibit a high forehead, an elegant nose, or well constrained teeth. Attempting to hide defects and blemishes only serves to draw further attention to them. As long as orderly hygiene is maintained, the lesser blemishes will quite easily fade, especially in the light of the natural graces that are highlighted instead.
And in the spirit of fairness, I will add a quick note that the same rules apply to men as well, in a lesser degree. One can easily differentiate a dandy, a fop, a beggar, and a lord upon the street. So too can and will others.
But remember, my dear, no rouge is needed for the cheeks already invigorated through exercise and fresh air.