S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
A thousand little things, not separately to be defined, conspire to form these graces, this je ne sais quoi, that always pleases. A pretty person, genteel motions, a proper degree of dress, an harmonious voice, something open and cheerful in the countenance, but without laughing; a distinct and properly varied manner of speaking: all these things, and many others, are necessary ingredients in the composition of the pleasing je ne sais quoi, which everybody feels, though nobody can describe. Observe carefully, then, what displeases or pleases you, in others, and be persuaded that, in general, the same things will please or displease them, in you.
Lord Chesterfield: Letters to his Son, March 9, 1748.
Grace is in a great measure a natural gift; elegance implies cultivation, or something of more artificial character. A rustic uneducated girl may be graceful, but an elegant woman must be accomplished and well trained. It is the same with things as with persons: we talk of a graceful tree, but of an elegant house or other building. Animals may be graceful, but they cannot be elegant. The movements of a kitten, or a young fawn, are full of grace; but to call them elegant animals would be absurd. Lastly, elegant may be applied to mental qualifications, which graceful never can. Elegance must always imply something that is made or invented by man. An imitation of nature is not so; therefore we do not speak of an elegant picture, though we do of an elegant pattern for a gown, an elegant piece of work. The general rule is, that elegance is the characteristic of art, and grace of nature.
Grace, like beauty, is one of those spontaneous inherent qualities which, though felt and acknowledged by all, yet have never been satisfactorily explained. Like beauty, too, it is only to be found in that nice, that hair-breadth calculation, so precisely situated between the poco più o meno, equally avoiding the tameness of insipidity and the affectation of grimace. Grace can never properly be said to exist without beauty, for it is only in the elegant proportions of beautiful forms that can be found that harmonious variety of line and motion which is the essence and charm of grace. Propriety is an indispensable accompaniment of grace. The best of the antique statues have ever been considered as models of grace; and nowhere is this harmony more conspicuous than in them. The grace of the Apollo depends not alone on the due proportion and poise of each limb, or the elegant sway and easy motion of the figure; it consists too in the noble dignity of the action, which harmonizes so beautifully with the character stamped on the face and figure, and which completes one of the most sublime and poetic works that art has ever produced.