Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/346

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334
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

man. The very aptitude that I recognize in myself for the exercise of this power would indicate a preexisting tendency. In my junior college year I became, during the visit of Spurzheim, enamoured of phrenology. For twenty years, although I have not made it a special study, it has been the foundation on which I have worked. Admit, if you please, it is not exactly the true thing; and admit, if you will, that there is little form or system in it; yet I have worked with it the same as botanists worked with the Linnæan system of botany, the classification of which is very convenient, although an artificial one. There is no natural system that seems to correspond to human nature so nearly as phrenology does.

For example, you assume that a man's brain is the general organ of the spiritual and intellectual functions.

I see a man with a small brow and big in the lower part of his head, like a bull, and I know that that man is not likely to be a saint. All the reasoning in the world would not convince me of the contrary, but I would say of such a man, that he has very intense ideas, and will bellow and push like a bull of Bashan. Now, practically, do you suppose I would commence to treat with such a man by flaunting a rag in his face? My first instinct in regard to him is what a man would have if he found himself in a field with a wild-bull, which would be to put himself on good manners, and use means of conciliation, if possible.

On the other hand, if I see a man whose forehead is very high and large, but who is thin in the back of the head, and with a small neck and trunk, I say to myself, "That is a man, probably, whose friends are always talking about how much there is in him, but who never does any thing. He is a man who has great organs, but nothing to drive them with. He is like a splendid locomotive without a boiler."

Again, you will see a man with a little bullet-head, having accomplished more than that big-headed man, who ought to have been a strong giant and a great genius. The bullet-headed man has outstripped the broad-browed man in every thing he undertook; and people say, "Where is your phrenology?" In reply, I say, "Look at that bullet-headed man, and see what he has to drive his bullet-head with!" His stomach gives evidence that he has natural forces to carry forward his purposes. Then look at the big-headed man. He can't make a spoonful of blood in twenty-four hours, and what he does make is poor and thin. Phrenology classifies the brain-regions well enough, but you must understand its relations to physiology, and the dependence of brain-work upon the quantity and quality of blood that the man's body makes.

You may ask, "What is the use of knowing these things?" All the use in the world. If a person comes to me, with dark, coarse hair, I know he is tough and enduring, and I know, if it is necessary, that I can hit him a rap to arouse him; but, if I see a person who has fine, silky hair, and a light complexion, I know that he is of an excitable