Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/43

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33
DIETETIC CURIOSITIES.

"It was thus," he facetiously remarks, "that Circe changed the companions of Ulysses into pigs."

It is certain that the monastic gluttony of Austria, Bavaria, and the adjoining states, where plethoric convents abound, has developed an unmistakable type of grossness in the characteristic physiognomies of those countries. The ingenium pingue which Ulric Hutten satirizes is still an hereditary affliction in many Catholic districts, and nowhere more than in Austria proper, in Linz and Vienna, where the art of cookery has become the problem of life, and "the instinct of liberty is drowned in sausage-fat."

Abstinent habits, too, begin to set their mark if continued to the second or third generation. The ascetic vigor of Semitic countenances probably dates from the establishment of the Mosaic and Islamitic codes, with their rigid dietetic restrictions, and something in the spiritualistic eyes of the Arabian desert-dwellers suggests the absence of those animal brain-elements which according to Dio Lewis are assimilated like trichinae by the use of pork and beef. But only a French savant can go so far as to reconstruct the entire national history of a race from such physiognomic indications. "The face of a Turk," says M. de Chateaubriand, "shows the high cheekbones and powerful, bone-crushing jaws of the original Turkoman shepherd, improved by a diet of Attic figs and Thessalian grapes, further sweetened by the sherbet and perfumed cakes of Constantinople, and finally clouded by the fumes of opium!"

"There is a sadness in the face of the typical Chinese," writes the Rev. Mr. Gentz, "which now always moves me to infinite pity. At first they were vaguely repulsive to me, these death-head profiles and sad, sunken eyes, but I can interpret them now, and they speak to me of centuries and centuries of dull, hopeless suffering by slavery, poverty, and loathsome or insufficient food." If we believe that Dr. Fowler was able to distinguish the weavers from other operatives of a miscellaneous manufactory, merely by the formation of their heads, we can not consistently call even Chateaubriand a visionary, for "alimentativeness" is one of the recognized organs of the craniological systems. A certain amplitude of the region between the ear and the posterior base of the skull indicates gormandism to the followers of Dr. Gall, and excessive development, therefore, of gluttony and voracity. A happy illustration if not demonstration hereof is the preserved bust of Vitellius, the imperial arch-glutton, whose enormous head seems only a reduced continuation of the still more enormous neck. Lavater, the father of Physiognomy, describes the "Fresser-Falte" or gormand's wrinkle which in his opinion is developed by a certain movement of the cheeks which makes us say, "His mouth waters," and by which he thinks he could detect an Austrian abbot in any disguise.

On the moral effect of sundry articles of food, Dr. Bock, the Leipsic professor, and author of the famous "Buch vom gesunden und kranken Menschen" ("Man in Health and Disease"), discourses as follows: