Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/44

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34
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

rare cases, there is joined with it skill in psychological analysis, there results an extremely remarkable ability to interpret the mental states of others. Of this ability we have a living example never hitherto paralleled among women, and in but few, if any, cases exceeded among men.

Of course, it is not asserted that the specialties of mind here described as having been developed in women, by the necessities of defense in their dealings with men, are peculiar to them: in men also they have been developed as aids to defense in their dealings with one another. But the difference is, that, whereas, in their dealings with one another, men depended on these aids only in some measure, women in their dealings with men depended upon them almost wholly—within the domestic circle as well as without it. Hence, in virtue of that partial limitation of heredity by sex, which many facts throughout Nature show us, they have come to be more marked in women than in men.[1]

One further distinctive mental trait in women springs out of the relation of the sexes as adjusted to the welfare of the race. I refer to the effect which the manifestation of power of every kind in men has in determining the attachments of women. That this is a trait inevitably produced will be manifest, on asking what would have happened if women had by preference attached themselves to the weaker men. If the weaker men had habitually left posterity when the stronger did not, a progressive deterioration of the race would have resulted. Clearly, therefore, it has happened (at least since the cessation of marriage by capture or by purchase has allowed feminine choice to play an important part) that, among women unlike in their

  1. As the validity of this group of inferences depends on the occurrence of that partial limitation of heredity of sex here assumed, it may be said that I should furnish proof of its occurrence. Were the place fit, this might be done. I might detail evidence that has been collected showing the much greater liability there is for a parent to bequeath malformations and diseases to children of the same sex, than to those of the opposite sex. I might cite the multitudinous instances of sexual distinctions, as of plumage in birds and coloring in insects, and especially those marvelous ones of dimorphism and polymorphism among females of certain species of Lepidoptera, as necessarily implying (to those who accept the Hypothesis of Evolution) the predominant transmission of traits to descendants of the same sex. It will suffice, however, to instance, as more especially relevant, the cases of sexual distinctions within the human race itself, which have arisen in some varieties and not in others. That in some varieties the men ate bearded, and in others not, may be taken as strong evidence of this partial limitation of heredity; and, perhaps, still stronger evidence is yielded by that peculiarity of feminine, form found in some of the negro races, and especially the Hottentots, which does not distinguish to any such extent the women of other races from the men. There is also the fact, to which Agassiz draws attention, that, among the South American Indians, males and females differ less than they do among the negroes and the higher races; and this reminds us that among European and Eastern nations the men and women differ, both bodily and mentally, not quite in the same ways and to the same degrees, but in somewhat different ways and degrees––a fact which would be inexplicable were there no partial limitation of heredity by sex.