Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/14

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4
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

very carefully, to detect a slight Oriental darkness under the powder on some otherwise unimpeachable cheeks. It is the annual opportunity of rich East India to proclaim itself connected, however remotely, with "society." Society looks on and smiles and covertly inquires, "How many annas, do you suppose, to the rupee?" This is a euphuism expressive of proportion—of Aryan proportion. For the rest, the attitude of society may be expressed by an inveterate shrug. It is not invidious or actively contemptuous; it represents the acceptance of the inevitable, and the determination—if that is not too energetic a term—to have as little to do with it as possible. Society recognizes that Eurasia has certain claims—to charities and commissions of inquiry, to humane treatment, to commiseration, to good advice. It holds meetings, raises subscriptions, discusses the Eurasian problem in the newspapers, and supplies inquiry commissioners from among its most honorable and distinguished. But the claims of Eurasia upon society must be made distinctly in forma pauperis; it is only the lower classes who have any. For the well-to-do in the landaus society has only a somewhat amused and cynical toleration, and does not dream of bowing. The attitude is natural enough. For the claims of that cousinship also must be more than ignored—they must be trampled upon.

I have hinted at the amplitude of Mrs. De Souza—it is largely characteristic of Eurasia, more marked, perhaps, in the women than in the men. The dusky chin has a tendency to grow early double—the comfortable shoulder to shake prematurely in the plenitude of what one might call semi-tropical nature. This sometimes carries with it a perfunctory jollity of appearance, the look of well-being that goes inseparably with solid development, the cheerfulness of curves. The prevailing Eurasian expression, however, is not one of exhilaration, at least in Bengal. The Bengali is not merry, and his paler-faced connections have inherited his unsmiling look at life. The few whose color is of a Mongolian strain are gay by contrast, but East India generally is of a sad countenance—languor, lethargy, and depression being of tener written there than anything else. There are easy physical reasons for this. The Eurasian is a poor creature among men. The death-rate of the community is tabulated with that of the European element, so can not be ascertained accurately, but it is known to be high. He is an easy victim to all the diseases that follow poverty and crowded living. He has not such immunity as is enjoyed by the Bengali by virtue of simpler conditions of life; his habits and requirements are of the complex European order, that bring, inadequately gratified, swift consequences, which he lacks the strength of the European to combat. When he is not abnormally fat, the Eurasian is apt to be painfully thin,