Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/492

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476
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tional life of humanity, may form a subject for treatment hereafter. Our present study concerns the deeper but not less interesting problem of the indexing of mind, and of the relations of brain-conformation and brain-structure to character and disposition. If there exists no art "to find the mind's construction in the face," Lavater notwithstanding, may we discover "the mind's construction in the skull"? If the old phrenology, or the science of brain-pans, be regarded as practically obsolete among physiologists and scientific men at large, what hopes of successfully estimating the "coinage of the brain" may the new phrenology be said to hold out? To this interesting question, then, let us ask the reader's attention for a brief period. We may premise that, if the march in ways phrenological be somewhat bellicose, our journey shall not be wanting in those mental elements which make for instruction in a field largely peopled with human hopes and fears.

The professions of phrenology are not by any means so correctly appreciated as might be thought, considering how well known is the name of the science, and how popular were its tenets within, comparatively speaking, a few years back. Although the name "phrenology" is but an echo in the scientific class-rooms, its professors still flourish, mostly in obscure localities in large towns, and often present themselves as modern representatives of the Peripatetici, in that they wander from town to town as traveling philosophers who usually unite a little electrobiology to their phrenological talents, and throw in an occasional mesmeric séance by way of offset to the more serious business of the interpretation of character. There are, it is true, phrenological societies and museums in several of our cities. The latter are chiefly remarkable for the varied collection of murderers' effigies and for the extensive assortment of casts of cranial abnormalities; the exact relationship of these contorted images to phrenological science being rarely if ever made clear to the visitor on the search for knowledge. Now and then in opticians' windows one sees a wondrous china head whose cubic capacity is mapped off into square inches, half inches and quarters, of veneration, ideality, comparison, benevolence, and many other qualities of mind. The contemplation of such a work of art excites within the mind of the ingenious observer an idea of the literal awfulness of a science which dispenses destructiveness by the inch, and which maps out the bounds of our amativeness by the rule of three; while the profundity of its professors may by such a mind be compared only to that of Butler's savant who

. . . . could distinguish and divide

A hair, 'twixt south and southwest side.

Nor would the admiration of the ingenuous one be lessened were he to enter the sanctum of the "professor" of phrenology, and submit his cranium to the ocular inspection and digital manipulation of the oracle. The very furnishings of the apartment are mystic, and impress