Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/150

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140
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

has described experiments which M. Defoy tried with his apparatus upon some vicious and dangerous horses at the stables of the Omnibus Company. An Hungarian horse, which was considered unsafe to shoe, was brought up to the forge, making evident manifestations of his perversity. In a few minutes after the current was applied to him he allowed himself to be caressed on the shoulders and back, then let his legs be touched and his hind-feet raised; and, finally, suffered the workmen to change his shoes without being restrained or showing any further opposition to the proceedings. A trial of the apparatus was also made in the presence of the director of the Cab Company of Paris upon some horses which it had till then been impossible to shoe. They all yielded to its influence. One of them was accustomed to roll on the ground, strike out, and resist in every possible way. On the first application of the currents, says the director in his report, "To my astonishment they lifted his feet without any great difficulty; at the second, he was as easy to shoe as if he had never opposed the least resistance. The animal was conquered." M. Defoy exhibited before the editor of "La Nature" a dangerous horse, which he arrested instantly after it had sprung into a gallop, by turning the handle of the magneto-electric apparatus. The result is not obtained by any violent or painful action. The current is not strong enough to stupefy the animal; it rather produces in him astonishment, and a disagreeable but not painful sensation of an electrical pricking. The editor of "La Nature" has received the current from the apparatus without experiencing inconvenience. There is nothing in the process to recall the barbarous methods formerly used to subdue animals by force or violence, which hurt them in body and temper. M. Defoy has also invented an electrical stick or switch, which is not less ingenious than his bit. It is a riding-whip containing two conducting wires, which are insulated by leather. The wires terminate in two points set perpendicularly to the whip, and are put in connection, as in the case of the bit, by means of a magneto-electric apparatus. If the horse is in the habit of rearing, it is enough to jog him with the legs as he is preparing to rise, and at the same time apply the points of the electric stick to the top of his shoulders. He will immediately subside and let his head down. So, when a horse tries to turn around, the application of the current to that side of his face toward which he is about to turn will cause him to stop immediately. With the help of this little instrument M. Defoy is able in a little while to make a horse obey all his wishes.

 

Automatism in Portrait-painting.—Dr. Gaetan Delaunay, in a recent article on this subject, writes that he has often observed that a designer making an extemporaneous sketch of a head involuntarily reproduces his own portrait; and that, having made a scientific study of the fact, he has reached conclusions which are curious, though they are not fully demonstrated. He has been informed by teachers of drawing, painters, and designers, of whom he has made inquiries, that a person tracing with a pencil figures of spontaneous conception will always produce the same head unless he is copying from or imitating a model. M. Luys, professor in the Medical Faculty at Paris, states substantially the same principle in his work on the brain, and explains it by a theory of automatism, or habit. It is illustrated in the works of the French caricaturists. A degree of resemblance may be traced between the design and the designer, whether we consider the work as a whole or in its parts. English painters, endeavoring to represent Frenchmen, give them English characteristics, and French painters invest their figures of foreigners with a French air. So painters of every country impart some of their own national features to their pictures of foreign life, to such a degree that we can generally recognize the nationality of the artist from them. We can not explain the fact better than by supposing that all painters are subject to an irresistible tendency to reproduce their own ethnographic type. Sex exercises a similar influence; little girls amusing themselves at drawing will generally be found making female figures, little boys male figures. Dr. Delaunay has also observed that an artist seeking to represent a woman would always draw the same woman, and has learned from designers that the woman who thus persistently came from their pencil was, of the type which they preferred to all others, the one who figured in their dreams. Rubens is quoted as say-