Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/837

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819
PHYSIOGNOMIC CURIOSITIES.

savage disposition." Who is not at once reminded of the timid, flaxen-haired inmates of our infirmaries and orphan asylums, and, on the other hand, of the "black, frizzled hair," BO often combined with a bowie-knife and horse-pistol in the make-up of a prominent border ruffian? And is it not confirmed by national as well as individual characteristics, that prominence of the canine teeth indicates pugnacity, or. as Dr. Cams terms it, "the love of overcoming"? The Bedouin Arabs and the Arizona Apaches have such teeth, and the physiognomies of Western hunters and teamsters and West Indian smugglers show that they are developed by adventurous pursuits.

If the experience of mankind is competent to interpret facial indications, some of the "propensities" and "perspectives" which Spurzheim lodges in the back rooms of his pan-sensorium must have a penchant for changing their quarters. "Firmness," for instance, which he locates in the posterior part of the upper head, undoubtedly manifests itself in the prominence of the chin. "Draw a face in profile," Bays Winckelmann, and observe how timidity or its opposite can be expressed by the shape of the lower jaw. Let the chin be receding, and your profile can be made to express pusillanimity and feebleness of character, even to the degree of imbecility. Then, without changing: any upper line of the profile, combine it with a prominent chin, and it will exhibit firmness. Exaggerate the prominence, and you can intensify that expression to one of obstinacy and ferocity. That such contrasts are less striking: in living faces owing to the circumstance that we take in the expression of all features at a single glance, without analyzing the complex effect."

Have we not here a positive criterion, a rule without an exception? Does it not occur to us, on after-thought, that all warlike, aggressive nations have such projecting chins, while the weak or degenerate ones are more or less chin-less? In their classification of the North American aborigines the Spaniards distinguish between Indios mansos and Indios bravos (tame and savage Indians). The former comprise the different agricultural tribes of Central and South America, ignorant but harmless creatures, who subsist on a vegetable diet; the latter the carnivorous savages of the North, who divided their time between hunting and warfare. In their physical characteristics these various tribes of the American autochthones could hardly be distinguished, if it were not for a slight variation in the color of their skins and a very mark difference in the shape of their chins. Our redskins have chins, though they can not emulate those of the Indo-Germanic race: the Indians of Mexico and South America have none. In the profile of a vegetarian Indio from the neighborhood of Vera Cruz, the lower jaw recedes in a sharp line from the mouth to the throat, so that his nose, though not excessive in size, becomes ridiculously prominent. Obstinacy with a projecting chin and shrinking timidity with a receding one are here strongly contrasted, and the study of individual faces proves Winckel-