Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/841

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823
PHYSIOGNOMIC CURIOSITIES.

that might pass for intelligent and manly, if not for beautiful, in our days; but, in contrast with the living models of our classic statuary, the Mongolism of his features may have appeared more glaring. The Grecian profile, indeed, has always remained the beau-idéal of perfect beauty. "The proof that the straight profile constitutes beauty," says Michael Angelo, "is furnished by the effect of the deviating profile. The stronger the inflection of the nose the further the face deviates from its perfect form. The Grecian nose is the most human of all features; all other noses are a compromise with animalism."

These noses, as a national type, have utterly disappeared. According to Francisco Diaz, a Portuguese historian and philosopher of the eighteenth century, the last remnant of the favored race inhabited a district northeast of Cadiz, which neighborhood their Grecian ancestors had settled some two thousand years ago. They were peaceful tillers of the soil, but their adherence to the unitarian dogmas of Mohammed involved them in the fate of the wretched Moriscoes, who were expelled by order of the Rey Católico. We shall not look upon their like again.

The muscles about the mouth are mapped out like a town-chart by Dr. Carus, and for not less than eleven "qualities" he provides lodgings in that neighborhood. Love has the under lip all to himself, but four of his relatives, clemency, pity, the love of children, and benevolence, are crowded together in the narrow dell between the mouth and the chin. Five more inhabit the upper lip and the place below the nose, while cheerfulness has reserved seats in the corners of the mouth. Tumid lips must be a sure sign of sensuality, since nearly all physiognomical authorities insist on that thesis, and even Winckelmann, who commonly has an opinion of his own, is here, at least, neutral. He admits it to be a suspicious sign, but believes that after it has once become hereditary, as among certain African and South Asiatic tribes, it denotes merely a sanguine temper. But, if the upper lip protrudes so far upward that it fails to cover the teeth, the indication is even more unfavorable; it then means lasciviousness and stupidity combined. The habit some children have of keeping the mouth constantly open is also ominous of future imbecility, if we may believe Dr. Haller. Dr. Redfield's observation about prominent canine teeth has already been referred to; deformed (because decayed) teeth may indicate indolence (as implying a neglect of sanitary precautions), but are often hereditary, like weak lungs and short-sightedness. Short and white teeth in adults, as Lavater says, are frequently combined with uncommon bodily strength, and visible interspaces between the front teeth are a favorable omen of longevity.

That the art of mind-reading is yet in its infancy is sufficiently demonstrated by some of the "general rules" which, modern as well as ancient, physiognomists have recorded as the result of careful observation.