Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/544

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peculiarities in the heads of actors, poets, musicians, etc. He reasoned that there must be in the case of murderers an organ giving an impulse to destroy or. kill ("destructiveness"), in the case of mimics an organ giving an impulse to imitate ("organ of imitation"), etc. Now, these deductions are open to criticism, but the original observations are beyond dispute. There are no two characters alike, neither are there two skulls alike. The question in both cases is, how to measure the differences. There is no instrument for the measurement of those "ups and downs," protuberances and depressions of the living head. Between the skull of a Goethe and that of a murderer there are innumerable varieties. As we are able to distinguish the two extremes, why should we not succeed in demonstrating the intermediate stages? Gall's system was rejected at its first appearance, because it threatened to upset familiar notions about the liberty of the will, about special creation, and supernatural religion. This was the first obstacle, and very few men, even nowadays, care to risk the danger of opposing popular opinion. The author had attempted a revival of Gall's system, more scientific and appealing to the learned only. He hoped that it would be received without prejudice.



ONCE, for ten summer days, I had the pleasure of entertaining a strange and most interesting guest, known among the learned as the Mantis religiosa; but the more familiar appellation of devil's-riding-horse, by which he is designated amid his native haunts, seems so appropriate to his demoniacal oddity that the creature might be recognized thereby on sight, without description. He looks much more like a nag for an imp of the Inferno than like a locust at prayer, despite the attitude as of supplication assumed when about to snap up an unwary fly.

I captured my specimen upon the stalk of a common geranium, to the pale-green color of which the hue of his long, slim, grotesque body so closely approximated that it was by the merest chance I espied him. Owing to this accommodation of tint—in summer, like the grass and plants amid which he seeks his prey, and, in autumn, like the twigs and branches whereon he alights—the praying mantis, though by no means a rarity in the fields and gardens of the South, commonly escapes all eyes save the sharpest. My prize was stalking his prey when I espied him. Nothing can be stiller than the Mantis religiosa when he is waiting to spring upon his victim; and at that propitious moment, armed