Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/229

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219
CRIMINAL WOMAN.

treats of the women of primitive nations and compares them with those of civilized peoples. The study is minute, subtle, and valuable. Nor does Lombroso hesitate even to make comparisons with female animals. This attitude, which might be called a want of respect, Lombroso explains in his preface, saying: "Those who, writing about women, are not content with the close logic of facts, but continue or rather counterfeit the traditions of the middle ages and use chivalry toward the gentle sex, will think that we have often been wanting in respect to them in our work. But if we have not respected our most cherished preconceived ideas, such as the idea of the 'reo nato' (born criminal), neither have we been afraid of the apparent contradictions which to ordinary eyes might have seemed deleterious to our work. How could we become followers of a conventional and unscientific untruth, which only acquired shape in order to lose it directly?"

And truly science can not feed on rhetoric, and Lombroso's books are not those of a poet or novelist, but those of a scientific man, who believes in his work and who devotes himself seriously to its exigencies, no matter whither its necessary conclusions land him. In his study on criminal woman he brings before us women in every condition of life; he makes a minute study of their good qualities and of their defects, analyzing both, and only speaking when he can draw conclusions from what he has observed and studied. Hence his work is a powerful contribution to that affirmation of modern theories on crime which are destined to change entirely the theories of penal law which have ruled up to the present time.

The first portion of Lombroso's work is divided into chapters which treat of the females of the zoölogical world; of the anatomy and biology of women; of the senses and mind of women; of their cruelty, pity, and maternity; of their love, ethics, vanity, and intelligence. These chapters are so many monographs and present normal woman from every point of view. She is described as always inferior to man, because hey faculties are less developed. Strange to say, according to Lombroso, she has less feeling than man. This seems a direct contradiction of all legends and traditions. And is it not woman, rather than man, who is the most ardent opponent to all useless suffering; is it not women who have been the chief promoters of anti-cruelty societies, no matter if this cruelty be practiced on human beings or on animals? But the contradiction is explained, according to Lombroso, by the greater excitability of women and their lesser inhibition. As soon as the primitive barbarities of sexual selection began to be mitigated, men chose as wives the prettiest and gentlest instead of the strongest women, so paying tribute to beauty and the moral qualities that are associated with it. Thus women were