Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/643

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627
TRADES AND FACES.

TRADES AND FACES.
By Dr. LOUIS ROBINSON.

IT is to be feared that any present attempt on the part of the physiognomist to analyze trade expressions must be somewhat unsatisfactory to the lovers of exact science. Our proved knowledge concerning the laws which govern facial expression is very slight: we are still stumbling among the elements of feature language, and it may seem presumptuous to attempt to criticise the text when the very alphabet is still doubtful.

But as the digger-out of a cryptogram finds it profitable to take a general survey of the script before attacking details, so it may perhaps be found that a somewhat speculative excursion, such as the present, will not be altogether without value in helping on more precise methods of research. At any rate, such a discussion can hardly fail to interest those among the readers of Maga who have observed the remarkable facial likeness often found among people who follow the same calling, without being able to see why a butcher should resemble his trade brethren more than he resembles the other sons of his father who have become bakers of bread or makers of candlesticks.

When we seek to analyze the forces which are continually at work on the human face, the complexity of the problem as to the interpretation of any prevalent trade expression at once becomes apparent. A few examples will bring this fact home to every reader, and will also help us in taking the first step toward classifying the numerous factors which contribute to the result in any single instance.

In a previous article on facial expression,[1] attention was drawn to the distinctive cast of countenance exhibited by men who have much to do with horses. No great acuteness of observation is necessary to make it clear that, in the various branches of such professions, a corresponding diversity of type is visible.

Regarding Environment as a portrait painter (if we may venture to personify, in classic fashion, the abstractions of the newer philosophers), we find that she has, after boldly laying on a general groundwork of horseyness, touched the faces with different pigments which greatly affect the final result.

If, for example, we place side by side a gentleman's groom and a horse-dealer's groom, both of whom, when seen in a crowd of ordinary mortals, strike us as typically horsey, these supplementary touches are at once brought into prominence. The one


  1. See Popular Science Monthly, vol. xlv, p. 380.