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THE GREAT TASK OF THE AGE.
and bring the powers of production and distribution to their highest perfection, is the task of our age; and probably of many future ages. And as in times when national defence and conquest were the chief desiderata, military achievement was honoured above all other things; so now, when the chief desideratum is industrial growth, honour is most conspicuously given to that which generally indicates the aiding of industrial growth. The English nation at present displays what we may call the commercial diathesis ; and the undue admiration for wealth appears to be its concomitant—a relation still more conspicuous in the worship of “the almighty dollar” by the Americans. And while the commercial diathesis, with its accompanying standard of distinction, continues, we fear the evils we have been delineating can be but partially cured. It seems hopeless to expect that men will distinguish between that wealth which represents personal superiority and benefits done to society, from that which does not. The symbols, the externals, have all the world through swayed the masses; and must long continue to do so. Even the cultivated, who are on their guard against the bias of associated ideas, and try to separate the real from the seeming, cannot escape the influence of current opinion. We must, therefore, content ourselves with looking for a slow amelioration.
Something, however, may even now be done by vigorous protest against adoration of mere success. And it is important that it should be done, considering how this vicious sentiment is being fostered. When we have one of our leading moralists preaching, with increasing vehemence, the doctrine of santification by force—when we are told that while a selfishness troubled with qualms of conscience is contemptible, a selfishness intense enough to trample down every thing in the unscrupulous pursuit of its ends, is worthy of all admiration-when we find that if it be sufficiently great, power, no matter of what kind or how directed, is held up for our reverence; we may fear lest the prevalent applause of mere success, together with the commercial vices which it stimulates, should be increased rather than diminished. Not at all by this heroworship grown into brute-worship, is society to be made better; but by exactly the opposite—by a stern criticism of the means through which success has been achieved; and by according honour to the higher, and less selfish modes of activity.
And happily the signs of this more moral public opinion are already showing themselves. It is becoming a tacitly-received doctrine that the rich should not, as in bygone times, spend their lives in personal gratification; but should devote them to the general welfare. Year by year is the improvement of the people occupying a larger share of the attention of the upper classes. Year by year are they voluntarily devoting more and more energy to furthering the material and mental progress of the masses. And those among them who do not join in the discharge of these high functions, are beginning to be looked upon with more or less contempt by their own order. This latest and most hopeful fact in human history—this new and better chivalry-promises to evolve a higher standard of honour; and so to ameliorate many evils: among others those which we have detailed. When wealth obtained by illegitimate means inevitably brings nothing but disgrace—when to wealth rightly acquired is accorded only its due share of homage, while the greatest homage is given to those who consecrate their energies and their means to the noblest ends; then may we be sure that, along with other accompanying benefits, the morals of trade will be greatly purified.
T is a commonly-expressed opinion that beauty of char
I have never been able to reconcile myself to this opinion. Indeed, even those who hold it do so in a very incomplete sense; for it is observable that notwithstanding their theory they continue to manifest surprise when they find a mean deed committed by one of noble countenance-a fact clearly implying that underneath their professed induction : lies a still living conviction at variance with it.
Whence this conviction? How is it that a belief in the connection between worth and beauty primarily exists in all ? It cannot be innate. Must it not, then, be from early experiences ? And must it not be that in those who continue to believe in this connection, spite of their reasonings, the early and wide experiences outweigh the later and exceptional ones?
Avoiding, however, the metaphysics of the question, let us consider it physiologically.
Those who do not admit the relationship between mental and facial beauty, usually remark that the true connection is between character and expression. While they doubt, or rather deny, that the permanent forms of the
features are in any way indices of the forms of the mind, they assert that the transitory forms of the features are such indices. These positions are inconsistent. For is it not clear that the transitory forms, by perpetual repetition, register themselves on the face, and produce permanent forms? Does not an habitual frown by-and-by leave ineffaceable marks on the brow? Is not a chronic scornfulness presently followed by a modified set in the angles of the mouth? Does not that compression of the lips significant of great determination, often stereotype itself, and so give a changed form to the lower part of the face ? And if there be any truth in the doctrine of hereditary transmission, must there not be a tendency to the reappearance of these modifications as new types of feature in the offspring ? In brief, may we not say that expression is feature in the making; and that if expression means something, the form of feature produced by it means something?
Possibly it will be urged, in reply, that changes of expression affect only the muscles and skin of the face; that the permanent marks they produce can extend but to these; that, nevertheless, the beauty of a face is mainly dependent upon the form of its bony framework; that hence, in this chief respect, there cannot take place such modifications as those described ; and that, therefore, the relationship of aspect of character, while it may hold in the details, does not hold in the generals.
The rejoinder is, that the framework of the face is modified by modifications in the tissues which cover it. It is an established doctrine in physiology, that throughout the skeleton the greater or less development of bones is dependent on the greater or less development, that is, on the exercise, of the attached muscles. Hence, permanent changes in the muscular adjustments of the face will be followed by permanent changes in its osseous structure.
EXPRESSION OF FACIAL FEATURES.
Not to dwell in general statements, however, which with most weigh but little, I will cite a few cases in 'which the connection between organic ugliness and mental inferiority, and the converse connection between organic beauty and comparative perfection of mind, are distinctly traceable.
It will be admitted that the projecting jaw, characteristic of the lower human races, is a facial defect—is a trait which no sculptor would give to an ideal bust. At the same time, it is an ascertained fact that prominence of jaw is associated in the mammalia generally with comparative lack of intelligence. This relationship, it is true, does not hold good uniformly. It is not a direct but an indirect one; and is thus liable to be disturbed. Nevertheless, it holds good among all the higher tribes ; and on inquiry we shall see why it must hold good. In conformity with the great physiological law that organs develop in proportion as they are exercised, the jaws must be relatively large where the demands made upon them are great; and must diminish in size as their functions become less numerous and less onerous. Now, in all the lower classes of animals the jaws are the sole organs of manipulation-are used not only for mastication, but for seizing, carrying, gnawing, and, indeed, for every thing save locomotion, which is the solitary office performed by the limbs. Advancing upwards, we find that the fore-limbs begin to aid the jaws, and gradually to relieve them of part of their duties. Some creatures use them for burrowing; some, as the felines, for striking; many, to keep steady the prey they are tearing; and when we arrive at the quadrumana, whose fore-limbs possess so complete a power of prehiension that objects can not only be seized, but carried and pulled to pieces by them, we find that the jaws are used for little else than to break down the food. Accompanying this series of changes, we see a double change in the