Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/762

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Bongo negro, the lip dragged down by the heavy plug and the ears distended by huge disks of wood are things of beauty, that the Malay prefers teeth that are black to those of the most pearly whiteness, that the Western Indian despises the form of a head not flattened down like a pancake, or elongated like a sugar-loaf, and then let us carefully ask ourselves whether we are sure that in leaving nature as a standard of the beautiful, and adopting a purely conventional criterion, we are not falling into an error exactly similar to that of all these people whose tastes we are so ready to condemn.

The fact is that, in admiring such distorted forms as the constricted waist and symmetrically pointed foot, we are simply putting ourselves on a level in point of taste with those Australians, Botocudos, and negroes. We are taking fashion, and nothing better, higher, or truer, for our guide; and, after the various examples brought forward this evening, may I not well ask—

"Seest thou not what a deformed thief this fashion is?"


AT the Coöperative Congress, held in Newcastle-on-Tyne, last May, some very interesting statistics were presented. The latest report of the Registrar is for 1878, and shows the membership of British coöperative societies to have been 560,703, having transacted during the year business amounting to $102,820,000. In 1861—the first year of the reports published by the Registrar—the membership was 48,184, with a business for that year of $7,360,000. This remarkable growth of coöperation within recent years has brought it from the obscurity of a theory, held by the general public to be either impracticable altogether, or practicable only within special and narrow limits, to the importance of a power which is transforming in appreciable measure the entire retail trade of Great Britain, and which, at the last election, had aroused an antagonism which excluded from Parliament two well-known publicists of high character and ability.

The coöperative movement, as far as it has gone, has been chiefly directed toward so improving the ordinary methods of retail trade as to confer moral benefit and material profit upon the working-classes. The wastes of our present plans of retail distribution are very obvious: our streets swarm with inconsiderable shops, repetitions of one another, and maintained at an enormous aggregate expense. Competition has far exceeded the bounds within which it does good, by spurring industry and inciting emulation; without regard to the strictly