Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/74

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of every country, but confesses that the problem is rather an evasive one, the coast-dwellers of Sweden being as distinguished for their comeliness as the highlanders of Aragon, and the Normandy cider-drinkers not less than the Tuscan wine-drinkers. His only general rule, however, still holds good: that out-door dwellers are never wholly ill-favored, nor in-door workers altogether lovely; and we might say the same of alcohol-drinkers and total abstainers: the schnapps-worshiping natives of the Tyrolese highlands make amends by their active out-door life, as Lowell factory-girls by their teetotalism. There is a good deal in race, though. "Angeli sunt; non Angli" Pope Stephen III wrote more than a thousand years ago to Archbishop Cuthbert, who had sent him a batch of Anglo-Saxon neophytes, and a trace of the same angelic features may still be recognized among the little ragamuffins of many a Schleswig-Holstein coast-village, where men subsist on brandy, cheese, and sour rye-bread. Their neighbors, the Pomeranians, are a manful if not celestial generation, and, in spite of their dreary moorlands, very fond of out-door sports. But farther east Nature succumbs to art, and the northern Russians are about as outrageously unprepossessing as indoor-life and a combination of all vices could make the image of the Creator. Extremes meet, though, and their Emperor has the honor of commanding twelve regiments of the most godlike men of the present world—the lance-cuirassiers of the body guard, recruited in the highlands of Lesghia and Daghestan. Nearly all the natives of the Caucasus have that fatal gift of beauty which made their land the favorite hunting-ground of the harem-agents, and this gave the Czar a pretext for treating it as a Turkish dependency. But no social degradation could counteract the combined influence of the Caucasian climate, hardy habits, temperance, and frugality, for the Circassian mountaineers are teetotalers by religion and vegetarians by preference—figs, honey, barley-cakes, and milk, being the staples of their diet. They are physically self-made men, for their language proves that their ancestors were Turanians—first-cousins of the owl-faced nomads of the Mongolian steppe.

Pernetti believes that "the study of physiognomy has been neglected since men began to neglect their good looks, to which the classic nations attached an importance which we can nowadays hardly comprehend." Since Pernetti confines his remarks to his own sex we may plead guilty to his indictment, and it is true that the ancients combined their heroics with a good deal of Beau-Brummelism. "He abuses the right of a man to be ugly," Madame de Staël said of one of her admirers, but the ancient Greeks denied that right altogether, and their intolerance in this respect seems to have surpassed anything one could mention of contemporary notions, though it may be true that the military academies of Prussia and Saxony make homeliness a bar to admission. Even Plato, in his "Republic," advises his lawgiver to oppose all habits that might tend to lower the standard of physical æsthetics;