Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/78

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gous to the albinism of certain rodents, or at least to the recognized staminal inferiority of a white horse. . . . A child inherits its character from the father, its intellect from the mother. Firmness of will and courage, as well as the innate kindness and uprightness of a man, are therefore more potent elements of popularity with the other sex than intellectual brilliancy. Mental obtuseness does not impair the chances of an otherwise eligible suitor; on the contrary, genius (as an abnormity) may exercise an unfavorable effect. Hence the apparent paradox of a gross and stupid fellow superseding a refined and sensible man in the affection even of sentimental ladies; and the frequency of glaringly heterogeneous matches: he, practical, egotistical, and prosaic; she, all moonshine and poetry; he, metaphysical and learned; she, a goose. . . . Men, on the other hand, are guided less by the character qualities of a girl than by her intellectual attainments, though secondary to the importance of physical qualifications. In accordance with the perception of this bias, mothers try to enhance the attractions of their daughters by educational devices, music, painting, foreign languages, etc. Even a native sprightliness of the female mind is apt to outweigh the rarer merits of the heart, whence so many Socrateses have found their Xantippes—e. g., Shakespeare, Albrecht Dürer, Goethe, Byron, and others. Female beauty, though, will eclipse both goodness and wit, while, in the rivalry of the males, strength in all its forms is on the whole the main condition of success; in the eyes of the normal woman even the extreme of turpitude (moral or physical) being more pardonable than weakness."

When Bishop Lee sat down on his coffin and heard the sheriff's command of "Ready!" followed by the click of six Springfield rifles, the attendant photographer requested him to assume a pleasing expression of countenance." There have been individuals who possessed the requisite control over their facial muscles, though they might have lacked the inclination to gratify the enterprising artist. "A prince of the Church should know how to die with dignity," said Cardinal Frascati when he had been treated to a dose of poison and felt his senses give way. In spite of all entreaties he persisted in dying seated upright, with his hands folded and his face turned upward in an attitude of meditation. Savonarola kept up a controversy at the very stake, and, while the flames scorched his knees, his eyes twinkled, as he watched the effect of a caustic repartee.

When the French garrison of Detroit made a sally against the besieging Indians, Bœuf-courant, an Ojibway chieftain, had both his legs torn away by a cannon-ball. Carried into the fort, he refused medical attendance, and his young son, who had never left his side, at his bidding raked a pile of cold ashes from the guard-room chimney, and on this pile deposited his crippled father, with the stumps downward. Thus enabled to sit upright, he calmly smoked his pipe, till the commander of the fort suggested his removal to a prison-cell. They gave