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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/189

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HEREDITY AND RACE-IMPROVEMENT.

these capacities; and he expresses the wish that such measurements should be taken. But at least we know, in a general way, what characters and what cranial dimensions correspond with the various degrees of cerebral activity. Most anthropologists hold that the man whose head has not an horizontal circumference of 50 centimetres (19.685 inches) is almost inevitably a person of only mediocre ability, and that the one in whom this circumference attains or surpasses 58 centimetres (22.8346 inches) is likely to be a very superior man. Instances are cited, it is true, of celebrated personages with small heads; but in such case the individuals gained distinction in some very narrow specialty. It must not be forgotten that these dimensions constitute but one of the external indices which enable us to determine approximately the intellectual value of an individual. We have also to take account of the general form and relative proportions of the various regions of the cranium, i. e., of that harmony which is called beauty. An easy means, according to M. S├ędillot, of studying the conformation of the head, is by taking a side or profile view of it, a little back of the forehead. One then instantly perceives the ratio between the height and breadth of the forehead and temples and the face, and a clear perception is got of the relative proportions of the anterior or frontal, and the posterior or occipital contours of the head. The individual who has the superciliary arches prominent, the temples bare, nearly vertical and high, with broad, high forehead, and features expressive neither of an unbalanced nor of a torpid mind, may in general be regarded as a truly human type, and as possessed of a mind that is fitted to do honor to the race. The story goes, that once a certain Englishman sent his groom to the ale-house in search of his friend Shakespeare. "How shall I know him?" quoth the groom. "The easiest thing in the world," replied his master; "everybody, more or less, resembles some animal; but, when you lay eyes on Shakespeare, you will at once say, 'There is a man!'" Man in the fullness of his harmonious beauty, such is the ideal toward which all the efforts of our present imperfect humanity ought to be directed, and it is full time that we should strive, by a wise use of the principle of heredity, i. e., by healthy procreation, to develop a human race in which the last traces of animality shall have disappeared, and in which the Man shall be less rare.

What is it that constitutes the superiority of the English aristocracy? Their constant study to endow their descendants with the best bodily, intellectual, and moral qualities. The Englishman does not marry from caprice or from passion; he marries under the conditions which are best fitted to insure the welfare of his children, for he knows that on their welfare his own happiness, his honor, and his name depend. The respect shown to young Englishwomen, the honorable liberty they enjoy, the secondary importance that is attached to their fortune, and the stress that is laid on their personal worth, are all so many