Navigation bar
  Home Start Previous page
 21 of 305 
Next page End  

I shall show that he has already not only adapted circumstance to race, but
also, in some degree and often unconsciously race to circumstance; and
that his unused powers in the latter direction are more considerable than
might have been thought.
It is with the innate moral and intellectual faculties that the book is
chiefly concerned, but they are so closely bound up with the physical ones
that these must be considered as well. It is, moreover, convenient to take
them the first, so I will begin with the features.
The differences in human features must be reckoned great, inasmuch
as they enable us to distinguish a single known face among those of
thousands of strangers, though they are mostly too minute for
measurement. At the same time, they are exceedingly numerous. The
general expression of a face is the sum of a multitude of small details,
which are viewed in such rapid succession that we seem to perceive them
all at a single glance. If any one of them disagrees with the recollected
traits of a known face, the eye is quick at observing it, and it dwells upon
the difference. One small discordance overweighs a multitude of
similarities and suggests a general unlikeness; just as a single syllable in a
sentence pronounced with a foreign accent makes one cease to look upon
the speaker as a countryman. If the first rough sketch of a portrait be
correct so far as it goes, it may be pronounced an excellent likeness; but a
rough sketch does not go far; it contains but few traits for comparison
with the original. It is a suggestion, not a likeness; it must be coloured and
shaded with many touches before it can really resemble the face, and
whilst this is being done the maintenance of the likeness is imperilled at
every step. I lately watched an able artist painting a portrait, and
endeavoured to estimate the number of strokes with his brush, every one
of which was thoughtfully and firmly given. During fifteen sittings of
three working hours each — that is to say, during forty-five hours, or two
thousand four hundred minutes
he worked at the average rate of ten
strokes of the Previous page Top Next page