to the right and left, the rock begins to appear, and the scanty soil, scorched and pulverized by the sun, becomes unfit for vegetation. Here stands a barren hill of difficult approach on all sides, and precipitous towards the plain; its rounded head inclosed within a rude stone parapet breast high, a small church rising in the centre, and about twenty brick tenements irregularly scattered about it. The dimensions of these huts allow just sufficient room for a few boards raised about a foot from the ground, which, covered with a mat, serve for a bed, a trivet to sit upon, and a diminutive deal table supporting a crucifix, a human skull, and one or two books of devotion. The door is so low that it cannot be passed without stooping; and the whole habitation is ingeniously contrived to exclude every comfort. As visiting and talking together is forbidden to the hermits, and the cells are at some distance from one another, a small bell is hung over the door of each to call for assistance in case of sickness or danger. The hermits meet at chapel every morning to hear mass and receive the sacrament from the hands of a secular priest, for none of them are admitted to orders. After chapel they retire to their cells, where they pass their time in reading, meditation, plaiting mats, making little crosses of Spanish broom, which people carry about them as a preservative from erisypelas, and manufacturing instruments of penance, such as scourges and a sort of wire bracelets bristled inside with points, called Cilicios, which are worn next the skin by the ultra-pious among the Catholics. Food, consisting of pulse and herbs, is distributed once a day to the hermits, leaving them to use it when they please. These devotees are usually peasants, who, seized with religious terrors, are driven to this strange method of escaping eternal misery in the next world. But the hardships of their new profession are generally less severe than those to which they were subject by their lot in life; and they find ample amends for their loss of liberty in the certainty of food and clothing without labour, no less than in the secret pride of superior sanctity, and the consequent respect of the people.
Thus far these hermitages excite more disgust than compassion. But when, distracted by superstition, men of a higher order and more delicate feelings fly to these solitudes as to a hiding-place from mental terrors, the consequences are often truly melancholy. Among the hermits of Cordoba, I found a gentleman who, three years before, had given up his commission in the army, where he was a colonel of artillery, and, what is perhaps more painful to a Spaniard, his cross of one of the ancient orders of knighthood. He joined our party, and shewed more pleasure in conversation than is consistent with that high fever of enthusiasm, without which his present state of life must have been worse than death itself. We stood upon the brow of the rock, having at our feet the extensive plains of Lower Andalusia, watered by the Guadalquivir, the ancient city of Cordoba with its magnificent cathedral in front, and the mountains of Jaén sweeping majestically to the left. The view was to me, then a very young man, truly grand and imposing; and I could not help congratulating the hermit on the enjoy-ment of a scene which so powerfully affected the mind, and wrapt it up in contemplation. "Alas! (he answered with an air of dejection) I have seen it every day these three years!" As hermits are not bound to their profession by irrevocable vows, perhaps this unfortunate
man has, after a long and painful struggle, returned to the habitations of men, to hide his face in some obscure corner, bearing the reproach of apostacy and backsliding from the bigoted, and the sneer of ridicule from the thoughtless, his prospects blasted for ever in this world, and darkened by fear and remorse as to the next. Woe to the man or woman who publicly engages his services to religion, under the impression that they shall be allowed to withdraw them upon a change of views, or an abatement of fervour. The very few establishments of this kind, where solemn vows do not banish the hopes of liberty for ever, are full of captives, who would fain burst the invisible chains that bind them, and cannot. The church and her leaders are extremely jealous of such defections: and as few or none dare raise the veil of the sanctuary, redress is nearly impossible for such as trust themselves within it. But of this more in my next. L. D.
PHYSIOGNOMY AND CRANIOLOGY. "Physiognomy unites hearts: it alone forms intimate and lasting connexions; and friendship, that heavenly sentiment, has no foundation more solid." LAVATER.
CREDULITY, if it be of good faith and in no wise affected, is a very taking disorder. The bonhommie by which a man imposes on himself, wears such an aspect of sincerity, that it is more painful to misbelieve than to be deceived. The great influence that Lavater exercises over his readers must be owing chiefly to this. The very mention of his name excites a laugh from those who have never read and from those who have forgotten him; but none can resist persuasion at the time of perusal. For the old it is a fascinating book, for the young a dangerous one; it is written with all the simplicity of a child, and contains pretty pictures into the bargain. Therefore it is advisable to keep it out of the way of little folk, unless parents would have them (and I have seen such) most unaccountably curious about the eyes, ears, mouths, and noses of every stranger that enters the room.
Those short-cuts to a knowledge of mankind are very tempting: there can be no mode imagined for ascertaining characters in this physical way, that will not attract attention and become more or less popular for a time. But it is much to be feared, or rather indeed much to be hoped, that none of them will succeed. It would be inconvenient even for the best of us to be rendered legible in this summary manner, to be compelled
"To wear our hearts upon our sleeves
and to have an impertinent eye discover in the curl of one's nose some villainous propensity, that we ourselves had been unable to discover at the bottom of our hearts. The consequence of such a gift of universal penetration would be, that the world would go masked: "the human face divine" would be no more visible, but would remain ensconced behind some screen capable of defying the infernal brood of physiognomists and craniologists for ever. In short, we should carry our heads cased in steel, in brass, or some such thing, and, instead of calling for soap to wash one's face of a morning, it is the blacksmith we should
require to come and rivet it, or some other tradesfolk to burnish or to gild it, according to the rank of the owner, and the value of his skullcap. What a revolution would ensue from this cursed new light!— Only conceive an assembly of petticoats with a gilt ball on the top of each instead of a head coiffed à la Grecque or d la Madonne. the ladies, they could never shew their faces in such a state of affairs— for then adieu, coquetry, prudery, affectation!--the happy lover would read in his fair one's eyes all he wanted, and the sweet hesitation of tongue would be banished for ever. What strange shifts and perplexities would the professions be put to! Lawyers, for all their proverbial brass, would wear the back of their wigs before to conceal their visages; and yet that mode would be dangerous, as it might leave displayed behind some organs not to the credit of their gravity. The clergy, especially those of foreign lands, have evidently long foreseen the craniological doctrine: the tonsure just stops at the organ of amatoriness, leaving it concealed, while it fully displays that of charity. We also owe to them the invention of wigs, the bitterest enemies Gall and Spurzheim ever had to contend with-so that we may reckon them prepared against the evil effects of this all-piercing science. The medical tribe deserve no pity, as they are intimately connected with the destructive doctrines we lament; and it is to be hoped they will fall the first victims, for if there be any equity in organs, that of quackery must be a huge one.
The worthy professors of physiognomy and its sister science ought to look before them, and consider a little, ere they proceed thus to set the world by the ears, and ruin the whole collection of hatters, barbers, tutors, and cosmetic doctors; in short, all the fraternities that live by adorning the outside of the head. They themselves must be annihilated in the end, by being deprived of the very materials to work upon; they can never hope to make a skull a bone of contention till it is bona-fide a bone, and nothing but one. They must bid good-bye to living heads, which, shut up in their brass and silver cases, will make altogether the most polished generation the world has ever seen. Nevertheless, it must be allowed that a great many advantages must arise from the innovation: there could be no dissimulation of feature, no sheep's eyes, nor any whispering, or kissing-metal skulls are not favourable to such operations. Nor could there be any secrets of importance if two statesmen were but to lay their heads together, the whole town would hear the clatter. And what would be a greater improvement than that just mentioned there could be no pretending to secrets of importance, the received method of so pretending being rendered inconvenient-it would puzzle Lord Burleigh to shake his head three times, as he does in the Critic, were it enveloped in so many stone weight of solid copper. All these benefits, however, cannot outweigh the disadvantages of being converted into a set of walking saucepans; so let us be contented with ignorance, and wear our faces in the broad day-light.
Although we may justly dread to see these arts arrive at perfection, the partial cultivation of them is very amusing. They form an endless fund of conjecture, experiment, and system, quite as useful, and much more innocent, than dabbling in metaphysics. To rest no faith in them, but merely to catch and enjoy coincidences, will furnish de
lightful subjects of cogitation for many a vacant hour; which besides can be most easily practised at the times when vacancy is most distressing-in disagreeable company-in theatres before the curtain rises-in mobs, that with noise and odour leave no sense but the eye at liberty in the House when is on his legs. In short, this habit of observation, with a view to a certain system, is a pocket companion, that serves to amuse and occupy, when every thing else fails. Observation alone, besides that its gleanings are lost to the memory, cannot support a long succession of thought by itself. It catches such and such an idea, forms such and such an opinion, and is done. But this, when carried on in connexion with a system, not only establishes every new idea in its proper place in the memory, but stirs up the whole mind to thought by making every object, be it ever so petty, relate to some one greater. The mind is extremely given to systematize, it is its nature; nor has it a tendency more useful, nor one which has been more perniciously abused.
Nor is the moral tendency of these studies to be overlooked. It has been before mentioned in this publication, how much the indulgence of morbid feeling is combated by the discovery, that the organ of melancholy is the same with that of cowardice. And Lavater's doctrine, that the habitual thoughts and propensities of the mind become depicted in the countenance, has, to my own knowledge, arrested youth in an unreflecting career of licentiousness. Few people are conscious how just the opinion is, and how little the accurate observer is deceived many that pretend to good behaviour shew their faces without fear, nor suspect that they are at all betrayed by "the eye" of Anastatius, "round which the word rake is written in most legible black letters." It is difficult to reconcile this argument of the alterative influence of mind upon the features with the well-known story of Socrates and the physiognomist, or with the rules that assign certain propensities to the immutable parts of the face. We cannot suppose that all the mortification of La Trappe would fill up the dangerous dimple of a luxurious chin, or that any degree of humiliation could break the bridge of a Roman nose. For original character the stationary features must be consulted-the forehead, the nose, and chin; for acquired, we must peruse the mutable ones--the eyes and mouth. Poets have abused the eyes for being notorious traitors: they certainly seem eminently formed for expression, yet I think we are apt to bestow on them too much credit, as we are apt to do to all pretty informers. They are the centre to which the motion of every muscle is referred; and, after scanning the various parts of the face, we seek in them for the sum. And thus they obtain the reputation of disclosing what in reality was elicited from the several other features. Take an eye by itself, distinct and separate, and what can you read in it? Unconnected, it is the most insignificant of the features; from a nose, a chin, a mouth, you can conjecture something, but from an eye alone, leaving the socket out of consideration, not one inference can be drawn. What can painters make of an eye?-Nothing;-yet it is there the expression of the picture is centred. In short, this piece of animal mechanism is nought but a little mirror-taken by itself merely bright-but owing all its beauty and expression to the objects it reflects.
The lips seem to me the most interesting and intelligent contemplation. There is more diversity in them than in any other feature; their outline is capable of marking all shades from the highest degree of sensibility to the lowest of brutality; and being the most flexible and most agitated, they undergo more changes than any other part of the visage. The nose is not of such consequence - - by it we are to judge of a passing face-of one at a distance; it consequently expresses the common attribute of character, the only one we have need to perceive. But the mouth presents itself to the inspection of intimacy and friendship, and therefore is calculated to mark the nice shades of character and temper, which it imports those to become acquainted with who live much together. The best way to judge of a friend is from his own mouth, he can have no objection to the mode. In people of great sensibility, it is the lips that first feel internal agitation; the fever of anxiety or anger, the pallor of fear or despair, are communicated to them earlier than they are visible in the eyes. People of strong feelings too are compelled to acquire dissimulation, and it is over the eye and muscle of the cheek they exert it: the calm face and blank eye contradict emotion, the tremulous lip betrays it. But let us not proceed farther in these minutia, for fear the reader should suspect we are but making mouths at him.
The writer of this article once took the trouble to form a system of lips, and had proceeded pretty far to his own satisfaction, when the view of one face utterly upset his card-fabric-it was that of Sir Joshua Reynolds. The pictures and busts of this great artist, among them the likeness taken by himself, represent him almost without an upper lip; his mouth is represented by a dark stroke, the upper part fixed seemingly to his teeth. This, according to my ideas, was indicative of an utter want of taste-a defect that could not, by any stretch, be applied to the celebrated artist. I supposed it, however, to express a paucity of feeling; and Sir Joshua seems to have had but little beyond what he possessed for his art. The next stumbling-block was that of Dryden his face is eminently poetical, yet I should have expected delicacy from his lips-and he had none, a want of delicacy being his chief defect. This quality is one of taste more than of temperament perhaps, and should not be inferred directly. It is difficult to imagine a natural want of delicacy connected with the exquisite feeling that produced "Alexander's Feast." There was a sudden coarseness that sprang up in that regenerated age, first overwhelming the elegant manners and taste that prevailed in the court of the first Charles, and then yielding to a spirit as coarse, though at the opposite extremity of licentiousness. This leads me to a face from which I received a stronger impression than from any other, living or represented-it is that of Lord Strafford by Vandyke. The aspect strikes at first as coarse, seemingly pock-marked; but such rigour, such pride, such "beautiful disdain," and in fine, such nobility seems to burst from it, that I can no longer wonder at the inexorability of the enemies who dreaded him. The picture remains in my mind, as the ideal of a warrior and a statesman united ;-perhaps this is but homage to the painter, I should be sorry if it was not more to the man. But what system can reconcile the resemblance of men of most opposite characters to each other?-Poussin and Oliver Cromwell, for instance. The picture of the former