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( Originally Published Mid 1800s )
Know it is the custom of many unthinking persons to jest at the assumption, so called, of the physiognomist. I have a thousand and one times been laughed to scorn when I have declared that a certain man or woman was not to be trusted because he or she had deceitful eyes and a retreating chin, and I have frequently heard the unbelievers de clare that such or such a horse was a wicked-looking beast, or a good-tempered looking one.
No man alive who ever dealt in dogs but believes the signs of ugliness in their muzzles will be carried out in their behavior. If a brute-an unthinking, soulless brute -will in his actions bear out the facial signs for ugliness or good temper, why not a man or a woman?
When you judge a woman's or even a man's character it is not fair to condemn or exalt the subject because one feature is bad or another beautiful. The face as a whole must be considered. For example, a receding forehead is a facial sign for mental weakness, but a strong chin will redeem the receding brow.
There are certain well-defined types of features that infallibly stand for well-recognized characteristics. When a man selects a wife he always, unless the matter be purely one of finance, is under the impression that she has a good face.
The face of a good woman need not be always the face of a beauty. It ' must, however, have one or two of the strong signs of integrity and loyalty.
First of all, beware of the rosebud mouth ; the mouth that is so tiny; the mouth that is formed after the good old patterns of the ancients, who gave their Venuses the mouths that were of the rosebud order, and fit only for the fickle devotees of an inconstant goddess. Women with rosebud mouths are usually vain, frivolous and untruthful.
On the other hand, the larger mouth, with full, wellproportioned lips, which when closed form almost a horizontal line with the corners, neither elevated nor de pressed, is the indication of truthfulness, loyalty, firmness and justice. This is the mouth for a man to tie to.
The conceited mouth has a short upper lip. When you see such a mouth you may make up your mind that the surest way to gain the good will of its possessor is to flatter her. The gossip's mouth is wide, with downward curves at the corners. It is found on the faces of persons who tell you disagreeable things about your common acquaintances, as well as of your immediate family. Women with gossiping lines will neglect every duty in life for the sake of setting out with a fresh budget of scandal.
A woman with fairly harmonious features and a double set of perfect, regular and pearl-white teeth freely and frankly displayed in laughing, is fairly certain to be a creature of remarkable mental balance.
Such teeth accompany unusual endowments, the chief drawback in the make-up of the subject, particularly if she have the smiling habit, being a lack of firmness.
Women of tremendous resolution, concentration and fixity of purpose have a habit of closing the lips and showing very little of the teeth, even when they smile.
When you see a pretty girl with rather short, square teeth which have wide spaces between them, set her down as fickle, for these are the teeth of constitutional inconstancy.
Girls with long, narrow teeth are rarely strong physically. Consumptives who have inherited pulmonary troubles almost always have these long, narrow, frail teeth. When the upper teeth and jaw noticeably project over the lower the indications are for a rather elementary mind and an uncertain temper.
Women with these teeth are not, properly speaking, ill-tempered. They are generous and often fundamentally good-natured, but once they are roused-well, it is wise to give them the floor and to maintain a discreet silence. Irregular teeth that look like tangled kernels of an ear of corn are the index of a badly balanced nature.
When you see a girl whose teeth naturally curve from the gum margin in toward the mouth you can wager anything you like she is prudent about money matters.
Women with uneven teeth, those which project or recede noticeably, are uneven in disposition also, and more developed in the passions than intellectually. Of course the form of the circle of the teeth must naturally repeat the form of the jawbone, and the girl with a generous mouth, which her family calls big, may console herself by the knowledge that, according to face readers, a broad mouth, full of white, even, normal-sized teeth, with jaws that meet exactly or nearly so, surely betokens a mind with a broad grasp and a generous, even temper, but rather careless nature.
The girl with the happy-go-lucky teeth exemplifies this type. She is the girl who gets taken in and imposed upon right and left, but she smiles and forgives and never learns that the world is hard and selfish, no matter how long she lives.
A woman's chin is also a telltale feature. People with small, weak, receding chins rarely have muchwill power. This type is also called treacherous. Its possessor would be deceitful and disloyal because she would not have the strength of will to be anything else.
A round and rather full, well-formed chin denotes a sweet, yielding temper:
A pointed, projecting chin betokens avarice. When the subject has also a long, hooked nose you have two of the characteristically facial signs of the miser.
A square chin of good size, with an indentation in the center, is the accompaniment of a firm, capable nature. Its owner will not, perhaps, be quite so gentle as the girl with the round chin, but other things being equal, she will be more of a helpmeet.
Personally I am much impressed by the indications of the nose. For example, the nose of the conqueror, which is the aquiline, is found upon the faces of most of the great warriors. Napoleon had such a nose; so had Wellington.
The Greek nose, which forms a straight line from base to tip, is considered the perfect nose. It indicates a gentle, peaceable nature, with a love of the beautiful-of the arts and of home. The Greek nose does not belong to the most forcible type of womanhood, but Greek-nosed women rarely are quarrelsome, and with a good, moderately large mouth, a Greek-nosed woman will usually prove a treasure.
Alas for the snubs, for they are usually found upon the faces of cruel women. I do not refer to the nez retrousse, which is just tip-tilted enough to be saucy, but to the real snub which is flattened upon the face.
Look out for the snub nose every time, but if you happen to strike it in conjunction with a small rosebud mouth, round nearsighted eyes and tiny shell-like ears, flee for your life, for you have encountered the incarnation of perfidy and cold, treacherous cruelty. The Roman nose is a good one. It is called the nose of wealth, and in its exaggerated forms it indicates a tendency to avarice. If you want a prudent wife, one who will be saving and thrifty, select the girl whose nose has a little hump on it. She will have more at the end of twenty years, though she started out empty-handed.
No feature of the face is more self-assertive than the eye.
Large, round, wide-open eyes are a sign of amiability and gentleness in young girls, but always indicate a very childlike and undeveloped character. When these eyes are clear and luminous it is a sign of great trustfulness. These women remain childlike always-or if they grow worldly wise and suspicious their eyes narrow perceptibly during the process.
Protruding eyes are a sure sign of a good memory, so it will be well for the summer man who is not in earnest not to commit himself. Just consider that the girl with the slightly bulging orbs is usually very clever mentally, capable of strong emotions and possessed of a memory that makes her a terror to the youth who desires to be forgotten.
The girl with deep-seated eyes is rarely to be found with the merry, laughing throng of mischief-loving young women that haunt the hotel piazzas of the watering places. When she is discovered she is often alone with her thoughts, which are somber frequently, as her companions. She is introspective, and the man who becomes her slave will have to answer an entire series of questions upon the good, the true and the beautiful to say nothing of the muchness of the much and the greatness of the small. The maid with the deep-set eyes is in dead earnest. She takes herself very hard. There is no nonsense about her. Be warned in time.
The long, narrow, Oriental-eyed girl is a variation of the summer girl, who is also to be handled as a parcel marked "With care; glass." She is charming and her timid, oblique, dreamy but watchful expression means everything on the list but that condition of inertia that comes before dreams with ordinary mortals.
The long-eyed girl is suspicious-she is charming, but oh! she is jealous, and I advise her swain to give her no cause to distrust him, else she will make life such a bur den as it hath not entered into the joyous soul of the inexperienced summer youth to conceive of.
The eye of the coquette scarcely needs description. It is in evidence every moment of the day and every second of the first half of the night, wherever men and women congregate. It may be round or long, wide or narrow. It is never tranquil. Its possessor is "making eyes" every moment of her life. She may make them to your undoing. You may love her with all the strength of your being, but you will be very foolish if you trust her. She gives a shy glance and looks down.
"Beware, beware! She is fooling thee !"
A woman's eyebrows indicate sentimentality when they are narrow and drop at the outward corners. They are humorous when they are arched toward the extremity, credulous when the arch is nearer the nose, and suspicious or even malicious when they are very thick, heavy and meet at the nose.
The ear is a significant feature and a great telltale. The aesthetic ear is small and shell-like, beautifully chiseled. A flabby, long, narrow ear is a sign of humility and weakness. On the other hand, the steadfast, courageous ear is of medium size, oval in shape, and well defined in its convolutions. The lobe is detached and the ear is set moderately low upon the head. The gossip's ear is large, is usually strongly curved at the upper part and is set rather low upon the head.
By these signs, not taken separately, but collectively, balancing a weak point by the strength of a powerful feature, you cannot fail to detect the characteristics of your own or some one else's sweetheart.