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We shall close this chapter with some curious observations ON SNEEZING.
The practice of saluting the person who sneezed existed i Africa, among nations unknown to the Greeks and Romans Strada, in his Account of Monomotapa, informs us, (Prol. Acad.) that when the prince sneezes, all his subjects in the capital are advertised of it, that they may offer up prayers for his safety. The author of the conquest of Peru assures us, that the cacique of Gachoia having sneezed in the presence of the Spaniards, the Indians of his train fell prostrate before him, stretched forth their hands, and displayed to him the accustomed marks of respect, while they invoked the sun to enlighten him, to defend him, and to be his constant guard. The ancient Romans saluted each other on these occasions: and Pliny relates, that Tiberius exacted these signs of homage when drawn in his chariot. Superstition, whose influence debases every thing, had degraded this custom for several ages, by attaching favourable or unfavourable omens to sneezing. according to the hour of the day or night, according to the signs of the zodiac, according as a work was more or less advanced, or according as one had sneezed to the right or to the left. If a man sneezed at rising from table, or from his bed, it was necessary for him to sit or lie down again. You are struck with astonishment,' said Timotheus to the Athenians, who wished to return into the harbour with their fleet, because he had sneezed; you are struck with astonishment, because among ten thousand there is one man whose brain is moist.' It is singular enough, that so many ridiculous, contradictory, and superstitious opinions, have not abolished those customary civilities which are still preserved equally among high and low. The reason is obvious: they are preserved, because they are esteemed civilities, and because they cost nothing. Among the Greeks, sneezing was almost always a god omen. It excited marks of tenderness, of respect, and attachment. The young Parthenis, hurried on by her passion, resolved to write to Sarpedon an avowal of her love; she sneezes in the most tender and impassioned part of her letter: this is sufficient for her; this incident supplies the place of an answer, and persuades her that Sarped. n is her lover. Penelope, harassed by the vexatious courtship of her suitors, begins to curse them all, and to pour forth vows for the return of Ulysses. Her son Telemachus interrupts her by a loud sneeze. She instantly exults with joy, and regards this sign as an assurance of the approaching return of her husband. (Hom. Odyss. lib. xvii.). Xenophon was haranguing his troops; a soldier sneezed in the moment when he was exhorting them to embrace a dangerous but necessary resolution The whole army, moved by this presage, determined to pur
sue the project of their general; and Xenophon orders sacrifices to Jupiter the preserver. This superstitious reverence for sneezing, so ancient, and so universal even in the times of Homer, excited the curiosity of the Greek philosophers, and of the rabbins. These last have a most absurd tradition respecting it. Aristotle remounts likewise to the sources of na tural religion, because the brain is the origin of the nerves, of our sentiments, sensations, &c. Such were the opinions of the most ancient and sagacious philosophers of Greece; and mythologists affirmed, that the first sign of life Prometheus's artificial man gave, was by sternutation.
CURIOSITIES RESPECTING MAN.-(Continued.}
Difference between the Sexes-Comparative Number of the
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SEXES.
O woman, lovely woman! Nature made you
Angels are painted fair to look like you.
LAVATER has drawn the following characteristic distinctions between the male and female of the human species. The primary matter of which women are constituted, appears to be more flexible, irritable, and elastic, than that of man. They are formed to maternal mildness and affection; all their organs are tender, yielding, easily wounded, sensible, and receptible. Among a thousand females, there is scarcely one without the generic feminine signs,-the flexible, the circular, and the irritable. They are the counterpart of man, taken
out of man, to be subject to man; to comfort him like angels; and to lighten his cares. This tenderness, this sensibility, this light texture of their fibres and organs, this volatility of feeling, render them so easy to conduct and to tempt, so ready of submission to the enterprise and power of the man; but more powerful, through the aid of their charms, than man with all his strength. The female thinks not profoundly; profound thought is the power of the man. Women feel more. SENSIBILITY is the power of woman: they often rule more effectually, more sovereignly, than man. They rule with tender looks, tears, and sighs, but not with passion and threats; for if, or when, they so rule, they are no longer women but abortions. They are capable of the sweetest sensibility, the most profound emotion, the utmost humility, and the excess of enthusiasm. In their countenance are the signs of sanctity and inviolability, which every feeling man honours, and the effects of which are often miraculous. Therefore, by the irritability of their nerves, their incapacity for deep inquiry and firm decision, they may easily, from their extreme sensibility, become the most irreclaimable, the most rapturous enthusiasts. Their love, strong and rooted as it is, is very changeable; their hatred almost incurable. Men are most profound; women are more sublime. Man hears the bursting thunder, views the destructive bolt with serene aspect, and stands erect amidst the fearful majesty of the streaming clouds; woman trembles at the lightning, and the voice of distant thunder; and sinks into the arms of man. Woman is in anguish when man weeps, and in despair when man is in anguish; yet has she often more faith than man. Man, without religion, is a diseased creature, who would persuade himself he is well, and needs not a physician; but women without religion are monstrous. A woman with a beard is not so disgusting as a woman who is a free-thinker; her sex is formed to piety and religion: to them Christ first appeared. The whole world is forgotten in the emotion caused by the presence and proximity of him they love. They sink into the most incurable melancholy, as they also rise to the most enraptured heights. Male sensations is more imagination, female more heart. When communicative, they are more communicative than man; when secret, more secret. In general they are more patient, long-suffering, credulous, benevolent, and modest. They differ also in their interior form and appearance. Man is the most firm; woman is the most flexible. Man is the straightest; woman the most bending. Man is serious; woman is d gay. Man is the tallest and broadest; woman the smallest and weakest. Man is rough and hard; woman smooth and soft. Man is brown; woman is fair. Man is wrinkly; wo man is not The hair of man is more strong and short; of
woman more long and pliant. The eye-brows of man are compressed; and of woman less frowning. Man has most convex lines; woman most concave. Man has most straight lines; woman most curved. The countenance of man, taken in profile, is more seldom perpendicular than that of woman. Man is most angular; woman most round.
In determining the comparative merit of the two sexes, if it should be found (what is indeed the fact) that women fill up their appointed circle of action with greater regularity than men, the claim of preference must decide in their favour. In the prudential and economical parts of life, they rise far above us.
The following is a very curious calculation of THE COMPARATIVE NUMBER OF THE SEXES AT A BIRTH.
The celebrated M. Hufeland, of Berlin, has inserted in his Journal of Practical Medicine, some interesting observations in illustration of the comparative numbers of the sexes at a birth. The number of males born, to that of females, observes the learned Professor, seems to be 21 to 20 over the whole earth; and before they reach the age of puberty, the proportion of the sexes is reduced to perfect equality; more boys than girls die before they are fourteen. After extending his interesting comparison over animated nature in general, Professor Hufeland enters into an inquiry, peculiar to himself, in endeavouring to ascertain the principles and commencement of the equality of the sexes. In some families, says he, equality evidently does not hold. In some, the children are all boys; in others, all girls. He next proceeds to take several families, as 20, 30, 40, or 50, in one place, in conjunc tion; or small villages of 150 or 300 inhabitants. But even then, the just proportion was not yet established. In some years, only boys, in others only girls were born; nay, this disproportion continued for a series of a year or two; but by uniting ten or fifteen years together, the regular equality appeared. He next considered, that what took place in small populations must take place every year in larger societies; and he accordingly found it confirmed by actual enumeration. He went so far as, by the aid of the minister of state, Schackman, to ascertain the comparative number of boys and girls born in one day over the whole Prussian dominions, and the result corresponded with his anticipations. The general conclusions arrived at by M. Hufeland, are as follow:
1st. There is an equal number of males and females bora in the human race.- 2d. The equality occurs every day in a population of ten millions.-3d. Every week in 100,000.4th. Every month in 50,000.-5th. Every year in 10,000.6th. And in small societies of several families, every ten
or fifteen years.-7th. That it does not occur in individual families.
We now proceed to narrate some EXTRAORDINARY INSTANCES OF RAPID GROWTH.
A remarkable instance of rapid growth in the human species was noticed in France, in 1729, by the Academy of Sciences. It was a lad, then only seven years old, who measured four feet eight inches and four lines high, without his shoes. His mother observed his extra ordinary growth and strength at two years old, which continued to increase with such rapidity, that he soon arrived at the usual standard. At four years old he was able to lift and throw the common bundles of hay in stables into the horses' racks; and at six years old, he could lift as much as a sturdy fellow of twenty. But although he thus increased in bodily strength, his understanding was no greater than is usual with children of his age; and their play. things were also his favourite amusements.
Another boy, a native of Bouzanquet, in the diocese of Alais, though of a strong constitution, appeared to be knit and stiff in his joints, till he was about four years and a half old. During this time, nothing farther was remarkable respecting him, than an extraordinary appetite, which nothing could satisfy, but an abundance of the common aliments of the inhabitants of the country, consisting of rye bread, chesnuts, bacon, and water. His limbs, however, soon becoming supple and pliable, and his body beginning to expand itself, he grew up in such an extraordinary manner, that at the age of five years he measured four feet three inches. Some months after, he was four feet eleven inches; and at six, five feet, and bulky in proportion. His growth was so rapid, that every month his clothes required to be made longer and wider; yet it was not preceded by any sickness, nor accompanied with any pain. At the age of five years his voice changed his beard began to appear; and at six, he had as much as a man of thirty; in short, all the unquestionable marks of ma turity were visible in him. Though his wit was riper than is commonly observable at the age of five or six, yet its progress was not in proportion to that of his body. His air and manner still retained something childish, though by his bulk and stature he resembled a complete man, which at first sight produced a very singular contrast. His voice was strong and manly, and his great strength rendered him already fit for the labours of the country. At five, he could carry to a great distance, three measures of rye, weighing eighty-four pounds; when turned of six, he could lift up easily to his shoulders, and carry loads of one hundred and fifty pounds weight to a great distance; and these exercises were exhibited by him as often as the curious engaged him thereto by some liberality.