INTERPRETATION OF HIS PHYSIOGNOMY.
BY C. BESSONNET-FAVRE
(In “L’Homoeopathie Francais, Revue Mensuelle,” 1912, No.!) We extract from the essay the following description:
Hahnemann’s physiognomy contains all the indications of a remarkable and self-confident intelligence, an unbending will, and an undaunted energy. The study of the cranium, of the face, and of the hand of this unwearied worker, indicated with accuracy, boldness and the consistency of his system.
After a detailed exposition of Hahnemann’s life and work, the author continues:
Nature having produced the type Hahnemann would appear to have rejoiced in her handiwork; she created a beautiful, harmonious, idealistic being. Life with all its contradictions, society with its fetters, have imprinted their seal upon his face. The scepticism of his day had limited his genius. From the infinitely great by turned to the infinitely small, and his original type became modified by the special development of energy, common-sense and the poise of the positive man.
When examining the various portraits of Hahnemann, I am surprised at the striking contrast between the cranium and the face. The cranium is large, the face is closely-knit. Without the firm, square chin, which makes it took longer, the face would be short; there is only a small distance between the root of the nose and the lips.
The contours of the skull denote a mystical tendency; a quick power of comprehension is revealed in the protruding arch of the eyebrows, whilst the capacity for composition and a constructive talent are expressed in the development of the forehead and in the height of the frontal suture.
The comprehensive faculties and the capacities for combination are equally balanced. The slight depression in the centre of the forehead, and the development of the crown of the head, show that the powers of reflection and development are placed at the back in the region of the instincts. Impressions and ideas when once submitted to the control of reason in the brain, go there to be moulded and bought into perfect equilibrium.
The vertical wrinkles which cross each other between the thick eyebrows, are an indication of that inner working which is made slower and more laborious through the disposition to doubt and to test, which broadens the skull at the sides over the ears. His clear and shining eyes betray intuition, and yet commonsense predominated throughout. Hence the slow process of intellectual elaboration, in spite of his mystical tendencies he is a constructor — an experimenter — his system is therefore devoid of all metaphysics. Metaphysics would have made a visionary of Hahnemann, but his thirst for knowledge coupled with reflection made a schoolmaster of him.
He was too ambitious to lose himself in dreams; he was too self-willed and stubborn to tread the beaten track. If he followed a tradition it must be one that was eternal; when he expounded a teaching he could tolerate denial, but not discussion.
His narrow, short, slightly curved nose would, but for the open and vibrating nostrils have presented the severe aspect which the beak gives to a bird of prey. Just as the nostrils inhale life so do the clear eyes shed light. It is these nostrils and these eyes which endow the face with its striking benevolence and make it sympathetic in spite of its severity.
The upper lip is small, and sharply outlined, somewhat proud, resting,. with a touch of derision on the more benevolent an fuller lower lip, which induces a smile when the mouth is compressed at the corners. A dimple forms in the cheek the upper portion of which is prominent, in this amusing formation lies the joy of life, but the full, self-willed, almost immovable chin shows that will power has always held the instincts in check, and subordinate desires. From this point he little dimple in the cheek remains only a sign of constraint. the fold which begins at the nostrils and which naturally accentuates the movements of the Risorius (laughing muscle) give the face an expression of mild bitterness, and the placid melancholy of the sage, who was not born to vegetate merely, but was impelled to live be it of necessary or of pride.
The heavy lobe of the low, protruding, open ear confirms the presence of desires and inclinations which have been dominated by reason. Hahnemann understood how to restrain himself, and it is this which enabled him to control circumstances and to compel the respect of his ideas.
His hand, which is not large, might almost be termed a feminine hand; the very variously formed fingers are short, thin and full of expression; it is an intelligent hand which shows personality. Unfortunately I have only seen the imprint of the dorsum of the hand, to judge from the prominence of the tendons and small bones, the palm would be flat, but what were the lines engraved on it? It would have been an interesting hand to examine. The thumb betrays extraordinary strength and long life, which I observed before in other hands of old people who possessed unbounded energy. The first joint is long, broad and grooved; the nail lies deeply embedded in the fold of raised skin, and is cut off short; it possesses a knotty and powerful joint which is an absolute indication of that physiological brutish, unconscious will-power which defends itself instinctively, against every influence, against the dominations of others and against the slightest aggressiveness of the society in which he lives.