Australian Tales

The Future Australian Race

Marcus Clarke

Our Ancestors
THERE HAS been much vaguely talked and written about the Coming Man. There is certainly no doubt but that in a few years the inhabitants of the colony of Australasia will differ materially in their mental and physical characteristics from ourselves. Let us consider for a few moments why and in what probable respect this difference will occur.

The tendency of that abolition of boundaries which men call civilisation is to destroy individuality. The more railways, ships, wars, and international gatherings we have, the easier is it for men to change skies, to change food, to intermarry, to beget children from strange loins. The “type”—that is to say, the incarnated result of food, education, and climate—is lost. Men rolled together by the waves of social progress lose their angles and become smooth, round, differing in size only; as differ, and remain similar, the stones of the sea beach. The effect of the increase of ease in the means of locomotion has been making itself apparent for the last three hundred years. With the discovery of the Americas there came upon all nations a sort of spirit of freedom and a desire for change. Though the terms “Greek” and “Roman” had been held to signify two distinct and certain forms of physiognomy, yet, in the feudal towns of moyen age Europe, were priest-artisans who revived the one, and stern Crusaders who re-begat the other. The Moors brought the eagle beak of the East into Arabian Spain; and the fair-haired Northmen, precursors of Columbus, sailing to the site of Boston city, bid their savage virtues live again in their descendant redskin warriors. The only “types” which have come down to predecessors of Columbus as unaltered, say the archaeologists and the naturalists, are those of the Copt, the Ass, and the Hyæna. The Chaldean is much the same as he was pictured on the Ninevite marbles 3000 years ago, but in 1600 years the Egyptian has had far less change than the average face of the dweller by the Mediterranean knew during the three hundred years between the death of Phidias and the placing of the Castellani sacrophagus in the British Museum.

As for England, variation in national physiognomy is so astounding that one is tempted to suspect the representation as untrustworthy. Yet Holbein, Vandyke, Reynolds and Romney were fully competent to represent what they saw, and we are forced to admit that, from the chivalresque attitudes of Vandyke, through the sedate romance of Reynolds, to the grosser intelligence of Romney, and up again to the spiritual brightness of Richmond, the changes are true, though sudden. When we say of a portrait, “What an old-fashioned air,” we are really saying, “That is the grandfather’s face come back again.” Even in the rudest times, and under the most unfavourable conditions, those who drew the human face did their best to copy the faces of their neighbours. An Egyptian artist never presented a fair-haired or round-eyed face as his type of beauty. An English manuscript-illuminator made his saints and virgins always delicate and blue-eyed. Through the clumsy handling of the monkish painters, we can still understand that our ancestors had, for the most part, rolling eyes, fleshy noses, larger at the tip than the bridge, long upper lips, strong chins, and coarse jaws. The long, symmetrical, oval face, with its arched eyebrows and melancholy air, has, in these days, disappeared. The Norman type is becoming absorbed. The face is square. The Danish eagle-beak—the characteristic of the predatory race—sinks down and broadens into the sensual and cogitative proboscis of the ruminating animal. Those stern eyes which glowered in the semi-darkness of a down-drawn visor have vanished. The cheeks, no longer pressed forward by the locked helmet plates, relieve the mouth and raise the corners of the lips. The nation, recovered from the Wars of the Roses, seems to breathe freely. A chastened air of spirituality is cast over the brows, and the features appear moulded by serious thoughts and high emotions. The liberal patronage which the Tudors bestowed upon art culminated with the arrival of Holbein in England, and from that date we can examine at our leisure the gradual collection and assimilation of those features which make up the “English Face.”

Let us turn to the Royal portraits, as they are produced for us by photography, and understand how it comes that at masquerades and on the stage the modern countenance looks so obtrusively out of place. The type of his nation during his life was Henry the Eighth, and Holbein’s picture of him does more than Froude’s whole history to show us his real character. Broad, burly, somewhat sullenly he stands, his feet wide apart, his hands thrust into his belt, and his eyes looking straight at you; his lips are full, sensual, firmly shut; his nose footed, and his ears widely opened. The expression is that of the elephant—great sagacity, little refinement, strong will, and courage dauntless to resist. Anne of Cleves, who simpers beside him, is a long-chinned, big-eyed, narrow-browed creature, perfectly placid and wholly uninteresting.

But when we come to Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Kate Howard, and Parr, we see the vivacity which was to thrill the next generation already stirring. Anne Boleyn is plump, voluptuous, but refined and daring. Seymour has an intelligent, earnest, and thoughtful face; Howard a sly, sensual, and self-restrained one; Parr has the forehead of an artist, and the mouth of a wit. Intelligence gleams from each head. In the next generation of courseness of lip and jaw vanish. Mary has no sexuality save that which springs from disease. Her pressed, vinegar lips, the lower one almost split, the wide nostrils, and the prominent cheek bones, give ample assurance that the broad lips, the high brow, and the somewhat aesthetic weakness of her husband, could never match her temper. Elizabeth’s fine and haughty face comes like a burst of sunshine among these gloomy intellects. Who is accountable for that aquiline nose, and that firm, sweetly-moulded chin of Louis de Hervè’s picture? Anne Boleyn perhaps alone could tell. Elizabeth’s nose is a revelation in national physiognomy.

The club nose was the characteristic of the age. Louis XII had it, so had the noble, serious face of the Duke of Suffolk, so had Dorset, Jane Grey, James IV., Francis II., Mary of Guise; the beautiful, intellectual face of Guilford Dudley would be nearly Greek but for this trait. Elizabeth and her rival, Mary of Scots, were almost alone in exception. Were not the supposition too fanciful, one might imagine that they escaped from the influence of parental impress, and that their minds moulded their features wholly. The heads of both women are keen with intelligence. There is not a trace of sensual weakness or the sensual strength of the last generation. An age of Spensers, Wriotheselys, and Raleighs was at hand. Women began to rule, not through the flesh, as in the days of chivalry and lust, but through the spirit. Elizabeth and Mary were alike in one regard. They were both incapable of loving, and both for the same reason. They never met a master, or at least one who cared to master them. Elizabeth was too contemptuous to surrender, Mary too confident to keep. One scorned to admit a lover, the other disdained to obey him. The keynote of passion struck by these two women vibrated through Britain. Men became adorers, poets, adventurers to win the one; murderers, rebels, plotters, martyrs, to secure a lasting claim upon the other. What result had this state of things in moulding the fleshy masks which these daring and impetuous spirits wore? Let us see.

The portrait of Spenser shows us a haggard-eyed, eager-browed and disappointed man. From the eagerness, the disappointment, came the banishment of the world, the turning to nature, the yearning for the good—the Faery Queene. Sir Nicholas Poyntz has a long, curling upper-lip and no chin; Babington is an ardent visionary; Drake has soft, curling hair, a streaming silk beard, a full face, and a look of deep melancholy. A beautiful miniature of Barbor (who, by the death of Mary, was delivered from the stake) is a most noticeable face. Nothing of the former generation but the firm jaw remains. The nose describes a waved line, the lips are keen and close, the forehead broad and slightly retreating, the eyes large, well opened, and at once sad and scornful. When we compare these faces with those of the Duc d’Anjou, cold, cruel, and selfish; Henry Valois, weak, mean, and treacherous; the Duc de Guise, violent and conceited, we begin to understand how England succeeded in creating a literature and reforming a religion. The only French face which presents strongly the characteristics of the English one of 1500–1600 is that of Coligni, the Admiral of France, murdered at the Huguenot massacre. The type of the intellect which was foreshadowing the reign of the Grand Monarque is to be seen in the wonderful and beautiful face of the infamous and delightful Catherine de Medicis.

Out of this melancholy and thoughtful splendour what came. That the portrait of William Lenthall, Speaker of the Rump Parliament, on the one hand; and Charles the First, when Prince of Wales, on the other. Charles is a young man of high brow, secretive mouth, heavy nose, and a head remarkable for its narrowness. There can be no question that the spirit which animates such features is at once irresolute, rash, and untrustworthy. Lenthal is sour, grim, and bitterly in earnest. The relentless mouth, with its snag-tooth, the pinched nostrils, the long, sloping nose, the eyes scaled like those of a snake, present a type of extravagant melancholy even more detestable than that of the English king. Between these extremes, however, there is a whole gamut of notes. Cavaliers and Round-heads were both gallant fellows, and if some portion of the dash and fire of the old barons held the one, the grave and serious air of the thinking thrall gave solidity to the courage of the other. The square brows, serious eyes, and stern air of the daughter of Sir Richard Stewart is preserved in the rugged and thoughtful face of her son, Oliver Cromwell.

With the restoration came the reaction. Black-browed hysterical-lipped Charles loved pleasure, and gathered round him wits and rakes. Have not all the portraits of this Court the same air? Make allowance for the similarity of costume, for the fact that the artist, having to paint every woman half naked, endowed each with the same redundant bosom and flowing hair, and we shall yet be forced to admit that all the “beauties” are very stupid, sleepy-eyed, over-fed persons; in their “fitness” resembling Dudu, but though “large, languishing and lazy,” yet by no means of a “beauty that would drive you crazy.” The men are better. Rochester and Sedley had brains enough to have made them great men; but the large mouths and bald temples show that the curse of the age was upon them and that they were too lazy to be virtuous. Across the Channel, however, men of the world enjoyed life still. The Court of Louis le Grand was crowded with men of genius, and the best of much that was good in a society which existed on a quagmire, looks out of the serene and religious eyes of the second wife of Louis Quatorze, Francoise D’Aubignè, Madame de Maintenon. There was no woman in England equal in sense and wit to the widow of Scarron, but there was also no one equal in boldness and villainy to Frances Howard, the poisoner of Sir Thomas Overbury.

During the next century the increase of the means of living gave a solidity to the jaw, and banished the wrinkling lines of thought around the eyes. There arose a race of refined Elizabethans. The English face in the days of Anne was the face of indolent greatness. The very vices of the age were those which sprang from a disdain of consequences. Men, lived, made love, fought, drank, got into debt, or died in a stately manner, doing out of sheer indolence all those things which the train of the French Regent—his clever, pimpled, careless face is the mirror of his age—did in laborious pursuit of pleasure. The strain of French vivacity yet lingering in the airs which blew over the kingdom, gave us eager, impulsive Pope; genial, careless Steele; brought us, by force of its example, the bitterness of Swift; the salacious humour of Sterne; nay, even the jovial tenderness of Goldsmith; while the backbone of “old English manners” (as eating, drinking, and healthful profligacy were termed) saved the nation from ruin in the general overturn of the long-threatened French Revolution.

From this period the country of English physiognomy lies straight before us, with finger-posts on either side. Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Lawrence have reproduced our ancestors in their habits as they lived; Hogarth, Rawlandson, and Gilray have taught us how to recognise them, Lavater how to talk with them. These men and women were our immediate forbears, and yet we are no more like them as a race than they were like the Elizabethans, or than the heroes of the Armada and the Spanish man resembled the feudal barons or the knights of chivalry.

With this much of introduction, let us proceed from the accession of George I., and note the causes which have continued to produce those nondescript physiognomies which we meet in our daily walk. We are all familiar with the terms—“An Elizabethan face,” “a Puritan face,” “a face for hair powder,” “a nineteenth century face.” We know still better the expressions—“An Oriental face,” “an Italian face,” “an English face.” Let us endeavour to understand what these terms mean. Let us see why, in a few years, we may talk of an Australian face, and what that face may be like.



When we look at those portraits of gentlemen in white wigs, and ladies in short-waisted dresses, which adorn the walls of some few houses in the colonies, and are reproduced by the score in Wardour Street, for the benefit of modern gentlemen who are desirous of begetting ancestors, we are struck with one peculiarity—the fulness of the jowl. In the portraits of notable men this peculiarity is almost exaggerated into a defect. Johnson, Goldsmith, Garrick even, had it. It is one of the signs of the times, and stamps a man as belonging to the Georgian era—to the days of Hogarth’s Beer Street, Smollett’s Feast after the Manner of the Ancients, and Gilray’s Evacuation of Malta. What is the cause of big jowls, full temples, and bull necks? What, in fact, is the cause of Georgian face? Simple excess of aliment. The men of 1720 to 1795 were gross feeders. The Germans are notorious crammers. It is their capacity for gorging which is the measure of their power. They are a race of strong-willed men—men combative and masterful. Experience shows that hollow-templed men are poets, philosophers, and essayists. Facts show that the wits who were supplanted by the strong thinkers of the Hanoverian invasion were exactly such hollow-templed fellows. From the instant the Germans poured into England—from that instant began the reign of full feeding and of drink.

Not to confine ourselves to the respective duration of the uninsurable lives of Kings, let us consider, as from a height of observation, the British people from Hogarth to Gilray. Their recorded lives are records of alimentary excess. The Gate of Calais is a jest at the sparse feeding of the French nation, and is remarkable as a proof that Hogarth, who may be justly considered a type of the middle-class Englishmen of that day, had no notion of nutriment save in the shape of lumps of cooked flesh. His Frenchmen are represented as having become lanterns upon a diet of rich soups, and his English as having been reared into grand adiposity by the mastification of beef-shins and collops of veals. In Beer Street and Gin Lane we see the same theory expressed. The drinkers of gin are squalid, haggard and thin. Men kill themselves; women drop their children over areas railings; corpses are thrust into coffinshells. All is hideous and terrifying. The beer-drinkers are presented, not as well-contented homekeeping persons, but as boozers, fat, swollen with malt, fermenting with new yeast, rudely amorous, bestially desirous of all sensual gratification. This full-up-to-the-throat sort of happiness was really what was enjoyed at the time. In Midnight Conversation, hot punch in huge bowls lends zest to song. In the Rake’s Progress the hero is dyspeptically insane. In Marriage à la mode, a cur, half-starved, leaps on the table to seize a bone. In the Four Stages of Cruelty the good boy offers his cake to save the life of the tortured dog. Everywhere intrude shapes and forms of eating. In Midnight and Noon, the girl whom the black boy is kissing, carries a huge pie. In the Industrious Apprentice a whole row of Aldermen are seen, with napkins swathed under their fat chaps, gnawing bones. In the Election Dinner the prevailing taste for gorging and guzzling may be said to have reached its height. One man has burst his waist belt. One pours wine over his friend’s head. The disjecta membra of the feast lie around, as are scattered the fragments of a carcase torn by dogs. The host is dying of a surfeit. Oyster-shells literally pile the tables. Tobacco-smoke completes what gluttony began, and burdened stomachs kick against their load.

Let the reader bethink himself of the incessant device employed by the novelists of the Georgian era to produce an embroglio. What is the excuse for Mr. Tom Jones, Mr. Joseph Andrews, or Mr. Peregrine Pickle leaving his chamber in the inn? A modern writer, true to modern facts, would insinuate sleeplessness, a desire to smoke and so soothe the too active brain, fear for his own or his horse’s safety—a thousand other matters turning upon mental exercise. Nothing of this sort occurs to the heroes of Fielding or of Smollett. They go to bed and sleep soundly, but are awakened by the effects of their gluttony. “Joseph, in whose bowels the roasted port was still sticking,” and “Jones, who began to feel the effects of the punch, combined with the too hearty supper which he ate,” rise from their beds and, returning, blunder into different chambers. The device seems so easy that we are convinced it is natural. The men of that time did habitually that which men of our time do but seldom—they over-ate themselves. The caricatures of Gilray and Rowlandson are full of allusions to this practice. To put out of mind those grosser jests with which the student of caricature history must be of necessity familiar, we can remember the Orgies of the P----- of W-l-s, and that recurring decimal in the humorous sum the Household Economy of Farmer George.

The example of riotous living set by the Regent and his friends was, however, an example tempered in some degree by taste. Escaped from the insularity of her moral position, England contrived to get into her cooks’ heads some notions beyond roast beef, even though she was compelled to achieve the task by conquering the nations who understood the art of living. During the reign of H.B. we notice that the faces depicted are less gross than of yore. Lord Althorp is a heavy jowled man, to be sure, but the rising curve of little Lord John’s nose had already risen above the horizon, and the Iron Duke brings back the severest Roman physiognomy. Though the sensual lip, the wrinkled throat, and the retreating forehead were not to be eliminated for a generation, we see clearly, in the first pages of the struggling Punch, that the English national face has undergone a change. It has become lighter and more keen. Science advances, restrictions upon trade are removed, men no longer embittered by fierce party struggles, turn their attention to money-making. Victoria reigns. The husband of the Sovereign is a man of wide sympathy and philosophic mind. Under his auspices philanthropy becomes fashionable. Universal peace brings attempts at improvement, engineering schemes are projected, industrial social exhibitions held. The picture has another side. The importance of trade is absurdly magnified. To die “rich” is considered to be worth the cost of living an unhealthy and dishonest life. Speculation—which hardens the eye, and wears the strained muscles always engaged in concealing the expression of natural emotion—is rife. Ruin, rapid and total, overtakes many. Genteel Poverty asserts a physiognomy of its own, at once humble and haughty, timid and stubborn. There rises out of this ruin, and this competition, a creature who is known as “Brummagem”—a man who is neither very rich, nor very clever, nor very well-behaved, but who pretends to be all three. Videri quam esse is the motto of smart brokers, sharp traders, and those who thrive by dexterity in avoiding legal offence. In the midst of this—when Tennyson, the hollow-templed, high-nosed, haughty poet, is writing “Maud” to urge the

Smooth-faced, snub-nosed rogues
To leap from counter and till—

war bursts, and England regenerates herself in the Crimea, and is fierily baptized in Indian plains. From the men of those latter days—from the men of the last half of this century, springs the Australian race. The gold discoveries attracted to this hemisphere some of the best nerve-power of England.

Already there existed in the Australias much sturdy Anglo-Saxon stuff. The officers and soldiers who, with their families, constituted the free population of early colonial days, were men of courage and daring. Many of the voluntary immigrants were at least equal to the best middle-class Englishman, while the banished population over which such men as Fyans and Therry ruled, had at least the merit of being eminent in their several capacities, even though their capacities had been misapplied. Among the convicts were many men of great courage, great strength, great powers of brain, and in many instances of astonishing talents for mechanics and fine arts. It is only reasonable to expect that the children of such parents, transplanted to another atmosphere, dieted upon new foods, and restrained in their prime of life from sensual excess, should be at least remarkable.

But criminality it is not reproductive. Being as abnormal a condition as skill in painting or playing is an abnormal condition, it cannot flourish beyond its generation. The genius of the thief buds, blossoms, and dies as surely as does the genius of the artist. But for immigration the convict continent would have been depeopled. Immigration ensued, and what an immigration! The best bone and sinew of Cornwall, the best muscle of Yorkshire, the keenest brains of Cockneydom—Bathurst, Ballarat, Bendigo, had them all. With them came also the daring spendthrift, the young cavalry officer who had lived too fast for the Jews, the younger son who had outrun his income. Barristers of good family and small practice, surgeons having all the Dublin Dissector in their heads and all the hospital experience of Paris in their hands, met each other over a windlass at Bathurst, or a drive at Ballarat. If there was plenty of muscle in the new land, there was no lack of blood. Put aside prejudice and look at the Bench, the Bar, and the Church of this great continent. Look at the schools, libraries, and botanic gardens of Australia. Read the accounts of the boat races, the cricket matches, and say if our youth are not manly. Listen to the plaudits which greet a finished actor or a finely-gifted singer, and confess also that we have some taste and culture. Go into those parts of the country where the canker of trade has not yet penetrated, and mark the free hospitality, the generous kindness, the honest welcome which shall greet you. Sail up Sydney Harbour, ride over a Queensland plain, watch the gathering of an Adelaide harvest, or mingle with the orderly crowd which throngs to a Melbourne Cup-race, and deny, if you can, that there is here the making of a great nation. You do not deny it; but——. But what?

“There are many factors in the sum of a nation’s greatness—Religion, Polity, Commerce.”

Granted; but these are controllable. There is only one influence which we cannot escape, though we may modify it, and that is the influence of Physical Laws. Let us consider what climate the Australian nation will live in, and what food it will be prone to eat, and having arrived at a distinct conclusion upon those two points, we can predict, with positive certainty, their religion, their polity, their commerce, and their appearance. You stare? Attend for a moment, and you will see that a proposition of Euclid is not clearer.


Our Children

The quality of a race of beings is determined by two things: food and climate. The measure of that quality is the measure of the success in the race’s incessant struggle to wrest nature to its own advantage. The history of a nation is the history of the influence of nature modified by man, and of man modified by the influence of nature. The highest practical civilisations have been those in which man came off victor in the contest, and employed the wind to drive his ships, the heat to work his engines, the cataract to turn his mills. The lowest, those in which nature reduced men to the condition of brutes—eating, drinking and feeding. Given the price of the cheapest food in the country, and the average registration of the thermometer, and it is easy to return a fair general estimate of the national characteristics. I say a general estimate, because other causes—the height of mountains, the width of rivers, the vicinity of volcanoes, etc., induce particular results. But the intelligent mind, possessed of information on the two points of food and climate can confidently sum up, first, the bodily vigour; second, the mental vigour; third, the religion; fourth, the political constitution of a nation.

Before speculating on future events, let us apply our test to history. The climate of Egypt is hot and moist, the inundation of the Nile renders the soil wonderfully fertile, and food is extremely cheap and easily obtained. The climate of India is hot, and the inhabitants live for the most part on rice, which is cheap and usually obtained in abundance. The climate of Mexico is hot. Indian corn, which formed the staple of the food of the inhabitants, is astonishingly prolific and consequently cheap. Now, cheap food means in all cases cheap marriage, or in other words rapid reproduction of the species. A hot climate means small expense in house-building, clothing, or furniture. A man sells his labour to meet his requirements, and in a hot country his requirements are few. In a hot country, therefore, wages are low, and the rapid increase of population renders human life of little value. The difference between the labourer and the employer of labour, then, is great, and from this difference comes tyranny on the one side and slavery on the other. The rich grow richer and the poor poorer. Wealth means leisure, and leisure means luxury and learning. Consequently we should expect to find that a nation living under these conditions would present the following characteristics:—A poor and enslaved peasantry, a rich and luxurious aristocracy, who cultivate great learning and some taste for art.

Now, this condition answers precisely to the condition in which Anthony found Egypt, Warren Hastings found India, and Cortez found Mexico. In each place the nobles lived in incredible luxury and the poor in incredible misery. The learning of each nation was the marvel of its successors. The expenditure of human life in each was terrible. Human beings were not only sacrificed in thousands for the building of the gigantic temples common to each country, but absolutely slaughtered like sheep to celebrate the triumphs of a conqueror, or appease the anger of a god. It is remarkable that the religion of each nation was bloodthirsty and full of terror. Siva the destroyer, Tyhon the Betrayer, Kitzpolchi, God of the Smoking Hearts, alike demanded offerings of blood and tears. It is quite easy to account for this. Each nation grew up among scenes of natural grandeur, and a witness to the almost daily performance of the most majestic operations of nature. The hurricane, the storm, the simoom, the flood, the earthquake—all were familiar to their minds, and poets were created by the influence of the scenery which they described. Men having, by the expenditure of their own blood, modified nature with aqueducts, canals and roads, nature modified their struggles for freedom by the imposition of a terrible superstition which darkened all their days.

It is an absolute fact that religion is, in all cases a matter of diet and climate. The Greek, with pure air, light soil, and placid scenery, invented an exquisite anthropomorphism, in which he deified all his own attributes. The Egyptian, the Mexican, and the dweller by the Ganges invented a cruel and monstrous creed of torture and death. The influence of climate was so strong upon the ancient Jews that they were perpetually relapsing from Theism into the congenial cruelities of Moloch and Astarte. Remove them into another country, and history has no record of a people—save, perhaps, the modern Pagans of our Universities—more devotedly attached to the purest form of intelligent adoration of the Almighty. The Christian faith, transported to the Libyan deserts, or the rocks of Spain, became burdened with horrors, and oppressed with saint-worship. The ferocious African’s Mumbo Jumbo, the West Indian’s Debbel-debbel, are merely the products of climate and the result of a dietary scale. Cabanis says that religious emotion is secreted by the smaller intestines. Men “think they are pious when they are only bilious.” Men who habitually eat non-nitrogenous substances and pay little attention to the state of their bowels are always prone to gloomy piety. This is the reason why Scotchmen and women are usually inclined to religion.

Now let us consider what climate and food will do for Australians.

In the first place, we must remember that the Australasian nation will have an empire of many climates, for it will range from Singapore and Malacca in the north, to New Zealand in the south. All varieties of temperature will be traversed by the railroad traveller of 1977. The enormous area of Australia, that circle whose circumference is the sea, and whose centre is a desert, is a strong reason against federation. It is more than likely that what should be the Australian Empire will be cut in half by a line drawn through the centre of the continent. All above this line—Queensland and the Malaccas, New Guinea, and the parts adjacent—will evolve a luxurious and stupendous civilisation only removed from that of Egypt and Mexico by the measure of the remembrance of European democracy. All beneath this line will be a Republic, having the mean climate, and, in consequences, the development of Greece. The intellectual capital of this Republic will be Victoria. The fashionable and luxurious capital on the shore of Sydney Harbour. The governing capital in New Zealand.

The inhabitants of this Republic are easily described. The soil is for the most part deficient in lime, hence the bones of the autochthones will be long and soft. The boys will be tall and slender like cornstalks. It will be rare to find girls with white and sound teeth. A small pelvis is the natural result of small bones, and a small pelvis means a sickly mother and stunted children. Bad teeth mean bad digestion, and bad digestion means melancholy. The Australians will be a fretful, clever, perverse, irritable race. The climate breeds a desire for out-of-door exercise. Men will transact their business under verandahs, and make appointments at the corners of streets. The evening stroll will be an institution. Fashion and wealth will seek to display themselves out of doors. Hence domesticity will be put away. The “hearth” of the Northerner, the “fireside” of Burns’ Cottar, will be unknown. The boys, brought up outside their homes’ four walls, will easily learn to roam, and as they conquer difficulties for themselves will learn to care little for their parents. The Australasians will be selfish, self-reliant, ready in resource, prone to wander, caring little for home ties. Mercenary marriage will be frequent, and the hotel system of America will be much favoured. The Australasians will be large meat-eaters, and meat-eaters require more stimulants than vegetarians. The present custom of drinking alcohol to excess—favoured alike by dietary scale and by carnivorous pratices—will continue. All carnivora are rash, gloomy, given to violences. Vegetarians live at a lower level of health, but are calmer and happier. Red radicals are for the most part meat-eaters. A vegetarian—Shelly exceptio quae probat regulam—is a Conservative. Fish eaters are invariably moderate Whigs. The Australasians will be content with nothing short of a turbulent democracy.

There is plenty of oxygen in Australia air, and our Australasians will have capacious chests also—cateris paribus, large nostrils. The climate is unfavourable to the development of a strumous diathesis; therefore, we cannot expect men of genius unless we beget them by frequent intermarriage. Genius is to the physiologist but another form of scrofula, and to call a man a poet is to physiologically insult the mother who bore him. When Mr. Edmund Yates termed one of his acquaintances a “scrofulous Scotch poet,” he intended to be personal. He was merely tautological. It may be accepted as an axiom that there has never existed a man of genius who was not strumous. Take the list from Julius Caesar to Napoleon, or from Job to Keats, and point out one great mind that existed in a non-strumous body. The Australasians will be freed from the highest burden of intellectual development.

For their faces. The sun beating on the face closes the eyes, puckers the cheeks, and contracts the muscles of the orbit. Our children will have deep-set eyes with overhanging brows; the lower eyelid will not melt into the cheek, but will stand out en profile, clear and well-defined. This, though it may add to character, takes away from beauty. There will be necessarily a strong development of the line leading from nostril to mouth. The curve between the centre of the upper lip will be shortened, and the whole mouth made fleshy and sensual. The custom of meat-eating will square the jaw, and render the hair course but plentiful. The Australasian will be a square-headed, masterful man, with full temples, plenty of beard, a keen eye, a stern and yet sensual mouth. His teeth will be bad, and his lungs good. He will suffer from liver disease, and become prematurely bald—average duration of life in the unmarried, fifty-nine; in the married, sixty-five and a decimal.

The conclusion of all this is, therefore, that in another hundred years the average Australasian will be a tall, coarse, strong-jawed, greedy, pushing, talented man, excelling in swimming and horsemanship. His religion will be a form of Presbyterianism; his national policy a democracy tempered by the rate of exchange. His wife will be a thin, narrow woman, very fond of dress and idleness, caring little for her children, but without sufficient brain-power to sin with zest. In five hundred years, unless recruited from foreign nations, the breed will be wholly extinct; but in that five hundred years it will have changed the face of Nature, and swallowed up all our contemporary civilisation. It is, however—perhaps fortunately—impossible that we shall live to see this stupendous climax.

Australian Tales - Contents

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