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An obvious objection to such observations is the different way in which people see colours or are impressed by them. To take an example adduced by Beddoe: almost all French anthropologists say that the majority of persons in the north of France are blond, whereas almost all Englishmen would say they were dark; each group of observers setting up as a standard what they are accustomed to see around them when at home. What is darkish brown to most Englishmen would be chestnut in the nomenclature of most Parisians, and perhaps even blond in that of Auvergne or Provence. Then, again, most people exaggerate the relative prevalence of some striking feature, such as red hair.
It has been attempted to obviate the discrepancies due to national idiosyncrasy or to personal equation as to the discrimination of colours by printing tints for comparison. These colour-scales are very useful for determining the hues of the skin, and also, though to a less extent, for the colours of the iris; but they are of comparatively little use for recording the tints of the hair, as the scales are printed in flat tints, so different from the gloss and translucency of hair.
French anthropologists have, however, worked very largely with such colour-scales, and a limited number are printed in that valuable little book, Notes and Queries on Anthropology, published by the Anthropological Institute (3 Hanover Square, London, W.).
With that practicality which characterises his methods, Dr. Beddoe has devised a very simple method of recording the colours of the hair and eyes of people. The advantages of his system are that it is accurate as need be, easy and rapid to operate, and it can be employed without attracting any attention. Dr. Beddoe' acknowledges three classes of eyes, distinguished as much by shade as by colour-light, intermediate, and dark.
i The Races of Britain, p. 3.
1. To the first class are assigned all blue, bluish-grey, and light grey eyes.
2. To the second or medium class belong dark grey, brownish grey, very light hazel or yellow, hazel-grey, formed by streaks of orange radiating into a bluish-grey field, and most shades of green, together with all the eyes whose colour is uncertain after an ordinarily close inspection.
3. To the third class are allocated the so-called black eyes, and those usually called brown and dark hazel.
The hair colours are classed according to the same observer into groups, which he distinguishes by the following initials, R., F., B., D., N.
Class R. (red) includes all shades which approach more nearly to red than to brown, yellow, or flaxen.
Class F. (fair) includes flaxen, yellow, golden, some of the lightest shades of our brown, and some pale auburns, in which the red hue is not very conspicuous.
Class B. (brown) includes numerous shades of brown.
Class D. (dark) includes the deeper shades of brown up to black.
Class N. (niger) includes not only the jet black, which has retained the same colour from childhood, and is generally very coarse and hard, but also that very intense brown which occurs to people who in childhood have had dark brown (or in some cases deep red) hair, but which in the adult cannot be distinguished from coal black, except in a good light.
The card adopted by Beddoe will be found to be very practical. It may be made of any size, but it is convenient to have it about 3} inches long by if inches broad, so that it may be held in the palm of the hand and carried in the waistcoat pocket.
The card is ruled into three main divisions corresponding to the groups of eye-colours—light, medium, dark. Each of these is again subdivided into columns for the five classes of hair: red, fair, brown, dark, and black. Lastly, the card is divided horizontally through the centre, the upper being reserved for statistics of men, and the lower for those of women.
A second card should be similarly used for children. Those about the age of eighteen and over may be classed as adults.
The locality, date, name of observer, and other details, such as the particular occasion, may be written on the back, but it is convenient to leave a blank space on the face for the insertion of the name of the locality. Further suggestions for the employment of these cards will be found at the end of the book in the chapter devoted to practical observations in the field.
A ready means for comparing the colours of different peoples is obtained by the Index of Nigrescence,' which Beddoe has introduced.
“ The gross index is gotten by subtracting the number of red and fair-haired persons from that of the dark-haired, together with twice the black-haired. The black is doubled, in order to
Races of Britain, p. 5.
give its proper value to the greater tendency to melanosity shown thereby; while brown [chestnut] hair is regarded as neutral, though in truth most of the persons placed in B are fair-skinned, and approach more nearly in aspect to the xanthous [light] than to the melanous (dark] variety." The formula is :
D + 2N – R – F = Index.
From the gross index the net, or percentage index, is of course readily obtained.
It is evident that the light colours range below and the dark above zero, and that the fairer the population the greater will be the minus quantity.
The index for the eyes is obtained by subtracting the light from the dark and neglecting the neutral shades, thus:
Dark – Light = Index. Dr. Collignon adopts another plan: he reduces all his figures to percentages; then for any given district he adds the light hair and the light eyes together, and does the same with the dark hair and eyes, dividing each total by two. Lastly, he constructs maps to show the relative excess of one total over the other.
In that mine of information, The Races of Britain,' Beddoe has published a series of maps, which he has constructed from statistics based upon about 13,800'entries in the Hue and Cry, relating to deserters from the army, and to a much smaller extent, deserters from the navy and absentees from militia drill. Through the kindness of my friend I am able to reproduce three of these maps, which set forth the broad features of the distribution of the hair- and eye-colours of the male population of England. Dr. Beddoe has made, in addition, a vast number of observations of this class, and
P. 143, et seq.