BEARD

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BEARD ; the hair round the chin, on the cheeks and the upper lip, which is a distinction of the male sex. It differs from the hair on the head by its greater hardness and its form. The beard begins to grow at the time of puberty. The connexion between the beard and puberty is evident from this, among other circumstances, that it never grows in the case of eunuchs who have been such from childhood; but the castration of adults does not cause the loss of the beard. According to Csesar, the Germans thought, and perhaps justly, the late growth of the beard favorable to the developement of all the powers. But there are cases in which this circumstance is an indication of feebleness. It frequently takes place in men of tender constitution, whose pale color indicates little power The BEARDs of different nations afford an interesting study. Some have hardly any, others a great profusion. The lattei generally consider it as a great ornament, the former pluck it out; as, for instance, the American Indians. The character of the beard differs with that of the individual, and, in the case of nations, varies* For the detailed history of this and the two preceding species; too extensive to be introduced into this work, see the first volume of the American Natural History, by the writer of this article. with the climate, food, &c. Thus the beard is generally dark, dry, hard and thin in irritable persons of full age: the same is the case with the inhabitants of hot and dry countries, as the Arabians, Ethiopians, East Indians, Italians, Spaniards. But persons of a very mild disposition have a lightcolored, thick and slightly curling beard: the same is the case with inhabitants of cold and humid countries, as Holland, England, Sweden. The difference of circumstances causes all shades of variety. The nature of the nourishment, likewise, causes a great variety in the beard. Wholesome, nutritious and digestible food makes the beard soft; but poor, dry and indigestible food renders it hard and bristly. In general, the beard has been considered, with all nations, as an ornament, and often as a mark of the sage and the priest. Moses forbade the Jews to shave their BEARDs. With the ancient Germans, the cutting off another's beard was a high offence ; with the East Indians, it is severely punished. Even now, the beard is regarded as a mark of great dignity among many nations in the East, as the Turks. The custom of shaving is said to have come into use during the reigns of Louis XIII and XIV of France, both of whom ascended the throne without a beard. Courtiers and inhabitants of cities then began to shave, in order to look like the king, and, as France soon took the lead in all matters of fashion on the continent of Europe, shaving became general; but it is only since the beginning of the last century, that shaving off the whole beard has become common. Till then, fashion had given divers forms to mustachioes and beards. Much could be said, and has been said, in a medical point of view, on shaving the beard. Such a discussion would lead us, however, here too far. It is not to be denied, that the mouth, one of the most expressive pails of the countenance, is shown to much better advantage in consequence of shaving ; but, at the same time, old age appears to much greater disadvantage, the beard concealing the loss of the teeth. Moreover, the eye gains much in expression by a full beard. Every one knows the trouble of shaving; and who does not remember Byron's computation of the amount of this trouble in Don Juan? Seume, a German author, says, in his journal, " Today I threw my powder apparatus out of the window: when will come the blessed day, that I shall send the shaving apparatus after it!" Shaving, among many ancient nations, was the mark of mourning; with others, it was the contrary. Plutarch says that Alexander introduced shaving among the Greeks, by ordering his soldiers to cut off their beards; but it appears that this custom had prevailed before among the Macedonians. The Romans began to shave about 454 A. XL, 296 B. C, when a certain Ticinius Mcenas, a barber from Sicily, introduced this fashion. Scipio Africanus was the first who shaved every day. The day that a young man first shaved was celebrated, and the first hair cut off was sacrificed to a deity. Adrian, in order to cover some large warts on his chin, renewed the fashion of long beards; but it did not last long. In mourning, the Romans wore a long beard sometimes for years. They used scissors, razors, tweezers, &c, to remove the beard. The public barber shops [tonstrince), where the lower classes went, were much resorted to ; rich people kept a shaver (tonsor) among their slaves.