Criminal Psychology

Hans Gross

Part 5

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That probability is in this way and in a number of relations, of great value to the criminalist can not appear doubtful. Mittermaier defines its significance briefly: "Probability naturally can never lead to sentence. It is, however, important as a guide for the conduct of the examiner, as authorizing him to take certain measures; it shows how to attach certain legal processes in various directions."

Suppose that we review the history of the development of the theory of probability. The first to have attempted a sharp distinction between demonstrable and probable knowledge was Locke. Leibnitz was the first to recognize the importance of the theory

of probability for inductive logic. He was succeeded by the mathematician Bernoulli and the revolutionist Condorcet. The theory in its modern form was studied by Laplace, Quetelet, Herschel, von Kirchmann, J. von Kries, Venn, Cournot, Fick, von Bortkiewicz, etc. The concept that is called probability varies with different authorities. Locke[1] divides all fundamentals into demonstrative and probable. According to this cla.s.sification it is probable that "all men are mortal," and that "the sun will rise to-morrow." But to be consistent with ordinary speech the fundamentals must be cla.s.sified as evidence, certainties, and probabilities. By certainties I understand such fundamentals as are supported by experience and leave no room for doubt or consideration--everything else, especially as it permits of further proof, is more or less probable.

[1] Locke: Essay on the Human Understanding.

Laplace[2] spoke more definitely--"Probability depends in part on our ignorance, in part on our knowledge ...

[2] Laplace: Essay Philosophique sur les Probabilits. Paris 1840.

"The theory of probability consists in the reduction of doubts of the same cla.s.s of a definite number of equally possible cases in such a way that we are equally undetermined with regard to their existence, and it further consists in the determination of the number of those cases which are favorable to the result the probability of which is sought. The relation of this number to the number of all possible cases is the measure of the probability. It is therefore a fraction the numerator of which is derived from the number of cases favorable to the result and the denominator from the number of all possible cases." Laplace, therefore, with J. S. Mill, takes probability to be a low degree of certainty, while Venn[3] gives it an objective support like truth. The last view has a great deal of plausibility inasmuch as there is considerable doubt whether an appearance is to be taken as certain or as only probable. If this question is explained, the a.s.sertor of certainty has a.s.sumed some objective foundation which is indubitable at least subjectively. Fick represents the establishment of probability as a fraction as follows: "The probability of an incompletely expressed hypothetical judgment is a real fraction proved as a part of the whole universe of conditions upon which the realization of the required result necessarily depends.

[3] Venn: The Logic of Chance.

"According to this it is hardly proper to speak of the probability of any result. Every individual event is either absolutely necessary

or impossible. The probability is a quality which can pertain only to a hypothetical judgment."[1]

[1] Philos. Versuch ber die Wahrscheinlichkeiten. Wrzburg 1883.

That it is improper to speak of the probability of a result admits of no doubt, nor will anybody a.s.sert that the circ.u.mstance of to- morrow's rain is in itself probable or improbable--the form of expression is only a matter of usage. It is, however, necessary to distinguish between conditioned and unconditioned probability. If I to-day consider the conditions which are attached to the ensuing change of weather, if I study the temperature, the barometer, the cloud formation, the amount of sunlight, etc., as conditions which are related to to-morrow's weather as its forerunners, then I must say that to-morrow's rain is probable to such or such a degree. And the correctness of my statement depends upon whether I know the conditions under which rain *must appear, more or less accurately and completely, and whether I relate those conditions properly. With regard to unconditioned probabilities which have nothing to do with the conditions of to-day's weather as affecting to-morrow's, but are simply observations statistically made concerning the number of rainy days, the case is quite different. The distinction between these two cases is of importance to the criminalist because the subst.i.tution of one for the other, or the confusion of one with the other, will cause him to confuse and falsely to interpret the probability before him. Suppose, e. g., that a murder has happened in Vienna, and suppose that I declare immediately after the crime and in full knowledge of the facts, that according to the facts, i. e., according to the conditions which lead to the discovery of the criminal, there is such and such a degree of probability for this discovery. Such a declaration means that I have calculated a conditioned probability. Suppose that on the other hand, I declare that of the murders occurring in Vienna in the course of ten years, so and so many are unexplained with regard to the personality of the criminal, so and so many were explained within such and such a time,--and consequently the probability of a discovery in the case before us is so and so great. In the latter case I have spoken of unconditioned probability. Unconditioned probability may be studied by itself and the event compared with it, but it must never be counted on, for the positive cases have already been reckoned with in the unconditioned percentage, and therefore should not be counted another time. Naturally, in practice, neither form of probability is frequently calculated in figures; only an approximate

interpretation of both is made. Suppose that I hear of a certain crime and the fact that a footprint has been found. If without knowing further details, I cry out: "Oh! Footprints bring little to light!" I have thereby a.s.serted that the statistical verdict in such cases shows an unfavorable percentage of unconditional probability with regard to positive results. But suppose that I have examined the footprint and have tested it with regard to the other circ.u.mstances, and then declared: "Under the conditions before us it is to be expected that the footprint will lead to results"-- then I have declared, "According to the conditions the conditioned probability of a positive result is great." Both a.s.sertions may be correct, but it would be false to unite them and to say, "The conditions for results are very favorable in the case before us, but generally hardly anything is gained by means of footprints, and hence the probability in this case is small." This would be false because the few favorable results as against the many unfavorable ones have already been considered, and have already determined the percentage, so that they should not again be used.

Such mistakes are made particularly when determining the complicity of the accused. Suppose we say that the manner of the crime makes it highly probable that the criminal should be a skilful, frequently-punished thief, i. e., our probability is conditioned. Now we proceed to unconditioned probability by saying: "It is a well-known fact that frequently-punished thieves often steal again, and we have therefore two reasons for the a.s.sumption that X, of whom both circ.u.mstances are true, was the criminal." But as a matter of fact we are dealing with only one identical probability which has merely been counted in two ways. Such inferences are not altogether dangerous because their incorrectness is open to view; but where they are more concealed great harm may be done in this way.

A further subdivision of probability is made by Kirchmann.[1] He distinguished: [1] ber die Wahrscheinlicbkeit, Leipzig 1875.

(1) General probability, which depends upon the causes or consequences of some single uncertain result, and derives its character from them. An example of the dependence on causes is the collective weather prophecy, and of dependence on consequences is Aristotle's dictum, that because we see the stars turn the earth must stand still. Two sciences especially depend upon such probabilities: history and law, more properly the practice and use of criminal

law. Information imparted by men is used in both sciences, this information is made up of effects and hence the occurrence is inferred from as cause.

(2) Inductive probability. Single events which must be true, form the foundation, and the result to a valid universal. (Especially made use of in the natural sciences, e. g., in diseases caused by bacilli; in case X we find the appearance A and in diseases of like cause Y and Z, we also find the appearance A. It is therefore probable that all diseases caused by bacilli will manifest the symptom A.) (3) Mathematical Probability. This infers that A is connected either with B or C or D, and asks the degree of probability. I. e.: A woman is brought to bed either with a boy or a girl: therefore the probability that a boy will be born is one-half.

Of these forms of probability the first two are of equal importance to us, the third rarely of value, because we lack arithmetical cases and because probability of that kind is only of transitory worth and has always to be so studied as to lead to an actual counting of cases. It is of this form of probability that Mill advises to know, before applying a calculation of probability, the necessary facts, i. e., the relative frequency with which the various events occur, and to understand clearly the causes of these events. If statistical tables show that five of every hundred men reach, on an average, seventy years, the inference is valid because it expresses the existent relation between the causes which prolong or shorten life.

A further comparatively self-evident division is made by Cournot, who separates subjective probability from the possible probability pertaining to the events as such. The latter is objectively defined by Kries[1] in the following example: [1] J. v. Kries: ber die Wahrseheinlichkeit Il. Mglichkeit u. ihre Bedeutung in Strafrecht. Zeitschrift f. d. ges. St. R. W. Vol. IX, 1889.

"The throw of a regular die will reveal, in the great majority of cases, the same relation, and that will lead the mind to suppose it objectively valid. It hence follows, that the relation is changed if the shape of the die is changed." But how "this objectively valid relation," i. e., substantiation of probability, is to be thought of, remains as unclear as the regular results of statistics do anyway. It is hence a question whether anything is gained when the form of calculation is known.

Kries says, "Mathematicians, in determining the laws of probability, have subordinated every series of similar cases which take

one course or another as if the constancy of general conditions, the independence and chance equivalence of single events, were identical throughout. Hence, we find there are certain simple rules according to which the probability of a case may be calculated from the number of successes in cases observed until this one and from which, therefore, the probability for the appearance of all similar cases may be derived. These rules are established without any exception whatever." This statement is not inaccurate because the general applicability of the rules is brought forward and its use defended in cases where the presuppositions do not agree. Hence, there are delusory results, e. g., in the calculation of mortality, of the statements of witnesses and judicial deliverances. These do not proceed according to the schema of the ordinary play of accident. The application, therefore, can be valid only if the constancy of general conditions may be reliably a.s.sumed.

But this evidently is valid only with regard to unconditioned probability which only at great intervals and transiently may influence our practical work. For, however well I may know that according to statistics every xth witness is punished for perjury, I will not be frightened at the approach of my xth witness though he is likely, according to statistics, to lie. In such cases we are not fooled, but where events are confused we still are likely to forget that probabilities may be counted only from great series of figures in which the experiences of individuals are quite lost.

Nevertheless figures and the conditions of figures with regard to probability exercise great influence upon everybody; so great indeed, that we really must beware of going too far in the use of figures. Mill cites a case of a wounded Frenchman. Suppose a regiment made up of 999 Englishmen and one Frenchman is attacked and one man is wounded. No one would believe the account that this one Frenchman was the one wounded. Kant says significantly: "If anybody sends his doctor 9 ducats by his servant, the doctor certainly supposes that the servant has either lost or otherwise disposed of one ducat." These are merely probabilities which depend upon habits. So, it may be supposed that a handkerchief has been lost if only eleven are found, or people may wonder at the doctor's ordering a tablespoonful every five quarters of an hour, or if a job is announced with $2437 a year as salary.

But just as we presuppose that wherever the human will played any part, regular forms will come to light, so we begin to doubt that such forms will occur where we find that accident, natural

law, or the unplanned coperation of men were determining factors, If I permit anybody to count up accidentally concurrent things and he announces that their number is one hundred, I shall probably have him count over again. I shall be surprised to hear that somebody's collection contains exactly 1000 pieces, and when any one cites a distance of 300 steps I will suppose that he had made an approximate estimation but had not counted the steps. This fact is well known to people who do not care about accuracy, or who want to give their statements the greatest possible appearance of correctness; hence, in citing figures, they make use of especially irregular numbers, e. g. 1739, <7>, 3.25%, etc. I know a case of a vote of jurymen in which even the proportion of votes had to be rendered probable. The same jury had to pa.s.s that day on three small cases. In the first case the proportion was 8 for, 4 against, the second case showed the same proportion and the third case the same. But when the foreman observed the proportion he announced that one juryman must change his vote because the same proportion three times running would appear too improbable! If we want to know the reason for our superior trust in irregularity in such cases, it is to be found in the fact that experience shows nature, in spite of all her marvelous orderliness in the large, to be completely free, and hence irregular in little things. Hence, as Mill shows in more detail, we expect no ident.i.ty of form in nature. We do not expect next year to have the same order of days as this year, and we never wonder when some suggestive regularity is broken by a new event. Once it was supposed that all men were either black or white, and then red men were discovered in America. Now just exactly such suppositions cause the greatest difficulties, because we do not know the limits of natural law. For example, we do not doubt that all bodies on earth have weight. And we expect to find no exception to this rule on reaching some undiscovered island on our planet; all bodies will have weight there as well as everywhere else. But the possibility of the existence of red men had to be granted even before the discovery of America. Now where is the difference between the propositions: All bodies have weight, and, All men are either white or black? It may be said circularly the first is a natural law and the second is not. But why not? Might not the human body be so organized that according to the natural law it would be impossible for red men to exist? And what accurate knowledge have we of pigmentation? Has anybody ever seen a green horse? And is the accident that n.o.body has ever seen one to prevent the discovery of green horses in the heart of Africa? May, perhaps, somebody not breed green horses by crossings or other experiments? Or is the existence of green horses contrary to some unknown but invincible natural law? Perhaps somebody may have a green horse to-morrow; perhaps it is as impossible as water running up hill.

To know whether anything is natural law or not always depends upon the grade and standing of our immediate experience--and hence we shall never be able honestly to make any universal proposition. The only thing possible is the greatest possible accurate observation of probability in all known possible cases, and of the probability of the discovery of exceptions. Bacon called the establishment of reliable a.s.sumptions, counting up without meeting any contradictory case. But what gives us the law is the manner of counting. The untrained mind accepts facts as they occur without taking the trouble to seek others; the trained mind seeks the facts he needs for the premises of his inference. As Mill says, whatever has shown itself to be true without exception may be held universal so long as no doubtful exception is presented, and when the case is of such a nature that a real exception could not escape our observation.

This indicates how we are to interpret information given by others. We hear, "Inasmuch as this is always so it may be a.s.sumed to be so in the present case." Immediate acceptance of this proposition would be as foolhardy as doubt in the face of all the facts. The proper procedure is to examine and establish the determining conditions, i. e., who has counted up this "always," and what caution was used to avoid the overlooking of any exception. The real work of interpretation lies in such testing. We do not want to reach the truth with one blow, we aim only to approach it. But the step must be taken and we must know how large it is to be, and know how much closer it has brought us to the truth. And this is learned only through knowing who made the step and how it was made. Goethe's immortal statement, "Man was not born to solve the riddle of the universe, but to seek out what the problem leads to in order to keep himself within the limits of the conceivable," is valid for us too.

Our great mistake in examining and judging often lies in our setting too much value upon individual circ.u.mstances, and trying to solve the problem with those alone, or in not daring to use any given circ.u.mstance sufficiently. The latter represents that stupidity which is of use to scientific spirits when they lack complete proof

of their points, but is dangerous in practical affairs. As a rule, it is also the consequence of the failure to evaluate what is given, simply because one forgets or is too lazy to do so. Proper action in this regard is especially necessary where certain legal proceedings have to occur which are ent.i.tled to a definite degree of probability without requiring certainty, i. e., preliminary examinations, arrests, investigations of the premises, etc. No law says how much probability is in such cases required. To say how much is impossible, but it is not unwise to stick to the notion that the event must appear true, if not be proved true, i. e., nothing must be present to destroy the appearance of truth. As Hume says, "Whenever we have reason to trust earlier experiences and to take them as standards of judgment of future experiences, these reasons may have probability."

The place of probability in the positive determination of the order of modern criminal procedure is not insignificant. When the law determines upon a definite number of jurymen or judges, it is probable that this number is sufficient for the discovery of the truth. The system of prosecution establishes as a probability that the accused is the criminal. The idea of time-lapse a.s.sumes the probability that after the pa.s.sage of a certain time punishment becomes illusory, and prosecution uncertain and difficult. The inst.i.tution of experts depends on the probability that the latter make no mistakes. The warrant for arrest depends on the probability that the accused behaved suspiciously or spoke of his crime, etc. The oath of the witness depends on the probability that the witness will be more likely to tell the truth under oath, etc.

Modern criminal procedure involves not only probabilities but also various types of possibility. Every appeal has for its foundation the possibility of an incorrect judgment; the exclusion of certain court officials is based on the possibility of prejudice, or at least on the suspicion of prejudice; the publicity of the trial is meant to prevent the possibility of incorrectness; the revision of a trial depends on the possibility that even legal sentences may be false and the inst.i.tution of the defendant lawyer depends upon the possibility that a person without defense may receive injustice. All the formalities of the action of the court a.s.sume the possibility that without them improprieties may occur, and the inst.i.tution of seizing letters and messages for evidence, a.s.serts only the possibility that the latter contain things of importance, etc.

When the positive dicta of the law deal with possibility and proba-

bility in questions of great importance the latter become especially significant.

We have yet to ask what is meant by "rule" and what its relation is to probability. Scientifically "rule" means law subjectively taken and is of equal significance with the guiding line for one's own conduct, whence it follows that there are only rules of art and morality, but no rules of nature. Usage does not imply this interpretation. We say that as a rule it hails only in the daytime; by way of exception, in the night also; the rule for the appearance of whales indicates that they live in the Arctic Ocean; a general rule indicates that bodies that are especially soluble in water should dissolve more easily in warm than in cold water, but salt dissolves equally well in both. Again we say: As a rule the murderer is an unpunished criminal; it is a rule that the brawler is no thief and vice versa; the gambler is as a rule a man of parts, etc. We may say therefore, that regularity is equivalent to customary recurrence and that whatever serves as rule may be expected as probable. If, i. e., it be said, that this or that happens as a rule, we may suppose that it will repeat itself this time. It is not permissible to expect more, but it frequently happens that we mistake rules permitting exceptions for natural laws permitting none. This occurs frequently when we have lost ourselves in the regular occurrences for which we are ourselves responsible and suppose that because things have been seen a dozen times they must always appear in the same way. It happens especially often when we have heard some phenomenon described in other sciences as frequent and regular and then consider it to be a law of nature. In the latter case we have probably not heard the whole story, nor heard general validity a.s.signed to it. Or again, the whole matter has long since altered. Lotze wrote almost half a century ago, that he had some time before made the statistical observation that the great positive discoveries of exact physiology have an average life of about four years. This noteworthy statement indicates that great positive discoveries are set up as natural laws only to show themselves as at most regular phenomena which have no right to general validity. And what is true of physiology is true of many other sciences, even of the great discoveries of medicine, even legal medicine. This, therefore, should warn against too much confidence in things that are called "rules." False usage and comfortable dependence upon a rule have very frequently led us too far. Its unreliability is shown by such maxims as "Three misses make a rule" or "Many stupidities

taken together give a golden rule of life," or "To-day's exception is to-morrow's rule," or the cla.s.sical perversion: "The rule that there are no rules without exception is a rule without exception, hence, there is one rule without exception."

The unreliability of rules is further explained by their rise from generalization. We must not generalize, as Schiel says, until we have shown that if there are cases which contradict our generalizations we know those contradictions. In practice approximate generalizations are often our only guides. Natural law is too much conditioned, cases of it too much involved, distinctions between them too hard to make, to allow us to determine the existence of a natural phenomenon in terms of its natural characteristics as a part of the business of our daily life. Our own age generalizes altogether too much, observes too little, and abstracts too rapidly. Events come quickly, examples appear in, and if they are similar they tend to be generalized, to develop into a rule, while the exceptions which are infinitely more important are un.o.bserved, and the rule, once made, leads to innumerable mistakes.

Section 29. (g) Chance.

The psychological significance of what we call chance depends upon the concept of chance and the degree of influence that we allow it to possess in our thinking. What is generally called chance, and what is called chance in particular cases, will depend to a significant degree upon the nature of the case. In progressive sciences the laws increase and the chance-happenings decrease; the latter indeed are valid only in particular cases of the daily life and in the general business of it. We speak of chance or accident when events cross which are determined in themselves by necessary law, but the law of the crossing of which is unknown. If, e. g., it is observed that where there is much snow the animals are white, the event must not be attributed to accident, for the formation of snow in high mountains or in the north, and its long stay on the surface of the earth develop according to special natural laws, and the colors of animals do so no less--but that these two orderly series of facts should meet requires a third law, or still better, a third group of laws, which though unknown some time ago, are now known to every educated person.

For us lawyers chance and the interpretation of it are of immense importance not only in bringing together evidence, but in every case of suspicion, for the problem always arises whether a causal

relation may be established between the crime and the suspect, or whether the relation is only accidental. "Unfortunate coincidence" --"closely related connection of facts"--"extraordinary acc.u.mulation of reason for suspicion,"--all these terms are really chance mistaken for causation. On the knowledge of the difference between the one and the other depends the fate of most evidence and trials. Whoever is fortunate enough in rightly perceiving what chance is, is fortunate in the conduct of his trial.

Is there really a theory of chance? I believe that a direct treatment of the subject is impossible. The problem of chance can be only approximately explained when all conceivable chance-happenings of a given discipline are brought together and their number reduced by careful search for definite laws. Besides, the problem demands the knowledge of an extremely rich casuistry, by means of which, on the one hand, to bring together the manifoldness of chance events, and on the other to discover order. Enough has been written about chance, but a systematic treatment of it must be entirely theoretical. So Windelband's[1] excellent and well-ordered book deals with relations (chance and cause, chance and law, chance and purpose, chance and concept) the greatest value of which is to indicate critically the various definitions of the concept of chance. Even though there is no definition which presents the concept of chance in a completely satisfactory manner, the making of such definitions is still of value because one side of chance is explained and the other is thereby seen more closely. Let us consider a few of these and other definitions. Aristotle says that the accidental occurs, , according to nature. Epicurus, who sees the creation of the world as a pure accident, holds it to occur . Spinoza believes nothing to be contingent save only according to the limitations of knowledge; Kant says that conditioned existence as such, is called accidental; the unconditioned, necessary. Humboldt: "Man sees those things as accident which he can not explain genetically." Schiel: "Whatever may not be reduced back to law is called accidental." Quetelet: "The word chance serves officiously to hide our ignorance." Buckle derives the idea of chance from the life of nomadic tribes, which contains nothing firm and regulated. According to Trendelenburg chance is that which could not be otherwise. Rosenkranz says: Chance is a reality which has only the value of possibility, while Fischer calls chance the individualized fact, and Lotze identifies it with everything that is not valid as a natural purpose. For Windelband "chance consists, according to usage, in the merely factual but not necessary transition from a possibility to an actuality. Chance is the negation of necessity. It is a contradiction to say `This happened by accident,' for the word `by' expressed a cause."

[1] Windelband: Die Lehren vom Zufall. Berlin 1870.

*** You are reading on ***

A. Hfler[1] says most intelligently, that the contradiction of the idea of chance by the causal law may be easily solved by indicating the especial relativity of the concept. (Accidental with regard to *one, but otherwise appearing as a possible causal series).

[2] S. Exner: Entwurf zu einer physiologisehen Erkl

[3] Studien ber die a.s.soziation der Vorstellungen. Vienna 1883.

Then there is the additional difficulty that in every inference there are leaps made by each inferer according to his character and training. And the maker does not consider whether the other fellow can make similar leaps or whether his route is different. E. g., when an English philosopher says, "We really ought not to expect that the manufacture of woolens shall be perfected by a nation which knows no astronomy,"--we are likely to say that the sentence is silly; another might say that it is paradoxical and a third that it is quite correct, for what is missing is merely the proposition that the grade of culture made possible by astronomy is such as to require textile proficiency also. "In conversation the simplest case of skipping is where the conclusion is drawn directly from the minor premise. But many other inferences are omitted, as in the case of real thinking. In giving information there is review of the thinking of other people; women and untrained people do not do this, and hence the disconnectedness of their conversation."[1] In this fact is the danger in examining witnesses, inasmuch as we involuntarily interpolate the missing details in the skipping inferences, slowly in its shadow. n.o.body will a.s.sert that ennui is the cause of illicit relations, of seduction, of adultery and all the many sins that depend on it--from petty misappropriations for the sake of the beloved, to the murder of the unloved husband. But ennui is for the criminal psychologist a sign that the woman was unsatisfied with what she had and wanted something else. From wishing to willing, from willing to asking, is not such a great distance. But if we ask the repentant sinner when she began to think of her criminal action we always learn that she suffered from incurable ennui, in which wicked thoughts came and still more wicked plans were hatched. Any experienced criminal psychologist will tell you, when you ask him, whether he has been much subject to mistakes in trying to explain women's crimes from the starting-point of their ennui. The neighborhood knows of the periods of this ennui, and the sinner thinks that they are almost discovered if she is asked about them. Cherchez la femme, cherchez l'amour; cherchez l'ennui; and hundreds of times you find the solution.

Conceit, too, may be caused by hidden s.e.xuality. We need only to use the word denotatively, for when we speak of the conceit of a scholar, an official, or a soldier, we mean properly the desire for fame, the activity of getting oneself praised and recognized. Conceit proper is only womanish or a property of feminine men, and just as, according to Darwin, the coloration of birds, insects, and even

plants serves only the purposes of s.e.xual selection and has, therefore, s.e.xual grounds, so also the conceit of woman has only s.e.xual purpose. She is conceited for men alone even though through the medium of other women. As Lotze wrote in his "Mikrokosmus," "Everything that calls attention to her person without doing her any harm is instinctively used by women as a means in s.e.xual conflict." There is much truth in the terms "means" and "s.e.xual conflict." The man takes the battle up directly, and if we deal with this subject without frills we may not deny that animals behave just as men do. The males battle directly with each other for the sake of the females, who are compelled to study how to arouse this struggle for their person, and thus. .h.i.t upon the use of conceit in s.e.xual conflict. That women are conceited does not much matter to us criminal psychologists; we know it and do not need to be told. But the forms in which their conceit expresses itself are important; its consequences and its relation to other conditions are important.

To make use of feminine conceit in the court-room is not an art but an unpermissible trick which might lead too far. Whoever wants to succeed with women, as Madame de Rieux says, "must bring their self-love into play." And St. Prospre: "Women are to be sought not through their senses--their weakness is in their heart and conceit." These properties are, however, so powerful that they may easily lead to deception. If the judge does not understand how to follow this prescription it does no good, but if he does understand it he has a weapon with which woman may be driven too far, and then wounded pride, anger, and even suggestion work in far too vigorous a manner. For example, a woman wants to defend her lover before the judge. Now, if the latter succeeds by the demonstration of natural true facts in wounding her conceit, in convincing her that she is betrayed, harmed, or forgotten by her protected lover, or if she is merely made to believe this, she goes, in most cases, farther than she can excuse, and accuses and harms him as much as possible; tries, if she is able, to destroy him--whether rightly or wrongly she does not care. She has lost her lover and n.o.body else shall have him. "Feminine conceit," says Lombroso, "explains itself especially in the fact that the most important thing in the life of woman is the struggle for men." This a.s.sertion is strengthened by a long series of examples and historical considerations and can serve as a guiding thread in many labyrinthine cases. First of all, it is important to know in many trials whether a woman has already taken up this struggle for men, i. e., whether she has a lover, or wishes to have a lover. If it can be shown that she has suddenly become conceited, or her conceit has been really intensified, the question has an unconditionally affirmative answer. Frequently enough one may succeed even in determining the particular man, by ascertaining with certainty the time at which this conceit first began, and whether it had closer or more distant reference to some man. If these conditions, once discovered, are otherwise at all confirmed, and there are no mistakes in observation, the inference is inevitably certain.

We learn much concerning feminine conceit when we ask how a man could have altered the inclination of a woman whose equal he in no sense was. It is not necessary in such cases to fuss about the insoluble riddle of the female heart and about the ever-dark secrets of the feminine soul. Vulpes vult fraudem, lupus agnum, femina laudem--this illuminates every profundity. The man in question knew how to make use of laudem--he knew how to excite feminine conceit, and so vanquished others who were worth much more than he.

This goes so far that by knowing the degree of feminine conceit we know also the vivacity of feminine s.e.xuality, and the latter is criminologically important. Heinroth[1] says, "The feminine individual, so long as it has demands to make, or believes itself to have them, has utmost self-confidence. Conceit is the s.e.xual characteristic." And we may add, "and the standard of s.e.xuality." As soon as the child has the first ribbon woven into its hair, s.e.xuality has been excited. It increases with the love of tinsel and glitter and dies when the aging female begins to neglect herself and to go about unwashed. Woman lies when she a.s.serts that everything is dead in her heart, and sits before you neatly and decoratively dressed; she lies when she says that she still loves her husband, and at the same time shows considerable carelessness about her body and clothes; she lies when she a.s.sures you that she has always been the same and her conceit has come or gone. These statements const.i.tute unexceptionable rules. The use of them involves no possible error.

[1] Lehrbuch des Anthropologie. Leipzig 1822.

We have now the opportunity to understand what feminine knowledge is worth and in what degree it is reliable. This is no place to discuss the capacity of the feminine brain, and to venture into the dangerous field which Schopenhauer and his disciples and modern anthropologists have entered merely to quarrel in. The judge's business is the concrete case in which he must test the ex-

pressions of a woman when they depend upon real or apparent knowledge, either just as he must test the testimony of any other witness, or by means of experts. We shall therefore indicate only the symptomatic value of feminine knowledge with regard to feminine conceit. According to Lotze, women go to theater and to church only to show their clothes and to appear artistic and pious; while M. d'Arconville says, that women learn only that it may be said of them, "They are scholars," but for knowledge they care not at all.

This is important because we are likely, with regard to knowledge in the deepest sense of the word, to be frequently unjust to women. We are accustomed to suppose that the acc.u.mulation of some form of knowledge must have some definite, hence causally related, connection with purpose. We ask why the scholar is interested in his subject, why he has sought this knowledge? And in most cases we find the right reason when we have found the logical connection and have sought it logically. This might have explained difficult cases, but not where the knowledge of women is concerned. Women are interested in art, literature, and science, mainly out of conceit, but they care also for hundreds of other little things in order, by the knowledge of them, to show off as scholars. Conceit and curiosity are closely related. Women therefore often attain information that might cause them to be listed as suspects if it could not be harmlessly explained by conceit. Conceit, however, has itself to be explained by the struggle for men, because woman knows instinctively that she can use knowledge in this struggle. And this struggle for the other s.e.x frequently betrays woman's own crime, or the crime of others. Somebody said that Eve's first thought after eating the apple was: "How does my fig-leaf fit?" It is a tasteful notion, that Eve, who needed only to please her Adam, thought only of this after all the sorrow of the first sin! But it is true, and we may imagine Eve's state of mind to be as follows: "Shall I now please him more or less?" It is characteristic that the question about dress is said to have been the *first question. It shows the power of conceit, the swiftness with which it presses to the front. Indeed, of all crimes against property half would have remained undiscovered if the criminals had been self-controlled enough to keep their unjustly acquired gains dark for a while. That they have not, const.i.tutes the hope of every judge for the discovery of the criminal, and the hope is greater with the extent of the theft. It may be a.s.sumed that the criminal exhibits the fruits of his crime, but that it is difficult to discover when there is not much of it. This general

rule is much more efficacious among women than among men, for which reason a criminalist who suspects some person thinks rather of arresting this person's wife or mistress than himself. When the apprentice steals something from his master, his girl gets a new shawl, and that is not kept in the chest but immediately decorates the shoulders of the girl. Indeed, women of the profoundest culture can not wait a moment to decorate themselves with their new gauds, and we hear that gypsies, who have been caught in some fresh crime, are betrayed mainly by the fact that the women who had watched the house to be robbed had been trying on bits of clothing while the men were still inside cleaning the place up. What was most important for the women was to meet the men already decorated anew when the men would finally come back.

The old maid is, from the s.e.xual standpoint, legally important because she is in herself rather different from other women, and hence must be differently understood. The properties a.s.signed to these very pitiful creatures are well-known. Many of the almost exclusively unpleasant peculiarities a.s.signed to them they may be said really to possess. The old maid has failed in her natural function and thus exhibits all that is implied in this accident; bitterness, envy, unpleasantness, hard judgment of others' qualities and deeds, difficulty in forming new relationships, exaggerated fear and prudery, the latter mainly as simulation of innocence. It is a well-known fact that every experienced judge may confirm that old maids (we mean here, always, childless, unmarried women of considerable age-- not maids in the anatomical sense) as witnesses, always bring something new. If you have heard ten mutually-corroborating statements and the eleventh is made by an old maid, it will be different. The latter, according to her nature, has observed differently, introduces a collection of doubts and suggestions, introduces nasty implications into harmless things, and if possible, connects her own self with the matter. This is as significant as explicable. The poor creature has not gotten much good out of life, has never had a male protector, was frequently enough defenseless against scorn and teasing, the amenities of social life and friendship were rarely her portion. It is, therefore, almost inevitable that she should see evil everywhere. If she has observed some quarrel from her window she will testify that the thing was provoked in order to disturb her; if a coachman has run over a child, she suggests that he had been driving at her in order to frighten her; the thief who broke into her neighbor's house really wanted to break into hers because she is

without protection and therefore open to all attacks, so that it is conceivable that he should want to hurt her. As a rule there will be other witnesses, or the old maid will be so energetic in her testimonies that her "perceptions" will not do much damage, but it is always wise to be cautious.

Of course, there are exceptions, and it is well-known that exceptions occur by way of extreme contrast. If an old maid does not possess the unpleasant characteristics of her breed, she is extraordinarily kind and lovable, in such a way generally, that her all too mild and rather blind conceptions of an event make her a dangerous witness. It is also true that old maids frequently are better educated and more civilized than other women, as De Quincey shows. They are so because, without the care of husband and children, they have time for all kinds of excellences, especially when they are inclined thereto. It is notable that the founders of women's charitable societies are generally old maids or childless widows, who have not had the joys and tasks of motherhood. We must take care, therefore, in judging the kindness of a woman, against being blinded by her philanthropic activity. That may be kindness, but as a rule it may have its source in the lack of occupation, and in striving for some form of motherhood. In judging old maids we deceive ourselves still more easily because, as Darwin keenly noted, they always have some masculine quality in their external appearance as well as in their activity and feeling. Now that kind of woman is generally strange to us. We start wrong when we judge her by customary standards and miss the point when, in the cases of such old maids, we presuppose only feminine qualities and overlook the very virile additions. We may add to these qualities the intrinsic productivity of old maids. Benneke, in his "Pragmatische Psychologie," compares the activity of a very busy housewife with that of an unmarried virgin, and thinks the worth of the former to be higher, while the latter accomplishes more by way of "erotic fancies, intrigues, inheritances, winnings in the lottery, and hypochondriac complaints." This is very instructive from the criminological point of view. For the criminalist can not be too cautious when he has an old maid to examine. Therefore, when a case occurs containing characteristic intrigues, fanciful inheritances, and winnings in the lottery, it will be well to seek out the old maid behind these things. She may considerably help the explanation.

Both professional and popular judgment agree that the largest majority of women have great fear of becoming old maids. We are

told how this fear expresses itself in foreign countries. In Spain e. g., it is said that a Spanish woman who has pa.s.sed her first bloom takes the first available candidate for her hand in order to avoid old-maidenhood; and in Russia every mature girl who is able to do so, goes abroad for a couple of years in order to return as "widow." Everybody knows the event, n.o.body asks for particulars about it. Some such process is universal, and many an unfortunate marriage and allied crime may be explained by it. Girls who at seventeen or eighteen were very particular and had a right to be, are modest at twenty, and at twenty-six marry at any price, in order not to remain old maids. That this is not love-marriage and is often contrary to intelligence, is clear, and when neither heart nor head rule, the devil laughs, and it is out of such marriages that adultery, the flight of the wife, cruelty, robbery from the spouse, and worse things, arise. Therefore it will be worth while to study the history of the marriage in question. Was it a marriage in the name of G.o.d, i. e., the marriage of an old maid? Then double caution must be used in the study of the case.

There is some advantage in knowing the popular conception of *when a girl becomes an old maid, for old-maidenhood is a matter of a point of view; it depends on the opinion of other people. Belles- lettres deals considerably with this question, for it can itself determine the popular att.i.tude to the unmarried state. So Brandes discovers that the heroines of cla.s.sical novelists, of Racine, Shakespeare, Moliere, Voltaire, Ariosto, Byron, Lesage, Scott, are almost always sixteen years of age. In modern times, women in novels have their great love-adventure in the thirties. How this advance in years took place we need not bother to find out, but that it has occurred, we must keep in mind.

Before concluding the chapter on s.e.xual conditions, we must say a word about hysteria, which so very frequently has deceived the judge. Hysteria was named by the ancients, as is known, from , the womb,--and properly--for most of the causes of evil are there hidden. The hysterics are legally significant in various ways. Their fixed ideas often cause elaborate unreasonable explanations; they want to attract attention, they are always concerned with themselves, are always wildly enthusiastic about somebody else; often they persecute others with unwarranted hatred and they are the source of the coa.r.s.est denunciations, particularly with regard to s.e.xual crimes. Incidentally, most of them are smart and have a diseased acuity of the senses. Hearing and smell in particular, are sometimes remarkably alert, although not always reliable, for hysterics frequently discover more than is there. On the other hand, they often are useful because of their delicate senses, and it is never necessary to show the correctness of their perception out of hand. Bianchi rightly calls attention to the fact, that hysterics like to write anonymous letters. Writers of these are generally women, and mainly hysterical women; if a man writes them, he is indubitably feminine in nature.

Most difficulties with hysterics

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