On closer inspection, the human machines would seem to be in a poor state of repair. Guessing their age would be impossible. In the mid-nineteenth century, over a quarter of the young men who stood naked in front of military recruitment boards were found to be unfit for service because of ‘infirmity’, which included ‘weak constitution’, a useless or missing limb, partial blindness and eye disease, hernias and genital complaints, deafness, goitre, scrofula and respiratory and chest complaints. In a typical contingent of two hundred and thirty thousand, about one thousand were found to be mentally defective or insane, two thousand were hunchbacks and almost three thousand had bow legs or club feet. A further 5 per cent were too short (under five feet), and about 4 per cent suffered from unspecified complaints which probably included dysentery and virulent infestations of lice. For obvious reasons, people suffering from infectious diseases were not examined and do not appear in the figures. This was the healthiest section of the population—young men in their early twenties. The physical condition of everyone else might give the traveller serious doubts about information culled from books, museums and paintings—even if the painters belonged to the Realist school.