Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

can

[ocr errors]

was

bands. He is always eager to aban. kiss me hard, and speak to me as it don his grown-ups for a while, to talk I were a baby still.” He proposes to about their children. The objective tell them a story. "I have one of little boy is indubitably Thackeray's sprites and goblins. ... There was a even as the subjective one is Steven- man dwelt by a churchyard-I will tell son's. In Thackeray's drawings-not- it softly!" His perfections evoke that ably in “Dr. Birch's School”—we are wonderful description by Polixenes shown the diminutive scapegraces and of his own son: scaramouches just as he knew them

He's all my exercise, my mirth, my fifty years ago, with wide, questioning

matter: eyes and chubby contours, strangely

Now my sworn friend, and then mine attired in little coats and skirts which

enemy; know no modern equivalent. Even

My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all the last generation went petticoated He makes a July's day short as Detill eight years old, writhing in resent

cember. ment against the ignominy of "girls'

And, with his varying childness, cures

in me clothes." Why they were so clad I

Thoughts that would thick my blood. cannot imagine; it was a clumsy and uumeaning costume. Nor

any

There are other children presented mother of sons whom I have interro- by Shakespeare, such as Arthur, and gated afford a better answer than that those ill-fated little princes whose "it

the custom." Nowadays, murderers wept to tell the tale, and many a rosy rogue has barely scraped poor William in the “Merry Wives,” through two twelvemonths when the subjected to sudden viva voce examitoga virilis descends upon him, and nation in his Latin Grammar, which is the proportions of his nether man are surely very vile treatment on a holimoulded into tight-fitting breeches day. But Mamillius remains the best. of inconceivable skimpiness-small Lastly, there is Stevenson. The boy clothes in every sense of the word. I of the “Child's Garden of Verses" is do not see that this unduly accelerates the ultimate type of the imaginative his ageing; it gives him self-respect, child; yet Stevenson never introduced and decides the struggling fact of bis children mere “copy” into his voyhood.

works of fiction. This may have been But the literature of Tommy is inex- from an access, or an excess, of that baustible. He is the hero of countless maxima reverentia so keenly felt by the nursery rhymes, which do not take child-lover. It is unusual to have a much account of little girls, but dwell young fellow of twenty-five crying, lovingly on Little Jack Horper pulling “Oh, I have such a longing for chilout his plum, Little Tom Tucker sing- dren of my own; and yet I do not ing for his supper (a habit of desultory think I could bear it if I had." He singing is one of Tommy's dearest stays up half the night on one occasion, traits), Little Boy Blue asleep in the trying to find the home of a little lost hay, or Wee Willie Winkie scamper- three-year-old-carries him about, puts ing in his night-gown. The nursery

his coat round him, and gets him a tales bear these company; and at the currant scone, and "spirits him up top of the tree we have Shakespeare, with good words.” But he said his say with his "sweet villain," bis "gallant for good in the “Child's Garden"; child," Mamillius in the "Winter's there the little boy plays, to all time, Tale.” “No, I'll none of you," Mamil- in the simplicity of Eden. Uus says to the Court ladies. “You'll Poor Tommy, so soon to leave be

as

hind him that idyllic existence! Petti- plaintive eyes; dark-haired and ruddy, coated or kilted, in little sailor suits, red-haired and freckly, flower-like and linen smocks, and velvet coats, and gold and rose, he is fundamentally the miniature reefers, he marches blindly same-always actuated by the joyful on his destiny. Soon he will run his abiding principles of Tommydom, and dear little head against that blank consumed by that una bateable hunger wall of foregone conclusions which for toys. Deal gently, you grown-up shuts out fairyland from a workaday people, with his negligences and igworld. His blocks and lead soldiers norances; turn an indulgent look upon will be left in the irrevocable past, his buoyant naughtiness, his sweet badly exchanged for ties and cigar- unreasonableness, his desperate galettes. He may become a general, or a lantry in the pursuit of dangerous dediplomat, or a broker's man; but he lights. The immortal Child himself, can never be a pirate any more. Let that celestial ebullience of laughing us make much of him while we can. mischief, was modelled after his likeRudely healthy, all dimples and noise ness. Love was once a little boy. -convalescent, with thin legs and

May Byron. The Cornhill Magazine.

GLACIERS AND CIVILIZATION.

Some two hundred thousand years to have gone completely naked, and to ago, at the beginning of that Qua- have haunted only the flat country and ternary Age to which the more the banks of rivers. As for religion, moderate anthropologists limit the he had none at all, and he threw his appearance of man upon the earth, dead into the midden in which are the face of Europe was

widely found the bones of the animals he different from what it is now. A

struck down for food. In all respects belt of land, of which Great Britain, he seems to have been a most unpleasIreland and Iceland formed the ant and irreclaimable savage. highest points, stretched from Eu- As time went on, however, the clirope to North America, while England mate in which the man of Western and France formed one continuous Europe found himself, changed. Forcontinent. Over this last there ranged merly it was warm, genial, and withmammoths, elephants, rhinoceroses, out any extremes of heat and cold, to and bippopotami, together with the which uniformity some of the learned sabre-toothed tiger, who was probably are inclined to attribute our ancestor's the most terrible of the flesh-eaters of disinclination to improve himself. But the ancient world. Here, too, dwelt now there came a change. There had man, a nomad and a hunter, sleeping, always been, as there is

now, an like Robinson Crusoe, in trees, ac- "ice-cap” or region of intense cold quainted with the use of fire and round the North Pole, and now this armed with a single weapon made began to move slowly southward. from a roughly-chipped fint. He either Some writers have supposed this to lived in single pairs or in groups of be due to the earth entering in its revotwo or three families, and it is not yet lution round the sun into an especially quite settled that he had then ac- cold region of space. Others that it quired the use of speech. He seems was due to the displacement of the

mass

earth's axis. But neither of these The tilting of the earth's floor which gaesses seems to have any astronomi. led to the filling up of the Atlantic cal foundation, while the gradual ris- Ocean and perhaps some increase in ing of the Continent of Europe and the flooding of what is now the desert the consequent submersion of the belt of Sahara had caused the formation of of land between England and America a mass of vapor which descended in seem sufficient of themselves to ac- the form of rain · upon all lands south count for the phenomenon. What is of the ice-cap. The rains seem to have certain is that the ice-cap, either in fallen almost incessantly, swelling the shape of a vast sea filled with further the already swollen rivers into floating masses of ice or more probably floods and surpassing the Biblical as one huge glacier, crept down until Deluge in so far that they must have it had covered all England nearly as lasted for years and centuries instead far south as London, all Scandinavia, of days. What became of the other save for the high mountain ranges of animals during this time we do not what are now Sweden and Norway, know, but probably the strength and and all Russia as far south as Mos- swiftness of the larger brutes like the cow. The pieces of rock and gravel elephants and tigers enabled them to which this immense

of ice transport themselves to high ground pashed before it can be seen lying like beyond the reach of the floods. As for seaweed at high-water mark in an ir- man, the weakest and get the most reregular line which stretches from the sourceful of the larger brutes, he took Gulf of Tcheskaya in Russia across refuge from the storms in grottoes Prussia, Denmark, and Holland, cross- and caverns, and it was here that, for ing our own country just above the the first time, he became a social anivalley of the Thames. Meanwhile the mal. Here the fire, which on the other ice-centres of Europe, such as banks of the stream where he had bethe highest parts of the Alps, Apen- fore made his resting-place was pernines, and the Pyrenees, underwent an haps only an occasional accident, beenormous extension of their ice-cop- came really the domestic hearth ered surface, the glaciers, by their ver- round which huddled all the different tical pressure as they ceased to move, families compelled by the storms to scooping out the hollows which after- take refuge in the cave. Here for the wards became such lakes as that of first time the long periods of enforced Geneva. It seemed as ir all Europe idleness from the chase induced him were to be blotted out under one huge to make himself clothes from the skins sheet of ice.

of the animals which he snared or ran The first to fly before the advancing down. Here, too, the leisure and per. cold into the regions that remained haps the spirit of emulation produced temperate were the herb-eating ani- by the society of his fellows, led him mals who found the leaves and grasses to fashion new weapons and tools, to on which they fed either killed or cov- make scrapers for skins, axes for cutered by the ice. Then followed the ting, maces for striking, instead of the flesh-eaters who preyed upon their clumsy chipped flint held in the hand more peaceable fellows, and, with which, in the earlier days, formed bis them, man, who was probably even only implement. And here especially, then one of the most destructive flesh. the pressure of common danger and eaters of them all. But here they the need of organized defence against found a new danger awaiting them. the cave-bear and the cave-lion led him

cave.

to elect a common leader as stags and or rather for the pleasure that it gave horses are wont to do, to whose rule to •the practiser, and weapons, tools, he voluntarily submitted. The arts of and sometimes the rocks were covered decoration, of industry and of govern- with pictorial representations of anlment all took their rise within the mals and of man himself. It is even

possible that in the figures shown At length the glaciers retreated, and upon certain colored stones belonging as the new vegetation sprang up in to palæolithic times, we have the first their wake, the animals followed it precursor of a system of writing. And northward, and with the animals went as the materials necessary for such deman. But it was a changed being who signs were not always to be found in went with them, and after this his one place, while well-decorated weaprise was rapid. The drying-up of the ons, tools and clothes had a certain land had cleared away the fogs which value of their own, some sort of sys. had for so long hid the sun, and hence- tem of barter with distant tribes forth the summers were more hot, sprang up, and so trade was born. while the winters, owing to radiation, Here we must stop. It is the opinwere more cold than before. Hence ion of writers like M. de Mortillet that the animals—now chiefly the horse in Europe, at all events, the education and the reindeer–by which primitive of our ancestors was completed by the man lived, migrated at fixed times in invasion of tribes coming from Asia search of the climate necessary to Minor, who

introduced among the them, and man became a traveller. aborigines the domestication of ani. True, too, to the lessons of mutual help mals, the practice of agriculture, and that he had learned in the cave, he finally, religion, war, and slavery. It hit upon a plan of division of labor, may be so, although this raises the so that the most skilful handicrafts- question how these invaders themman stayed at home and made axes, selves came to be instructed in these while the swiftest and strongest hunter matters, which is a question which used them abroad for their mutual cannot here be answered. Perhaps sustenance. And

began the enough has been said to show us in dawnings of art. Vanity seems to these days of Alpine accidents, when have been its first motive; for its the ice takes its toll of victims earliest efforts seem to have been di- regularly as does the sea, how imrected to painting the face with differ- portant a part the glacier, now only ent colored earths, to making orna- thought of as part of the regular furniments that were not yet amulets, and ture of the playground of Europe, has to adorning the skins in which the formerly played in the civilization of artist was clad. But before long, art the European man. Began to be practised for its own sake,

F. Legge. The Academy.

now

as

THE STRAYING OF PENELOPE.

CHAPTER I.

with a big white sun-bonnet, along the

sunny road that led to the Rectory Really, tracing matters to their and lessons. She walked in a subdued Source, it was all the fault of the little sort of way by force of habit: Penelcalf. It is an unjust world; no one ope's step-mother was possessed of thought of punishing the little calf. "nerves”-a mysterious word signifiPerhaps, too, the white sun-bonnet had cant to Penelope of scoldings and punsomething to do with it, but the white ishments and calls for "Fielding.” So, sun-bonnet was not punished either. obedient to the teaching of the few Certainly it would be at once appar- years of

her

existence, Penelope ent that the very small gray figure, walked softly along that road straight walking so demurely on

such very

to temptation. She was still saytag slim black legs to the Rectory, could

her French verb over to herself in anxnot be in fault. Even if the slim legs ious fear lest she should forget. All had not been proof enough of this, the unwitting of the bad little calf waitgreat grave eyes in the depths of the ing behind the hedge in the next field sun-bonnet must have been.

she went innocently on. And just as Moreover, the brown hair drawn ti- she was passing the hedge a warm, dily back from the wistful brow, the soft, wet nose was pushed irresistibly droop at the corners of the quiet little into her hand. Penelope jumped, for mouth-all went to prove that Penel- the sunbonnet hid the calf. Then she ope, left alone, would never have looked round. strayed from the path of duty, which “Oh!" she gave an ecstatic gasp of in this case was the path that led to the utter love, “you-dorable.” Rectory, and Mrs. Crigby, and lessons. The little calf performed an absurd

A little blue butterfly fitted mis- whisk of long legs, and fled into the chievously past the sun-bonnet, but Pe- field. Penelope could feel the soft nelope kept steadily on her course. She warmth of his damp nose in her hand. was saying to herself with anxious so- She looked at him with shining eyes lemnity: “Jerswee-tooay-ilay-noosom- of deep longing. voosate-ilsong."

How was she to know that he was She had gone to sleep the night be

a bad little calf who had roamed away fore saying it, and when she awoke in from his poor mother, and was just the morning she began at once. “For,” seeking for some one to lead into misshe confided to the pillow, “I are very

chief? stupid.” She accepted the fact of her He stood a few yards off and looked stupidity with the wistful resignation at her with alluring eyes. Penelope's which was the key-note of her small heart was beating fast. She clamexistence. Mother and Mrs. Crigby bered through the gap in the hedge, said she was stupid, so of course she and drew softly near, trembling with was.

eagerness to touch him. He let her Penelope's mother was a step-mother, get quite close, then flung up his heels and Mrs. Crigby at the Rectory taught and fled a few yards further still. PePenelope. By these two Penelope's life nelope followed with earnest purwas bounded at present. She walked pose. steadily, a small gray figure crowned This is where the white sun-bonnet's

« VorigeDoorgaan »