« VorigeDoorgaan »
the last generation went petticoated till eight years old, writhing in resentment against the ignominy of "girls' clothes." Why they were so clad I cannot imagine; it was a clumsy and unmeaning costume. Nor can any mother of sons whom I have interrogated afford a better answer than that "It was the custom." Nowadays, many a rosy rogue has barely scraped through two twelvemonths when the toga virilis descends upon him, and the proportions of his nether man are moulded into tight-fitting breeches of inconceivable skimpiness-small clothes in every sense of the word. I do not see that this unduly accelerates his ageing; it gives him self-respect, and decides the struggling fact of his boyhood.
But the literature of Tommy is inexhaustible. He is the hero of countless nursery rhymes, which do not take much account of little girls, but dwell lovingly on Little Jack Horner pulling out his plum, Little Tom Tucker singing for his supper (a habit of desultory singing is one of Tommy's dearest traits), Little Boy Blue asleep in the hay, or Wee Willie Winkie scampering in his night-gown. The nursery tales bear these company; and at the top of the tree we have Shakespeare, with his "sweet villain," his "gallant child," Mamillius in the "Winter's Tale." "No, I'll none of you," Mamillius says to the Court ladies. "You'll
He's all my exercise, my mirth, my matter:
Now my sworn friend, and then mine enemy;
My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all He makes a July's day short as December.
And, with his varying childness, cures in me
Thoughts that would thick my blood.
There are other children presented by Shakespeare, such as Arthur, and those ill-fated little princes whose murderers wept to tell the tale, and poor William in the "Merry Wives," subjected to sudden viva voce examination in his Latin Grammar, which is surely very vile treatment on a holiday. But Mamillius remains the best. Lastly, there is Stevenson. The boy of the "Child's Garden of Verses" is the ultimate type of the imaginative child; yet Stevenson never introduced children as mere "copy" into his works of fiction. This may have been from an access, or an excess, of that maxima reverentia so keenly felt by the child-lover. It is unusual to have a young fellow of twenty-five crying, "Oh, I have such a longing for children of my own; and yet I do not think I could bear it if I had." He stays up half the night on one occasion, trying to find the home of a little lost three-year-old-carries him about, puts his coat round him, and gets him a currant scone, and "spirits him up with good words." But he said his say for good in the "Child's Garden"; there the little boy plays, to all time, in the simplicity of Eden.
Poor Tommy, so soon to leave be
hind him that idyllic existence! Petticoated or kilted, in little sailor suits, and linen smocks, and velvet coats, and miniature reefers, he marches blindly on his destiny. Soon he will run his dear little head against that blank wall of foregone conclusions which shuts out fairyland from a workaday world. His blocks and lead soldiers will be left in the irrevocable past, badly exchanged for ties and cigarettes. He may become a general, or a diplomat, or a broker's man; but he can never be a pirate any more. Let us make much of him while we can. Rudely healthy, all dimples and noise -convalescent, with thin legs and The Cornhill Magazine.
plaintive eyes; dark-haired and ruddy, red-haired and freckly, flower-like
gold and rose, he is fundamentally the same always actuated by the joyful abiding principles of Tommydom, and consumed by that unabateable hunger for toys. Deal gently, you grown-up people, with his negligences and ignorances; turn an indulgent look upon his buoyant naughtiness, his sweet unreasonableness, his desperate gallantry in the pursuit of dangerous delights. The immortal Child himself, that celestial ebullience of laughing mischief, was modelled after his likeness. Love was once a little boy. May Byron.
GLACIERS AND CIVILIZATION.
Some two hundred thousand years ago, at the beginning of that Quawhich ternary Age to the more moderate anthropologists limit the appearance of man upon the earth, the face of Europe was widely different from what it is now. A belt of land, of which Great Britain, Ireland and Iceland formed the Euhighest points, stretched from rope to North America, while England and France formed one continuous continent. Over this last there ranged mammoths, elephants, rhinoceroses, and hippopotami, together with the sabre-toothed tiger, who was probably the most terrible of the flesh-eaters of the ancient world. Here, too, dwelt man, a nomad and a hunter, sleeping, like Robinson Crusoe, in trees, acquainted with the use of fire and armed with a single weapon made from a roughly-chipped flint. He either lived in single pairs or in groups of two or three families, and it is not yet quite settled that he had then ac quired the use of speech. He seems
to have gone completely naked, and to have haunted only the flat country and the banks of rivers. As for religion, he had none at all, and he threw his dead into the midden in which are found the bones of the animals he struck down for food. In all respects he seems to have been a most unpleasant and irreclaimable savage.
As time went on, however, the climate in which the man of Western Europe found himself, changed. Formerly it was warm, genial, and without any extremes of heat and cold, to which uniformity some of the learned are inclined to attribute our ancestor's disinclination to improve himself. But now there came a change. There had always been, as there is now, an "ice-cap" or region of intense cold round the North Pole, and now this began to move slowly southward. Some writers have supposed this to be due to the earth entering in its revolution round the sun into an especially cold region of space. Others that it was due to the displacement of the
earth's axis. But neither of these guesses seems to have any astronomical foundation, while the gradual rising of the Continent of Europe and the consequent submersion of the belt of land between England and America seem sufficient of themselves to account for the phenomenon. What is certain is that the ice-cap, either in the shape of a vast sea filled with floating masses of ice or more probably as one huge glacier, crept down until it had covered all England nearly as far south as London, all Scandinavia, save for the high mountain ranges of what are now Sweden and Norway, and all Russia as far south as Moscow. The pieces of rock and gravel which this immense mass of ice pushed before it can be seen lying like seaweed at high-water mark in an irregular line which stretches from the Gulf of Tcheskaya in Russia across Prussia, Denmark, and Holland, crossing our own country just above the valley of the Thames. Meanwhile the other ice-centres of Europe, such as the highest parts of the Alps, Apennines, and the Pyrenees, underwent an enormous extension of their ice-covered surface, the glaciers, by their vertical pressure as they ceased to move, scooping out the hollows which afterwards became such lakes as that of Geneva. It seemed as if all Europe were to be blotted out under one huge sheet of ice.
The first to fly before the advancing cold into the regions that remained temperate were the herb-eating animals who found the leaves and grasses on which they fed either killed or covered by the ice. Then followed the flesh-eaters who preyed upon their more peaceable fellows, and, with them, man, who was probably even then one of the most destructive flesheaters of them all. But here they found a new danger awaiting them.
The tilting of the earth's floor which led to the filling up of the Atlantic Ocean and perhaps some increase in the flooding of what is now the desert of Sahara had caused the formation of a mass of vapor which descended in the form of rain upon all lands south of the ice-cap. The rains seem to have fallen almost incessantly, swelling further the already swollen rivers into floods and surpassing the Biblical Deluge in so far that they must have lasted for years and centuries instead of days. What became of the other animals during this time we do not know, but probably the strength and swiftness of the larger brutes like the elephants and tigers enabled them to transport themselves to high ground beyond the reach of the floods. As for man, the weakest and yet the most resourceful of the larger brutes, he took refuge from the storms in grottoes and caverns, and it was here that, for the first time, he became a social animal. Here the fire, which on the banks of the stream where he had before made his resting-place was perhaps only an occasional accident, became really the domestic hearth round which huddled all the different families compelled by the storms to take refuge in the cave. Here for the first time the long periods of enforced idleness from the chase induced him to make himself clothes from the skins of the animals which he snared or ran down. Here, too, the leisure and perhaps the spirit of emulation produced by the society of his fellows, led him to fashion new weapons and tools, to make scrapers for skins, axes for cutting, maces for striking, instead of the clumsy chipped fint held in the hand which, in the earlier days, formed his only implement. And here especially, the pressure of common danger and the need of organized defence against the cave-bear and the cave-lion led him
to elect a common leader as stags and horses are wont to do, to whose rule he voluntarily submitted. The arts of decoration, of industry and of government all took their rise within the cave.
At length the glaciers retreated, and as the new vegetation sprang up in their wake, the animals followed it northward, and with the animals went man. But it was a changed being who went with them, and after this his rise was rapid. The drying-up of the land had cleared away the fogs which had for so long hid the sun, and henceforth the summers were more hot, while the winters, owing to radiation, were more cold than before. Hence the animals-now chiefly the horse and the reindeer-by which primitive man lived, migrated at fixed times in search of the climate necessary to them, and man became a traveller. True, too, to the lessons of mutual help that he had learned in the cave, he hit upon a plan of division of labor, so that the most skilful handicraftsman stayed at home and made axes, while the swiftest and strongest hunter used them abroad for their mutual sustenance. And now began the dawnings of art. Vanity seems to have been its first motive; for its earliest efforts seem to have been directed to painting the face with different colored earths, to making ornaments that were not yet amulets, and to adorning the skins in which the artist was clad. But before long, art began to be practised for its own sake, The Academy.
or rather for the pleasure that it gave to the practiser, and weapons, tools, and sometimes the rocks were covered with pictorial representations of animals and of man himself. It is even possible that in the figures shown upon certain colored stones belonging to paleolithic times, we have the first precursor of a system of writing. And as the materials necessary for such designs were not always to be found in one place, while well-decorated weapons, tools and clothes had a certain value of their own, some sort of system of barter with distant tribes sprang up, and so trade was born.
Here we must stop. It is the opinion of writers like M. de Mortillet that in Europe, at all events, the education of our ancestors was completed by the invasion of tribes coming from Asia Minor, who introduced among the aborigines the domestication of animals, the practice of agriculture, and finally, religion, war, and slavery. It may be so, although this raises the question how these invaders themselves came to be instructed in these matters, which is a question which cannot here be answered. Perhaps enough has been said to show us in these days of Alpine accidents, when the ice takes its toll of victims as regularly as does the sea, how important a part the glacier, now only thought of as part of the regular furniture of the playground of Europe, has formerly played in the civilization of the European man.
THE STRAYING OF PENELOPE.
Really, tracing matters to their source, it was all the fault of the little calf. It is an unjust world; no one thought of punishing the little calf. Perhaps, too, the white sun-bonnet had something to do with it, but the white sun-bonnet was not punished either.
Certainly it would be at once apparent that the very small gray figure, walking so demurely on such very slim black legs to the Rectory, could not be in fault. Even if the slim legs had not been proof enough of this, the great grave eyes in the depths of the sun-bonnet must have been.
Moreover, the brown hair drawn tidily back from the wistful brow, the droop at the corners of the quiet little mouth-all went to prove that Penelope, left alone, would never have strayed from the path of duty, which in this case was the path that led to the Rectory, and Mrs. Crigby, and lessons.
A little blue butterfly flitted mischievously past the sun-bonnet, but Penelope kept steadily on her course. She was saying to herself with anxious solemnity: "Jerswee-tooay-ilay-noosom
She had gone to sleep the night before saying it, and when she awoke in the morning she began at once. "For," she confided to the pillow, "I are very stupid." She accepted the fact of her stupidity with the wistful resignation which was the key-note of her small existence. Mother and Mrs. Crigby said she was stupid, so of course she
Penelope's mother was a step-mother, and Mrs. Crigby at the Rectory taught Penelope. By these two Penelope's life was bounded at present. She walked steadily, a small gray figure crowned
with a big white sun-bonnet, along the sunny road that led to the Rectory and lessons. She walked in a subdued sort of way by force of habit: Penelope's step-mother was possessed of "nerves"-a mysterious word significant to Penelope of scoldings and punishments and calls for "Fielding." So, obedient to the teaching of the few years of her existence, Penelope walked softly along that road straight to temptation. She was still saying her French verb over to herself in anxious fear lest she should forget. All unwitting of the bad little calf waiting behind the hedge in the next field she went innocently on. And just as she was passing the hedge a warm, soft, wet nose was pushed irresistibly into her hand. Penelope jumped, for
the sunbonnet hid the calf. Then she looked round.
"Oh!" she gave an ecstatic gasp of utter love, "you-dorable."
The little calf performed an absurd whisk of long legs, and filed into the field. Penelope could feel the soft warmth of his damp nose in her hand. She looked at him with shining eyes of deep longing.
How was she to know that he was a bad little calf who had roamed away from his poor mother, and was just seeking for some one to lead into mischief?
He stood a few yards off and looked at her with alluring eyes. Penelope's heart was beating fast. She clambered through the gap in the hedge, and drew softly near, trembling with eagerness to touch him. He let her get quite close, then flung up his heels and filed a few yards further still. Penelope followed with earnest pur
This is where the white sun-bonnet's