Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

even paleontology, has thrown so much to the wild state, and often in a single light on the evolution theory as the study generation become as acute in powers of of the structure and progress of the em- scent and vision, and other means of esbryo up to the time of birtb. There caping from their enemies, as animals seems, however, no reason why embryol- which have never been tamed. There ogy should stop here. An animal until are at present probably no animals so alert independent of parental care, and even and difficult to approach as the "brumbeyond that point, until the bodily struc- bies” of Australia. In no way conld more ture and functions are those of an adult, eloquently be shown the iminense stretch is still, strictly speaking, an embryo ; and of time during which these qualities were we may learn much of its racial history by formed and became ingrained in the very observing the peculiarities of its anatomy nature and structure of their possessors and habits of life.

than by comparing them with the trivial For instance, among our domestic ani- and evanescent effects of many centuries mals, horses and cattle live very much in of domestication. the same manner, and thrive equally well In the case of our own race it has often grazing in open pastures. Yet a brief ex. been observed that schoolboys present amination of the young of each shows that many points of resemblance to savages the babits and habitats of their respective both in their methods of thinking-espewild ancestors were widely different. A cially about abstract subjects -and in their foal from birth is conspicuous for the de- actions, Younger children without a velopment of its legs, and when a few doubt also reflect some of the traits of days old can gallop almost as fast as ever their remote progenitors. If, as in the it will in its life. It makes no attempt at case of the calf and the foal, we look for concealment beyond retiring behind its traces of babits of self preservation that dam, and it carries its head high, evi- for incalculably long periods were most dently on the alert to see danger and flee necessary for the safety of the individual from it. A young calf, on the contrary, and therefore for the preservation of the is not much longer in the leg in propor- race), we shall find that such habits exist, tion than its parents (I exclude, of course, and are iinpossible to explain on any other the breeds artificially produced within hypothesis than that they were once of quite recent times), and has but an indif- essential service. ferent turn of speed, and it is slow and Take, for instance, the shyness of very stupid in noticing its surroundings. It young children and their evident terror has, however, one powerful and efficient and distress at the approach of a stranger. instinct of self-preservation ; for if, as is At first sight it seems quite unaccountable often the case in a bushy pasture, 'the that an infant a few months old, who has mother leaves it under cover while she experienced nothing but the utmost kindgoes to graze, it will lie as still as death ness and tender care from every human and allow itself to be trodden on rather being that it has seen, should cling to its than betray its hiding-place. Hence we nurse and show every sign of alarm when see that the ancestors of our domestic

some person new to it approaches. Inhorses inhabited open plains where there fants vary much in this respect, and the was little or no cover, and that they es habit is not by any neans universal, caped by quickly observing the approach though it is far more often present than of a foe and by speed. Wild cattle, on absent. This would suggest that, whatthe contrary, as is still seen in some parts ever its origin, it was not for any rery of Texas and Australia, never from choice long period (in the evolutionary sense) stray far from the shelter of the woods; absolutely necessary to preserve the species and their ancestors, when threatened, Jay from extinction. Darwin merely alludes crouched among the bushes like deer, in to the shyness of children as probably a the hope of escaping observation. It is rempant of a habit common to all wild very remarkable how quickly horses and creatures. We need not, however, go catile, though domesticated for thousands back to any remote ancestral form to find of generations, during which long period a state of affairs in which it might prove many of their wild instincts and habits of the greatest service. We know that have been entirely in abeyance, regain all the cave-dwellers of the Dordogne Valley the old power of self-preservation proper were cannibals, and that much later, when

the races that piled together the Danish state of society in which such occurrences “kitchen middens" lived on the shores would be frequent lasted many thousand of the Baltic and German Oceans, they years, and that probably scarcely a generwere very much such savages as the pres- ation was exempt from this particular and ent inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego, and unpleasant form of influence. lived after the same fashion. Like the When we bear in mind that the play of Fuegians, they were probably divided young animals is almost always mimic into small clans, each of a few families, war, it is well worthy of note how very and these, from conflicting interests and early young children will take to the game other causes, would be constantly at war. of " hide and seek." I have seen a child The earlier paleolithic savages, living in of a year old who, with scarcely any teachcaves and rock shelters, would be even ing, would hide behind the curtains and more isolated and uncompromising in pretend to be in great alarm when discovtheir treatment of strangers, for the game ered. Probably the readiness with which of any given district would only be suffi- infants play at “ bo-peep," and peer cient to support a few. If in our day round the edge of a cradle curtain, and

Lands intersected by a narrow frith then suddenly draw back into hiding, is Abhor each other, mountains interposed traceable to a much earlier ancestor. Make enemies of nations,

Here we see the remains of a habit comin the time of paleolithic and early neolithic mcn to nearly all ar Loreal animals, and man every district the size of an English the cradle curtain, or chair, or wbat not, parish would be the huuting-ground of a is merely a substitute for a part of the clan, with fierce enemies on every side. trunk of a tree bebind which ihe body is In such a state of affairs a stranger (unless supposed to be bidden, while the eyes, he were safely tied to a stake) would be a and as little else as possible, are exposed most undesirable person in proximity to for a inoment to scrutinize a possible the wigwam and the pickaninnies. enemy and then quickly withdrawn. If he paid a call it would very likely be

It is remarkable how quickly very young -in the scarcity of other game-with the children notice and learn to distinguish pirpose of carrying off a tender foe for different domestic animals. I have known table use.

Under such circumstances the several cases in which an infant under a child who ran to its mother, or fled into year old, which could not talk at all, has the dark recesses of the cave, upon first recognized and imitated the cries of sheep, spying an intruder, would be more likely cows, dogs, and cats, and evidently knew to survive than another of a more confid a horse from an ox. Not unfrequently I ing disposition. Often, during the ab- have heard great surprise expressed by sence of the men on a hunting expedition, parents at the quickness with which a a raid would be made, and all the women baby would perceive some animal a long and children that could be caught carried distance off, or when from other causes it away or killed. The returning warriors was so inconspicuous as to escape the eyes would find their homes desolate, and only of older persons. Pictures of animals, those members of their families surviving too, have a great fascination, and the who, by chance or their own action, had child is never tired of hearing its playmate escaped the eyes of the spoilers. On the roar like a lion or bray like an ass when approach of an enemy-and “stranger” looking at them in the picture book. and enemy” would be synonymous—he This may seem of trivial import ; but it is child which first ran or crawled to its worth while to remember that the baby's mother, so that she could catch it up and forefathers for several thousand generadash out of the wigwam and seek the tions depended upon their knowledge of cover of the woods, might be the only the forms and ways of wild beasts in order one of all the family to survive and leave to escape destruction, either from starvaoffspring. Naturally the instinct which tion or from being overcome and decaused the child to turn from the stranger voured in contests with them; and that to the mother would be perpetuated ; and any and every individual who was a dunce from the frequency of the habit at the at this kind of learning was in a short time present day it seeins probable that many eliminated. IIence an aptness to notice of our ancestors were so saved from de- and gain a knowledge of different animals struction, We must remember that the was essential to those who wished to surNew SERIES – VOL LIV., No. 6.

54

lumbus on his memorable voyage. They are 1885, and they deal with the literary claims and to be manned by Spanish sailors and com characteristics of Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsmanded by Spanish officers, and starting from worth, Laurence Sterne, John Stuart Mill, Sandy Hook are to proceed up the Hudson Thomas Carlyle, George Eliot, and Lord Bea. and by the Lakes to Chicago, where they will consfield as represented by “Endymion." form one of the attractions of the exhibition. Mr. Saintsbury has written a critical introduc.

tion and added a few notes. The book will MESSRS. PERCIVAL, of London, have in prepa

contain a photogravure portrait, and a facration a series of “ Periods of European His

simile of M. Scherer's signature. tory,” which will be under the general editorship of Mr. Arthur Hassall. The object of We understand that the Rev. George McArthe publication is to present in separate vol- thur, M.A.-who was engaged for seventeen umes an account of the general development years on the “Encyclopædia Britannica," of European history. Messrs. Oman, Tout, principally in the work of revision, and who Lodge, Armstrong, Wakeman, Morse Stephens, during the last two years has had charge of the and the editor will be responsible for the sev fipal revision of the “ Century Dictionary," eral volumes, " Summer Rambles round

now completed – is to enter on similar emRugby," by Mr. Alfred Rimmer, to be issued ployment with the firm of Daniel Appleton & in December by the same firm, will be interest- Co., New York. ing to old members of the Midland school.

MR. C. A. WARD's book, entitled “ The One of the most distinguished Germanists Oracles of Nostradamus," the result of about of our time has just passed away in the per- eight years' study, is on the point of appearson of Prof. Zarncke, of Leipzig. Born in ing. It purports to exhibit a long series of 1825 in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, he graduated

presages that have received startling verificain 1847 at Rostock. In 1850 he founded at

tion in European history, and closes with a Leipzig one of the best-edited critical organs

distinct forecast of the surrender at Sedan. in Germany, the Litterarisches Centralblatt für This event is here for the first time clearly Deutschland. Eight years later he was appoint- identified as having been foreseen and recorded Professor of the German Language and

ed by Nostradamus, even to the very spot, Le Literature at the University of Leipzig, where Torcy, given by him in anagram. No English his lectures were very well attended. Zarncke's

work has been devoted to the great French literary activity was many sided, but he will,

seer since 1672, when Garencières, of our Col. perhups, be best remembered by his contribu- lege of Physicians, published his annotated tions to a critical study of the “Nibelungen- translation, a book now extremely rare. lied" and by his edition of Seb. Brant's “ Narrenschiff."

DURING the present month the first com. The new Russian regulations restr'cting the plete Italian translation of Edgar Poe's poems

will be published in Rome. The work will rights of the Finnish press have already wade be accompanied by a critical biographical themselves felt. Two of the principal papers

essay and a general bibliography. It will be in Finland have received warnings for having dedicated by the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio dared to discuss the state of the country. On Emanuele to Mr. John H. Ingram, in recogthe other hand, we learn that the Polish press nition of his efforts to extend and clear Poe's is extending in Prussia, three new Polish

fame, papers having made their appearance there since the beginning of this month.

The first number of a new sixpenny month

ly, to be called The Victorian Magazine, has The printers of Vienna, long renowned for just been issued. The magazine will be illusexcellence in their craft, have resolved to form trated, but its special purpose will be to supan exhibition there next summer to illustrate ply high-class literature. The first number the origin, development, and characteristics will include the opening chapters of new serial of typography, from the date of its discovery stories by Mrs. Oliphant and Sarah Doudney ; to the present time.

contributions by Prof. Church, Sir Noel Paton, A TRANSLATION, by Mr. George Saintsbury, Ernst Pauer, Charles G. Leland, H. A. Page, of Edmond Scherer's “Essays on English Isabella Fyvie Mayo, C. F. Gordon Camming, Literature," will be soon published by Messrs. Mary Brotherton, and others ; and an essay Sampson Low & Co. The essays range in (now first published) on the French Revolapoint of time between the years 1861 and tion, by Thomas De Quincey. An engraving

a

the power

siderable doubt was thrown on the state- and then deliberately let go with his ment of Mr. Kentuck, since it did not right hand (as if to seek a better hold) seem probable that so gelatinous and flabby and maintained his position for five sec

creature as a new-born babe could onds more by the left hand only. A

wrastle" (and prevail) even with a curious point is, that in many cases no finger. Subsequent observation proved sign of distress is evinced, and no cry utthat the novelist here did not go beyond tered, until the grasp begins to give way. Nature's warrant, and that, whatever In order to satisfy some sceptical friends doubts we may have of the disinterested. I had a series of photographs taken of inness of Mr. Oakhurst, or the constancy of fants clinging to a finger or to a walkingMiggles," "The Luck” was drawn stick, and these show the position adopted true to type.

excellently. Invariably the thighs are Finding myself placed in a position in bent nearly at right angles to the body, which material was abundant, and avail- and in no case did the lower limbs hang able for reasonable experiment, I com- down and take the attitude of the erect menced a series of systematic observations position. This attitude, and the disprowith the purpose of finding out what pro- portionately large development of portion of young infants had a noticeable compared with the legs, give the photopower of grip, and what was the extent of graphs a striking resemblance to a well

I have now records of mp- known picture of the celebrated chimward of sixty cases in which the children panzee Sally" at the Zoological Gardens, were under a month old, and in at least of this flexed position of the thighs, so half of these the experient was tried characteristic of young babies, and of the within an hour of birth. The results as small size of the lower extremities as comgiven below are, as I have already indi. pared with the upper, I must speak further cated, both curious and unexpected. later on ; for it appears to me that the

In every instance, with only two excep- explanation hitherto given by physiologists tions, the child was able to hang on to of these peculiarities is not altogether satthe finger or a sinall stick three-quarters of isfactory. an inch in diameter by its hands, like an I think it will be acknowledged that acrobat from a horizontal bar, and sustain the remarkable strength shown in the the whole weight of its body for at least ten flexor muscles of the fore-arm in these seconds. In twelve cases, in infants un. young infants, especially when compared der an hour old, half a minute passed be- with the flaccid and feeble state of the fore the grasp relaxed, and in three or muscular system generally, is a sufficiently four nearly a minute. When about four stuking phenomenon to provoke inquiry days old I found that the strength had in- as to its cause and origin. The fact that creased, and that nearly all, when tried at a three-weeks-old baby can performa this age, could sustain their weight for feat of muscular strength that would tax half a minute. At about a fortnight or the powers of many a healthy adult—if three weeks after birth the faculty ap- any of my readers doubt this let them try peared to have attained its maximum, for hanging by their hands from a horizontal several at this period succeeded in hanging bar for three minutes—is cnough to sct for over a minute and a half, two for just one wondering. over two minutes, and one infant of three So noteworthy and so exceptional a weeks old for two minutes thirty-five sec measure of strength in this set of muscles, onds! As, however, in a well-nourished and at the same time one so constantly child there is usually a rapid accumulation present in all individuals, must either be of fat after the first fortnight, the appar- of some great utility now, or must in the ently diminished strength subsequently past have proved of material aid in the may result partly from the increased dis. battle for existence. Now it is evident proportion of the weight of the body and that to human infants this gist of grip is the muscular strength of the arnis, and of no use at all, unless indeed they were partly from neglect to cultivate this curi- subjected to a severe form of an old South ous endowment. In one instance, in of England custom, which ordered that which the performer had less than one the babe, when three days old, should be hour's experience of life, he bung by both lightly tossed on to the slope of a newly hands to iny forefinger for ten seconds, thatched roof, that it might, by holding

we

on to the straw with its little hands, or ness of Providence in causing large rivers by rolling helplessly back into the arms of to flow by great cities. Nevertheless it is its father, assist in forecasting its future well to remember that just as the Sabbath disposition and prospects in life. Barring was made for man, and not man for the the successful passing of this ordeal—with Sabbath, so the blood-vessels were made regard to wbich I have never heard that for the body and not the body for the non-success was a preliminary to immedi. blood vessels. It appears to me much ate extinction-it seems plain that this more true to say that the quick arterial faculty of sustaining the whole weight by blood is sent to the upper extremities the strength of the grasp of the fingers is because these parts are for the time being totally unnecessary, and serves no pur more important, and their growth and de. pose whatever in the newly born offspring velopment essential to the welfare of the of savage or civilized man. It follows individual, tban that they are coerced into therefore that, as is the case with many a kind of temporary hypertrophy, nolens vestigial structures and seless babits, we volens, through baving a better blood must look back into the remote past to supply arbitrarily sent them than is alaccount for its initiation and subsequent lotted to their nether fellow-members. confirmation ; and whatever views That this view is borne out by facts can may hold as to man's origin, we find be shown by taking the example of a among the arboreal quadrumana, and young animal whose hind quarters are of among these only, a condition of affairs essential service to it from birth ; and for in which not only could the faculty have this end we need go no further than the originated, but in which the need of it instance, already quoted, of the young was imperative, since its absence meant foal. Now in the ante-natal state the certain and speedy death.

foal has just the same arrangement of It is a well-known fact that the human blood-distribution as the embryo man ; embryo about three months before birth yet he is born with a small light head and has a thick covering of soft hair, called well-developed hind quarters, so that he

• lanugo," which is shed before a sepa can gallop with speed. Instead of comrate existence is entered upon. At the ing into the world with the general outline same stage of development the skeleton is of an American bison (as he ought to do found to conform inuch more to the simian upon accepted physiological dicia), he is, type than later, for the long bone of the as is well known, proportionately higher arm, the humerus, is equal to the thigh at the rump and lower at the shoulder bone, and the ulna is quite as long and as than in after life. The mention of the important as the tibia. At the time of American bison reminds me that it is anbirth the lower limbs are found to have other capital illustration of the same fact ; gained considerably on the upper, but still for a young buffalo calf must have speed they are nothing like so much larger as from its earliest days to enable it to keep when fully grown. Physiologists have up with the herd on the open prairie ; explained this want of development of the and, in consequence, we find that it is lower extremities in the fætus by attrib- much better developed behind (the hind uting it to the peculiarity of the ante- legs being the chief propellers in all galnatal circulation, in which the head and loping animals) than the full-grown bull arms are supplied with comparatively pure or cow, and has none of the comma-like, oxygenated blood fresh from the maternal whittled off aspect of its adult parents. placenta, and the lower part of the trunk The massive fore end of the bull bison and legs get the venous vitiated blood re arises from his babit of using himself as a turned through the great veins and trans- projectile wherewith to batter bis rivals ferred via the right ventricle and the out of the overlordship of the herd ; but ductus arteriosus to the descending aorta. the bison calf is almost as level-backed as This, it is said, accounts for the more the young of our domestic cattle—though rapid growth and more complete develop- it is a much more active, wideawake little ment of the head and arms before birth. beast than an ordinary calf. To assert the exact contrary would be to Why, then, are the head and upper ex. contradict several great authorities, and tremities so apparently abnornially develapparently to follow the lead of the pious oped in the young infant? I conceive the sage who smired the wisdom and good- true reason to be something like this : For

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »