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“Under which denomination do you then class Sir Willoughby?" asked Guy. “I can tell you, Margaret, he is not best pleased by your sending him off on a wild-goose chase after a glass of water, with the transparent intention of getting rid of him.”
“ Isn't he?" returned Lady Margaret, unconcerned. “It is his fault in coming, and yours, Guy, in sending him. I told you we did not wish to have him.”
“Don't say we,” Margaret. Perhaps the Miss Merediths have not the same objection to his society."
“Well, in that case I am sorry for them, Guy. Another time, perhaps, you will allow me to choose a walking companion more gifted with powers of conversation. What between scrambling through the briary walk Constance Meredith chose to take us, and being forced to listen to that good man's perpetual drone, I have passed an unenviable afternoon."
“Hush! Margaret," interposed Ethel, as the object of her remarks at this juncture sauntered towards us.
Sir Willoughby Gresham, with whom I had a slight acquaintance, was unquestionably a handsome man, but the consciousness of this fact, and an undue valuation of his own importance, laid him open to the attacks of an esprit moqueur such as Lady Margaret indubitably possessed.
She turned upon him with the utmost coolness :
“ You must allow me to observe, Sir Willoughby, that when a gentleman joins a walking party of ladies, it is not customary for him to make an excuse to leave them.'
“ Make an excuse to leave them !” repeated Sir Willoughby, quite unprepared for this flank attack of Lady Margaret's, who, by thus wisely taking the initiative, forced him to stand on the defensive-a maneuvre, by the way, thoroughly womanly, and deserving of the success it in. variably meets with.
" I made no excuse to leave the party, Lady Margaret; you sent me for a glass of water, which
“Which you might have brought me,” interrupted Lady Margaret, " instead of dodging about the cottage, talking to the pretty girl.”
“Dodging about the cottage, talking to the pretty girl," echoed the astonished Sir Willoughby, perfectly aghast at the daring accusation; “ really, Lady Margaret, I am at a loss to understand your meaning. In the cottage to which you sent me there was an old woman, from whom I obtained a glass of water."
“Yes, to be sure, there was an old woman,” pursued Lady Margaret; “ but if she had turned her unsuspecting old head she would have discovered you making pretty speeches to her young granddaughter.”
“I perceive," replied Sir Willoughby, stiffy, exasperated by the irresistible laughter this sally called forth—“I perceive, Lady Margaret, that you are disposed to exercise your inventive powers at my expense. Be that as it may, I must observe, however, that there was no person in the cottage answering to your description, and had there been, I am not in the habit of making pretty speeches,' as you call them, to cottagers.”
“ Which means, in plain English, that I have been romancing. Thank you, Sir Willoughby; however, I will look over the uncivil implication this time, and when we next go out for a walk we will all join hands, so as to render the defalcation of one of the party out of the question.”
Even Sir Willoughby could not resist a smile at this original proposition, and thus peace was restored.
WAS MAN CONTEMPORARY WITH THE MAMMOTH ?
Long before the appearance of Sir Charles Lyell's able work on the Antiquity of Man, the advancement of science in geology had established that the age of the earth itself is to be measured, not even by tens, but by hundreds of thousands of years, whatever may be the antiquity of its races of inhabitants. Strata, several miles in thickness, were shown to have slowly accumulated through immeasurable ages, and to contain, in the organic remains they enclose, proofs of the long duration of successive conditions of the globe, and of each condition having been marked by a distinct assemblage of living creatures, which, after inhabiting the earth for an immense period of time, gave place to a new order of things and new forms of life.
Researches into the structure of our planet, or rather into that comparatively small portion of its crust which is accessible to man; our gradually accumulating knowledge as to the succession of organic beings upon the globe since that remote dawn of creation when life first appeared upon its surface; and recent researches in ethnology as well as in the hitherto earliest known monuments of the human race, and also in the history of languages, have of late years mutually illustrated each other; and it has long been apparent that the existing races of mankind and the slow development of civilisation require that we should assign a much higher antiquity to the human race than that at which the commencement of the history of Genesis has been erroneously dated. Thus (for example) the degree of power and civilisation which the Egyptians had attained more than two thousand years before the Christian era, as appears from their temples, obelisks, cities, pyramids, and tombs, shows that the nation must have required a much longer time than the period which our chronology places between the creation of Adam and the build. ing of the pyramids, to emerge from primeval barbarism and reach a degree of civilisation so high and slowly matured.
But now, the discovery of weapons and implements fashioned by the hand of man (and the discovery of even human remains in a few instances), in formations that belong to a condition of the globe long anterior to the existiog order of things—weapons and implements ruder and older than the very earliest works of man that had been previously known-compel the belief that the antiquity of our race reaches back to periods much more remote than had been inferred from any previous inquiries into the history of the past; and that even the whole vast antiquity of Egypt, and all the time which has elapsed since the commencement of written records, or indeed, of the historical period, is short compared to the antiquity of the human race and the uncounted lapse of pre-historic time.
Sir. Charles Lyell brings together in the first part of his work the various instances in which the remains of man or of human implements have been found either associated with the bones of extinct animals or in situations which imply great antiquity; and before giving, as we propose to do in this article, a brief résumé of the proofs and arguments brought forward, we may at once say that they establish in our opinion, beyond any reasonable doubt, the proposition that at some remote era of the past, long anterior to the commencement of history, certain parts of Europe were peopled by a race of men who fashioned flint implements and co-existed with the Mammoth.
Some years ago this would have been considered a startling conclusion, and it may be so considered still; but there is no reason why the discovery of the antiquity of man should not be treated by the Christian believer with calmness and candour, nor why its promulgation should be looked upon with dislike and suspicion by “the religious world,” save that a peculiar combination of ignorance and bigotry characterise the school which arrogates to itself that title. It has been very justly said that to regard as a matter of faith a chronological estimate which dates the commencement of the history of Genesis at four thousand years before Christ, is to show little reverence for the Bible, and little regard for the truth.
Life upon the globe was old, and the globe itself was older, when the “ tertiary formations," as geologists call the most recent strata of the earth's crust, began to be deposited. They extend to perhaps two thousand feet in thickness, and are composed of beds of different ages, distinguished into “eocene," “ miocene,” and “pliocene,” according to the proportion in each of species now living. But the remains of man have not been found even in the strata of that period (the pliocene), in which forms now living predominate; and it was not until after the pliocene beds were deposited, that is to say, towards the close of the tertiary period, that the glacial epoch began-that period in which a large part of Europe must have resembled what Greenland now is. At that epoch, the Grampians, the whole of Norway and Sweden, were enveloped in ice; and the glaciers of the Alps filled what are now the great, lakes of Northern Italy, and covered the plains of Piedmont and Lombardy with ice. An interesting portion of Sir Charles Lyell's work treats of the evidence for the assumption that the Alps were loftier when they were the source of those gigantic glaciers which reached the Jura and deposited erratic blocks as large as cottages, which are now found on the flanks of that range. This period of intense cold had ceased to prevail in Scotland at the period when those very remarkable phenomena, “ the parallel roads” of Glen Roy, began to be formed by glacier lakes; and although no traces of man have been found in any strata of the glacial period, its close was probably not very long anterior to his appearance in the north of Europe. Both north and south of the Alps, a primitive people having similar habits flourished after the last retreat of the great glaciers into the Alpine valleys; and when the areas which had formed the bed of the glacial sea during the period of chief submergence became clothed with vegetation, the mammoth and the woolly rhinoceros, and other mammalia now extinct, began to inhabit the north-west of Europe. To the British islands, then part of the Continent, the flora of the north of Europe, and the huge northern elephants and rhinoceros, the cave-bear, and bovine, equine, and cervine animals of species which have now no living representative, then probably passed, and these, be it remembered, were veritable old inhabitants as compared with the human denizens of the country of whom we have any trace.
To the latter part of this "post-pliocene” era we may probably refer
the fabricators of the fint implements found in the north of France and in various parts of southern and central England ; and after that era came the changes which have resulted in the present distribution of land and water. So that the primitive race who have left these rude traces of their existence stand as it were upon a frontier land between the present order of things and remoter conditions of the globe.
The chronological relations of the glacial period and the earliest signs of man's appearance in Europe, have been minutely examined by Sir Charles Lyell in several very interesting chapters of his work, in which he shows that the study of the successive phases of the glacial period in Europe, and the enduring marks which they have left on many of the solid rocks and on the character of the superficial drift, are of great assistance in enabling us to appreciate the vast lapse of ages which are comprised in the post-pliocene” epoch, which alone our author seems to estimate at the enormous period of a hundred and eighty thousand years. The glacial phenomena enlarge, as he justly remarks, our conception of the antiquity not only of the living species of animals and plants, but of their present geographical distribution, and throw light on the chronological relations of that fauna and flora to the earliest date yet assigned for the existence of the human race-a date very remote as compared to the commencement of history or tradition, but modern contrasted with the length of ages during which all the living testacea and even many of the mammalia have inhabited the globe. The time that elapsed between the close of the glacial period and the commencement of the present order of things has been estimated for Europe at from thirty thousand to forty thousand years.
But what is the evidence that Man formed part of the assemblage of living creatures that peopled Europe in the age of the fossil mammoth, rhinoceros, and other extinct mammalia?
Until lately, this conclusion rested upon the discoveries which had been made in certain caves as well in Devonshire as in the south of France, and in the calcareous rocks in the valley of the Meuse and its affluents. In Kent's Cavern, near Torquay, worked flints were found beneath the stratified unbroken floor of stalagmite, itself covered with such a deposit of gravel containing bones as indicates later and gradual accumulation. In the Brixham cave a similar discovery has been made, * and, in one instance, a worked flint was found close to the bones of a leg of the cave-bear, of which limb all the ligaments must have been in existence when it entered the cavern, for every bone was found, and in its proper position. Similar works of man were found in a cave at Menchecourt so associated with bones of the rhinoceros as to indicate that man must have been contemporary with that animal in France, as the discoveries in the Brixham care indicate that he was with the cave-bear in England. Nor were the rude works of man only found : for, together with them, a human skull was discovered in the Engis caves, under circumstances of deposit which indicate that man and the Elephas primigenius, the woolly-haired rhinoceros, the cave-bear, and hyæna, were living at the same time in that part of France. Again, there are caves in that country, in which bones of the reindeer have been lately found, associated with implements some
* Geologist, vol. iv. p. 154,
wbat less rude than those found in the drift formations of St. Acheul and Aurignac, but still belonging to an earlier era than what has been called the age of stone. So, too, the investigations of Dr. Schmerling, of Liège, in the caverns of the valley of the Meuse, which in some places open in the face of precipices of the calcareous rock, at a height of two hundred feet above the present bed of the river, seem to establish that the human bones and the rude fint instruments there discovered with the remains of animals now extinct, were entombed when those animals actually inhabited the country. The cave at Brixham is analogous in character to the Liège caverns, and there the remains of the extinct cave-lion, cavebear, mammoth, rhinoceros, hyæna, and reindeer, overlie the flint knives fabricated by man.
But the conclusions drawn from these discoveries have been illustrated and very remarkably confirmed by the recent discovery of similar works of human fabric in the ancient river gravel or drift formation, which has remained undisturbed from the time of its deposit, in the valley of the Somme and in some river valleys in England, and contains, as the caverns contain, the remains of the same races of extinct animals. The earliest of these discoveries seems to have been made in 1841, when M. Boucher de Perthes found in the undisturbed drift near Abbeville, at a depth from twenty to thirty feet below the surface, many fint implements, associated with the remains of extinct mammalia. Many were found under his own eyes, and he marked on the specimens in his museum the nature of the matrix and the depth at which each was found. By other French geologists similar discoveries were made in beds of undisturbed gravel and sand at similar depths, and near the surface of the underlying chalk, as, for example, by Dr. Rigollot, in a similar formation in the gravel-pits of St. Acheul, near Amiens, at a depth of not less than ten feet, in the true drift which encloses the remains of the extinct mammalia. * In this gravel. pit Mr. Evans and Mr. Prestwich themselves found one at least of the worked flints-- a well-shaped flint hatchet—in sitů, lying at seventeen feet from the surface, in a formation so hard and compact as to require the use of the pickaxe to move it, and under such circumstances that it was impossible the implement could have been inserted by the workmen, or have dropped through any fissure. The spot was afterwards visited by Sir Charles Lyell, who, at the meeting of the British Association in 1859, at Aberdeen, corroborated the conclusions of Mr. Prestwich. Moreover, in the same formation, Mr. Flower afterwards exhumed a perfectly worked symmetrical fint weapon, of the lance-head form, which was found at a depth of twenty-two feet, in a formation observed by witnesses to be perfectly undisturbed. Mr. Prestwich considers the beds in which he found the worked fints to be high-level ancient drifts, and it must be observed that their antiquity is to be estimated not only by the mammalian remains associated with them, but by their position with reference to the geology of the valley of the Somme. In the two years succeeding the communication of Mr. Evans's Memoir to the Society of Antiquaries, t further discoveries were made on the Continent and in England, and the precise age and character of the drift-beds of the Somme valley (deposits which range all the way up the slopes of the valley near Amiens and Abbeville) underwent rigid investigation.
* Mémoire sur des Instruments en Silex, trouvés à St. Acheul, près Amiens. † On Flint Instruments in the Drift. Archæologia, vol. xxxviii. p. 280.