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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/188

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prized as an inestimable treasure, as it kept her in some relation with him whom she had lost.

It is remarkable how completely the Roman Church has surrendered to the usages of the primeval man in the cult of relics. I have seen repeatedly above altars in Switzerland and Tyrol grinning skulls under glass forming the most conspicuous object of adoration above an altar. The builder of megalithic monuments has passed away, or been absorbed by nobler and more intelligent peoples, but his worship of the dead remains intact; the only difference being that the devotion is no longer offered to the skull of an ancestor, but to that of a more or less fictitious saint. I suppose that the officials are in some places becoming a little ashamed of this, for at St Ursula's, Cologne, where a few years ago the space above the arches and below the clerestory windows was crowded with small boxes containing skulls, they have of late years been placed under curtains. But the sacristy still maintains the appearance of a charnal-house.

It is significant how the cult of images and relics disappeared out of England and Scotland without leaving a trace, or only the faintest.