Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/204

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inhabit the world of atoms. Stars above them, the ground beneath them, that is their world as it is ours. That we just happen to exist on the earth is a matter of comparative indifference. No matter where we might be, our astronomers would always investigate the starry firmament, our chemists and physicists would divide bodies into molecules and atoms. Everywhere the suns as the atoms would pursue their courses in obedience to the same laws, everywhere two sides in the triangle would be greater than the third, and everywhere twice two seconds would make four. That is the law for the giants and the dwarfs, the law beyond which we shall never be able to rise.



AS I sauntered to-day down the Rue d’Isly, on evolutionary thoughts intent, I met a caravan of camels, in long single file, coming in from the desert with their bales of merchandise. Poor, weary creatures they looked, in all conscience, their humps shrunken to mere bags of loose skin, and their patient faces bearing all too openly the marks of their long and toilsome journey across the hill country. At their head stalked a lordly Arab in a dirty white burnous; drivers and attendants of lesser station followed in the rear with a tread as stately and solemn as the camels' own. For, dejected and foot-sore though they all were, men and beasts had alike even so the free and firm step of the open desert. Little Moorish children from the dark shops ensconced in the wall ran out with childish delight and clapping of hands to see them pass; women with their faces muffled up to the eyes turned timidly to give them a casual glance; and even old Hamid Abder-Rahman himself, sitting cross-legged on his bench before his cup of coffee in the open bazaar, deigned to remove his pipe from his mouth one moment and remark to Omar on the divan beside him that prime dates were coming in from the oases very well this season.

As for me, standing there in my alien garb, I rejoiced in soul that I had seen a caravan, and could forthwith begin philosophizing on camels. "I could have played on any timbrel," says the poet at the Zoo, "For joy that I had seen a whimbrel." And I could have burst prosaic trammels, for joy that I had seen those camels. Everybody knows, of course, the famous story of the German student who evolved the camel from his own inner consciousness. Now, that mode of evolving a species I hold to be illegitimate; you should always draw your animal from the life,