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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/720

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

on "Shooting." He could not do it, because he could not work up ideas that were not of his own originating; but the thought was the seed of "The Badminton Library." The character of his later books is correctly described by Mr. Besant when he says that in them "the whole of the country life of the nineteenth century will be found displayed down to every detail. The life of the farmer is there; the life of the laborer; the life of the gamekeeper; the life of the women who work in the fields and of those who work at home. He revealed Nature in her works and ways; the flowers and the fields; the wild English creatures; the hedges and the streams; the wood and the coppice. He told what may be seen everywhere by those who have eyes to see," and he began "to write down the response of the soul to the phenomena of Nature, to interpret the voice of Nature speaking to the soul. . . . He draws as no other writer has done the actual life of rural England under Queen Victoria." The secret of the perfect execution of these works is found in examining the note-books which he habitually kept, recording daily observations and phenomena, a few specimens of which are printed, and the reading of which "is like reading an unclassified index to the works of Nature." Jefferies was disabled by illness during the last five years and a half of his life, and had to work by the hands of others. Yet some of his best essays were produced during this time. Among them were "The Red Deer," a minute account of the natural history, etc., of these animals, to observe which he had gone all over Exmoor on foot; and the essay entitled "The Pageant of Summer," in which he reached his highest point, but which "was written while he was in deadly pain and torture." He died poor, and a subscription was taken among the admirers of his writings to place his family in a comfortable position.

Burial-Mounds of the Northern Sections of the United States. By Cyrus Thomas, Ph. D. Washington: Bureau of Ethnology. Pp. 119.

This monograph is an advance extract from the fifth annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology. It deals with the burial-mounds of the Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and Appalachian districts, which areas are regarded as having been occupied by different tribes. The effigy-mounds form the distinguishing feature of the Wisconsin district. The works of the Illinois region are mostly small conical tumuli, containing rude stone or wooden vaults, and further characterized by the scarcity of pottery vessels, the frequent occurrence of pipes, the presence of copper axes, etc. Among the peculiar features of the works in the Ohio district are the gi-eat circles and squares of the inclosures, the long parallel earthen walls, the so-called altars within the mounds, and the numerous carved stone pipes. The mounds of the Appalachian district resemble those of the last-named area, in containing altar-like structures and numerous stone pipes. The peculiar features are the mode of burial, the absence of pottery, and the numerous polished celts and engraved shells found in the mounds. The other regions mentioned but not treated in this monograph are the New York, middle Mississippi, lower Mississippi, and Gulf districts. This districting, however, is put forward as a working hypothesis rather than as an established arrangement. Prof. Thomas gives brief descriptions of the leading types found in the different northern districts mentioned, confining himself chiefly to the explorations made by the bureau assistants. These accounts are illustrated with forty-nine cuts and six plates. He concludes, from the results of these explorations, that each of the tribes inhabiting one of these northern districts had several modes of burial, differing with the social position of the deceased; that the custom of removing the flesh before the final burial was quite general, the bones of the common people being often gathered into heaps over which mounds were built; that usually some religious ceremony in which fire played a part was performed at the burial, but that there is no evidence of human sacrifice; that nothing in the character or contents of the mounds indicates that their builders had reached a higher culture status than that in which some of the Indian tribes were found at the coming of the Europeans; that the beginning of the mound-building age does not antedate the fifth or sixth century; and that the custom of erecting mounds over the dead continued in some localities into post-Columbian times.