Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/644

This page has been validated.
626
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

presence in southern Italy sufficed to cause his scepter to fall from his impotent grasp.

In the concluding chapters of his Philosophical Catechism our author ridicules love of country as a shallow sentiment, censures patriotism as sedition, burns holy incense under the noses of the score of petty potentates who were then the curse of Italy, praises foreign domination, extols the "loyal and Christian" house of Hapsburg, and even invokes the blessing of heaven upon the Austrian soldiers, and has the impudence to assert that there is not a foot of soil in the whole peninsula that has not been freed and saved by them.

The rapid march of events since 1860 has now made it seem almost incredible that such a work, worthy of the darkest period of the middle ages, should have been written, approved by the Church and the state, and circulated as a public document in southern Italy less than fifty years ago.

It is at present almost impossible to obtain a copy of the original volume; but the people of the Two Sicilies had no sooner achieved their independence than the liberal party at Naples reprinted it as a monument to the deposed Bourbon dynasty—a monument that performs the functions of a pillory.

 

WILD HORSES.
By Dr. EDOUARD L. TROUESSART.

THE primitive stock of the domestic horse has until recently been considered wholly extinct. A few more or less numerous herds of horses called tarpans are living in a state of freedom in the steppes of central Asia, but they are the descendants of domestic horses that have become wild, and do not differ much more from the domestic races of the same country than the half-wild horses of the Landes and of La Camargue, in the south of France, differ from the horse of Tarbes or the Pyrenees.

There are also found in the Asiatic steppes bands of really wild animals, the hemiones, onagras, or fertile mules of the ancients, which are not true horses, but, notwithstanding their shorter ears, more resemble the ass and mule. They are widely scattered in Asia and form three distinct species, of which the best known is the Indian hemione (Equus hemionus, var. onager), the onagra of Pallas and the ancients, the ghor khur of the Hindoos, the ghour or kherdecht of the Persians, and the koulan of the Kirghiz—a species common in zoölogical gardens, where it is easily bred.

It inhabits the Cutch or Indian Desert and the steppes of Tur-