Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/688

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sent quite sufficient food for thought to a more rational frame of mind.

I can not attempt to deal with the origin of the Pygmy race, or its relationship to the Andamanese and the Veddahs of Ceylon, who are said to have some characteristics in common with them. But it seems clear that they were once spread over a great part if not the whole of the continent; that they were broken up and partially exterminated by the advent of the stronger dark races; and that, as a race, they are passing away. It is interesting to look at an analogous case in Europe. A race of small stature, slight frame, and comparatively low type, scarcely, if at all, advanced beyond the hunter stage, occupied the British Islands and the northwestern part of the continent. They were partly massacred or enslaved, partly driven into the mountains by their Celtic conquerors; and in the lonely recesses of the hills and woods—what with their weakness and their strength, their cunning and their skill in metals, their music and their underground dwellings, and their strange, uncanny wisdom—a growth of legend and poetry sprang up about them, till they were no longer known save as elves, gnomes, trolls, or "Good People," whom one dared not name.

It is somewhat suggestive, as bearing on the question of the original immigration into Africa, to note that there was, as late as the sixteenth century, a Pygmy tribe living in Arabia, who may well have been a detachment left behind when the main body crossed the Isthmus of Suez. So far as I am aware, the only authority for this fact is Lodovico di Bartema, otherwise known as Ludovicus Wertomannus, whose narrative of a visit to Mecca (about 1500) is contained in vol. iv of Hakluyt's Voyages. This account runs thus:

In the space of eyght dayes we came to a monntayne which conteyneth in circuit ten or twelve myles. This is inhabited with Jewes to the number of fyve thousand or thereabout. They are very little of stature, as of the hyght of five or sixe spannes, and some muche lesse. They have small voyces like women, and of blacke colour, yet some blacker than other. They feede of none other raeate than goates' fleshe. They are circumcised, and deny not themselves to be Jewes.

This last sentence, apparently, contains the evidence for their Judaism. It is now well known that the rite in question is commonly practiced in Africa, and by the Hottentots, among others. What has become of these "Jewes" does not appear. Probably they have gone the way of nearly all the Bushmen. Will the Akkas and the rest follow them? As a race they are doomed to pass away; yet this need not imply—we hope it does not—that they are to be massacred, or starved out of existence. It was long believed that the Celtic Britons had been utterly exterminated