Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/331

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told or arrested (prevented?).... When a train is on a doubletracked road, the danger is reduced, I may say, one hundred per cent."

The first statement of this superintendent, if spoken hastily, without thought, may be excused as a careless utterance; but as a deliberate opinion that this railroad slaughter is not preventable, and that there is nothing left for the public but to submit to its continuance, it is simply atrocious and worthy of a savage of the Congo.

Such a statement from a railroad official, into whose hands we must perforce place our lives and those of our wives and children, is ample ground for impeachment. It makes one's blood boil.

It is to put up a sign over every station entrance on the New York Central: "Slaughter permitted here. Accidents can not be prevented." Yet, in the next breath, this superintendent adds "Double-tracking the road reduces the accidents one hundred per cent" (sic).

It seems, then, that one hundred per cent of the accidents were not only preventable, but that on the New York Central they had been so prevented. When the road was the source of danger, the weakness was met and overcome by re-enforcing the road. Now that the weakness is found to reside in the men, the slaughter of to-day makes an imperative demand for an augmentation of the forces, at the present moment, so inadequately and disastrously attempting control.

By St. GEORGE MIVART, Ph. D., F. R. S.

SO many adventures of gods and heroes, alternately defeated and restored, with so many other myths of earlier religions, merely (we are told) describe, in figurative language, the simplest physical phenomena, that most of us now expect to find "the dawn," or "sunset," latent in every one newly met with.

Our fairy tales also may be similarly treated, but most of them will also serve to represent, under an allegory, notable events or circumstances of human life.

The history of that gentle animal, beloved of our childhood, the White Cat—an enchanted princess, doomed to bear that feline form till freed, through the loss of head and tail, by the sharp sword of her royal lover—admits such an allegorical interpretation.

Some learned professor might tell us its real purpose was to show that pain and loss can serve to restore a noble soul, deformed by evil influences. He might also enlarge upon the text, describing how the spellbound maid herself demands the blow, and point