Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/68

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

with the greatest reverence. If he happens to be a negrito of the Bayou Goula, Bayou St. Martins, or Bayou la Têche neighborhood, or if he be one of those little people who dwell among the morasses and swamps of central Florida, his corpse is wrapped in bark, securely corded about with strips of hide, and hidden away in some secret place in the almost impenetrable forest. His ghost is supposed to linger in the neighborhood of his body; hence no negrito will ever approach the vicinity of his grave for fear of giving offense, and thereby incurring the enmity of the dead man, which would entail untold and unmentionable horrors.

These little men make splendid hunters, for they seem to have regained (if they have ever lost, which I greatly doubt) that acuteness of sight, smell, and hearing which makes their prototypes in India the very best of shikaris. There is no animal in all the woods their equal in cunning; there is no fish in any landlocked bayou or swiftly running stream which can avoid their rude but cunningly set nets and traps.

With their return to savagery these pygmies of the United States seem to have lost all desire for the comforts and refinements of civilization. Their huts among the moss-covered trees lining the bayous of Louisiana, or their still more miserable hutches in the Everglades of Florida, remind one very much of the pictured burrows of the Akka, their kinsmen, who dwell in the vast forest solitudes of Central Africa. Like that remnant of the Seminoles also living among the labyrinthine fastnesses of that vast waste of swamp, brake, and forest—the Everglades—these black manikins shun the haunts of men, and when discussing them one quotes almost involuntarily the thoughts of Stanley when he first saw the pygmy of Avatiko. When the wave of immigration turns southward, which it will eventually do, these little people will lose forever their individuality and become merged into the general population. Crossing will finally obliterate the pure type, but we will still continue to find, for an indefinite length of time, among our colored population, individuals with round heads and undersized bodies who will serve to show that once the pygmies dwelt among us.


Some great advantages are claimed for the metal glucinum which may eventually give it a considerable position in electrical industry. Its resistance to traction is greater than that of iron, and its electrical conductivity is equivalent to that of silver. It should therefore have a greater mechanical resistance than iron, be a better conductor than copper, and, having a specific gravity of only 2, be lighter than aluminum; and these qualities, according to the Journal des Inventeurs, have been verified by experiment. Its commercial value is given as equivalent to about one hundred and sixty times less per volume and ten times less by weight than that of platinum.