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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/570

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

to which they relate after history is supposed to have come in. If we want light upon this unrecorded past, we must seek it by the aid of palæethnological data; and anthropology may be very advantageously united with palæethnology to furnish valuable instruction concerning the autochthonic race of France, its development, transformations, customs, and migrations, and the invasions it suffered in the most remote antiquity. "With the aid of these two sciences, both of wholly new origin, we are able to trace the earliest pages of the history of France." The book begins with a review of what the texts afford regarding the earlier peoples of France; then brings forward the evidence yielded by language and the study of the evolution of writing; next presents the results of research respecting the precursors of man, the rise and development of industries, societies, and civilization; and studies the primitive races of perhaps two hundred and thirty thousand or two hundred and forty thousand years ago; their mixture with the other races that came in from abroad and possessed the country; and, finally, the formation of the French population as we now find it.

M. de Mortillet's relations with his pupils and with his country, and his private character, are spoken of in the highest terms. For more than twenty years his lectures at the École d'Anthropologie, treating the most various questions respecting prehistoric times, attracted large and attentive audiences, often including students from abroad, who afterward became masters of the science in their own countries. "He was always ready to receive workers in the science, even the least and humblest, to bestow advice and encouragement upon them, and to give them the benefit of his experience and extensive erudition, and for this his pupils and friends lament him." Against his integrity no suspicion was ever breathed.

In political faith he was always advanced, and ever true to his convictions. He was maire of Saint-Germain from 1882 to 1888, and deputy from the department of Seine-et-Oise from 1885 to 1889.

 


 
In the observations of the meteoric shower of November 13, 1897, at Harvard College Observatory, one of the meteors appeared, according to the calculations, at the height of 406 miles, and disappeared at the height of 43 miles, and at a distance of 196 miles. Another appeared at a height of 182 miles and disappeared at a height of 48 miles, and a distance of 74 miles. The first meteor was red or orange, or, to Prof. W. H. Pickering, the color of a sodium flame, and the other white. Both penetrated the atmosphere to about the same depth, and both were clearly Leonids. These facts go to show, Professor Pickering thinks, that the difference in color noted is not due to a mere grazing of our atmosphere in some cases, and a correspondingly low temperature, but to an actual difference in the chemical composition of the individual meteors. .