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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/591

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573
FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

the dead, before drinking brandy, of a few drops of the liquor. A relation is also supposed to exist between disease and pain and the bones of the deceased person. A whole class of diseases are supposed to have their seat in the bones or the marrow of them. If the disease does not yield to the shaman's efforts, and causes death, the Indians think that the pain will continue after death and vex the ghost, making him malignant and troublesome. Therefore the pain must be conquered, and driven away from the bones and the marrow. Hence the markings may have been made in order to sever all connection between the spirit and his former life, and from the disease that caused his death. The other explanation is that the bones were taken from slain enemies for other purposes than as mere trophies. Personal or bodily relics are supposed to possess some of the qualities of the deceased, and to give power. This view is supported by some observations of Mr. Cushing relative to Zuñi customs; and the author is inclined to favor it rather than the other.

 

Estrays from Civilization.—A curious study of a community of estrays from civilization who are leading the life of savages is published by M. Zaborowski in the Revue de l' École d' Anthropologie and La Nature. The settlement is about a mile from Ezy, on the eastern edge of the plateau of Normandy, in a group of caves that were excavated and used as wine cellars when, several hundred years ago, wine culture flourished in the now uncongenial region. Later the srot was a resort for picnics till the old buildings fell into decay, and about fifty years ago it was given up to wanderers. About eighty men, women, and children live there, the adults, though not perhaps really criminals, having been lost to society on account of some offense committed against it. They have no regular means of subsistence, are beneath the tramps in grade, and possess, with one or two exceptions, no articles of property other than what they pick up. Their beds are wooden bunks set upon stones, filled with leaves, and the coverings are wrapping canvas. A "family" of seven persons lived in one of the cellars with only a single bed of this kind. Their kitchen utensils are old tin cans picked out of rubbish heaps, and their stoves are obtained in the same way, or often consist of plates and pieces of iron adjusted so as to make a sort of fireplace. They have a well from which they draw water with some old kettle suspended on a hooked stick, each "family" having its own hook. Their clothes are rags, partly covering portions of the body, and it is not considered necessary that the younger ones should have even these. Their housekeeping and their ideas of neatness are such as might correspond with these conditions. One woman, mother of four children, and the only one that was adequately dressed, was a native of a neighboring village, and had been brought to the cave by her mother when she was eight years old. An old man had been a charge upon the town and was sent to the cave by the maire to get rid of him. He had found a woman there and had several children. A woman, still active, who had lived in the caves three years, had children living in Ezy. The complaint, so common in other parts of France, that the natural increase of population has failed, does not apply to the caves. Five or six of the "families" have four or five children. On these children, of whom only the most vigorous survive, "the influence of their debasing misery and of the vices of their parents impresses a common aspect. Their mental condition has fallen shockingly low, and, their physical needs satisfied, they seem to want nothing further. No attraction will induce them to attend school, which is like imprisonment to them. Their mode of life and the marks of degradation in their faces separate them from others. Earnest attempts to develop their intelligence and moral consciousness have been without result."

 

German School Journeys.—It is very common in Germany, says Miss Dodd, of Owens College, in one of the English educational reports, to find definite teaching taking place outside the school walls—in the gardens attached to the schools, and in the neighboring forests, where the children are instructed in observation of the local forms of plant and animal life. Further, they are often taken on longer expeditions to spend the whole day in the forest or on the mountain with their teachers, who direct them "what to see, and how to see it." More defi-