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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/600

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

fore she was twenty-one. In the decade that ended the first century of New South Wales the proportion of married women under that age fell from 28.17 to 23.55 per cent; in less prosperous Victoria, after only half a century, it fell from 21 to 17.4; in New Zealand there was a big drop from 29.4 to 19.7. The proportion of married women under twenty-five has also seriously declined. The decrease is noticeably correspondent with the increased number of young women who are gaining their own livelihood—largely as teachers and typewriters. On these lines the colonies are following the lead of the mother country. Long engagements, followed by late marriages with fewer children, take the place of short engagements with hasty marriages and larger families. Female celibacy is no longer dishonorable, and women are beginning to understand that they may be far happier single and self-supporting. The quality of marriage improves with its rarity. When an Australian M. A. marries an M. A., or the most brilliant of New Zealand professors marries one of his most distinguished students, we feel, as when a Dilke marries a Pattison, that the ideal of the union has been realized.

The growth of the colonial house follows the development of the family and repeats the history of the race. The immigrant procures his abode, as he afterward buys his clothes, ready made. The ancient troglodyte lives to-day in the Derbyshire cave dweller; the original Romanist settlers of Maryland were driven to take refuge in cave houses in Virginia; and the New Zealand hermit, like "great Pasan's son" at Lemnos, "weeps o'er his wound" of the heart in a cave by the resounding sea. Where they can not be found ready dug they can be excavated, as they were by some early Pennsylvania colonists. Others in Virginia, New York, and New England found it easier to dig holes in the ground, thus imitating the Germans of Tacitus, whose winter residences are also repeated in those basements which form the wholesome abode of the London domestic servant. The wattle-and-daub house of the Anglo-Saxon villager has been everywhere reproduced in the colonies, and may still be abundantly found.

If the occupation of caves and the burrowing of holes suggests man's distant affinity to the carnivora and lower quadrupeds, his simian origin is confirmed by the use he makes of the tree. In the infant city of Philadelphia there were "few mansions but hollow trees." A rude form of tent is the next stage, the canvas consisting (as may still be seen among the poorer campers-out) of clothes or rags. Then, as in the early days of Sydney, the tents were covered in with bushes and thatched over. Next (as may to-day be observed in the neighborhood of Coolgardie) a framework of branches is employed to support the canvas, and the tent is converted into a cabin.