Popular Science Monthly/Volume 27/May 1885/A Very Old Master
|A VERY OLD MASTER.|
THE work of art which lies before me is old, unquestionably old; a good deal older, in fact, than Archbishop Usher (who invented all out of his own archiepiscopal head the date commonly assigned for the creation of the world) would by any means have been ready to admit. It is a bas-relief by an old master, considerably more antique in origin than the most archaic gem or intaglio in the Museo Borbonico at Naples, the mildly decorous Louvre in Paris, or the eminently respectable British Museum, which is the glory of our own smoky London in the spectacled eyes of German professors, all put together. When Assyrian sculptors carved in fresh white alabaster the flowing curls of Sennacherib's hair, just like a modern coachman's wig, this work of primæval art was already hoary with the rime of ages. When Memphian artists were busy in the morning twilight of time with the towering coiffure of Rameses or Sesostris, this far more ancient relic of plastic handicraft was lying, already fossil and forgotten, beneath the concreted floor of a cave in the Dordogne. If we were to divide the period for which we possess authentic records of man's abode upon this oblate spheroid into ten epochs—an epoch being a good, high-sounding word which doesn't commit one to any definite chronology in particular—then it is probable that all known art, from the Egyptian onward, would fall into the tenth of the epochs thus loosely demarkated, while my old French bas-relief would fall into the first. To put the date quite succinctly, I should say it was most likely about 244,000 years before the creation of Adam according to Usher.
The work of the old master is lightly incised on reindeer-horn, and represents two horses, of a very early and heavy type, following one another, with heads stretched forward, as if sniffing the air suspiciously in search of enemies. The horses would certainly excite unfavorable comment at Newmarket. Their "points" are undoubtedly coarse and clumsy: their heads are big, thick, stupid, and ungainly; their manes are bushy and ill-defined; their legs are distinctly feeble and spindle-shaped; their tails more closely resemble the tail of the domestic pig than that of the noble animal beloved with a love passing the love of women by the English aristocracy. Nevertheless, there is little (if any) reason to doubt that my very old master did, on the whole, accurately represent the ancestral steed of his own exceedingly remote period. There were once horses even as is the horse of the prehistoric Dordonian artist. Such clumsy, big-headed brutes, dun in hue and striped down the back like modern donkeys, did actually once roam over the low plains where Paris now stands, and browse off lush grass and tall water-plants around the quays of Bordeaux and Lyons. Not only do the bones of the contemporary horses, dug up in caves, prove this, but quite recently the Russian traveler Prjevalsky (whose name is so much easier to spell than to pronounce) has discovered a similar living horse, which drags on an obscure existence somewhere in the high table-lands of Central Asia. Prjevalsky's horse (you see, as I have only to write the word, without uttering it, I don't mind how often or how intrepidly I use it) is so singularly like the clumsy brutes that sat, or rather stood, for their portraits to my old master, that we can't do better than begin by describing him in propria persona.
The horse family of the present day is divided, like most other families, into two factions, which may be described for variety's sake as those of the true horses and the donkeys, these latter including also the zebras, quaggas, and various other unfamiliar creatures whose names, in very choice Latin, are only known to the more diligent visitors at the Sunday Zoo. Now everybody must have noticed that the chief broad distinction between these two great groups consists in the feathering of the tail. The domestic donkey, with his near congeners, the zebra and co., have smooth, short-haired tails, ending in a single bunch or fly-whisk of long hairs collected together in a tufted bundle at the extreme tip. The horse, on the other hand, besides having horny patches or callosities on both fore and hind legs, while the donkeys have them on the fore-legs only, has a hairy tail, in which the long hairs are almost equally distributed from top to bottom, thus giving it its peculiarly bushy and brushy appearance. But Prjevalsky's horse, as one would naturally expect from an early intermediate form, stands half-way in this respect between the two groups, and acts the thankless part of a family mediator; for it has most of its long tail-hairs collected in a final flourish, like the donkey, but several of them spring from the middle distance, as in the genuine Arab, though never from the very top, thus showing an approach to the true horsey habit without actually attaining that final pinnacle of equine glory. So far as one can make out from the somewhat rude handicraft of my prehistoric Phidias, the horse of the quaternary epoch had much the same caudal peculiarity; his tail was bushy, but only in the lower half. He was still in the intermediate stage between horse and donkey, a natural mule still struggling up aspiringly toward perfect horsehood. In all other matters the two creatures—the cave-man's horse and Prjevalski's—closely agree. Both display large heads, thick necks, coarse manes, and a general disregard of "points" which would strike disgust and dismay into the stout breasts of Messrs. Tattersall. In fact, over a T. Y. C. it may be confidently asserted, in the pure Saxon of the sporting papers, that Prjevalski's and the cave-man's lot wouldn't be in it. Nevertheless, a candid critic would be forced to admit that, in spite of clumsiness, they both mean staying.
So much for the two sitters; now let us turn to the artist who sketched them. Who was he, and when did he live? Well, his name, like that of many other old masters, is quite unknown to us; but what does that matter, so long as his work itself lives and survives? Like the Comtists he has managed to obtain objective immortality. The work, after all, is for the most part all we ever have to go upon. "I have my own theory about the authorship of the Iliad and Odyssey," said Lewis Carroll (of "Alice in Wonderland") once in Christ Church common-room; "it is that they weren't really written by Homer, but by another person of the same name." There you have the Iliad in a nutshell as regards the authenticity of great works. All we know about the supposed Homer (if anything) is that he was the reputed author of the two unapproachable Greek epics; and all we know directly about my old master, viewed personally, is that he once carved with a rude flint flake on a fragment of reindeer-horn these two clumsy prehistoric horses. Yet by putting two and two together we can make, not four, as might be naturally expected, but a fairly connected history of the old master himself and what Mr. Herbert Spencer would no doubt playfully term his "environment."
The work of art was dug up from under the firm concreted floor of a cave in the Dordogne. That cave was once inhabited by the nameless artist himself, his wife, and family. It had been previously tenanted by various other early families, as well as by bears who seem to lived there in the intervals between the different human occupiers. Probably the bears ejected the men, and the men in turn ejected the bears, by the summary process of eating one another up. In any case the freehold of the cave was at last settled upon our early French artist. But the date of his occupancy is by no means recent; for since he lived there the long cold spell known as the Great Ice Age, or Glacial Epoch, has swept over the whole of Northern Europe, and swept before it the shivering descendants of my poor prehistoric old master. Now, how long ago was the Great Ice Age? As a rule, if you ask a geologist for a definite date, you will find him very chary of giving you a distinct answer. He knows that the chalk is older than the London clay, and the oölite than the chalk, and the red marl than the oölite; and he knows also that each of them took a very long time indeed to lay down, but exactly how long he has no notion. If you say to him, "Is it a million years since the chalk was deposited?" he will answer, like the old lady of Prague, whose ideas were excessively vague, "Perhaps." If you suggest five millions, he will answer oracularly once more, "Perhaps"; and if, you go on to twenty millions, "Perhaps," with a broad smile, is still the only confession of faith that torture will wring out of him. But in the matter of the Glacial Epoch, a comparatively late and almost historical event, geologists have broken through their usual reserve on this chronological question, and condescended to give us a numerical determination. And here is how Dr. Croll gets at it.
Every now and again, geological evidence goes to show us, a long cold spell occurs in the northern or southern hemisphere. During these long cold spells the ice-cap at the poles increases largely, till it spreads over a great part of what are now the temperate regions of the globe, and makes ice a mere drug in the market as far south as Covent Garden or the Halles at Paris. During the greatest extension of this ice-sheet in the last glacial epoch, in fact, all England except a small southwestern corner (about Torquay and Bournemouth) was completely covered by one enormous mass of glaciers, as is still the case with almost the whole of Greenland. The ice-sheet, grinding slowly over the hills and rocks, smoothed, and polished, and striated their surfaces in many places till they resembled the roches moutonnées similarly ground down in our own day by the moving ice-rivers of Chamouni and Grindelwald. Now, since these great glaciations have occurred at various intervals in the world's past history, they must depend upon some frequently recurring cause. Such a cause, therefore, Dr. Croll began ingeniously to hunt about for.
He found it at last in the eccentricity of the earth's orbit. This world of ours, though usually steady enough in its movements, is at times decidedly eccentric. Not that I mean to impute to our old and exceedingly respectable planet any occasional aberrations of intellect, or still less of morals (such as might be expected from Mars and Venus); the word is here to be accepted strictly in its scientific or Pickwickian sense as implying merely an irregularity of movement, a slight wobbling out of the established path, a deviation from exact circularity. Owing to a combination of astronomical revolutions, the precession of the equinoxes and the motion of the aphelion (I am not going to explain them here; the names alone will be quite sufficient for most people; they will take the rest on trust)—owing to the combination of these profoundly interesting causes, I say, there occur certain periods in the world's life when for a very long time together (10,500 years, to be quite precise) the northern hemisphere is warmer than the southern, or vice versa. Now, Dr. Croll has calculated that about 250,000 years ago this eccentricity of the earth's orbit was at its highest, so that a cycle of recurring cold and warm epochs in either hemisphere alternately then set in; and such cold spells it was that produced the Great Ice Age in Northern Europe. They went on till about 80,000 years ago, when they stopped short for the present, leaving the climate of Britain and the neighboring continent with its existing inconvenient Laodicean temperature. And, as there are good reasons for believing that my old master and his contemporaries lived just before the greatest cold of the Glacial Epoch, and that his immediate descendants, with the animals on which they feasted, were driven out of Europe, or out of existence, by the slow approach of the enormous ice-sheet, we may, I think, fairly conclude that his date was somewhere about b. c. 248,000. In any case we must at least admit, with Mr. Andrew Lang, the laureate of the twenty-five thousandth century, that
"He lived in the long, long agoes;
'Twas the manner of primitive man."
The old master, then, carved his bas-relief in pre-glacial Europe, just at the moment before the temporary extinction of his race in France by the coming on of the Great Ice Age. We can infer this fact from the character of the fauna by which he was surrounded, a fauna in which species of cold and warm climates are at times quite capriciously intermingled. We get the reindeer and the mammoth side by side with the hippopotamus and the hyena; we find the chilly cave-bear and the Norway lemming, the musk-sheep and the Arctic fox in the same deposits with the lion and the lynx, the leopard and the rhinoceros. The fact is, as Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace has pointed out, we live to-day in a zoölogically impoverished world, from which all the largest, fiercest, and most remarkable animals have lately been weeded out. And it was in all probability the coming on of the Ice Age that did the weeding. Our Zoo can boast no mammoth and no mastodon. The saber-toothed lion has gone the way of all flesh; the and the colossal ruminants of the Pliocene Age no longer browse beside the banks of Seine. But our old master saw the last of some at least among those gigantic quadrupeds; it was his hand, or that of one among his fellows, that scratched the famous mammoth etching on the ivory of La Madelaine, and carved the figure of the extinct cave-bear on the reindeer-horn ornaments of Laugerie Basse. Probably, therefore, he lived in the period immediately preceding the Great Ice Age, or else perhaps in one of the warm interglacial spells with which the long secular winter of the northern hemisphere was then from time to time agreeably diversified.
And what did the old master himself look like? Well, painters have always been fond of reproducing their own lineaments. Have we not the familiar young Raphael painted by himself, and the Rembrandt, and the Titian, and the Rubens, and a hundred other self-drawn portraits, all flattering and all famous? Even so primitive man has drawn himself many times over, not indeed on this particular piece of reindeer-horn, but on several other media to be seen elsewhere, in the original or in good copies. One of the best portraits is that discovered in the old cave at Laugerie Basse by M. Élie Massénat, where a very early pre-glacial man is represented in the act of hunting an aurochs, at which he is casting a flint-tipped javelin. In this as in all other pictures of the same epoch I regret to say that the ancient hunter is represented in the costume of Adam before the fall. Our old master's studies, in fact, are all in the nude. Primitive man was evidently unacquainted as yet with the use of clothing, though primitive woman, while still unclad, had already learned how to heighten her natural charms by the simple addition of a necklace and bracelets. Indeed, though dresses were still wholly unknown, rouge was even then extremely fashionable among French ladies, and lumps of the ruddle with which primitive woman made herself beautiful forever are now to be discovered in the corner of the cave where she had her little prehistoric boudoir. To return to our hunter, however, who for aught we know to the contrary may be our old master himself in person, he is a rather crouching and semi-erect savage, with an arched back, recalling somewhat that of the gorilla, a round head, long neck, pointed beard, and weak, shambling, ill-developed legs. I fear we must admit that pre-glacial man cut, on the whole, a very sorry and awkward figure.
Was he black? That we don't certainly know; but all analogy would lead one to answer positively, Yes. White men seem, on the whole, to be a very recent and novel improvement on the original evolutionary pattern. At any rate he was distinctly hairy, like the Ainos, or aborigines of Japan, in our own day, of whom Miss Isabella Bird has drawn so startling and sensational a picture. Several of the pre-glacial sketches show us lank and gawky savages with the body covered with long scratches, answering exactly to the scratches which represent the hanging hair of the mammoth, and suggesting that man then still retained his old original hairy covering. The few skulls and other fragments of skeletons now preserved to us also indicate that our old master and his contemporaries much resembled in shape and build the Australian black fellows, though their foreheads were lower and more receding, while their front teeth still projected in huge fangs, faintly recalling the immense canines of the male gorilla. Quite apart from any theoretical considerations as to our probable descent (or ascent) from Mr. Darwin's hypothetical "hairy arboreal quadrumanous ancestor," whose existence may or may not be really true, there can be no doubt that the actual historical remains set before us pre-glacial man as evidently approaching in several important respects the higher monkeys.
It is interesting to note, too, that while the Men of the Time still retained (to be frankly evolutionary) many traces of the old monkeylike progenitor, the horses which our old master has so cleverly delineated for us on his scrap of horn similarly retained many traces of the earlier united horse-and-donkey ancestor. Professor Huxley has admirably reconstructed for us the pedigree of the horse, beginning with a little creature from the Eocene beds of New Mexico, with five toes to each hind-foot, and ending with the modern horse, whose hoof is now practically reduced to a single and solid-nailed toe. Intermediate stages show us an Upper Eocene animal as big as a fox, with four toes on his front feet and three behind; a Miocene kind as big as a sheep, with only three toes on the front-foot, the two outer of which are smaller than the big middle one; and, finally, a Pliocene form, as big as a donkey, with one stout middle toe, the real hoof, flanked by two smaller ones, too short by far to reach the ground. In our own horse these lateral toes have become reduced to what are known by veterinaries as splint-bones, combined with the canon in a single solidly mortised piece. But in the pre-Glacial horses the splint-bones still generally remained quite distinct, thus pointing back to the still earlier period when they existed as two separate and independent side-toes in the ancestral quadruped. In a few cave specimens, however, the splints are found united with the canons in a single piece, while conversely horses are sometimes, though very rarely, born at the present day with three-toed feet exactly resembling those of their half-forgotten ancestor, the Pliocene hipparion.
The reason why we know so much about the horses of the cave period is, I am bound to admit, simply and solely because the man of the period ate them. Hippophagy has always been popular in France; it was practiced by pre-Glacial man in the caves of Perigord, and revived with immense enthusiasm by the gourmets of the Boulevards after the siege of Paris and the hunger of the Commune. The cavemen hunted and killed the wild horse of their own times, and one of the best of their remaining works of art represents a naked hunter attacking two horses, while a huge snake winds itself unperceived behind close to his heel. In this rough prehistoric sketch one seems to catch some faint antique foreshadowing of the rude humor of the "Petit Journal pour Rire." Some archaeologists even believe that the horse was domesticated by the cave-men as a source of food, and argue that the familiarity with its form shown in the drawings could only have been acquired by people who knew the animal in its domesticated state; they declare that the cave-man was obviously horsey. But all the indications seem to me to show that tame animals were quite unknown in the age of the cave-men. The mammoth certainly was never domesticated; yet there is a famous sketch of the huge beast upon a piece of his own ivory, discovered in the cave of La Madelaine by Messrs. Lartet and Christy, and engraved a hundred times in works on archaeology, which forms one of the finest existing relics of Glacial art. In another sketch, less well known, but not unworthy of admiration, the early artist has given us with a few rapid hut admirable strokes his own reminiscence of the effect produced upon him by the sudden onslaught of the hairy brute, tusks erect and mouth wide open, a perfect glimpse of elephantine fury. It forms a capital example of early impressionism, respectfully recommended to the favorable attention of Mr. J. M. Whistler.
The reindeer, however, formed the favorite food and favorite model of the pre-Glacial artists. Perhaps it was a better sitter than the mammoth; certainly it is much more frequently represented on these early prehistoric bas-reliefs. The high-water mark of palæolithic art is undoubtedly to be found in the reindeer of the cave of Thayngen, in Switzerland, a capital and spirited representation of a buck grazing, in which the perspective of the two horns is better managed than a Chinese artist would manage it at the present day. Another drawing of two reindeer fighting, scratched on a fragment of schistose rock and unearthed in one of the caves of Périgord, though far inferior to the Swiss specimen in spirit and execution, is yet not without real merit. The perspective, however, displays one marked infantile trait, for the head and legs of one deer are seen distinctly through the body of another. Cave-bears, fish, musk-sheep, foxes, and many other extinct or existing animals, are also found among the archaic sculptures. Probably all these creatures were used as food; and it is even doubtful whether the artistic troglodytes were not also confirmed cannibals. To quote Mr. Andrew Lang once more on primitive man, "he lived in a cave by the seas; he lived upon oysters and foes." The oysters are quite undoubted, and the foes may be inferred with considerable certainty.
I have spoken of our old master more than once under this rather question-begging style and title of primitive man. In reality, however, the very facts which I have here been detailing serve themselves to show how extremely far our hero was from being truly primitive? You can't speak of a distinguished artist, who draws the portraits of extinct animals with grace and accuracy, as in any proper sense primordial. Grant that our good troglodytes were indeed light-hearted cannibals; nevertheless, they could design far better than the modern Esquimaux or Polynesians, and carve far better than the civilized being who is now calmly discoursing about their personal peculiarities in his own study. Between the cave-men of the pre-Glacial age and the hypothetical hairy quadrumanous ancestor aforesaid there must have intervened innumerable generations of gradually improving intermediate forms. The old master, when he first makes his bow to us, naked and not ashamed, in his Swiss or French grotto, flint scalpel in hand and necklet of bear's teeth dropping loosely on his hairy bosom, is nevertheless in all essentials a completely evolved human being, with a whole past of slowly acquired culture lying dimly and mysteriously behind him. Already he has invented the bow with its flint-tipped arrow, the neatly chipped javelin-head, the bone harpoon, the barbed fish-hook, the axe, the lance, the dagger, and the needle. Already he had learned how to decorate his implements with artistic skill, and to carve the handles of his knives with the figures of animals. I have no doubt that he even knew how to brew and to distill; and he was probably acquainted with the noble art of cookery as applied to the persons of his human fellow-creatures. Such a personage can not reasonably be called primitive; cannibalism, as somebody has rightly remarked, is the first step on the road to civilization.
No, if we want to get at genuine, unadulterated primitive man, we must go much further back in time than the mere trifle of 250,000 years, with which Dr. Croll and the cosmic astronomers so generously provide us, for pre-Glacial humanity. We must turn away to the immeasurably earlier fire-split flints which the Abbé Bourgeois—undaunted mortal!—ventured to discover among the Miocene strata of the calcaire de Beauce. Those flints, if of human origin at all, were fashioned by some naked and still more hairy creature, who might fairly claim to be considered as genuinely primitive. So rude are they that, though evidently artificial, one distinguished archaeologist will not admit they can be in any way human; he will have it that they were really the handiwork of the great European anthropoid ape of that early period. This, however, is nothing more than very delicate hair-splitting; for what does it matter whether you call the animal that fashioned these exceedingly rough and fire-marked implements a man-like ape or an ape-like human being? The fact remains quite unaltered, whichever name you choose to give to it. When you have got to a monkey who can light a fire and proceed to manufacture himself a convenient implement, you may be sure that man, noble man, with all his glorious and admirable faculties—cannibal or otherwise—is lurking somewhere very close, just round the corner. The more we examine the work of our old master, in fact, the more does the conviction force itself upon us, that he was very far indeed from being primitive—that we must push back the early history of our race not for 250,000 winters alone, but perhaps for two or three million years, into the dim past of Tertiary ages.
But if pre-Glacial man is thus separated from the origin of the race by a very long interval indeed, it is none the less true that he is separated from our own time by the intervention of a vast blank space, the space occupied by the coming on and passing away of the Glacial Epoch. A great gap cuts him off from what we may consider as the relatively modern age of the mound-builders, whose grassy barrows still cap the summits of our southern chalk-downs. When the great ice-sheet drove away palæolithic man—the man of the caves and the unwrought flint axes—from Northern Europe, he was still nothing more than a naked savage in the hunting stage, divinely gifted for art indeed, but armed only with roughly-chipped stone implements, and wholly ignorant of taming animals, or of the very rudiments of agriculture. He knew nothing of the use of metals—aurum irrepertum spernere fortior—and he had not even learned how to grind and polish his rude stone tomahawks to a finished edge. He couldn't make himself a bowl of sun-baked pottery, and if he had discovered the almost universal art of manufacturing an intoxicating liquor from grain or berries (for, as Byron, with too great anthropological truth, justly remarks, "man, being reasonable, must get drunk") he at least drank his aboriginal beer or toddy from the capacious horn of a slaughtered aurochs. That was the kind of human being who alone inhabited France and England during the later pre-Glacial period.
A hundred and seventy thousand years elapse (as the play-bills put it), and then the curtain rises afresh upon neolithic Europe. Man meanwhile, loitering somewhere behind the scenes in Asia or Africa (as yet imperfectly explored from this point of view), had acquired the important arts of sharpening his tomahawks and producing hand-made pottery for his kitchen utensils. When the great ice-sheet cleared away he followed the returning summer into Northern Europe, another man, physically, intellectually, and morally, with all the slow accumulations of nearly two thousand centuries (how easily one writes the words! how hard to realize them!) upon his maturer shoulders. Then comes the age of what older antiquaries used to regard as primitive antiquity—the age of the English barrows, of the Danish kitchen-middens, of the Swiss lake-dwellings. The men who lived in it had domesticated the dog, the cow, the sheep, the goat, and the invaluable pig; they had begun to sow small ancestral wheat and undeveloped barley; they had learned to weave flax and wear decent clothing; in a word, they had passed from the savage hunting condition to the stage of barbaric herdsmen and agriculturists. That is a comparatively modern period, and yet I suppose we must conclude, with Dr. James Geikie, that it isn't to be measured by mere calculations of ten or twenty centuries, but ten or twenty thousand years. The perspective of the past is opening up rapidly before us; what looked quite close yesterday is shown to-day to lie away off somewhere in the dim distance. Like our palæolithic artists, we fail to get the reindeer fairly behind the ox in the foreground, as we ought to do if we saw the whole scene properly foreshortened.
On the table where I write there lie two paper-weights, preserving from the fate of the sibylline leaves the sheets of foolscap to which this article is now being committed. One of them is a very rude flint hatchet, produced by merely chipping off flakes from its side by dexterous blows, and utterly unpolished or unground in any way. It belongs to the age of the very old master (or possibly even to a slightly earlier epoch), and it was sent me from Ightham, in Kent, by that indefatigable unearther of prehistoric memorials, Mr. Benjamin Harrison . That flint, which now serves me in the office of a paper-weight, is far ruder, simpler, and more ineffective than any weapon or implement at present in use among the lowest savages. Yet with it, I doubt not, some naked black fellow, by the banks of the Thames, has hunted the mammoth among unbroken forests two hundred thousand years ago and more; with it he has faced the angry cave-bear, and the original and only genuine British lion (for everybody knows that the existing mongrel heraldic beast is nothing better than a bastard modification of the leopard of the Plantagenets). Nay, I have very little doubt in my own mind that with it some aesthetic ancestor has brained and cut up for use his next-door neighbor in the nearest cavern, and then carved upon his well-picked bones an interesting sketch of the entire performance. The Du Mauriers of that remote age, in fact, habitually drew their society pictures upon the personal remains of the mammoth or the man whom they wished to caricature in deathless bone-cuts. The other paper-weight is a polished neolithic tomahawk, belonging to the period of the mound-builders, who succeeded the Glacial epoch, and it measures the distance between the two levels of civilization with great accuracy. It is the military weapon of a trained barbaric warrior as opposed to the universal implement and utensil of a rude, solitary, savage hunter. Yet how curious it is that, even in the midst of this "so-called nineteenth century," which perpetually proclaims itself an age of progress, men should still prefer to believe themselves inferior to their original ancestors, instead of being superior to them! The idea that man has riser is considered base, degrading, and positively wicked; the idea that he has fallen is considered to be immensely inspiring, ennobling, and beautiful. For myself, I have somehow always preferred the boast of the Homeric Glaucus, that we, indeed, maintain ourselves to be much better men than ever were our fathers.—Cornhill Magazine.