Page:A Book of Dartmoor.djvu/67

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39
THE GAEL

When the dolmen-builder arrived in Britain, to the best of our knowledge, he found no one there. On the Continent, on the other hand, if he went far inland, he not only clashed with the Aryan round-heads, but also here and there stumbled on the lingering remains of the primeval Palaeolithic people, who have left their remains in England in the river-drift, and in Devon in the Brixham caves and Kent's Hole.

The dolmen-builder has persisted in asserting himself. Though cranial modifications have taken place, the dusky skin, and the dark eyes and hair and somewhat squat build, have remained in the Western Isles, in Western Ireland, in Wales, and in Cornwall. It is still represented in Brittany. It is predominant in South-Western France, and is typical in Portugal.

After a lapse of time, of what duration we know not, a great wave of Aryans poured from the mountains of Central Europe, and, traversing Britain, occupied Ireland. This was the Gael. This people subjugated the Ivernian inhabitants, and rapidly mixed with them, imposing on them their tongue, except in South Wales, where the Silurian was found to have retained his individuality when conquered by Agricola in A.D. 78. But if the Gaelic invaders subjugated the Ivernians, they were in turn conquered by them, though in a different manner. The strongly marked religious ideas of the long-headed men, and their deeply rooted habit of worship of ancestors, impressed and captured the imagination of their masters, and as the races