Page:A book of the west; being an introduction to Devon and Cornwall.djvu/24

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2
THE WESTERN FOLK

remains are not so abundant with us as there, because our conditions are not as favourable for their preservation; and yet in the Drift we do find an enormous number of their tools, though not in situ, with their hearths, as in France; yet sufficient to show that either they were very numerous, or what is more probable, that the time during which they existed was long.

This people did not melt off the face of the earth like snow. They remained on it.

We know that they were tall, that they had gentle faces—the structure of their skulls shows this; and from the sketches they have left of themselves, we conclude that they had straight hair, and from their skeletons we learn that they were tall.

M. Massenat, the most experienced hunter after their remains, was sitting talking with me one evening at Brives about their relics. He had just received a volume of the transactions of the Smithsonian Institute that contained photographs of Esquimaux implements. He indicated one, and asked me to translate to him the passage relative to its use. "Wonderful!" said he. "I have found this tool repeatedly in our rock-shelters, and have never known its purport. It is a remarkable fact, that to understand our reindeer hunters of the Vézère we must question the Esquimaux of the Polar region. I firmly hold that they were the same race."

A gentle, intelligent, artistic, unwarlike people got pressed into corners by more energetic, military, and aggressive races. And, accustomed to the reindeer, some doubtless migrated North with their favourite