Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/71
MAN AND THE GLACIAL PERIOD.'
Being by nature benevolent, and inheriting a missionary spirit, it did me good to think that I was serving so useful a purpose, and starting a mission for the conversion of these heathen in aesthetics. With a force that almost took away my breath, it came to me that we owe a great debt to the deformed, the hideous, and the wicked; that those, the morally hideous, whom society hunts down as its worst enemies, spend their lives in serving the very class that seeks to destroy them. Then, too, the goodness and holiness of the reconstructed world! There were met with only those with whom, having been so well generated for a thousand years, regeneration was impossible. A long line of physical, mental, and moral saints were the ancestors of the race. "What a perfect heaven!" I said to them. But I found upon their faces only a gingerbread-rabbit expression. Such words as heaven and hell conveyed to them no more idea than green or red conveys to a blind man. I was in despair at such a lack of appreciation. Here was practically the heaven upon earth which the race had worked for, prayed for, agonized for; and, now that it had come, no one seemed to enjoy it, or even to know of its existence. It is truly a misfortune to be born in and always to live in heaven. The eternal Law of Differences holds us fast. Hell is a necessity, which must be as deep as heaven is high. The world was better as it was before the reconstructed got hold of it. Give us back the iron age! All is not gold that glitters. My prayer was answered, and I found myself once more in this world of sin and holiness, joy and sorrow—in a word, back in this world of differences.
CONCERNING the Glacial period, geologists hold the most varied opinions, both with regard to its origin and to the mode of action of the ice. Thus at the very threshold of the geological record we tread on uncertain ground, and every guide points to a different path. The relation that palæolithic man bore to the great ice age might seem to be of easier solution; but even this question is unsettled, and a subject of controversy and doubt. Prof. Prestwich is believed by many to have proved that palæolithic man was postglacial. Messrs. Croll and Geikie urge that there were two or more glacial periods in post-tertiary times, and that he nourished in a mild interglacial period. I, on the contrary, have been gradually forced to conclude that, in the British Isles, all the remains in caves and valley-gravels referred to palæolithic man are preglacial, in the sense that they are