Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/66

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54
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ber of the words of their ancestral vocabulary; and that they have retained and make use of their original idioms. Of course, many English words have crept in, but these are so commingled with their native speech that their meaning is utterly lost unless one is familiar with the peculiar patois that these diminutive individuals make use of. Captain Ellis, of course, has reference to one particular colony, that near Charleston, S. C. In Louisiana these negritos use words borrowed from the French, but so corrupted

PSM V49 D066 American negrito.jpg
American Negrito. Bayou la Têche, La.

that it would be difficult for the most expert philologist to trace out their derivation and meaning.

Crossing has done much toward obliterating the pure type, many of these little people having only their undersized bodies and brachycephalic heads to indicate their origin; and, whenever there is a strain of negrito blood in an individual, he is very apt to possess one or both of these striking characteristics. I have examined a number of these half-breeds and have invariably found them round-headed and of short stature. In some localities, however, the pure type is very prevalent, and one may see the full-blooded negrito who possesses all the distinguishing features of his African or Asiatic brother. Such is the individual whom I have chosen to illustrate this paper. He was born in Bayou la Têche, La., of negrito parents, if his description of them is correct, and came to Kentucky with his "ole mistiss" when about fifty years old. He is four feet nine inches tall, and is perfectly proportioned. A glance at his photograph will show that his feet, notwithstanding the fact that they are covered by rough and unsightly brogans, are small and well made. His hands, although somewhat knotted by rheumatism and hard work, still show traces of their former slimness and delicate outline. His skin presents the characteristic texture of the full-blooded negrito, feeling like velvet to the touch, and is covered by a soft and downy fell. I have known him intimately for years, and have never detected the slightest odor emanating from his person. Finally, he is decidedly brachycephalic, and slightly