Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/176

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
English Folk-Drama.

a survival must be very encouraging to the anthropologist and folk-lore collector. I shall hope to hear presently from the President and others their views on this point. It will be observed that the execution of the letters is not superior, but rather the reverse, to that of the figures.

[The scaly pattern of the mummer's dress from Hampshire was again referred to, and the likelihood of a similar desire for representation having caused this reminiscence of the dragon was pointed out.]

It is a curious fact to contemplate that at the present time we have in this country, living simultaneously in rural districts, representatives of two distinct levels of culture. There is the younger generation, equipped with a uniform education tending to make all minds of one type ; and there is in the generation dying out a quite different mental aspect — a culture varying in degree and kind, but united by an underlying system of tradition. Picture-writing and gesture-language in the age of Board schools suggest conditions which may make us wonder if the law of continuity with modification is about to cease.

Quite recently, I heard of an interesting case of an old couple living in Surrey, between Woking and Guildford, which illustrates the use of picture-writing in the age of newspapers. The old lady always takes the Police News, and she explained to my friend that she does this because she hears the news from her neighbours who read the newspapers, and then she can take her picture-paper and make it all out. This is strictly analogous to the use of picture-writing by savage tribes. The old lady went on to explain that her old man knew no more about the news than she did, although he could read a bit : he knew that "S-t-o-k-e" spelt Guildford, but she could find her way there by the direction-post as well as he.

With regard to what was said as to the idea of the man who prepared the dress, that all the live creatures on a farm should be represented, this is doubtless the idea of