Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/726

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706
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tary officer's shoulder-straps. Thus the bâton without a hole would indicate the lowest grade of dignity, those with one or more holes indicating a higher and higher office, until we reach the fourth grade, indicated by four holes. The ornamentation commonly surrounds these holes, and this circumstance would seem to show that the bâton was made for some personage already clothed with official rank. But sometimes the hole is seen to have been pierced afterward, breaking up the lines and disfiguring the design. Thus we have a bâton bearing the figure of a horse, which is found broken in two by one of these perforations. The happy owner of the truncheon had gained promotion!

This ascending scale of degrees and ranks (which is the sure evidence of a numerous society) may, no doubt, have been of service in war, but it is very likely that its chief object was the organization of hunting expeditions, as the chase was the great employment of the tribe. In a climate colder than ours, the game would keep for a considerable time, in winter especially. Hence the caves held a more or less abundant supply of victuals, and a manager in chief was needed, to prevent waste and to make equitable distribution of the store. We find rods of reindeer-horn with a number of notches cut in regular series, which would appear to have been the managers' day-books. These rods, commonly known as marques de chasse (tallies of the chase), much resemble the marques used by bakers in small country villages in France at the present day. There has been also found in one of the caves a broad plate of ivory, having on its sharp edges a series of notches, and on its flat sides several rows of points, which would also appear to have been tallies.

Owing to this social organization and administration of affairs, Troglodytic society, though it embraced a numerous membership, lived comfortably enough. They had such an abundance of food that they could choose the best pieces, rejecting what was of inferior quality. Thus, they threw away the feet of animals, though these contain a considerable amount of nutritive substance. Hence we see that they had plenty to eat: and, as thus the whole time of the tribe need not have been taken up with the business of making provision for the body's wants, they could enjoy repose now and then—could enjoy leisure—and leisure, when improved intelligently, gives rise to the arts.

 

2. The Arts among the Troglodytes.

To Egypt no longer pertains the glory of having been the originator of the arts. It was with profound astonishment that the world learned, some years since, that long, long before the artists of Egypt, the men of the Age of the Reindeer had cultivated design, engraving, and even sculpture. At first, their works were greeted only with plaudits of admiration; but now, recovered as we are from this first impression,