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A GLIMPSE INTO "A NEW WORLD, WHICH IS THE OLD"

BY EDWARD H. THOMPSON

I ,

N prehistoric times, so the wise men of A tiny garden was beside it, an aërial

one made of felled, age-hollowed trunks of of Yucatan achieved a civilization wonder- great cocoyal palms, split open at the midfully complete in its way. It was a com- dle, and raised several feet from the plex social structure, with religious and ground by the stout, smooth forks of a secular heads of autocratic power, and a chucum tree. gradually decreasing status, until the limit Safe from the attacks of the forest-forwas reached in the slave captive of some agers grew the tiny bunches of aromatic wild and still primitive people.

herbs that Ana used to season their daily If this be indeed the case, then Dimas food. Tus and his mate Ana must have de- Deeper in the forest, about many low scended from such primitive stock. Their mounds, shapeless remains of a prehistoric parents may have been ordinary working- hamlet, was their tiny corn-field, well people, good as their world goes; but if so, planted and well kept. Dimas and Ana were examples of atavism, away at his corn-field with the same tirereversions to the original type.

less, instinctive industry that the ant exThey were not vicious, only wild, hibits when it cuts its leafy food and shrewd in avoiding labor, and with wants stores it against the dry and leafless spell. so simple that the necessities of the ordi- Ana, at home, went the same instinctive, nary native Indian were mostly luxuries

tireless pace,

She rose with the earliest to them.

bird-chirp, then by the light of freshened They were small, but well propor- embers she ground the corn and made the tioned, bright-eyed, and cleanly, with quick gruel and bread. All this was done in movements. Most wild animals, when perfect silence, while Dimas, wrapped in they can be, are cleanly.

his faded, red-barred blanket, crouched on They lived somewhere in one of the the floor, equally mute. many, little red earth valleys between the Only after they had taken their hot foot-hills. Only the hunters who tracked gruel and the steaming uahes (cornthe jaguar to his lair, the wild boars to bread) did they open their mouths to their rootings in the forest, or the golden speak, and then only in simple phrases. turkey to its safest nesting-place, ever saw "The tunkuluchues (great horned owls] the tiny ná, like the nest of some wild bird, hooted very early this morning,” said Ana. hidden in the tall tangle of the valley. "I heard them,” replied Dimas.

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INQUISITIVE JAGUAR SOUGHT TO PULL OPEN THE UNLATCHED DOO)

Nothing more was said for a while. day-birds' nests was over the little hut of Dimas put an edge on his machete with a Dimas and Ana. Only the red star-gleam broken file, and then said:

of the embers in the three-stone fireplace “It wants to rain. See, the black ants gave sign that human life was there. are thick in the path.” “They are thick," said Ana.

Once a year there came to Dimas and Dimas went off to the corn-field, and Ana the Auttering excitement that must Ana went to the water-hole in the rock be upon all migrating creatures when they and drew the water in a bucket of chucum leave for a while their old haunt behind bark to water the aërial garden in the them. For several weeks ahead they had canche, to wash the corn and cook it, and been planning for it. Dimas had gone to then for the nightly bath of warm water his bank for a blank check, and they both when Dimas came back from the corn- set their hands and seals upon it to make it field.

good and valid. In other words, he had The seasons seemed to bring to them gone to the ruined homes of the ancient their voices, as they did to the animals and ones close by, and torn from the massive the birds. When the crop was ready to be walls a handsome, fine-grained, smoothgathered, then they went to the field and worked block of stone. Then they picked worked together. At this time the tongues and picked at this with sharp-edged pieces of both were loosened, and when near to- of steel, and with the industry of a squirgether, they kept up a kind of constant rel opening nuts, until the perfect , or twittering in a curious minor key that native mill, and its symmetrical roller made their words so strangely sounding were lying before them. that none, though close by them, could The bleached squash-seeds were wrapped tell what they were saying to each other. up into two well-made, compact bundles, When separate in the field and filling their covered with palm-leaf and tied with xuxacs, or woven back-baskets, the con- vines. One was for Ana to carry, while stant vocal interchange was in long-drawn, the other, crowned by the heavy mill and high-keyed sounds, more like the clear, its roller, was for Dimas and his foreheadsweet cries of the wild forest creatures band. than like human words.

At last they reached the nearest little When the crops were housed for safety, pueblo, to them a wonderful place, with each after the needs of its kind, the un- many people. They went up to the door husked corn packed in the three-forked of the one little store and looked timidly tree-trunk as closely as Nature herself in. The proprietor saw them coming, as could pack the kernels on the cob, and the he had seen them coming for several years black beans packed and sealed with ashes before. He was the great man of the vilin the large gourds, then side by side the lage. Some villages have great men, and two crouched on the ground outside the the villagers curse them,-curse them door in the clear moonlight, picking out quietly, but with feeling,—but this vilthe flat, edible seeds of the field pumpkin, lage's great man had a heart as great as the calabasa. At these times they kept up his position was thought to be by those a never-ending conversation in a monoto- under him. More than this no man can nous undertone. What were they talking be, and his fellow-villagers respected and about? What did he say, and what did feared him as they did the village cura. she answer ? As well ask what the coon He bought the handsome, hand-made says when it whimpers to its mate as they mill at a price that made him a handsome work on the field corn in the husk. One profit afterward, for he was shrewd, this is as easy to answer as the other.

village great man. He sold them cottonAt other times they were silent, almost cloth, a new flint for Dimas, and powder mute. The venturesome hunters who for his gun, and so made another handfrom time to time passed through the val- some profit. ley and called at their door for water or The next time they came to the village rest never saw a candle lighted or one hang- they brought, beside the mill of hard, red ing from the beams, as in other, even the stone, a large sack of rich, golden, yellow, poorest, homes.

When the dusk of eve- nancene fruit, and the great man of the vilning came on, the evening quietness of the lage bought both the mill and the fruit, the mill to sell in his store, while his wife pre- above a whisper, and the flies were buzzserved the part of the fruit that the chil- ing about her so that she could not hear dren did not eat while she was making the him. He wished to tell her that he wanted preserving-syrup.

some water and that the fire was out; but Ana and Dim made their usual pur- he could not, and then he fell asleep again. chases of rock-salt, sugar, a few yards of unbleached cotton-cloth for their next He buried Ana under the great yax-tree, season's clothes, and packed them into a and spent most of his time for many days neat, compact bundle for easy carrying. sitting by her grave. His tongue was Then they went out to look at the strange loosened as it was when they seeded the sights and the many people.

calabasas together, and he talked to her in All the people seemed to be moving in the same crooning minor key as if she one direction, and they followed slowly. was sitting right before him. They came to two lines of great iron rails, The working instinct moved Dim still, and many strange men were putting more and at the appointed time he made his rails down with great bustle and much milpah, burned it, and gathered the crop. talking in a strange tongue and harsh As usual, Dim went to the pueblo. The voices. Dim and Ana stood silently look- storekeeper was there as before; but he ing at these things, wondering what it was did not see Ana, and surely the bent form all about; but they did not ask of any one. and little, old, wrinkled face was not Dim.

Ana was a little afraid, and stood be- The good man was shocked that Ana hind Dim, with one hand picking at the had been buried as the animals are laid seam of his sleeve.

away, and that night the village cura said They turned to go back, and heard one mass for the soul of her whose body lay of the townsmen say to another that these under the boughs of the great yax-tree in strange workmen had brought el vomito the distant little valley. to the village. They wondered what the That same night Dim wandered alone, vomito was, but did not ask any one. fell into evil hands, got drunk, and was These people are so.

rescued from the calabosa by his good Then they went back home. Dim kin- friend the storekeeper, who had him sleep dled the new fire for the year with his off the liquor behind the counter in his new Aint and broken file, and Ana got the store. first meal. After that they unpacked By daybreak the next morning Dim was their purchases and stowed them safely already far on his way homeward to the away. Dim went to his milpah, while lonely little hut in the valley and the Ana took up the grinding of the corn, the grave under the great yax-tree. washing of the clothes, the sewing, and the bringing of the water from the water- There were many leaves on the floor of hole, as she used to do.

the little hut, blown in through the hole One day Dim came home early, sick. in the roof. The roof was sagging, and He had a terrible pain in the back of his the bep-vine had found its way through neck, and his head ached as though it in many places. Since Ana's death Dim would split apart. Ana's head ached, too, had not even thought to repair it, and was and she felt sick, but did not speak of it. content with the little corner space yet free She made him some tea of herbs, and he from holes. lay down in his hammock. He seemed to One night Dim took to his hammock sleep mostly, but it was hot and he was with a strong fever, and the hot blood thirsty. He remembered calling for coursed through his shriveled veins with water once, and Ana gave it to him, and throbbing force. then he called for more, and she gave it to Dim was happy. The big bep-vine that him; and then she fell down, so it seemed had grown through the hole in the roof to him, though he went to sleep before he had suddenly burst into great bunches of had time to think over it. When he woke snow-white blossoms, and these blossoms up, he tried to lift his head, but could not; had become Ana. so he turned it to one side, and saw Ana As the wind blew, he could see her on the floor, sleeping. He tried to call white dress moving about the room. Soon out to her, but could not raise his voice she would get his bath ready, and he could

cool his hot body; then she would make pull open the unlatched door, but the him his hot atole. Oh, how good was the sturdy branch of the thorny bep-vine said hot atole when his Ana made it!

“No," and meant it, so the jaguar went on. He wanted nothing more, and would Unclean birds sought entrance from the sleep a while until his bath was ready. roof, but again the thorny bep-vine said

“No," and hundreds of little, buzzing, GREAT masses of morning-glory, green bright-eyed creatures with cunning stings vines, and white bep-flowers grew over the said “No," too; so the birds went away, little hut until it was a rounded mound of and left the little hut and the little grave verdure. An inquisitive jaguar sought to to the care of kind old Mother Nature.

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POMP and circumstance, unequaled

EARTHLY GLORY TO GOOD USES of government. It was the scene in West

minster Abbey, which is so simply and yet OM

so massively pictured by Mr. Pennell on perhaps by anything known to mod- page 739, that embodied the real signifiern history, were features of the corona- cance of the coronation. There, the newly tion of King George and Queen Mary, on crowned and anointed monarch, the heir the 22d of June. Such splendor lavishly of ancient forms and modern changes, sat decked out, and such evidences of wealth in person on his throne and received the and organization made obvious to the eye, homage of his princes, his nobles, his peoare beyond compare for lack of accurate ple, and his subjects beyond the seas. On standards. They suggest some of the his head rested a crown of truly royal and aspects of Roman triumphs, as known in imperial magnificence; in his hands were part through records, but mainly realized firmly held the insignia of a kingly sway in fancy. Yet the mastery of Rome was as broader and more benign than any other a handful of provinces to a whole atlas of known to history. Yet of personal power countries when compared with the belt of there was no sign, save in the verbal forms, British dominion now girdling the world. which were just as old, just as beautiful,

The sturdy legions of Rome must have and just as symbolic, as the ancient crown been vastly impressive in fighting masses and scepter. All that vast, solemn cereand in holiday array, but as exponents of mony was performed merely to consecrate potential force they hardly could have and venerate a worthy prince in his funcmatched the varied detachments from the tion of human symbol of authority. great feets, from the home countries, and It is significant of the inherent strength from distant lands and continents, which of British institutions that such devotion lined up for review by the new king and to the old monarchical forms is given at a the old, grizzled marshals of the empire; time when English government, so long while all the galley fleets of Rome would representative, rests to an extent possibly but poorly fill the places of the barges and never before experienced on the freetenders of the thirty miles of submarines, hearted consent of the British people; destroyers, armored cruisers, dreadnoughts, when the last feudal branch seems about and auxiliaries, which saluted in real earth- to wither on the decayed trunk of priviquake tones the new monarch of the seas. lege; when the virile devotion of the people

Such physical aspects of earthly power to progressive ideals is, as ever, on the and glory must fill a useful place in the upward trend; and when the courage and endless task of steadying and governing the enterprise of commercial and industrial human world, but they are only the showy Britain has set no bounds to its ambition: mantel of that authority which is the soul in other words, at a time when the cohesion

LXXXII-97

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