THE PLACE

The _Prehistoric Man_ needs rehabilitation. At least it can be urged
that there are possible phases of the prehistoric man that can be
elevated into emotional dignity, not unworthy of romance and heroics.
It has been too commonly assumed, under the omnipresent pressure of
scientific generalizations, that the _prehistoric_ was a semi-feral
type of human animal, squalid, distorted, simian-faced, thin-thighed
and adumbrant, without speech, perchance groping his blind and
biological course upward, by some sort of evolution, into a reasoning,
talking, purposive and spiritual creature; that he was a faunal
expression simply, like a _triceratops_ in the Upper Cretaceous, or a
_mud-buffalo_ in the Philippines.

But there is some sense in claiming for him the possibilities of
dramatic action and feeling, assuring to him the restitution of poetic
feeling, religious designs, and emotional episodes. It is sensible,
for if we place the _prehistoric_ anywhere before the advent of human
annals, the length in time of his existence is so enormous that it is
inconceivable that he could not have evolved speech, and if speech
then the retinue of feelings and ideas which arise with speech, just
as speech itself is the index of a cerebral cortex that has become
elaborately modified. Let us look at this claim more closely; let us
even affectionately increase, intensify and adorn it.

This story has been written under the influence of a melodramatic
assumption, hostile, it will be said, to probability, and essentially
fanciful, chimerical and fabulous. It cannot be denied that it departs,
perhaps summarily, from the postulates of archæology, as to the life
and demeanor and mental compass, or, more particularly, emotional
resources of that necessary object who must, to relieve anthropology of
its lugubrious alarm over accepting a quicker entrance into the world
of our race, have lived in the great Prehistoric Day of Geology.

In the day which saw the passage into sedimentary records of the last
of the Tertiaries, and carried on its calendars the rise, amplitude and
disappearance of the Ice Age, in that day Man lived, and he lived all
through it, and it was a long day, measured by thousands of years. But
why must it be predicated that man could not have reached in that day
such a range of feelings as are involved in the rise and refinement of
love? It is perfectly true, as it is entirely permissible so to choose,
that this tale of the Woman of the Ice Age, has to do with the advanced
types of prehistoric man, and that thus typified the author has reason
to insist that Lhatto and Ogga are just creations.

The physical perfection of Lhatto and Ogga cannot be wisely disputed.
The _prehistoric_ is usually thought of as a half-emancipated ape,
shaggy with hair, protuberant in eye-brows and mouth, shuffling,
chattering his uncouth experiments in speech or conveying his desires
by grimaces, shrugs, gestures and contortions. But when we realize,
that however explained, evolution does not present us with abundant
intermediate forms in its processes of improvement, but rather
offers us a range of ascending steps, or positions, with the blended
connexions removed, it is quite unlikely that in the evolution of man
there was any hesitancy in passing from the monkey state to the rights
of primogeniture as God’s image.

And the prehistoric must have done so. The requirements of his life,
the need of strength and agility, of ingenuity, of muscular resources
coupled with the fruitfulness of improving forms, as from century to
century reproduction placed him farther and farther in the void and
waste of a world, inarticulate and unbridled, these things made him,
where environment was favorable, sinuous, forceful, tall, harmonious in
physique. And these things, besides putting upon the body the abiding
beauty of form, through allied avenues of change would have placed upon
his face the stamp of beauty in expression. At least with some. And of
these were Lhatto and Ogga. It is not obligatory to be too precise. The
romance bends to no sterile laws of ratiocination and logic. It may,
for an instant, supercede the harshest negations of science. It does so
in this book, but not too carelessly.

For as to environment, it cannot be too sharply noted that it adapts
and modifies its organic contents. The plant, the animal, the Man, are
bent and made according to the emotional plan it permits.

Buckle has shown how the physical features of a land have been
profoundly active in shaping the racial temperaments of the contrasted
populations of India and Greece. In India nature is dominating; the
lofty mountains, the torrential and wide rivers, the tyrannous climate,
form so severe and overpowering a restraint upon human activity
that man becomes dwarfed and insignificant. In Greece, nature, less
oppressively developed, has induced the growth of a radiant and high
and forceful type of man.

Prof. Keane has said of the Hebrew intellect that it is “less varied,
but more intense, a contrast due to the monotonous and almost
changeless environment of yellow sands, blue skies, flora and fauna
limited to a few species, and mainly confined to oases and plains,
reclaimed by irrigation from the desert, everywhere presenting
the same uniform aspect.” Prof. Gregory has also pointed out the
decisive influence of physical environment on the East African races.
He summarizes the aspects of these under the general heading of
“instability,” as the variable rainfall, earth movements, etc. He says
these “keep alive a disposition toward nomad life, alien alike to the
growth of either a fatalism like that of India, or culture like that
of Greece. All the tribes, however, cannot become nomadic. Some of
them are physically and mentally incompetent for the strains of such a
life, and must be content with servitude, or else submit to the ever
recurring raids of the more powerful tribes. The physical conditions of
the country therefore help to divide the people into two classes: one
consists of warlike, conquering nomads; the other of feebler races, who
either eke out a precarious existence on mountain summits, in forest
clearings, and on islands in the vast malarial swamp, or else live as
serfs and helots in subjection to the dominant tribes.”

The intensive influence of nature upon man is deeply hidden in the
response Man makes to his physical surroundings, which response in some
way grows from the attributes of his mind, as that he loves beauty,
that he is stimulated to action by desire, that he feels the subtlety
of contrast and color, and living wonders and natural splendor.

And that we may extract from this truth the last possible quantity of
justification, the story here places Lhatto and Ogga in the midst of
a great diversity and extension of natural features. It assumes that
long before their time man had eventuated. Not a shadow and mask and
caricature, but man in the possession of a mental character that was
responsive to all these wonders about him. It assumes that whereas men
living near or in glaciated and cold countries were still immersed in a
sort of moral hebitude; those men, as Ogga and Lhatto, who by a sudden
juxtaposition of the cold and the hot, were swayed by the contrasted
marvels of the glacier and semi-tropic forest, had felt the excitation
of their sense of beauty and wonder and worship. It assumes for them at
least a psychological stage. It assumes that such a region of contrasts
could have existed along our western coasts, where the great terminal
moraine, the limital outline of the glacier, bends northward. Here was
a southern section, warm and prolific and luxuriant, and here was a
northern section, as described in the story, lingering under the malign
torpor of ice and snow.

It assumes that the period of time chosen, when the Ice was itself
surrendering its strongholds and in stubborn despair relinquishing its
conquests, was not so far distant from the historic or semi-historic
period, not so far distant from this present period of emotional
complexity.

Nor is this last assumption unreasonable. The views as to the distance
of the Ice Age in time from our own geological day have undergone some
marked changes. It is no longer a requisite of geological orthodoxy to
place that period in a chronological perspective diminishing to a point
of time which may be sixty thousand years away.

Sir Henry H. Howorth, Prof. Bonney, Matthieu Williams, Pettersen,
Kjerulf have promulgated their views as to the necessary assumptions
of the Glacialists. Howorth, indeed, says (_Glacial Nightmare and
the Flood_) of the tremendous conception of a continental ice-sheet
sweeping over the Northern Sea from Norway into Great Britain, that
it was “the invention of Croll, who, sitting in his armchair, and
endowed with a brilliant imagination, imposed upon sober science this
extraordinary postulate.”

The recentness,–and we may here quote acceptably from the Rev. H. N.
Hutchinson–“of the Glacial period, is becoming much more generally
recognized, and many geologists failed to see how the striations,
moraines and _roches moutonnées_ could have lasted for anything like
the periods required by the Astronomical theory. One is inclined to
think that delicate striations and polishings would have been destroyed
by atmospheric influences within the space of twenty thousand years.”

Lhatto and Ogga were indeed placed at a great distance from us, but
they are not therefore utterly lost in the shadows or clouds of
antiquity, of myth and fable, or somnambulous reverie, as to be alien
to our hearts and sympathies.

Lhatto and Ogga were the heirs to a vast amount of temperamental
evolution. If they were elevated in feeling, adroit and sensitive in
thought, there had been enough time expended in developing men to
bestow upon them these virtues of the head and heart.

Has not Prof. A. H. Keane, in his authoritative Compendium of Geography
and Travel of South America, said that, “it is beyond reasonable doubt
that man had spread in _early Pleistocene_ times from his eastern
cradle to the New World, probably by two routes: from Europe by the
still persisting land connexion with Greenland and Labrador, and from
Asia by the narrow Behring Sea?”

He says “the inference seems inevitable that South America was already
in _Pleistocene_ time peopled to its utmost (?) limits by two primitive
races, that still persist in the same region”; and if South America _a
fortiori_ North America.

It is here assumed, and with reason, that Lhatto and Ogga and
Lagk talked, and Prof. Cunningham has pointed out that speech has
necessitated structural modifications in the human brain _totally
absent_ from the brain of the Anthropoid Ape, and of the speechless
microcephalic idiot.

These waifs of reconstruction dwelling in the dark backward of time,
from whom, as from others, the motions of the heart and head were
to start the wide ethnic impulses which have moved to and fro, like
luminous and refluent waves, over the sad face of savage life, these
waifs deny no natural assumptions. They lead us only into a new zone of
imaginative work, and we are bidden to weave fabrics of design which

The existence of Man in the geological period that preceded the
one we live in, in his full anthropoid reality, possessing a mind,
self conscious, radiant with powers of creation, of language, of
inquisition, has been established. Man, vested with his essential
attributes and physiologically and psychologically erect, as a peculiar
dissonant and discrete living thing lived and died in the Quarternary
Day of this Earth. The proof is incontestible. The fact is fixed to-day
in the records of scientific assertion and discovery.

Doubtfully realized at first, it has been slowly established through
the heaping up of successive proofs, that in the waning years of that
geological section of time called the Ice Age, man had begun this slow
conquest of the earth.

All geological periods are text book accidents, or professional
conveniences. The diorama of geological change was a continuous
evolution of physics and topography, the rolling ages did not halt at
sectional points, the mechanism of Creation did not stop at intervals
to permit the introduction of a new set of designs and preparations, a
new web of structural fancies and ideas, a new _modus operandi_ and a
new _modus vivendi_.

Neither can we contend for moments of catastrophic intervention and
the sudden release of Omnipotent mandates, sweeping away what had
previously lived, and inundating the regions of life with irruptions of
new forms.

The movement of life beginning within the recesses of Archæan time
went on in its progress from a few centres of creation, until as age
succeeded age, and the first utterances of life began to fill the voids
of ocean and land, the kingdoms of animal being slowly possessed the
earth.

And yet it is also true that the course of organic evolution in the
records of palæontology expresses an Intention accomplishing its
purpose under resistance. It conforms in the phenomena it presents to
the conception of a Mind pursuing a purpose with an accelerated motion
as that purpose was approached. For what is that record of extinct life?

From the first scintillations of life in the Cambrian era to the last
contributions of Zoic energy in the Tertiaries, we see a succession
of ascending stages of life, a series of zoological platforms which
are linked together by a stairway of organisms passing from one to the
next, and separated by a disappearance of forms which never reappear.
Resistance is periodically overcome, but by it the intention of a
Supreme Mind to produce the highest and widest and deepest life is
forced into a display of creative energy.

In the earlier ages–the Palæozoic–the invertebrates appear in greater
numbers, and the lower orders of plants, and only the preparatory
groups of the vertebrates force their prophetic outlines in view, the
invertebrates and plants begin in more generalized forms, and advance
to the more specialized, which are the higher.

As the intention is to embrace higher zoological and structural ideas,
this again awakens resistance, and we see its gradual repulse. These
periodic floodings or gushes of forms of life, as the brachiopods in
the Silurian, the trilobites in the upper Potsdam, and crustacea in
modern seas, the bivalves in the Devonian, the crinoids in the Lower
Carboniferous, the echinoids in the Cretaceous, the cephalopods and
reptiles in the Jurassic, the gastropods and mammals in the Tertiaries,
are the wide escape of a propulsive intention as it overcomes
resistance, which it has undermined or repelled by processes of
development, slowly and unintermittently inaugurated long before.

Premonitions of these outbursts are found before they come, in the
genera and orders of the preceding era. So striking is this that it
has led M. Naudin, a French naturalist, with no theological hobbies
or convictions, to propound, on the evidence, the analogous idea, that
a force of variation or origination of forms has acted rhythmically
or unintermittently, because each movement was the result of the
rupture of an equilibrium, the liberation of a force which till then
was retained in a potential state, by some opposing force or obstacle,
overcoming which, it passes to a new equilibrium, and so on.

Hence stages of dynamic activity and static repose, of origination of
species and types, alternated with periods of stability or fixity.
The time-piece does not run down regularly, but “la force procede par
saccades; et par pulsation d’autant plus energiques que la nature etait
plus près de son commencement.”

Now, it is a remarkable circumstance, strengthening the Doctrine of
Intention, that the vast length of time involved in the progress
of the Palæozoic Ages was employed in establishing the kingdoms of
invertebrate life, and that as at its close, the vertebrate type
was reached (in which resided the potential power of the highest
development) the Supreme Will rose swiftly to its object–Man, his
powers and destiny!

Resistance accumulated against the flow of that intention, and by
obstruction attempted to close its exit into the pregnant channel of
vertebrate forms. This resistance was slowly dissipated through the
prolific avenues of invertebrate life. And the Intending Mind, having
ushered in the vertebrates, thence proceeds with rapidity through its
evolving phases to complete its organic purpose, creating Man, and
pushing in upon the world’s stage the vast psychic consequences of this
supreme result.

And Man is reached–When! How! Where! The figures of men are observed
stealing along the banks of the swollen Somme, in northern France, in
the twilight of an Arctic day. The river, exasperated by the continuous
contributions of cold streams rushing from distant summits that still
retain the remnants of the shrinking burden of the northern ice sheet,
washes the high levels with its turbid waves. Squalid shelters hide the
rude domesticities of these skin-coated and tangle-haired aborigines of
the earth, these mysterious tenants of the unconquered virgin world in
whose crania lies the potency of art and science. Through the long mist
of time they move like spectral groups presented to us, as dumb figures
mechanically manipulated upon a distant stage. They use the motions
of men engaged in play, in fishing, in mending nets, in repelling
enemies, in rude wrestling, in working points of stone, or carving
ivory, in erecting low-roofed houses, in cleaning skins, in felling
trees and engaging in rapid navigation on the calamitous and groaning
stream before them. Women are seen here and there amongst them, and
children; faces stir with laughter, gesticulation accompanies the
dumb motion of their lips. It is an imaginative kinetoscope wherein
sound has vanished, and motion only, articulate throughout with human
adaptibility, remains before our eyes. We are watching the pre-Adamites.

Again we see men moving in scattered bands along the banks of the
Delaware, in New Jersey. The river, widely extended, has invaded the
outlying country in broad, lake-like arms, and only at narrowing
throats between cliffs and resistant ledges does the confined flood
raise a murmur of expostulation as it churns in flying spray against
its gneissoid barriers. Ice, in broad, deep cakes, or low piled up
hummocks, or occasional castellated ice hills carrying stones upon
their surface, appear over the wave-scurried waters, and now and then
from some concealed inlet, a rude dug-out moves cautiously, piloted
by strong arms, crossing between the struggling fragments of ice to
gain, in a series of hesitating advances, the opposite shore. Human
figures disembark, they climb up the bank by a half-worn escalade of
steps rudely dug into the frozen gravel and sand, and disappear in the
black opening of a cave excavated in the cliff faces, and overhung by
the projecting angles of an irregular boulder of rock, half imbedded
and half exposed, in the morainal mass of earth and pebbles, sand and
stone.

The country for leagues about is desolate; in its denuded state it
exposes to the scowling sky its torn areas, furrowed with gulches,
heaped up cairns, plains strewn with loosened stones, while stranded
along a distant coast line and gleaming in titanic splendor, far beyond
on remote terraces, are icebergs. They are tumbling in decay before
a sun more southern than their origin, and contributing a hundred
rivulets, spreading fan-like in lines of silver over the flat declines
about them, meandering to the gray shores, deserted by an ebbing tide.

The rigors of the Ice Age in its extremest form have passed, and here,
in its lingering epoch of control, man, inventive, apt, procreative and
vocal, holding the augury of the civilized ages advancing towards him,
is seen.

Seen amid a waste of which he is a part, but from which by no
conceivable dream of transformation was he evolved. The moment of
his birth on earth was more propitious. Nature cradled him somewhere
beneath other skies, warmer suns and blossoming life. He has survived
the Ice Age. His adaptive nature has met it, as it crept like some
continental torpor over the fair world it supplanted. He has lived
through and out of it. He has kept alive on earth in the awful
desolation of this menace and assassination, his inherited flame of
intelligence, and the primal instincts of man. Before the Ice Age, man
was.

Again in the broad savannahs of the Mississippi Valley man is
discovered, where its waters, confluent with the broad streams flowing
from Missouri and Ohio, spread in sluggish lake-like expanses, stirred
by the river flow into movement, around archipelagoes of low islands.
The waves of this water met the retreating frontier of the ice-cap,
vociferous with the fall of shivered icebergs, and washed on one hand
the lowlands of Appalachia, yet glistening from snow-buried crests, and
the emergent domes of the Rocky Mountains, on the other, yet flecked
with scattered citadels of ice, resisting extermination in valley-bowls
and precipice-lined declivities.

The scene wears a softened aspect. The low islands have retained a
cheerful growth of trees, and amongst them flowering bushes and patches
of keen-colored flowers invite rest and dreams. Glades pass across the
larger domains of insulated land; white beeches shine beneath trees,
whose shadows are thrown in meshes of crossing lines and figures upon
them, and a blazing sun, set in the zenith, administers to the wide
expanse a temperate splendor. And here man again moves across the
foreground of our vision. He is less weirdly strange and aboriginal,
less dumb and impenetrable, and, as he stands alone upon a projecting
tip of sand, with an erect beauty, a touch of decoration in his dress
shows he has outgrown the dogged stupor of animal life. The charms
of emotion have also awakened him; we hear, over the waters, the long
musical halloo of a calling voice, and somewhere rising from the tufted
wilderness answering voices in sweet sopranos return the salutation.

He turns to the meridian sun, and fear clouds his face. Across the
sunlight a darkening blot has arisen. Its whirling and tempestuous
shapes change from second to second–a murmur in the air, made visible
by a thousand increasing ripples on the blinded water, tells of some
approaching storm. The man has dropped upon his knees, the struggling
lines of his face, as he watches the black cloud, deepen into a rigid
expression of terror. Now the waves roll heavily upon the beach, the
light is extinguished, and there descends a rain of dust. It thickens
until the air is impenetrable, the man, prostrate upon his face, is
lost to sight. The verdurous islands disappear, and the descending
_Loess_ dust extinguishes the sun.

It is another phase of human life in the vast backward of time, when
the dust and dirt deposits of the Mississippi, and its tributary
valleys, were accumulating as the ice fled northward. Again Man comes
into our view, the same identity of thought and form, which makes the
hero and the lover, the fundamental consciousness developed, as in you
and me.

We move westward to where the Sierra Nevada Valley Mountains breast
the Sacramento Valley, and nod to the answering summons of the Coast
Range, where the rays that empurple the sawed edges of the Sierras dip
the peaks of the coast in roseate halos.

A sunburst from the gathered edges of a thunderstorm reveals upon a
platform of rock, that sticks out from the mountain side like a lozenge
from a cake, a group of sunburnt men and women. Somewhat higher up
and behind them a circle of low covers made of boughs, woven together
and rudely thatched, indicates their simple homes. The place of their
sojourn has been propitiously, even tastefully chosen. It is a somewhat
scattered woodland, made up of colossal cone-bearing trees, that
seem located at such even distances apart that their contact creates
over the ground beneath them a softened twilight, though the sun at
its zenith pours over their motionless and dependent boughs its full
effulgence. The spot forms a terrace upon the ascending areas of a
great mountain chain whose highest and peaked ridges glisten from
distant snowfields.

Before this group of silent people, far below them in the broad valley
of the present Sacramento, a scene of incomparable interest and beauty
is displayed. They seem absorbed in its contemplation, and to their
eyes perchance its varied features appeal with a force symptomatic
of all the intense delight the poet or the artist would to-day feel
before the return of its exciting and marvellous incidents.

It is a critical moment in the vast drama of orogenic change, which has
built the continent; one act in that procession of acts, which moulded
the surface of the earth into habitable forms, and etched its surface
with the beauty of design.

The broad physiographic trough upon which these mountain denizens are
gazing has become an area of conflict. The volcanic forces of the
earth are even now engaged in making monumental deformations, and here
below them they watch the splendid crisis of an engagement between the
lava-rock welling from the furnaces of the earth’s interior, and the
flashing currents of foam-filled water. Let us trace the picture.

On one side of the broad depression, filled to its farthest marge with
intermittent forest-land, broad backs of alluvial sand, and seamed with
sparkling rivers, rise the myriad summits of a long range of mountains
torn by time and deeply bitten into picturesque contrasts of ravine,
gorge, canyon, buttes and facetted pinnacles of stone. Far over the
wide valley, scarcely seen, but still like a shadow upon the horizon,
is the western limit of this quarternary basin, another line of hills,
less wonderful, younger, and rather monotonously low.

The landscape disappears northward in bare regions that are hidden in
clouds of mist, and far southward, and to the west, spectators just
discern the limits of the Salt Sea. But it is upon the marvels beneath
them that their eyes are fixed, eyes that are yet more quickly arrested
by sensation, by the brusque struggles of natural forces, than by the
alluring distance, shimmering hot beneath the noon-day sun.

Almost immediately beneath their feet, though on the level of the
general valley, is a river bed, which, deserted by its former tenant,
still holds dwindling lakes of water, somewhat connected, like a string
of opal dishes, by filaments of thin and feeble rivulets. At a point
north of them and fixed to their attention upon the mountain side by
a dull murmurous succession of detonations, and splintering gashes in
the rock, a pasty exudation of molten rock slips down in black lines
or faintly rubescent streaks, and, uniting in an invading tongue of
slaggy fusion, has entered the river valley, which is now, at its first
courses, filled from rim to rim with half liquid scoria.

The lithic tide is carried on in a sluggish simulation of water
currents, rolling over in its advance, or spurting in sudden liquid
torrents from swelling concretions; now caught by the asperities of
the channel, and now flowing faster at its unimpeded centre, dragged
out in liguous coils and ropes of lava, and again, down some steeper
declivity, tumbling in a shaggy cataract of braids, tortuous links,
and vermiculate confusion. Beneath the mute group the igneous outburst
has reached a pond, one of the derelict lakes along the river’s
deserted way, and it is the fierce conflict thus begun which holds
them in a rapt posture, like modelled images. As the flowing rock
enters the lake with slow and even step, or spills into it, in flocks
of bubbling slag, from its higher decrepitating surfaces, explosion
follows explosion; the water is ejected in spurts of spray, and falling
backward over the hot and half consolidated magma, flashes into steam.
Rising clouds of vapor conceal the exact limits of the invasion, and
points of contact, but the coarse rumble, the intermittent gushes of
water upward, the far away reverberations of the earth’s opening crust,
and the quivering pulsations that shake the table rock on which our
spectators are standing, announce the new geological chapter in the
world’s making, the last catastrophe before the earth lies quiet and
smiling at the feet of men.

As they turn away in frightened dismay, the sunlight flashes from
their tawny necks, their girdled arms and ankles, and from the bunched
tresses of their dark hair, flashes from gold. They are the gold
ornaments formed in naive and curious ways which these early children
of the earth filched from the stream beds, that soon, before their
gaze, from shore to shore, will be wedged tight with black dikes of
rock, holding down the sealed bonanzas, until in Time’s own time the
life of a later day shall search the primeval sands again, and dress
its beauty too with the same entrancing glitter.

The picture disappears, but we are standing where the Calaveras
Skull, the discovery of human implements beneath the Table Mountains
of California have proven that Man was a witness of these geognostic
changes in the great internal valley of that state.

Shall we pursue the western trail of men’s birth, bending our eyes
upon the mysterious regions of southeastern Asia, where perhaps a too
inquisitive scrutiny will reveal the very beginnings of the human tribe?

We have no reason to go further. We have observed the changing aspect
of man from the edges of the ice sheet in western Europe and eastern
North America, his ameliorated habits in the loess valley of the
Mississippi and Missouri. In the far west where the contemporaneous
climatic conditions were milder, or even conjoined with phases that
were semi-tropic we have found him, at the same time that farther
north, and pervasively to the east, frigid or boreal aspects prevailed.

It is with the story of Love, told of these strange and remote periods
of Time, that we are now concerned, and we place the Woman of the Ice
Age far in the West, somewhere not exposed to the extreme arctic
vicissitudes of a glacial imprisonment, although not quite beyond
the rumors and tokens of its partial survival, nor quite within the
lassitudes of a southern and perennial summer, but at a possible
point of such picturesque contrasts, of such organic fascination, of
such compromises in physical expression, that we may discern in her
the elements of poetry, elements born of her response to Nature’s
vitality and variousness, and with them elements of passion born of
her inheritance of blood instincts, which had formed in her ancestors,
under the same diversity of natural features. In Her, prehistoric
and primal, the type of all women since, we shall find the instinct
of love, evincing its supremacy over her nature, holding her before
the mirror of her own vanity, rousing her to the extremest verge of
her emotional design and activity, nursing her on the breast of its
satisfaction, and filling her life with the currents of its amorous
expectations.

It was a region of splendid contrasts. A continental zone which
presented in the wide range of its mere longitudinal extent a
succession of physical features that were opposite and embraced a
variety of climate, that by reason of meteorological diversity had
carved and dressed those physical features into a series of natural
wonders.

Far to the north rose a group of mountain peaks, so arranged that
they appeared like successive steps of ascent to the swelling dome,
central and dominant, over its gathered satellites, each of which
was marvellous alone, but in this association seemed forgotten or
remembered only as it increased by contrast the majesty of the great
mountain mass it attended.

This superb elevation was itself broken up into radiating chasms, whose
rocky sides rose in black keels of relief above the snow filled gorges
they defined, while surmounting them all a keen shaft of granite,
roseate in a hundred lights, or wrapped in pendulous and waving veils
of mist, climbed steeply to the clouds.

The crowded and crushed snow masses, nevé-like emerged upon all the
lower shoulders of the huge crest in glacial fields of ice. Here their
Arctic currents, sweeping around the lower summits, were reinforced
by new accessions, springing from these lesser altitudes, which in
confusion poured upon them, and by many avenues of obstruction and
accidents of interference, repulse and rupture, converted the great
multiplied ice zone, encircling the whole congery of peaks, and
plunging outward over vertical escarpments to lower levels, into a
stupendous spectacle of chaos. Icebergs crossed their pinnacles in the
descent, the riven ice stream ejected blocks of ice hundreds of feet
in length, and the split glacier, seamed by colossal cleavages to the
abysses of its rocky floor, displayed its green depths. Detonations
rose upon the air, caught by the waiting winds and drifted southward
over the wild plains, the long indented coast and the far interior
canons; south to forest lands and waving grass savannahs, while near at
hand its rough roar startled the sleeping mastodon and brought terror
to men.

From this glory, which in the Sun of that strange day shone like
a titanic crown of jewels, the land areas fell suddenly away, and
expanded southward into a long sea margin on the west, and arid and
rocky wildernesses on the east, where deep canyons with vertical walls,
a thousand feet high, held in their dark bosoms the frigid waters from
the northern glaciers. An intermediate region, between the palisaded
or tenuous coast-line and these mysterious untenanted rents and time,
wind and water worn ravines, revealed scenes more mild and radiant,
wherein the apparel of nature was more colored, and where she bore
those features of appropriate beauty where river and lake, forest land
and flowered field unite in their abundance to appeal to the hearts of
men.

This hospitable land was varied. It slowly liberated itself, like an
escaping captive, from the desolation of the East, where the plains
were broken with chilled lava beds, jagged peaks, asperities of
stone, standing like geologic spectres, canyons holding emprisoned
and viewless rivers, wide and gloomy lakes around whose margins the
struggling relics of an extinct flora seemed slowly confessing their
defeat before phases of climate less lenient than their predecessors.
It freed itself from broad depressions, the beds of ancient lakes swept
by freezing winds from the northern ice country, and bare and empty,
exposing to the sky their orb-like circumference, ghastly with white
alkaline encrustation, like the pallid optic of a great leviathan,
whitened with the films of decomposition.

From all this area, rigid with the articulate expression of Death, a
land to the West began its fertile margins, tentatively uttering a new
design, with grass grown hills, low vegetation, and modest, scarcely
obvious brooks, loosening themselves in placid currents from the
highlands. Then, as if it felt the assurance of an improving destiny,
woods rose over ranges of increasing altitude, rivers swept in circling
glory through narrow and alluvial valleys, and groves of great trees
clustered over mountain terraces, defiled in green seas of leafy glory
to the lowlands, where the rhythm of verdurous beauty was resumed in
more open country, the reincarnated spirit of Nature loosened its power
upon a coast line, washed by the restless ocean.

The coast was strangely beautiful. Wide coves paved with argent or
golden sands opened the straight lines of its rocky and lofty shores
with broad emarginations. These inviting bays, defended by crowning
capes or jutting and attenuated peninsulas of dethroned basaltic
columns, formed peaceful harbors wherein the fleeing surges of the
sea often came to rest in limpid pulsations; or else, with diminished
power, but greater speed and imposing crescent beauty, rolled upon
them in avalanches of spray. The land came down to these charming
regions in undulating surfaces, sometimes deeply wooded, though
often more artificially indented with scattered or solitary trees.
Not infrequently it accompanied, in its descent, the devious flow of
rivers, expanding into estuaries of such proportions that the fleet of
a modern nation might have floated safely within their borders.

The smaller coves furnished a more minute and exquisite interest. Here
partially degraded escarpments of stone walled them in with steep
ascents of talus, over which ambitious vegetation, almost baffled in
its encounter with sea fogs and saline breezes, produced an irregular
covering of green, and displayed the ample ingenuity of its struggle.
This ingenuity was shown in the twisted roots of trees holding, like
closed fists enwrapped boulders, by roots penetrating at obtuse
angles the split surfaces of the palisades, or, entangled in a knot
of mutually helpful buttresses, suspending some adventurous pine at
a sharp angle above the splashing and murmurous tides below it. The
dazzlingly clear water in these darkened and umbrageous coves, revealed
with every shaft of light, the broad fronds of algae, floating like
aprons in green sheets, rising upon dark stem-like roots from the
cold waters. Here, upon the sides of detached masses of rock, sported
companies of sea lions, their gleaming and undulated flanks formed for
an instant into motionless groups of beauty, to be dissolved the next
moment in revels of wreathed confusion. Far out beyond the shore, domes
of rock, just covered by each swelling wave, broke the surface with
areas of foam, and again beyond these stood, as the last vestige of the
eroded coast frontier, some needle of stone, in whose fugitive and
vanishing shadows sea-gulls rested, that again, by a sudden access of
volition, swept over it in clouds of ascending and descending plumes.

The coast-line was itself the index of a varied origin. For miles the
palisades of dark or frowning trap dikes rose precipitously above the
tide, their columnar formation yielding only a stubborn concession to
the incessant labors of air and ocean, though the scenic marvel of
cathedral spires and excavated reverberating sea caves, left by their
retreat, excused the tardy surrender to decay.

Wherever the sedimentary strata of slate or limestone, frequently but
half consolidated, and therefore more easily attacked, formed the land
surfaces, the country descended gently to the sea, and swept backward
with dissected features to the coast ranges, gleaming distantly.
Through these tracts the beds of rivers were formed, and their
currents, under two contrasted phases, appeared upon the coast-line.
They either flowed through degraded valleys, slowly expanding into the
broad estuarine coves mentioned before, or, unable to reach the easily
attacked mineral beds, and forced to flow outward upon the surface of
dense igneous rocks, leaped into the sea by cascades walled in somber
gorges, or broke with sudden splendor over precipices of unchanged
basalt.

In that pleistocene day the region, now summoned before the eye by
the familiar process of adaptive reconstruction, shrunk far northward
into low lying and frigid plains, narrowly escaping, by their slight
differential elevation, submergence from the western ocean. In this
uninviting northland, which lay like a neck of transition between the
ice mountains and their glacial precincts still farther north, and the
southern country, scattered forests of scrub willow, beech and spruces,
alternated with sand flats, cold bogs, and cairn-like moraines of stone
and gravel. The latter, swept by ice winds, drenched in snow and rains,
darkened by thunder clouds or lit by momentary blazes of the sun, held
the resistant remnants of the ice sheet, as tottering and stranded
fractions perched upon their harsh shoulders. They exposed gulches,
radiating from their summits, each occupied by momentary torrents of
water, from the melting ice cap, which, often collecting in lower
basins, formed extended semi-glacial lakes, hesitatingly bordered by a
thin growth of herbs, and in sections connected by narrow straits into
chains of untenanted and gloomy pools.

Through the monotony of this wilderness wandered herds of the mastodon,
and here on the edges of the frosted lakes stood the primeval elephant,
the mammoth of those swiftly receding days now scarcely penetrated by
the vision of science and imagination.

These faunal restorations were yet further extended. To the east of
this inhospitable and terrible zone, in cold and almost treeless
sections scarred by ravine and canon, and trending upward into the
abyssal recesses of the mountains, the cave bear secured an abiding
home.

South over the edges of that sweeter land in which the crowded life of
plants and animals, evicted from its northern habitat by the exactions
of the cold, now strained its activity and device to maintain a
simultaneous existence, in this prolific country, the pleistocene horse
ranged in thronging bands. He scarcely impinged on the high terrains
where the sabre-toothed tiger dwelt, but by preference traversed the
grassy campus, following the streams, where their widened valleys,
recently formed, were uninvaded by the forests, and sometimes forced an
inquisitive path over the high country to the margins of the ocean.

A meteorological complexity reflected and rivalled all of these
contrasts of position and occupation, and from within the sealed
envelope of the earth’s crust, also, movements and voices responded
to the ceaseless alternations of heat and cold, tempest and silence,
serene and raging hours.

The warm southern winds sweeping from the broad Carribean Continent,
gathering moisture from the wide gulf of the Mississippi, reached
these more northern regions dense with saturation, and were suddenly
chilled by rarefaction as they were lifted into higher elevations
by the low lying flood of cold air, pouring in from the glaciated
poles. The contact zone between these displaced masses of hot and
moisture-laden air, and the underlying frosted and more slowly drifting
atmosphere precipitated a meteorological violence, an exorbitant vigor
of meteorological phenomena. Then ensued the tumult of storm and
electrical perturbation.

The rivers rose upon their banks, the sinister and blackened skies
emptied their bosoms of their watery contents, avalanches rolled down
the mountain sides, the air smitten with a thousand forks of lightning
vibrated with the internal electric charges that evoked all the echoes
of canyon, peak and plain. Cyclonic winds tore through the forests and
bent the crowded heads of the trees. Then the marshalled clouds fled
in torrents of rain or were dissipated in the dazzling warfare, and
then turquoise skies bent over the washed lands, a summer sun opened
the petals of innumerable flowers, the cool air scarcely lifted from
the ground the scent of its warm palpitations, and, to the detonations
of the storm, succeeded the still unpacified but vanishing roar of the
overladen streams.

In winter the petrifying touch of cold descended from the margins of
the glaciers, and the denuded trees, the snow blankets of the higher
land, the stilled streams and the pale skies imparted a sepulchral
stare to the shrunk soil that turned its dead face upward to its leaden
dome.

To the excitement and changes of external nature the unadjusted
equilibria of the interior of the earth contributed new and dangerous
surprises–earthquakes threw down the cliffs into foaming rivers,
shook loose from their prehensile bases the towering pines upon the
hillsides, or started in repetition the sundered strata from the
mountains, and changed the face of nature with scarred exposures and
inundated valleys. The earth opened along shivering seams, and the
exuded lava rising from centres of stupendous pressure poured out in
belts its half consolidated magmas.

Volcanic vents broke their seals and the uprushing tides of gas and
steam and cinders turned the day to night, and signalized the distant
craters with voluminous wreathes and columns and ash-filled whirlwinds;
sometimes in a fierce intoxication of chaotic incident, emptying upon
surrounding snowfields their hot and scorching rains.

Thus nature wore all the wardrobe of her almost exhaustless store,
displayed all the properties of her acquisitions through ages of
geological change, and assembled the most startling devices for
awakening attention and vitalizing motion.

She seemed at this point on the earth’s surface so to arrange and
direct her vast physical resources for rousing the mind, charging the
heart, and stiffening the will, that the new being, arising from
its cradle, and beginning the task of occupying the world, might be
suddenly endowed with mind and heart and will, so vigorously organized,
as to make that conquest easy.

Amidst these wide contrasts of climate and scene, of internal and
external energy, of products and denizens, lived a race of prehistoric
men and women thinly scattered in villages over the shoulders, the
valleys and the alluvial terraces of the Sierra Nevadas in Central
California, at a point where a broad ingress of the sea swept past
the degraded and depressed Coast Ranges. Here, from the startling and
multiplied expressions of nature, the full influence of environment
encompassed at an impressionable instant the dawning powers, the
pulses of its primal heat, the mental movements, the suddenly erected
passions of this Glacial and Occidental Man, this strange and almost
silent creature, appearing from the unknown, and moving forward on the
listless feet of the centuries towards the powers and civilization of
the orient.

Broadly reviewed, we have for the stage of this prehistoric drama, its
pictures and stirring scenes of adventure and haphazard perils, the
arctic glacial zone, the canyon country on the East, the Fair Land on
the West and South, and beyond the unchanging ocean, as primal then as
when it swept its fluctuating waves over Archaean ledges.

The particular place where our eyes discover, in this vast area, the
movements of men, was situated in a grove of giant trees upon an upland
that formed a terrace on the sides of a mountain range almost wooded to
its summit, where the dwindling vegetation exposed the naked precipices
of an abrupt and overhanging crest. In front of the upland the ground
slipped suddenly down in slanting and again vertical faces of rock and
soil to a sort of bottom land, a long elliptical depression holding
at its lower end a basin of water, which, as it indicated no visible
source of supply, must have been fed from the streams formed in the
heavy rain-falls, or from the springs issuing over its hidden floor.
The land rose in a low swell beyond this, and upon the margin of the
latter elevation the possible inhabitant gazed upon the sea from the
edge of an intrusive dike of rock, which, wall-like, rose along the
edge of the western wave, its anterior face marked in most places by
rising piles of fragmental rock.

Northward it rose to steeper heights whose unencumbered exposures made
sheer precipices above the frothing billows sweeping in at their feet.
The grass crept to the very verge of these dizzy elevations, the mist
rolled down upon them at moments, and again they described angular
apices of dark stone against the clear blue or cloud flecked zenith.
From these latter pinnacles of observation the Fair Land with its
mountains and rivers and valleys could be well discerned on the east,
and the glittering spire of the ice mountain with its wide skirts of
ice imperfectly descried northward.

At the moment of time when the retrospective and imaginative eye of
this narrator fell upon the secluded upland, mentioned above, a path
led down to the valley and its lake, a path somewhat precariously
conducted over overhanging walls of rock. It crossed the valley almost
lost to sight in tall grass, rose upon the lower swell and seemed to
carry its adventuresome follower straight over the edge of the trap
dike into the sea.

A little reckless exploration would have shown, however, that it led to
no such useless and careless termination. It became on the face of the
trap dike a very broken and disjointed path indeed, but still a path.

It became a ladder of rocky steps, which, if successfully followed,
brought the traveller to a beach of water-worn and rounded pebbles,
which again southward disappeared into a more extended sand plain.
Behind this sand plain the dike precipice visibly dwindled, until it
too disappeared beneath the folds of a sparsely wooded shore. To any
human eye, perhaps unwontedly addicted to piercing the air with its
long vision, there would have been discerned far out to sea a line of
foaming breakers careering upon jagged backs of rock, and again even
beyond this, like ghosts, white ice-bergs, tilted or erect, following
each other in a spectral march.

On the upland where the path we have thus traced to the shore, began,
somewhat withdrawn into the shadows of the colossal trunks of trees,
were a few covered spaces made habitable by skins and boughs of
trees. Their design, if design could be applicable to so undesigned
a structure, consisted in a few posts lightly driven in the soil,
connected at their upper ends by long sapling stems, which were again
connected by crossed boughs, on which the lesser twigs were left
undisturbed, and on this light webbing were piled more boughs and
leaves until the accumulation assumed a mounded shape. By the fertility
of nature, seeds, falling in this nidus of gradually accumulating
leaf mould, had started into life, and, augmented through the years,
had converted it into a sort of herbal patch, which in the season of
blossoming became gay and radiant with flowers.

Beneath this ornamental roof the slender equipment of an aboriginal
camp was spread. A rude crane suspended from the roof, at a point where
a chimney-like opening had been made in the surplusage of leaves and
boughs, supported a stone vessel, pendent from it by cords of tree
fibre or coarse grass. The stone vessel was blackened by repeated
exposure to the dull fires made from leaves and peat moss, and
resembled the few others which, discarded and broken, seemed carefully
laid aside at one corner of this well ventilated apartment. The only
other noticeable furnishment of the room were the skins of foxes and
bears, rankly oleaginous and discolored, thrown down around the central
fire place, where were gathered in a disorderly pile a few stone axes
with wooden handles, some awkwardly made bows, and a few delicately
chipped blades of stone, neatly united to shafts of wood by means of a
black pitch.

No walls enclosed this defective suggestion of a house, and only on
one side hung a woven mat of natural fibre hideously bedaubed with
red paint or iron ochre, most shockingly constrained to portray a
portentous animal rising hobby-horse like on its hind and abnormally
lengthened legs.

It was thirty thousand years, more or less, before the birth of Christ
that a woman stood leaning against one of the four corner posts of this
simple habitation at the widened and worn opening of the highland path
described above, and gazed upward to the sky, in whose sapphire depths
the rising sun of day had begun to form clouds, sucked up from the
broad western ocean.

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