Madam How and Lady Why eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 263 pages of information about Madam How and Lady Why.
is a core of flint, the remaining part of a large flint, from which, as you may see, blades like those have been split off.  Those flakes of flint, my child, were split off by men; even your young eyes ought to be able to see that.  And here are other pieces of flint—­pear-shaped, but flattened, sharp at one end and left rounded at the other, which look like spear-heads, or arrow-heads, or pointed axes, or pointed hatchets—­even your young eyes can see that these must have been made by man.  And they are, I may tell you, just like the tools of flint, or of obsidian, which is volcanic glass, and which savages use still where they have not iron.  There is a great obsidian knife, you know, in a house in this very parish, which came from Mexico; and your eye can tell you how like it is to these flint ones.  But these flint tools are very old.  If you crack a fresh flint, you will see that its surface is gray, and somewhat rough, so that it sticks to your tongue.  These tools are smooth and shiny:  and the edges of some of them are a little rubbed from being washed about in gravel; while the iron in the gravel has stained them reddish, which it would take hundreds and perhaps thousands of years to do.  There are little rough markings, too, upon some of them, which, if you look at through a magnifying glass, are iron, crystallised into the shape of little sea-weeds and trees—­another sign that they are very very old.  And what is more, near the place where these flint flakes come from there are no flints in the ground for hundreds of miles; so that men must have brought them there ages and ages since.  And to tell you plainly, these are scrapers such as the Esquimaux in North America still use to scrape the flesh off bones, and to clean the insides of skins.

But did these people (savages perhaps) live when the country was icy cold?  Look at the bits of bone.  They have been split, you see, lengthways; that, I suppose, was to suck the marrow out of them, as savages do still.  But to what animal do the bones belong?  That is the question, and one which I could not have answered you, if wiser men than I am could not have told me.

They are the bones of reindeer—­such reindeer as are now found only in Lapland and the half-frozen parts of North America, close to the Arctic circle, where they have six months day and six months night.  You have read of Laplanders, and how they drive reindeer in their sledges, and live upon reindeer milk; and you have read of Esquimaux, who hunt seals and walrus, and live in houses of ice, lighted by lamps fed with the same blubber on which they feed themselves.  I need not tell you about them.

Now comes the question—­Whence did these flints and bones come?  They came out of a cave in Dordogne, in the heart of sunny France,—­far away to the south, where it is hotter every summer than it was here even this summer, from among woods of box and evergreen oak, and vineyards of rich red wine.  In that warm land once lived savages, who hunted amid ice and snow the reindeer, and with the reindeer animals stranger still.

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Madam How and Lady Why from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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