Old Calabria By Norman Douglas

 -  How we drank it all in! And how it
warmed the cockles of our hearts to think that we were - Page 440
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How We Drank It All In!

And how it warmed the cockles of our hearts to think that we were not vicious, narrow-minded heathens, such as these!

And now a vulgar gnat is declared to be at the bottom of the whole mystery.

Crudely disconcerting, these scientific discoveries. Or is it not rather hard to be dragged to earth in this callous fashion, while soaring heavenward on the wings of our edifying reflections? For the rest - the old, old story; a simple, physical explanation of what used to be an enigma brimful of moral significance.

That Mr. Jones's facts and arguments will be found applicable to other decayed races in the old and new worlds is highly probable. Meanwhile, it takes one's breath away quite sufficiently to realize that they apply to Hellas and her old colonies on these shores.

"'AUTOS. Strange! My interest waxes. Tell me then, what affliction, God or Devil, wiped away the fair life upon the globe, the beasts, the birds, the delectable plantations, and all the blithe millions of the human race? What calamity fell upon them?'

"'ESCHATA. A gnat.'

"'AUTOS. A gnat?'

"'ESCHATA. Even so.'"

Thus I wrote, while yet unaware that such pests as anophelines existed upon earth. . . .

At the same time, I think we must be cautious in following certain deductions of our author; that theory of brutality, for example, as resulting from malaria. Speaking of Calabria, I would almost undertake to prove, from the archives of law-courts, that certain of the most malarial tracts are precisely those in which there is least brutality of any kind.

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