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