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[Written for the Centenary Anniversary of Darwin's Birth]

When the carriage drew up before Darwin's house, with its ivy and its shadowy elms, the great scientist stepped out of the shade of the creepercovered porch to meet me. He had a tall and venerable appearance, with the broad shoulders of an Atlas that bore a world of thought: a Jovelike forehead, as we see in Goethe, with a lofty and broad vault, deeply furrowed by the plough of intellectual work. The tender and friendly eyes were overshadowed by the great roof of the prominent brows. The gentle mouth was framed in a long, silvery-white beard. The noble expression of the whole face, the easy and soft voice, the slow and careful pronunciation, the natural and simple tenor of his conversation, took my heart by storm in the first hour that we talked together, just as his great work had taken my intelligence by storm at the first reading. I seemed to have before me a venerable sage of ancient Greece, a Socrates or an Aristotle.


EONS ago, when the Megatherium and the Dinatherium fought, and the huge tusks of the Mastodon and the Mammoth clashed, and gigantic reptiles crawled on their bellies over the face of the earth, and the yell and howl of Cretaceous creatures resounded thru the primitive jungle,- the world was savage.

Later, an ape-like being grasped a hanging branch, and raised itself to an upright position, and peered into the primeval forest. This was the immediate ancestor of Man,- but the world was savage still.

In the Tertiary epoch, for the first time appeared an animal that walked erect, and used a tool, and wore a garment. This was lordly Man himself,- but the world was savage still.

Since that distant day, species have evolved into different forms; sea has turned into land and earth become water; mountains have crumbled into dust, and the lowest valleys have become the highest hills; customs have prevailed and

perished; races have lived and died; religions have come and gone; empires have risen and fallen; one system has replaced another, which in its turn has given way to a later, - and now we are veneered with culture and varnished with civilization, but, scratch us, and you will find us savage still. The lower instincts of the lower beasts survive in us. We, too, worship the primitive law of force. We do not bite with the pointed tooth, nor rend asunder with sharpened claw, but our navies ride at anchor, and at a moment's notice a million murderous guns will belch forth the stuff that makes a child an orphan. We, too, are hunting and being hunted in a World of War.

But Nature, it is you who are the supreme warrior. Destruction is your delight. The entire earth is your graveyard. Every grain of soil is stained with blood, and every blade that grows, every flower that bows its head before the breeze, is a monument to the dead that forever rest beneath. Where is the feathered songster of the forest that has not feasted on its prey? Alas, the same lovely throats which from their leafy dwellings fill the great woods with harmony, are red with the blood of weaker victims. Then they sit and shiver at the thought of intruders more powerful than themselves.

Fear, fear, fear,— everywhere is fear. Nothing is safe. All is murder. Nature is the eternal veteran, all are her enemies, and she never accepts the flag of truce. She makes a type and then she kills it. For the individual she has not the slightest regard. She cares nothing for the life which comes continually from her teeming womb.

Nature, thy mandate is chiseled on the rocks, it is echoed from the swamps to the snows, it resounds from the marshes to the mountains, the prairies know it, and the pampas tell it; it is writ across the sky, and our planet moans beneath the stern decree: flesh shall feed on flesh, and life must take life.

You destroy what you create, O Blunderer! Nature,

where is thy justification? In the beginning, this earth swept thru space, formless and void. Darkness was upon its face,

except when the lightnings flashed and the volcanoes glowed. But the black veil lifted, the golden sun poured its warming rays on the desolate globe, and lo! - Mother Earth was pregnant. A tiny speck lay in the primitive waters, and this was life. And Nature watched our ultimate ancestor, and from that time on, her heavy hand has smitten and slaughtered.

What is it all for? Nature, is this the secret: that thou wipest out a type to bring a higher in? Show us then, the Perfect Man. Thou hast worked long enough for him. Thru countless epochs the process has gone on. Show us, Nature, the best you have produced. We wish to see your favorite and pride.

And if you show to us a savant whose wisdom was vast, but who fawned at the feet of degenerate aristocracy, we want him not. And if you show to us a writer whose style was sweet, but who bartered his brain for gold, we want him And if you show to us a scientist who studied the laws of the universe, but paid toll to theologic superstitions, we want him not. And if you show to us a bishop who preached in favor of the poor, but evicted his tenants on a wintry day, we want him not. And if you show to us a poet who vehemently sang of love, but deserted his trusting wife, we want him not. And if you show to us a philosopher who wrote on the responsibilities of parenthood, but neglected his little children, we want him not.

But Nature answers: What of him, my warmest lover, my humblest servant? What of the gentle hand that placed the radiant crown on the undecked brow of Truth? And Nature has redeemed herself. She may have blundered, and she surely has effaced, but she has evolved the Perfect Man. She has unfolded Darwin the Great and Good,

Charles Darwin was a naturalist. He investigated facts. He did his work so well that to-day no thoughtful man can

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