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In introducing a foreign work of this kind to
native readers, the introducer has to accomplish
two distinct and dissimilar tasks, both of which
must be well performed to ensure success. First,
he has to render foreign phraseology into easy
and elegant English, and secondly, to naturalise
the work in hand, to adapt it to our home ideas,
to render it more logical, if possible, and to
increase its interest and usefulness by illustrations
drawn from local and familiar facts. The version
of a book on popular geology (or any other
science in a state of progress) has to be
undertaken in quite a different spirit from versions
of Greek or Latin poets. Fossil literature is best
left in its original fossil form and aspect; living
literature should, if it may be, have additional
vitality infused into its veins.

Now as to the rendering of French into
English, the translator of The World before the
Deluge has the modesty to say that "the
simple and elegant language in which the
author has expressed himself, and the profound
interest inseparable from the subject itself,
rendered the task of translating him a labour of
love." The result, we undertake to pronounce,
is so fluent, polished, and complete, that readers
unacquainted with the fact of its being a
translation would unsuspectingly receive it as
an original. It does not, like many versions of
foreign tongues, stand in need of oiling, even
after the workman's sawdust and chips are
cleared away. The style does not move on by
jolts and jerks, dislocating sentences now and
then, but is charmingly clear and easy reading
which, as we learn from Byron, is not always
easy writing. Not a few of the translated
passages have been incorporated in the present

From Chaos to the Deluge, the scope of M.
Figuier's book, is indeed an enormous sweep,
even for the most vivid imagination and the
most industrious penman. Nevertheless, by
careful subdivision into epochs, illustrating each
by authentic proofs that have been discovered,
and by remains preserved up to the present day;
from the imprints of rain-drops on the earliest
dry land, from injected veins and basaltic
columns, to the teeth of the mammoth and the
horns of the elk, who may have been
contemporary with mana clear and distinct
notion is conveyed of the changes that occurred
during bygone ages.

Of course it is understood that the epochs
are so arranged for the purpose of convenient
description merely; for we are not to suppose
that any distinct feature alters one period
from another in nature. The change was
probably gradual and insensible, instead of
being, like the acts of a drama, marked by the
rising and falling of a curtain. This difficulty
of drawing a satisfactory line of demarcation
between different systems is sufficient to dispel
the idea, which has sometimes been entertained,
that special fauna were annihilated and created
in the mass, or wholesale, at the close of each
several epoch. There was no close then, as
there is none now. Each epoch silently
disappears in that which succeeds it, and with it
the animals belonging to it; much as we have
seen them disappear from our own fauna, almost
in our own times.

The length of those periods may be vaguely
guessed at, by the enormous accumulations
made during their continuance. Thus, the
tertiary epoch was closed by gigantic elephants
(mammoths), vastly larger than any now
surviving, and which probably ushered in the
succeeding one. They must have existed in
enormous numbers. On the coast of Norfolk
alone, the fishermen, trawling for oysters, fished
up, between 1820 and 1833, no less than two
thousand elephants' molar teeth. If we
consider how slowly those animals multiply, these
quarries of ivory, as we may call them, suppose
many centuries for their production.

It has been an easy task to recognise the
general form and structure of the mammoth. It
surpassed the largest elephants of the tropics in
size, for it was from sixteen to eighteen feet
in height. The monstrous tusks with which it
was armed were twelve or thirteen feet in
length, curving into a semicircle. We know
beyond a doubt that it was thickly covered
with long shaggy hair, and that a copious mane
floated upon its neck and along its back. Its
trunk resembled that of the Indian elephant.
Its body was heavy, and its legs were
comparatively shorter than those of the latter
animal, of which, nevertheless, it had many of
the habits. Blumenbach gave it the specific name
of Elephas primogenius.

In all ages, and in almost all countries, chance
discoveries have been made of fossil elephants'
bones embedded in the soil. Some of the
elephants' bones having a slight resemblance to
those of man, these have often been taken for
human bones. In the earlier historic times,
such great bones, accidentally disinterred, have
passed as having belonged to some hero or
demigod; at a later period they were taken for
the bones of giants.

In 1577, a storm having uprooted an oak near
the cloisters of Reyden, in the canton of
Lucerne, some large bones were exposed to view.
Seven vears after, a physician and professor of
Basle, Felix Plater, being at Lucerne, examined
these bones, and declared that they could only
proceed from a giant. The Council of Lucerne
consented to send the bones to Basle for more
minute examination, and Plater thought himself
justified in attributing to the giant a height of
nineteen feet. He designed a human skeleton
on this scale, and returned the bones with the
drawing to Lucerne. In 1706, all that remained
of them was a portion of the scapula and a
fragment of the wrist-bone. Blumenbach, who saw
them at the beginning of the century, easily
recognised them for the bones of an elephant.
As a complement to this bit of history, be it
added that the inhabitants of Lucerne adopted
the image of this pretended giant as the
supporters of the city arms.

Spanish history preserves many stories of
giants. The tooth of St. Christopher, shown