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The headlines of those unwieldy those appearing and disappearing sheets were all taken up at that time islands, those square miles of hot with ruction-news of one sort or an- spitting ground, those immeasurable other: tantrums the French or Irish or ocean geysers! Fascisti were getting into about some The volcanic-dust theory about Ice thing or somebody. Away inside of all Ages was a new one at that time. this I noticed an inch of information Seismists and meteorologists were dissomething like:
cussing it. There was even then a GLACIERS COMING HERE PERHAPS
school of geologists who believed the
Ice Ages had come on quite suddenly. SCIENTIFIC records, says Professor Lestrop, of the Royal Geographical Society, who
Of course they inclined to the volcaniclanded here yesterday from the Gatamaran, dust theory. Naturally the theory got show that most of the glaciers of the world a good deal of prestige from the are slowly extending. They are stretching Aleutian volcanoes. Still, to the madown their icy claws farther and farther jority of people it did n't seem possible into the valleys. Exactly what conclusions that enough powdered rock could ever the man in the street might draw from this sift into the atmosphere to dim the information, Professor Lestrop did n't say sunshine — actually dim it to a point beyond remarking that, so far, this is a which would be perceptible. rather cold winter.
In the autumn of 1929 Ar Barrue I drew some conclusions though, boy published his conclusions. Of course as I was. I shivered on the sleeping- Ar Barrue was n't then a great disporch that night, wondering what was coverer, but an obscure young Negro going to happen — and rather hoping from the Sudan who was making it would. I'd read the venerable Van astronomical researches at the brand Loon and the classic Wells: they new Gandhi University in Bengal. were n't venerable or classic then. His modest little article in the Hibbert Consequently I knew about Ice Ages Journal only said that the sunshine in a rather realizing way. Plenty of seemed to be changing color. It other people knew about Ice Ages too, seemed to be losing some part of its but I could n't manage to infect any red-goldness — I reduce, of course, his of my friends with my own shivers and scientific language to an ordinary thrills.
style. Nobody that I knew at that Everybody took notice, however, of time paid any attention to this statethe monstrous inferno of earthquakes ment. But of course scientific people in the summer of 1928 in the Aleutian paid attention, and two or three Islands. Those Gargantuan volcanoes, months afterward, there was a Comeight or ten at a time spouting both mittee of Correspondence discussing it from land and sea, went on intermit- - meteorologists, astronomers, geoltently from June until January. I ogists, and others. The general public remember that that was the beginning heard nothing about them; and yet it of the regular airplane excursions to was their first meeting, at Munich, in Alaska. People went up there to see the winter of 1929–30, that set on foot the volcanoes as they'd once gone to the plans for the never-to-be-forgotten see the devastated war-areas in France. Rio meeting. I see them sometimes still in dreams, Ah, that winter of 1929–30! Nothing after all these years and all the water in the way of cold will ever seem so that 's run under the bridges since! — cold, to us who remember it, as that those bubbling kettles of the gods, first mild little taste of coolness that we
this in the twenties still burned coal
the Earth has been the cold
got in the winter following the Aleutian that most people still burned coal or earthquakes. To this day I can't help oil, in the twenties and thirties; an easy feeling that it must have been the cold- thing it is to forget. The very idea of est winter the Earth has ever known. tanking up the waste heat of summer I was then a thin young fellow with a and the waste cold of winter, to use in habit of stooping, and I remember the extremes of the opposite season, wishing I could coil my long neck down had n't then been seriously conceived, inside my collar like a flamingo. But any more than the notion of utilizing all through November we rather the whole tidal power and harnessing laughed at it. November was about the pulling force of the moon to human like what we'd used to consider a needs. And the Workerscult, in large normal February. We all said that numbers, lived on niggardly scuttlefuls after such a start we might look for of coal, from scuttleful to scuttleful, in an open winter: the cold was using thousands of crowded homes, every itself all up at the beginning. Then, winter in the years before the Ice Age when December was so much colder Bubble. But in the terrible — so it than November had been, we began to seemed then - winter of 1929–30, the feel bewildered and perhaps a little fear of widespread death from cold scared. We had to give up driving cars became so general that practically all
- or even horses — as much as possi- householders joined the Fraternal ble; we could keep warm best by walk- Warmth Association and agreed each ing. We walked without talking, very to report his coal-supply from week to fast. When the wind was blowing we week, so that before the middle of could n't keep our windows open at January the custom was well estabnight, health or no health.
lished that no private family should Time-clocks in factories had to come permit itself to have more than a down from their high horses that week's supply on hand, until every winter and pay a little attention to family had a week's supply. Of course human limitations. Working-hours there was hoarding and smuggling; but imperatively had to be shorter. And public opinion was decided about that 's just one of a hundred things we hoarding and smuggling, and neither owe to Earth's taking a hand directly was ever very prevalent. Fridays were in our affairs. Why - every other “coal days,' and busy days they were: shortening of the workday had always all other business had to give way to cost a pretty penny of effort and coaling, from nine o'clock to four. ructions to bring about. But now the The cold alone was enough for us to strange thought began to seep into bear: it put a strain on our endurance, people's minds that afterward became just to get through the days and nights so great an anxiety: 'Suppose the and hang together so that no poor footpeople who are weighed down with less creature among us should freeze. some social handicap or other should But that really was n't the worst n't complain of it soon enough? It of it. It was n't just the local cold. might be too late, by the time they What bothered all of us the most complained. For the first time, - how was the realization that it was n't local. quaint that seems! — the general pub- We knew from the beginning that lic began to disapprove of the suicidal it was an Earth-wide phenomenon. patience of the poor.
The South Argentine and Tasmanian This came out especially in the weather bureaus, for instance, agreed question of fuel. We have to remember with the Canadian and Siberian ones;
was ever very prevalents, and neither
shortening of the work
what had been a cold winter in the If the wandering tribes could but Northern Hemisphere had been a have notched it on a cliff, or hierocold summer in the Southern one. glyphed it on a buried hatchet! If
And then, as the summer of 1930 they could but have blazed a record came on, the reports from the Southern on the rocks of how fast they were hemisphere were that a frightfully cold driven southward — how often they winter was raging there. Great areas trekked! of Argentine pasture land were winter. It was one of the most singular killed by thick, implacable sheets of things in the world to see land values ice. Round Cape Horn the storms of suddenly fall a mile. Such a world-wide that July were extraordinarily severe. slump in real estate had never been Furious snowstorms driving up from imagined. It needed a Jules Verne or a the Pole wrecked a ghastly number of Balzac. If you remember the story stout sailing vessels, and the Seamen's of the Magic Skin, it was something Union was making a herculean effort like that. Everybody had it in mind to get the route outlawed by inter that the timbers, farm-, and miningnational agreement.
lands of the temperate zones might By the middle of that summer of some day, not too remote, turn into ice1930, anyway, even the best-informed fields. Somebody would probably be left people were in a state not far removed owning tracts of lost land, buried under from panic. For the cold kept on, ice a mile thick. What many and many implacably; and in some ways the cool a weary book had been written to bring summer was harder to bear than the about — the reclamation of land for ice-cold winter. The state of the present use at present value merely – average person's mind was such that took place in a moment when the cool the news — in August 1930 — that the foreshadow of the Ice Age fell over the glaciers had doubled their rate of speculator's purse. And all the time advance, created something which I there was a contradictory feeling of think might really be called a general confidence among those who lived as panic. You 'll hear people sometimes tenants on the land. For the first time dispute the term. But among the that I remember they felt at home upon people I knew, it certainly would n't it, and felt confident that it would n't have been too strong a word. We be snatched away from under their feet did n't need the ‘New Titanic'cartoon, by climbing prices. reprinted so widely from the New York I always date the duration of the World, to scare us; nor the movies panic stage of the great Bubble from featuring Bill Hart as Primitive Man, that news in August, that the glaciers waking up one morning in his lake were advancing twice as fast, to the dwelling to find his ladder frozen into opening of the Rio meeting in May. the marsh, and Douglas Fairbanks rid- The Rio meeting is too distinguished ing a sabre-toothed tiger to safety in history, of course, for me to have to just ahead of a blizzard that suddenly recapitulate much about it. And yet snowed the jungle under!
the excitement of this past decade Oh to know more about the other about the exploration of the ether, and Ice Ages! Was the Earth chilling by the discussions of abstract Animals' slow and even degrees, or manifolding Rights, have begun, I fear, to make its rate? Or was it chilling by leaps and the Rio meeting shrink somewhat into bounds, mysterious and incalculable? that mere name and reverberation of Oh, for a record of the Fourth Ice Age! greatness that all great events turn
scientiso mene toto m
into by the softening and muffling and As the representatives of these condarkening of time.
glomerated organizations sat and lisEverybody used to know how the tened to the speculations the assembled meteorologists and astronomers and scientists were advancing, criticizing, geographers of the world decided at and discussing, several of them kept their Munich meeting to call another diaries. And it seems to me enough to meeting at Rio, in the spring, to discuss establish my Interpretation that Earth the whole 'climate situation. This itself took a hand directly in our affairs assembly was to consist of one hundred at that time if we only glance into any and seventy scientists in various lines, one of those diaries. For all of them are representing all the great universities filled, are flooded, with the same overand observatories of the world. And whelming sense of the vastness of time everybody knows — or used to know and the power of cosmic forces. Mrs. — that no sooner did the news of the Magoon of Sydney, I recollect, said forthcoming Rio meeting reach a cer- that she felt all the time a kind of tain group of Jewish tailors in Warsaw, creative darkness brooding over her than they decided to stint themselves as she heard the geologists estimating yet a little further than they always the lapse of ages. The representative stinted themselves to maintain their of the Nitrate Workers said that craft union, in order to send a delegate to unionism versus industrial unionism the Rio meeting, to hear what the had been his chief concern for twenty scientists should say and come back years, and suddenly now it began to and report to them.
seem to him impossibly picayune. No sooner, again, did the news of The Vatican representative — a conthis action appear in the Advance, the vert from protestantism — had been organ of the great union of the Amal- writing for years a monumental work gamated Clothing Workers in the on the persecutions by Queen ElizaUnited States, than the Amalgamated beth. Now he was startled to find that decided to send a delegate to represent he could n't even remember the name them, who should sit with his Polish of his book. fellow workmen; and then the Russian The representative of the Dukhobors coöperatives and the British coöpera- astonished everybody by her poise and tives came in, and then the Inter- calm before the overwhelming realizanational Machinists and Miners; and tion that so changed the scale of after that it went on with a rush, until thinking of the rest. Perhaps this was long before May 14, 1931, there was only because, like all habitual mystics, assembled a second committee, known she lived in the presence of cosmic as the Listening Delegates, about forty thoughts. An ignorant old woman, in number, representing, in addition to worn by a life of labor in the fields, these, and others I can't recall: — there she sat and heard without a
tremor the unimaginable durations of The Forest Schools of India
sidereal time roughly guessed at, the The Chinese Students' Association incredible bulk of the ages before man, The Federated Women's Clubs of dimly outlined against the darkness Australia
of man's wonder and curiosity about The Fellowship of Reconciliation them. I believe it was said that she The Vatican
spoke but once throughout the proThe Street Traders of Constantinople ceedings. What she then said has The Federal Council of Churches. always seemed to me the essence 60
of my own conviction, — poetically It then called upon scientific men condensed, —
everywhere to investigate-so far as 'The stars in their courses have they were equipped to do so — the ended war.'
possibilities of trekking on a large scale, The meeting sat for about six weeks. and the possibilities, in sanitation and At the end of that time it issued industry, of the equatorial lands. its never-to-be-forgotten Recommenda- ‘And above all,' the Recommendation: the greatest document, I think, tion ended, 'let Africa be studied. since the Sermon on the Mount. In For Africa, in the last emergency of language it is n't so noteworthy, per- possible cold, must be the refuge of haps, though passages of it rise to man and beast.' eloquence; but in scope, and in range, There was something in this expresand in its wonderful simplification of sion that especially caught the imagithe profundities with which it deals, it nation of Americans. We got a sudden is - I think — without any other vivid picture of the White race fleeing rival. It began, as we all know, by from its pleasant temperate zone. pointing out the fact that in the coldest It was a strange thought! And to parts of Earth no fuel is used.
the Black Man's Land, the Ice Age Races who live beyond the timber line homestead, the one only huge-enough sit said] never trouble about the fuel supply. shelter from the on-coming cold! It They have none. There is no fuel of any
was the strangest thing in the world sort for them, and so they keep warm
to think of Europe and America without it. It is true that they burn a little
forsaken, icebound, silent, glittering, oil for cooking and to dry their wet clothes; but they keep warm as their and our
and dead! remotest fathers did, by animal heat. Like
The Recommendation was broadthe cows in a northern farmer's stable, like casted in thirty-seven languages. It primitive man in the dark chill of his cave, was printed in thirty, and posted in they keep each other warm.
every church, lodge, school, station, In any possible climatic changes of great and public library; printed of course in extremity which may lie ahead of us, — for all newspapers. It appeared early in all is problematic, and we have been able to
Aue reach no conclusions in our recent sessions,
There was some bewilderment in — we too must be prepared above all things
Government offices when the Recomto keep each other alive; to keep each other warm. For this reason, animal heat,
mendation was first read there. Of above all things, must be preserved upon the
course, such a proposition had never earth.
before challenged any Government. To this, every business, every profession, One elderly statesman who left his every art, all other possible interests, Memoirs confesses that he felt that it callings, research, rights, privileges, profits, was in some way beneath his dignity, laws, treaties, and constitutions must give and that of his colleagues, to be asked
to take measures to invigorate and neither ecclesiastical nor racial interests
enliven the life of the ordinary man. can stand before this paramount human
"We seemed,' he writes, “to be relegated obligation. Life must be cherished; and all things
to the mere functions of a Board of possible must be done that can enrich and
Health or a Welfare Bureau. Many invigorate and vitalize the common life. others, who were only too anxious to All that is good for us all must stay; all that act on the Recommendation as soon as is good for some and bad for others must go. it should be humanly possible, were