History and the Louse


THE formula for writing biographies of individual men and women has been thoroughly worked out. Apart from the recent introduction of psychoanalytical methods and a little libido, it has remained more or less the same since Plutarch. In writing the biography of a protoplasmic continuity like typhus, it becomes necessary to develop a new formula. While, on the one hand, we can avoid many of the keyhole indiscretions of the Strachey, Ludwig, Maurois school, we are — in this instance — forced to give considerable space and attention to other unpleasant subjects more likely to repel than to attract. For typhus spends prolonged and, for its survival, essential phases of its existence within the bodies of lice, fleas, and rats. There may be other hosts not yet determined. But of these we know; and we must, therefore, follow our virus through these phases and endeavor to get the point of view of these fellow creatures which, though regarded with loathing by the superficial, are sufferers even as we are, and quite as innocent of intentional malice. For, though we acquire the disease from them, they get it from each other and from us. So there would seem to be as much to be said on one side as on the other.

Obviously it is much more difficult to present the louse’s point of view in its relationship to man than to elucidate the influence exerted, let us say, upon Chopin by George Sand, or upon Mark Twain by the respectable relations of Elmira, New York. We cannot, therefore, dismiss the matter with a brief scientific description of the sojourn of typhus in the louse. To achieve our purpose we must endeavor to present the case of the louse in the humane spirit which a long intimacy has engendered. For one cannot carry pill boxes full of these little creatures under one’s sock for weeks at a time without developing what we may call, without exaggeration, an affectionate sympathy; especially if one has taken advantage of them for scientific purposes and finds each morning a corpse or two, with others obviously suffering — crawling languidly, without appetite, and hardly able to right themselves when placed on their backs.

The louse is foremost among the many important and dignified things that are made the subjects of raucous humor by the ribald. Despite the immense influence of this not unattractive insect upon the history of mankind, it is given, in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, two thirds of a column — half as much as is devoted to ‘Louth, a maritime county in the province of Leinster,’ one fifth as much as is allowed for Louisville, Kentucky. This creature, which has carried the pestilence that has devastated cities, driven populations into exile, turned conquering armies into panic-stricken rabbles, is briefly dismissed as ‘a wingless insect, parasitic upon birds and mammals and belonging, strictly speaking, to the order of Anoplura.’

The louse shares with us the misfortune of being prey to the typhus virus. If lice can dread, the nightmare of their lives is the fear of some day inhabiting an infected rat or human being. For the host may survive; but the ill-starred louse that sticks his haustellum through an infected skin, and imbibes the loathsome virus with his nourishment, is doomed beyond succor. In eight days he sickens, in ten days he is in extremis, on the eleventh or twelfth his tiny body turns red with blood extravasated from his bowel, and he gives up his little ghost.

Man is too prone to look upon all nature through egocentric eyes. To the louse, we are the dreaded emissaries of death. He leads a relatively harmless life — the result of centuries of adaptation; then, out of the blue, an epidemic occurs; his host sickens, and the only world he has ever known becomes pestilential and deadly; and if, as a result of circumstances not under his control, his stricken body is transferred to another host whom he, in turn, infects, he does so without guile, from the uncontrollable need for nourishment, with death already in his own entrails.

If only for his fellowship with us in suffering, he should command a degree of sympathetic consideration.


The louse was not always the dependent, parasitic creature that could not live away from its host. There were once free and liberty-loving lice, who could look other insects in their multifaceted eyes and bid them smile when they called them ‘louse.’ But this was even longer ago than the Declaration of Independence, for it took the louse many centuries to yield up its individualism. It was so long ago that we have no records of any neolithic or even Neanderthal louse from which we can trace a clear line of descent. Indeed the ancestral problem has remained an extraordinarily difficult one. Many erudite students — preeminently Enderlein — have been inclined to derive the Siphunculata or sucking lice from the Rhynchota or true bugs, largely on the basis of similarities of the mouth parts. But this idea is rejected as truly preposterous by Handlirsch (Die Fossilen Insekten) and his followers, who trace the descent of our lice from the furand feather-eating Mallophaga (bird lice) for reasons unquestionably well founded upon considerations far too intricately technical for superficial discussion.

We could not do justice to a subject so fundamental without extensive citation from the works of specialists. We desire merely to indicate that this problem of ancestry has led to dissension among louse scholars, — on occasion not entirely without passion, — though, unlike the question of the descent of man, it has not involved religious feelings.

But the opinion of the learned Professor Handlirsch appears to be the one most generally favored among students of lice. Modern lice consist of two closely related varieties: the biting lice, or Mallophaga; and the sucking lice, or Anoplura. These orders are parasitic developments, probably, of the ancient group of pre-cockroaches, from which are also derived our present cockroaches and termites. The precockroaches, or Protoblattoidea, are fossil forms of the upper Carboniferous Period, and too far removed to concern us. Our own companions, the bloodsucking ones, are probably derived from the fur-scavenging insects, through the Psocidæ or Corrodentia — small winged or wingless creatures, the bestknown representatives of which are our common book lice. The latter group are not the direct ancestors of the louse, but spring with them from a common stem. The conditions are analogous to the relationship of the higher apes and man — a kinship that is too often misunderstood as a direct descent or ascent (however one looks at it) like the rungs of a ladder, rather than, more properly, like twigs of the same bush.

Ancestral origin from the same stock may be both upward and downward. In the case of the louse, we know relatively little about the matter, since we must judge from anatomical data alone; and the evolution of purely parasitic from free-living forms would seem to be a downward rather than an upward development. In the case of man, the relationship with the monkeys is surely much closer than that of the lice with the Psocidæ. The anatomical and blood-chemical similarities are exceedingly close ones, and — we being the arbiters of appraisal — we assume that we are the higher forms, since we include mental and spiritual qualifications, without really knowing much of these attributes among the apes. A distinguished biologist has recently claimed, on the basis of anatomical and physiological studies, that there is a much closer similarity between man and the young, rapidly-developing anthropoid than there is between man and the adult ape. According to this, we may be looked upon as arrested or maladjusted apes; while the apes, passing through this stage, go on to adultness, where they cease to struggle for the things they cannot achieve and arrive at reasonable contentment. This is in keeping with Goethe’s view that the man of genius is a permanent adolescent.

However this may be, it is likely from evidence that somewhere in the legendary past of louse history an offspring of a free-living form not unlike our book louse found that life could be infinitely simplified if, instead of having to grub for food in straw, under tree bark, in moss or lichen, in decaying cereals and vegetables, it could attach itself to some food-supplying host, and sit tight. It is one of the few instances in which nature seems extremely logical in its processes. The louse sacrifices a liberty that signifies chiefly the necessity for hard work, the uncertainty of food and shelter, and exposure to dangers from birds, lizards, and frogs; loses the fun of having wings, perhaps; but achieves, instead, a secure and effortless existence on a living island of plenty. In a manner, therefore, by adapting itself to parasitism, the louse has attained the ideal of bourgeois civilization, though its methods are more direct than those of business or banking, and its source of nourishment is not its own species.

Thus, at any rate, arose the parasitic lice, — first, perhaps, the biting ones, the Mallophaga, — and there developed, showing the infinite elasticity of nature: —

The chicken louse
Trinoton, the goose louse
The slender duck louse
The pigeon louse
The turkey louse
The biting guinea-pig louse
Trichodecter, the horse louse

— to mention only a few. Out of these, or parallel with them, came the animalcules with which we are chiefly concerned. Not content with a diet of feathers, fur, and dandruff, these varieties — cast off by a kind Providence upon thin-skinned, warmblooded animals — discovered by an incomprehensible cleverness (or perhaps by an accidental scratch and an occurrence not unlike the discovery of roast pig by the Chinese) that under their feet ran an infinite supply of rich red food. They developed boring and sucking structures, and thus arose: —

The hog louse
The dog louse
Polyplax, the rat louse
The foot louse of the sheep
The eat louse
The short-nosed ox louse
The monkey louse
Our own pediculi: the head louse
and the body louse of man


It is with the last two that we are chiefly concerned, and they are so closely related that even now, by an occasional mesalliance resulting from the meetings of young people about the neck band, a body louse may go native and interbreed with a head louse. The crab louse we may neglect. He is probably of distinct generic origin and a creature that merits neither respect nor sympathy — not even terror.

Although the human head louse first came into the hair of primitive savages from fur-bearing animals, even in this respect the give-and-take does not appear to have been entirely one-sided. Ewing suggests that the Ateles monkeys may have received their lice from natives; and the similarity between the various monkey lice and those of man is so close that they can interchangeably feed on one or the other host without harm. We have ourselves fed two hundred Arabian head lice on an East Indian monkey for weeks at a time, with relatively low mortality. Such interchange of hosts is not usually possible. A louse fed on a foreign host, in most cases, suffers a painful and fatal indigestion. Ewing further suggests that the spider monkeys obtained their lice from man when the latter reached tropical America in his dispersion from the Old World. The fur of the Ateles monkeys is very similar in coarseness and abundance to that of the head of man, and the blood of this monkey is physiologically more nearly like that of man than that of some other monkeys of the New World. These reflections of Ewing are of great importance in connection with our biography, since the question often arises whether typhus was present in America before the conquest of Mexico. If, as Ewing states, the phylogeny of the Ateles-infesting lice has followed that of their hosts, it is likely that the lice have been in America for a long geological period. The genus Ateles or spider monkey — we quote Elliott from Ewing — has a wide area of distribution, extending from south central Brazil as far north as the state of Vera Cruz in Mexico, and from the Pacific coast of Ecuador to the Atlantic coast of Brazil.

There are two distinct American groups of pediculi, according to our authority, one of them confined to man and one to monkeys. ‘The foremost infesting man are largely hybrid head lice, the pure strains of which were originally found on white, black, red, and yellow races living in their original geographical ranges. The monkeyinfesting lice of America, so far as known, fall into distinct species according to the hosts they infest, thus indicating to a certain degree at least a parallel phylogeny for host and parasite. If the monkey hosts procured their lice from man, it was not from recent man, but from man that lived tens of thousands of years ago — long enough to allow species differentiation.’

Once established on the head of a savage, the louse passed from race to race, acquiring slight changes of form and feature in the process, so that to-day it would seem that we can deduce some information as to human racial relationship from the characteristics of the lice found in different parts of the world. The Pediculus humanus nigritarum, or head louse of the African Negro, is slightly different from the head louse found on European and modern American heads. The latter appear to be hybrids, with a strong strain of the nigritarum. The Pediculus humanus americanus, found on the prehistoric scalps of American Indian mummies, is again different, and this ancient parasite has been taken from the scalps of living Indians, together with the European head louse — one among the many acquisitions of civilization.

Our eminent authority, Ewing, studying large series of lice from living Americans, has observed that there was no correlation between louse types and racial types of the human hosts. It appears that America, the melting pot of human races, has also become the melting pot of lice. Ewing became convinced that he was dealing in the American race largely with hybrids of different racial types, and this conviction was strengthened by the relatively recent discovery by Bacot that the head lice of man would intermarry with the body lice and give fertile progeny. This led Ewing — realizing the futility of obtaining any information concerning original American lice from the examination of the heads of our modern intelligentsia — to search for these insects in the scalps of American mummies. At first his search was in vain, because, although he found nits plentiful upon the scalps of pre-Columbian Peruvian mummies, he found no specimens of mummified adults. Later, however, through Dr. Lutz of the American Museum of Natural History, he secured the scalps or hair samples from twenty prehistoric American Indian mummies. Three of these had not only nits, but lice in all stages of development. It was found that the insects from Peruvian mummies were slightly different from those taken in the southwestern United States, and that all the lice from prehistoric mummy scalps showed differences from some of the lice obtained from a living Indian. It is probable, according to Ewing, that our living Indians have acquired the Caucasian and the Ethiopian head louse, and now enjoy hybrids between these two and the American types. It might be mentioned, also, that the American mummy type is distinct from Fahrenholz’s Pediculus humanus marginatus, or Japanese variety.

Shipley tells us that the louse adapts its color to that of the host, so that we have the black louse of Africa, the smoky louse of the Hindu, the yellowish-brown louse of the Japanese, the dark brown one of the North American Indian, the pale brown one of the Eskimo, and the dirty gray one of the European. Again, though the evidence is vague, this prehistoric American louse has been described as quite similar to the Chinese head louse and to the lice found upon Aleutian Eskimos — another argument for the Völkerwanderung across the Behring Straits.

From the several head varieties arose the body louse, when naked man began to wear clothing. Primitive races as a rule have no body lice. Advancing in civilized habits with his host, the louse now began to attach its nits to the fibres of the clothing instead of to the hairs of the body— thereby gaining a degree of protection from direct attack and a greater motility.

In the development of the head louse into the body louse, many very interesting changes of habit have taken place. Free lice are not often found on the skin. The insects remain in the underclothing in contact with the body, except when feeding, and even at such times they may remain attached by the legs to fibres of the cloth.

Soon after conception, the mother louse begins to lay eggs, at the rate of five or more a day, and this is kept up for about thirty days. The eggs are then attached to the fibres of the clothing by a sort of cement substance which forms the nit. Hatching occurs at varying periods, according to the temperature. At normal temperature of the human body, hatching may occur in a week, but, if repeatedly exposed to cold or kept at a lower temperature, this process may be delayed for over a month.

In getting out of its egg, the young nymph shows extraordinary enterprise. First of all it forces open the little lid, or operculum. This gives it the first fascinating glimpse of freedom; but the hole is too small to permit escape. With great ingenuity, the little animal begins to swallow air from in front and eject it from behind, gradually increasing the pressure until eventually it pops out into the great world. It is then a finished little louse, a perfect image of its parents; but, if not fed, it dies within a day or two. If properly taken care of, it moults and in from four days to a week goes into what is spoken of as the second nymph stage, and from that by a similar process into a third nymphal stage, and throughout this period enjoys all the privileges of louse existence except the sexual one. It does not become a sexually mature louse until two or three weeks after emerging from the egg.


In the study of animal evolution, there seems to have been an almost complete neglect of social forces which, if we listen to Fabre, Maeterlinck, Wheeler, and others less eminent, appear to play extraordinary roles in the organization of insect life particularly. The admirably efficient feudal matriarchy of the beehive seems quite superior to any comparable achievement in general contentment developed by man. And the communistic organization of the termites, as described by Professor Wheeler, appears to represent the ultimate perfection of modern Russian aspirations — more perfectly conceived than man seems capable of conceiving them. Yet, in the so-called lower ranges of animal life, we attribute to ‘instinct’ or evolutionary forces the results which men struggle toward with what they call ‘intelligence.’ It is at least reasonable to suppose that alterations in human society and government are equally subject to external forces,2 though man’s greater restlessness brings them about with greater speed.

We have already mentioned the possibility that the parasitism developed by the louse was due to the forces of a bourgeois desire for easy living on the part of the individuals carried by chance to a location where food was simply obtained and life was secure. It is equally possible that there may have been, among these colonists on an abundant soil, a growing conviction that all lice were born equal, that liberty and equality and fraternity should govern society, and that in this way the discouragement of wings, of independence, of adventurousness, may have led to a ‘New Deal,’ a stabilization at the lowest level of louse capacities.

However this may be, the louse — like man — has, for one reason or another, failed to develop the highly complex civilization of the bee or the ant. Such development has perhaps been unnecessary because of the infinite and ever-renewed supply of abundant territories for exploration. He lives, blissfully irresponsible, like the Polynesians before the advent of Captain Cook, roaming on the land of plenty, where nature provides warmth, shelter, the odors he loves best, copses for love, and secure undergrowth to which his chosen mate can attach her nest. Under his feet is an inexhaustible supply of the food he prefers, and he has but to sink his hollow stylet into a tender skin to procure his two or three daily meals, with much less trouble than it takes the aborigines to knock a coconut off a tree. In his unrestrained simplicity, he is much like Rousseau’s noble savage — so abhorrent to Professor Babbitt — leading a physically and emotionally unrestricted life.3 If, with Professor Babbitt, we deplore this, we cannot — we regret to say — look forward to any changes for the better in the near future.

With us, a spiritual deepening is imminent, with the complete exploitation of our continent and the exhaustion of those easy pickings which, for two hundred years, have allowed us to remain, like the louse, undisciplined.4 But the louse seems indefinitely committed to the materialistic existence, as long as lousy people exist. Each newborn child is a possible virgin continent, which will keep the louse a pioneer — ever deaf to the exhortations of his Van Wyck Brookses and Mumfords to better ‘evaluate his values.’

As far as we can ascertain, since man has existed the louse has been his inseparable companion. Unlike other parasites, he never leaves his host, except as the consequence of accident or disaster. When he is cast out, or when his host perishes, he is doomed unless he can promptly find another. This fact has led many religiously inclined louse scholars to speculate upon the problem of whether Adam and Eve were lousy. Cowan quotes a writer in the Gentleman’s Magazine for 1746 as saying, in regard to this fascinating question, ‘We can hardly suppose that it [the louse] was quartered on Adam and his lady — the neatest pair (if we believe John Milton) that ever joyned hands. And yet, as it disdained to graze the fields or lick the dust for sustenance, where else could it have had its subsistence?’ The question can never be settled. We do know, however, that lice are present on the most ancient mummies from many parts of the world, and that these insects were found by early travelers on all savage races encountered by them.

Cowan, in his Curious Facts inthe History of Insects, quotes Wanley’s story of the eating of lice by the Budini, a people of Scythia, and the same habit — still prevalent among monkeys — is recorded of the Hottentots and the American Indians. By some of these peoples, as well as by the mediaeval English, the practice was supposed to have medicinal value — particularly against the jaundice. In the same extraordinary book we find citations from Purchas’s Pilgrims concerning the strange habits of the natives of Malabar, who, ‘if Lice doe much annoy’ them, call upon certain religious and holy men who ‘will take upon them all those Lice which the others can find and put them upon their [own?] head, there to nourish them’ — an act of benevolent selfsacrifice which alone should have served to canonize them.5

Pertinent to the now highly probable assumption concerning the prevalence of typhus among the Aztecs before the advent of Cortez is the tale cited from Torquemada. ‘During the abode of Montezuma among the Spaniards, in the palace of his father, Alonzo de Ojeda one day espied ... a number of small bags, tied up. He imagined at first that they were filled with gold dust, but — on opening one of them — what was his astonishment to find it quite full of Lice!’ Ojeda spoke of this to Cortez, who then asked Marina and Anguilar for an explanation. He was told that the Mexicans had such a sense of duty to pay tribute to their ruler that the poorest — if they possessed nothing else to offer — daily cleaned their bodies and saved the lice. And when they had enough to fill a bag they laid it at the feet of their king.


It is not necessary, however, to confine ourselves to the primitive or ancient races to illustrate the important and intimate role played by lice in the social life of the human race. Among the unfortunates of our own day, these little creatures are still sufficiently prevalent even in the most civilized communities — although, in places as decadent as Boston is said to be by Upton Sinclair, it is often difficult to find a needed supply of the insects, unless one knows one’s way about. In our experience, on one occasion when a supply of uninfected lice was needed immediately for feeding on a suspected case of typhus fever, it became necessary, by appeal to the scientific enthusiasm of a municipal police captain, to place under temporary arrest a colored gentleman who was the only individual easily discovered who was in possession of the coveted insects. It is needless to add that he was, of course, immediately released — after generously supplying us from his ample store.

Yet, as everyone who has really been to war knows, let the water supply fail, or soap become scarce, or a change of clothing be delayed — it takes no time at all before the louse comes back to its own. It was not so long ago, indeed, that its prevalence extended to the highest orders of society, and was accepted as an inevitable part of existence — like baptism, or the smallpox.

Lice have even been important in politics. Cowan tells the story of the custom prevailing in Hurdenburg in Sweden, where a mayor was elected in the Middle Ages in the following manner. The persons eligible sat around a table, with their heads bowed forward, allowing their beards to rest on the table. A louse was then put in the middle of the table. The one into whose beard the louse adventured was the mayor for the ensuing year.

The manner of living throughout the Middle Ages made general lousiness inevitable. In England, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the houses of the poor were mere hovels, often with only a hole in the roof to let out the smoke of the central fire; and in cold weather the families were huddled together at night without changing the simple garments — usually a single shift—which they wore in the daytime. Washing was practically out of the question, and the better classes — not very much more comfortable in their badly heated domiciles — wore a great many clothes, which they rarely changed. MacArthur’s story of Thomas à Becket’s funeral illustrates this.

The Archbishop was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral on the evening of the twenty-ninth of December. The body lay in the Cathedral all night, and was prepared for burial on the following day. The Archbishop was dressed in an extraordinary collection of clothes. He had on a large brown mantle; under it a white surplice; below that a lamb’s-wool coat; then another woolen coat; and a third woolen coat below this; then the black, cowled robe of the Benedictine Order; under this a shirt; and, next to the body, a curious haircloth, covered with linen. As the body grew cold, the vermin that were living in this multiple covering started to crawl out, and, as MacArthur quotes the chronicler, ‘ the vermin boiled over like water in a simmering cauldron, and the onlookers burst into alternate weeping and laughter.’

The habit of shaving the head and wearing a wig was no doubt in part due to the effort to hold down vermin. Gentlemen and ladies all over Europe resorted to this, but the wigs they wore were often full of nits. Pepys speaks of this in several places, complaining about a new wig he had bought which was full of nits. ‘Thence to Westminster to my barber’s; to have my Periwigg he lately made me cleansed of its nits, which vexed me cruelly that he should put such a thing into my hands.’

Even in the highest society the questions of lice and scratching were serious problems; and the education of children, even in the best circles, included a training of the young in relation to their vermin. Reboux, speaking of the education of a princess of France in the middle of the seventeenth century, says: ‘One had carefully taught the young princess that it was bad manners to scratch when one did it by habit and not by necessity, and that it was improper to take lice or fleas or other vermin by the neck to kill them in company, except in the most intimate circles.’

He tells another story illustrative of the universal lousiness even of the aristocracy. The young Comte de Guiche had made himself unpopular with the King by casting amorous eyes upon Madame, the King’s sister-inlaw. He sent the Comte’s father to announce banishment to the son. The latter was not yet out of bed when his father arrived. As the old Marshal stood in front of the bed, a louse crawled out from under his peruke, began to crawl along the deep furrows on the old man’s forehead, skirted the edges of the little thickets made by the eyebrows, and crawled back under the hair of the wig. The entire lecture was missed while the Comte de Guiche was watching the adventures of the insect.

Even long into the eighteenth century, lice were regarded as necessities.

Bacteriologists for a generation have wondered whether the presence of colon bacilli in the intestines, because of their universal occurrence, may not have some physiological purpose. For similar reasons, as wise a man as Linnæus suggested that children were protected by their lice from a number of diseases.

In the story of George Washington by Rupert Hughes, we find the following paragraph on ‘Rules of Civility,’ copied by Washington in his fourteenth year: ‘Kill no vermin, as Fleas, lice, tics, etc. in the sight of others, if you See any filth or thick Spittle, put your foot Dexteriously upon it; if it be upon the Cloths of your Companions, put it off privately, and if it be upon your own Cloths, return thanks to him who puts it off.’

Since colonial days, these things have changed. The louse has been banished completely from fashionable society, and even though — among our middle classes — there may not be a motor car in every garage, there is almost invariably a bathtub in every cottage and flat. And more and more the habit of keeping the coal in the bathtub is disappearing, among even the most oppressed. The louse is confined, in consequence, to the increasingly diminishing populations of civilized countries who live in distress and great poverty. But there are still many of these with us, and there are regions of the earth where life is still primitive and where bathtubs remain luxuries. The louse will never be completely exterminated, and there will always be occasions when it will spread widely to large sections of even the most sanitated populations.

And, as long as it exists, the possibility of typhus epidemics remains.

  1. Dr. Zinsser’s paper is a part of his forthcoming book, Rats, Lice, and History. — EDITOR
  2. Professor L. J. Henderson’s Seminar on Pareto would undoubtedly prove of invaluable assistance in expanding this idea. — AUTHOR
  3. In one important respect, this accusation of Rousseauism is not entirely just to the louse. Though in his other appetites leading an apparently effortless and licentious existence, sexual arrangements are uniquely wise. Nature has provided that the nymph —that is, what may be called the high-school or flapper age of the louse — is not yet possessed of sexual organs. These do not appear until the fully adult form develops, and reproduction is thus postponed until a responsible age is reached. Adolescent Bohemianism, ‘living oneself out,’ ‘self-expression,’ and so forth, never get beyond the D. H. Lawrence stage among the younger set. How much physical hardship and moral confusion could be avoided if a similar arrangement among us could postpone sexual maturity until stimulated by an internal secretion from the fully established intellectual and moral convolutions of the brain! The loss of copy this would entail for Theodore Dreiser, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and others would be amply compensated for by gains in other directions. —AUTHOR
  4. Had the Pacific Ocean extended to the west bank of the Mississippi, we should probably have, by this time, developed what is so ardently wished for by our younger critics — a distinctive American culture. With us, the latent seeds planted at Concord a hundred years ago may be expected to burst into flower when the vitality of our race is driven inward by the failure of external resources for material exploitation. — AUTHOR
  5. Weizl informs us that, when sojourning for a short time among the natives of Northern Siberia, young women who visited his hut sportively threw lice at him. On inquiry concerning this disconcerting procedure, he was embarrassed by learning that this was the customary manner of indicating love, and a notice of serious intentions. A sort of ‘My louse is thy louse, etc.’ ceremony, — AUTHOR