The Sussex Skull

Hastings and St. Leonards Observer, Saturday, February 15, 1913.

By H. R. H.

Two hundred thousand years or so -

I don't quite know how long ago

This lady lived in the Sussex Weald

Whose skull's just lately been revealed.

Amidst gravelly flints she long had lain

Before she came to light again,

And little did she ever think

That she'd be called the "missing link."

The fair sex, in those days of yore,

Had little chin, but lots of jaw.

But this was chiefly used to crunch

The roots and nuts they munched for lunch.

For they'd no spare time to devote

To clamouring about a vote .

Nor had they any mind to think

Of pillar boxes and red ink.

For in those days a Suffragette

Would sometimes more than Suffrage get,

If she'd not take her husband's hint

He'd soon convince her with a flint;

Her brain-cells were prepared for speech,

But what she usually did was screech.

No doubt her language was not choice

Nor musical; she had a voice,

But not in the affairs of State

(Nor is she fit for this to date).

For in those days the hills of chalk

Extended far across the plain

Denuded now by frost and rain.

As to her dress, I must confess,

'Twas rather skimpy - skins and fur,

In winter, and in summer less

Or none at all - she wore her hair.

She hadn't any lingerie,

Or hats, or boots, or gloves, you see -

But one thing's sure, which is that she

Would in the latest fashion be.

This lady had no cookery book

Nor had she very much to cook.

I doubt if she a fire would make

To broil or stew a cave-bear steak.

And if a hippopotamus

Were killed, she's think "oh what a fuss

To make about a piece of meat,

Much better fruit and nuts to eat."

At this remark I see your smiles,

It makes you think of Eustace Miles,

Who counts you as a Cannibal

For feeding on an animal.

This damsel's wits were somewhat dull -

Note the great thickness of her skull,

Its shape resembled - as you see -

In most respects a chimpanzee.

But of one thing we may be sure

That she was once the Cynosure

Of eager swains, whose deep-drawn sighs

Evoked compassion from her eyes.

And doubtless she would much delight

When, for her favour, they would fight,

Dealing each other mighty whacks

And smashing blows with the stone-axe.

The vanquished she aside would shove,

And to the victor give her love.

Just as, in modern times, we find

Rude strength appeals to female mind.

And, in those days, it's my belief,

That every trouble and mischief

Had the eternal Cryptogram

For origin - "cherchez la femme."

She was as much a riddle then

As she is now - to us poor men,

And yet we cannot but submit

We love her, though not solving it.

Now for the moral of my tale:

We little humans in this vale

Of love and tears, our short life pass,

And then we re blotted out alas!

Perchance, in a thousand years,

Our Skulls may be unearthed - Our fears,

Our hopes, our aspirations may

Be analysed, some future day,

By some keen-brained geologist,

Who'll hold our jaw-bone in his fist,

And speculate what race of men

We were, who here resided then.

Now, whilst we're here,

Let's make the best

Of this fair world, and live with zest,

Enjoy it ere our course is sped,

For we shall be a long time dead.

Let dismal kill- joys go to - well -

A place whose name I need not tell.

They’d have us think that life was meant

In gloomy sadness to be spent.

So let them go where they can revel

And throw cold water on the devil.

But, whilst we're here, let's life enjoy.

And also let’s our time employ

In trying to promote the good -

In universal brotherhood

Of all, no matter class or creed,

By kindly action, word or deed.

Look back two hundred thousand years,

What matter now their joys and fears?

Yet life to them was just as real

As ours, though not quite so ideal.

Still the old earth goes spinning round

Upon her axis - makes no sound,

Days, months, years, centuries slip away,

Gather then lilies while we may.

Perchance the universal "mind"

"Great Architect" of human kind,

May have some other life in store

Who knows - at all events the law

Of nature has to be obeyed,

Let's live - and then - be not afraid.

The lamp of truth which science holds

Shines ever brighter, and unfolds

Much wrapped in dark obscurity,

And lights it for futurity.

Dawson we owe you all a debt,

And hope that you will dig up yet,

In research geological,

Our tree genealogical.