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A NOVEL SHORTAGE

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The age of miracles is definitely past and with it has gone the prestige of the wonder worker. On the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, four Indians, doubtless bona fide medicine men of the ancient type, failed to cure a cross-eyed boy.

During the middle ages, such a slip would have simply served to prove idiosyncrasies of the eye were divinely ordered. Now cynical newspapers broadcast the failure and unfriendly governments discourage pilgrimages to the healers.

With scientific aim, the modern world is slowly strangling its novelesque material. Lacking the palmer and the pilgrim, Sir Walter Scott's work might fall a trifle flat. Without magic and magicians, the "Arabian Nights" would never have been written. Sans tom-tom and medicine man, the ferocious savage of America has about him less awful mystery.

It seems strange that archaeologists, so careful of forgotten dwellings, should be so careless of living customs. Unless vigorous measures are taken, the last theme of adventure stories will disappear, for picturesque superstition threatens to follow romantic conflict in to oblivion. When Sabatini's buccaneering mine is exhausted, romancers of the old school will have nothing to write about.

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