31 The Anglo-Saxons of the Kentucky Mountains
in a nasal tone. So far as we were able to judge, the women are
the chief exponents of mountain minstrelsy, and the accuracy of
their memories for these long poems is suggestive of Homeric days.
Spain and Sicily are perhaps the only other parts of the civilized
world, at least in Europe and America, where modern folk-songs
are still composed in the form of ballad ppetry.
The whole civilization of the Kentucky mountains is eloquent to
the anthropogeographer of the influence of physical environment,
for nowhere else in modern times has that progressive Anglo-Saxon
race been so long and so completely subjected to retarding con-
ditions; and at no other time could the ensuing result present so
startling a contrast to the achievement of the same race elsewhere
as in this progressive twentieth century.