long her own. He occupied and amused himself, during his railway journey home, in trying to work out what would be the moral and mental result in such an instance, supposing the child to be a girl endowed by nature with generous emotions and considerable shrewdness. It struck him that such a character, so developed, would be typical of the individualism and impatience of restraint, social, moral, and religious, combined with impulsive generosity, which is the feature of the new civilisation, about also to be the motive force of the future, that is coming everywhere to the front.
He had read recently a Polish story, entitled ‘Morituri,’ which depicted the decay of a Polish princely race, and it occurred to the author to take such a family, steeped in traditional culture, infused with feudal-Christian morality, as the representative of the old civilisation which is melting and disappearing everywhere, as the other becomes concrete and asserts itself.
Again, the author asked himself, What would be the result, what the mutual action and reaction, if such a line of life as that which he had ideally traced in one of his heroines—the representative of the Coming Age—were run athwart the threads of old culture and ethics? Would each act on the other at all, to modify its peculiarities and broaden its view of life? To take another simile, would such a vein of molten, fiery, nineteenth century individuality, operating vertically, do other than shatter the superincumbent, horizontal social beds? Would it be itself at all metamorphosed in the process?
The author was teased by the problem that rose continually in his brain. He felt that he could only work it out by calling his representative characters out of the vasty deep of conjecture, and setting them on the table giving them souls and letting them move and act towards each other automatically, and work out the problem for themselves. Such, then, is the history of the genesis of this story, and the reader is requested to bear its purpose in mind as he skims it. Two types in two groups are opposed to each other; each group represents a set of ideas, social and moral, the one coming on, conquering, overwhelming, the other disappearing and likely soon to be looked back upon as having become extinct in the moral world like asceticism and mysticism. There are two heroines each the focusing of the good qualities of the two groups, and two heroes each the concentration of the infirmities of the same.