Page:A Few Hours in a Far Off Age.djvu/11

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performed the menial work, which was very severe in those days of crude appliances and badly constructed dwellings—so severe that she frequently died from the effects—lamed, and hands distorted in her heroic efforts to fulfil duties imposed upon her by the apish cunning of the males. The husband frequently proved his superior intellect by the rapidity with which he squandered his wife's property, and reduced her to hardships she never would have known had his sense or conscientiousness equalled hers. As to the loving and cherishing—alas!"

She is silent. Her kind eyes appear to be looking sadly and compassionately through the mighty past into the aching hearts of my century.

Though anxious to hear more, the young people respect her silence. Now her daughter, who had hitherto been taking notes, looks up. What a countenance! No mirror—whether of quicksilver, canvass or marble—ever in the world's 'early eras'—as they call our time—reflected so real a beauty. Added to the grand look of integrity all faces here possess, hers shows deeper thought than has yet come to her brother; and the expression of loving reverence for that dear mother! Was there ever aught so charming in a daughter?

My readers' share in this pleasure will be small, for I have not power to depict all I see.

After a few minutes' reflection, the mother resumes:

"My delight has been to master, as far as is known, all details concerning the development of our species, and our own race especially, from earliest records. For many years it occupied the whole of my study hours; but, even did our time permit, I would not impart the worst that those researches taught me."