Page:A Few Hours in a Far Off Age.djvu/15

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justice as compared with woman's, yet when a wife discovered her husband to be utterly unworthy of her, and left him because she could not live a life of foul hypocrisy, they put her to death at once. As civilization advanced, such a woman was killed more slowly. The husband was permitted to keep her children for any degraded life he chose. He spread evil untruths against her. The husband having thus given permission everyone was at liberty to follow his example, which all cruel persons availed themselves of—knowing they could indulge their disposition to injure without any fear of punishment or without being expected to feel mercy for the poor suffering heart—wearing life away in the pain of sorrow while the husband proudly proclaimed that he was made in the image of his god."

"Oh, the irreverent coward!" exclaims Frederick.

His mother continues in graver tones, yet so thrillingly tender, for she knows well that dear son's heart:—

"That was said of him by some in those very times—but civilization was then only in its infancy. You forget, through your impetuosity, one of the objects of your present study;—how much that to the unthinking wears the appearance of 'irreverence' or other wickedness has proceeded solely from the arrogance of ignorance." Looking very earnestly at him, she adds: "When a danger—and thoughtlessness is a great danger—has been pointed out for our avoidance, they are unwise who heed not the friendly warning."

The boy raises his truthful eyes to his mother's with an admiring glance which acknowledges very winningly the justice of her reproof—yet will not trust himself to speak; his high-minded nature is too deeply wounded at learning his relationship to so low a form of life.