Page:A Few Hours in a Far Off Age.djvu/37

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A MIRTHFUL laugh now comes pleasantly to arouse me from sad reflection. It is from two lads, while their mother smilingly endeavours to restrain them. Before their alcove is a case containing models of steam-engines and electric motors of the twenty-second, twenty-first and twentieth centuries. She has just been explaining concerning our screeching, dirty "iron horses" and the picture of a "few hundreds of miles'" journey in so "wild" a fashion greatly excites their amusement, especially at "the strange noises those semi-barbarians loved to hear around them." I doubt the restoration of their gravity this morning. They listen respectfully while she tells them that but for the intellect which produced those "cumbrous machines, two millions of years ago, our own elegant, convenient noiseless and rapid conveyances would not yet have been arrived at."

But their splendid eyes are dancing with humour at their imaginings of the "journeys in the poor old past, with those strange, funny-looking beings for companions!" and they break out again into a most enlivening laugh. I wish they could know how heartily I join them!

There will be a different expression on their faces tomorrow, when they hear of the frightful sufferings those same "funny wild engines" sometimes caused. In most cases by men's alarming deficiency in forethought and union of particulars, which is daily to be seen both in the higher and lesser duties of their positions.