wife and children of which the modern State has partially deprived him. The development of secular education is to be arrested, particular stress is to be laid upon the wickedness of any intervention with natural reproductive processes, the spread of knowledge in certain directions is to be made criminal, and early marriages are to be encouraged.... I do not by any means regard this as an impossible programme; I believe that in many directions it is quite a practicable one; it is in harmony with great masses of feeling in the country, and with many natural instincts. It would not of course affect the educated wealthy and leisurely upper class in the community, who would be able and intelligent enough to impose their own private glosses upon its teaching, but it would “moralize” the general population, and reduce them to a state of prolific squalor. Its realization would be, I believe, almost inevitably accompanied by a decline in sanitation, and a correlated rise in birth-rate and death-rate, for life would be cheap, and drainpipes and
complete downfall. Coventry had no sympathy with sexual temptation; in his sight, if a married woman permitted a man who was not her husband to make love to her, she was guilty of more than indiscretion.
In the midst of this period the stately steamboat age began its development. It was inaugurated in 1811 when the first steam-propelled “water-walker” made its laborious and astonishing way from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. By 1820 steamboats had become a dependable factor in traffic, and were, to river travel, what the railroad train was later to become to the slow stagecoach and freight wagon. It was inevitable that under steamboat influence flatboats of all types—arks, broadhorns, Orleans boats, keel-boats, and flat-bottomed barges—would follow the primitive pirogues, skiffs, and batteaux into retirement, except for neighborhood use. River piracy waned with the conditions it preyed upon, but not until about 1830 did it cease utterly.
He could not mistake the implication of those last two sentences. She had confessed to an interest in his welfare that deeply stirred and aroused him. Something of his humility began to fall from him, his recent passion of self-condemnation assuaged by her belief in the promise of his life. And with that reaction all those phases of his admiration which had for so long been secretly merging into love, were suddenly tinged by an ecstasy of gratitude. She appeared infinitely more to him at the moment than either friend or possible lover. She was the supreme miracle of creation embodied in that graceful form, outlined against the window. The benefactor, the giver, the maker of himself. By her simple expression of belief in him, she had given him a soul. He wanted to kneel before her in adoration....
"Yes, he is very considerate," Arthur agreed, automatically. Had Fergusson been promised a place in that untidy will as compensation? was the
"All is not yet over between us."
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