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LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY             295
it was a necessary incident to wisdom in us both ; but, somehow or other, instead of being actor and regenerator in society, I became a piece of drift-wood, and have been floating and eddying about, ever since. Alfred scolds me, every time we meet; and he has the better of me, I grant, — for he really does something; his life is a logical re­sult of his opinions, and mine is a contemptible non sequi-tnr."
" My dear cousin, can you be satisfied with such a way of spending your probation ? "
" Satisfied ! Was I not just telling you I despised it ? But, then, to come back to this point, — we were on this liberation business. I don't think my feelings about slavery are peculiar. I find many men who, in their hearts, think of it just as I do. The land groans under it; and, bad as it is for the slave, it is worse, if anything, for the master. It takes no spectacles to see that a great class of vicious, improvident, degraded people, among us, are an evil to us, as well as to themselves. The capitalist and aristocrat of England cannot feel that as we do, be­cause they do not mingle with the class they degrade as we do. They are in our houses ; they are the associates of our children, and they form their minds faster than we can ; for they are a race that children always will cling to and assimilate with. If Eva, now, was not more angel than ordinary, she would be ruined. We might as well allow the small-pox to run among them, and think our children would not take it, as to let them be uninstructed and vicious, and think our children will not be affected by that. Yet our laws positively and utterly forbid any effi­cient general educational system, and they do it wisely, too; for, just begin and thoroughly educate one genera­tion, and the whole thing would be blown sky high. If we did not give them liberty, they would take it."
u And what do you think will be the end of this ?': said Miss Ophelia.                                                 4
" I don't know. One thing is certain, — that there is