Again, in childhood, these feelings were called out only by some definite, concrete object; now they are stimulated by great ideas as well. Patriotism, humanity, suffering, duty, art and science have power to kindle flame on the altar of sacrifice. The more difficult the task suggested, the greater the power of its wooing.
Those were long days of her childhood when her mother was at work in the Hall, and the child was locked in the empty cottage; but many was the kind word through the window, from the women as they passed up and down, and now and again a hot griddle-cake, or some little dainty of the kind, was passed through to the child as she sat so dull and lonely on her little creepy stool.
The woman gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, who were nurtured in secret and made to believe that their father was dead no difficult matter, since at a tender age they saw their mother die, and they gave little thought to tracing genealogies. As our maternal grandfather was rich our childhood passed happily.
To be sure, she was neither so pretty as Florrie Spencer nor so clever as Julia Caperton, but in the words of Julia's brother Algernon, she was "the sort you could count on." Even in her childhood it had become the habit of those about her to count on Gabriella. Without Gabriella, her mother was fond of saying, it would have been impossible to keep a roof over their heads.
Presently, all would blow away just like a cloud, and she would love and be gay, until something fresh, perhaps not at all meant to hurt her, would again hurt her horribly. In reality, the whole household loved and admired her. But she was one of those delicate-treading beings, born with a skin too few, who and especially in childhood suffer from themselves in a world born with a skin too many.
And then as she passed through the hall she heard faintly from the upper regions that slate rattling again. At least it was either the slate or she recalled a story of her childhood, and hurried on to the kitchen. She and the cook shared the same bedroom.
That shadow had first fallen in their lusty childhood, had slowly gathered darkness through the overflowing days of maidenhood, and now, in the strong tide of full womanhood, often lay upon their future as the moon Odin's wrath lies upon the sun.
They are supposed, like the childhood or the old age of a living being, to characterize a period of which they express the quintessence, all the rest of this period being filled by the passage, of no interest in itself, from one form to another form. Take, for instance, a falling body.
Berenike had told Barine that the relations between Cleopatra and Archibius dated back to their childhood, but she had learned no particulars.
He and his wife had taken up their residence in that most delightful of health resorts, and, having definitively closed up his affairs in the East, he had entered upon the Western life with keen zest. In one particular only he was apparently destined here as elsewhere to the disappointment which had dogged his footsteps from childhood up.