Aware of his daughter's silence, Mr. Stone let the sheet of paper sink, and waited patiently again.
"What do you want, my dear?" he said.
"Oh, Father, do listen just a minute!"
"It's about that girl who comes to copy for you. Is there any reason why she should come instead of any other girl?"
So awkward a reply was not expected by Cecilia; she looked at the floor, forced to search within her soul. Silence lasted several seconds; then Mr. Stone's voice rose above a whisper:
"'The reason was not far to seek. Man, differentiated from the other apes by his desire to know, was from the first obliged to steel himself against the penalties of knowledge. Like animals subjected to the rigours of an Arctic climate, and putting forth more fur with each reduction in the temperature, man's hide of courage thickened automatically to resist the spear-thrusts dealt him by his own insatiate curiosity. In those days of which we speak, when undigested knowledge, in a great invading horde, had swarmed all his defences, man, suffering from a foul dyspepsia, with a nervous system in the latest stages of exhaustion, and a reeling brain, survived by reason of his power to go on making courage. Little heroic as (in the then general state of petty competition) his deeds appeared to be, there never had yet been a time when man in bulk was more courageous, for there never had yet been a time when he had more need to be. Signs were not wanting that this desperate state of things had caught the eyes of the community. A little sect---'" Mr. Stone stopped; his eyes had again tumbled over the bottom edge; he moved hurriedly towards the desk. Just as his hand removed a stone and took up a third sheet, Cecilia cried out:
Mr. Stone stopped, and turned towards her. His daughter saw that he had gone quite pink; her annoyance vanished.
Mr. Stone seemed to reflect. "Yes, yes," he said.