From this, as from many other things, I grew to see what I finally put in words.
"Have you no respect for the past? For what was thought and believed by your foremothers?"
"Why, no," she said. "Why should we? They are all gone. They knew less than we do. If we are not beyond them, we are unworthy of them--and unworthy of the children who must go beyond us."
This set me thinking in good earnest. I had always imagined --simply from hearing it said, I suppose--that women were by nature conservative. Yet these women, quite unassisted by any masculine spirit of enterprise, had ignored their past and built daringly for the future.
Ellador watched me think. She seemed to know pretty much what was going on in my mind.
"It's because we began in a new way, I suppose. All our folks were swept away at once, and then, after that time of despair, came those wonder children--the first. And then the whole breathless hope of us was for THEIR children--if they should have them. And they did! Then there was the period of pride and triumph till we grew too numerous; and after that, when it all came down to one child apiece, we began to really work--to make better ones."
"But how does this account for such a radical difference in your religion?" I persisted.
She said she couldn't talk about the difference very intelligently, not being familiar with other religions, but that theirs seemed simple enough. Their great Mother Spirit was to them what their own motherhood was--only magnified beyond human limits. That meant that they felt beneath and behind them an upholding, unfailing, serviceable love--perhaps it was really the accumulated mother-love of the race they felt--but it was a Power.
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