told her what I had told Mrs. Mayhew and something more: how my seed was composed of tens of thousands of infinitesimal tadpole-shaped animalculae—Already in her vagina and womb these infinitely little things had a race: they could move nearly an inch in an hour and the strongest and quickest got up first to where her egg was waiting in the middle of her womb. My little tadpole, the first to arrive, thrust his head into her egg and thus having accomplished his work of impregnation, perished, love and death being twins.
The curious thing was that this indescribably small tadpole should be able to transmit all the qualities of all his progenitors in certain proportions; no such miracle was ever imagined by any religious teacher. More curious still the living foetus in the womb passes in nine months through all the chief changes that the human race has gone through in countless aeons of time in its progress from the tadpole to the man. Till the fifth month the foetus is practically a four-legged animal.
I told her that it was accepted to-day that the weeks occupied in the womb in any metamorphosis corresponded exactly to the ages it occupied in reality. Thus it was upright, a two-legged animal, ape and then man in the womb for the last three months and this corresponded nearly to one third of man's whole existence on this earth. Kate listened enthralled, I thought, till she asked me suddenly:
"But what makes one child a boy and another a girl?"
"The nearest we've come to a law on the matter", I said, "is contained in the so-called law of contraries: that is, if the man is stronger than the woman, the children will be mostly girls; if the woman is greatly younger or stronger, the progeny will be chiefly boys. This bears out the old English proverb: