Where, all this time, was Flora? When I put the question to Miles, he played on a minute before answering and then could only say: "Why, my dear, how do _I_ know?"--breaking moreover into a happy laugh which, immediately after, as if it were a vocal accompaniment, he prolonged into incoherent, extravagant song. Public virtue is the vital spirit of republics, and history proves that when this has decayed and the love of money has usurped its place, although the forms of free government may remain for a season, the substance has departed forever. XIV Walking to church a certain Sunday morning, I had little Miles at my side and his sister, in advance of us and at Mrs. Such is the unexaggerated picture of our condition under a Constitution founded upon the republican principle of equal rights.