28 THE POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENT
fertility, it follows that the selected class would respond more than other classes to the above influences.
I do not attempt to appraise the strength of the combined six influences just described. If each added one-sixth to the produce the number of offspring would be doubled. This does not seem impossible considering the large families of colonists, and of those in many rural districts ; but it is a high estimate. Perhaps the fairest approximation may be that these influences would cause the X women to bring into the world an average of one adult son and one adult daughter in addition to what they would otherwise have produced. The table of descent applies to one son or to one daughter per couple ; it may now be read as specifying the net gain and showing its distribution. Should this estimate be thought too high, the results may be diminished accordingly.
It is no absurd idea that outside influences should hasten the age of marrying and make it customary for the best to marry the best. A superficial objection is sure to be urged that the fancies of young people are so incalculable and so irresistible that they cannot be guided. No doubt they are so in some exceptional cases. I lately heard from a lady who belonged to a county family of position that a great aunt of hers had scandalised her own domestic circle two generations ago by falling in love with, the undertaker at her