The general feeling was, and for a long time remained, that one had several children in order to keep just a few. As late as the seventeenth century . . . people could not allow themselves to become too attached to something that was regarded as a probable loss. This is the reason for certain remarks which shock our present-day sensibility, such as Montaigne's observation, "I have lost two or three children in their infancy, not without regret, but without great sorrow."