Doing a homework assignment and I just can't figure out what this quote means.
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The quote in context:
I had learned, too, the very remarkable fact, that the stem of the Usher race, all time-honoured as it was, had put forth, at no period, any enduring branch; in other words, that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent, and had always, with very trifling and very temporary variation, so lain.
Roderick and Madeline are the only remaining family. The Usher line ceases with their deaths. From the above quote, we can infer that the line historically only produced a few children, and that the line continued from father to son (daughter) without benefits of extended family.
The Fall of the House of Usher