We have pearls, diamonds, and other precious stones of a very remarkable kind, whose electricities are supposed to have a certain influence over the wearer. Thus, diamonds in Montalluyah have, it is thought, a tendency to increase the circulation; and when I have been fatigued by excessive study, a chain of peculiar diamonds has been placed near my skin to revive me.
Ladies sometimes wear a small turban with a gold tassel on the crown of the head. For the open air the head is covered with a turban, in front of which is a small shade, which, by means of a spring, falls down and protects the eyes and face from the sun.
Ladies of superior quality rarely wear turbans, for they seldom go abroad in the heat of the sun, and when they do, they are shaded by a canopy, supported at each corner by a pole, and borne by four men. When walking in their grounds ladies use long veils, covering them from head to ankle, which they also wear when on horseback, but they never mount in the heat of the sun.
Every unmarried woman, without exception of class, wears a distinctive feature on her dress. The drapery is fixed with a jewel to the right shoulder, and the right arm is bare. On the other hand, the married woman's arms are always covered with falling drapery, though by certain movements she shows the arm. It is not till after marriage that the lady is allowed to wear very elaborate costumes.
By men an elastic linen case or chemise, made of a material which will stretch to any size, and cling to the form, is worn next the skin. This, reaching just below the knee, is short in the sleeves, and very ornamental about the neck, leaving the throat bare. It is changed daily by the poor, and twice a day by the rich. Over it is worn a tunic of rich material, with sleeves differing from each both in form and colour.
The trousers of the men consist of a large mass of drapery of very fine light material finer than cambric, prepared from leaves which have passed through a certain process, and are afterwards woven. This is wound round and round the leg. As many folds are required to protect the body from the scorching heat, it will be seen that lightness is an essential quality. The trouser, otherwise full, is narrow at the ankle, where it is confined by a band of the same material, of gold or of jewels, according to the quality of the wearer. Gloves are not worn by men, but their trousers being so massive they can place their hands in the ample folds when walking in the sun.
Another important article of male attire is a large piece of drapery, which, fastened in front and on one shoulder with a jewel chain, is carried to the back, and being attached to the opposite arm, falls in graceful folds below one knee, where it may be fastened. It may also be thrown back and worn as a cloak or covering; in any case it descends in graceful folds.
The feet of our men are bare, and are rubbed with an oleaginous preparation, which keeps them lithesome, and prevents them from being browned by the sun. The under part of the foot is protected by a sole secured by sandals. The hair, whether of the head or beard, is never cut, and we have no shaving, but we have means to prevent the hair growing on any part of the face.
The colours of the costume vary greatly; each man selects according to his taste, but they always harmonize. To give an example. If the drapery were crimson on the outside, the inside would be blue; the tunic, a very rich brown; the legs of the trousers, one red the other blue.
The only ornament worn by the men is a chain of ravine metal, sometimes plain, sometimes set with costly gems, and we have costumes all brown, relieved by this chain alone.
Out of doors the men wear a turban or head-covering, made of a very light material, beat out to the thinness of the finest wafer, and repellent of heat. It is very large, that the face and eyes may be protected from the sun; and, moreover, it is furnished with a contrivance by which a current of air is kept constantly playing on the top of the brain.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE MARRIAGE.
"Cling to each other, concentrate your hopes in each other, and if peevishness on either side arise, chase it away by a smile."
Shortly after the choice of a husband has been confirmed, preparations for the civil marriage commence. Night and morning the bride is purified with baths of choice herbs and flowers. During the fortnight prior to the solemnity myrrh and choice spices are added to the baths, and the hair, to which great attention is given, is combed with a comb that emits a peculiar perfume, which retains its force for months, attracted by the warmth of the head.
This comb is made out of one small part of the wood of a rare tree, the rest of which has no particular virtue; so that from a whole tree, only a single comb is obtained. Such combs are used solely for the brides, and for every bride a fresh one is provided. The hair is combed down loosely, the long hair hanging about the neck, shoulders, bosom, and waist.
The marriage costume is generally purple and gold, the rich being magnificently attired, and wearing beautiful jewels in the hair, on a small turban worn on the crown of the head, on the bosom, waist, hands, arms, and one of the feet, which is bare, while the other foot is covered with what may be called a silk sock, bearing various inscriptions, such as—
"May thy footsteps lead thee to virtue." "May thy footsteps bring thee and thine to glory."
The bride is radiant with light and beauty; her face is not allowed to be hidden, and her neck, shoulder, and bosom are left bare on one side.
The parties meet in a great public hall, and in presence of witnesses, after stating their wish to be "doubled," i.e. married, sign a scroll, which the friends present subscribe.
The names of the newly-married pair are written in large clear characters, and affixed to the wall, that all passing by may see them.
The size and height of the hall are immense, but when after a certain time the scrolls accumulate, they can easily be rolled and raised higher, and with equal facility be lowered when this is requisite.
The civil ceremony over, we have feasting and rejoicing, and certain observances not unlike what formerly took place in some of the marriages among the more cultivated Eastern nations in your planet.
Seven young maidens wait at the bridegroom's house to receive the bride. The room intended for the reception of the married pair is beautifully arranged, various-coloured ornamental glass reflecting subdued tints on the objects around.
On each side of the bridal couch is the figure of an angel holding a scroll exhorting to wisdom, purity, love and truth. Hidden in the drapery of the couch are self-playing instruments, whose soft music, awakened by the agitation of the air, and accompanied by delicate perfumes, sounds like the song of angels.
The bridesmaids undress the bride and throw over her a silver-gauze transparent lace, which gives her a fairy-like, vapoury appearance, as she reclines on the couch, with her long hair partly covering the beautiful outline of her figure, and the bridesmaids strew flowers around her.
When all is ready, the young maidens send to bid the bridegroom enter, who, clad in a silken garment, is conducted by two friends to the threshold of the bridal apartment. The seven maidens then chant a short prayer, wishing the married couple all joy, and, each having kissed the bride, depart.
The day of the civil marriage is one of unalloyed joy. In the selection of the day even the elements are studied by men specially devoted to meteorology, who, with perfect infallibility, can predict the weather for a fortnight.
Three months after the birth of each child the marriage ceremony is repeated, the same assembling of friends, the feasting, and the same purification and adornment of the bride taking place as when the parties were married.
No religious ceremony, with the exception of a short prayer, takes place on the day of the civil marriage. The bride and bridegroom are supposed to be too much engrossed with the thoughts of their coming joys to give proper attention to prayers pronounced by others. The bride and bridegroom, however, are each expected to pray in private as their own hearts may prompt, and some days prior to the marriage a paper is given to each, in which some of the leading responsibilities and considerations are noted, to the end that, if necessary, their pious thoughts may be directed into the right channel.
The religious ceremony takes place at a convenient period, when a year has expired after the civil marriage, and we are justified in hoping that the newly married pair, by their conduct to each other, have given evidence that they are worthy of the blessings now to be solemnly invoked. When the day arrives the bride is dressed in white without a single jewel. Both she and the bridegroom prostrate themselves when receiving the blessing. As the ceremony is supposed to be exclusively religious, there is no feasting.
If the couple have had any serious dissension during the year the religious ceremony is postponed, but great efforts are made to reconcile the difference, and if these are successful the solemnity takes place.
When, on the other hand, a reconciliation cannot be effected, the law insists on a separation of the parties, who, however, may be reconciled at any time. As neither is allowed to marry again, polygamy is forbidden, and as irregularities are out of the question, a reconciliation can almost always be effected, unless, indeed, there is some cause sufficiently grave to render a separation necessarily final. Such causes are exceptional in the extreme.
* * * * *
The precautions taken in the selection of a husband and the watchfulness of our system, prevent any great incompatibility of disposition, and the existence of those evils which formerly were of daily occurrence. Provision is made even for those accidents which sometimes occur after marriage, and which of old had often led to disappointment and misery. For example, when it happens that a child is still-born, or for some reason must be put out of the way, neither the father nor mother is at first made aware of the fact, but the loss is immediately supplied. Every birth is instantly communicated by telegraph to the central department, at whatever hour of night or day it may take place. The number registered every instant is great, and the birth of twins is a frequent occurrence. When a child is born dead, one of a pair of twins is transferred to the mother, and placed in her arms. If she ask any question the nurse and doctor answer her gently and kindly, but are not allowed to mention the substitution.
It is not until the patient is completely re-established, and all is in order, that she is informed of what has passed, and she has then the option of retaining the child, or of allowing it to be taken back to its own mother. Cases of premature birth, or of deformed infants now however rarely occur, except as a consequence of accidents which cannot be prevented.
Husband and wife are now really considered and treated as one. At places of amusement, and in public conveyances, they pay for one only. In calculating the number of persons present, we say, for example, "there are 200 doubles, and 100 singles;" this with you would make 500—we count them as 300 only.
"In the celestial spheres, flowers breathe music as well as fragrance."
Allusion has been made to the use of flowers at the "choice" meetings, as the medium through which the maiden indicates the gentleman on whom her choice has fallen.
Flowers are very beautiful in Montalluyah. They are highly cultivated, and great pains are bestowed upon them; their names are given to stars and to women, so that often a lady will at once be associated with a beautiful flower and a brilliant star.
Every flower has a well-known language of its own; many convey comparatively long expressions of emotion, both pleasing and the reverse, and the meaning of each may be qualified or increased by its union with others. In the language of flowers all at an early age are instructed. The meaning associated with each flower is universally understood, its name at once conveying its language as distinctly as though the whole of the sentence were spoken in so many words. Indeed many interesting, and even long conversations are carried on between a gentleman and lady through a floral medium.
A young lady, instead of entering into conversation or expressing her sentiments in words, may present a flower either in the first instance or by way of answer. A married lady receiving visitors has generally fresh flowers at hand, which she often separates to present one to the visitor.
The following are instances of language associated with flowers:—
Vista Rodo.—A plant bearing a little flower like a diamond in transparency and brilliancy, and exhaling from every green leaf a beautiful perfume.
"The stars in heaven thou makest to blush by the sweetness of thy breath."
"I deny not that they possess thy brilliancy, But thy fragrance they deplore. May I hope for the boon of thy lustre near me Through the journey of life, To teach me to be happy, To cultivate my admiration of the beautiful, To bid me seek the joys of home, And teach me the greatness of my Maker!"
Oronza.—A flower unknown to your planet. It is white, the centre studded with little spots in relief, so closely resembling turquoise and pearls that unless touched they might be mistaken for real stones placed on the flower.
"At sight of thee, malignity flies away and the spirits of peace and goodness surround me, encouraging me to all great and noble deeds, making me forget to look back on my folly, and bidding me gaze forward into the future and the realms of hope.
"You exalt me; you purify me; say you will part from me no more."
Mosca.—The moss rose.
...."Come to me, Thy virtues are more brilliant than precious stones; Thy breath exhales intoxicating perfume; Thy beauty is a continual feast. Tell me thy heart shall be my haven, To my bosom I will press thee, And thy leaves shall embrace me with their fragrant affection."
Each kind of rose has its separate language. Thus, Javellina, the single-leaf hedge-rose, is associated with lines indicative of "the sweet purity of youth." Angellina, the white rose, is associated with lines indicative of "gentle endurance and pure love;" and Orvee, the yellow rose, with lines indicative of "affection combined with jealousy."
* * * * *
Some flowers have qualified, some disagreeable meanings attached to them.
No man, however nearly allied to a lady, or however great his cause for displeasure may be, is allowed to say to her anything unpleasant except through the medium of flowers.
The only exception is in favour of the husband, whose privilege is seldom used; not only because it is thought more civilised to use flowers as the medium on such occasions, but more especially because marriages are now so well assorted that occasion for complaint scarcely arises on either side.
At the marriage meetings flowers having the slightest disagreeable words attached to them are strictly forbidden.
As an example of flowers having a qualified or disagreeable import take the following:—
Ragopargee.—The white lily.
"Cold but truthful, and as constant as the drops of Mount Isione."
In a small recess of Mount Isione two drops of water, clear as crystal, constantly fall, having percolated the rock above. As soon as two drops have fallen two others succeed, two being the invariable number. The interval between the fall of each pair of drops is equal and scarcely perceptible.
These drops never cease to fall night or day, and they have already by this accumulation formed a lake at the base of the mountain.
"False allurements! Thy beauty is to please but for a day, Like the magnet it attracts us, And then thou wouldst make us weep By fading before our eyes.
"Go, fickle flower, For thou shalt not be mine Until more lasting; thou canst learn to be."
"Thy beauty is dazzling; But, alas! its bloom will fade The nearer we approach. For thy external attractions find no echo within. I can never take thee to my bosom."
* * * * *
Romeafee.—The pink lily. This flower is associated with excessive love of dress, and the language attached to it ends with the words.
"As glaring to the eye as Kiloom."
The gorgeous appearance of sunset is personified in poetical legends by a master spirit, called "Kiloom."
The colours of sunset are gaudy and vivid beyond measure, and cast intense hues on all objects. Our sunsets, though grand, are far from being so agreeably soothing as those in your planet, but they leave an after-glow, which gives light during the night when darkness would otherwise prevail.
* * * * *
Flowers are profusely used in our great festivals. I collect a fete given to me on the occasion of an anniversary, when there appeared a cavalcade of one hundred camelopards, bearing each on its back a kiosk, in which was a beautiful woman. All the camelopards were united together, as it seemed to the eye, by wreaths of flowers, though in fact these concealed strong thongs, with which the animals were really secured. Each animal was attended by a swarthy native of the country whence it came.
FLOWERS IMPROVED BY ELECTRICITY.
"Marry nature's gifts the one with the other, amalgamate sympathetic electricities in their due proportions, and give increased beauty to loveliness, even as ye give increased strength to iron and marble, by welding their particles into one imperishable mass."
We discovered the mode in which nature operates in the production of plants and flowers, and our discovery has enabled us to give them new forms and varied colours, to increase their natural odours and to endow them even with fragrance of which in their natural state they are devoid.
Enclosed in every seed is a portion of electricity, and on this depend, in the first instance, the life of the plant, its form and colour, its leaves and blossoms. If any crack or injury to the seed has allowed the electricity to escape, the growth of the plant is prevented.
When, after some time, the seed having been sown, its electricity has attracted a sufficient quantity of the electricity of the ground, and the two electricities are, as it were, married, their united heat and power force the seed to burst.
Part of the united electricity serves for the leaves, and when its supply is deficient the leaves wither and die, despite every effort to preserve them.
Another part serves to give form and impart colour to the plant. Green is the colour that the earth, in connection with the electricity of light, has the greatest tendency to generate.
In many plants, after the electricity has thrown off its principal strength in the leaves and blossoms, what remains sinks exhausted into the root, there to repose, and, like a child forsaken by its mother, the leaves become sickly and fade. When in due season the electricity again becomes invigorated by repose, and by union with the electricity of the ground, the united essences go forth again to seek the light and busy themselves in the reproduction of foliage and flowers.
The essence of the combined electricity having acquired additional power from the contact with the electricity of light and of the sun, is forced to the extremities and joints of the stem, where the forms of the flower are permanently developed and preserved.
The electricity concentrated or, rather, coagulated at the joints and extremities of the plant there forms hard gatherings, which, after being saturated with the electricity of light and of the sun, ripen and burst into flower.
There are, as you know, great resemblances in many of the operations of nature. From observing the mode in which electricity thus coagulates and forms gatherings or tumours in flower-plants, we acquired valuable knowledge, including the secret of the formation of gatherings or tumours of all kinds in the human body.
The sap of the plant is the repository or reservoir of the united electricities, from which every part of the flower is to be nourished.
PROCESS FOR CHANGING FORM.
This is an outline of our process when we would change the form of flowers:
A slip from a plant, according to the kind of flower desired, is placed in a flower-pot filled with mould, the bottom of which can be unscrewed and removed at pleasure.
As soon as the slip has taken root, and the smallest fibres have sprung from the stem of the plant, the form of the desired flower is made out of a piece of ravine metal as thin as a piece of silk.
This metal-flower, after immersion in a solution which attracts the particular electricity to be used, is enclosed in a hollow block of the same metal, corresponding to the flower form, from which it rises in a shape somewhat like that of a funnel, till it ends in a very fine point or orifice as fine and as hollow as the finest hair. This point is inserted in the root of the plant.
Underneath the metal-flower form is placed a bag of sympathetic electricity, and the mouth of the bag is so arranged as to fit closely round the form of the metal-flower in such a way that the electricity has no escape but into the hollow metal block and through its fine, hollow point. The metal point, previously to its insertion in the root of the plant, is prepared with a solution to prevent the escape of any of the electricity through its pores.
As soon as the bag is opened the electricity is attracted into the metal form, and having no other escape, proceeds instantaneously through the funnel and through the hair-tube into the plant. In doing this, it retains the form implanted by its contact with the metal model, and by the forced passage through which it has become married with another electricity.
As soon as it is attracted by the solution with which the inside of the metal is covered, a shock is produced which materially assists the operation, by causing the electricity to imprint itself with greater force and certainty on the embryo plant with which you will recollect the hair-point has been connected.
It is essential that the charge should be sufficiently strong to modify or overpower the electricity already existing in the plant, in order to change the form which this would otherwise take; but, at the same time, care is taken that the charge is not too powerful, for in that case, and particularly if an antipathetic electricity be employed, the flower would be instantly killed. The electricity is therefore applied in gentle proportions at first, and then the operation is repeated several times.
PRODUCTION OF COLOUR.
It is electricity that, as I have said, gives colour to plants. Their varied tints depend on the sympathy or attraction of their electricity to sun and light electricities. Particular parts of the plant, from the nature of their fibre, have the power to attract larger portions than others of the colouring electricities.
When it is wished to produce different colours in the flower other electricities are used, with or without those producing variety of form. The electricities for producing colours are contained in small pouches, as many in number as the colours we desire to produce. Then, being placed together at the base of the flower-pot, each on the particular part of the "flower form" which is to be affected, their orifices are opened and the contents of each one are instantaneously emitted.
Most plants are susceptible of every variety of colour; thus are produced roses, pink, blue, green, lilac, brown, fire-colour, and sun-colour, which last is a colour so brilliant that the eye that has long gazed upon it stands in need of repose.
Amongst the electricities for giving colours is sun electricity, received in different ways. Again, the electricities of some birds give lovely colours; and so does that of the gold-fish. Moss gives a colour resembling fire-sparks. Frogs produce a beautiful violet.
Where the flowers and leaves have not a decided perfume of their own, we can give a beautiful fragrance to either, though not to both on the same plant. To produce this result, we inoculate the plant with certain fragrant gases. Our dahlias, unlike yours, yield a highly fragrant and delightful perfume.
* * * * *
The plants treated by us in these ways are fitly called flowers, presenting as they do a mass of blossoms and exhaling delicious perfumes. They act, mediately or immediately, on the concentrated light of the organization through the nerves of smell, as beautiful sounds through the medium of the ear, or as beautifully harmonised colours through the eye. You will recollect that a modification of concentrated light is supposed to be the link through which the soul communicates its impressions to the brain, on whose divisions it is made to act in electric forms.
Besides an infinite variety of flowers, we produce every variety of colour and perfume in the leaves of the evergreens which adorn our streets and habitations, emitting healthy and refreshing fragrance, increased by every movement of the wind.
* * * * *
CREATION OF FORMS.
Not wholly unconnected with this subject is the creation of electric forms for amusement at a distance from the operator. This is effected by the aid of tubes made from the membranes covering the eyes of birds, which are invisible to the naked eye even when at a short distance from the observer.
In the mouth of one of these tubes, which spreads out slightly, is placed a small form made of grains of powder obtained from the coloured seeds of flowers, and, a bag of electricity being applied, the fluid rushes through the tube. Instantly, at the other end, appears the figure or form traced at the mouth, but of ordinary or gigantic stature, proportioned to the power or quantity of electricity employed.
The forms can be varied or changed at will, and have so life-like an appearance that I have seen persons go up to the supposed gentlemen or ladies and speak to them, and only discover that they were shadows when they have come up close to them, or when the operator has at will made them vanish.
I should tell you how our attention was first called to the subject of reproducing forms by electricity.
We had observed numberless instances in which copies of forms were reproduced by electricity, as in the case of pictures in water, reflections in mirrors, mirages, apparitions, and pictures in the air; and had noticed that lightning would frequently imprint, on substances like trees, pictures of surrounding objects. These appearances have, I believe, been observed even in your world.
There is a highly beautiful flower called Luania, a name of which the approximate translation is the soiree or "assembly" flower. Its colours are most brilliant, but its blossom only lasts about ten hours. When that short term has expired, the leaves fall, and nothing remains but a small pod, containing seeds.
In the following year, but not before, the flower blossoms again, and falls in like manner.
The seeds of the Luania do not mature for three years,—that is to say, until after the flower has blossomed three times; but we have, however, the means of producing flowers from the seeds in three days.
The seeds are placed in handsome vases, which contain fine sand and some new goat's-milk, and are covered over with perforated zinc, taken from the great ravine, the metal having been previously prepared to attract the rays of the sun.
The vase, with the metal thus prepared, is exposed to the light of the sun, between the hours of seven and eight in the morning.
The power of the prepared metal is great, and so strongly attracts and retains heat, that it renders the surrounding atmosphere quite cold.
One hour in the sun is sufficient to bring leaves from the Luania. The metal covering is then removed, and the vases are placed under a forcing-glass, the power of which is doubled on the second day, and further increased on the third. The flowers then appear at once clad in all their brilliancy and beauty.
The forced flowers, like the natural blossoms, which they excel in beauty, live ten hours only, but they so far differ from them that their pods do not contain seeds.
The colours of the flowers are bright pink, golden, lilac, lilac striped with white, and a beautiful green striped with white gold. The leaves of this, instead of being green like the others, are of a coral colour mixed with purple blue.
The perfume of these flowers surpasses every other fragrance; it is most refreshing, and a lady will have no other for a reunion when she can obtain this flower.
SONG OF ADMIRATION.
"The beautiful is an attribute of heavenly perfection.
"Give vent to your emotions in words, in flowers, in music, and above all in good and noble acts."
The enthusiastic admiration of the lover has modes of expression besides the graceful presentation of flowers, and the soul-stirring breathings of the harp.
The following, to which I have added the explanation of certain terms, conveys as nearly as may be the meaning of some verses addressed by a lover to the object of his admiration. Many of the expressions will probably be thought hyperbolical. You will, however, remember that our pulsation is more rapid than yours.
* * * * *
Like Lertees at sunrise, opening into life, are thine eyes;
Sparkling and darting like Zacostees the most rare.
Their light overpowers as the air before a storm, when Raskutshi spreads his wings across the temples of his people.
Soft as the Kamouska thine eyes penetrate and search the soul with ingenuity exercised by Orestee to find a treasure.
Sweet as the milk of the Meleeta is thy breath.
Thy breasts are like the electricity of Turvee.
Thy laugh is like the shooting of the stars, silvery and wondrously charming.
Dangerous art thou, for thou allurest mankind from every pursuit, and, like to the electricity of the whale, dost thou draw us far and near.
Then as the Martolooti dost thou fascinate us to the spot.
Graceful as the Castrenka move thine arms.
More playful than the Chilarti when it smiles, and more luscious than the juice of the Tootmanyoso's fruit is the balm of thy lips.
The charms thou displayest are like the perfume emitted by the everlasting gulf;
Durable in their attraction as the Yurdzin-nod.
As surely dost thou penetrate the heart as the venom of the serpent permeates the blood.
Precious as the fat on the serpent's head is the marrow of thy bones.
Firm as the Mestua Mountain is thy will.
In thy goodness thy maker must rejoice.
Thy constant love doth make me live many lives in one; a day seemeth a year, and a year but a day.
Rise, wet thy feet, and onward let us go to Stainer's fount.
There to calm our thirst before singing to our Maker's praise.
And even as that sweet source ever flows,
So may our lives flow to the end of time, as constant and as bright.
Then come to my arms, and twine thyself about me, and I will support thee with strength and power, as the Mountain Supporter sustains the air-suspended cities of Montalluyah.
* * * * *
EXPLANATION OF CERTAIN TERMS USED IN THE PRECEDING SONG OF ADMIRATION.
1. Lertees.—A lovely mountain spangled with transparent stones, which is so resplendent at sunrise that none can look at it without putting gauze before the eyes. Many of the stones were used to ornament the Mountain Supporter.
2. Zacostees.—Precious stones found near the tomb of a celebrated and beautiful woman, named Zacosta, whose loveliness, goodness, and varied talents, created for her many bitter enemies, and exposed her to cruel persecutions. She died heart-broken, and her tears are said to have been petrified into these precious stones called Zacostees which are greatly prized as ornaments for turbans and for ladies' bosoms.
Though reviled and persecuted, Zacosta suffered without a murmur, and rose superior to oft-renewed temptations, and to the bitter taunts of the many incarnate evil spirits who called her an idiot simply because, lovely and accomplished as she was, she patiently bore privations and sufferings when many were ready to pour riches into her lap. To the last she resisted the tempter, however fascinating the form he took, and never lost faith to the day when she calmly closed a life in which she had so greatly suffered.
The legend adds that Zacosta was wafted by angels to one of the celestial stars, there to dwell in love, peace, and joy, and that she daily prays for the alleviation of the sufferings of her persecutors, doomed to pass through bitter ordeals, so pure and magnanimous is her spirit.
It should be added, that according to the prevalent belief, the higher order of spirits, those of the truly good, blessed in their own celestial spheres with every joy, occupy themselves by seeking to benefit others in the nether worlds. Their prayers are necessarily unselfish, unless we regard as selfish the joys, to them great indeed, which result from the delight of doing good.
One of the leading principles of the system which I gave to Montalluyah, namely, the promotion of those possessing superior talents, goodness and industry, was intended to imitate the mode in which, according to our belief, the spirits of the good are elevated to superior ranks of spheres according to the manner in which they pass through their several progressive states.
In Montalluyah slander is regarded with horror. A person of either sex who slandered a woman, and even one who gave credence to a slander without careful investigation, would be severely punished and condemned to wear "the dress of shame," on which would be exposed the nature of the offence, and the base motives of the traducer.
In the cases of slander that occurred at the beginning of my reign the offence was generally traced to envy, to the inferiority of the slanderers to the standard of their victims whom they sought to reduce to their own level, rarely to a desire for good.
Our horror of slanderers had been increased by the persecutions which numbers of virtuous persons like Zacosta had suffered from the malevolent; the very anxiety of the innocent to repel accusations having formerly been looked upon by our hot-blooded people as evidence of guilt. Many had preferred to suffer in silence rather than seem to give life and consistency to a charge by their efforts to repel it.
We have a saying in Montalluyah that to attack beauty and goodness is to attack Heaven itself, from whose attributes they are derived.
3. Raskutshi.—Supposed to be the king of the air, and ruler of all the zephyrs and spirits of the region. According to our poetical legends Raskutshi comes near the Earth when angry, and his advent is followed by a terrific storm. The air preceding certain storms in our climate has a peculiar effect in creating a species of torpor. It is then supposed that "Raskutshi spreads his wings over the temples of his people."
4. Kamouska.—A loving little animal like a bird, very beautiful and gentle, with an eye of jet black, and of great brilliancy, but softened when the little thing wishes to be petted. She likes much the electricity of the mouth, and puts up her face as though wishing to be kissed, at the same time emitting a beautiful musical sound. Her body is covered with the softest down, finer than that of the ostrich or the marabout. The feathers are of the richest gold and crimson, mingled with grey, her breast of the richest crimson conceivable. The top of her head is gold, the rest of her body greyish white, her beak pale pink, her tail of green and gold, intermingled with touches of greyish-white and red. She feeds on the blossoms of a flower growing amongst a peculiar grass, and on all kinds of fruit. She does not drink, but is satisfied with juices from the rich fruits which we have all the year round. Kamouska, I should say, is the name of the female bird, who alone is petted, the male being vicious and without feathers. Frequent reference is made to her by our poets.
5. Orestee.—The name of a man who invented an ingenious instrument for discovering diamonds in the bowels of the earth, and for penetrating to the spot where they lay.
This instrument possesses an electricity sympathetic to diamonds only. The presence of them is indicated by an exceedingly sensitive arm of the instrument which being retained on the spot indicated, puts forth tendrils that gradually perforate the earth, and do not stop until a precious stone is reached.
6. Meleeta.—A pet animal of most peculiar formation. Its body resembles that of a beast, and is covered with hair of a light hue, interspersed with dark chestnut spots. Its belly is white, as likewise are the feathers of its bird-like wings and tail, though these are varied with touches of crimson, blue, and gold. Its eyes are large, and of a jet black, its neck is long and graceful like that of a swan, its back is short and sleek, and its legs and feet, which are armed with claws, are small, graceful, and mobile. But its most remarkable peculiarity is the resemblance of its face to that of man. The males, which have horns like polished white ivory, are not petted.
The female yields a delicious milk, sweet and refreshing to the smell as to the taste, and with peculiar qualities when taken fresh from the animal. Meleetas are brought into the room during the early morning or "fruit-meal" repast, and each answers to her name, and stands still to be milked.
I had one much attached to me, who would come of her own accord, flutter her wings, and crouch at the top of my chair. The attendant was obliged to milk the animal close to my chair, and the affectionate little thing would watch the man until he handed me the milk, as though she feared he might give it to one of the guests. Infants are suckled by these tame animals.
At the beginning of my reign the animals were very rare, and indeed nearly extinct, their only food being the nut of a tree then extremely scarce, for before the discovery of the application of electricity the tree had been burnt for use. By my order large tracts were planted with these trees, and there are now large enclosures in which herds of Meleetas are preserved.
The young are very precocious, and can soon be fed on nuts, and consequently taken from the mother, who remains in milk for a long time—nearly a year and a half.
Great interest is taken in the Meleetas, and they are treated with much gentleness, each having a small house to itself, lined with soft down, and furnished with a perch.
They are very intelligent and grateful, and I well recollect the astonishment of my favourite when she laid her first egg. She would take hold of my robe and pull me, that I might look at the novel production, and she would make all the time a pretty noise like a laugh, seeming to be astonished and overjoyed.
I sometimes wore long flowing robes, and was often accompanied by this little creature when I strolled through my grounds. If it was at all damp she would hold up the hem of my garment with her mouth, that it might not get wet. When with me in my study, she would crouch down and remain quiet at my bidding.
The Meleetas resent ill-treatment, though not spitefully. They can only raise themselves a small distance from the ground, but I have seen one when offended flutter, fly up quickly, and descend, giving the offender a smart box on the ear with her wing.
7. Turvee.—An insect whose electricity forcibly attracts and subdues the power of man.
8. Shooting stars are, in our legends, said to be companies of good angels, linked in brightness and despatched from one star to another, on messages of love and peace, sometimes to protect an inferior world from the too great inroads of legions of evil spirits.
9. Whale electricity.—Of all, the most powerfully attractive.
10. The Martolooti.—A basilisk, or serpent, possessing wondrous fascinating power over its prey.
11. Castrenka, or Flower of Grace.—A plant with two branches only, which spontaneously or at the slightest breath move always together in a most graceful manner.
12. Chilarti.—A little pet animal, always playful and smiling.
13. The Tootmanyoso's fruit.—That is to say the Allmanyuka— the fruit invented by me, of which hereafter.
14. The perfume of the everlasting gulf.—A gulf the waters of which emitted a delicious fragrance, and when taken from the gulf would not keep together, but separated into drops like tears.
In our legends it is supposed that a lovely woman had for some grave sin been turned into a gulf, and that her breathings were continually wafted towards Heaven in prayer.
15. The Yurdzin-nod.—The hide of the hippopotamus, which is of extraordinary durability, and when prepared for use may be said to be imperishable.
16. The fat of the serpent's head is very precious, and is used for many important purposes. Prepared in a certain way it is even supposed to strengthen the intellect.
The "mind-tamers" attending madmen—who were numerous when I began to reign—carried with them this fat, and sometimes the head itself, as an antidote against the contagion of insanity.
17. The Mestua Mountain.—The largest in Montalluyah, supposed to be the firmest and most lasting of mountains. By her firmness the sea's mighty inroads have been arrested in their progress, and the waters have been driven back. The "will," which is likened in firmness to the mountain, is "the will to overcome evil."
18. Wet thy feet.—This ablution is required before prayer.
19. Stainer's fount.—Stainer was a good man, who was never known to harm or pain any one by action or word, and from whom, as he drank of its waters daily, the spring derived its name. The water, wholesome and cooling, is said to be the purest in Montalluyah.
Water, a thing of hourly use, and moreover supposed to enter largely into man's organization, is in Montalluyah treated as of the utmost importance to health, and its quality is watched with great care. The water for the especial use of the city is collected in reservoirs, and is always examined before the people are allowed to make use of it. If certain electricities are wanting, though it might be faultless in other respects, both the supplies, within and without, are stopped until means have been taken to infuse the deficient electricity. The water from Stainer's fount never required testing. This was always pure, never changed its component parts, and never ceased to flow.
20. The Mountain Supporter.—Reference to this great work is made in nearly all our poems, which invariably refer to the beauty, splendour, strength, firmness, durability, grandeur, and usefulness of the work, and to its resemblance to my polity.
"Here the soul has illumined its temporary dwelling with rays of light—the gift of Heaven."
Among the children of poor parents taken care of and educated by my orders, there was a beautiful girl named Sylifa, the daughter of a labouring man who worked in the ravines.
In the early part of my reign I had been struck with her beauty and intelligence, and directed that she should be brought up and educated in my palace.
Her eyes were almond-shaped, large, long, lustrous, and languishing; and might be pictured by fancy as beaming with ethereal flowers, crystalline fountains in all their brightness, painting, sculpture, and poetry.
Her lovely mouth never gave utterance to a thought that was not kind and good; indeed, all her features were beautiful, and the soft and luxuriant hair hung down to her feet in graceful curls—the back hair was much longer, and, when unbound, fell to the ground in rich masses.
She had a musical, merry laugh, which, whether they would or not, could set all present laughing, however seriously inclined.
Her talents were many, her versatility was great; for she was accomplished in various pursuits, and in most of them excelled. When singing or playing the harp, her dreamy eyes were more than earthly, and seemed as though beaming with poetry inspired of Heaven.
The beauty of her mind could be read in her face; she looked so heavenly, that when grown into womanhood I have, in a moment of enthusiasm, been almost tempted to fold her in my arms; but I never forgot my great mission, even in the most perilous moments.
I took particular care of the lovely girl, and selected for her husband a very handsome man and a great poet, who was chosen in due form by Sylifa at one of our marriage "choice" meetings.
The union was happy, though, perhaps, they loved each other too well.
The married couple resided in my palace, and Sylifa continued to afford to me and my guests the greatest recreation and amusement.
She was very luxurious, and very particular in her habits. I have seen her, while amusing us, suddenly (perhaps designedly), stop short, and direct her attendant to bring the golden salver, telling us at the same time that her hand (and she had exquisite hands) was a little soiled. She would moisten them with the perfumed water, and then resume her task of amusing us; our attention having, in the meantime, been kept in breathless suspense.
In my palace under the sea (for I had a submarine retreat, of which I may speak hereafter) there was a large sheet or basin of water, in which she would sport most gracefully, modestly attired, as a nymph of the sea.
She always identified herself with the part she sustained. As a sea nymph, she could never be induced to speak; but, when we addressed her, she always replied in musical tones, because, according to our legends, mermaids always discoursed in song.
In the basin of water there were willows, hung with small lyres, through which Sylifa would show her face, and then, taking one of the lyres, would play and sing exquisitely, always keeping up the illusion.
She was very fond of a lion brought up in my palace, with which, as a cub, she had played when a child. As a woman, she had complete mastery over the noble animal. Both as a child and as a woman, she, with the lion, formed the subject of many of the beautiful pictures that adorned my palaces.
For a particular reason, we once separated Sylifa from her husband for a day. She refused to eat; neither would she retire to rest. As the day was ending she walked into the room where I sat with my numerous guests.
She said, "Do you love Sylifa?" "Yes," was my answer. "Then give me back my Oma. Without him I die; already I droop; to-morrow I shall be no more."
When asked to amuse us, she said she could not; her heart was too heavy. We tried to console her, but it was useless; she wept, and her long hair was wet with her tears.
After two days, we were obliged to restore Oma to the devoted Sylifa.
Sylifa was enthusiastic in her love of flowers. It was she who suggested that, at the fete of which I have spoken, the camelopards should be united by wreaths of flowers. She sought and obtained my permission to mount the tallest of the stately animals, and appeared, resplendent in beauty, amongst the beautiful women who graced the fete.
THE YOUNG GIRL RESTORED.
"A sleep of sorrow."
Formerly, as before observed, many were pronounced mad who were perfectly sane, but madness itself was scarcely ever recognised until by violent actions or incoherent words the patient had excited fear in others. Numbers, afflicted with incipient madness, might have been easily cured had its presence been detected; but they were allowed to inflict great injury upon their neighbours. This they did the more effectually as their madness was not even suspected until the symptoms of the malady became too glaring to be disregarded.
I will relate to you a case which presented some remarkable features. A little girl about four years old fell down some stone steps, and received a violent blow across the nose, which swelled enormously. She probably was otherwise injured, but the injury on the nose was the only one then observed. After some time the effects of the accident were to all appearance completely cured.
As the girl grew in years, she gave signs of marvellous talent. But apparently unable to apply herself to any particular pursuit, she became wearied of one thing after another, and continually thirsted for novelty. This incessant love of change extended to everything, to friendship, love, dress, amusements; to the most serious and most trifling matters. She was happy and melancholy at intervals, and always in excess; nay, in her fits of extreme despondency she would even meditate suicide.
Though disliked by some for her wayward and capricious disposition, she was a great favourite with others. I should add that she was extremely beautiful, indeed lovely, very witty, highly gifted, and withal so fascinating that she never failed to charm every one at the first interview, the novelty of the excitement, and a natural desire to please giving impulse to her will. Although possessing so many gifts, she was very jealous and envious of others.
Many were the offers of marriage which she accepted in succession, abandoning one suitor after the other without any adequate reason or any feeling of compunction. At length she unexpectedly accepted a man of whom she had scarcely any previous knowledge.
The marriage, made at her request in a headstrong fit of impatience, took place a few days after the proposal had been made. A child was born, but long before its birth she had become tired of her husband. The child she loved passionately at first, but soon became weary even of this object of her tenderest affection, and looked upon it with indifference! All these events had taken place during the reign of my predecessor. Under my laws such a marriage would have been impossible.
At the age of twenty-six a frightful accident happened to this lady—she fell into a vat of scalding liquor—a beverage prepared with honey. We have a very effective remedy for scalds, and, though severely burnt, she was eventually cured, but the fright had sadly shocked her nerves; a violent fever seized the blood, she fell into a trance, her eyes were fixed and glassy, and she gave no signs of movement except by swallowing the little nourishment that was offered her in a liquid form.
This trance lasted some days. On awakening, the patient asked with the tone and manner of a child, how old she was? She was extremely calm, and a remarkable change had come over her. On the doctor's asking why she inquired about her age, she replied that during her sleep she had been in what seemed a long, sad, and changeful dream! She then related some details of the injury she received when at four years old she fell down the stone steps. Those around her at first thought that her mind was wandering, but this notion was soon dispelled. She spoke of incidents of her life extending over many years, as though they passed in a dream; one incident of this dream being that she had given birth to a child, and suffered acute pain. At one moment she saw herself in a family of strangers who were very kind, but she knew them not,—then she saw her family in great grief.
One of the impressions that this seeming sad dream made upon her was, that swarms of insects had followed and enveloped her on all sides, stinging and causing her excruciating suffering, which had extended over a series of years of more than lifelong duration.
Sometimes in moments of despondency she saw the beautiful form of an angel radiant with light, who spoke to her in soothing tones, and entreated her to be patient, assuring her that her sufferings were ordained for a good end, and that by patience and the sweetness of her nature, she would attain the power of casting from her the torments she endured, and that after doing much good during her mortal career she would, when her time came to quit the world, be placed high amongst myriads of angels. She said that whenever urged by despair to relieve herself from her pains by a desperate course, this bright and beautiful angel would stand before her and pour words of consolation and hope into her ear.
In relating the incidents of her supposed dream, her whole manner was so different from the former state of excitement, to which her friends had been accustomed, that all saw she was perfectly rational, although relating as a dream what had occurred during twenty-two years of her actual life. It seemed as though all the time that had elapsed since she was four years of age belonged as it were to another and differently constituted brain; and that she had now resumed the thread of her life from the time when she was four years old, the period of the first accident.
When the husband and child were brought to her she knew them not, though she had some vague notion of having seen them in her dream. The husband prayed her to return to him: she said she was not his wife, and could not accept him as a husband; that she felt no love for the child, and could not even like it as a playmate. She recollected her parents when they were twenty-two years of age, and could not understand how they could be so much changed.
In all her occupations and amusements she acted as a young child, but she gradually increased in understanding, and in sixteen years after her recovery she became a most accomplished person, without, however, possessing the varied talent of former times. She lived seventy-two years after the trance (in all ninety-eight years) now a short life with us; but never, till the day of her death, could she understand that she had lived during the twenty-two years which filled up the space between the first and second accidents. Strange to say, during that interval, no one had suspected that her brain was affected. Nearly the whole period had elapsed before the commencement of my rule, or the evil would have been detected and remedied, not by confining the patient and driving her into madness, but by gentle means.
The medical officers had no doubt of her complete re-establishment: besides, shortly after her return to calmness they applied the tests recently discovered, and the result furnished conclusive evidence that the malady had been eradicated. On an examination after death there was indeed, as the doctors thought, an unhealthy absence of certain microscopic animalcula, the effects of whose continued presence in excess in one portion of the brain to the detriment of others, lead to madness. The substance of the brain was poor and watery, and it seemed as though at other times there had been more brain than was then found; the lining of the brain was coated with a substance in outward appearance not unlike the fur which sometimes accumulates on the tongue in a fever. The doctors had reason to believe that this fur was composed of the remains of the insects which, probably, had been killed at the time of the second accident, either by the shock or the fumes of the boiling liquid, and it was to this accidental circumstance that they were inclined to attribute the recovery of those parts of the brain which had remained, as it were, slumbering since the first accident.
THE LITTLE GOATHERD.
"The flower is hidden until the electricities of the sun and light draw it forth into life and beauty."
In speaking of the "choice of a husband," I referred to the only case I recollected where the lady's hesitation rendered a third meeting necessary. The exception was interesting.
Early in my reign, whilst one day walking near the sea-shore, I was struck by the appearance of a little girl who was attending a flock of goats. A kid had fallen over a rock into the sea. The child was a lovely creature, with a beautiful complexion, handsome and expressive eyes, small hands and feet, and silken hair flowing over her shoulders. Her beauty was heightened by the expression of tenderness and grief at the loss of the kid. I was greatly interested, and watched her movements unperceived. She showed great intelligence and presence of mind.
Near the sea grows a peculiar kind of stringy reed, very strong and pliable. She tied several of these reeds together, made a noose at one end, and with the other end tied herself to a rock near the edge of the precipice, that she might not overbalance herself, and be dragged down in her endeavours to recover her kid. She then threw down the noose at the other end of the line, and after one or two attempts succeeded with great dexterity in getting it round the body of the kid, which she gradually hauled up to the rock where she stood. Her movements were most graceful, and her address and dexterity truly astonishing. As soon as her success was complete she fondled and embraced the kid as though it had been a favourite sister whom she had saved.
In straining over the precipice she had drawn the knot that secured her to the rock so tight that she could not liberate herself until I came to her assistance and set her free. I then talked with her, and found that she had remarkable capacity, tenderness, and sweetness of nature, but was altogether uninstructed. I said to myself, it is impossible that a creature could be found so beautiful and intelligent unless Providence had intended her for something better than her present occupation.
By my orders she was thoroughly educated and cared for. She showed great aptitude for her appointed studies, and having passed one ordeal after another with great honour, she was ultimately, thanks to our institutions, deemed worthy of a superior rank, and became one of our great ladies. In mind, form, and feature, she was a remarkable person, and her manners were most sweet and fascinating. She was a frequent guest at my palace. I delighted in her discourse on the rare occasions when my occupations gave me the opportunity of conversation.
Gratitude to her benefactor had given rise to a deep affection. Observing this I told her that the peculiarity of my position, and the necessity for completing my great work, had decided me not to marry, and that the affection of a friend was all that I could give her. Marry, I said, and I will always watch over you. Had I married, she would have been my choice. In obedience to my wishes, she allowed the "marriage choice meeting" to be called. She was so beautiful and engaging that the number of competitors was far beyond that required to complete the meeting. The suitors selected were the most promising young men in the city, and held the highest positions, but all the three several marriage meetings remained without result, except to confirm her resolution not to marry.
By our laws every woman, however high in rank, who elects to remain single, is obliged to follow a calling adapted to her capacity and inclination. This interesting person possessed a peculiar talent for inventing and improving ciphers for telegraphic correspondence. This talent was turned to account. She was also entrusted with the superintendence and examination of the reports made by those charged with the instruction of the clerks engaged in the telegraph department, and proved superior in every important quality to any of the men occupied in similar pursuits.
DECORATIONS FOR AGE AND MERIT.
"...The gate of future success, honours, and riches is always open to you."
The ornaments, of which I have before spoken, are independent of decorations worn by women as distinctive marks of age; for the age of a woman entitles her to peculiar privileges above others younger than herself, and her decorations are so worn, that these privileges may be at once recognised. At the end of every five of our years, she is entitled to a decoration indicative of her age, and the mode in which the last five years have been passed. Strange as it may appear to you, with whom old age is associated with feebleness, loss of beauty, and decayed powers—it is by our ladies looked upon as a privilege, of which all are very jealous. If such a thing were possible, it would be a gross insult to say that a lady was younger than was indicated by the last decoration which she had received; and even the five successive years are marked by five small appendages, one of which is added each year, so that she may not lose even one of the years to which she is entitled.
Amongst other marks of respect shown to age—a younger woman, passing her senior in years, is expected to give her the inner side of the path, and to salute her in passing.
No mistake can be made as to the particular nature of the decoration, and consequently of the number of years to which the lady is entitled. Each of the numerous decorations differs entirely from the others. A decoration called the "Matterode," consists of the model of a very beautiful bird, that has the peculiarity of always looking upwards, as though its thoughts were borne to the celestial stars. The wings of this bird,—from which the Order derives its name,—are fixed in a peculiar way, and move in graceful motion, so as to suggest the movement of an angel's wings.
The plumage of the Matterode is as though it were studded with precious stones; so bright are the dots all over the body and the wings.
The decoration is of exquisite workmanship, and made of our choicest metals, varied in colour, and set with precious stones, to imitate the bird's plumage.
This decoration is presented to a lady who, having by her conduct and years earned successive decorations, has passed the last five years unexceptionally and uprightly in all things, and has, besides, shown intelligence of a high grade.
If, during the five years succeeding that in which she won the "Matterode," this lady remains unaltered in greatness and goodness, she is entitled, in addition, to a decoration of considerable value, in which the "Mountain Supporter"—which gives its name to the Order, is faithfully copied in the purest and most beautiful metals. And as the "Matterode" is an intimation that the beauty of the wearer's actions justifies her in looking upwards to a future home in the celestial stars, so does the Mountain Supporter indicate her firmness, power, and strength, that nothing in Montalluyah can surpass.
When either of these decorations is worn, the greatest honour and respect are paid to the wearer. All know that none can possess it without having gained it by sterling merit and goodness of the highest order. The checks used in our system are of such a nature, that no favouritism, no accident—nothing but the wearer's years and conduct— can obtain this, or indeed any other Order.
If the conduct of the woman during the five years she wears the Matterode had been marked by any deviation from goodness, an occurrence scarcely heard of, a qualified decoration would be presented to her, which, though beautiful, and indicating the age and position beyond doubt, would give evidence that a little cloud had sometime during the past period, affected the vivid colours of the illumined sky! There are various ways of modifying the Order so as to show the estimate of conduct, all differing according to the degree of the offence. But if the wearer's conduct during the five years of the qualified term is unexceptionable, the decoration for the subsequent five years would be the same as though nothing had occurred in the meantime to interrupt the lady's title to the highest decoration.
Again, if any person, even one who had gained the Matterode, were to commit something—a decidedly wrongful act—the decoration, during the following five years, would perhaps consist of a Foot trampling on a hippopotamus or on a serpent, thus indicating the necessity for bearing down sin, which is symbolised by both of these creatures.
You will at once see how easily the two first decorations I have named are distinguishable from each other, and how the last is distinguishable from both; and so it is with all the others, too numerous to mention here.
However, by their education, and the laws and customs I introduced, Woman possesses so high a sentiment of honour, and so much becoming pride, that the instances of degradation from the two first orders has been remarkably rare—scarcely worth referring to except to show that we never hesitate to put the laws in force against the highest personages, even in those cases where, under another system, our sympathies might have led us, perhaps unconsciously, to screen the offenders. In my laws on this subject, it is declared, that whilst mercy and goodness are on one side, might and justice are no less on the other side of the celestial throne.
What I have said of these orders is applicable in a great degree to all the others.
In our world all particulars of conduct and goodness, as well as deviations from them, are known; nothing on these heads is, or indeed can be concealed. I am now speaking of an advanced period of my reign; for at first, and in what I may call the intermediate or transition period, it was otherwise. Then there were many laws and precepts established which are now all but obsolete,—for since, the occasion for appealing to them scarcely arises. As an example, the love and practice of truth are amongst the very first things inculcated in the child, and are now everywhere and by all classes practised in Montalluyah. Laws, then, which suppose the possibility of a deviation from truth are scarcely ever appealed to—such as, for instance, the precept, "Ask not your neighbour what you know he wishes to conceal, lest he lie," and the accompanying law preventing one person from annoying another with improper questions, and thus probably drawing forth untruths. These, like the laws and precepts enjoining all to industry, and many others, belong to a bygone age, and to another state of things, and were only needed in the intermediate epoch, just as particular remedies were then required to cure the diseases of those who, having been born before my reign, had in their childhood and youth been weakened by disease, or had received into their systems the germs of future intense suffering, which, had the child been born later, would have been completely eradicated in their incipiency. But as these maladies existed in the intermediate epoch in their virulence, we were for a time obliged to continue the principle formerly adopted,—that of expelling one poison by administering another.
The fact that everything belonging to women is now known and adequately recognised and rewarded makes them contented and happy. Under the system existing before my reign this was not so,—the most beautiful were often the most discontented; they were more easily acted upon by evil spirits, who assumed the fairest and most seductive appearances to lure their victims; they were often the most susceptible to flattery, and easiest led astray; and when once drawn from the proper path, they were the most cruelly persecuted by a class of inferior persons, who, had their own secret conduct been known to man as it is to a superior order of beings, would never have dared to throw even the smallest stone at their poor persecuted sister, who had, as was often the case, been led astray by the very excess of a virtue which defective education had left unbalanced by its regulating qualities.
Although it was one of the best known precepts of our religion that the fold should always be open to receive the strayed sheep, these piety-professors, with this precept on their lips, took care that the strayed ones should be cruelly worried and scared from the fold.
This, however, is not surprising when it is recollected that those who were themselves most impure were ordinarily the first to vilify and persecute the offending one. From tests, the accuracy of which left no doubt, I learned that this acrimonious bitterness against their suffering sisters was nearly always instigated by a desire to conceal their own defects, to raise themselves, as they thought, by depreciating others, and to lay hypocritical claim to a superior austerity and goodness which was not theirs. The really pure—and for the honour of the past age of Montalluyah, I must say there were some few who were truly good—were those only from whom the sinner received sympathy and encouragement to return to the path which had been for a time forsaken.
Even she who receives a qualified or indifferent age-decoration can, if she pleases, bring her case before the kings, and strict justice is invariably done to all. None rebel in word or spirit, but all invariably use their efforts to recover lost ground before the time arrives for receiving the next decoration. In these laudable efforts they are assisted; all means being used to cure the patient. When, from tests ofttimes repeated, we are satisfied that the penitent's reform is complete, she is received with open arms by the highest of her rank, as though she had been ever spotless; and at any time to remind her of the past, or even to make to another the slightest allusion to what had occurred, would be looked upon as a heinous offence, and punished accordingly. Thus, a qualified order acts at the same time as a censure and a protection.
I ought to mention that there are advocates selected by the State from amongst the most eloquent and able men, charged specially to bring before the proper tribunals every case where any persons, men or women, think themselves wronged. There are also able men, advocates to represent the interests of society. The former, or people's advocate, if he thinks right, advises his client by the gentlest means to desist from her cause; but if his efforts prove ineffectual, which seldom happens if he is right, he is bound to proceed with the case, and if necessary to bring the question before the kings. Did there prove to be any real doubt or serious difficulty, the case would be referred even to me. The advocates of society, like the people's advocates, are disciplined in the practice of truth and justice, and if they think that there is anything in the case in favour of the appellant they are honourably bound to state it to the tribunal. This is done in the interest both of justice and of society itself, which might otherwise be injured in the person of one of its members.
Both classes of advocates occupy very high positions, and would not condescend to take fees of their clients. They are wholly remunerated by the State. They have no interest in the issue, and are equally honoured whatever the result may be, for society always gains by a just decision.
* * * * *
I may here mention a privilege belonging to every woman of every rank and of every age, viz., that, when a man meets a woman in the street, he is expected to bow, and, unless accompanied by a lady, he must step off the principal path till she has passed. Any one omitting either of these marks of respect would be considered vulgar and ill-bred. He would be severely censured, and a repetition of the offence would render him amenable to more decided punishment.
"A precious gift from Heaven."
"How rare is beauty!" was formerly a common exclamation in Montalluyah. It was rare indeed; for although children were generally handsome and well formed, the adult too often became misshapen and ill-favoured. Deformity was the rule, beauty the exception.
Even amongst those who were called handsome there were scarcely any who fulfilled every condition of the beautiful. A critical observer would have found defects in the beauty of the features, in the form, in the foot, the leg, the arm, the hand, the fingers, the teeth, the neck, the throat, the head, the hair, the complexion, the contour, the carriage. One, and generally more, of the many essentials constituting the perfection of beauty would be wanting.
Hence, when our great artists required an ideal of beauty in painting or in sculpture, they would take several models, each supplying some beautiful detail not to be found in the rest,—one model furnishing the features, another the general outline, each a separate limb. So difficult, if not impossible, was it then to find perfection of detail in the same person. Nay, even this expedient did not ensure success; the models differing from each other in size, complexion, and general proportions, complete harmony was rarely obtained, and, judging from our old painting and sculpture, I should say that no ideal was then produced equal to that which in Montalluyah now exists in the living form. Beauty, formerly the exception, now constitutes the rule, the ill favoured and deformed being more rare than were the handsome in preceding reigns.
To beauty is now added longevity; for, as I have before stated, the duration of human life is extended to a period which formerly would have been thought fabulous. This assertion will probably be received by you with an incredulity, which will not be diminished when I add that, notwithstanding the great increase in man's years, all his faculties are preserved in a state scarcely less perfect than that of pristine manhood. The eye is not dimmed, there is no deafness, the limbs are strong and agile, the teeth remain free from decay, pleasing to the sight, and valuable for the chief purposes for which they were given. In a word, whatever can contribute to beauty and health in man and woman remains all but intact to the last. Decadence in any particular, if so it may be called, is scarcely less marked than is the almost imperceptible decline by which man descends, or rather ascends, peacefully to another state of existence.
The facts I state would appear less extraordinary, nay, they would be regarded as the natural and inevitable result of an actual state of things, if you knew all that is done and prevented in Montalluyah to protect the health, strength, beauty, and intelligence of the child from its birth, indeed prior to its birth; for with us the care of the mother precedes that of the child. Nor is our care confined to infancy; it is extended to later years, and does not cease until the limbs, both of male and female youth, are developed, and their joints well knitted; until their features and person have received the impress of beauty, and their intelligence is matured to the healthful extent required by nature.
You should also be conversant with the means that are taken to secure the health of the city, the purity of the water and air, and the wholesomeness of food, the extreme cleanliness, and the general precautions taken for the prevention of disease, and of that prostration and waste of vital force by which disease is preceded, accompanied, and followed. You should realise, in thought at least, the blessed results of the employment of all in congenial occupations, and the contentment of each with his lot! You should also be able to realise the ever-multiplying inventions and discoveries resulting from our system, all tending to promote human perfectibility and happiness, every successive step being assisted by the one preceding, as well as by innumerable co-operations, all tending to one grand result.
You should also bear in mind that these inventions and their resulting forces had originated with and were governed by none but natures prone to good; powerful men from whose organization early education had eliminated the germs of evil propensities.
You should also realise the advantages arising from the fact, that whilst elevating knowledge, and rendering the rich happy in the possession of their wealth, my laws protect those who formerly would have been called poor. As there is no misery resulting from the neglect of society, or from the selfishness or oppression of man, poverty in your sense of the word does not exist. They, who are qualified for a "poor" grade only, are nevertheless the objects of solicitude and care to so great an extent that, whilst under my system the happiness and enjoyments of the rich are greatly increased, the poor are far happier and have keener enjoyments than the rich of former times, when the acquisition of money or its indifferent expenditure was the dominant thought in the minds of all.
You should also appreciate, in part at least, the effects of the numberless sights of beauty everywhere in Montalluyah, within and without, in the houses and the public thoroughfares, all by their influence on the mother, the child, and the adult contributing towards perfection of form, beauty, intelligence, and length of life.
Amongst other things, one result of the labours of the Character-divers must not be forgotten. The mobile countenances of our people are easily impressed with the marks of their emotions, and formerly nothing was more plainly furrowed on the countenance than signs indicating bad passions and evil propensities, the eradication of which with the development of good qualities (one of the principal duties of the Character-divers) has had a remarkable effect in adding to loveliness of expression, in improving the features, and even in increasing the elegance and gracefulness of the form and bearing.
Had I been content with a mere ordinary increase of beneficial results, any one or more of the numerous precautions taken would have done much good; but my object was to establish my laws on so broad a foundation that no adverse gale could shake the edifice,—that the laws should be strengthened one by the other, that every one should be interested in observing and supporting institutions under which he enjoyed the largest amount of happiness, and that, strange and visionary as it may seem to you, the necessity for punishment might be diminished, and eventually removed.
I should have as little thought of erecting the tall and graceful but huge Mountain Supporter without a broad and solid foundation as of establishing my laws, all tending as they did to the perfectibility and happiness of the people, without spreading their base in all directions, and taking care that the human instrument through which the soul acts was fortified and prepared to respond to its noble ends.
I had early perceived that to obtain the desired end, every particular must be studied and provided for, so that all elements of enduring success should be united, and all obstructive elements removed. I felt that no effort, care, or thought would be too great if it would only produce the desired results, by securing health, beauty, intelligence, and long life in man, to the utmost extent that nature permitted.
I felt that the boon of long life would greatly lose its value, even if it could have been otherwise obtained, unless man's forces were economized, and the senses and faculties preserved in health and vigour to the last; that without these the happiness of man in every stage, and even his obedience to my laws, and my power to dispense with punishments, would be greatly impaired. For I had observed that the sufferings and degeneracy of the man would make him discontented, restless, and miserable, notwithstanding the blessings with which Providence had surrounded him.
Discontented men—and discontent and wickedness are not far apart—would have used the new powers for their own wicked purposes, just as formerly they rent the veil that concealed from the uninitiated the secrets of powers in nature; having been admitted under the guise, or rather while in temporary possession of all the great qualities of will, undaunted courage, energy, and perseverance.
Had I not reflected on this danger, I should only have allowed numbers of persons to receive an education which, neglecting the paramount principle of eradicating the faults of men of talent, would have laid them open to the promptings of evil spirits, by whom, perhaps, under the guise of beneficence, they would have been led to use the powers of good for purposes of evil. Our very progress would have given strength to powerful bad men, and my system, in spite of improvements, would have carried within it the cause for its own eventual destruction.
Many beautiful systems had been tried in Montalluyah, but, from inattention to small details, they had perished. The men who used for evil purpose powers given them for good, have unknowingly laboured to their own destruction and that of the highly civilized communities where they dwelt; which have thus been swept from the face of the earth.
They had tasted the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge before they had been thoroughly disciplined in the powers of resistance and of self-denial. Hence the wholesome food was changed to poison; the sweet waters were made bitter; the stream, which in its fullness bore fertility and refreshment, burst its banks, and carried destruction everywhere.
So was it even with the priests of one of our ancient religions, who had the custody of great secrets intended for good. During a time extending over some generations, they practised the virtues they inculcated, and used their power for a beneficial end. They increased their power by their virtue and goodness; but their successors, from whose natures the minute germs of physical and mental perversity had not been removed, used their increased might for evil purposes, enervating to the governing will, and to the directing powers necessary to guide an irresistible force.
It is known that the results of every act, whether good or evil, will be felt for all time. The result of evil was likened in Montalluyah to a virulent disease, which had its beginning in a minute germ; a good act to an ear of nourishing corn, that goes on propagating till it has supplied nations with food.
It was not enough that my laws worked with the beauty, regularity, and unity of a well-balanced machine, the parts of which assisted each other in attaining the immediate object of its construction. The political and social machine possessed also the faculty of acquiring at every movement increased powers of production.
I had satisfied myself that amongst the numerous precautions to be taken to secure the highest degree of beauty, power, and intelligence in adults, on which so much depended, was the care of the infant, and that this should commence from the earliest period, before the features, form, and organization had received the first approaches of enduring outline, since then all would be in a malleable or plastic state, ready to take any impressions caused by accident or design, whether tending to good or evil, to beauty or deformity.
RIDICULE ATTACHING TO THE SUBJECT OF BABIES.
Before my reign eminent men, statesmen, legislators, and philosophers, scarcely condescended to notice such "trifles" as were comprised in the nurture and care of infants. Perhaps in a worldly sense they were right, for those who had attempted to instruct others in these all-pregnant "trifles" had been invariably ridiculed for the interest they took in "babies," and such-like "trivialities," which, in spite of many lessons, the people would not regard as possibly prolific of serious results.
The contempt thus thrown even on eminent men was the more extraordinary, inasmuch as our sages had familiarized the people with the grand truth that the greatest effects are often produced by trifling causes; that out of the little egg came the large eagle of the country, and the huge boa-constrictor; that innumerable mighty operations in nature have their origin in small beginnings; that the narrow rivulet goes on gathering strength till it becomes the Great Cataract; that the minute plague-spot generated the virulent disease; that the acorn produces the oak; that the impaired seed failed to produce goodly fruit; that a small drop of leaven affected a huge mass. Lessons on the fecundity of little things had indeed grown into commonplace household words.
Besides these lessons of the wise, love and respect for children were mingled with the religions feelings of the people; for Elikoia, the founder of our earliest civilization, was a child when he led the people from idolatry to the worship of the living God.
All these considerations, however, were insufficient to shield great men from the contempt thrown on them and on their words, when they had the courage to let it be known that they occupied themselves with things which, to an ordinary observer, seemed beneath notice.
From the first, however, I had been convinced of the importance of the despised "little" things, and looked not so much to the dimensions of the instrument as to the amount of good or evil it was capable of effecting, having learned by experience that the magnitude of results was often in an inverse ratio to the means employed, more especially when applied in due season.
Soon I discovered that many of the maladies incident to children, to youth, and to adults, owed their origin to the neglect and injudicious treatment of the infant. I had seen numbers of interesting children, with handsome features and well-formed limbs, who in their riper years had become ugly, with ill-favoured features, sallow complexions, bad expressions of countenance, misshapen forms, and crooked limbs. Many who in early years had displayed great intelligence had become positively stupid. It was not that the intelligence had been prematurely developed, but that the organization had been prematurely injured, and the brain-machine rendered incapable of giving proper expression to the yearnings of the soul. None suffered more keenly from early physical neglect than children of genius.
Satisfied that my observations were accurate, and that everything contributing to husband the health, strength, beauty, and intelligence of the child, would likewise contribute to the beauty, happiness, and contentment of the adult, as well as his obedience to my laws, I resolved to occupy myself with what proved to be the very important subject of babies. In meditating on the mode of obtaining the desired results, I considered nothing too insignificant,—not even so "small" a thing as the scratch of a pin, sufficient at all events to make an infant cry. The acts of crying and making wry faces disturb the lines of the plastic clay of the child's countenance, and even the lines of the form. The state of suffering calls off the vital electricity from its duties in other parts of the organisation, and is attended with other inconveniences, slight indeed in immediate perceptible effects, but so powerful in their cumulative and germinating effects as to lead to results which, were they related, would seem incredible.