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Freeland - A Social Anticipation
by Theodor Hertzka
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But, before we describe the Freeland life which has developed itself upon the foundation of this abundance of wealth and energy, it will be necessary to give a brief outline of Freeland history during the last twenty years.

In the former section we had reached the first railway connection with the Indian Ocean on the one hand, and the campaign against Uganda, with the first colonisation of the shores of the Victoria Nyanza, on the other. The attention of our explorers was next directed to the very interesting hill-country north and north-west of Lake Baringo, particularly Elgon, the district on the frontier of Uganda, which rises to an elevation of some 14,000 feet. Here was a large field for future settlement equal to the Kenia and Aberdare ranges in fertility, climate, and beauty of scenery. In variety, the view from the summit of Elgon surpassed anything we had before seen. To the south-west stretched the sea-like expanse of the Victoria Nyanza, bounded only by the horizon. To the north, forty miles away rose the snow-covered peak of Lekakisera. To the east, the eye ranged over immense stretches of forest-hills, whilst the smiling highlands of Uganda closed the view to the west.

The very evident traces of the former activity of a highly developed civilised people stimulated the spirit of investigation of our archaeologists. The great caves which had been noticed by earlier travellers in the foot-hills around the Elgon had every appearance of being of an artificial origin. It was quite as evident that none of the races dwelling within thousands of miles of these caves could have excavated them. They are all in a hard agglomerate, and their capacity varies from about 25,000 to 125,000 cubic yards. Their purpose was as enigmatical as their origin. For the most part they are to be found on steep, scarcely accessible, precipitous mountain-sides, but, without exception, only in a thick layer of breccia or agglomerate interposed between a trachytic and a volcanic stone. At that time they were inhabited by a race of a very low type, subsisting solely upon the chase and pasturage, and who were utterly incapable of making such dwellings, and declared that the caves had existed from the beginning. But who made them, and for what purpose were they originally made? That they were to be found only in one particular stratum naturally gave rise to the supposition that they were made by mining operations. They must have been opened in a past age for some kind of ore or other mineral product, and have been worked with a great expenditure of labour and for a very long period; for the caves are so many and so large that, even with modern appliances, it would have needed thousands of men for many decades to excavate them in the hard agglomerate of sand and pebbles. The excavation had been made, however, not with powder and dynamite, but with chisel and pickaxe; the caves must therefore have been the work of thousands of years. There was only one people who could here have expended upon such a work sufficient strength for a sufficient time—the Egyptian. This most ancient civilised people in the world, whose history covers thousands of years, must have excavated these caves; of this there was no doubt among our archaeologists.

That in the grey antiquity the Egyptians penetrated to the sources of their holy river (it may be remarked in passing that the Ripon falls, where the Nile flows out of the Victoria Nyanza, are in clear weather very plainly to be seen from the Elgon) has nothing in it so remarkable, even though modern historical investigation has not been able to find any trace of it. But wherever the Egyptians penetrated, and particularly wherever they built, one is accustomed to find unmistakable traces of their activity. It behoved us, therefore, to search for such traces, and then to discover what the Pharaohs of the ancient dynasties had sought for here. Our researches were successful as to the first object, but not as to the second. In two places, unfortunately outside of the entrances to the caves in question, where atmospheric and perhaps other influences had been destructively at work, there were found conically pointed basalt prisms, which exhibited unmistakable traces of hieroglyphic writing. These inscriptions were no longer legible; and though our Egyptologists, as well as those of London and Paris, agreed in thinking that the inscription on one stone distinctly referred to the goddess Hathor, this view is rather the verdict of a kind of archaeological instinct than a conclusion based upon tangible evidence. That the stones bore Egyptian inscriptions, and had stood for thousands of years at the entrances to these caves, was plain enough, even to the eyes of laymen. Parenthetically it may be remarked that this discovery throws light upon the origin of the Masai, of whom it has already been said that they were not negroes, but a bronze-coloured race showing the Hamitic type. Plainly the Masai are Egyptians, who, in a forgotten past, were cut off from the rest in the highlands south of the Baringo lake. Their martial habits would suggest descent from the ancient Egyptian warrior caste, possibly from those discontented warriors who, twenty-five centuries ago, in the days of Psammetichus I., migrated to Ethiopia, when Pharaoh had offended them by the employment of Greek mercenaries.

But this did not tell what the Egyptians, in honour either of Hathor or of some other celestial or terrestrial majesty, were looking for on the Elgon. We spared no pains in seeking further evidence; both in the caves and in other parts of the agglomerate in which they were excavated, we diligently looked for something to throw light upon the subject. But we found nothing, at least nothing that appeared to be of any special use to the Egyptians, either in the way of metals or of precious stones. We were finally compelled to content ourselves with the supposition that some of the variously coloured stones which were present in the formation in great number and variety were highly valued in the days of the Pharaohs, without the knowledge of the fact having descended to our days. There would be nothing remarkable in this, for neither would it have been the first instance in which men have for thousands of years reckoned as very precious that upon which subsequent generations scarcely deigned to glance, nor do we know enough of the life of the ancient Egyptians to be able positively to assert that every object in the inscriptions and papyrus-rolls means this or that. It is therefore very possible that in many of the Egyptian inscriptions which have come down to us a great deal is told of the stones found here on the Elgon, whilst we, misled by the great value which the narrator ascribes to the said stones, think that some precious stone now highly valued was referred to, and that generations of Egyptian slaves have spent their lives here in cruel toil, in order to procure for their masters an object of luxury which we to-day carelessly kick aside when it accidentally comes in our way.

Let this be as it may, we found nothing of any value in the agglomerate in which the Egyptians had excavated. But, in the immediate neighbourhood of the cave-hills, we found something else: something that men coveted thousands of years ago, as they do to-day, but which, singularly enough, escaped the miners of the Pharaohs, and was not looked for by them on the Elgon—namely, gold, and that in large rich veins. It was accidentally discovered by one of the engineers engaged in the examination of the caves, who, significantly, was at first seized with horror at his discovery. He was an enthusiastic young Spaniard, who had only recently reached Freeland, and he saw in his discovery a great danger for those Freeland principles which were so passionately worshipped by him, and he therefore at first resolved to keep it secret. He reflected, however, that some one else would soon come upon the same trace, and that the evil which he dreaded would become a fact. He therefore decided to confide in those under whom he was acting, and to point out to them the danger that threatened the happiness of Freeland. It was very difficult to make Nunez—as this young enthusiast was named—understand that there would be little hope for the security and permanent vitality of the institutions of Freeland if the richest possible discovery of gold were able to put them in jeopardy, and to convince him that gold-mining was like any other kind of work—that labour would flow to the mines as long as it was possible to earn as much there as in any other branch of production, and the result of his discovery could only be that of slightly raising the average earnings of Freeland labour.

And so it was. Nunez had not erred in his estimate of the productiveness of the mines; the newly opened gold-diggings soon yielded some 12,000,000L a year.

The managers of the central bank utilised this new source of wealth in gold for the establishment of an independent Freeland coinage. Hitherto the English sovereign had been our gold currency, and we had reckoned in English pounds, shillings, and pence. Now a mint was set up in Eden Vale, and the coinage underwent a reform. We retained the sterling pound and the shilling, but we minted our pound nearly one per cent. lighter than the English one, so that it might be exactly equal to twenty-five francs of the French or decimal system of coinage; the shilling we divided, not into twelve parts, but into a hundred.

Of these Freeland pounds, which in the course of a few years acquired undisputed rank as a cosmopolitan coin, and passed current everywhere, only a comparatively small number circulated in Freeland itself. We needed in our domestic transactions scarcely any cash. All payments were made through the bank, where every one—our civilised negroes not excepted—had an account, and which possessed branches all over the country. At first the coins were used for paying small amounts, then cheques came into general use for these, and later still it came to be sufficient, to write a simple order on the bank. The coinage was therefore almost exclusively needed for foreign use; in the course of sixteen years the mint has issued some 130,000,000L of which scarcely seven per cent. remained in Freeland, and all except a very small portion of this lies in the bank cellars, where its repose is never disturbed. For with us there are no fluctuations of the money market, since there exists scarcely any demand for money in Freeland. Gold is our measure of value, and will remain so as long as there is no commodity discovered better fitted to perform this function—that is, exposed to less variation in value—than this metal. The instrument of transferring value among us is not money, but paper, ink, and pen. Scarcity and superfluity of gold are therefore in Freeland as meaningless conceptions as would be a scarcity or superfluity of metres in Europe.

The gold discoveries on the Elgon at any rate contributed towards hastening the settlement of those splendid highlands lying to the north-west of Lake Baringo. The adjacent Uganda was used as a seat of agriculture, whilst the towns, essentially copies of Eden Vale, whose wooden houses had meanwhile given place to elegant villas of stone and brick, wore located on the cooler heights of the wooded hills.

Our pioneers pursued their way ever farther and farther. There was still abundant room in the older settlements; but the spirit of discovery, together with the fascination of novelty that hung around the distant districts, continually led new bands farther and farther into the 'Dark Continent.' When the shores of the Victoria Nyanza no longer contained anything unknown, our pathfinders penetrated the primitive forests of the hilly districts between Lakes Mutanzige and Albert Nyanza. Here, for the first time, we came into contact with cannibal races, the subjection of whom was no small task and was not accomplished without bloodshed. From the Albert Nyanza, the east shores of which are mostly bare and barren, we obtained an enticing view of the Mountains of the Moon, whose highest point rises above 13,000 feet, and in the cool season frequently shows a cap of snow. Down the picturesque declivities that look towards the lake fall from incredible heights a number of powerful cataracts, giving rise to pleasant inferences as to the nature of the district in which the streams have their source. Naturally they did not long remain unvisited, and the fame of the new marvels of natural beauty found there soon drew hundreds of thousands of settlers thither. There also we came into collision with cannibal races, some of which still carry on their evil practices in secret. From hence our pioneers turned southwards, everywhere making use of the hill-ranges as highways. Six years ago our outposts had reached Lake Tanganika, where they gave preference to the western heights that rise in places 3,000 feet above the level of the lake, which is itself about 5,000 feet above the sea. At present hundreds of thousands of our people are settled on the lovely shores of this the longest, though only the second largest, of the equatorial lakes. Lake Tanganika is not quite half so large as the Victoria Nyanza, and is nowhere too broad for a good eye to see the opposite hills, but its length reaches 360 miles, about three-fourths as long as the Adriatic Sea, and the fastest of the 286 steamers which at this time navigate it at our charge takes nearly twenty-four hours to go from end to end.

We now came more and more into immediate contact with colonies under European influence. In the south and east we touched German and English interests and spheres of influence; in the north-east, more or less directly, French and Italian; in the north Egyptian; in the west the vigorously developing Congo State. Our intercourse was everywhere directed by the best and most accommodating intentions, but a number of questions sprang up which urgently demanded a definitive solution. For instance, the neighbouring colonies found it inconvenient to be in close proximity to Freeland settlements; their population was drawn away by us like iron filings by a magnet. Wherever a Freeland association established itself near a foreign colony, nothing of that colony was left after a little while, except the empty dwellings and the forsaken plantations: the colonists had settled among us and become Freelanders. At the same time, the foreign governments neither could nor wished to do anything, since the interests of their subjects were not damaged; but with respect to the establishment of their power in the countries in question, the foreign governments were necessarily made uncomfortable by the impossibility of asserting themselves in our neighbourhood.

We were also compelled to moot the question, what would happen if Freelanders wore to settle in any district belonging to a Western nation? We had hitherto purposely avoided doing this, but ultimately it would be unavoidable. What would happen then? Should we, in possession of the stronger form of civilisation, yield to the weaker and more backward one? Could we do so, even if we were willing? Freeland is not a state in the ordinary sense of the word. Its character does not lie in dominion over a definite territory, but in its social institutions. These institutions are in themselves quite compatible with foreign forms of government, and for the sake of keeping peace with our neighbours we were compelled to try to obtain legal recognition of our institutions, in the first place, in the neighbouring colonial districts.

And not merely upon the continent of Africa, but in other parts of the world also, there came into existence a number of questions between ourselves and various governments, which urgently needed settling. On principle we avoided getting mixed up with any of the political affairs of foreign countries; but we held it to be our right and our duty to help with our wealth and power our needy brethren, in whatever part of the inhabited world they might live. Freeland money was to be found wherever want had to be relieved and the disinherited and wretched to be aided against exploitage. Our offices and our ships were gratuitously at the service of all who wished to flee to us out of the sorrow of the old system of society; and we never wearied in our efforts to make the blessings of our institutions more and more accessible to our suffering brethren. All this, as has been said, we considered to be both our duty and our right, and we were not disposed to allow ourselves to be turned aside from the fulfilment of our mission by the protests of foreign Powers. But it became impossible not to perceive that the relations between us and several European and Asiatic governments were getting more and more strained. In the democratic west of Europe, in America, and in Australia, public opinion was too strong in our favour for us to fear any—even passive—resistance to our efforts from those countries. But the case was different with several Eastern States. Particularly since our means, and consequently our propagandist activity, had attained the colossal dimensions of the last few years, with a promise of continued growth, it had been here and there seriously asked whether, and by what means, it was possible to keep out Freeland money and to counteract Freeland influence. For a time the governments in question avoided an open breach with us, partly on account of the public opinion which was powerful in our favour even in their countries, and partly on account of the large financial resources which were in our hands. They did not wish to have us as avowed enemies, but they wished to control the influx of Freeland money and the purposes to which it was applied, and to check the emigration to Freeland.

We were not disposed to stand and look upon such attempts with folded arms. The right to spring to the aid of our enslaved fellow-men, or to keep open to them a refuge in Freeland, we were determined to defend to the utmost of our strength; and no one in Freeland doubted that we were strong enough in case of need to resist any attempts by foreign Powers to limit our activity. But all in Freeland were agreed that every conceivable pacific means must be tried before we appealed to arms. And the difficulty in the way of a bloodless settlement of the quarrel lay in the fact that the Freelanders and the foreigners held opposite views concerning the military strength of Freeland. Whilst we, as has been said, were convinced that we were as strong as any military State in the world—nay, as several of them put together—those very foreign governments with whom we were at variance looked upon us as powerless from a military point of view. We were therefore convinced that a definitive threat by our plenipotentiaries would not be taken seriously, and that on this very account any attempt energetically to maintain our position could produce the requisite effect only by actual war. And a war it was that confirmed our position everywhere abroad, though not with either an European or an Asiatic, but with an African power—a war which, though it had a very indirect bearing upon the subject in question, yet brought this question to a decision.

How this came about will be told in the letters given in the following chapters. These letters were written by Prince Carlo Falieri, a young Italian diplomatist, who has since settled in Freeland, but who at the time to which these letters refer was visiting Eden Vale in his country's service. This correspondence will, at the same time, give a vivid picture of Freeland manners and life in the twenty-fifth year of its history.



CHAPTER XIV

Eden Vale: July 12, ——

After a silence of several months I am writing to you from the chief city in Freeland, where my father and I have already been for some days. What has brought us to the country of social liberty? You know—or perhaps you do not know—that my chiefs at Monte Citorio have for some time not known how to deal with the brown Napoleon of the East Coast of Africa, the Negus John V. of Abyssinia; and that our good friends in London and Paris have experienced the same difficulty. So the cabinets of the three Western Powers have agreed to seek an African remedy for the common African malady. To find this we are here. Lord E—— and Sir W. B—— are sent on the part of England; Madame Charles Delpart and M. Henri de Pons on the part of France; while Italy is represented by Prince Falieri and his son—my littleness. We are commissioned to represent to the Freelanders that it would be to their interest as well as to ours if they allowed their country to be the theatre of war against Abyssinia.

Those of us among Europeans who have possessions on the African coast of the Red Sea and south of the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb have had much trouble with the Negus. During the late war he kept the allied armies of England, France, and Italy in check; and, had it not been for the intervention of our Italian fleet, those armies would narrowly have escaped the fate of that Egyptian host which, according to the Bible, was drowned in the Red Sea 3,300 years ago. The Negus—plainly with the aid of certain friends of his in Europe—has utilised the five years' peace (which was not a very creditable one for us) in perfecting his already powerful army and organising it according to the Western pattern. He now possesses 300,000 men armed with weapons of the best and most modern construction, an excellent cavalry of at least 40,000, and an artillery of 106 batteries, which our representatives describe as quite equal to any European troops. What John means to do with an armament so enormously beyond the needs of poor Abyssinia has been rendered plain by the events of the last five years. He wishes to take from us and the English the coast towns on the Red Sea, and from the French their province south of Bab-el-Mandeb. Our coast fortresses and fleet will not be able in the long run to prevent this, unless we can defeat the Abyssinians in the open field. But how are armies, equal to the reorganised Abyssinian forces, to be maintained on those inhospitable coasts? How can a campaign be carried on, with nothing but the sea at the rear, against an enemy of whose terrible offensive strength we have already had only too good proof? Yet the Negus must be met, cost what it will; for with the sacrifice of the coast towns the connection with East Asia, and with that part of East Africa which during the last twenty years has become one of the principal seats of commerce, will be lost to all European Powers. We know only too well that John V. has been making the most extensive preparations. To-day his agents in Greece, Dalmatia, and even North America are engaging sailors by thousands, who are evidently intended to man a fleet of war as soon as the possession of the points on the coast makes it possible for the Abyssinians to keep one. Whether he will buy his fleet abroad or build it himself is at present an enigma. If he did the former, it could not possibly escape the knowledge of the Powers threatened by this future fleet; but none of the great shipwrights of the world have any warships of unknown destination, in course of construction. If the Abyssinian fleet is to be built in the Red Sea after the coast has passed into the possession of Abyssinia, why does he want so many sailors at once? This enigma is by no means calculated to lay our fears as to the ultimate aims of Abyssinia. In short, it has been decided in London, Paris, and Rome to take the bull by the horns, and to begin offensive operations against the East African conqueror. The three cabinets will together furnish an expedition of at least 300,000 men, and immediately after the close of the five years' peace—that is, at the end of September next—attack Abyssinia. But Freeland, and not this time our own coast possessions, is to form the basis of the operations. This will give the allied armies a secure rear for provisioning and retreat; and our task as diplomatists is to win over the Freeland government to this project. We ask for nothing but passive co-operation—that is, a free passage for our troops. Whether our instructions go so far as to compel this passive assistance in case of need I do not know; for not I, but merely my father, is initiated into the most secret views of the leaders of our foreign politics; and though my well-known enthusiasm for this land of Socialists has not prevented our government from appointing me as attache to my father's mission, yet I imagine I shall not be admitted to share the more important secrets of our diplomacy.

Now you know, my friend, why we have come to Freeland. If you are curious to know how we got here, I must tell you that we came from Brindisi to Alexandria by the 'Uranus,' one of the enormous ships which Freeland keeps afloat upon all seas for the mail and passenger service. With us came 2,300 immigrants to Freeland; and if these find in the new home only one-half of what they promised themselves, Freeland must be a veritable paradise. My father, who at first hesitated to entrust himself to a Freeland steamer which carries all its passengers free of charge and, as is well known, makes no distinction in the treatment of those on board, admitted, when he had been two days on the voyage, that he did not regret having yielded to my entreaty. Our cabins were not too small, were comfortable, and most scrupulously clean; the cooking and commissariat in general left nothing to be desired; and—what surprised us most—the intercourse with the very miscellaneous immigrants proved to be by no means disagreeable. Among our 2,300 fellow-voyagers were persons of all classes and conditions, from savants to labourers; but even the latter showed themselves to be so inspired by the consciousness that they were hastening to a new home in which all men stood absolutely on an equality, that not the slightest rowdyism or disturbance was witnessed during the whole voyage.

At Alexandria we took the first express-train to the Soudan, which, however, until it reached Assuan—that is, as long as it was in the hands of Egyptian conductors and drivers—was express in little more than the name. At Assuan we entered a Freeland train; and we now went on with a punctuality and speed elsewhere to be met with only in England or America. Sleeping, dining, and conversation cars, furnished with every convenience and luxury, took us rapidly up the Nile, the line crossing the giant stream twice before we reached Dongola. It was characteristic that no fare was charged above Assuan. The food and drink consumed in the dining-cars or in the stations had to be paid for—on the 'Uranus' even the board was given for nothing—but travelling accommodation is provided gratuitously by the Freeland commonwealth, on land as well as at sea.

You will allow me to omit all description of land and people in Egypt and its dependencies. In the last decade, and especially since the completion of the Freeland Nile line, there has been some change for the better; but on the whole I found the misery of the fellahs still very severe, and only different in degree and not in essence from what has been so often described by travellers in these regions. A picture of a totally different kind presented itself to the eye when we neared the Albert Nyanza and reached Freeland territory. I could scarcely trust my senses when, on awaking on the morning of the fifth day of our railway journey, I looked out of the car and, instead of the previous scenery, I caught sight of endless cultivated fields pleasantly variegated by luxuriant gardens and smiling groves, among which elegant villas, here scattered and there collected into townships, were conspicuous. As the train stopped soon after at a station the name of which was a friendly omen for an Italian—Garibaldi—we saw for the first time some Freelanders in their peculiar dress, as simple as it is becoming, and, as I at once perceived, thoroughly suitable to the climate.

This costume is very similar to that of the ancient Greeks; even the sandals instead of shoes are not wanting, only they are worn not on the naked foot, but over stockings. The dresses of the Freeland women are, for the most part, more brightly coloured than those of the men, which latter, however, do not exhibit the dull and monotonous tints of the dress of men in the West. In particular, the Freeland youths are fond of bright clear colours, the younger women preferring white with coloured ornaments. The impression which the Freelanders made upon me was quite a dazzling one. Full of vigour and health, they moved about with cheerful grace in the simile of the trees in the station-garden; they showed such an aristocratic self-possessed bearing that I thought at first that this was the rendezvous of the leaders of the best society of the place. This notion was strengthened when several Freelanders entered the train, and I discovered, in conversation with them as the train went on, that their culture fully corresponded to their appearance. Yet these were but ordinary country people—agriculturists and gardeners, with their wives, sons, and daughters.

Not less astonishing was the respectability of the negroes scattered among and freely mingling with the whites. Their dress was still lighter and airier than that of the whites—mostly cotton garments instead of the woollen clothes worn by the latter; for the rest, these natives had the appearance of thoroughly civilised men. From a conversation which I held with one in the train I found that their culture had reached a high stage—at any rate, a much higher one than that of the rural population in most parts of Europe. The black with whom I conversed spoke a fluent, correct English, had a Freeland newspaper in his hand, and eagerly read it during the journey; and he showed himself to be well acquainted with the public affairs not only of his own country, but also of Europe. For instance, he gave expression to the opinion that our difficulties with Abyssinia had evidently been occasioned by the Russian government, who necessarily wished to make it difficult for the Western Powers, and particularly England, to communicate with India; and he justified this opinion in a way that revealed as much knowledge as soundness of judgment.

Towards noon, at the station 'Baker,' we reached the Albert lake, just where the White Nile flows out of it. Here a very agreeable surprise awaited me. You remember David Ney, that young Freeland sculptor with whom we trotted about Rome together last autumn, and to whom I in particular became so much attached because the splendid young fellow charmed me both by his outward appearance and by the nobility of his disposition. What you probably did not know is that, after David left Europe at the close of his art studies in Rome, we corresponded; and he was therefore informed of my intended visit. My friend had taken the trouble to make the thirty hours' journey from Eden Vale, where he lives with his parents—his father is, as you know, a member of the Freeland government—to the Albert Nyanza, had got as far as 'Baker' station, and the first thing I noticed as we entered the station was his friendly, smiling face. He brought to my father and me an invitation from his parents to be their guests while we remained in Eden Vale. 'If you, your grace,' said he to my father, 'will be content with the house and entertainment which a citizen of Freeland can offer you, you will confer a very great favour upon all of us, and particularly upon me, who would thus have the privilege of undisturbed intercourse with your son. The splendour and magnificence to which you are accustomed at home you will certainly miss in our house, which scarcely differs from that of the simplest worker of our country; but this deprivation would be imposed upon you everywhere in Freeland; and I can promise that you shall not want for any real comfort.' To my great satisfaction, after a moment's reflection my father cordially accepted this invitation.

I will not now enlarge upon what I saw during the day and a half's journey from the Albert lake to Eden Vale, as I shall have occasion to refer to it again. Indeed, this my first Freeland letter will swell to far too great a size if I give you only a superficial report of what first interested me here—that is, of the daily life of the Freelanders. Our express flew in mad speed past the cornfields and plantations that clothe the plains of Unyoro and the highlands of Uganda; then ran for several hours along the banks of the billowy Victoria Nyanza, through a lovely country of hill and mountain—the whole like one great garden. Leaving the lake at the Ripon falls, we turned into the wildly romantic mountain district of Elgon, with its countless herds and its rich manufacturing towns, skirted the garden-fringed Lake Baringo, and sped through the Lykipia to the Alpine scenery of the Kenia. Towards nine in the evening of the sixth day of our railway journey we at length reached Eden Vale.

It was a splendid moonlit night when we left the station and entered the town; but brighter than the moon shone the many powerful electric arc-lamps, so that nothing escaped the curious eye. Even if I wished to do it now, I could not describe to you in detail the impression made upon me by this first Freeland town into which I had been. Imagine a fairy garden covering a space of nearly forty square miles, filled with tens of thousands of charming, tastily designed small houses and hundreds of fabulously splendid palaces; add the intoxicating odours of all kinds of flowers and the singing of innumerable nightingales—the latter were imported from Europe and Asia in the early years of the settlement and have multiplied to an incredible extent—and set all this in the framework of a landscape as grand and as picturesque as any part of the world can show; and then, if your fancy is vigorous enough, you may form some mild conception of the delight with which this marvellous city filled me, and fills me still more and more the longer I know it. The streets and open places through which we passed were apparently empty; but David assured us that the shores of the lake were full of life every evening until midnight. In many of the houses which we passed could be heard sounds of mirth and gaiety. On broad airy terraces and in the gardens around them sat or sauntered the inhabitants in larger or smaller groups. The clinking of glasses, music, silvery laughter, fell upon the ear: in short, everything indicated that here the evenings were devoted to the most cheerful sociality.

After a rapid ride of about half an hour, we reached the home of our hosts, near the centre of the town and not far from the lake. The family Ney received us in the most cordial manner; nevertheless their dignified bearing very profoundly impressed even my proud father. The ladies in particular were so much like princesses in disguise that my father at once transformed himself into the inimitable gallant Paladin of chivalry you have known him to be in Rome, London, and Vienna. Father Ney betrayed, at the first glance, the profound thinker accustomed to serious work, but who by no means lacked the mien of agreeable self-possession. Judging from the fact that he had been six-and-twenty years in the service of the Freeland commonwealth, he must be at least fifty years old, but he looks to be scarcely forty. The younger of the sons, Emanuel, technician by calling, is a complete duplicate of David, though a little darker and more robust than the latter, who, as you know, is no weakling. The mother, Ellen by name, an American by birth, who—thanks, evidently, to David's reports of me—received me with a truly motherly welcome, must be, judging from the age of her children, about forty-five, but her youthful freshness gives her the appearance rather of a sister than a mother of her children. She is brilliantly beautiful, but is rendered specially charming by the goodness and nobility of mind impressed upon her features. She introduced to us three girls between eighteen and twenty years of age as her daughters, of whom only one—Bertha—resembled her and her sons. This one, a young copy of the mother, at once embarrassed me by the indescribable charm of her presence. She was so little like the others—Leonora and Clementina—that I could not refrain from remarking upon it to David. 'These two are not blood-relations to us, but pupil daughters of my mother; what that means I will tell you by-and-by,' was his answer.

As, despite the comfort of Freeland cars, we were naturally somewhat exhausted by our six days' railway journey, after a short conversation with our hosts we begged to be allowed to retire to our rooms. David acted as our guide. After leaving the spacious garden-terrace upon which we had hitherto lingered, we passed through a simple but tastefully arranged drawing-room and a stately dining-hall which communicated, as I noticed, with a large room used as a library on the right, and with two smaller rooms on the left. These latter rooms were, David told us, his parents' workrooms. We then came into a richly decorated vestibule, from which stairs led above to the bedrooms. Here David took us into two bedrooms with a common anteroom.

Then followed a short explanation of the many provisions for the comfort of the users of the rooms. 'Pressure upon this button on the right near the door-post,' demonstrated David, 'lights the electric chandelier; a touch on the button near the bedside-table lights the wall-lamp over the bed. Here the telephone No. 1 is for use within the house and for communication with the nearest watch-room of the Association for Personal Service. A simple ringing—thus—means that some one is to come hither from the watch-room. All these buttons—they are known by their distinctive borders—here and there about the walls, there by the writing, desk and here by the bed, are connected with this telephone-bell. Thus, whenever you wish to call a member of this association, which always has persons on duty, you need not move either from the arm-chair in which you may be sitting or from the bed on which you are resting. Every telephone and every signal has its number in the watch-room as well as on a list in the vestibule we have just left; in two minutes at the longest after you have rung, a messenger of the association will have hastened to wait on you.'

'That is a wonderful arrangement,' I remarked, 'which secures for you all the convenience of having a valet-de-chambre ready to obey every hint of yours, without being obliged to put up with the trouble which our valets cost us. But this luxury must be very costly, and therefore not commonly enjoyed.'

'The cost is very moderate, just because everybody makes use of this public service,' answered my friend. 'There is one such watch-room with three watchers for every 600 or 800 houses. The attendance is paid for—or rather calculated—according to the length of time during which it is required, and, as is customary with us, the rate of payment is measured by the average value of an hour's work as shown by the accounts published every year by our central bank. In the past year, when an hour's work was worth 8s., we had to pay about 5d. for every three minutes—for that is the unit upon which this association bases its calculation. Those who ring often and keep the association busy have to pay a larger share at the end of the year, and those who ring seldom a smaller share. But in all cases the association must come upon them for its expenses and for the payment of its nine watching members—for the three watchers change morning, noon, and evening. Last year the amount required for each watch-room was in round figures 6,000L; and as, for example, the time-bills of the 720 families of our radius amounted to not quite two-thirds of that sum, the remaining 2,000L had to be assessed in proportion to the use made of the service by each family. Our family makes comparatively little demand upon the service of this association; we paid, for example, last year 6L in all—that is, 4L direct payment for time, and 2L additional assessment—for we used the service only 203 times during the whole year.'

'Why,' asked my father, 'is there comparatively less use of the service in your house than elsewhere?'

'Because our household always contains two or three young women, who make it their pleasant duty to give to my parents all that personal attendance which is befitting well-bred cultured women. Those two girls—for a year they have been assisted by my sister—are young Freelanders such as are to be found in every Freeland house whose housewife has a special reputation for intelligence and refined manners; pardon me for classing my mother among these exceptions. Every young woman of Freeland esteems it a special honour and a great privilege to be received into such a house for at least a year, because it is universally acknowledged that nothing refines the intellect and the manners of developing girls more than the most intimate intercourse possible with superior women. As a matter of course such young ladies are regarded and treated exactly as if they were children of the family; and they render to their adoptive parents the same service as thoughtful and affectionate daughters. Father and mother can scarcely feel a wish which is not divined and gratified.'

'Ah, that is exactly our institution of royal maids of honour,' said my father, smiling.

'Certainly; but I very much doubt whether your royal pair are so thoroughly, and in particular so tenderly, confided in as my parents always are by these pupil-daughters of my mother. During the past eighteen years—which is the age of this institution in Freeland—not less than twenty-four of these young ladies have passed through our house; and they all still maintain filial relations with my parents and sisterly ones with us. Those who are at present with us—Leonora and Clementina—you have already seen.'

'You said just now,' said my father, 'that your whole household—four ladies and three gentlemen—during a whole year, called for your ministering spirits by means of this alarum only two hundred times three minutes. You mentioned, besides, the service rendered by those charming young ladies. But who does all that coarser work, which even the spirit of Aladdin's lamp could scarcely get through in 600 minutes, or ten hours, a year in such a house as this? It seems to me that you have some ten or twelve dwelling-rooms. It is true the floor is of marble, but it must be swept. Everywhere I see heavy carpets—who keeps these clean? In a word, who does the coarser work in this comfortably furnished house, which one can see at a glance is kept most carefully in order?'

'The association with whose watch-room I have already made you acquainted. Only we do not need to ring in order to get our regular requirements attended to. The household work is done on the basis of a common tariff without any trouble on our part, and with a punctuality that leaves nothing to be desired. The association possesses duplicates of the house-keys and room-keys of all the houses that it serves. Early in the morning, when we are most of us still asleep, its messengers come noiselessly, take the clothing that has to be cleaned—or rather that has to be exchanged, for we Freelanders never wear the same garment on two successive days—from where they were left the previous evening, put the clean clothes in the proper place, get ready the baths—for in most Freeland houses every member of the family has a separate bath which is daily used, unless a bath in the lake or the river is preferred—clean the outer spaces and some of the rooms, take away the carpets, and disappear before most of us have had any knowledge of their presence. And all this is done in a few minutes. It is almost all done by machinery. Do you see that little apparatus yonder in the corridor? That is a hydraulic machine brought into action by the turning of that tap there, which places it in connection with the high-pressure service from the Kenia cascades. (In other towns, where a hydraulic pressure of thirty-five atmospheres is not so easily to be had, electric or atmospheric motors are employed.) Here the steel shaft in the hollow in the floor covered with that elegant grating, and there near the ceiling the bronze shaft that might be mistaken for a rod on which to hang mirrors or pictures—these transmit the motion of the hydraulic machine to every room in the house, from the cellar to the rooms under the roof. And there, in that room, are a number of machines whose uses I can scarcely explain to you unless you see them at work. The three or four messengers of the association bring a number of other implements with them, and when these machines are brought into connection with the shafts above or below, and the tap of the water-motor is opened, the room is swept and washed while you can turn round, and the heaviest articles set in their places; in short, everything is put right silently and with magical rapidity, though human hands could have done it only slowly and with a great deal of disagreeable noise.

'A little later the workers of the association reappear in order to clean the rest of the rooms, to lay the carpets in their places, and prepare everything in the kitchen and the breakfast-room for breakfast. And so these people come and go several times during the day, as often as is agreed upon, in order to see that all is right. Everything is done without being asked for, silently, and with the speed of lightning. Our house belongs to the larger, and our style of living to the better, in Freeland; the association has, therefore, more to do in few houses than in ours; nevertheless, last year, for all these services they charged us for not more than 180 hours, for which, according to the tariff already mentioned, we had to pay 72L. I question if any house equal to ours in Europe or America could be kept in a like good condition for double or treble this sum. And instead of having to do with troublesome "domestics," we are served by intelligent, courteous, zealous men of business who are compelled by competition—for we have six such associations in Eden Vale—to do their utmost to satisfy the families that employ them. The members of these associations are "gentlemen" with whom one can very properly sit at the same table, the table which they have themselves just prepared, and neither our two "maids of honour" nor my sister would have the slightest objection to wait upon, among other guests, members of the Association for Personal Services.

'You will soon become acquainted with the gentlemen of the association, for the members that have charge of our house will come immediately to obtain the most exact information as to all your special wishes. You must not grow impatient if you have to undergo a somewhat circumstantial examination; it will be for your comfort, and will not be repeated. When you have once been subjected to the association's questions, which leave out nothing however trivial, it will never, so long as you are in Freeland, happen to you to find the wrong garments brought you, or your bath a degree too hot or too cold, or your bed not properly prepared, or any of those little items of neglect and carelessness on the absence of which domestic happiness in no small degree depends.

'That is enough about the Association for Rendering Personal Services. I can now go on with my explanation of our domestic arrangements. This other telephone has the same use as the telephone in Europe, with this difference, that here everyone possesses his own telephone. That screw there opens the cold-air service, which brings into every room artificially cooled and slightly ozonised air, should the heat become unpleasant; and as this sometimes happens even at night—as when in the hot months a nocturnal storm rises—the screw is placed near the bed.'

I give you all these details because I think they will interest you as showing how marvellously well these Freelanders have understood how to substitute their 'iron slaves' for our house slaves. I will merely add that the Association for Rendering Personal Services satisfied even my father's very comprehensive demands. He declares that he never found better attendance at the Bristol Hotel in Paris.

Not to weary you, I will spare you any description of the first and second breakfast on the next day, and will only make your mouth water by describing the principal meal, taken about six o'clock in the evening. But first I must introduce you to two other members of the Ney family with whom we became acquainted in the course of our second day. These are David's aunt Clara, his father's sister, and her husband, Professor Noria, both originals of a very special kind. Aunt Clara, at heart an ardent Freelander, has a passion for incessantly arguing about the equality which here prevails, in which 'truly high-toned' sentiments and manners cannot possibly permanently exist. But woe to anyone who would venture to agree with her in this. In spite of her sixty years, she is still a resolute lively woman, with a very respectable remnant of what was once great beauty. Nineteen years ago she married the professor, first because in him she found an indefatigable antagonist in her attacks upon Freeland, and next because he realised in a very high degree her ideal of manly 'distinction.' For Professor Noria is passionately fond of studying heraldry, has all kinds of chivalrous and courtly ceremonials, from the days of King Nimrod down to the present, at his fingers' ends, but has always been too proud to degrade his knowledge by selling it for filthy lucre. Being an enthusiast in the cause of equality and freedom he came to Freeland, where for a few hours at morn and eve he works at gardening, and thereby comfortably supports himself and his wife—children they have none; but through the day he labours at his great heraldic work, which, if it is ever finished, is to prove to the world that all the ills it has hitherto suffered can be explained by the facts expressed in heraldry.

But now for our dinner. David admitted, when I questioned him, that in honour of us a fifth course was added to the customary four. But the charm of the meal consisted, not in the number, but in the superiority of the dishes, and not less in the absence of the attendants, who, not belonging to the society at table, necessarily are a disturbing element. I may say, without exaggeration, that I have seldom seen a meal so excellently prepared, and never one consisting of such choice material. The flesh of young oxen fattened upon the aromatic pastures of the higher hills and of the tame antelopes cannot be matched anywhere else; the vegetables throw the choicest specimens of a Paris Exhibition in the shade; but the special pride of Freeland is the choiceness and multiplicity of its fruits. And now for the mysterious mode of serving. A cupboard in the wall of the dining-room yielded an apparently inexhaustible series of eatables. First Miss Bertha fetched from this cupboard a tureen, which she had to lift carefully by its ivory handles, and which when uncovered was found to contain a delicious soup. Then from another compartment of the same cupboard was brought a fish as cold as if it had just come from the ice. Then followed, from yet another compartment, a hot ragout, followed by a hot joint, with many vegetables and a salad. Next came ices, with pastry, fruits, cheese. The meal was ended with black coffee made in the presence of the guests, and choice cigars, both, like the beer and the wine, of Freeland growth and manufacture. There was no attendance visible during the meal; the three charming girls fetched everything either out of the mysterious cupboard or from a side-table.

Mrs. Ney now became the cicerone. 'This wall-cupboard,' she explained, 'is one-half ice-cellar—that is, it is cooled by cold air passing through it; the other half is a kind of hearth—that is, it is furnished with an electrical heating apparatus. Between the two compartments, and divided from them by non-conducting walls, is a neutral space at the ordinary temperature. The cupboard has also the peculiarity of opening on two sides—here into the dining-room, and outside into the corridor. Whilst we were at table the Food Association brought in quick succession the dishes which had been ordered, in part quite ready, in part—as, e.g., the roast meat and the vegetables—prepared but not cooked. The food that was ready was placed in the respective compartments of the cupboard from the corridor; a member of the association cooked the meat and vegetables in a kitchen at the back of the house, furnished also with electrical cooking apparatus. This is not the usual order; when we are alone the cooking is as a rule done in the cupboard, and attended to by my daughters. It takes but a little time, and the smell of the cooking is never perceptible, as the cupboard is both hearth and ice-cellar in one, and therefore possesses the character of a good ventilator. Washing the dishes, &c., is the business of the association, as is also attendance at table if it is required.'

Coffee was taken out-of-doors on one of the terraces, where the ladies sang to the harp and the piano. Meantime Mr. Ney told us the family relationships of the two pupil-daughters. Leonora is the child of an agriculturist in Lykipia, Clementina the daughter of one of his heads of departments. The latter information surprised us. 'Why,' I asked, 'do these ladies forsake the parental houses, which must be highly respectable ones?' Mr. Ney explained that it was not a respectable house that the pupil-daughters sought, but simply the cultured, intellectual housewife. The husband may be ever so famous and learned, but if the housewife is only an ordinary character, no pupil-daughters will ever cross the threshold. The institution was intended to afford girls the benefit of a higher example, of an ennobling womanly intercourse, and not the splendour of richer external surroundings; which, it may be remarked, had no application to the prevailing circumstances in Freeland, as, generally speaking, all families here live on the same footing. Clementina's mother is a brave woman with a good heart, but after all only a good practical housekeeper, 'therefore,' said he, with a sparkle in his eye,' she begged my Ellen, who is reckoned among the noblest women in this country which is so rich in fine women, to take her Clementina for a couple of years as a favour.'

I must now conclude for to-day, for I am tired; but I have a great deal more to tell you of my experiences both inside and outside of the house of the Neys.



CHAPTER XV

Eden Vale: July 18, ——.

To-day I take up again the report of our experiences here, which I began a week ago. You will readily imagine that my father and I were both full of curiosity to see the town. Guessing this, Mr. Ney next morning invited us to join him and his son on a tour round Eden Vale. The carriage was already waiting! It was a light and elegant vehicle with steel wheels like those of a velocipede, and with two seats each comfortably accommodating two persons. As we, in response to David's signal, exhibited some hesitation and made no effort to get into the vehicle, David perceived that we missed—the horses! He explained to us that in Freeland, and particularly in the towns, the use of animals to draw vehicles was for many reasons given up in favour of mechanical power, which was safer, cleaner, and also cheaper. This vehicle was a kind of draisine, and the driver, whose place is on the right side of the front seat, has nothing to do but to press lightly downwards upon a small lever at his right hand, in order to set the machine in motion, the speed depending upon the strength of the pressure. The upward motion of the lever slacks the speed or brings the vehicle to a standstill; while a turning to right or left is effected by a corresponding rotary motion of the same lever. The motive power is neither steam nor electricity, but the elasticity of a spiral spring, which is not inseparably attached to the vehicle, but can be inserted or removed at will.

'The cylindrical box, a little over half a yard long and about eight inches deep, here over the front axle,' demonstrated my friend, 'contains the spiral spring. Before being used the spring is wound up and that very tightly—an operation which is effected by steam-engines in the workshops of the Association for Transport, the energy present in the steam being thus converted into the energy of the tension of the spring. The power thus laid up in the spring is transferred to the axle by a very simple mechanism, and is sufficient to make the wheel revolve ten thousand times even if the vehicle is tolerably heavily loaded; and as the wheel has a circumference of about six feet and a half, the spring will carry the vehicle a distance of about twelve miles and a half. The speed depends, on the one hand, upon the load in the vehicle, and on the other hand upon the amount of pressure upon the regulating lever. The maximum speed attained by these ordinary draisines, on a good road and with a moderate load, is two and a half revolutions—that is, about thirteen feet—in the second, or a little over eleven miles an hour. But we have what are called racing carriages with which we can attain nearly twice that speed. The force of the spring is exhausted when the wheel has made ten thousand revolutions, which in slow travelling occurs in from one and a quarter to one and a half hours. On longer or more rapid journeys provision must therefore be made for sufficient reserve force, and this is done in various ways. One can take with him one or more springs ready wound up, for carrying which surplus boxes are attached to the back of the vehicle. When the spring is wound up and the escapement secured, it will retain its energy for years. But as every spring weighs at least nearly eighty pounds, this mode of providing reserve power has its limits. Besides, the changing of the springs is no little trouble. As a rule, a second method is preferred. The Transport Association has a number of station-houses for other purposes, on all the more frequented roads. These stations are indicated by flags, and travellers in the draisines can halt at these and get their springs changed. Every station always has on hand a number of wound-up springs; and so travellers can journey about at any time without let or hindrance, particularly if they are prudent enough to furnish themselves with a reserve spring for emergencies. Such stations exist not merely in and around Eden Vale, but in and around all the towns in Freeland as well as on all the more frequented country roads. And as the different associations carrying on the same industry all over the country were shrewd enough to adopt the same measure for all their springs, it is possible to travel through the whole of Freeland certain of finding everywhere a relay of springs. But if one would be absolutely sure, he can bespeak the necessary springs for any specified route through the agency of his own association; and in this case nothing would prevent him from leaving the highways and taking the less frequented byways so far as they are not too rough and steep—a contingency which, in view of the perfect development of the Freeland system of roads, is not to be feared except among the most remote mountain-paths. In this way, two years ago, our family went through the whole of the Aberdare and Baringo districts, travelling a distance of above a thousand miles, and doing the whole journey most comfortably in a fortnight.'

At last, with a shake of the head, we consented to get into the automatic carriage. My father sat in front with Mr. Ney, and David and I behind; a pressure by Ney upon the lever, and the machine noiselessly moved off towards the Eden lake. The banks of this lake—except on the north-western side, where quays for the merchant traffic stretch for more than three miles—are bordered by a fourfold avenue of palm-trees, and are laid out in marble steps reaching down to the water, except where occupied by piers covered with lines of rails. At these piers the passengers are landed from the steamers which navigate the lake in all directions, but which, in order not to pollute the balmy air, are provided with perfectly effective smoke-consuming apparatus. Even the discordant shriek of the steam-whistle has been superseded in Freeland. For the Eden lake is only incidentally a seat of traffic; its chief character is that of an enormous piece of water for pleasure and ornament. A large portion of the shore is taken up by the luxuriously furnished bathing-establishments which stretch far out into the lake and are frequented by thousands at all times in the day. These baths are for the most part surrounded by shady groves, and near them are to be found the theatres, opera-houses, and concert-halls of Eden Vale, to the number of sixteen, which we on this occasion saw only on the outside. Our hosts told us that the lake looked most charming by moonlight or under the electric light, and that therefore we would visit it in the course of a few evenings.

We then turned away from the lake, and went to the heights which rose in a half-crescent form around Eden Vale. Here we perceived at once, even at a distance of nearly two miles, a gigantic building which must constantly excite the admiration of even those who are accustomed to it, and which fairly bewildered us strangers. It is as unparalleled in size as it is incomparable in the proportions and harmonious perfection of all its parts. It gives at once the impression of overpowering majesty and of fairy-like loveliness. This wonderful structure is the National Palace of Freeland, and was finished five years ago. It is the seat of the twelve supreme Boards of Administration and the twelve Representative Bodies. It is built entirely of white and yellow marble, surpasses the Vatican in the area it covers, and its airy cupolas are higher than the dome of St. Peter's. That it could be built for 9,500,000L is explained only by the fact that all the builders as well as all the best artists of the country pressed to be employed in some way in its erection. And—so David told me—the motive that prompted the artists and builders to do this was not patriotism, but pure enthusiasm for art. Freeland is rich enough to pay any price for its National Palace, and no one had a thought of lessening the cost of the building; but the peculiar and impressive beauty of the work as seen in the design had fascinated all artists. David described the feverish excitement with which the commissioners appointed to decide upon the designs sent in announced that a plan had been presented, by a hitherto unknown young architect, which was beyond description; that a new era had been opened in architecture, a new style of architecture invented which in nobility of form rivalled the best Grecian, and in grandeur the most massive Egyptian monuments. And all who saw the design shared in this enthusiasm. The competitors—there were not less than eighty-four, for there had already been a great deal of beautiful building in Eden Vale—without exception withdrew their designs and paid voluntary homage to the new star that had risen in the firmament of art.

We were loth to turn away and look at any other buildings. Not until we had three times been round the National Palace did we consent to leave it. I will spare you the catalogue of the numberless handsome buildings which we hurriedly passed by; I will only say that I was quite bewildered by the number and magnificence of the public buildings devoted to different scientific and artistic purposes. The academies, museums, laboratories, institutions for experiment and research, &c., seemed endless; and one could see at a glance that they were all endowed with extravagant munificence. I must confine myself to a description of the largest of the three public libraries of Eden Vale, the interior of which we were invited to inspect. I was at once struck with the great number of visitors, and next with the fact that only a part of the magnificent rooms were devoted exclusively to reading, other rooms being filled with guests who were enjoying ices or coffee, or with readers of both sexes who were smoking, or again with people talking and laughing. 'It seems,' said I to Mr. Ney, 'that in Freeland the libraries are also cafes and conversation salons.' He admitted this, and asked if I supposed that the number of serious readers was affected by this arrangement. As I hesitated to answer, he told me that at first a considerable party in Freeland saw in this combination of reading with recreative intercourse a desecration of science. But all opposition was given up when it was seen that the possibility of alternating study with cheerful conversation very largely increased the number of readers. Of course the Association for Providing Refreshments—for this, and not the library executive, provide the refreshments—was not allowed to enter a certain number of reading-rooms, and in certain of the rooms where refreshments and smoking were allowed talking was forbidden. Thus people visited the library either to study, to amuse themselves with a book, or to converse with acquaintances, according to their mood. The magnificent airy rooms, particularly those with large verandahs communicating with the central pillared court laid out with flower-beds and shrubs, formed, even in the heat of mid-day, a pleasant rendezvous; so that in the public life of Eden Vale the libraries played somewhat the same role as the Agora in that of ancient Athens or the Forum in that of ancient Rome. At times there were as many as 5,000 persons of both sexes assembled in this building: at least, our host assured us, as many as that might be found in the two smaller libraries at the northern and western ends of the city; and anyone who cared to take the trouble to examine the eighty-two rooms of the building would probably find that quite one half of those present made a considerable use of the 980,000 volumes which the institution already possessed.

After we had passed numberless public buildings, the purposes of some of which I could scarcely understand, as our 'civilised' Europe possesses nothing like them—I mention, as an example, merely the Institute for Animal Breeding Experiments, the work of which is, by experiment and observation, to establish what influence heredity, mode of life, and food exercise upon the development of the human organism—it occurred to me that we had not passed a hospital. As I was curious to see how the world-renowned Freeland benevolence, which for years past had richly furnished half the hospitals of the world with means, dealt with the sick poor in its own country, I asked David to take me to at least one hospital. 'I can show you a hospital as little as I can a prison or a barracks, in Eden Vale, for the very simple reason that we do not possess one in all Freeland,' was his answer.

'The absence of prisons and barracks I can understand; we knew that you Freelanders can manage without criminal laws or a military administration; but—so I thought—sickness must exist here: that has nothing to do with your social institutions!'

'Your last sentence I cannot unconditionally assent to,' said Mr. Ney, joining in our conversation. 'Even diseases have decreased under the influence of our social institutions. It is true they have not disappeared—we have sick in Freeland—but no poor sick, for we have no poor at all, either sick or sound. Therefore we do not possess those reservoirs of the diseased poor which in other countries are called "hospitals." We certainly have institutions in which sick persons can, at good prices, procure special and careful treatment, and they are largely patronised, particularly in cases requiring surgical operations; but they are private institutions, and they resemble both in their constitution and their management your most respectable sanatoria for "distinguished patients."'

I was satisfied with this explanation so far; but now another doubt suggested itself. Without public hospitals there could be no proper medical study, I thought; and anatomy in particular could not be studied without the corpses of the poor for dissecting purposes. But Mr. Ney removed this doubt by assuring me that the so-called clinical practice of Freeland medical men was in many respects far superior to that of the West, and even anatomical studies did not suffer at all. It had become the practice, both in Eden Vale and in all Freeland university towns, for medical students in their third year to assist practising physicians, whom, with the permission of the patients and under pledge of behaving discreetly, they accompanied in their visits to the sick, of course only in twos, or at most in threes, if the patient required the assistance of several persons. As all the physicians approved of this practice, which secured to them very valuable gratuitous assistance of various kinds, and as the patients also for the same reason profited much by it, the people rapidly became accustomed to it. In difficult cases these assistants were a great boon to the sick, to whom they ministered with indefatigable care, and whose kindness in allowing them to be present they thus repaid by their skilful attention. When you reflect that in Freeland only one commodity is dear and scarce, the labour of man, it can easily be estimated how valuable, as a rule, such assistance is both to the physician and to the patient. And in this way on the average the young medical men learn more than is learnt by hospital practice. They do not see so many sick persons, but those whom they do see they see and treat more fully and more considerately. As a layman, he—Mr. Ney—could not perhaps give sufficiently exhaustive proof of the fact, but he knew that men who had been trained in hospitals admitted that physicians educated as they were in Freeland became better diagnosticians than hospital students. As to anatomical studies, he said, in the first place, that preparations and models afforded—certainly very expensive—substitutes for many school dissections, and in numerous instances were to be preferred; and, in the next place, that the scarcity of subjects for dissection was by no means so extreme in Freeland as I seemed to think. It was true there were no poor who, against their own will and that of their friends, could be subjected to the dissecting-knife; but on this very account there was to be found here no such foolish prejudice against dissection as was elsewhere entertained by even the so-called cultured classes. The medical faculty received great numbers of subjects; and it could scarcely be a detriment to study that the students were compelled to treat these subjects with more respect, and to restore them in a short time to their surviving friends for cremation.

David further told me that in Freeland the physician is not paid by the patient, but is a public official, as is also the apothecary. The study of medicine is nevertheless as free in the universities here as any other study, and no one is prevented from practising as a physician because he may not have undergone an examination or passed through a university. This is the inevitable consequence of the principles of the commonwealth. On the other hand, however, the commonwealth exercises the right of entrusting the care of health and sanitation to certain paid officials, as in every other kind of public service. These appointments are made, according to the public needs, by the head of the Education Department, who, like all other heads of departments, is responsible to his own representative board—or parliament of experts, as we may call it. It is the practice for the professors to propose the candidates, who, of course, undergo many severe examinations before they are proposed. Anyone who fails to get proposed may practise medicine, but as the public knows that the most skilful are always chosen with the utmost conscientiousness conceivable, this liberty to practise is of no value. Anyone who thus fails to get proposed, and has neither the energy nor the patience to attempt to wipe off his disgrace at the next opportunity, simply hangs his medical vocation on a nail and turns to some other occupation. The elected physicians are not allowed to receive any payment whatever from their patients. At first their salary is moderate, scarcely more than the average earnings of a worker—that is, 1,800 hour-equivalents per annum; but it is increased gradually, as in the cases of the other officials, and the higher sanitary officials are taken from among the physicians. As the payments are controlled by the departmental parliament, and as this is elected by the persons who in one way or another are interested in this branch of the government, the best possible provision is made to prevent the physicians from assuming an unbecoming attitude towards their patients. No one is obliged to call in any one particular physician. The physicians live in different parts of each town, as conveniently distributed as possible; but everyone calls in the physician he likes best; and as physicians are naturally elected as far as possible upon the Representative Board for Sanitation—whose sittings, it may be remarked in passing, are generally very short—the number of votes which the representatives receive is the best evidence of their relative popularity. It goes without saying that foreign physicians also, if they are men of good repute and do not object, have the same right as the Freeland physicians to submit their qualifications to the proposing body of professors. It should be added that in the larger towns, besides the ordinary physicians and surgeons, specialists are also appointed for certain specific diseases.

We had now been in our carriage for four hours, and were tired of riding, as was natural, notwithstanding the easy motion and comfort of the vehicle. The Neys proposed that we should send the carriage home and return on foot, to which we assented. We left the carriage at one of the stations of the Transport Association, and walked, under the shady alleys with which every street in Eden Vale is bordered. We now had leisure to examine more closely the elegant private houses, which, while they all showed the Eden Vale style of architecture—half-Moorish half-Grecian in its character—were for the rest alike neither in size nor in embellishment. The most conspicuous charm of these villas consists in their wonderfully lovely gardens, with their choice trees, their surpassingly beautiful flowers, the white marble statuary, the fountains, and the many tame animals—especially monkeys, parrots, brightly coloured finches, and all sorts of song-birds—which were sporting about in them among merrily shouting children. We were astonished at the extraordinary cleanness of the streets; and the chief reason of this was said to be that, since the invention of automatic carriages, no draught animals kicked up dust or dropped filth in the streets of Freeland towns.

'Are there no horses here?' I asked; and I was told that there were a great number, and of the noblest breed; but they were used only for riding outside of the town, among the neighbouring meadows, groves, and woods.

'But that must be a very expensive luxury here,' I said. 'The horse itself and its keep may be cheap enough; but, as human labour is the dearest thing in Freeland, I cannot understand how any Freeland income can support the cost of a groom. Or do such servants receive exceptionally low wages here?'

'The last would be scarcely possible among us,' answered Mr. Ney, smiling; 'for who would be willing to act as groom in Freeland? We are obliged to give those who attend to horses the same average payment as other workers; and if, for the seven saddle, horses which I keep in the stables of the Transport Association, I had to pay for servants after the scale of Western lands, the cost would be more than the whole of my income. But the riddle is easily solved: the work in the stables is done by means of machinery, so that on an average one man is enough for every fifty horses. You shake your heads incredulously! But when you have soon in how few minutes a horse can be groomed and made to look as bright as a mirror by our enormous cylindrical brushes set in rotation by mechanism; in how short a time our scouring-machines and water-service can cleanse the largest stable of dung and all sorts of filth; and how the fodder is automatically supplied to the animals, you will not only understand how it is that we can keep horses cheaply, but you will also perceive that in Freeland even the "stablemen" are cultured gentlemen, as deserving of respect and as much respected as everybody else.'

Conversing thus we reached home, where a hearty luncheon was taken, and some matters of business attended to. After the dinner described in my last, our hosts and we went again to the lake, and visited first the large opera-house, where, on that day, the work of a Freeland composer was given. This piece was not new to us, for it is one of the many Freeland compositions which have been well received and are often performed in other countries. But we were astonished at the peculiar—yet common to all Freeland theatres—arrangement of the auditorium. The seats rise in an amphitheatre to a considerable height; and the roof rests upon columns, between which the outer air passes freely. As many as ten thousand persons can find abundant room in the larger of these theatres, without an accumulation of vitiated air or any excessive heat.

The performance was excellent, the appointments in every respect brilliant; yet the price—which was not varied by any difference of rank—was ridiculously low according to Western notions. A seat cost sixpence—that is in the large opera-house; the other theatres are considerably cheaper. The undertakers are in all cases the urban communes, and the performers, as well as the managers, act as communal officials. The theatres are all conducted on the economic principle that the cost and maintenance of the building fall upon the communal budget; and the door-money has to cover merely the hire of the performers and the stage expenses.

I learnt from David that Eden Vale possessed, besides the grand opera, also a dramatic opera, and four theatres, as well as three concert-halls, in which every evening orchestral and chamber music and choruses are to be heard. But as a Freeland specialty he mentioned five different theatres for instruction, in which astronomical, archaeological, geological, palaeontological, physical, historical, geographical, natural history—in short, all conceivable scientific lectures were delivered, illustrated by the most comprehensive display of plastic representative art. The lectures are written by the most talented specialists, delivered by the most eloquent orators, and placed on the stage by the most skilful engineers and decorators. This kind of theatre is the most frequented; as a rule, the existing accommodation is not sufficient, hence the commune is building two new lecture-houses, which will be opened in the course of a few months. The grandeur of these presentations—as I learnt for myself the next evening—is really astounding; and though the young generally compose the greater part of the audience, adults also attend in large numbers.

When we left the theatre, the Neys engaged one of the gondolas which an association keeps there in readiness, and which is propelled by a screw worked by an elastic spring; and we steered out into the lake. The lake was lit up as brilliantly as if it were day, by elevated electric lights, with reflectors all round the shore. We had that evening the special pleasure of hearing a new cantata by Walter, the most renowned composer of Freeland, performed for the first time by the members of the Eden Vale Choral Society. This society, which generally chooses the Eden lake as the scene of its weekly performances, makes use on such occasions of a number of splendid barges, the cost of whose—often positively fairylike—appointments is defrayed by the voluntary contributions of its members and admirers.

Was it the influence of the very peculiar scenery, or was it the beauty of the composition itself?—certainly the effect which this cantata produced upon me was overwhelming. On the way home I confessed to David that I had never before been so struck with what I might call the transcendental power of music as during the performance on the lake. I seemed to hear the World-spirit speaking to my soul in those notes; and I seemed to understand what was said, but not to be able to translate it into ordinary Italian or English. At the same time I expressed my astonishment that so young a community as that of Freeland should have produced not merely notable works in all branches of art, but in two—architecture and music—works equal to the best examples of all times.

Mrs. Ney was of opinion that this was simply a necessary consequence of the general tendency of the Freeland spirit. Where the enjoyment of life and leisure co-exist the arts must flourish, since the latter are merely products of wealth and noble leisure. And it could be easily explained how it was that architecture and music were the first of the arts to develop. Architecture necessarily and at once received a strong stimulus from the needs of a commonwealth of a novel and comprehensive character; and in the case of Freeland the influence of the grand yet charming nature of the country was unmistakable. On the other hand, music is the earliest of all forms of art—that to which the genius of man first turns itself whenever a new era of artistic creation is introduced by new modes of feeling and thinking.

'From the circumstance that your greatest master has to-day given the public a gratuitous first performance of his new composition, one might almost conclude that in this country the composers, or at any rate some of them, are also public officials. Is it so?' asked my father.

Mr. Ney said it was not so, and added that composers, poets, authors, and creative artists in general, when they produced anything of value, could with certainty reckon upon making a very good income from the sale of their works. As all Freeland families spent large sums in purchasing books, journals, musical compositions, and works of art of all kinds, the conditions of the art-world could not be correctly measured by Western standards. The artistic productions sold during the previous year had realised 300,000,000L. Of this sum, however, the greater part represented the cost of reproductions, particularly in the case of printed works; yet the author of an only tolerably popular composition, book, or essay was sure of a very considerable profit. Editions numbering hundreds of thousands were here not at all remarkable; and editions of millions were by no means rare. For instance, Walter had hitherto composed in all six larger and eighteen smaller works, and for the sale of them the Musical Publishing Association had, up to the end of the last year, paid him 21,000L. In fact, it could be positively asserted that an author of any kind, who produced only one exceptionally good work, could live very comfortably upon the proceeds of its sale. It had even happened that the public libraries had bought 50,000 copies of a single book. Freeland possesses 3,050 such institutions, and the larger of them are sometimes compelled to keep many hundred copies of books which are much sought after. When the interest of the reading public diminishes, the libraries withdraw a part of these copies, and there are yearly large auctions of such withdrawn books, without, however, diminishing the sales of the publishing associations. Moreover, the authors of Freeland are continuously and profitably kept busy by thousands of journals of all conceivable kinds which, so far as they offer what is of value, have a colossal sale. Capable architects, sculptors, painters can always reckon upon brilliant successes, for the demand for good and original plans and beautiful statues and pictures is always greater than the supply. The grand art, it is true, finds employment only in public works, but here, as we have seen, it finds it on a most magnificent and most profitable scale. In Freeland they attach extraordinary importance to the cultivation of the beautiful and the noble; they hold the grand art to be one of the most effectual means of ethical culture; and as the community is rich enough to pay for everything that it thinks desirable, the public outlay for monumental buildings and their adornment finds its limits only in the capacities of the creative artists. And the happy organisation of the departments which have these things in charge has—hitherto at any rate—preserved the Freelanders from serious blunders. Not everything that has been produced at the public cost is worthy of being accepted as perfect—many works of art thus produced have been thrown into the shade by better ones; but even those subsequently surpassed creations were at the time of their production the best which the existing art could produce, and to ask for more would be unjust. And I could not avoid perceiving that the population of Freeland are not merely proud of their public expenditure in art, but that they thoroughly enjoy what they pay for; and in this respect they are comparable to the ancient Athenians, of whom we are told that, with solitary exceptions, they all had an intense appreciation of the marvellous productions of their great masters.

'With such a universal taste for the beautiful among your people,' said my father to Mrs. Ney, 'I am surprised that so little attention is given to the adornment of the most beautiful embellishment of Freeland—its queenly women. Certainly their dress is shapely, and I have nowhere noticed such a correct taste in the choice of the most becoming forms and colours; but of actual ornaments one sees none at all. Here and there a gold fastener in the hair, here and there a gold or silver brooch on the dress—that is all; precious stones and pearls seem to be avoided by the ladies here. What is the reason of this?'

'The reason is,' answered Mrs. Ney, 'that the sole motive which makes ornaments so sought after among other nations is absent from us in Freeland. Vanity is native here also, among both men and women; but it does not find any satisfaction in the display of so-called "valuables," things whose only superiority consists in their being dear. Do you really believe that it is the beauty of the diamond which leads so many of our pitiable sisters in other parts of the world to stake happiness and honour in order to get possession of such glittering little bits of stone? Why does the woman who has sold herself for a genuine stone thrust aside as unworthy of notice the imitation stone which in reality she cannot distinguish from the real one? And do you doubt that the real diamond would itself be degraded to the rank of a valueless piece of crystal which no "lady of taste" would ever glance at, if it by any means lost its high price? Ornaments do not please, therefore, because they are beautiful, but because they are dear. They flatter vanity not by their brilliancy, but by giving to the owner of them the consciousness of possessing in these scarcely visible trifles the extract of so many human lives. "See, here on my neck I wear a talisman for which hundreds of slaves have had to put forth their best energies for years, and the power of which could lay even you, who look upon the pretty trifle with such reverent admiration, as a slave at my feet, obedient to all my whims! Look at me: I am more than you; I am the heiress who can squander upon a trifling toy what you vainly crave to appease your hunger." That is what the diamond-necklace proclaims to all the world; and that is why its possessor has betrayed and made miserable perhaps both herself and others, merely to be able to throw it as her own around her neck. For note well that ornaments adorn only those to whom they belong; it is mean to wear borrowed ornaments—it is held to be improper; and rightly so, for borrowed ornaments lie—they are a crown which gives to her who wears it the semblance of a power which in reality does not belong to her.

The power of which ornaments are the legitimate expression—the power over the lives and the bodies of others—does not exist in Freeland. Anyone possessing a diamond worth, for example, 600L, would here have at his disposal a year's income from one person's labour; but to buy such a diamond and to wear it because it represented that value would, in view of our institutions, be to make oneself ridiculous; for he who did it would simply be investing in that way the profits of his own labour. Value for value must he give to anyone whose labour he would buy for himself with his stone; and, instead of reverent admiration, he would only excite compassion for having renounced better pleasures, or for having put forth profitless efforts, in order to acquire a paltry bit of stone. It would be as if the owner of the diamond announced to the world: "See, whilst you have been enjoying yourselves or taking your ease, I have been stinting myself and toiling in order to gain this toy!" In everybody's eyes he would appear not the more powerful, but the more foolish: the stone, whose fascination lies purely in the supposition that its owner belongs to the masters of the earth who have power over the labour of others, and therefore can amuse themselves by locking up the product of so much sweating toil in useless trinkets—the stone can no longer have any attraction for him. He who buys such a stone in Freeland is like a man who should set his heart upon possessing a crown which was no longer the symbol of authority.'

'Then you do not admit that ornaments have any real adorning power? You deny that pearls or diamonds add materially to the charms of a beautiful person?' asked my father in reply.

'That I do, certainly,' was the answer. 'Not that I dispute their decorative effect altogether; only I assert that they do not produce the same and, as a rule, not so good an effect as can be produced by other means. But, in general, the toy, which has no essential appropriateness to the human body, does not adorn, but, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, rather disfigures, its proud possessor. That in other parts of the world a lady decked with diamonds pleases you gentlemen better than one decked with flowers is due to the same cause that makes you—though you may be staunch Republicans—see more beauty in a queen than in her rivals, though at the bar of an impartial aesthetics the latter would be judged the more beautiful. A certain something, a peculiar witchery, surrounds her—the witchery (excuse the word) of servility; this it is, and not your aesthetic judgment, which cheats you into believing that the diamond lends a higher charm than the rose-wreath. Let the rose become the symbol of authority to be worn only by queens, and you would without any doubt find that roses were the adornment best fitted to reveal true majesty.'

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