Looking Backward From 2000 to 1887

by Edward Bellamy

Author's Preface

Historical Section Shawmut College, Boston,
December 26, 2000

Living as we do in the closing year of the twentieth century,
enjoying the blessings of a social order at once so simple and
logical that it seems but the triumph of common sense, it is no
doubt difficult for those whose studies have not been largely
historical to realize that the present organization of society is, in
its completeness, less than a century old. No historical fact is,
however, better established than that till nearly the end of the
nineteenth century it was the general belief that the ancient
industrial system, with all its shocking social consequences, was
destined to last, with possibly a little patching, to the end of
time. How strange and wellnigh incredible does it seem that so
prodigious a moral and material transformation as has taken
place since then could have been accomplished in so brief an
interval! The readiness with which men accustom themselves, as
matters of course, to improvements in their condition, which,
when anticipated, seemed to leave nothing more to be desired,
could not be more strikingly illustrated. What reflection could
be better calculated to moderate the enthusiasm of reformers
who count for their reward on the lively gratitude of future ages!

The object of this volume is to assist persons who, while
desiring to gain a more definite idea of the social contrasts
between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, are daunted by
the formal aspect of the histories which treat the subject.
Warned by a teacher's experience that learning is accounted a
weariness to the flesh, the author has sought to alleviate the
instructive quality of the book by casting it in the form of a
romantic narrative, which he would be glad to fancy not wholly
devoid of interest on its own account.

The reader, to whom modern social institutions and their
underlying principles are matters of course, may at times find
Dr. Leete's explanations of them rather trite--but it must be
remembered that to Dr. Leete's guest they were not matters of
course, and that this book is written for the express purpose of
inducing the reader to forget for the nonce that they are so to
him. One word more. The almost universal theme of the writers
and orators who have celebrated this bimillennial epoch has
been the future rather than the past, not the advance that has
been made, but the progress that shall be made, ever onward and
upward, till the race shall achieve its ineffable destiny. This is
well, wholly well, but it seems to me that nowhere can we find
more solid ground for daring anticipations of human development
during the next one thousand years, than by "Looking
Backward" upon the progress of the last one hundred.

That this volume may be so fortunate as to find readers whose
interest in the subject shall incline them to overlook the
deficiencies of the treatment is the hope in which the author
steps aside and leaves Mr. Julian West to speak for himself.

Chapter 1

I first saw the light in the city of Boston in the year 1857.
"What!" you say, "eighteen fifty-seven? That is an odd slip. He
means nineteen fifty-seven, of course." I beg pardon, but there is
no mistake. It was about four in the afternoon of December the
26th, one day after Christmas, in the year 1857, not 1957, that I
first breathed the east wind of Boston, which, I assure the reader,
was at that remote period marked by the same penetrating
quality characterizing it in the present year of grace, 2000.

These statements seem so absurd on their face, especially
when I add that I am a young man apparently of about thirty
years of age, that no person can be blamed for refusing to read
another word of what promises to be a mere imposition upon his
credulity. Nevertheless I earnestly assure the reader that no
imposition is intended, and will undertake, if he shall follow me
a few pages, to entirely convince him of this. If I may, then,
provisionally assume, with the pledge of justifying the assumption,
that I know better than the reader when I was born, I will
go on with my narrative. As every schoolboy knows, in the latter
part of the nineteenth century the civilization of to-day, or
anything like it, did not exist, although the elements which were
to develop it were already in ferment. Nothing had, however,
occurred to modify the immemorial division of society into the
four classes, or nations, as they may be more fitly called, since
the differences between them were far greater than those
between any nations nowadays, of the rich and the poor, the
educated and the ignorant. I myself was rich and also educated,
and possessed, therefore, all the elements of happiness enjoyed
by the most fortunate in that age. Living in luxury, and occupied
only with the pursuit of the pleasures and refinements of life, I
derived the means of my support from the labor of others,
rendering no sort of service in return. My parents and grand-
parents had lived in the same way, and I expected that my
descendants, if I had any, would enjoy a like easy existence.

But how could I live without service to the world? you ask.
Why should the world have supported in utter idleness one who
was able to render service? The answer is that my great-grandfather
had accumulated a sum of money on which his descendants
had ever since lived. The sum, you will naturally infer, must
have been very large not to have been exhausted in supporting
three generations in idleness. This, however, was not the fact.
The sum had been originally by no means large. It was, in fact,
much larger now that three generations had been supported
upon it in idleness, than it was at first. This mystery of use
without consumption, of warmth without combustion, seems like
magic, but was merely an ingenious application of the art now
happily lost but carried to great perfection by your ancestors, of
shifting the burden of one's support on the shoulders of others.
The man who had accomplished this, and it was the end all
sought, was said to live on the income of his investments. To
explain at this point how the ancient methods of industry made
this possible would delay us too much. I shall only stop now to
say that interest on investments was a species of tax in perpetuity
upon the product of those engaged in industry which a person
possessing or inheriting money was able to levy. It must not be
supposed that an arrangement which seems so unnatural and
preposterous according to modern notions was never criticized by
your ancestors. It had been the effort of lawgivers and prophets
from the earliest ages to abolish interest, or at least to limit it to
the smallest possible rate. All these efforts had, however, failed,
as they necessarily must so long as the ancient social organizations
prevailed. At the time of which I write, the latter part of
the nineteenth century, governments had generally given up
trying to regulate the subject at all.

By way of attempting to give the reader some general impression
of the way people lived together in those days, and
especially of the relations of the rich and poor to one another,
perhaps I cannot do better than to compare society as it then
was to a prodigious coach which the masses of humanity were
harnessed to and dragged toilsomely along a very hilly and sandy
road. The driver was hunger, and permitted no lagging, though
the pace was necessarily very slow. Despite the difficulty of
drawing the coach at all along so hard a road, the top was
covered with passengers who never got down, even at the
steepest ascents. These seats on top were very breezy and
comfortable. Well up out of the dust, their occupants could
enjoy the scenery at their leisure, or critically discuss the merits
of the straining team. Naturally such places were in great
demand and the competition for them was keen, every one
seeking as the first end in life to secure a seat on the coach for
himself and to leave it to his child after him. By the rule of the
coach a man could leave his seat to whom he wished, but on the
other hand there were many accidents by which it might at any
time be wholly lost. For all that they were so easy, the seats were
very insecure, and at every sudden jolt of the coach persons were
slipping out of them and falling to the ground, where they were
instantly compelled to take hold of the rope and help to drag
the coach on which they had before ridden so pleasantly. It
was naturally regarded as a terrible misfortune to lose one's seat,
and the apprehension that this might happen to them or their
friends was a constant cloud upon the happiness of those who

But did they think only of themselves? you ask. Was not their
very luxury rendered intolerable to them by comparison with the
lot of their brothers and sisters in the harness, and the knowledge
that their own weight added to their toil? Had they no
compassion for fellow beings from whom fortune only distinguished
them? Oh, yes; commiseration was frequently expressed
by those who rode for those who had to pull the coach,
especially when the vehicle came to a bad place in the road, as it
was constantly doing, or to a particularly steep hill. At such
times, the desperate straining of the team, their agonized leaping
and plunging under the pitiless lashing of hunger, the many who
fainted at the rope and were trampled in the mire, made a very
distressing spectacle, which often called forth highly creditable
displays of feeling on the top of the coach. At such times the
passengers would call down encouragingly to the toilers of the
rope, exhorting them to patience, and holding out hopes of
possible compensation in another world for the hardness of their
lot, while others contributed to buy salves and liniments for the
crippled and injured. It was agreed that it was a great pity that
the coach should be so hard to pull, and there was a sense of
general relief when the specially bad piece of road was gotten
over. This relief was not, indeed, wholly on account of the team,
for there was always some danger at these bad places of a general
overturn in which all would lose their seats.

It must in truth be admitted that the main effect of the
spectacle of the misery of the toilers at the rope was to enhance
the passengers' sense of the value of their seats upon the coach,
and to cause them to hold on to them more desperately than
before. If the passengers could only have felt assured that neither
they nor their friends would ever fall from the top, it is probable
that, beyond contributing to the funds for liniments and bandages,
they would have troubled themselves extremely little about
those who dragged the coach.

I am well aware that this will appear to the men and women
of the twentieth century an incredible inhumanity, but there are
two facts, both very curious, which partly explain it. In the first
place, it was firmly and sincerely believed that there was no other
way in which Society could get along, except the many pulled at
the rope and the few rode, and not only this, but that no very
radical improvement even was possible, either in the harness, the
coach, the roadway, or the distribution of the toil. It had always
been as it was, and it always would be so. It was a pity, but it
could not be helped, and philosophy forbade wasting compassion
on what was beyond remedy.

The other fact is yet more curious, consisting in a singular
hallucination which those on the top of the coach generally
shared, that they were not exactly like their brothers and sisters
who pulled at the rope, but of finer clay, in some way belonging
to a higher order of beings who might justly expect to be drawn.
This seems unaccountable, but, as I once rode on this very coach
and shared that very hallucination, I ought to be believed. The
strangest thing about the hallucination was that those who had
but just climbed up from the ground, before they had outgrown
the marks of the rope upon their hands, began to fall under its
influence. As for those whose parents and grand-parents before
them had been so fortunate as to keep their seats on the top, the
conviction they cherished of the essential difference between
their sort of humanity and the common article was absolute.
The effect of such a delusion in moderating fellow feeling for
the sufferings of the mass of men into a distant and philosophical
compassion is obvious. To it I refer as the only extenuation I
can offer for the indifference which, at the period I write of,
marked my own attitude toward the misery of my brothers.

In 1887 I came to my thirtieth year. Although still unmarried,
I was engaged to wed Edith Bartlett. She, like myself, rode on
the top of the coach. That is to say, not to encumber ourselves
further with an illustration which has, I hope, served its purpose
of giving the reader some general impression of how we lived
then, her family was wealthy. In that age, when money alone
commanded all that was agreeable and refined in life, it was
enough for a woman to be rich to have suitors; but Edith
Bartlett was beautiful and graceful also.

My lady readers, I am aware, will protest at this. "Handsome
she might have been," I hear them saying, "but graceful never,
in the costumes which were the fashion at that period, when the
head covering was a dizzy structure a foot tall, and the almost
incredible extension of the skirt behind by means of artificial
contrivances more thoroughly dehumanized the form than any
former device of dressmakers. Fancy any one graceful in such a
costume!" The point is certainly well taken, and I can only reply
that while the ladies of the twentieth century are lovely demonstrations
of the effect of appropriate drapery in accenting feminine
graces, my recollection of their great-grandmothers enables
me to maintain that no deformity of costume can wholly
disguise them.

Our marriage only waited on the completion of the house
which I was building for our occupancy in one of the most
desirable parts of the city, that is to say, a part chiefly inhabited
by the rich. For it must be understood that the comparative
desirability of different parts of Boston for residence depended
then, not on natural features, but on the character of the
neighboring population. Each class or nation lived by itself, in
quarters of its own. A rich man living among the poor, an
educated man among the uneducated, was like one living in
isolation among a jealous and alien race. When the house had
been begun, its completion by the winter of 1886 had been
expected. The spring of the following year found it, however, yet
incomplete, and my marriage still a thing of the future. The
cause of a delay calculated to be particularly exasperating to an
ardent lover was a series of strikes, that is to say, concerted
refusals to work on the part of the brick-layers, masons, carpenters,
painters, plumbers, and other trades concerned in house
building. What the specific causes of these strikes were I do not
remember. Strikes had become so common at that period that
people had ceased to inquire into their particular grounds. In
one department of industry or another, they had been nearly
incessant ever since the great business crisis of 1873. In fact it
had come to be the exceptional thing to see any class of laborers
pursue their avocation steadily for more than a few months at a

The reader who observes the dates alluded to will of course
recognize in these disturbances of industry the first and incoherent
phase of the great movement which ended in the establishment
of the modern industrial system with all its social consequences.
This is all so plain in the retrospect that a child can
understand it, but not being prophets, we of that day had no
clear idea what was happening to us. What we did see was that
industrially the country was in a very queer way. The relation
between the workingman and the employer, between labor and
capital, appeared in some unaccountable manner to have become
dislocated. The working classes had quite suddenly and very
generally become infected with a profound discontent with their
condition, and an idea that it could be greatly bettered if they
only knew how to go about it. On every side, with one accord,
they proferred demands for higher pay, shorter hours, better
dwellings, better educational advantages, and a share in the
refinements and luxuries of life, demands which it was impossible
to see the way to granting unless the world were to become a
great deal richer than it then was. Though they knew something
of what they wanted, they knew nothing of how to accomplish
it, and the eager enthusiasm with which they thronged about
any one who seemed likely to give them any light on the subject
lent sudden reputation to many would-be leaders, some of whom
had little enough light to give. However chimerical the aspirations
of the laboring classes might be deemed, the devotion with
which they supported one another in the strikes, which were
their chief weapon, and the sacrifices which they underwent to
carry them out left no doubt of their dead earnestness.

As to the final outcome of the labor troubles, which was the
phrase by which the movement I have described was most
commonly referred to, the opinions of the people of my class
differed according to individual temperament. The sanguine
argued very forcibly that it was in the very nature of things
impossible that the new hopes of the workingmen could be
satisfied, simply because the world had not the wherewithal to
satisfy them. It was only because the masses worked very hard
and lived on short commons that the race did not starve
outright, and no considerable improvement in their condition
was possible while the world, as a whole, remained so poor. It
was not the capitalists whom the laboring men were contending
with, these maintained, but the iron-bound environment of
humanity, and it was merely a question of the thickness of their
skulls when they would discover the fact and make up their
minds to endure what they could not cure.

The less sanguine admitted all this. Of course the workingmen's
aspirations were impossible of fulfillment for natural
reasons, but there were grounds to fear that they would not
discover this fact until they had made a sad mess of society.
They had the votes and the power to do so if they pleased, and
their leaders meant they should. Some of these desponding
observers went so far as to predict an impending social cataclysm.
Humanity, they argued, having climbed to the top round
of the ladder of civilization, was about to take a header into
chaos, after which it would doubtless pick itself up, turn round,
and begin to climb again. Repeated experiences of this sort in
historic and prehistoric times possibly accounted for the
puzzling bumps on the human cranium. Human history, like all
great movements, was cyclical, and returned to the point of
beginning. The idea of indefinite progress in a right line was a
chimera of the imagination, with no analogue in nature. The
parabola of a comet was perhaps a yet better illustration of the
career of humanity. Tending upward and sunward from the
aphelion of barbarism, the race attained the perihelion of civilization
only to plunge downward once more to its nether goal in
the regions of chaos.

This, of course, was an extreme opinion, but I remember
serious men among my acquaintances who, in discussing the
signs of the times, adopted a very similar tone. It was no doubt
the common opinion of thoughtful men that society was
approaching a critical period which might result in great
changes. The labor troubles, their causes, course, and cure, took
lead of all other topics in the public prints, and in serious

The nervous tension of the public mind could not have been
more strikingly illustrated than it was by the alarm resulting
from the talk of a small band of men who called themselves
anarchists, and proposed to terrify the American people into
adopting their ideas by threats of violence, as if a mighty nation
which had but just put down a rebellion of half its own
numbers, in order to maintain its political system, were likely to
adopt a new social system out of fear.

As one of the wealthy, with a large stake in the existing order
of things, I naturally shared the apprehensions of my class. The
particular grievance I had against the working classes at the time
of which I write, on account of the effect of their strikes in
postponing my wedded bliss, no doubt lent a special animosity
to my feeling toward them.

Chapter 2

The thirtieth day of May, 1887, fell on a Monday. It was one
of the annual holidays of the nation in the latter third of the
nineteenth century, being set apart under the name of Decoration
Day, for doing honor to the memory of the soldiers of the
North who took part in the war for the preservation of the union
of the States. The survivors of the war, escorted by military and
civic processions and bands of music, were wont on this occasion
to visit the cemeteries and lay wreaths of flowers upon the graves
of their dead comrades, the ceremony being a very solemn and
touching one. The eldest brother of Edith Bartlett had fallen in
the war, and on Decoration Day the family was in the habit of
making a visit to Mount Auburn, where he lay.

I had asked permission to make one of the party, and, on our
return to the city at nightfall, remained to dine with the family
of my betrothed. In the drawing-room, after dinner, I picked up
an evening paper and read of a fresh strike in the building trades,
which would probably still further delay the completion of my
unlucky house. I remember distinctly how exasperated I was at
this, and the objurgations, as forcible as the presence of the
ladies permitted, which I lavished upon workmen in general, and
these strikers in particular. I had abundant sympathy from those
about me, and the remarks made in the desultory conversation
which followed, upon the unprincipled conduct of the labor
agitators, were calculated to make those gentlemen's ears tingle.
It was agreed that affairs were going from bad to worse very fast,
and that there was no telling what we should come to soon.
"The worst of it," I remember Mrs. Bartlett's saying, "is that the
working classes all over the world seem to be going crazy at once.
In Europe it is far worse even than here. I'm sure I should not
dare to live there at all. I asked Mr. Bartlett the other day where
we should emigrate to if all the terrible things took place which
those socialists threaten. He said he did not know any place now
where society could be called stable except Greenland, Patago-
nia, and the Chinese Empire." "Those Chinamen knew what
they were about," somebody added, "when they refused to let in
our western civilization. They knew what it would lead to better
than we did. They saw it was nothing but dynamite in disguise."

After this, I remember drawing Edith apart and trying to
persuade her that it would be better to be married at once
without waiting for the completion of the house, spending the
time in travel till our home was ready for us. She was remarkably
handsome that evening, the mourning costume that she wore in
recognition of the day setting off to great advantage the purity of
her complexion. I can see her even now with my mind's eye just
as she looked that night. When I took my leave she followed me
into the hall and I kissed her good-by as usual. There was no
circumstance out of the common to distinguish this parting
from previous occasions when we had bade each other good-by
for a night or a day. There was absolutely no premonition in my
mind, or I am sure in hers, that this was more than an ordinary

Ah, well!

The hour at which I had left my betrothed was a rather early
one for a lover, but the fact was no reflection on my devotion. I
was a confirmed sufferer from insomnia, and although otherwise
perfectly well had been completely fagged out that day, from
having slept scarcely at all the two previous nights. Edith knew
this and had insisted on sending me home by nine o'clock, with
strict orders to go to bed at once.

The house in which I lived had been occupied by three
generations of the family of which I was the only living
representative in the direct line. It was a large, ancient wooden
mansion, very elegant in an old-fashioned way within, but
situated in a quarter that had long since become undesirable for
residence, from its invasion by tenement houses and manufactories.
It was not a house to which I could think of bringing a
bride, much less so dainty a one as Edith Bartlett. I had
advertised it for sale, and meanwhile merely used it for sleeping
purposes, dining at my club. One servant, a faithful colored man
by the name of Sawyer, lived with me and attended to my few
wants. One feature of the house I expected to miss greatly when
I should leave it, and this was the sleeping chamber which I had
built under the foundations. I could not have slept in the city at
all, with its never ceasing nightly noises, if I had been obliged to
use an upstairs chamber. But to this subterranean room no
murmur from the upper world ever penetrated. When I had entered
it and closed the door, I was surrounded by the silence of
the tomb. In order to prevent the dampness of the subsoil from
penetrating the chamber, the walls had been laid in hydraulic
cement and were very thick, and the floor was likewise protected.
In order that the room might serve also as a vault equally proof
against violence and flames, for the storage of valuables, I had
roofed it with stone slabs hermetically sealed, and the outer door
was of iron with a thick coating of asbestos. A small pipe,
communicating with a wind-mill on the top of the house,
insured the renewal of air.

It might seem that the tenant of such a chamber ought to be
able to command slumber, but it was rare that I slept well, even
there, two nights in succession. So accustomed was I to wakefulness
that I minded little the loss of one night's rest. A second
night, however, spent in my reading chair instead of my bed,
tired me out, and I never allowed myself to go longer than that
without slumber, from fear of nervous disorder. From this
statement it will be inferred that I had at my command some
artificial means for inducing sleep in the last resort, and so in
fact I had. If after two sleepless nights I found myself on the
approach of the third without sensations of drowsiness, I called
in Dr. Pillsbury.

He was a doctor by courtesy only, what was called in those
days an "irregular" or "quack" doctor. He called himself a
"Professor of Animal Magnetism." I had come across him in the
course of some amateur investigations into the phenomena of
animal magnetism. I don't think he knew anything about
medicine, but he was certainly a remarkable mesmerist. It was
for the purpose of being put to sleep by his manipulations that I
used to send for him when I found a third night of sleeplessness
impending. Let my nervous excitement or mental preoccupation
be however great, Dr. Pillsbury never failed, after a short time, to
leave me in a deep slumber, which continued till I was aroused
by a reversal of the mesmerizing process. The process for
awaking the sleeper was much simpler than that for putting him
to sleep, and for convenience I had made Dr Pillsbury teach
Sawyer how to do it.

My faithful servant alone knew for what purpose Dr. Pillsbury
visited me, or that he did so at all. Of course, when Edith
became my wife I should have to tell her my secrets. I had not
hitherto told her this, because there was unquestionably a slight
risk in the mesmeric sleep, and I knew she would set her face
against my practice. The risk, of course, was that it might
become too profound and pass into a trance beyond the mesmerizer's
power to break, ending in death. Repeated experiments
had fully convinced me that the risk was next to nothing if
reasonable precautions were exercised, and of this I hoped,
though doubtingly, to convince Edith. I went directly home
after leaving her, and at once sent Sawyer to fetch Dr. Pillsbury.
Meanwhile I sought my subterranean sleeping chamber, and
exchanging my costume for a comfortable dressing-gown, sat
down to read the letters by the evening mail which Sawyer had
laid on my reading table.

One of them was from the builder of my new house, and
confirmed what I had inferred from the newspaper item. The
new strikes, he said, had postponed indefinitely the completion
of the contract, as neither masters nor workmen would concede
the point at issue without a long struggle. Caligula wished that
the Roman people had but one neck that he might cut it off,
and as I read this letter I am afraid that for a moment I was
capable of wishing the same thing concerning the laboring
classes of America. The return of Sawyer with the doctor
interrupted my gloomy meditations.

It appeared that he had with difficulty been able to secure his
services, as he was preparing to leave the city that very night.
The doctor explained that since he had seen me last he had
learned of a fine professional opening in a distant city, and
decided to take prompt advantage of it. On my asking, in some
panic, what I was to do for some one to put me to sleep, he gave
me the names of several mesmerizers in Boston who, he averred,
had quite as great powers as he.

Somewhat relieved on this point, I instructed Sawyer to rouse
me at nine o'clock next morning, and, lying down on the bed in
my dressing-gown, assumed a comfortable attitude, and surrendered
myself to the manipulations of the mesmerizer. Owing,
perhaps, to my unusually nervous state, I was slower than
common in losing consciousness, but at length a delicious
drowsiness stole over me.

Chapter 3

"He is going to open his eyes. He had better see but one of
us at first."

"Promise me, then, that you will not tell him."

The first voice was a man's, the second a woman's, and both
spoke in whispers.

"I will see how he seems," replied the man.

"No, no, promise me," persisted the other.

"Let her have her way," whispered a third voice, also a

"Well, well, I promise, then," answered the man. "Quick, go!
He is coming out of it."

There was a rustle of garments and I opened my eyes. A fine
looking man of perhaps sixty was bending over me, an expression
of much benevolence mingled with great curiosity upon his
features. He was an utter stranger. I raised myself on an elbow
and looked around. The room was empty. I certainly had never
been in it before, or one furnished like it. I looked back at my
companion. He smiled.

"How do you feel?" he inquired.

"Where am I?" I demanded.

"You are in my house," was the reply.

"How came I here?"

"We will talk about that when you are stronger. Meanwhile, I
beg you will feel no anxiety. You are among friends and in good
hands. How do you feel?"

"A bit queerly," I replied, "but I am well, I suppose. Will you
tell me how I came to be indebted to your hospitality? What has
happened to me? How came I here? It was in my own house
that I went to sleep."

"There will be time enough for explanations later," my
unknown host replied, with a reassuring smile. "It will be better
to avoid agitating talk until you are a little more yourself. Will
you oblige me by taking a couple of swallows of this mixture? It
will do you good. I am a physician."

I repelled the glass with my hand and sat up on the couch,
although with an effort, for my head was strangely light.

"I insist upon knowing at once where I am and what you have
been doing with me," I said.

"My dear sir," responded my companion, "let me beg that you
will not agitate yourself. I would rather you did not insist upon
explanations so soon, but if you do, I will try to satisfy you,
provided you will first take this draught, which will strengthen
you somewhat."

I thereupon drank what he offered me. Then he said, "It is
not so simple a matter as you evidently suppose to tell you how
you came here. You can tell me quite as much on that point as I
can tell you. You have just been roused from a deep sleep, or,
more properly, trance. So much I can tell you. You say you were
in your own house when you fell into that sleep. May I ask you
when that was?"

"When?" I replied, "when? Why, last evening, of course, at
about ten o'clock. I left my man Sawyer orders to call me at nine
o'clock. What has become of Sawyer?"

"I can't precisely tell you that," replied my companion,
regarding me with a curious expression, "but I am sure that he is
excusable for not being here. And now can you tell me a little
more explicitly when it was that you fell into that sleep, the
date, I mean?"

"Why, last night, of course; I said so, didn't I? that is, unless I
have overslept an entire day. Great heavens! that cannot be
possible; and yet I have an odd sensation of having slept a long
time. It was Decoration Day that I went to sleep."

"Decoration Day?"

"Yes, Monday, the 30th."

"Pardon me, the 30th of what?"

"Why, of this month, of course, unless I have slept into June,
but that can't be."

"This month is September."

"September! You don't mean that I've slept since May! God
in heaven! Why, it is incredible."

"We shall see," replied my companion; "you say that it was
May 30th when you went to sleep?"


"May I ask of what year?"

I stared blankly at him, incapable of speech, for some

"Of what year?" I feebly echoed at last.

"Yes, of what year, if you please? After you have told me that
I shall be able to tell you how long you have slept."

"It was the year 1887," I said.

My companion insisted that I should take another draught
from the glass, and felt my pulse.

"My dear sir," he said, "your manner indicates that you are a
man of culture, which I am aware was by no means the matter
of course in your day it now is. No doubt, then, you have
yourself made the observation that nothing in this world can be
truly said to be more wonderful than anything else. The causes
of all phenomena are equally adequate, and the results equally
matters of course. That you should be startled by what I shall
tell you is to be expected; but I am confident that you will not
permit it to affect your equanimity unduly. Your appearance is
that of a young man of barely thirty, and your bodily condition
seems not greatly different from that of one just roused from a
somewhat too long and profound sleep, and yet this is the tenth
day of September in the year 2000, and you have slept exactly
one hundred and thirteen years, three months, and eleven days."

Feeling partially dazed, I drank a cup of some sort of broth at
my companion's suggestion, and, immediately afterward becoming
very drowsy, went off into a deep sleep.

When I awoke it was broad daylight in the room, which had
been lighted artificially when I was awake before. My mysterious
host was sitting near. He was not looking at me when I opened
my eyes, and I had a good opportunity to study him and
meditate upon my extraordinary situation, before he observed
that I was awake. My giddiness was all gone, and my mind
perfectly clear. The story that I had been asleep one hundred
and thirteen years, which, in my former weak and bewildered
condition, I had accepted without question, recurred to me now
only to be rejected as a preposterous attempt at an imposture,
the motive of which it was impossible remotely to surmise.

Something extraordinary had certainly happened to account
for my waking up in this strange house with this unknown
companion, but my fancy was utterly impotent to suggest more
than the wildest guess as to what that something might have
been. Could it be that I was the victim of some sort of
conspiracy? It looked so, certainly; and yet, if human lineaments
ever gave true evidence, it was certain that this man by my side,
with a face so refined and ingenuous, was no party to any scheme
of crime or outrage. Then it occurred to me to question if I
might not be the butt of some elaborate practical joke on the
part of friends who had somehow learned the secret of my
underground chamber and taken this means of impressing me
with the peril of mesmeric experiments. There were great
difficulties in the way of this theory; Sawyer would never have
betrayed me, nor had I any friends at all likely to undertake such
an enterprise; nevertheless the supposition that I was the victim
of a practical joke seemed on the whole the only one tenable.
Half expecting to catch a glimpse of some familiar face grinning
from behind a chair or curtain, I looked carefully about the
room. When my eyes next rested on my companion, he was
looking at me.

"You have had a fine nap of twelve hours," he said briskly,
"and I can see that it has done you good. You look much better.
Your color is good and your eyes are bright. How do you feel?"

"I never felt better," I said, sitting up.

"You remember your first waking, no doubt," he pursued,
"and your surprise when I told you how long you had been

"You said, I believe, that I had slept one hundred and thirteen


"You will admit," I said, with an ironical smile, "that the
story was rather an improbable one."

"Extraordinary, I admit," he responded, "but given the proper
conditions, not improbable nor inconsistent with what we know
of the trance state. When complete, as in your case, the vital
functions are absolutely suspended, and there is no waste of the
tissues. No limit can be set to the possible duration of a trance
when the external conditions protect the body from physical
injury. This trance of yours is indeed the longest of which there
is any positive record, but there is no known reason wherefore,
had you not been discovered and had the chamber in which we
found you continued intact, you might not have remained in a
state of suspended animation till, at the end of indefinite ages,
the gradual refrigeration of the earth had destroyed the bodily
tissues and set the spirit free."

I had to admit that, if I were indeed the victim of a practical
joke, its authors had chosen an admirable agent for carrying out
their imposition. The impressive and even eloquent manner of
this man would have lent dignity to an argument that the moon
was made of cheese. The smile with which I had regarded him as
he advanced his trance hypothesis did not appear to confuse him
in the slightest degree.

"Perhaps," I said, "you will go on and favor me with some
particulars as to the circumstances under which you discovered
this chamber of which you speak, and its contents. I enjoy good

"In this case," was the grave reply, "no fiction could be so
strange as the truth. You must know that these many years I
have been cherishing the idea of building a laboratory in the
large garden beside this house, for the purpose of chemical
experiments for which I have a taste. Last Thursday the excava-
tion for the cellar was at last begun. It was completed by that
night, and Friday the masons were to have come. Thursday
night we had a tremendous deluge of rain, and Friday morning I
found my cellar a frog-pond and the walls quite washed down.
My daughter, who had come out to view the disaster with me,
called my attention to a corner of masonry laid bare by the
crumbling away of one of the walls. I cleared a little earth from
it, and, finding that it seemed part of a large mass, determined to
investigate it. The workmen I sent for unearthed an oblong vault
some eight feet below the surface, and set in the corner of what
had evidently been the foundation walls of an ancient house. A
layer of ashes and charcoal on the top of the vault showed that
the house above had perished by fire. The vault itself was
perfectly intact, the cement being as good as when first applied.
It had a door, but this we could not force, and found entrance
by removing one of the flagstones which formed the roof. The
air which came up was stagnant but pure, dry and not cold.
Descending with a lantern, I found myself in an apartment
fitted up as a bedroom in the style of the nineteenth century. On
the bed lay a young man. That he was dead and must have been
dead a century was of course to be taken for granted; but the
extraordinary state of preservation of the body struck me and the
medical colleagues whom I had summoned with amazement.
That the art of such embalming as this had ever been known we
should not have believed, yet here seemed conclusive testimony
that our immediate ancestors had possessed it. My medical
colleagues, whose curiosity was highly excited, were at once for
undertaking experiments to test the nature of the process
employed, but I withheld them. My motive in so doing, at least
the only motive I now need speak of, was the recollection of
something I once had read about the extent to which your
contemporaries had cultivated the subject of animal magnetism.
It had occurred to me as just conceivable that you might be in a
trance, and that the secret of your bodily integrity after so long a
time was not the craft of an embalmer, but life. So extremely
fanciful did this idea seem, even to me, that I did not risk the
ridicule of my fellow physicians by mentioning it, but gave some
other reason for postponing their experiments. No sooner, however,
had they left me, than I set on foot a systematic attempt at
resuscitation, of which you know the result."

Had its theme been yet more incredible, the circumstantiality
of this narrative, as well as the impressive manner and personality
of the narrator, might have staggered a listener, and I had
begun to feel very strangely, when, as he closed, I chanced to
catch a glimpse of my reflection in a mirror hanging on the wall
of the room. I rose and went up to it. The face I saw was the
face to a hair and a line and not a day older than the one I had
looked at as I tied my cravat before going to Edith that
Decoration Day, which, as this man would have me believe, was
celebrated one hundred and thirteen years before. At this, the
colossal character of the fraud which was being attempted on
me, came over me afresh. Indignation mastered my mind as I
realized the outrageous liberty that had been taken.

"You are probably surprised," said my companion, "to see
that, although you are a century older than when you lay down
to sleep in that underground chamber, your appearance is
unchanged. That should not amaze you. It is by virtue of the
total arrest of the vital functions that you have survived this
great period of time. If your body could have undergone any
change during your trance, it would long ago have suffered

"Sir," I replied, turning to him, "what your motive can be in
reciting to me with a serious face this remarkable farrago, I am
utterly unable to guess; but you are surely yourself too intelligent
to suppose that anybody but an imbecile could be deceived by it.
Spare me any more of this elaborate nonsense and once for all
tell me whether you refuse to give me an intelligible account of
where I am and how I came here. If so, I shall proceed to
ascertain my whereabouts for myself, whoever may hinder."

"You do not, then, believe that this is the year 2000?"

"Do you really think it necessary to ask me that?" I returned.

"Very well," replied my extraordinary host. "Since I cannot
convince you, you shall convince yourself. Are you strong
enough to follow me upstairs?"

"I am as strong as I ever was," I replied angrily, "as I may have
to prove if this jest is carried much farther."

"I beg, sir," was my companion's response, "that you will not
allow yourself to be too fully persuaded that you are the victim
of a trick, lest the reaction, when you are convinced of the truth
of my statements, should be too great."

The tone of concern, mingled with commiseration, with
which he said this, and the entire absence of any sign of
resentment at my hot words, strangely daunted me, and I
followed him from the room with an extraordinary mixture of
emotions. He led the way up two flights of stairs and then up a
shorter one, which landed us upon a belvedere on the house-top.
"Be pleased to look around you," he said, as we reached the
platform, "and tell me if this is the Boston of the nineteenth

At my feet lay a great city. Miles of broad streets, shaded by
trees and lined with fine buildings, for the most part not in
continuous blocks but set in larger or smaller inclosures,
stretched in every direction. Every quarter contained large open
squares filled with trees, among which statues glistened and
fountains flashed in the late afternoon sun. Public buildings of a
colossal size and an architectural grandeur unparalleled in my
day raised their stately piles on every side. Surely I had never
seen this city nor one comparable to it before. Raising my eyes at
last towards the horizon, I looked westward. That blue ribbon
winding away to the sunset, was it not the sinuous Charles? I
looked east; Boston harbor stretched before me within its
headlands, not one of its green islets missing.

I knew then that I had been told the truth concerning the
prodigious thing which had befallen me.

Chapter 4

I did not faint, but the effort to realize my position made me
very giddy, and I remember that my companion had to give me
a strong arm as he conducted me from the roof to a roomy
apartment on the upper floor of the house, where he insisted on
my drinking a glass or two of good wine and partaking of a light

"I think you are going to be all right now," he said cheerily. "I
should not have taken so abrupt a means to convince you of your
position if your course, while perfectly excusable under the
circumstances, had not rather obliged me to do so. I confess," he
added laughing, "I was a little apprehensive at one time that I
should undergo what I believe you used to call a knockdown in
the nineteenth century, if I did not act rather promptly. I
remembered that the Bostonians of your day were famous
pugilists, and thought best to lose no time. I take it you are now
ready to acquit me of the charge of hoaxing you."

"If you had told me," I replied, profoundly awed, "that a
thousand years instead of a hundred had elapsed since I last
looked on this city, I should now believe you."

"Only a century has passed," he answered, "but many a
millennium in the world's history has seen changes less extraordinary."

"And now," he added, extending his hand with an air of
irresistible cordiality, "let me give you a hearty welcome to the
Boston of the twentieth century and to this house. My name is
Leete, Dr. Leete they call me."

"My name," I said as I shook his hand, "is Julian West."

"I am most happy in making your acquaintance, Mr. West,"
he responded. "Seeing that this house is built on the site of
your own, I hope you will find it easy to make yourself at
home in it."

After my refreshment Dr. Leete offered me a bath and a
change of clothing, of which I gladly availed myself.

It did not appear that any very startling revolution in men's
attire had been among the great changes my host had spoken of,
for, barring a few details, my new habiliments did not puzzle me
at all.

Physically, I was now myself again. But mentally, how was it
with me, the reader will doubtless wonder. What were my
intellectual sensations, he may wish to know, on finding myself
so suddenly dropped as it were into a new world. In reply let me
ask him to suppose himself suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye,
transported from earth, say, to Paradise or Hades. What does
he fancy would be his own experience? Would his thoughts
return at once to the earth he had just left, or would he, after
the first shock, wellnigh forget his former life for a while, albeit
to be remembered later, in the interest excited by his new
surroundings? All I can say is, that if his experience were at all
like mine in the transition I am describing, the latter hypothesis
would prove the correct one. The impressions of amazement and
curiosity which my new surroundings produced occupied my
mind, after the first shock, to the exclusion of all other thoughts.
For the time the memory of my former life was, as it were, in

No sooner did I find myself physically rehabilitated through
the kind offices of my host, than I became eager to return to the
house-top; and presently we were comfortably established there
in easy-chairs, with the city beneath and around us. After Dr.
Leete had responded to numerous questions on my part, as to
the ancient landmarks I missed and the new ones which had
replaced them, he asked me what point of the contrast between
the new and the old city struck me most forcibly.

"To speak of small things before great," I responded, "I really
think that the complete absence of chimneys and their smoke is
the detail that first impressed me."

"Ah!" ejaculated my companion with an air of much interest,
"I had forgotten the chimneys, it is so long since they went out
of use. It is nearly a century since the crude method of
combustion on which you depended for heat became obsolete."

"In general," I said, "what impresses me most about the city is
the material prosperity on the part of the people which its
magnificence implies."

"I would give a great deal for just one glimpse of the Boston
of your day," replied Dr. Leete. "No doubt, as you imply, the
cities of that period were rather shabby affairs. If you had the
taste to make them splendid, which I would not be so rude as to
question, the general poverty resulting from your extraordinary
industrial system would not have given you the means.
Moreover, the excessive individualism which then prevailed was
inconsistent with much public spirit. What little wealth you had
seems almost wholly to have been lavished in private luxury.
Nowadays, on the contrary, there is no destination of the surplus
wealth so popular as the adornment of the city, which all enjoy
in equal degree."

The sun had been setting as we returned to the house-top, and
as we talked night descended upon the city.

"It is growing dark," said Dr. Leete. "Let us descend into the
house; I want to introduce my wife and daughter to you."

His words recalled to me the feminine voices which I had
heard whispering about me as I was coming back to conscious
life; and, most curious to learn what the ladies of the year 2000
were like, I assented with alacrity to the proposition. The
apartment in which we found the wife and daughter of my host,
as well as the entire interior of the house, was filled with a
mellow light, which I knew must be artificial, although I could
not discover the source from which it was diffused. Mrs. Leete
was an exceptionally fine looking and well preserved woman of
about her husband's age, while the daughter, who was in the first
blush of womanhood, was the most beautiful girl I had ever
seen. Her face was as bewitching as deep blue eyes, delicately
tinted complexion, and perfect features could make it, but even
had her countenance lacked special charms, the faultless luxuriance
of her figure would have given her place as a beauty among
the women of the nineteenth century. Feminine softness and
delicacy were in this lovely creature deliciously combined with
an appearance of health and abounding physical vitality too
often lacking in the maidens with whom alone I could compare
her. It was a coincidence trifling in comparison with the general
strangeness of the situation, but still striking, that her name
should be Edith.

The evening that followed was certainly unique in the history
of social intercourse, but to suppose that our conversation was
peculiarly strained or difficult would be a great mistake. I believe
indeed that it is under what may be called unnatural, in the
sense of extraordinary, circumstances that people behave most
naturally, for the reason, no doubt, that such circumstances
banish artificiality. I know at any rate that my intercourse that
evening with these representatives of another age and world was
marked by an ingenuous sincerity and frankness such as but
rarely crown long acquaintance. No doubt the exquisite tact of
my entertainers had much to do with this. Of course there was
nothing we could talk of but the strange experience by virtue of
which I was there, but they talked of it with an interest so naive
and direct in its expression as to relieve the subject to a great
degree of the element of the weird and the uncanny which
might so easily have been overpowering. One would have supposed
that they were quite in the habit of entertaining waifs
from another century, so perfect was their tact.

For my own part, never do I remember the operations of my
mind to have been more alert and acute than that evening, or
my intellectual sensibilities more keen. Of course I do not mean
that the consciousness of my amazing situation was for a
moment out of mind, but its chief effect thus far was to produce
a feverish elation, a sort of mental intoxication.[1]

[1] In accounting for this state of mind it must be remembered
that, except for the topic of our conversations, there was in my
surroundings next to nothing to suggest what had befallen me.
Within a block of my home in the old Boston I could have found
social circles vastly more foreign to me. The speech of the Bostonians
of the twentieth century differs even less from that of their
cultured ancestors of the nineteenth than did that of the latter
from the language of Washington and Franklin, while the differences
between the style of dress and furniture of the two epochs
are not more marked than I have known fashion to make in the
time of one generation.

Edith Leete took little part in the conversation, but when
several times the magnetism of her beauty drew my glance to her
face, I found her eyes fixed on me with an absorbed intensity,
almost like fascination. It was evident that I had excited her
interest to an extraordinary degree, as was not astonishing,
supposing her to be a girl of imagination. Though I supposed
curiosity was the chief motive of her interest, it could but affect
me as it would not have done had she been less beautiful.

Dr. Leete, as well as the ladies, seemed greatly interested in
my account of the circumstances under which I had gone to
sleep in the underground chamber. All had suggestions to offer
to account for my having been forgotten there, and the theory
which we finally agreed on offers at least a plausible explanation,
although whether it be in its details the true one, nobody, of
course, will ever know. The layer of ashes found above the
chamber indicated that the house had been burned down. Let it
be supposed that the conflagration had taken place the night I
fell asleep. It only remains to assume that Sawyer lost his life in
the fire or by some accident connected with it, and the rest
follows naturally enough. No one but he and Dr. Pillsbury either
knew of the existence of the chamber or that I was in it, and Dr.
Pillsbury, who had gone that night to New Orleans, had
probably never heard of the fire at all. The conclusion of my
friends, and of the public, must have been that I had perished in
the flames. An excavation of the ruins, unless thorough, would
not have disclosed the recess in the foundation walls connecting
with my chamber. To be sure, if the site had been again built
upon, at least immediately, such an excavation would have been
necessary, but the troublous times and the undesirable character
of the locality might well have prevented rebuilding. The size of
the trees in the garden now occupying the site indicated, Dr.
Leete said, that for more than half a century at least it had been
open ground.

Chapter 5

When, in the course of the evening the ladies retired, leaving
Dr. Leete and myself alone, he sounded me as to my disposition
for sleep, saying that if I felt like it my bed was ready for me; but
if I was inclined to wakefulness nothing would please him better
than to bear me company. "I am a late bird, myself," he said,
"and, without suspicion of flattery, I may say that a companion
more interesting than yourself could scarcely be imagined. It is
decidedly not often that one has a chance to converse with a
man of the nineteenth century."

Now I had been looking forward all the evening with some
dread to the time when I should be alone, on retiring for the
night. Surrounded by these most friendly strangers, stimulated
and supported by their sympathetic interest, I had been able to
keep my mental balance. Even then, however, in pauses of the
conversation I had had glimpses, vivid as lightning flashes, of the
horror of strangeness that was waiting to be faced when I could
no longer command diversion. I knew I could not sleep that
night, and as for lying awake and thinking, it argues no cowardice,
I am sure, to confess that I was afraid of it. When, in reply
to my host's question, I frankly told him this, he replied that it
would be strange if I did not feel just so, but that I need have no
anxiety about sleeping; whenever I wanted to go to bed, he
would give me a dose which would insure me a sound night's
sleep without fail. Next morning, no doubt, I would awake with
the feeling of an old citizen.

"Before I acquired that," I replied, "I must know a little more
about the sort of Boston I have come back to. You told me
when we were upon the house-top that though a century only
had elapsed since I fell asleep, it had been marked by greater
changes in the conditions of humanity than many a previous
millennium. With the city before me I could well believe that,
but I am very curious to know what some of the changes have
been. To make a beginning somewhere, for the subject is
doubtless a large one, what solution, if any, have you found for
the labor question? It was the Sphinx's riddle of the nineteenth
century, and when I dropped out the Sphinx was threatening to
devour society, because the answer was not forthcoming. It is
well worth sleeping a hundred years to learn what the right
answer was, if, indeed, you have found it yet."

"As no such thing as the labor question is known nowadays,"
replied Dr. Leete, "and there is no way in which it could arise, I
suppose we may claim to have solved it. Society would indeed
have fully deserved being devoured if it had failed to answer a
riddle so entirely simple. In fact, to speak by the book, it was not
necessary for society to solve the riddle at all. It may be said to
have solved itself. The solution came as the result of a process of
industrial evolution which could not have terminated otherwise.
All that society had to do was to recognize and cooperate with
that evolution, when its tendency had become unmistakable."

"I can only say," I answered, "that at the time I fell asleep no
such evolution had been recognized."

"It was in 1887 that you fell into this sleep, I think you said."

"Yes, May 30th, 1887."

My companion regarded me musingly for some moments.
Then he observed, "And you tell me that even then there was no
general recognition of the nature of the crisis which society was
nearing? Of course, I fully credit your statement. The singular
blindness of your contemporaries to the signs of the times is a
phenomenon commented on by many of our historians, but few
facts of history are more difficult for us to realize, so obvious and
unmistakable as we look back seem the indications, which must
also have come under your eyes, of the transformation about to
come to pass. I should be interested, Mr. West, if you would
give me a little more definite idea of the view which you and
men of your grade of intellect took of the state and prospects of
society in 1887. You must, at least, have realized that the
widespread industrial and social troubles, and the underlying
dissatisfaction of all classes with the inequalities of society, and
the general misery of mankind, were portents of great changes of
some sort."

"We did, indeed, fully realize that," I replied. "We felt that
society was dragging anchor and in danger of going adrift.
Whither it would drift nobody could say, but all feared the

"Nevertheless," said Dr. Leete, "the set of the current was
perfectly perceptible if you had but taken pains to observe it,
and it was not toward the rocks, but toward a deeper channel."

"We had a popular proverb," I replied, "that `hindsight is
better than foresight,' the force of which I shall now, no doubt,
appreciate more fully than ever. All I can say is, that the
prospect was such when I went into that long sleep that I should
not have been surprised had I looked down from your house-top
to-day on a heap of charred and moss-grown ruins instead of this
glorious city."

Dr. Leete had listened to me with close attention and nodded
thoughtfully as I finished speaking. "What you have said," he
observed, "will be regarded as a most valuable vindication of
Storiot, whose account of your era has been generally thought
exaggerated in its picture of the gloom and confusion of men's
minds. That a period of transition like that should be full of
excitement and agitation was indeed to be looked for; but seeing
how plain was the tendency of the forces in operation, it was
natural to believe that hope rather than fear would have been
the prevailing temper of the popular mind."

"You have not yet told me what was the answer to the riddle
which you found," I said. "I am impatient to know by what
contradiction of natural sequence the peace and prosperity
which you now seem to enjoy could have been the outcome of
an era like my own."

"Excuse me," replied my host, "but do you smoke?" It was
not till our cigars were lighted and drawing well that he
resumed. "Since you are in the humor to talk rather than to
sleep, as I certainly am, perhaps I cannot do better than to try
to give you enough idea of our modern industrial system to
dissipate at least the impression that there is any mystery about
the process of its evolution. The Bostonians of your day had the
reputation of being great askers of questions, and I am going to
show my descent by asking you one to begin with. What should
you name as the most prominent feature of the labor troubles of
your day?"

"Why, the strikes, of course," I replied.

"Exactly; but what made the strikes so formidable?"

"The great labor organizations."

"And what was the motive of these great organizations?"

"The workmen claimed they had to organize to get their
rights from the big corporations," I replied.

"That is just it," said Dr. Leete; "the organization of labor and
the strikes were an effect, merely, of the concentration of capital
in greater masses than had ever been known before. Before this
concentration began, while as yet commerce and industry were
conducted by innumerable petty concerns with small capital,
instead of a small number of great concerns with vast capital, the
individual workman was relatively important and independent in
his relations to the employer. Moreover, when a little capital or a
new idea was enough to start a man in business for himself,
workingmen were constantly becoming employers and there was
no hard and fast line between the two classes. Labor unions were
needless then, and general strikes out of the question. But when
the era of small concerns with small capital was succeeded by
that of the great aggregations of capital, all this was changed.
The individual laborer, who had been relatively important to the
small employer, was reduced to insignificance and powerlessness
over against the great corporation, while at the same time the
way upward to the grade of employer was closed to him.
Self-defense drove him to union with his fellows.

"The records of the period show that the outcry against the
concentration of capital was furious. Men believed that it
threatened society with a form of tyranny more abhorrent than
it had ever endured. They believed that the great corporations
were preparing for them the yoke of a baser servitude than had
ever been imposed on the race, servitude not to men but to
soulless machines incapable of any motive but insatiable greed.
Looking back, we cannot wonder at their desperation, for
certainly humanity was never confronted with a fate more sordid
and hideous than would have been the era of corporate tyranny
which they anticipated.

"Meanwhile, without being in the smallest degree checked by
the clamor against it, the absorption of business by ever larger
monopolies continued. In the United States there was not, after
the beginning of the last quarter of the century, any opportunity
whatever for individual enterprise in any important field of
industry, unless backed by a great capital. During the last decade
of the century, such small businesses as still remained were
fast-failing survivals of a past epoch, or mere parasites on the
great corporations, or else existed in fields too small to attract
the great capitalists. Small businesses, as far as they still
remained, were reduced to the condition of rats and mice, living
in holes and corners, and counting on evading notice for the
enjoyment of existence. The railroads had gone on combining
till a few great syndicates controlled every rail in the land. In
manufactories, every important staple was controlled by a syndicate.
These syndicates, pools, trusts, or whatever their name,
fixed prices and crushed all competition except when combinations
as vast as themselves arose. Then a struggle, resulting in a
still greater consolidation, ensued. The great city bazar crushed
it country rivals with branch stores, and in the city itself
absorbed its smaller rivals till the business of a whole quarter was
concentrated under one roof, with a hundred former proprietors
of shops serving as clerks. Having no business of his own to put
his money in, the small capitalist, at the same time that he took
service under the corporation, found no other investment for his
money but its stocks and bonds, thus becoming doubly dependent
upon it.

"The fact that the desperate popular opposition to the consolidation
of business in a few powerful hands had no effect to
check it proves that there must have been a strong economical
reason for it. The small capitalists, with their innumerable petty
concerns, had in fact yielded the field to the great aggregations
of capital, because they belonged to a day of small things and
were totally incompetent to the demands of an age of steam and
telegraphs and the gigantic scale of its enterprises. To restore the
former order of things, even if possible, would have involved
returning to the day of stagecoaches. Oppressive and intolerable
as was the regime of the great consolidations of capital, even its
victims, while they cursed it, were forced to admit the prodigious
increase of efficiency which had been imparted to the national
industries, the vast economies effected by concentration of
management and unity of organization, and to confess that since
the new system had taken the place of the old the wealth of the
world had increased at a rate before undreamed of. To be sure
this vast increase had gone chiefly to make the rich richer,
increasing the gap between them and the poor; but the fact
remained that, as a means merely of producing wealth, capital
had been proved efficient in proportion to its consolidation. The
restoration of the old system with the subdivision of capital, if it
were possible, might indeed bring back a greater equality of
conditions, with more individual dignity and freedom, but it
would be at the price of general poverty and the arrest of
material progress.

"Was there, then, no way of commanding the services of the
mighty wealth-producing principle of consolidated capital without
bowing down to a plutocracy like that of Carthage? As soon
as men began to ask themselves these questions, they found the
answer ready for them. The movement toward the conduct of
business by larger and larger aggregations of capital, the
tendency toward monopolies, which had been so desperately and
vainly resisted, was recognized at last, in its true significance, as a
process which only needed to complete its logical evolution to
open a golden future to humanity.

"Early in the last century the evolution was completed by the
final consolidation of the entire capital of the nation. The
industry and commerce of the country, ceasing to be conducted
by a set of irresponsible corporations and syndicates of private
persons at their caprice and for their profit, were intrusted to a
single syndicate representing the people, to be conducted in the
common interest for the common profit. The nation, that is to
say, organized as the one great business corporation in which all
other corporations were absorbed; it became the one capitalist in
the place of all other capitalists, the sole employer, the final
monopoly in which all previous and lesser monopolies were
swallowed up, a monopoly in the profits and economies of which
all citizens shared. The epoch of trusts had ended in The Great
Trust. In a word, the people of the United States concluded to
assume the conduct of their own business, just as one hundred
odd years before they had assumed the conduct of their own
government, organizing now for industrial purposes on precisely
the same grounds that they had then organized for political
purposes. At last, strangely late in the world's history, the obvious
fact was perceived that no business is so essentially the
public business as the industry and commerce on which the
people's livelihood depends, and that to entrust it to private
persons to be managed for private profit is a folly similar in kind,
though vastly greater in magnitude, to that of surrendering the
functions of political government to kings and nobles to be
conducted for their personal glorification."

"Such a stupendous change as you describe," said I, "did not,
of course, take place without great bloodshed and terrible

"On the contrary," replied Dr. Leete, "there was absolutely no
violence. The change had been long foreseen. Public opinion
had become fully ripe for it, and the whole mass of the people
was behind it. There was no more possibility of opposing it by
force than by argument. On the other hand the popular sentiment
toward the great corporations and those identified with
them had ceased to be one of bitterness, as they came to realize
their necessity as a link, a transition phase, in the evolution of
the true industrial system. The most violent foes of the great
private monopolies were now forced to recognize how invaluable
and indispensable had been their office in educating the people
up to the point of assuming control of their own business. Fifty
years before, the consolidation of the industries of the country
under national control would have seemed a very daring experiment
to the most sanguine. But by a series of object lessons, seen
and studied by all men, the great corporations had taught the
people an entirely new set of ideas on this subject. They had
seen for many years syndicates handling revenues greater than
those of states, and directing the labors of hundreds of thousands
of men with an efficiency and economy unattainable in smaller
operations. It had come to be recognized as an axiom that the
larger the business the simpler the principles that can be applied
to it; that, as the machine is truer than the hand, so the system,
which in a great concern does the work of the master's eye in a
small business, turns out more accurate results. Thus it came
about that, thanks to the corporations themselves, when it was
proposed that the nation should assume their functions, the
suggestion implied nothing which seemed impracticable even to
the timid. To be sure it was a step beyond any yet taken, a
broader generalization, but the very fact that the nation would
be the sole corporation in the field would, it was seen, relieve the
undertaking of many difficulties with which the partial monopolies
had contended."

Chapter 6

Dr. Leete ceased speaking, and I remained silent, endeavoring
to form some general conception of the changes in the arrangements
of society implied in the tremendous revolution which he
had described.

Finally I said, "The idea of such an extension of the functions
of government is, to say the least, rather overwhelming."

"Extension!" he repeated, "where is the extension?"

"In my day," I replied, "it was considered that the proper
functions of government, strictly speaking, were limited to
keeping the peace and defending the people against the public
enemy, that is, to the military and police powers."

"And, in heaven's name, who are the public enemies?"
exclaimed Dr. Leete. "Are they France, England, Germany, or
hunger, cold, and nakedness? In your day governments were
accustomed, on the slightest international misunderstanding, to
seize upon the bodies of citizens and deliver them over by
hundreds of thousands to death and mutilation, wasting their
treasures the while like water; and all this oftenest for no
imaginable profit to the victims. We have no wars now, and our
governments no war powers, but in order to protect every citizen
against hunger, cold, and nakedness, and provide for all his
physical and mental needs, the function is assumed of directing
his industry for a term of years. No, Mr. West, I am sure on
reflection you will perceive that it was in your age, not in ours,
that the extension of the functions of governments was extraordinary.
Not even for the best ends would men now allow their
governments such powers as were then used for the most

"Leaving comparisons aside," I said, "the demagoguery and
corruption of our public men would have been considered, in my
day, insuperable objections to any assumption by government of
the charge of the national industries. We should have thought
that no arrangement could be worse than to entrust the politicians
with control of the wealth-producing machinery of the
country. Its material interests were quite too much the football
of parties as it was."

"No doubt you were right," rejoined Dr. Leete, "but all that is
changed now. We have no parties or politicians, and as for
demagoguery and corruption, they are words having only an
historical significance."

"Human nature itself must have changed very much," I said.

"Not at all," was Dr. Leete's reply, "but the conditions of
human life have changed, and with them the motives of human
action. The organization of society with you was such that officials
were under a constant temptation to misuse their power
for the private profit of themselves or others. Under such
circumstances it seems almost strange that you dared entrust
them with any of your affairs. Nowadays, on the contrary, society
is so constituted that there is absolutely no way in which an
official, however ill-disposed, could possibly make any profit for
himself or any one else by a misuse of his power. Let him be as
bad an official as you please, he cannot be a corrupt one. There is
no motive to be. The social system no longer offers a premium
on dishonesty. But these are matters which you can only
understand as you come, with time, to know us better."

"But you have not yet told me how you have settled the labor
problem. It is the problem of capital which we have been
discussing," I said. "After the nation had assumed conduct of
the mills, machinery, railroads, farms, mines, and capital in
general of the country, the labor question still remained. In
assuming the responsibilities of capital the nation had assumed
the difficulties of the capitalist's position."

"The moment the nation assumed the responsibilities of
capital those difficulties vanished," replied Dr. Leete. "The
national organization of labor under one direction was the
complete solution of what was, in your day and under your
system, justly regarded as the insoluble labor problem. When
the nation became the sole employer, all the citizens, by virtue
of their citizenship, became employees, to be distributed according
to the needs of industry."

"That is," I suggested, "you have simply applied the principle
of universal military service, as it was understood in our day, to
the labor question."

"Yes," said Dr. Leete, "that was something which followed as
a matter of course as soon as the nation had become the sole
capitalist. The people were already accustomed to the idea that
the obligation of every citizen, not physically disabled, to contribute
his military services to the defense of the nation was
equal and absolute. That it was equally the duty of every citizen
to contribute his quota of industrial or intellectual services to
the maintenance of the nation was equally evident, though it
was not until the nation became the employer of labor that
citizens were able to render this sort of service with any pretense
either of universality or equity. No organization of labor was
possible when the employing power was divided among hundreds
or thousands of individuals and corporations, between
which concert of any kind was neither desired, nor indeed
feasible. It constantly happened then that vast numbers who
desired to labor could find no opportunity, and on the other
hand, those who desired to evade a part or all of their debt could
easily do so."

"Service, now, I suppose, is compulsory upon all," I suggested.

"It is rather a matter of course than of compulsion," replied
Dr. Leete. "It is regarded as so absolutely natural and reasonable
that the idea of its being compulsory has ceased to be thought
of. He would be thought to be an incredibly contemptible
person who should need compulsion in such a case. Nevertheless,
to speak of service being compulsory would be a weak way
to state its absolute inevitableness. Our entire social order is so
wholly based upon and deduced from it that if it were conceivable
that a man could escape it, he would be left with no
possible way to provide for his existence. He would have
excluded himself from the world, cut himself off from his kind,
in a word, committed suicide."

"Is the term of service in this industrial army for life?"

"Oh, no; it both begins later and ends earlier than the average
working period in your day. Your workshops were filled with
children and old men, but we hold the period of youth sacred to
education, and the period of maturity, when the physical forces
begin to flag, equally sacred to ease and agreeable relaxation. The
period of industrial service is twenty-four years, beginning at the
close of the course of education at twenty-one and terminating
at forty-five. After forty-five, while discharged from labor, the
citizen still remains liable to special calls, in case of emergencies
causing a sudden great increase in the demand for labor, till he
reaches the age of fifty-five, but such calls are rarely, in fact
almost never, made. The fifteenth day of October of every year is
what we call Muster Day, because those who have reached the
age of twenty-one are then mustered into the industrial service,
and at the same time those who, after twenty-four years' service,
have reached the age of forty-five, are honorably mustered out. It
is the great day of the year with us, whence we reckon all other
events, our Olympiad, save that it is annual."

Chapter 7

"It is after you have mustered your industrial army into
service," I said, "that I should expect the chief difficulty to arise,
for there its analogy with a military army must cease. Soldiers
have all the same thing, and a very simple thing, to do, namely,
to practice the manual of arms, to march and stand guard. But
the industrial army must learn and follow two or three hundred
diverse trades and avocations. What administrative talent can be
equal to determining wisely what trade or business every individual
in a great nation shall pursue?"

"The administration has nothing to do with determining that

"Who does determine it, then?" I asked.

"Every man for himself in accordance with his natural aptitude,
the utmost pains being taken to enable him to find out
what his natural aptitude really is. The principle on which our
industrial army is organized is that a man's natural endowments,
mental and physical, determine what he can work at most
profitably to the nation and most satisfactorily to himself. While
the obligation of service in some form is not to be evaded,
voluntary election, subject only to necessary regulation, is
depended on to determine the particular sort of service every
man is to render. As an individual's satisfaction during his term
of service depends on his having an occupation to his taste,
parents and teachers watch from early years for indications of
special aptitudes in children. A thorough study of the National
industrial system, with the history and rudiments of all the great
trades, is an essential part of our educational system. While
manual training is not allowed to encroach on the general
intellectual culture to which our schools are devoted, it is carried
far enough to give our youth, in addition to their theoretical
knowledge of the national industries, mechanical and agricultural,
a certain familiarity with their tools and methods. Our
schools are constantly visiting our workshops, and often are
taken on long excursions to inspect particular industrial enterprises.
In your day a man was not ashamed to be grossly ignorant
of all trades except his own, but such ignorance would not be
consistent with our idea of placing every one in a position to
select intelligently the occupation for which he has most taste.
Usually long before he is mustered into service a young man has
found out the pursuit he wants to follow, has acquired a great
deal of knowledge about it, and is waiting impatiently the time
when he can enlist in its ranks."

"Surely," I said, "it can hardly be that the number of
volunteers for any trade is exactly the number needed in that
trade. It must be generally either under or over the demand."

"The supply of volunteers is always expected to fully equal the
demand," replied Dr. Leete. "It is the business of the administration
to see that this is the case. The rate of volunteering for
each trade is closely watched. If there be a noticeably greater
excess of volunteers over men needed in any trade, it is inferred
that the trade offers greater attractions than others. On the other
hand, if the number of volunteers for a trade tends to drop
below the demand, it is inferred that it is thought more arduous.
It is the business of the administration to seek constantly to
equalize the attractions of the trades, so far as the conditions of
labor in them are concerned, so that all trades shall be equally
attractive to persons having natural tastes for them. This is done
by making the hours of labor in different trades to differ
according to their arduousness. The lighter trades, prosecuted
under the most agreeable circumstances, have in this way the
longest hours, while an arduous trade, such as mining, has very
short hours. There is no theory, no a priori rule, by which the
respective attractiveness of industries is determined. The
administration, in taking burdens off one class of workers and adding
them to other classes, simply follows the fluctuations of opinion
among the workers themselves as indicated by the rate of
volunteering. The principle is that no man's work ought to be,
on the whole, harder for him than any other man's for him, the
workers themselves to be the judges. There are no limits to the
application of this rule. If any particular occupation is in itself so
arduous or so oppressive that, in order to induce volunteers, the
day's work in it had to be reduced to ten minutes, it would be
done. If, even then, no man was willing to do it, it would remain
undone. But of course, in point of fact, a moderate reduction in
the hours of labor, or addition of other privileges, suffices to
secure all needed volunteers for any occupation necessary to
men. If, indeed, the unavoidable difficulties and dangers of such
a necessary pursuit were so great that no inducement of compensating
advantages would overcome men's repugnance to it, the
administration would only need to take it out of the common
order of occupations by declaring it `extra hazardous,' and those
who pursued it especially worthy of the national gratitude, to be
overrun with volunteers. Our young men are very greedy of
honor, and do not let slip such opportunities. Of course you will
see that dependence on the purely voluntary choice of avocations
involves the abolition in all of anything like unhygienic conditions
or special peril to life and limb. Health and safety are
conditions common to all industries. The nation does not maim
and slaughter its workmen by thousands, as did the private
capitalists and corporations of your day."

"When there are more who want to enter a particular trade
than there is room for, how do you decide between the applicants?"
I inquired.

"Preference is given to those who have acquired the most
knowledge of the trade they wish to follow. No man, however,
who through successive years remains persistent in his desire to
show what he can do at any particular trade, is in the end denied
an opportunity. Meanwhile, if a man cannot at first win entrance
into the business he prefers, he has usually one or more alternative
preferences, pursuits for which he has some degree of
aptitude, although not the highest. Every one, indeed, is
expected to study his aptitudes so as to have not only a first
choice as to occupation, but a second or third, so that if, either
at the outset of his career or subsequently, owing to the progress
of invention or changes in demand, he is unable to follow his
first vocation, he can still find reasonably congenial employment.
This principle of secondary choices as to occupation is quite
important in our system. I should add, in reference to the
counter-possibility of some sudden failure of volunteers in a
particular trade, or some sudden necessity of an increased force,
that the administration, while depending on the voluntary
system for filling up the trades as a rule, holds always in reserve
the power to call for special volunteers, or draft any force needed
from any quarter. Generally, however, all needs of this sort can
be met by details from the class of unskilled or common

"How is this class of common laborers recruited?" I asked.
"Surely nobody voluntarily enters that."

"It is the grade to which all new recruits belong for the first
three years of their service. It is not till after this period, during
which he is assignable to any work at the discretion of his
superiors, that the young man is allowed to elect a special
avocation. These three years of stringent discipline none are
exempt from, and very glad our young men are to pass from this
severe school into the comparative liberty of the trades. If a man
were so stupid as to have no choice as to occupation, he would
simply remain a common laborer; but such cases, as you may
suppose, are not common."

"Having once elected and entered on a trade or occupation," I
remarked, "I suppose he has to stick to it the rest of his life."

"Not necessarily," replied Dr. Leete; "while frequent and
merely capricious changes of occupation are not encouraged or
even permitted, every worker is allowed, of course, under certain
regulations and in accordance with the exigencies of the service,
to volunteer for another industry which he thinks would suit
him better than his first choice. In this case his application is
received just as if he were volunteering for the first time, and on
the same terms. Not only this, but a worker may likewise, under
suitable regulations and not too frequently, obtain a transfer to
an establishment of the same industry in another part of the
country which for any reason he may prefer. Under your system
a discontented man could indeed leave his work at will, but he
left his means of support at the same time, and took his chances
as to future livelihood. We find that the number of men who
wish to abandon an accustomed occupation for a new one, and
old friends and associations for strange ones, is small. It is only
the poorer sort of workmen who desire to change even as
frequently as our regulations permit. Of course transfers or
discharges, when health demands them, are always given."

"As an industrial system, I should think this might be
extremely efficient," I said, "but I don't see that it makes any
provision for the professional classes, the men who serve the
nation with brains instead of hands. Of course you can't get
along without the brain-workers. How, then, are they selected
from those who are to serve as farmers and mechanics? That
must require a very delicate sort of sifting process, I should say."

"So it does," replied Dr. Leete; "the most delicate possible
test is needed here, and so we leave the question whether a man
shall be a brain or hand worker entirely to him to settle. At the
end of the term of three years as a common laborer, which every
man must serve, it is for him to choose, in accordance to his
natural tastes, whether he will fit himself for an art or profession,
or be a farmer or mechanic. If he feels that he can do better
work with his brains than his muscles, he finds every facility
provided for testing the reality of his supposed bent, of cultivating
it, and if fit of pursuing it as his avocation. The schools of
technology, of medicine, of art, of music, of histrionics, and of
higher liberal learning are always open to aspirants without

"Are not the schools flooded with young men whose only
motive is to avoid work?"

Dr. Leete smiled a little grimly.

"No one is at all likely to enter the professional schools for the
purpose of avoiding work, I assure you," he said. "They are
intended for those with special aptitude for the branches they
teach, and any one without it would find it easier to do double
hours at his trade than try to keep up with the classes. Of course
many honestly mistake their vocation, and, finding themselves
unequal to the requirements of the schools, drop out and return
to the industrial service; no discredit attaches to such persons,
for the public policy is to encourage all to develop suspected
talents which only actual tests can prove the reality of. The
professional and scientific schools of your day depended on the
patronage of their pupils for support, and the practice appears to
have been common of giving diplomas to unfit persons, who
afterwards found their way into the professions. Our schools are
national institutions, and to have passed their tests is a proof of
special abilities not to be questioned.

"This opportunity for a professional training," the doctor
continued, "remains open to every man till the age of thirty is
reached, after which students are not received, as there would
remain too brief a period before the age of discharge in which to
serve the nation in their professions. In your day young men had
to choose their professions very young, and therefore, in a large
proportion of instances, wholly mistook their vocations. It is
recognized nowadays that the natural aptitudes of some are later
than those of others in developing, and therefore, while the
choice of profession may be made as early as twenty-four, it
remains open for six years longer."

A question which had a dozen times before been on my lips
now found utterance, a question which touched upon what, in
my time, had been regarded the most vital difficulty in the way
of any final settlement of the industrial problem. "It is an
extraordinary thing," I said, "that you should not yet have said a
word about the method of adjusting wages. Since the nation is
the sole employer, the government must fix the rate of wages
and determine just how much everybody shall earn, from the
doctors to the diggers. All I can say is, that this plan would never
have worked with us, and I don't see how it can now unless
human nature has changed. In my day, nobody was satisfied with
his wages or salary. Even if he felt he received enough, he was
sure his neighbor had too much, which was as bad. If the
universal discontent on this subject, instead of being dissipated
in curses and strikes directed against innumerable employers,
could have been concentrated upon one, and that the government,
the strongest ever devised would not have seen two pay

Dr. Leete laughed heartily.

"Very true, very true," he said, "a general strike would most
probably have followed the first pay day, and a strike directed
against a government is a revolution."

"How, then, do you avoid a revolution every pay day?" if
demanded. "Has some prodigious philosopher devised a new
system of calculus satisfactory to all for determining the exact
and comparative value of all sorts of service, whether by brawn
or brain, by hand or voice, by ear or eye? Or has human nature
itself changed, so that no man looks upon his own things but
`every man on the things of his neighbor'? One or the other of
these events must be the explanation."

"Neither one nor the other, however, is," was my host's
laughing response. "And now, Mr. West," he continued, "you
must remember that you are my patient as well as my guest, and
permit me to prescribe sleep for you before we have any more
conversation. It is after three o'clock."

"The prescription is, no doubt, a wise one," I said; "I only
hope it can be filled."

"I will see to that," the doctor replied, and he did, for he gave
me a wineglass of something or other which sent me to sleep as
soon as my head touched the pillow.

Chapter 8

When I awoke I felt greatly refreshed, and lay a considerable
time in a dozing state, enjoying the sensation of bodily comfort.
The experiences of the day previous, my waking to find myself in
the year 2000, the sight of the new Boston, my host and his
family, and the wonderful things I had heard, were a blank in
my memory. I thought I was in my bed-chamber at home, and
the half-dreaming, half-waking fancies which passed before my
mind related to the incidents and experiences of my former life.
Dreamily I reviewed the incidents of Decoration Day, my trip in
company with Edith and her parents to Mount Auburn, and my
dining with them on our return to the city. I recalled how
extremely well Edith had looked, and from that fell to thinking
of our marriage; but scarcely had my imagination begun to
develop this delightful theme than my waking dream was cut
short by the recollection of the letter I had received the night
before from the builder announcing that the new strikes might
postpone indefinitely the completion of the new house. The
chagrin which this recollection brought with it effectually roused
me. I remembered that I had an appointment with the builder
at eleven o'clock, to discuss the strike, and opening my eyes,
looked up at the clock at the foot of my bed to see what time it
was. But no clock met my glance, and what was more, I instantly
perceived that I was not in my room. Starting up on my couch, I
stared wildly round the strange apartment.

I think it must have been many seconds that I sat up thus in
bed staring about, without being able to regain the clew to my
personal identity. I was no more able to distinguish myself from
pure being during those moments than we may suppose a soul in
the rough to be before it has received the ear-marks, the
individualizing touches which make it a person. Strange that the
sense of this inability should be such anguish! but so we are
constituted. There are no words for the mental torture I endured
during this helpless, eyeless groping for myself in a boundless
void. No other experience of the mind gives probably anything
like the sense of absolute intellectual arrest from the loss of a
mental fulcrum, a starting point of thought, which comes during
such a momentary obscuration of the sense of one's identity. I
trust I may never know what it is again.

I do not know how long this condition had lasted--it seemed
an interminable time--when, like a flash, the recollection of
everything came back to me. I remembered who and where I
was, and how I had come here, and that these scenes as of the
life of yesterday which had been passing before my mind
concerned a generation long, long ago mouldered to dust.
Leaping from bed, I stood in the middle of the room clasping
my temples with all my might between my hands to keep them
from bursting. Then I fell prone on the couch, and, burying my
face in the pillow, lay without motion. The reaction which was
inevitable, from the mental elation, the fever of the intellect
that had been the first effect of my tremendous experience, had
arrived. The emotional crisis which had awaited the full realization
of my actual position, and all that it implied, was upon me,
and with set teeth and laboring chest, gripping the bedstead
with frenzied strength, I lay there and fought for my sanity. In
my mind, all had broken loose, habits of feeling, associations of
thought, ideas of persons and things, all had dissolved and lost
coherence and were seething together in apparently irretrievable
chaos. There were no rallying points, nothing was left stable.
There only remained the will, and was any human will strong
enough to say to such a weltering sea, "Peace, be still"? I dared
not think. Every effort to reason upon what had befallen me,
and realize what it implied, set up an intolerable swimming of
the brain. The idea that I was two persons, that my identity was
double, began to fascinate me with its simple solution of my

I knew that I was on the verge of losing my mental balance. If
I lay there thinking, I was doomed. Diversion of some sort I
must have, at least the diversion of physical exertion. I sprang
up, and, hastily dressing, opened the door of my room and went
down-stairs. The hour was very early, it being not yet fairly light,
and I found no one in the lower part of the house. There was a
hat in the hall, and, opening the front door, which was fastened
with a slightness indicating that burglary was not among the
perils of the modern Boston, I found myself on the street. For
two hours I walked or ran through the streets of the city, visiting
most quarters of the peninsular part of the town. None but an
antiquarian who knows something of the contrast which the
Boston of today offers to the Boston of the nineteenth century
can begin to appreciate what a series of bewildering surprises I
underwent during that time. Viewed from the house-top the day
before, the city had indeed appeared strange to me, but that was
only in its general aspect. How complete the change had been I
first realized now that I walked the streets. The few old
landmarks which still remained only intensified this effect, for
without them I might have imagined myself in a foreign town.
A man may leave his native city in childhood, and return fifty
years later, perhaps, to find it transformed in many features. He
is astonished, but he is not bewildered. He is aware of a great
lapse of time, and of changes likewise occurring in himself
meanwhile. He but dimly recalls the city as he knew it when a
child. But remember that there was no sense of any lapse of time
with me. So far as my consciousness was concerned, it was but
yesterday, but a few hours, since I had walked these streets in
which scarcely a feature had escaped a complete metamorphosis.
The mental image of the old city was so fresh and strong that it
did not yield to the impression of the actual city, but contended
with it, so that it was first one and then the other which seemed
the more unreal. There was nothing I saw which was not blurred
in this way, like the faces of a composite photograph.

Finally, I stood again at the door of the house from which I
had come out. My feet must have instinctively brought me back
to the site of my old home, for I had no clear idea of returning
thither. It was no more homelike to me than any other spot in
this city of a strange generation, nor were its inmates less utterly
and necessarily strangers than all the other men and women now
on the earth. Had the door of the house been locked, I should
have been reminded by its resistance that I had no object in
entering, and turned away, but it yielded to my hand, and
advancing with uncertain steps through the hall, I entered one
of the apartments opening from it. Throwing myself into a
chair, I covered my burning eyeballs with my hands to shut out
the horror of strangeness. My mental confusion was so intense as
to produce actual nausea. The anguish of those moments, during
which my brain seemed melting, or the abjectness of my sense of
helplessness, how can I describe? In my despair I groaned aloud.
I began to feel that unless some help should come I was about to
lose my mind. And just then it did come. I heard the rustle of
drapery, and looked up. Edith Leete was standing before me.
Her beautiful face was full of the most poignant sympathy.

"Oh, what is the matter, Mr. West?" she said. "I was here
when you came in. I saw how dreadfully distressed you looked,
and when I heard you groan, I could not keep silent. What has
happened to you? Where have you been? Can't I do something
for you?"

Perhaps she involuntarily held out her hands in a gesture of
compassion as she spoke. At any rate I had caught them in my
own and was clinging to them with an impulse as instinctive as
that which prompts the drowning man to seize upon and cling
to the rope which is thrown him as he sinks for the last time. As
I looked up into her compassionate face and her eyes moist with
pity, my brain ceased to whirl. The tender human sympathy
which thrilled in the soft pressure of her fingers had brought me
the support I needed. Its effect to calm and soothe was like that
of some wonder-working elixir.

"God bless you," I said, after a few moments. "He must have
sent you to me just now. I think I was in danger of going crazy
if you had not come." At this the tears came into her eyes.

"Oh, Mr. West!" she cried. "How heartless you must have
thought us! How could we leave you to yourself so long! But it is
over now, is it not? You are better, surely."

"Yes," I said, "thanks to you. If you will not go away quite
yet, I shall be myself soon."

"Indeed I will not go away," she said, with a little quiver of
her face, more expressive of her sympathy than a volume of
words. "You must not think us so heartless as we seemed in
leaving you so by yourself. I scarcely slept last night, for thinking
how strange your waking would be this morning; but father said
you would sleep till late. He said that it would be better not to
show too much sympathy with you at first, but to try to divert
your thoughts and make you feel that you were among friends."

"You have indeed made me feel that," I answered. "But you
see it is a good deal of a jolt to drop a hundred years, and
although I did not seem to feel it so much last night, I have had
very odd sensations this morning." While I held her hands and
kept my eyes on her face, I could already even jest a little at my

"No one thought of such a thing as your going out in the city
alone so early in the morning," she went on. "Oh, Mr. West,
where have you been?"

Then I told her of my morning's experience, from my first
waking till the moment I had looked up to see her before me,
just as I have told it here. She was overcome by distressful pity
during the recital, and, though I had released one of her hands,
did not try to take from me the other, seeing, no doubt, how
much good it did me to hold it. "I can think a little what this
feeling must have been like," she said. "It must have been
terrible. And to think you were left alone to struggle with it!
Can you ever forgive us?"

"But it is gone now. You have driven it quite away for the
present," I said.

"You will not let it return again," she queried anxiously.

"I can't quite say that," I replied. "It might be too early to say
that, considering how strange everything will still be to me."

"But you will not try to contend with it alone again, at least,"
she persisted. "Promise that you will come to us, and let us
sympathize with you, and try to help you. Perhaps we can't do
much, but it will surely be better than to try to bear such
feelings alone."

"I will come to you if you will let me," I said.

"Oh yes, yes, I beg you will," she said eagerly. "I would do
anything to help you that I could."

"All you need do is to be sorry for me, as you seem to be
now," I replied.

"It is understood, then," she said, smiling with wet eyes, "that
you are to come and tell me next time, and not run all over
Boston among strangers."

This assumption that we were not strangers seemed scarcely
strange, so near within these few minutes had my trouble and
her sympathetic tears brought us.

"I will promise, when you come to me," she added, with an
expression of charming archness, passing, as she continued, into
one of enthusiasm, "to seem as sorry for you as you wish, but you
must not for a moment suppose that I am really sorry for you at
all, or that I think you will long be sorry for yourself. I know, as
well as I know that the world now is heaven compared with
what it was in your day, that the only feeling you will have after
a little while will be one of thankfulness to God that your life in
that age was so strangely cut off, to be returned to you in this."

Chapter 9

Dr. and Mrs. Leete were evidently not a little startled to learn,
when they presently appeared, that I had been all over the city
alone that morning, and it was apparent that they were agreeably
surprised to see that I seemed so little agitated after the

"Your stroll could scarcely have failed to be a very interesting
one," said Mrs. Leete, as we sat down to table soon after. "You
must have seen a good many new things."

"I saw very little that was not new," I replied. "But I think
what surprised me as much as anything was not to find any
stores on Washington Street, or any banks on State. What have
you done with the merchants and bankers? Hung them all,
perhaps, as the anarchists wanted to do in my day?"

"Not so bad as that," replied Dr. Leete. "We have simply
dispensed with them. Their functions are obsolete in the
modern world."

"Who sells you things when you want to buy them?" I

"There is neither selling nor buying nowadays; the distribution
of goods is effected in another way. As to the bankers,
having no money we have no use for those gentry."

"Miss Leete," said I, turning to Edith, "I am afraid that your
father is making sport of me. I don't blame him, for the
temptation my innocence offers must be extraordinary. But,
really, there are limits to my credulity as to possible alterations
in the social system."

"Father has no idea of jesting, I am sure," she replied, with a
reassuring smile.

The conversation took another turn then, the point of ladies'
fashions in the nineteenth century being raised, if I remember
rightly, by Mrs. Leete, and it was not till after breakfast, when
the doctor had invited me up to the house-top, which appeared
to be a favorite resort of his, that he recurred to the subject.

"You were surprised," he said, "at my saying that we got along
without money or trade, but a moment's reflection will show
that trade existed and money was needed in your day simply
because the business of production was left in private hands, and
that, consequently, they are superfluous now."

"I do not at once see how that follows," I replied.

"It is very simple," said Dr. Leete. "When innumerable
different and independent persons produced the various things
needful to life and comfort, endless exchanges between individuals
were requisite in order that they might supply themselves
with what they desired. These exchanges constituted trade, and
money was essential as their medium. But as soon as the nation
became the sole producer of all sorts of commodities, there was
no need of exchanges between individuals that they might get
what they required. Everything was procurable from one source,
and nothing could be procured anywhere else. A system of direct
distribution from the national storehouses took the place of
trade, and for this money was unnecessary."

"How is this distribution managed?" I asked.

"On the simplest possible plan," replied Dr. Leete. "A credit
corresponding to his share of the annual product of the nation is
given to every citizen on the public books at the beginning of
each year, and a credit card issued him with which he procures at
the public storehouses, found in every community, whatever he
desires whenever he desires it. This arrangement, you will see,
totally obviates the necessity for business transactions of any sort
between individuals and consumers. Perhaps you would like to
see what our credit cards are like.

"You observe," he pursued as I was curiously examining the
piece of pasteboard he gave me, "that this card is issued for a
certain number of dollars. We have kept the old word, but not
the substance. The term, as we use it, answers to no real thing,
but merely serves as an algebraical symbol for comparing the
values of products with one another. For this purpose they are
all priced in dollars and cents, just as in your day. The value of
what I procure on this card is checked off by the clerk, who
pricks out of these tiers of squares the price of what I order."

"If you wanted to buy something of your neighbor, could you
transfer part of your credit to him as consideration?" I inquired.

"In the first place," replied Dr. Leete, "our neighbors have
nothing to sell us, but in any event our credit would not be
transferable, being strictly personal. Before the nation could
even think of honoring any such transfer as you speak of, it
would be bound to inquire into all the circumstances of the
transaction, so as to be able to guarantee its absolute equity. It
would have been reason enough, had there been no other, for
abolishing money, that its possession was no indication of
rightful title to it. In the hands of the man who had stolen it or
murdered for it, it was as good as in those which had earned it
by industry. People nowadays interchange gifts and favors out of
friendship, but buying and selling is considered absolutely inconsistent
with the mutual benevolence and disinterestedness which
should prevail between citizens and the sense of community of
interest which supports our social system. According to our
ideas, buying and selling is essentially anti-social in all its
tendencies. It is an education in self-seeking at the expense of
others, and no society whose citizens are trained in such a school
can possibly rise above a very low grade of civilization."

"What if you have to spend more than your card in any one
year?" I asked.

"The provision is so ample that we are more likely not to
spend it all," replied Dr. Leete. "But if extraordinary expenses
should exhaust it, we can obtain a limited advance on the next
year's credit, though this practice is not encouraged, and a heavy
discount is charged to check it. Of course if a man showed
himself a reckless spendthrift he would receive his allowance
monthly or weekly instead of yearly, or if necessary not be
permitted to handle it all."

"If you don't spend your allowance, I suppose it accumulates?"

"That is also permitted to a certain extent when a special
outlay is anticipated. But unless notice to the contrary is given, it
is presumed that the citizen who does not fully expend his credit
did not have occasion to do so, and the balance is turned into
the general surplus."

"Such a system does not encourage saving habits on the part
of citizens," I said.

"It is not intended to," was the reply. "The nation is rich, and
does not wish the people to deprive themselves of any good
thing. In your day, men were bound to lay up goods and money
against coming failure of the means of support and for their
children. This necessity made parsimony a virtue. But now it
would have no such laudable object, and, having lost its utility, it
has ceased to be regarded as a virtue. No man any more has any
care for the morrow, either for himself or his children, for the
nation guarantees the nurture, education, and comfortable
maintenance of every citizen from the cradle to the grave."

"That is a sweeping guarantee!" I said. "What certainty can
there be that the value of a man's labor will recompense the
nation for its outlay on him? On the whole, society may be able
to support all its members, but some must earn less than enough
for their support, and others more; and that brings us back once
more to the wages question, on which you have hitherto said
nothing. It was at just this point, if you remember, that our talk
ended last evening; and I say again, as I did then, that here I
should suppose a national industrial system like yours would find
its main difficulty. How, I ask once more, can you adjust
satisfactorily the comparative wages or remuneration of the
multitude of avocations, so unlike and so incommensurable, which
are necessary for the service of society? In our day the market
rate determined the price of labor of all sorts, as well as of
goods. The employer paid as little as he could, and the worker
got as much. It was not a pretty system ethically, I admit; but it
did, at least, furnish us a rough and ready formula for settling a
question which must be settled ten thousand times a day if the
world was ever going to get forward. There seemed to us no
other practicable way of doing it."

"Yes," replied Dr. Leete, "it was the only practicable way
under a system which made the interests of every individual
antagonistic to those of every other; but it would have been a
pity if humanity could never have devised a better plan, for
yours was simply the application to the mutual relations of men
of the devil's maxim, `Your necessity is my opportunity.' The
reward of any service depended not upon its difficulty, danger, or
hardship, for throughout the world it seems that the most
perilous, severe, and repulsive labor was done by the worst paid
classes; but solely upon the strait of those who needed the

"All that is conceded," I said. "But, with all its defects, the
plan of settling prices by the market rate was a practical plan;
and I cannot conceive what satisfactory substitute you can
have devised for it. The government being the only possible
employer, there is of course no labor market or market rate.
Wages of all sorts must be arbitrarily fixed by the government. I
cannot imagine a more complex and delicate function than that
must be, or one, however performed, more certain to breed
universal dissatisfaction."

"I beg your pardon," replied Dr. Leete, "but I think you
exaggerate the difficulty. Suppose a board of fairly sensible men
were charged with settling the wages for all sorts of trades under
a system which, like ours, guaranteed employment to all, while
permitting the choice of avocations. Don't you see that, however
unsatisfactory the first adjustment might be, the mistakes would
soon correct themselves? The favored trades would have too
many volunteers, and those discriminated against would lack
them till the errors were set right. But this is aside from the
purpose, for, though this plan would, I fancy, be practicable
enough, it is no part of our system."

"How, then, do you regulate wages?" I once more asked.

Dr. Leete did not reply till after several moments of meditative
silence. "I know, of course," he finally said, "enough of the
old order of things to understand just what you mean by that
question; and yet the present order is so utterly different at this
point that I am a little at loss how to answer you best. You ask
me how we regulate wages; I can only reply that there is no idea
in the modern social economy which at all corresponds with
what was meant by wages in your day."

"I suppose you mean that you have no money to pay wages
in," said I. "But the credit given the worker at the government
storehouse answers to his wages with us. How is the amount of
the credit given respectively to the workers in different lines
determined? By what title does the individual claim his particular
share? What is the basis of allotment?"

"His title," replied Dr. Leete, "is his humanity. The basis of
his claim is the fact that he is a man."

"The fact that he is a man!" I repeated, incredulously. "Do
you possibly mean that all have the same share?"

"Most assuredly."

The readers of this book never having practically known any
other arrangement, or perhaps very carefully considered the
historical accounts of former epochs in which a very different
system prevailed, cannot be expected to appreciate the stupor of
amazement into which Dr. Leete's simple statement plunged

"You see," he said, smiling, "that it is not merely that we have
no money to pay wages in, but, as I said, we have nothing at all
answering to your idea of wages."

By this time I had pulled myself together sufficiently to voice
some of the criticisms which, man of the nineteenth century as I
was, came uppermost in my mind, upon this to me astounding
arrangement. "Some men do twice the work of others!" I exclaimed.
"Are the clever workmen content with a plan that
ranks them with the indifferent?"

"We leave no possible ground for any complaint of injustice,"
replied Dr. Leete, "by requiring precisely the same measure of
service from all."

"How can you do that, I should like to know, when no two
men's powers are the same?"

"Nothing could be simpler," was Dr. Leete's reply. "We
require of each that he shall make the same effort; that is, we
demand of him the best service it is in his power to give."

"And supposing all do the best they can," I answered, "the
amount of the product resulting is twice greater from one man
than from another."

"Very true," replied Dr. Leete; "but the amount of the
resulting product has nothing whatever to do with the question,
which is one of desert. Desert is a moral question, and the
amount of the product a material quantity. It would be an
extraordinary sort of logic which should try to determine a moral
question by a material standard. The amount of the effort alone
is pertinent to the question of desert. All men who do their best,
do the same. A man's endowments, however godlike, merely fix
the measure of his duty. The man of great endowments who
does not do all he might, though he may do more than a man of
small endowments who does his best, is deemed a less deserving
worker than the latter, and dies a debtor to his fellows. The
Creator sets men's tasks for them by the faculties he gives them;
we simply exact their fulfillment."

"No doubt that is very fine philosophy," I said; "nevertheless
it seems hard that the man who produces twice as much as
another, even if both do their best, should have only the same

"Does it, indeed, seem so to you?" responded Dr. Leete.
"Now, do you know, that seems very curious to me? The way it
strikes people nowadays is, that a man who can produce twice as
much as another with the same effort, instead of being rewarded
for doing so, ought to be punished if he does not do so. In the
nineteenth century, when a horse pulled a heavier load than
a goat, I suppose you rewarded him. Now, we should have
whipped him soundly if he had not, on the ground that, being
much stronger, he ought to. It is singular how ethical standards
change." The doctor said this with such a twinkle in his eye that
I was obliged to laugh.

"I suppose," I said, "that the real reason that we rewarded
men for their endowments, while we considered those of horses
and goats merely as fixing the service to be severally required of
them, was that the animals, not being reasoning beings, naturally
did the best they could, whereas men could only be induced to
do so by rewarding them according to the amount of their
product. That brings me to ask why, unless human nature has
mightily changed in a hundred years, you are not under the same

"We are," replied Dr. Leete. "I don't think there has been any
change in human nature in that respect since your day. It is still
so constituted that special incentives in the form of prizes, and
advantages to be gained, are requisite to call out the best
endeavors of the average man in any direction."

"But what inducement," I asked, "can a man have to put
forth his best endeavors when, however much or little he
accomplishes, his income remains the same? High characters
may be moved by devotion to the common welfare under such a
system, but does not the average man tend to rest back on his
oar, reasoning that it is of no use to make a special effort, since
the effort will not increase his income, nor its withholding
diminish it?"

"Does it then really seem to you," answered my companion,
"that human nature is insensible to any motives save fear of
want and love of luxury, that you should expect security and
equality of livelihood to leave them without possible incentives
to effort? Your contemporaries did not really think so, though
they might fancy they did. When it was a question of the
grandest class of efforts, the most absolute self-devotion, they
depended on quite other incentives. Not higher wages, but
honor and the hope of men's gratitude, patriotism and the
inspiration of duty, were the motives which they set before their
soldiers when it was a question of dying for the nation, and
never was there an age of the world when those motives did not
call out what is best and noblest in men. And not only this, but
when you come to analyze the love of money which was the
general impulse to effort in your day, you find that the dread of
want and desire of luxury was but one of several motives which
the pursuit of money represented; the others, and with many the
more influential, being desire of power, of social position, and
reputation for ability and success. So you see that though we
have abolished poverty and the fear of it, and inordinate luxury
with the hope of it, we have not touched the greater part of the
motives which underlay the love of money in former times, or
any of those which prompted the supremer sorts of effort. The
coarser motives, which no longer move us, have been replaced by
higher motives wholly unknown to the mere wage earners of
your age. Now that industry of whatever sort is no longer
self-service, but service of the nation, patriotism, passion for
humanity, impel the worker as in your day they did the soldier.
The army of industry is an army, not alone by virtue of its
perfect organization, but by reason also of the ardor of self-
devotion which animates its members.

"But as you used to supplement the motives of patriotism
with the love of glory, in order to stimulate the valor of your
soldiers, so do we. Based as our industrial system is on the
principle of requiring the same unit of effort from every man,
that is, the best he can do, you will see that the means by which
we spur the workers to do their best must be a very essential part
of our scheme. With us, diligence in the national service is the
sole and certain way to public repute, social distinction, and
official power. The value of a man's services to society fixes his
rank in it. Compared with the effect of our social arrangements
in impelling men to be zealous in business, we deem the
object-lessons of biting poverty and wanton luxury on which you
depended a device as weak and uncertain as it was barbaric. The
lust of honor even in your sordid day notoriously impelled men
to more desperate effort than the love of money could."

"I should be extremely interested," I said, "to learn something
of what these social arrangements are."

"The scheme in its details," replied the doctor, "is of course
very elaborate, for it underlies the entire organization of our
industrial army; but a few words will give you a general idea of

At this moment our talk was charmingly interrupted by the
emergence upon the aerial platform where we sat of Edith Leete.
She was dressed for the street, and had come to speak to her
father about some commission she was to do for him.

"By the way, Edith," he exclaimed, as she was about to leave
us to ourselves, "I wonder if Mr. West would not be interested
in visiting the store with you? I have been telling him something
about our system of distribution, and perhaps he might like to
see it in practical operation."

"My daughter," he added, turning to me, "is an indefatigable
shopper, and can tell you more about the stores than I can."

The proposition was naturally very agreeable to me, and Edith
being good enough to say that she should be glad to have my
company, we left the house together.

Chapter 10

"If I am going to explain our way of shopping to you," said
my companion, as we walked along the street, "you must explain
your way to me. I have never been able to understand it from all
I have read on the subject. For example, when you had such a
vast number of shops, each with its different assortment, how
could a lady ever settle upon any purchase till she had visited all
the shops? for, until she had, she could not know what there was
to choose from."

"It was as you suppose; that was the only way she could
know," I replied.

"Father calls me an indefatigable shopper, but I should soon
be a very fatigued one if I had to do as they did," was Edith's
laughing comment.

"The loss of time in going from shop to shop was indeed a
waste which the busy bitterly complained of," I said; "but as for
the ladies of the idle class, though they complained also, I think
the system was really a godsend by furnishing a device to kill

"But say there were a thousand shops in a city, hundreds,
perhaps, of the same sort, how could even the idlest find time to
make their rounds?"

"They really could not visit all, of course," I replied. "Those
who did a great deal of buying, learned in time where they might
expect to find what they wanted. This class had made a science
of the specialties of the shops, and bought at advantage, always
getting the most and best for the least money. It required,
however, long experience to acquire this knowledge. Those who
were too busy, or bought too little to gain it, took their chances
and were generally unfortunate, getting the least and worst for
the most money. It was the merest chance if persons not
experienced in shopping received the value of their money."

"But why did you put up with such a shockingly inconvenient
arrangement when you saw its faults so plainly?" Edith asked

"It was like all our social arrangements," I replied. "You can
see their faults scarcely more plainly than we did, but we saw no
remedy for them."

"Here we are at the store of our ward," said Edith, as we
turned in at the great portal of one of the magnificent public
buildings I had observed in my morning walk. There was
nothing in the exterior aspect of the edifice to suggest a store to
a representative of the nineteenth century. There was no display
of goods in the great windows, or any device to advertise wares,
or attract custom. Nor was there any sort of sign or legend on
the front of the building to indicate the character of the business
carried on there; but instead, above the portal, standing out
from the front of the building, a majestic life-size group of
statuary, the central figure of which was a female ideal of Plenty,
with her cornucopia. Judging from the composition of the
throng passing in and out, about the same proportion of the
sexes among shoppers obtained as in the nineteenth century. As
we entered, Edith said that there was one of these great
distributing establishments in each ward of the city, so that no
residence was more than five or ten minutes' walk from one of
them. It was the first interior of a twentieth-century public
building that I had ever beheld, and the spectacle naturally
impressed me deeply. I was in a vast hall full of light, received
not alone from the windows on all sides, but from the dome,
the point of which was a hundred feet above. Beneath it, in the
centre of the hall, a magnificent fountain played, cooling the
atmosphere to a delicious freshness with its spray. The walls and
ceiling were frescoed in mellow tints, calculated to soften
without absorbing the light which flooded the interior. Around
the fountain was a space occupied with chairs and sofas, on
which many persons were seated conversing. Legends on the
walls all about the hall indicated to what classes of commodities
the counters below were devoted. Edith directed her steps
towards one of these, where samples of muslin of a bewildering
variety were displayed, and proceeded to inspect them.

"Where is the clerk?" I asked, for there was no one behind the
counter, and no one seemed coming to attend to the customer.

"I have no need of the clerk yet," said Edith; "I have not
made my selection."

"It was the principal business of clerks to help people to make
their selections in my day," I replied.

"What! To tell people what they wanted?"

"Yes; and oftener to induce them to buy what they didn't

"But did not ladies find that very impertinent?" Edith asked,
wonderingly. "What concern could it possibly be to the clerks
whether people bought or not?"

"It was their sole concern," I answered. "They were hired for
the purpose of getting rid of the goods, and were expected to do
their utmost, short of the use of force, to compass that end."

"Ah, yes! How stupid I am to forget!" said Edith. "The
storekeeper and his clerks depended for their livelihood on
selling the goods in your day. Of course that is all different now.
The goods are the nation's. They are here for those who want
them, and it is the business of the clerks to wait on people and
take their orders; but it is not the interest of the clerk or the
nation to dispose of a yard or a pound of anything to anybody
who does not want it." She smiled as she added, "How exceedingly
odd it must have seemed to have clerks trying to induce
one to take what one did not want, or was doubtful about!"

"But even a twentieth century clerk might make himself
useful in giving you information about the goods, though he did
not tease you to buy them," I suggested.

"No," said Edith, "that is not the business of the clerk. These
printed cards, for which the government authorities are responsible,
give us all the information we can possibly need."

I saw then that there was fastened to each sample a card
containing in succinct form a complete statement of the make
and materials of the goods and all its qualities, as well as price,
leaving absolutely no point to hang a question on.

"The clerk has, then, nothing to say about the goods he sells?"
I said.

"Nothing at all. It is not necessary that he should know or
profess to know anything about them. Courtesy and accuracy in
taking orders are all that are required of him."

"What a prodigious amount of lying that simple arrangement
saves!" I ejaculated.

"Do you mean that all the clerks misrepresented their goods
in your day?" Edith asked.

"God forbid that I should say so!" I replied, "for there were
many who did not, and they were entitled to especial credit, for
when one's livelihood and that of his wife and babies depended
on the amount of goods he could dispose of, the temptation to
deceive the customer--or let him deceive himself--was wellnigh
overwhelming. But, Miss Leete, I am distracting you from your
task with my talk."

"Not at all. I have made my selections." With that she
touched a button, and in a moment a clerk appeared. He took
down her order on a tablet with a pencil which made two copies,
of which he gave one to her, and enclosing the counterpart in a
small receptacle, dropped it into a transmitting tube.

"The duplicate of the order," said Edith as she turned away
from the counter, after the clerk had punched the value of her
purchase out of the credit card she gave him, "is given to the
purchaser, so that any mistakes in filling it can be easily traced
and rectified."

"You were very quick about your selections," I said. "May I
ask how you knew that you might not have found something to
suit you better in some of the other stores? But probably you are
required to buy in your own district."

"Oh, no," she replied. "We buy where we please, though
naturally most often near home. But I should have gained
nothing by visiting other stores. The assortment in all is exactly
the same, representing as it does in each case samples of all the
varieties produced or imported by the United States. That is
why one can decide quickly, and never need visit two stores."

"And is this merely a sample store? I see no clerks cutting off
goods or marking bundles."

"All our stores are sample stores, except as to a few classes of
articles. The goods, with these exceptions, are all at the great
central warehouse of the city, to which they are shipped directly
from the producers. We order from the sample and the printed
statement of texture, make, and qualities. The orders are sent to
the warehouse, and the goods distributed from there."

"That must be a tremendous saving of handling," I said. "By
our system, the manufacturer sold to the wholesaler, the wholesaler
to the retailer, and the retailer to the consumer, and the
goods had to be handled each time. You avoid one handling of
the goods, and eliminate the retailer altogether, with his big
profit and the army of clerks it goes to support. Why, Miss
Leete, this store is merely the order department of a wholesale
house, with no more than a wholesaler's complement of clerks.
Under our system of handling the goods, persuading the customer
to buy them, cutting them off, and packing them, ten
clerks would not do what one does here. The saving must be

"I suppose so," said Edith, "but of course we have never
known any other way. But, Mr. West, you must not fail to ask
father to take you to the central warehouse some day, where they
receive the orders from the different sample houses all over the
city and parcel out and send the goods to their destinations. He
took me there not long ago, and it was a wonderful sight. The
system is certainly perfect; for example, over yonder in that sort
of cage is the dispatching clerk. The orders, as they are taken by
the different departments in the store, are sent by transmitters to
him. His assistants sort them and enclose each class in a
carrier-box by itself. The dispatching clerk has a dozen pneumatic
transmitters before him answering to the general classes of
goods, each communicating with the corresponding department
at the warehouse. He drops the box of orders into the tube it
calls for, and in a few moments later it drops on the proper desk
in the warehouse, together with all the orders of the same sort
from the other sample stores. The orders are read off, recorded,
and sent to be filled, like lightning. The filling I thought the
most interesting part. Bales of cloth are placed on spindles and
turned by machinery, and the cutter, who also has a machine,
works right through one bale after another till exhausted, when
another man takes his place; and it is the same with those who
fill the orders in any other staple. The packages are then
delivered by larger tubes to the city districts, and thence distributed
to the houses. You may understand how quickly it is all
done when I tell you that my order will probably be at home
sooner than I could have carried it from here."

"How do you manage in the thinly settled rural districts?" I

"The system is the same," Edith explained; "the village
sample shops are connected by transmitters with the central
county warehouse, which may be twenty miles away. The
transmission is so swift, though, that the time lost on the way is
trifling. But, to save expense, in many counties one set of tubes
connect several villages with the warehouse, and then there is
time lost waiting for one another. Sometimes it is two or three
hours before goods ordered are received. It was so where I was
staying last summer, and I found it quite inconvenient."[2]

[2] I am informed since the above is in type that this lack of perfection
in the distributing service of some of the country districts
is to be remedied, and that soon every village will have its own
set of tubes.

"There must be many other respects also, no doubt, in which
the country stores are inferior to the city stores," I suggested.

"No," Edith answered, "they are otherwise precisely as good.
The sample shop of the smallest village, just like this one, gives
you your choice of all the varieties of goods the nation has, for
the county warehouse draws on the same source as the city warehouse."

As we walked home I commented on the great variety in the
size and cost of the houses. "How is it," I asked, "that this
difference is consistent with the fact that all citizens have the
same income?"

"Because," Edith explained, "although the income is the
same, personal taste determines how the individual shall spend
it. Some like fine horses; others, like myself, prefer pretty
clothes; and still others want an elaborate table. The rents which
the nation receives for these houses vary, according to size,
elegance, and location, so that everybody can find something to
suit. The larger houses are usually occupied by large families, in
which there are several to contribute to the rent; while small
families, like ours, find smaller houses more convenient and
economical. It is a matter of taste and convenience wholly. I
have read that in old times people often kept up establishments
and did other things which they could not afford for ostentation,
to make people think them richer than they were. Was it really
so, Mr. West?"

"I shall have to admit that it was," I replied.

"Well, you see, it could not be so nowadays; for everybody's
income is known, and it is known that what is spent one way
must be saved another."

Chapter 11

When we arrived home, Dr. Leete had not yet returned, and
Mrs. Leete was not visible. "Are you fond of music, Mr. West?"
Edith asked.

I assured her that it was half of life, according to my notion.

"I ought to apologize for inquiring," she said. "It is not a
question that we ask one another nowadays; but I have read that
in your day, even among the cultured class, there were some who
did not care for music."

"You must remember, in excuse," I said, "that we had some
rather absurd kinds of music."

"Yes," she said, "I know that; I am afraid I should not have
fancied it all myself. Would you like to hear some of ours now,
Mr. West?"

"Nothing would delight me so much as to listen to you," I

"To me!" she exclaimed, laughing. "Did you think I was going
to play or sing to you?"

"I hoped so, certainly," I replied.

Seeing that I was a little abashed, she subdued her merriment
and explained. "Of course, we all sing nowadays as a matter of
course in the training of the voice, and some learn to play
instruments for their private amusement; but the professional
music is so much grander and more perfect than any performance
of ours, and so easily commanded when we wish to hear
it, that we don't think of calling our singing or playing music
at all. All the really fine singers and players are in the musical
service, and the rest of us hold our peace for the main part.
But would you really like to hear some music?"

I assured her once more that I would.

"Come, then, into the music room," she said, and I followed
her into an apartment finished, without hangings, in wood, with
a floor of polished wood. I was prepared for new devices in musical
instruments, but I saw nothing in the room which by any
stretch of imagination could be conceived as such. It was evident
that my puzzled appearance was affording intense amusement to

"Please look at to-day's music," she said, handing me a card,
"and tell me what you would prefer. It is now five o'clock, you
will remember."

The card bore the date "September 12, 2000," and contained
the longest programme of music I had ever seen. It was as
various as it was long, including a most extraordinary range of
vocal and instrumental solos, duets, quartettes, and various
orchestral combinations. I remained bewildered by the prodigious
list until Edith's pink finger tip indicated a particular
section of it, where several selections were bracketed, with the
words "5 P.M." against them; then I observed that this prodigious
programme was an all-day one, divided into twenty-four sections
answering to the hours. There were but a few pieces of music in
the "5 P.M." section, and I indicated an organ piece as my

"I am so glad you like the organ," said she. "I think there is
scarcely any music that suits my mood oftener."

She made me sit down comfortably, and, crossing the room, so
far as I could see, merely touched one or two screws, and at once
the room was filled with the music of a grand organ anthem;
filled, not flooded, for, by some means, the volume of melody
had been perfectly graduated to the size of the apartment. I
listened, scarcely breathing, to the close. Such music, so perfectly
rendered, I had never expected to hear.

"Grand!" I cried, as the last great wave of sound broke and
ebbed away into silence. "Bach must be at the keys of that
organ; but where is the organ?"

"Wait a moment, please," said Edith; "I want to have you
listen to this waltz before you ask any questions. I think it is
perfectly charming"; and as she spoke the sound of violins filled
the room with the witchery of a summer night. When this had
also ceased, she said: "There is nothing in the least mysterious
about the music, as you seem to imagine. It is not made by
fairies or genii, but by good, honest, and exceedingly clever
human hands. We have simply carried the idea of labor saving
by cooperation into our musical service as into everything else.
There are a number of music rooms in the city, perfectly
adapted acoustically to the different sorts of music. These halls
are connected by telephone with all the houses of the city whose
people care to pay the small fee, and there are none, you may be
sure, who do not. The corps of musicians attached to each hall is
so large that, although no individual performer, or group of
performers, has more than a brief part, each day's programme
lasts through the twenty-four hours. There are on that card for
to-day, as you will see if you observe closely, distinct programmes
of four of these concerts, each of a different order of music from
the others, being now simultaneously performed, and any one of
the four pieces now going on that you prefer, you can hear by
merely pressing the button which will connect your house-wire
with the hall where it is being rendered. The programmes are so
coordinated that the pieces at any one time simultaneously
proceeding in the different halls usually offer a choice, not only
between instrumental and vocal, and between different sorts of
instruments; but also between different motives from grave to
gay, so that all tastes and moods can be suited."

"It appears to me, Miss Leete," I said, "that if we could have
devised an arrangement for providing everybody with music in
their homes, perfect in quality, unlimited in quantity, suited to
every mood, and beginning and ceasing at will, we should have
considered the limit of human felicity already attained, and
ceased to strive for further improvements."

"I am sure I never could imagine how those among you who
depended at all on music managed to endure the old-fashioned
system for providing it," replied Edith. "Music really worth
hearing must have been, I suppose, wholly out of the reach of
the masses, and attainable by the most favored only occasionally,
at great trouble, prodigious expense, and then for brief periods,
arbitrarily fixed by somebody else, and in connection with all
sorts of undesirable circumstances. Your concerts, for instance,
and operas! How perfectly exasperating it must have been, for
the sake of a piece or two of music that suited you, to have to sit
for hours listening to what you did not care for! Now, at a
dinner one can skip the courses one does not care for. Who
would ever dine, however hungry, if required to eat everything
brought on the table? and I am sure one's hearing is quite as
sensitive as one's taste. I suppose it was these difficulties in the
way of commanding really good music which made you endure
so much playing and singing in your homes by people who had
only the rudiments of the art."

"Yes," I replied, "it was that sort of music or none for most of

"Ah, well," Edith sighed, "when one really considers, it is not
so strange that people in those days so often did not care for
music. I dare say I should have detested it, too."

"Did I understand you rightly," I inquired, "that this musical
programme covers the entire twenty-four hours? It seems to on
this card, certainly; but who is there to listen to music between
say midnight and morning?"

"Oh, many," Edith replied. "Our people keep all hours; but if
the music were provided from midnight to morning for no
others, it still would be for the sleepless, the sick, and the dying.
All our bedchambers have a telephone attachment at the head of
the bed by which any person who may be sleepless can command
music at pleasure, of the sort suited to the mood."

"Is there such an arrangement in the room assigned to me?"

"Why, certainly; and how stupid, how very stupid, of me not
to think to tell you of that last night! Father will show you
about the adjustment before you go to bed to-night, however;
and with the receiver at your ear, I am quite sure you will be able
to snap your fingers at all sorts of uncanny feelings if they
trouble you again."

That evening Dr. Leete asked us about our visit to the store,
and in the course of the desultory comparison of the ways of the
nineteenth century and the twentieth, which followed, something
raised the question of inheritance. "I suppose," I said, "the
inheritance of property is not now allowed."

"On the contrary," replied Dr. Leete, "there is no interference
with it. In fact, you will find, Mr. West, as you come to
know us, that there is far less interference of any sort with
personal liberty nowadays than you were accustomed to. We
require, indeed, by law that every man shall serve the nation for
a fixed period, instead of leaving him his choice, as you did,
between working, stealing, or starving. With the exception of
this fundamental law, which is, indeed, merely a codification of
the law of nature--the edict of Eden--by which it is made
equal in its pressure on men, our system depends in no particular
upon legislation, but is entirely voluntary, the logical outcome of
the operation of human nature under rational conditions. This
question of inheritance illustrates just that point. The fact that
the nation is the sole capitalist and land-owner of course restricts
the individual's possessions to his annual credit, and what
personal and household belongings he may have procured with
it. His credit, like an annuity in your day, ceases on his death,
with the allowance of a fixed sum for funeral expenses. His other
possessions he leaves as he pleases."

"What is to prevent, in course of time, such accumulations of
valuable goods and chattels in the hands of individuals as might
seriously interfere with equality in the circumstances of citizens?"
I asked.

"That matter arranges itself very simply," was the reply.
"Under the present organization of society, accumulations of
personal property are merely burdensome the moment they
exceed what adds to the real comfort. In your day, if a man had
a house crammed full with gold and silver plate, rare china,
expensive furniture, and such things, he was considered rich, for
these things represented money, and could at any time be turned
into it. Nowadays a man whom the legacies of a hundred
relatives, simultaneously dying, should place in a similar position,
would be considered very unlucky. The articles, not being
salable, would be of no value to him except for their actual use
or the enjoyment of their beauty. On the other hand, his income
remaining the same, he would have to deplete his credit to hire
houses to store the goods in, and still further to pay for the
service of those who took care of them. You may be very sure
that such a man would lose no time in scattering among his
friends possessions which only made him the poorer, and that
none of those friends would accept more of them than they
could easily spare room for and time to attend to. You see, then,
that to prohibit the inheritance of personal property with a view
to prevent great accumulations would be a superfluous precaution
for the nation. The individual citizen can be trusted to see
that he is not overburdened. So careful is he in this respect, that
the relatives usually waive claim to most of the effects of
deceased friends, reserving only particular objects. The nation
takes charge of the resigned chattels, and turns such as are of
value into the common stock once more."

"You spoke of paying for service to take care of your houses,"
said I; "that suggests a question I have several times been on the
point of asking. How have you disposed of the problem of
domestic service? Who are willing to be domestic servants in a
community where all are social equals? Our ladies found it hard
enough to find such even when there was little pretense of social

"It is precisely because we are all social equals whose equality
nothing can compromise, and because service is honorable, in a
society whose fundamental principle is that all in turn shall serve
the rest, that we could easily provide a corps of domestic servants
such as you never dreamed of, if we needed them," replied Dr.
Leete. "But we do not need them."

"Who does your house-work, then?" I asked.

"There is none to do," said Mrs. Leete, to whom I had
addressed this question. "Our washing is all done at public
laundries at excessively cheap rates, and our cooking at public
kitchens. The making and repairing of all we wear are done
outside in public shops. Electricity, of course, takes the place of
all fires and lighting. We choose houses no larger than we need,
and furnish them so as to involve the minimum of trouble to
keep them in order. We have no use for domestic servants."

"The fact," said Dr. Leete, "that you had in the poorer classes
a boundless supply of serfs on whom you could impose all sorts
of painful and disagreeable tasks, made you indifferent to devices
to avoid the necessity for them. But now that we all have to do
in turn whatever work is done for society, every individual in the
nation has the same interest, and a personal one, in devices for
lightening the burden. This fact has given a prodigious impulse
to labor-saving inventions in all sorts of industry, of which the
combination of the maximum of comfort and minimum of
trouble in household arrangements was one of the earliest

"In case of special emergencies in the household," pursued Dr.
Leete, "such as extensive cleaning or renovation, or sickness in
the family, we can always secure assistance from the industrial

"But how do you recompense these assistants, since you have
no money?"

"We do not pay them, of course, but the nation for them.
Their services can be obtained by application at the proper
bureau, and their value is pricked off the credit card of the

"What a paradise for womankind the world must be now!" I
exclaimed. "In my day, even wealth and unlimited servants did
not enfranchise their possessors from household cares, while the
women of the merely well-to-do and poorer classes lived and died
martyrs to them."

"Yes," said Mrs. Leete, "I have read something of that;
enough to convince me that, badly off as the men, too, were in
your day, they were more fortunate than their mothers and

"The broad shoulders of the nation," said Dr. Leete, "bear
now like a feather the burden that broke the backs of the women
of your day. Their misery came, with all your other miseries,
from that incapacity for cooperation which followed from the
individualism on which your social system was founded, from
your inability to perceive that you could make ten times more
profit out of your fellow men by uniting with them than by
contending with them. The wonder is, not that you did not live
more comfortably, but that you were able to live together at all,
who were all confessedly bent on making one another your
servants, and securing possession of one another's goods.

"There, there, father, if you are so vehement, Mr. West will
think you are scolding him," laughingly interposed Edith.

"When you want a doctor," I asked, "do you simply apply to
the proper bureau and take any one that may be sent?"

"That rule would not work well in the case of physicians,"
replied Dr. Leete. "The good a physician can do a patient
depends largely on his acquaintance with his constitutional
tendencies and condition. The patient must be able, therefore,
to call in a particular doctor, and he does so just as patients did
in your day. The only difference is that, instead of collecting his
fee for himself, the doctor collects it for the nation by pricking
off the amount, according to a regular scale for medical attendance,
from the patient's credit card."

"I can imagine," I said, "that if the fee is always the same, and
a doctor may not turn away patients, as I suppose he may not,
the good doctors are called constantly and the poor doctors left
in idleness."

"In the first place, if you will overlook the apparent conceit of
the remark from a retired physician," replied Dr. Leete, with a
smile, "we have no poor doctors. Anybody who pleases to get a
little smattering of medical terms is not now at liberty to
practice on the bodies of citizens, as in your day. None but
students who have passed the severe tests of the schools, and
clearly proved their vocation, are permitted to practice. Then,
too, you will observe that there is nowadays no attempt of
doctors to build up their practice at the expense of other doctors.
There would be no motive for that. For the rest, the doctor has
to render regular reports of his work to the medical bureau, and
if he is not reasonably well employed, work is found for him."

Chapter 12

The questions which I needed to ask before I could acquire
even an outline acquaintance with the institutions of the twentieth
century being endless, and Dr. Leete's good-nature appearing
equally so, we sat up talking for several hours after the ladies
left us. Reminding my host of the point at which our talk had
broken off that morning, I expressed my curiosity to learn how
the organization of the industrial army was made to afford a
sufficient stimulus to diligence in the lack of any anxiety on the
worker's part as to his livelihood.

"You must understand in the first place," replied the doctor,
"that the supply of incentives to effort is but one of the objects
sought in the organization we have adopted for the army. The
other, and equally important, is to secure for the file-leaders and
captains of the force, and the great officers of the nation, men of
proven abilities, who are pledged by their own careers to hold
their followers up to their highest standard of performance and
permit no lagging. With a view to these two ends the industrial
army is organized. First comes the unclassified grade of common
laborers, men of all work, to which all recruits during their first
three years belong. This grade is a sort of school, and a very strict
one, in which the young men are taught habits of obedience,
subordination, and devotion to duty. While the miscellaneous
nature of the work done by this force prevents the systematic
grading of the workers which is afterwards possible, yet individual
records are kept, and excellence receives distinction corresponding
with the penalties that negligence incurs. It is not,
however, policy with us to permit youthful recklessness or
indiscretion, when not deeply culpable, to handicap the future
careers of young men, and all who have passed through the
unclassified grade without serious disgrace have an equal opportunity
to choose the life employment they have most liking for.
Having selected this, they enter upon it as apprentices. The
length of the apprenticeship naturally differs in different occupations.
At the end of it the apprentice becomes a full workman,
and a member of his trade or guild. Now not only are the
individual records of the apprentices for ability and industry
strictly kept, and excellence distinguished by suitable distinctions,
but upon the average of his record during apprenticeship
the standing given the apprentice among the full workmen

"While the internal organizations of different industries,
mechanical and agricultural, differ according to their peculiar
conditions, they agree in a general division of their workers into
first, second, and third grades, according to ability, and these
grades are in many cases subdivided into first and second classes.
According to his standing as an apprentice a young man is
assigned his place as a first, second, or third grade worker. Of
course only men of unusual ability pass directly from apprenticeship
into the first grade of the workers. The most fall into the
lower grades, working up as they grow more experienced, at the
--periodical regradings. These regradings take place in each industry
at intervals corresponding with the length of the apprenticeship
to that industry, so that merit never need wait long to rise,
nor can any rest on past achievements unless they would drop
into a lower rank. One of the notable advantages of a high
grading is the privilege it gives the worker in electing which of
the various branches or processes of his industry he will follow as
his specialty. Of course it is not intended that any of these
processes shall be disproportionately arduous, but there is often
much difference between them, and the privilege of election is
accordingly highly prized. So far as possible, indeed, the preferences
even of the poorest workmen are considered in assigning
them their line of work, because not only their happiness but
their usefulness is thus enhanced. While, however, the wish of
the lower grade man is consulted so far as the exigencies of the
service permit, he is considered only after the upper grade men
have been provided for, and often he has to put up with second
or third choice, or even with an arbitrary assignment when help
is needed. This privilege of election attends every regrading, and
when a man loses his grade he also risks having to exchange the
sort of work he likes for some other less to his taste. The results
of each regrading, giving the standing of every man in his
industry, are gazetted in the public prints, and those who have
won promotion since the last regrading receive the nation's
thanks and are publicly invested with the badge of their new

"What may this badge be?" I asked.

"Every industry has its emblematic device," replied Dr. Leete,
"and this, in the shape of a metallic badge so small that you
might not see it unless you knew where to look, is all the insignia
which the men of the army wear, except where public convenience
demands a distinctive uniform. This badge is the same in
form for all grades of industry, but while the badge of the third
grade is iron, that of the second grade is silver, and that of
the first is gilt.

"Apart from the grand incentive to endeavor afforded by the
fact that the high places in the nation are open only to the
highest class men, and that rank in the army constitutes the only
mode of social distinction for the vast majority who are not
aspirants in art, literature, and the professions, various incitements
of a minor, but perhaps equally effective, sort are provided
in the form of special privileges and immunities in the way of
discipline, which the superior class men enjoy. These, while
intended to be as little as possible invidious to the less successful,
have the effect of keeping constantly before every man's
mind the great desirability of attaining the grade next above his

"It is obviously important that not only the good but also the
indifferent and poor workmen should be able to cherish the
ambition of rising. Indeed, the number of the latter being so
much greater, it is even more essential that the ranking system
should not operate to discourage them than that it should
stimulate the others. It is to this end that the grades are divided
into classes. The grades as well as the classes being made
numerically equal at each regrading, there is not at any time,
counting out the officers and the unclassified and apprentice
grades, over one-ninth of the industrial army in the lowest class,
and most of this number are recent apprentices, all of whom
expect to rise. Those who remain during the entire term of
service in the lowest class are but a trifling fraction of the
industrial army, and likely to be as deficient in sensibility to their
position as in ability to better it.

"It is not even necessary that a worker should win promotion
to a higher grade to have at least a taste of glory. While
promotion requires a general excellence of record as a worker,
honorable mention and various sorts of prizes are awarded for
excellence less than sufficient for promotion, and also for special
feats and single performances in the various industries. There are
many minor distinctions of standing, not only within the grades
but within the classes, each of which acts as a spur to the efforts
of a group. It is intended that no form of merit shall wholly fail
of recognition.

"As for actual neglect of work positively bad work, or other
overt remissness on the part of men incapable of generous
motives, the discipline of the industrial army is far too strict to
allow anything whatever of the sort. A man able to do duty, and
persistently refusing, is sentenced to solitary imprisonment on
bread and water till he consents.

"The lowest grade of the officers of the industrial army, that
of assistant foremen or lieutenants, is appointed out of men who
have held their place for two years in the first class of the first
grade. Where this leaves too large a range of choice, only the
first group of this class are eligible. No one thus comes to the
point of commanding men until he is about thirty years old.
After a man becomes an officer, his rating of course no longer
depends on the efficiency of his own work, but on that of his
men. The foremen are appointed from among the assistant
foremen, by the same exercise of discretion limited to a small
eligible class. In the appointments to the still higher grades
another principle is introduced, which it would take too much
time to explain now.

"Of course such a system of grading as I have described would
have been impracticable applied to the small industrial concerns
of your day, in some of which there were hardly enough
employees to have left one apiece for the classes. You must
remember that, under the national organization of labor, all
industries are carried on by great bodies of men, many of your
farms or shops being combined as one. It is also owing solely to
the vast scale on which each industry is organized, with co-ordinate
establishments in every part of the country, that we are able
by exchanges and transfers to fit every man so nearly with the
sort of work he can do best.

"And now, Mr. West, I will leave it to you, on the bare
outline of its features which I have given, if those who need
special incentives to do their best are likely to lack them under
our system. Does it not seem to you that men who found
themselves obliged, whether they wished or not, to work, would
under such a system be strongly impelled to do their best?"

I replied that it seemed to me the incentives offered were, if
any objection were to be made, too strong; that the pace set for
the young men was too hot; and such, indeed, I would add with
deference, still remains my opinion, now that by longer residence
among you I become better acquainted with the whole

Dr. Leete, however, desired me to reflect, and I am ready to
say that it is perhaps a sufficient reply to my objection, that the
worker's livelihood is in no way dependent on his ranking, and
anxiety for that never embitters his disappointments; that the
working hours are short, the vacations regular, and that all
emulation ceases at forty-five, with the attainment of middle

"There are two or three other points I ought to refer to," he
added, "to prevent your getting mistaken impressions. In the
first place, you must understand that this system of preferment
given the more efficient workers over the less so, in no way
contravenes the fundamental idea of our social system, that all
who do their best are equally deserving, whether that best be
great or small. I have shown that the system is arranged to
encourage the weaker as well as the stronger with the hope of
rising, while the fact that the stronger are selected for the leaders
is in no way a reflection upon the weaker, but in the interest of
the common weal.

"Do not imagine, either, because emulation is given free play
as an incentive under our system, that we deem it a motive likely
to appeal to the nobler sort of men, or worthy of them. Such as
these find their motives within, not without, and measure their
duty by their own endowments, not by those of others. So long
as their achievement is proportioned to their powers, they would
consider it preposterous to expect praise or blame because it
chanced to be great or small. To such natures emulation appears
philosophically absurd, and despicable in a moral aspect by its
substitution of envy for admiration, and exultation for regret, in
one's attitude toward the successes and the failures of others.

"But all men, even in the last year of the twentieth century,
are not of this high order, and the incentives to endeavor
requisite for those who are not must be of a sort adapted to their
inferior natures. For these, then, emulation of the keenest edge
is provided as a constant spur. Those who need this motive will
feel it. Those who are above its influence do not need it.

"I should not fail to mention," resumed the doctor, "that for
those too deficient in mental or bodily strength to be fairly
graded with the main body of workers, we have a separate grade,
unconnected with the others,--a sort of invalid corps, the
members of which are provided with a light class of tasks fitted
to their strength. All our sick in mind and body, all our deaf and
dumb, and lame and blind and crippled, and even our insane,
belong to this invalid corps, and bear its insignia. The strongest
often do nearly a man's work, the feeblest, of course, nothing;
but none who can do anything are willing quite to give up. In
their lucid intervals, even our insane are eager to do what they

"That is a pretty idea of the invalid corps," I said. "Even a
barbarian from the nineteenth century can appreciate that. It is
a very graceful way of disguising charity, and must be grateful to
the feelings of its recipients."

"Charity!" repeated Dr. Leete. "Did you suppose that we
consider the incapable class we are talking of objects of charity?"

"Why, naturally," I said, "inasmuch as they are incapable of

But here the doctor took me up quickly.

"Who is capable of self-support?" he demanded. "There is no
such thing in a civilized society as self-support. In a state of
society so barbarous as not even to know family cooperation,
each individual may possibly support himself, though even then
for a part of his life only; but from the moment that men begin
to live together, and constitute even the rudest sort of society,
self-support becomes impossible. As men grow more civilized,
and the subdivision of occupations and services is carried out, a
complex mutual dependence becomes the universal rule. Every
man, however solitary may seem his occupation, is a member of
a vast industrial partnership, as large as the nation, as large as
humanity. The necessity of mutual dependence should imply
the duty and guarantee of mutual support; and that it did not in
your day constituted the essential cruelty and unreason of your

"That may all be so," I replied, "but it does not touch the case
of those who are unable to contribute anything to the product
of industry."

"Surely I told you this morning, at least I thought I did,"
replied Dr. Leete, "that the right of a man to maintenance at
the nation's table depends on the fact that he is a man, and not
on the amount of health and strength he may have, so long as he
does his best."

"You said so," I answered, "but I supposed the rule applied
only to the workers of different ability. Does it also hold of those
who can do nothing at all?"

"Are they not also men?"

"I am to understand, then, that the lame, the blind, the sick,
and the impotent, are as well off as the most efficient and have
the same income?"

"Certainly," was the reply.

"The idea of charity on such a scale," I answered, "would have
made our most enthusiastic philanthropists gasp."

"If you had a sick brother at home," replied Dr. Leete,
"unable to work, would you feed him on less dainty food, and
lodge and clothe him more poorly, than yourself? More likely
far, you would give him the preference; nor would you think of
calling it charity. Would not the word, in that connection, fill
you with indignation?"

"Of course," I replied; "but the cases are not parallel. There is
a sense, no doubt, in which all men are brothers; but this general
sort of brotherhood is not to be compared, except for rhetorical
purposes, to the brotherhood of blood, either as to its sentiment
or its obligations."

"There speaks the nineteenth century!" exclaimed Dr. Leete.
"Ah, Mr. West, there is no doubt as to the length of time that
you slept. If I were to give you, in one sentence, a key to what
may seem the mysteries of our civilization as compared with that
of your age, I should say that it is the fact that the solidarity of
the race and the brotherhood of man, which to you were but fine
phrases, are, to our thinking and feeling, ties as real and as vital
as physical fraternity.

"But even setting that consideration aside, I do not see why it
so surprises you that those who cannot work are conceded the
full right to live on the produce of those who can. Even in your
day, the duty of military service for the protection of the nation,
to which our industrial service corresponds, while obligatory on
those able to discharge it, did not operate to deprive of the
privileges of citizenship those who were unable. They stayed at
home, and were protected by those who fought, and nobody
questioned their right to be, or thought less of them. So, now,
the requirement of industrial service from those able to render
it does not operate to deprive of the privileges of citizenship,
which now implies the citizen's maintenance, him who cannot
work. The worker is not a citizen because he works, but works
because he is a citizen. As you recognize the duty of the strong
to fight for the weak, we, now that fighting is gone by, recognize
his duty to work for him.

"A solution which leaves an unaccounted-for residuum is no
solution at all; and our solution of the problem of human society
would have been none at all had it left the lame, the sick, and
the blind outside with the beasts, to fare as they might. Better
far have left the strong and well unprovided for than these
burdened ones, toward whom every heart must yearn, and for
whom ease of mind and body should be provided, if for no
others. Therefore it is, as I told you this morning, that the title
of every man, woman, and child to the means of existence rests
on no basis less plain, broad, and simple than the fact that they
are fellows of one race-members of one human family. The
only coin current is the image of God, and that is good for all
we have.

"I think there is no feature of the civilization of your epoch so
repugnant to modern ideas as the neglect with which you treated
your dependent classes. Even if you had no pity, no feeling of
brotherhood, how was it that you did not see that you were
robbing the incapable class of their plain right in leaving them
unprovided for?"

"I don't quite follow you there," I said. "I admit the claim of
this class to our pity, but how could they who produced nothing
claim a share of the product as a right?"

"How happened it," was Dr. Leete's reply, "that your workers
were able to produce more than so many savages would have
done? Was it not wholly on account of the heritage of the past
knowledge and achievements of the race, the machinery of
society, thousands of years in contriving, found by you ready-
made to your hand? How did you come to be possessors of this
knowledge and this machinery, which represent nine parts to
one contributed by yourself in the value of your product? You
inherited it, did you not? And were not these others, these
unfortunate and crippled brothers whom you cast out, joint
inheritors, co-heirs with you? What did you do with their share?
Did you not rob them when you put them off with crusts, who
were entitled to sit with the heirs, and did you not add insult to
robbery when you called the crusts charity?

"Ah, Mr. West," Dr. Leete continued, as I did not respond,
"what I do not understand is, setting aside all considerations
either of justice or brotherly feeling toward the crippled and
defective, how the workers of your day could have had any heart
for their work, knowing that their children, or grand-children, if
unfortunate, would be deprived of the comforts and even
necessities of life. It is a mystery how men with children could
favor a system under which they were rewarded beyond those
less endowed with bodily strength or mental power. For, by the
same discrimination by which the father profited, the son, for
whom he would give his life, being perchance weaker than
others, might be reduced to crusts and beggary. How men dared
leave children behind them, I have never been able to understand."

Note.--Although in his talk on the previous evening Dr. Leete
had emphasized the pains taken to enable every man to ascertain
and follow his natural bent in choosing an occupation, it was not
till I learned that the worker's income is the same in all occupations
that I realized how absolutely he may be counted on to do so, and
thus, by selecting the harness which sets most lightly on himself,
find that in which he can pull best. The failure of my age in any
systematic or effective way to develop and utilize the natural
aptitudes of men for the industries and intellectual avocations was
one of the great wastes, as well as one of the most common causes
of unhappiness in that time. The vast majority of my contemporaries,
though nominally free to do so, never really chose their
occupations at all, but were forced by circumstances into work for
which they were relatively inefficient, because not naturally fitted
for it. The rich, in this respect, had little advantage over the poor.
The latter, indeed, being generally deprived of education, had no
opportunity even to ascertain the natural aptitudes they might
have, and on account of their poverty were unable to develop them
by cultivation even when ascertained. The liberal and technical
professions, except by favorable accident, were shut to them, to
their own great loss and that of the nation. On the other hand, the
well-to-do, although they could command education and opportunity,
were scarcely less hampered by social prejudice, which forbade
them to pursue manual avocations, even when adapted to
them, and destined them, whether fit or unfit, to the professions,
thus wasting many an excellent handicraftsman. Mercenary
considerations, tempting men to pursue money-making occupations
for which they were unfit, instead of less remunerative employments
for which they were fit, were responsible for another vast
perversion of talent. All these things now are changed. Equal
education and opportunity must needs bring to light whatever
aptitudes a man has, and neither social prejudices nor mercenary
considerations hamper him in the choice of his life work.

Chapter 13

As Edith had promised he should do, Dr. Leete accompanied
me to my bedroom when I retired, to instruct me as to the
adjustment of the musical telephone. He showed how, by turning
a screw, the volume of the music could be made to fill the
room, or die away to an echo so faint and far that one could
scarcely be sure whether he heard or imagined it. If, of two
persons side by side, one desired to listen to music and the other
to sleep, it could be made audible to one and inaudible to

"I should strongly advise you to sleep if you can to-night, Mr.
West, in preference to listening to the finest tunes in the
world," the doctor said, after explaining these points. "In the
trying experience you are just now passing through, sleep is a
nerve tonic for which there is no substitute."

Mindful of what had happened to me that very morning, I
promised to heed his counsel.

"Very well," he said, "then I will set the telephone at eight

"What do you mean?" I asked.

He explained that, by a clock-work combination, a person
could arrange to be awakened at any hour by the music.

It began to appear, as has since fully proved to be the case,
that I had left my tendency to insomnia behind me with the
other discomforts of existence in the nineteenth century; for
though I took no sleeping draught this time, yet, as the night
before, I had no sooner touched the pillow than I was asleep.

I dreamed that I sat on the throne of the Abencerrages in the
banqueting hall of the Alhambra, feasting my lords and generals,
who next day were to follow the crescent against the Christian
dogs of Spain. The air, cooled by the spray of fountains, was
heavy with the scent of flowers. A band of Nautch girls,
round-limbed and luscious-lipped, danced with voluptuous grace
to the music of brazen and stringed instruments. Looking up to
the latticed galleries, one caught a gleam now and then from the
eye of some beauty of the royal harem, looking down upon the
assembled flower of Moorish chivalry. Louder and louder clashed
the cymbals, wilder and wilder grew the strain, till the blood of
the desert race could no longer resist the martial delirium, and
the swart nobles leaped to their feet; a thousand scimetars were
bared, and the cry, "Allah il Allah!" shook the hall and awoke
me, to find it broad daylight, and the room tingling with the
electric music of the "Turkish Reveille."

At the breakfast-table, when I told my host of my morning's
experience, I learned that it was not a mere chance that the
piece of music which awakened me was a reveille. The airs
played at one of the halls during the waking hours of the
morning were always of an inspiring type.

"By the way," I said, "I have not thought to ask you anything
about the state of Europe. Have the societies of the Old World
also been remodeled?"

"Yes," replied Dr. Leete, "the great nations of Europe as
well as Australia, Mexico, and parts of South America, are now
organized industrially like the United States, which was the
pioneer of the evolution. The peaceful relations of these nations
are assured by a loose form of federal union of world-wide
extent. An international council regulates the mutual intercourse
and commerce of the members of the union and their joint
policy toward the more backward races, which are gradually
being educated up to civilized institutions. Complete autonomy
within its own limits is enjoyed by every nation."

"How do you carry on commerce without money?" I said. "In
trading with other nations, you must use some sort of money,
although you dispense with it in the internal affairs of the

"Oh, no; money is as superfluous in our foreign as in our
internal relations. When foreign commerce was conducted by
private enterprise, money was necessary to adjust it on account
of the multifarious complexity of the transactions; but nowadays
it is a function of the nations as units. There are thus only a
dozen or so merchants in the world, and their business being
supervised by the international council, a simple system of book
accounts serves perfectly to regulate their dealings. Customs
duties of every sort are of course superfluous. A nation simply
does not import what its government does not think requisite for
the general interest. Each nation has a bureau of foreign
exchange, which manages its trading. For example, the American
bureau, estimating such and such quantities of French goods
necessary to America for a given year, sends the order to the
French bureau, which in turn sends its order to our bureau. The
same is done mutually by all the nations."

"But how are the prices of foreign goods settled, since there is
no competition?"

"The price at which one nation supplies another with goods,"
replied Dr. Leete, "must be that at which it supplies its own
citizens. So you see there is no danger of misunderstanding. Of
course no nation is theoretically bound to supply another with
the product of its own labor, but it is for the interest of all to
exchange some commodities. If a nation is regularly supplying
another with certain goods, notice is required from either side of
any important change in the relation."

"But what if a nation, having a monopoly of some natural
product, should refuse to supply it to the others, or to one of

"Such a case has never occurred, and could not without doing
the refusing party vastly more harm than the others," replied Dr.
Leete. "In the fist place, no favoritism could be legally shown.
The law requires that each nation shall deal with the others, in
all respects, on exactly the same footing. Such a course as you
suggest would cut off the nation adopting it from the remainder
of the earth for all purposes whatever. The contingency is one
that need not give us much anxiety."

"But," said I, "supposing a nation, having a natural monopoly
in some product of which it exports more than it consumes,
should put the price away up, and thus, without cutting off the
supply, make a profit out of its neighbors' necessities? Its own
citizens would of course have to pay the higher price on that
commodity, but as a body would make more out of foreigners
than they would be out of pocket themselves."

"When you come to know how prices of all commodities are
determined nowadays, you will perceive how impossible it is that
they could be altered, except with reference to the amount or
arduousness of the work required respectively to produce them,"
was Dr. Leete's reply. "This principle is an international as well
as a national guarantee; but even without it the sense of
community of interest, international as well as national, and the
conviction of the folly of selfishness, are too deep nowadays to
render possible such a piece of sharp practice as you apprehend.
You must understand that we all look forward to an eventual
unification of the world as one nation. That, no doubt, will be
the ultimate form of society, and will realize certain economic
advantages over the present federal system of autonomous
nations. Meanwhile, however, the present system works so nearly
perfectly that we are quite content to leave to posterity the
completion of the scheme. There are, indeed, some who hold
that it never will be completed, on the ground that the federal
plan is not merely a provisional solution of the problem of
human society, but the best ultimate solution."

"How do you manage," I asked, "when the books of any two
nations do not balance? Supposing we import more from France
than we export to her."

"At the end of each year," replied the doctor, "the books of
every nation are examined. If France is found in our debt,
probably we are in the debt of some nation which owes France,
and so on with all the nations. The balances that remain after
the accounts have been cleared by the international council
should not be large under our system. Whatever they may be,
the council requires them to be settled every few years, and may
require their settlement at any time if they are getting too large;
for it is not intended that any nation shall run largely in debt to
another, lest feelings unfavorable to amity should be engendered.
To guard further against this, the international council inspects
the commodities interchanged by the nations, to see that they
are of perfect quality."

"But what are the balances finally settled with, seeing that you
have no money?"

"In national staples; a basis of agreement as to what staples
shall be accepted, and in what proportions, for settlement of
accounts, being a preliminary to trade relations."

"Emigration is another point I want to ask you about," said I.
"With every nation organized as a close industrial partnership,
monopolizing all means of production in the country, the
emigrant, even if he were permitted to land, would starve. I
suppose there is no emigration nowadays."

"On the contrary, there is constant emigration, by which I
suppose you mean removal to foreign countries for permanent
residence," replied Dr. Leete. "It is arranged on a simple
international arrangement of indemnities. For example, if a man
at twenty-one emigrates from England to America, England
loses all the expense of his maintenance and education, and
America gets a workman for nothing. America accordingly makes
England an allowance. The same principle, varied to suit the
case, applies generally. If the man is near the term of his labor
when he emigrates, the country receiving him has the allowance.
As to imbecile persons, it is deemed best that each nation should
be responsible for its own, and the emigration of such must be
under full guarantees of support by his own nation. Subject to
these regulations, the right of any man to emigrate at any time is

"But how about mere pleasure trips; tours of observation?
How can a stranger travel in a country whose people do not
receive money, and are themselves supplied with the means of
life on a basis not extended to him? His own credit card cannot,
of course, be good in other lands. How does he pay his way?"

"An American credit card," replied Dr. Leete, "is just as good
in Europe as American gold used to be, and on precisely the
same condition, namely, that it be exchanged into the currency
of the country you are traveling in. An American in Berlin takes
his credit card to the local office of the international council, and
receives in exchange for the whole or part of it a German credit
card, the amount being charged against the United States in
favor of Germany on the international account."

"Perhaps Mr. West would like to dine at the Elephant
to-day," said Edith, as we left the table.

"That is the name we give to the general dining-house in our
ward," explained her father. "Not only is our cooking done at
the public kitchens, as I told you last night, but the service and
quality of the meals are much more satisfactory if taken at the
dining-house. The two minor meals of the day are usually taken
at home, as not worth the trouble of going out; but it is general
to go out to dine. We have not done so since you have been
with us, from a notion that it would be better to wait till you
had become a little more familiar with our ways. What do you
think? Shall we take dinner at the dining-house to-day?"

I said that I should be very much pleased to do so.

Not long after, Edith came to me, smiling, and said:

"Last night, as I was thinking what I could do to make you
feel at home until you came to be a little more used to us and
our ways, an idea occurred to me. What would you say if I were
to introduce you to some very nice people of your own times,
whom I am sure you used to be well acquainted with?"

I replied, rather vaguely, that it would certainly be very
agreeable, but I did not see how she was going to manage it.

"Come with me," was her smiling reply, "and see if I am not
as good as my word."

My susceptibility to surprise had been pretty well exhausted
by the numerous shocks it had received, but it was with some
wonderment that I followed her into a room which I had not
before entered. It was a small, cosy apartment, walled with cases
filled with books.

"Here are your friends," said Edith, indicating one of the
cases, and as my eye glanced over the names on the backs of the
volumes, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Shelley, Tennyson,
Defoe, Dickens, Thackeray, Hugo, Hawthorne, Irving, and a
score of other great writers of my time and all time, I understood
her meaning. She had indeed made good her promise in a sense
compared with which its literal fulfillment would have been a
disappointment. She had introduced me to a circle of friends
whom the century that had elapsed since last I communed with
them had aged as little as it had myself. Their spirit was as high,
their wit as keen, their laughter and their tears as contagious, as
when their speech had whiled away the hours of a former
century. Lonely I was not and could not be more, with this
goodly companionship, however wide the gulf of years that
gaped between me and my old life.

"You are glad I brought you here," exclaimed Edith, radiant,
as she read in my face the success of her experiment. "It was a
good idea, was it not, Mr. West? How stupid in me not to think
of it before! I will leave you now with your old friends, for I
know there will be no company for you like them just now; but
remember you must not let old friends make you quite forget
new ones!" and with that smiling caution she left me.

Attracted by the most familiar of the names before me, I laid
my hand on a volume of Dickens, and sat down to read. He had
been my prime favorite among the bookwriters of the century,--I
mean the nineteenth century,--and a week had rarely
passed in my old life during which I had not taken up some
volume of his works to while away an idle hour. Any volume
with which I had been familiar would have produced an extraordinary
impression, read under my present circumstances, but my
exceptional familiarity with Dickens, and his consequent power
to call up the associations of my former life, gave to his writings
an effect no others could have had, to intensify, by force of
contrast, my appreciation of the strangeness of my present
environment. However new and astonishing one's surroundings,
the tendency is to become a part of them so soon that almost
from the first the power to see them objectively and fully
measure their strangeness, is lost. That power, already dulled in
my case, the pages of Dickens restored by carrying me back
through their associations to the standpoint of my former life.

With a clearness which I had not been able before to attain, I
saw now the past and present, like contrasting pictures, side by

The genius of the great novelist of the nineteenth century,
like that of Homer, might indeed defy time; but the setting of
his pathetic tales, the misery of the poor, the wrongs of power,
the pitiless cruelty of the system of society, had passed away as
utterly as Circe and the sirens, Charybdis and Cyclops.

During the hour or two that I sat there with Dickens open
before me, I did not actually read more than a couple of pages.
Every paragraph, every phrase, brought up some new aspect of
the world-transformation which had taken place, and led my
thoughts on long and widely ramifying excursions. As meditating
thus in Dr. Leete's library I gradually attained a more clear and
coherent idea of the prodigious spectacle which I had been so
strangely enabled to view, I was filled with a deepening wonder
at the seeming capriciousness of the fate that had given to one
who so little deserved it, or seemed in any way set apart for it,
the power alone among his contemporaries to stand upon the
earth in this latter day. I had neither foreseen the new world nor
toiled for it, as many about me had done regardless of the scorn
of fools or the misconstruction of the good. Surely it would have
been more in accordance with the fitness of things had one of
those prophetic and strenuous souls been enabled to see the
travail of his soul and be satisfied; he, for example, a thousand
times rather than I, who, having beheld in a vision the world I
looked on, sang of it in words that again and again, during these
last wondrous days, had rung in my mind:

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be
Till the war-drum throbbed no longer, and the battle-flags were
In the Parliament of man, the federation of the world.

Then the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.

For I doubt not through the ages one increasing purpose runs,
And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns.

What though, in his old age, he momentarily lost faith in his
own prediction, as prophets in their hours of depression and
doubt generally do; the words had remained eternal testimony to
the seership of a poet's heart, the insight that is given to faith.

I was still in the library when some hours later Dr. Leete
sought me there. "Edith told me of her idea," he said, "and I
thought it an excellent one. I had a little curiosity what writer
you would first turn to. Ah, Dickens! You admired him, then!
That is where we moderns agree with you. Judged by our
standards, he overtops all the writers of his age, not because his
literary genius was highest, but because his great heart beat for
the poor, because he made the cause of the victims of society his
own, and devoted his pen to exposing its cruelties and shams.
No man of his time did so much as he to turn men's minds to
the wrong and wretchedness of the old order of things, and open
their eyes to the necessity of the great change that was coming,
although he himself did not clearly foresee it."

Chapter 14

A heavy rainstorm came up during the day, and I had
concluded that the condition of the streets would be such that
my hosts would have to give up the idea of going out to dinner,
although the dining-hall I had understood to be quite near. I was
much surprised when at the dinner hour the ladies appeared
prepared to go out, but without either rubbers or umbrellas.

The mystery was explained when we found ourselves on the
street, for a continuous waterproof covering had been let down
so as to inclose the sidewalk and turn it into a well lighted and
perfectly dry corridor, which was filled with a stream of ladies
and gentlemen dressed for dinner. At the comers the entire open
space was similarly roofed in. Edith Leete, with whom I walked,
seemed much interested in learning what appeared to be entirely
new to her, that in the stormy weather the streets of the Boston
of my day had been impassable, except to persons protected by
umbrellas, boots, and heavy clothing. "Were sidewalk coverings
not used at all?" she asked. They were used, I explained, but in a
scattered and utterly unsystematic way, being private enterprises.
She said to me that at the present time all the streets were
provided against inclement weather in the manner I saw, the
apparatus being rolled out of the way when it was unnecessary.
She intimated that it would be considered an extraordinary
imbecility to permit the weather to have any effect on the social
movements of the people.

Dr. Leete, who was walking ahead, overhearing something of
our talk, turned to say that the difference between the age of
individualism and that of concert was well characterized by the
fact that, in the nineteenth century, when it rained, the people
of Boston put up three hundred thousand umbrellas over as
many heads, and in the twentieth century they put up one
umbrella over all the heads.

As we walked on, Edith said, "The private umbrella is father's
favorite figure to illustrate the old way when everybody lived for
himself and his family. There is a nineteenth century painting at
the Art Gallery representing a crowd of people in the rain, each
one holding his umbrella over himself and his wife, and giving
his neighbors the drippings, which he claims must have been
meant by the artist as a satire on his times."

We now entered a large building into which a stream of
people was pouring. I could not see the front, owing to the
awning, but, if in correspondence with the interior, which was
even finer than the store I visited the day before, it would have
been magnificent. My companion said that the sculptured group
over the entrance was especially admired. Going up a grand
staircase we walked some distance along a broad corridor with
many doors opening upon it. At one of these, which bore my
host's name, we turned in, and I found myself in an elegant
dining-room containing a table for four. Windows opened on a
courtyard where a fountain played to a great height and music
made the air electric.

"You seem at home here," I said, as we seated ourselves at
table, and Dr. Leete touched an annunciator.

"This is, in fact, a part of our house, slightly detached from
the rest," he replied. "Every family in the ward has a room set
apart in this great building for its permanent and exclusive use
for a small annual rental. For transient guests and individuals
there is accommodation on another floor. If we expect to dine
here, we put in our orders the night before, selecting anything in
market, according to the daily reports in the papers. The meal is
as expensive or as simple as we please, though of course everything
is vastly cheaper as well as better than it would be prepared
at home. There is actually nothing which our people take
more interest in than the perfection of the catering and cooking
done for them, and I admit that we are a little vain of the success
that has been attained by this branch of the service. Ah, my
dear Mr. West, though other aspects of your civilization were
more tragical, I can imagine that none could have been more
depressing than the poor dinners you had to eat, that is, all of
you who had not great wealth."

"You would have found none of us disposed to disagree with
you on that point," I said.

The waiter, a fine-looking young fellow, wearing a slightly
distinctive uniform, now made his appearance. I observed him
closely, as it was the first time I had been able to study
particularly the bearing of one of the enlisted members of the
industrial army. This young man, I knew from what I had been
told, must be highly educated, and the equal, socially and in all
respects, of those he served. But it was perfectly evident that to
neither side was the situation in the slightest degree embarrassing.
Dr. Leete addressed the young man in a tone devoid, of
course, as any gentleman's would be, of superciliousness, but at
the same time not in any way deprecatory, while the manner of
the young man was simply that of a person intent on discharging
correctly the task he was engaged in, equally without familiarity
or obsequiousness. It was, in fact, the manner of a soldier on
duty, but without the military stiffness. As the youth left the
room, I said, "I cannot get over my wonder at seeing a young
man like that serving so contentedly in a menial position."

"What is that word `menial'? I never heard it," said Edith.

"It is obsolete now," remarked her father. "If I understand it
rightly, it applied to persons who performed particularly disagreeable
and unpleasant tasks for others, and carried with it an
implication of contempt. Was it not so, Mr. West?"

"That is about it," I said. "Personal service, such as waiting on
tables, was considered menial, and held in such contempt, in my
day, that persons of culture and refinement would suffer hardship
before condescending to it."

"What a strangely artificial idea," exclaimed Mrs. Leete

"And yet these services had to be rendered," said Edith.

"Of course," I replied. "But we imposed them on the poor,
and those who had no alternative but starvation."

"And increased the burden you imposed on them by adding
your contempt," remarked Dr. Leete.

"I don't think I clearly understand," said Edith. "Do you
mean that you permitted people to do things for you which you
despised them for doing, or that you accepted services from
them which you would have been unwilling to render them?
You can't surely mean that, Mr. West?"

I was obliged to tell her that the fact was just as she had
stated. Dr. Leete, however, came to my relief.

"To understand why Edith is surprised," he said, "you must
know that nowadays it is an axiom of ethics that to accept a
service from another which we would be unwilling to return in
kind, if need were, is like borrowing with the intention of not
repaying, while to enforce such a service by taking advantage of
the poverty or necessity of a person would be an outrage like
forcible robbery. It is the worst thing about any system which
divides men, or allows them to be divided, into classes and
castes, that it weakens the sense of a common humanity.
Unequal distribution of wealth, and, still more effectually,
unequal opportunities of education and culture, divided society
in your day into classes which in many respects regarded each
other as distinct races. There is not, after all, such a difference as
might appear between our ways of looking at this question of
service. Ladies and gentlemen of the cultured class in your day
would no more have permitted persons of their own class to
render them services they would scorn to return than we would
permit anybody to do so. The poor and the uncultured, however,
they looked upon as of another kind from themselves. The equal
wealth and equal opportunities of culture which all persons now
enjoy have simply made us all members of one class, which
corresponds to the most fortunate class with you. Until this
equality of condition had come to pass, the idea of the solidarity
of humanity, the brotherhood of all men, could never have
become the real conviction and practical principle of action it is
nowadays. In your day the same phrases were indeed used, but
they were phrases merely."

"Do the waiters, also, volunteer?"

"No," replied Dr. Leete. "The waiters are young men in the
unclassified grade of the industrial army who are assignable to all
sorts of miscellaneous occupations not requiring special skill.
Waiting on table is one of these, and every young recruit is given
a taste of it. I myself served as a waiter for several months in this
very dining-house some forty years ago. Once more you must
remember that there is recognized no sort of difference between
the dignity of the different sorts of work required by the nation.
The individual is never regarded, nor regards himself, as
the servant of those he serves, nor is he in any way dependent
upon them. It is always the nation which he is serving. No
difference is recognized between a waiter's functions and those
of any other worker. The fact that his is a personal service is
indifferent from our point of view. So is a doctor's. I should as
soon expect our waiter today to look down on me because I
served him as a doctor, as think of looking down on him because
he serves me as a waiter."

After dinner my entertainers conducted me about the building,
of which the extent, the magnificent architecture and
richness of embellishment, astonished me. It seemed that it was
not merely a dining-hall, but likewise a great pleasure-house and
social rendezvous of the quarter, and no appliance of entertainment
or recreation seemed lacking.

"You find illustrated here," said Dr. Leete, when I had
expressed my admiration, "what I said to you in our first
conversation, when you were looking out over the city, as to the
splendor of our public and common life as compared with the
simplicity of our private and home life, and the contrast which,
in this respect, the twentieth bears to the nineteenth century. To
save ourselves useless burdens, we have as little gear about us at
home as is consistent with comfort, but the social side of our life
is ornate and luxurious beyond anything the world ever knew
before. All the industrial and professional guilds have clubhouses
as extensive as this, as well as country, mountain, and seaside
houses for sport and rest in vacations."

NOTE. In the latter part of the nineteenth century it became a
practice of needy young men at some of the colleges of the country
to earn a little money for their term bills by serving as waiters on
tables at hotels during the long summer vacation. It was claimed,
in reply to critics who expressed the prejudices of the time in
asserting that persons voluntarily following such an occupation could
not be gentlemen, that they were entitled to praise for vindicating,
by their example, the dignity of all honest and necessary labor.
The use of this argument illustrates a common confusion in thought
on the part of my former contemporaries. The business of waiting
on tables was in no more need of defense than most of the other
ways of getting a living in that day, but to talk of dignity attaching
to labor of any sort under the system then prevailing was absurd.
There is no way in which selling labor for the highest price
it will fetch is more dignified than selling goods for what can be got.
Both were commercial transactions to be judged by the commercial
standard. By setting a price in money on his service, the worker
accepted the money measure for it, and renounced all clear claim
to be judged by any other. The sordid taint which this necessity
imparted to the noblest and the highest sorts of service was
bitterly resented by generous souls, but there was no evading it.
There was no exemption, however transcendent the quality of
one's service, from the necessity of haggling for its price in the
market-place. The physician must sell his healing and the apostle
his preaching like the rest. The prophet, who had guessed the
meaning of God, must dicker for the price of the revelation, and the
poet hawk his visions in printers' row. If I were asked to name the
most distinguishing felicity of this age, as compared to that in which
I first saw the light, I should say that to me it seems to consist in
the dignity you have given to labor by refusing to set a price upon
it and abolishing the market-place forever. By requiring of every
man his best you have made God his task-master, and by making
honor the sole reward of achievement you have imparted to all
service the distinction peculiar in my day to the soldier's.

Chapter 15

When, in the course of our tour of inspection, we came to the
library, we succumbed to the temptation of the luxurious leather
chairs with which it was furnished, and sat down in one of the
book-lined alcoves to rest and chat awhile.[3]

[3] I cannot sufficiently celebrate the glorious liberty that reigns
in the public libraries of the twentieth century as compared with
the intolerable management of those of the nineteenth century,
in which the books were jealously railed away from the people, and
obtainable only at an expenditure of time and red tape calculated
to discourage any ordinary taste for literature.

"Edith tells me that you have been in the library all the
morning," said Mrs. Leete. "Do you know, it seems to me, Mr.
West, that you are the most enviable of mortals."

"I should like to know just why," I replied.

"Because the books of the last hundred years will be new to
you," she answered. "You will have so much of the most
absorbing literature to read as to leave you scarcely time for
meals these five years to come. Ah, what would I give if I had
not already read Berrian's novels."

"Or Nesmyth's, mamma," added Edith.

"Yes, or Oates' poems, or `Past and Present,' or, `In the
Beginning,' or--oh, I could name a dozen books, each worth a
year of one's life," declared Mrs. Leete, enthusiastically.

"I judge, then, that there has been some notable literature
produced in this century."

"Yes," said Dr. Leete. "It has been an era of unexampled
intellectual splendor. Probably humanity never before passed
through a moral and material evolution, at once so vast in its
scope and brief in its time of accomplishment, as that from the
old order to the new in the early part of this century. When men
came to realize the greatness of the felicity which had befallen
them, and that the change through which they had passed was
not merely an improvement in details of their condition, but the
rise of the race to a new plane of existence with an illimitable
vista of progress, their minds were affected in all their faculties
with a stimulus, of which the outburst of the mediaeval renaissance
offers a suggestion but faint indeed. There ensued an era of
mechanical invention, scientific discovery, art, musical and literary
productiveness to which no previous age of the world offers
anything comparable."

"By the way," said I, "talking of literature, how are books
published now? Is that also done by the nation?"


"But how do you manage it? Does the government publish
everything that is brought it as a matter of course, at the public
expense, or does it exercise a censorship and print only what it

"Neither way. The printing department has no censorial
powers. It is bound to print all that is offered it, but prints it
only on condition that the author defray the first cost out of his
credit. He must pay for the privilege of the public ear, and if he
has any message worth hearing we consider that he will be glad
to do it. Of course, if incomes were unequal, as in the old times,
this rule would enable only the rich to be authors, but the
resources of citizens being equal, it merely measures the strength
of the author's motive. The cost of an edition of an average book
can be saved out of a year's credit by the practice of economy
and some sacrifices. The book, on being published, is placed on
sale by the nation."

"The author receiving a royalty on the sales as with us, I
suppose," I suggested.

"Not as with you, certainly," replied Dr. Leete, "but nevertheless
in one way. The price of every book is made up of the cost
of its publication with a royalty for the author. The author fixes
this royalty at any figure he pleases. Of course if he puts it
unreasonably high it is his own loss, for the book will not sell.
The amount of this royalty is set to his credit and he is
discharged from other service to the nation for so long a period
as this credit at the rate of allowance for the support of citizens
shall suffice to support him. If his book be moderately successful,
he has thus a furlough for several months, a year, two or three
years, and if he in the mean time produces other successful work,
the remission of service is extended so far as the sale of that may
justify. An author of much acceptance succeeds in supporting
himself by his pen during the entire period of service, and the
degree of any writer's literary ability, as determined by the
popular voice, is thus the measure of the opportunity given him
to devote his time to literature. In this respect the outcome of
our system is not very dissimilar to that of yours, but there are
two notable differences. In the first place, the universally high
level of education nowadays gives the popular verdict a conclusiveness
on the real merit of literary work which in your day it
was as far as possible from having. In the second place, there is
no such thing now as favoritism of any sort to interfere with the
recognition of true merit. Every author has precisely the same
facilities for bringing his work before the popular tribunal. To
judge from the complaints of the writers of your day, this absolute
equality of opportunity would have been greatly prized."

"In the recognition of merit in other fields of original genius,
such as music, art, invention, design," I said, "I suppose you
follow a similar principle."

"Yes," he replied, "although the details differ. In art, for
example, as in literature, the people are the sole judges. They
vote upon the acceptance of statues and paintings for the public
buildings, and their favorable verdict carries with it the artist's
remission from other tasks to devote himself to his vocation. On
copies of his work disposed of, he also derives the same advantage
as the author on sales of his books. In all these lines of
original genius the plan pursued is the same to offer a free field
to aspirants, and as soon as exceptional talent is recognized to
release it from all trammels and let it have free course. The
remission of other service in these cases is not intended as a gift
or reward, but as the means of obtaining more and higher
service. Of course there are various literary, art, and scientific
institutes to which membership comes to the famous and is
greatly prized. The highest of all honors in the nation, higher
than the presidency, which calls merely for good sense and
devotion to duty, is the red ribbon awarded by the vote of the
people to the great authors, artists, engineers, physicians, and
inventors of the generation. Not over a certain number wear it at
any one time, though every bright young fellow in the country
loses innumerable nights' sleep dreaming of it. I even did

"Just as if mamma and I would have thought any more of you
with it," exclaimed Edith; "not that it isn't, of course, a very
fine thing to have."

"You had no choice, my dear, but to take your father as you
found him and make the best of him," Dr. Leete replied; "but as
for your mother, there, she would never have had me if l had
not assured her that I was bound to get the red ribbon or at least
the blue."

On this extravagance Mrs. Leete's only comment was a smile.

"How about periodicals and newspapers?" I said. "I won't
deny that your book publishing system is a considerable
improvement on ours, both as to its tendency to encourage a real
literary vocation, and, quite as important, to discourage mere
scribblers; but I don't see how it can be made to apply to
magazines and newspapers. It is very well to make a man pay for
publishing a book, because the expense will be only occasional;
but no man could afford the expense of publishing a newspaper
every day in the year. It took the deep pockets of our private
capitalists to do that, and often exhausted even them before the
returns came in. If you have newspapers at all, they must, I
fancy, be published by the government at the public expense,
with government editors, reflecting government opinions. Now,
if your system is so perfect that there is never anything to
criticize in the conduct of affairs, this arrangement may answer.
Otherwise I should think the lack of an independent unofficial
medium for the expression of public opinion would have most
unfortunate results. Confess, Dr. Leete, that a free newspaper
press, with all that it implies, was a redeeming incident of the
old system when capital was in private hands, and that you have
to set off the loss of that against your gains in other respects."

"I am afraid I can't give you even that consolation," replied
Dr. Leete, laughing. "In the first place, Mr. West, the newspaper
press is by no means the only or, as we look at it, the best
vehicle for serious criticism of public affairs. To us, the
judgments of your newspapers on such themes seem generally to
have been crude and flippant, as well as deeply tinctured with
prejudice and bitterness. In so far as they may be taken as
expressing public opinion, they give an unfavorable impression
of the popular intelligence, while so far as they may have
formed public opinion, the nation was not to be felicitated.
Nowadays, when a citizen desires to make a serious impression
upon the public mind as to any aspect of public affairs, he comes
out with a book or pamphlet, published as other books are. But
this is not because we lack newspapers and magazines, or that
they lack the most absolute freedom. The newspaper press is
organized so as to be a more perfect expression of public opinion
than it possibly could be in your day, when private capital
controlled and managed it primarily as a money-making business,
and secondarily only as a mouthpiece for the people."

"But," said I, "if the government prints the papers at the
public expense, how can it fail to control their policy? Who
appoints the editors, if not the government?"

"The government does not pay the expense of the papers, nor
appoint their editors, nor in any way exert the slightest influence
on their policy," replied Dr. Leete. "The people who take the
paper pay the expense of its publication, choose its editor, and
remove him when unsatisfactory. You will scarcely say, I think,
that such a newspaper press is not a free organ of popular

"Decidedly I shall not," I replied, "but how is it practicable?"

"Nothing could be simpler. Supposing some of my neighbors
or myself think we ought to have a newspaper reflecting our
opinions, and devoted especially to our locality, trade, or profession.
We go about among the people till we get the names of
such a number that their annual subscriptions will meet the cost
of the paper, which is little or big according to the largeness of
its constituency. The amount of the subscriptions marked off the
credits of the citizens guarantees the nation against loss in
publishing the paper, its business, you understand, being that of
a publisher purely, with no option to refuse the duty required.
The subscribers to the paper now elect somebody as editor, who,
if he accepts the office, is discharged from other service during
his incumbency. Instead of paying a salary to him, as in your
day, the subscribers pay the nation an indemnity equal to the
cost of his support for taking him away from the general service.
He manages the paper just as one of your editors did, except that
he has no counting-room to obey, or interests of private capital
as against the public good to defend. At the end of the first year,
the subscribers for the next either re-elect the former editor or
choose any one else to his place. An able editor, of course, keeps
his place indefinitely. As the subscription list enlarges, the funds
of the paper increase, and it is improved by the securing of more
and better contributors, just as your papers were."

"How is the staff of contributors recompensed, since they
cannot be paid in money?"

"The editor settles with them the price of their wares. The
amount is transferred to their individual credit from the guarantee
credit of the paper, and a remission of service is granted the
contributor for a length of time corresponding to the amount
credited him, just as to other authors. As to magazines, the
system is the same. Those interested in the prospectus of a new
periodical pledge enough subscriptions to run it for a year; select
their editor, who recompenses his contributors just as in the
other case, the printing bureau furnishing the necessary force
and material for publication, as a matter of course. When an
editor's services are no longer desired, if he cannot earn the right
to his time by other literary work, he simply resumes his place in
the industrial army. I should add that, though ordinarily the
editor is elected only at the end of the year, and as a rule is
continued in office for a term of years, in case of any sudden
change he should give to the tone of the paper, provision is
made for taking the sense of the subscribers as to his removal at
any time."

"However earnestly a man may long for leisure for purposes of
study or meditation," I remarked, "he cannot get out of the
harness, if I understand you rightly, except in these two ways you
have mentioned. He must either by literary, artistic, or inventive
productiveness indemnify the nation for the loss of his services,
or must get a sufficient number of other people to contribute to
such an indemnity."

"It is most certain," replied Dr. Leete, "that no able-bodied
man nowadays can evade his share of work and live on the toil of
others, whether he calls himself by the fine name of student or
confesses to being simply lazy. At the same time our system is
elastic enough to give free play to every instinct of human nature
which does not aim at dominating others or living on the fruit of
others' labor. There is not only the remission by indemnification
but the remission by abnegation. Any man in his thirty-third
year, his term of service being then half done, can obtain an
honorable discharge from the army, provided he accepts for the
rest of his life one half the rate of maintenance other citizens
receive. It is quite possible to live on this amount, though one
must forego the luxuries and elegancies of life, with some,
perhaps, of its comforts."

When the ladies retired that evening, Edith brought me a
book and said:

"If you should be wakeful to-night, Mr. West, you might be
interested in looking over this story by Berrian. It is considered
his masterpiece, and will at least give you an idea what the
stories nowadays are like."

I sat up in my room that night reading "Penthesilia" till it
grew gray in the east, and did not lay it down till I had finished
it. And yet let no admirer of the great romancer of the twentieth
century resent my saying that at the first reading what most
impressed me was not so much what was in the book as what
was left out of it. The story-writers of my day would have
deemed the making of bricks without straw a light task compared
with the construction of a romance from which should be
excluded all effects drawn from the contrasts of wealth and
poverty, education and ignorance, coarseness and refinement,
high and low, all motives drawn from social pride and ambition,
the desire of being richer or the fear of being poorer, together
with sordid anxieties of any sort for one's self or others; a
romance in which there should, indeed, be love galore, but love
unfretted by artificial barriers created by differences of station or
possessions, owning no other law but that of the heart. The
reading of "Penthesilia" was of more value than almost any
amount of explanation would have been in giving me something
like a general impression of the social aspect of the twentieth
century. The information Dr. Leete had imparted was indeed
extensive as to facts, but they had affected my mind as so many
separate impressions, which I had as yet succeeded but imperfectly
in making cohere. Berrian put them together for me in a

Chapter 16

Next morning I rose somewhat before the breakfast hour. As I
descended the stairs, Edith stepped into the hall from the room
which had been the scene of the morning interview between us
described some chapters back.

"Ah!" she exclaimed, with a charmingly arch expression, "you
thought to slip out unbeknown for another of those solitary
morning rambles which have such nice effects on you. But you
see I am up too early for you this time. You are fairly caught."

"You discredit the efficacy of your own cure," I said, "by
supposing that such a ramble would now be attended with bad

"I am very glad to hear that," she said. "I was in here
arranging some flowers for the breakfast table when I heard you
come down, and fancied I detected something surreptitious in
your step on the stairs."

"You did me injustice," I replied. "I had no idea of going out
at all."

Despite her effort to convey an impression that my interception
was purely accidental, I had at the time a dim suspicion of
what I afterwards learned to be the fact, namely, that this sweet
creature, in pursuance of her self-assumed guardianship over me,
had risen for the last two or three mornings at an unheard-of
hour, to insure against the possibility of my wandering off alone
in case I should be affected as on the former occasion. Receiving
permission to assist her in making up the breakfast bouquet, I
followed her into the room from which she had emerged.

"Are you sure," she asked, "that you are quite done with those
terrible sensations you had that morning?"

"I can't say that I do not have times of feeling decidedly
queer," I replied, "moments when my personal identity seems an
open question. It would be too much to expect after my
experience that I should not have such sensations occasionally,
but as for being carried entirely off my feet, as I was on the point
of being that morning, I think the danger is past."

"I shall never forget how you looked that morning," she said.

"If you had merely saved my life," I continued, "I might,
perhaps, find words to express my gratitude, but it was my reason
you saved, and there are no words that would not belittle my
debt to you." I spoke with emotion, and her eyes grew suddenly

"It is too much to believe all this," she said, "but it is very
delightful to hear you say it. What I did was very little. I was
very much distressed for you, I know. Father never thinks
anything ought to astonish us when it can be explained scientifically,
as I suppose this long sleep of yours can be, but even to
fancy myself in your place makes my head swim. I know that I
could not have borne it at all."

"That would depend," I replied, "on whether an angel came
to support you with her sympathy in the crisis of your condition,
as one came to me." If my face at all expressed the feelings I had
a right to have toward this sweet and lovely young girl, who had
played so angelic a role toward me, its expression must have been
very worshipful just then. The expression or the words, or both
together, caused her now to drop her eyes with a charming

"For the matter of that," I said, "if your experience has not
been as startling as mine, it must have been rather overwhelming
to see a man belonging to a strange century, and apparently a
hundred years dead, raised to life."

"It seemed indeed strange beyond any describing at first," she
said, "but when we began to put ourselves in your place, and
realize how much stranger it must seem to you, I fancy we forgot
our own feelings a good deal, at least I know I did. It seemed
then not so much astounding as interesting and touching beyond
anything ever heard of before."

"But does it not come over you as astounding to sit at table
with me, seeing who I am?"

"You must remember that you do not seem so strange to us as
we must to you," she answered. "We belong to a future of which
you could not form an idea, a generation of which you knew
nothing until you saw us. But you belong to a generation of
which our forefathers were a part. We know all about it; the
names of many of its members are household words with us. We
have made a study of your ways of living and thinking; nothing
you say or do surprises us, while we say and do nothing which
does not seem strange to you. So you see, Mr. West, that if you
feel that you can, in time, get accustomed to us, you must not be
surprised that from the first we have scarcely found you strange
at all."

"I had not thought of it in that way," I replied. "There is
indeed much in what you say. One can look back a thousand
years easier than forward fifty. A century is not so very long a
retrospect. I might have known your great-grand-parents. Possibly
I did. Did they live in Boston?"

"I believe so."

"You are not sure, then?"

"Yes," she replied. "Now I think, they did."

"I had a very large circle of acquaintances in the city," I said.
"It is not unlikely that I knew or knew of some of them. Perhaps
I may have known them well. Wouldn't it be interesting if I
should chance to be able to tell you all about your great-grandfather,
for instance?"

"Very interesting."

"Do you know your genealogy well enough to tell me who
your forbears were in the Boston of my day?"

"Oh, yes."

"Perhaps, then, you will some time tell me what some of their
names were."

She was engrossed in arranging a troublesome spray of green,
and did not reply at once. Steps upon the stairway indicated that
the other members of the family were descending.

"Perhaps, some time," she said.

After breakfast, Dr. Leete suggested taking me to inspect the
central warehouse and observe actually in operation the machinery
of distribution, which Edith had described to me. As we
walked away from the house I said, "It is now several days that I
have been living in your household on a most extraordinary
footing, or rather on none at all. I have not spoken of this aspect
of my position before because there were so many other aspects
yet more extraordinary. But now that I am beginning a little to
feel my feet under me, and to realize that, however I came here,
I am here, and must make the best of it, I must speak to you on
this point."

"As for your being a guest in my house," replied Dr. Leete, "I
pray you not to begin to be uneasy on that point, for I mean to
keep you a long time yet. With all your modesty, you can but
realize that such a guest as yourself is an acquisition not willingly
to be parted with."

"Thanks, doctor," I said. "It would be absurd, certainly, for
me to affect any oversensitiveness about accepting the temporary
hospitality of one to whom I owe it that I am not still awaiting
the end of the world in a living tomb. But if I am to be a
permanent citizen of this century I must have some standing in
it. Now, in my time a person more or less entering the world,
however he got in, would not be noticed in the unorganized
throng of men, and might make a place for himself anywhere
he chose if he were strong enough. But nowadays everybody is a
part of a system with a distinct place and function. I am outside
the system, and don't see how I can get in; there seems no way
to get in, except to be born in or to come in as an emigrant
from some other system."

Dr. Leete laughed heartily.

"I admit," he said, "that our system is defective in lacking
provision for cases like yours, but you see nobody anticipated
additions to the world except by the usual process. You need,
however, have no fear that we shall be unable to provide both a
place and occupation for you in due time. You have as yet been
brought in contact only with the members of my family, but you
must not suppose that I have kept your secret. On the contrary,
your case, even before your resuscitation, and vastly more since
has excited the profoundest interest in the nation. In view of
your precarious nervous condition, it was thought best that I
should take exclusive charge of you at first, and that you should,
through me and my family, receive some general idea of the sort
of world you had come back to before you began to make the
acquaintance generally of its inhabitants. As to finding a function
for you in society, there was no hesitation as to what that
would be. Few of us have it in our power to confer so great a
service on the nation as you will be able to when you leave my
roof, which, however, you must not think of doing for a good
time yet."

"What can I possibly do?" I asked. "Perhaps you imagine I
have some trade, or art, or special skill. I assure you I have none
whatever. I never earned a dollar in my life, or did an hour's
work. I am strong, and might be a common laborer, but nothing

"If that were the most efficient service you were able to render
the nation, you would find that avocation considered quite as
respectable as any other," replied Dr. Leete; "but you can do
something else better. You are easily the master of all our
historians on questions relating to the social condition of the
latter part of the nineteenth century, to us one of the most
absorbingly interesting periods of history: and whenever in due
time you have sufficiently familiarized yourself with our institutions,
and are willing to teach us something concerning those of
your day, you will find an historical lectureship in one of our
colleges awaiting you."

"Very good! very good indeed," I said, much relieved by so
practical a suggestion on a point which had begun to trouble me.
"If your people are really so much interested in the nineteenth
century, there will indeed be an occupation ready-made for me. I
don't think there is anything else that I could possibly earn my
salt at, but I certainly may claim without conceit to have some
special qualifications for such a post as you describe."

Chapter 17

I found the processes at the warehouse quite as interesting as
Edith had described them, and became even enthusiastic over
the truly remarkable illustration which is seen there of the
prodigiously multiplied efficiency which perfect organization can
give to labor. It is like a gigantic mill, into the hopper of which
goods are being constantly poured by the train-load and shipload,
to issue at the other end in packages of pounds and ounces,
yards and inches, pints and gallons, corresponding to the
infinitely complex personal needs of half a million people. Dr.
Leete, with the assistance of data furnished by me as to the way
goods were sold in my day, figured out some astounding results
in the way of the economies effected by the modern system.

As we set out homeward, I said: "After what I have seen
to-day, together with what you have told me, and what I learned
under Miss Leete's tutelage at the sample store, I have a
tolerably clear idea of your system of distribution, and how it
enables you to dispense with a circulating medium. But I should
like very much to know something more about your system of
production. You have told me in general how your industrial
army is levied and organized, but who directs its efforts? What
supreme authority determines what shall be done in every
department, so that enough of everything is produced and yet no
labor wasted? It seems to me that this must be a wonderfully
complex and difficult function, requiring very unusual endowments."

"Does it indeed seem so to you?" responded Dr. Leete. "I
assure you that it is nothing of the kind, but on the other hand
so simple, and depending on principles so obvious and easily
applied, that the functionaries at Washington to whom it is
trusted require to be nothing more than men of fair abilities to
discharge it to the entire satisfaction of the nation. The machine
which they direct is indeed a vast one, but so logical in its
principles and direct and simple in its workings, that it all but
runs itself; and nobody but a fool could derange it, as I think you
will agree after a few words of explanation. Since you already
have a pretty good idea of the working of the distributive system,
let us begin at that end. Even in your day statisticians were able
to tell you the number of yards of cotton, velvet, woolen, the
number of barrels of flour, potatoes, butter, number of pairs
of shoes, hats, and umbrellas annually consumed by the nation.
Owing to the fact that production was in private hands, and
that there was no way of getting statistics of actual distribution,
these figures were not exact, but they were nearly so.
Now that every pin which is given out from a national warehouse
is recorded, of course the figures of consumption for any
week, month, or year, in the possession of the department of
distribution at the end of that period, are precise. On these
figures, allowing for tendencies to increase or decrease and for
any special causes likely to affect demand, the estimates, say for a
year ahead, are based. These estimates, with a proper margin for
security, having been accepted by the general administration, the
responsibility of the distributive department ceases until the
goods are delivered to it. I speak of the estimates being furnished
for an entire year ahead, but in reality they cover that much time
only in case of the great staples for which the demand can be
calculated on as steady. In the great majority of smaller
industries for the product of which popular taste fluctuates, and
novelty is frequently required, production is kept barely ahead of
consumption, the distributive department furnishing frequent
estimates based on the weekly state of demand.

"Now the entire field of productive and constructive industry
is divided into ten great departments, each representing a group
of allied industries, each particular industry being in turn
represented by a subordinate bureau, which has a complete record of
the plant and force under its control, of the present product, and
means of increasing it. The estimates of the distributive department,
after adoption by the administration, are sent as mandates
to the ten great departments, which allot them to the subordinate
bureaus representing the particular industries, and these set
the men at work. Each bureau is responsible for the task given it,
and this responsibility is enforced by departmental oversight and
that of the administration; nor does the distributive department
accept the product without its own inspection; while even if in
the hands of the consumer an article turns out unfit, the system
enables the fault to be traced back to the original workman. The
production of the commodities for actual public consumption
does not, of course, require by any means all the national force
of workers. After the necessary contingents have been detailed
for the various industries, the amount of labor left for other
employment is expended in creating fixed capital, such as
buildings, machinery, engineering works, and so forth."

"One point occurs to me," I said, "on which I should think
there might be dissatisfaction. Where there is no opportunity for
private enterprise, how is there any assurance that the claims of
small minorities of the people to have articles produced, for
which there is no wide demand, will be respected? An official
decree at any moment may deprive them of the means of
gratifying some special taste, merely because the majority does
not share it."

"That would be tyranny indeed," replied Dr. Leete, "and you
may be very sure that it does not happen with us, to whom
liberty is as dear as equality or fraternity. As you come to know
our system better, you will see that our officials are in fact, and
not merely in name, the agents and servants of the people. The
administration has no power to stop the production of any
commodity for which there continues to be a demand. Suppose
the demand for any article declines to such a point that its
production becomes very costly. The price has to be raised in
proportion, of course, but as long as the consumer cares to pay it,
the production goes on. Again, suppose an article not before
produced is demanded. If the administration doubts the reality
of the demand, a popular petition guaranteeing a certain basis
of consumption compels it to produce the desired article. A government,
or a majority, which should undertake to tell the people,
or a minority, what they were to eat, drink, or wear, as I
believe governments in America did in your day, would be regarded
as a curious anachronism indeed. Possibly you had reasons
for tolerating these infringements of personal independence,
but we should not think them endurable. I am glad you
raised this point, for it has given me a chance to show you how
much more direct and efficient is the control over production
exercised by the individual citizen now than it was in your day,
when what you called private initiative prevailed, though it
should have been called capitalist initiative, for the average
private citizen had little enough share in it."

"You speak of raising the price of costly articles," I said. "How
can prices be regulated in a country where there is no competition
between buyers or sellers?"

"Just as they were with you," replied Dr. Leete. "You think
that needs explaining," he added, as I looked incredulous, "but
the explanation need not be long; the cost of the labor which
produced it was recognized as the legitimate basis of the price of
an article in your day, and so it is in ours. In your day, it was the
difference in wages that made the difference in the cost of labor;
now it is the relative number of hours constituting a day's work
in different trades, the maintenance of the worker being equal in
all cases. The cost of a man's work in a trade so difficult that in
order to attract volunteers the hours have to be fixed at four a
day is twice as great as that in a trade where the men work eight
hours. The result as to the cost of labor, you see, is just the same
as if the man working four hours were paid, under your system,
twice the wages the others get. This calculation applied to the
labor employed in the various processes of a manufactured article
gives its price relatively to other articles. Besides the cost of
production and transportation, the factor of scarcity affects the
prices of some commodities. As regards the great staples of life,
of which an abundance can always be secured, scarcity is
eliminated as a factor. There is always a large surplus kept on
hand from which any fluctuations of demand or supply can be
corrected, even in most cases of bad crops. The prices of the
staples grow less year by year, but rarely, if ever, rise. There are,
however, certain classes of articles permanently, and others
temporarily, unequal to the demand, as, for example, fresh fish
or dairy products in the latter category, and the products of high
skill and rare materials in the other. All that can be done here is
to equalize the inconvenience of the scarcity. This is done by
temporarily raising the price if the scarcity be temporary, or
fixing it high if it be permanent. High prices in your day meant
restriction of the articles affected to the rich, but nowadays,
when the means of all are the same, the effect is only that those
to whom the articles seem most desirable are the ones who
purchase them. Of course the nation, as any other caterer for the
public needs must be, is frequently left with small lots of goods
on its hands by changes in taste, unseasonable weather and
various other causes. These it has to dispose of at a sacrifice just
as merchants often did in your day, charging up the loss to the
expenses of the business. Owing, however, to the vast body of
consumers to which such lots can be simultaneously offered,
there is rarely any difficulty in getting rid of them at trifling loss.
I have given you now some general notion of our system of
production; as well as distribution. Do you find it as complex as
you expected?"

I admitted that nothing could be much simpler.

"I am sure," said Dr. Leete, "that it is within the truth to say
that the head of one of the myriad private businesses of your
day, who had to maintain sleepless vigilance against the fluctuations
of the market, the machinations of his rivals, and the
failure of his debtors, had a far more trying task than the group
of men at Washington who nowadays direct the industries of
the entire nation. All this merely shows, my dear fellow, how
much easier it is to do things the right way than the wrong. It is
easier for a general up in a balloon, with perfect survey of the
field, to manoeuvre a million men to victory than for a sergeant
to manage a platoon in a thicket."

"The general of this army, including the flower of the manhood
of the nation, must be the foremost man in the country,
really greater even than the President of the United States," I

"He is the President of the United States," replied Dr. Leete,
"or rather the most important function of the presidency is the
headship of the industrial army."

"How is he chosen?" I asked.

"I explained to you before," replied Dr. Leete, "when I was
describing the force of the motive of emulation among all grades
of the industrial army, that the line of promotion for the
meritorious lies through three grades to the officer's grade, and
thence up through the lieutenancies to the captaincy or foremanship,
and superintendency or colonel's rank. Next, with an intervening
grade in some of the larger trades, comes the general
of the guild, under whose immediate control all the operations
of the trade are conducted. This officer is at the head of the
national bureau representing his trade, and is responsible for its
work to the administration. The general of his guild holds a
splendid position, and one which amply satisfies the ambition of
most men, but above his rank, which may be compared--to
follow the military analogies familiar to you--to that of a
general of division or major-general, is that of the chiefs of the
ten great departments, or groups of allied trades. The chiefs of
these ten grand divisions of the industrial army may be compared
to your commanders of army corps, or lieutenant-generals,
each having from a dozen to a score of generals of separate guilds
reporting to him. Above these ten great officers, who form his
council, is the general-in-chief, who is the President of the
United States.

"The general-in-chief of the industrial army must have passed
through all the grades below him, from the common laborers up.
Let us see how he rises. As I have told you, it is simply by the
excellence of his record as a worker that one rises through the
grades of the privates and becomes a candidate for a lieutenancy.
Through the lieutenancies he rises to the colonelcy, or superintendent's
position, by appointment from above, strictly limited
to the candidates of the best records. The general of the guild
appoints to the ranks under him, but he himself is not
appointed, but chosen by suffrage."

"By suffrage!" I exclaimed. "Is not that ruinous to the
discipline of the guild, by tempting the candidates to intrigue for
the support of the workers under them?"

"So it would be, no doubt," replied Dr. Leete, "if the workers
had any suffrage to exercise, or anything to say about the choice.
But they have nothing. Just here comes in a peculiarity of our
system. The general of the guild is chosen from among the
superintendents by vote of the honorary members of the guild,
that is, of those who have served their time in the guild and
received their discharge. As you know, at the age of forty-five we
are mustered out of the army of industry, and have the residue
of life for the pursuit of our own improvement or recreation. Of
course, however, the associations of our active lifetime retain a
powerful hold on us. The companionships we formed then
remain our companionships till the end of life. We always
continue honorary members of our former guilds, and retain the
keenest and most jealous interest in their welfare and repute in
the hands of the following generation. In the clubs maintained
by the honorary members of the several guilds, in which we
meet socially, there are no topics of conversation so common as
those which relate to these matters, and the young aspirants for
guild leadership who can pass the criticism of us old fellows are
likely to be pretty well equipped. Recognizing this fact, the
nation entrusts to the honorary members of each guild the
election of its general, and I venture to claim that no previous
form of society could have developed a body of electors so
ideally adapted to their office, as regards absolute impartiality,
knowledge of the special qualifications and record of candidates,
solicitude for the best result, and complete absence of self-

"Each of the ten lieutenant-generals or heads of departments
is himself elected from among the generals of the guilds grouped
as a department, by vote of the honorary members of the guilds
thus grouped. Of course there is a tendency on the part of each
guild to vote for its own general, but no guild of any group has
nearly enough votes to elect a man not supported by most of the
others. I assure you that these elections are exceedingly lively."

"The President, I suppose, is selected from among the ten
heads of the great departments," I suggested.

"Precisely, but the heads of departments are not eligible to the
presidency till they have been a certain number of years out of
office. It is rarely that a man passes through all the grades to the
headship of a department much before he is forty, and at the
end of a five years' term he is usually forty-five. If more, he still
serves through his term, and if less, he is nevertheless discharged
from the industrial army at its termination. It would not do for
him to return to the ranks. The interval before he is a candidate
for the presidency is intended to give time for him to recognize
fully that he has returned into the general mass of the nation,
and is identified with it rather than with the industrial army.
Moreover, it is expected that he will employ this period in
studying the general condition of the army, instead of that of the
special group of guilds of which he was the head. From among
the former heads of departments who may be eligible at the
time, the President is elected by vote of all the men of the
nation who are not connected with the industrial army."

"The army is not allowed to vote for President?"

"Certainly not. That would be perilous to its discipline, which
it is the business of the President to maintain as the representative
of the nation at large. His right hand for this purpose is the
inspectorate, a highly important department of our system; to
the inspectorate come all complaints or information as to defects
in goods, insolence or inefficiency of officials, or dereliction of
any sort in the public service. The inspectorate, however, does
not wait for complaints. Not only is it on the alert to catch and
sift every rumor of a fault in the service, but it is its business, by
systematic and constant oversight and inspection of every branch
of the army, to find out what is going wrong before anybody else
does. The President is usually not far from fifty when elected,
and serves five years, forming an honorable exception to the rule
of retirement at forty-five. At the end of his term of office, a
national Congress is called to receive his report and approve or
condemn it. If it is approved, Congress usually elects him to
represent the nation for five years more in the international
council. Congress, I should also say, passes on the reports of the
outgoing heads of departments, and a disapproval renders any
one of them ineligible for President. But it is rare, indeed, that
the nation has occasion for other sentiments than those of
gratitude toward its high officers. As to their ability, to have risen
from the ranks, by tests so various and severe, to their positions,
is proof in itself of extraordinary qualities, while as to faithfulness,
our social system leaves them absolutely without any other
motive than that of winning the esteem of their fellow citizens.
Corruption is impossible in a society where there is neither pov-
erty to be bribed nor wealth to bribe, while as to demagoguery
or intrigue for office, the conditions of promotion render
them out of the question."

"One point I do not quite understand," I said. "Are the
members of the liberal professions eligible to the presidency?
and if so, how are they ranked with those who pursue the
industries proper?"

"They have no ranking with them," replied Dr. Leete. "The
members of the technical professions, such as engineers and
architects, have a ranking with the constructive guilds; but the
members of the liberal professions, the doctors and teachers, as
well as the artists and men of letters who obtain remissions of
industrial service, do not belong to the industrial army. On this
ground they vote for the President, but are not eligible to his
office. One of its main duties being the control and discipline of
the industrial army, it is essential that the President should have
passed through all its grades to understand his business."

"That is reasonable," I said; "but if the doctors and teachers
do not know enough of industry to be President, neither, I
should think, can the President know enough of medicine and
education to control those departments."

"No more does he," was the reply. "Except in the general way
that he is responsible for the enforcement of the laws as to all
classes, the President has nothing to do with the faculties of
medicine and education, which are controlled by boards of
regents of their own, in which the President is ex-officio chairman,
and has the casting vote. These regents, who, of course, are
responsible to Congress, are chosen by the honorary members of
the guilds of education and medicine, the retired teachers and
doctors of the country."

"Do you know," I said, "the method of electing officials by
votes of the retired members of the guilds is nothing more than
the application on a national scale of the plan of government by
alumni, which we used to a slight extent occasionally in the
management of our higher educational institutions."

"Did you, indeed?" exclaimed Dr. Leete, with animation.
"That is quite new to me, and I fancy will be to most of us, and
of much interest as well. There has been great discussion as to
the germ of the idea, and we fancied that there was for once
something new under the sun. Well! well! In your higher
educational institutions! that is interesting indeed. You must tell
me more of that."

"Truly, there is very little more to tell than I have told
already," I replied. "If we had the germ of your idea, it was but
as a germ."

Chapter 18

That evening I sat up for some time after the ladies had
retired, talking with Dr. Leete about the effect of the plan of
exempting men from further service to the nation after the age
of forty-five, a point brought up by his account of the part taken
by the retired citizens in the government.

"At forty-five," said I, "a man still has ten years of good
manual labor in him, and twice ten years of good intellectual
service. To be superannuated at that age and laid on the shelf
must be regarded rather as a hardship than a favor by men of
energetic dispositions."

"My dear Mr. West," exclaimed Dr. Leete, beaming upon me,
"you cannot have any idea of the piquancy your nineteenth
century ideas have for us of this day, the rare quaintness of their
effect. Know, O child of another race and yet the same, that the
labor we have to render as our part in securing for the nation the
means of a comfortable physical existence is by no means
regarded as the most important, the most interesting, or the
most dignified employment of our powers. We look upon it as a
necessary duty to be discharged before we can fully devote
ourselves to the higher exercise of our faculties, the intellectual
and spiritual enjoyments and pursuits which alone mean life.
Everything possible is indeed done by the just distribution of
burdens, and by all manner of special attractions and incentives
to relieve our labor of irksomeness, and, except in a comparative
sense, it is not usually irksome, and is often inspiring. But it is
not our labor, but the higher and larger activities which the
performance of our task will leave us free to enter upon, that are
considered the main business of existence.

"Of course not all, nor the majority, have those scientific,
artistic, literary, or scholarly interests which make leisure the one
thing valuable to their possessors. Many look upon the last half
of life chiefly as a period for enjoyment of other sorts; for travel,
for social relaxation in the company of their life-time friends; a
time for the cultivation of all manner of personal idiosyncrasies
and special tastes, and the pursuit of every imaginable form of
recreation; in a word, a time for the leisurely and unperturbed
appreciation of the good things of the world which they have
helped to create. But, whatever the differences between our
individual tastes as to the use we shall put our leisure to, we all
agree in looking forward to the date of our discharge as the time
when we shall first enter upon the full enjoyment of our
birthright, the period when we shall first really attain our
majority and become enfranchised from discipline and control,
with the fee of our lives vested in ourselves. As eager boys in
your day anticipated twenty-one, so men nowadays look forward
to forty-five. At twenty-one we become men, but at forty-five we
renew youth. Middle age and what you would have called old
age are considered, rather than youth, the enviable time of life.
Thanks to the better conditions of existence nowadays, and
above all the freedom of every one from care, old age approaches
many years later and has an aspect far more benign than in past
times. Persons of average constitution usually live to eighty-five
or ninety, and at forty-five we are physically and mentally
younger, I fancy, than you were at thirty-five. It is a strange
reflection that at forty-five, when we are just entering upon the
most enjoyable period of life, you already began to think of
growing old and to look backward. With you it was the
forenoon, with us it is the afternoon, which is the brighter half
of life."

After this I remember that our talk branched into the subject
of popular sports and recreations at the present time as com-
pared with those of the nineteenth century.

"In one respect," said Dr. Leete, "there is a marked difference.
The professional sportsmen, which were such a curious feature
of your day, we have nothing answering to, nor are the prizes for
which our athletes contend money prizes, as with you. Our
contests are always for glory only. The generous rivalry existing
between the various guilds, and the loyalty of each worker to his
own, afford a constant stimulation to all sorts of games and
matches by sea and land, in which the young men take scarcely
more interest than the honorary guildsmen who have served
their time. The guild yacht races off Marblehead take place
next week, and you will be able to judge for yourself of the
popular enthusiasm which such events nowadays call out as
compared with your day. The demand for `panem ef circenses'
preferred by the Roman populace is recognized nowadays as a
wholly reasonable one. If bread is the first necessity of life,
recreation is a close second, and the nation caters for both.
Americans of the nineteenth century were as unfortunate in
lacking an adequate provision for the one sort of need as for the
other. Even if the people of that period had enjoyed larger
leisure, they would, I fancy, have often been at a loss how to pass
it agreeably. We are never in that predicament."

Chapter 19

In the course of an early morning constitutional I visited
Charlestown. Among the changes, too numerous to attempt to
indicate, which mark the lapse of a century in that quarter, I
particularly noted the total disappearance of the old state prison.

"That went before my day, but I remember hearing about it,"
said Dr. Leete, when I alluded to the fact at the breakfast table.
"We have no jails nowadays. All cases of atavism are treated in
the hospitals."

"Of atavism!" I exclaimed, staring.

"Why, yes," replied Dr. Leete. "The idea of dealing punitively
with those unfortunates was given up at least fifty years ago, and
I think more."

"I don't quite understand you," I said. "Atavism in my day
was a word applied to the cases of persons in whom some trait of
a remote ancestor recurred in a noticeable manner. Am I to
understand that crime is nowadays looked upon as the recurrence
of an ancestral trait?"

"I beg your pardon," said Dr. Leete with a smile half
humorous, half deprecating, "but since you have so explicitly
asked the question, I am forced to say that the fact is precisely

After what I had already learned of the moral contrasts
between the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, it was
doubtless absurd in me to begin to develop sensitiveness on the
subject, and probably if Dr. Leete had not spoken with that
apologetic air and Mrs. Leete and Edith shown a corresponding
embarrassment, I should not have flushed, as I was conscious I

"I was not in much danger of being vain of my generation
before," I said; "but, really--"

"This is your generation, Mr. West," interposed Edith. "It is
the one in which you are living, you know, and it is only because
we are alive now that we call it ours."

"Thank you. I will try to think of it so," I said, and as my eyes
met hers their expression quite cured my senseless sensitiveness.
"After all," I said, with a laugh, "I was brought up a Calvinist,
and ought not to be startled to hear crime spoken of as an
ancestral trait."

"In point of fact," said Dr. Leete, "our use of the word is no
reflection at all on your generation, if, begging Edith's pardon,
we may call it yours, so far as seeming to imply that we think
ourselves, apart from our circumstances, better than you were. In
your day fully nineteen twentieths of the crime, using the word
broadly to include all sorts of misdemeanors, resulted from the
inequality in the possessions of individuals; want tempted the
poor, lust of greater gains, or the desire to preserve former gains,
tempted the well-to-do. Directly or indirectly, the desire for
money, which then meant every good thing, was the motive of
all this crime, the taproot of a vast poison growth, which the
machinery of law, courts, and police could barely prevent from
choking your civilization outright. When we made the nation
the sole trustee of the wealth of the people, and guaranteed to
all abundant maintenance, on the one hand abolishing want,
and on the other checking the accumulation of riches, we cut
this root, and the poison tree that overshadowed your society
withered, like Jonah's gourd, in a day. As for the comparatively
small class of violent crimes against persons, unconnected with
any idea of gain, they were almost wholly confined, even in your
day, to the ignorant and bestial; and in these days, when
education and good manners are not the monopoly of a few, but
universal, such atrocities are scarcely ever heard of. You now see
why the word `atavism' is used for crime. It is because nearly all
forms of crime known to you are motiveless now, and when they
appear can only be explained as the outcropping of ancestral
traits. You used to call persons who stole, evidently without any
rational motive, kleptomaniacs, and when the case was clear
deemed it absurd to punish them as thieves. Your attitude
toward the genuine kleptomaniac is precisely ours toward the
victim of atavism, an attitude of compassion and firm but gentle

"Your courts must have an easy time of it," I observed. "With
no private property to speak of, no disputes between citizens
over business relations, no real estate to divide or debts to
collect, there must be absolutely no civil business at all for them;
and with no offenses against property, and mighty few of any
sort to provide criminal cases, I should think you might almost
do without judges and lawyers altogether."

"We do without the lawyers, certainly," was Dr. Leete's reply.
"It would not seem reasonable to us, in a case where the only
interest of the nation is to find out the truth, that persons
should take part in the proceedings who had an acknowledged
motive to color it."

"But who defends the accused?"

"If he is a criminal he needs no defense, for he pleads guilty in
most instances," replied Dr. Leete. "The plea of the accused is
not a mere formality with us, as with you. It is usually the end of
the case."

"You don't mean that the man who pleads not guilty is
thereupon discharged?"

"No, I do not mean that. He is not accused on light grounds,
and if he denies his guilt, must still be tried. But trials are few,
for in most cases the guilty man pleads guilty. When he makes a
false plea and is clearly proved guilty, his penalty is doubled.
Falsehood is, however, so despised among us that few offenders
would lie to save themselves."

"That is the most astounding thing you have yet told me," I
exclaimed. "If lying has gone out of fashion, this is indeed the
`new heavens and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness,'
which the prophet foretold."

"Such is, in fact, the belief of some persons nowadays," was
the doctor's answer. "They hold that we have entered upon the
millennium, and the theory from their point of view does not
lack plausibility. But as to your astonishment at finding that the
world has outgrown lying, there is really no ground for it.
Falsehood, even in your day, was not common between gentlemen
and ladies, social equals. The lie of fear was the refuge of
cowardice, and the lie of fraud the device of the cheat. The
inequalities of men and the lust of acquisition offered a constant
premium on lying at that time. Yet even then, the man who
neither feared another nor desired to defraud him scorned
falsehood. Because we are now all social equals, and no man
either has anything to fear from another or can gain anything by
deceiving him, the contempt of falsehood is so universal that it
is rarely, as I told you, that even a criminal in other respects will
be found willing to lie. When, however, a plea of not guilty is
returned, the judge appoints two colleagues to state the opposite
sides of the case. How far these men are from being like your
hired advocates and prosecutors, determined to acquit or convict,
may appear from the fact that unless both agree that the
verdict found is just, the case is tried over, while anything like
bias in the tone of either of the judges stating the case would be
a shocking scandal."

"Do I understand," I said, "that it is a judge who states each
side of the case as well as a judge who hears it?"

"Certainly. The judges take turns in serving on the bench and
at the bar, and are expected to maintain the judicial temper
equally whether in stating or deciding a case. The system is
indeed in effect that of trial by three judges occupying different
points of view as to the case. When they agree upon a verdict,
we believe it to be as near to absolute truth as men well can

"You have given up the jury system, then?"

"It was well enough as a corrective in the days of hired
advocates, and a bench sometimes venal, and often with a tenure
that made it dependent, but is needless now. No conceivable
motive but justice could actuate our judges."

"How are these magistrates selected?"

"They are an honorable exception to the rule which discharges
all men from service at the age of forty-five. The President of the
nation appoints the necessary judges year by year from the class
reaching that age. The number appointed is, of course, exceedingly
few, and the honor so high that it is held an offset to the
additional term of service which follows, and though a judge's
appointment may be declined, it rarely is. The term is five years,
without eligibility to reappointment. The members of the
Supreme Court, which is the guardian of the constitution, are
selected from among the lower judges. When a vacancy in that
court occurs, those of the lower judges, whose terms expire that
year, select, as their last official act, the one of their colleagues
left on the bench whom they deem fittest to fill it."

"There being no legal profession to serve as a school for
judges," I said, "they must, of course, come directly from the law
school to the bench."

"We have no such things as law schools," replied the doctor
smiling. "The law as a special science is obsolete. It was a system
of casuistry which the elaborate artificiality of the old order of
society absolutely required to interpret it, but only a few of the
plainest and simplest legal maxims have any application to
the existing state of the world. Everything touching the relations
of men to one another is now simpler, beyond any comparison,
than in your day. We should have no sort of use for the
hair-splitting experts who presided and argued in your courts.
You must not imagine, however, that we have any disrespect
for those ancient worthies because we have no use for them.
On the contrary, we entertain an unfeigned respect, amounting
almost to awe, for the men who alone understood
and were able to expound the interminable complexity of the
rights of property, and the relations of commercial and personal
dependence involved in your system. What, indeed, could possibly
give a more powerful impression of the intricacy and
artificiality of that system than the fact that it was necessary to
set apart from other pursuits the cream of the intellect of every
generation, in order to provide a body of pundits able to make it
even vaguely intelligible to those whose fates it determined. The
treatises of your great lawyers, the works of Blackstone and
Chitty, of Story and Parsons, stand in our museums, side by side
with the tomes of Duns Scotus and his fellow scholastics, as
curious monuments of intellectual subtlety devoted to subjects
equally remote from the interests of modern men. Our judges are
simply widely informed, judicious, and discreet men of ripe years.

"I should not fail to speak of one important function of the
minor judges," added Dr. Leete. "This is to adjudicate all cases
where a private of the industrial army makes a complaint of
unfairness against an officer. All such questions are heard and
settled without appeal by a single judge, three judges being
required only in graver cases. The efficiency of industry requires
the strictest discipline in the army of labor, but the claim of
the workman to just and considerate treatment is backed by
the whole power of the nation. The officer commands and the
private obeys, but no officer is so high that he would dare display
an overbearing manner toward a workman of the lowest class. As
for churlishness or rudeness by an official of any sort, in his
relations to the public, not one among minor offenses is more
sure of a prompt penalty than this. Not only justice but civility
is enforced by our judges in all sorts of intercourse. No value of
service is accepted as a set-off to boorish or offensive manners."

It occurred to me, as Dr. Leete was speaking, that in all his
talk I had heard much of the nation and nothing of the state
governments. Had the organization of the nation as an industrial
unit done away with the states? I asked.

"Necessarily," he replied. "The state governments would have
interfered with the control and discipline of the industrial army,
which, of course, required to be central and uniform. Even if the
state governments had not become inconvenient for other reasons,
they were rendered superfluous by the prodigious simplification
in the task of government since your day. Almost the sole
function of the administration now is that of directing the
industries of the country. Most of the purposes for which
governments formerly existed no longer remain to be subserved.
We have no army or navy, and no military organization. We
have no departments of state or treasury, no excise or revenue
services, no taxes or tax collectors. The only function proper of
government, as known to you, which still remains, is the
judiciary and police system. I have already explained to you how
simple is our judicial system as compared with your huge and
complex machine. Of course the same absence of crime and
temptation to it, which make the duties of judges so light,
reduces the number and duties of the police to a minimum."

"But with no state legislatures, and Congress meeting only
once in five years, how do you get your legislation done?"

"We have no legislation," replied Dr. Leete, "that is, next to
none. It is rarely that Congress, even when it meets, considers
any new laws of consequence, and then it only has power to
commend them to the following Congress, lest anything be
done hastily. If you will consider a moment, Mr. West, you will
see that we have nothing to make laws about. The fundamental
principles on which our society is founded settle for all time the
strifes and misunderstandings which in your day called for

"Fully ninety-nine hundredths of the laws of that time concerned
the definition and protection of private property and the
relations of buyers and sellers. There is neither private property,
beyond personal belongings, now, nor buying and selling, and
therefore the occasion of nearly all the legislation formerly
necessary has passed away. Formerly, society was a pyramid
poised on its apex. All the gravitations of human nature were
constantly tending to topple it over, and it could be maintained
upright, or rather upwrong (if you will pardon the feeble
witticism), by an elaborate system of constantly renewed props
and buttresses and guy-ropes in the form of laws. A central
Congress and forty state legislatures, turning out some twenty
thousand laws a year, could not make new props fast enough to
take the place of those which were constantly breaking down or
becoming ineffectual through some shifting of the strain. Now
society rests on its base, and is in as little need of artificial
supports as the everlasting hills."

"But you have at least municipal governments besides the one
central authority?"

"Certainly, and they have important and extensive functions
in looking out for the public comfort and recreation, and the
improvement and embellishment of the villages and cities."

"But having no control over the labor of their people, or
means of hiring it, how can they do anything?"

"Every town or city is conceded the right to retain, for its own
public works, a certain proportion of the quota of labor its
citizens contribute to the nation. This proportion, being assigned
it as so much credit, can be applied in any way desired."

Chapter 20

That afternoon Edith casually inquired if I had yet revisited
the underground chamber in the garden in which I had been

"Not yet," I replied. "To be frank, I have shrunk thus far
from doing so, lest the visit might revive old associations rather
too strongly for my mental equilibrium."

"Ah, yes!" she said, "I can imagine that you have done well to
stay away. I ought to have thought of that."

"No," I said, "I am glad you spoke of it. The danger, if there
was any, existed only during the first day or two. Thanks to you,
chiefly and always, I feel my footing now so firm in this new
world, that if you will go with me to keep the ghosts off, I
should really like to visit the place this afternoon."

Edith demurred at first, but, finding that I was in earnest,
consented to accompany me. The rampart of earth thrown up
from the excavation was visible among the trees from the house,
and a few steps brought us to the spot. All remained as it was at
the point when work was interrupted by the discovery of the
tenant of the chamber, save that the door had been opened and
the slab from the roof replaced. Descending the sloping sides of
the excavation, we went in at the door and stood within the
dimly lighted room.

Everything was just as I had beheld it last on that evening one
hundred and thirteen years previous, just before closing my eyes
for that long sleep. I stood for some time silently looking about
me. I saw that my companion was furtively regarding me with an
expression of awed and sympathetic curiosity. I put out my hand
to her and she placed hers in it, the soft fingers responding with
a reassuring pressure to my clasp. Finally she whispered, "Had
we not better go out now? You must not try yourself too far. Oh,
how strange it must be to you!"

"On the contrary," I replied, "it does not seem strange; that is
the strangest part of it."

"Not strange?" she echoed.

"Even so," I replied. "The emotions with which you evidently
credit me, and which I anticipated would attend this visit, I
simply do not feel. I realize all that these surroundings suggest,
but without the agitation I expected. You can't be nearly as
much surprised at this as I am myself. Ever since that terrible
morning when you came to my help, I have tried to avoid
thinking of my former life, just as I have avoided coming here,
for fear of the agitating effects. I am for all the world like a man
who has permitted an injured limb to lie motionless under the
impression that it is exquisitely sensitive, and on trying to move
it finds that it is paralyzed."

"Do you mean your memory is gone?"

"Not at all. I remember everything connected with my former
life, but with a total lack of keen sensation. I remember it for
clearness as if it had been but a day since then, but my feelings
about what I remember are as faint as if to my consciousness, as
well as in fact, a hundred years had intervened. Perhaps it is
possible to explain this, too. The effect of change in surroundings
is like that of lapse of time in making the past seem remote.
When I first woke from that trance, my former life appeared as
yesterday, but now, since I have learned to know my new
surroundings, and to realize the prodigious changes that have
transformed the world, I no longer find it hard, but very easy, to
realize that I have slept a century. Can you conceive of such a
thing as living a hundred years in four days? It really seems to
me that I have done just that, and that it is this experience
which has given so remote and unreal an appearance to my
former life. Can you see how such a thing might be?"

"I can conceive it," replied Edith, meditatively, "and I think
we ought all to be thankful that it is so, for it will save you much
suffering, I am sure."

"Imagine," I said, in an effort to explain, as much to myself as
to her, the strangeness of my mental condition, "that a man first
heard of a bereavement many, many years, half a lifetime
perhaps, after the event occurred. I fancy his feeling would be
perhaps something as mine is. When I think of my friends in
the world of that former day, and the sorrow they must have felt
for me, it is with a pensive pity, rather than keen anguish, as of a
sorrow long, long ago ended."

"You have told us nothing yet of your friends," said Edith.
"Had you many to mourn you?"

"Thank God, I had very few relatives, none nearer than
cousins," I replied. "But there was one, not a relative, but dearer
to me than any kin of blood. She had your name. She was to
have been my wife soon. Ah me!"

"Ah me!" sighed the Edith by my side. "Think of the
heartache she must have had."

Something in the deep feeling of this gentle girl touched a
chord in my benumbed heart. My eyes, before so dry, were
flooded with the tears that had till now refused to come. When
I had regained my composure, I saw that she too had been
weeping freely.

"God bless your tender heart," I said. "Would you like to see
her picture?"

A small locket with Edith Bartlett's picture, secured about my
neck with a gold chain, had lain upon my breast all through that
long sleep, and removing this I opened and gave it to my
companion. She took it with eagerness, and after poring long
over the sweet face, touched the picture with her lips.

"I know that she was good and lovely enough to well deserve
your tears," she said; "but remember her heartache was over long
ago, and she has been in heaven for nearly a century."

It was indeed so. Whatever her sorrow had once been, for
nearly a century she had ceased to weep, and, my sudden passion
spent, my own tears dried away. I had loved her very dearly in
my other life, but it was a hundred years ago! I do not know but
some may find in this confession evidence of lack of feeling, but
I think, perhaps, that none can have had an experience
sufficiently like mine to enable them to judge me. As we were
about to leave the chamber, my eye rested upon the great iron
safe which stood in one corner. Calling my companion's attention
to it, I said:

"This was my strong room as well as my sleeping room. In the
safe yonder are several thousand dollars in gold, and any amount
of securities. If I had known when I went to sleep that night just
how long my nap would be, I should still have thought that the
gold was a safe provision for my needs in any country or any
century, however distant. That a time would ever come when it
would lose its purchasing power, I should have considered the
wildest of fancies. Nevertheless, here I wake up to find myself
among a people of whom a cartload of gold will not procure a
loaf of bread."

As might be expected, I did not succeed in impressing Edith
that there was anything remarkable in this fact. "Why in the
world should it?" she merely asked.

Chapter 21

It had been suggested by Dr. Leete that we should devote the
next morning to an inspection of the schools and colleges of the
city, with some attempt on his own part at an explanation of
the educational system of the twentieth century.

"You will see," said he, as we set out after breakfast, "many
very important differences between our methods of education
and yours, but the main difference is that nowadays all persons
equally have those opportunities of higher education which in
your day only an infinitesimal portion of the population enjoyed.
We should think we had gained nothing worth speaking of, in
equalizing the physical comfort of men, without this educational

"The cost must be very great," I said.

"If it took half the revenue of the nation, nobody would
grudge it," replied Dr. Leete, "nor even if it took it all save a
bare pittance. But in truth the expense of educating ten thousand
youth is not ten nor five times that of educating one
thousand. The principle which makes all operations on a large
scale proportionally cheaper than on a small scale holds as to
education also."

"College education was terribly expensive in my day," said I.

"If I have not been misinformed by our historians," Dr. Leete
answered, "it was not college education but college dissipation
and extravagance which cost so highly. The actual expense of
your colleges appears to have been very low, and would have
been far lower if their patronage had been greater. The higher
education nowadays is as cheap as the lower, as all grades of
teachers, like all other workers, receive the same support. We
have simply added to the common school system of compulsory
education, in vogue in Massachusetts a hundred years ago, a half
dozen higher grades, carrying the youth to the age of twenty-one
and giving him what you used to call the education of a
gentleman, instead of turning him loose at fourteen or fifteen
with no mental equipment beyond reading, writing, and the
multiplication table."

"Setting aside the actual cost of these additional years of
education," I replied, "we should not have thought we could
afford the loss of time from industrial pursuits. Boys of the
poorer classes usually went to work at sixteen or younger, and
knew their trade at twenty."

"We should not concede you any gain even in material
product by that plan," Dr. Leete replied. "The greater efficiency
which education gives to all sorts of labor, except the rudest,
makes up in a short period for the time lost in acquiring it."

"We should also have been afraid," said I, "that a high
education, while it adapted men to the professions, would set
them against manual labor of all sorts."

"That was the effect of high education in your day, I have
read," replied the doctor; "and it was no wonder, for manual
labor meant association with a rude, coarse, and ignorant class of
people. There is no such class now. It was inevitable that such a
feeling should exist then, for the further reason that all men
receiving a high education were understood to be destined for
the professions or for wealthy leisure, and such an education in
one neither rich nor professional was a proof of disappointed
aspirations, an evidence of failure, a badge of inferiority rather
than superiority. Nowadays, of course, when the highest education
is deemed necessary to fit a man merely to live, without any
reference to the sort of work he may do, its possession conveys
no such implication."

"After all," I remarked, "no amount of education can cure
natural dullness or make up for original mental deficiencies.
Unless the average natural mental capacity of men is much
above its level in my day, a high education must be pretty nearly
thrown away on a large element of the population. We used to
hold that a certain amount of susceptibility to educational
influences is required to make a mind worth cultivating, just as a
certain natural fertility in soil is required if it is to repay tilling."

"Ah," said Dr. Leete, "I am glad you used that illustration, for
it is just the one I would have chosen to set forth the modern
view of education. You say that land so poor that the product
will not repay the labor of tilling is not cultivated. Nevertheless,
much land that does not begin to repay tilling by its product was
cultivated in your day and is in ours. I refer to gardens, parks,
lawns, and, in general, to pieces of land so situated that, were
they left to grow up to weeds and briers, they would be eyesores
and inconveniencies to all about. They are therefore tilled, and
though their product is little, there is yet no land that, in a wider
sense, better repays cultivation. So it is with the men and
women with whom we mingle in the relations of society, whose
voices are always in our ears, whose behavior in innumerable
ways affects our enjoyment--who are, in fact, as much conditions
of our lives as the air we breathe, or any of the physical
elements on which we depend. If, indeed, we could not afford to
educate everybody, we should choose the coarsest and dullest by
nature, rather than the brightest, to receive what education we
could give. The naturally refined and intellectual can better
dispense with aids to culture than those less fortunate in natural

"To borrow a phrase which was often used in your day, we
should not consider life worth living if we had to be surrounded
by a population of ignorant, boorish, coarse, wholly uncultivated
men and women, as was the plight of the few educated in your
day. Is a man satisfied, merely because he is perfumed himself, to
mingle with a malodorous crowd? Could he take more than a
very limited satisfaction, even in a palatial apartment, if the
windows on all four sides opened into stable yards? And yet just
that was the situation of those considered most fortunate as to
culture and refinement in your day. I know that the poor and
ignorant envied the rich and cultured then; but to us the latter,
living as they did, surrounded by squalor and brutishness, seem
little better off than the former. The cultured man in your age
was like one up to the neck in a nauseous bog solacing himself
with a smelling bottle. You see, perhaps, now, how we look at
this question of universal high education. No single thing is so
important to every man as to have for neighbors intelligent,
companionable persons. There is nothing, therefore, which the
nation can do for him that will enhance so much his own
happiness as to educate his neighbors. When it fails to do so, the
value of his own education to him is reduced by half, and many
of the tastes he has cultivated are made positive sources of pain.

"To educate some to the highest degree, and leave the mass
wholly uncultivated, as you did, made the gap between them
almost like that between different natural species, which have no
means of communication. What could be more inhuman than
this consequence of a partial enjoyment of education! Its universal
and equal enjoyment leaves, indeed, the differences between
men as to natural endowments as marked as in a state of nature,
but the level of the lowest is vastly raised. Brutishness is
eliminated. All have some inkling of the humanities, some
appreciation of the things of the mind, and an admiration for
the still higher culture they have fallen short of. They have
become capable of receiving and imparting, in various degrees,
but all in some measure, the pleasures and inspirations of a refined
social life. The cultured society of the nineteenth century
--what did it consist of but here and there a few microscopic
oases in a vast, unbroken wilderness? The proportion of individuals
capable of intellectual sympathies or refined intercourse, to
the mass of their contemporaries, used to be so infinitesimal as
to be in any broad view of humanity scarcely worth mentioning.
One generation of the world to-day represents a greater volume
of intellectual life than any five centuries ever did before.

"There is still another point I should mention in stating the
grounds on which nothing less than the universality of the best
education could now be tolerated," continued Dr. Leete, "and
that is, the interest of the coming generation in having educated
parents. To put the matter in a nutshell, there are three main
grounds on which our educational system rests: first, the right of
every man to the completest education the nation can give him
on his own account, as necessary to his enjoyment of himself;
second, the right of his fellow-citizens to have him educated, as
necessary to their enjoyment of his society; third, the right of the
unborn to be guaranteed an intelligent and refined parentage."

I shall not describe in detail what I saw in the schools that
day. Having taken but slight interest in educational matters in
my former life, I could offer few comparisons of interest. Next to
the fact of the universality of the higher as well as the lower
education, I was most struck with the prominence given to
physical culture, and the fact that proficiency in athletic feats
and games as well as in scholarship had a place in the rating of
the youth.

"The faculty of education," Dr. Leete explained, "is held to
the same responsibility for the bodies as for the minds of its
charges. The highest possible physical, as well as mental, development
of every one is the double object of a curriculum which
lasts from the age of six to that of twenty-one."

The magnificent health of the young people in the schools
impressed me strongly. My previous observations, not only of
the notable personal endowments of the family of my host, but
of the people I had seen in my walks abroad, had already
suggested the idea that there must have been something like a
general improvement in the physical standard of the race since
my day, and now, as I compared these stalwart young men and
fresh, vigorous maidens with the young people I had seen in the
schools of the nineteenth century, I was moved to impart my
thought to Dr. Leete. He listened with great interest to what I

"Your testimony on this point," he declared, "is invaluable.
We believe that there has been such an improvement as you
speak of, but of course it could only be a matter of theory with
us. It is an incident of your unique position that you alone in the
world of to-day can speak with authority on this point. Your
opinion, when you state it publicly, will, I assure you, make a
profound sensation. For the rest it would be strange, certainly, if
the race did not show an improvement. In your day, riches
debauched one class with idleness of mind and body, while
poverty sapped the vitality of the masses by overwork, bad food,
and pestilent homes. The labor required of children, and the
burdens laid on women, enfeebled the very springs of life.
Instead of these maleficent circumstances, all now enjoy the
most favorable conditions of physical life; the young are carefully
nurtured and studiously cared for; the labor which is required of
all is limited to the period of greatest bodily vigor, and is never
excessive; care for one's self and one's family, anxiety as to
livelihood, the strain of a ceaseless battle for life--all these
influences, which once did so much to wreck the minds and
bodies of men and women, are known no more. Certainly, an
improvement of the species ought to follow such a change. In
certain specific respects we know, indeed, that the improvement
has taken place. Insanity, for instance, which in the nineteenth
century was so terribly common a product of your insane mode
of life, has almost disappeared, with its alternative, suicide."

Chapter 22

We had made an appointment to meet the ladies at the
dining-hall for dinner, after which, having some engagement,
they left us sitting at table there, discussing our wine and cigars
with a multitude of other matters.

"Doctor," said I, in the course of our talk, "morally speaking,
your social system is one which I should be insensate not to
admire in comparison with any previously in vogue in the world,
and especially with that of my own most unhappy century. If I
were to fall into a mesmeric sleep tonight as lasting as that other
and meanwhile the course of time were to take a turn backward
instead of forward, and I were to wake up again in the nineteenth
century, when I had told my friends what I had seen,
they would every one admit that your world was a paradise of
order, equity, and felicity. But they were a very practical people,
my contemporaries, and after expressing their admiration for the
moral beauty and material splendor of the system, they would
presently begin to cipher and ask how you got the money to
make everybody so happy; for certainly, to support the whole
nation at a rate of comfort, and even luxury, such as I see around
me, must involve vastly greater wealth than the nation produced
in my day. Now, while I could explain to them pretty nearly
everything else of the main features of your system, I should
quite fail to answer this question, and failing there, they would
tell me, for they were very close cipherers, that I had been
dreaming; nor would they ever believe anything else. In my day,
I know that the total annual product of the nation, although it
might have been divided with absolute equality, would not have
come to more than three or four hundred dollars per head, not
very much more than enough to supply the necessities of life
with few or any of its comforts. How is it that you have so much

"That is a very pertinent question, Mr. West," replied Dr.
Leete, "and I should not blame your friends, in the case you
supposed, if they declared your story all moonshine, failing a
satisfactory reply to it. It is a question which I cannot answer
exhaustively at any one sitting, and as for the exact statistics to
bear out my general statements, I shall have to refer you for them
to books in my library, but it would certainly be a pity to leave
you to be put to confusion by your old acquaintances, in case of
the contingency you speak of, for lack of a few suggestions.

"Let us begin with a number of small items wherein we
economize wealth as compared with you. We have no national,
state, county, or municipal debts, or payments on their account.
We have no sort of military or naval expenditures for men or
materials, no army, navy, or militia. We have no revenue service,
no swarm of tax assessors and collectors. As regards our judiciary,
police, sheriffs, and jailers, the force which Massachusetts alone
kept on foot in your day far more than suffices for the nation
now. We have no criminal class preying upon the wealth of
society as you had. The number of persons, more or less
absolutely lost to the working force through physical disability,
of the lame, sick, and debilitated, which constituted such a
burden on the able-bodied in your day, now that all live under
conditions of health and comfort, has shrunk to scarcely perceptible
proportions, and with every generation is becoming more
completely eliminated.

"Another item wherein we save is the disuse of money and the
thousand occupations connected with financial operations of all
sorts, whereby an army of men was formerly taken away from
useful employments. Also consider that the waste of the very
rich in your day on inordinate personal luxury has ceased,
though, indeed, this item might easily be over-estimated. Again,
consider that there are no idlers now, rich or poor--no drones.

"A very important cause of former poverty was the vast waste
of labor and materials which resulted from domestic washing
and cooking, and the performing separately of innumerable
other tasks to which we apply the cooperative plan.

"A larger economy than any of these--yes, of all together--is
effected by the organization of our distributing system, by which
the work done once by the merchants, traders, storekeepers, with
their various grades of jobbers, wholesalers, retailers, agents,
commercial travelers, and middlemen of all sorts, with an
excessive waste of energy in needless transportation and
interminable handlings, is performed by one tenth the number of
hands and an unnecessary turn of not one wheel. Something of
what our distributing system is like you know. Our statisticians
calculate that one eightieth part of our workers suffices for all
the processes of distribution which in your day required one
eighth of the population, so much being withdrawn from the
force engaged in productive labor."

"I begin to see," I said, "where you get your greater wealth."

"I beg your pardon," replied Dr. Leete, "but you scarcely do as
yet. The economies I have mentioned thus far, in the aggregate,
considering the labor they would save directly and indirectly
through saving of material, might possibly be equivalent to the
addition to your annual production of wealth of one half its
former total. These items are, however, scarcely worth mentioning
in comparison with other prodigious wastes, now saved,
which resulted inevitably from leaving the industries of the
nation to private enterprise. However great the economies your
contemporaries might have devised in the consumption of
products, and however marvelous the progress of mechanical
invention, they could never have raised themselves out of the
slough of poverty so long as they held to that system.

"No mode more wasteful for utilizing human energy could be
devised, and for the credit of the human intellect it should be
remembered that the system never was devised, but was merely a
survival from the rude ages when the lack of social organization
made any sort of cooperation impossible."

"I will readily admit," I said, "that our industrial system was
ethically very bad, but as a mere wealth-making machine, apart
from moral aspects, it seemed to us admirable."

"As I said," responded the doctor, "the subject is too large to
discuss at length now, but if you are really interested to know
the main criticisms which we moderns make on your industrial
system as compared with our own, I can touch briefly on some of

"The wastes which resulted from leaving the conduct of
industry to irresponsible individuals, wholly without mutual
understanding or concert, were mainly four: first, the waste by
mistaken undertakings; second, the waste from the competition
and mutual hostility of those engaged in industry; third, the
waste by periodical gluts and crises, with the consequent
interruptions of industry; fourth, the waste from idle capital and
labor, at all times. Any one of these four great leaks, were all the
others stopped, would suffice to make the difference between
wealth and poverty on the part of a nation.

"Take the waste by mistaken undertakings, to begin with. In
your day the production and distribution of commodities being
without concert or organization, there was no means of knowing
just what demand there was for any class of products, or what
was the rate of supply. Therefore, any enterprise by a private
capitalist was always a doubtful experiment. The projector
having no general view of the field of industry and consumption,
such as our government has, could never be sure either what the
people wanted, or what arrangements other capitalists were
making to supply them. In view of this, we are not surprised to
learn that the chances were considered several to one in favor of
the failure of any given business enterprise, and that it was
common for persons who at last succeeded in making a hit to
have failed repeatedly. If a shoemaker, for every pair of shoes he
succeeded in completing, spoiled the leather of four or five pair,
besides losing the time spent on them, he would stand about the
same chance of getting rich as your contemporaries did with
their system of private enterprise, and its average of four or five
failures to one success.

"The next of the great wastes was that from competition. The
field of industry was a battlefield as wide as the world, in which
the workers wasted, in assailing one another, energies which, if
expended in concerted effort, as to-day, would have enriched all.
As for mercy or quarter in this warfare, there was absolutely no
suggestion of it. To deliberately enter a field of business and
destroy the enterprises of those who had occupied it previously,
in order to plant one's own enterprise on their ruins, was an
achievement which never failed to command popular admiration.
Nor is there any stretch of fancy in comparing this sort of
struggle with actual warfare, so far as concerns the mental agony
and physical suffering which attended the struggle, and the
misery which overwhelmed the defeated and those dependent on
them. Now nothing about your age is, at first sight, more
astounding to a man of modern times than the fact that men
engaged in the same industry, instead of fraternizing as comrades
and co-laborers to a common end, should have regarded each
other as rivals and enemies to be throttled and overthrown. This
certainly seems like sheer madness, a scene from bedlam. But
more closely regarded, it is seen to be no such thing. Your
contemporaries, with their mutual throat-cutting, knew very well
what they were at. The producers of the nineteenth century were
not, like ours, working together for the maintenance of the
community, but each solely for his own maintenance at the expense
of the community. If, in working to this end, he at the
same time increased the aggregate wealth, that was merely
incidental. It was just as feasible and as common to increase
one's private hoard by practices injurious to the general welfare.
One's worst enemies were necessarily those of his own trade, for,
under your plan of making private profit the motive of production,
a scarcity of the article he produced was what each
particular producer desired. It was for his interest that no more
of it should be produced than he himself could produce. To
secure this consummation as far as circumstances permitted, by
killing off and discouraging those engaged in his line of industry,
was his constant effort. When he had killed off all he could, his
policy was to combine with those he could not kill, and convert
their mutual warfare into a warfare upon the public at large by
cornering the market, as I believe you used to call it, and putting
up prices to the highest point people would stand before going
without the goods. The day dream of the nineteenth century
producer was to gain absolute control of the supply of some
necessity of life, so that he might keep the public at the verge of
starvation, and always command famine prices for what he
supplied. This, Mr. West, is what was called in the nineteenth
century a system of production. I will leave it to you if it does
not seem, in some of its aspects, a great deal more like a system
for preventing production. Some time when we have plenty of
leisure I am going to ask you to sit down with me and try to
make me comprehend, as I never yet could, though I have
studied the matter a great deal how such shrewd fellows as your
contemporaries appear to have been in many respects ever came
to entrust the business of providing for the community to a class
whose interest it was to starve it. I assure you that the wonder
with us is, not that the world did not get rich under such a
system, but that it did not perish outright from want. This
wonder increases as we go on to consider some of the other
prodigious wastes that characterized it.

"Apart from the waste of labor and capital by misdirected
industry, and that from the constant bloodletting of your
industrial warfare, your system was liable to periodical convulsions,
overwhelming alike the wise and unwise, the successful
cut-throat as well as his victim. I refer to the business crises at
intervals of five to ten years, which wrecked the industries of the
nation, prostrating all weak enterprises and crippling the strongest,
and were followed by long periods, often of many years, of
so-called dull times, during which the capitalists slowly regathered
their dissipated strength while the laboring classes starved
and rioted. Then would ensue another brief season of prosperity,
followed in turn by another crisis and the ensuing years of
exhaustion. As commerce developed, making the nations mutually
dependent, these crises became world-wide, while the
obstinacy of the ensuing state of collapse increased with the area
affected by the convulsions, and the consequent lack of rallying
centres. In proportion as the industries of the world multiplied
and became complex, and the volume of capital involved was
increased, these business cataclysms became more frequent, till,
in the latter part of the nineteenth century, there were two years
of bad times to one of good, and the system of industry, never
before so extended or so imposing, seemed in danger of collapsing
by its own weight. After endless discussions, your economists
appear by that time to have settled down to the despairing
conclusion that there was no more possibility of preventing or
controlling these crises than if they had been drouths or hurricanes.
It only remained to endure them as necessary evils, and
when they had passed over to build up again the shattered
structure of industry, as dwellers in an earthquake country keep
on rebuilding their cities on the same site.

"So far as considering the causes of the trouble inherent in
their industrial system, your contemporaries were certainly correct.
They were in its very basis, and must needs become more
and more maleficent as the business fabric grew in size and
complexity. One of these causes was the lack of any common
control of the different industries, and the consequent impossibility
of their orderly and coordinate development. It inevitably
resulted from this lack that they were continually getting out of
step with one another and out of relation with the demand.

"Of the latter there was no criterion such as organized
distribution gives us, and the first notice that it had been
exceeded in any group of industries was a crash of prices,
bankruptcy of producers, stoppage of production, reduction of
wages, or discharge of workmen. This process was constantly
going on in many industries, even in what were called good
times, but a crisis took place only when the industries affected
were extensive. The markets then were glutted with goods, of
which nobody wanted beyond a sufficiency at any price. The
wages and profits of those making the glutted classes of goods
being reduced or wholly stopped, their purchasing power as
consumers of other classes of goods, of which there were no
natural glut, was taken away, and, as a consequence, goods of
which there was no natural glut became artificially glutted, till
their prices also were broken down, and their makers thrown out
of work and deprived of income. The crisis was by this time
fairly under way, and nothing could check it till a nation's
ransom had been wasted.

"A cause, also inherent in your system, which often produced
and always terribly aggravated crises, was the machinery of
money and credit. Money was essential when production was in
many private hands, and buying and selling was necessary to
secure what one wanted. It was, however, open to the obvious
objection of substituting for food, clothing, and other things a
merely conventional representative of them. The confusion of
mind which this favored, between goods and their representative,
led the way to the credit system and its prodigious illusions.
Already accustomed to accept money for commodities, the
people next accepted promises for money, and ceased to look at
all behind the representative for the thing represented. Money
was a sign of real commodities, but credit was but the sign of a
sign. There was a natural limit to gold and silver, that is, money
proper, but none to credit, and the result was that the volume of
credit, that is, the promises of money, ceased to bear any
ascertainable proportion to the money, still less to the commodities,
actually in existence. Under such a system, frequent and
periodical crises were necessitated by a law as absolute as that
which brings to the ground a structure overhanging its centre of
gravity. It was one of your fictions that the government and the
banks authorized by it alone issued money; but everybody who
gave a dollar's credit issued money to that extent, which was as
good as any to swell the circulation till the next crises. The great
extension of the credit system was a characteristic of the latter
part of the nineteenth century, and accounts largely for the
almost incessant business crises which marked that period.
Perilous as credit was, you could not dispense with its use, for,
lacking any national or other public organization of the capital
of the country, it was the only means you had for concentrating
and directing it upon industrial enterprises. It was in this way a
most potent means for exaggerating the chief peril of the private
enterprise system of industry by enabling particular industries to
absorb disproportionate amounts of the disposable capital of the
country, and thus prepare disaster. Business enterprises were
always vastly in debt for advances of credit, both to one another
and to the banks and capitalists, and the prompt withdrawal of
this credit at the first sign of a crisis was generally the precipitating
cause of it.

"It was the misfortune of your contemporaries that they had
to cement their business fabric with a material which an
accident might at any moment turn into an explosive. They were
in the plight of a man building a house with dynamite for
mortar, for credit can be compared with nothing else.

"If you would see how needless were these convulsions of
business which I have been speaking of, and how entirely they
resulted from leaving industry to private and unorganized management,
just consider the working of our system. Overproduction
in special lines, which was the great hobgoblin of your day,
is impossible now, for by the connection between distribution
and production supply is geared to demand like an engine to the
governor which regulates its speed. Even suppose by an error of
judgment an excessive production of some commodity. The
consequent slackening or cessation of production in that line
throws nobody out of employment. The suspended workers are
at once found occupation in some other department of the vast
workshop and lose only the time spent in changing, while, as for
the glut, the business of the nation is large enough to carry any
amount of product manufactured in excess of demand till the
latter overtakes it. In such a case of over-production, as I have
supposed, there is not with us, as with you, any complex
machinery to get out of order and magnify a thousand times the
original mistake. Of course, having not even money, we still less
have credit. All estimates deal directly with the real things, the
flour, iron, wood, wool, and labor, of which money and credit
were for you the very misleading representatives. In our calcula-
tion of cost there can be no mistakes. Out of the annual
product the amount necessary for the support of the people is
taken, and the requisite labor to produce the next year's
consumption provided for. The residue of the material and labor
represents what can be safely expended in improvements. If the
crops are bad, the surplus for that year is less than usual, that is
all. Except for slight occasional effects of such natural causes,
there are no fluctuations of business; the material prosperity of
the nation flows on uninterruptedly from generation to generation,
like an ever broadening and deepening river.

"Your business crises, Mr. West," continued the doctor, "like
either of the great wastes I mentioned before, were enough,
alone, to have kept your noses to the grindstone forever; but I
have still to speak of one other great cause of your poverty, and
that was the idleness of a great part of your capital and labor.
With us it is the business of the administration to keep in
constant employment every ounce of available capital and labor
in the country. In your day there was no general control of either
capital or labor, and a large part of both failed to find employment.
`Capital,' you used to say, `is naturally timid,' and it would
certainly have been reckless if it had not been timid in an epoch
when there was a large preponderance of probability that any
particular business venture would end in failure. There was no
time when, if security could have been guaranteed it, the
amount of capital devoted to productive industry could not have
been greatly increased. The proportion of it so employed
underwent constant extraordinary fluctuations, according to the
greater or less feeling of uncertainty as to the stability of the
industrial situation, so that the output of the national industries
greatly varied in different years. But for the same reason that the
amount of capital employed at times of special insecurity was far
less than at times of somewhat greater security, a very large
proportion was never employed at all, because the hazard of
business was always very great in the best of times.

"It should be also noted that the great amount of capital
always seeking employment where tolerable safety could be
insured terribly embittered the competition between capitalists
when a promising opening presented itself. The idleness of
capital, the result of its timidity, of course meant the idleness of
labor in corresponding degree. Moreover, every change in the
adjustments of business, every slightest alteration in the
condition of commerce or manufactures, not to speak of the
innumerable business failures that took place yearly, even in the
best of times, were constantly throwing a multitude of men out
of employment for periods of weeks or months, or even years. A
great number of these seekers after employment were constantly
traversing the country, becoming in time professional vagabonds,
then criminals. `Give us work!' was the cry of an army of the
unemployed at nearly all seasons, and in seasons of dullness in
business this army swelled to a host so vast and desperate as to
threaten the stability of the government. Could there conceivably
be a more conclusive demonstration of the imbecility of the
system of private enterprise as a method for enriching a nation
than the fact that, in an age of such general poverty and want of
everything, capitalists had to throttle one another to find a safe
chance to invest their capital and workmen rioted and burned
because they could find no work to do?

"Now, Mr. West," continued Dr. Leete, "I want you to bear in
mind that these points of which I have been speaking indicate
only negatively the advantages of the national organization of
industry by showing certain fatal defects and prodigious imbecilities
of the systems of private enterprise which are not found in
it. These alone, you must admit, would pretty well explain why
the nation is so much richer than in your day. But the larger half
of our advantage over you, the positive side of it, I have yet
barely spoken of. Supposing the system of private enterprise in
industry were without any of the great leaks I have mentioned;
that there were no waste on account of misdirected effort
growing out of mistakes as to the demand, and inability to
command a general view of the industrial field. Suppose, also,
there were no neutralizing and duplicating of effort from competition.
Suppose, also, there were no waste from business panics
and crises through bankruptcy and long interruptions of industry,
and also none from the idleness of capital and labor.
Supposing these evils, which are essential to the conduct of
industry by capital in private hands, could all be miraculously
prevented, and the system yet retained; even then the superiority
of the results attained by the modern industrial system of
national control would remain overwhelming.

"You used to have some pretty large textile manufacturing
establishments, even in your day, although not comparable with
ours. No doubt you have visited these great mills in your time,
covering acres of ground, employing thousands of hands, and
combining under one roof, under one control, the hundred
distinct processes between, say, the cotton bale and the bale of
glossy calicoes. You have admired the vast economy of labor as
of mechanical force resulting from the perfect interworking with
the rest of every wheel and every hand. No doubt you have
reflected how much less the same force of workers employed in
that factory would accomplish if they were scattered, each man
working independently. Would you think it an exaggeration to
say that the utmost product of those workers, working thus
apart, however amicable their relations might be, was increased
not merely by a percentage, but many fold, when their efforts
were organized under one control? Well now, Mr. West, the
organization of the industry of the nation under a single control,
so that all its processes interlock, has multiplied the total
product over the utmost that could be done under the former
system, even leaving out of account the four great wastes
mentioned, in the same proportion that the product of those
millworkers was increased by cooperation. The effectiveness of
the working force of a nation, under the myriad-headed leadership
of private capital, even if the leaders were not mutual
enemies, as compared with that which it attains under a single
head, may be likened to the military efficiency of a mob, or a
horde of barbarians with a thousand petty chiefs, as compared
with that of a disciplined army under one general--such a
fighting machine, for example, as the German army in the time
of Von Moltke."

"After what you have told me," I said, "I do not so much
wonder that the nation is richer now than then, but that you are
not all Croesuses."

"Well," replied Dr. Leete, "we are pretty well off. The rate at
which we live is as luxurious as we could wish. The rivalry of
ostentation, which in your day led to extravagance in no way
conducive to comfort, finds no place, of course, in a society of
people absolutely equal in resources, and our ambition stops at
the surroundings which minister to the enjoyment of life. We
might, indeed, have much larger incomes, individually, if we
chose so to use the surplus of our product, but we prefer to
expend it upon public works and pleasures in which all share,
upon public halls and buildings, art galleries, bridges, statuary,
means of transit, and the conveniences of our cities, great
musical and theatrical exhibitions, and in providing on a vast
scale for the recreations of the people. You have not begun to
see how we live yet, Mr. West. At home we have comfort, but
the splendor of our life is, on its social side, that which we share
with our fellows. When you know more of it you will see where
the money goes, as you used to say, and I think you will agree
that we do well so to expend it."

"I suppose," observed Dr. Leete, as we strolled homeward
from the dining hall, "that no reflection would have cut the men
of your wealth-worshiping century more keenly than the suggestion
that they did not know how to make money. Nevertheless
that is just the verdict history has passed on them. Their system
of unorganized and antagonistic industries was as absurd
economically as it was morally abominable. Selfishness was their
only science, and in industrial production selfishness is suicide.
Competition, which is the instinct of selfishness, is another word
for dissipation of energy, while combination is the secret of
efficient production; and not till the idea of increasing the
individual hoard gives place to the idea of increasing the common
stock can industrial combination be realized, and the
acquisition of wealth really begin. Even if the principle of share
and share alike for all men were not the only humane and
rational basis for a society, we should still enforce it as economically
expedient, seeing that until the disintegrating influence of
self-seeking is suppressed no true concert of industry is possible."

Chapter 23

That evening, as I sat with Edith in the music room, listening
to some pieces in the programme of that day which had
attracted my notice, I took advantage of an interval in the music
to say, "I have a question to ask you which I fear is rather

"I am quite sure it is not that," she replied, encouragingly.

"I am in the position of an eavesdropper," I continued, "who,
having overheard a little of a matter not intended for him,
though seeming to concern him, has the impudence to come to
the speaker for the rest."

"An eavesdropper!" she repeated, looking puzzled.

"Yes," I said, "but an excusable one, as I think you will

"This is very mysterious," she replied.

"Yes," said I, "so mysterious that often I have doubted
whether I really overheard at all what I am going to ask you
about, or only dreamed it. I want you to tell me. The matter is
this: When I was coming out of that sleep of a century, the first
impression of which I was conscious was of voices talking around
me, voices that afterwards I recognized as your father's, your
mother's, and your own. First, I remember your father's voice
saying, "He is going to open his eyes. He had better see but one
person at first." Then you said, if I did not dream it all,
"Promise me, then, that you will not tell him." Your father
seemed to hesitate about promising, but you insisted, and your
mother interposing, he finally promised, and when I opened my
eyes I saw only him."

I had been quite serious when I said that I was not sure that I
had not dreamed the conversation I fancied I had overheard, so
incomprehensible was it that these people should know anything
of me, a contemporary of their great-grandparents, which I did
not know myself. But when I saw the effect of my words upon
Edith, I knew that it was no dream, but another mystery, and a
more puzzling one than any I had before encountered. For from
the moment that the drift of my question became apparent, she
showed indications of the most acute embarrassment. Her eyes,
always so frank and direct in expression, had dropped in a panic
before mine, while her face crimsoned from neck to forehead.

"Pardon me," I said, as soon as I had recovered from bewilderment
at the extraordinary effect of my words. "It seems, then,
that I was not dreaming. There is some secret, something about
me, which you are withholding from me. Really, doesn't it seem
a little hard that a person in my position should not be given all
the information possible concerning himself?"

"It does not concern you--that is, not directly. It is not about
you exactly," she replied, scarcely audibly.

"But it concerns me in some way," I persisted. "It must be
something that would interest me."

"I don't know even that," she replied, venturing a momentary
glance at my face, furiously blushing, and yet with a quaint smile
flickering about her lips which betrayed a certain perception of
humor in the situation despite its embarrassment,--"I am not
sure that it would even interest you."

"Your father would have told me," I insisted, with an accent
of reproach. "It was you who forbade him. He thought I ought
to know."

She did not reply. She was so entirely charming in her
confusion that I was now prompted, as much by the desire to
prolong the situation as by my original curiosity, to importune
her further.

"Am I never to know? Will you never tell me?" I said.

"It depends," she answered, after a long pause.

"On what?" I persisted.

"Ah, you ask too much," she replied. Then, raising to mine a
face which inscrutable eyes, flushed cheeks, and smiling lips
combined to render perfectly bewitching, she added, "What
should you think if I said that it depended on--yourself?"

"On myself?" I echoed. "How can that possibly be?"

"Mr. West, we are losing some charming music," was her only
reply to this, and turning to the telephone, at a touch of her
finger she set the air to swaying to the rhythm of an adagio.
After that she took good care that the music should leave no
opportunity for conversation. She kept her face averted from me,
and pretended to be absorbed in the airs, but that it was a mere
pretense the crimson tide standing at flood in her cheeks
sufficiently betrayed.

When at length she suggested that I might have heard all I
cared to, for that time, and we rose to leave the room, she came
straight up to me and said, without raising her eyes, "Mr. West,
you say I have been good to you. I have not been particularly so,
but if you think I have, I want you to promise me that you will
not try again to make me tell you this thing you have asked
to-night, and that you will not try to find it out from any one
else,--my father or mother, for instance."

To such an appeal there was but one reply possible. "Forgive
me for distressing you. Of course I will promise," I said. "I
would never have asked you if I had fancied it could distress you.
But do you blame me for being curious?"

"I do not blame you at all."

"And some time," I added, "if I do not tease you, you may tell
me of your own accord. May I not hope so?"

"Perhaps," she murmured.

"Only perhaps?"

Looking up, she read my face with a quick, deep glance.
"Yes," she said, "I think I may tell you--some time": and so our
conversation ended, for she gave me no chance to say anything

That night I don't think even Dr. Pillsbury could have put me
to sleep, till toward morning at least. Mysteries had been my
accustomed food for days now, but none had before confronted
me at once so mysterious and so fascinating as this, the solution
of which Edith Leete had forbidden me even to seek. It was a
double mystery. How, in the first place, was it conceivable that
she should know any secret about me, a stranger from a strange
age? In the second place, even if she should know such a secret,
how account for the agitating effect which the knowledge of it
seemed to have upon her? There are puzzles so difficult that one
cannot even get so far as a conjecture as to the solution, and this
seemed one of them. I am usually of too practical a turn to waste
time on such conundrums; but the difficulty of a riddle embodied
in a beautiful young girl does not detract from its fascination.
In general, no doubt, maidens' blushes may be safely assumed to
tell the same tale to young men in all ages and races, but to give
that interpretation to Edith's crimson cheeks would, considering
my position and the length of time I had known her, and still
more the fact that this mystery dated from before I had known
her at all, be a piece of utter fatuity. And yet she was an angel,
and I should not have been a young man if reason and common
sense had been able quite to banish a roseate tinge from my
dreams that night.

Chapter 24

In the morning I went down stairs early in the hope of seeing
Edith alone. In this, however, I was disappointed. Not finding
her in the house, I sought her in the garden, but she was not
there. In the course of my wanderings I visited the underground
chamber, and sat down there to rest. Upon the reading table in
the chamber several periodicals and newspapers lay, and thinking
that Dr. Leete might be interested in glancing over a Boston
daily of 1887, I brought one of the papers with me into the
house when I came.

At breakfast I met Edith. She blushed as she greeted me, but
was perfectly self-possessed. As we sat at table, Dr. Leete amused
himself with looking over the paper I had brought in. There was
in it, as in all the newspapers of that date, a great deal about the
labor troubles, strikes, lockouts, boycotts, the programmes of
labor parties, and the wild threats of the anarchists.

"By the way," said I, as the doctor read aloud to us some of
these items, "what part did the followers of the red flag take in
the establishment of the new order of things? They were making
considerable noise the last thing that I knew."

"They had nothing to do with it except to hinder it, of
course," replied Dr. Leete. "They did that very effectually while
they lasted, for their talk so disgusted people as to deprive the
best considered projects for social reform of a hearing. The
subsidizing of those fellows was one of the shrewdest moves of
the opponents of reform."

"Subsidizing them!" I exclaimed in astonishment.

"Certainly," replied Dr. Leete. "No historical authority nowadays
doubts that they were paid by the great monopolies to wave
the red flag and talk about burning, sacking, and blowing people
up, in order, by alarming the timid, to head off any real reforms.
What astonishes me most is that you should have fallen into the
trap so unsuspectingly."

"What are your grounds for believing that the red flag party
was subsidized?" I inquired.

"Why simply because they must have seen that their course
made a thousand enemies of their professed cause to one friend.
Not to suppose that they were hired for the work is to credit
them with an inconceivable folly.[4] In the United States, of all
countries, no party could intelligently expect to carry its point
without first winning over to its ideas a majority of the nation, as
the national party eventually did."

[4] I fully admit the difficulty of accounting for the course of the
anarchists on any other theory than that they were subsidized by
the capitalists, but at the same time, there is no doubt that the
theory is wholly erroneous. It certainly was not held at the time by
any one, though it may seem so obvious in the retrospect.

"The national party!" I exclaimed. "That must have arisen
after my day. I suppose it was one of the labor parties."

"Oh no!" replied the doctor. "The labor parties, as such, never
could have accomplished anything on a large or permanent scale.
For purposes of national scope, their basis as merely class
organizations was too narrow. It was not till a rearrangement of
the industrial and social system on a higher ethical basis, and for
the more efficient production of wealth, was recognized as the
interest, not of one class, but equally of all classes, of rich and
poor, cultured and ignorant, old and young, weak and strong,
men and women, that there was any prospect that it would be
achieved. Then the national party arose to carry it out by
political methods. It probably took that name because its aim
was to nationalize the functions of production and distribution.
Indeed, it could not well have had any other name, for its
purpose was to realize the idea of the nation with a grandeur and
completeness never before conceived, not as an association of
men for certain merely political functions affecting their happiness
only remotely and superficially, but as a family, a vital
union, a common life, a mighty heaven-touching tree whose
leaves are its people, fed from its veins, and feeding it in turn.
The most patriotic of all possible parties, it sought to justify
patriotism and raise it from an instinct to a rational devotion, by
making the native land truly a father land, a father who kept the
people alive and was not merely an idol for which they were
expected to die."

Chapter 25

The personality of Edith Leete had naturally impressed me
strongly ever since I had come, in so strange a manner, to be an
inmate of her father's house, and it was to be expected that after
what had happened the night previous, I should be more than
ever preoccupied with thoughts of her. From the first I had been
struck with the air of serene frankness and ingenuous directness,
more like that of a noble and innocent boy than any girl I
had ever known, which characterized her. I was curious to know
how far this charming quality might be peculiar to herself, and
how far possibly a result of alterations in the social position of
women which might have taken place since my time. Finding an
opportunity that day, when alone with Dr. Leete, I turned the
conversation in that direction.

"I suppose," I said, "that women nowadays, having been
relieved of the burden of housework, have no employment but
the cultivation of their charms and graces."

"So far as we men are concerned," replied Dr. Leete, "we
should consider that they amply paid their way, to use one of
your forms of expression, if they confined themselves to that
occupation, but you may be very sure that they have quite too
much spirit to consent to be mere beneficiaries of society, even
as a return for ornamenting it. They did, indeed, welcome their
riddance from housework, because that was not only exceptionally
wearing in itself, but also wasteful, in the extreme, of energy,
as compared with the cooperative plan; but they accepted relief
from that sort of work only that they might contribute in other
and more effectual, as well as more agreeable, ways to the
common weal. Our women, as well as our men, are members of
the industrial army, and leave it only when maternal duties
claim them. The result is that most women, at one time or another
of their lives, serve industrially some five or ten or fifteen
years, while those who have no children fill out the full term."

"A woman does not, then, necessarily leave the industrial
service on marriage?" I queried.

"No more than a man," replied the doctor. "Why on earth
should she? Married women have no housekeeping responsibilities
now, you know, and a husband is not a baby that he should
be cared for."

"It was thought one of the most grievous features of our
civilization that we required so much toil from women," I said;
"but it seems to me you get more out of them than we did."

Dr. Leete laughed. "Indeed we do, just as we do out of our
men. Yet the women of this age are very happy, and those of the
nineteenth century, unless contemporary references greatly mislead
us, were very miserable. The reason that women nowadays
are so much more efficient colaborers with the men, and at the
same time are so happy, is that, in regard to their work as well as
men's, we follow the principle of providing every one the kind of
occupation he or she is best adapted to. Women being inferior
in strength to men, and further disqualified industrially in
special ways, the kinds of occupation reserved for them, and the
conditions under which they pursue them, have reference to
these facts. The heavier sorts of work are everywhere reserved for
men, the lighter occupations for women. Under no circumstances
is a woman permitted to follow any employment not
perfectly adapted, both as to kind and degree of labor, to her sex.
Moreover, the hours of women's work are considerably shorter
than those of men's, more frequent vacations are granted, and
the most careful provision is made for rest when needed. The
men of this day so well appreciate that they owe to the beauty
and grace of women the chief zest of their lives and their main
incentive to effort, that they permit them to work at all only
because it is fully understood that a certain regular requirement
of labor, of a sort adapted to their powers, is well for body and
mind, during the period of maximum physical vigor. We believe
that the magnificent health which distinguishes our women
from those of your day, who seem to have been so generally
sickly, is owing largely to the fact that all alike are furnished with
healthful and inspiriting occupation."

"I understood you," I said, "that the women-workers belong
to the army of industry, but how can they be under the same
system of ranking and discipline with the men, when the
conditions of their labor are so different?"

"They are under an entirely different discipline," replied Dr.
Leete, "and constitute rather an allied force than an integral part
of the army of the men. They have a woman general-in-chief and
are under exclusively feminine regime. This general, as also the
higher officers, is chosen by the body of women who have passed
the time of service, in correspondence with the manner in which
the chiefs of the masculine army and the President of the nation
are elected. The general of the women's army sits in the cabinet
of the President and has a veto on measures respecting women's
work, pending appeals to Congress. I should have said, in
speaking of the judiciary, that we have women on the bench,
appointed by the general of the women, as well as men. Causes
in which both parties are women are determined by women
judges, and where a man and a woman are parties to a case, a
judge of either sex must consent to the verdict."

"Womanhood seems to be organized as a sort of imperium in
imperio in your system," I said.

"To some extent," Dr. Leete replied; "but the inner imperium
is one from which you will admit there is not likely to be much
danger to the nation. The lack of some such recognition of the
distinct individuality of the sexes was one of the innumerable
defects of your society. The passional attraction between men
and women has too often prevented a perception of the profound
differences which make the members of each sex in many
things strange to the other, and capable of sympathy only with
their own. It is in giving full play to the differences of sex
rather than in seeking to obliterate them, as was apparently the
effort of some reformers in your day, that the enjoyment of each
by itself and the piquancy which each has for the other, are alike
enhanced. In your day there was no career for women except in
an unnatural rivalry with men. We have given them a world of
their own, with its emulations, ambitions, and careers, and I
assure you they are very happy in it. It seems to us that women
were more than any other class the victims of your civilization.
There is something which, even at this distance of time, penetrates
one with pathos in the spectacle of their ennuied, undeveloped
lives, stunted at marriage, their narrow horizon, bounded so
often, physically, by the four walls of home, and morally by a
petty circle of personal interests. I speak now, not of the poorer
classes, who were generally worked to death, but also of the
well-to-do and rich. From the great sorrows, as well as the petty
frets of life, they had no refuge in the breezy outdoor world of
human affairs, nor any interests save those of the family. Such an
existence would have softened men's brains or driven them mad.
All that is changed to-day. No woman is heard nowadays wishing
she were a man, nor parents desiring boy rather than girl
children. Our girls are as full of ambition for their careers as our
boys. Marriage, when it comes, does not mean incarceration for
them, nor does it separate them in any way from the larger
interests of society, the bustling life of the world. Only when
maternity fills a woman's mind with new interests does she
withdraw from the world for a time. Afterward, and at any
time, she may return to her place among her comrades, nor need
she ever lose touch with them. Women are a very happy race
nowadays, as compared with what they ever were before in the
world's history, and their power of giving happiness to men has
been of course increased in proportion."

"I should imagine it possible," I said, "that the interest which
girls take in their careers as members of the industrial army and
candidates for its distinctions might have an effect to deter them
from marriage."

Dr. Leete smiled. "Have no anxiety on that score, Mr. West,"
he replied. "The Creator took very good care that whatever other
modifications the dispositions of men and women might with
time take on, their attraction for each other should remain
constant. The mere fact that in an age like yours, when the
struggle for existence must have left people little time for other
thoughts, and the future was so uncertain that to assume
parental responsibilities must have often seemed like a criminal
risk, there was even then marrying and giving in marriage,
should be conclusive on this point. As for love nowadays, one of
our authors says that the vacuum left in the minds of men and
women by the absence of care for one's livelihood has been
entirely taken up by the tender passion. That, however, I beg
you to believe, is something of an exaggestion. For the rest, so
far is marriage from being an interference with a woman's career,
that the higher positions in the feminine army of industry are
intrusted only to women who have been both wives and mothers,
as they alone fully represent their sex."

"Are credit cards issued to the women just as to the men?"


"The credits of the women, I suppose, are for smaller sums,
owing to the frequent suspension of their labor on account of
family responsibilities."

"Smaller!" exclaimed Dr. Leete, "oh, no! The maintenance of
all our people is the same. There are no exceptions to that rule,
but if any difference were made on account of the interruptions
you speak of, it would be by making the woman's credit larger,
not smaller. Can you think of any service constituting a stronger
claim on the nation's gratitude than bearing and nursing the
nation's children? According to our view, none deserve so well of
the world as good parents. There is no task so unselfish, so
necessarily without return, though the heart is well rewarded, as
the nurture of the children who are to make the world for one
another when we are gone."

"It would seem to follow, from what you have said, that wives
are in no way dependent on their husbands for maintenance."

"Of course they are not," replied Dr. Leete, "nor children on
their parents either, that is, for means of support, though of
course they are for the offices of affection. The child's labor,
when he grows up, will go to increase the common stock, not his
parents', who will be dead, and therefore he is properly nurtured
out of the common stock. The account of every person, man,
woman, and child, you must understand, is always with the
nation directly, and never through any intermediary, except, of
course, that parents, to a certain extent, act for children as their
guardians. You see that it is by virtue of the relation of
individuals to the nation, of their membership in it, that they
are entitled to support; and this title is in no way connected with
or affected by their relations to other individuals who are fellow
members of the nation with them. That any person should be
dependent for the means of support upon another would be
shocking to the moral sense as well as indefensible on any
rational social theory. What would become of personal liberty
and dignity under such an arrangement? I am aware that you
called yourselves free in the nineteenth century. The meaning of
the word could not then, however, have been at all what it is at
present, or you certainly would not have applied it to a society of
which nearly every member was in a position of galling personal
dependence upon others as to the very means of life, the poor
upon the rich, or employed upon employer, women upon men,
children upon parents. Instead of distributing the product of the
nation directly to its members, which would seem the most
natural and obvious method, it would actually appear that you
had given your minds to devising a plan of hand to hand
distribution, involving the maximum of personal humiliation to
all classes of recipients.

"As regards the dependence of women upon men for support,
which then was usual, of course, natural attraction in case of
marriages of love may often have made it endurable, though for
spirited women I should fancy it must always have remained
humiliating. What, then, must it have been in the innumerable
cases where women, with or without the form of marriage, had
to sell themselves to men to get their living? Even your
contemporaries, callous as they were to most of the revolting
aspects of their society, seem to have had an idea that this was
not quite as it should be; but, it was still only for pity's sake that
they deplored the lot of the women. It did not occur to them
that it was robbery as well as cruelty when men seized for
themselves the whole product of the world and left women to
beg and wheedle for their share. Why--but bless me, Mr. West,
I am really running on at a remarkable rate, just as if the
robbery, the sorrow, and the shame which those poor women
endured were not over a century since, or as if you were
responsible for what you no doubt deplored as much as I do."

"I must bear my share of responsibility for the world as it then
was," I replied. "All I can say in extenuation is that until the
nation was ripe for the present system of organized production
and distribution, no radical improvement in the position of
woman was possible. The root of her disability, as you say, was
her personal dependence upon man for her livelihood, and I can
imagine no other mode of social organization than that you have
adopted, which would have set woman free of man at the same
time that it set men free of one another. I suppose, by the way,
that so entire a change in the position of women cannot have
taken place without affecting in marked ways the social relations
of the sexes. That will be a very interesting study for me."

"The change you will observe," said Dr. Leete, "will chiefly
be, I think, the entire frankness and unconstraint which now
characterizes those relations, as compared with the artificiality
which seems to have marked them in your time. The sexes now
meet with the ease of perfect equals, suitors to each other for
nothing but love. In your time the fact that women were
dependent for support on men made the woman in reality the
one chiefly benefited by marriage. This fact, so far as we can
judge from contemporary records, appears to have been coarsely
enough recognized among the lower classes, while among the
more polished it was glossed over by a system of elaborate
conventionalities which aimed to carry the precisely opposite
meaning, namely, that the man was the party chiefly benefited.
To keep up this convention it was essential that he should
always seem the suitor. Nothing was therefore considered more
shocking to the proprieties than that a woman should betray a
fondness for a man before he had indicated a desire to marry her.
Why, we actually have in our libraries books, by authors of your
day, written for no other purpose than to discuss the question
whether, under any conceivable circumstances, a woman might,
without discredit to her sex, reveal an unsolicited love. All this
seems exquisitely absurd to us, and yet we know that, given your
circumstances, the problem might have a serious side. When for
a woman to proffer her love to a man was in effect to invite him
to assume the burden of her support, it is easy to see that pride
and delicacy might well have checked the promptings of the
heart. When you go out into our society, Mr. West, you must be
prepared to be often cross-questioned on this point by our young
people, who are naturally much interested in this aspect of
old-fashioned manners."[5]

[5] I may say that Dr. Leete's warning has been fully justified by my
experience. The amount and intensity of amusement which the
young people of this day, and the young women especially, are
able to extract from what they are pleased to call the oddities of
courtship in the nineteenth century, appear unlimited.

"And so the girls of the twentieth century tell their love."

"If they choose," replied Dr. Leete. "There is no more
pretense of a concealment of feeling on their part than on the
part of their lovers. Coquetry would be as much despised in a
girl as in a man. Affected coldness, which in your day rarely
deceived a lover, would deceive him wholly now, for no one
thinks of practicing it."

"One result which must follow from the independence of
women I can see for myself," I said. "There can be no marriages
now except those of inclination."

"That is a matter of course," replied Dr. Leete.

"Think of a world in which there are nothing but matches of
pure love! Ah me, Dr. Leete, how far you are from being able to
understand what an astonishing phenomenon such a world
seems to a man of the nineteenth century!"

"I can, however, to some extent, imagine it," replied the
doctor. "But the fact you celebrate, that there are nothing but
love matches, means even more, perhaps, than you probably at
first realize. It means that for the first time in human history the
principle of sexual selection, with its tendency to preserve and
transmit the better types of the race, and let the inferior types
drop out, has unhindered operation. The necessities of poverty,
the need of having a home, no longer tempt women to accept as
the fathers of their children men whom they neither can love
nor respect. Wealth and rank no longer divert attention from
personal qualities. Gold no longer `gilds the straitened forehead
of the fool.' The gifts of person, mind, and disposition; beauty,
wit, eloquence, kindness, generosity, geniality, courage, are sure
of transmission to posterity. Every generation is sifted through a
little finer mesh than the last. The attributes that human nature
admires are preserved, those that repel it are left behind. There
are, of course, a great many women who with love must mingle
admiration, and seek to wed greatly, but these not the less obey
the same law, for to wed greatly now is not to marry men of
fortune or title, but those who have risen above their fellows by
the solidity or brilliance of their services to humanity. These
form nowadays the only aristocracy with which alliance is

"You were speaking, a day or two ago, of the physical
superiority of our people to your contemporaries. Perhaps more
important than any of the causes I mentioned then as tending to
race purification has been the effect of untrammeled sexual
selection upon the quality of two or three successive generations.
I believe that when you have made a fuller study of our people
you will find in them not only a physical, but a mental and
moral improvement. It would be strange if it were not so, for not
only is one of the great laws of nature now freely working out
the salvation of the race, but a profound moral sentiment has
come to its support. Individualism, which in your day was the
animating idea of society, not only was fatal to any vital
sentiment of brotherhood and common interest among living
men, but equally to any realization of the responsibility of the
living for the generation to follow. To-day this sense of responsibility,
practically unrecognized in all previous ages, has become
one of the great ethical ideas of the race, reinforcing, with an
intense conviction of duty, the natural impulse to seek in
marriage the best and noblest of the other sex. The result is, that
not all the encouragements and incentives of every sort which
we have provided to develop industry, talent, genius, excellence
of whatever kind, are comparable in their effect on our young
men with the fact that our women sit aloft as judges of the race
and reserve themselves to reward the winners. Of all the whips,
and spurs, and baits, and prizes, there is none like the thought of
the radiant faces which the laggards will find averted.

"Celibates nowadays are almost invariably men who have
failed to acquit themselves creditably in the work of life. The
woman must be a courageous one, with a very evil sort of
courage, too, whom pity for one of these unfortunates should
lead to defy the opinion of her generation--for otherwise she is
free--so far as to accept him for a husband. I should add that,
more exacting and difficult to resist than any other element in
that opinion, she would find the sentiment of her own sex. Our
women have risen to the full height of their responsibility as the
wardens of the world to come, to whose keeping the keys of the
future are confided. Their feeling of duty in this respect amounts
to a sense of religious consecration. It is a cult in which they
educate their daughters from childhood."

After going to my room that night, I sat up late to read a
romance of Berrian, handed me by Dr. Leete, the plot of which
turned on a situation suggested by his last words, concerning the
modern view of parental responsibility. A similar situation would
almost certainly have been treated by a nineteenth century
romancist so as to excite the morbid sympathy of the reader with
the sentimental selfishness of the lovers, and his resentment
toward the unwritten law which they outraged. I need not de-
scribe--for who has not read "Ruth Elton"?--how different is
the course which Berrian takes, and with what tremendous effect
he enforces the principle which he states: "Over the unborn our
power is that of God, and our responsibility like His toward us.
As we acquit ourselves toward them, so let Him deal with us."

Chapter 26

I think if a person were ever excusable for losing track of the
days of the week, the circumstances excused me. Indeed, if I had
been told that the method of reckoning time had been wholly
changed and the days were now counted in lots of five, ten, or
fifteen instead of seven, I should have been in no way surprised
after what I had already heard and seen of the twentieth century.
The first time that any inquiry as to the days of the week
occurred to me was the morning following the conversation
related in the last chapter. At the breakfast table Dr. Leete asked
me if I would care to hear a sermon.

"Is it Sunday, then?" I exclaimed.

"Yes," he replied. "It was on Friday, you see, when we made
the lucky discovery of the buried chamber to which we owe your
society this morning. It was on Saturday morning, soon after
midnight, that you first awoke, and Sunday afternoon when you
awoke the second time with faculties fully regained."

"So you still have Sundays and sermons," I said. "We had
prophets who foretold that long before this time the world
would have dispensed with both. I am very curious to know how
the ecclesiastical systems fit in with the rest of your social
arrangements. I suppose you have a sort of national church with
official clergymen."

Dr. Leete laughed, and Mrs. Leete and Edith seemed greatly

"Why, Mr. West," Edith said, "what odd people you must
think us. You were quite done with national religious establishments
in the nineteenth century, and did you fancy we had gone
back to them?"

"But how can voluntary churches and an unofficial clerical
profession be reconciled with national ownership of all buildings,
and the industrial service required of all men?" I answered.

"The religious practices of the people have naturally changed
considerably in a century," replied Dr. Leete; "but supposing
them to have remained unchanged, our social system would
accommodate them perfectly. The nation supplies any person or
number of persons with buildings on guarantee of the rent, and
they remain tenants while they pay it. As for the clergymen, if a
number of persons wish the services of an individual for any
particular end of their own, apart from the general service of the
nation, they can always secure it, with that individual's own
consent, of course, just as we secure the service of our editors, by
contributing from their credit cards an indemnity to the nation
for the loss of his services in general industry. This indemnity
paid the nation for the individual answers to the salary in your
day paid to the individual himself; and the various applications
of this principle leave private initiative full play in all details to
which national control is not applicable. Now, as to hearing a
sermon to-day, if you wish to do so, you can either go to a
church to hear it or stay at home."

"How am I to hear it if I stay at home?"

"Simply by accompanying us to the music room at the proper
hour and selecting an easy chair. There are some who still prefer
to hear sermons in church, but most of our preaching, like our
musical performances, is not in public, but delivered in acoustically
prepared chambers, connected by wire with subscribers'
houses. If you prefer to go to a church I shall be glad to
accompany you, but I really don't believe you are likely to hear
anywhere a better discourse than you will at home. I see by the
paper that Mr. Barton is to preach this morning, and he
preaches only by telephone, and to audiences often reaching

"The novelty of the experience of hearing a sermon under
such circumstances would incline me to be one of Mr. Barton's
hearers, if for no other reason," I said.

An hour or two later, as I sat reading in the library, Edith
came for me, and I followed her to the music room, where Dr.
and Mrs. Leete were waiting. We had not more than seated
ourselves comfortably when the tinkle of a bell was heard, and a
few moments after the voice of a man, at the pitch of ordinary
conversation, addressed us, with an effect of proceeding from an
invisible person in the room. This was what the voice said:


"We have had among us, during the past week, a critic from
the nineteenth century, a living representative of the epoch of
our great-grandparents. It would be strange if a fact so extraordinary
had not somewhat strongly affected our imaginations.
Perhaps most of us have been stimulated to some effort to
realize the society of a century ago, and figure to ourselves what
it must have been like to live then. In inviting you now to
consider certain reflections upon this subject which have
occurred to me, I presume that I shall rather follow than divert
the course of your own thoughts."

Edith whispered something to her father at this point, to
which he nodded assent and turned to me.

"Mr. West," he said, "Edith suggests that you may find it
slightly embarrassing to listen to a discourse on the lines Mr.
Barton is laying down, and if so, you need not be cheated out of
a sermon. She will connect us with Mr. Sweetser's speaking
room if you say so, and I can still promise you a very good

"No, no," I said. "Believe me, I would much rather hear what
Mr. Barton has to say."

"As you please," replied my host.

When her father spoke to me Edith had touched a screw, and
the voice of Mr. Barton had ceased abruptly. Now at another
touch the room was once more filled with the earnest sympathetic
tones which had already impressed me most favorably.

"I venture to assume that one effect has been common with
us as a result of this effort at retrospection, and that it has been
to leave us more than ever amazed at the stupendous change
which one brief century has made in the material and moral
conditions of humanity.

"Still, as regards the contrast between the poverty of the
nation and the world in the nineteenth century and their wealth
now, it is not greater, possibly, than had been before seen in
human history, perhaps not greater, for example, than that
between the poverty of this country during the earliest colonial
period of the seventeenth century and the relatively great wealth
it had attained at the close of the nineteenth, or between the
England of William the Conqueror and that of Victoria.
Although the aggregate riches of a nation did not then, as now,
afford any accurate criterion of the masses of its people, yet
instances like these afford partial parallels for the merely material
side of the contrast between the nineteenth and the twentieth
centuries. It is when we contemplate the moral aspect of that
contrast that we find ourselves in the presence of a phenomenon
for which history offers no precedent, however far back we may
cast our eye. One might almost be excused who should exclaim,
`Here, surely, is something like a miracle!' Nevertheless, when
we give over idle wonder, and begin to examine the seeming
prodigy critically, we find it no prodigy at all, much less a
miracle. It is not necessary to suppose a moral new birth of
humanity, or a wholesale destruction of the wicked and survival
of the good, to account for the fact before us. It finds its simple
and obvious explanation in the reaction of a changed environment
upon human nature. It means merely that a form of
society which was founded on the pseudo self-interest of selfishness,
and appealed solely to the anti-social and brutal side of
human nature, has been replaced by institutions based on the
true self-interest of a rational unselfishness, and appealing to the
social and generous instincts of men.

"My friends, if you would see men again the beasts of prey
they seemed in the nineteenth century, all you have to do is to
restore the old social and industrial system, which taught them
to view their natural prey in their fellow-men, and find their gain
in the loss of others. No doubt it seems to you that no necessity,
however dire, would have tempted you to subsist on what
superior skill or strength enabled you to wrest from others
equally needy. But suppose it were not merely your own life that
you were responsible for. I know well that there must have been
many a man among our ancestors who, if it had been merely a
question of his own life, would sooner have given it up than
nourished it by bread snatched from others. But this he was not
permitted to do. He had dear lives dependent on him. Men
loved women in those days, as now. God knows how they dared
be fathers, but they had babies as sweet, no doubt, to them as
ours to us, whom they must feed, clothe, educate. The gentlest
creatures are fierce when they have young to provide for, and in
that wolfish society the struggle for bread borrowed a peculiar
desperation from the tenderest sentiments. For the sake of those
dependent on him, a man might not choose, but must plunge
into the foul fight--cheat, overreach, supplant, defraud, buy
below worth and sell above, break down the business by which
his neighbor fed his young ones, tempt men to buy what they
ought not and to sell what they should not, grind his laborers,
sweat his debtors, cozen his creditors. Though a man sought it
carefully with tears, it was hard to find a way in which he could
earn a living and provide for his family except by pressing in
before some weaker rival and taking the food from his mouth.
Even the ministers of religion were not exempt from this cruel
necessity. While they warned their flocks against the love of
money, regard for their families compelled them to keep an
outlook for the pecuniary prizes of their calling. Poor fellows,
theirs was indeed a trying business, preaching to men a generosity
and unselfishness which they and everybody knew would, in
the existing state of the world, reduce to poverty those who
should practice them, laying down laws of conduct which the
law of self-preservation compelled men to break. Looking on the
inhuman spectacle of society, these worthy men bitterly
bemoaned the depravity of human nature; as if angelic nature
would not have been debauched in such a devil's school! Ah, my
friends, believe me, it is not now in this happy age that
humanity is proving the divinity within it. It was rather in those
evil days when not even the fight for life with one another, the
struggle for mere existence, in which mercy was folly, could
wholly banish generosity and kindness from the earth.

"It is not hard to understand the desperation with which men
and women, who under other conditions would have been full of
gentleness and truth, fought and tore each other in the scramble
for gold, when we realize what it meant to miss it, what poverty
was in that day. For the body it was hunger and thirst, torment
by heat and frost, in sickness neglect, in health unremitting toil;
for the moral nature it meant oppression, contempt, and the
patient endurance of indignity, brutish associations from
infancy, the loss of all the innocence of childhood, the grace of
womanhood, the dignity of manhood; for the mind it meant the
death of ignorance, the torpor of all those faculties which
distinguish us from brutes, the reduction of life to a round of
bodily functions.

"Ah, my friends, if such a fate as this were offered you and
your children as the only alternative of success in the accumulation
of wealth, how long do you fancy would you be in sinking
to the moral level of your ancestors?

"Some two or three centuries ago an act of barbarity was
committed in India, which, though the number of lives
destroyed was but a few score, was attended by such peculiar
horrors that its memory is likely to be perpetual. A number of
English prisoners were shut up in a room containing not enough
air to supply one-tenth their number. The unfortunates were
gallant men, devoted comrades in service, but, as the agonies of
suffocation began to take hold on them, they forgot all else, and
became involved in a hideous struggle, each one for himself, and
against all others, to force a way to one of the small apertures of
the prison at which alone it was possible to get a breath of air. It
was a struggle in which men became beasts, and the recital of its
horrors by the few survivors so shocked our forefathers that for a
century later we find it a stock reference in their literature as a
typical illustration of the extreme possibilities of human misery,
as shocking in its moral as its physical aspect. They could
scarcely have anticipated that to us the Black Hole of Calcutta,
with its press of maddened men tearing and trampling one
another in the struggle to win a place at the breathing holes,
would seem a striking type of the society of their age. It lacked
something of being a complete type, however, for in the Calcutta
Black Hole there were no tender women, no little children
and old men and women, no cripples. They were at least all
men, strong to bear, who suffered.

"When we reflect that the ancient order of which I have been
speaking was prevalent up to the end of the nineteenth century,
while to us the new order which succeeded it already seems
antique, even our parents having known no other, we cannot fail
to be astounded at the suddenness with which a transition so
profound beyond all previous experience of the race must have
been effected. Some observation of the state of men's minds
during the last quarter of the nineteenth century will, however,
in great measure, dissipate this astonishment. Though general
intelligence in the modern sense could not be said to exist in any
community at that time, yet, as compared with previous generations,
the one then on the stage was intelligent. The inevitable
consequence of even this comparative degree of intelligence had
been a perception of the evils of society, such as had never
before been general. It is quite true that these evils had been
even worse, much worse, in previous ages. It was the increased
intelligence of the masses which made the difference, as the
dawn reveals the squalor of surroundings which in the darkness
may have seemed tolerable. The key-note of the literature of the
period was one of compassion for the poor and unfortunate, and
indignant outcry against the failure of the social machinery to
ameliorate the miseries of men. It is plain from these outbursts
that the moral hideousness of the spectacle about them was, at
least by flashes, fully realized by the best of the men of that
time, and that the lives of some of the more sensitive and
generous hearted of them were rendered well nigh unendurable
by the intensity of their sympathies.

"Although the idea of the vital unity of the family of
mankind, the reality of human brotherhood, was very far from
being apprehended by them as the moral axiom it seems to us,
yet it is a mistake to suppose that there was no feeling at all
corresponding to it. I could read you passages of great beauty
from some of their writers which show that the conception was
clearly attained by a few, and no doubt vaguely by many more.
Moreover, it must not be forgotten that the nineteenth century
was in name Christian, and the fact that the entire commercial
and industrial frame of society was the embodiment of the
anti-Christian spirit must have had some weight, though I admit
it was strangely little, with the nominal followers of Jesus Christ.

"When we inquire why it did not have more, why, in general,
long after a vast majority of men had agreed as to the crying
abuses of the existing social arrangement, they still tolerated it,
or contented themselves with talking of petty reforms in it, we
come upon an extraordinary fact. It was the sincere belief of
even the best of men at that epoch that the only stable elements
in human nature, on which a social system could be safely
founded, were its worst propensities. They had been taught and
believed that greed and self-seeking were all that held mankind
together, and that all human associations would fall to pieces if
anything were done to blunt the edge of these motives or curb
their operation. In a word, they believed--even those who
longed to believe otherwise--the exact reverse of what seems to
us self-evident; they believed, that is, that the anti-social qualities
of men, and not their social qualities, were what furnished the
cohesive force of society. It seemed reasonable to them that men
lived together solely for the purpose of overreaching and oppressing
one another, and of being overreached and oppressed, and
that while a society that gave full scope to these propensities
could stand, there would be little chance for one based on the
idea of cooperation for the benefit of all. It seems absurd to
expect any one to believe that convictions like these were ever
seriously entertained by men; but that they were not only
entertained by our great-grandfathers, but were responsible for
the long delay in doing away with the ancient order, after a
conviction of its intolerable abuses had become general, is as well
established as any fact in history can be. Just here you will find
the explanation of the profound pessimism of the literature of
the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the note of melancholy
in its poetry, and the cynicism of its humor.

"Feeling that the condition of the race was unendurable, they
had no clear hope of anything better. They believed that the
evolution of humanity had resulted in leading it into a cul de
sac, and that there was no way of getting forward. The frame of
men's minds at this time is strikingly illustrated by treatises
which have come down to us, and may even now be consulted in
our libraries by the curious, in which laborious arguments are
pursued to prove that despite the evil plight of men, life was
still, by some slight preponderance of considerations, probably
better worth living than leaving. Despising themselves, they
despised their Creator. There was a general decay of religious
belief. Pale and watery gleams, from skies thickly veiled by
doubt and dread, alone lighted up the chaos of earth. That men
should doubt Him whose breath is in their nostrils, or dread the
hands that moulded them, seems to us indeed a pitiable insanity;
but we must remember that children who are brave by day have
sometimes foolish fears at night. The dawn has come since then.
It is very easy to believe in the fatherhood of God in the
twentieth century.

"Briefly, as must needs be in a discourse of this character, I
have adverted to some of the causes which had prepared men's
minds for the change from the old to the new order, as well as
some causes of the conservatism of despair which for a while
held it back after the time was ripe. To wonder at the rapidity
with which the change was completed after its possibility was
first entertained is to forget the intoxicating effect of hope upon
minds long accustomed to despair. The sunburst, after so long
and dark a night, must needs have had a dazzling effect. From
the moment men allowed themselves to believe that humanity
after all had not been meant for a dwarf, that its squat stature
was not the measure of its possible growth, but that it stood
upon the verge of an avatar of limitless development, the
reaction must needs have been overwhelming. It is evident that
nothing was able to stand against the enthusiasm which the new
faith inspired.

"Here, at last, men must have felt, was a cause compared with
which the grandest of historic causes had been trivial. It was
doubtless because it could have commanded millions of martyrs,
that none were needed. The change of a dynasty in a petty
kingdom of the old world often cost more lives than did the
revolution which set the feet of the human race at last in the
right way.

"Doubtless it ill beseems one to whom the boon of life in our
resplendent age has been vouchsafed to wish his destiny other,
and yet I have often thought that I would fain exchange my
share in this serene and golden day for a place in that stormy
epoch of transition, when heroes burst the barred gate of the
future and revealed to the kindling gaze of a hopeless race, in
place of the blank wall that had closed its path, a vista of
progress whose end, for very excess of light, still dazzles us. Ah,
my friends! who will say that to have lived then, when the
weakest influence was a lever to whose touch the centuries
trembled, was not worth a share even in this era of fruition?

"You know the story of that last, greatest, and most bloodless
of revolutions. In the time of one generation men laid aside the
social traditions and practices of barbarians, and assumed a social
order worthy of rational and human beings. Ceasing to be
predatory in their habits, they became co-workers, and found in
fraternity, at once, the science of wealth and happiness. `What
shall I eat and drink, and wherewithal shall I be clothed?' stated
as a problem beginning and ending in self, had been an anxious
and an endless one. But when once it was conceived, not from
the individual, but the fraternal standpoint, `What shall we eat
and drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed?'--its difficulties

"Poverty with servitude had been the result, for the mass of
humanity, of attempting to solve the problem of maintenance
from the individual standpoint, but no sooner had the nation
become the sole capitalist and employer than not alone did
plenty replace poverty, but the last vestige of the serfdom of
man to man disappeared from earth. Human slavery, so often
vainly scotched, at last was killed. The means of subsistence no
longer doled out by men to women, by employer to employed,
by rich to poor, was distributed from a common stock as among
children at the father's table. It was impossible for a man any
longer to use his fellow-men as tools for his own profit. His
esteem was the only sort of gain he could thenceforth make out
of him. There was no more either arrogance or servility in the
relations of human beings to one another. For the first time
since the creation every man stood up straight before God. The
fear of want and the lust of gain became extinct motives when
abundance was assured to all and immoderate possessions made
impossible of attainment. There were no more beggars nor
almoners. Equity left charity without an occupation. The ten
commandments became well nigh obsolete in a world where
there was no temptation to theft, no occasion to lie either for
fear or favor, no room for envy where all were equal, and little
provocation to violence where men were disarmed of power to
injure one another. Humanity's ancient dream of liberty, equality,
fraternity, mocked by so many ages, at last was realized.

"As in the old society the generous, the just, the tender-hearted
had been placed at a disadvantage by the possession of those
qualities; so in the new society the cold-hearted, the greedy, and
self-seeking found themselves out of joint with the world. Now
that the conditions of life for the first time ceased to operate as a
forcing process to develop the brutal qualities of human nature,
and the premium which had heretofore encouraged selfishness
was not only removed, but placed upon unselfishness, it was for
the first time possible to see what unperverted human nature
really was like. The depraved tendencies, which had previously
overgrown and obscured the better to so large an extent, now
withered like cellar fungi in the open air, and the nobler
qualities showed a sudden luxuriance which turned cynics into
panegyrists and for the first time in human history tempted
mankind to fall in love with itself. Soon was fully revealed, what
the divines and philosophers of the old world never would have
believed, that human nature in its essential qualities is good, not
bad, that men by their natural intention and structure are
generous, not selfish, pitiful, not cruel, sympathetic, not arrogant,
godlike in aspirations, instinct with divinest impulses of tenderness
and self-sacrifice, images of God indeed, not the travesties
upon Him they had seemed. The constant pressure, through
numberless generations, of conditions of life which might have
perverted angels, had not been able to essentially alter the
natural nobility of the stock, and these conditions once removed,
like a bent tree, it had sprung back to its normal uprightness.

"To put the whole matter in the nutshell of a parable, let me
compare humanity in the olden time to a rosebush planted in a
swamp, watered with black bog-water, breathing miasmatic fogs
by day, and chilled with poison dews at night. Innumerable
generations of gardeners had done their best to make it bloom,
but beyond an occasional half-opened bud with a worm at the
heart, their efforts had been unsuccessful. Many, indeed, claimed
that the bush was no rosebush at all, but a noxious shrub, fit
only to be uprooted and burned. The gardeners, for the most
part, however, held that the bush belonged to the rose family,
but had some ineradicable taint about it, which prevented the
buds from coming out, and accounted for its generally sickly
condition. There were a few, indeed, who maintained that the
stock was good enough, that the trouble was in the bog, and that
under more favorable conditions the plant might be expected to
do better. But these persons were not regular gardeners, and
being condemned by the latter as mere theorists and day
dreamers, were, for the most part, so regarded by the people.
Moreover, urged some eminent moral philosophers, even conceding
for the sake of the argument that the bush might possibly do
better elsewhere, it was a more valuable discipline for the buds
to try to bloom in a bog than it would be under more favorable
conditions. The buds that succeeded in opening might indeed be
very rare, and the flowers pale and scentless, but they represented
far more moral effort than if they had bloomed spontaneously in
a garden.

"The regular gardeners and the moral philosophers had their
way. The bush remained rooted in the bog, and the old course of
treatment went on. Continually new varieties of forcing mixtures
were applied to the roots, and more recipes than could be
numbered, each declared by its advocates the best and only
suitable preparation, were used to kill the vermin and remove
the mildew. This went on a very long time. Occasionally some
one claimed to observe a slight improvement in the appearance
of the bush, but there were quite as many who declared that it
did not look so well as it used to. On the whole there could not
be said to be any marked change. Finally, during a period of
general despondency as to the prospects of the bush where it
was, the idea of transplanting it was again mooted, and this time
found favor. `Let us try it,' was the general voice. `Perhaps it
may thrive better elsewhere, and here it is certainly doubtful if it
be worth cultivating longer.' So it came about that the rosebush
of humanity was transplanted, and set in sweet, warm, dry earth,
where the sun bathed it, the stars wooed it, and the south wind
caressed it. Then it appeared that it was indeed a rosebush. The
vermin and the mildew disappeared, and the bush was covered
with most beautiful red roses, whose fragrance filled the world.

"It is a pledge of the destiny appointed for us that the Creator
has set in our hearts an infinite standard of achievement, judged
by which our past attainments seem always insignificant, and the
goal never nearer. Had our forefathers conceived a state of
society in which men should live together like brethren dwelling
in unity, without strifes or envying, violence or overreaching, and
where, at the price of a degree of labor not greater than health
demands, in their chosen occupations, they should be wholly
freed from care for the morrow and left with no more concern
for their livelihood than trees which are watered by unfailing
streams,--had they conceived such a condition, I say, it would
have seemed to them nothing less than paradise. They would
have confounded it with their idea of heaven, nor dreamed that
there could possibly lie further beyond anything to be desired or
striven for.

"But how is it with us who stand on this height which they
gazed up to? Already we have well nigh forgotten, except when it
is especially called to our minds by some occasion like the
present, that it was not always with men as it is now. It is a
strain on our imaginations to conceive the social arrangements of
our immediate ancestors. We find them grotesque. The solution
of the problem of physical maintenance so as to banish care and
crime, so far from seeming to us an ultimate attainment, appears
but as a preliminary to anything like real human progress. We
have but relieved ourselves of an impertinent and needless
harassment which hindered our ancestor from undertaking the
real ends of existence. We are merely stripped for the race; no
more. We are like a child which has just learned to stand
upright and to walk. It is a great event, from the child's point of
view, when he first walks. Perhaps he fancies that there can be
little beyond that achievement, but a year later he has forgotten
that he could not always walk. His horizon did but widen when
he rose, and enlarge as he moved. A great event indeed, in one
sense, was his first step, but only as a beginning, not as the end.
His true career was but then first entered on. The enfranchisement
of humanity in the last century, from mental and
physical absorption in working and scheming for the mere bodily
necessities, may be regarded as a species of second birth of
the race, without which its first birth to an existence that was
but a burden would forever have remained unjustified, but
whereby it is now abundantly vindicated. Since then, humanity
has entered on a new phase of spiritual development, an evolution
of higher faculties, the very existence of which in human
nature our ancestors scarcely suspected. In place of the dreary
hopelessness of the nineteenth century, its profound pessimism
as to the future of humanity, the animating idea of the present
age is an enthusiastic conception of the opportunities of our
earthly existence, and the unbounded possibilities of human
nature. The betterment of mankind from generation to generation,
physically, mentally, morally, is recognized as the one great
object supremely worthy of effort and of sacrifice. We believe
the race for the first time to have entered on the realization of
God's ideal of it, and each generation must now be a step

"Do you ask what we look for when unnumbered generations
shall have passed away? I answer, the way stretches far before us,
but the end is lost in light. For twofold is the return of man to
God `who is our home,' the return of the individual by the way
of death, and the return of the race by the fulfillment of the
evolution, when the divine secret hidden in the germ shall be
perfectly unfolded. With a tear for the dark past, turn we then
to the dazzling future, and, veiling our eyes, press forward. The
long and weary winter of the race is ended. Its summer has
begun. Humanity has burst the chrysalis. The heavens are before

Chapter 27

I never could tell just why, but Sunday afternoon during my
old life had been a time when I was peculiarly subject to
melancholy, when the color unaccountably faded out of all the
aspects of life, and everything appeared pathetically uninteresting.
The hours, which in general were wont to bear me easily on
their wings, lost the power of flight, and toward the close of the
day, drooping quite to earth, had fairly to be dragged along by
main strength. Perhaps it was partly owing to the established
association of ideas that, despite the utter change in my
circumstances, I fell into a state of profound depression on the
afternoon of this my first Sunday in the twentieth century.

It was not, however, on the present occasion a depression
without specific cause, the mere vague melancholy I have spoken
of, but a sentiment suggested and certainly quite justified by my
position. The sermon of Mr. Barton, with its constant implication
of the vast moral gap between the century to which I
belonged and that in which I found myself, had had an effect
strongly to accentuate my sense of loneliness in it. Considerately
and philosophically as he had spoken, his words could scarcely
have failed to leave upon my mind a strong impression of the
mingled pity, curiosity, and aversion which I, as a representative
of an abhorred epoch, must excite in all around me.

The extraordinary kindness with which I had been treated by
Dr. Leete and his family, and especially the goodness of Edith,
had hitherto prevented my fully realizing that their real sentiment
toward me must necessarily be that of the whole generation
to which they belonged. The recognition of this, as regarded
Dr. Leete and his amiable wife, however painful, I might have
endured, but the conviction that Edith must share their feeling
was more than I could bear.

The crushing effect with which this belated perception of a
fact so obvious came to me opened my eyes fully to something
which perhaps the reader has already suspected,--I loved Edith.

Was it strange that I did? The affecting occasion on which
our intimacy had begun, when her hands had drawn me out of
the whirlpool of madness; the fact that her sympathy was the
vital breath which had set me up in this new life and enabled me
to support it; my habit of looking to her as the mediator
between me and the world around in a sense that even her father
was not,--these were circumstances that had predetermined a
result which her remarkable loveliness of person and disposition
would alone have accounted for. It was quite inevitable that she
should have come to seem to me, in a sense quite different from
the usual experience of lovers, the only woman in this world.
Now that I had become suddenly sensible of the fatuity of the
hopes I had begun to cherish, I suffered not merely what another
lover might, but in addition a desolate loneliness, an utter
forlornness, such as no other lover, however unhappy, could have

My hosts evidently saw that I was depressed in spirits, and did
their best to divert me. Edith especially, I could see, was
distressed for me, but according to the usual perversity of lovers,
having once been so mad as to dream of receiving something
more from her, there was no longer any virtue for me in a
kindness that I knew was only sympathy.

Toward nightfall, after secluding myself in my room most of
the afternoon, I went into the garden to walk about. The day
was overcast, with an autumnal flavor in the warm, still air.
Finding myself near the excavation, I entered the subterranean
chamber and sat down there. "This," I muttered to myself, "is
the only home I have. Let me stay here, and not go forth any
more." Seeking aid from the familiar surroundings, I endeavored
to find a sad sort of consolation in reviving the past and
summoning up the forms and faces that were about me in my
former life. It was in vain. There was no longer any life in them.
For nearly one hundred years the stars had been looking down
on Edith Bartlett's grave, and the graves of all my generation.

The past was dead, crushed beneath a century's weight, and
from the present I was shut out. There was no place for me
anywhere. I was neither dead nor properly alive.

"Forgive me for following you."

I looked up. Edith stood in the door of the subterranean
room, regarding me smilingly, but with eyes full of sympathetic

"Send me away if I am intruding on you," she said; "but we
saw that you were out of spirits, and you know you promised to
let me know if that were so. You have not kept your word."

I rose and came to the door, trying to smile, but making, I
fancy, rather sorry work of it, for the sight of her loveliness
brought home to me the more poignantly the cause of my

"I was feeling a little lonely, that is all," I said. "Has it never
occurred to you that my position is so much more utterly alone
than any human being's ever was before that a new word is really
needed to describe it?"

"Oh, you must not talk that way--you must not let yourself
feel that way--you must not!" she exclaimed, with moistened
eyes. "Are we not your friends? It is your own fault if you will
not let us be. You need not be lonely."

"You are good to me beyond my power of understanding," I
said, "but don't you suppose that I know it is pity merely, sweet
pity, but pity only. I should be a fool not to know that I cannot
seem to you as other men of your own generation do, but as
some strange uncanny being, a stranded creature of an unknown
sea, whose forlornness touches your compassion despite its
grotesqueness. I have been so foolish, you were so kind, as to
almost forget that this must needs be so, and to fancy I might in
time become naturalized, as we used to say, in this age, so as to
feel like one of you and to seem to you like the other men about
you. But Mr. Barton's sermon taught me how vain such a fancy
is, how great the gulf between us must seem to you."

"Oh that miserable sermon!" she exclaimed, fairly crying now
in her sympathy, "I wanted you not to hear it. What does he
know of you? He has read in old musty books about your times,
that is all. What do you care about him, to let yourself be vexed
by anything he said? Isn't it anything to you, that we who know
you feel differently? Don't you care more about what we think of
you than what he does who never saw you? Oh, Mr. West! you
don't know, you can't think, how it makes me feel to see you so
forlorn. I can't have it so. What can I say to you? How can I
convince you how different our feeling for you is from what you

As before, in that other crisis of my fate when she had come
to me, she extended her hands toward me in a gesture of
helpfulness, and, as then, I caught and held them in my own;
her bosom heaved with strong emotion, and little tremors in the
fingers which I clasped emphasized the depth of her feeling. In
her face, pity contended in a sort of divine spite against the
obstacles which reduced it to impotence. Womanly compassion
surely never wore a guise more lovely.

Such beauty and such goodness quite melted me, and it
seemed that the only fitting response I could make was to tell
her just the truth. Of course I had not a spark of hope, but on
the other hand I had no fear that she would be angry. She was
too pitiful for that. So I said presently, "It is very ungrateful in
me not to be satisfied with such kindness as you have shown me,
and are showing me now. But are you so blind as not to see why
they are not enough to make me happy? Don't you see that it is
because I have been mad enough to love you?"

At my last words she blushed deeply and her eyes fell before
mine, but she made no effort to withdraw her hands from my
clasp. For some moments she stood so, panting a little. Then
blushing deeper than ever, but with a dazzling smile, she looked

"Are you sure it is not you who are blind?" she said.

That was all, but it was enough, for it told me that, unaccountable,
incredible as it was, this radiant daughter of a golden
age had bestowed upon me not alone her pity, but her love. Still,
I half believed I must be under some blissful hallucination even
as I clasped her in my arms. "If I am beside myself," I cried, "let
me remain so."

"It is I whom you must think beside myself," she panted,
escaping from my arms when I had barely tasted the sweetness
of her lips. "Oh! oh! what must you think of me almost to throw
myself in the arms of one I have known but a week? I did not
mean that you should find it out so soon, but I was so sorry for
you I forgot what I was saying. No, no; you must not touch me
again till you know who I am. After that, sir, you shall apologize
to me very humbly for thinking, as I know you do, that I have
been over quick to fall in love with you. After you know who I
am, you will be bound to confess that it was nothing less than my
duty to fall in love with you at first sight, and that no girl of
proper feeling in my place could do otherwise."

As may be supposed, I would have been quite content to
waive explanations, but Edith was resolute that there should be
no more kisses until she had been vindicated from all suspicion
of precipitancy in the bestowal of her affections, and I was fain
to follow the lovely enigma into the house. Having come where
her mother was, she blushingly whispered something in her ear
and ran away, leaving us together.

It then appeared that, strange as my experience had been, I
was now first to know what was perhaps its strangest feature.
From Mrs. Leete I learned that Edith was the great-granddaughter
of no other than my lost love, Edith Bartlett. After mourning
me for fourteen years, she had made a marriage of esteem, and
left a son who had been Mrs. Leete's father. Mrs. Leete had
never seen her grandmother, but had heard much of her, and,
when her daughter was born, gave her the name of Edith. This
fact might have tended to increase the interest which the girl
took, as she grew up, in all that concerned her ancestress, and
especially the tragic story of the supposed death of the lover,
whose wife she expected to be, in the conflagration of his house.
It was a tale well calculated to touch the sympathy of a romantic
girl, and the fact that the blood of the unfortunate heroine was
in her own veins naturally heightened Edith's interest in it. A
portrait of Edith Bartlett and some of her papers, including a
packet of my own letters, were among the family heirlooms. The
picture represented a very beautiful young woman about whom
it was easy to imagine all manner of tender and romantic things.
My letters gave Edith some material for forming a distinct idea
of my personality, and both together sufficed to make the sad old
story very real to her. She used to tell her parents, half jestingly,
that she would never marry till she found a lover like Julian
West, and there were none such nowadays.

Now all this, of course, was merely the daydreaming of a girl
whose mind had never been taken up by a love affair of her own,
and would have had no serious consequence but for the discovery
that morning of the buried vault in her father's garden and
the revelation of the identity of its inmate. For when the apparently
lifeless form had been borne into the house, the face in the
locket found upon the breast was instantly recognized as that of
Edith Bartlett, and by that fact, taken in connection with the
other circumstances, they knew that I was no other than Julian
West. Even had there been no thought, as at first there was not,
of my resuscitation, Mrs. Leete said she believed that this event
would have affected her daughter in a critical and life-long
manner. The presumption of some subtle ordering of destiny,
involving her fate with mine, would under all circumstances
have possessed an irresistible fascination for almost any woman.

Whether when I came back to life a few hours afterward, and
from the first seemed to turn to her with a peculiar dependence
and to find a special solace in her company, she had been too
quick in giving her love at the first sign of mine, I could now,
her mother said, judge for myself. If I thought so, I must
remember that this, after all, was the twentieth and not the
nineteenth century, and love was, no doubt, now quicker in
growth, as well as franker in utterance than then.

From Mrs. Leete I went to Edith. When I found her, it was
first of all to take her by both hands and stand a long time in
rapt contemplation of her face. As I gazed, the memory of that
other Edith, which had been affected as with a benumbing
shock by the tremendous experience that had parted us, revived,
and my heart was dissolved with tender and pitiful emotions,
but also very blissful ones. For she who brought to me so
poignantly the sense of my loss was to make that loss good. It
was as if from her eyes Edith Bartlett looked into mine, and
smiled consolation to me. My fate was not alone the strangest,
but the most fortunate that ever befell a man. A double miracle
had been wrought for me. I had not been stranded upon the
shore of this strange world to find myself alone and companionless.
My love, whom I had dreamed lost, had been reembodied
for my consolation. When at last, in an ecstasy of gratitude
and tenderness, I folded the lovely girl in my arms, the
two Ediths were blended in my thought, nor have they ever
since been clearly distinguished. I was not long in finding that
on Edith's part there was a corresponding confusion of identities.
Never, surely, was there between freshly united lovers a
stranger talk than ours that afternoon. She seemed more anxious
to have me speak of Edith Bartlett than of herself, of how I had
loved her than how I loved herself, rewarding my fond words
concerning another woman with tears and tender smiles and
pressures of the hand.

"You must not love me too much for myself," she said. "I
shall be very jealous for her. I shall not let you forget her. I am
going to tell you something which you may think strange. Do
you not believe that spirits sometimes come back to the world to
fulfill some work that lay near their hearts? What if I were to
tell you that I have sometimes thought that her spirit lives in
me--that Edith Bartlett, not Edith Leete, is my real name. I
cannot know it; of course none of us can know who we really are;
but I can feel it. Can you wonder that I have such a feeling,
seeing how my life was affected by her and by you, even before
you came. So you see you need not trouble to love me at all, if
only you are true to her. I shall not be likely to be jealous."

Dr. Leete had gone out that afternoon, and I did not have an
interview with him till later. He was not, apparently, wholly
unprepared for the intelligence I conveyed, and shook my hand

"Under any ordinary circumstances, Mr. West, I should say
that this step had been taken on rather short acquaintance; but
these are decidedly not ordinary circumstances. In fairness,
perhaps I ought to tell you," he added smilingly, "that while I
cheerfully consent to the proposed arrangement, you must not
feel too much indebted to me, as I judge my consent is a mere
formality. From the moment the secret of the locket was out, it
had to be, I fancy. Why, bless me, if Edith had not been there
to redeem her great-grandmother's pledge, I really apprehend
that Mrs. Leete's loyalty to me would have suffered a severe

That evening the garden was bathed in moonlight, and till
midnight Edith and I wandered to and fro there, trying to grow
accustomed to our happiness.

"What should I have done if you had not cared for me?" she
exclaimed. "I was afraid you were not going to. What should I
have done then, when I felt I was consecrated to you! As soon as
you came back to life, I was as sure as if she had told me that I
was to be to you what she could not be, but that could only be if
you would let me. Oh, how I wanted to tell you that morning,
when you felt so terribly strange among us, who I was, but dared
not open my lips about that, or let father or mother----"

"That must have been what you would not let your father tell
me!" I exclaimed, referring to the conversation I had overheard
as I came out of my trance.

"Of course it was," Edith laughed. "Did you only just guess
that? Father being only a man, thought that it would make you
feel among friends to tell you who we were. He did not think of
me at all. But mother knew what I meant, and so I had my way.
I could never have looked you in the face if you had known who
I was. It would have been forcing myself on you quite too
boldly. I am afraid you think I did that to-day, as it was. I am
sure I did not mean to, for I know girls were expected to hide
their feelings in your day, and I was dreadfully afraid of shocking
you. Ah me, how hard it must have been for them to have
always had to conceal their love like a fault. Why did they think
it such a shame to love any one till they had been given
permission? It is so odd to think of waiting for permission to fall
in love. Was it because men in those days were angry when girls
loved them? That is not the way women would feel, I am sure,
or men either, I think, now. I don't understand it at all. That
will be one of the curious things about the women of those days
that you will have to explain to me. I don't believe Edith
Bartlett was so foolish as the others."

After sundry ineffectual attempts at parting, she finally insisted
that we must say good night. I was about to imprint upon
her lips the positively last kiss, when she said, with an indescribable

"One thing troubles me. Are you sure that you quite forgive
Edith Bartlett for marrying any one else? The books that have
come down to us make out lovers of your time more jealous than
fond, and that is what makes me ask. It would be a great relief to
me if I could feel sure that you were not in the least jealous of
my great-grandfather for marrying your sweetheart. May I tell
my great-grandmother's picture when I go to my room that you
quite forgive her for proving false to you?"

Will the reader believe it, this coquettish quip, whether the
speaker herself had any idea of it or not, actually touched and
with the touching cured a preposterous ache of something like
jealousy which I had been vaguely conscious of ever since Mrs.
Leete had told me of Edith Bartlett's marriage. Even while I had
been holding Edith Bartlett's great-granddaughter in my arms, I
had not, till this moment, so illogical are some of our feelings,
distinctly realized that but for that marriage I could not have
done so. The absurdity of this frame of mind could only be
equalled by the abruptness with which it dissolved as Edith's
roguish query cleared the fog from my perceptions. I laughed as
I kissed her.

"You may assure her of my entire forgiveness," I said,
"although if it had been any man but your great-grandfather
whom she married, it would have been a very different matter."

On reaching my chamber that night I did not open the
musical telephone that I might be lulled to sleep with soothing
tunes, as had become my habit. For once my thoughts made
better music than even twentieth century orchestras discourse,
and it held me enchanted till well toward morning, when I fell

Chapter 28

It's a little after the time you told me to wake you, sir. You
did not come out of it as quick as common, sir."

The voice was the voice of my man Sawyer. I started bolt
upright in bed and stared around. I was in my underground
chamber. The mellow light of the lamp which always burned in
the room when I occupied it illumined the familiar walls and
furnishings. By my bedside, with the glass of sherry in his hand
which Dr. Pillsbury prescribed on first rousing from a mesmeric
sleep, by way of awakening the torpid physical functions, stood

"Better take this right off, sir," he said, as I stared blankly at
him. "You look kind of flushed like, sir, and you need it."

I tossed off the liquor and began to realize what had happened
to me. It was, of course, very plain. All that about the twentieth
century had been a dream. I had but dreamed of that
enlightened and care-free race of men and their ingeniously
simple institutions, of the glorious new Boston with its domes
and pinnacles, its gardens and fountains, and its universal reign
of comfort. The amiable family which I had learned to know so
well, my genial host and Mentor, Dr. Leete, his wife, and their
daughter, the second and more beauteous Edith, my betrothed
--these, too, had been but figments of a vision.

For a considerable time I remained in the attitude in which
this conviction had come over me, sitting up in bed gazing at
vacancy, absorbed in recalling the scenes and incidents of my
fantastic experience. Sawyer, alarmed at my looks, was meanwhile
anxiously inquiring what was the matter with me. Roused
at length by his importunities to a recognition of my surroundings,
I pulled myself together with an effort and assured the
faithful fellow that I was all right. "I have had an extraordinary
dream, that's all, Sawyer," I said, "a most-ex-traor-dinary-

I dressed in a mechanical way, feeling light-headed and oddly
uncertain of myself, and sat down to the coffee and rolls which
Sawyer was in the habit of providing for my refreshment before I
left the house. The morning newspaper lay by the plate. I took it
up, and my eye fell on the date, May 31, 1887. I had known, of
course, from the moment I opened my eyes that my long and
detailed experience in another century had been a dream, and
yet it was startling to have it so conclusively demonstrated that
the world was but a few hours older than when I had lain down
to sleep.

Glancing at the table of contents at the head of the paper,
which reviewed the news of the morning, I read the following

FOREIGN AFFAIRS.--The impending war between France and
Germany. The French Chambers asked for new military credits
to meet Germany's increase of her army. Probability that all
Europe will be involved in case of war.--Great suffering among
the unemployed in London. They demand work. Monster demonstration
to be made. The authorities uneasy.--Great strikes in
Belgium. The government preparing to repress outbreaks. Shocking
facts in regard to the employment of girls in Belgium coal
mines.--Wholesale evictions in Ireland.

"HOME AFFAIRS.--The epidemic of fraud unchecked. Embezzlement
of half a million in New York.--Misappropriation of a
trust fund by executors. Orphans left penniless.--Clever system
of thefts by a bank teller; $50,000 gone.--The coal barons decide
to advance the price of coal and reduce production.--
Speculators engineering a great wheat corner at Chicago.--A
clique forcing up the price of coffee.--Enormous land-grabs of
Western syndicates.--Revelations of shocking corruption among
Chicago officials. Systematic bribery.--The trials of the Boodle
aldermen to go on at New York.--Large failures of business
houses. Fears of a business crisis.--A large grist of burglaries and
larcenies.--A woman murdered in cold blood for her money at
New Haven.--A householder shot by a burglar in this city last
night.--A man shoots himself in Worcester because he could
not get work. A large family left destitute.--An aged couple in
New Jersey commit suicide rather than go to the poor-house.--
Pitiable destitution among the women wage-workers in the great
cities.--Startling growth of illiteracy in Massachusetts.--More
insane asylums wanted.--Decoration Day addresses. Professor
Brown's oration on the moral grandeur of nineteenth century

It was indeed the nineteenth century to which I had awaked;
there could be no kind of doubt about that. Its complete
microcosm this summary of the day's news had presented, even
to that last unmistakable touch of fatuous self-complacency.
Coming after such a damning indictment of the age as that one
day's chronicle of world-wide bloodshed, greed, and tyranny, was
a bit of cynicism worthy of Mephistopheles, and yet of all whose
eyes it had met this morning I was, perhaps, the only one who
perceived the cynicism, and but yesterday I should have perceived
it no more than the others. That strange dream it was
which had made all the difference. For I know not how long, I
forgot my surroundings after this, and was again in fancy moving
in that vivid dream-world, in that glorious city, with its homes of
simple comfort and its gorgeous public palaces. Around me were
again faces unmarred by arrogance or servility, by envy or greed,
by anxious care or feverish ambition, and stately forms of men
and women who had never known fear of a fellow man or
depended on his favor, but always, in the words of that sermon
which still rang in my ears, had "stood up straight before God."

With a profound sigh and a sense of irreparable loss, not the
less poignant that it was a loss of what had never really been, I
roused at last from my reverie, and soon after left the house.

A dozen times between my door and Washington Street I had
to stop and pull myself together, such power had been in that
vision of the Boston of the future to make the real Boston
strange. The squalor and malodorousness of the town struck me,
from the moment I stood upon the street, as facts I had never
before observed. But yesterday, moreover, it had seemed quite a
matter of course that some of my fellow-citizens should wear
silks, and others rags, that some should look well fed, and others
hungry. Now on the contrary the glaring disparities in the dress
and condition of the men and women who brushed each other
on the sidewalks shocked me at every step, and yet more the
entire indifference which the prosperous showed to the plight of
the unfortunate. Were these human beings, who could behold
the wretchedness of their fellows without so much as a change of
countenance? And yet, all the while, I knew well that it was I
who had changed, and not my contemporaries. I had dreamed of
a city whose people fared all alike as children of one family and
were one another's keepers in all things.

Another feature of the real Boston, which assumed the
extraordinary effect of strangeness that marks familiar things
seen in a new light, was the prevalence of advertising. There had
been no personal advertising in the Boston of the twentieth
century, because there was no need of any, but here the walls of
the buildings, the windows, the broadsides of the newspapers in
every hand, the very pavements, everything in fact in sight, save
the sky, were covered with the appeals of individuals who
sought, under innumerable pretexts, to attract the contributions
of others to their support. However the wording might vary, the
tenor of all these appeals was the same:

"Help John Jones. Never mind the rest. They are frauds. I,
John Jones, am the right one. Buy of me. Employ me. Visit me.
Hear me, John Jones. Look at me. Make no mistake, John Jones
is the man and nobody else. Let the rest starve, but for God's
sake remember John Jones!"

Whether the pathos or the moral repulsiveness of the spectacle
most impressed me, so suddenly become a stranger in my
own city, I know not. Wretched men, I was moved to cry, who,
because they will not learn to be helpers of one another, are
doomed to be beggars of one another from the least to the
greatest! This horrible babel of shameless self-assertion and
mutual depreciation, this stunning clamor of conflicting boasts,
appeals, and adjurations, this stupendous system of brazen
beggary, what was it all but the necessity of a society in which
the opportunity to serve the world according to his gifts, instead
of being secured to every man as the first object of social
organization, had to be fought for!

I reached Washington Street at the busiest point, and there I
stood and laughed aloud, to the scandal of the passers-by. For
my life I could not have helped it, with such a mad humor was I
moved at sight of the interminable rows of stores on either side,
up and down the street so far as I could see--scores of them, to
make the spectacle more utterly preposterous, within a stone's
throw devoted to selling the same sort of goods. Stores! stores!
stores! miles of stores! ten thousand stores to distribute the
goods needed by this one city, which in my dream had been
supplied with all things from a single warehouse, as they were
ordered through one great store in every quarter, where the
buyer, without waste of time or labor, found under one roof the
world's assortment in whatever line he desired. There the labor
of distribution had been so slight as to add but a scarcely
perceptible fraction to the cost of commodities to the user. The
cost of production was virtually all he paid. But here the mere
distribution of the goods, their handling alone, added a fourth, a
third, a half and more, to the cost. All these ten thousand plants
must be paid for, their rent, their staffs of superintendence, their
platoons of salesmen, their ten thousand sets of accountants,
jobbers, and business dependents, with all they spent in advertising
themselves and fighting one another, and the consumers
must do the paying. What a famous process for beggaring a

Were these serious men I saw about me, or children, who did
their business on such a plan? Could they be reasoning beings,
who did not see the folly which, when the product is made and
ready for use, wastes so much of it in getting it to the user? If
people eat with a spoon that leaks half its contents between bowl
and lip, are they not likely to go hungry?

I had passed through Washington Street thousands of times
before and viewed the ways of those who sold merchandise, but
my curiosity concerning them was as if I had never gone by their
way before. I took wondering note of the show windows of the
stores, filled with goods arranged with a wealth of pains and
artistic device to attract the eye. I saw the throngs of ladies
looking in, and the proprietors eagerly watching the effect of the
bait. I went within and noted the hawk-eyed floor-walker watching
for business, overlooking the clerks, keeping them up to their
task of inducing the customers to buy, buy, buy, for money if
they had it, for credit if they had it not, to buy what they
wanted not, more than they wanted, what they could not afford.
At times I momentarily lost the clue and was confused by the
sight. Why this effort to induce people to buy? Surely that had
nothing to do with the legitimate business of distributing
products to those who needed them. Surely it was the sheerest
waste to force upon people what they did not want, but what
might be useful to another. The nation was so much the poorer
for every such achievement. What were these clerks thinking of?
Then I would remember that they were not acting as distributors
like those in the store I had visited in the dream Boston.
They were not serving the public interest, but their immediate
personal interest, and it was nothing to them what the ultimate
effect of their course on the general prosperity might be, if but
they increased their own hoard, for these goods were their own,
and the more they sold and the more they got for them, the
greater their gain. The more wasteful the people were, the more
articles they did not want which they could be induced to buy,
the better for these sellers. To encourage prodigality was the
express aim of the ten thousand stores of Boston.

Nor were these storekeepers and clerks a whit worse men than
any others in Boston. They must earn a living and support their
families, and how were they to find a trade to do it by which did
not necessitate placing their individual interests before those of
others and that of all? They could not be asked to starve while
they waited for an order of things such as I had seen in my
dream, in which the interest of each and that of all were
identical. But, God in heaven! what wonder, under such a
system as this about me--what wonder that the city was so
shabby, and the people so meanly dressed, and so many of them
ragged and hungry!

Some time after this it was that I drifted over into South
Boston and found myself among the manufacturing establishments.
I had been in this quarter of the city a hundred times
before, just as I had been on Washington Street, but here, as
well as there, I now first perceived the true significance of what I
witnessed. Formerly I had taken pride in the fact that, by actual
count, Boston had some four thousand independent manufacturing
establishments; but in this very multiplicity and independence
I recognized now the secret of the insignificant total
product of their industry.

If Washington Street had been like a lane in Bedlam, this was
a spectacle as much more melancholy as production is a more
vital function than distribution. For not only were these four
thousand establishments not working in concert, and for that
reason alone operating at prodigious disadvantage, but, as if this
did not involve a sufficiently disastrous loss of power, they were
using their utmost skill to frustrate one another's effort, praying
by night and working by day for the destruction of one another's

The roar and rattle of wheels and hammers resounding from
every side was not the hum of a peaceful industry, but the
clangor of swords wielded by foemen. These mills and shops
were so many forts, each under its own flag, its guns trained on
the mills and shops about it, and its sappers busy below,
undermining them.

Within each one of these forts the strictest organization of
industry was insisted on; the separate gangs worked under a
single central authority. No interference and no duplicating of
work were permitted. Each had his allotted task, and none were
idle. By what hiatus in the logical faculty, by what lost link of
reasoning, account, then, for the failure to recognize the necessity
of applying the same principle to the organization of the
national industries as a whole, to see that if lack of organization
could impair the efficiency of a shop, it must have effects as
much more disastrous in disabling the industries of the nation at
large as the latter are vaster in volume and more complex in the
relationship of their parts.

People would be prompt enough to ridicule an army in which
there were neither companies, battalions, regiments, brigades,
divisions, or army corps--no unit of organization, in fact, larger
than the corporal's squad, with no officer higher than a corporal,
and all the corporals equal in authority. And yet just such an
army were the manufacturing industries of nineteenth century
Boston, an army of four thousand independent squads led by
four thousand independent corporals, each with a separate plan
of campaign.

Knots of idle men were to be seen here and there on every
side, some idle because they could find no work at any price,
others because they could not get what they thought a fair price.
I accosted some of the latter, and they told me their grievances.
It was very little comfort I could give them. "I am sorry
for you," I said. "You get little enough, certainly, and yet the
wonder to me is, not that industries conducted as these are do
not pay you living wages, but that they are able to pay you any
wages at all."

Making my way back again after this to the peninsular city,
toward three o'clock I stood on State Street, staring, as if I had
never seen them before, at the banks and brokers' offices, and
other financial institutions, of which there had been in the State
Street of my vision no vestige. Business men, confidential clerks,
and errand boys were thronging in and out of the banks, for it
wanted but a few minutes of the closing hour. Opposite me was
the bank where I did business, and presently I crossed the street,
and, going in with the crowd, stood in a recess of the wall
looking on at the army of clerks handling money, and the cues of
depositors at the tellers' windows. An old gentleman whom I
knew, a director of the bank, passing me and observing my
contemplative attitude, stopped a moment.

"Interesting sight, isn't it, Mr. West," he said. "Wonderful
piece of mechanism; I find it so myself. I like sometimes to
stand and look on at it just as you are doing. It's a poem, sir, a
poem, that's what I call it. Did you ever think, Mr. West, that
the bank is the heart of the business system? From it and to it,
in endless flux and reflux, the life blood goes. It is flowing in
now. It will flow out again in the morning"; and pleased with his
little conceit, the old man passed on smiling.

Yesterday I should have considered the simile apt enough, but
since then I had visited a world incomparably more affluent than
this, in which money was unknown and without conceivable use.
I had learned that it had a use in the world around me only
because the work of producing the nation's livelihood, instead of
being regarded as the most strictly public and common of all
concerns, and as such conducted by the nation, was abandoned
to the hap-hazard efforts of individuals. This original mistake
necessitated endless exchanges to bring about any sort of general
distribution of products. These exchanges money effected--how
equitably, might be seen in a walk from the tenement house
districts to the Back Bay--at the cost of an army of men taken
from productive labor to manage it, with constant ruinous
breakdowns of its machinery, and a generally debauching influence
on mankind which had justified its description, from
ancient time, as the "root of all evil."

Alas for the poor old bank director with his poem! He had
mistaken the throbbing of an abscess for the beating of the
heart. What he called "a wonderful piece of mechanism" was an
imperfect device to remedy an unnecessary defect, the clumsy
crutch of a self-made cripple.

After the banks had closed I wandered aimlessly about the
business quarter for an hour or two, and later sat a while on one
of the benches of the Common, finding an interest merely in
watching the throngs that passed, such as one has in studying
the populace of a foreign city, so strange since yesterday had my
fellow citizens and their ways become to me. For thirty years I
had lived among them, and yet I seemed to have never noted
before how drawn and anxious were their faces, of the rich as of
the poor, the refined, acute faces of the educated as well as the
dull masks of the ignorant. And well it might be so, for I saw
now, as never before I had seen so plainly, that each as he
walked constantly turned to catch the whispers of a spectre at his
ear, the spectre of Uncertainty. "Do your work never so well,"
the spectre was whispering--"rise early and toil till late, rob
cunningly or serve faithfully, you shall never know security. Rich
you may be now and still come to poverty at last. Leave never so
much wealth to your children, you cannot buy the assurance that
your son may not be the servant of your servant, or that your
daughter will not have to sell herself for bread."

A man passing by thrust an advertising card in my hand,
which set forth the merits of some new scheme of life insurance.
The incident reminded me of the only device, pathetic in its
admission of the universal need it so poorly supplied, which
offered these tired and hunted men and women even a partial
protection from uncertainty. By this means, those already
well-to-do, I remembered, might purchase a precarious confi-
dence that after their death their loved ones would not, for a
while at least, be trampled under the feet of men. But this was
all, and this was only for those who could pay well for it. What
idea was possible to these wretched dwellers in the land of
Ishmael, where every man's hand was against each and the hand
of each against every other, of true life insurance as I had seen it
among the people of that dream land, each of whom, by virtue
merely of his membership in the national family, was guaranteed
against need of any sort, by a policy underwritten by one hundred
million fellow countrymen.

Some time after this it was that I recall a glimpse of myself
standing on the steps of a building on Tremont Street, looking
at a military parade. A regiment was passing. It was the first sight
in that dreary day which had inspired me with any other
emotions than wondering pity and amazement. Here at last were
order and reason, an exhibition of what intelligent cooperation
can accomplish. The people who stood looking on with kindling
faces,--could it be that the sight had for them no more than but
a spectacular interest? Could they fail to see that it was their
perfect concert of action, their organization under one control,
which made these men the tremendous engine they were, able to
vanquish a mob ten times as numerous? Seeing this so plainly,
could they fail to compare the scientific manner in which the
nation went to war with the unscientific manner in which it
went to work? Would they not query since what time the killing
of men had been a task so much more important than feeding
and clothing them, that a trained army should be deemed alone
adequate to the former, while the latter was left to a mob?

It was now toward nightfall, and the streets were thronged
with the workers from the stores, the shops, and mills. Carried
along with the stronger part of the current, I found myself, as it
began to grow dark, in the midst of a scene of squalor and
human degradation such as only the South Cove tenement
district could present. I had seen the mad wasting of human
labor; here I saw in direst shape the want that waste had bred.

From the black doorways and windows of the rookeries on
every side came gusts of fetid air. The streets and alleys reeked
with the effluvia of a slave ship's between-decks. As I passed I
had glimpses within of pale babies gasping out their lives amid
sultry stenches, of hopeless-faced women deformed by hardship,
retaining of womanhood no trait save weakness, while from the
windows leered girls with brows of brass. Like the starving bands
of mongrel curs that infest the streets of Moslem towns, swarms
of half-clad brutalized children filled the air with shrieks and
curses as they fought and tumbled among the garbage that
littered the court-yards.

There was nothing in all this that was new to me. Often had I
passed through this part of the city and witnessed its sights with
feelings of disgust mingled with a certain philosophical wonder
at the extremities mortals will endure and still cling to life. But
not alone as regarded the economical follies of this age, but
equally as touched its moral abominations, scales had fallen from
my eyes since that vision of another century. No more did I look
upon the woful dwellers in this Inferno with a callous curiosity
as creatures scarcely human. I saw in them my brothers and
sisters, my parents, my children, flesh of my flesh, blood of my
blood. The festering mass of human wretchedness about me
offended not now my senses merely, but pierced my heart like a
knife, so that I could not repress sighs and groans. I not only saw
but felt in my body all that I saw.

Presently, too, as I observed the wretched beings about me
more closely, I perceived that they were all quite dead. Their
bodies were so many living sepulchres. On each brutal brow was
plainly written the hic jacet of a soul dead within.

As I looked, horror struck, from one death's head to another, I
was affected by a singular hallucination. Like a wavering translucent
spirit face superimposed upon each of these brutish masks I
saw the ideal, the possible face that would have been the actual
if mind and soul had lived. It was not till I was aware of these
ghostly faces, and of the reproach that could not be gainsaid
which was in their eyes, that the full piteousness of the ruin that
had been wrought was revealed to me. I was moved with
contrition as with a strong agony, for I had been one of those
who had endured that these things should be. I had been one of
those who, well knowing that they were, had not desired to hear
or be compelled to think much of them, but had gone on as if
they were not, seeking my own pleasure and profit. Therefore
now I found upon my garments the blood of this great multitude
of strangled souls of my brothers. The voice of their blood
cried out against me from the ground. Every stone of the reeking
pavements, every brick of the pestilential rookeries, found a
tongue and called after me as I fled: What hast thou done with
thy brother Abel?

I have no clear recollection of anything after this till I found
myself standing on the carved stone steps of the magnificent
home of my betrothed in Commonwealth Avenue. Amid the
tumult of my thoughts that day, I had scarcely once thought of
her, but now obeying some unconscious impulse my feet had
found the familiar way to her door. I was told that the family
were at dinner, but word was sent out that I should join them at
table. Besides the family, I found several guests present, all
known to me. The table glittered with plate and costly china.
The ladies were sumptuously dressed and wore the jewels of
queens. The scene was one of costly elegance and lavish luxury.
The company was in excellent spirits, and there was plentiful
laughter and a running fire of jests.

To me it was as if, in wandering through the place of doom,
my blood turned to tears by its sights, and my spirit attuned to
sorrow, pity, and despair, I had happened in some glade upon a
merry party of roisterers. I sat in silence until Edith began to
rally me upon my sombre looks, What ailed me? The others
presently joined in the playful assault, and I became a target for
quips and jests. Where had I been, and what had I seen to make
such a dull fellow of me?

"I have been in Golgotha," at last I answered. "I have seen
Humanity hanging on a cross! Do none of you know what sights
the sun and stars look down on in this city, that you can think
and talk of anything else? Do you not know that close to your
doors a great multitude of men and women, flesh of your flesh,
live lives that are one agony from birth to death? Listen! their
dwellings are so near that if you hush your laughter you will hear
their grievous voices, the piteous crying of the little ones that
suckle poverty, the hoarse curses of men sodden in misery turned
half-way back to brutes, the chaffering of an army of women
selling themselves for bread. With what have you stopped your
ears that you do not hear these doleful sounds? For me, I can
hear nothing else."

Silence followed my words. A passion of pity had shaken me
as I spoke, but when I looked around upon the company, I saw
that, far from being stirred as I was, their faces expressed a cold
and hard astonishment, mingled in Edith's with extreme mortification,
in her father's with anger. The ladies were exchanging
scandalized looks, while one of the gentlemen had put up his
eyeglass and was studying me with an air of scientific curiosity.
When I saw that things which were to me so intolerable moved
them not at all, that words that melted my heart to speak had
only offended them with the speaker, I was at first stunned and
then overcome with a desperate sickness and faintness at the
heart. What hope was there for the wretched, for the world, if
thoughtful men and tender women were not moved by things
like these! Then I bethought myself that it must be because I
had not spoken aright. No doubt I had put the case badly. They
were angry because they thought I was berating them, when
God knew I was merely thinking of the horror of the fact
without any attempt to assign the responsibility for it.

I restrained my passion, and tried to speak calmly and logically
that I might correct this impression. I told them that I had not
meant to accuse them, as if they, or the rich in general, were
responsible for the misery of the world. True indeed it was, that
the superfluity which they wasted would, otherwise bestowed,
relieve much bitter suffering. These costly viands, these rich
wines, these gorgeous fabrics and glistening jewels represented
the ransom of many lives. They were verily not without the
guiltiness of those who waste in a land stricken with famine.
Nevertheless, all the waste of all the rich, were it saved, would go
but a little way to cure the poverty of the world. There was so
little to divide that even if the rich went share and share with
the poor, there would be but a common fare of crusts, albeit
made very sweet then by brotherly love.

The folly of men, not their hard-heartedness, was the great
cause of the world's poverty. It was not the crime of man, nor of
any class of men, that made the race so miserable, but a hideous,
ghastly mistake, a colossal world-darkening blunder. And then I
showed them how four fifths of the labor of men was utterly
wasted by the mutual warfare, the lack of organization and
concert among the workers. Seeking to make the matter very
plain, I instanced the case of arid lands where the soil yielded
the means of life only by careful use of the watercourses for
irrigation. I showed how in such countries it was counted the
most important function of the government to see that the
water was not wasted by the selfishness or ignorance of individuals,
since otherwise there would be famine. To this end its use
was strictly regulated and systematized, and individuals of their
mere caprice were not permitted to dam it or divert it, or in any
way to tamper with it.

The labor of men, I explained, was the fertilizing stream
which alone rendered earth habitable. It was but a scanty stream
at best, and its use required to be regulated by a system which
expended every drop to the best advantage, if the world were to
be supported in abundance. But how far from any system was
the actual practice! Every man wasted the precious fluid as he
wished, animated only by the equal motives of saving his own
crop and spoiling his neighbor's, that his might sell the better.
What with greed and what with spite some fields were flooded
while others were parched, and half the water ran wholly to
waste. In such a land, though a few by strength or cunning
might win the means of luxury, the lot of the great mass must be
poverty, and of the weak and ignorant bitter want and perennial

Let but the famine-stricken nation assume the function it had
neglected, and regulate for the common good the course of the
life-giving stream, and the earth would bloom like one garden,
and none of its children lack any good thing. I described the
physical felicity, mental enlightenment, and moral elevation
which would then attend the lives of all men. With fervency I
spoke of that new world, blessed with plenty, purified by justice
and sweetened by brotherly kindness, the world of which I had
indeed but dreamed, but which might so easily be made real.
But when I had expected now surely the faces around me to
light up with emotions akin to mine, they grew ever more dark,
angry, and scornful. Instead of enthusiasm, the ladies showed
only aversion and dread, while the men interrupted me with
shouts of reprobation and contempt. "Madman!" "Pestilent
fellow!" "Fanatic!" "Enemy of society!" were some of their cries,
and the one who had before taken his eyeglass to me exclaimed,
"He says we are to have no more poor. Ha! ha!"

"Put the fellow out!" exclaimed the father of my betrothed,
and at the signal the men sprang from their chairs and advanced
upon me.

It seemed to me that my heart would burst with the anguish
of finding that what was to me so plain and so all important was
to them meaningless, and that I was powerless to make it other.
So hot had been my heart that I had thought to melt an iceberg
with its glow, only to find at last the overmastering chill seizing
my own vitals. It was not enmity that I felt toward them as they
thronged me, but pity only, for them and for the world.

Although despairing, I could not give over. Still I strove with
them. Tears poured from my eyes. In my vehemence I became
inarticulate. I panted, I sobbed, I groaned, and immediately
afterward found myself sitting upright in bed in my room in Dr.
Leete's house, and the morning sun shining through the open
window into my eyes. I was gasping. The tears were streaming
down my face, and I quivered in every nerve.

As with an escaped convict who dreams that he has been
recaptured and brought back to his dark and reeking dungeon,
and opens his eyes to see the heaven's vault spread above him, so
it was with me, as I realized that my return to the nineteenth
century had been the dream, and my presence in the twentieth
was the reality.

The cruel sights which I had witnessed in my vision, and
could so well confirm from the experience of my former life,
though they had, alas! once been, and must in the retrospect to
the end of time move the compassionate to tears, were, God be
thanked, forever gone by. Long ago oppressor and oppressed,
prophet and scorner, had been dust. For generations, rich and
poor had been forgotten words.

But in that moment, while yet I mused with unspeakable
thankfulness upon the greatness of the world's salvation and my
privilege in beholding it, there suddenly pierced me like a knife a
pang of shame, remorse, and wondering self-reproach, that
bowed my head upon my breast and made me wish the grave
had hid me with my fellows from the sun. For I had been a man
of that former time. What had I done to help on the deliverance
whereat I now presumed to rejoice? I who had lived in those
cruel, insensate days, what had I done to bring them to an end? I
had been every whit as indifferent to the wretchedness of my
brothers, as cynically incredulous of better things, as besotted a
worshiper of Chaos and Old Night, as any of my fellows. So far
as my personal influence went, it had been exerted rather to
hinder than to help forward the enfranchisement of the race
which was even then preparing. What right had I to hail a
salvation which reproached me, to rejoice in a day whose
dawning I had mocked?

"Better for you, better for you," a voice within me rang, "had
this evil dream been the reality, and this fair reality the dream;
better your part pleading for crucified humanity with a scoffing
generation, than here, drinking of wells you digged not, and
eating of trees whose husbandmen you stoned"; and my spirit
answered, "Better, truly."

When at length I raised my bowed head and looked forth
from the window, Edith, fresh as the morning, had come into
the garden and was gathering flowers. I hastened to descend to
her. Kneeling before her, with my face in the dust, I confessed
with tears how little was my worth to breathe the air of this
golden century, and how infinitely less to wear upon my breast
its consummate flower. Fortunate is he who, with a case so
desperate as mine, finds a judge so merciful.