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Title: Mizora: A Prophecy - A MSS. Found Among the Private Papers of the Princess Vera Zarovitch
Author: Lane, Mary E. Bradley
Language: English
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MIZORA:

A PROPHECY.


A MSS. FOUND AMONG THE PRIVATE PAPERS OF THE
PRINCESS VERA ZAROVITCH;

_Being a true and faithful account of her Journey to the Interior of the
Earth, with a careful description of the Country and its Inhabitants,
their Customs, Manners and Government._


WRITTEN BY HERSELF.

[Illustration: Publisher's logo]

NEW YORK:

_G. W. Dillingham, Publisher_,

Successor to G. W. Carleton & Co.

MDCCCXC.

_All Rights Reserved._

Copyright, 1889
by
Mary E. Bradley.



PREFACE.


The narrative of Vera Zarovitch, published in the _Cincinnati
Commercial_ in 1880 and 1881, attracted a great deal of attention. It
commanded a wide circle of readers, and there was much more said about
it than is usual when works of fiction run through a newspaper in weekly
installments. Quite a number of persons who are unaccustomed to
bestowing consideration upon works of fiction spoke of it, and grew
greatly interested in it.

I received many messages about it, and letters of inquiry, and some
ladies and gentlemen desired to know the particulars about the
production of the story in book form; and were inquisitive about it and
the author who kept herself in concealment so closely that even her
husband did not know that she was the writer who was making this stir in
our limited literary world.

I was myself so much interested in it that it occurred to me to make the
suggestion that the story ought to have an extensive sale in book form,
and to write to a publisher; but the lady who wrote the work seemed
herself a shade indifferent on the subject, and it passed out of my
hands and out of my mind.

It is safe to say that it made an impression that was remarkable, and
with a larger audience I do not doubt that it would make its mark as an
original production wrought out with thoughtful care and literary skill,
and take high rank.

                                Yours very truly,

                                    Murat Halstead.

_Nov. 14th, 1889._



PART FIRST



CHAPTER I.


Having little knowledge of rhetorical art, and possessing but a limited
imagination, it is only a strong sense of the duty I owe to Science and
the progressive minds of the age, that induces me to come before the
public in the character of an author. True, I have only a simple
narration of facts to deal with, and am, therefore, not expected to
present artistic effects, and poetical imagery, nor any of those flights
of imagination that are the trial and test of genius.

Yet my task is not a light one. I may fail to satisfy my own mind that
the true merits of the wonderful and mysterious people I discovered,
have been justly described. I may fail to interest the public; which is
the one difficulty most likely to occur, and most to be regretted--not
for my own sake, but theirs. It is so hard to get human nature out of
the ruts it has moved in for ages. To tear away their present faith, is
like undermining their existence. Yet others who come after me will be
more aggressive than I. I have this consolation: whatever reception may
be given my narrative by the public, I know that it has been written
solely for its good. That wonderful civilization I met with in Mizora, I
may not be able to more than faintly shadow forth here, yet from it, the
present age may form some idea of that grand, that ideal life that is
possible for our remote posterity. Again and again has religious
enthusiasm pictured a life to be eliminated from the grossness and
imperfections of our material existence. The Spirit--the Mind--that
mental gift, by or through which we think, reason, and suffer, is by one
tragic and awful struggle to free itself from temporal blemishes and
difficulties, and become spiritual and perfect. Yet, who, sweeping the
limitless fields of space with a telescope, glancing at myriads of
worlds that a lifetime could not count, or gazing through a microscope
at a tiny world in a drop of water, has dreamed that patient Science
and practice could evolve for the living human race, the ideal life of
exalted knowledge: the life that I found in Mizora; that Science had
made real and practicable. The duty that I owe to truth compels me to
acknowledge that I have not been solicited to write this narrative by my
friends; nor has it been the pastime of my leisure hours; nor written to
amuse an invalid; nor, in fact, for any of those reasons which have
prompted so many men and women to write a book. It is, on the contrary,
the result of hours of laborious work, undertaken for the sole purpose
of benefiting Science and giving encouragement to those progressive
minds who have already added their mite of knowledge to the coming
future of the race. "We owe a duty to posterity," says Junius in his
famous letter to the king. A declaration that ought to be a motto for
every schoolroom, and graven above every legislative hall in the world.
It should be taught to the child as soon as reason has begun to dawn,
and be its guide until age has become its master.

It is my desire not to make this story a personal matter; and for that
unavoidable prominence which is given one's own identity in relating
personal experiences, an indulgence is craved from whomsoever may peruse
these pages.

In order to explain how and why I came to venture upon a journey no
other of my sex has ever attempted, I am compelled to make a slight
mention of my family and nationality.

I am a Russian: born to a family of nobility, wealth, and political
power. Had the natural expectations for my birth and condition been
fulfilled, I should have lived, loved, married and died a Russian
aristocrat, and been unknown to the next generation--and this narrative
would not have been written.

There are some people who seem to have been born for the sole purpose of
becoming the playthings of Fate--who are tossed from one condition of
life to another without wish or will of their own. Of this class I am an
illustration. Had I started out with a resolve to discover the North
Pole, I should never have succeeded. But all my hopes, affections,
thoughts, and desires were centered in another direction, hence--but my
narrative will explain the rest.

The tongue of woman has long been celebrated as an unruly member, and
perhaps, in some of the domestic affairs of life, it has been
unnecessarily active; yet no one who gives this narrative a perusal, can
justly deny that it was the primal cause of the grandest discovery of
the age.

I was educated in Paris, where my vacations were frequently spent with
an American family who resided there, and with whom my father had formed
an intimate friendship. Their house, being in a fashionable quarter of
the city and patriotically hospitable, was the frequent resort of many
of their countrymen. I unconsciously acquired a knowledge and admiration
for their form of government, and some revolutionary opinions in regard
to my own.

Had I been guided by policy, I should have kept the latter a secret, but
on returning home, at the expiration of my school days, I imprudently
gave expression to them in connection with some of the political
movements of the Russian Government--and secured its suspicion at once,
which, like the virus of some fatal disease, once in the system, would
lose its vitality only with my destruction.

While at school, I had become attached to a young and lovely Polish
orphan, whose father had been killed at the battle of Grochow when she
was an infant in her mother's arms. My love for my friend, and sympathy
for her oppressed people, finally drew me into serious trouble and
caused my exile from my native land.

I married at the age of twenty the son of my father's dearest friend.
Alexis and I were truly attached to each other, and when I gave to my
infant the name of my father and witnessed his pride and delight, I
thought to my cup of earthly happiness, not one more drop could be
added.

A desire to feel the cheering air of a milder climate induced me to pay
my Polish friend a visit. During my sojourn with her occurred the
anniversary of the tragedy of Grochow, when, according to custom, all
who had lost friends in the two dreadful battles that had been fought
there, met to offer prayers for their souls. At her request, I
accompanied my friend to witness the ceremonies. To me, a silent and
sympathizing spectator, they were impressive and solemn in the extreme.
Not less than thirty thousand people were there, weeping and praying on
ground hallowed by patriot blood. After the prayers were said, the voice
of the multitude rose in a mournful and pathetic chant. It was rudely
broken by the appearance of the Russian soldiers.

A scene ensued which memory refuses to forget, and justice forbids me to
deny. I saw my friend, with the song of sorrow still trembling on her
innocent lips, fall bleeding, dying from the bayonet thrust of a Russian
soldier. I clasped the lifeless body in my arms, and in my grief and
excitement, poured forth upbraidings against the government of my
country which it would never forgive nor condone. I was arrested, tried,
and condemned to the mines of Siberia for life.

My father's ancient and princely lineage, my husband's rank, the wealth
of both families, all were unavailing in procuring a commutation of my
sentence to some less severe punishment. Through bribery, however, the
co-operation of one of my jailors was secured, and I escaped in disguise
to the frontier.

It was my husband's desire that I proceed immediately to France, where
he would soon join me. But we were compelled to accept whatever means
chance offered for my escape, and a whaling vessel bound for the
Northern Seas was the only thing I could secure passage upon with
safety. The captain promised to transfer me to the first southward bound
vessel we should meet.

But none came. The slow, monotonous days found me gliding farther and
farther from home and love. In the seclusion of my little cabin, my fate
was more endurable than the horrors of Siberia could have been, but it
was inexpressibly lonesome. On shipboard I sustained the character of a
youth, exiled for a political offense, and of a delicate constitution.

It is not necessary to the interest of this narrative to enter into the
details of shipwreck and disaster, which befel us in the Northern Seas.
Our vessel was caught between ice floes, and we were compelled to
abandon her. The small boats were converted into sleds, but in such
shape as would make it easy to re-convert them into boats again, should
it ever become necessary. We took our march for the nearest Esquimaux
settlement, where we were kindly received and tendered the hospitality
of their miserable huts. The captain, who had been ill for some time,
grew rapidly worse, and in a few days expired. As soon as the approach
of death became apparent, he called the crew about him, and requested
them to make their way south as soon as possible, and to do all in their
power for my health and comfort. He had, he said, been guaranteed a sum
of money for my safe conduct to France, sufficient to place his family
in independent circumstances, and he desired that his crew should do all
in their power to secure it for them.

The next morning I awoke to find myself deserted, the crew having
decamped with nearly everything brought from the ship.

Being blessed with strong nerves, I stared my situation bravely in the
face, and resolved to make the best of it. I believed it could be only a
matter of time when some European or American whaling vessel should
rescue me: and I had the resolution to endure, while hope fed the flame.

I at once proceeded to inure myself to the life of the Esquimaux. I
habited myself in a suit of reindeer fur, and ate, with compulsory
appetite, the raw flesh and fat that form their principal food.
Acclimated by birth to the coldest region of the temperate zone, and
naturally of a hardy constitution, I found it not so difficult to endure
the rigors of the Arctic temperature as I had supposed.

I soon discovered the necessity of being an assistance to my new friends
in procuring food, as their hospitality depends largely upon the state
of their larder. A compass and a small trunk of instruments belonging to
the Captain had been either over-looked or rejected by the crew in their
flight. I secured the esteem of the Esquimaux by using the compass to
conduct a hunting party in the right direction when a sudden snow-storm
had obscured the landmarks by which they guide their course. I
cheerfully assumed a share of their hardships, for with these poor
children of the North life is a continual struggle with cold and
starvation. The long, rough journeys which we frequently took over ice
and ridges of snow in quest of animal food, I found monotonously
destitute of everything I had experienced in former traveling, except
fatigue. The wail of the winds, and the desolate landscape of ice and
snow, never varied. The coruscations of the Aurora Borealis sometimes
lighted up the dreary waste around us, and the myriad eyes of the
firmament shone out with a brighter lustre, as twilight shrank before
the gloom of the long Arctic night.

A description of the winter I spent with the Esquimaux can be of little
interest to the readers of this narrative. Language cannot convey to
those who have dwelt always in comfort the feeling of isolation, the
struggle with despair, that was constantly mine. We were often confined
to our ice huts for days while the blinding fury of the wind driven snow
without made the earth look like chaos. Sometimes I crept to the narrow
entrance and looked toward the South with a feeling of homesickness too
intense to describe. Away, over leagues of perilous travel, lay
everything that was dear or congenial; and how many dreary months,
perhaps years, must pass before I could obtain release from associations
more dreadful than solitude. It required all the courage I could command
to endure it.

The whale-fishing opens about the first week in August, and continues
throughout September. As it drew near, the settlement prepared to move
farther north, to a locality where they claimed whales could be found
in abundance. I cheerfully assisted in the preparations, for to meet
some whaling vessel was my only hope of rescue from surroundings that
made existence a living death.

The dogs were harnessed to sleds heavily laden with the equipments of an
Esquimaux hut. The woman, as well as the men, were burdened with immense
packs; and our journey begun. We halted only to rest and sleep. A few
hours work furnished us a new house out of the ever present ice. We
feasted on raw meat--sometimes a freshly killed deer; after which our
journey was resumed.

As near as I could determine, it was close to the 85° north latitude,
where we halted on the shore of an open sea. Wild ducks and game were
abundant, also fish of an excellent quality. Here, for the first time in
many months, I felt the kindly greeting of a mild breeze as it hailed me
from the bosom of the water. Vegetation was not profuse nor brilliant,
but to my long famished eyes, its dingy hue was delightfully refreshing.

Across this sea I instantly felt a strong desire to sail. I believed it
must contain an island of richer vegetation than the shore we occupied.
But no one encouraged me or would agree to be my companion. On the
contrary, they intimated that I should never return. I believed that
they were trying to frighten me into remaining with them, and declared
my intention to go alone. Perhaps I might meet in that milder climate
some of my own race. My friend smiled, and pointing to the South, said,
as he designated an imaginary boundary:

"Across _that_ no white man's foot has ever stepped."

So I was alone. My resolution, however, was not shaken. A boat was
constructed, and bidding adieu to my humble companions, I launched into
an unknown sea.



CHAPTER II.


On and on, and on I rowed until the shore and my late companions were
lost in the gloomy distance. On and on, and still on, until fatigued
almost to exhaustion; and still, no land. A feeling of uncontrollable
lonesomeness took possession of me. Silence reigned supreme. No sound
greeted me save the swirl of the gently undulating waters against the
boat, and the melancholy dip of the oars. Overhead, the familiar eyes of
night were all that pierced the gloom that seemed to hedge me in. My
feeling of distress increased when I discovered that my boat had struck
a current and was beyond my control. Visions of a cataract and
inevitable death instantly shot across my mind. Made passive by intense
despair, I laid down in the bottom of the boat, to let myself drift into
whatever fate was awaiting me.

I must have lain there many hours before I realized that I was traveling
in a circle. The velocity of the current had increased, but not
sufficiently to insure immediately destruction. Hope began to revive,
and I sat up and looked about me with renewed courage. Directly before
me rose a column of mist, so thin that I could see through it, and of
the most delicate tint of green. As I gazed, it spread into a curtain
that appeared to be suspended in mid-air, and began to sway gently back
and forth, as if impelled by a slight breeze, while sparks of fire, like
countless swarms of fire-flies, darted through it and blazed out into a
thousand brilliant hues and flakes of color that chased one another
across and danced merrily up and down with bewildering swiftness.
Suddenly it drew together in a single fold, a rope of yellow mist, then
instantly shook itself out again as a curtain of rainbows fringed with
flame. Myriads of tassels, composed of threads of fire, began to dart
hither and thither through it, while the rainbow stripes deepened in hue
until they looked like gorgeous ribbons glowing with intensest radiance,
yet softened by that delicate misty appearance which is a special
quality of all atmospheric color, and which no pencil can paint, nor the
most eloquent tongue adequately describe.

The swaying motion continued. Sometimes the curtain approached near
enough, apparently, to flaunt its fiery fringe almost within my grasp.
It hung one instant in all its marvelous splendor of colors, then
suddenly rushed into a compact mass, and shot across the zenith, an arc
of crimson fire that lit up the gloomy waters with a weird, unearthly
glare. It faded quickly, and appeared to settle upon the water again in
a circular wall of amber mist, round which the current was hurrying me
with rapidly increasing speed. I saw, with alarm, that the circles were
narrowing A whirlpool was my instant conjecture, and I laid myself down
in the boat, again expecting every moment to be swept into a seething
abyss of waters. The spray dashed into my face as the boat plunged
forward with frightful swiftness. A semi-stupor, born of exhaustion and
terror, seized me in its merciful embrace.

It must have been many hours that I lay thus. I have a dim recollection
of my boat going on and on, its speed gradually decreasing, until I was
amazed to perceive that it had ceased its onward motion and was gently
rocking on quiet waters. I opened my eyes. A rosy light, like the first
blush of a new day, permeated the atmosphere. I sat up and looked about
me. A circular wall of pale amber mist rose behind me; the shores of a
new and beautiful country stretched before. Toward them, I guided my
boat with reviving hope and strength.

I entered a broad river, whose current was from the sea, and let myself
drift along its banks in bewildered delight. The sky appeared bluer, and
the air balmier than even that of Italy's favored clime. The turf that
covered the banks was smooth and fine, like a carpet of rich green
velvet. The fragrance of tempting fruit was wafted by the zephyrs from
numerous orchards. Birds of bright plumage flitted among the branches,
anon breaking forth into wild and exultant melody, as if they rejoiced
to be in so favored a clime.

And truly it seemed a land of enchantment. The atmosphere had a peculiar
transparency, seemingly to bring out clearly objects at a great
distance, yet veiling the far horizon in a haze of gold and purple.
Overhead, clouds of the most gorgeous hues, like precious gems converted
into vapor, floated in a sky of the serenest azure. The languorous
atmosphere, the beauty of the heavens, the inviting shores, produced in
me a feeling of contentment not easily described. To add to my senses
another enjoyment, my ears were greeted with sounds of sweet music, in
which I detected the mingling of human voices.

I wondered if I had really drifted into an enchanted country, such as I
had read about in the fairy books of my childhood.

The music grew louder, yet wondrously sweet, and a large pleasure boat,
shaped like a fish, glided into view. Its scales glittered like gems as
it moved gracefully and noiselessly through the water. Its occupants
were all young girls of the highest type of blonde beauty. It was their
soft voices, accompanied by some peculiar stringed instruments they
carried, that had produced the music I had heard. They appeared to
regard me with curiosity, not unmixed with distrust, for their boat
swept aside to give me a wide berth.

I uncovered my head, shook down my long black hair, and falling upon my
knees, lifted my hands in supplication. My plea was apparently
understood, for turning their boat around, they motioned me to follow
them. This I did with difficulty, for I was weak, and their boat moved
with a swiftness and ease that astonished me. What surprised me most was
its lack of noise.

As I watched its beautiful occupants dressed in rich garments, adorned
with rare and costly gems, and noted the noiseless, gliding swiftness of
their boat, an uncomfortable feeling of mystery began to invade my mind,
as though I really had chanced upon enchanted territory.

As we glided along, I began to be impressed by the weird stillness. No
sound greeted me from the ripening orchards, save the carol of birds;
from the fields came no note of harvest labor. No animals were visible,
nor sound of any. No hum of life. All nature lay asleep in voluptuous
beauty, veiled in a glorious atmosphere. Everything wore a dreamy look.
The breeze had a loving, lingering touch, not unlike to the Indian
Summer of North America. But no Indian Summer ever knew that dark green
verdure, like the first robe of spring. Wherever the eye turned it met
something charming in cloud, or sky, or water, or vegetation. Everything
had felt the magical touch of beauty.

On the right, the horizon was bounded by a chain of mountains, that
plainly showed their bases above the glowing orchards and verdant
landscapes. It impressed me as peculiar, that everything appeared to
rise as it gained in distance. At last the pleasure boat halted at a
flight of marble steps that touched the water. Ascending these, I gained
an eminence where a scene of surpassing beauty and grandeur lay spread
before me. Far, far as the eye could follow it, stretched the stately
splendor of a mighty city. But all the buildings were detached and
surrounded by lawns and shade trees, their white marble and gray granite
walls gleaming through the green foliage.

Upon the lawn, directly before us, a number of most beautiful girls had
disposed themselves at various occupations. Some were reading, some
sketching, and some at various kinds of needlework. I noticed that they
were all blondes. I could not determine whether their language possessed
a peculiarly soft accent, or whether it was an unusual melody of voice
that made their conversation as musical to the ear as the love notes of
some amorous wood bird to its mate.

A large building of white marble crowned a slight eminence behind them.
Its porticos were supported upon the hands of colossal statues of women,
carved out of white marble with exquisite art and beauty. Shade trees of
a feathery foliage, like plumes of finest moss, guarded the entrance and
afforded homes for brilliant-plumaged birds that flew about the porticos
and alighted on the hands and shoulders of the ladies without fear. Some
of the trees had a smooth, straight trunk and flat top, bearing a
striking resemblance to a Chinese umbrella. On either side of the
marble-paved entrance were huge fountains that threw upward a column of
water a hundred feet in height, which, dissolving into spray, fell into
immense basins of clearest crystal. Below the rim of these basins, but
covered with the crystal, as with a delicate film of ice, was a wreath
of blood red roses, that looked as though they had just been plucked
from the stems and placed there for a temporary ornament. I afterward
learned that it was the work of an artist, and durable as granite.

I supposed I had arrived at a female seminary, as not a man, or the
suggestion of one, was to be seen. If it were a seminary, it was for the
wealth of the land, as house, grounds, adornments, and the ladies'
attire were rich and elegant.

I stood apart from the groups of beautiful creatures like the genus of
another race, enveloped in garments of fur that had seen much service. I
presented a marked contrast. The evident culture, refinement, and
gentleness of the ladies, banished any fear I might have entertained as
to the treatment I should receive. But a singular silence that pervaded
everything impressed me painfully. I stood upon the uplifted verge of an
immense city, but from its broad streets came no sound of traffic, no
rattle of wheels, no hum of life. Its marble homes of opulence shone
white and grand through mossy foliage; from innumerable parks the
fountains sparkled and statues gleamed like rare gems upon a costly
robe; but over all a silence, as of death, reigned unbroken. The awe and
the mystery of it pressed heavily upon my spirit, but I could not refuse
to obey when a lady stepped out of the group, that had doubtless been
discussing me, and motioned me to follow her.

She led me through the main entrance into a lofty hall that extended
through the entire building, and consisted of a number of grand arches
representing scenes in high relief of the finest sculpture. We entered a
magnificent salon, where a large assembly of ladies regarded me with
unmistakable astonishment. Every one of them was a blonde. I was
presented to one, whom I instantly took to be the Lady Superior of the
College, for I had now settled it in my mind that I was in a female
seminary, albeit one of unheard of luxury in its appointments.

The lady had a remarkable majesty of demeanor, and a noble countenance.
Her hair was white with age, but over her features, the rosy bloom of
youth still lingered, as if loth to depart. She looked at me kindly and
critically, but not with as much surprise as the others had evinced. I
may here remark that I am a brunette. My guide, having apparently
received some instruction in regard to me, led me upstairs into a
private apartment. She placed before me a complete outfit of female
wearing apparel, and informed me by signs that I was to put it on. She
then retired. The apartment was sumptuously furnished in two
colors--amber and lazulite. A bath-room adjoining had a beautiful
porcelain tank with scented water, that produced a delightful feeling of
exhilaration.

Having donned my new attire, I descended the stairs and met my guide,
who conducted me into a spacious dining-room. The walls were adorned
with paintings, principally of fruit and flowers. A large and superb
picture of a sylvan dell in the side of a rock, was one exception. Its
deep, cool shadows, and the pellucid water, which a wandering sunbeam
accidentally revealed, were strikingly realistic. Nearly all of the
pictures were upon panels of crystal that were set in the wall. The
light shining through them gave them an exceedingly natural effect. One
picture that I especially admired, was of a grape vine twining around
the body and trunk of an old tree. It was inside of the crystal panel,
and looked so natural that I imagined I could see its leaves and
tendrils sway in the wind. The occupants of the dining-room were all
ladies, and again I noted the fact that they were all blondes:
beautiful, graceful, courteous, and with voices softer and sweeter than
the strains of an eolian harp.

The table, in its arrangement and decoration, was the most beautiful
one I had ever seen. The white linen cloth resembled brocaded satin. The
knives and forks were gold, with handles of solid amber. The dishes were
of the finest porcelain. Some of them, particularly the fruit stands,
looked as though composed of hoar frost. Many of the fruit stands were
of gold filigree work. They attracted my notice at once, not so much on
account of the exquisite workmanship and unique design of the dishes, as
the wonderful fruit they contained. One stand, that resembled a huge
African lily in design, contained several varieties of plums, as large
as hen's eggs, and transparent. They were yellow, blue and red. The
centre of the table was occupied by a fruit stand of larger size than
the others. It looked like a boat of sea foam fringed with gold moss.
Over its outer edge hung clusters of grapes of a rich wine color, and
clear as amethysts. The second row looked like globes of honey, the next
were of a pale, rose color, and the top of the pyramid was composed of
white ones, the color and transparency of dew.

The fruit looked so beautiful. I thought it would be a sacrilege to
destroy the charm it had for the eye; but when I saw it removed by pink
tipped fingers, whose beauty no art could represent, and saw it
disappear within such tempting lips. I thought the feaster worthy of the
feast. Fruit appeared to be the principal part of their diet, and was
served in its natural state. I was, however, supplied with something
that resembled beefsteak of a very fine quality. I afterward learned
that it was chemically prepared meat. At the close of the meal, a cup
was handed me that looked like the half of a soap bubble with all its
iridescent beauty sparkling and glancing in the light. It contained a
beverage that resembled chocolate, but whose flavor could not have been
surpassed by the fabled nectar of the gods.



CHAPTER III.


I have been thus explicit in detailing the circumstances of my entrance
into the land of Mizora, or, in other words, the interior of the earth,
lest some incredulous person might doubt the veracity of this narrative.

It does seem a little astonishing that a woman should have fallen by
accident, and without intention or desire, upon a discovery that
explorers and scientists had for years searched for in vain. But such
was the fact, and, in generosity, I have endeavored to make my accident
as serviceable to the world in general, and Science in particular, as I
could, by taking observations of the country, its climate and products,
and especially its people.

I met with the greatest difficulty in acquiring their language.
Accustomed to the harsh dialect of the North, my voice was almost
intractable in obtaining their melodious accentuation. It was,
therefore, many months before I mastered the difficulty sufficiently to
converse without embarrassment, or to make myself clearly understood.
The construction of their language was simple and easily understood, and
in a short time I was able to read it with ease, and to listen to it
with enjoyment. Yet, before this was accomplished, I had mingled among
them for months, listening to a musical jargon of conversation, that I
could neither participate in, nor understand. All that I could therefore
discover about them during this time, was by observation. This soon
taught me that I was not in a seminary--in our acceptance of the
term--but in a College of Experimental Science. The ladies--girls I had
supposed them to be--were, in fact, women and mothers, and had reached
an age that with us would be associated with decrepitude, wrinkles and
imbecility. They were all practical chemists, and their work was the
preparation of food from the elements. No wonder that they possessed the
suppleness and bloom of eternal youth, when the earthy matter and
impurities that are ever present in our food, were unknown to theirs.

I also discovered that they obtained rain artificially when needed, by
discharging vast quantities of electricity in the air. I discovered that
they kept no cattle, nor animals of any kind for food or labor. I
observed a universal practice of outdoor exercising; the aim seeming to
be to develop the greatest capacity of lung or muscle. It was
astonishing the amount of air a Mizora lady could draw into her lungs.
They called it their brain stimulant, and said that their faculties were
more active after such exercise. In my country, a cup of strong coffee,
or some other agreeable beverage, is usually taken into the stomach to
invigorate or excite the mind.

One thing I remarked as unusual among a people of such cultured taste,
and that was the size of the ladies' waists. Of all that I measured not
one was less than thirty inches in circumference, and it was rare to
meet with one that small. At first I thought a waist that tapered from
the arm pits would be an added beauty, if only these ladies would be
taught how to acquire it. But I lived long enough among them to look
upon a tapering waist as a disgusting deformity. They considered a large
waist a mark of beauty, as it gave a greater capacity of lung power; and
they laid the greatest stress upon the size and health of the lungs. One
little lady, not above five feet in height, I saw draw into her lungs
two hundred and twenty-five cubic inches of air, and smile proudly when
she accomplished it. I measured five feet and five inches in height, and
with the greatest effort I could not make my lungs receive more than two
hundred cubic inches of air. In my own country I had been called an
unusually robust girl, and knew, by comparison, that I had a much larger
and fuller chest than the average among women.

I noticed with greater surprise than anything else had excited in me,
the marked absence of men. I wandered about the magnificent building
without hindrance or surveillance. There was not a lock or bolt on any
door in it. I frequented a vast gallery filled with paintings and
statues of women, noble looking, beautiful women, but still--nothing but
women. The fact that they were all blondes, singular as it might appear,
did not so much impress me. Strangers came and went, but among the
multitude of faces I met, I never saw a man's.

In my own country I had been accustomed to regard man as a vital
necessity. He occupied all governmental offices, and was the arbitrator
of domestic life. It seemed, therefore, impossible to me for a country
or government to survive without his assistance and advice. Besides, it
was a country over which the heart of any man must yearn, however
insensible he might be to beauty or female loveliness. Wealth was
everywhere and abundant. The climate as delightful as the most
fastidious could desire. The products of the orchards and gardens
surpassed description. Bread came from the laboratory, and not from the
soil by the sweat of the brow. Toil was unknown; the toil that we know,
menial, degrading and harassing. Science had been the magician that had
done away all that. Science, so formidable and austere to our untutored
minds, had been gracious to these fair beings and opened the door to
nature's most occult secrets. The beauty of those women it is not in my
power to describe. The Greeks, in their highest art, never rivalled it,
for here was a beauty of mind that no art can represent. They enhanced
their physical charms with attractive costumes, often of extreme
elegance. They wore gems that flashed a fortune as they passed. The
rarest was of a pale rose color, translucent as the clearest water, and
of a brilliancy exceeding the finest diamond. Their voices, in song,
could only be equaled by a celestial choir. No dryad queen ever floated
through the leafy aisles of her forest with more grace than they
displayed in every movement. And all this was for feminine eyes
alone--and they of the most enchanting loveliness.

Among all the women that I met during my stay in Mizora--comprising a
period of fifteen years--I saw not one homely face or ungraceful form.
In my own land the voice of flattery had whispered in my ear praises of
face and figure, but I felt ill-formed and uncouth beside the perfect
symmetry and grace of these lovely beings. Their chief beauty appeared
in a mobility of expression. It was the divine fire of Thought that
illumined every feature, which, while gazing upon the Aphrodite of
Praxitiles, we must think was all that the matchless marble lacked.
Emotion passed over their features like ripples over a stream. Their
eyes were limpid wells of loveliness, where every impulse of their
natures were betrayed without reserve.

"It would be a paradise for man."

I made this observation to myself, and as secretly would I propound the
question:

"Why is he not here in lordly possession?"

In _my_ world man was regarded, or he had made himself regarded, as a
superior being. He had constituted himself the Government, the Law,
Judge, Jury and Executioner. He doled out reward or punishment as his
conscience or judgment dictated. He was active and belligerent always in
obtaining and keeping every good thing for himself. He was
indispensable. Yet here was a nation of fair, exceedingly fair women
doing without him, and practising the arts and sciences far beyond the
imagined pale of human knowledge and skill.

Of their progress in science I will give some accounts hereafter.

It is impossible to describe the feeling that took possession of me as
months rolled by, and I saw the active employments of a prosperous
people move smoothly and quietly along in the absence of masculine
intelligence and wisdom. Cut off from all inquiry by my ignorance of
their language, the singular absence of the male sex began to prey upon
my imagination as a mystery. The more so after visiting a town at some
distance, composed exclusively of schools and colleges for the youth of
the country. Here I saw hundreds of children--_and all of them were
girls_. Is it to be wondered at that the first inquiry I made, was:

"Where are the men?"



CHAPTER IV.


To facilitate my progress in the language of Mizora I was sent to their
National College. It was the greatest favor they could have conferred
upon me, as it opened to me a wide field of knowledge. Their educational
system was a peculiar one, and, as it was the chief interest of the
country. I shall describe it before proceeding farther with this
narrative.

All institutions for instruction were public, as were, also, the books
and other accessories. The State was the beneficent mother who furnished
everything, and required of her children only their time and
application. Each pupil was compelled to attain a certain degree of
excellence that I thought unreasonably high, after which she selected
the science or vocation she felt most competent to master, and to that
she then devoted herself.

The salaries of teachers were larger than those of any other public
position. The Principal of the National College had an income that
exceeded any royal one I had ever heard of; but, as education was the
paramount interest of Mizora, I was not surprised at it. Their desire
was to secure the finest talent for educational purposes, and as the
highest honors and emoluments belonged to such a position, it could not
be otherwise. To be a teacher in Mizora was to be a person of
consequence. They were its aristocracy.

Every State had a free college provided for out of the State funds. In
these colleges every department of Science, Art, or Mechanics was
furnished with all the facilities for thorough instruction. All the
expenses of a pupil, including board, clothing, and the necessary
traveling fares, were defrayed by the State. I may here remark that all
railroads are owned and controlled by the General Government. The rates
of transportation were fixed by law, and were uniform throughout the
country.

The National College which I entered belonged to the General
Government. Here was taught the highest attainments in the arts and
sciences, and all industries practised in Mizora. It contained the very
cream of learning. There the scientist, the philosopher and inventor
found the means and appliances for study and investigation. There the
artist and sculptor had their finest work, and often their studios. The
principals and subordinate teachers and assistants were elected by
popular vote. The State Colleges were free to those of another State who
might desire to enter them, for Mizora was like one vast family. It was
regarded as the duty of every citizen to lend all the aid and
encouragement in her power to further the enlightenment of others,
wisely knowing the benefits of such would accrue to her own and the
general good. The National College was open to all applicants,
irrespective of age, the only requirements being a previous training to
enter upon so high a plane of mental culture. Every allurement was held
out to the people to come and drink at the public fountain where the cup
was inviting and the waters sweet. "For," said one of the leading
instructors to me, "education is the foundation of our moral elevation,
our government, our happiness. Let us relax our efforts, or curtail the
means and inducements to become educated, and we relax into ignorance,
and end in demoralization. We know the value of free education. It is
frequently the case that the greatest minds are of slow development, and
manifest in the primary schools no marked ability. They often leave the
schools unnoticed; and when time has awakened them to their mental
needs, all they have to do is to apply to the college, pass an
examination, and be admitted. If not prepared to enter the college, they
could again attend the common schools. We realize in its broadest sense
the ennobling influence of universal education. The higher the culture
of a people, the more secure is their government and happiness. A
prosperous people is always an educated one; and the freer the
education, the wealthier they become."

The Preceptress of the National College was the leading scientist of the
country. Her position was more exalted than any that wealth could have
given her. In fact, while wealth had acknowledged advantages, it held a
subordinate place in the estimation of the people. I never heard the
expression "very wealthy," used as a recommendation of a person. It was
always: "_She_ is a fine scholar, or mechanic, or artist, or musician.
_She_ excels in landscape gardening, or domestic work. _She_ is a
first-class chemist." But never "_She_ is rich."

The idea of a Government assuming the responsibility of education, like
a parent securing the interest of its children, was all so new to me;
and yet, I confessed to myself, the system might prove beneficial to
other countries than Mizora. In that world, from whence I had so
mysteriously emigrated, education was the privilege only of the rich.
And in no country, however enlightened, was there a system of education
that would reach all. Charitable institutions were restricted, and
benefited only a few. My heart beat with enthusiasm when I thought of
the mission before me. And then I reflected that the philosophers of my
world were but as children in progress compared to these. Still
traveling in grooves that had been worn and fixed for posterity by
bygone ages of ignorance and narrow-mindedness, it would require courage
and resolution, and more eloquence than I possessed, to persuade them
out of these trodden paths. To be considered the privileged class was an
active characteristic of human nature. Wealth, and the powerful grip
upon the people which the organizations of society and governments gave,
made it hereditary. Yet in this country, nothing was hereditary but the
prosperity and happiness of the whole people.

It was not a surprise to me that astronomy was an unknown science in
Mizora, as neither sun, moon, nor stars were visible there. "The moon's
pale beams" never afford material for a blank line in poetry; neither do
scientific discussions rage on the formation of Saturn's rings, or the
spots on the sun. They knew they occupied a hollow sphere, bounded North
and South by impassible oceans. Light was a property of the atmosphere.
A circle of burning mist shot forth long streamers of light from the
North, and a similar phenomena occurred in the South.

The recitation of my geography lesson would have astonished a pupil from
the outer world. They taught that a powerful current of electricity
existed in the upper regions of the atmosphere. It was the origin of
their atmospheric heat and light, and their change of seasons. The
latter appeared to me to coincide with those of the Arctic zone, in one
particular. The light of the sun during the Arctic summer is reflected
by the atmosphere, and produces that mellow, golden, rapturous light
that hangs like a veil of enchantment over the land of Mizora for six
months in the year. It was followed by six months of the shifting
iridescence of the Aurora Borealis.

As the display of the Aurora Borealis originated, and was most brilliant
at what appeared to me to be the terminus of the pole, I believed it was
caused by the meeting at that point of the two great electric currents
of the earth, the one on its surface, and the one known to the
inhabitants of Mizora. The heat produced by the meeting of two such
powerful currents of electricity is, undoubtedly, the cause of the open
Polar Sea. As the point of meeting is below the vision of the
inhabitants of the Arctic regions, they see only the reflection of the
Aurora. Its gorgeous, brilliant, indescribable splendor is known only to
the inhabitants of Mizora.

At the National College, where it is taught as a regular science, I
witnessed the chemical production of bread and a preparation resembling
meat. Agriculture in this wonderful land, was a lost art. No one that I
questioned had any knowledge of it. It had vanished in the dim past of
their barbarism. With the exception of vegetables and fruit, which were
raised in luscious perfection, their food came from the elements. A
famine among such enlightened people was impossible, and scarcity was
unknown. Food for the body and food for the mind were without price. It
was owing to this that poverty was unknown to them, as well as disease.
The absolute purity of all that they ate preserved an activity of vital
power long exceeding our span of life. The length of their year,
measured by the two seasons, was the same as ours, but the women who had
marked a hundred of them in their lifetime, looked younger and fresher,
and were more supple of limb than myself, yet I had barely passed my
twenty-second year.

I wrote out a careful description of the processes by which they
converted food out of the valueless elements--valueless because of their
abundance--and put it carefully away for use in my own country. There
drouth, or excessive rainfalls, produced scarcity, and sometimes famine.
The struggle of the poor was for food, to the exclusion of all other
interests. Many of them knew not what proper and health-giving
nourishment was. But here in Mizora, the daintiest morsels came from the
chemists laboratory, cheap as the earth under her feet.

I now began to enjoy the advantages of conversation, which added greatly
to my happiness and acquirements. I formed an intimate companionship
with the daughter of the Preceptress of the National College, and to her
was addressed the questions I asked about things that impressed me. She
was one of the most beautiful beings that it had been my lot to behold.
Her eyes were dark, almost the purplish blue of a pansy, and her hair
had a darker tinge than is common in Mizora, as if it had stolen the
golden edge of a ripe chestnut. Her beauty was a constant charm to me.

The National College contained a large and well filled gallery. Its
pictures and statuary were varied, not confined to historical portraits
and busts as was the one at the College of Experimental Science. Yet it
possessed a number of portraits of women exclusively of the blonde type.
Many of them were ideal in loveliness. This gallery also contained the
masterpieces of their most celebrated sculptors. They were all studies
of the female form. I am a connoisseur in art, and nothing that I had
ever seen before could compare with these matchless marbles, bewitching
in every delicate contour, alluring in softness, but grand and majestic
in pose and expression.

But I haunted this gallery for other reasons than its artistic
attractions. I was searching for the portrait of a man, or something
suggesting his presence. I searched in vain. Many of the paintings were
on a peculiar transparent substance that gave to the subject a
startlingly vivid effect. I afterward learned that they were
imperishable, the material being a translucent adamant of their own
manufacture. After a picture was painted upon it, another piece of
adamant was cemented over it.

Each day, as my acquaintance with the peculiar institutions and
character of the inhabitants of Mizora increased, my perplexity and a
certain air of mystery about them increased with it. It was impossible
for me not to feel for them a high degree of respect, admiration, and
affection. They were ever gentle, tender, and kind to solicitude. To
accuse them of mystery were a paradox; and yet they _were_ a mystery. In
conversation, manners and habits, they were frank to singularity. It was
just as common an occurrence for a poem to be read and commented on by
its author, as to hear it done by another. I have heard a poetess call
attention to the beauties of her own production, and receive praise or
adverse criticism with the same charming urbanity.

Ambition of the most intense earnestness was a natural characteristic,
but was guided by a stern and inflexible justice. Envy and malice were
unknown to them. It was, doubtless, owing to their elevated moral
character that courts and legal proceedings had become unnecessary. If a
discussion arose between parties involving a question of law, they
repaired to the Public Library, where the statute books were kept, and
looked up the matter themselves, and settled it as the law directed.
Should they fail to interpret the law alike, a third party was selected
as referee, but accepted no pay.

Indolence was as much a disgrace to them as is the lack of virtue to the
women of my country, hence every citizen, no matter how wealthy, had
some regular trade, business or profession. I found those occupations we
are accustomed to see accepted by the people of inferior birth and
breeding, were there filled by women of the highest social rank, refined
in manner and frequently of notable intellectual acquirements. It grew,
or was the result of the custom of selecting whatever vocation they felt
themselves competent to most worthily fill, and as no social favor or
ignominy rested on any kind of labor, the whole community of Mizora was
one immense family of sisters who knew no distinction of birth or
position among themselves.

There were no paupers and no charities, either public or private, to be
found in the country. The absence of poverty such as I knew existed in
all civilized nations upon the face of the earth, was largely owing to
the cheapness of food. But there was one other consideration that bore
vitally upon it. The dignity and necessity of labor was early and
diligently impressed upon the mind. The Preceptress said to me:

"Mizora is a land of industry. Nature has taught us the duty of work.
Had some of us been born with minds fully matured, or did knowledge come
to some as old age comes to all, we might think that a portion was
intended to live without effort. But we are all born equal, and labor is
assigned to all; and the one who seeks labor is wiser than the one who
lets labor seek her."

Citizens, I learned, were not restrained from accumulating vast wealth
had they the desire and ability to do so, but custom imposed upon them
the most honorable processes. If a citizen should be found guilty of
questionable business transactions, she suffered banishment to a lonely
island and the confiscation of her entire estate, both hereditary and
acquired. The property confiscated went to the public schools in the
town or city where she resided; but never was permitted to augment
salaries. I discovered this in the statute books, but not in the memory
of any one living had it been found necessary to inflict such a
punishment.

"Our laws," said Wauna, "are simply established legal advice. No law can
be so constructed as to fit every case so exactly that a criminal mind
could not warp it into a dishonest use. But in a country like ours,
where civilization has reached that state of enlightenment that needs no
laws, we are simply guided by custom."

The love of splendor and ornament was a pronounced characteristic of
these strange people. But where gorgeous colors were used, they were
always of rich quality. The humblest homes were exquisitely ornamented,
and often displayed a luxury that, with us, would have been considered
an evidence of wealth.

They took the greatest delight in their beauty, and were exceedingly
careful of it. A lovely face and delicate complexion, they averred,
added to one's refinement. The art of applying an artificial bloom and
fairness to the skin, which I had often seen practiced in my own
country, appeared to be unknown to them. But everything savoring of
deception was universally condemned. They made no concealment of the
practice they resorted to for preserving their complexions, and so
universal and effectual were they, that women who, I was informed, had
passed the age allotted to the grandmothers in my country, had the
smooth brow and pink bloom of cheek that belongs to a more youthful
period of life. There was, however, a distinction between youth and old
age. The hair was permitted to whiten, but the delicate complexion of
old age, with its exquisite coloring, excited in my mind as much
admiration as astonishment.

I cannot explain why I hesitated to press my first inquiry as to where
the men were. I had put the question to Wauna one day, but she professed
never to have heard of such beings. It silenced me--for a time.

"Perhaps it is some extinct animal," she added, naively. "We have so
many new things to study and investigate, that we pay but little
attention to ancient history."

I bided my time and put the query in another form.

"Where is your other parent?"

She regarded me with innocent surprise. "You talk strangely. I have but
one parent. How could I have any more?"

"You ought to have two."

She laughed merrily. "You have a queer way of jesting. I have but one
mother, one adorable mother. How could I have two?" and she laughed
again.

I saw that there was some mystery I could not unravel at present, and
fearing to involve myself in some trouble, refrained from further
questioning on the subject. I nevertheless kept a close observance of
all that passed, and seized every opportunity to investigate a mystery
that began to harass me with its strangeness.

Soon after my conversation with Wauna, I attended an entertainment at
which a great number of guests were present. It was a literary festival
and, after the intellectual delicacies were disposed of, a banquet
followed of more than royal munificence. Toasts were drank, succeeded by
music and dancing and all the gayeties of a festive occasion, yet none
but the fairest of fair women graced the scene. Is it strange,
therefore, that I should have regarded with increasing astonishment and
uneasiness a country in all respects alluring to the desires of man--yet
found him not there in lordly possession?

Beauty and intellect, wealth and industry, splendor and careful economy,
natures lofty and generous, gentle and loving--why has not Man claimed
this for himself?



CHAPTER V.


The Preceptress of the National College appointed her daughter Wanna as
a guide and instructor to me. I formed a deep and strong attachment for
her, which, it pains me to remember, was the cause of her unhappy fate.
In stature she was above the medium height, with a form of the fairest
earthly loveliness and exquisite grace. Her eyes were so deep a blue,
that at first I mistook them for brown. Her hair was the color of a ripe
chestnut frosted with gold, and in length and abundance would cover her
like a garment. She was vivacious and fond of athletic sports. Her
strength amazed me. Those beautiful hands, with their tapering fingers,
had a grip like a vise. They had discovered, in this wonderful land,
that a body possessing perfectly developed muscles must, by the laws of
nature, be symmetrical and graceful. They rode a great deal on small,
two-wheeled vehicles, which they propelled themselves. They gave me one
on which I accompanied Wauna to all of the places of interest in the
Capital city and vicinity.

I must mention that Wauna's voice was exceedingly musical, even in that
land of sweet voices, but she did not excel as a singer.

The infant schools interested me more than all the magnificence and
grandeur of the college buildings. The quaint courtesy, gentle manners
and affectionate demeanor of the little ones toward one another, was a
surprise to me. I had visited infant schools of my own and other
countries, where I had witnessed the display of human nature,
unrestrained by mature discretion and policy. Fights, quarrels, kicks,
screams, the unlawful seizure of toys and trinkets, and other
misdemeanors, were generally the principal exhibits. But here it was all
different. I thought, as I looked at them, that should a philanthropist
from the outside world have chanced unknowingly upon the playground of a
Mizora infant school, he would have believed himself in a company of
little angels.

At first, a kindness so universal impressed me as studied; a species of
refined courtesy in which the children were drilled. But time and
observation proved to me that it was the natural impulse of the heart,
an inherited trait of moral culture. In _my_ world, kindness and
affection were family possessions, extended occasionally to
acquaintances. Beyond this was courtesy only for the great busy bustling
mass of humanity called--"the world."

It must not be understood that there was no variety of character in
Mizora. Just as marked a difference was to be found there as elsewhere;
but it was elevated and ennobled. Its evil tendencies had been
eliminated. There were many causes that had made this possible. The
first, and probably the most influential, was the extreme cheapness of
living. Food and fuel were items of so small consequence, that poverty
had become unknown. Added to this, and to me by far the most vital
reason, was their system of free education. In contemplating the state
of enlightenment to which Mizora had attained, I became an enthusiast
upon the subject of education, and resolved, should I ever again reach
the upper world, to devote all my energies and ability to convincing the
governments of its importance. I believe it is the duty of every
government to make its schools and colleges, and everything appertaining
to education--FREE. To be always starved for knowledge is a more pitiful
craving than to hunger for bread. One dwarfs the body; the other the
mind.

The utmost care was bestowed upon the training and education of the
children. There was nothing that I met with in that beautiful and happy
country I longed more to bring with me to the inhabitants of my world,
than their manner of rearing children. The most scrupulous attention was
paid to their diet and exercise, both mental and physical. The result
was plump limbs, healthy, happy faces and joyous spirits. In all the
fifteen years that I spent in Mizora, I never saw a tear of sorrow fall
from children's eyes. Admirable sanitary regulations exist in all the
cities and villages of the land, which insures them pure air. I may
state here that every private-house looks as carefully to the condition
of its atmosphere, as we do to the material neatness of ours.

The only intense feeling that I could discover among these people was
the love between parent and child. I visited the theater where the
tragedy of the play was the destruction of a daughter by shipwreck in
view of the distracted mother. The scenery was managed with wonderful
realism. The thunder of the surf as it beat upon the shore, the
frightful carnival of wind and waves that no human power could still,
and the agony of the mother watching the vessel break to pieces upon the
rock and her child sink into the boiling water to rise no more, was
thrilling beyond my power to describe. I lost control of my feelings.
The audience wept and applauded; and when the curtain fell, I could
scarcely believe it had only been a play. The love of Mizora women for
their children is strong and deep. They consider the care of them a
sacred duty, fraught with the noblest results of life. A daughter of
scholarly attainments and noble character is a credit to her mother.
That selfish mother who looks upon her children as so many afflictions
is unknown to Mizora. If a mother should ever feel her children as
burdens upon her, she would never give it expression, as any dereliction
of duty would be severely rebuked by the whole community, if not
punished by banishment. Corporal punishment was unknown.

I received an invitation from a lady prominent in literature and science
to make her a visit. I accepted with gratification, as it would afford
me the opportunity I coveted to become acquainted with the domestic life
of Mizora, and perhaps penetrate its greatest mystery, for I must
confess that the singular dearth of anything and everything resembling
Man, never ceased to prey upon my curiosity.

The lady was the editor and proprietor of the largest and most widely
known scientific and literary magazine in the country. She was the
mother of eight children, and possessed one of the largest fortunes and
most magnificent residences in the country.

The house stood on an elevation, and was a magnificent structure of grey
granite, with polished cornices. The porch floors were of clouded
marble. The pillars supporting its roof were round shafts of the same
material, with vines of ivy, grape and rose winding about them, carved
and colored into perfect representations of the natural shrubs.

The drawing-room, which was vast and imposing in size and appearance,
had a floor of pure white marble. The mantels and window-sills were of
white onyx, with delicate vinings of pink and green. The floor was
strewn with richly colored mats and rugs. Luxurious sofas and chairs
comprised the only furniture. Each corner contained a piece of fine
statuary. From the centre of the ceiling depended a large gold basin of
beautiful design and workmanship, in which played a miniature fountain
of perfumed water that filled the air with a delicate fragrance. The
walls were divided into panels of polished and unpolished granite. On
the unpolished panels hung paintings of scenery. The dull, gray color of
the walls brought out in sharp and tasteful relief the few costly and
elegant adornments of the room: a placid landscape with mountains dimly
outlining the distance. A water scene with a boat idly drifting,
occupied by a solitary figure watching the play of variegated lights
upon the tranquil waters. Then came a wild and rugged mountain scene
with precipices and a foaming torrent. Then a concert of birds amusingly
treated.

The onyx marble mantel-piece contained but a single ornament--an
orchestra. A coral vase contained a large and perfect tiger lily, made
of gold. Each stamen supported a tiny figure carved out of ivory,
holding a musical instrument. When they played, each figure appeared
instinct with life, like the mythical fairies of my childhood; and the
music was so sweet, yet faint, that I readily imagined the charmed ring
and tiny dancers keeping time to its rhythm.

The drawing-room presented a vista of arches draped in curtains of a
rare texture, though I afterward learned they were spun glass. The one
that draped the entrance to the conservatory looked like sea foam with
the faint blush of day shining through it. The conservatory was in the
shape of a half sphere, and entirely of glass. From its dome, more than
a hundred feet above our heads, hung a globe of white fire that gave
forth a soft clear light. Terminating, as it did, the long vista of
arches with their transparent hangings of cobweb texture, it presented a
picture of magnificence and beauty indescribably.

The other apartments displayed the same taste and luxury. The
sitting-room contained an instrument resembling a grand piano.

The grounds surrounding this elegant home were adorned with natural and
artificial beauties, Grottoes, fountains, lakes, cascades, terraces of
flowers, statuary, arbors and foliage in endless variety, that rendered
it a miniature paradise. In these grounds, darting in and out among the
avenues, playing hide-and-seek behind the statuary, or otherwise amusing
themselves, I met eight lovely children, ranging from infancy to young
maidenhood. The glowing cheeks and eyes, and supple limbs spoke of
perfect health and happiness. When they saw their mother coming, they
ran to meet her, the oldest carrying the two-year old baby. The stately
woman greeted each with a loving kiss. She showed in loving glance and
action how dear they all were to her. For the time being she unbent,
and became a child herself in the interest she took in their prattle and
mirth. A true mother and happy children.

I discovered that each department of this handsome home was under the
care of a professional artist. I remarked to my hostess that I had
supposed her home was the expression of her own taste.

"So it is," she replied; "but it requires an equally well educated taste
to carry out my designs. The arrangement and ornamentation of my grounds
were suggested by me, and planned and executed by my landscape artist."

After supper we repaired to the general sitting-room. The eldest
daughter had been deeply absorbed in a book before we came in. She
closed and left it upon a table. I watched for an opportunity to
carelessly pick it up and examine it. It was a novel I felt sure, for
she appeared to resign it reluctantly out of courtesy to her guest. I
might, from it, gather some clue to the mystery of the male sex. I took
up the book and opened it. It was The Conservation of Force and The
Phenomena of Nature. I laid it down with a sigh of discomfiture.

The next evening, my hostess gave a small entertainment, and what was my
amazement, not to say offense, to perceive the cook, the chamber-maid,
and in fact all the servants in the establishment, enter and join in the
conversation and amusement. The cook was asked to sing, for, with the
exception of myself--and I tried to conceal it--no one appeared to take
umbrage at her presence. She sat down to the piano and sang a pretty
ballad in a charming manner. Her voice was cultivated and musical, as
are all the voices in Mizora, but it was lacking in the qualities that
make a great singer, yet it had a plaintive sweetness that was very
attractive.

I was dumbfounded at her presumption. In my country such a thing is
unknown as a servant entertaining guests in such a capacity, and
especially among people of my rank and position in the world.

I repelled some advances she made me with a hauteur and coldness that it
mortified me afterward to remember. Instead of being _my_ inferior, I
was her's, and she knew it; but neither by look, tone nor action did she
betray her consciousness of it. I had to acknowledge that her hands were
more delicately modeled than mine, and her bearing had a dignity and
elegance that might have been envied by the most aristocratic dame of my
own land. Knowing that the Mizora people were peculiar in their social
ideas, I essayed to repress my indignation at the time, but later I
unburdened myself to Wauna who, with her usual sweetness and
gentleness, explained to me that her occupation was a mere matter of
choice with her.

"She is one of the most distinguished chemists of this nation. She
solved the problem of making bread out of limestone of a much finer
quality than had been in use before."

"Don't tell me that you gave me a stone when I asked for bread!" I
exclaimed.

"We have not done that," replied Wauna; "but we have given you what you
took for bread, but which is manufactured out of limestone and the
refuse of the marble quarries."

I looked at her in such inane astonishment that she hastened to add:

"I will take you to one of the large factories some day. They are always
in the mountains where the stone is abundant. You can there see loaves
by the thousands packed in great glass tanks for shipment to the
different markets. And they do not cost the manufacturer above one
centime per hundred."

"And what royalty does the discoverer get for this wonder of chemistry?"

"None. Whenever anything of that kind is discovered in our country, it
is purchased outright by the government, and then made public for the
benefit of all. The competition among manufacturers consists in the care
and exactness with which they combine the necessary elements. There is
quite a difference in the taste and quality of our bread as it comes
from different factories."

"Why doesn't such a talented person quit working in another woman's
kitchen and keep herself like a lady?" I inquired, all the prejudice of
indolent wealth against labor coming up in my thoughts.

"She has a taste for that kind of work," replied Wauna, "instead of for
making dresses, or carving gems, or painting. She often says she could
not make a straight line if she tried, yet she can put together with
such nicety and chemical skill the elements that form an omelette or a
custard, that she has become famous. She teaches all who desire to
learn, but none seem to equal her. She was born with a genius for
cooking and nothing else. Haven't you seen her with a long glass tube
testing the vessels of vegetables and fruit that were cooking?"

"Yes," I answered. "It was from that that I supposed her occupation
menial."

"Visitors from other cities," continued Wauna, "nearly always inquire
for her first."

Perceiving the mistake that I had made, I ventured an apology for my
behavior toward her, and Wauna replied, with a frankness that nearly
crushed me:

"We all noticed it, but do not fear a retaliation," she added sweetly.
"We know that you are from a civilization that we look back upon as one
of barbarism."

I acknowledged that if any superciliousness existed in Mizora while I
was there, I must have had it.

The guests departed without refreshments having been served. I explained
the custom of entertainment in my country, which elicited expressions of
astonishment. It would be insulting to offer refreshments of any kind to
a guest between the regular hours for dining, as it would imply a desire
on your part to impair their health. Such was the explanation of what in
my country would be deemed a gross neglect of duty. Their custom was
probably the result of two causes: an enlightened knowledge of the laws
of health, and the extreme cheapness of all luxuries of the table which
the skill of the chemist had made available to every class of people in
the land.

The word "servant" did not exist in the language of Mizora; neither had
they an equivalent for it in the sense in which we understand and use
the word. I could not tell a servant--for I must use the word to be
understood--from a professor in the National College. They were all
highly-educated, refined, lady-like and lovely. Their occupations were
always matters of choice, for, as there was nothing in them to detract
from their social position, they selected the one they knew they had the
ability to fill. Hence those positions _we_ are accustomed to regard as
menial, were there filled by ladies of the highest culture and
refinement; consequently the domestic duties of a Mizora household moved
to their accomplishment with the ease and regularity of fine machinery.

It was long before I could comprehend the dignity they attached to the
humblest vocations. They had one proverb that embraced it all: "Labor is
the necessity of life." I studied this peculiar phase of Mizora life,
and at last comprehended that in this very law of social equality lay
the foundation of their superiority. Their admirable system of adapting
the mind to the vocation in which it was most capable of excelling, and
endowing that with dignity and respect, and, at the same time,
compelling the highest mental culture possible, had produced a nation
in the enjoyment of universal refinement, and a higher order of
intelligence than any yet known to the outside world.

The standard of an ordinary education was to me astonishingly high. The
reason for it was easily understood when informed that the only
aristocracy of the country was that of intellect. Scholars, artists,
scientists, literateurs, all those excelling in intellectual gifts or
attainments, were alone regarded as superiors by the masses.

In all the houses that I had visited I had never seen a portrait hung in
a room thrown open to visitors. On inquiry, I was informed that it was a
lack of taste to make a portrait conspicuous.

"You meet faces at all times," said my informant, "but you cannot at all
times have a variety of scenery before you. How monotonous it would be
with a drawing-room full of women, and the walls filled with their
painted representatives. We never do it."

"Then where do you keep your family portraits?"

"Ours is in a gallery upstairs."

I requested to be shown this, and was conducted to a very long apartment
on the third floor, devoted exclusively to relics and portraits of
family ancestry. There were over three thousand portraits of blond
women, which my hostess' daughter informed me represented her
grandmothers for ages back. Not one word did she say about her
grandfathers.

I may mention here that no word existed in their dictionaries that was
equivalent to the word "man." I had made myself acquainted with this
fact as soon as I had acquired sufficient knowledge of their language.
My astonishment at it cannot be described. It was a mystery that became
more and more perplexing. Never in the closest intimacy that I could
secure could I obtain the slightest clue, the least suggestion relating
to the presence of man. My friend's infant, scarcely two years old,
prattled of everything but a father.

I cannot explain a certain impressive dignity about the women of Mizora
that, in spite of their amiability and winning gentleness, forbade a
close questioning into private affairs. My hostess never spoke of her
business. It would have been a breach of etiquette to have questioned
her about it. I could not bring myself to intrude the question of the
marked absence of men, when not the slightest allusion was ever made to
them by any citizen.

So time passed on, confirming my high opinion of them, and yet I knew
and felt and believed that some strange and incomprehensible mystery
surrounded them, and when I had abandoned all hope of a solution to it,
it solved itself in the most unexpected and yet natural manner, and I
was more astonished at the solution than I was at the mystery.



CHAPTER VI.


Their domestic life was so harmonious and perfect that it was a
perpetual pleasure to contemplate.

Human nature finds its sweetest pleasure, its happiest content, within
its own home circle; and in Mizora I found no exception to the rule. The
arrangement and adornment of every house in Mizora were evidently for
the comfort and happiness of its inmates. To purchase anything for
merely outside show, or to excite the envy or jealousy of a neighbor,
was never thought of by an inhabitant of Mizora.

The houses that were built to rent excited my admiration quite as much
as did the private residences. They all seemed to have been designed
with two special objects in view--beauty and comfort. Houses built to
rent in large cities were always in the form of a hollow square,
inclosing a commodious and handsomely decorated park. The back was
adorned with an upper and lower piazza opening upon the park. The suites
of rooms were so arranged as to exclusively separate their occupants
from all others. The park was undivided. The center was occupied by a
fountain large enough to shoot its spray as high as the uppermost
piazza. The park was furnished with rustic seats and shade trees,
frequently of immense size, branched above its smooth walks and
promenades, where baby wagons, velocipedes and hobby horses on wheels
could have uninterrupted sport.

Suburban residences, designed for rent, were on a similar but more
amplified plan. The houses were detached, but the grounds were in
common. Many private residences were also constructed on the same plan.
Five or six acres would be purchased by a dozen families who were not
rich enough to own large places separately. A separate residence would
be built for each family, but the ground would be laid off and
ornamented like a private park. Each of the dozen families would thus
have a beautiful view and the privilege of the whole ground. In this
way, cascades, fountains, rustic arbors, rockeries, aquariums, tiny
lakes, and every variety of landscape ornamenting, could be supplied at
a comparatively small cost to each family.

Should any one wish to sell, they disposed of their house and
one-twelfth of the undivided ground, and a certain per cent. of the
value of its ornaments. The established custom was never to remove or
alter property thus purchased without the consent of the other
shareholders. Where a people had been educated to regard justice and
conscience as their law, such an arrangement could be beneficial to an
entire city.

Financial ability does not belong to every one, and this plan of uniting
small capitals gave opportunity to the less wealthy classes to enjoy all
the luxuries that belong to the rich. In fact some of the handsomest
parks I saw in Mizora were owned and kept up in this manner. Sometimes
as many as twenty families united in the purchase of an estate, and
constructed artificial lakes large enough to sail upon. Artificial
cascades and fountains of wonderful size and beauty were common
ornaments in all the private and public parks of the city. I noticed in
all the cities that I visited the beauty and charm of the public parks,
which were found in all sections.

The walks were smoothly paved and shaded by trees of enormous size. They
were always frequented by children, who could romp and play in these
sylvan retreats of beauty in perfect security.

The high state of culture arrived at by the Mizora people rendered a
luxurious style of living a necessity to all. Many things that I had
been brought up to regard as the exclusive privileges of the rich, were
here the common pleasure of every one. There was no distinction of
classes; no genteel-poverty people, who denied themselves necessities
that they might appear to have luxuries. There was not a home in Mizora
that I entered--and I had access to many--that did not give the
impression of wealth in all its appointments.

I asked the Preceptress to explain to me how I might carry back to the
people of my country this social happiness, this equality of physical
comfort and luxury; and she answered me with emphasis:

"Educate them. Convince the rich that by educating the poor, they are
providing for their own safety. They will have fewer prisons to build,
fewer courts to sustain. Educated Labor will work out its own salvation
against Capital. Let the children of toil start in life with exactly
the same educational advantages that are enjoyed by the rich. Give them
the same physical and moral training, and let the rich pay for it by
taxes."

I shook my head "They will never submit to it," was my reluctant
admission.

"Appeal to their selfishness," urged the Preceptress "Get them to open
their college doors and ask all to come and be taught without money and
without price. The power of capital is great, but stinted and ignorant
toil will rise against its oppression, and innocence and guilt will
alike suffer from its fury. Have you never known such an occurrence?"

"Not in my day or country," I answered "But the city in which I was
educated has such a history. Its gutters flowed with human blood, the
blood of its nobles."

She inclined her head significantly. "It will be repeated," she said
sadly, "unless you educate them. Give their bright and active minds the
power of knowledge. They will use it wisely, for their own and their
country's welfare."

I doubted my ability to do this, to contend against rooted and inherited
prejudice, but I resolved to try. I did not need to be told that the
rich and powerful had a monopoly of intellect: Nature was not partial to
them, for the children of the poor, I well knew, were often handsomer
and more intellectual than the offspring of wealth and aristocratic
birth.

I have before spoken of the positions occupied by those who performed
what I had been bred to regard as menial work. At first, the mere fact
of the person who presided over the kitchen being presented to me as an
equal, was outraging to all my hereditary dignity and pride of birth. No
one could be more pronounced in a consciousness of inherited nobility
than I. I had been taught from infancy to regard myself as a superior
being, merely because the accident of birth had made me so, and the
arrogance with which I had treated some of my less favored schoolmates
reverted to me with mortifying regret, when, having asked Wauna to point
out to me the nobly born, she looked at me with her sweet expression of
candor and innocence and said:

"We have no nobility of birth. As I once before told you, intellect is
our only standard of excellence. It alone occupies an exalted place and
receives the homage of our people."

In a subsequent conversation with her mother, the Preceptress, she said:

"In remote ages, great honor and deference was paid to all who were
born of rulers, and the designation 'noble blood,' was applied to them.
At one time in the history of our country they could commit any outrage
upon society or morals without fear of punishment, simply because they
belonged to the aristocracy. Even a heinous murder would be unnoticed if
perpetrated by one of them. Nature alone did not favor them Imbecile and
immoral minds fell to the lot of the aristocrat as often as to the lowly
born. Nature's laws are inflexible and swerve not for any human wish.
They outraged them by the admixture of kindred blood, and degeneracy was
often the result. A people should always have for their chief ruler the
highest and noblest intellect among them, but in those dark ages they
were too often compelled to submit to the lowest, simply because it had
been _born_ to the position. But," she added, with a sweet smile,
"_that_ time lies many centuries behind us, and I sometimes think we had
better forget it entirely."

My first meeting with the domestics of my friend's house impressed me
with their high mental culture, refinement and elegance. Certainly no
"grande dame" of my own country but would have been proud of their
beauty and graceful dignity.

Prejudice, however deeply ingrained, could not resist the custom of a
whole country, and especially such a one as Mizora, so I soon found
myself on a familiar footing with my friend's "artist"--for the name by
which they were designated as a class had very nearly the same meaning.

Cooking was an art, and one which the people of Mizora had cultivated to
the highest excellence. It is not strange, when their enlightenment is
understood, that they should attach as much honor to it as the people of
my country do to sculpture, painting and literature. The Preceptress
told me that such would be the case with my people when education became
universal and the poor could start in life with the same intellectual
culture as the rich. The chemistry of food and its importance in
preserving a youthful vigor and preventing disease, would then be
understood and appreciated by all classes, and would receive the
deference it deserved.

"You will never realize," said the Preceptress earnestly, "the
incalculable benefit that will accrue to your people from educating your
poor. Urge that Government to try it for just twenty years, long enough
for a generation to be born and mature. The bright and eager intellects
of poverty will turn to Chemistry to solve the problems of cheap Light,
cheap Fuel and cheap Food. When you can clothe yourselves from the
fibre of the trees, and warm and light your dwellings from the water of
your rivers, and eat of the stones of the earth, Poverty and Disease
will be as unknown to your people as it is to mine."

"If I should preach that to them, they would call me a maniac."

"None but the ignorant will do so. From your description of the great
thinkers of your country, I am inclined to believe there are minds among
you advanced enough to believe in it."

I remembered how steamboats and railroads and telegraphy had been
opposed and ridiculed until proven practicable, and I took courage and
resolved to follow the advice of my wise counselor.

I had long felt a curiosity to behold the inner workings of a domestic's
life, and one day ventured to ask my friend's permission to enter her
kitchen. Surprise was manifested at such a request, when I began to
apologize and explain. But my hostess smiled and said:

"My kitchen is at all times as free to my guests as my drawing room."

Every kitchen in Mizora is on the same plan and conducted the same way.
To describe one, therefore, is to describe all. I undertook to explain
that in my country, good breeding forbade a guest entering the host's
kitchen, and frequently its appearance, and that of the cook's, would
not conduce to gastric enjoyment of the edibles prepared in it.

My first visit happened to be on scrubbing day, and I was greatly amused
to see a little machine, with brushes and sponges attached, going over
the floor at a swift rate, scouring and sponging dry as it went. Two
vessels, one containing soap suds and the other clear water, were
connected by small feed pipes with the brushes. As soon as the drying
sponge became saturated, it was lifted by an ingenious yet simple
contrivance into a vessel and pressed dry, and was again dropped to the
floor.

I inquired how it was turned to reverse its progress so as to clean the
whole floor, and was told to watch when it struck the wall. I did so,
and saw that the jar not only reversed the machine, but caused it to
spring to the right about two feet, which was its width, and again begin
work on a new line, to be again reversed in the same manner when it
struck the opposite wall. Carpeted floors were swept by a similar
contrivance.

No wonder the "artists" of the kitchen had such a dainty appearance.
They dipped their pretty hands in perfumed water and dried them on the
finest and whitest damask, while machinery did the coarse work.

Mizora, I discovered, was a land of brain workers. In every vocation of
life machinery was called upon to perform the arduous physical labor.
The whole domestic department was a marvel of ingenious mechanical
contrivances. Dishwashing, scouring and cleaning of every description
were done by machinery.

The Preceptress told me that it was the result of enlightenment, and it
would become the custom in my country to make machinery perform the
laborious work when they learned the value of universal and advanced
knowledge.

I observed that the most exact care was given to the preparation of
food. Every cook was required to be a chemist of the highest excellence;
another thing that struck me as radically different from the custom in
vogue in my country.

Everything was cooked by hot air and under cover, so that no odor was
perceptible in the room. Ventilating pipes conveyed the steam from
cooking food out of doors. Vegetables and fruits appeared to acquire a
richer flavor when thus cooked. The seasoning was done by exact weight
and measure, and there was no stirring or tasting. A glass tube, on the
principle of a thermometer, determined when each article was done. The
perfection which they had attained as culinary chemists was a source of
much gratification to me, both in the taste of food so delicious and
palatable, and in its wholesome effect on my constitution. As to its
deliciousness, a meal prepared by a Mizora cook could rival the fabled
feasts of the gods. Its beneficial effects upon me were manifested in a
healthier tone of body and an an increase of animal spirits, a
pleasurable feeling of content and amiability.

The Preceptress told me that the first step toward the eradication of
disease was in the scientific preparation of food, and the establishment
of schools where cooking was taught as an art to all who applied, and
without charge. Placed upon a scientific basis it became respectable.

"To eliminate from our food the deleterious earthy matter is our
constant aim. To that alone do we owe immunity from old age far in
advance of that period of life when your people become decrepit and
senile. The human body is like a lamp-wick, which filters the oil while
it furnishes light. In time the wick becomes clogged and useless and is
thrown away. If the oil could be made perfectly pure, the wick would not
fill up."

She gave this homely explanation with a smile and the air of a grown
person trying to convey to the immature mind of a child an explanation
of some of Nature's phenomena.

I reflected upon their social condition and arrived at the conviction
that there is no occupation in life but what has its usefulness and
necessity, and, when united to culture and refinement, its dignity. A
tree has a million leaves, yet each individual leaf, insignificant as it
may appear, has its special share of work to perform in helping the tree
to live and perfect its fruit. So should every citizen of a government
contribute to its vitality and receive a share of its benefits.

"Will the time ever come," I asked myself, "when my own country will see
this and rise to a social, if not intellectual equality." And the
admonition of the Preceptress would recur to my mind:

"Educate them. Educate them, and enlightenment will solve for them every
problem in Sociology."

My observations in Mizora led me to believe that while Nature will
permit and encourage the outgrowth of equality in refinement, she gives
birth to a more decided prominence in the leadership of intellect.

The lady who conducted me through the culinary department, and pointed
out the machinery and explained its use and convenience, had the same
grace and dignity of manner as the hostess displayed when exhibiting to
me the rare plants in her conservatory.

The laundry was a separate business. No one unconnected with it as a
profession had anything to do with its duties. I visited several of the
large city laundries and was informed that all were conducted alike.
Steam was employed in the cleaning process, and the drying was done by
hot air impregnated with ozone. This removed from white fabrics every
vestige of discoloration or stain. I saw twelve dozen fine damask
table-cloths cleaned, dried and ironed in thirty minutes. All done by
machinery. They emerged from the rollers that ironed them looking like
new pieces of goods, so pure was their color, and so glossy their
finish.

I inquired the price for doing them up, and was told a cent a piece.
Twelve cents per dozen was the established price for doing up clothes.
Table-cloths and similar articles were ironed between rollers
constructed to admit their full width. Other articles of more
complicated make, were ironed by machines constructed to suit them. Some
articles were dressed by having hot air forced rapidly through them.
Lace curtains, shawls, veils, spreads, tidies and all similar articles,
were by this process made to look like new, and at a cost that I thought
ought certainly to reduce the establishment to beggary or insolvency.
But here chemistry again was the magician that had made such cheap labor
profitable. And such advanced knowledge of chemistry was the result of
universal education.

Ladies sent their finest laces to be renewed without fear of having them
reduced to shreds. In doing up the frailest laces, nothing but hot air
impregnated with ozone was employed. These were consecutively forced
through the fabric after it was carefully stretched. Nothing was ever
lost or torn, so methodical was the management of the work.

I asked why cooking was not established as the laundry was, as a
distinct public business, and was told that it had been tried a number
of times, but had always been found impracticable. One kind of work in a
laundry would suit everyone, but one course of cooking could not. Tastes
and appetites differed greatly. What was palatable to one would be
disliked by another, and to prepare food for a large number of
customers, without knowing or being able to know exactly what the demand
would be, had always resulted in large waste, and as the people of
Mizora were the most rigid and exacting economists, it was not to be
wondered at that they had selected the most economical plan. Every
private cook could determine accurately the amount of food required for
the household she prepared it for, and knowing their tastes she could
cater to all without waste.

"We, as yet," said my distinguished instructor, "derive all our fruit
and vegetables from the soil. We have orchards and vineyards and gardens
which we carefully tend, and which our knowledge of chemistry enables us
to keep in health and productiveness. But there is always more or less
earthy matter in all food derived from cultivating the soil, and the
laboratories are now striving to produce artificial fruit and vegetables
that will satisfy the palate and be free from deleterious matter."



CHAPTER VII.


One of the most curious and pleasing sights in Mizora was the flower
gardens and conservatories. Roses of all sizes and colors and shades of
color were there. Some two feet across were placed by the side of others
not exceeding the fourth of an inch in order to display the disparity in
size.

To enter into a minute description of all the discoveries made by the
Mizora people in fruit and floriculture, would be too tedious; suffice
to say they had laid their hands upon the beautiful and compelled nature
to reveal to them the secret of its formation. The number of petals,
their color, shape and size, were produced as desired. The only thing
they could neither create nor destroy was its perfume. I questioned the
Preceptress as to the possibility of its ever being discovered? She
replied:

"It is the one secret of the rose that Nature refuses to reveal. I do
not believe we shall ever possess the power to increase or diminish the
odor of a flower. I believe that Nature will always reserve to herself
the secret of its creation. The success that we enjoy in the wonderful
cultivation of our fruits and flowers was one of our earliest scientific
conquests."

I learned that their orchards never failed to yield a bounteous harvest.
They had many fruits that were new to me, and some that were new and
greatly improved species of kinds that I had already seen and eaten in
my own or other countries. Nothing that they cultivated was ever without
its own peculiar beauty as well as usefulness. Their orchards, when the
fruit was ripe, presented a picture of unique charm. Their trees were
always trained into graceful shapes, and when the ripe fruit gleamed
through the dark green foliage, every tree looked like a huge bouquet. A
cherry tree that I much admired, and the fruit of which I found
surpassingly delicious, I must allow myself to describe. The cherries
were not surprisingly large, but were of the colors and transparency of
honey. They were seedless, the tree having to be propagated from slips.
When the fruit was ripe the tree looked like a huge ball of pale amber
gems hiding in the shadows of dark pointed leaves.

Their grape arbors were delightful pictures in their season of maturity.
Some vines had clusters of fruit three feet long; but these I was told
were only to show what they _could_ do in grape culture. The usual and
marketable size of a bunch was from one to two pounds weight. The fruit
was always perfect that was offered for sale.

Science had provided the fruit growers of Mizora with permanent
protections from all kinds of blight or decay.

When I considered the wholesomeness of all kinds of food prepared for
the inhabitants of this favored land. I began to think they might owe a
goodly portion of their exceptional health to it, and a large share of
their national amiability to their physical comfort. I made some such
observation to the Preceptress, and she admitted its correctness.

"The first step that my people made toward the eradication of disease
was in the preparation of healthy food; not for the rich, who could
obtain it themselves, but for the whole nation."

I asked for further information and she added:

"Science discovered that mysterious and complicated diseases often had
their origin in adulterated food. People suffered and died, ignorant of
what produced their disease. The law, in the first place, rigidly
enforced the marketing of clean and perfect fruit, and a wholesome
quality of all other provisions. This was at first difficult to do, as
in those ancient days, (I refer to a very remote period of our history)
in order to make usurious profit, dealers adulterated all kinds of food;
often with poisonous substances. When every state took charge of its
markets and provided free schools for cooking, progress took a rapid
advance. Do you wonder at it? Reflect then. How could I force my mind
into complete absorption of some new combination of chemicals, while the
gastric juice in my stomach was battling with sour or adulterated food?
Nature would compel me to pay some attention to the discomfort of my
digestive organs, and it might happen at a time when I was on the verge
of a revelation in science, which might be lost. You may think it an
insignificant matter to speak of in connection with the grand
enlightenment that we possess; but Nature herself is a mass of little
things. Our bodies, strong and supple as they are, are nothing but a
union of tiny cells. It is by the investigation of little things that we
have reached the great ones."

I felt a keen desire to know more about their progress toward universal
health, feeling assured that the history of the extirpation of disease
must be curious and instructive. I had been previously made acquainted
with the fact that disease was really unknown to them, save in its
historical existence. To cull this isolated history from their vast
libraries of past events, would require a great deal of patient and
laborious research, and the necessary reading of a great deal of matter
that I could not be interested in, and that could not beside be of any
real value to me, so I requested the Preceptress to give me an
epitomized history of it in her own language, merely relating such facts
as might be useful to me, and that I could comprehend, for I may as well
bring forward the fact that, in comparison to theirs, my mind was as a
savages would be to our civilization.

Their brain was of a finer intellectual fiber. It possessed a wider,
grander, more majestic receptivity. They absorbed ideas that passed over
me like a cloud. Their imaginations were etherealized. They reached into
what appeared to be materialless space, and brought from it substances I
had never heard of before, and by processes I could not comprehend. They
divided matter into new elements and utilized them. They disintegrated
matter, added to it new properties and produced a different material. I
saw the effects and uses of their chemistry, but that was all.

There are minds belonging to my own age, as there have been to all ages,
that are intellectually in advance of it. They live in a mental and
prophetic world of their own, and leave behind them discoveries,
inventions and teachings that benefit and ennoble the generations to
come. Could such a mind have chanced upon Mizora, as I chanced upon it,
it might have consorted with its intellect, and brought from the
companionship ideas that I could not receive, and sciences that I can
find no words in my language to represent. The impression that my own
country might make upon a savage, may describe my relation to Mizora.
What could an uncivilized mind say of our railroads, or magnificent
cathedrals, our palaces, our splendor, our wealth, our works of art.
They would be as difficult of representation as were the lofty aims, the
unselfishness in living, the perfect love, honor and intellectual
grandeur, and the universal comfort and luxury found in Mizora, were to
me. To them the cultivation of the mind was an imperative duty, that
neither age nor condition retarded. To do good, to be approved by their
own conscience, was their constant pleasure.



CHAPTER VIII.


It was during my visit at my friend's house that I first witnessed the
peculiar manner in which the markets in Mizora are conducted.
Everything, as usual, was fastidiously neat and clean. The fruit and
vegetables were fresh and perfect. I examined quantities of them to
satisfy myself, and not a blemish or imperfection could be found on any.
None but buyers were attending market. Baskets of fruit, bunches of
vegetables and, in fact, everything exhibited for sale, had the quality
and the price labeled upon it. Small wicker baskets were near to receive
the change. When a buyer had selected what suited her, she dropped the
label and the change in the basket. I saw one basket filled with gold
and silver coin, yet not one would be missing when the owner came to
count up the sales. Sometimes a purchaser was obliged to change a large
piece of money, but it was always done accurately.

There was one singular trait these people possessed that, in conjunction
with their other characteristics, may seem unnatural: they would give
and exact the last centime (a quarter of a cent) in a trade. I noticed
this peculiarity so frequently that I inquired the reason for it, and
when I had studied it over I decided that, like all the other rules that
these admirable people had established, it was wise. Said my friend:

"We set a just value on everything we prepare for sale. Anything above
or below that, would be unjust to buyer or seller."

The varieties of apples, pears, peaches and other fruits had their names
attached, with the quality, sweet, sour, or slightly acid. In no
instance was it found to be incorrectly stated. I came to one stall that
contained nothing but glass jars of butter and cream. The butter was a
rich buff color, like very fine qualities I had seen in my own country.
The cream, an article I am fond of drinking, looked so tempting I longed
to purchase a glass for that purpose. The lady whom I accompanied (my
hostess' cook) informed me that it was artificially prepared. The butter
and cheese were chemical productions. Different laboratories produced
articles of varying flavor, according to the chemist's skill. Although
their construction was no secret, yet some laboratories enjoyed special
reputation for their butter and cheese owing to the accuracy with which
their elements were combined.

She gave me quite a history about artificial food, also how they kept
fruits and vegetables in their natural state for years without decaying
or losing their flavor, so that when eaten they were nearly as fine as
when freshly gathered. After hearing that the cream was manufactured, I
resolved to taste it. Dropping my coin into the basket, I took up a
glass and drank it. A look of disgust crossed the countenance of my
companion.

"Do you not drink this?" I asked in surprise, as I set down the empty
vessel. "It is truly delicious."

"At regular meal times we all use it, and sometimes drink it in
preference to other beverages--but never in public. You will never see a
citizen of Mizora eating in public. Look all over this market and you
will not discover one person, either adult or child, eating or drinking,
unless it be water."

I could not; and I felt keenly mortified at my mistake. Yet in my own
country and others that, according to our standard, are highly
civilized, a beverage is made from the juice of the corn that is not
only drank in public places, but its effects, which are always
unbecoming, are exhibited also, and frequently without reproof. However,
I said nothing to my companion about this beverage. It bears no
comparison in color or taste to that made in Mizora. I could not have
distinguished the latter from the finest dairy cream.

The next place of interest that I visited were their mercantile bazars
or stores. Here I found things looking quite familiar. The goods were
piled upon shelves behind counters, and numerous clerks were in
attendance. It was the regular day for shopping among the Mizora ladies,
and the merchants had made a display of their prettiest and richest
goods. I noticed the ladies were as elegantly dressed as if for a
reception, and learned that it was the custom. They would meet a great
many friends and acquaintances, and dressed to honor the occasion.

It was my first shopping experience in Mizora, and I quite mortified
myself by removing my glove and rubbing and examining closely the goods
I thought of purchasing. I entirely ignored the sweet voice of the
clerk that was gently informing me that it was "pure linen" or "pure
wool," so habituated had I become in my own country to being my own
judge of the quality of the goods I was purchasing, regardless always of
the seller's recommendation of it. I found it difficult, especially in
such circumstances, to always remember their strict adherence to honesty
and fair dealing. I felt rebuked when I looked around and saw the
actions of the other ladies in buying.

In manufactured goods, as in all other things, not the slightest
cheatery is to be found. Woolen and cotton mixtures were never sold for
pure wool. Nobody seemed to have heard of the art of glossing muslin
cuffs and collars and selling them for pure linen.

Fearing that I had wounded the feelings of the lady in attendance upon
me, I hastened to apologize by explaining the peculiar methods of trade
that were practiced in my own country. They were immediately pronounced
barbarous.

I noticed that ladies in shopping examined colors and effects of
trimmings or combinations, but never examined the quality. Whatever the
attendant said about _that_ was received as a fact.

The reason for the absence of attendants in the markets and the presence
of them in mercantile houses was apparent at once. The market articles
were brought fresh every day, while goods were stored.

Their business houses and their manner of shopping were unlike anything
I had ever met with before. The houses were all built in a hollow
square, enclosing a garden with a fountain in the center. These were
invariably roofed over with glass, as was the entire building. In winter
the garden was as warm as the interior of the store. It was adorned with
flowers and shrubs. I often saw ladies and children promenading in these
pretty inclosures, or sitting on their rustic sofas conversing, while
their friends were shopping in the store. The arrangement gave perfect
light and comfort to both clerks and customers, and the display of rich
and handsome fabrics was enhanced by the bit of scenery beyond. In
summer the water for the fountain was artificially cooled.

Every clerk was provided with a chair suspended by pulleys from strong
iron rods fastened above. They could be raised or lowered at will; and
when not occupied, could be drawn up out of the way. After the goods
were purchased, they were placed in a machine that wrapped and tied them
ready for delivery.

A dining-room was always a part of every store. I desired to be shown
this, and found it as tasteful and elegant in its appointments as a
private one would be. Silver and china and fine damask made it inviting
to the eye, and I had no doubt the cooking corresponded as well with the
taste.

The streets of Mizora were all paved, even the roads through the
villages were furnished an artificial cover, durable, smooth and
elastic. For this purpose a variety of materials were used. Some had
artificial stone, in the manufacture of which Mizora could surpass
nature's production. Artificial wood they also made and used for
pavements, as well as cement made of fine sand. The latter was the least
durable, but possessed considerable elasticity and made a very fine
driving park. They were experimenting when I came away on sanded glass
for road beds. The difficulty was to overcome its susceptibility to
attrition. After business hours every street was swept by a machine. The
streets and sidewalks, in dry weather, were as free from soil as the
floor of a private-house would be.

Animals and domestic fowls had long been extinct in Mizora. This was one
cause of the weird silence that so impressed me on my first view of
their capital city. Invention had superceded the usefulness of animals
in all departments: in the field and the chemistry of food. Artificial
power was utilized for all vehicles.

The vehicle most popular with the Mizora ladies for shopping and culling
purposes, was a very low carriage, sometimes with two seats, sometimes
with one. They were upholstered with the richest fabrics, were
exceedingly light and graceful in shape, and not above three feet from
the ground. They were strong and durable, though frequently not
exceeding fifty pounds in weight. The wheel was the curious and
ingenious part of the structure, for in its peculiar construction lay
the delight of its motion. The spokes were flat bands of steel, curved
outward to the tire. The carriage had no spring other than these spokes,
yet it moved like a boat gliding down stream with the current. I was
fortunate enough to preserve a drawing of this wheel, which I hope some
day to introduce in my own land. The carriages were propelled by
compressed air or electricity; and sometimes with a mechanism that was
simply pressed with the foot. I liked the compressed air best. It was
most easily managed by me. The Mizora ladies preferred electricity, of
which I was always afraid. They were experimenting with a new propelling
power during my stay that was to be acted upon by light, but it had not
come into general use, although I saw some vehicles that were propelled
by it. They moved with incredible speed, so rapid indeed, that the
upper part of the carriage had to be constructed of glass, and securely
closed while in motion, to protect the occupant. It was destined, I
heard some of their scientists say, to become universal, as it was the
most economical power yet discovered. They patiently tried to explain it
to me, but my faculties were not receptive to such advanced philosophy,
and I had to abandon the hope of ever introducing it into my own
country.

There was another article manufactured in Mizora that excited my wonder
and admiration. It was elastic glass. I have frequently mentioned the
unique uses that they made of it, and I must now explain why. They had
discovered a process to render it as pliable as rubber. It was more
useful than rubber could be, for it was almost indestructible. It had
superceded iron in many ways. All cooking utensils were made of it. It
entered largely into the construction and decoration of houses. All
cisterns and cellars had an inner lining of it. All underground pipes
were made of it, and many things that are the necessities and luxuries
of life.

They spun it into threads as fine and delicate as a spider's gossamer,
and wove it into a network of clear or variegated colors that dazzled
the eye to behold. Innumerable were the lovely fabrics made of it. The
frailest lace, in the most intricate and aerial patterns, that had the
advantage of never soiling, never tearing, and never wearing out.
Curtains for drawing-room arches were frequently made of it. Some of
them looked like woven dew drops.

One set of curtains that I greatly admired, and was a long time ignorant
of what they were made of, were so unique, I must do myself the pleasure
to describe them. They hung across the arch that led to the glass
conservatory attached to my friend's handsome dwelling. Three very thin
sheets of glass were woven separately and then joined at the edges so
ingeniously as to defy detection. The inside curtain was one solid
color: crimson. Over this was a curtain of snow flakes, delicate as
those aerial nothings of the sky, and more durable than any fabric
known. Hung across the arched entrance to a conservatory, with a great
globe of white fire shining through it, it was lovely as the blush of
Aphrodite when she rose from the sea, veiled in its fleecy foam.

They also possessed the art of making glass highly refractive. Their
table-ware surpassed in beauty all that I had ever previously seen. I
saw tea cups as frail looking as soap bubbles, possessing the delicate
iridescence of opals. Many other exquisite designs were the product of
its flexibility and transparency. The first article that attracted my
attention was the dress of an actress on the stage. It was lace, made of
gossamer threads of amber in the design of lilies and leaves, and was
worn over black velvet.

The wonderful water scene that I beheld at the theatre was produced by
waves made of glass and edged with foam, a milky glass spun into tiny
bubbles. They were agitated by machinery that caused them to roll with a
terribly natural look. The blinding flashes of lightning had been the
display of genuine electricity.

Nothing in the way of artistic effect could call forth admiration or
favorable comment unless it was so exact an imitation of nature as to
not be distinguished from the real without the closest scrutiny. In
private life no one assumed a part. All the acting I ever saw in Mizora
was done upon the stage.

I could not appreciate their mental pleasures, any more than a savage
could delight in a nocturne of Chopin. Yet one was the intellectual
ecstasy of a sublime intelligence, and the other the harmonious rapture
of a divinely melodious soul. I must here mention that the processes of
chemical experiment in Mizora differed materially from those I had
known. I had once seen and tasted a preparation called artificial cream
that had been prepared by a friend of my fathers, an eminent English
chemist. It was simply a combination of the known properties of cream
united in the presence of gentle heat. But in Mizora they took certain
chemicals and converted them into milk, and cream, and cheese, and
butter, and every variety of meat, in a vessel that admitted neither air
nor light. They claimed that the elements of air and light exercised a
material influence upon the chemical production of foods, that they
could not be made successfully by artificial processes when exposed to
those two agents. Their earliest efforts had been unsuccessful of exact
imitation, and a perfect result had only been obtained by closely
counterfeiting the processes of nature.

The cream prepared artificially that I had tasted in London, was the
same color and consistency as natural cream, but it lacked its relish.
The cream manufactured in Mizora was a perfect imitation of the finest
dairy product.

It was the same with meats; they combined the elements, and the article
produced possessed no detrimental flavor. It was a more economical way
of obtaining meat than by fattening animals.

They were equally fortunate in the manufacture of clothing. Every
mountain was a cultivated forest, from which they obtained every variety
of fabric; silks, satins, velvets, laces, woolen goods, and the richest
articles of beauty and luxury, in which to array themselves, were put
upon the market at a trifling cost, compared to what they were
manufactured at in my own country. Pallid and haggard women and
children, working incessantly for a pittance that barely sustained
existence, was the ultimatum that the search after the cause of cheap
prices arrived at in my world, but here it traveled from one bevy of
beautiful workwoman to another until it ended at the Laboratory where
Science sat throned, the grand, majestic, humane Queen of this thrice
happy land.



CHAPTER IX.


Whenever I inquired:

"From whence comes the heat that is so evenly distributed throughout the
dwellings and public buildings of Mizora?" they invariably pointed to
the river. I asked in astonishment:

"From water comes fire?"

And they answered: "Yes."

I had long before this time discovered that Mizora was a nation of very
wonderful people, individually and collectively; and as every revelation
of their genius occurred, I would feel as though I could not be
surprised at any marvelous thing that they should claim to do, but I was
really not prepared to believe that they could set the river on fire.
Yet I found that such was, scientifically, the fact. It was one of their
most curious and, at the same time, useful appliances of a philosophical
discovery.

They separated water into its two gases, and then, with their ingenious
chemical skill, converted it into an economical fuel.

Their coal mines had long been exhausted, as had many other of nature's
resources for producing artificial heat. The dense population made it
impracticable to cultivate forests for fuel. Its rapid increase demanded
of Science the discovery of a fuel that could be consumed without loss
to them, both in the matter consumed and in the expense of procuring it.
Nothing seemed to answer their purpose so admirably as water. Water,
when decomposed, becomes gas. Convert the gas into heat and it becomes
water again. A very great heat produces only a small quantity of water:
hence the extreme utility of water as a heat producing agent.

The heating factories were all detached buildings, and generally, if at
all practicable, situated near a river, or other body of water. Every
precaution against accident was stringently observed.

There were several processes for decomposing the water explained to me,
but the one preferred, and almost universally used by the people of
Mizora, was electricity. The gases formed at the opposite poles of the
electrical current, were received in large glass reservoirs, especially
constructed for them.

In preparing the heat that gave such a delightful temperature to the
dwellings and public buildings of their vast cities, glass was always
the material used in the construction of vessels and pipes. Glass pipes
conveyed the separate gases of hydrogen and oxygen into an apartment
especially prepared for the purpose, and united them upon ignited
carbon. The heat produced was intense beyond description, and in the
hands of less experienced and capable chemists, would have proved
destructful to life and property. The hardest rock would melt in its
embrace; yet, in the hands of these wonderful students of Nature, it was
under perfect control and had been converted into one of the most
healthful and agreeable agents of comfort and usefulness known. It was
regulated with the same ease and convenience with which we increase or
diminish the flames of a gas jet. It was conducted, by means of glass
pipes, to every dwelling in the city. One factory supplied sufficient
heat for over half a million inhabitants.

I thought I was not so far behind Mizora in a knowledge of heating with
hot air; yet, when I saw the practical application of their method, I
could see no resemblance to that in use in my own world. In winter,
every house in Mizora had an atmosphere throughout as balmy as the
breath of the young summer. Country-houses and farm dwellings were all
supplied with the same kind of heat.

In point of economy it could not be surpassed. A city residence,
containing twenty rooms of liberal size and an immense conservatory, was
heated entire, at a cost of four hundred centimes a year. One dollar per
annum for fuel.

There was neither smoke, nor soot, nor dust. Instead of entering a room
through a register, as I had always seen heated air supplied, it came
through numerous small apertures in the walls of a room quite close to
the floor, thus rendering its supply imperceptible, and making a draft
of cold air impossible.

The extreme cheapness of artificial heat made a conservatory a necessary
luxury of every dwelling. The same pipes that supplied the dwelling
rooms with warmth, supplied the hot-house also, but it was conveyed to
the plants by a very different process.

They used electricity in their hot-houses to perfect their fruit, but
in what way I could not comprehend; neither could I understand their
method of supplying plants and fruits with carbonic acid gas. They
manufactured it and turned it into their hot-houses during sleeping
hours. No one was permitted to enter until the carbon had been absorbed.
They had an instrument resembling a thermometer which gave the exact
condition of the atmosphere. They were used in every house, as well as
in the conservatories. The people of Mizora were constantly
experimenting with those two chemical agents, electricity and carbonic
acid gas, in their conservatories. They confidently believed that with
their service, they could yet produce fruit from their hot-houses, that
would equal in all respects the season grown article.

They produced very fine hot-house fruit. It was more luscious than any
artificially ripened fruit that I had ever tasted in my own country, yet
it by no means compared with their season grown fruit. Their preserved
fruit I thought much more natural in flavor than their hot-house fruit.

Many of their private greenhouses were on a grand scale and contained
fruit as well as flowers. A family that could not have a hot-house for
fresh vegetables, with a few fruit trees in it, would be poor indeed.
Where a number of families had united in purchasing extensive grounds,
very fine conservatories were erected, their expense being divided among
the property holders, and their luxuries enjoyed in common.

So methodical were all the business plans of the Mizora people, and so
strictly just were they in the observance of all business and social
duties that no ill-feeling or jealousy could arise from a combination of
capital in private luxuries. Such combinations were formed and carried
out upon strictly business principles.

If the admirable economy with which every species of work was carried on
in Mizora could be thoroughly comprehended, the universality of luxuries
need not be wondered at. They were drilled in economy from a very early
period. It was taught them as a virtue.

Machinery, with them, had become the slave of invention. I lived long
enough in Mizora to comprehend that the absence of pauperism, genteel
and otherwise, was largely due to the ingenious application of machinery
to all kinds of physical labor. When the cost of producing luxuries
decreases, the value of the luxuries produced must decrease with it. The
result is they are within reach of the narrowest incomes. A life
surrounded by refinement must absorb some of it.

I had a conversation with the Preceptress upon this subject, and she
said:

"Some natures are so undecided in character that they become only what
their surroundings make them. Others only partially absorb tastes and
sentiments that form the influence about them. They maintain a decided
individuality; yet they are most always noticeably marked with the
general character of their surroundings. It is very, very seldom that a
nature is fixed from infancy in one channel."

I told her that I knew of a people whose minds from infancy to mature
age, never left the grooves they were born in. They belonged to every
nationality, and had palaces built for them, and attendants with
cultivated intelligences employed to wait upon them.

"Are their minds of such vast importance to their nation? You have never
before alluded to intellect so elevated as to command such royal
homage." My friend spoke with awakened interest.

"They are of no importance at all," I answered, humiliated at having
alluded to them. "Some of them have not sufficient intelligence to even
feed themselves."

"And what are they?" she inquired anxiously.

"They are idiots; human vegetables."

"And you build palaces for them, and hire servants to feed and tend
them, while the bright, ambitious children of the poor among you,
struggle and suffer for mental advancement. How deplorably short-sighted
are the wise ones of your world. Truly it were better in your country to
be born an idiot than a poor genius." She sighed and looked grave.

"What should we do with them?" I inquired.

"What do you do with the useless weeds in your garden," she asked
significantly. "Do you carefully tend them, while drouth and frost and
lack of nourishment cause your choice plants to wither and die?"

"We are far behind you," I answered humbly. "But barbarous as you think
we are, no epithet could be too scathing, too comprehensive of all that
was vicious and inhuman, to apply to a person who should dare to assail
the expense of those institutions, or suggest that they be converted to
the cultivation of intellect that _could_ be improved."

My friend looked thoughtful for a long time, then she resumed her
discourse at the point where I had so unfortunately interrupted it.

"No people," she said, "can rise to universal culture as long as they
depend upon hand labor to produce any of the necessities of life. The
absence of a demand for hand labor gives rise to an increasing demand
for brain labor, and the natural and inevitable result is an increased
mental activity. The discovery of a fuel that is furnished at so small a
cost and with really no labor but what machinery performs, marks one
grand era in our mental progress."

In mentioning the numerous uses made of glass in Mizora, I must not
forget to give some notice to their water supply in large cities. Owing
to their cleanly advantages, the filtering and storing of rain-water in
glass-lined cisterns supplied many family uses. But drinking water was
brought to their large cities in a form that did not greatly differ from
those I was already familiar with, excepting in cleanliness. Their
reservoirs were dug in the ground and lined with glass, and a perfectly
fitting cover placed on the top. They were constructed so that the water
that passed through the glass feed pipes to the city should have a
uniform temperature, that of ordinary spring water. The water in the
covered reservoirs was always filtered and tested before passing into
the distributing pipes.

No citizen of Mizora ever hied to the country for pure water and fresh
air. Science supplied both in a densely populated city.



CHAPTER X.


When a question as to the existence of social distinctions would be
asked the citizens of Mizora, the invariable answer would be--there were
none; yet a long and intimate acquaintance with them assured me that
there were. They had an aristocracy; but of so peculiar and amiable a
kind that it deserves a special mention. It took a long time for me to
comprehend the exact condition of their society in this respect. That
there were really no dividing lines between the person who superintended
the kitchen and the one who paid her for it, in a social point of view,
I could plainly see; yet there were distinctions; and rather sharply
defined ones too.

In order to explain more lucidly the peculiar social life of Mizora, I
will ask you to remember some Charity Fair you have attended, perhaps
participated in, and which had been gotten up and managed by women of
the highest social rank. If in a country where titles and social
positions were hereditary, it then represented the highest aristocracy
of blood. Grand dames there departed from the routine of their daily
lives and assumed the lowlier occupations of others. They stood behind
counters, in booths, and sold fancy articles, or dispensed ices and
lemonade, or waited upon customers at the refreshment tables; bringing
in trays of eatables, gathering up and removing empty dishes; performing
labor that, under the ordinary circumstances of life, they would not
perform in their own homes, and for their own kindred. It was all done
with the same conscious dignity and ease that characterized the
statelier duties of their every day life. One fact was apparent to all:
they were gentlewomen still. The refinement of their home education, and
the charm of nourished beauty were, perhaps, more prominent in contrast
with their assumed avocation.

The Charity Fair, with its clerks and waiter girls and flower sellers
called from the highest society, was a miniature picture of the actual
every-day social life of Mizora. The one who ordered a dinner at their
finest hotel, had it served to her by one who occupied the same social
standing. Yet there _was_ a difference; but it was the difference of
mind.

The student in Sociology discovers that in all grades of society,
congenial natures gravitate to a center. A differentiation of the
highest mental quality was the result of this law in Mizora, and its
co-ordinate part, their aristocracy.

The social organism did not need legislation to increase its benefits;
it turned to Science, and, through Science, to Nature. The Laboratory of
the Chemist was the focus that drew the attention of all minds. Mizora
might be called a great school of Nature, whose pupils studied her every
phase, and pried into her secrets with persistent activity, and obeyed
her instructions as an imperative duty. They observed Nature to be an
economist, and practiced economy with scrupulous exactness.

They had observed that in all grades of animal life, from the lowest
form to the highest, wherever sociality had produced unity a leader was
evolved, a superiority that differed in power according to the grade of
development. In the earlier histories, the leaders were chosen for their
prowess in arms. Great warriors became rulers, and soldiers were the
aristocracy of the land. As civilization progressed and learning became
more widely disseminated, the military retired before the more
intellectual aristocracy of statemanship. Politics was the grand
entrance to social eminence.

"But," said my friend, "_we_ have arrived at a higher, nobler, grander
age. The military and political supremacies lived out their usefulness
and decayed. A new era arrived. The differentia of mind evolved an
aristocracy."

Science has long been recognized as the greatest benefactor of our race.
Its investigators and teachers are our only acknowledged superiors and
leaders.

Generally the grandest intellects and those which retain their creative
power the longest, are of exceptionally slow development. Precocity is
short lived, and brilliant rather than strong. This I knew to be true of
my own race.

In Mizora, a mind that developed late lost none of the opportunities
that belong exclusively to the young of my own and other countries of
the outer world. Their free schools and colleges were always open:
always free. For this reason, it was no unusual thing for a person in
Mizora to begin life at the very lowest grade and rise to its supreme
height. Whenever the desire awakened, there was a helping hand extended
on every side.

The distinction between the aristocracy and the lower class, or the
great intellects and the less, was similar to the relative positions of
teacher and pupil. I recognized in this social condition the great media
of their marvelous approach to perfection. This aristocracy was never
arrogant, never supercilious, never aggressive. It was what the
philosophers of our world are: tolerant, humane, sublime.

In all communities of civilized nations marked musical talent will form
social relations distinct from, but not superior to, other social
relations. The leader of a musical club might also be the leader of
another club devoted to exclusive literary pursuits; and both clubs
possess equal social respect. Those who possess musical predilections,
seek musical associations; those who are purely literary, seek their
congenials. This is true of all other mental endowments or tastes; that
which predominates will seek its affinity; be it in science, literature,
politics, music, painting, or sculpture. Social organizations naturally
grow out of other business pursuits and vocations of all grades and
kinds. The society of Mizora was divided only by such distinctions. The
scientific mind had precedence of all others. In the social world, they
found more congenial pleasure in one another, and they mingled more
frequently among themselves. Other professions and vocations followed
their example for the same reason. Yet neither was barred by social
caste from seeking society where she would. If the artisan sought social
intercourse with a philosopher, she was expected to have prepared
herself by mental training to be congenial. When a citizen of Mizora
became ambitious to rise, she did not have to struggle with every
species of opposition, and contend against rebuff and repulse. Correct
language, refined tastes, dignified and graceful manners were the common
acquirements of all. Mental culture of so high an order--I marveled that
a lifetime should be long enough to acquire it in--was universal.

Under such conditions social barriers could not be impregnable. In a
world divided by poverty and opulence into all their intermediate
grades, wealth must inevitably be pre-eminent. It represents refined and
luxurious environments, and, if mind be there, intellectual pre-eminence
also. Where wealth alone governs society it has its prerogatives.

The wealth that affords the most luxurious entertainments must be the
wealth that rules. Its privilege--its duty rather--is to ignore all
applicants to fraternization that cannot return what it receives. Where
mind is the sole aristocracy it makes demands as rigid, though
different, and mind was the aristocracy of Mizora. With them education
is never at an end. I spoke of having graduated at a renowned school for
young ladies, and when I explained that to graduate meant to finish
one's education, it elicited a peal of silvery mirth.

"_We_ never graduate," said Wauna. "There is my mamma's mother, two
centuries old, and still studying. I paid her a visit the other day and
she took me into her laboratory. She is a manufacturer of lenses, and
has been experimenting on microscopes. She has one now that possesses a
truly wonderful power. The leaf of a pear tree, that she had allowed to
become mouldy, was under the lens, and she told me to look.

"A panorama of life and activity spread out before me in such magnitude
that I can only compare it to the feeling one must possess who could be
suspended in air and look down upon our world for a cycle of time.

"Immense plains were visible with animals grazing upon them, that fought
with and devoured one another. They perished and sank away and immense
forests sprang up like magic. They were inhabited by insects and tiny
creatures resembling birds. A sigh of air moved the leaf and a tiny drop
of water, scarcely discernible to the naked eye rolled over the forests
and plains, and before it passed to the other side of the leaf a great
lake covered the spot. My great-great-grandmother has an acute conductor
of sound that she has invented, so exquisite in mechanism as to reveal
the voice of the tiniest insect. She put it to my ear, and the bellowing
of the animals in battle, the chirp of the insects and the voices of the
feathered mites could be clearly heard, but attenuated like the delicate
note of two threads of spun glass clashed together."

"And what good," I asked, "can all this knowledge do you? Your
great-great-grandmother has condensed the learning of two centuries to
evolve this one discovery. Is it not so?"

"Yes," replied Wauna, and her look and tone were both solemn. "You ask
me what good it can do? Reflect! If the history of a single leaf is so
vast and yet ephemeral, what may not be the history of a single world?
What, after all, are we when such an infinitesimal space can contain
such wonderful transactions in a second of time."

I shuddered at the thought she raised in my mind. But inherited beliefs
are not easily dissipated, so I only sought to change the subject.

"But what is the use of studying _all_ the time. There should be some
period in your lives when you should be permitted to rest from your
labors. It is truly irksome to me to see everybody still eager to learn
more. The artist of the kitchen was up to the National College yesterday
attending a lecture on chemistry. The artist who arranges my rooms is up
there to-day listening to one on air. I can not understand why, having
learned to make beds and cook to perfection, they should not be content
with their knowledge and their work."

"If you were one of us you would know," said Wauna. "It is a duty with
us to constantly seek improvement. The culinary artist at the house
where you are visiting, is a very fine chemist. She has a predilection
for analyzing the construction of food. She may some day discover how
_to_ produce vegetables from the elements.

"The artist who arranges your room is attending a lecture on air because
her vocation calls for an accurate knowledge of it. She attends to the
atmosphere in the whole house, and sees that it is in perfect health
sustaining condition. Your hostess has a particular fondness for flowers
and decorates all her rooms with them. All plants are not harmless
occupants of livingrooms. Some give forth exhalations that are really
noxious. That artist has so accurate a knowledge of air that she can
keep the atmosphere of your home in a condition of perfect purity; yet
she knows that her education is not finished. She is constantly studying
and advancing. The time may come when she, too, will add a grand
discovery to science.

"Had my ancestors thought as you do, and rested on an inferior
education, I should not represent the advanced stage of development that
I do. As it is, when my mind reaches the age of my mother's, it will
have a larger comprehensiveness than hers. She already discerns it. My
children will have intellects of a finer grade than mine. This is our
system of mind culture. The intellect is of slower development than the
body, and takes longer to decay. The gradations of advancement from one
intellectual basis to another, in a social body, requires centuries to
mark a distinct change in the earlier ages of civilization, but we have
now arrived at a stage when advancement is clearly perceptible between
one generation and the next."

Wauna's mother added:

"Universal education is the great destroyer of castes. It is the
conqueror of poverty and the foundation of patriotism. It purifies and
strengthens national, as well as individual character. In the earlier
history of our race, there were social conditions that rendered many
lives wretched, and that the law would not and, in the then state of
civilization, could not reach. They were termed "domestic miseries," and
disappeared only under the influence of our higher intellectual
development. The nation that is wise will educate its children."

"Alas! alas!" was my own silent thought. "When will my country rise to
so grand an idea. When will wealth open the doors of colleges,
academies, and schools, and make the Fountain of Knowledge as free as
the God-given water we drink."

And there rose a vision in my mind--one of those day dreams when fancy
upon the wing takes some definite course--and I saw in my own land a
Temple of Learning rise, grand in proportion, complete in detail, with a
broad gateway, over whose wide-open majestic portal was the significant
inscription: "ENTER WHO WILL: NO WARDER STANDS WATCH AT THE GATE."



CHAPTER XI.


The Government of Mizora not being of primary importance in the
estimation of the people, I have not made more than a mere mention of it
heretofore. In this respect I have conformed to the generally expressed
taste of the Mizora people. In my own country the government and the
aristocracy were identical. The government offices and emoluments were
the highest pinnacles of ambition.

I mentioned the disparity of opinion between Mizora and all other
countries I had known in regard to this. I could not understand why
politics in Mizora should be of so small importance. The answer was,
that among an educated and highly enlightened people, the government
will take care of itself. Having been perfected by wise experience, the
people allow it to glide along in the grooves that time has made for it.

In form, the government of Mizora was a Federal Republic. The term of
office in no department exceeded the limit of five years. The
Presidential term of office was for five years.

They had one peculiar--exceedingly peculiar--law in regard to politics.
No candidate could come before the public seeking office before having a
certificate from the State College to which she belonged, stating her
examination and qualifications to fill such an office.

Just like examining for school-teachers, I thought. And why not? Making
laws for a State is of far more importance than making them for a few
dozen scholars. I remembered to have heard some of my American
acquaintances say that in their country it was not always qualifications
that get a candidate into office. Some of the ways were devious and not
suitable for publicity. Offices were frequently filled by incompetent
men. There had been congressmen and other offices of higher and more
responsible duties, filled by persons who could not correctly frame a
sentence in their native language, who could not spell the simplest
words as they were spelled in the dictionary, unless it were an
accident.

To seek the office of President, or any other position under the General
Government, required an examination and certificate from the National
College. The examinations were always public, and conducted in such a
manner that imposture was impossible. Constituents could attend if they
chose, and decide upon the qualifications of a favorite candidate. In
all the public schools, politics--to a certain extent--formed part of
the general education of every child. Beyond that, any one having a
predilection for politics could find in the State Colleges and National
Colleges the most liberal advantages for acquiring a knowledge of
political economy, political arithmetic, and the science of government.

Political campaigns, (if such a term could be applicable to the politics
of Mizora) were of the mildest possible character. The papers published
the names of the candidates and their examinations in full. The people
read and decided upon their choice, and, when the time came, voted. And
that was the extent of the campaign enthusiasm.

I must mention that the examinations on the science of government were
not conducted as are ordinary examinations in any given study that
consists of questions and answers. That was the preliminary part. There
followed a thorough, practical test of their ability to discharge the
duties of office with wisdom. No matter which side the sympathies or
affections might be enlisted upon, the stern decree of justice was what
the Mizorean abided by. From earliest infancy their minds were trained
in that doctrine. In the discharge of all public duties especially, it
seemed to be the paramount consideration. Certainly no government
machinery ever could move with more ease, or give greater satisfaction
to the people, than that of Mizora.

They never appeared to be excited or uneasy about the result of the
elections. I never heard an animated political argument, such as I used
to read about in America. I asked a politician one day what she thought
of the probable success of the opposite party. She replied that it would
not make any difference to the country as both candidates were perfectly
competent to fill the office.

"Do you never make disparaging statements about the opposing candidate?"
was my inquiry.

"How could we?" she asked in surprise, "when there are none to make."

"You might assume a few for the time being; just to make her lose
votes."

"That would be a crime worthy of barbarians."

"Do you never have any party issues?"

"No. There is never anything to make an issue of. We all work for the
good of the people, and the whole people. There is no greed of glory or
gain; no personal ambition to gratify. Were I to use any artifice to
secure office or popularity, I should be instantly deprived of public
esteem and notice. I do my duty conscientiously; _that_ is the aim of
public life. I work for the public good and my popularity comes as it is
earned and deserved. I have no fear of being slighted or underrated.
Every politician feels and acts the same way."

"Have politicians ever bought votes with money, or offered bribes by
promising positions that it would be in their official power to grant
when elected?"

"Never! There is not a citizen of Mizora who would not scorn an office
obtained in such a way. The profession of politics, while not to be
compared in importance with the sciences, is yet not devoid of dignity.
It is not necessary to make new laws. They were perfected long ago, and
what has been proven good we have no desire to change. We manage the
government according to a conscientious interpretation of the law. We
have repealed laws that were in force when our Republic was young, and
dropped them from the statute books. They were laws unworthy of our
civilization. We have laws for the protection of property and to
regulate public morals, and while our civilization is in a state of
advancement that does not require them, yet we think it wisdom to let
them remain. The people know that we have such laws and live up to them
without surveillance. They would abide by the principles of justice set
forth in them just as scrupulously if we should repeal them.

"You spoke of bribes. In remote ages, when our country was emerging from
a state of semi-barbarism, such things were in common practice.
Political chicanery was a name given to various underhand and dishonest
maneuvers to gain office and public power. It was frequently the case
that the most responsible positions in the Government would be occupied
by the basest characters, who used their power only for fraud to enrich
themselves and their friends by robbing the people. They deceived the
masses by preaching purity. They were never punished. If they were
accused and brought to trial, the wealth they had stolen from the
government purchased their acquittal, and then they posed as martyrs.
The form of government was then, as now, a Federal Republic, but the
people had very little to do with it. They were merely the tools of
unscrupulous politicians. In those days a sensitively honest person
would not accept office, because the name politician was a synonym for
flexible principles. It was derogatory to one's character to seek
office."

"Was dishonesty more prominent in one party than another?" I asked,
thinking how very Americanish this history sounded.

"We, who look back upon the conditions of those times and view it with
dispassionate judgment, can perceive corruption in both political
parties. The real welfare of the country was the last thing considered
by a professional politician. There was always something that was to
benefit the people brought forward as a party issue, and used as a means
of working up the enthusiasm or fears of the people, and usually dropped
after the election.

"The candidate for election in those days might be guilty of heinous
crimes, yet the party covered them all, and over that covering the
partisan newspaper spread every virtue in the calendar. A stranger to
the country and its customs reading one of their partisan newspapers
during a political campaign, might conclude that the party _it_
advocated was composed of only the virtues of the country, and their
leader an epitome of the supremest excellence.

"Reading in the same paper a description of the opposing party, the
stranger might think it composed of only the degraded and disreputable
portion of the nation, and its leader the scum of all its depravity. If
curiosity should induce a perusal of some partisan paper of the other
party, the same thing could be read in its columns, with a change of
names. It would be the opposite party that was getting represented in
the most despicable character, and _their_ leader was the only one who
possessed enough honesty and talent to keep the country from going to
wreck. The other party leader was the one who was guilty of all the
crimes in the calendar. A vast number of people were ignorant enough to
cling blindly to one party and to believe every word published by its
partisan papers. This superstitious party faith was what the
unscrupulous politicians handled dexterously for their own selfish ends.
It was not until education became universal, and a higher culture was
forced upon the majority--the working classes--that politics began to
purify itself, and put on the dignity of real virtue, and receive the
respect that belongs to genuine justice.

"The people became disgusted with defamatory political literature, and
the honorable members of both parties abjured it altogether. In such a
government as this, two great parties could not exist, where one was
altogether bad and the other altogether good. It became apparent to the
people that there was good in both parties, and they began to elect it
irrespective of party prejudice. Politicians began to work for their
country instead of themselves and their party, and politics took the
noble position that the rights of humanity designed it for. I have been
giving you quite a history of our ancient politics. Our present
condition is far different. As the people became enlightened to a higher
degree, the government became more compact. It might now be compared to
a large family. There are one hundred States in the Union. There was a
time when every State made its own laws for its own domestic government.
One code of laws is now enforced in every State. In going from one State
to another citizens now suffer no inconvenience from a confusion of
laws. Every State owes allegiance to the General Government. No State or
number of States could set up an independent government without
obtaining the consent and legal dissolution from the General Government.
But such a thing will never be thought of. We have prospered as a great
united Nation. Our union has been our strength, our prosperity."

I visited with Wauna a number of the States' Capitals. In architecture
the Mizora people display an excellent taste. Their public buildings
might all be called works of art. Their government buildings,
especially, were on a scale of magnificent splendor. The hollow square
seemed to be a favorite form. One very beautiful capitol building was of
crystal glass, with facing and cornices of marble onyx. It looked more
like a gigantic gem than anything I could compare it to, especially when
lighted up by great globes of white fire suspended from every ceiling.

Upon my entrance into Mizora, I was led into the belief that I had
arrived at a female seminary, because the dining and sleeping
accommodations for the stateswoman were all in the Capitol building. I
observed that the State Capitols were similarly accommodated. In Mizora
the home is the heart of all joy, and wherever a Mizora woman goes, she
endeavors to surround herself with its comforts and pleasures. That was
the reason that the splendid Capitol building had its home-like
appointments, was a Nation of women exclusively--at least as far as I
had as yet been able to discover.

Another reason for the homes of all officials of the Government being
within the public buildings, was because all the personal expenses,
excepting clothing, were paid by the Government. The salaries of
Government positions were not large, compared with those of the
sciences; but as their social and political dues were paid out of the
public treasury, the salaries might be considered as net profit. This
custom had originated many centuries in the past. In those early days,
when a penurious character became an incumbent of public office, the
social obligations belonging to it were often but niggardly requited.
Sometimes business embarrassments and real necessity demanded economy;
so, at last, the Government assumed all the expenses contingent upon
every office, from the highest to the lowest. By this means the occupant
of a Government office was freed from every care but those of state.

The number and style of all social entertainments that were obligatory
of the occupant of a public office, were regulated by law. As the people
of Mizora believed in enjoyment, the entertainments provided by the
Government as the necessary social dues of its officers, were not few,
nor scantily furnished.



CHAPTER XII.


The artificial light in Mizora puzzled me longest to understand. When I
first noticed it, it appeared to me to have no apparent source. At the
touch of a delicate hand, it blazed forth like a star in the center of
the ceiling. It diffused a soft and pleasing brilliancy that lent a
charm to everything it revealed. It was a dreamy daylight, and was
produced by electricity.

In large halls, like a theatre or opera house, the light fell in a soft
and penetrating radiance from the center of the dome. Its source was not
visible to either audience or actresses, and, in consequence, occasioned
no discomfort to the eyes. The light that illuminated the stage was
similarly arranged. The footlights were not visible. They were in the
rear of the stage. The light came upward like the rays of the setting
sun, revealing the setting of the stage with vivid distinctness. I can
best describe the effect of this singular arrangement by calling
attention to the appearance of the sun when declining behind a small
elevation. How sharply every object is outlined before it? How soft and
delicate is the light in which everything is bathed? Every cloud that
floats has all of its fleecy loveliness limned with a radiant clearness.

I was very desirous to know how this singular effect was produced, and
at my request was taken to the stage. An opening in the back part of it
was covered with pink colored glass. Powerful electric lights from below
the stage were reflected through this glass upon it. The glass was
highly refractive and so perfectly translucent, I at first thought there
was none there, and when I stood upon its edge, and looked down into a
fiery gulf below, I instinctively thought of the "Lost People," who are
said to wander amid torturing yet unconsumable flames. But, happily, the
ones I gazed upon were harmless ones.

The street lights of Mizora were at a considerable elevation from the
ground. They were in, or over, the center of the street, and of such
diffuse brilliancy as to render the city almost as light as day. They
were in the form of immense globes of soft, white fire, and during the
six months that answered to the Mizora night, were kept constantly
burning. It was during this period that the Aurora Borealis shone with
such marvelous brilliancy.

Generally, its display was heralded by an arc of delicate green-tinted
light, that spanned the heavens. The green tint deepened into emerald,
assuming a delicate rose hue as it faded upward into rays that diverged
from the top until the whole resembled a gigantic crown. Every ray
became a panorama of gorgeous colors, resembling tiny sparks, moving
hither and thither with inconceivable swiftness. Sometimes a veil of
mist of delicate green hue depended from the base of the crown, and
swayed gently back and forth. As soon as the swaying motion commenced,
the most gorgeous colors were revealed. Myriads of sparks, no larger
than snow-flakes, swarmed across the delicate green curtain in every
conceivable color and shade, but always of that vapory, vivid softness
that is indescribable. The dancing colors resembled gems encased in a
film of mist.

One display that I witnessed I shall attempt to describe. The arc of
delicate green appeared first, and shot upward diverging rays of all the
warm, rich hues of red. They formed a vast crown, outlined with a
delicate halo of fire. A veil of misty green fluttered down from its
base, and, instantly, tiny crowns, composed of every brilliant color,
with a tracery of fire defining every separate one, began to chase one
another back and forth with bewildering rapidity. As the veil swayed to
and fro, it seemed to shake the crowns into skeins of fire, each thread
strung with countless minute globes of every conceivable color and hue.
Those fiery threads, aerial as thistle down, wove themselves in and out
in a tangled mass of gorgeous beauty. Suddenly the beads of color fell
in a shower of gems, topaz and emerald, ruby and sapphire, amethyst and
pearly crystals of dew. I looked upward, where the rays of variegated
colors were sweeping the zenith, and high above the first crown was a
second more vivid still. Myriads of rainbows, the colors broad and
intense, fluttered from its base, the whole outlined by a halo of fire.
It rolled together in a huge scroll, and, in an instant, fell apart a
shower of flakes, minute as snow, but of all the gorgeous, dazzling hues
of earth and sky combined. They disappeared in the mystery of space to
instantly form into a fluttering, waving banner of delicate green mist
and--vanish; only to repeat itself.

The display of the Aurora Borealis was always an exhibition of
astonishing rapidity of motion of intense colors. The most glorious
sunset--where the vapory billows of the sky have caught the bloom of the
dying Autumn--cannot rival it. All the precious gems of earth appear to
have dissolved into mist, to join in a wild and aerial dance. The people
of Mizora attributed it entirely to electricity.

Although the sun never rose or set in Mizora, yet for six months in a
year, that country had the heart of a voluptuous summer. It beat with a
strong, warm pulse of life through all nature. The orchards budded and
bloomed, and mellowed into perfect fruition their luscious globes. The
fields laughed in the warm, rich light, and smiled on the harvest. I
could feel my own blood bound as with a new lease of life at the first
breath of spring.

The winters of Mizora had clouds and rain and sleet and snow, and
sometimes, especially near the circular sea, the fury of an Arctic snow
storm; but so well prepared were they that it became an amusement.
Looking into the chaos of snow flakes, driven hither and thither by
fierce winds, the pedestrians in the street presented no painful
contrast to the luxury of your own room, with its balmy breath and
cheerful flowers. You saw none but what were thoroughly clad, and you
knew that they were hurrying to homes that were bright and attractive,
if not as elegant as yours; where loving welcomes were sure to greet
them and happiness would sit with them at the feast; for the heart that
is pure has always a kingly guest for its company.

A wonderful discovery that the people of Mizora had made was the power
to annihilate space as an impediment to conversation. They claimed that
the atmosphere had regular currents of electricity that were accurately
known to them. They talked to them by means of simply constructed
instruments, and the voice would be as audible and as easily recognized
at three thousand miles distant as at only three feet. Stations were
built similar to our telegraph offices, but on high elevations. I
understood that they could not be used upon the surface. Every private
and public house, however, had communication with the general office,
and could converse with friends at a distance whenever desirable. Public
speakers made constant use of it, but in connection with another
extraordinary apparatus which I regret my inability to perfectly
describe.

I saw it first from the dress circle of a theater. It occupied the whole
rear of the stage, and from where I sat, looked like a solid wall of
polished metal. But it had a wonderful function, for immediately in
front of it, moving, speaking and gesturing, was the figure of a popular
public lecturer, so life-like in appearance that I could scarcely be
convinced that it was only a reflection. Yet such it was, and the
original was addressing an audience in person more than a thousand miles
distant.

It was no common thing for a lecturer to address a dozen or more
audiences at the same time, scattered over an area of thousands of
miles, and every one listening to and observing what appeared to be the
real speaker. In fact, public speakers in Mizora never traveled on pure
professional business. It was not necessary. They prepared a room in
their own dwelling with the needful apparatus, and at the time specified
delivered a lecture in twenty different cities.

I was so interested in this very remarkable invention that I made
vigorous mental exertions to comprehend it sufficiently to explain its
mechanism and philosophical principles intelligently; but I can only say
that it was one of the wonders those people produced with electricity.
The mechanism was simple, but the science of its construction and
workings I could not comprehend. The grasp of my mind was not broad
enough. The instrument that transmitted the voice was entirely separate.

I must not neglect to mention that all kinds of public entertainments,
such as operas, concerts and dramas, could be and were repeated to
audiences at a distance from where the real transaction was taking
place. I attended a number of operas that were only the reflex of others
that were being presented to audiences far distant.

These repetitions were always marvels of accuracy of vividness.

Small reflecting apparatus were to be found in every dwelling and
business house. It is hardly necessary to state that letter-writing was
an unknown accomplishment in Mizora. The person who desired to converse
with another, no matter how far distant, placed herself in communication
with her two instruments and signaled. Her friend appeared upon the
polished metal surface like the figure in a mirror, and spoke to her
audibly, and looked at her with all the naturalness of reality.

I have frequently witnessed such interviews between Wauna and her
mother, when we were visiting distant cities. It was certainly a more
satisfactory way of communicating than by letter. The small apparatus
used by private families and business houses were not like those used in
public halls and theaters. In the former, the reflection was exactly
similar to the image of a mirror; in the latter, the figure was
projected upon the stage. It required more complicated machinery to
produce, and was not practicable for small families or business houses.
I now learned that on my arrival in Mizora I had been taken to one of
the largest apparatus and put in communication with it. I was informed
by Wauna that I had been exhibited to every college and school in the
country by reflex representation. She said that she and her mother had
seen me distinctly and heard my voice. The latter had been so
uncongenial in accent and tone that she had hesitated about becoming my
instructor on that account. It was my evident appreciation of my
deficiencies as compared to them that had enlisted her sympathy.

Now, in my own country, my voice had attracted attention by its
smoothness and modulation, and I was greatly surprised to hear Wauna
speak of its unmusical tone as really annoying. But then in Mizora there
are no voices but what are sweet enough to charm the birds.

In the journeys that Wauna and I took during the college vacation, we
were constantly meeting strangers, but they never appeared the least
surprised at my dark hair and eyes, which were such a contrast to all
the other hair and eyes to be met with in Mizora, that I greatly
wondered at it until I learned of the power of the reflector. I
requested permission to examine one of the large ones used in a theater,
and it was granted me. Wauna accompanied me and signaled to a friend of
hers. As if by magic a form appeared and moved across the stage. It
bowed to me, smiled and motioned with its hand, to all appearances a
material body. I asked Wauna to approach it, which she did, and passed
her hand through it. There was nothing that resisted her touch, yet I
plainly saw the figure, and recognized it as the perfect representation
of a friend of Wauna's, an actress residing in a distant city. When I
ascended the stage, the figure vanished, and I understood that it could
be visible only at a certain distance from the reflector.

In traveling great distances, or even short ones where great speed was
desired, the Mizoraens used air ships; but only for the transportation
of passengers and the very lightest of freight. Heavy articles could not
be as conveniently carried by them as by railroads. Their railroads were
constructed and conducted on a system so perfect that accidents were
never known. Every engineer had an electric signal attached to the
engine, that could signal a train three miles distant.

The motive power for nearly all engines was compressed air. Electricity,
which was recognized by Mizora scientists as a force of great
intensity, was rarely used as a propelling power on railroads. Its use
was attended by possible danger, but compressed air was not. Electricity
produced the heat that supplied the air ships and railroads with that
very necessary comfort. In case there should be an accident, as a
collision, or thrown from the track, heat could not be a source of
danger when furnished by electricity. But I never heard of a railroad
accident during the whole fifteen years that I spent in Mizora.

Air-ships, however, were not exempt from danger, although the
precautions against it were ingenious and carefully observed. The Mizora
people could tell the approach of a storm, and the exact time it would
arrive. They had signal stations established for the purpose, all over
the country.

But, though they were skilled mechanics, and far in advance of my own
world, and the limits of my comprehension in their scientific
discoveries and appliances, they had not yet discovered the means of
subduing the elements, or driving unharmed through their fury. When
nature became convulsed with passion, they guarded themselves against
it, but did not endeavor to thwart it.

Their air-ships were covered, and furnished with luxurious seats. The
whole upper part of the car was composed of very thin glass. They
traveled with, to me, astonishing rapidity. Towns and cities flew away
beneath us like birds upon the wing. I grew frightened and apprehensive,
but Wauna chatted away with her friends with the most charming
unconcern.

I was looking down, when I perceived, by the increasing size of objects
below, that we were descending. The conductor entered almost
immediately, and announced that we were going down to escape an
approaching storm. A signal had been received and the ship was at once
lowered.

I felt intensely relieved to step again on solid earth, and hoped I
might escape another trial of the upper regions. But after waiting until
the storm was over we again entered the ship. I was ashamed to refuse
when everyone else showed no fear.

In waiting for the storm to pass we were delayed so long that our
journey could have been performed almost as speedily by rail. I wondered
why they had not invented some means by which they could drive through a
tempest in perfect safety. As usual, I addressed my inquiries to Wauna.
She answered:

"So frail a thing as an air-ship must necessarily be, when compared with
the strength of a storm, is like a leaf in the wind. We have not yet
discovered, and we have but little expectation of discovering, any means
by which we can defy the storms that rage in the upper deeps.

"The electricity that we use for heat is also a source of danger during
a storm. Our policy is to evade a peril we cannot control or destroy.
Hence, when we receive a signal that a storm is approaching we get out
of its way. Our railroad carriages, having no danger to fear from them,
ride right through the storm."

The people of Mizora, I perceived, possessed a remarkable acuteness of
vision. They could see the odor emanating from flowers and fruit. They
described it to me as resembling attenuated mist. They also named other
colors in the solar spectrum than those known to me. When I first heard
them speak of them, I thought it a freak of the imagination; but I
afterward noticed artists, and persons who had a special taste for
colors, always detected them with greater readiness. The presence of
these new colors were apparent to all with whom I spoke upon the
subject. When I mentioned my own inability to discern them, Wauna said
that it was owning to my inferior mental development.

"A child," she said, "if you will observe, is first attracted by red,
the most glaring color known. The untutored mind will invariably select
the gaudiest colors for personal adornment. It is the gentle, refined
taste of civilization that chooses the softened hues and colors."

"But you, as a nation, are remarkable for rich warm colors in your
houses and often in your dress," I said.

"But they are never glaring," she replied. "If you will notice, the most
intense colors are always so arranged as to present a halo, instead of
sharply defined brilliancy. If a gorgeous color is worn as a dress, it
will be covered with filmy lace. You have spoken of the splendor of the
Aurora Borealis. It is nature's most gorgeous robe, and intense as the
primal colors are, they are never glaring. They glow in a film of vapor.
We have made them our study. Art, with us, has never attempted to
supercede nature."

The sense of smell was also exceedingly sensitive with the Mizora
people. They detected odors so refined that I was not aware of them. I
have often seen a chemist take a bottle of perfumery and name its
ingredients from the sense of smell only. No one appeared surprised at
the bluntness of my senses. When I spoke of this Wauna tried to explain
it.

"We are a more delicately organized race of beings than you are. Our
intellects, and even sense that we possess, is of a higher and finer
development. We have some senses that you do not possess, and are unable
to comprehend their exquisite delicacy. One of them I shall endeavor to
explain to you by describing it as impression. We possess it in a highly
refined state, both mentally and physically. Our sensitiveness to
changes of temperature, I have noticed, is more marked than yours. It is
acute with all of my people. For this reason, although we are free from
disease, our bodies could not sustain, as readily as yours could, a
sudden and severe shock to their normal temperature, such as a marked
change in the atmosphere would occasion. We are, therefore, extremely
careful to be always appropriately clothed. That is a physical
impression. It is possessed by you also, but more obtusely.

"Our sensitiveness to mental pleasure and pain you would pronounce
morbid on account of its intensity. The happiness we enjoy in the
society of those who are congenial, or near and dear to us through
family ties, is inconceivable to you. The touch of my mother's hand
carries a thrill of rapture with it.

"We feel, intuitively, the happiness or disappointment of those we are
with. Our own hopes impress us with their fulfillment or frustration,
before we know what will actually occur. This feeling is entirely
mental, but it is evidence of a highly refined mentality. We could not
be happy unless surrounded, as we are, by cultivated and elegant
pleasures. They are real necessities to us.

"Our appreciation of music, I notice, has a more exquisite delicacy than
yours. You desire music, but it is the simpler operas that delight you
most. Those fine and delicate harmonies that we so intensely enjoy, you
appear incapable of appreciating."

I have previously spoken of their elegance in dress, and their fondness
for luxury and magnificence. On occasions of great ceremony their
dresses were furnished with very long trains. The only prominent
difference that I saw in their state dresses, and the rare and costly
ones I had seen in my own and other countries, was in the waist. As the
women of Mizora admired a large waist, their dresses were generally
loose and flowing. Ingenuity, however, had fashioned them into graceful
and becoming outlines. On occasions of great state and publicity,
comfortably fitting girdles confined the dress at the waist.

I attended the Inaugural of a Professor of Natural History in the
National College. The one who had succeeded to this honor was widely
celebrated for her erudition. It was known that the ceremony would be a
grand affair, and thousands attended it.

I there witnessed another of these marvelous achievements in science
that were constantly surprising me in Mizora. The inauguration took
place in a large hall, the largest I had ever seen. It would accommodate
two hundred thousand people, and was filled to repletion. I was seated
far back in the audience, and being a little short-sighted anyway, I
expected to be disappointed both in seeing and hearing the ceremonies.
What was my astonishment then, when they began, to discover that I could
see distinctly every object upon the stage, and hear with perfect
accuracy every word that was uttered.

Upon expressing myself to Wauna as being greatly pleased that my
eyesight and hearing had improved so wonderfully and unexpectedly, she
laughed merrily, and asked me if I had noticed a curious looking band of
polished steel that curved outward from the proscenium, and encircled
its entire front? I had noticed it, but supposed it to be connected with
some different arrangement they might have made concerning the
footlights. Wauna informed me that I owed my improved hearing to that.

"But my eyesight," I asked, "how do you account for its unusual
penetrativeness?"

"Have you ever noticed some seasons of the year display a noticeably
marked transparency of the atmosphere that revealed objects at great
distances with unusual clearness? Well, we possess a knowledge of air
that enables us to qualify it with that peculiar magnifying condition.
On occasions like this we make use of it. This hall was built after the
discovery, and was specially prepared for its use. It is seldom employed
in smaller halls."

Just then a little flutter of interest upon the stage attracted my
attention, and I saw the candidate for the professorship entering,
accompanied by the Faculty of the National College.

She wore a sea-green velvet robe with a voluminous train. The bottom of
the dress was adorned with a wreath or band of water lilies, embroidered
in seed pearls. A white lace overdress of filmiest texture fell over the
velvet, almost touching the wreath of lilies, and looked as though it
was made of sea foam. A girdle of large pink pearls confined the robe at
the waist. Natural flowers were on her bosom and in her hair.

The stage was superbly decorated with flowers and shells. A large chair,
constructed of beautiful shells and cushioned with green velvet, rested
upon a dais of coral. It was the chair of honor. Behind it was a curtain
of sea-moss. I afterward learned that the moss was attached to a film of
glass too delicate to detect without handling.

In the midst of these charming surroundings stood the applicant for
honor. Her deep blue eyes glowed with the joy of triumph. On the
delicate cheek and lip burned the carmine hue of perfect health. The
golden hair even seemed to have caught a brighter lustre in its coiled
masses. The uplifted hand and arm no marble goddess could have matched,
for this had the color and charm of life. As she stood revealed by the
strong light that fell around her, every feature ennobled with the glory
of intellect, she appeared to me a creature of unearthly loveliness, as
something divine.

I spoke to Wauna of the rare beauty and elegance of her dress.

"She looks like a fabled Naiad just risen from the deep," was my
criticism on her.

"Her dress," answered Wauna, "is intended to be emblematical of Nature.
The sea-green robe, the water lilies of pearls, the foamy lace are all
from Nature's Cradle of Life."

"How poetical!" I exclaimed.

But then Mizora is full of that charming skill that blends into perfect
harmony the beautiful and useful in life.



CHAPTER XIII.


On my return to college, after the close of vacation, I devoted myself
exclusively to history. It began with their first President; and from
the evidence of history itself, I knew that the Nation was enjoying a
high state of culture when its history began.

No record of a more primitive race was to be found in all the Library,
assiduously as I searched for it. I read with absorbing interest their
progress toward perfect enlightenment, their laborious searchings into
science that had resulted in such marvelous achievements. But earnestly
as I sought for it, and anxiously as I longed for it, I found and heard
no mention of a race of men. From the most intimate intercourse with the
people of Mizora, I could discover no attempt at concealment in
anything, yet the inquiry _would_ crowd itself upon me. "Where are the
men?" And as constantly would I be forced to the conclusion that Mizora
was either a land of mystery beyond the scope of the wildest and
weirdest fancy, or else they were utterly oblivious of such a race. And
the last conclusion was most improbable of all.

Man, in my country, was a necessity of government, law, and protection.
His importance, (as I viewed it from inherited ideas) was incalculable.
It _could_ not be possible that he had no existence in a country so
eminently adapted to his desires and ability.

The expression, "domestic misery," that the Preceptress made use of one
day in conversation with me, haunted my imagination with a persistent
suspicion of mystery. It had a familiar sound to me. It intimated
knowledge of a world _I_ knew so well; where ill-nature, malice, spite,
envy, deceit, falsehood and dishonesty, made life a continual anxiety.

Locks, bolts and bars shut out the thief who coveted your jewels; but no
bolts nor bars, however ingeniously constructed or strongly made, could
keep out the thief who coveted your character. One little word from a
pretended friend might consummate the sorrow of your whole life, and be
witnessed by the perpetrator without a pang--nay, even with exultation.

There were other miseries I thought of that were common in my country.
There were those we love. Some who are woven into our lives and
affections by the kinship of blood; who grow up weak and vacillating,
and are won away, sometimes through vice, to estrangement. Our hearts
ache not the less painfully that they have ceased to be worthy of a
throb; or that they have been weak enough to become estranged, to
benefit some selfish alien.

There were other sorrows in that world that I had come from, that
brought anguish alike to the innocent and the guilty. It was the sorrow
of premature death. Diseases of all kinds made lives wretched; or tore
them asunder with death. How many hearts have ached with cankering pain
to see those who are vitally dear, wasting away slowly, but surely, with
unrelievable suffering; and to know that life but prolongs their misery,
and death relieves it only with inconsolable grief for the living.

Who has looked into a pair of youthful eyes, so lovely that imagination
could not invent for them another charm, and saw the misty film of death
gather over them, while your heart ached with regret as bitter as it was
unavailing. The soft snows of winter have fallen--a veil of purity--over
the new made graves of innocence and youth, and its wild winds have been
the saddest requiem. The dews of summer have wept with your tears, and
its zephyrs have sighed over the mouldering loveliness of youth.

I had known no skill in my world that could snatch from death its
unlawful prey of youth. But here, in this land so eminently blessed, no
one regarded death as a dreaded invader of their household.

"_We cannot die until we get old_," said Wauna, naively.

And looking upon their bounding animal spirits, their strong supple
frames, and the rich, red blood of perfect health, mantling their cheeks
with its unsurpassable bloom, one would think that disease must have
strong grasp indeed that could destroy them.

But these were not all the sorrows that my own country knew. Crimes,
with which we had no personal connection, shocked us with their horrible
details. They crept, like noxious vapors, into the moral atmosphere of
the pure and good; tainting the weak, and annoying the strong.

There were other sorrows in my country that were more deplorable still.
It was the fate of those who sought to relieve the sufferings of the
many by an enforced government reform. Misguided, imprudent and
fanatical they might be, but their aim at least was noble. The wrongs
and sufferings of the helpless and oppressed had goaded them to action
for their relief.

But, alas! The pale and haggard faces of thousands of those patriot
souls faded and wasted in torturing slowness in dungeons of rayless
gloom. Or their emaciated and rheumatic frames toiled in speechless
agony amid the horrors of Siberia's mines.

In _this_ land they would have been recognized as aspiring natures,
spreading their wings for a nobler flight, seeking a higher and grander
life. The smile of beauty would have urged them on. Hands innumerable
would have given them a cordial and encouraging grasp. But in the land
they had sought to benefit and failed, they suffered in silence and
darkness, and died forgotten or cursed.

My heart and my brain ached with memory, and the thought again occurred:
"_Could_ the Preceptress ever have known such a race of people?"

I looked at her fair, calm brow, where not a wrinkle marred the serene
expression of intellect, although I had been told that more than a
hundred years had touched with increasing wisdom its broad surface. The
smile that dwelt in her eyes, like the mystic sprite in the fountain,
had not a suspicion of sadness in them. A nature so lofty as hers, where
every feeling had a generous and noble existence and aim, could not have
known without anguish the race of people _I_ knew so well. Their sorrows
would have tinged her life with a continual sadness.

The words of Wauna had awakened a new thought. I knew that their mental
life was far above mine, and that in all the relations of life, both
business and social, they exhibited a refinement never attained by my
people. I had supposed these qualities to be an endowment of nature, and
not a development sought and labored for by themselves. But my
conversation with Wauna had given me a different impression, and the
thought of a future for my own country took possession of me.

"Could it ever emerge from its horrors, and rise through gradual but
earnest endeavor to such perfection? Could a higher civilization crowd
its sufferings out of existence and, in time, memory?"

I had never thought of my country having a claim upon me other than what
I owed to my relatives and society. But in Mizora, where the very
atmosphere seemed to feed one's brain with grander and nobler ideas of
life and humanity, my nature had drank the inspiration of good deeds and
impulses, and had given the desire to work for something beside myself
and my own kindred. I resolved that if I should ever again behold my
native country, I would seek the good of all its people along with that
of my nearest and dearest of kin. But how to do it was a matter I could
not arrange. I felt reluctant to ask either Wauna or her mother. The
guileless frankness of Wauna's nature was an impassable barrier to the
confidence of crimes and wretchedness. One glance of horror from her
dark, sweet eyes, would have chilled me into painful silence and
sorrowful regret.

The mystery that had ever surrounded these lovely and noble blonde women
had driven me into an unnatural reserve in regard to my own people and
country. I had always perceived the utter absence of my allusion to the
masculine gender, and conceiving that it must be occasioned by some more
than ordinary circumstances, I refrained from intruding my curiosity.

That the singular absence of men was connected with nothing criminal or
ignoble on their part I felt certain; but that it was associated with
something weird and mysterious I had now become convinced. My efforts to
discover their whereabouts had been earnest and untiring. I had visited
a number of their large cities, and had enjoyed the hospitality of many
private homes. I had examined every nook and corner of private and
public buildings, (for in Mizora nothing ever has locks) and in no place
had I ever discovered a trace or suggestion of man.

Women and girls were everywhere. Their fair faces and golden heads
greeted me in every town and city. Sometimes a pair of unusually dark
blue eyes, like the color of a velvet-leaved pansy, looked out from an
exquisitely tinted face framed in flossy golden hair, startling me with
its unnatural loveliness, and then I would wonder anew:

"Why is such a paradise for man so entirely devoid of him?"

I even endeavored to discover from the conversation of young girls some
allusion to the male sex. But listen as attentively and discreetly as I
could, not one allusion did I hear made to the mysteriously absent
beings. I was astonished that young girls, with cheeks like the downy
bloom of a ripe peach, should chatter and laugh merrily over every
conversational topic but that of the lords of society. The older and the
wiser among women might acquire a depreciating idea of their worth, but
innocent and inexperienced girlhood was apt to surround that name with a
halo of romance and fancied nobility that the reality did not always
possess. What, then, was my amazement to find _them_ indifferent and
wholly neglectful of that (to me) very important class of beings.

Conjecture at last exhausted itself, and curiosity became indifferent.
Mizora, as a nation, or an individual representative, was incapable of
dishonor. Whatever their secret I should make no farther effort to
discover it. Their hospitality had been generous and unreserved. Their
influence upon my character--morally--had been an incalculable benefit.
I had enjoyed being among them. The rhythm of happiness that swept like
a strain of sweet music through all their daily life, touched a chord in
my own nature that responded.

And when I contrasted the prosperity of Mizora--a prosperity that
reached every citizen in its vast territory--with the varied phases of
life that are found in my own land, it urged me to inquire if there
could be hope for such happiness within its borders.

To the Preceptress, whose sympathies I knew were broad as the lap of
nature, I at last went with my desire and perplexities. A sketch of my
country's condition was the inevitable prelude. I gave it without once
alluding to the presence of Man. She listened quietly and attentively.
Her own land lay like a charming picture before her. I spoke of its
peaceful happiness, its perfected refinement, its universal wealth, and
paramount to all its other blessings, its complete ignorance of social
ills. With them, love did not confine itself to families, but encircled
the Nation in one embrace. How dismal, in contrast, was the land that
had given me birth.

"But one eminent distinction exists among us as a people," I added in
conclusion. "We are not all of one race."

I paused and looked at the Preceptress. She appeared lost in reverie.
Her expression was one of solicitude and approached nearer to actual
pain than anything I had ever noticed upon it before. She looked up and
caught my eye regarding her. Then she quietly asked:

"_Are there men in your country?_"



PART SECOND.



CHAPTER I.


I answered in the affirmative, and further added that I had a husband
and a son.

The effect of a confession so simple, and so natural, wounded and amazed
me.

The Preceptress started back with a look of loathing and abhorrence; but
it was almost instantly succeeded by one of compassion.

"You have much to learn," she said gently, "and I desire not to judge
you harshly. _You_ are the product of a people far back in the darkness
of civilization. _We_ are a people who have passed beyond the boundary
of what was once called Natural Law. But, more correctly, we have become
mistresses of Nature's peculiar processes. We influence or control them
at will. But before giving you any further explanation I will show you
the gallery containing the portraits of our very ancient ancestors."

She then conducted me into a remote part of the National College, and
sliding back a panel containing a magnificent painting, she disclosed a
long gallery, the existence of which I had never suspected, although I
knew their custom of using ornamented sliding panels instead of doors.
Into this I followed her with wonder and increasing surprise. Paintings
on canvas, old and dim with age; paintings on porcelain, and a peculiar
transparent material, of which I have previously spoken, hung so thick
upon the wall you could not have placed a hand between them. They were
all portraits of men. Some were represented in the ancient or mediaeval
costumes of my own ancestry, and some in garbs resembling our modern
styles.

Some had noble countenances, and some bore on their painted visages the
unmistakable stamp of passion and vice. It is not complimentary to
myself to confess it, but I began to feel an odd kind of companionship
in this assembly of good and evil looking men, such as I had not felt
since entering this land of pre-eminently noble and lovely women.

As I gazed upon them, arrayed in the armor of some stern warrior, or the
velvet doublet of some gay cavalier, the dark eyes of a debonair knight
looked down upon me with familiar fellowship. There was pride of birth,
and the passion of conquest in every line of his haughty, sensuous face.
I seemed to breathe the same moral atmosphere that had surrounded me in
the outer world.

_They_ had lived among noble and ignoble deeds I felt sure. _They_ had
been swayed by conflicting desires. _They_ had known temptation and
resistance, and reluctant compliance. _They_ had experienced the
treachery and ingratitude of humanity, and had dealt in it themselves.
_They_ had known joy as I had known it, and their sorrow had been as my
sorrows. _They_ had loved as I had loved, and sinned as I had sinned,
and suffered as I had suffered.

I wept for the first time since my entrance into Mizora, the bitter
tears of actual experience, and endeavored to convey to the Preceptress
some idea of the painful emotion that possessed me.

"I have noticed," she said, "in your own person and the descriptions you
have given of your native country, a close resemblance to the people and
history of our nation in ages far remote. These portraits are very old.
The majority of them were painted many thousands of years ago. It is
only by our perfect knowledge of color that we are enabled to preserve
them. Some have been copied by expert artists upon a material
manufactured by us for that purpose. It is a transparent adamant that
possesses no refractive power, consequently the picture has all the
advantage of a painting on canvas, with the addition of perpetuity. They
can never fade nor decay."

"I am astonished at the existence of this gallery," I exclaimed. "I have
observed a preference for sliding panels instead of doors, and that they
were often decorated with paintings of rare excellence, but I had never
suspected the existence of this gallery behind one of them."

"Any student," said the Preceptress, "who desires to become conversant
with our earliest history, can use this gallery. It is not a secret, for
nothing in Mizora is concealed; but we do not parade its existence, nor
urge upon students an investigation of its history. They are so far
removed from the moral imbecility that dwarfed the nature of these
people, that no lesson can be learned from their lives; and their time
can be so much more profitably spent in scientific research and study."

"You have not, then, reached the limits of scientific knowledge?" I
wonderingly inquired, for, to me, they had already overstepped its
imaginary pale.

"When we do we shall be able to create intellect at will. We govern to a
certain extent the development of physical life; but the formation of
the brain--its intellectual force, or capacity I should say--is beyond
our immediate skill. Genius is yet the product of long cultivation."

I had observed that dark hair and eyes were as indiscriminately mingled
in these portraits as I had been accustomed to find them in the living
people of my own and other countries. I drew the Preceptress' attention
to it.

"We believe that the highest excellence of moral and mental character is
alone attainable by a fair race. The elements of evil belong to the dark
race."

"And were the people of this country once of mixed complexions?"

"As you see in the portraits? Yes," was the reply.

"And what became of the dark complexions?"

"We eliminated them."

I was too astonished to speak and stood gazing upon the handsome face of
a young man in a plumed hat and lace-frilled doublet. The dark eyes had
a haughty look, like a man proud of his lineage and his sex.

"Let us leave this place," said the Preceptress presently. "It always
has a depressing effect upon me."

"In what way?" I asked.

"By the degradation of the human race that they force me to recall."

I followed her out to a seat on one of the small porticoes.

In candidly expressing herself about the dark complexions, my companion
had no intention or thought of wounding my feelings. So rigidly do they
adhere to the truth in Mizora that it is of all other things
pre-eminent, and is never supposed to give offense. The Preceptress but
gave expression to the belief inculcated by centuries of the teachings
and practices of her ancestors. I was not offended. It was her
conviction. Besides, I had the consolation of secretly disagreeing with
her. I am still of the opinion that their admirable system of
government, social and political, and their encouragement and provision
for universal culture of so high an order, had more to do with the
formation of superlative character than the elimination of the dark
complexion.

The Preceptress remained silent a long time, apparently absorbed in the
beauty of the landscape that stretched before us. The falling waters of
a fountain was all the sound we heard. The hour was auspicious. I was so
eager to develop a revelation of the mystery about these people that I
became nervous over my companion's protracted silence. I felt a delicacy
in pressing inquiries concerning information that I thought ought to be
voluntarily given. Inquisitiveness was regarded as a gross rudeness by
them, and I could frame no question that I did not fear would sound
impertinent. But at last patience gave way and, at the risk of
increasing her commiseration for my barbarous mental condition, I asked:

"Are you conversant with the history of the times occupied by the
originals of the portraits we have just seen?"

"I am," she replied.

"And would you object to giving me a condensed recital of it?"

"Not if it can do you any good?"

"What has become of their descendants--of those portraits?"

"They became extinct thousands of years ago."

She became silent again, lost in reverie. The agitation of my mind was
not longer endurable. I was too near the acme of curiosity to longer
delay. I threw reserve aside and not without fear and trembling faltered
out:

"Where are the men of this country? Where do they stay?"

_"There are none_," was the startling reply. "_The race became extinct
three thousand years ago._"



CHAPTER II.


I trembled at the suggestion of my own thoughts. Was this an enchanted
country? Where the lovely blonde women fairies--or some weird beings of
different specie, human only in form? Or was I dreaming?

"I do not believe I understand you," I said. "I never heard of a country
where there were no men. In my land they are so very, very important."

"Possibly," was the placid answer.

"And you are really a nation of women?"

"Yes," she said. "And have been for the last three thousand years."

"Will you tell me how this wonderful change came about?"

"Certainly. But in order to do it, I must go back to our very remote
ancestry. The civilization that I shall begin with must have resembled
the present condition of your own country as you describe it. Prisons
and punishments were prevalent throughout the land."

I inquired how long prisons and places of punishment had been abolished
in Mizora.

"For more than two thousand years," she replied. "I have no personal
knowledge of crime. When I speak of it, it is wholly from an historical
standpoint. A theft has not been committed in this country for many many
centuries. And those minor crimes, such as envy, jealousy, malice and
falsehood, disappeared a long time ago. You will not find a citizen in
Mizora who possesses the slightest trace of any of them.

"Did they exist in earlier times?"

"Yes. Our oldest histories are but records of a succession of dramas in
which the actors were continually striving for power and exercising all
of those ancient qualities of mind to obtain it. Plots, intrigues,
murders and wars, were the active employments of the very ancient rulers
of our land. As soon as death laid its inactivity upon one actor,
another took his place. It might have continued so; and we might still
be repeating the old tragedy but for one singular event. In the history
of your own people you have no doubt observed that the very thing
plotted, intrigued and labored for, has in accomplishment proved the
ruin of its projectors. You will remark this in the history I am about
to relate.

"Main ages ago this country was peopled by two races--male and female.
The male race were rulers in public and domestic life. Their supremacy
had come down from pre-historic time, when strength of muscle was the
only master. Woman was a beast of burden. She was regarded as inferior
to man, mentally as well as physically. This idea prevailed through
centuries of the earlier civilization, even after enlightenment had
brought to her a chivalrous regard from men. But this regard was
bestowed only upon the women of their own household, by the rich and
powerful. Those women who had not been fortunate enough to have been
born in such a sphere of life toiled early and late, in sorrow and
privation, for a mere pittance that was barely sufficient to keep the
flame of life from going out. Their labor was more arduous than men's,
and their wages lighter.

"The government consisted of an aristocracy, a fortunate few, who were
continually at strife with one another to gain supremacy of power, or an
acquisition of territory. Wars, famine and pestilence were of frequent
occurrence. Of the subjects, male and female, some had everything to
render life a pleasure, while others had nothing. Poverty, oppression
and wretchedness was the lot of the many. Power, wealth and luxury the
dower of the few.

"Children came into the world undesired even by those who were able to
rear them, and often after an attempt had been made to prevent their
coming alive. Consequently numbers of them were deformed, not only
physically, but mentally. Under these conditions life was a misery to
the larger part of the human race, and to end it by self-destruction was
taught by their religion to be a crime punishable with eternal torment
by quenchless fire.

"But a revolution was at hand. Stinted toil rose up, armed and wrathful,
against opulent oppression. The struggle was long and tragical, and was
waged with such rancor and desperate persistence by the
insurrectionists, that their women and children began to supply the
places vacated by fallen fathers, husbands and brothers. It ended in
victory for them. They demanded a form of government that should be the
property of all. It was granted, limiting its privileges to adult male
citizens.

"The first representative government lasted a century. In that time
civilization had taken an advance far excelling the progress made in
three centuries previous. So surely does the mind crave freedom for its
perfect development. The consciousness of liberty is an ennobling
element in human nature. No nation can become universally moral until it
is absolutely FREE.

"But this first Republic had been diseased from its birth. Slavery had
existed in certain districts of the nation. It was really the remains of
a former and more degraded state of society which the new government, in
the exultation of its own triumphant inauguration, neglected or lacked
the wisdom to remedy. A portion of the country refused to admit slavery
within its territory, but pledged itself not to interfere with that
which had. Enmities, however, arose between the two sections, which,
after years of repression and useless conciliation, culminated in
another civil war. Slavery had resolved to absorb more territory, and
the free territory had resolved that it should not. The war that
followed in consequence severed forever the fetters of the slave and was
the primary cause of the extinction of the male race.

"The inevitable effect of slavery is enervating and demoralizing. It is
a canker that eats into the vitals of any nation that harbors it, no
matter what form it assumes. The free territory had all the vigor,
wealth and capacity for long endurance that self-dependence gives. It
was in every respect prepared for a long and severe struggle. Its forces
were collected in the name of the united government.

"Considering the marked inequality of the combatants the war would
necessarily have been of short duration. But political corruption had
crept into the trust places of the government, and unscrupulous
politicians and office-seekers saw too many opportunities to harvest
wealth from a continuation of the war. It was to their interest to
prolong it, and they did. They placed in the most responsible positions
of the army, military men whose incapacity was well known to them, and
sustained them there while the country wept its maimed and dying sons.

"The slave territory brought to the front its most capable talent. It
would have conquered had not the resources against which it contended
been almost unlimited. Utterly worn out, every available means of supply
being exhausted, it collapsed from internal weakness.

"The general government, in order to satisfy the clamors of the
distressed and impatient people whose sons were being sacrificed, and
whose taxes were increasing, to prolong the war had kept removing and
reinstating military commanders, but always of reliable incapacity.

"A man of mediocre intellect and boundless self-conceit happened to be
the commander-in-chief of the government army when the insurrection
collapsed. The politicians, whose nefarious scheming had prolonged the
war, saw their opportunity for furthering their own interests by
securing his popularity. They assumed him to be the greatest military
genius that the world had ever produced; as evidenced by his success
where so many others had failed. It was known that he had never risked a
battle until he was assured that his own soldiers were better equipped
and outnumbered the enemy. But the politicians asserted that such a
precaution alone should mark him as an extraordinary military genius.
The deluded people accepted him as a hero.

"The politicians exhausted their ingenuity in inventing honors for him.
A new office of special military eminence, with a large salary attached,
was created for him. He was burdened with distinctions and emoluments,
always worked by the politicians, for their benefit. The nation,
following the lead of the political leaders, joined in their adulation.
It failed to perceive the dangerous path that leads to anarchy and
despotism--the worship of one man. It had unfortunately selected one who
was cautious and undemonstrative, and who had become convinced that he
really was the greatest prodigy that the world had ever produced.

"He was made President, and then the egotism and narrow selfishness of
the man began to exhibit itself. He assumed all the prerogatives of
royalty that his position would permit. He elevated his obscure and
numerous relatives to responsible offices. Large salaries were paid them
and intelligent clerks hired by the Government to perform their official
duties.

"Corruption spread into every department, but the nation was blind to
its danger. The few who did perceive the weakness and presumption of the
hero were silenced by popular opinion.

"A second term of office was given him, and then the real character of
the man began to display itself before the people. The whole nature of
the man was selfish and stubborn. The strongest mental trait possessed
by him was cunning.

"His long lease of power and the adulation of his political
beneficiaries, acting upon a superlative self-conceit, imbued him with
the belief that he had really rendered his country a service so
inestimable that it would be impossible for it to entirely liquidate it.
He exalted to unsuitable public offices his most intimate friends. They
grew suddenly exclusive and aristocratic, forming marriages with eminent
families.

"He traveled about the country with his entire family, at the expense of
the Government, to gradually prepare the people for the ostentation of
royalty. The cities and towns that he visited furnished fetes,
illuminations, parades and every variety of entertainment that could be
thought of or invented for his amusement or glorification. Lest the
parade might not be sufficiently gorgeous or demonstrative he secretly
sent agents to prepare the programme and size of his reception, always
at the expense of the city he intended to honor with his presence.

"He manifested a strong desire to subvert the will of the people to his
will. When informed that a measure he had proposed was unconstitutional,
he requested that the constitution be changed. His intimate friends he
placed in the most important and trustworthy positions under the
Government, and protected them with the power of his own office.

"Many things that were distasteful and unlawful in a free government
were flagrantly flaunted in the face of the people, and were followed by
other slow, but sure, approaches to the usurpation of the liberties of
the Nation. He urged the Government to double his salary as President,
and it complied.

"There had long existed a class of politicians who secretly desired to
convert the Republic into an Empire, that they might secure greater
power and opulence. They had seen in the deluded enthusiasm of the
people for one man, the opportunity for which they had long waited and
schemed. He was unscrupulous and ambitious, and power had become a
necessity to feed the cravings of his vanity.

"The Constitution of the country forbade the office of President to be
occupied by one man for more than two terms. The Empire party proposed
to amend it, permitting the people to elect a President for any number
of terms, or for life if they choose. They tried to persuade the people
that the country owed the greatest General of all time so distinctive an
honor. They even claimed that it was necessary to the preservation of
the Government; that his popularity could command an army to sustain him
if he called for it.

"But the people had begun to penetrate the designs of the hero, and
bitterly denounced his resolution to seek a third term of power. The
terrible corruptions that had been openly protected by him, had
advertised him as criminally unfit for so responsible an office. But,
alas! the people had delayed too long. They had taken a young elephant
into the palace. They had petted and fed him and admired his bulky
growth, and now they could not remove him without destroying the
building.

"The politicians who had managed the Government so long, proved that
they had more power than the people They succeeded, by practices that
were common with politicians in those days, in getting him nominated for
a third term. The people, now thoroughly alarmed, began to see their
past folly and delusion. They made energetic efforts to defeat his
election. But they were unavailing. The politicians had arranged the
ballot, and when the counts were published, the hero was declared
President for life. When too late the deluded people discovered that
they had helped dig the grave for the corpse of their civil liberty, and
those who were loyal and had been misled saw it buried with unavailing
regret. The undeserved popularity bestowed upon a narrow and selfish
nature had been its ruin. In his inaugural address he declared that
nothing but the will of the people governed him. He had not desired the
office; public life was distasteful to him, yet he was willing to
sacrifice himself for the good of his country.

"Had the people been less enlightened, they might have yielded without a
murmur; but they had enjoyed too long the privileges of a free
Government to see it usurped without a struggle. Tumult and disorder
prevailed over the country. Soldiers were called out to protect the new
Government, but numbers of them refused to obey. The consequence was
they fought among themselves. A dissolution of the Government was the
result. The General they had lauded so greatly failed to bring order out
of chaos; and the schemers who had foisted him into power, now turned
upon him with the fury of treacherous natures when foiled of their prey.
Innumerable factions sprung up all over the land, each with a leader
ambitious and hopeful of subduing the whole to his rule. They fought
until the extermination of the race became imminent, when a new and
unsuspected power arose and mastered.

"The female portion of the nation had never had a share in the
Government. Their privileges were only what the chivalry or kindness of
the men permitted. In law, their rights were greatly inferior. The evils
of anarchy fell with direct effect upon them. At first, they organized
for mutual protection from the lawlessness that prevailed. The
organizations grew, united and developed into military power. They used
their power wisely, discreetly, and effectively. With consummate skill
and energy they gathered the reins of Government in their own hands.

"Their first aim had been only to force the country into peace. The
anarchy that reigned had demoralized society, and they had suffered
most. They had long pleaded for an equality of citizenship with men, but
had pleaded in vain. They now remembered it, and resolved to keep the
Government that their wisdom and power had restored. They had been
hampered in educational progress. Colleges and all avenues to higher
intellectual development had been rigorously closed against them. The
professional pursuits of life were denied them. But a few, with sublime
courage and energy, had forced their way into them amid the revilings of
some of their own sex and opposition of the men. It was these brave
spirits who had earned their liberal cultivation with so much
difficulty, that had organized and directed the new power. They
generously offered to form a Government that should be the property of
all intelligent adult citizens, not criminal.

"But these wise women were a small minority. The majority were ruled by
the remembrance of past injustice. _They_ were now the power, and
declared their intention to hold the Government for a century.

"They formed a Republic, in which they remedied many of the defects that
had marred the Republic of men. They constituted the Nation an integer
which could never be disintegrated by States' Rights ideas or the
assumption of State sovereignty.

"They proposed a code of laws for the home government of the States,
which every State in the Union ratified as their State Constitution,
thus making a uniformity and strength that the Republic of men had never
known or suspected attainable.

"They made it a law of every State that criminals could be arrested in
any State they might flee to, without legal authority, other than that
obtained in the vicinity of the crime. They made a law that criminals,
tried and convicted of crime, could not be pardoned without the sanction
of seventy-five out of one hundred educated and disinterested people,
who should weigh the testimony and render their decision under oath. It
is scarcely necessary to add that few criminals ever were pardoned. It
removed from the office of Governor the responsibility of pardoning, or
rejecting pardons as a purely personal privilege. It abolished the
power of rich criminals to bribe their escape from justice; a practice
that had secretly existed in the former Republic.

"In forming their Government, the women, who were its founders, profited
largely by the mistakes or wisdom displayed in the Government of men.
Neither the General Government, nor the State Government, could be
independent of the other. A law of the Union could not become such until
ratified by every State Legislature. A State law could not become
constitutional until ratified by Congress.

"In forming the State Constitutions, laws were selected from the
different State Constitutions that had proven wise for State Government
during the former Republic. In the Republic of men, each State had made
and ratified its own laws, independent of the General Government. The
consequence was, no two States possessed similar laws.

"To secure strength and avoid confusion was the aim of the founders of
the new Government. The Constitution of the National Government provided
for the exclusion of the male sex from all affairs and privileges for a
period of one hundred years.

"_At the end of that time not a representative of the sex was in
existence._"



CHAPTER III.


I expressed my astonishment at her revelation. Their social life existed
under conditions that were incredible to me. Would it be an impertinence
to ask for an explanation that I might comprehend? Or was it really the
one secret they possessed and guarded from discovery, a mystery that
must forever surround them with a halo of doubt, the suggestion of
uncanny power? I spoke as deprecatingly as I could. The Preceptress
turned upon me a calm but penetrating gaze.

"Have we impressed you as a mysterious people?" she asked.

"Very, very much!" I exclaimed. "I have at times been oppressed by it."

"You never mentioned it," she said, kindly.

"I could not find an opportunity to," I said.

"It is the custom in Mizora, as you have no doubt observed, never to
make domestic affairs a topic of conversation outside of the family, the
only ones who would be interested in them; and this refinement has kept
you from the solution of our social system. I have no hesitancy in
gratifying your wish to comprehend it. The best way to do it is to let
history lead up to it, if you have the patience to listen."

I assured her that I was anxious to hear all she chose to tell. She then
resumed:

"The prosperity of the country rapidly increased under the rule of the
female Presidents. The majority of them were in favor of a high state of
morality, and they enforced it by law and practice. The arts and
sciences were liberally encouraged and made rapid advancement. Colleges
and schools flourished vigorously, and every branch of education was now
open to women.

"During the Republic of men, the government had founded and sustained a
military and naval academy, where a limited number of the youth of the
country were educated at government expense. The female government
re-organized the institutions, substituting the youth of their own sex.
They also founded an academy of science, which was supplied with every
facility for investigation and progress. None but those having a marked
predilection for scientific research could obtain admission, and then it
was accorded to demonstrated ability only. This drew to the college the
best female talent in the country. The number of applicants was not
limited.

"Science had hitherto been, save by a _very_ few, an untrodden field to
women, but the encouragement and rare facilities offered soon revealed
latent talent that developed rapidly. Scarcely half a century had
elapsed before the pupils of the college had effected by their
discoveries some remarkable changes in living, especially in the
prevention and cure of diseases.

"However prosperous they might become, they could not dwell in political
security with a portion of the citizens disfranchised. The men were
resolved to secure their former power. Intrigues and plots against the
government were constantly in force among them. In order to avert
another civil war, it was finally decided to amend the constitution, and
give them an equal share in the ballot. They had no sooner obtained that
than the old practices of the former Republic were resorted to to secure
their supremacy in government affairs. The women looked forward to their
former subjugation as only a matter of time, and bitterly regretted
their inability to prevent it. But at the crisis, a prominent scientist
proposed to let the race die out. Science had revealed the Secret of
Life."

She ceased speaking, as though I fully understood her.

"I am more bewildered than ever," I exclaimed. "I cannot comprehend
you."

"Come with me," she said.

I followed her into the Chemist's Laboratory. She bade me look into a
microscope that she designated, and tell her what I saw.

"An exquisitely minute cell in violent motion," I answered.

"Daughter," she said, solemnly, "you are now looking upon the germ of
_all_ Life, be it animal or vegetable, a flower or a human being, it has
that one common beginning. We have advanced far enough in Science to
control its development. Know that the MOTHER is the only important part
of all life. In the lowest organisms no other sex is apparent."

I sat down and looked at my companion in a frame of mind not easily
described. There was an intellectual grandeur in her look and mien that
was impressive. Truth sat, like a coronet, upon her brow. The revelation
I had so longed for, I now almost regretted. It separated me so far from
these beautiful, companionable beings.

"Science has instructed you how to supercede Nature," I said, finally.

"By no means. It has only taught us how to make her obey us. We cannot
_create_ Life. We cannot develop it. But we can control Nature's
processes of development as we will. Can you deprecate such a power?
Would not your own land be happier without idiots, without lunatics,
without deformity and disease?"

"You will give me little hope of any radical change in my own lifetime
when I inform you that deformity, if extraordinary, becomes a source of
revenue to its possessor."

"All reforms are of slow growth," she said. "The moral life is the
highest development of Nature. It is evolved by the same slow processes,
and like the lower life, its succeeding forms are always higher ones.
Its ultimate perfection will be mind, where all happiness shall dwell,
where pleasure shall find fruition, and desire its ecstasy.

"It is the duty of every generation to prepare the way for a higher
development of the next, as we see demonstrated by Nature in the
fossilized remains of long extinct animal life, a preparatory condition
for a higher form in the next evolution. If you do not enjoy the fruit
of your labor in your own lifetime, the generation that follows you will
be the happier for it. Be not so selfish as to think only of your own
narrow span of life."

"By what means have you reached so grand a development?" I asked.

"By the careful study of, and adherence to, Nature's laws. It was long
years--I should say centuries--before the influence of the coarser
nature of men was eliminated from the present race.

"We devote the most careful attention to the Mothers of our race. No
retarding mental or moral influences are ever permitted to reach her. On
the contrary, the most agreeable contacts with nature, all that can
cheer and ennoble in art or music surround her. She is an object of
interest and tenderness to all who meet her. Guarded from unwholesome
agitation, furnished with nourishing and proper diet--both mental and
physical--the child of a Mizora mother is always an improvement upon
herself. With us, childhood has no sorrows. We believe, and the present
condition of our race proves, that a being environed from its birth with
none but elevating influences, will grow up amiable and intelligent
though inheriting unfavorable tendencies.

"On this principle we have ennobled our race and discovered the means of
prolonging life and youthful loveliness far beyond the limits known by
our ancestors.

"Temptation and necessity will often degrade a nature naturally inclined
and desirous to be noble. We early recognized this fact, and that a
nature once debased by crime would transmit it to posterity. For this
reason we never permitted a convict to have posterity."

"But how have you become so beautiful?" I asked. "For, in all my
journeys, I have not met an uncomely face or form. On the contrary, all
the Mizora women have perfect bodies and lovely features."

"We follow the gentle guidance of our mother, Nature. Good air and
judicious exercise for generations and generations before us have
helped. Our ancestors knew the influence of art, sculpture, painting and
music, which they were trained to appreciate."

"But has not nature been a little generous to you?" I inquired.

"Not more so than she will be to any people who follow her laws. When
you first came here you had an idea that you could improve nature by
crowding your lungs and digestive organs into a smaller space than she,
the maker of them, intended them to occupy.

"If you construct an engine, and then cram it into a box so narrow and
tight that it cannot move, and then crowd on the motive power, what
would you expect?

"Beautiful as you think my people, and as they really are, yet, by
disregarding nature's laws, or trying to thwart her intentions, in a few
generations to come, perhaps even in the next, we could have coarse
features and complexions, stoop shoulders and deformity.

"It has required patience, observation and care on the part of our
ancestors to secure to us the priceless heritage of health and perfect
bodies. Your people can acquire them by the same means."



CHAPTER IV.

     As to Physical causes, I am inclined to doubt altogether of their
     operation in this particular; nor do I think that men owe anything
     of their temper or genius to the air, food, or climate.--_Bacon._


I listened with the keenest interest to this curious and instructive
history; and when the Preceptress had ceased speaking. I expressed my
gratitude for her kindness. There were many things about which I desired
information, but particularly their method of eradicating disease and
crime. These two evils were the prominent afflictions of all the
civilized nations I knew. I believed that I could comprehend enough of
their method of extirpation to benefit my own country. Would she kindly
give it?

"I shall take Disease first," she said, "as it is a near relative of
Crime. You look surprised. You have known life-long and incurable
invalids who were not criminals. But go to the squalid portion of any of
your large cities, where Poverty and Disease go hand in hand, where the
child receives its life and its first nourishment from a haggard and
discontented mother. Starvation is her daily dread. The little
tendernesses that make home the haven of the heart, are never known to
her. Ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-cherished, all that _might_ be refined
and elevated in her nature, if properly cultivated, is choked into
starveling shapes by her enemy--Want.

"If you have any knowledge of nature, ask yourself if such a condition
of birth and infancy is likely to produce a noble, healthy human being?
Do your agriculturists expect a stunted, neglected tree to produce rare
and luscious fruit?"

I was surprised at the Preceptress' graphic description of wretchedness,
so familiar to all the civilized nations that I knew, and asked:

"Did such a state of society ever exist in this country?"

"Ages ago it was as marked a social condition of this land as it is of
your own to-day. The first great move toward eradicating disease was in
providing clean and wholesome food for the masses. It required the
utmost rigor of the law to destroy the pernicious practice of
adulteration. The next endeavor was to crowd poverty out of the land. In
order to do this the Labor question came first under discussion, and
resulted in the establishment in every state of a Board of Arbitration
that fixed the price of labor on a per cent, of the profits of the
business. Public and private charities were forbidden by law as having
an immoral influence upon society. Charitable institutions had long been
numerous and fashionable, and many persons engaged in them as much for
their own benefit as that of the poor. It was not always the honest and
benevolent ones who became treasurers, nor were the funds always
distributed among the needy and destitute, or those whom they were
collected for. The law put a stop to the possibility of such frauds, and
of professional impostors seeking alms. Those who needed assistance were
supplied with work--respectable, independent work--furnished by the city
or town in which they resided. A love of industry, its dignity and
independence, was carefully instilled into every young mind. There is no
country but what ought to provide for everyone of its citizens a
comfortable, if not luxurious, home by humane legislation on the labor
question.

"The penitentiaries were reconstructed by the female government. One
half the time formerly allotted to labor was employed in compulsory
education. Industrial schools were established in every State, where all
the mechanical employments were taught free. Objects of charity were
sent there and compelled to become self supporting. These industrial
schools finally became State Colleges, where are taught, free, all the
known branches of knowledge, intellectual and mechanical.

"Pauperism disappeared before the wide reaching influence of these
industrial schools, but universal affluence had not come. It could not
exist until education had become universal.

"With this object in view, the Government forbade the employment of any
citizen under the age of twenty-one, and compelled their attendance at
school up to that time. At the same time a law was passed that
authorized the furnishing of all school-room necessaries out of the
public funds. If a higher education were desired the State Colleges
furnished it free of all expenses contingent.

"All of these measures had a marked influence in improving the
condition of society, but not all that was required. The necessity for
strict sanitary laws became obvious. Cities and towns and even farms
were visited, and everything that could breed malaria, or produce impure
air, was compelled to be removed. Personal and household cleanliness at
last became an object of public interest, and inspectors were appointed
who visited families and reported the condition of their homes. All
kinds of out-door sports and athletic exercises were encouraged and
became fashionable.

"All of these things combined, made a great improvement in the health
and vigor of our race, but still hereditary diseases lingered.

"There were many so enfeebled by hereditary disease they had not enough
energy to seek recuperation, and died, leaving offspring as wretched,
who in turn followed their parents' example.

"Statistics were compiled, and physician's reports circulated, until a
law was passed prohibiting the perpetuity of diseased offspring. But,
although disease became less prevalent, it did not entirely disappear.
The law could only reach the most deplorable afflictions, and was
eventually repealed.

"As the science of therapeutics advanced, all diseases--whether
hereditary or acquired--were found to be associated with abnormal
conditions of the blood. A microscopic examination of a drop of blood
enabled the scientist to determine the character and intensity of any
disease, and at last to effect its elimination from the system.

"The blood is the primal element of the body. It feeds the flesh, the
nerves, the muscles, the brain. Disease cannot exist when it is in a
natural condition. Countless experiments have determined the exact
properties of healthy blood and how to produce it. By the use of this
knowledge we have eliminated hereditary diseases, and developed into a
healthy and moral people. For people universally healthy is sure of
being moral. Necessity begets crime. It is the _wants_ of the ignorant
and debased that suggests theft. It is a diseased fancy, or a mind
ignorant of the laws that govern the development of human nature, that
could attribute to offspring hated before birth: infancy and childhood
neglected; starved, ill-used in every way, a disposition and character,
amiable and humane and likely to become worthy members of society. The
reverse is almost inevitable. Human nature relapses into the lower and
baser instincts of its earlier existence, when neglected, ill-used and
_ignorant_. All of those lovely traits of character which excite the
enthusiast, such as gratitude, honor, charity are the results of
education only. They are not the natural instincts of the human mind,
but the cultivated ones.

"The most rigid laws were passed in regard to the practice of medicine.
No physician could become a practitioner until examined and authorized
to do so by the State Medical College. In order to prevent favoritism,
or the furnishing of diplomas to incompetent applicants, enormous
penalties were incurred by any who would sign such. The profession long
ago became extinct. Every mother is a family physician. That is, she
obeys the laws of nature in regard to herself and her children, and they
never need a doctor.

"Having become healthy and independent of charity, crime began to
decrease naturally. The conditions that had bred and fostered petty
crimes having ceased to exist, the natures that had inherited them rose
above their influence in a few generations, and left honorable
posterity.

"But crime in its grossest form is an ineradicable hereditary taint.
Generation after generation may rise and disappear in a family once
tainted with it, without displaying it, and then in a most unexpected
manner it will spring up in some descendant, violent and unconquerable.

"We tried to eliminate it as we had disease, but failed. It was an
inherited molecular structure of the brain. Science could not
reconstruct it. The only remedy was annihilation. Criminals had no
posterity."

"I am surprised," I interrupted, "that possessing the power to control
the development of the body, you should not do so with the mind."

"If we could we would produce genius that could discover the source of
all life. We can control Cause and Effect, but we cannot create Cause.
We do not even know its origin. What the perfume is to the flower, the
intellect is to the body; a secret that Nature keeps to herself. For a
thousand years our greatest minds have sought to discover its source,
and we are as far from it to-day as we were a thousand years ago."

"How then have you obtained your mental superiority?" I inquired.

"By securing to our offspring perfect, physical and mental health.
Science has taught us how to evolve intellect by following demonstrated
laws. I put a seed into the ground and it comes up a little green slip,
that eventually becomes a tree. When I planted the seed in congenial
soil, and watered and tended the slip, I assisted Nature. But I did not
create the seed nor supply the force that made it develop into a tree,
nor can I define that force."

"What has produced the exquisite refinement of your people?"

"Like everything else, it is the result of gradual development aiming
at higher improvement. By following strictly the laws that govern the
evolution of life, we control the formation of the body and brain.
Strong mental traits become intensified by cultivation from generation
to generation and finally culminate in one glorious outburst of power,
called Genius. But there is one peculiarity about mind. It resembles
that wonderful century plant which, after decades of developing, flowers
and dies. Genius is the long unfolding bloom of mind, and leaves no
posterity. We carefully prepare for the future development of Genius. We
know that our children will be neither deformed nor imbecile, but we
watch the unfolding of their intellects with the interest of a new
revelation. We guide them with the greatest care.

"I could take a child of your people with inherited weakness of body and
mind. I should rear it on proper food and exercise--both mental and
physical--and it would have, when matured, a marked superiority to its
parents. It is not what Nature has done for us, it is what we have done
for her, that makes us a race of superior people."

"The qualities of mind that are the general feature of your people," I
remarked, "are so very high, higher than our estimate of Genius. How was
it arrived at?"

"By the processes I have just explained. Genius is always a leader. A
genius with us has a subtlety of thought and perception beyond your
power of appreciation. All organized social bodies move intellectually
in a mass, with their leader just ahead of them."

"I have visited, as a guest, a number of your families, and found their
homes adorned with paintings and sculpture that would excite wondering
admiration in my own land as rare works of art, but here they are only
the expression of family taste and culture. Is that a quality of
intellect that has been evolved, or is it a natural endowment of your
race?"

"It is not an endowment, but has been arrived at by the same process of
careful cultivation. Do you see in those ancient portraits a variety of
striking colors? There is not a suggestion of harmony in any of them. On
the contrary, they all display violent contrasts of color. The originals
of them trod this land thousands of years ago. Many of the colors, we
know, were unknown to them. Color is a faculty of the mind that is
wholly the result of culture. In the early ages of society, it was known
only in the coarsest and most brilliant hues. A conception and
appreciation of delicate harmonies in color is evidence of a superior
and refined mentality. If you will notice it, the illiterate of your
own land have no taste for or idea of the harmony of color. It is the
same with sound. The higher we rise in culture, the more difficult we
are to please in music. Our taste becomes critical."

I had been revolving some things in my mind while the Preceptress was
speaking, and I now ventured to express them. I said:

"You tell me that generations will come and go before a marked change
can occur in a people. What good then would it do me or mine to study
and labor and investigate in or to teach my people how to improve? They
can not comprehend progress. They have not learned by contact, as I have
in Mizora, how to appreciate it. I should only waste life and happiness
in trying to persuade them to get out of the ruts they have traveled so
long; they think there are no other roads. I should be reviled, and
perhaps persecuted. My doctrines would be called visionary and
impracticable. I think I had better use my knowledge for my own kindred,
and let the rest of the world find out the best way it can."

The Preceptress looked at me with mild severity. I never before had seen
so near an approach to rebuke in her grand eyes.

"What a barbarous, barbarous idea!" she exclaimed. "Your country will
never rise above its ignorance and degradation, until out of its mental
agony shall be evolved a nature kindled with an ambition that burns for
Humanity instead of self. It will be the nucleus round which will gather
the timid but anxious, and _then_ will be lighted that fire which no
waters can quench. It burns for the liberty of thought. Let human nature
once feel the warmth of its beacon fires, and it will march onward,
defying all obstacles, braving all perils till it be won. Human nature
is ever reaching for the unattained. It is that little spark within us
that has an undying life. When we can no longer use it, it flies
elsewhere."



CHAPTER V.


I had long contemplated a trip to the extreme southern boundary of
Mizora. I had often inquired about it, and had always been answered that
it was defined by an impassable ocean. I had asked them to describe it
to me, for the Mizora people have a happy faculty of employing tersely
expressive language when necessary; but I was always met with the
surprising answer that no tongue in Mizora was eloquent enough to
portray the wonders that bounded Mizora on the south. So I requested the
Preceptress to permit Wauna to accompany me as a guide and companion; a
request she readily complied with.

"Will you be afraid or uneasy about trusting her on so long a journey
with no companion or protector but me?" I asked.

The Preceptress smiled at my question.

"Why should I be afraid, when in all the length and breadth of our land
there is no evil to befall her, or you either. Strangers are friends in
Mizora, in one sense of the word, when they meet. You will both travel
as though among time endeared associates. You will receive every
attention, courtesy and kindness that would be bestowed upon near and
intimate acquaintances. No, in this land, mothers do not fear to send
their daughters alone and unrecommended among strangers."

When speed was required, the people of Mizora traveled altogether by air
ships. But when the pleasure of landscape viewing, and the delight and
exhilaration of easy progress is desired, they use either railroad cars
or carriages.

Wauna and I selected an easy and commodious carriage. It was propelled
by compressed air, which Wauna said could be obtained whenever we needed
a new supply at any village or country seat.

Throughout the length and breadth of Mizora the roads were artificially
made. Cities, towns, and villages were provided with paved streets,
which the public authorities kept in a condition of perfect cleanliness.
The absence of all kinds of animals rendered this comparatively easy. In
alluding to this once in the presence of the Preceptress, she startled
me by the request that I should suggest to my people the advantage to be
derived from substituting machinery for animal labor.

"The association of animals is degrading," she asserted. "And you, who
still live by tilling the soil, will find a marked change economically
in dispensing with your beasts of burden. Fully four-fifths that you
raise on your farms is required to feed your domestic animals. If your
agriculture was devoted entirely to human food, it would make it more
plentiful for the poor."

I did not like to tell her that I knew many wealthy people who housed
and fed their domestic animals better than they did their tenants. She
would have been disgusted with such a state of barbarism.

Country roads in Mizora were usually covered with a cement that was
prepared from pulverized granite. They were very durable and very hard.
Owing to their solidity, they were not as agreeable for driving as
another kind of cement they manufactured. I have previously spoken of
the peculiar style of wheel that was used on all kinds of light
conveyances in Mizora, and rendered their progress over any road the
very luxury of motion.

In our journey, Wauna took me to a number of factories, where the
wonderful progress they had made in science continually surprised and
delighted me. The spider and the silkworm had yielded their secret to
these indefatigable searchers into nature's mysteries. They could spin a
thread of gossamer, or of silk from their chemicals, of any width and
length, and with a rapidity that was magical. Like everything else of
that nature in Mizora, these discoveries had been purchased by the
Government, and then made known to all.

They also manufactured ivory that I could not tell from the real
article. I have previously spoken of their success in producing various
kinds of marble and stone. A beautiful table that I saw made out of
artificial ivory, had a painting upon the top of it. A deep border,
composed of delicate, convoluted shells, extended round the top of the
table and formed the shores of a mimic ocean, with coral reefs and tiny
islands, and tangled sea-weeds and shining fishes sporting about in the
pellucid water. The surface was of highly polished smoothness, and I was
informed that the picture was _not_ a painting but was formed of
colored particles of ivory that had been worked in before the drying or
solidifying process had been applied. In the same way they formed main
beautiful combinations of marbles. The magnificent marble columns that
supported the portico of my friend's house were all of artificial make.
The delicate green leaves and creeping vines of ivy, rose, and
eglantine, with their spray-like blossoms, were colored in the
manufacturing process and chiseled out of the solid marble by the
skillful hand of the artist.

It would be difficult for me to even enumerate all the beautiful arts
and productions of arts that I saw in Mizora. Our journey was full of
incidents of this kind.

Every city and town that we visited was like the introduction of a new
picture. There was no sameness between any of them. Each had aimed at
picturesqueness or stately magnificence, and neither had failed to
obtain it. Looking back as I now do upon Mizora, it presents itself to
me as a vast and almost limitless landscape, variegated with grand
cities, lovely towns and villages, majestic hills and mountains crowned
with glittering snows, or deep, delightful valleys veiled in scented
vines.

Kindness, cordiality and courtesy met us on every side. It was at first
quite novel for me to mingle among previously unheard-of people with
such sociability, but I did as Wauna did, and I found it not only
convenient but quite agreeable.

"I am the daughter of the Preceptress of the National College," said
Wauna; and that was the way she introduced herself.

I noticed with what honor and high esteem the name of the Preceptress
was regarded. As soon as it was known that the daughter of the
Preceptress had arrived, the citizens of whatever city we had stopped in
hastened to extend to her every courtesy and favor possible for them to
bestow. She was the daughter of the woman who held the highest and most
enviable position in the Nation. A position that only great intellect
could secure in that country.

As we neared the goal of our journey, I noticed an increasing warmth of
the atmosphere, and my ears were soon greeted with a deep, reverberating
roar like continuous thunder. I have seen and heard Niagara, but a
thousand Niagaras could not equal that deafening sound. The heat became
oppressive. The light also from a cause of which I shall soon speak.

We ascended a promontory that jutted out from the main land a quarter of
a mile, perhaps more. Wauna conducted me to the edge of the cliff and
told me to look down. An ocean of whirlpools was before us. The
maddened dashing and thundering of the mighty waters, and the awe they
inspired no words can paint. Across such an abyss of terrors it was
certain no vessel could sail. We took our glasses and scanned the
opposite shore, which appeared to be a vast cataract as though the ocean
was pouring over a precipice of rock. Wauna informed me that where the
shore was visible it was a perpendicular wall of smooth rock.

Over head an arc of fire spanned the zenith from which depended curtains
of rainbows waving and fluttering, folding and floating out again with a
rapid and incessant motion. I asked Wauna why they had not crossed in
air-ships, and she said they had tried it often but had always failed.

"In former times," she said, "when air-ships first came into use it was
frequently attempted, but no voyager ever returned. We have long since
abandoned the attempt, for now we know it to be impossible."

I looked again at that display of uncontrollable power. As I gazed it
seemed to me I would be drawn down by the resistless fascination of
terror. I grasped Wauna and she gently turned my face to the smiling
landscape behind us. Hills and valleys, and sparkling cities veiled in
foliage, with their numberless parks and fountains and statues sleeping
in the soft light, gleaming lakes and wandering rivers that glittered
and danced in the glorious atmosphere like prisoned sunbeams, greeted us
like the alluring smile of love, and yet, for the first time since
entering this lovely land, I felt myself a prisoner. Behind me was an
impassable barrier. Before me, far beyond this gleaming vision of
enchantment, lay another road whose privations and dangers I dreaded to
attempt.

I felt as a bird might feel who has been brought from the free expanse
of its wild forest-home, and placed in a golden cage where it drinks
from a jeweled cup and eats daintier food than it could obtain in its
own rude haunts. It pines for that precarious life; its very dangers and
privations fill its breast with desire. I began to long with unutterable
impatience to see once more the wild, rough scenes of my own nativity.
Memory began to recall them with softening touches. My heart yearned for
my own; debased as compared with Mizora though they be, there was the
congeniality of blood between us. I longed to see my own little one
whose dimpled hands I had unclasped from my neck in that agonized
parting. Whenever I saw a Mizora mother fondling her babe, my heart
leapt with quick desire to once more hold my own in such loving embrace.
The mothers of Mizora have a devotional love for their children. Their
smiles and prattle and baby wishes are listened to with loving
tenderness, and treated as matters of importance.

I was sitting beside a Mizora mother one evening, listening to some
singing that I truly thought no earthly melody could surpass. I asked
the lady if ever she had heard anything sweeter, and she answered,
earnestly:

"Yes, the voices of my own children."

On our homeward journey, Wauna took me to a lake from the center of
which we could see, with our glasses, a green island rising high above
the water like an emerald in a silver setting.

"That," said Wauna, directing my attention to it, "is the last vestige
of a prison left in Mizora. Would you like to visit it?"

I expressed an eager willingness to behold so curious a sight, and
getting into a small pleasure boat, we started toward it. Boats are
propelled in Mizora either by electricity or compressed air, and glide
through the water with soundless swiftness.

As we neared the island I could perceive the mingling of natural and
artificial attractions. We moored our boat at the foot of a flight of
steps, hewn from the solid rock. On reaching the top, the scene spread
out like a beautiful painting. Grottos, fountains, and cascades, winding
walks and vine-covered bowers charmed us as we wandered about. In the
center stood a medium-sized residence of white marble. We entered
through a door opening on a wide piazza. Art and wealth and taste had
adorned the interior with a generous hand. A library studded with books
closely shut behind glass doors had a wide window that commanded an
enchanting view of the lake, with its rippling waters sparkling and
dimpling in the light. On one side of the mantelpiece hung a full length
portrait of a lady, painted with startling naturalness.

"That," said Wauna, solemnly, "was the last prisoner in Mizora."

I looked with interested curiosity at a relic so curious in this land.
It was a blonde woman with lighter colored eyes than is at all common in
Mizora. Her long, blonde hair hung straight and unconfined over a dress
of thick, white material. Her attitude and expression were dejected and
sorrowful. I had visited prisons in my own land where red-handed murder
sat smiling with indifference. I had read in newspapers, labored
eloquence that described the stoicism of some hardened criminal as a
trait of character to be admired. I had read descriptions where mistaken
eloquence exerted itself to waken sympathy for a criminal who had never
felt sympathy for his helpless and innocent victims, and I had felt
nothing but creeping horror for it all. But gazing at this picture of
undeniable repentance, tears of sympathy started to my eyes. Had she
been guilty of taking a fellow-creature's life?

"Is she still living?" I asked by way of a preface.

"Oh, no, she has been dead for more than a century," answered Wauna.

"Was she confined here very long?"

"For life," was the reply.

"I should not believe," I said, "that a nature capable of so deep a
repentance could be capable of so dark a crime as murder."

"Murder!" exclaimed Wauna in horror. "There has not been a murder
committed in this land for three thousand years."

It was my turn to be astonished.

"Then tell me what dreadful crime she committed."

"She struck her child," said Wauna, sadly; "her little innocent,
helpless child that Nature gave her to love and cherish, and make noble
and useful and happy."

"Did she inflict a permanent injury?" I asked, with increased
astonishment at this new phase of refinement in the Mizora character.

"No one can tell the amount of injury a blow does to a child. It may
immediately show an obvious physical one; it may later develop a mental
one. It may never seem to have injured it at all, and yet it may have
shocked a sensitive nature and injured it permanently. Crime is evolved
from perverted natures, and natures become perverted from ill-usage. It
merges into a peculiar structure of the brain that becomes hereditary."

"What became of the prisoner's child?"

"It was adopted by a young lady who had just graduated at the State
College of the State in which the mother resided. It was only five years
old, and its mother's name was never mentioned to it or to anyone else.
Long before that, the press had abolished the practice of giving any
prominence to crime. That pernicious eloquence that in uncivilized ages
had helped to nourish crime by a maudlin sympathy for the criminal, had
ceased to exist. The young lady called the child daughter, and it called
her mother."

"Did the real mother never want to see her child?"

"That is said to be a true picture of her," said Wauna; "and who can
look at it and not see sorrow and remorse."

"How could you be so stern?" I asked, in wondering astonishment.

"Pity has nothing to do with crime," said Wauna, firmly. "You must look
to humanity, and not to the sympathy one person excites when you are
aiding enlightenment. That woman wandered about these beautiful grounds,
or sat in this elegant home a lonely and unsympathized-with prisoner.
She was furnished with books, magazines and papers, and every physical
comfort. Sympathy for her lot was never offered her. Childhood is
regarded by my people as the only period of life that is capable of
knowing perfect happiness, and among us it is a crime greater than the
heinousness of murder in your country, to deprive a human being of its
childhood--in which cluster the only unalloyed sweets of life.

"A human being who remembers only pain, rebukes treatment in childhood,
has lost the very flavor of existence, and the person who destroyed it
is a criminal indeed."



CHAPTER VI.


There was one peculiarity about Mizora that I noticed soon after my
arrival, but for various reasons have refrained from speaking of before
now. It was the absence of houses devoted to religious worship.

In architecture Mizora displayed the highest perfection. Their colleges,
art galleries, public libraries, opera houses, and all their public
buildings were grand and beautiful. Never in any country, had I beheld
such splendor in design and execution. Their superior skill in this
respect, led me to believe that their temples of worship must be on a
scale of magnificence beyond all my conceiving. I was eager to behold
them. I looked often upon my first journeyings about their cities to
discover them, but whenever I noticed an unusually imposing building,
and asked what it was, it was always something else. I was frequently on
the point of asking them to conduct me to some church that resembled my
own in worship, (for I was brought up in strict compliance with the
creeds, dogmas, and regulations of the Russo Greek Church) but I
refrained, hoping that in time, I should be introduced to their
religious ceremonies.

When time passed on, and no invitation was extended me, and I saw no
house nor preparation for religious worship, nor even heard mention of
any, I asked Wauna for an explanation. She appeared not to comprehend
me, and I asked the question:

"Where do you perform your religious rites and ceremonies?"

She looked at me with surprise.

"You ask me such strange questions that sometimes I am tempted to
believe you a relic of ancient mythology that has drifted down the
centuries and landed on our civilized shores, or else have been gifted
with a marvelous prolongation of life, and have emerged upon us from
some cavern where you have lived, or slept for ages in unchanged
possession of your ancient superstition."

"Have you, then," I asked in astonishment, "no religious temples
devoted to worship?"

"Oh, yes, we have temples where we worship daily. Do you see that
building?" nodding toward the majestic granite walls of the National
College. "That is one of our most renowned temples, where the highest
and the noblest in the land meet and mingle familiarly with the humblest
in daily worship."

"I understand all that you wish to imply by that," I replied. "But have
you no building devoted to divine worship; no temple that belongs
specially to your Deity; to the Being that created you, and to whom you
owe eternal gratitude and homage?"

"We have;" she answered grandly, with a majestic wave of her hand, and
in that mellow, musical voice that was sweeter than the chanting of
birds, she exclaimed:


     "This vast cathedral, boundless as our wonder;
       Whose shining lamps yon brilliant mists[A] supply;
     Its choir the winds, and waves; its organ thunder;
       Its dome the sky."

[Footnote A: Aurora Borealis]

"Do you worship Nature?" I asked.

"If we did, we should worship ourselves, for we are a part of Nature."

"But do you not recognize an invisible and incomprehensible Being that
created you, and who will give your spirit an abode of eternal bliss, or
consign it to eternal torments according as you have glorified and
served him?"

"I am an atom of Nature;" said Wauna, gravely. "If you want me to answer
your superstitious notions of religion, I will, in one sentence,
explain, that the only religious idea in Mizora is: Nature is God, and
God is Nature. She is the Great Mother who gathers the centuries in her
arms, and rocks their children into eternal sleep upon her bosom."

"But how," I asked in bewildered astonishment, "how can you think of
living without creeds, and confessionals? How can you prosper without
prayer? How can you be upright, and honest, and true to yourselves and
your friends without praying for divine grace and strength to sustain
you? How can you be noble, and keep from envying your neighbors,
without a prayer for divine grace to assist you to resist such
temptation?"

"Oh, daughter of the dark ages," said Wauna, sadly, "turn to the
benevolent and ever-willing Science. She is the goddess who has led us
out of ignorance and superstition; out of degradation and disease, and
every other wretchedness that superstitious, degraded humanity has
known. She has lifted us above the low and the little, the narrow and
mean in human thought and action, and has placed us in a broad, free,
independent, noble, useful and grandly happy life."

"You have been favored by divine grace," I reiterated, "although you
refuse to acknowledge it."

She smiled compassionately as she answered:

"She is the divinity who never turned a deaf ear to earnest and
persistent effort in a sensible direction. But prayers to her must be
_work_, resolute and conscientious _work_. She teaches that success in
this world can only come to those who work for it. In your superstitious
belief you pray for benefits you have never earned, possibly do not
deserve, but expect to get simply because you pray for them. Science
never betrays such partiality. The favors she bestows are conferred only
upon the industrious."

"And you deny absolutely the efficacy of prayer?" I asked.

"If I could obtain anything by prayer alone, I would pray that my
inventive faculty should be enlarged so that I might conceive and
construct an air-ship that could cleave its way through that chaos of
winds that is formed when two storms meet from opposite directions. It
would rend to atoms one of our present make. But prayer will never
produce an improved air-ship. We must dig into science for it. Our
ancestors did not pray for us to become a race of symmetrically-shaped
and universally healthy people, and expect that to effect a result. They
went to work on scientific principles to root out disease and crime and
want and wretchedness, and every degrading and retarding influence."

"Prayer never saved one of my ancestors from premature death," she
continued, with a resolution that seemed determined to tear from my mind
every fabric of faith in the consolations of divine interposition that
had been a special part of my education, and had become rooted into my
nature. "Disease, when it fastened upon the vitals of the young and
beautiful and dearly-loved was stronger and more powerful than all the
agonized prayers that could be poured from breaking hearts. But science,
when solicited by careful study and experiment and investigation,
offered the remedy. And _now_, we defy disease and have no fear of death
until our natural time comes, and _then_ it will be the welcome rest
that the worn-out body meets with gratitude."

"But when you die," I exclaimed, "do you not believe you have an after
life?"

"When I die," replied Wauna, "my body will return to the elements from
whence it came. Thought will return to the force which gave it. The
power of the brain is the one mystery that surrounds life. We know that
the brain is a mechanical structure and acted upon by force; but how to
analyze that force is still beyond our reach. You see that huge engine?
We made it. It is a fine piece of mechanism. We know what it was made to
do. We turn on the motive power, and it moves at the rate of a mile a
minute if we desire it. Why should it move? Why might it not stand
still? You say because of a law of nature that under the circumstances
compels it to move. Our brain is like that engine--a wonderful piece of
mechanism, and when the blood drives it, it displays the effects of
force which we call Thought. We can see the engine move and we know what
law of nature it obeys in moving. But the brain is a more mysterious
structure, for the force which compels it to action we cannot analyze.
The superstitious ancients called this mystery the soul."

"And do you discard that belief?" I asked, trembling and excited to hear
such sacrilegious talk from youth so beautiful and pure.

"What our future is to be after dissolution no one knows," replied
Wauna, with the greatest calmness and unconcern. "A thousand theories
and systems of religion have risen and fallen in the history of the
human family, and become the superstitions of the past. The elements
that compose this body may construct the delicate beauty of a flower, or
the green robe that covers the bosom of Mother Earth, but we cannot
know."

"But that beautiful belief in a soul," I cried, in real anguish, "How
can you discard it? How sever the hope that after death, we are again
united to part no more? Those who have left us in the spring time of
life, the bloom on their young cheeks suddenly paled by the cold touch
of death, stand waiting to welcome us to an endless reunion."

"Alas, for your anguish, my friend," said Wauna, with pityng tenderness.
"Centuries ago _my_ people passed through that season of mental pain.
That beautiful visionary idea of a soul must fade, as youth and beauty
fade, never to return; for Nature nowhere teaches the existence of such
a thing. It was a belief born of that agony of longing for happiness
without alloy, which the children of earth in the long-ago ages hoped
for, but never knew. Their lot was so barren of beauty and happiness,
and the desire for it is, now and always has been, a strong trait of
human character. The conditions of society in those earlier ages
rendered it impossible to enjoy this life perfectly, and hope and
longing pictured an imaginary one for an imaginary part of the body
called the Soul. Progress and civilization have brought to us the ideal
heaven of the ancients, and we receive from Nature no evidence of any
other."

"But I do believe there is another," I declared. "And we ought to be
prepared for it."

Wauna smiled. "What better preparation could you desire, then, than good
works in this?" she asked.

"You should pray, and do penance for your sins," was my reply.

"Then," said Wauna, "we are doing the wisest penance every day. We are
studying, investigating, experimenting in order that those who come
after us may be happier than we. Every day Science is yielding us some
new knowledge that will make living in the future still easier than
now."

"I cannot conceive," I said, "how you are to be improved upon."

"When we manufacture fruit and vegetables from the elements, can you not
perceive how much is to be gained? Old age and death will come later,
and the labor of cultivation will be done away. Such an advantage will
not be enjoyed during my lifetime. But we will labor to effect it for
future generations."

"Your whole aim in life, then, is to work for the future of your race,
instead of the eternal welfare of your own soul?" I questioned, in
surprise.

"If Nature," said Wauna, "has provided us a future life, if that
mysterious something that we call Thought is to be clothed in an
etherealized body, and live in a world where decay is unknown, I have no
fear of my reception there. Live _this_ life usefully and nobly, and no
matter if a prayer has never crossed your lips your happiness will be
assured. A just and kind action will help you farther on the road to
heaven than all the prayers that you can utter, and all the pains and
sufferings that you can inflict upon the flesh, for it will be that much
added to the happiness of this world. The grandest epitaph that could be
written is engraved upon a tombstone in yonder cemetery. The subject was
one of the pioneers of progress in a long-ago century, when progress
fought its way with difficulty through ignorance and superstition. She
suffered through life for the boldness of her opinions, and two
centuries after, when they had become popular, a monument was erected to
her memory, and has been preserved through thousands of years as a motto
for humanity. The epitaph is simply this: 'The world is better for her
having lived in it.'"



CHAPTER VII.


Not long after my conversation with Wauna, mentioned in the previous
chapter, an event happened in Mizora of so singular and unexpected a
character for that country that it requires a particular description. I
refer to the death of a young girl, the daughter of the Professor of
Natural History in the National College, whose impressive inaugural
ceremonies I had witnessed with so much gratification. The girl was of a
venturesome disposition, and, with a number of others, had gone out
rowing. The boats they used in Mizora for that purpose were mere cockle
shells. A sudden squall arose from which all could have escaped, but the
reckless daring of this young girl cost her her life. Her boat was
capsized, and despite the exertions made by her companions, she was
drowned.

Her body was recovered before the news was conveyed to the mother. As
the young companions surrounded it in the abandon of grief that tender
and artless youth alone feels, had I not known that not a tie of
consanguinity existed between them, I might have thought them a band of
sisters mourning their broken number. It was a scene I never expect and
sincerely hope never to witness again. It made the deeper impression
upon me because I knew the expressions of grief were all genuine.

I asked Wauna if any of the dead girl's companions feared that her
mother might censure them for not making sufficient effort to save her
when her boat capsized. She looked at me with astonishment.

"Such a thought," she said, "will never occur to her nor to any one else
in Mizora. I have not asked the particulars, but I know that everything
was done that could have been done to save her. There must have been
something extraordinarily unusual about the affair for all Mizora girls
are expert swimmers, and there is not one but would put forth any
exertion to save a companion."

I afterward learned that such had really been the case.

It developed upon the Preceptress to break the news to the afflicted
mother. It was done in the seclusion of her own home. There was no
manifestation of morbid curiosity among acquaintances, neighbors and
friends. The Preceptress and one or two others of her nearest and most
intimate friends called at the house during the first shock of her
bereavement.

After permission had been given to view the remains, Wauna and I called
at the house, but only entered the drawing-room. On a low cot, in an
attitude of peaceful repose, lay the breathless sleeper. Her mother and
sisters had performed for her the last sad offices of loving duty, and
lovely indeed had they made the last view we should have of their dear
one.

There was to be no ceremony at the house, and Wauna and I were in the
cemetery when the procession entered. As we passed through the city, I
noticed that every business house was closed. The whole city was
sympathizing with sorrow. I never before saw so vast a concourse of
people. The procession was very long and headed by the mother, dressed
and veiled in black. Behind her were the sisters carrying the body. It
rested upon a litter composed entirely of white rosebuds. The sisters
wore white, their faces concealed by white veils. Each wore a white
rosebud pinned upon her bosom. They were followed by a long procession
of young girls, schoolmates and friends of the dead. They were all
dressed in white, but were not veiled. Each one carried a white rosebud.

The sisters placed the litter upon rests at the side of the grave, and
clasping hands with their mother, formed a semicircle about it. They
were all so closely veiled that their features could not be seen, and no
emotion was visible. The procession of young girls formed a circle
inclosing the grave and the mourners, and began chanting a slow and
sorrowful dirge. No words can paint the pathos and beauty of such a
scene. My eye took in every detail that displayed that taste for the
beautiful that compels the Mizora mind to mingle it with every incident
of life. The melody sounded like a chorus of birds chanting, in perfect
unison, a weird requiem over some dead companion.


                           DIRGE

     She came like the Spring in its gladness
     We received her with joy--we rejoiced in her promise
     Sweet was her song as the bird's,
     Her smile was as dew to the thirsty rose.
     But the end came ere morning awakened,
     While Dawn yet blushed in its bridal veil,
     The leafy music of the woods was hushed in snowy shrouds.
     Spring withered with the perfume in her hands;
     A winter sleet has fallen upon the buds of June;
     The ice-winds blow where yesterday zephyrs disported:
     Life is not consummated
     The rose has not blossomed, the fruit has perished in the flower,
     The bird lies frozen under its mother's breast
     Youth sleeps in round loveliness when age should lie withered and
       weary, and full of honor.
     Then the grave would be welcome, and our tears would fall not.
     The grave is not for the roses of youth;
     We mourn the early departed.
     Youth sleeps without dreams--
     Without an awakening.


At the close of the chant, the mother first and then each sister took
from her bosom the white rosebud and dropped it into the grave. Then
followed her schoolmates and companions who each dropped in the bud she
carried. A carpet of white rosebuds was thus formed, on which the body,
still reclining upon its pillow of flowers, was gently lowered.

The body was dressed in white, and over all fell a veil of fine white
tulle. A more beautiful sight I can never see than that young, lovely
girl in her last sleep with the emblems of youth, purity and swift decay
forming her pillow, and winding-sheet. Over this was placed a film of
glass that rested upon the bottom and sides of the thin lining that
covered the bottom and lower sides of the grave. The remainder of the
procession of young girls then came forward and dropped their rosebuds
upon it, completely hiding from view the young and beautiful dead.

The eldest sister then took a handful of dust and casting it into the
grave, said in a voice broken, yet audible: "Mingle ashes with ashes,
and dust with its original dust. To the earth whence it was taken,
consign we the body of our sister." Each sister then threw in a handful
of dust, and then with their mother entered their carriage, which
immediately drove them home.

A beautiful silver spade was sticking in the soft earth that had been
taken from the grave. The most intimate of the dead girls friends took a
spadeful of earth and threw it into the open grave. Her example was
followed by each one of the remaining companions until the grave was
filled. Then clasping hands, they chanted a farewell to their departed
companion and playmate. After which they strewed the grave with flowers
until it looked like a bed of beauty, and departed.

I was profoundly impressed by the scene. Its solemnity, its beauty, and
the universal expression of sorrow it had called forth. A whole city
mourned the premature death of gifted and lovely youth. Alas! In my own
unhappy country such an event would have elicited but a passing phrase
of regret from all except the immediate family of the victim; for
_there_ sorrow is a guest at every heart, and leaves little room for
sympathy with strangers.

The next day the mother was at her post in the National College; the
daughters were at their studies, all seemingly calm and thoughtful, but
showing no outward signs of grief excepting to the close observer. The
mother was performing her accustomed duties with seeming cheerfulness,
but now and then her mind would drop for a moment in sorrowful
abstraction to be recalled with resolute effort and be fastened once
more upon the necessary duty of life.

The sisters I often saw in those abstracted moods, and frequently saw
them wiping away silent but unobtrusive tears. I asked Wauna for the
meaning of such stoical reserve, and the explanation was as curious as
were all the other things that I met with in Mizora.

"If you notice the custom of different grades of civilization in your
own country," said Wauna, "you will observe that the lower the
civilization the louder and more ostentatious is the mourning. True
refinement is unobtrusive in everything, and while we do not desire to
repress a natural and inevitable feeling of sorrow, we do desire to
conceal and conquer it, for the reason that death is a law of nature
that we cannot evade. And, although the death of a young person has not
occurred in Mizora in the memory of any living before this, yet it is
not without precedent. We are very prudent, but we cannot guard entirely
against accident. It has cast a gloom over the whole city, yet we
refrain from speaking of it, and strive to forget it because it cannot
be helped."

"And can you see so young, so fair a creature perish without wanting to
meet her again?"

"Whatever sorrow we feel," replied Wauna, solemnly, "we deeply realize
how useless it is to repine. We place implicit faith in the revelations
of Nature, and in no circumstances does she bid us expect a life beyond
that of the body. That is a life of individual consciousness."

"How much more consoling is the belief of my people," I replied,
triumphantly. "Their belief in a future reunion would sustain them
through the sorrow of parting in this. It has been claimed that some
have lived pure lives solely in the hope of meeting some one whom they
loved, and who had died in youth and innocence."

Wauna smiled.

"You do not all have then the same fate in anticipation for your future
life?" she asked.

"Oh, no!" I answered. "The good and the wicked are divided."

"Tell me some incident in your own land that you have witnessed, and
which illustrates the religious belief of your country."

"The belief that we have in a future life has often furnished a theme
for the poets of my own and other countries. And sometimes a quaint and
pretty sentiment is introduced into poetry to express it."

"I should like to hear some such poetry. Can you recite any?"

"I remember an incident that gave birth to a poem that was much admired
at the time, although I can recall but the two last stanzas of it. A
rowing party, of which I was a member, once went out upon a lake to view
the sunset. After we had returned to shore, and night had fallen upon
the water in impenetrable darkness, it was discovered that one of the
young men who had rowed out in a boat by himself was not with us. A
storm was approaching, and we all knew that his safety lay in getting
ashore before it broke. We lighted a fire, but the blaze could not be
seen far in such inky darkness. We hallooed, but received no answer, and
finally ceased our efforts. Then one of the young ladies who possessed a
very high and clear soprano voice, began singing at the very top of her
power. It reached the wanderer in the darkness, and he rowed straight
toward it. From that time on he became infatuated with the singer,
declaring that her voice had come to him in his despair like an angel's
straight from heaven.

"She died in less than a year, and her last words to him were: 'Meet me
in heaven.' He had always been recklessly inclined, but after that he
became a model of rectitude and goodness. He wrote a poem that was
dedicated to her memory. In it he described himself as a lone wanderer
on a strange sea in the darkness of a gathering storm and no beacon to
guide him, when suddenly he hears a voice singing which guides him safe
to shore. He speaks of the beauty of the singer and how dear she became
to him, but he still hears the song calling him across the ocean of
death."

"Repeat what you remember of it," urged Wauna.


     "That face and form, have long since gone
       Beyond where the day was lifted:
     But the beckoning song still lingers on,
       An angels earthward drifted.

     And when death's waters, around me roar
       And cares, like the birds, are winging:
     If I steer my bark to Heaven's shore
       'Twill be by an angel's singing."


"Poor child of superstition," said Wauna, sadly. "Your belief has
something pretty in it, but for your own welfare, and that of your
people, you must get rid of it as we have got rid of the offspring of
Lust. Our children come to us as welcome guests through portals of the
holiest and purest affection. That love which you speak of, I know
nothing about. I would not know. It is a degradation which mars your
young life and embitters the memories of age. We have advanced beyond
it. There is a cruelty in life," she added, compassionately, "which we
must accept with stoicism as the inevitable. Justice to your posterity
demands of you the highest and noblest effort of which your intellect is
capable."



CHAPTER VIII.


The conversation that I had with Wauna gave me so much uneasiness that I
sought her mother. I cannot express the shock I felt at hearing such
youthful and innocent lips speak of the absurdity of religious forms,
ceremonies, and creeds. She regarded my belief in them as a species of
barbarism. But she had not convinced me. _I was resolved not to be
convinced._ I believed she was in error.

Surely, I thought, a country so far advanced in civilization, and
practicing such unexampled rectitude, must, according to my religious
teaching, have been primarily actuated by religious principles which
they had since abandoned. My only surprise was that they had not
relapsed into immorality, after destroying church and creed, and I began
to feel anxious to convince them of the danger I felt they were
incurring in neglecting prayer and supplication at the throne to
continue them in their progress toward perfection of mental and moral
culture.

I explained my feelings to the Preceptress with great earnestness and
anxiety for their future, intimating that I believed their immunity from
disaster had been owing to Divine sufferance. "For no nation," I added,
quoting from my memory of religious precepts, "can prosper without
acknowledging the Christian religion."

She listened to me with great attention, and when I had finished, asked:

"How do you account for our long continuance in prosperity and progress,
for it is more than a thousand years since we rooted out the last
vestige of what you term religion, from the mind. We have had a long
immunity from punishment. To what do you attribute it?"

I hesitated to explain what had been in my mind, but finally faltered
out something about the absence of the male sex. I then had to explain
that the prisons and penitentiaries of my own land, and of all other
civilized lands that I knew of, were almost exclusively occupied by the
male sex. Out of eight hundred penitentiary prisoners, not more than
twenty or thirty would be women; and the majority of them could trace
_their_ crimes to man's infidelity.

"And what do you do to reform them?" inquired the Preceptress.

"We offer them the teachings of Christianity. All countries, however,
differ widely in this respect. The government of my country is not as
generous to prisoners as that of some others. In the United States every
penitentiary is supplied with a minister who expounds the Gospel to the
prisoners every Sunday; that is once every seven days."

"And what do they do the rest of the time?"

"They work."

"Are they ignorant?"

"Oh, yes, indeed;" I replied, earnestly. "You could not find one scholar
in ten thousand of them. Their education is either very limited, or
altogether deficient."

"Do the buildings they are confined in cost a great deal?"

"Vast sums of money are represented by them; and it often costs a
community a great deal of money to send a criminal to the penitentiary.
In some States the power to pardon rests entirely with the governor, and
it frequently occurs that a desperate criminal, who has cost a county a
great deal of money to get rid of him, will be pardoned by the governor,
to please a relative, or, as it is sometimes believed, for a bribe."

"And do the people never think of educating their criminals instead of
working them?

"That would be an expense to the government," I replied.

"If they would divide the time, and compel them to study half a day as
rigorously as they make them work, it would soon make a vast change in
their morals. Nothing so ennobles the mind as a broad and thorough
education."

"They are all compelled to listen to religious instruction once a week,"
I answered. "That surely ought to make some improvement in them. I
remember hearing an American lady relate her attendance at chapel
service in a State penitentiary one Sunday. The minister's education was
quite limited, as she could perceive from the ungrammatical language he
used, but he preached sound orthodox doctrine. The text selected had a
special application to his audience: 'Depart from me ye accursed, into
everlasting torment prepared for the Devil and his angels.' There were
eight hundred prisoners, and the minister assured them, in plain
language, that such would surely be their sentence unless they
repented."

"And that is what you call the consolations of religion, is it?" asked
the Preceptress with an expression that rather disconcerted me; as
though my zeal and earnestness entirely lacked the light of knowledge
with which she viewed it.

"That is religious instruction;" I answered. "The minister exhorted the
prisoners to pray and be purged of their sins. And it was good advice."

"But they might aver," persisted the Preceptress, "that they had prayed
to be restrained from crime, and their prayers had not been answered."

"They didn't pray with enough faith, then;" I assured her in the
confidence of my own belief. "That is wherein I think my own church is
so superior to the other religions of the world," I added, proudly. "We
can get the priest to absolve us from sin, and then we know we are rid
of it, when he tells us so."

"But what assurance have you that the priest can do so?" asked the
Preceptress.

"Because it is his duty to do so."

"Education will root out more sin than all your creeds can," gravely
answered the Preceptress. "Educate your convicts and train them into
controlling and subduing their criminal tendencies by _their own will_,
and it will have more effect on their morals than all the prayers ever
uttered. Educate them up to that point where they can perceive for
themselves the happiness of moral lives, and then you may trust them to
temptation without fear. The ideas you have expressed about dogmas,
creeds and ceremonies are not new to us, though, as a nation, we do not
make a study of them. They are very, very ancient. They go back to the
first records of the traditionary history of man. And the farther you go
back the deeper you plunge into ignorance and superstition.

"The more ignorant the human mind, the more abject was its slavery to
religion. As history progresses toward a more diffuse education of the
masses, the forms, ceremonies and beliefs in religion are continually
changing to suit the advancement of intelligence; and when intelligence
becomes universal, they will be renounced altogether. What is true of
the history of one people will be true of the history of another.
Religions are not necessary to human progress. They are really clogs. My
ancestors had more trouble to extirpate these superstitious ideas from
the mind than they had in getting rid of disease and crime. There were
several reasons for this difficulty. Disease and crime were self-evident
evils, that the narrowest intelligence could perceive; but beliefs in
creeds and superstitions were perversions of judgment, resulting from a
lack of thorough mental training. As soon, however, as education of a
high order became universal, it began to disappear. No mind of
philosophical culture can adhere to such superstitions.

"Many ages the people made idols, and, decking them with rich ornaments,
placed them in magnificent temples specially built for them and the
rites by which they worshipped them. There have existed many variations
of this kind of idolatry that are marked by the progressive stages of
civilization. Some nations of remote antiquity were highly cultured in
art and literature, yet worshipped gods of their own manufacture, or
imaginary gods, for everything. Light and darkness, the seasons, earth,
air, water, all had a separate deity to preside over and control their
special services. They offered sacrifices to these deities as they
desired their co-operation or favor in some enterprise to be undertaken.

"In remote antiquity, we read of a great General about to set out upon
the sea to attack the army of another nation. In order to propitiate the
god of the ocean, he had a fine chariot built to which were harnessed
two beautiful white horses. In the presence of a vast concourse of
people collected to witness the ceremony, he drove them into the sea.
When they sank out of sight it was supposed that the god had accepted
the present, and would show his gratitude for it by favoring winds and
peaceful weather.

"A thousand years afterward history speaks of the occurrence derisively,
as an absurd superstition, and at the same time they believed in and
lauded a more absurd and cruel religion. They worshipped an imaginary
being who had created and possessed absolute control of everything. Some
of the human family it had pleased him to make eminently good, while
others he made eminently bad. For those whom he had created with evil
desires, he prepared a lake of molten fire into which they were to be
cast after death to suffer endless torture for doing what they had been
expressly created to do. Those who had been created good were to be
rewarded for following out their natural inclinations, by occupying a
place near the Deity, where they were to spend eternity in singing
praises to him.

"He could, however, be persuaded by prayer from following his original
intentions. Very earnest prayer had caused him to change his mind, and
send rain when he had previously concluded to visit the country with
drouth.

"Two nations at war with each other, and believing in the same Deity,
would pray for a pestilence to visit their enemy. Death was universally
regarded as a visitation of Providence for some offense committed
against him instead of against the laws of nature.

"Some believed that prayer and donations to the church or priest, could
induce the Deity to take their relatives from the lake of torment and
place them in his own presence. The Deity was prayed to on every
occasion, and for every trivial object. The poor and indolent prayed for
him to send them food and clothes. The sick prayed for health, the
foolish for wisdom, and the revengeful besought the Deity to consign all
their enemies to the burning lake.

"The intelligent and humane began to doubt the necessity of such
dreadful and needless torment for every conceivable misdemeanor, and it
was modified, and eventually dropped altogether. Education finally
rooted out every phase of superstition from the minds of the people, and
now we look back and smile at the massive and magnificent structures
erected to the worship of a Deity who could be coaxed to change his mind
by prayer."

I did not tell the Preceptress that she had been giving me a history of
my own ancestry; but I remarked the resemblance with the joyous hope
that in the future of my own unhappy country lay the possibility of a
civilization so glorious, the ideal heaven of which every sorrowing
heart had dreamed. But always with the desire to believe it had a
spiritual eternity.



CHAPTER IX.


I have described the peculiar ceremony attending the burial of youth in
Mizora. Old age, in some respects, had a similar ceremony, but the
funeral of an aged person differed greatly from what I had witnessed at
the grave of youth. Wauna and I attended the funeral of a very aged
lady. Death in Mizora was the gradual failing of mental and physical
vigor. It came slowly, and unaccompanied with pain. It was received
without regret, and witnessed without tears.

The daughters performed the last labor that the mother required. They
arrayed her body for burial and bore it to the grave. If in that season
of the year, autumn leaves hid the bier, and formed the covering and
pillow of her narrow bed. If not in the fall, full-blown roses and
matured flowers were substituted.

The ceremony was conducted by the eldest daughter, assisted by the
others. No tears were shed; no mourning worn; no sorrowful chanting. A
solemn dirge was sung indicative of decay. A dignified solemnity
befitting the farewell to a useful life was manifest in all the
proceedings; but no demonstrations of sorrow were visible. The mourners
were unveiled, and performed the last services for their mother with
calmness. I was so astonished at the absence of mourning that I asked an
explanation of Wauna.

"Why should we mourn," was the surprising answer, "for what is
inevitable? Death must come, and, in this instance, it came in its
natural way. There is nothing to be regretted or mourned over, as there
was in the drowning of my young friend. Her life was suddenly arrested
while yet in the promise of its fruitfulness. There was cause for grief,
and the expressions and emblems of mourning were proper and appropriate.
But here, mourning would be out of place, for life has fulfilled its
promises. Its work is done, and nature has given the worn-out body rest.
That is all."

That sympathy and regret which the city had expressed for the young
dead was manifested only in decorum and respectful attendance at the
funeral. No one appeared to feel that it was an occasion for mourning.
How strange it all seemed to me, and yet there was a philosophy about it
that I could not help but admire. Only I wished that they believed as I
did, that all of those tender associations would be resumed beyond the
grave. If only they could be convinced. I again broached the subject to
Wauna. I could not relinquish the hope of converting her to my belief.
She was so beautiful, so pure, and I loved her so dearly. I could not
give up my hope of an eternal reunion. I appealed to her sympathy.

"What hope," I asked, "can you offer those whose lives have been only
successive phases of unhappiness? Why should beings be created only to
live a life of suffering, and then die, as many, very many, of my people
do? If they had no hope of a spiritual life, where pain and sorrow are
to be unknown, the burdens of this life could not be borne."

"You have the same consolation," replied Wauna, "as the Preceptress had
in losing her daughter. That daring spirit that cost her her life, was
the pride of her mother. She possessed a promising intellect, yet her
mother accepts her death as one of the sorrowful phases of life, and
bravely tries to subdue its pain. Long ages behind us, as my mother has
told you, the history of all human life was but a succession of woes.
Our own happy state has been evolved by slow degrees out of that
sorrowful past. Human progress is marked by blood and tears, and the
heart's bitterest anguish. We, as a people, have progressed almost
beyond the reach of sorrow, but you are in the midst of it. You must
work for the future, though you cannot be of it."

"I cannot," I declared, "reconcile myself to your belief. I am separated
from my child. To think I am never to see it in this world, nor through
endless ages, would drive me insane with despair. What consolation can
your belief offer _me_?"

"In this life, you may yearn for your child, but after this life you
sleep," answered Wauna, sententiously. "And how sweet that sleep! No
dreams; no waking to work and trial; no striving after perfection; no
planning for the morrow. It is oblivion than which there can be no
happier heaven."

"Would not meeting with those you have loved be happier?" I asked, in
amazement.

"There would be happiness; and there would be work, too."

"But my religion does not believe in work in heaven," I answered.

"Then it has not taken the immutable laws of Nature into consideration,"
said Wauna. "If Nature has prepared a conscious existence for us after
this body decays, she has prepared work for us, you may rest assured. It
might be a grander, nobler work; but it would be work, nevertheless.
Then, how restful, in contrast, is our religion. It is eternal,
undisturbable rest for both body and brain. Besides, as you say
yourself, you cannot be sure of meeting those whom you desire to meet in
that other country. They may be the ones condemned to eternal suffering
for their sins. Think you I could enjoy myself in any surroundings, when
I knew that those who were dear to me in this life, were enduring
torment that could have no end. Give me oblivion rather than such a
heaven.

"Our punishment comes in this world; but it is not so much through sin
as ignorance. The savages lived lives of misery, occasioned by their
lack of intelligence. Humanity must always suffer for the mistakes it
makes. Misery belongs to the ignorant; happiness to the wise. That is
our doctrine of reward and punishment."

"And you believe that my people will one day reject all religions?"

"When they are advanced enough," she answered. "You say you have
scholars among you already, who preach their inconsistencies. What do
you call them?"

"Philosophers," was my reply.

"They are your prophets," said Wauna. "When they break the shackles that
bind you to creeds and dogmas, they will have done much to advance you.
To rely on one's own _will_ power to do right is the only safe road to
morality, and your only heaven."

I left Wauna and sought a secluded spot by the river. I was shocked
beyond measure at her confession. It had the earnestness, and, to me,
the cruelty of conviction. To live without a spiritual future in
anticipation was akin to depravity, to crime and its penalty of prison
life forever. Yet here was a people, noble, exalted beyond my
conceiving, living in the present, and obeying only a duty to posterity.
I recalled a painting I had once seen that always possessed for me a
horrible fascination. In a cave, with his foot upon the corpse of a
youth, sat the crowned and sceptered majesty of Death. The waters of
oblivion encompassed the throne and corpse, which lay with its head and
feet bathed in its waters--for out of the Unknown had life come, and to
the Unknown had it departed. Before me, in vision, swept the mighty
stream of human life from which I had been swept to these strange
shores. All its sufferings, its delusions; its baffled struggles; its
wrongs, came upon me with a sense of spiritual agony in them that
religion--my religion, which was their only consolation--must vanish in
the crucible of Science. And that Science was the magician that was to
purify and exalt the world. To live in the Present; to die in it and
become as the dust; a mere speck, a flash of activity in the far,
limitless expanse of Nature, of Force, of Matter in which a spiritual
ideal had no part. It was horrible to think of. The prejudices of
inherited religious faith, the contracted forces of thought in which I
had been born and reared could not be uprooted or expanded without pain.



CHAPTER X.


I had begun to feel an intense longing to return to my own country, but
it was accompanied by a desire, equally as strong, to carry back to that
woe-burdened land some of the noble lessons and doctrines I had learned
in this. I saw no means of doing it that seemed so available as a
companion,--a being, born and bred in an atmosphere of honor and grandly
humane ideas and actions.

My heart and my judgment turned to Wauna. She was endeared to me by long
and gentle association. She was self-reliant and courageous, and
possessed a strong will. Who, of all my Mizora acquaintances, was so
well adapted to the service I required.

When I broached the subject to her, Wauna expressed herself as really
pleased with the idea; but when we went to the Preceptress, she
acknowledged a strong reluctance to the proposition. She said:

"Wauna can form no conception of the conditions of society in your
country. They are far, very far, behind our own. They will, I fear,
chafe her own nature more than she can improve theirs. Still, if I
thought she could lead your people into a broader intelligence, and
start them on the way upward to enlightenment and real happiness, I
would let her go. The moment, however, that she desires to return she
must be aided to do so."

I pledged myself to abide by any request the Preceptress might make of
me. Wauna's own inclinations greatly influenced her mother, and finally
we obtained her consent. Our preparations were carefully made. The
advanced knowledge of chemistry in Mizora placed many advantages in our
way. Our boat was an ingenious contrivance with a thin glass top that
could be removed and folded away until needed to protect us from the
rigors of the Arctic climate.

I had given an accurate description of the rapids that would oppose us,
and our boat was furnished with a motive power sufficient to drive us
through them at a higher rate of speed than what they moved at. It was
built so as to be easily converted into a sled, and runners were made
that could be readily adjusted. We were provided with food and clothing
prepared expressly for the severe change to and rigors of the Arctic
climate through which we must pass.

I was constantly dreading the terrors of that long ice-bound journey,
but the Preceptress appeared to be little concerned about it. When I
spoke of its severities, she said for us to observe her directions, and
we should not suffer. She asked me if I had ever felt uncomfortable in
any of the air-ship voyages I had taken, and said that the cold of the
upper regions through which I had passed in their country was quite as
intense as any I could meet within a lower atmosphere of my own.

The newspapers had a great deal to say about the departure of the
Preceptress' daughter on so uncertain a mission, and to that strange
land of barbarians which I represented. When the day arrived for our
departure, immense throngs of people from all parts of the country lined
the shore, or looked down upon us from their anchored air-ships.

The last words of farewell had been spoken to my many friends and
benefactors. Wauna had bidden a multitude of associates good-bye, and
clasped her mother's hand, which she held until the boat parted from the
shore. Years have passed since that memorable parting, but the look of
yearning love in that Mizora mother's eyes haunts me still. Long and
vainly has she watched for a boat's prow to cleave that amber mist and
bear to her arms that vision of beauty and tender love I took away from
her. My heart saddens at the thought of her grief and long, long waiting
that only death will end.

We pointed the boat's prow toward the wide mysterious circle of amber
mists, and then turned our eyes for a last look at Mizora. Wauna stood
silent and calm, earnestly gazing into the eyes of her mother, until the
shore and the multitude of fair faces faded like a vision of heaven from
our views.

"O beautiful Mizora!" cried the voice of my heart. "Shall I ever again
see a land so fair, where natures so noble and aims so lofty have their
abiding place? Memory will return to you though my feet may never again
tread your delightful shores. Farewell, sweet ideal land of my Soul, of
Humanity, farewell!"

My thoughts turned to that other world from which I had journeyed so
long. Would the time ever come when it, too, would be a land of
universal intelligence and happiness? When the difference of nations
would be settled by argument instead of battle? When disease, deformity
and premature death would be unknown? When locks, and bolts and bars
would be useless?

I hoped so much from the personal influence of Wauna. So noble, so
utterly unconscious of wrong, she must surely revolutionize human nature
whenever it came in contact with her own.

I pictured to myself my own dear land--dear, despite its many phases of
wretchedness--smiling in universal comfort and health. I imagined its
political prisons yawning with emptiness, while their haggard and
decrepit and sorrowful occupants hobbled out into the sunshine of
liberty, and the new life we were bringing to them. Fancy flew abroad on
the wings of hope, dropping the seeds of progress wherever it passed.

The poor should be given work, and justly paid for it, instead of being
supported by charity. The charity that had fostered indolence in its
mistaken efforts to do good, should be employed to train poverty to
skillful labor and economy in living. And what a world of good that one
measure would produce! The poor should possess exactly the same
educational advantages that were supplied to the rich. In this _one_
measure, if I could only make it popular, I would see the golden promise
of the future of my country. "Educate your poor and they will work out
their own salvation. Educated Labor can dictate its rights to Capital."

How easy of accomplishment it all seemed to me, who had seen the
practical benefits arising to a commonwealth that had adopted these
mottoes. I doubted not that the wiser and better of my own people would
aid and encourage me. Free education would lead to other results.

Riches should be accumulated only by vast and generous industries that
reached a helping hand to thousands of industrious poor, instead of
grinding them out of a few hundred of poorly-paid and over-worked
artisans. Education in the hands of the poor would be a powerful agent
with which they would alleviate their own condition, and defend
themselves against oppression and knavery.

The prisons should be supplied with schools as well as work-rooms, where
the intellect should be trained and cultivated, and where moral idiocy,
by the stern and rigorous law of Justice to Innocence, should be forced
to deny itself posterity.

No philanthropical mind ever spread the wings of its fancy for a broader
flight.



CHAPTER XI.


Our journey was a perilous one with all our precautions. The passage
through the swiftest part of the current almost swamped our boat. The
current that opposed us was so strong, that when we increased our speed
our boat appeared to be cleaving its way through a wall of waters. Wauna
was perfectly calm, and managed the motor with the steadiest nerves. Her
courage inspired me, though many a time I despaired of ever getting out
of the rapids. When we did, and looked up at the star-gemmed canopy that
stretches above my own world, and abroad over the dark and desolate
waste of waters around us, it gave me an impression of solemn and weird
magnificence. It was such a contrast to the vivid nights of Mizora, to
which my eyes had so long been accustomed, that it came upon me like a
new scene.

The stars were a source of wonder and ceaseless delight to Wauna. "It
looks," she said, "as though a prodigal hand had strewn the top of the
atmosphere with diamonds."

The journey over fields of ice and snow was monotonous, but, owing to
the skill and knowledge of Mizora displayed in our accoutrements, it was
deprived of its severities. The wind whistled past us without any other
greeting than its melancholy sound. We looked out from our snug quarters
on the dismal hills of snow and ice without a sensation of distress. The
Aurora Borealis hung out its streamers of beauty, but they were pale
compared to what Wauna had seen in her own country. The Esquimaux she
presumed were animals.

We traveled far enough south to secure passage upon a trading-vessel
bound for civilized shores. The sun came up with his glance of fire and
his banners of light, laying his glorious touch on cloud and water, and
kissing the cheek with his warmth. He beamed upon us from the zenith,
and sank behind the western clouds with a lingering glance of beauty.
The moon came up like the ghost of the sun, casting a weird yet tender
beauty on every object. To Wauna it was a revelation of magnificence in
nature beyond her contriving.

"How grand," she exclaimed, "are the revelations of nature in your
world! To look upon them, it seems to me, would broaden and deepen the
mind with the very vastness of their splendor. Nature has been more
bountiful to you than to Mizora. The day with its heart of fire, and the
night with its pale beauty are grander than ours. They speak of vast and
incomprehensible power."

When I took Wauna to the observatory, and she looked upon the countless
multitudes of worlds and suns revolving in space so far away that a sun
and its satellites looked like a ball of mist, she said that words could
not describe her sensations.

"To us," she said, "the leaves of Nature's book are the winds and waves,
the bud and bloom and decay of seasons. But here every leaf is a world.
A mighty hand has sprinkled the suns like fruitful seeds across the
limitless fields of space. Can human nature contemplate a scene so grand
that reaches so far beyond the grasp of mind, and not feel its own
insignificance, and the littleness of selfish actions? And yet you can
behold these myriads of worlds and systems of worlds wheeling in the dim
infinity of space--a spectacle awful in its vastness--and turn to the
practice of narrow superstitions?"

At last the shores of my native land greeted my longing eyes, and the
familiar scenes of my childhood drew near. But when, after nearly twenty
years absence, I stood on the once familiar spot, the graves of my
heart's dear ones were all that was mine. My little one had died soon
after my exile. My father had soon followed. Suspected, and finally
persecuted by the government, my husband had fled the country, and,
nearly as I could discover, had sought that universal asylum for the
oppressed of all nations--the United States. And thither I turned my
steps.

In my own country and in France, the friends who had known me in
girlhood were surprised at my youthful appearance. I did not explain the
cause of it to them, nor did I mention the people or country from whence
I had come. Wauna was my friend and a foreigner--that was all.

The impression she made was all that I had anticipated. Her unusual
beauty and her evident purity attracted attention wherever she went. The
wonderful melody of her singing was much commented upon, but in Mizora
she had been considered but an indifferent singer. But I had made a
mistake in my anticipation of her personal influence. The gentleness
and delicacy of her character received the tenderest respect. None who
looked upon that face or met the glance of the dark soft eyes ever
doubted that the nature that animated them was pure and beautiful. Yet
it was the respect felt for a character so exceptionably superior that
imitation and emulation would be impossible.

"She is too far above the common run of human nature," said one
observer. "I should not be surprised if her spirit were already pluming
its wings for a heavenly flight. Such natures never stay long among us."

The remark struck my heart with a chill of depression. I looked at Wauna
and wondered why I had noticed sooner the shrinking outlines of the once
round cheek. Too gentle to show disgust, too noble to ill-treat, the
spirit of Wauna was chafing under the trying associations. Men and women
alike regarded her as an impossible character, and I began to realize
with a sickening regret that I had made a mistake. In my own country, in
France and England, her beauty was her sole attraction to men. The lofty
ideal of humanity that she represented was smiled at or gently ignored.

"The world would be a paradise," said one philosopher, "if such
characters were common. But one is like a seed in the ocean; it cannot
do much good."

When we arrived in the United States, its activity and evident progress
impressed Wauna with a feeling more nearly akin to companionship. Her
own character received a juster appreciation.

"The time is near," she said, "when the New World will be the teacher of
the Old in the great lesson of Humanity. You will live to see it
demonstrate to the world the justice and policy of giving to every child
born under its flag the highest mental, moral and physical training
known to the present age. You can hardly realize what twenty-five years
of free education will bring to it. They are already on the right path,
but they are still many centuries behind my own country in civilization,
in their government and modes of dispensing justice. Yet their free
schools, as yet imperfect, are, nevertheless, fruitful seeds of
progress."

Yet here the nature of Wauna grew restless and homesick, and she at last
gave expression to her longing for home.

"I am not suited to your world," she said, with a look of deep sorrow in
her lovely eyes. "None of my people are. We are too finely organized. I
cannot look with any degree of calmness upon the practices of your
civilization. It is a common thing to see mothers ill-treat their own
helpless little ones. The pitiful cries of the children keep ringing in
my ears. Cannot mothers realize that they are whipping a mean spirit
into their offspring instead of out. I have heard the most enlightened
deny their own statements when selfishness demanded it. I cannot mention
the half of the things I witness daily that grates upon my feelings. I
cannot reform them. It is not for such as I to be a reformer. Those who
need reform are the ones to work for it."

Sorrowfully I bade adieu to my hopes and my search for Alexis, and
prepared to accompany Wauna's return. We embarked on a whaling vessel,
and having reached its farthest limit, we started on our perilous
journey north; perilous for the lack of our boat, of which we could hear
nothing. It had been left in charge of a party of Esquimaux, and had
either been destroyed, or was hidden. Our progress, therefore, depended
entirely upon the Esquimaux. The tribe I had journeyed so far north with
had departed, and those whom I solicited to accompany us professed to be
ignorant of the sea I mentioned. Like all low natures, the Esquimaux are
intensely selfish. Nothing could induce them to assist us but the most
apparent benefit to themselves; and this I could not assure them. The
homesickness, and coarse diet and savage surroundings told rapidly on
the sensitive nature of Wauna. In a miserable Esquimaux hut, on a pile
of furs, I saw the flame of a beautiful and grandly noble life die out.
My efforts were hopeless; my anguish keen. O Humanity, what have I
sacrificed for you!

"Oh, Wauna," I pleaded, as I saw the signs of dissolution approaching,
"shall I not pray for you?"

"Prayers cannot avail me," she replied, as her thin hands reached and
closed over one of mine. "I had hoped once more to see the majestic
hills and smiling valleys of my own sweet land, but I shall not. If I
could only go to sleep in the arms of my mother. But the Great Mother of
us all will soon receive me in her bosom. And oh! my friend, promise me
that her dust shall cover me from the sight of men. When my mother
rocked me to slumber on her bosom, and soothed me with her gentle
lullaby, she little dreamed that I should suffer and die first. If you
ever reach Mizora, tell her only that I sleep the sleep of oblivion. She
will know. Let the memory of my suffering die with me."

"Oh, Wauna," I exclaimed, in anguish, "you surely have a soul. How can
anything so young, so pure, so beautiful, be doomed to annihilation?"

"We are not annihilated," was the calm reply. "And as to beauty, are
the roses not beautiful? Yet they die and you say it is the end of the
year's roses. The birds are harmless, and their songs make the woods
melodious with the joy of life, yet they die, and you say they have no
after life. We are like the roses, but our lives are for a century and
more. And when our lives are ended, the Great Mother gathers us in. We
are the harvest of the centuries."

When the dull, gray light of the Arctic morning broke, it fell gently
upon the presence of Death.

With the assistance of the Esquimaux, a grave was dug, and a rude wooden
cross erected on which I wrote the one word "Wauna," which, in the
language of Mizora, means "Happiness."


The world to which I have returned is many ages behind the civilization
of Mizora.

Though we cannot hope to attain their perfection in our generation, yet
many, very many, evils could be obliterated were we to follow their
laws. Crime is as hereditary as disease.

No savant now denies the transmittable taint of insanity and
consumption. There are some people in the world now, who, knowing the
possibility of afflicting offspring with hereditary disease, have lived
in ascetic celibacy. But where do we find a criminal who denies himself
offspring, lest he endow posterity with the horrible capacity for murder
that lies in his blood?

The good, the just, the noble, close heart and eyes to the sweet
allurements of domestic life, lest posterity suffer physically or
mentally by them. But the criminal has no restraints but what the law
enforces. Ignorance, poverty and disease, huddled in dens of
wretchedness, where they multiply with reckless improvidence, sometimes
fostered by mistaken charity.

The future of the world, if it be grand and noble, will be the result of
UNIVERSAL EDUCATION, FREE AS THE GOD-GIVEN WATER WE DRINK.

In the United States I await the issue of universal liberty. In this
refuge for oppression, my husband found a grave. Childless, homeless and
friendless, in poverty and obscurity, I have written the story of my
wanderings. The world's fame can never warm a heart already dead to
happiness; but out of the agony of one human life, may come a lesson for
many. Life is a tragedy even under the most favorable conditions.


THE END





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