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Title: Anno Domini 2071 - Translated from the Dutch Original
Author: Harting, Pieter
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Anno Domini 2071 - Translated from the Dutch Original" ***

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                              ANNO DOMINI

                  Translated from the Dutch Original,



                        Dr. Alex. V. W. BIKKERS.

                 WILLIAM TEGG, Pancras Lane, Cheapside.


The late Artemus Ward was in the habit of quoting--either from his
own or another man's store of wit--"Never prophesy unless you know
for certain." There is, however, a particular mode of foretelling
which is neither dangerous nor venturesome; that process, namely,
by which inferences are being drawn from analogous things that have
come to pass, and applied to the contemplation of future events. The
little book here presented in an English translation may serve as
an illustration in point. It was originally published in the Dutch
language, the author hiding himself behind the nom de plume of
Dr. Dioscorides. If success goes for anything--and who is prepared
to say what it does not go for--we launch it in its new form with
more than sufficient confidence. Even within the narrow geographical
limits of the Netherlands it has rapidly passed through three editions,
and a German scholar has deemed it not unworthy of a translation in
his native tongue.

The present publication is more and at the same time less than a
translation; more, because it has been prepared for a different
class of readers than it was originally intended for; less, because
in some instances, and at one point especially, we thought we had
some reason to apply the pruning-knife to obnoxious excrescences,
as no doubt they would have proved in a new soil. The foot-notes
have either been added with a view to ensure a perfect understanding
on the part of the reader, or to secure for the little work as wide
a circulation as possible. So far with regard to its form, object,
and origin. There are the boundaries of our province.

A. V. W. B.

London, 1871.




When comparing the present condition of society with that of past
centuries the question naturally arises, what will the future be?

Will the same progress which, in our own times especially, has been
of such vast dimensions, and manifested itself in so many directions,
continue to be progressive? And if so--for who could think of reaction,
since the art of printing has guarded against any furrow of the
human mind being ever effaced--where is to be the ultimate goal of
the progress of our successors? Where are we to look for the fruits
of those innumerable germs which the present generation is sowing
for the benefit of those that will come after them?

These, and similar other questions, occupied my mind when, seated
one afternoon in my comfortable arm-chair, I allowed my thoughts
freely to wander amid the manes of those that preceded us. I thought
of our own Musschenbroek, Gravesande, Huyghens, and Stevin, and of
what would be their surprise were they to reappear on this earth,
and gaze upon the marvellous works of modern machinery; I passed
in review a Newton and Galileo, with so many others, founders of an
edifice which they themselves would not now recognise. I thought of
steam engines and electric telegraphs, of railways and steamboats, of
mountain tunnels and suspension bridges, of photography and gasworks,
of the amazing strides lately made by chemistry, of telescopes and
microscopes, of diving bells and aëronautics; aye, and of a hundred
other things, which, in motley array, wildly crossed my mind,
though all corresponding in this that they loudly proclaimed the
vast and enormous difference between the present and the past. The
line of demarcation between the one and the other revealed itself
still more clearly to me as my thoughts carried me further back
into the past and the ghost of Roger Bacon seemed to rise before my
imagination. This thirteenth-century child was a scholar who surpassed
all his contemporaries in sound judgment and knowledge of natural
science; alas! his fate was the ordinary one in store for all those
whose light shone above that of others in those darkest of ages. He
was accused of witchcraft, and cast into a dungeon, there doomed to
sigh for ten weary years, after which, as the rumour goes, he died
in his prison. The memory of that illustrious man called to my mind
some passages of his writings, from which it will be seen how he,
as if endowed with the seer's gift, did actually foretell, some six
hundred years ago, that which since, and chiefly in our own time,
has become an array of realities. For example:

"It is possible," says he, "to construct spying-glasses by which the
most distant objects can be drawn near to us, so that we shall be
able to read the most minute writing at an almost incredible distance,
to see all kinds of diminutive objects, and to make the stars appear
wherever we choose."

"We might make waggons that could move along with great velocity,
and without being drawn by animals."

"Similar other machines might be had, as, for example, bridges without
pillars or supports of any kind."

"There might be contrivances for the purpose of navigation without
navigators, so that the greatest vessels would be handled by one
single man, and at the same time move onward with greater speed than
those with numerous crews." [1]

As I pondered over such remarkable observations as those, I sank
into absolute reverie; all surrounding objects seemed gradually to
disappear from my sight, until I got into that peculiar condition
in which, while everything material about us is at rest and passive,
the mind, on the contrary, proves uncommonly active and alert.

I felt myself suddenly in the midst of an immense city; where I
did not know, but about me I saw a vast square, and in it a stately
edifice with a lofty tower, on which I fancied I read the following

                               A.D. 2071.

                              January 1st.

I could scarcely believe my own eyes, and must have approached the
tower with looks highly expressive of curiosity and amazement; for
an elderly gentleman, accompanied by a young lady, stepped forward
to speak to me. "I see, sir, that you are a stranger in Londinia;
if any information could be of service to you----"

These kind words caused me to stop; I looked at the man who stood
before me, and was at once struck and impressed by his thoughtful and
noble features. Nor was I slow in recognising him. He was the very
man with whom I had been for some time past engaged in my thoughts.

"You are Roger Bacon," said I.

"To be sure!" was his reply; "at the same time allow me the pleasure
of introducing you to this young lady friend of mine, Miss Phantasia."

I happened to be in that frame of mind to which one might apply the
Horatian nil mirari. Nothing of what I saw surprised me, not even
the appearance in the flesh of a man like Bacon, who had taken his
departure from our planet some five hundred years ago. I therefore
simply accepted his obliging offer, and began by asking for an
explanation of the figures and words on the tower.

"On yonder tower, over the clock-face?" answered he. "Why, that
means simply this, that we have arrived at the first day of the new
year 2071."

"But what is the time? I see so many hands and figures on the clock,
that I am perfectly bewildered."

"What kind of time is it you want to know?" asked he in reply; "true,
mean, or

                             Aleutic Time?

for each of these has its own set of hands and figures."

"I know full well," said I, "what true time is, also what is understood
by mean time, but what on earth is meant by aleutic time?"

"I will soon explain," spoke my obliging guide. "Since the whole
globe has been encircled by one large net of telegraph lines, and
wire messages, [2] whether east or westward bound, do the whole round
of our planet in a single moment, it has been found necessary to
adopt a kind of time that would apply to any spot of the earth; for
by some such contrivance alone was it possible to avoid a confusion
that would have been fatal in many cases, more especially in those
of commercial transactions, when the knowledge of the right time is
an object of no mean consideration. By mutual agreement the several
nations therefore selected the largest of the Aleutic islands, by way
of a neutral point or centre. When the sun rises on the east coast of
that island, then begins the world-day. Nor has the selection of the
neutral point been in any way an arbitrary one; for east and west of
the meridian which passes over that island are to be found those very
latitudes where the confusion of time was formerly at its height;
and for this reason, that according to their discovery having been
accomplished either from Europe in easterly direction round Africa,
or westward round America, one whole day had been lost or gained. Now
the consequence of this was, that in the islands of these latitudes
the inhabitants of the eastern coasts and those dwelling in the west
differed four-and-twenty hours in their calculations of time, owing
to the circumstance that they belonged to, or were descended from,
the one or the other ancient colony. The adoption of an Aleutic time
has put a stop to any such confusion."

Having thus endeavoured to satisfy my curiosity, my companion went on
to say: "Do come along with us; we shall have plenty of opportunity
to show you other matters of interest in the city of Londinia."

"Londinia? Is that the same as London?"

"Not quite; ancient London formed but a small portion of the present
city of Londinia. The latter occupies a considerable part of the
south-east of England, and has a population of something like twelve

As we continued our tour, I chanced to hit upon the trivial remark that
we had "very mild weather indeed, considering the time of the year."

"You are mistaken," Bacon said; "on the contrary, it is bitterly cold;
only you forget that we are in town. Just feel the heat of the current
of air which rises from the sieve-like plate on which you are walking,
and you will doubtless agree with me that the

                    Distribution-of-Warm-Air Society

is by no means unfaithful to its obligations. Then look above you. Had
the distribution been insufficient, we should still see the glass
roof over our heads covered with this morning's snow."

I looked up, and saw that the street was vaulted over with glass
plates of considerable length and width, joined together by thin bars,
with here and there an aperture as the means of ventilation.

"I apprehend, then, that we are in a so-called arcade?"

"Well, yes; if you mean to apply that name to the greater part of
our city. That which in the nineteenth century was only to be found
occasionally in the great towns of Europe, has become a regular
institution in the twenty-first, owing to the manufacture of our

                            Verre sans Fin,

or 'Endless Glass,' as our people generally call it."

"I have no doubt that this must be a considerable improvement on
your town-life throughout winter; but in summer-time I should say
this must be intolerably hot."

"Not at all; the same society which undertakes the supply of warm
air in winter also provides for us during the summer months a cooling
draught. Nothing can be easier than that. You are doubtless aware of
ice having been manufactured in the middle of summer for at least a
couple of centuries. During the warm season the air is made to pass
over the glass vault above us before it reaches the pavement through
the sieve-like plate, and if the warm-air inspectors properly attend
to their duties, there is scarcely any difference in our temperature
throughout the year."

"Then probably you warm your houses by a similar process, and you
never use any stoves or fireplaces now?"

Neither of my companions could help smiling at these words, betraying
again, as they did, my very old-fashioned notions. Bacon, however,
gave me a kindly nod of assent as he proceeded to explain: "Just as
a cold-water bath may be heated at pleasure by opening the hot-water
tap, we can warm the air in our apartments by means of a valve,
which when opened, not only affords a supply of warm air, but has
the additional advantage of producing a most delightful refreshing
of the atmosphere without any idea of draught."

"I really cannot understand," Miss Phantasia here remarked, "how the
people in those barbarous times managed to live amid the smoke and
ashes and dust of their horrible fireplaces."

"And then their chimneys on fire," added Bacon; "thank Fate, we have
done with that too. Poor insurance offices, they don't pay half the
premium now of what they used to do."

"One more question," said I, "before we leave this subject. What do
you call the metal used for those elegant little bars which connect
and support the roof of glass above us? Surely they are not of iron,
as they would have been in my time?"

"No," answered my guide; "iron, on account of its greater specific
weight, would have been less suitable here than aluminium; the latter
not only corresponds in weight with the glass which it supports,
but it also withstands the effects of the atmosphere far better than
iron. You will very soon perceive in how many instances the new metal
has superseded the old one, in additional proof of which I would
just mention the fact that the modern antiquarians do not exclusively
now speak of the ages of stone, bronze, and iron, but that they have
formally recognised the

                           Age of Aluminium.

The latter commenced or dates from the second half of the twentieth
century, when it was first discovered how to produce aluminium in
large quantities from common clay, old tiles, potsherds, china,
and earthenware."

"Ah!" said I, "here, then, we have another striking example to teach
us that discoveries simply arrived at by purely scientific processes
searched after from the pure motive of increase of knowledge, may
often be ultimately productive of the greatest practical use. The
same metal which for years after Wöhler's discovery continued to be
a curiosity--so much so that a few grains of it were preserved among
the collections of chemical preparations--has now become universally
beneficial, nay, a perfect godsend to those districts where clay,
i.e. aluminium ore, is the only underground wealth."

Following up this idea, at the risk of being ridiculed or, perhaps,
reprimanded for my impertinent garrulousness, I continued in the
following strain:

"Think of the phosphorus discovered by Brandt and Künckel as early as
1669, yet never getting into common use until the lucifers, fusees,
and 'flamers' made their appearance some two hundred years afterwards;
and of chloroform, now the greatest alleviation of suffering humanity,
although Dumas, when he first compounded it, did but little dream
of its application. Then, again, when Sir Humphry Davy's remarkable
experiments taught him the refrigerating power of metal gas, did this
not ultimately lead to the invention of the safety lamp? and not only
has the latter already preserved thousands of human lives, but, more
than that, the principle of Davy's invention has actually become the
basis upon which all steam-engines are constructed, as well as those by
which ice can be made at any time. With regard to the invention of the
art of photography, how could it have become a reality, a possibility,
without the number of purely scientific discoveries that preceded
it; aye, purely scientific discoveries, such as Porta's so-called
camera obscura [3] (sixteenth century); Scheele's discovery of the
discoloration of chloride of silver by light, at which he did not
arrive until two hundred years afterwards; Courtois's finding of the
iodine, 1811; or the invention of gun cotton, from which Schönbein
learned to make collodion; nor would it be difficult to name several
other materials, all found by regular chemical processes, to fix the
photographic images, and to make them permanent."

Encouraged by my companion's "line of non-intervention," I ventured
to continue to speak my thoughts aloud.

"If any art more than another," said I, "is calculated to illustrate
the fact that the most important discoveries--such as have been
most universally brought to bear upon the joint social condition of
mankind--have simply resulted from the inventions of scientific men
who never dreamt of the practical application of their discoveries;
if any such thing exists, surely it is the telegraph. Could these
magic wires have lurked in the mind of Thales when he found out,
now twenty-five centuries ago, that a piece of amber, when rubbed,
attracts light bodies, even although it led him to discover the very
first of those phenomena, the cause of which must be sought in that
mysterious power which now we call electricity? Did Galvani think
of the telegraphic art when he noticed how the muscles of his frogs
contracted under the influence of electricity? [4] or Volta, when,
following up Galvani's experiments, he produced the pile that bears
his name? And yet that was, so to speak, the embryo of those modern
batteries of ours whence proceeds the marvellous action along the
wire. Nor is it in any way presumable that Oerstedt ever thought of the
application of his discovery to telegraphy, when he first noticed that
the magnetic needle is deflected under the influence of electricity;
[5] no more than Arago, who found that iron becomes magnetic when an
electric current runs along it through a metal wire.

"No, no!" cried I; "none of those men could ever have foreseen
the ultimate beneficial results of these discoveries of natural
truths." [6]

"You are perfectly right in your remarks," said Bacon, as I
paused. "From my own personal knowledge of what has come to pass in
the field of industry during the last two centuries, I could adduce a
good many more examples to show that many of your nineteenth-century
discoveries, which for a long time afterwards merely bore a purely
scientific significance or character, have now become prolific sources
of material benefit to society at large. Nor does any one now-a-days
doubt the importance of pure science; all governments look upon it
as an urgent duty on their part to promote the same wherever they
can; nor is it too anxiously asked whether it does bear, in every
instance, immediate results to benefit the material condition of
society. Moreover, it should not be here forgotten that every man
of judgment and discrimination has long since learned to see that
the furtherance of material advantages as the aim and end of human
endeavours is an idea as narrow in itself as it is unworthy of rational
beings. Surely there exists another and infinitely higher mainspring of
happiness in the enjoyment of gathering such knowledge as will enable
us to perceive the causal connection between the phenomena of nature,
or teach us the history of man and all his surroundings. The pursuit
of material gratification is essentially a thing which man shares
with the brute; but our desire to ennoble that which is spiritual or
immaterial in us--that is exclusively human; the gratification of such
desire is the genuine 'trade-mark' of real civilization. So much is
the bulk of modern society already convinced of these truths, that
no government could now-a-days afford to neglect the encouragement
of scientific pursuit, although the utmost discretion be left to the
men of science themselves with regard to the other question: how and
in what direction the extension of knowledge ought to take place."

"Then you hear nothing more now of what was once termed 'official

"I really do not know," said Bacon, "what you are alluding to; but
if you use the word 'official' in its usual acceptation--meaning that
which can no longer be doubted, since it emanated from a responsible
government--then, my dear sir, you will pardon me the remark that the
expression is anything but felicitous, nay, very shallow indeed. A
government may protect, support, and promote science, but it can
never stamp it with the seal of genuineness. Such seal is held by
truth alone!"

Somewhat ashamed of my apparently antiquated notions and childish
observations, I walked on in silence until Miss Phantasia all of a
sudden exclaimed: "Here we have actually got to the exhibition of


oh, do let us go in. I should very much like to know whether they come
at all up to those enormous golden placards outside, and whether the
highest of the fine arts is here equalled by reality."

There was something spiteful in the remarks of the young lady;
and at my question of what was meant by heliochromes, she again
sarcastically replied, "Oh! nothing but photographs in the natural
colours of the objects as pencilled by the sun himself; so, at least,
in her extravagant style, says my friend Realia." [7]

"Ha!" exclaimed I, "the ultimate triumph of the life-long endeavours
of that plucky Frenchman, De Saint-Victor! final fruits of the prix
Trémont awarded him by the French Academy!"

Bacon looked at me with a smile clearly indicative of his contempt
for my helpless ignorance. But all he said was this: "Come inside,
please, and you will have something else to see than those rude and
perishable experiments of Victor of the nineteenth century."

We entered, and I could not trust my eyes. The walls of the building
were covered with innumerable pictures, landscapes, portraits, and
genre-pieces, some of the figures life-size; and all these pictures
were mere photographs, yet photographs differing as much from those
that I was familiar with as an oil painting does from a crayon drawing.

"Unhappy artists! poor arts!" I exclaimed; "what have you come to
at last?"

But Miss Phantasia appeared to share my delight no more than my
sympathy. "Unhappy artists, indeed," was her reply, "if by such
honourable name you designate those knights of the brush whose sole
aim and end is the faithful imitation of reality; but do not say
poor arts! They have by no means died out, the worthy successors
of Raphael and Corregio, of Rubens and Rembrandt, of those whose
calling was not to imitate nature, but to idealise it. And that is
the vocation of art. Simple imitation is mere handicraft. And although
the monuments and statues of living persons are now mechanically taken
from photographs, aye, by a common workman who has no notion of art;
yet have we sculptors who are genuine artists, creators of the ideal."

I quietly accepted the rebuff, and rejoiced to think that all those
treasures of art of which my country is so proud had not then, after
all, deteriorated in worth; on the other hand, it was to me a matter
of little moment that mediocre talents, incapable of rising above
the imitation of reality, had been compelled to exchange the brush
for the camera obscura; and I had no doubt that their productions
would thereby gain--in faithfulness.

As we left the exhibition building, I saw a huge waggon without any
horses, but simply governed by one man, in spite of which it seemed
to roll on as easily as possible, and to pull up at pleasure. The
waggon was loaded with all sizes of black-coloured cylinders,
resembling casks or barrels. I was perfectly aware of the numerous
successful experiments made long ago in England and elsewhere with the
construction of steam-engines destined to run, not along iron rails,
but along the ordinary roads. I could not, however, help noticing that
this waggon differed totally from those old locomobiles, inasmuch as
there were no signs of steam about the novelty.

Once more I turned to my amiable guide for an explanation; but
although he immediately prepared to comply with my request, still I
am obliged to confess that not everything was quite clear to me. I
imagine this was partly owing to Bacon's making use of the names of
engines and materials with which I was unfamiliar; but this is about
what I understood him to say:

"So long as we had abundance of coal, the use of steam was found to be
amply sufficient for the locomotion of all kinds of engines, waggons,
or carriages; but about the beginning of this century the quantity
of coal in the different countries of Europe had decreased to such
an extent that the price of the article became by far too high for
daily and ordinary use. True, the supply of North America was far from
being exhausted; but, of course, the exportation from thence could
not but influence the cost. The same inconvenience further presented
itself with such engines where the locomotive power was produced by
continually recurring explosions of a mixture of light-gas and common
atmospheric air, since the cost of light-gas naturally increased with
the decrease of coal, from which it was principally made. Under these
circumstances, recourse was had to the electro-magnetic machines,
which could not be used to advantage so long as coals were inexpensive;
now, however, these were not only able to compete with the different
kinds of steam-engines, but they had this advantage over the latter,
that they were entirely free from the danger of explosive boilers.

"Nevertheless the electro-magnetic power, with all its improvements,
was, and remained, a more expensive one than that formerly produced
through coal, and the consequence of this was a decrease in the
produce of a great many things which had not only grown into matters
of daily necessity, but even into a sine quâ non of a progressive
and lasting civilization.

Then it was, since necessity is the mother of invention, that every
one contrived to devise a new means of locomotion, until, after
innumerable unsuccessful experiments, a power was finally arrived at
in every way practical and satisfactory, whilst inexhaustible in its
sources. It was, namely, this.

From time immemorial people knew the two motive forces of flowing water
and of streaming air, or wind. When the steam-engines came into use,
the latter had gradually superseded the former, partly because rapidly
flowing or falling water is not always procurable, partly also because
the supply of water, as well as its power, depends on the quantities
of rain falling in the higher districts. The latter inconvenience,
the variability of power, made itself still more strongly felt in the
application of the wind. The most absolute quietness in the air may
be followed by tempests so dangerous that the skipper is obliged to
furl his sails, and the miller finds it necessary to stop his mill,
in order to avoid the most disastrous consequences. Now, when the mill
stops, it becomes a useless machine; for then the work of the men
is stopped, and ultimately their wages. Much valuable time is lost,
and time is known to be money. Add to this that a steam-engine may be
worked unremittingly, so that the manufacturer can be sure to finish
any given work in any stipulated time, and it must be clear enough
why the powers of water and wind got to be superseded by steam-power,
on account of the latter's superior regularity.

"Meanwhile it is impossible to overlook the double fact that water and
wind may be had for nothing, and that steam involves expense. Moreover,
so immense is the quantity of vital or working power of the water
falling down on the surface of our earth, and also of the atmospheric
currents, that the locomotive power of all existing steam-engines is
comparatively trifling by the side of them. One single great cataract
has more working power than all the steam-engines of Europe together,
and one single thunder-storm may produce such frightful destruction
that it would be ridiculous to measure them by horse-power.

"As, therefore, steam became more and more expensive, one naturally
looked for means by which, without losing the regularity and stability
of steam-power, one might turn to account the forces of wind and
falling water. The question had really come to this--how to regularly
distribute over a certain period of time a force or power so intensely
variable. It seemed as if the working-power of water and wind had
to be collected and saved up, so as to have a regular provision
of such forces in case of need. In like manner Nature had saved
her working-power when she caused the forests to grow, from whence
resulted the coal layers. Art had already done the same in preparing
gunpowder and other explosive matters. Why, then, could the experiment
not be tried in analogous form, namely, by temporary imprisonment or
detention of that vital power which appeared to be so inexhaustible?"

That was the problem. With regard to its solution I could not well
follow the details. All I could learn from Bacon was this, that the
black cylinders on the waggon already referred to bore the name of


force-holders, or energy-preservers; that one of these set the waggon
in motion, whilst the others were to be delivered either at private
houses for domestic purposes of hoisting, raising, or carrying;
or to blacksmiths, turners, and other artisans, who wanted motive
powers not so extensive as regular. Large manufactories used similar
energeiathecs, only of greater power and dimensions. Some of these
(in mountainous districts) collected the power of falling water;
others (situated in the lower districts) utilised the wind.

With regard to the construction, etc., of those cylinders, I could do
nothing more than to form a faint idea. Thus I thought of compressed
air, or some other gas, which, by some strong pressure or other
might have been turned into a liquid or hard substance retaining
the capability of rendering again its deposit of force on subsequent
explosion. But I merely give this hypothesis for what it is worth.

While Bacon had thus been endeavouring to enlighten me on a subject
which after all I did not profess to understand, we had reached
the aluminium railings of an elegant and lofty edifice, bearing
the inscription,

                           National Library.

Naturally enough, I evinced a strong desire to enter, but Bacon
remarked that a visit to such a place would take up a good deal
of valuable time, that might be turned to a much more pleasurable
and profitable account; to which Miss Phantasia added that if the
gentlemen chose to enter that labyrinth of learning, she, for her
part, preferred a walk in the square; the latter, crossed in all
directions by parks and avenues and flower-beds, was moreover crowded
with the most exquisite works of ancient and modern sculptors, living
illustrations of her former assertion that genuine works of art had
not quite died out.

As soon as we had arrived at the opposite side of the square, I fully
understood the wisdom of Bacon's remarks. So far as my eyes reached,
I could see a dense cluster of buildings, more resembling a moderately
sized town than a depository of literature. "You see, my friend,"
Bacon said, "it is imperative here to make up your mind what to see,
or else our lady friend will be tired of waiting. Which branch of
human knowledge do you give the preference to?"

I answered that I was especially interested in works of natural

"Impossible to think of visiting the buildings in which all these
are deposited. You will have to restrict yourself considerably."

"Well, then, let us confine ourselves to zoology."

"Too much even for the most cursory glance. It would take us hours
to have a mere walk through. Select a sub-section of zoology."

"Shall we say the literature of entomology?"

"That won't do either; you must keep to one single order of insects."

"Well, then, be good enough to select for yourself," said I; "I'll
follow you."

We entered one of the buildings. How I was surprised to see the crowd
of officers and attendants! some anxious to direct and assist the
still greater mass of visitors; others busily engaged in making out
tickets and extracts for those scholars who had not time enough to do
any such manual work themselves. I felt that this was an admirable
school for young students, who were here able not only to gather
a valuable knowledge of books, but also to form themselves into
independent thinkers and writers.

                       Nineteenth-Century Books.

As I looked round, I saw one of the junior attendants engaged in
gumming the leaves of a musty book on sheets of collodion, so that one
side of the leaf remained at least legible. I remembered that this was
the way in which the papyrus scrolls of Pompeii and Herculaneum were
preserved from utter destruction; but how great was my astonishment
to see that the title-page of the musty book bore the year mark
1860, Amsterdam. "So it is with most of the nineteenth-century
books," said Bacon. "Owing to the bleaching properties of chlorine,
the paper on which they have been printed got so thin, and mouldy,
and worm-eaten, that we have but few works of those days now left;
and that is really to be regretted, for many writings of that time
were quite worth preserving."

I must confess that I was sorry to hear this little bit of information,
so distressing to an author of that age; but, of course, I was silent,
and kept on following my guide through rows and rows of apartments,
until we arrived at last at a vast hall, literally crammed with books
from top to bottom. There we paused, and Bacon turned round to address
me. "Now we are among the literature of the two-winged insects; what
work do you wish to see?" But staring at those thousands of volumes of
treatises on gnats and flies, I was too much afraid again to betray
my ignorance; I felt sure I would hit upon some title or other to
convince my guide how little I was au courant of the twenty-first
century. I limited myself to expressing my gratification at what I
had already seen, and added that I would not trespass any further
upon the obliging courtesy of my friend.

And thus we left the National Library, an institution which they
might safely have called the bibliopolis, for indeed it was like a
city of books.

As we passed once more through the front gate on our return, we came
across a crowd of men who were about to enter, and whom I judged
by their dress and appearance to belong to the class of artizans. I
asked Bacon what business had those people there?

"These are workmen from a neighbouring factory," answered he;
"they come here in turns for an hour every day, in order to read
in yonder room, especially set apart for them, such books as the
library committee has judged to be adapted to their wants. Such
workmen's libraries exist in all the several quarters of the city,
but they are most numerous in the densely populated districts where
most factories are to be found."

"And are they well frequented? And do employers allow their workmen to
make use of them? And have they reduced their wages in consequence? Are
they not afraid that their men will thus become too clever, too
well educated?"

"With regard to your first two questions--yes; with regard to the
latter two--no. So far as employers are concerned, they have long
been taught by experience that, by allowing their employés one hour's
relaxation daily, they act in their own interest; that is to say,
when such an hour's "holiday" be turned to good account by the
men themselves, by learning something more about their business,
and contributing to their mental development generally. Besides,
what else could have happened, since the continual invention of new
machinery has done away with so much of our manual labour? Naturally
enough, a greater demand has set in among the working classes for
knowledge and intellectual culture, and this has shown itself in the
same proportion as the demand for mere handicraft has subsided."

"Pity, though," said I, "for those who cannot make use of the library."

"Cannot!" exclaimed my guide; "but the doors are open to every one."

"Except to those who are unable to read, I suppose."

"Unable to read!" retorted Bacon; "but we are in Europe, my dear
sir, not among the Hottentots or Bushmen! There is not one man
or woman amongst us but what can read and write, and even do some
arithmetic. Surely these elements of knowledge are the very first
steps on the field of culture, and the sine quâ non of a person's
being a useful member of society."

"Do I then understand from your remarks that you have arrived at last
at a system of

                         Compulsory Education?"

"Most decidedly, sir! How could you doubt that for a moment? If
parents are obliged to maintain their children with food and the
'necessaries of life,' why should they not be compelled to look after
the nurturing of their minds?"

"Why, because the one is a moral obligation, whereas, if I rightly
understand you, school education has been made compulsory by the
law; and this would appear to me to be an infringement of individual
liberty, and of the rights of parents."

"You did understand me rightly, so far as the law is concerned;
but permit me, sir, to point out to you that you have taken a very
one-sided view of the question of compulsion. You will probably admit
that for any properly managed society to exist, every member of the
same has to sacrifice a portion of his individual liberty in the
interests of the whole of which he forms part. In many cases such
sacrifices are borne without any reluctance or opposition; then,
namely, when they are visibly and amply compensated by the many
advantages involved in our living in a well-regulated society. With
regard to the much-vaunted rights of parents, it should never be
lost sight of that the children have their rights as well; aye, from
the moment they enter upon this world; and one of these rights is
that they, born in civilized society, where ignorance is excluded
as a foreign element, must be somehow enabled to appropriate some
culture to themselves. If now the parents abuse their rights by sheer
force it becomes the duty of the state to intervene on behalf of the
weaker, and, by legal exactions, protect the children in their future
welfare. This is, at the same time, in the interests of the state;
for the experience of preceding centuries, when compulsory education
was not universally recognised, has taught us again and again that
the jails of Europe were mostly filled with those that could neither
read nor write."

"One more question permit me. Has not the introduction of compulsory
education been accompanied by great, almost insuperable obstacles?"

"That these obstacles were at least not insuperable you may easily
gather from the fact that, even in the nineteenth century, the
compulsory measure existed in some parts of Germany, and met with no
opposition. Of course, on its application to other countries, some
difficulties had at first to be surmounted; for all novelties meet with
opposition somewhere, and all changes are fraught with more or less
evil somehow. At first the measure had to be occasionally enforced
by the arm of the law, but a very few years sufficed for the legal
clause to grow into a popular habit; and the present generation,
grown up under its beneficent influence, is so deeply convinced of
the indispensability of some elementary knowledge in every member of
society, that the law might be safely repealed without fear that any
school would lose a single pupil." [8]

Bacon's arguments were by no means lost upon me; nay, it seemed now
almost strange and inexplicable to me that in an age when the word
"progress" proceeded and was re-echoed from lip to lip, so absolute
a sine quâ non of progress could have found opponents. But then I
remembered at the same time that the word progress admitted of more
acceptations than one. I was about to inquire of Bacon in what sense
the term was taken in the twenty-first century, when my eye fell upon
another row of buildings far greater in extent than those constituting
the National Library. I was informed by my guide that we had arrived
at the National Museum. "Here," said he, "are preserved some glorious
works of art and all the most remarkable objects of nature."

"I easily understand," said I, "that even the ordinary tourist would
require a couple of days to gratify his morbid curiosity in this
enceinte; but could I not see some small department at least of all
these sightworthy productions?"

"Well," answered Miss Phantasia, "let us see the collection in the

                          Genealogical Museum;

that is my hobby," continued she, as she stopped before one of the

Could I trust my ears! A young lady's favourite study was genealogy;
old parchments, coats-of-arms, and heraldry her hobbies! However, I
could but follow her, and as I did so, and arrived at our destination,
I saw none of her "hobbies" at all; from one single centre, spreading
into innumerable directions and ramifications, I observed a collection
of skeletons; several of them were indeed old acquaintances, such as
the elephant, the mammoth, the mastodont, the rhinoceros, the horse,
the hippotherium, the anchitherium, the palaeotherium, the lophiodon,
etc., etc.; but a far greater number apparently represented the
remains of creatures altogether unknown to me; they were arranged,
not only according to their general dates of discovery, but also on
the basis of organic relationship, so that those forms nearest to each
other showed the nearest approach in outward appearance, whereas the
extreme forms on both sides bore the most astonishing contrast.

It now became clear to me in what sense our fair companion had used
the qualification of genealogical, not as referring to the noble
trees of families but to indicate the various ways by which the animal
species that have at one time lived on this earth had developed one
from the other. Miss Phantasia appeared to attach great value to
this genealogical collection; but still I could not help remarking
to her that this process of exhibiting the fossils of animal species
did by no means prove what it was intended to do; "for," said I,
"up to the present day there are to be found on our globe, and alive,
all sorts of mutually related forms and intermediate varieties."

"Ah, well!" exclaimed the bright-eyed, lively damsel, "you would think
differently if you were acquainted with all the new discoveries of
our age." [9]

Perfectly agreeing with Miss Phantasia, so far as my ignorance went,
I thought I had better drop the subject altogether; still I ventured to
ask her one more question: Did this museum at the same time contain
the ancestors of the human race? In reply she pointed to a row of
veiled figures in the background of the hall; but as she took my hand
to conduct me thither, Bacon stepped between us, and said, "Let not my
fair friend tempt you; you would not be able to see anything in that
dark corner over there; the evening is falling. Go you to your hotel;
we too are homeward bound."

Indeed, the evening was falling, but only in the building; for
as soon as we got outside, we found ourselves apparently in broad
daylight. I looked about me for gas-flames and lamp-posts, but I
could discover nothing of the kind. At last I looked up to the sky,
and then I saw far above the houses a dazzling light, somewhat like
the sun, spreading his rays in all directions, and several more of
these "suns" at considerable distances from one another.

"Don't you even know the

                             Solar Light?"

Bacon asked. "That surprises me; for as far back as the second half
of the nineteenth century it was used to illuminate both here and
in Paris some of the public edifices. Here it has been generally
introduced for some time past, ever since the streets have been
covered with our endless glass."

"But then that light is too brilliant and too white; that can't
be gas-light."

"Nor is it. Gas is now only burnt in those isolated districts where
the houses stand far apart from each other, but the central part
of the city is chiefly lighted up by the burning of magnesium, and
sometimes also by electric light, or any of the numerous lights with
which we are now acquainted. The apparatus, consisting of mirrors
and lenses, to collect the light and to make the beams parallel,
i.e. equal to sunlight, is the same for all those different kinds of
public illumination."

"Rather expensive, though," was my sudden reply.

"Not as expensive as you think," continued Bacon; "especially not
in the case of magnesium, for there is an abundance of magnesium ore
in the form of dolemite, etc., from which we get the metal in a way
as inexpensive as that followed in the preparation of aluminium. To
this must be added that the process of burning this metal yields a
hard substance, which, by a suitable arrangement of the apparatus,
can be collected again and re-reduced to magnesium. Speaking
theoretically, a certain quantity of magnesium is a source of light
quite as inexhaustible as the oil-jar of the widow of Sarepta of
which we read in the Book of Kings."

The more I looked about, the more I arrived at the humiliating
conclusion that we of the boasting nineteenth century--of which
I still felt to be a child--were really very much benighted, and I
could almost forgive Miss Phantasia for speaking of the semi-barbarous
condition of society in my time.

It seemed as if Bacon read my thoughts by my features; for he
continued as follows: "I see that you are desirous of increasing
your acquaintance with the present state of affairs. Well, then, if
you have been able to put up with our company to-day, you had better
join us to-morrow, in our contemplated aërial voyage."

How I thrilled with inward delight at the prospect of such a tour! Of
course I accepted the kind offer without hesitation, although I could
not help raising a slight point of doubt with regard to the state of
the weather.

"Don't you trouble your mind about that," said my amiable guide;
"early this morning I was at the meteorological institute, and I
have ascertained that the weather will be fine for a fortnight at all
events. The reports from the different meteorological stations are all
equally propitious. The sky will be bright, and the wind favourable;
I should be surprised if the aëronaut would have any occasion to use
the energeiathecs, which, however, will accompany us as preventatives."

We parted company, but not until I had made a note of the spot where it
was intended we should meet on the following morning. I hailed one of
the numerous cabs on the stand, and ordered the driver to take me to my
hotel. As I drove on, I was agreeably surprised not to hear anything
of that rattling noise over the pavement, which is alike obnoxious
to the person inside the vehicle, to all the passers-by, and to the
inmates of houses situated in public thoroughfares. I heard nothing,
indeed, but the melodious tinkling of four little bells tied round
the horse's neck, and forming a musical chord. I am sorry to say that
I was not fortunate enough to discover whether this "gentle process"
was attributable to the nature of the pavement, or to certain hoops
(not iron ones) round the wheels. Probably it was the one as much as
the other.

                             The Telephon.

Arrived at my hotel, I was at once struck with its extreme quietness,
more so as the apartments were all but taken by some thousands of
travellers. The cause of this, however, I soon discovered on entering
the elegant and spacious conversation room. Methought I heard a kind
of music, feeble, yet melodious in the extreme. The sound approached
as near as possible that of the human voice; but still the quality
was altogether different. Besides, no artist, male or female, was to
be seen in the room. The only clue that I could get to the mystery
was through a box of small dimensions; this instrument was placed
on a table right in the centre of the room, and thence the sound
appeared to proceed. Taking the affair to be an ordinary musical-box,
worked in the usual way, I gazed with no little contempt and surprise
upon the crowd of serious-looking, enthusiastic men and women who had
clustered round the table. As soon as the music ceased, I ventured to
approach the spectators, at the same time asking one among the crowd
for some information with regard to the musical instrument in which
they all seemed to be so much interested.

Oh the number of pairs of eyes that stared at me, full of amazement,
if not of indignation! At last one of the enthusiasts condescended to
break the silence, "What, sir, a musical instrument! where did you
ever know such tones to proceed from a musical instrument? Surely,
sir, as a gentleman you must have heard of the telephon?"

I now remembered that a machine bearing that name, and answering that
description, had been invented as far back as 1861 by a certain Reis;
also that it was based upon the following law, as discovered and laid
down by Page; namely, that when an electric current passes through
a wire coiled round an iron bar, and the current is continually
interrupted, there arises a sound or a tone, the height or depth
of which is entirely dependent on the number of vibrations produced
by the interruptions of the current, according to their succeeding
each other with more or less velocity. This recurring to my mind, I
now replied that the telephon was indeed not quite unfamiliar to me,
in proof of which I went back to the history of its first invention; I
also gave a description of Reis' little instrument, by which the sound
of the human voice could be transmitted through very great distances;
and finally, I added my surmise or natural conviction that such an
instrument must have been considerably improved upon in the course
of more than two centuries. [10] I was happy to notice the excellent
impression visibly produced by my words; there now arose a tolerably
general murmur of "whoever now would have taken the telephon to be
so old an affair?" As for me, I was complimented on my antiquarian
knowledge, and, thanks to the amiable disposition of the visitors
towards me, I was not long in discovering what had been going on. That
which every one now was so anxious to explain to me amounted, in a few
words, to this. The North-American papers had of late been indulging
in the most extravagant terms of praise with regard to a lady singer
who, according to the Yankee critics, was possessed of a voice such
as no mortal had ever yet heard of, surpassing in compass and quality
everything that could be imagined; a talent whereby all the artists
of former ages--if history could be relied on--ladies like Catalani,
Malibran, Henriette Sonntag, Jenny Lind, or the Pattis, were really
no more in comparison than a cricket to a nightingale.

Of course, as might be imagined, these reports from across the Atlantic
had created an immense stir in the musical world of Londinia. From
all directions the managers of concerts and operas had been induced
to negotiate with this marvellous talent, so that it should no longer
be hidden from the musical inhabitants of Londinia. But, then, all
these reports emanated from the States, the fons et origo of humbug;
and, probably taught by experience, the managers had all clubbed
together, and, at their joint expense, despatched a telegram to the
gifted artist, requesting her to allow her marvellous power to be
tested by means of the telephon. That would, at all events, enable
them to judge of the compass and quality of her voice. To this the
lady had consented, and thereupon the managers had hired one of the
transatlantic telegraph cables, on which the experiment had been made.

As a clear indication of the compass of the voice, I was shown
sundry slips of black paper on which could be seen numerous curved
white lines; the latter had been traced upon the paper by the
phonautographer standing behind the telephon, and were supposed
to mark the musical scales within compass of the lady's voice. An
impression of these slips of paper was to appear, on the following
morning, in the musical journal, Panharmonia, in order that "the
eyes of the inhabitants of Londinia might anticipate the glorious
treat in store for the musical ears of the great metropolis." "For,"
added the editor of the Panharmonia, "all connoisseurs in music know
the meaning of these little waves. Won't they be astonished when they
see a tone like this!" Saying this, he pointed with his finger to
the very extreme line where the little curves met as near as possible.

Of course I was longing to examine the construction of the telephon. I
was just about to ask one of the gentlemen present to give me some
explanation on the subject, when there was a general demand for
silence. The American lady was to afford us another treat. This time
she sang an air from Mozart's Don Giovanni, and I was delighted to
find that this masterpiece of the great maestro was not forgotten
even three centuries after the composer's death.

At the close of her examination, the lady was unanimously declared
worthy to appear before the critical public of Londinia, and she
received what we might term a musical ovation by means of another
telephon working in opposite direction. And here the matter was
allowed to rest, it being left to the different managers to endeavour
to engage her services. All and each of these gentlemen looked as if
they were in possession of some secret or other wherewith to outvie
their competitors. They parted, however, on the best of terms, and
I retired to my room.

The following morning I was down very early, and, having enjoyed
my breakfast, I walked slowly towards the place where I expected
to meet my companions of the preceding day. No guide was required
in this apparently immense labyrinth, for nothing indeed was easier
than to find one's way. All the streets, squares, etc., were namely
marked, not by names as formerly, but by a particular set of figures,
which, with the assistance of a map, directed me to any given spot;
all that was required to know was two figures, indicating the point
of destination pretty much as with the latitude and longitude at sea.

I was still at a considerable distance away from it when I caught
sight of a vast building, on which I read an inscription in gigantic

                        General Balloon Company.

I had expected to find our starting-point in some open space, or at
least in one of the squares, and was therefore not a little surprised
to see that this building was situated in one of the most densely
populated neighbourhoods. Perhaps, thought I, this is merely the
office where the tickets have to be taken. But when I got nearer,
I perceived that the building differed essentially from other houses
in this respect, that it had an entirely flat roof, which contained
a kind of conveyance, not unlike a ship, but the precise outline of
which I could not discover, owing to the glass vault over the street.

Bacon and Miss Phantasia were already on the spot, and after the
customary morning greetings we entered to secure our seats. The first
thing now was to be weighed; for the price of the passage naturally
depended on the volume of our bodily organization. It need not be
said that the young lady came off cheapest. We then passed through a
door into a small parlour, or waiting-room, where we found a few more
passengers. In the centre of the room I noticed a staircase, and up at
the ceiling a kind of trap. Against the walls were several cushioned
seats, as in a first-class railway carriage. After a short time the
whole apartment seemed to move. I heard a gentle rustling along the
walls, as if something were sliding down the paper-hangings. But even
before I had time to think on the subject there was a lowering of
the trap in the ceiling, and a cheerful greeting of "Welcome a-high,
ladies and gentlemen!"

We got upstairs through the aperture, and found ourselves on the
flat roof of the building, but precisely underneath the air-ship;
we entered, however, the open trap constructed in the latter, for we
soon found out that the weather was bitterly cold. This, unfortunately,
prevented me from becoming more intimately acquainted with the outward
appearance of the balloon, and with its locomotive powers. On the other
hand, ample opportunity was afforded us for examining its internal
arrangements. As soon as we came into what I can but term the "hold"
of the vessel, Bacon called my attention to a long narrow cylinder
which ran across the whole length of the ship. "Therein lies," said he,
"the whole secret of aëronautics. In order that I may explain this
to you, I must remind you of this, that it was formerly impossible
to steer any balloon except before the wind. An ordinary vessel,
when the keel cuts through the water, can sail half or quarter-wind,
because she moves in the two intermediate matters of air and water,
the latter offering a greater resistance than the former, and thereby
supporting the vessel in her movements; to which must be added that
the resistance operates in a definite direction, namely, in that of
the motion of the ship, so that by supplying the craft with a rudder
or helm one is able to turn her at pleasure to the right or the left.

"But," continued Bacon, "this becomes quite a different matter when
a vessel is merely surrounded by air. Driven onward by the wind,
which means carried along by the atmospheric current, she meets with
no resistance, and therefore lacks every point of support whereby
to turn herself. She will always offer the largest of her sides to
the wind, which falls upon it at right angles, just the same as on
a light piece of paper or cloth whirled round by the wind.

"In order, then, to render such balloon voyages possible at all, it
was necessary, in the first place, to afford the machine its required
support, its resistance, and this was accomplished in the following
manner: The long cylinder which runs along the whole of the ship is
a bar of malleable iron, surrounded by a spiral copper wire which has
been coated with an insulating substance. If, now, a voltaic current
is made to pass along that wire, the bar becomes a most powerful
electro-magnet, which, when free in its movements, like the needle
of a compass, adopts a direction from south to north, with a slight
easterly deviation, and also a certain inclination. When driven out
of its natural direction by another power, the needle will endeavour
to resume its original inclination. As, now, the magnet and the vessel
are so joined together as virtually to form but one body, the balloon,
or rather the ship, is in itself a gigantic compass. The inclination
is removed just the same as with the needle of the compass. One has
merely to alter the centre of gravity, and this can be done in several
ways. Thus, all that remains is the direction in the magnetic meridian.

"If, now, the wind blows in the same direction that one wishes to
travel, then the apparatus is not worked; that is to say, no current
is passed through the wire. Should the wind, however, be unpropitious,
then the ship is at once changed into a magnet. For example, suppose
the wind to be due west, and the sails to be placed at right angles
with the wind, then the vessel will be driven neither east nor
northward, but towards a point intermediate; just as a vessel at
sea when pushed north by the current of the water, and westward by
the wind, does not follow either of these directions exclusively,
but an intermediate one. It is not difficult, therefore, to perceive
that the aëronaut, by the proper joint working of his sails and of
the electro-magnetic apparatus, is enabled to turn his ship into any
direction he chooses. Nor is that all. The apparatus also serves as a
helm or rudder; for as soon as I press this knob the current is at once
reversed; the north pole becomes the south pole, and vice versâ. It
stands to reason that the vessel must turn under the circumstances,
and, of course, according to pleasure; for at any moment the helmsman
may interrupt the current, whereby the ship ceases to be a magnet.

"Now, as indeed at sea, the case may be that the wind is too strong,
and the power of the magnet insufficient to properly govern the
air-ship. In that case we have recourse to those energeiathecs of
which I spoke yesterday; these tend to set in circular motion the
four-winged screws which you see here and there peeping out of the
sides, and this is always done as near as possible at right angles
with the direction in which the vessel has a tendency to deviate.

"Thus it is usually possible to keep the ship in the direction
required; but should the aëronaut fail in his attempt to do so, even
then he has another resource left him which the seaman lacks. He rises
or descends with his air-ship in search of a more favourable wind;
nor does he do so at hap-hazard, for the meteorological institute
has long since issued charts upon which are marked the directions
of all the air-currents that will probably be found at any given
altitude for any given time. These charts are arranged in the same
manner as those formerly published by the institute, which, however,
merely showed the probable direction of the wind in the immediate
vicinity of the earth's surface.

"With regard to the modes of ascent and descent, they differ somewhat
according to the nature of the various apparatuses, and for these,
to explain them to you in detail--by which alone you would understand
the differences--we should have to go on deck, and it is so bitterly
cold there, that we are better where we are. Suffice it to say that the
old clumsy process of throwing out ballast for the purpose of rising
has long been dispensed with, since it was found that the measure
was merely a partial or momentary one, and slightly unacceptable
to the denizens of the earth below. The most appropriate method we
have learned from nature; it consists, namely, of an imitation of the
operation of the swim-bladder in fishes. The latter accomplish their
ascent and descent in the water by a greater or lesser compression
of that bladder, or of the air contained in it; some of them having
even special compression apparatuses for that object. From this you
will easily conclude the application of the aquatic locomotion to
that of the navigation in the air."

This, I must confess, I did not quite see; but many other points in
Bacon's explanation remained to be cleared up. Not a few questions
were on the tip of my tongue, but I asked no more. I felt that I was a
child of the nineteenth century, too little au courant of the science
of modern times to understand all that had been accomplished during
the last two hundred years; moreover, I feared that by putting more
silly questions I should lower myself in the estimation of my friend.

                          Travelling Dialect.

Miss Phantasia was of too mercurial a temperament to listen to
lengthy descriptions; she had already ascended the steps that led
to the saloon, and we now followed her. The compartment looked neat
enough, though not comfortable. Everything pointed to the endeavours
of rendering all the furniture as light as possible, and this, of
course, applied to the whole affair whenever it did not interfere with
the necessary solidity. Bamboo canes cut thin and twisted together
appeared to be the chief material, and of the metals aluminium was
the only one to be seen.

On our entering the waiting-room, I had already noticed that all the
passengers conversed with one another in the same tongue, in a dialect
of which I certainly recognised a word or two, but yet a foreign idiom
to me. On asking my companion what countrymen those gentlemen were,
I received the following reply:

"They belong to all sorts of nations. That burly-looking gentleman
yonder is a Russian; that ridiculous little man playing with his
moustache and ogling all the ladies can only be a Frenchman; the
other trunculant figure, who has paid the highest fare, is one of
your own countrymen--a Dutchman; those two blue-eyed, flaxen-haired
youngsters are Germans, and all the rest are English."

"But how, then, is it that they all speak the same language?"

"They speak the travelling dialect. In our modern days, when many
people spend the greater portion of their time in travelling, and
all nationalities continually mingle together, such an idiom was
created almost spontaneously. True, it is as yet but a language in
its infancy; but it will probably, at no great distance of time,
become the universal tongue."

I listened as attentively as I dared and could, and I observed very
soon that the so-called travelling dialect was a mixture of various
tongues, English though preponderating; and this I ascribed to the fact
of the majority of the travelling public being generally Englishmen.

                              No more War!

As I looked about me, it so happened that my eye fell upon some wide
tubes peeping out from the sides and the hold of the vessel. I first
thought that these were a new kind of cannon; so I asked whether we
were on board of a man-of-war? Miss Phantasia smiled, but her smile
was a bitter one immediately followed by a sigh. "War!" she echoed,
"those chivalrous times we only know from history; our modern men
are manufacturers, merchants, engineers, scholars, legislators,
and so forth; but as for soldiers--well, you may see them on the
stage occasionally, but our numerous force of constables is the only
approach to soldiery we have."

"Is it possible?" cried I; "no more war, and no more standing
armies! At last then the idea has triumphed of the peace-men, Cobden,
Bright, and their followers; at last the present generation has
acknowledged that war was an eternal disgrace to humanity, reducing
reasoning men to the level of the unreasoning brute, and causing
them to destroy each other's lives in the blindest fury, instead,
alas! of dwelling together on this beautiful earth in unity, peace,
and concord, for the promotion of mutual happiness!"

"I doubt very much indeed," muttered Bacon in his teeth, "whether
any such considerations as those have brought about the reign of
peace. Mankind, my dear sir, is still swayed by passion; quite as much,
I venture to say, as in bygone days. Men still deserve the epithet
once served upon them by a foreign poet: 'angel half, half brute!' and
so it will be in the future, although it can never be denied that
society, as a whole, progresses in a moral sense. But for this, that
'circumstances alter cases,' I am afraid there would be war still. Only
circumstances are altered, and war has become an impossibility.

"In the first place, our present condition of peace has been chiefly
brought about by the universal state-bankruptcy at the close of the
nineteenth century, when the combined debts of the would-be civilised
nations (in consequence of the immense expense involved in the large
standing armies) had become to surpass the joint national capitals.

"In the second place, the present state of affairs is due to the
marvellous improvements lately made in the weapons of attack and

"When, in the last war, now about a century ago, the navies of England,
France, Russia, and America had mutually destroyed one another; when,
through a bombardment from both sides of the channel, the capitals
of England and France had simultaneously been set on fire; when the
losses on both sides had become incalculable, not to say irreparable,
then, but not until then, people began to ask themselves whether even
a victory was worth such enormous sacrifices. And it finally dawned in
the public mind that in all wars the conqueror is likewise the loser.

"But that which has mainly contributed to render war gradually a
matter of rare occurrence, and which, we trust, will ultimately
lead to its complete abolition, is the vastly increased intercourse
between the peoples of various nationalities, by which all those
silly inherited national antipathies have slowly become absorbed;
then again, we have had the application of the principles of free
trade, the removal of all those barriers that separated nations from
nations, an universal system of coinage and weights and measures,
an increase in the means of locomotion and communication, and the
fusion of the individual interests of particular nations into one
great universal 'public weal.' Nations have ceased to stand opposite,
against one another, they flourish side by side; by thousands and
thousands of bonds they are joined and held together; and if the
nineteenth century has witnessed the introduction of the principle
of nationality, ours has made another step in the right direction,
and produced the recognition of the principle of humanism." [11]

                   Free Trade; Universal Locomotion.

I was much impressed with the justness of the last words of my
companion. It now became clear to me how every new railroad, every
new telegraph line, the removal of every obstacle in the process
of exportation and importation, does not only directly promote the
general interest and welfare, but that they are as many links in
the great chain by which men are united together in brotherhood as
members of one and the same household. And yet methought I perceived
a threatening cloud at this bright horizon. "If then," said I,
"all wars have ceased to be, and if in consequence thereof, as well
as through other propitious circumstances of various kinds, commerce
and industry have been constantly progressing, surely you must have
witnessed an alarming increase of population; and the production of
the necessary food can hardly have kept pace with its consumption."

"If you suppose that we have now, as formerly, many indigent people and
others occasionally starving in some of the over-peopled districts,
then, of course, you are right; but I do not grant that, on the
whole, pauperism has been on the increase; I am rather inclined to
believe the contrary, although during the last two hundred years
the population of Europe has almost doubled itself. Two things you
should not lose sight of; in the first place, the increase in the
means of transport having brought about a more equal distribution of
food; and secondly, of nothing now-a-days being wasted, but, on the
contrary, everything finding its way to where necessity exists. In
consequence of a now universal free trade, every country produces
exactly that which thrives best in its own soil and climate. Then,
again, numberless acres of waste land have long been, and are still
being, cultivated; whilst progressive science has rendered imperishable
services to the practical agriculturist by pointing out to him various
new modes and processes whereby to increase the crops and fruits of
his fields. Thus, for example, we know now everything connected with
the quality and quantity of all matters used in the cultivation of
vegetables; moreover, every agriculturist has become, in our days,
a manufacturer. To him the plants are the tools through means of which
the so-called inorganic matter imbedded in the soil and atmosphere is
to be worked and shaped into organic matter, i.e., into matter fit
for consumption; and therefore, as with any other manufacturer, his
efforts are constantly directed towards obtaining the original rude
material as cheap and as good as possible. Among this 'rude material'
not a little is to be found that was formerly looked upon as mere
waste, or, worse than that, mixed with the water or the soil of the
towns, to the great injury of the public health. We are wiser now
in the twenty-first century. Everything by which the produce of the
fields can be increased is carefully collected, and life is thereby
much better protected."

                           Modern Telescopes.

I had already noticed, during the conversation, that our aërial
conveyance had assumed a gentle swinging position; and when Bacon
paused in his remarks, Miss Phantasia cried to me, "Do, now, apply
your eye to these pseudo-cannons, and tell us, pray, where we are."

I found at once that those tubes which I had mistaken for cannons were
enormous telescopes; but my mistake was pardonable enough, so far as
their outward appearance went. They were certainly much wider, from
which I concluded, à priori, that they must be powerful machines; but
when I came to look through them, I discovered that their great width
did in no way interfere with the sharp outlines of the images, and
I was not only very much struck with their immense magnifying power,
but at the same time with their great extent of the field of vision.

Following Miss Phantasia's finger direction, the first thing I saw
before me through the telescope at the stern of the vessel was an
immense city, which I fancied could be no other than Londinia, from
whence we had started. A vast cluster or mass of houses presented
itself, with the sharpest outline, in the somewhat dull background, but
no idea of smoke; I therefore concluded that wherever coals were still
used, one knew how to pass the smoke through the cowl or fire-grate
in accordance with the wise Act of Parliament passed in 1850.

As I looked through the different telescopes which we had on board, I
could not help admiring the scenery around and about us, which seemed
to rush and rush on before our eyes whilst the ship was apparently
lying still. Ascending, it was as if the earth went down beneath
us. Shortly after, we caught the first glance of the sea, and right
before us, opposite, we perceived the Belgian and French coasts. A
black wire seemed to cross the narrowest strait of the Channel,
so as to join the two opposite shores together.

                            Channel Bridge.

As we came nearer I began to suspect that this wire might be a tubular
bridge of some kind, and this surmise grew into certainty when Bacon
assured me that a company had already been formed for the purpose
of constructing a second one; "for," added my informant, "this one
has become utterly inadequate to the extensive communication between
England and the continent."

                        North Holland Submerged.

A slight north-north-easterly direction, and a few minutes sufficed
to bring us near to my native home, which to us, from our vessel,
looked like its outline in an atlas. Only how terrified I was to see
that there was something wanting on the map. The whole province of
North Holland, [12] minus a few diminutive islands, seemed to have
disappeared. Not even trusting my eyes, I asked the "trunculant figure"
who, Bacon said, was my countryman: Was the whole of North Holland
imbedded in the sea?

"So it is," was the answer. "That's the result of not heeding
the advice of common-sense, prudent people. A handful of bragging
citizens of Amsterdam insisted upon it, that they should have a canal
right across into the sea. They had one already, in which they might
have made some improvements, but that would not satisfy them. Well,
after a good deal of agitation, they got their canal. How much it
may have cost them I do not pretend to know; no doubt a good deal
more than many of them must have liked. However, now that they had
it, it proved, after all, 'a fair-weather Jack;' for as soon as the
wind lost its temper--and such things do happen along our coast--the
skippers did not venture to come too near to the shore. At the first
November storm the harbour became full of sand, to clear which would
have been to wash the negro.

"Thus the canal had had little power to benefit navigation. Still,
matters did not come to the worst until, in 1980, the springtide
fell in simultaneously with a storm such as the memory of living
man could not trace. Sluices and dykes gave way, and North Holland,
the greater portion of which was situated from one to five meters
[13] below the mean level of the sea, was rapidly swallowed up by
the raging element. Shortly after the play-going public of Rotterdam
enjoyed a new drama, entitled 'The Horse of Troy.'" [14]

"Terrible, terrible!" I could not refrain from exclaiming, although
the man who supplied me with the "terrible" information did not appear
to see it. I had already inferred from the latter part of his remarks
that he was a native of Rotterdam, and this suggested to me the idea
of once more looking through the telescope, and turning my looks
towards the city where I had passed the earlier part of my youth. At
first I did not feel at home at all. So much had the city of the Meuse
enlarged itself into every direction, and so densely populated was the
whole province of South Holland, that the towns of Leiden, the Hague,
Delft, Schiedam, and Rotterdam seemed to form but one large city.

Utrecht, too, appeared to have grown in extent. My eye fell
accidentally on a bright dazzling spot, lighted up by the rays of
Phoebus; and, anxious to find out what that was, I applied a stronger
"oculaire" to the telescope, and soon recognised the golden sun of
Justice, the well-known armorial bearings of the Utrecht University,
on the top of a large and magnificent building. I thought that must
be the University building, and inquired of the "trunculant figure;"
but the latter answered curtly, "That's entirely out of my line, sir;
those are things with which I have nothing to do." Fortunately for
me, Bacon had heard my question, and he at once supplied me with the
necessary information. "You have guessed rightly," said he; "when,
after many years' waiting, there came at last a bill regulating the
higher education in the Netherlands, some wealthy inhabitants of the
city of Utrecht, at their own expense, founded this magnificent and
imposing building, and by so doing furnished a living illustration
of their interest in science, and of their affection for the alma
mater to which many of them owed their education and social position."

Thanking Bacon for this valuable piece of information, I further
ventured to inquire whether in the new educational bill the principle
had been recognised "that it is a matter of perfect indifference where
any candidate had obtained the knowledge required by the law, and
that the state had no other right but to demand this of the candidate,
that he satisfy the government examiners with regard to his abilities."

"Here you are doubtless touching a knotty point," answered my
companion; "for this has been a matter of discussion for some time;
and, strange to say, those that have given the most definite opinions
on it are exactly those that were least competent to judge in the
matter of public examinations. At first sight the principle you have
laid down certainly appears reasonable enough. Those who, with you,
appear to have accepted it, argue mathematically as follows: Given
a certain quantity of linseed, then by the same press, and with
the same amount of pressure, it will yield a certain amount of oil,
and the latter will consequently indicate the exact relative value
of the different kinds of linseed. It all amounts to this, to find a
good press, one in regular working order. It is not otherwise with
public examinations. These, too, are a kind of press, under which
are to be brought the persons to be examined, and out of them are
to be squeezed a dose of knowledge prescribed as the sine quâ non of
their admission. It only requires to have a good examination press,
and the results will always admit of comparison; that is to say,
they will be just and fair.

"But here a curious difficulty had to be surmounted. It is easy enough
to construct presses from iron or wood that will work regularly;
but with examination presses that is altogether a different
affair. Especially with regard to those for the higher branches of
education the matter is not so easily procurable. And then there
is another thing; neither are the examiners composed of wood and
iron, nor are the students that have to be examined usually made
of linseed; both classes of persons are more likely to be rational
beings; the contract between them entails action and reaction, with
thousandfold variations, so that there can never be any question of
absolutely comparable results, least of all when the examiners and the
examined are more or less strangers to each other. Leaving out other
difficulties, there would still remain the very natural resistance
which such heterogeneous elements would exercise towards each other,
a resistance which will always be commensurate with the greater or
lesser difference of interests in the parties concerned.

"In order now to overcome this difficulty, and to save the principle
that "those aspiring to equal rights should satisfy equal conditions,"
the Government issued certain text-books in the form of examination
guides. And what was the consequence? Industrious persons arose, and
contrived to invent means by which to make those works essentially
practical, and the examinations as light as possible; they composed
little books containing questions and answers, something like
catechisms, for every branch of science. This appeared to some
people to be the height of examinatorial equality; but when, in
spite of all this, the same complaints continued to be heard about
the unfairness and arbitrary ways of examiners, the still more novel
idea was mooted, whether it was not possible to solve the examination
problem by a direct method, viz., physico-mechanically. For a long
time past we had had speculums for the eye, for the ear, for the
throat, etc.; why should we not succeed in inventing a speculum
for the brain? There were already self-registering thermometers,
barometers, magnetometers, photometers, etc.; why should we not have
the self-registering enkephalometer? machines which in a few minutes,
and by means of a few figures, would indicate the exact degree and
amount of knowledge acquired by the individual to whose cerebrum the
instrument might be applied! What a splendid invention, both for
examiners and candidates, this would have been! Unfortunately the
thing always proved impracticable; and the idea now ranks with the
visions of perpetual motion and squaring of the circle.

                         University Education.

"Meanwhile those exaggerated systems of examination had led to some
experience, beneficial, though rather unpleasant. It gradually became
to be noticed by competent persons that, in proportion as the students
prepared for the required and enforced government examinations, there
grew a dislike or decline of free study, an aversion to pure science,
which is more dependent upon clear judgment than practised memory. And
thus was lost the principal aim of all higher instruction which is
not the 'training' for certain professions, but the complete and
entire development of all the slumbering faculties of man. [15] The
Dutch people began to see that they had been following the example of
the Chinese, who surpass every nation under the sun in the length of
their examinations; indeed, they found that they had run great risk
of becoming the Chinese of Europe. It became generally recognised
that every principle, however good in itself, may be 'overdone;'
that examinations, however difficult to dispense with altogether, will
always remain a sad necessity; and that it is perfectly chimerical to
think of government examinations so arranged as to not only produce
an universal and incontestable standard or measure of knowledge,
but also to be a means of judging the theoretical and practical
abilities of the candidates. It was further discovered that it was a
gross error to suppose that government examinations were to be the
stimulants for university study; in fact, that what was wanted was
not means of discouragement, but of encouragement. The human mind
is like a liquid given to fermentation. Without leaven there cannot
be any fermentation; and the latter is promoted by heat, depressed
by cold. What you want in order to stimulate higher education in the
higher sense of the word is a staff of competent tutors supplied with
ample means for advancing and furthering knowledge in every possible
direction; encouragement for all efforts to cultivate sound science,
and nothing but the most beneficial results will accrue to society at
large. Universities, at the dawn of their existence, were, as a rule,
endowed with certain rights and privileges, like moral corporations;
but these were swept away through the tide of progress having ceased to
be adapted to the conditions of modern society. One right, let us say
one duty, only remained vested in the universities, that of conferring
degrees on its scholars after the passing of certain examinations;
but the latter were subject, like all other examinations, to this, that
they could never give a sufficiently satisfactory guarantee. Yet, while
the defects of these were largely advertised, their advantages were
often overlooked, until they were ultimately abolished, or replaced
by the examining authority of government commissions. When at last it
was found, after endless experiments, that people had been jumping
from the frying-pan into the fire, one gradually began to recognise
the truth of the French proverb, that 'Better is the enemy of good,'
and one came back to the old system slightly altered and improved. At
the same time additional means were devised to render access to the
universities, as seats of learning, more easy to deserving men; the
fees were considerably lowered, and distinguished students received
henceforth pecuniary assistance and support from those who were
morally convinced that in the knowledge which they would acquire they
would repay to society at large both capital and interest. And hence
the number of scholars has so increased lately at your universities,
that there no longer exists the semblance of necessity for admitting
others to the exercise of the learned professions, than those who have
enjoyed academical education. If to this some persons were to reply
that such a restriction of the professional cyclus is rather hard upon
those who have acquired their knowledge elsewhere, independent of the
recognised universities, I would meet them with the counter-remark
that the interests of the individual must give way to those of society
at large, and that there is an intimate connection between the latter
and the continuing prosperity of the universities."

I looked about me to see whether I could discover any more places of
my native land. So far as I could see, the northern and north-eastern
districts had almost doubled their population, for the towns looked
twice their original size; but what struck me most was that the
city of Arnhem looked apparently deserted. I was the more surprised
at this, because I remembered quite well that about the middle of
the nineteenth century the place had been rapidly increasing, both
in extent and prosperity, owing to the many "old residents" who,
having returned with colossal fortunes from India, purposed to pass
the remainder of their days in this beautiful neighbourhood.

I must have allowed a suppressed cry of astonishment to escape me on
noticing the crippled state of the city; for the "trunculant figure"
once more addressed me in the native tongue: "Yes, sir," said he,
"you are rightly surprised. From a large city Arnhem has become a
third-rate town. Such things will happen when children attempt to
govern their parents."

I did not exactly see the drift of this common-sense remark until my
countryman continued as follows: "I am going to tell you a story."

                        Loss of Dutch Colonies.

"Once upon a time a gentleman had a beautiful bird, and the beauty
of this beautiful bird was this, that he laid every year a golden
egg. Naturally enough, the man was very much afraid that this bird
should escape, or perhaps be stolen from him. He therefore first
cut its wings, and then put it into a solid cage. When the children
of that gentleman grew up, they gradually became of opinion that
the bird had not been properly treated by their father. One thought
that some portion of the golden egg ought to be used in ornaments on
the cage of the bird. Another hinted that not only should the cage
be embellished, but also enlarged; the bird would then enjoy more
liberty, and might perhaps lay two golden eggs in a twelve-month,
'in which case,' whispered he, 'I myself might come in for a little
windfall.' The third son went another step further; he would like to
see the cage not only enlarged and gilded, but completely renewed
as well; it ought to have much thinner bars to allow the bird more
light and more air; this was its natural birth-right; for no bird was
ever created to drag along its dreary existence in the dark. Finally,
the fourth of the sons went so far as to say that it was 'a burning
shame' to have cut the bird's wings. That was simply misusing the
right of the stronger, and showed great want of foresight in him that
had entrusted his 'governor' with the bird.

"The old gentleman was not a little embarrassed. He was not blind to
the danger of all these juvenile counsels, but he was an indulgent
parent, and never turned a deaf ear upon his children. First then the
cage was gilded, then enlarged, and ultimately replaced by another,
brand new, and as light as light could be. Meanwhile the bird's
wings had been daily growing, and the animal at last managed to do
that which every other bird would have done in its place. It escaped
through the thin bars, and flew away."

"I fully understand; the bird's name was Java?" [16]

"Exactly so," replied the "trunculant figure."

"But what became ultimately of the bird?" I inquired.

"Ah, sir! it was after all a silly thing for the bird to fly away;
it was not so badly off in its master's house; but birds will be
birds. It had not flown far yet when it was attacked by two enormous
birds of prey; they pulled it right and left with their sharp talons,
and thereby injured one another severely. Of course the weaker bird
lost a good deal of its plumage, and was bandied from the talons of
one vulture into those of the other. At last the two monsters dropped
their prey on the ground in piteous condition, whilst they pursued
the combat between them with their own weapons, until both were so
crippled and exhausted that there could have been no question on
either side of looking after the weaker bird."

"If then I rightly understand your metaphor, France and England have
both been compelled to let the island slip, and the Javanese are a
free people by this time."

"Oh, free, of course; so is the dormouse," answered the Dutchman.

I suggested that his former remarks appeared to me to be more liberal.

"Those concerned the land, but not the people."


"The Javanese will never change their skin. Those of the present
day are simply a few grades lazier than their progenitors. Since
the last great war Java has been declared a neutral territory; all
nationalities have equal rights to trade on it, and what do you think
has been the result? That of the few hundred-weights of coffee and
sugar which the island continues to produce, scarcely anything finds
its way to our own market; most of it goes to Marseilles and other
parts of the Mediterranean."

At this point Bacon interrupted our conservative friend, and spoke as
follows: "I am no trader, sir; but unless I am improperly informed,
the Javanese people feel much happier now than when they were under
the rule of the East Indian Company or the Culture System. It appears
to me that possessions which are not colonies proper impose peculiar
obligations on the temporary possessor, and that the latter is hardly
justified in dealing with the inhabitants as the leech does with
the patient. Wherever a superior race holds sway over an inferior
one, it is the duty of the former to raise its inferiors to any such
state of culture as they may prove themselves susceptible of. From the
nature of things, such rule is always temporary, as history has often
taught us. The time must come when the bonds will be rent asunder;
but they will hold so much longer together, and be so much more
easily dissolved, as the government has less borne the character of
oppression. A moral ascendancy is on the whole the most powerful,
and that maintains itself best by fair and just treatment of the
weaker by the stronger. I for one feel perfectly convinced that the
only reason why your country has even kept the island as long as it
has, was exclusively owing to the few necessary reforms which your
government consented to make in the nineteenth century. But for those
concessions, Java would have been lost to you long before; and with
regard to the shifting of the market, don't you think yourself, sir,
that that was chiefly brought about by the Suez Canal?"

"Perhaps so," replied the Hollander, not very good-naturedly;
"I won't argue the point with you; you are an Englishman, and you
fellows think that you know everything better than we do; this,
however, I maintain, that if this kind of thing is to continue,
we shall go down as fast as we can."

I silently rejoiced to think that my telescopical observations had
more than convinced me of this, that my countrymen had by no means
so visibly yet come down, and I was inclined to conclude from this
consoling fact that they had known in time how to apply the old
Dutch proverb: "When the tide turns, turn your beacons." However, I
did not venture to set my thoughts to words, for I should certainly
have given offence to the "trunculant figure," whose solitary line
of conduct apparently went along his own individual interests, and
whose knowledge of political economy and of the rights of man was
evidently at a very low ebb.

                             Railway Nets.

During this somewhat prolonged conversation we had slightly deviated
from our former course. We now moved along in south-easterly direction,
and the native towns gradually disappeared from my sight. Looking
towards the east, I observed a small black speck which obviously
moved with great rapidity along the surface of the earth, and seemed
to advance nearer and nearer to us. It became larger and larger as
it approached our conveyance, under which it finally glided away. I
had just had sufficient time to recognise an immense train of huge
waggons in the fleeting meteor below us. "From where," asked I,
"did this train start?" Bacon consulted his railway guide. "That's the
morning train," replied he, "which left Pekin the day before yesterday,
and runs along the great central-east-west-line."

"From Pekin? Right across or over the high mountains of Central Asia
and Ural?"

"Oh, my friend, such obstacles have ceased to exist in the twenty-first
century. Surely you yourself remember the piercing of Mount Cenis? You
will soon observe that what was done in your time between France and
Italy has since been accomplished between Italy and Switzerland."

There could be no doubt in the matter; for the white-coated tops of
the Alps already appeared at the horizon. The mountains themselves had
not been affected by the hand of time or civilization, but the route
went no longer across the Splügen, the Simplon, or the Saint Bernard,
but underneath the mountain range, so that the same trains which we
saw enter the tunnels on the Swiss side, made their appearance very
shortly afterwards on the Italian side, and proceeded in their course
through the plains of the valley of the Po.

I was in hopes that we should touch Rome on our way, for I was anxious
to know what had become of that most venerable and ancient of cities;
but I was sadly disappointed in my expectations.

                    Geographical Changes in Europe.

We floated over Venice, where the Italian standard waved from the top
of St. Mark's, although I could recognise a few Austrian vessels by
their immense double eagle. Now ascending, then again descending, it
was often impossible for us to discover where we found ourselves, until
I noticed Constantinople; but nowhere could I descry a single crescent,
nor any other emblem that might have led me to conclude what Government
had got possession of the ancient capital of the Eastern empire.

Crossing the Black Sea, and leaving the Caucasus behind us, we got a
full view of the valley of the Euphrates; but I was again disappointed,
in as far as I did not get anything to see in the shape of Eastern
scenery. All the districts over which we travelled had quite a
European cut about them. Nothing was there to show us that we were
on another continent.

Among the buildings which I could clearly distinguish, one struck me
as being in quite peculiar style. The numerous and large domes would
have led me to suspect that it was a church or a mosque, but for the
side wings and adjacent buildings, which looked like ordinary European
houses, except that they were surrounded by colonnades. This edifice,
or shall I say this cluster of buildings, was situated on a rocky hill,
whence the view was a most extensive one.

                      Astronomical Observatories.

I asked Bacon did he know what this edifice was intended for? He
looked through the telescope, and replied, "Why, that is the famous
observatory of Orumiah. I know it by an illustration of the building
which I have in my library. I have not been there myself, but it must
be well worth seeing."

"But how did they come to erect a building of such gigantic dimensions
so far beyond the circle of civilization?"

"Simply for the sake of saving time," was the answer; "now-a-days only
those spots are selected for astronomical observations where they can
be made most conveniently and in the shortest possible time. In Europe
the nights are scarcely ever sufficiently clear to use our now so
powerful glasses to advantage. There, on the contrary, during several
months of the year the sky is so bright and transparent that one can
even with the naked eye observe the moons of Jupiter and the phases
of Venus. This had been known many years ago to the American Stoddard,
who even called Herschel's attention to the fact, but that was not the
time for taking advantage of such excellent opportunities. Not until
the beginning of this century was the foundation-stone to be laid
of the central observatory, as it is called; the glorious building
was erected at the joint expense of all civilised nationalities,
the latter including the Persians themselves, who have long ceased
to be behind us Europeans. I need scarcely assure you that this
institution is amply provided with the most excellent instruments,
and that it has a staff of scientific men second to none for making
the necessary observations."


"Then at last," said I, "the science of astronomy has wandered back to
the cradle of its infancy, the soil of Chaldea. But what has become
of the once so celebrated observatories of Leiden, Greenwich, the
Pulkowa, etc., etc.?"

They have been changed into calculatoria, as in fact they had been
already for some time past. Among them are distributed the observations
made at the central observatory, and these they have to work out. At
the same time these calculatoria continue to be of some use to the
young astronomer; having there to encounter no end of difficulties,
he may learn the value of the Latin adage, Per ardua ad astera,
and so grow ultimately into a hard-working and accurate observer.

With regard to the practical results already obtained at the Orumiah
observatory--in consequence of our knowledge of the celestial bodies
having so considerably increased--I merely wish to call your attention
for a moment to yonder map and the words printed underneath. I
will rather not offend you by giving you any warning or advice in
the matter.

                         Tin Mines in the Moon.

I followed the direction of his finger, and saw an immense "poster,"
on which I recognised at a glance the well-known lunar district of
Tycho; of course I was acquainted with its ring mountains and the
bright silver beams radiating as from a common centre; these were
the words on the placard:

                     GREATEST DISCOVERY OF THE AGE!


                      WHOSOEVER MEANS TO GET RICH



I had already risen from my seat in order to examine the map, and to
convince myself that the words were actually there. As I turned round,
Bacon must have guessed or gauged the degree of my astonishment; for
he addressed me as follows: "You apparently do not believe in this
kind of discoveries. Yet there is some truth in the first part of
the announcement; nay, more perhaps than it is intended to convey;
for those tin mines are incontestably inexhaustible, and for this
simple reason, that they will never admit of being explored at
all. Tin mines, however, they are. Careful observations with the
great parabolic reflector provided with a hyperbolic 'oculaire' and
a spectrum analysis system for the reflected rays have abundantly
proved that those brilliant stripes radiating from Tycho are nothing
but metallic tin. You will be less surprised to hear this when you
remember that the moon has neither water nor atmosphere. So it is that
metals which on our earth generally present themselves in an oxydal
condition of some kind or other, on the contrary preserve their glossy
surface on the moon just as with us silver, gold, and platina."

I now perfectly remembered that through the invention of spectrum
analysis in the latter half of the nineteenth century it had indeed
become possible to discover metals and several other elements in
the different celestial bodies, and I conceived some faint idea of
the possibility of recognising, with the aid of greatly improved
apparatus, even the chemical character of such small portions of the
lunar surface as for example the Tycho stripes. The only thing quite
inexplicable to me was this, how could there be people left in the
twenty-first century so credulous as to believe in the exploration of
tin mines in the moon by us, the inhabitants of the earth? When I put
this question to Bacon, the following was his reply: "My dear sir,
on this point, as on many others, men have not much altered. At all
times there have been dupes, the victims of those that preyed upon
them and of their own cupidity. The originators of this unlimited
liability company know full well that there is no possibility of
getting at the tin mines in the moon; all they want to explore is the
cheque-books of the public at large. In former centuries we have had
the same speculations; at that time in the shape of tin, copper, and
lead mines that existed nowhere except on imaginary maps, or in the
form of landed estates, which on closer examination of the facts often
dwindled down into pigstyes, or in the cultivation of fertile soil,
which turned out to be mere wildernesses; very often a clever array
and combination of figures was resorted to, and people were often
brought to believe that one and one are four, and that two times two
are ten. So it has been, and always will be. Think of the very old
maxim, Mundus vult decipi. All that is required for such adventurers
is an elastic conscience, a good deal of "brass," and a certain knack
not to squeeze people's credulity too much, but to blind the masses
by an artificial coating of truth. In former times--before science
had to dispose of its enormous resources--had any one proposed to
fetch tin from the moon, the commonest clown would have looked upon
him as an addle-pate; but now-a-days so great is the number of recent
discoveries and inventions, which to the uneducated mind savour almost
of miracles, that many end in believing almost anything, and to my mind
this is not to be wondered at. Start a company for parcel delivery by
electric telegraph, issue a prospectus stuffed with learned twaddle,
and an elaborate quasi-scientific demonstration of your scheme--above
all, hold out hopes of a wonderful profit--and you are sure to find
shareholders enough."

                        Universal Suffrage, etc.

"Poor children of man!" I thought. "Will you then always remain the
same, always and for ever, always the slaves of your passions, and
thereby the tools of those who take advantage of your weaknesses?" But
my thoughts wandered into a different direction as soon as I noticed
another placard simply containing this (although in monstrous figures
and characters):

                            Anti 1-2 League.

Again I asked my companion for an explanation. "This is simply to
call a meeting for the purpose of forming a league to oppose the
one-two men." I was just as wise as before; but Bacon continued his
explanation with his wonted courtesy. No mean introduction, however,
was required to make the affair intelligible to me. I first gathered
then from him that the right of universal suffrage had long since
been entrusted to men and women alike. At first the privilege had
been solely restricted to such persons as were of age, but since
then the very consistent remark had been made that this restrictive
measure was very inconsistent indeed. Why had the money qualification
been abolished? because it was ostensibly unfair that a man paying
taxes to the amount of two pounds should have a vote, and another
paying only £1 19s. 11d. should be excluded from the poll. If the
difference of one penny constituted no vital distinction, why not
still further descend until we arrived at zero? Now the clear-headed
and far-seeing people gradually learned to perceive that the question
of being or not being of age was in itself a time-qualification,
and these pioneers of progress began to argue as follows: "Why, you
grant the right of voting, of influencing for good or for evil the
interests of country and town, to doting old men, and you withhold
it from young persons in the vigour of intellect, merely because the
law has deemed proper to call them "infants." You would not scruple
to enlist them as soldiers, and they should have no vote in matters
concerning their own interests. Why should a man at one and twenty be
better than he was at twenty? Was not Pitt England's prime minister
on his coming of age? Is it not the height of folly and absurdity to
attempt to determine by law at what period of life a man will just have
sense enough to be entrusted with the performance of a duty which is
the birth-right of every free-born citizen? Such laws are arbitrary
and obsolete, a logical inconsistency, diametrically opposed to the
grand and fundamental principle of equality before the law--aye, and
a last remnant of those forms of paternal government which already
in the nineteenth century began to be ridiculed and condemned; what
could be opposed to such conclusive arguments? Some efforts were made,
but those that attempted the struggle were cried down as unprincipled
persons, weather-cocks, etc. A kind of compromise was arrived at; the
period of coming of age was "recoiled," but still nothing yet would
satisfy the zealots for the principle of logical consistency. Once
more the date of majority was moved back, until even the babies were
admitted by law to come into their "birth-right." The principle
had been saved! the principle! and that was everything with the
agitators. Difficulties there were involved in the principle no doubt,
for some of the newly enfranchised babies could not walk, and others
could not speak, and none could read or write. Under these doleful
circumstances the mothers claimed the right to go to the poll for those
youthful interesting voters, and this exorbitant demand the league
proposed to counteract. One was one, and not two. The most learned
mathematicians went out of their way to prove that either was wrong,
and neither was right, meaning that both were nonsense; but the mothers
laughed heartily at such ironical demonstrations, "and," added Bacon,
"the female party is by far stronger now than the male party."

                            Woman's Rights.

"Male and female parties!" exclaimed I, in utter astonishment. "Have
those then become the two contending parties in politics?"

"Naturally enough," replied he. "Nothing else could have happened;
it is the direct and natural consequence of the emancipation of
women, whereby all rights have been granted them that were formerly
exclusively accorded to men."

I could not help expressing my surprise at such a result, and added
that I was afraid that it must have materially affected the relation
between the sexes.

A sarcastic smile seemed for once to ruffle the placid features of
Bacon as he laconically answered, "Perhaps so." But Miss Phantasia,
who suddenly from a listener became a speaker, made the following oral
affidavit: "I will just tell you the truth of the matter. I for one
am heartily tired of the present state of affairs, and so are many
of my sisters. When our mothers and grandmothers first agitated and
ultimately carried these so-called woman's rights, they certainly knew
but half what they were about. Equal rights suppose equal duties,
and equal obligations impose equal burdens. Woman, demanding as a
right that which men had hitherto withheld from her, forfeited thereby
the privileges at one time acceded to her by men. In the old works
of fiction, which to us are the sources whence we draw the morals
of bygone days, the man figures conspicuously as the protector of
woman; any man laying any claim to the title of a gentleman treated
a woman with respect and affability; hers was the place of honour in
society; she was both loved and respected, respected on account of
her belonging to the weaker sex, loved as man's helpmate, not his
competitor or rival. All this has changed now-a-days. We wished to
protect ourselves, and we are less protected than ever. We have not
taken our places by the side of the men, but against them, as they
stand opposite us. Woman's weakness, once her strength, is no longer
regarded by rival man, and now we begin to feel it. That which was
formerly given us freely and willingly has now to be wrenched from our
male opponents. The old feeling of chivalry has given way to the habit
of rudeness. Politeness, though the word is not quite expunged from
men's vocabulary, is seldom extended towards our sex. You must have
noticed how, on going upstairs this morning, the men rudely pushed us
aside so as to secure the best seats for themselves. This is a slight
specimen of what happens and is tolerated in 'modern' society. Opposite
man's violence is to be found woman's cunning, and the ultimate chances
of success are pretty well balanced on both sides; but to whichsoever
victory may fall, it can only be bought at the price of domestic peace
and bliss, and of all those nobler qualities which then only will be
properly developed when both sexes keep within the sphere allotted them
by nature and disposition. Whatever we have gained in direct political
influence we have lost in the indirect influence on the hearts of men,
and it remains to be seen whether the gain has been greater than the
loss. No, Stuart Mill, you who two hundred years ago were the first to
put the dormant idea of female emancipation into the shape of words,
and supported the agitation with all the weight of your name, you may
have been a great philosopher, you may have known every possible thing
about political economy, but you did not understand the human heart;
and with regard to us women, you have played us a very bad trick."

That Miss Phantasia was earnest in her conviction was evinced by the
unusual warmth with which she had spoken. Yet it appeared to me that
she was a little too hard upon Mill. All that he and his followers
undoubtedly intended to carry was that the right of voting should be
extended to unmarried women, and to those that were possessed of some
property. They could not be blamed for the extremes rushed into by
their junior adherents. But there recurred to my mind the dreadful
qualification scale, which had been lowered and lowered again, and
I began to recognise that, here as elsewhere, all arguments have to
give way before the so-called principles and logical consistency.

During our political conversation we had entirely lost sight of
the Orumiah observatory, nor was I slow in observing that all the
surrounding objects were gradually decreasing in size; the barometer
too, which depended from the ceiling of the saloon, had considerably
gone down, whence I concluded that we were ascending rapidly,
no doubt for the purpose of seeking a more propitious current in
the higher atmospheric regions. Our ascent was unfortunately, but
naturally, attended with disappointing circumstances; for all the
places over which we travelled became more and more indistinct to
our vision. It was not, however, until after some considerable time
had elapsed that the surface of our planet became altogether of
a greenish-blue colour. No doubt we were passing over the Indian
sea. Of course the scene in the saloon was anything but lively
under the circumstances. Most of the passengers ventured upon their
slumbers, and I observed that with them, as with myself, respiration
began to quicken, owing to the higher air in which we breathed. The
snoring of the "trunculant figure" was utterly objectionable, not
to say more. Even Miss Phantasia, lively and excitable as she was,
had by this time fallen asleep, thereby depriving me of her animated
dialogue with a pretty French lady with whom she had been discussing
her pet subjects--poetry and the fine arts. Bacon alone seemed absorbed
in the reading of a learned dissertation "concerning the possibility
of intercommunication between the various spheres of the universe by
means of optic-telegraphic signals." As for me, I recapitulated in
undisturbed silence all the wonderful things which I had seen and heard
of during the last two days, and I could not help saying to myself:
if two single centuries can bring about such radical revolutions,
what will the work of ages be?

                     The New Zealand of the Future.

At last I ventured to interrupt Bacon in the perusal of his learned
work. "Where do you think," I asked, "we are going to?"

To which he answered perfectly dryly: "I suppose we cannot be very
far from New Zealand. We have made a considerable détour through the
upper air in order to take advantage of the atmospheric current which
arises between the tropics, and then extends to the north and south
and east successively, but now we are descending again. See how the
barometer is going up."

Thinking on Bacon's words, I looked once more through one of the
telescopes, and at some considerable distance I viewed two large
islands barely separated by a very narrow strait.

"Now we are among our antipodes," continued Bacon. "New Zealand is
the Great Britain of the Southern Pacific."

"But still she has not anything like a population so wealthy, powerful,
and civilised."

"Still a better one than you would have imagined. Already New Zealand
has several large cities with the same institutions for education
and science and art as are to be found in Europe. She possesses
an important commercial navy, has plenty of ore and coal mines,
a splendid agriculture, innumerable herds of cattle, a flourishing
industry, and an energetic population, chiefly of English descent."

"What has become of the Maoris?"

"They have utterly disappeared, no one really knows where to. According
to some New Zealand naturalists, they have died out; others imagine
that they have migrated somewhere; others again are inclined to
believe that a portion of the native inhabitants are of lineal Maoric
descent. If this were the case, they must have considerably improved as
a race; for the people here are now extremely peaceful. Should you ever
visit Londinia in your travels again, you ought not to omit paying a
visit to the National Museum; there you will find two embalmed Maoris,
a male and a female, the former beautifully tatooed. You will see
them side by side with other embalmed specimens of the aboriginals,
such as New Hollanders, American Redskins, etc., all of whom have
long become extinct."

"Does the same apply to the inhabitants of all countries where
Europeans have settled?"

"No, only to those that are situated beyond the tropics; for the
tropical regions, with the exception of the cooler mountain districts,
are in the long run unsuited to the Caucasian race. The interior of
Africa has still its original negro population; New Guinea is still
inhabited by the Papoos, and many other islands of tropical clime
are still occupied by the descendants of the ancient aboriginals,
although they are rather on the decrease."

"Have those tribes that belong to the so-called inferior races improved
at all in civilization?"

"Not much. With all of them progress is slow, extremely slow. Some
even hold the opinion that their progress is after all more imaginary
than real; that is to say, that it merely consists of their aping
some of the European manners and customs, and of these rarely the
best. Still I believe I have sufficient ground to admit that they too
are progressing, only that their progress differs essentially in its
character from that of the Caucasian races."

Meanwhile we had reached so far the northern island of New Zealand
that I was able to see through the telescope, not only the mountain
tops but even the most densely populated districts.

Our fellow-passengers woke up one after the other, and Miss Phantasia
asked me would I stay at the same hotel with them at Melbourne? "We
go to the Old-England," continued she; "we have already ordered
our dinner."

I answered of course that I could never too late part with such
excellent company.

Bacon called the steward, and gave orders for us to be put down
near Cape Maria van Diemen, from which a telegram should be sent
to Melbourne.

Shortly afterwards we floated over New Zealand, and I was obliged to
confess that Bacon had not said too much of that country. Few districts
in this world have been so largely favoured by nature. The large bays
and gulfs were crowded with innumerable vessels apparently belonging
to all nations. Of cities, towns, and villages, there was no end,
and everything indicated the highest degree of prosperity.

Among the most conspicuous flags I noticed one very liberally
represented; it had twelve suns on a blue field. Not knowing what
they meant, I once more inquired of my guide: what country did they

"That is the standard of the twelve united states of New Holland,
which together form a federate republic," answered Bacon.

"A republic!" was my reply; "I always thought that New Holland belonged
to the British crown."

"Such was the case," replied Bacon, "at one time; but the child
has outgrown the mother. For ever so long the New Hollanders manage
their own affairs. They are, as you are doubtless aware, of European
descent. That is the great difference between New Holland and the
East Indian islands, which at one time were yours. We have therefore
parted on the very best of terms, and the only bond that still joins
us together is that of reciprocal commercial interests. The vast
Southland has become a powerful government; and if ever--improbable
as it is--civilization should migrate from Old Europe, it still would
know where to find a centre. You will soon become aware of this on
our landing."

We were rapidly moving. New Zealand disappeared from our horizon,
and in opposite direction other districts seemed to emerge from the
sea. That was New Holland, the great Southland, the goal of our voyage.

Every passenger began to look after his luggage. The long extensive
coastline lay before us. We were slowly and obliquely descending. The
objects on the surface of the earth grew in size and distinctness. It
was evident that we were approaching a large city. Melbourne it was. A
few moments afterwards we heard a bustle and a kind of confused noise,
only to be compared with the unfurling of sails and the untying of
ropes. A violent shock followed, and--I woke up in my arm-chair.

                                THE END.


[1] For the original of these passages we refer the scholar to that
admirable letter of Bacon's, De mirabile potestate artis et naturae,
etc., which appeared  first of all in the work of Claudius Celestinus,
De his quae mundo mirabiliter eveniunt, Lutetiae Parisiorum,
1542. Bacon's description of a flying machine, of which we read in
the same document, shows, however, that he too, in his philosophical
visions, was apt to transgress the line of the possibilities.

[2] At the end of the nineteenth century the Saxon element had
almost entirely disappeared from the English tongue; even the most
intelligible Norman words had had to give way to the most miraculous
novelties in the shape of bad Greek and Latin compounds. At the
revival of the genuine national dialect all such abominable mongrels
as telegram, bicycle, velocipede, etc., were expelled from decent
conversation. A telegram became a wire-message; a bicycle a two-wheel;
a velocipede a swift-foot; post-mortem examinations went by the name of
after-death examinations; and as the language gained in nationality,
the nation's mind grew in clearness. The change was a change for
the better.


[3] The camera obscura (dark chamber) is a closed space impervious
to light. Porta, the inventor here referred to, was a Neapolitan
physician. He found that by fixing a double convex lens in the
aperture, and placing a white screen in the focus, the image was much
brighter and more definite.


[4] Galvani was a professor of anatomy in the university of
Bologna. While engaged in his anatomical investigations he observed,
accidently so to say, that when the lumbar nerves of a dead frog
were connected with the crural muscles by a metallic circuit, the
latter became briskly contracted. The electricity theory drawn by
Galvani from his observation of the frog was chiefly opposed by the
philosopher likewise here mentioned, Alexander Volta, professor of
physics in Pavia.


[5] Oerstedt's discovery, published in the year 1819, was afterwards
considerably extended by Ampère and Faraday. It laid, however, the
foundation of the recognition by science of the relations between
magnetism and electricity.


[6] Nor did La Condamine probably suspect that the small bottle of
india-rubber, which he brought with him on his return from a scientific
tour to America, and passed round as a curiosity to his colleagues
of the French academy, was actually filled with a liquid destined
to become of the most extensive application to different branches of
industry; aye, a liquid without which the submarine telegraph would
simply have remained an impossibility up to the present day.

[7] Such photographs have been produced in Italy since the third
edition of this work appeared in the original text.


[8] The truth of this remark cannot, I think, be sufficiently impressed
upon the even now existing opposition minority in England. Let us
have compulsory education for three, or even two, generations, and
every citizen in the state will be so well educated himself as to
know the value of education, and not to deny it his children. The
repeal of any law, prohibitory or compulsory, can only prove this,
that the people for whom the measure was originally framed have risen
in the scale of moral and social organization.


[9] Like the ingenious author of the "Origin of Species," Miss
Phantasia appears to have convinced herself that the time would
come when the absence or rarity of intermediate species, the
great stumbling-block in the grand Darwinian theory, would no
longer have to be accounted for negatively by the "poorness of
our palæontalogical collections," and the "imperfectness of the
genealogical record." Bacon, though apparently familiar with, and
not averse to, Mr. Darwin's theory of evolution, does not seem to
follow the doctrine out in its application to the human race. How many
errors remain to be eradicated, even in minds of the highest order,
through man's adopted notion that he stands exclusively apart from
all his natural surroundings, both in degree and in kind!


[10] It is but fair to say that the apparatus of Léon Scott for
registering the vibrations produced by the voice in singing had
preceded the discovery of Reis. Scott's "phonautograph" is fully
described, both in construction and working, in Ganot's Treatise on
Physics (Atkinson's translation, p. 211, etc.)


[11] It is embarrassing to render the original German coinage
humanität, which, we believe, is due to the grand idea of Lessing,
but it is a decided fallacy, current even among literati, that
the absence of a certain word in a certain language indicates the
absence of the idea embodied in the word among the nations by whom
that language is spoken. This vulgar error, the prolific source of
so many idle boasts, and unjust charges, and national vanities, we
have endeavoured to refute in a paper on "The Philosophy of Verbal
Monopoly," printed in the "Transactions of the Devonshire Association
for the Advancement of Art, Science, and Literature," 1868.


[12] So little do we know of a country so worth knowing, that we
daily commit ourselves by speaking of it as Holland. The kingdom of
the Netherlands, as now constituted, is divided into ten counties or
provinces, and two of these are respectively called North and South
Holland. The former is the territory here alluded to; it includes
neither Leiden, nor the Hague, nor Rotterdam. To speak of the
Netherlands as Holland, corresponds to calling England Devonshire or
Cheshire, and this particular terminology is the more amusing to the
natives because with them it is a shibboleth of vulgarity. There never
was a kingdom of Holland, except from 1806-1810, under Napoleonic
rule, when the Dutch had lost their independence through that most
dangerous scourge of nations, internal division.


[13] The Dutch adopted the metric system for weights and measures
simultaneously with the French; that is to say, at the close of the
eighteenth century. Their meter is little more than three English feet.


[14] In order to make this allusion to Rotterdam intelligible to our
English readers, we have to state a few facts. While Rotterdam has an
excellent harbour, Amsterdam has not. From time to time the citizens
of the latter city have devised all kinds of means whereby to remedy
the natural disadvantage under which they labour. There is no lack
of petty jealousies between the two great rival commercial cities
of the Netherlands, and hence the allusion of dramatic rejoicings in
Rotterdam at the misfortune of the competitor.


[15] Although most of these speculations on university education would
appear to apply to the author's own country, it cannot be denied
by any one at all acquainted with the English seats of learning,
that the whole is an unconscious but delightful bit of satire on the
working and results of both Oxford and Cambridge.


[16] The principal colony of the Dutch in the East Indies, from which
they derive no small benefits for their commerce and navigation. The
island produces chiefly coffee, rice, sugar, and some tobacco.


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