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Looking Backward From 2000 to 1887 by Edward Bellamy

Part 2 out of 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"How is this distribution managed?" I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Most assuredly."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What! To tell people what they wanted?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I hoped so, certainly," I replied.

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

I assured her once more that I would.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 12

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

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

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

"What may this badge be?" I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But here the doctor took me up quickly.

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

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

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

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

"Are they not also men?"

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

"Certainly," was the reply.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 13

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

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

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

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

"What do you mean?" I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Do the waiters, also, volunteer?"

"No," replied Dr. Leete. "The waiters are young men in the
unclassified grade of the industrial army who are assignable to all
sorts of miscellaneous occupations not requiring special skill.
Waiting on table is one of these, and every young recruit is given
a taste of it. I myself served as a waiter for several months in this

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