Wydawca: Walter Besant Kategoria: Obyczajowe i romanse Język: angielski Rok wydania: 2016

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Opis ebooka The inner house - Walter Besant

"Professor!" cried the Director, rushing to meet their guest and lecturer as the door was thrown open, and the great man appeared, calm and composed, as if there was nothing more in the wind than an ordinary Scientific Discourse. "You are always welcome, my friend, always welcome"—the two enthusiasts for science wrung hands—"and never more welcome than tonight. Then the great mystery is to be solved at last. The Theatre is crammed with people. What does it mean? You must tell me before you go in."The Physicist smiled."I came to a conviction that I was on the true line five years ago," he said. "It is only within the last six months that I have demonstrated the thing to a certainty. I will tell you, my friend," he whispered, "before we go in."Then he advanced and shook hands with the President."Whatever the importance of your Discovery, Professor," said the President, "we are fully sensible of the honor you have done us in bringing it before an English audience first of all, and especially before an audience of the Royal Institution."

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"Professor!" cried the Director, rushing to meet their guest and lecturer as the door was thrown open, and the great man appeared, calm and composed, as if there was nothing more in the wind than an ordinary Scientific Discourse. "You are always welcome, my friend, always welcome"—the two enthusiasts for science wrung hands—"and never more welcome than tonight. Then the great mystery is to be solved at last. The Theatre is crammed with people. What does it mean? You must tell me before you go in."The Physicist smiled."I came to a conviction that I was on the true line five years ago," he said. "It is only within the last six months that I have demonstrated the thing to a certainty. I will tell you, my friend," he whispered, "before we go in."Then he advanced and shook hands with the President."Whatever the importance of your Discovery, Professor," said the President, "we are fully sensible of the honor you have done us in bringing it before an English audience first of all, and especially before an audience of the Royal Institution.""Ja, Ja, Herr President. But I give my Discovery to all the world at this same hour. As for myself, I announce it to my very good friends of the Royal Institution. Why not to my other very good friends of the Royal Society? Because it is a thing which belongs to the whole world, and not to scientific men only."It was in the Library of the Royal Institution. The President and Council of the Institution were gathered together to receive their illustrious lecturer, and every face was touched with interrogation and anxiety. What was this Great Discovery?For six months there had appeared, from time to time, mysterious telegrams in the papers, all connected with this industrious Professor's laboratory. Nothing definite, nothing certain: it was whispered that a new discovery, soon about to be announced, would entirely change the relations of man to man; of nation to nation. Those who professed to be in the secret suggested that it might alter all governments and abolish all laws. Why they said that I know not, because certainly nobody was admitted to the laboratory, and the Professor had no confidant. This big-headed man, with the enormous bald forehead and the big glasses on his fat nose—it was long and broad as well as fat—kept his own counsel. Yet, in some way, people were perfectly certain that something wonderful was coming. So, when Roger Bacon made his gunpowder, the monks might have whispered to each other, only from the smell which came through the key-hole, that now the Devil would at last be met upon his own ground. The telegrams were continued with exasperating pertinacity, until over the whole civilized world the eyes of all who loved science were turned upon that modest laboratory in the little University of Ganzweltweisst am Rhein. What was coming from it? One does not go so far as to say that all interest in contemporary business, politics, art, and letters ceased; but it is quite certain that every morning and every evening, when everybody opened his paper, his first thought was to look for news from Ganzweltweisst am Rhein.But the days passed by, and no news came. This was especially hard on the leader-writers, who were one and all waiting, each man longing to have a cut in with the subject before anybody else got it. But it was good for the people who write letters to the papers, because they had so many opportunities of suggestion and surmise. And so the leader-writers got something to talk about after all. For some suggested that Prof. Schwarzbaum had found out a way to make food artificially, by chemically compounding nitrogens, phosphates, and so forth. And these philosophers built a magnificent Palace of Imagination, in which dwelt a glorified mankind no longer occupied in endless toil for the sake of providing meat and drink for themselves and their families, but all engaged in the pursuit of knowledge, and in Art of all kinds, such as Fiction, Poetry, Painting, Music, Acting, and so forth, getting out of Life such a wealth of emotion, pleasure, and culture as the world had never before imagined. Others there were who thought that the great Discovery might be a method of instantaneous transmission of matter from place to place; so that, as by the electric wire one can send a message, so by some kind of electric method one could send a human body from any one part of the world to any other in a moment. This suggestion offered a fine field for the imagination; and there was a novel written on this subject which had a great success, until the Discovery itself was announced. Others, again, thought that the new Discovery meant some great and wonderful development of the Destructive Art; so that the whole of an army might be blown into countless fragments by the touch of a button, the discharge of a spring, the fall of a hammer. This took the fancy hugely, and it was pleasant to read the imaginary developments of history as influenced by this Discovery. But it seemed certain that the learned Professor would keep it for the use of his own country. So that there was no longer any room to doubt that, if this was the nature of the Discovery, the whole of the habitable world must inevitably fall under the Teutonic yoke, and an Empire of Armed Peace would set in, the like of which had never before been witnessed upon the globe. On the whole, the prospect was received everywhere, except in France and Russia, with resignation. Even the United States remembered that they had already many millions of Germans among them; and that the new Empire, though it would give certainly all the places to these Germans, would also save them a great many Elections, and therefore a good deal of trouble, and would relieve the national conscience—long grievously oppressed in this particular—of truckling to the Irish Vote. Dynamiters and anarchists, however, were despondent, and Socialists regarded each other with an ever-deepening gloom. This particular Theory of the great Discovery met, in fact, with universal credence over the whole civilized globe.From the great man himself there came no sign. Enterprising interviewers failed to get speech with him. Scientific men wrote to him, but got no real information in reply. And the minds of men grew more and more agitated. Some great change was considered certain—but what?One morning—it was the morning of Thursday, June 20, 1890—there appeared an advertisement in the papers. By the telegrams it was discovered that a similar advertisement had been published in every great city all over the world. That of the London papers differed from others in one important respect—in this, namely: Professor Schwarzbaum would himself, without any delay, read before a London audience a Paper which should reveal his new Discovery. There was not, however, the least hint in the announcement of the nature of this Discovery."Yes," said the Physicist, speaking slowly, "I have given the particulars to my friends over the whole earth; and, as London is still the centre of the world, I resolved that I would myself communicate it to the English.""But what is it?—what is it?" asked the President."The Discovery," the Professor continued, "is to be announced at the same moment all over the world, so that none of the newspapers shall have an unfair start. It is now close upon nine o'clock by London time. In Paris it is ten minutes past nine; in Berlin it is six minutes before ten; at St. Petersburg it is eleven o'clock; at New York it is four o'clock in the afternoon. Very good. When the clock in your theatre points to nine exactly, at that moment everywhere the same Paper will be read."In fact, at that moment the clock began to strike. The President led the way to the Theatre, followed by the Council. The Director remained behind with the Lecturer of the evening."My friend," said Professor Schwarzbaum, "my subject is nothing less"—he laid his finger upon the Director's arm—"nothing less than 'The Prolongation of the Vital Energy.'""What! The Prolongation of the Vital Energy? Do you know what that means?" The Director turned pale. "Are we to understand—""Come," said the Professor, "we must not waste the time."Then the Director, startled and pale, took his German brother by the arm and led him into the Theatre, murmuring, "Prolongation ... Prolongation ... Prolongation ... of the Vital—the Vital—Energy!"The Theatre was crowded. There was not a vacant seat: there was no more standing room on the stairs; the very doors of the gallery were thronged: the great staircase was thronged with those who could not get in, but waited to get the first news. Nay, outside the Institution, Albemarle Street was crowded with people waiting to hear what this great thing might be which all the world had waited six months to hear. Within the Theatre, what an audience! For the first time in English history, no respect at all had been paid to rank: the people gathered in the Theatre were all that the great City could boast that was distinguished in science, art, and letters. Those present were the men who moved the world. Among them, naturally, a sprinkling of the men who are born to the best things of the world, and are sometimes told that they help to move it. There were ladies among the company too—ladies well known in scientific and literary circles, with certain great ladies led by curiosity. On the left-hand side of the Theatre, for instance, close to the door, sat two very great ladies, indeed—one of them the Countess of Thordisá, and the other her only daughter, the Lady Mildred Carera. Leaning against the pillar beside them stood a young man of singularly handsome appearance, tall and commanding of stature."To you, Dr. Linister," said the Countess, "I suppose everything that the Professor has to tell us will be already well known?""That," said Dr. Linister, "would be too much to expect.""For me," her Ladyship went on delicately, "I love to catch Science on the wing—on the wing—in her lighter moods, when she has something really popular to tell."Dr. Linister bowed. Then his eyes met those of the beautiful girl sitting below him, and he leaned and whispered,"I looked for you everywhere last night. You had led me to understand—""We went nowhere, after all. Mamma fancied she had a bad cold.""Then this evening. May I be quite—quite sure?"His voice dropped, and his fingers met hers beneath the fan. She drew them away quickly, with a blush."Yes," she whispered, "you may find me to-night at Lady Chatterton's or Lady Ingleby's."From which you can understand that this young Dr. Linister was quite a man in society. He was young, he had already a great reputation for Biological research, he was the only son of a fashionable physician, and he would be very rich. Therefore, in the season, Harry Linister was of the season.On most of the faces present there sat an expression of anxiety, and even fear. What was this new thing? Was the world really going to be turned upside down? And when the West End was so very comfortable and its position so very well assured! But there were a few present who rubbed their hands at the thought of a great upturn of everything. Up with the scum first; when that had been ladled overboard, a new arrangement would be possible, to the advantage of those who rubbed their hands.When the clock struck nine, a dead silence fell upon the Theatre; not a breath was heard; not a cough; not the rustle of a dress. Their faces were pale with expectancy; their lips were parted; their very breathing seemed arrested.Then the President and the Council walked in and took their places."Ladies and Gentlemen," said the President shortly, "the learned Professor will himself communicate to you the subject and title of his Paper, and we may be certain beforehand that this subject and matter will adorn the motto of the Society—Illustrous commoda vitæ."Then Dr. Schwarzbaum stood at the table before them all, and looked round the room. Lady Mildred glanced at the young man, Harry Linister. He was staring at the German like the rest, speechless. She sighed. Women did not in those days like love-making to be forgotten or interrupted by anything, certainly not by science.The learned German carried a small bundle of papers, which he laid on the table. He carefully and slowly adjusted his spectacles. Then he drew from his pocket a small leather case. Then he looked round the room and smiled. That is to say, his lips were covered with a full beard, so that the sweetness of the smile was mostly lost; but it was observed under and behind the beard. The mere ghost of a smile; yet a benevolent ghost.The Lecturer began, somewhat in copy-book fashion, to remind his audience that everything in Nature is born, grows slowly to maturity, enjoys a brief period of full force and strength, then decays, and finally dies. The tree of life is first a green sapling, and last a white and leafless trunk. He expatiated at some length on the growth of the young life. He pointed out that methods had been discovered to hinder that growth, turn it into unnatural forms, even to stop and destroy it altogether. He showed how the body is gradually strengthened in all its parts; he showed, for his unscientific hearers, how the various parts of the structure assume strength. All this was familiar to most of his audience. Next he proceeded to dwell upon the period of full maturity of bodily and mental strength, which, in a man, should last from twenty-five to sixty, and even beyond that time. The decay of the bodily, and even of the mental organs, may have already set in, even when mind and body seem the most vigorous. At this period of the discussion most of the audience were beginning to flag in their attention. Was such a gathering as this assembled only to hear a discussion on the growth and decay of the faculties? But the Director, who knew what was coming, sat bolt upright, expectant. It was strange, the people said afterwards, that no one should have suspected what was coming. There was to be, everybody knew, a great announcement. That was certain. Destruction, Locomotion, Food, Transmission of Thought, Substitution of Speech for Writing—all these things, as has been seen, had been suggested. But no one even guessed the real nature of the Discovery. And now, with the exception of the people who always pretend to have known all along, to have been favored with the Great Man's Confidence, to have guessed the thing from the outset, no one had the least suspicion.Therefore, when the Professor suddenly stopped short, after a prolix description of wasting power and wearied organs, and held up an admonitory finger, everybody jumped, because now the Secret was to be divulged. They had come to hear a great Secret."What is this Decay?" he asked. "What is it? Why does it begin? What laws regulate it? What check can we place upon it? How can we prevent it? How can we stay its progress? Can Science, which has done so much to make Life happy—which has found out so many things by which Man's brief span is crowded with delightful emotions—can Science do no more? Cannot Science add to these gifts that more precious gift of all—the lengthening of that brief span?"Here everybody gasped."I ask," the speaker went on, "whether Science cannot put off that day which closes the eyes and turns the body into a senseless lump? Consider: we are no sooner arrived at the goal of our ambitions than we have to go away; we are no sooner at the plenitude of our wisdom and knowledge than we have to lay down all that we have learned and go away—nay, we cannot even transmit to others our accumulations of knowledge. They are lost. We are no sooner happy with those we love than we have to leave them. We collect, but cannot enjoy; we inherit—it is but for a day; we learn, but we have no time to use our learning; we love—it is but for an hour; we pass our youth in hope, our manhood in effort, and we die before we are old; we are strong, but our strength passes like a dream; we are beautiful, but our beauty perishes in a single day. Cannot, I ask again—cannot Science prolong the Vital Force, and stay the destroying hand of Decay?"At this point a wonderful passion seized upon many of the people present; for some sprang to their feet and lifted hands and shouted, some wept aloud, some clasped each other by the hand; there were lovers among the crowd who fell openly into each other's arms; there were men of learning who hugged imaginary books and looked up with wild eyes; there were girls who smiled, thinking that their beauty might last longer than a day; there were women down whose cheeks rolled the tears of sorrow for their vanished beauty; there were old men who heard and trembled.One of them spoke—out of all this crowd only one found words. It was an old statesman; an old man eloquent. He rose with shaking limbs."Sir," he cried, his voice still sonorous, "give me back my manhood!"The Professor continued, regardless:"Suppose," he said, "that Science had found out the way, not to restore what is lost, but to arrest further loss; not to give back what is gone—you might as well try to restore a leg that has been cut off—but to prevent further loss. Consider this for a moment, I pray you. Those who search into Nature's secrets might, if this were done for them, carry on their investigations far beyond any point which had yet been reached; those who cultivate Art might attain to a greater skill of hand and truth of sight than has ever yet been seen; those who study human nature might multiply their observations; those who love might have a longer time for their passion; men who are strong might remain strong; women who are beautiful might remain beautiful—""Sir," cried again the old man eloquent, "give me back my manhood!"The Lecturer made no reply, but went on:"The rich might have a time—a sensible length of time—in which to enjoy their wealth; the young might remain young; the old might grow no older; the feeble might not become more feeble—all for a prolonged time. As for those whose lives could never become anything but a burden to themselves and to the rest of the world—the crippled, the criminal, the poor, the imbecile, the incompetent, the stupid, and the frivolous—they would live out their allotted lives and die. It would be for the salt of the earth, for the flower of mankind, for the men strong of intellect and endowed above the common herd, that Science would reserve this precious gift.""Give me back my manhood!" cried again the old man eloquent.But he was not alone, for they all sprang to their feet together and cried aloud, shrieking, weeping, stretching forth hands, "Give—give—give!" But the Director, who knew that what was asked for would be given, sat silent and self-possessed.The Speaker motioned them all to sit down again."I would not," he said, "limit this great gift to those alone whose intellect leads the world. I would extend it to all who help to make life beautiful and happy; to lovely women"—here the men heaved a sigh so deep, so simultaneous, that it fell upon the ear like the voice of thanksgiving from a Cathedral choir—"to those who love only the empty show and pleasures and vainglories of life"—here many smiled, especially of the younger sort—"even to some of those who desire nothing of life but love and song and dalliance and laughter." Again the younger sort smiled, and tried to look as if they had no connection at all with that band. "I would extend this gift, I repeat, to all who can themselves be happy in the sunshine and the light, and to all who can make the happiness of others. Then, again, consider. When you have enjoyed those things for a while; when your life has been prolonged, so that you have enjoyed all that you desire in full measure and running over; when not two or three years have passed, but perhaps two or three centuries, you would then, of your own accord, put aside the aid of Science and suffer your body to fall into the decay which awaits all living matter. Contented and resigned, you would sink into the tomb, not satiated with the joys of life, but satisfied to have had your share. There would be no terror in death, since it would take none but those who could say, 'I have had enough.' That day would surely come to every one. There is nothing—not research and discovery, not the beauty of Nature, not love and pleasure, not art, not flowers and sunshine and perpetual youth—of which we should not in time grow weary. Science cannot alter the Laws of Nature. Of all things there must be an end. But she can prolong; she can avert; she can—Yes, my friends. This is my Discovery; this is my Gift to Humanity; this is the fruit, the outcome of my life; for me this great thing has been reserved. Science can arrest decay. She can make you live—live on—live for centuries—nay, I know not—why not?—she can, if you foolishly desire it, make you live forever."Now, when these words were spoken there fell a deep silence upon the crowd. No one spoke; no one looked up; they were awed; they could not realize what it meant that would be given them; they were suddenly relieved of a great terror, the constant dread that lies in man's heart, ever present, though we conceal it—the dread of Death; but they could not, in a moment, understand that it was given.But the Director sprang to his feet, and grasped his brother physicist by the hand."Of all the sons of Science," he said, solemnly, "thou shalt be proclaimed the first and best."The assembly heard these words, but made no sign. There was no applause—not a murmur, not a voice. They were stricken dumb with wonder and with awe. They were going to live—to live on—to live for centuries, nay, why not?—to live forever!"You all know," the Professor continued, "how at a dinner a single glass of champagne revives the spirits, looses the tongue, and brings activity to the brain. The guests were weary; they were in decay; the Champagne arrests that decay. My discovery is of another kind of Champagne, which acts with a more lasting effect. It strengthens the nerves, hardens the muscles, quickens the blood, and brings activity to the digestion. With new strength of the body returns new strength to the mind; mind and body are one." He paused a moment. Then he gave the leather case into the hands of the Director. "This is my gift, I say. I give to my brother full particulars and the history of the invention. I seek no profit for myself. It is your own. This day a new epoch begins for humanity. We shall not die, but live. Accident, fire, lightning, may kill us. Against these things we cannot guard. But old age shall no more fall upon us; decay shall no more rob us of our life and strength; and death shall be voluntary. This is a great change. I know not if I have done aright. That is for you to determine. See that you use this gift aright."Then, before the people had understood the last words, the speaker stepped out of the Theatre and was gone.But the Director of the Royal Institution stood in his place, and in his hand was the leather case containing the Gift of Life.The Countess of Thordisá, who had been asleep throughout the lecture, woke up when it was finished."How deeply interesting!" she sighed. "This it is, to catch Science on the wing." Then she looked round. "Mildred, dear," she said, "has Dr. Linister gone to find the carriage? Dear me! what a commotion! And at the Royal Institution, of all places in the world!""I think, Mamma," said Lady Mildred, coldly, "that we had better get some one else to find the carriage. Dr. Linister is over there. He is better engaged."He was; he was among his brother physicists; they were eagerly asking questions and crowding round the Director. And the Theatre seemed filled with mad people, who surged and crowded and pushed."Come, Mamma," said Lady Mildred, pale, but with a red spot on either cheek, "we will leave them to fight it out."Science had beaten love. She did not meet Harry Linister again that night. And when they met again, long years afterwards, he passed her by with eyes that showed he had clean forgotten her existence, unaltered though she was in face and form.


When the big bell in the Tower of the House of Life struck the hour of seven, the other bells began to chime as they had done every day at this hour for I know not how many years. Very likely in the Library, where we still keep a great collection of perfectly useless books, there is preserved some History which may speak of these Bells, and of the builders of the House. When these chimes began, the swifts and jackdaws which live in the Tower began to fly about with a great show of hurry, as if there was barely time for supper, though, as it was yet only the month of July, the sun would not be setting for an hour or more.

We have long since ceased to preach to the people, otherwise we might make them learn a great deal from the animal world. They live, for instance, from day to day; not only are their lives miserably short, but they are always hungry, always fighting, always quarrelling, always fierce in their loves and their jealousies. Watching the swifts, for instance, which we may do nearly all day long, we ought to congratulate ourselves on our own leisurely order, the adequate provision for food made by the Wisdom of the College, the assurance of preservation also established by that Wisdom, and our freedom from haste and anxiety, as from the emotions of love, hatred, jealousy, and rivalry. But the time has gone by for that kind of exhortation.

Thus, our people, who at this hour crowded the great Square, showed in their faces, their attitudes, and their movements, the calm that reigned in their souls. Some were lying on the grass; some were sitting on the benches; some were strolling. They were for the most part alone; if not alone—because habit often survives when the original cause of the habit is gone—then in pairs.

In the old unhappy days there would have been restless activity—a hurrying to and fro; there would have been laughter and talking—everybody would have been talking; there would have been young men eagerly courting the favors of young women, looking on them with longing eyes, ready to fight for them, each for the girl he loved; thinking each of the girl he loved as of a goddess or an angel—all perfection. The girls themselves ardently desired this foolish worship. Again, formerly, there would have been old men and old women looking with melancholy eyes on the scenes they were about to quit, and lamenting the days of their strength and their youth. And formerly there would have been among the crowd beggars and paupers; there would have been some masters and some servants; some noble and some bourgeois; there would have been every conceivable difference in age, rank, strength, intellect, and distinction.

Again, formerly there would have been the most insolent differences in costume. Some of the men used to wear broadcloth, sleek and smooth, with glossy hats and gloves, and flowers at their button-hole; while beside them crawled the wretched half-clad objects pretending to sell matches, but in reality begging for their bread. And some of the women used to flaunt in dainty and expensive stuffs, setting off their supposed charms (which were mostly made by the dress-maker's art) with the curves and colors of their drapery. And beside them would be crawling the wretched creatures to whom in the summer, when the days were hot and fine, the Park was their only home, and rusty black their only wear.

Now, no activity at all; no hurrying, no laughing, not even any talking. That might have struck a visitor as one of the most remarkable results of our system. No foolish talking. As for their dress, it was all alike. The men wore blue flannel jackets and trousers, with a flannel shirt and a flat blue cap; for the working hours they had a rougher dress. The women wore a costume in gray, made of a stuff called beige. It is a useful stuff, because it wears well; it is soft and yet warm, and cannot be objected to by any of them on the score of ugliness. What mutinies, what secret conspiracies, what mad revolts had to be faced before the women could be made to understand that Socialism—the only form of society which can now be accepted—must be logical and complete! What is one woman more than another that she should separate herself from her sisters by her dress? Therefore, since their subjugation they all wear a gray beige frock, with a jacket of the same, and a flat gray cap, like the men's, under which they are made to gather up their hair.

This scene, indeed—the gathering of the People before the supper-bell—is one of which I never tire. I look at all the eager, hurrying swifts in the air, I remember the Past; and I think of the Present when I gaze upon the great multitude, in which no one regardeth his neighbor, none speaks to none. There are no individual aims, but all is pure, unadulterated Socialism, with—not far distant—the Ultimate Triumph of Science!

I desire to relate the exact circumstances connected with certain recent events. It is generally known that they caused one deplorable Death—one of our own Society, although not a Physician of the House. I shall have to explain, before I begin the narrative, certain points in our internal management which may differ from the customs adopted elsewhere. We of the Later Era visit each other so seldom that differences may easily grow up. Indeed, considering the terrible dangers of travel—how, if one walks, there are the perils of unfiltered water, damp beds, sprained ankles, byrsitis of the knee, chills from frosts and showers; or if one gets into a wheeled vehicle, the wheels may fall off, or the carriage may be overturned in a ditch.... But why pursue the subject? I repeat, therefore, that I must speak of the community and its order, but that as briefly as may be.

The Rebels have been driven forth from the Pale of Humanity to wander where they please. In a few years they will be released—if that has not already happened—by Death from the diseases and sufferings which will fall upon them. Then we shall remember them no more. The centuries will roll by, and they shall be forgotten; the very mounds of earth which once marked the place of their burial will be level with the ground around them. But the House and the Glory of the House will continue.

Thus perish all the enemies of Science!

The City of Canterbury, as it was rebuilt when Socialism was finally established, has in its centre a great Square, Park, or Garden, the central breathing-place and relaxation ground of the City. Each side is exactly half a mile in length. The Garden, thus occupying an area of a fourth of a square mile, is planted with every kind of ornamental tree, and laid out in flower-beds, winding walks, serpentine rivers, lakes, cascades, bridges, grottos, summer-houses, lawns, and everything that can help to make the place attractive. During the summer it is thronged every evening with the people. On its west side has been erected an enormous Palace of glass, low in height, but stretching far away to the west, covering an immense area. Here the heat is artificially maintained at temperatures varying with the season and the plants that are in cultivation. In winter, frost, bad weather, and in rain, it forms a place of recreation and rest. Here grow all kinds of fruit-trees, with all kinds of vegetables, flowers, and plants. All the year round it furnishes, in quantities sufficient for all our wants, an endless supply of fruit; so that we have a supply of some during the whole year, as grapes, bananas, and oranges; others for at least half the year, as peaches, strawberries, and so forth; while of the commoner vegetables, as peas, beans, and the like, there is now no season, but they are grown continuously. In the old times we were dependent upon the changes and chances of a capricious and variable climate. Now, not only has the erection of these vast houses made us independent of summer and winter, but the placing of much grass and corn land under glass has also assured our crops and secured us from the danger of famine. This is by no means one of the least advantages of modern civilization.

On the South side of the Square stands our Public Hall. The building has not, like the House of Life, any architectural beauty—why should we aim at beauty, when efficiency is our sole object? The House of Life was designed and erected when men thought perpetually of beauty, working from their admiration of beauty in woman and in nature to beauty in things which they made with their own hands, setting beauty above usefulness; even thinking it necessary, when usefulness had been attained, to add adornment, as when they added a Tower to the House of Life, yet did nothing with their Tower and did not want it.