AS IT MAY BE
A Story of the Future
BESSIE STORY ROGERS
logo: arti et veritati
Boston: Richard G. Badger
The Gorham Press
Copyright 1905 by Bessie Story Rogers
All Rights Reserved
lc stamp: Library of Congress - 2 copies received - Jan 2 1906 - Copyright entry - Jan 2. 1906 - Class a XXc. No. 134956 - Copy B.
The Gorham Press
title page: AS IT MAY BE.
Preface - p. 5
As my readers follow the ideas in this book they may say it is impossible for such things to come about, but when we think of the wonderful and seemingly impossible things that are happening every day, we may well say “Nothing is impossible.”
There is nothing more wonderful than our birth, yet do we often think of the strangeness of it all?
Is it not a more hopeful view to think the word is growing better instead of worse?
We who believe this may be in the wrong, but surely it is pleasanter to think the world is progressing, rather than to feel we have lived for naught.
None of us know about the future, still we are entitled to our opinions.
p.6 This book is merely the product of imagination, but suffice it to say if the world ever reaches such a state of goodness as is described herein, many will be happier than they are today.
BESSIE STORY ROGERS.
Rockport, Mass., Nov. 23, 1904.
CHAPTER I - p. 7
How strange and mysterious everything seems, yet with all the strangeness I feel sure that this place is familiar or has been so to me at some time. I certainly have been here before, but when and under what conditions?
I think I will look around me and investigate my surroundings, to see if I can find anything that looks familiar.
There is the grand old ocean; that certainly looks natural. What stories of suffering the old sea would tell. Many a husband and father have found watery graves in this beautiful, but wicked old ocean. Many have said their fond good-bye to wife and children, thinking soon to be back in their happy, but lowly homes, little dreaming that the mighty deep would claim
them before they could see their dear ones again.
These mean of the sea are indeed a hard-working, sturdy, courageous people, and I say “God bless them.”
It seems almost impossible for me to take my eyes from the mighty sheet of water, and yet I hardly know whither to turn.
I should like to find the beach where I used to spend so many happy hours. If my memory serves me correctly it was not far from this very place. I will walk on a short distance; perhaps I may be able to find this familiar spot.
No, I do not see anything that looks like the beach. It has gone, I am sure. Everything about here has changed. I will walk a little further, I may be able yet to find something familiar. What about my good friend the blacksmith? I may be able to find him. How I used to enjoy seeing him at his forge, and how I loved to watch the fire start from the black, and seemingly lifeless coal. I was only a child and yet hardly a day passed that I did not go to see my friend. No, I do not see the blacksmith's shop, he must have changed his place of business to some other part of the town.
One more place I must try to find, and that is my stable where I kept “Babe,” the dearest horse that ever lived. It was only a minute's walk from her to the stable, I will go along and see if I am doomed to disappointment again. Dear old “Babe,” what rollicking times we had together. Do you remember how you lifted the cover on the grain chest, you old rogue? And how you would bow your head for an apple or a lump of sugar? I am sure I shall find you, but you never failed me and surely you won't now. What! my horse and stable gone? All my dear friends gone? It must be that my mind has gone too.
Where am I? I must be dreaming; I feel so queer and unnatural. Everything is strange and new to me, yet I am positive this is the place where I spent my childhood days. I must tarry here awhile, for I know not where to go.
CHAPTER II - p. 10
What is that peculiar object I see, just appearing over the horizong? It seems to come nearer and nearer. Can it be a large, graceful bird of some kind? …
[it is a woman flying; she lands and the narrator asks what has happened, I'm puzzled about your flying, “pray tell me where I am and who I am”]
The strange woman turned to me and with a wonderful smile said---“Welcome stranger; by your conversation I think you are what a thousand years ago was called a human being on the earth. I, too, am a human being, but of the 2905 type. This is the same earth that has always existed; if you feel that this place is strange, yet familiar to you, in all probability
in 1905 this very spot was the scene of your childhood. Think, my dear friend. Cannot you remember who you were, and what your circumstances and surroundings were before this strangeness came over you?
“I am quite sure, if you can recall who you were and under what conditions you lived, that you will seem as strange to me as I appear to you. Cannot you recall your name, and the last thing you did before this feeling of strangeness came upon you?”
I told my strange friend that I would do as she bade me, and with a few minutes of thought I might be able to tell her what she wished to know. For a few moments neither of us spoke. I concentrated my mind on this one thought; namely, what my name was and under what conditions I lived in the year 1905. ….
“My good lady,” I said, turning to her, “I remember everything perfectly. My name was Mary Tillman; I was taken sick, died and was buried.”
“Is it possible,” said my friend, “that a thousand years ago people were sick, and as you called it, died; and is it possible they were buried?”
I replied: that it was not only possible but that it was really so. Surely there can be nothing out of the ordinary in that. She remarked that she had read of such things, but that she never believed for a moment that it could be so. “At the present time we have no sickness, no death, and no burial. No doubt that seems as incredible to you as your statements seem to me.”
“Miss Tillman,” replied my friend, “I am going to introduce myself. My name is Helen Linden. I want to suggest that you accompany me to my home; I wish very much to have you meet my husband and children; I should like
to hear more of the people of the twentieth century and their manner of living, and if it suits your pleasure I shall be pleased to introduce you to our customs. No doubt they will seem very odd to you at first, but I am sure you cannot help seeing a marked improvement.”
[the narrator considers for a moment, concerned that she might feel awkward in her manners. “On second thought I decided I would accept, for I knew by my friend's appearance that she was too much of a lady to reprimand me for my old-fashioned ways.”]
“But,” I answered, “when you made your appearance you were flying. Can you walk along with me, for you know flying is something I know nothing about?”
“Certainly, I can walk as well as you, and in a short time you will be able to fly as well as I. All you need is a flying machine; but we will discuss that later.”
[they walk along together; nature is exceptionally beautiful. The narrator seems very happy and asks her friend; Mrs. Linden says yes everything is better and everyone is happy. The narrator believes Mrs. Linden.
The narrator notices that the houses seemed to be of a different material than was used in the 20th century.]
“Well, here we are,” said Mrs. Linden, “this is my home.” We stopped in front of a plain but fine looking house.
[Mrs. Linden just opens the door; no key. The narrator mentions doors and locks and Mrs. Linden replies: p. 17 “Why should we [keep our doors locked]? We have nothing to fear.” There isn't anything or anybody that can do us any harm, in this century.”
notice: [sic] double close quotations
Chapter III p 18
[Narrator notices that “everything was tasty and neat, yet simple.” Everything is calm and happy. Mrs. Linden says she wants to wait till her husband comes home before hearing the narrator's story. Mrs. Linden tells the narrator she also has two children a boy and a girl who will also find the narrator's story improbable “[a]s they have never read anything of the olden days.” p. 19
[Again the narrator comments on how beautiful Mrs. Linden is and Mrs. Linden says it's nothing, everyone now looks this way.
[The husband comes in. He also has “as fine a face as his wife.” p. 20
“Charles, I want to introduce you to a new friend of mine, Miss Tillman. This morning I found this lady wandering around the streets, apparently she had lost her way; on inquiring, I find she is a lady of the twentieth century, and of course everything seems strange to her. I have brought her to our home to familiarize her with the surroundings, and ways of living at the present time.”
[The husband also says things have been much improved since 1905; Miss Tillman says she is sure it is so, and “It seems more as we thought of Heaven; everything seems to be in perfect harmony.” [p. 20]
[a far away tinkling of music - the call for lunch - the children come in, also “the most beautiful children I had ever seen.” p. 21
Mrs. Linden says everyone is beautiful, we have no ugly countenances. They sit for lunch. They have very different dishes. Mrs. Linden explains:
“I believe in your day china dishes were used. Now, we use these very simple non-absorbent paper dishes. They are very inexpensive, and when soiled are thrown away.”
“I begin to see,” I said, “why you all have pleasant faces. In my day dish-washing alone was enough to make any woman look ugly.”
[the food is also different. Mrs. Linden explains:
“No doubt,” she said, “you will find our food very different from what you have been used to. We eat no fish, meat, or anything that has animal life. Many of the herbs which I dare say were called useless in your day, are now used for food. We cook them in many different ways, and I think you will find them very palatable. We have many varieties of cereals, fruits, and vegetables.”
I must say that the food looked “good enough to eat.” It seemed impossible that materials of such a nature could be gotten up to look and taste so well. Everything seemed so good. Of course, I hadn't any idea what I was eating. I wondered why it was that in 1905 we hadn't learned to cook such attractive looking dishes.
[they finish lunch; go to the living room; and Miss Tillman tells them of life in the 20th century. There is a lot of sickness and death. People do not know the causes of sickness. “Many deaths resulted from catching cold, which came from improper care of ourselves.” p. 24 - the Lindens do not know what “catching cold” means and Miss Tillman explains:
“Very well,” I said, “I will try to explain to you. When we exposed ourselves to the wet and cold, our whole system was often affected. Sometimes the head was troubled, sometimes the lungs, and more often a person felt sick all over, and as it sometimes developed into more serious
symptoms, we died from the effects. Colds were one of the most common kinds of illness. Women, men, and children all suffered from them.
“You will be surprised when I tell you what inconsiderate things people did and then wondered why they caught cold. Often people would go thinly clad on a cold day, instead of dressing as they should.”
“You exposed yourselves needlessly, and should have known better,” remarked Mr. Linden.
“We did know better,” I said. [sic: no quotes] But often through pride we caught cold. Why, Mr. Linden, one of my friends never wore a wrap of any kind if she had a new dress. Simply because she wanted to let people see that she was the possessor of a new gown.
“But as I said before we had many kinds of sickness which caused a great deal of suffering.”
“And did even your innocent little children suffer from disease?” inquired Mr. Linden.
“Yes, indeed,” I replied. “Some of our children were great sufferers. Many times this was caused from exposure and carelessness
and many times from diseases brought on we knew not how.”
… “But could your children get no relief from their sufferings?”
“Yes, indeed,” I replied. “At the time of my death a great deal had been done for relieving sickness for both old and young. One of the greatest blessings for the children was the 'floating hospital.' Hospitals were large, sunny buildings where we carried our sick to be taken care of.”
[floating hospitals were steamboat outings for poor children of the city. Miss Tillman discusses the cripples, and “the deaf and dumb people”]
“Then I went on to tell them of our deaf and dumb mutes. Of the wonderful things they accomplished and how patient they were.”
“The worst of all, I said, “was blindness. We even had people who were born blind. Never had been able to see. Never knew how things looked. Never had seen their own fathers and mothers, brothers, or sisters. Just think of it,” I said. “What a terrible thing that was.”
Mr. and Mrs. Linden and myself conversed all day. We found many things of interest to talk about.
It was hard to say whether they were more surprised at the people and customs of the twentieth century, or whether I was more surprised at the present time. Anyway, I knew one thing and that was - there had been a decided improvement.
When it came time to retire for the night, Mrs. Linden asked me if I thought I would enjoy a fly in the morning.
[no problem; the flying machine will be no problem.]
“But before you decide to go,” replied Mrs. Linden, “I must see what the weather will be tomorrow. If you will excuse me a moment, I will go in Mr. Linden's room and look at the weather bulletin.”
While Mrs. Linden was gone, I sat and wondered in what way the people of 2905 knew about the weather for the following day.
Presently Mrs. Linden returned. “It is going to be a very pleasant day tomorrow,” she said.
“What is your scheme in these days for telling the weather,” I asked.
“Could you not tell what the weather was to be on the morrow in your day, Miss Tillman?”
“Yes, In a measure we could,” I replied. “Generally when a storm was approaching the 'weather man' could tell. Signals were posted,
or storm flags were hoisted to warn of the storm. We had people who made a business of studying the weather. Sometimes they would be fortunate enough to be correct in their calculations, but many times they were entirely wrong.”
“We have no guess work about it now,” replied Mrs. Linden. “Every family has an instrument called the weather meter. When we wish to know what the weather is to be the following day, we merely look at the weather meter and we know positively what to expect, and we make our plans accordingly.”
I informed Mrs. Linden that in 1905 we had a barometer which told of approaching storms, wind, etc., but we never thought the time would come when we could tell just what the weather would be from day to day.
“Why,” said Mrs. Linden, “we depend on our weather meters as much as we do on our clocks. And by the way --- I imagine our clocks must be far different from yours. You used electricity for many things, I suppose, but did your clocks run by electricity?”
“We may have had a few,” I answered, “but this use of electricity was not common.”
“All of ours are run by electricity,” she replied. “We put our clocks in the house when it is built just as you would put in your electric lights.”
“I am very glad to hear of this improvement,” I remarked. “In my day it was a nuisance to keep clocks going, and I am afraid some naughty little words were said sometimes when the clocks refused to perform their duties, or when they had to be regulated as well. Frequently we lost our train by reason of the clock being wrong, and worse than that, we sometimes got out of bed in the morning, thinking it time to arise, only to find we were an hour or so too early. It took a good disposition to stand these things.”
“But perhaps your clocks get out of order?”
“No,” she replied, “we have no trouble whatever with them. Everything that runs by electricity at the present time, runs to perfection.” …
[the home has a small elevator - one in every home “of the 2905 type. This I thought was a good idea too, as many women were actually tired out in my day, by going up and down stairs.” She is conducted to a bedroom with a bed in the wall “made on the principle of our folding beds --- but of a neater design and more simple of construction”
Chapter IV - p 36
Narrator wakes up and goes down to breakfast (using stairs “as I hardly dared trust myself to run the elevator.”
The family greets her by saying “Greeting to you,” instead of “Good morning,” because everything is always good.
They prepare to fly.
Mrs. Linden brought me a rather odd looking dress. It reminded me of what we called a bloomer suit --- yet it was much prettier; it really was a pretty gown. “In this century,” said Mrs. Linden, “we wear these costumes a great deal, especially when flying.”
“Why, in my day,” I replied, “the ladies
were too vain to wear such suits, unless when bathing or something of that kind. [sic - no quotes]
“But,” answered Miss Linden, “we have gowns made this way in the most elaborate styles imaginable. It is only a change of style from your day, I suppose.”
The machine was made of aluminum and therefore was very light; it reminded me somewhat of a straightjacket, inasmuch as the main part fitted snugly to the body to support the back and chest.
From the jacket extending to the arms and also below the knees, were wide bands of aluminum to support those members. My friend had previously informed me that these parts could be changed in any desired position so as to rest the person using the machine.
[p. 39 - Miss Tillman tells Mrs. Linden that people had used various means to fly before but not successfully: “I related the different devices that had been invented for flying. She merely laughed, and asked me if I thought people would have been greatly pleased with such cumbersome arrangements.”
The machine is worked by electricity - no wings.
“But,” I said, “I have never taken a lesson and know nothing about flying. If I start likely as not I shall lodge in some one's chimney, or some unpleasant place.”
“Nothing of the sort,” answered Mrs. Linden. “You will find it just as easy to fly as to walk, only of course, it will seem a little odd at first. We will take a general survey of the city at first, so as to give you some idea of the changes that have taken place since your day.”
“Now,” she said, “just turn the little handle that you will find just below the chest. By this we will get our power. Turn it around to three, that will give you speed enough at first. And also turn the hand of the compass (which you will find just below the power handle) to the West, as we wish to fly in that direction.”
I did as I was told and immediately realized that I was on a “Flying trip,” to use the expression that was common in the olden days.”
“Now,” said Mrs. Linden,” what would you like to see?”
“I hardly know what to say,” I replied. “Everything seems so new to me.”
“I used to be greatly interested in fire engines and the fire horses. Why not visit the engine houses. You must have made great improvements in that direction.”
To my great surprise my friend informed me that there were no fire engines or engine houses. Those were disposed of long ago. Our buildings are absolutely fireproof. We never have a fire, therefore we have no use for fire engines. I have read that in your day a fire was a common occurrence, that large buildings burned, and that people were actually burned to death.
“Alas, that is only too true,” I answered. “We certainly had terrible things happen. We had all kinds of dreadful accidents. Sometimes these were caused by carelessness and ---“
“Let me interrupt you right there,” said
Mrs. Linden. “The terrible things that happened were caused a great many times by carelessness because you did not know how to avert the cause of the carelessness.
“These things resulted from some cause. You must first great rid of that, then you can prevent the horrible things. That is what we are able to do today. All causes for horrible happenings and accidents have been done away with.”
“You have indeed advanced,” I said, “I think your words are very true. We were careless. For instance, Fourth of July we had many terrible accidents caused by powder crackers and the use of toy-pistols; but do you celebrate Fourth of July?”
“Not in the foolish way that you used to employ,” she replied. “There are no fire crackers or fire works made, and as we have no use for fire arms for self-defense or other purposes, they have been disposed of for some years. By study and hard work all causes for accidents have been found out and removed; they are now unknown.”
Just then I saw something walking below me that made me fairly scream. “Look at that
wolf and that bear,” I said. “Why they are walking along the street and no one pays a bit of attention to them! Why does not someone kill them?”
“Why,” replied Mrs. Linden, “don't you remember that I just told you we have no fire arms. We do not kill animals now any more than we would people. We never use them for food and do not have the disposition to kill them for fun as they did in your day. Therefore, when the animals found they were unmolested, they finally grew so tame that they wandered on the streets as a dog would in your day. We do not disturb them in any way. They are as free as we are to roam around.
“We do not call them wild as you used to. They are very gentle. The wildest animal in your day is as gentle as can be now.”
“This,” I said, “is indeed one of the most wonderful changes I have seen yet.”
“Not wonderful at all,” replied Mrs. Linden. “It is only through kindness that the animals have come to learn that there is nothing to harm them. If your people had had more of this feeling, you would have advanced faster than you did.”
“As the people changed, so did the animals change. When the human race grew kinder and more intelligent so did the animals.”
I pondered upon these facts for a while, and then said to my escort: “There is reason in your statements surely for in my short life it seemed to me that I could see a marked improvement in our animals. Wonderful feats were performed by trained horses, dogs, cats, elephants, and lions even. I often wondered what people would have thought to have seen these things one hundred years before my death. It seemed to me that even in 1905 we were doing a great deal to elevate the animals, so to speak.”
“Yes,” answered my companion, “and it seems also that man was finding out what wonderful things could be done with animals by patience and gentleness, while training himself in that direction.”
“I think you are right,” I said, “but I have a question I would like to ask you, Mrs. Linden. Do you have mosquitoes? Do you know what I mean?”
“I do not know of anything we have by that name,” she answered.
“Then you are greatly blessed in the year 2905,” I replied. “Why in my day sometimes it was impossible to be comfortable and good-natured on account of these annoying little things. I don't know how we could have been expected to be always good-natured when we had such things as mosquitoes to contend with. We were driven by their persistency to say naughty little words. If you do not have them now, you cannot imagine how one poor little mosquito could torment a person. I don't wonder the people have improved in disposition even if they have only gotten rid of this one unpleasant thing.”
“You seem to be quite wrought up over the subject of mosquitoes. Pray tell me what they were?” said my friend.
“They were small insects with a poisonous sting and they used to bite us dreadfully. They were most bothersome in the summer evenings. We used at that time to sit out doors enjoying surrounding nature, but we were so pestered with them that we were driven into the house. They would inflect a bite on the face, then on the wrist, and then on the ankle until finally they would become unbearable.”
“I am sure they must have been unpleasant things,” responded Mrs. Linden.
“Not only were they tormentors, but it was proven that they were carriers of disease,” I said.
“Yes,” replied my companion. “I do not doubt it. Years after 1905 hundreds of ways were discovered whereby disease was carried. But science has conquered and we have no disease now.
Chapter V - p 48
She observes black clouds; asks will there be a thunderstorm? Mrs. Linden says they have no thunderstorms now. Narrator describes lighting killing people.
p. 49 Narrator notices “many strange looking carriages in the streets. One kind in particular seems very odd and at the same time it seems to be very common. I wish I might seem some at the present moment so that you could tell me what they are. Look, there is one now!”
“Oh!” replied my friend, “that is what we call a baby carriage. You certainly had baby carriages, Miss Tillman?”
“Well, yes,” I answered, “but not that style, I can assure you. We had to push ours and it was hard pushing sometimes, too.”
In these carriages the mother or nurse gets the carriage, seats the baby and themselves comfortably, turns on the electricity, and off they go.
“My what a blessing that would have been for the women of the twentieth century!” I said. “But the cost? they must be expensive.”
“Not at all,” she replied. “Any one who wishes may have one as the price is very low.”
“They remind me of our automobiles, only they are made on a much smaller scale,” I said.
[they turn towards home]
On my way I happened to think of the rum shops and saloons that were so common in 1905. Turning to Mrs. Linden, I asked her if such places were known at the present time and if intoxicating liquor was used.
“I do not know of any places that answer that description; neither do I know what you mean by intoxicating liquors,” she answered.
“In my day saloons and liquor were a curse to the nation,” I said. “I am sure if so many good and wonderful things have happened since 1905, the rum shops and saloons must have vanished, for you could never have true happiness with intoxicating liquor in your midst.” I informed her as to the nature of this evil and went on to say that at my time people claimed that the time would never come when it would not be sold. “I myself did not think that, but I did believe that as long as people
wanted it made and as long as men craved it to drink, it would be manufactured.
“I realized that not until the people were able to overcome the appetite for liquor could any great reform take place. I felt that they must change a great deal before such a thing could happen. If you could have seen what longings and cravings some had for it, you wouldn't hesitate to say that you have gotten rid of the worst enemy of man. People actually drank intoxicating liquor until they knew nothing that was going on around them. Fancy, if you can, a man so overcome with liquor that his wife and family were in constant fear of him. The wife and children living a life of anxiety lest they be killed, and the husband and father be cast into prison. This leads to the subject of prisons.
“Mrs. Linden, if you have no bad people, of course you have no use for prisons; these were buildings where we put our criminals and law breakers. You do not have them I am sure?”
“No,” she answered, “we have nothing of the kind.”
“We thought them necessary and per-
haps they were, for we had people who were so bad that they had to be put away where they could not harm others. We were so far uncivilized as to cast human beings into prisons for years, yes for life time. Many people thought we should deal with the bad and unfortunate in some other way, but at that time we could not see our way clear to do differently.”
“Were these unfortunates never allowed to see their friends or visit their homes?” asked Mrs. Linden.
“Sometimes their friends were allowed to visit them at the prison, but the prisoners were not permitted to go out of the prison yard until they had finished their sentences.”
“An awful state of affairs,” said my friend.
“Yes, but you haven't heard the worst yet,” I replied. “Some prisoners were sentenced to death; by that I mean they were hanged, or in later years electrocuted, until death came.”
“You were far from civilized, Miss Tillman.”
“We were indeed,” I said. “Sad were many cases brought to light. For instance, a man had just cause to lose his temper; perhaps some one
tormented him so that he forgot himself, and before he knew it, he had killed some one. Another perhaps crazed by liquor --- which he had purchased at a licensed rum shop --- got into trouble with some one, and shot and killed his man. The licensed rumseller, who sold the liquor that had caused the trouble, went free because he paid a few dollars to some city or town; but the unfortunate man after the effects of the liquor left him, realized what he had done, and although not for anything would he have committed such an act had he been in his right mind, he was punished to the full extent of the law. He was tried by a jury, which often condemned a man merely on circumstantial evidence. If these few men rendered a verdict of guilty, out went his life and he passed on to another, and I hope brighter, world.
“Which had the hardest heart do you think, the man who was crazed by jealousy, and liquor, or the man who sold the liquor, or the one who did the electrocuting?”
“The man who caused the guilty one trouble
of course,” said Mrs. Linden, “and as for the sheriff, it was far worse for a man to kill another without actual cause than it was for a man to kill another when wrought up from temper and drink.”
“So I say,” I replied.
“They were guilty of taking life as well as the prisoner,” resumed my companion.
“Yes,” I said, “and the sheriff was paid for it, too. I often thought the time would come when the verdict 'Condemned to death,' would be a thing of the past, but I hardly thought prisons would be done away with entirely.”
“But you see,” replied my friend, “the time has come when people do not use liquor and we have no insane jealousy as a result. Your terrible dispositions were hereditary, having been handed down from generation to generation. Many times the people who were bad in your day weren't to blame for it. It was born in them just as goodness and kindness were born in others. Not until all the bad traits were taken from people could the world become what you see it today.”
p. 55 - they arrive home, and land on the grand.
Chapter VI - p. 56
She takes off her suit and goes into living room and talks with the family. She asks about the children, that they're so good:
“As the parents have changed greatly since the olden days, I can understand why the children have changed also, still in my day with the best influences, children went astray. What method have you used to bring such a change?”
“None whatever. The children are born good; they need no bringing up. It is just as natural for them to be good as it is for the birds to sing. This is one of the many changes that have been going on from year to year. But tell me,” she went on, “what methods were used for guiding children aright in your day?”
“Children were whipped instead of being reasoned with and shown the right way. What do you think of people who so cruelly tortured these little ones of their own flesh and blood?” I said.
“It was certainly very wrong,” she answered.
“I think so,” I said. “Child nature in my day wasn't best conquered by force. We all knew that. I often thought if parents could not control their tempers and govern themselves accordingly after years of training, how could they
expect their children to be even in their dispositions.”
“I can see why some people had no patience with their children. Take for instance the class of very poor people. They had not enough to eat or to wear. The mothers were tired and nervous, and sickly besides; often times with drunken husbands coming home to them. How could you expect them to be agreeable and in good spirits? There may have been good excuse for them, but there were other parents with pleasant surroundings who hadn't the least control over their children, and who didn't seem to care what became of them.”
“Falsehoods were often told the children by the parents. Now that was entirely wrong. The children soon learned that the parents told untruths, and it was perfectly natural for the children to fall into the same way, and in consequence were punished by a whipping or by being sent to bed without any supper, or something of that sort. It seems to me that the parents were to blame for this. I think children would have preferred to tell the truth rather than to lie, but they were often punished for telling the truth,
so they did the next thing and lied. It was simply heartrending sometimes to see what punishments a little child had to stand.”
“Do you wonder we had ill-behaved children, Mrs. Linden?”
“I wonder that you had anything but badness and corruptness if those were the ideas you carried out in correcting your dear ones,” she answered.
Chapter VII - 61
The new world has money. “But if you still have money,” I said, “I cannot account for such peace in the world; I cannot understand such contentment as I see, the absence of jealousy and strife. In my day that was the cause of labor troubles, of business depression, and no end of other things.”
Mr. Linden replies that it was because people thought too much of money.
Some people do have more money than others, but every one has enough to live comfortably. No poor people. Nobody who gets money for selfish ends or dishonorably.
p. 61 “A great many of your wealthy people, I fear, got their money unjustly. To be sure they must have been smart and in a way earned their money - but behind it all was that feeling of getting ahead of some one else.
“In your day the poor man thought the rich man should give him all he asked for, and the rich man thought the poor man should give him what he demanded, without appreciation on either side. Was that not so?”
“I am afraid it was,” I answered. “Many people, not all, thought the wealthy should support them, and would have lived an idle life, if it hadn't been for keeping alive. It was the same with some (not all) of the rich men. They expected the poor man to work for them
for a moderate sum, with never a thought of the poor man's burden.”
no labor troubles.
Chapter VIII - p 63
Now they have “thought transference” as a replacement for the telephone, telegraph, and wireless telegraphy. Bad thoughts are transferred to the victim whether the ill-doer wished it or not. Which helped the world become as good as it is today. Now they have no bad people so they do not use thought transference for “this special purpose” p 64.
“I think I have read of a few instances in your day where people claimed they could tell what would happen in the future. They were laughed at, were they not?”
“Yes,” I replied, “they were called cranks or crazy.”
“Yes, I presume so,” he answered, “but still those people had the power of thought that most of your people lacked. Now we all have that power. We have no secrets from each other for it is impossible to have them.”
“But in my day, Mr. Linden, this would have been a very unpleasant thing,” I said. “Think of every one knowing one's affairs. What trouble this would have caused with business, to say nothing of family affairs.”
“No doubt it would in your day, but you know we feel altogether differently about affairs
and people,” replied Mr. Linden. “The whole universe feels towards each other as a very devoted family should feel with each other, every one working together.”
“We have reached the stage where it is easy to be good, but impossible to be bad. Very different from your day, I am sure.”
Chapter IX - p 66
“While out flying, I do not remember seeing any churches. You haven't given them up, have you?”
“Oh! yes, some time ago,” answered Mr. Linden.
“It was something like this as far as I know.
“The people become more and more negligent about attending worship and believed they could worship God and do good and be good by other means than the churches. They finally drifted away from them altogether. Of course the ministers were affected by this state of affairs, so at length we had no ministers. Without a
doubt the ministers of the early years through their good influence, together with other sources of good, have brought us where we are today. 'All things work together for good.'”
She is not surprised; recalls that in her day it was hard to pay for church expenses; that church workers had to work all the time and “It wasn't the pleasantest occupation either. For though these kind and willing folk tried to do their best, there were those who were ready to criticise their efforts without ever lifting a hand to help them. In my day each of the different denominations seemed to be of the opinion that it alone was on the right track, and no matter how good his friend or neighbor might be, if he didn't belong to his own particular church he was in the wrong. I hardly see how you ever brought the people to be of one mind.”
“The people finally drifted into one church, creeds were forgotten; the people adopted a
different way of doing things. Instead of thinking so much of creeds they began to think how they could do good to their brother men. They adopted as their guide the Golden Rule 'Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.' When every one began to follow this rule, it wasn't long before there was a real change in people.”
“We do not do good because we feel we have to from fear of forty strikes, or from fear that we will be found guilty if we do not, but we do good because it is good to do so.”
the narrator tells a story of a boy who was good because he was believed to be good.
they discuss bibles.
“That seems very reasonable, Mrs. Linden, but tell me, do you have Bibles now?”
“Yes,” she answered, “I have two kinds. I have one that was used in your day and then I have one that was made many years later. There were many good things in your Bible, and many things that would never have helped any person or nation to be good. The Bible that was read later had nothing but good in it.”
“I am glad to hear that, “ I answered, “for although I think a person could have gotten a great deal of help towards a Christ-like life from our Bible, still there were some things in it that weren't fit for either parent or child to read. Still some people thought everything in the Bible was all right. But really I don't see how they truthfully could have believed that. If the same people knew that their children read such language from any other book than the Bible, they would say that it wasn't fit to be in print. I think the new Bible must be a decided improvement over the old.”
“We think so,” replied Mrs. Linden. “People didn't all think alike in those days, and couldn't agree on certain subjects, then why were they expected to believe everything in the Bible? It was written by men who expressed their opin-
ions. Of course they weren't all of the same mind.”
“But in my day,” I said, “people thought it was very wicked if we didn't accept everything in the Bible as truth.”
“As your Bible contradicted itself over and over again, that would have been impossible. You should have taken the best and let the rest go,” answered Mrs. Linden. “But I should like to ask you a question now,” she went on. “Was it not a queer idea to build churches in order that you might worship God, asking his blessing on the sick and unfortunate, and to help those who were sore afflicted?”
“We never looked at it in that light,” I answered.
“It seems to me,” she went on, “that you could have worshiped God without going into those buildings you called churches. And you had a day you called Sunday, had you not?”
“Yes,” I replied, “Sunday was one day in every week set apart for rest and worship, and on that day we attended church and praised God, and prayed for our fellow men.”
Mrs. Linden, with a look of surprise, turned
to me and said, “do you mean to tell me that you and your friends had one day only for worshipping God? Did you forget all about God the following days of the week?”
I laughingly replied that it would hardly have been politic in my day to say so, still I thought that was the right idea. “But do you not observe Sunday, Mrs. Linden?”
“Oh! no. That was given up years ago,” she said. “Yet we praise our Creator daily.”
Chapter X p 74
Mrs. Linden asks to be told more about sickness and death. The narrator replies that if people were seriously diseased they were sent to bed for days, months, or years. Called the doctor. p. 75 “Our family physician was a kind old man. When he received word that one of the family was sick, he hastened with all possible speed to ascertain what the matter was and what could be done for us.”
[The new times don't have doctors. ]
“Doctors stood amongst our best professional men,” I said. “They spent their lives studying human anatomy, and finding relief in the way of medicine and other ways, to help suffering humanity. … [I]n the year 1905 we had thousands of them.
Many were conscientious men, who did a great deal for humanity, while others - well - I hesitate to say just what is in my mind, but I am afraid there were many exorbitant bills passed in by family physicians.”
Mr. Linden is surprised that people were sick and spent money to get well. Narrator responds that many poor people p. 76 “became discouraged from sickness. The doctor's bills were very hard on the poor man's pocketbook, I assure you.” But if they didn't get well they died. Then the soul left the body, the friends mourned over the remains, and they sent for an undertaker. p. 77 “It was his duty to preserve the body that it might be in good condition the day of the funeral, which was generally held two or three days after death.” People were dressed in their nicest clothes and placed in an expensive coffin. Then there were funeral and burial services. Funerals were unpleasant. p. 78 “Personally, I thought the time would come when funerals would be done away with, for they were very unpleasant things to attend, and it was very hard for the relatives to go through the ordeal.” Then they bury people in large tracts of land. The Lindens are shocked that people buried their best friends. “Why yes,” I said, “we either buried or cremated them (the latter meant to burn the bodies), whichever a person preferred. At the
time of my death cremating was becoming quite common, still some people had a horror of it. But when you consider that it was known that people were sometimes buried alive, I think you will agree with me that cremating was by far the better way.”
At first my friends were horror-stricken with the idea of cremating, but when I informed that that many times the bodies were stolen from the ground, and when I spoke of other unpleasant things connected with burial, they fully approved of cremation.
[they discuss the sorrows of death]
“It must have been dreadful,” said Mrs. Linden. “But what did you people believe became of you after death.”
“There was a great diversity of opinions,” I said. “Some thought death was the last of us, while others thought if we had been wicked in this world we should be sent to Hell; by this I mean that we were to be forever miserable. Some believed if a man had been bad all of his days, and at the time of his death realized what he had been, and repented of his evil ways, that he entered directly into Heaven. This seems very unreasonable to me, for I do not think it would be possible for a person to throw off his evil nature so quickly. Corruptness and evil companions had been his Heaven on earth, therefore it would be impossible for him to enter directly into the Kingdom of Heaven. Until these conditions were changed, Heaven would not be Heaven to him. Others believed we progressed in the next world. By progression I mean that was we died so we awoke in the next world. Gradually we grew better and better until at length we were perfected. Many believed we should never see our loved ones again, while others thought we should meet in a better world beyond, and that our friends were around us in this world, helping us bear our burdens.
The last named, I think , were the happiest in their belief and felt the least sorrowful when their friends died. I think this was a very reasonable belief, at least it was a great blessing to think (even if it wasn't so) that our loved ones had not left us, but were with us under different conditions.”
“That was a very happy belief,” said Mrs. Linden. “Even in your day there was no death. Many of your people possessed the power of seeing and conversing with their friends who had, as you used to see, thrown off the earthly for the heavenly. It is just the same thing now, only we are all able to see and talk with each other. Some time ago you made the statement that the soul left the body after death. What did you mean by that?”
I informed her that we were supposed to have souls which were immortal, but we ourselves were called mortal.
“The same thing that we call our spirit today,” said Mrs. Linden. “We have learned to have our spirit as pure on earth as you thought it would become after death. If you thought your spirit progressed after death, you were
right, but you could have trained your spirit to progress the same on earth as after death. People have learned to do that since your day. In olden times it was body over spirit, now it is spirit over the body, and now our spirits live forever, but we do not go through death to et to that state. As Christ conquered death and the grave so have we.”
“Surely,” I said, “there must be a new Heaven and a new Earth.”