Page:Melbourne and Mars.djvu/27

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25
SCHOOL DAYS.

got worked into practical shape. Real estate is only held by those who use it. There is no property except in personal belongings and even these must not be heaped up and kept to rot. Several things tend to arouse his curiosity, but he is bound to wait. If he could make himself equally conscious in both spheres he might ask for information, but hitherto he can remember nothing of his old life in his new one, although he can remember all that happens in the new life while in the waking one. Indeed, the dreamland memories haunt his waking hours, and make him absent-minded and odd in manner.

One evening he writes:—"I have been all day bothering my head about the flying fishes I mentioned the other day. They are always going about in the air. I can never look up without seeing some. They are so common that no one appears to notice them. It is not long since we got one of our own. Sister Emma and I were in the garden, where we grow a great number of highly-colored flowers, when we heard a familiar voice overhead. We looked up, and there was father on a flying fish descending in a spiral curve almost upon us. The fish came lightly to the ground with all its fins folded, and father got out. He and mother carried it into a long, narrow house, built on purpose for it.

Next day we all went flying. Inside the fish was almost like a boat. Father sat at one end, mother at the other, Emma and I were in between. We were told to keep still, and then father pulled out some little knobs and the fish began to rise spirally, as if climbing on an immense screw, until it got a certain height, and then its fins came out to the full length and made great sweeping strokes, and we went forward fast, very fast. I could not breathe when looking in the direction we were going. We could see through the floor, and looking down everything seemed to be in rapid motion running away behind us. There were other fishes, too, that kept crossing above and below us in all directions.

When we had been flying some time we dropped in the same spiral way, and spent the afternoon with some friends. When we came back it was night, and our fish had its eyes made into a pair of great lamps. I have no idea of how we got home or when. Emma and I were wrapped in a soft, warm rug, and must have gone to sleep. What is this fish? It has feathery-looking fans about the tail, and these more up and down and from right to left as we steer, and we have two pairs of wing-like fins at the sides. There is no smoke and no noise. If in my dreamlife—I still call it 'dreamlife,' though it is as real as any life can be—I have no consciousness of my waking life or I would ask some questions. It is possible that if I had such consciousness it might interfere with my happiness and growth as a child. The idea of a child of five being conscious of living elsewhere as a man of fifty.

At the same time there may be some sort of filtering of one life into the other for one day. I asked mother if father earned much money.