Page:Melbourne and Mars.djvu/34

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32
MELBOURNE AND MARS.

As for the music that attends everything. We are a very musical people, so much so that our lives may be said to be set to music. It is as if we were constantly expressing our joy in thankful song.

My father has got his skates and mine firmly fixed and away we go on the ice, he holding me up when my feet fly apart or run before me or behind me, leaving me to tumble but for his firm hand. At last we come to a comparatively quiet corner, and father, taking a seat on the bank, bids me strike out for myself. This I do, again and again coming to grief most times, but falling lightly and not hurting myself much. After another run behind father, who gives me the end of a scarf to hold on by, we go to mother and the sleigh and away home.

Our home life seems easy and happy as compared with that of my earlier childhood. Lights and fires give no work. Mother has only one meal to cook. There are no dusty streets, smoke, dirt and dust are almost unknown things. Labor-saving appliances of all kinds are freely used in household work, so that taken altogether the wife and mother has no need to work much longer than the husband and father. The winter evenings we spent very pleasantly. Sometimes we had visitors, at others we visited our friends. We had merry games—games of chance and skill, reading, impersonations, dramatic and musical performances, dancing, calisthenics. All the people had plenty of time and opportunity for self improvement, and most of them took care to excel in some accomplishment. First-class teachers of all the arts gave lessons to those who wished without any charge upon their labor. That is, all tuition of every kind is absolutely free.

All other things are free to all appearance in some sense. At the depôts we get all we want for asking. Only there is this difference: an account is kept with each responsible person or each head of a family, and his production balanced with his consumption. All consumed by an individual or family is practically paid for by the labor or production of the individual or family, and generally the account is much in favor of the worker, for there are no profits. The State is the only middleman, and the costs of carriage and storage and distribution are the only additions made to prime cost. The difference between lessons and personal necessaries is this, the former are not entered against his account, the latter are.

Teachers, lecturers, doctors, writers, actors, musicians, preachers— in short, all who work for the amusement, instruction and healing of humanity are provided for by the State, and when past labor are still surrounded by such comforts and luxuries as they have been accustomed to. In all this world such a thing as poverty is unknown. Nor can anyone become rich. No matter how much a man or woman may spare the State account he or she can hoard nothing, nor even draw upon the depôt for articles that must ran to waste. Nor can anyone own a foot of land. No one can make a will. At death, or prior to that event, purely personal belongings may be