Page:Melbourne and Mars.djvu/35

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33
GASTON'S CLASS.

promised or given to various members of a family, but there can be no bickering over the distribution of wealth. The State is the heir of each generation, and as the lives of all our men and women are honorable and profitable, as we have no criminals and no paupers, and as all work who are permitted to do so, the State gains much by each generation, and can easily afford to sustain teachers and the like, maintain schools and places of amusement in each centre of population, and provide for the wants of worn out workers.

And our workers do not wear out soon. The conditions of life are easy and they are free from worry and almost free from temptation. Our day is twenty-five hours, and they only work five at a trade. The majority work a little in the afternoons in their fruit and flower gardens, or for their own amusement; but there is no such thing as bustle, strain, anxiety as to money or any other worrying matter. The general happiness and the zest manifested by comparatively aged people doubtless has its source in the conditions of life.

Our intercourse with one another is very easy. We are not expected to provide foods and drinks for our afternoon or evening guests. Those who wish to eat together go to the caravansary, where wholesome and varied meats are supplied early in the afternoon to all comers, the only formality being that each name is sent to the depôt for the district. You pay for your friend's dinner if you wish by repeating your own name. This, however, is rarely allowed, for your friend is your equal, and stands as well in the register as you do.

Another reason for the freedom of our intercourse is freedom from titles. We have no 'Miss' nor 'Mistress,' no 'Sir' nor 'Esquire.' Each man or woman goes by name. The profession is allowed to be used as an affix, as 'Classmother,' 'Doctor,' 'Teacher;' but even these confer no rank.

I did not gather up all the above information while out skating with father. I got most of it at various times from Gaston, who spends half-an-hour every fourth day in telling us of things pertaining to our everyday lives. I am getting on well with my studies. It is very easy to learn, every study is made so interesting. We were prepared for Gaston's class while going through Hildreth's, and the present teacher seems to know just what we want to learn next. We do not appear to have much to learn in ordinary arithmetic, and we are busy measuring surfaces and solids of various forms every morning. When we have proved by our arithmetic that a certain surface contains a certain number of feet, we have to measure it up in single feet and show them. For this we have a large ground space that will bear chalking, and a smooth, black wall in the playground. Sometimes several pupils join in working out a problem in full size. The other day I and two class-mates had to find the centre of a polygon—an irregular one. We worked at it for two hours, making triangles and measuring their area and