Page:Melbourne and Mars.djvu/37

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35
GASTON'S CLASS.

inhabited by rational beings. Proofs of this are given by some of the giant telescopes, and there are other sources of information.

Gaston teaches us how to draw globes and maps, and to put in the proper lines of longitude and latitude; but his course does not include astronomical geography. Not that we are left in entire ignorance even of that branch, for Gaston made the room dark on several fourth days, and spent his half hour in showing by globes of light and the big globe how days and nights came, and how we got winter and summer, and why some parts of the world were hotter than others, and how by going in one direction or another we lost sight of certain stars and stood at different angles to the sunlight.

He taught us a good deal regarding our two moons, the near one that flies round the world more than three times a day, and the other that takes more than a day to get through its changes. These moons are of very little use as givers of light, but the nearer one keeps the air in motion in equatorial regions, and by causing a small, swift-moving tide does the same thing for the central seas. Exact details of these subjects he did not give: what he told us just sharpened up our appetites for more knowledge.

"I have learned to skate easily without tumbling, and I find that mother can skate just as well as any of us, if not better. She and father sometimes leave me to take care of Emma, who is too little yet, and away they go gliding as merrily as the rest. Mother is the merriest and prettiest woman of them all.

Our time in Gaston's class is nearly over. It is and has been a happy time for all concerned. There has been no inattention, and there is not a boy in the class, nor a girl either, who has fallen short of the expectations of the teacher. We have not a single dunce. We have all had our education carried far enough to enable us to travel to any part of the world and engage in any ordinary industrial pursuit. When I leave I have to help mother at home for about half a year and learn how to perform domestic duties, and then to go to the school of mechanics and learn to make electrical machinery like father does."

This chapter contains a condensed statement of all that; our diarist has written during nearly two years. He has evidently got to seeing more clearly and knowing more in his dream life. His mental growth is apparently rapid, but not more so than that of his peers. Evidently the children with whom he is associated are clever, intelligent and morally better than the average whom he would meet in any school on earth. Possibly the civilisation of the planet upon which he lives much of his time, the planet Mars, is much older and much higher than that of the earth. The people appear to have nothing to worry them, no monetary difficulties, no strife nor unhealthy competition, no contending nationalities, no wars, no crimes. Naturally, being introduced, to such people we want to know more of them, their modes of life, their history, how their lives came to be so fully perfected.