Page:Melbourne and Mars.djvu/47

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45
MY USE OF THE FREEDOM.

Another reason for the general abundance is that no one wastes or wantonly destroys anything; nor does anyone wear or use anything for purposes of ostentation or display. All this is useless in a land where there is no personal wealth, and no means of using riches if specially possessed. All who can work do so for the general good, and working five hours daily causes a rate of production much in advance of consumption. The probability is that the hours of labor will have to be reduced to four, or even three. This would have come about long since had not many millions of men been employed on public works for centuries.

All our magnificent railways are carried under ground on wide, well ventilated, brilliantly lighted roads. This had to be done in order that the land occupied by them might be used for agriculture. Of our rainfall none is wasted. It is stored in thousands of reservoirs, and utilised for irrigation in dry seasons. The failure of a crop would be such a terrible disaster that we provide for it by building and filling immense storehouses. All stores being so preserved and sealed as to ensure their sweetness and nutritive qualities whenever they may be required. These and a thousand other public works, efforts that have made our whole planet a smiling and fertile thing of beauty, have absorbed a vast amount of labor. As it is, each worker follows his occupation about one-seventh of his time, and the number of workers engaged in productive and manufacturing industries are about one-eighth of the population.

One man, tilling the soil, can grow food for fifty, another weaving cloth, can dress three hundred, and four men making boots or hats can cover the extremities of a thousand fellow mortals. Hence it comes that we have to work so little and are yet so well supplied.

To-morrow I begin the ninth year of my life, and the first day of my five-hundred days of self-imposed mechanical training. When this year is finished I will travel, and working in various parts perfect my education."

This brief chapter covers about three years of our diarist's records. By Earth time be is a little over seventeen years of age; by that of Mars he has finished his eighth year. All that is of any importance to the narrative and much of what he has learned of the actual life of the Martial Humans is included in the chapter.


CHAPTER IX.


My use of the Freedom.

"FROM now forward as long as I live I can draw from any depot on the planet anything that I want. I can visit any workshop or mine, can travel by any public conveyance, can work at any trade, can study any subject at any seat of learning, can use to any extent telegraphic, telephonic, or other means of communication, can see the most sacred and ancient manuscripts