Page:Melbourne and Mars.djvu/22

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back the pages of his diary, and finds that his dream life has lasted nearly four years: how is it then that he is only two years old in the new life?

Had he been born into some part of the world where time is reckoned differently? That cannot be: a year is a year wherever time is reckoned, there may be differences in the naming of months; may be differences in the time of commencing the year, numbering of the years, and other minor particulars, but the duration of the year is the same, a child has not to live nearly four years in order to be two years old. In China a child is called one year old when born, but he is conscious that he is not in China, and conscious, too, that be is amongst people who are exceptionally happy and prosperous, who are very beautiful to look upon; who are never sick or weary, never poor nor ill-clad, and whose surroundings are harmonious and pleasant in a high degree. The people themselves also never quarrel nor say bitter things of each other when absent. Where on the Earth can this state of things be found? What child can live through infancy without seeing something of sickness, pain, poverty; without knowing something of vice or evil speaking?

"Where am I?" says our hero; are my sleeping hours spent in Heaven? That cannot be, for heaven is an abode of spirits and my dreamland is an abode of tangible bodies, I have an active, healthy little body as anyone could wish; and my father and mother, my playfellows and friends, and all the things around us, are real enough and familiar to me. And yet life is different and the people are different, and there are many things about that would not be found in the best houses in Melbourne or in London. Our fires are warm and bright and keep the rooms pleasant, and yet they never burn anything. In royal households, so far as I know there are no such fires. At night we have no lamps and yet light comes from luminous points in walls and ceilings, and can I only once remember being in the dark and then I had done a rare thing—had wakened in the night.

Am I on Earth? If so not in any part I have heard or read of. I am not in the Christian's Heaven, for I am not dead; on the contrary I appear to be too much alive; to be living two lives while the majority of the people have to be content with one. There must have been a millenium where I have strayed to; for all the imaginings of the poets and dreamers are more than realized; there is no sin nor sorrow where I live—but I am only two years old and it has taken me nearly four years to reach that age—where am I?"

This is the first time that Jacobs asks his whereabouts; the dates have set him off. The answer to his question becomes easy enough in a while and we will not run into future pages of his diary in order to answer his question now.

A few days after this strange second birthday we find a report of a talk with his mother. The mother appears to be the leading spirit in the daily