Infomotions, Inc.Born Again / Lawson, Alfred, 1869-1954



Author: Lawson, Alfred, 1869-1954
Title: Born Again
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Title: Born Again

Author: Alfred Lawson

Release Date: October 4, 2006 [EBook #19459]

Language: English

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Produced by Jerry Kuntz as part of the Lawson's Progress
Project, http://www.lawsonsprogress.com





Born Again

by Alfred Lawson

DEDICATION

One day, not many years ago, while walking along a street in Detroit,
Michigan, I was stopped by a ragged and forlorn beggar, with the request
for a few cents to buy something to eat.

I gave him a dime and walking on a few paces stopped to observe his
following movements. Contrary to my supposition that perhaps he would
enter a saloon and buy whiskey he went as fast as his weary legs would
carry him in a straight course toward a restaurant on the opposite side
of the street.

As he was about to enter the place his attention was attracted by a more
pitiable wretch than himself standing outside who had but one leg, was
partly blind, and whose nose was almost eaten off by disease.

He paused for a moment and looked sympathetically at the crippled beggar
and then started again toward the door of the restaurant, but before
entering he stopped once more to take another look, and after a few
moments' hesitation he deliberately turned about, handed the other
fellow the dime and walked away without feeding himself.

Of all the heroic deeds I have ever witnessed, I recollect none quite so
grand and noble as this act, for notwithstanding this poor beggar may
have been heir to every other weakness a human being could possibly
contract, still he contained that spark of unselfish love for his fellow
beings, without which no man is more than a mere brute, and for that
reason I respectfully dedicate this work to his memory.

ALFRED WILLIAM LAWSON.

CHAPTER I

Judging from my own experience it is my opinion that many strange and
wonderful events have happened during the past in which man took part,
that have never been recorded.

Many reasons could be given for this, but the main causes perhaps, are
that the participants have lacked the intelligence, education or
literary ability to properly describe them.

In these respects I must admit my own inferiority. But I feel that
should I not promulgate an account of my own remarkable life for the
benefit of mankind then I would betray the trust nature has confided in
me.

So I warn the exquisite literary critic and the over-polished individual
who prefer fancy phrases to logical ideas, that this work may somewhat
jar their delicate senses of perception.

And having offered these few remarks I shall introduce myself to the
reader. My name is John Convert. The earth is my home and country. All
men are my kin, be they white, black, red, yellow or brown. I was born
somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean between Liverpool and New York while my
parents were emigrating from England to America. My mother died giving
me birth.

Whether or not it was because I first saw the light of day while in a
state of transit that caused me afterwards to acquire a thirst for
travel and adventure I cannot say, but true it is that during my whole
life I have been constantly moving from place to place. Then again my
father was a Methodist preacher and the good Lord ostensibly sent calls
to him from every nook and corner of the United States, for as long as I
can remember he too was continually changing abiding places. In fact, it
seems to me now when I look back that he seldom preached twice from the
same pulpit. Whether this was due to bad preaching or because he had the
courage to tell the good church folk many plain truths concerning
themselves, I know not, but I do know that in many ways my father was a
very good man, and also a very learned man--perhaps a little too learned
to be wise, for, like most great scholars he may have forced so much
book stuff into his brain that he left no room for progressive thoughts
of his own. He was, however, quite unlike many clergymen of the present
time who apparently think and certainly act as if their main work was to
flatter and amuse the women.

My father was straightforward, honest, kind and truthful. He was
dogmatic in his religious beliefs, combative by nature and never happier
than when fighting the Devil in his own corner, as he expressed it.
Furthermore, he was haughty, stubborn and egotistical, and these traits
of character I inherited from him. But while I honestly inherited
combativeness, stubbornness and egotism from my father, these
characteristics became very objectionable to him when displayed by
myself. So from my earliest childhood days there was a continual tug of
war between us to see who would be master of the house.

There was one inheritance I received from my father, however, that I
have always felt profoundly grateful to him for, namely, a sound
physical constitution. One of his earnest teachings, which, by the way,
was generally ridiculed, was that parents should not bring children into
the world unless they themselves had led temperate lives and were in
perfect health. In this respect he lived as he preached and practiced
temperateness in all things.

As I grew up I was taught to take care of myself physically, as well as
mentally and morally. At the age of eleven I was as large and strong as
most boys of sixteen, and at sixteen there were few men who could outdo
me in feats of strength and endurance. My education was limited to what
I learned at the different public schools which I attended, and without
exception I was always rated as the very worst boy of the whole
institution. I do not believe that ever a day passed that I was not sent
to the principal for refractory conduct, and in many instances I was
suspended or expelled entirely. Fighting was my chief offence as I was
always ready and anxious for a fistic encounter with any boy who was
willing to battle. In short, I was a very unruly child with an
independent spirit, who recognized the authority of nobody to give
arbitrary commands. In consequence of these facts my father and I had
frequent altercations and as my innate love for travel and adventure
asserted itself I ran away from home when but eleven years old, an age
when most children are mere babies, and started out in the world to
paddle my own canoe.

I began to earn my own living by selling newspapers on the streets of
Chicago, and from that time on became a wanderer upon the face of the
earth; working at various occupations and engaging in many schemes and
pursuits in an endeavor to pay my way through life, and during the next
eleven years I not only visited every part of the United States, but
nearly every country in the world, during which time I experienced
enough adventures to fill many books if put into print, but as they have
no bearing upon this narrative I must pass them by without mention. And
so at the age of twenty-two, being then a worthless vagabond, I was
aboard a three-masted schooner working my way from Australia to England
as a common sailor. That was during the year of 1881.

CHAPTER II

Phrenologists after studying the bumps on my head have invariably told
me that I lacked diplomacy. This, as I understand it, simply means an
incapability of acting the hypocrite. And it does seem under the present
system of human existence, that he who fails to practice hypocrisy finds
innumerable obstacles to overcome, which otherwise might be avoided. So,
lacking in this virtue, as diplomacy is sometimes styled, led me into
trouble with nearly everybody with whom I had any dealings. Indeed, had
it not been for this very defect in my nature, I should not have been
forced to pass through the most remarkable life, I think, ever
experienced by living man. And so the ship had barely passed out of the
harbor before I had undiplomatically aroused the enmity of all the other
seamen, and within two weeks I was thoroughly detested by every man
aboard from the captain to the cook. The crew was composed of an
unusually tough set of characters who avowed from the beginning that
they did not like Yankees and would make life insufferable for me before
reaching the next port. Fist fights became frequent and each one of the
sailors took a "punch at my head" at different times, only to learn that
I enjoyed that kind of sport and retaliated in a way that laid the
offender up for repairs afterward. The fact that in these encounters I
always gained an easy victory over my opponents caused a more intense
feeling of bitterness to exist than ever, and to make matters worse the
captain's wife, who was the only woman on the ship, took sides with me
against all the others. This apparently angered the captain, for on one
occasion, after he had given orders to have me put in irons for breaking
one of my shipmate's ribs, and she interceded in my behalf, he became
furious and threatened to have me thrown overboard. This threat,
however, only had the effect of making me more stubborn and defiant. As
a cowboy I had fought Indians and real bad men in the western states of
America, hunted elephants in Africa, tigers in India, and roughed it as
a gold seeker in Australia until I had become hardened against danger
and absolutely fearless, so that a menace against my life did not worry
me in the least. In fact, I really enjoyed the situation and dared the
captain to do his worst.

We had been out of Sydney about four weeks, and although I did not know
the exact latitude and longitude, I imagined we must have been a
considerable distance to the south and east of Cape Colony. It seems to
me now that I heard somebody say we were a little further south of the
regular course taken by vessels sailing around the Cape. It was one of
those pleasant nights in December, which one must experience in southern
waters to appreciate, that I took my turn on watch in the forward part
of the boat. It was past midnight and one of the darkest nights I have
ever known. The sea was rather calm but a good breeze astern caused the
ship to make good headway. I was all alone and paced back and forth from
side to side peering out into space and darkness ahead. Occasionally, I
would remain for several minutes leaning against one of the railings.
Except for the splashing of the sea against the side of the ship, all
was quiet. As I stood in one of my meditative moods, looking straight
ahead, I was suddenly attracted by something which caused me to turn
quickly and look in the opposite direction, and then I observed the
forms of four men coming quickly toward me, but before I realized their
object or had time to speak, they grabbed me by the arms and legs. I
struggled furiously for several moments and freeing my hands, dealt one
of them a vicious punch which felled him to the deck, and it seemed for
awhile that I would shake them all off, when suddenly I received a
terrible blow on the side of my head which partially stunned me, and
during the instant of inactivity on my part I was raised bodily high in
the air and plunged overboard into the waters below.

CHAPTER III

It was in a semi-conscious state that I struck the water head foremost,
and it was by instinct, I suppose, that I immediately started to swim
away from the side of the vessel.

Although I was a powerful swimmer it seemed as if I should never reach
the surface again. The sudden and unexpected plunge had caused me to go
into the sea with my mouth open and thereby swallow a large quantity of
salt water. When almost on the verge of strangulation, however, by a
supreme effort I finally managed to reach the air again, more dead than
alive. It was then some time before I regained my breath and fully
understood what had happened. I assure the reader that it was not a very
pleasant sensation to find myself out in the middle of the ocean without
even the support of a life preserver and the ship sailing away in the
distance. During my adventurous career I had faced death a score of
times without the slightest emotion or semblance of fright, but as I
floated about on that broad expanse of water alone I then realized for
the first time in my life what a tiny, helpless microbe I really was.

Oh, you little mortal known as man; you microscopical mixture of
protoplasm and egotism; you atomical speck of ignorance and avarice; you
who believe that the earth, moon, stars and all creation was
manufactured for your special benefit; if you could only be shown your
actual size in the universe as I was on that occasion, I think it would
result in the eradication of some of your innate vanity and selfishness,
thereby proving an incalculable blessing to you.

And now at last I was placed in a position whereby I could feel and
reflect upon my own littleness. I had absolutely no hope of being saved
from a watery grave, feeling that it was only a matter of an hour or two
before I should succumb to the inevitable and sink to the bottom of the
sea. Still I was unwilling to give up the few bones entrusted to my care
until finally overcome by exhaustion and so I kept afloat by lying on my
back and exerting myself as little as possible.

At length, however, my strength gave way entirely and I felt that the
time had arrived when I must come face to face with the God whom I had
been taught to believe in from infancy according to the Christian faith.
Then it seemed that a million thoughts crowded themselves into my brain
at the same time.

How would He receive me? What dire judgment would He pass upon me? Had I
ever done anything to merit His pleasure? I could not recollect one good
deed I had ever accomplished of sufficient importance to call to His
attention, but on the contrary I recalled a thousand bad acts I should
not have committed. I had spent a roving, aimless existence in which I
had done practically nothing to increase the production or knowledge of
the world, I had lived for myself alone--a life of mere pleasure
seeking, without ever a thought of others' rights or happiness. I
remembered that during a hunting expedition in Africa how I had once
shot and killed seventeen spring-bok in one day, and how I had swelled
up with conceit to know that I had destroyed the lives of that many
living things. True, they were not human beings, but were they not
creatures of nature as well as myself? What right had I to take the life
of any living thing at all, let alone for mere pleasure? What excuse
could I now offer if tried for that cowardly offence? Would I ask God's
forgiveness? If so, would it be any better to ask Him to forgive me just
before I died or immediately afterward? What difference would it make?
Then again I wondered if God would have any more respect for me if after
committing the deed I whined and begged for mercy. Would He not consider
that cowardly on my part? Would He not think better of me if I went
forward bravely and said: Here I am, O God, I know I have done wrong,
now punish me as Thou see'st fit. What would I do if I were to occupy
the Creator's position as supreme judge in a case of that kind? Would I
not think far more of the man who would come forward courageously and
take the punishment he deserved than the creeping, cringing and whining
being who begged for mercy? Would God the Creator be more unreasonable
about the matter than I, whom He had created?

I had always thanked God as well as my parents for the extraordinary
physical strength and courage with which I was endowed, and during my
life of trials and hardships that courage had never been shaken by man
or beast, but now I felt that the crucial test was about to be applied.
Would the courage the Almighty gave me weaken when about to face Him who
had bestowed it upon me?

With these and similar thoughts passing through my mind and my strength
exhausted, I took one long breath and sank beneath the water.

CHAPTER IV

Sinking slowly down with a feeling of drowsiness stealing away my
senses, I was suddenly awakened by my body coming to an abrupt stop and
resting upon some hard substance. My first impression was that I had
collided with some huge sea-monster and was about to be devoured. So
placing my hands and feet firmly upon it I sprang upward with all the
force I could command in an effort to get out of its reach, but to my
great surprise my head and half of my body shot out of the water into
the air above and down I came again square upon my feet with a jolt that
caused my teeth to rattle. And there I stood with my head and shoulders
out of the water while my lungs inhaled long draughts of pure fresh air.
I was too astonished to think and too weak to move, so I just stood
there motionless until I had regained my equilibrium. I could never
forget how sweet life seemed to me at that time. For a long time I
remained standing there without giving a thought as to what I was
resting upon, and when I did direct my attention to the question I was
incapable of forming a satisfactory solution to the mystery. According
to the charts there was no land in that part of the ocean. Could it be a
whale, I wondered? The more I thought of it the more perplexed I became.
The night was very dark and I could see nothing about me in any
direction, so I concluded that the only thing to do was to remain
standing just where I was until daybreak. It was a long and tedious wait
and I suffered much from stiffness and cold, but at last dawn appeared
and I anxiously strained my eyes, looking about in every direction. Then
my head nearly burst with a feeling of joyousness, for within two
hundred yards of me I discerned the outline of what appeared to be a
hill of rocks protruding from the deep, and as the light grew brighter I
started to wade slowly towards it. This was an extremely tiresome
undertaking, as the bed upon which I had been resting was very rocky and
uneven and I received many bruises before finally reaching its base. My
limbs too were thoroughly numb and almost refused to work, but with each
step ahead the water became shallower and my progress less arduous. As I
went forward I thought it was by the miraculous hand of God that my life
had been saved, for the time being at least. Then, again, it occurred to
me, that if it was the hand of the Almighty that saved me, it must have
been by His hand also that I was thrown overboard, for if He directed
the one act He must have surely directed the other. So why blame the
sailors for attempting to take my life if it was God's will that it
should be done?

Reaching the base of the rocks in a feeble condition and staggering like
a man under the influence of liquor, I threw myself down and went to
sleep just as the sun peeped over the horizon.

Several hours later I awakened with a start to find the burning sun
directly overhead and my body dripping with perspiration, my throat
parched and an awful feeling of thirst within me. My tongue felt as
though it was several inches thick and it seemed as though I would choke
immediately for the want of something to drink. Aside from the thirst,
however, I felt considerably refreshed and sprang to my feet with my
usual agility.

The first thing that attracted my attention as I looked about in a
curious manner, was that this strange pile of stone which protruded from
the sea, bore evidence of having once been a part of some mammoth
building which had apparently been shaken down and now lay in a chaotic
heap. Some of the stones were of tremendous size and different in shape
and quality from any others I have ever seen. Their designs showed that
wonderful skill must have been employed by the workmen who originally
cut and fit them into position. The whole mass formed a sort of a ragged
hill about one hundred feet in diameter and the highest point about
forty feet above the sea level.

In looking about, I discovered to my great delight that among the
crevices of the rocks there were many little places which acted as
basins to store up water from the recent rains, and I immediately took
advantage of these conditions to quench my thirst and bathe my face and
head. This done I began climbing up toward the top of the pile. It took
considerable time and patience to make the ascent, as the stones were
massed together in a most irregular and precipitous manner. Reaching the
highest point, I eagerly scanned the surrounding horizons with the hope
of seeing some passing ship, but nothing except sky and water met my
gaze.

Seating myself upon the topmost rock, I became buried in the depths of
meditation, and as I sat perched up there alone without even a glimpse
of a sea-fowl for companionship I felt as if I was the only living thing
extant; in fact, I actually imagined myself as being the center and
objective point of the universe. God in His great wisdom had flung me
there for some purpose or other and was watching my movements to the
exclusion of everything else, so I thought. Aye, even the warmth from
the rays of the sun had been arranged for my special benefit. How big a
little faith will make one feel sometimes.

For several hours I remained in one position, musing over my strange
situation and wondering what the final outcome would be. At last, after
the sun had gone down and darkness began to encircle me, I decided to
look about and find a suitable place to lie down and sleep for the
night. So I began to climb from rock to rock until I had reached the
opposite side of the jagged plateau, when suddenly one of the great
stones wobbled, I lost my balance and slid down an incline into a sort
of a pit. Then my feet struck something which momentarily stopped my
unexpected descent, but it proved to be a mere shell, and crashing
through it I landed with a violent jolt about ten feet further below.
Although somewhat stunned and a trifle confused by the suddenness of the
fall, I quickly regained my equanimity and looking upward I saw a small
hole which my body had passed through, the shaggy rocks above, the dark
sky and a few stars, but the strangest thing of all was, that the grotto
into which I had fallen was as light as day.

CHAPTER V

After all I had passed through during the preceding twenty-four hours,
then to be suddenly cast from the outer darkness into a hole as light as
if illuminated by the mid-day sun was a revelation that caused me to
seriously doubt my own senses. But having spent a life of travel and
adventure in which I had faced many unexpected dangers and inexplicable
sights, I soon regained my normal presence of mind and began to look
around with considerable interest. I was now fully convinced that the
great pile of stone which I had so strangely reached had at one time
formed a gigantic structure moulded together by human ingenuity.

The enclosure I found myself within might have been a hallway of the
edifice, but it was hard to positively distinguish it as such, for the
building in falling had placed things in an almost unrecognizable
condition. Some of the great stones from above had passed through the
ceiling and floor, while others had become wedged together before
reaching the surface, thus forming a very ragged and peculiar aperture.

In places where there were no obstructions I noticed a beautiful white
marble floor, while here and there a fragment of the walls showed that
the art of decorating had at one time reached a degree of proficiency
quite unapproachable by our modern artists. The space I found myself in
was too irregular in its outlines to form an adequate idea of what it
might have been used for. In some places I had to stoop to pass along,
while in others I was forced to climb over great blocks of stone.

After being in this passage about half an hour making an inspection of
the premises, I discovered a small opening which led into another
apartment. It appeared that a great door had separated the two rooms,
but had apparently become broken with the fall of the building and left
a space barely wide enough for my body to pass through. So in I went. Or
out I went, I was not quite sure which, for after squeezing through the
doorway a scene presented itself to my astonished gaze that I must
confess my inability to properly describe.

The view before me was a mammoth park with its variety of trees, flowers
and shrubbery of every possible description.

Straight ahead in the distance and plainly discernible was a running
brook which flowed along in a devious course and emptied into a lake far
beyond. And there, in all its majesty was the sun just sinking behind
the horizon, its brilliant radiance forming the most beautiful effects
of colorization upon the distant clouds it has ever been my good fortune
to behold.

I stood in motionless reverence for several minutes as my mind expanded
with wonder at the magnificent panorama, while my nostrils inhaled a
most delicious fragrance from the innumerable plants which seemed to put
new life into my enervated body.

What strange phenomena is this, I soliloquized? On the outside of the
earth the sun had gone down and darkness prevailed, while down here, in
under its crust I found it blazing away in all its splendor. In fact it
seemed that an entirely new world had suddenly been thrown in front of
me. Was I really alive or had I passed into some other world, was the
next question to enter my mind. I remembered that I had fallen a
considerable distance into this strange place and was somewhat stunned
in the tumble. Perhaps, thought I, my body is still lying somewhere
among the rocks above while this is only my spirit wandering about in a
fanciful manner. But no, looking downward I plainly saw my massive frame
dressed in sailor's clothes just as I had left the ship and I was
positive of being alive, awake, and in my right senses. And the wonders
multiplied. Looking to the right of the entrance, a short distance away,
I observed a marble platform elevated about two feet from the ground, in
the midst of huge flower-beds and shaded by large trees, upon which sat
a number of men, silent and motionless, with various musical instruments
in their hands as if they had just finished playing and were taking a
short rest. These instruments were of an entirely different pattern from
any I had ever seen. And the men! Oh, if I only had the power to show
them to my fellow beings as I saw them. What an imposing, noble looking
lot they were. They were all about the same size and not one of them
could have been less than eight feet in height. In looking at them
closely, I noticed that they possessed most magnificent physiques. They
were neither fat nor lean and their well-groomed bodies showed plainly
that no horse or piece of machinery ever received better care or
attention. While they appeared to be from thirty to forty years in ages,
not one of them wore a mustache, beard or any other shaggy decoration of
the face. Their foreheads were broad and massive and extended to the
center of their splendidly shaped craniums. Extraordinary intelligence,
kindness and gentleness showed forth from every feature of their
handsome countenances. Judging from their well-proportioned frames, each
one looked powerful enough to battle single handed with an elephant.
Judging from their faces not one of them would have hurt a flea. Each
man appeared to be buried in the depth of thought--serious thought--
notwithstanding every physiognomy plainly showed that the utmost
happiness and contentment existed within each, and good will between all
of them. The skin of their faces, hands and feet was as white as snow,
transparent, and backed by a beautiful pink. At first sight I thought
they were the gods. Uniformly clothed in closely fitting garments from
the ankles to the neck, their superb forms showed complete symmetrical
perfection. The hue of their raiment was indescribable for I had never
seen the like before. In fact the colors actually appeared to change
before my steady gaze. Their feet were bare, very shapely, and the toes
of greater length than ordinarily.

As I stood rooted to the ground and viewed them with intense admiration,
I wondered why they did not speak or take notice of my presence. But
finally in order to attract their attention I shouted, hello. My voice
sounded rather harsh and peculiar on this occasion, and was more like
the bray of an ass than anything else, but they made no motion as if
they heard me, or were aware of my existence. Walking over to the
nearest one, I reached up and touched him on the shoulder. Then I sprang
back in amazement, for instead of giving any sign of recognition he
merely placed his instrument in position, as did all the others, and
with slow, graceful movements began to play. The first strains of music,
although distinct and supernaturally grand, seemed to be miles away but
gradually increased in sound as if coming nearer and nearer. At the same
time I observed that the musicians, who were not only using both hands
in the manipulation of their instruments but with graceful dexterity
their feet as well, were becoming enthusiastic and appeared to throw
their very lives and souls into the work. If at first while inactive
they appeared to be extraordinarily intellectual beings, now in action
they looked divine. Their eyes blazed like miniature suns shooting forth
sparks of a thousand different hues. It seemed as if the very music
itself came from the expression of their faces. And on, on, on, came the
intoxicating strains, increasing in volume and excellence until I
imagined that all heaven had broken loose in one great effort to charm
my feeble senses, and then with a thunderous climax it ceased instantly,
the musicians smiled and bowed pleasantly to one another, and then
resumed their former attitudes.

No mortal's pen could describe my ecstasy while listening to the music
produced by this body of--I must say heavenly creatures. There was
something strange and analogous about it, too, that seemed to recall a
mysterious dream or vision I had once passed through. Whether it was
caused by the music or the kindly expressions of love for one another on
the faces of the players I know not, but nevertheless great tears
spontaneously rolled down my cheeks, the first I ever recollect having
shed, and at the conclusion of the piece I remained transfixed to the
spot for several minutes in deep cogitation.

Once more, however, my inquiring nature aroused me and I walked over
toward the leader. His face was turned slightly in another direction, so
I decided to step up on the platform, get squarely in front of him and
look straight into his eyes. So with a light movement I sprang for the
rostrum. But instead of reaching it my foot and head struck--not the
platform but solid wall, and a second later I found myself in a heap on
the ground. Then I started to think. Next I began to feel and finally a
broad grin overspread my face, for the scene before me was not real
after all, but a wonderful painting on the interior of the building.

CHAPTER VI

Putting my hand against the surface and walking along I discovered that
this great scene which appeared to stretch away into the distance for
several miles, including the trees, brook, lake, sun, clouds, sky, and
everything else, was painted on the wall, ceiling and floor, of a
circular room. The ceiling was arranged in the shape of a dome, while
the floor made a concave connection with the wall. The whole apartment
could not have been over fifty feet in diameter. The entire room was
covered by one painting, and so well had the work been done that the
only way I could discern the difference between the real and artistic
scene was by extending my hands in front of me and feeling my way along.

But what about the music? Surely I heard it, and without doubt the
skilled musicians had performed their work right before my eyes. And the
sun, the light, and the fragrance from the flowers, what about these?
While in a state of perplexity at not being able to understand these
mysterious things, my eyes fell upon something which I had not noticed
previously, at the same time causing me to give a sudden start as if
pierced by an electric shock.

To the left of the door through which I had entered and lying in a
reclining position upon a bed of flowers, similar in shape to a modern
sofa, was the most beautiful object, I think, ever created--a woman. And
such a woman. Oh, ignorant humanity, why do you not breed all women like
that one? Although nearly twenty-three years have passed since then,
still the vision of her is as fresh upon my mind now as at that moment
when my eyes first beheld her. And as I think of her now I am unable to
repress the tears from filling my eyes, strong man that I am.

Dressed in a tight-fitting costume like those worn by the men, with the
addition of a net-like drapery of light material entwined about her, and
lying in a comfortable position partly on one side, with her lovely head
resting upon one arm, her shapely body and limbs posed gracefully and
her eyes closed in slumber, she impressed me as being the queen of the
universe.

This is the most beautiful part of the whole picture, thought I, taking
a few steps forward. What artist's imagination could ever have created
such a sublime and realistic work? As I stood in reverent contemplation
of her my admiration was unbounded. It seemed as if my feelings would
burst within me. My first love for woman was then and there confirmed
for all time. I decided I would stay and spend the rest of my days right
there, silently attesting my everlasting devotion to that divine
likeness of ideality. Had I not discovered that the whole thing was a
work of art, I should have felt positive that she was really alive and
merely lay there in peaceful repose. Then a sudden thought passed
through my mind which gradually expanded into an irresistible desire; I
would press my lips to hers and thereby seal my love forevermore.

Trembling like a timid school-boy I advanced closer. How lovely she
appeared. How real. Bending forward and putting my head in juxtaposition
to hers it seemed as if I actually heard her heart beat. It may have
been my own. With my face flushed and feeling that perhaps I might be
taking an unfair advantage of one who would not appreciate my caress, I
tenderly touched her lips with mine. For another moment of such
indescribable ecstasy I would gladly pass through all the imaginary
tortures of the infernal regions. But it ended there.

No sooner had our lips come together than I became aware of the fact
that the adorable object before me was real and not artificial as
supposed. As if by magic her mouth twitched slightly and her whole frame
quivered perceptibly; then she opened her eyes and finally with a most
graceful spring she landed squarely upon her feet directly in front of
me. I jumped backward in utter amazement. And there we stood face to
face staring into each other's eyes. I then noticed that she was about
seven feet in height and although not lean still there was not an ounce
of superfluous flesh on her serpent-like figure. Like the men, she too
was bare footed, and her hair, a dark silky texture, was short and very
artistically arranged. Her snow white face, transparent with pink, was
the acme of loveliness, with an expression of gentleness, purity and
modesty plainly stamped upon every feature. Her dazzling eyes sparkled
with the brilliancy of huge diamonds. Evidently she was as much
astonished as myself at the strange course of events. Although she did
not speak still I received an impression from her as if put into so many
words which plainly said: "John, am I dreaming or what awful experiment
have you attempted to transform yourself into such a hideous creature?"
I tried to speak but my first effort nearly choked me. Then in a voice
which seemed to be unusually coarse I finally blurted out: "My dear
lady, will you kindly tell me who or what you are?" These words seemed
to puzzle her more than ever and after hurriedly glancing about the room
she looked me over carefully from head to foot. Speaking once more I
said, "Madame, can you understand my language?" Then I received another
strange but unmistakable impression which replied: "I can understand
your thoughts but not your babble." "Are you able," she continued
telepathically, "to give an explanation of this extraordinary
metamorphosis?" "The only information I can offer," answered I, "will be
cheerfully given. My name is John Convert, late seaman aboard the
schooner Brawl, bound from Sydney to London. Last night I was thrown
overboard by my shipmates and after floating about the deep for several
hours I landed upon this pile of ruins surrounded by the sea. In making
an investigation of the exterior I lost my foothold, fell into a crevice
and breaking through a thin crust I landed in the outer passageway which
finally led me into this room. I must confess that everything here is as
inexplicable to me as I appear to you." As I spoke she seemed to be
laboring under intense mental excitement and tears came to her eyes.

"I understand it all now," she made known to me in her mysterious way,
"the experiment failed."

"What experiment was that?" questioned I in surprise.

Looking me straight in the eye as though trying to impress upon my mind
the importance of her communication, she answered, "the attempt of man
to change the course of the earth in space."

CHAPTER VII

"And so you inform me that there is nothing left of beautiful Sageland
but a heap of ruins surrounded by the sea," mused the lovely--the idea
struck me to name her Arletta--"tell me what happened to the rest of my
people."

"Not knowing anything about the matter it is impossible for me to answer
that question," replied I; "and although I have traveled through nearly
every country on earth still no such people as you or the magnificent
objects represented in that picture have ever come to my attention
before. In fact I have never read of such a race or even heard of a
country by the name of Sageland."

At this remark she turned abruptly and walked--or rather flew, so easy
and graceful were her movements--over to a portion of the wall and
looked long and earnestly into a peculiar instrument, then returning she
said: (without the use of words) "according to my chronometer, more than
four thousand two hundred and thirty years have elapsed since the awful
catastrophe."

"Four thousand, two hundred and thirty years!" ejaculated I, "great
heavens, that must have been about the time of the flood." "What flood?"
inquired she.

Then I proceeded to tell her how in those days the people of the world
being so wicked that God during a terrible fit of anger made it rain for
forty days and forty nights, causing the destruction of every living
thing on earth except one Noah, his family and a male and female of
every animal, bird and insect, who were saved by being taken aboard of a
huge ark built for the purpose by Noah. And then after every living
thing not aboard the boat was destroyed, how the waves receded, Noah and
his flock were safely landed upon a mountain peak, and God put a bow
into the sky as a pledge that he would never do such a thing again.
Arletta appeared somewhat amused at my recital of the story and at its
conclusion merely remarked: "Noah evidently had more good sense than his
god." Then she added: "As to the rainbow, that was seen by the
inhabitants of the earth millions of years before Noah's time."

"So the world has retrogressed during the past four thousand years,"
mused she sadly.

"Retrogressed! No indeed, the world has made great progress and has now
reached a wonderful state of civilization," answered I, proudly.

Motioning me to an opposite position she majestically seated herself
upon the couch and after seriously looking at me for some time she
finally said: "This is one of nature's most extraordinary proceedings
and there are many things I wish to talk with you about, but before
going into the details of this matter I am anxious to get a view of the
world as it exists now. You have observed that unlike the lower animals,
in which rank unfortunately you belong at the present time"--here I
interrupted her by bursting forth into loud laughter, not because I
enjoyed being called an animal myself but at the thought of how some of
my civilized friends would feel if informed that they were lower
animals. My intervention, however, not disturbing her in the least, she
resumed: "In our nomenclature your species was known as the Apeman, and
represented in the chain of evolution the link between the Ape and Man.
Our scientists placed the Apeman within the ranks of the lower animals
for reasons I shall make clear later. But to continue, you have observed
that unlike yourself I have been conversing with you without the use of
the voice but with the mind, the most effectual agent of communication
and one of the senses the Apeman has not cultivated. Now I shall show
you how to see without eyes.

"Mind sight is an occult force which was exercised to great advantage by
my people. This force eliminates both distance and obstruction and
exposes to view the object sought even if it is located on the opposite
side of the globe. Any mind, if sufficiently strong, can contract
distance and bring any mundane scene within its range while penetrating
solid matter as if it did not exist at all. So by utilizing this power,
which I possess to a considerable degree, it is my intention to make a
hurried survey of the earth's surface in order to obtain an exact idea
of present conditions. Furthermore, by the subtle concentration of our
mind forces together I shall convey to your inner vision the actual
scenes witnessed by myself, and you shall act as my mental consort on a
trip around the world."

After the many wonderful things I had already seen it was my opinion
that there was nothing impossible for this beautiful woman to perform,
so I mildly informed her that I was at her service, and ready for the
journey to begin.

"Well then," said she, "before starting I wish to warn you that no
matter what you see, hear or feel on this trip you must not disturb our
observation with your primitive babble, apish laughter or by trying to
offer any comments whatsoever."

At this remark I was brought to a realization of the fact that Arletta,
whom I so ardently loved, aye even worshipped, was treating me in about
the same manner as I would have treated a pet monkey had I been teaching
it some new tricks. She evidently regarded my smiles and feelings for
her with about the same consideration as I should have given to those of
some grinning female baboon had it been trying to make love to me. Her
last thoughts, therefore, aroused my sensitive nature, and a violent
outburst of temper was the result. I did not mind being called an Apeman
so much, but hated the idea of being treated like one, so working myself
into a passion I severely censured her, and with much bluster and many
gestures endeavored to impress upon her mind how much superior I was to
what she had imagined. It was some time before my anger abated, and then
I noticed that she appeared quite unmoved by my wrath but sat looking
calmly and alternately at me and one of the figures in the picture,
while her face bore an expression of sadness and pity. Then I felt
ashamed to think of what a lack of self-control I had exhibited, and
humbly begged her pardon.

"But now," said Arletta, and I fancied that she called me John, "your
soul is at present running the machinery of a very inferior mind and
body which plainly shows all the cruel passions and idiotic ideas of the
Apeman. This has happened through no fault of your own but is the result
of circumstances over which you had no control so that you are not
responsible for your present condition. I now say however that you have
been chosen by nature for a great and glorious work and from this time
forward you must make use of your reasoning faculties for reasonable
purposes and cast aside all the animal passions, silly ideas and
antiquated superstitions which you have inherited from the ignorant of
ages, and begin afresh. Before starting on our journey perhaps it would
be well for us to take some refreshments in order that our minds may
remain strong and clear during the trip. We take our nourishment in a
different way from you cannibals," said Arletta, as she went to one of
the artificial flower gardens, began inhaling and motioned me to do
likewise. "But we are not cannibals," I mildly remonstrated, "we do not
kill and eat human beings." "Do you not kill and eat the flesh of other
living things?" inquired she. "Yes," replied I, "our diet consists of
the flesh of birds, fish and cattle which God with great wisdom created
for that purpose." "Did he? Then you must worship a cannibal god, for it
is but a very short step between eating the flesh of your own species
and that of others. That is one reason why our scientists ranked the
Apeman with the lower animals. But come, inhale this perfume and see if
it is not far more refreshing and less disgusting than to fill your
stomach with roasted flesh."

At her suggestion I stationed myself near the flower bed which contained
a large variety of the most beautiful plants I had ever seen. She
touched several of them lightly and immediately the air was saturated
with a most delicious fragrance caused, no doubt, by an automatic
arrangement concealed within each flower. I stood like one in a most
delightful dream inhaling the invigorating fumes, and with each
succeeding breath my body became stronger and my mind brighter until I
thought I should surely die from the effects of exuberant joy, when my
attention was attracted by Arletta, who said: "Come, you greedy little
pig, don't you know when you have had enough?" Then she added, "but I
forgot that among your species greediness is considered a virtue."

CHAPTER VIII

"Greediness considered a virtue among my species." Surely I must have
misunderstood her, thought I, once more seating myself, preparatory to
beginning my mental journey with Arletta. And I was glad to know that
she would shortly view our civilization as it existed, feeling positive
that she would then change her ideas regarding my species being lower
animals. I felt that it was my own fault because she harbored such an
opinion and that I was to blame for being such a poor representative of
my race for her to judge by.

"Now, let's be off," said she, "as I feel that my time will be short
with you and we had better make the best of it while it lasts." "Time
short with you." Those words gave me more pain than if a sword had been
thrust through my body. "By all the gods of eternity, I would not care
to live ten minutes if anything happened to that heavenly being,"
thought I, gazing at her with rapturous feelings of tenderness. "Call me
a lower animal, a hideous creature or a greedy pig, and treat me like
one if you will, but do not leave me. Stay and let me be your slave
forever." Those were my sincere thoughts. She understood them, but made
no response.

Settling back in a comfortable position with my eyes fastened upon
Arletta in loving adoration, the scene changed instantly and I found
myself once more upon the rocks in the middle of the sea. The sun was
just rising in the east and another day was begun. Then our meteoric
flight commenced, and quicker than it takes to relate I was high up
among the clouds and peering down at a familiar landscape. I recognized
the location at once as the district occupied by and surrounding Cape
Town, South Africa.

I had been there before. But how peculiar everything appeared now as I
looked down from above. I could plainly discern the harbor and great
tableland in the scene before me, although apparently shrunk in size,
but the city itself resembled a little toy village, while the largest
ships in the harbor reminded me of the tiny boats I used to construct
when a child and float about in the bath-tub. But where, oh where, was
the greatest of all exalted things--that for which the entire universe
and all that it contains therein was constructed--mighty man? He could
not be seen. In fact he was as completely invisible as the pestilential
germ on the back of a sick flea. "If I only had a microscope," thought
I, "perhaps I could see him." Then I began to descend, until finally I
discovered innumerable little creepers moving about in all directions.
They were men. At first sight they looked to be about the size of ants,
but as I got closer to the earth they increased in bulk until they
appeared to be at least three inches in height, and then their
importance became noticeable. As they moved about in great numbers and I
came into close proximity with them, I observed that the actions of some
was apparently sensible but that the doings of the most of them was
positively ridiculous. For instance, here was one set of creatures
diligently toiling to produce something and getting nothing, while here
was a set of idlers doing absolutely nothing but receiving everything.
The real producer of all the necessities and luxuries of life was
actually giving nine-tenths of the fruits of his labor to a class of
loafers and schemers who took it as a divine right, and then begrudged
him the one-tenth he received of his own production. I observed that for
every one of these producers there were ten non-producers who spent
their time and efforts devising the best ways and means to confiscate
that which had been produced. It seemed strange that the producer would
allow this state of affairs to exist; but he did, and seemed quite
elated sometimes to think that the non-producer would permit him to live
at all. I noticed that most of the non-producers were fat and bloated
from being over-fed and from guzzling prepared liquors, and that they
were clothed with the finest materials the producer could contribute,
while the producers themselves were lean and hungry looking objects, and
were dressed in rags. I had seen these same things many times before
without giving them any consideration, but now for the first time, I
felt that there was something wrong with the people of the world. It
seemed to me now that the entire system of human endeavor had been
started wrong and was running along upside down. But what was the cause
of this curious state of affairs? One word alone explained it all--
Selfishness. And then there came to me a sentence, the imprint of which
has never been effaced from my memory, viz: "Selfishness is the root of
all evil; eradicate selfishness from all human beings and the earth win
be heaven."

Oh, dear reader, go over those few words again, and again; ten times;
fifty times; one hundred times if necessary to thoroughly impress their
full meaning upon your intellect. Study them; practice them; teach them;
sing them to all the world. Take them for your everlasting motto and you
will have no need for all the stupid theories ever created by man.
"Eradicate selfishness from all human beings and the earth will be
heaven."

And now I observed that great numbers of these little men were being
unloaded from the various ships in the harbor, and upon landing started
immediately in a northerly direction. I understood the reason. Gold had
been discovered in the Transvaal, and thousands upon thousands were
coming from every quarter of the globe in anticipation of getting some
of this metal. And what is there about gold that caused people to go
such vast distances and bear many hardships and even risk their lives in
desperate efforts to obtain it? Is there more real value to gold than
other metals? Not at all. There is no more intrinsic value to gold than
brass, but centuries ago, a semi-savage glutton discovered that he could
not eat all the swine he could raise nor legally steal all his
contemporaries could breed, so he originated a plan whereby he could
secure for himself what others had produced through the agency of a
financial system in which gold could be used as a medium of exchange. He
found that he could get other and less crafty savages to go and dig the
gold for him in return for swine. He also found that the breeders would
exchange swine for gold. So he started by giving the diggers one swine
for ten ounces of gold and the breeders one ounce of gold for ten swine.
This transaction he called business. This system of business has been
handed down from generation to generation until it has become a part of
man's very nature. He knows very little of anything else. Gold being the
financial medium of business he is taught to crave it in his infancy and
as he grows older gold becomes his idol--his God. In order to gain
possession of gold or its equivalent man forgets his soul and sells his
honor. He is willing to crush the weak, cheat, steal or even murder his
fellow beings to obtain it. And no matter whether he has little or much
of it he considers any person insane who dare suggest the abolition of
the financial system which permits individual accumulation and breeds
selfishness and crime.

With a change of mind, I landed thousands of miles further north into
the interior of uncivilized Africa, the home of wild beasts. Here
something occurred which caused me to think that after all, perhaps
Arletta was right in classing my species with the lower animals. Under
ordinary conditions I should not have given the incident a second
thought, but now my mind being directly connected with hers, I was, no
doubt, impressed in the same manner as she while viewing these things.

A party of English gentlemen were on a hunting expedition. They appeared
to be intelligent beings of aristocratic birth. Men whom the average
individual would take as examples to emulate. But here they were in
Africa, thousands of miles from home, with the sole purpose of killing
something for pleasure. A short distance away was a family of lions; a
male, female and several cubs. The lion and lioness lay close together,
apparently casting loving glances at one another and enjoying the antics
of the little ones who were playing together nearby. Occasionally the
little ones would run over and kiss their elders in a most affectionate
way, which seemed to greatly please the parents. Never have I seen a
family of human beings display so much real affection toward each others
as this family of lions. But alas, their happiness was at an end. Man's
appetite for killing must be appeased. One of the hunters had caught
sight of the happy little family, and slinking behind a tree before his
presence became known to the lions he signaled to his comrades, who
sneaked forward from tree to tree until they were within easy range of
their prey. Then fixing their rifles and taking deliberate aim at the
unsuspecting victims, and without giving them any chance to defend
themselves or little ones, these so-called brave and civilized hunters
pulled the triggers and the happy old lion and the lioness
simultaneously expired, pierced by a dozen bullets. And what became of
the little ones? The sight was too pitiable to describe. After the
effects of the first fright, caused by the noise of the shots, had
passed, they instinctively rushed to their parents for protection. Oh,
the anguish depicted upon the faces of these little things when they
discovered that their loving progenitors were no more. Their looks and
moans were heartrending. But there were others made happy. A sudden
shout of joyousness burst forth from the throats of a dozen civilized
men who eagerly rushed from behind their fortresses to view the work of
destruction. They had displayed fine marksmanship and were greatly
pleased. Good shooting, said one of the brave fellows. Splendid,
exclaimed another. But what shall we do with the cubs? asked the third.
Better finish them also, remarked a fourth, as I am very fond of cub
meat, and would like nothing better than a broiled steak from one of
their little carcasses. After a few minutes' parley a decision was
reached that it would be uncivilized to allow the little ones to wander
about the jungle alone for fear that they might become the prey for
other wild animals, so they killed them also; and filled their stomachs
with them. And after they were through, a flock of vultures descended
and finished the work. Men and vultures are somewhat alike in this
respect; they both eat the flesh of carcasses. But a good word can be
said for the vultures, however; they never kill.

CHAPTER IX

It is not my intention to give a full descriptive account of my peculiar
journey around the world with Arletta, nor to recount the many strange
things witnessed. Suffice it to mention that we visited nearly every
country on the globe through the power of mind sight, and I was enabled
to see any terrestrial occurrence as well as if having been on the spot
in person. In fact, being under the direct influence of Arletta's
perception, conditions appeared much more comprehensive to me than ever
before and I felt like some great judge looking down upon the earth and
its inhabitants with an impartial eye. And somehow these inhabitants did
not seem to impress me as being in such a high state of intelligence as
I had formerly been led to believe they were. Everywhere human beings
were fighting and snarling amongst themselves like ferocious beasts.
Their universal law granted the right of the strong to victimize the
weak either through the power of physical or mental force. In fact it
was considered a divine right for men of superior intellects to receive
more of the fruits of the earth than those of smaller mental capacity.
One-half of the world was over-fed while the other half was under-fed.
Aside from a slight difference in political and religious theories, the
characteristics of all the peoples of the world were the same; the
predominant features being greed, vanity, egotism, intemperance,
gluttony, fraud, theft, bribery, deceit, brutality, murder, superstition
and filth. Even America, the much boasted land of the free, the country
which God in his infinite wisdom had taken from the bad English and
given to the good Americans, contained people with these traits, and the
so-called great men of this country appeared like a lot of silly little
pigmies engaged in an eternal quarrel over a few trinkets. Few of them
could see further than their own noses unless it was to see something
that would increase their own selfish desires. Equality, of which these
people boasted so much, existed merely in their imaginations. The actual
meaning of equality, as the Americans understood it, was that the
physical and mental gladiators and weaklings alike were put into one
great prize ring and given an opportunity to fight for their lives and
nature's gifts. Those who were capable of battering down and trampling
upon their adversaries were legally entitled to all the luxuries the
earth provided and more than they could use, but those who were
unfortunate enough to have been born weaklings and were unfit to cope
successfully with the huge monsters in the ring, were crushed in the
struggle.

Fraud was the slogan of the government officials and nearly all of them
practiced it, from the highest to the lowest functionary. Money was the
power behind the curtain and he who had the largest bank account was
catered to like an over-grown hog surrounded by a lot of suckling pigs.
"God helps those who help themselves" was their accepted motto. In other
words, God helps the strong and not the weak. If the Creator gives any
of His attention to the innumerable bickerings of these earthly microbes
He must feel greatly flattered by having this splendid motto thrust upon
Him, for according to it, one was supposed to go to the assistance of
the man who could swim, while he who could not, must be left to drown.

A certain so-called great American, one Mr. Moundbuilder by name,
expressed great faith in this doctrine. By employing thousands of his
fellow men to do the hard work while he sat in an easy chair and
confiscated the difference between what they earned and what he paid
them, he accumulated several hundred million dollars for his own use.
About the time he was ready to die he learned to his great sorrow that
it was necessary to leave all this wealth behind. So he decided to
bequeath it to only those who were sufficiently strong and willing to
continue his policy of crushing the weak and incidentally erect some
monuments to his own memory. After much consideration as to how the
strong would derive the most benefit from his ill-gotten goods, he
concluded that the weak-minded and sickly creatures who were bred from
the system he abetted and the over-worked and under-fed laborer would
have no opportunity to read books, so he established hundreds of
Moundbuilder libraries and Moundbuilder universities in all parts of the
world. To those who were already strong enough to reach a position where
they could enter a university and did not really need his aid, the idea
was a grand one, as it would help to increase their strength, thereby
making it much easier for them to confiscate what the weaklings could
produce in the future. Thus the plan to make the strong stronger, the
weak weaker, and Moundbuilder immortal, would be perpetuated. But the
cherished hopes of Mr. Moundbuilder in this respect will never be
realized, for the day is not far distant when earthly mortals will be
able to reason and then he will be recognized simply as a vain-glorious
old humbug.

Another celebrated American who was classed among the great men of the
day was a certain Mr. Porkpacker. This individual conducted an
establishment where thousands of animals, bred for the purpose, were
slaughtered daily. He had accumulated millions of blood-stained dollars
in this way, and was generally conceded to be a man of great business
ability. He was pointed out to the rising generation as one of the most
successful men in the country whose example should be followed. Just
pause a moment and think of it. Here was a man who directed a business
where thousands of living things were murdered daily, set forth as a
good example to follow just because he had secured millions of dollars
by the operation. Oh, ye mortals! Man considers the wolf a blood-thirsty
beast because he kills and eats the flesh of human beings for
subsistence. What kind of a bestial monster would the wolf consider man
if it saw him in his slaughter-house killing thousands of innocent beef,
sheep and hogs daily? Or what would it think of civilized man if it saw
him shooting myriads of tame and harmless pigeons for amusement, or
broiling lobsters alive to satisfy his gormandizing desires? Perhaps the
wolf would set man below its grade, if interrogated upon the subject.
But tyrannical man, intoxicated by his own egotism and clinging to an
elastic religion which allows him to act as he pleases, feels that his
god created all these things for his special benefit. If the wolf could
be questioned about the matter, it too might claim that its god
permitted the killing and eating of man. Mr. Porkpacker was considered
both great and good by his fellow beings, for each year he gave
thousands of dollars for the erection and maintenance of the church and
likewise contributed largely toward his pastor's salary. Would it be
good policy then for the pastor to believe that it was wrong to kill
sheep, when one of the large contributors was earning money in that
business? No, no. So the church upheld the slaughter-houses and proved
by the scriptures that they were simply doing what the savages had done
thousands of years previously according to divine right.

Once I listened to my father preach a sermon on the beautiful innocence
and purity of the lamb. For an hour he spoke feelingly of the many
virtues contained by this gentle little creature and after he was
through he immediately went home and filled his stomach with roasted
lamb for dinner. Good Christians are anxious to know when the time will
arrive that the lion and lamb will lie down together in peace and
harmony. Possibly the lamb would like to know if the time will ever come
when its carcass will not be utilized to appease the voracious appetite
of the Christian.

In looking over the so-called great business men and financial swindlers
of America they certainly presented a motley collection of physical and
mental monstrosities. They spent so much of their time in the mad rush
for dollars and how to spend them, that physical and mental improvement
received very little attention. Their brains became stagnant for the
want of proper training and their bodies were allowed to rot and become
useless for the need of exercise. Some were so fat they could not walk,
while others were too lean to stand. A great many of them used either
canes or crutches as an aid to hobble along or vehicles to convey them
from place to place. Nearly all were cripples, more or less; rheumatism,
gout, paralysis and numerous other ailments being the cause of their
helplessness. Few of them seemed able to understand that all these
infirmities were directly caused by the want of proper exercise and from
the gluttonous habit of overloading their stomachs with foods of many
kinds and meat especially. Apparently it was beyond their comprehension
that nature commanded them to improve their physiques for the benefit of
coming generations. Men who professed to be athletes when they were past
the age of thirty were considered childish, while the exponents of
physical culture were generally looked upon as cranks. Eating, drinking
and smoking were adapted as the best modes of recreation, while fishing
and shooting pigeons, quail, squirrels and other harmless living things
were regarded as good, healthy amusements. Of all the brutal methods of
diversion ever adopted by man, fishing is perhaps the most cruel. If the
reader does not think so, just stop for a moment and imagine yourself
being hooked to a great line by the mouth and your body being drawn far
up into space and into another atmosphere, there to strangle slowly to
death. You would not like it, would you? Then why should the fish be
treated so? Do you not suppose that the fish have feelings like
yourself? Oh, if all my fellowmen could only have taken that trip around
the world with Arletta and seen things as I saw them, cruelty in all its
various forms would be a thing of the past. That trip and my subsequent
experience with her proved to be the best education I could have
received from any source. It taught me the real meaning of the word
kindness, without which, not only toward human beings, but toward all
living things, man will never rise above the savage state.

CHAPTER X

We were just twenty-four hours making our journey around the world, when
suddenly I found myself once more gazing into the beautiful eyes of
Arletta. While she bestowed a kindly look of sympathy toward me, her
features plainly showed that her gentle nature had received an awful
shock from the terrible and degrading sights we had witnessed. And there
was much reason why this pure and lovable woman should be shocked at
what we had seen, for even I, a worthless and hardened vagabond, had
become thoroughly disgusted with my own species.

"And what do you think of your highly civilized people now?" she
inquired sadly. "They are a race of tail-less monkeys and filthy beasts
with myself included," responded I, with vehemence, and then I began a
tirade of abuse against the entire human family.

"Stop," exclaimed Arletta, "you must not allow malice to enter your mind
against any living creature, no matter how beastly or brutal it may be.
Hatred will not make the world better; it needs love. No living being is
responsible for what it is any more than you or I are accountable for
being in existence. But while each individual inherits the good or bad
instincts of its predecessor, still it has the power to make better or
worse its own condition. Love will not only make better your own
condition, but that of your fellow beings as well. Do not expect to find
in others that which you do not possess yourself. It is your duty to set
a good example, not wait for others to accomplish what you have not done
yourself. So begin right now with love. Cast away all unkind thoughts
and never allow another to enter your mind, no matter what the
provocation might be. I admit that the Apeman of today is no better, in
fact, in many respects is much inferior to the Apeman who lived over
four thousand years ago, but that is because he took the wrong road in
trying to reach real manhood. He is still on the wrong path, but must be
turned about and started in the right direction. He must be taught that
Heaven is here on earth, if he will only make it so. But the earth will
never be a paradise, so long as he allows a grain of selfishness to
remain in his system. In yonder picture you can see what real men were
like. Study their countenances carefully and see if you can read that
any one of them ever committed a selfish act or even permitted an unkind
thought to enter his mind, for if he had, you could plainly read it from
his features, the face being the mirror of our thoughts and actions, and
no matter what we do or what we think from the time we are born until we
die, every act and thought is indelibly stamped upon our faces and can
never be erased until the material of which we are composed has
disintegrated and reentered the great chemical basin from which all
living things receive their matter and energy. And it is to be hoped
that with each turn of the chemical wheel the succeeding generation will
be re-moulded on a better scale, until the Apeman and all lower animals
have passed through a successful course of evolution and finally emerge
into real manhood--the highest type of earthly beings. This goal is but
a few steps and within the power of the Apeman to reach, but he must
take his steps in the right direction. A whole nation of those
magnificent beings you see in the picture, once existed in real life.
Their ancestors were Apemen who were started in the right path, and
after persistently sticking to the upward march of unselfish progress
for many generations, ultimately reached the class of men you see before
you; giants, physically, mentally and morally." And here she paused and
looked long and affectionately at those wonderful figures in the
painting. Then a feeling of intense jealousy suddenly crept into my
brain, and I thought I would surely go mad under its terrible pressure.
Arletta was in love with one of those real men, while she held merely a
compassionate feeling for me.

I, the Apeman, standing six feet two inches in height and weighing over
two hundred pounds avoirdupois, heretofore regarded as a marvel in
physical development, now, in the presence of these eight-foot giants,
felt like a shrunken pigmy. Formerly it was generally conceded that I
was a rather handsome fellow. This woman thought I was hideous.
Previously, I had felt proud of my nicely curled heavy black mustache,
now I thought it made me look like a monkey. The splendid features of
the real men were not disfigured by a hair or blemish of any kind, while
their skin was as soft and smooth as that of a new born child. During my
trip around the world, I had observed that the more man's body was
covered by hair, the more ape-like he appeared, especially when
decorating his face with it, and I was certain that my appearance was
just as ludicrous in the eyes of Arletta as those I had seen. Therefore
my admiration for the stately objects portrayed in the picture was
beginning to turn into hatred. I inwardly wished they were alive that I
might have an opportunity to combat with one or all of them in order to
show Arletta that I possessed the courage to fight until death for her
love. While lost in the midst of such reflections Arletta turned her
gaze upon me fixedly and said: "What barbaric thoughts have you
permitted to enter your mind now?" "I was wishing," replied I rather
sullenly, "that the man you love in that picture was alive, that I might
have the chance to demonstrate my worth in a fight to secure your favor;
perhaps, then, you would discover that I had some good qualities."

"And do you suppose if I saw you fighting like a savage bulldog that I
would admire those brutish tendencies in your nature?" inquired she. "Do
you think that the animal instincts of fighting and killing are good
qualities to possess? Has your trip around the world borne no good
results? You have observed that your own species, like other savage
beasts, quarrel, fight, maim and kill each other through selfish
motives, and you have condemned them for it; now you would continue to
do the very same thing yourself and think that I would consider it
courageous. According to one of our primitive laws, the courageous man
was he who feared no one and caused no one to fear him. These men of the
picture were the bravest of the brave, and still if one of them were
alive today he would not fight with you, no matter how much you might
ill use him, for he would know that it required more real strength to
take abuse than to give it. He would suffer more pain if he hurt you
than if you injured him. And still he could have crushed you with
greater ease than a cat can a mouse, if he were cowardly enough to do
it. That is the real courage of unselfishness--the kind your species
cannot understand. Your fellow beings applaud cowardice which they
mistake for strength of character. They seem unable to comprehend that
it requires far more courage to suffer pain than to inflict it upon
others. They have inherited their erroneous ideas from the wild beasts
who preceded them, and at the present time few of them know any better.
But they must be taught differently and the teachers must set the
examples, not merely offer advice. The different countries of the world
today support large armies of licensed murderers who are commonly called
soldiers. They are sent to the battle-fields to slaughter each other for
selfish purposes. The strongest side is naturally victorious, and after
killing as many of their adversaries as possible, return home to receive
the applause and admiration of their countrymen. They are considered
heroic because they were successful in slaying their weaker opponents.
Your society worships these human butchers and the more lives one of
them has destroyed the bigger the monument is erected in his honor. How
many of these butchers would have the courage to take an insult from a
weaker party without resenting it? It requires great bravery for the
strong to refrain from taking advantage of the weak; it demands real
heroism for the strong to equally share the results of their labors with
the feeble. For the strong are doubly blessed in having strength while
the weak are unfortunate and need sympathy."

"Would it not be courageous for one person to die for the love of
another?" inquired I.

"That would depend altogether upon the circumstances," replied Arletta.
"It would require far more courage to sacrifice your life for one you
did not love as there would then be no selfish motive behind it. As I
understand your feelings, you love me and imagine that you would not
care to live without me."

"Yes," said I fervently, "I shall take my own life sooner than leave
you."

"That is not courage at all, it is simply cowardice," answered she.
"Through your own selfishness in trying to obtain something beyond your
reach, you lack the strength to live without it. It takes far more
courage to live when you want to die than to die when you want to live.
Unselfishness is the very highest type of courageousness and one must
live for the good he may do the world instead of his own personal
aggrandizement. Thousands of our noble men sacrificed their lives yearly
for the good of the world. Our laws permitted a certain number of them
to leave their heavenly country periodically to go among the Apemen, and
try and teach these barbarians the meaning of unselfish love. They never
returned. They fully realized before starting on these missionary trips,
that they were depriving themselves of all the luxuries the earth
provided for a life of hardship and suffering; a life of insults and all
the cruel tortures the ferocious Apemen could inflict upon them. But it
pleased them to know that they possessed the courage to withstand all
the insults heaped upon them, while trying to alleviate the conditions
of others. Unlike your present missionaries they did not go into
different countries backed up by loaded guns ready to annihilate all who
did not believe their doctrines. If you hit a man on the head with a
club and then tell him that you love him he will not believe you. They
understood that to teach the Apemen to love one another they must set
themselves up as examples, not with mere words, but by unselfish and
courageous acts. They also knew that they had no divine right to enter
another country and force upon the inhabitants their laws and customs.
They merely went to teach their methods and in trying to do good for
others were willing to accept insults in return for their kindness in
order to prove their sincerity of purpose.

"At first, these good men were looked upon as gods by the Apemen who
wished to worship them as such, and had they been vain-glorious like the
Apeman himself, they would have allowed this false idea to exist. But
no, there was not a grain of vanity or selfishness in their systems.
They had not left their homes and friends to be worshiped, but had gone
away to show the Apeman how he might reach real manhood, if he would but
follow their instructions. They taught the eradication of selfishness
from all living beings and the abolition of the system of individual
accumulation, practiced then and now by all of your species. Of course
when the rich and religious rulers of the different tribes and nations
learned that these men were teaching that all living beings should have
an equal chance in life, and that the weak should enjoy the same
comforts as the strong, and that their divine right laws were unjust,
they became wroth and ordered our men to be put to death by the most
cruel methods. Some were burned at the stake; others were buried alive;
several were put into dungeons and their bodies allowed to rot; many
were cast into fiery furnaces, while a number of them were thrown into
dens containing lions and tigers. All these tortures and innumerable
others, did these brave men suffer that they might impress upon the
Apeman the real meaning of courage and unselfishness. And through the
power of mind sight we used to see these heroic volunteers unflinchingly
suffer these indignities for the cause of righteousness, notwithstanding
we had the power to annihilate the entire Apeman species, if we had so
desired. Our chemists could have turned on currents of poisonous air and
asphyxiated whole nations of them at once; our electricians could have
sent an electric shock around the earth that would have left a path of
destruction a thousand miles in width; our scientists could have
concentrated the full force of the sun's rays upon any particular city
they might choose and burn it up instantly; but they did not. We had the
power to destroy, but the courage of forbearance. The highest honor our
nation could bestow upon a man was to allow him to leave his heavenly
country and become a martyr to his own unselfishness in trying to uplift
the Apeman species. And had it not been for the unfortunate catastrophe
which I shall explain to you later, our plans would have succeeded and
the earth today would have been heaven with no such creature in
existence as the Apeman."

CHAPTER XI

"Next to selfishness, religion has been the greatest drawback towards
progress the Apeman has had to contend with in all ages," continued
Arletta.

"Religion is the outgrowth of ignorance and the Apeman, just starting up
the ladder of human knowledge, adopted it as an explanation of things of
which he knew nothing. All religions were created by the Apeman; and
wherein lies the difference between the god built of stone or from the
imagination? In constructing the numberless religions, the Apeman
invariably made them to suit his own habits and customs. He built his
gods to please his own fancy and gave his own ideas as those of his
deities. His own knowledge is likewise the extent of the wisdom
contained by his gods, whom lie manufactured to be twisted and turned in
any direction and made to answer any purpose he might see fit. No one
religion is any worse than all the rest. They are all founded on
ignorance, superstition and selfishness. To believe in any of these
petty religions is to cast insults upon the real Creator of the
universe, for a god created by the Apeman must naturally be a very
inferior being. Each devout worshiper can point out the errors and
absurdities of every other religion excepting his own. He is capable of
utilizing his reasoning powers until directed against himself, and
narrowed down to a few words he feels that he is all right but everybody
else is all wrong. Of the several hundred religions now extant, would it
not be more reasonable to suppose that they were all wrong than to
believe they were all right? Take your own religion for instance; you
are worshiping a most unnatural god. In fact your Bible puts him in the
position of a vain-glorious tyrant. According to the Bible an Apeman can
be no worse than his god no matter how bad he may be. The main reason
why. the Apeman believes in religion is because he is an inveterate
coward and fears some dire punishment if he investigates the matter. But
believe me, if the Creator gave you the power to reason, he certainly
will not condemn you for making use of your reasoning faculties in not
accepting opinions which appear untenable. So let us look into this
matter from an impartial point of view. In the first place the offer of
rewards for doing good, which is the foundation of all religions is
wrong, for it carries selfishness right to the very gates of the
imaginary heavens. Goodness is very shallow indeed if it cannot exist
without rewards being offered for it. I shall enumerate a few things
your god was supposed to have said or allowed, according to the Bible,
which would make no Apeman living, any worse in his moral conduct.

"Enmity.--'And I will put enmity between thee and the woman.' Gen. iii,
15.

"Unkindness.--'Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy
sorrow.' Gen. iii, 16.

"Flesh Eaters.--'Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you.'
Gen. ix, 3.

"Revenge.--'Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.'
Gen. ix, 6.

"Drunkenness.--'And he drank of the wine, and was drunken.' Gen. ix, 21.

"Partiality.--'God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the
tents of Shem and Canaan shall be his servant.' Gen. ix, 27.

"Hunting--'He was a mighty hunter before the Lord.' Gen. x, 9.

"A curser.--'And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that
curseth thee.' Gen. xii, 3.

"Fraud.--'By fraud, Jacob received the blessing intended for Esau and
then God blessed him and made him prosperous forever afterward. Gen.
xxvii to xxix.

"Fornication.--'And Bilhah, Rachel's maid, conceived again and bare
Jacob a second son.' Gen. xxx, 7.

"Anger.--'And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses.' Exodus
iv, 14.

"Thievery.--'Speak now into the ears of the people and let every man
borrow of his neighbor and every woman of her neighbor jewels of silver
and jewels of gold.' Exodus xi, 2.

"Carnage.--'For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night and
will smite all the first born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast;
and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I am the
Lord.' Exodus xii, 12.

"Jealousy.--'For I the Lord thy God am jealous God.' Exodus xx, 5.

"Slavery.--'Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall
also bring him to the door, or unto the doorpost, and his master shall
bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.'
Exodus xxi, 6.

"Witchcraft.--'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.' Exodus xxii, 18.

"Murder.--'And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with my sword
and your wives shall be widows and your children fatherless.' Exodus
xxii, 24.

"Changeability.--'And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Phinehas, the
son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away
from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among
them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.'
Numbers xxv, 10, 11.

"Brutality.--'And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Bring forth him
that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their
hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.' Leviticus
xxiv, 13, 14.

"Savage Cruelty.--'And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the
Lord be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtle doves, or
of young pigeons. And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and
wring off its head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof
shall be wrung out at the ides of the altar.' Leviticus i, 14, 15.

"An Ass.--'And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass and she said unto
Balaam, What have I done unto thee that thou hast smitten me these three
times?' Numbers xxii, 28.

"I have brought a few of these absurd writings to your attention," said
Arletta, "hoping that later on you will go over them carefully and give
them the same rational consideration you bestow upon other subjects.
There is one commendable feature about your Bible however, and that is,
it shows that once there existed among your species a noble mortal who
devoted his life trying to teach the Apeman human kindness in somewhat
the same manner our men used to do, with the exception of the
supernatural dogmas. I refer to Jesus Christ. The fact that the same
lessons he expounded were taught thousands of years before he was born,
or that he failed to grasp nature's beautiful ideas without confounding
them with supernatural fancies, does not detract in any way from his
nobility of purpose and his name should be mentioned in the future
history of the world as one of the great benefactors of the human race.
It seems a pity that his over-zealous followers have tried to place him
in the light of a deity, for in time to come, when your species begin to
reason, they might possibly regard him as an impostor. This should not
be the case however, for although Christ no doubt really believed in a
religious god, it is unjust to believe that he ever pretended to be
anything more than a mere human being himself, or that he knew anything
about the wonderful miracles it was subsequently claimed he had
performed.

"Any earthly being," said Arletta, as her face fairly beamed with
intelligence, "whether it be a man, an Apeman or a monkey, who claims to
be related to the Creator of the universe, or to be His prophet, or His
specially appointed spokesman, or in any way tries to lead others to
believe that he possesses supernatural powers, is either an impostor or
an idiot.

"When all earthly beings make use of the reasoning faculties nature
endows them with, all religions will perish through the agency of their
own untruths."

CHAPTER XII.

"Then am I to understand that your people were Atheists?" inquired I of
Arletta.

"Not at all," replied she. "We believed in Natural Law but not in
religion. Our most intellectual men decided that by no stretch of the
imagination could they build a god for religious purposes as great as
the Creator of the universe must naturally be, and knowing that it
remains for man himself to reach his highest state of perfection without
any supernatural influence whatsoever, they therefore abolished all
forms of religious worship and established a code of ethics which was
termed Natural Law.

"Religion teaches one to believe in an unnatural god who apparently must
be ever ready to answer anybody's prayerful cry and act as a general
servant to humanity by distributing good things to those who beg for
them; a sort of meddlesome god who enters into all the petty quarrels of
hunan beings and generally settles them in the wrong way.

"Natural Law teaches that there exists on grand supreme ruler who guides
the entire machinery of the universe; the Deity who created the
principle of life, and one who does not deviate from His eternal and
immutable laws; an all-wise, everlasting and unchangeable being far
beyond the faintest conception the brain of man has ever been able to
formulate. His power unlimited; His laws supreme; His goodness
incalculable.

"Natural Law explains that He created the principle from which humanity
evolved, but that it remains for all living things to make better or
worse their own conditions. His laws may be studied and practiced by all
human beings, but to claim to know the reasons of the Creator's actions
would be to assume His wisdom and knowledge. His purposes, therefore,
are unfathomable.

"Natural Law sets forth that notwithstanding the earth is but a mere
speck in the universe, still, it being a part of the vast machinery
governed by the Almighty, there is a reason for its existence and a work
for it to perform. Like other bodies in space, it contains particles of
living matter which are constantly passing through a course of
development with methodical changes from life to death and from death to
life. But while all living things live and die, the material thereof is
used over and over again indefinitely. Human beings are a species of
these particles. All living things are composed of three parts, matter,
energy and soul. The matter is the machinery; energy the motion and soul
the engineer. The mind is that part of the machinery having power to
control its movements. The soul is the spark of life and acts as a moral
guide to the mind. Soul and conscience are synonymous. The soul, always
pure, is continually striving to improve the condition of the mind. The
mind alone is responsible for the disposition of the body and the evils
arising therefrom, the soul merely acting as its instructor for good. It
is the mind which inherits evil instincts and but for the good influence
of the soul, living creatures would not exist in harmony. As the mind
hardens against righteousness the sway of the soul is lessened, but as
the mind softens towards goodness the soul increases its power. There is
a continual struggle between the soul for good and the mind for evil,
but the soul will eventually gain the ascendancy and all living things
will be cleansed of impurities.

"The body, including the mind, of each living thing dies, the material
disintegrates and passes into the composition of other forms. The soul
never dies; it remains in one body until its collapse and then
transmigrates into another. The soul of man today may be that of a lower
animal tomorrow; therefore he should use the greatest kindness and
consideration toward all living things. There is only a certain quantity
of matter upon earth to be moulded together in living forms and a
certain number of souls to abide therein, so that with the increase of
mankind there must naturally be a decrease in the ranks of other
animals, hence it remains the duty of man to extend in number and
quality his own species until all the material in existence is utilized
by human beings of the very highest intelligence. Humanity, however,
will never rise above the savage state until the barbarous custom of
killing and eating other animals is abolished.

"Selfishness is the root of all evil; eradicate selfishness from
humanity and the earth will be heaven.

"Man's heaven is here on earth if he is only capable of making it so,
but men cannot enjoy heavenly blessings with hellish minds, and no
selfish being can properly enjoy the sweets of life. The real essence
and pleasure of life can only be extracted when mankind labors
harmoniously together as a unit, instead of each individual struggling
separately and murderously to obtain the largest portion of the earth's
blessings. The production of the world must be divided equally among all
honest toilers and man's greatest happiness must arise from serving
others instead of himself. No good mortal can thoroughly enjoy luxuries
that are beyond the reach of his fellow men, therefore all human beings
should work together as one; enjoying equally the fruits of their
combined efforts; the weak and the strong alike. There must be but one
master--the entire human race bound together as one. When mankind,
acting as a unit, masters itself, then will it rule the earth and gain
knowledge of extraneous matters; thus the wisdom of inhabitants of older
and more advanced worlds will be attained and intercourse with them
practiced, thereby unraveling many apparent mysteries of the universe.

"It is an error to suppose that the Deity is your maker; He created the
source from which all living things sprung, but collectively, man makes
himself and is responsible for his own conditions. If the Almighty was
your maker then the production of criminals, cripples and lunatics would
demonstrate very bad workmanship, so do not try to shift the blame for
human weakness upon the Creator of the universe. The Deity controls the
principle of life; man controls himself.

"Do not pray; you cannot alter the Creator's plans and you place him in
the light of a petty vanity seeker when claiming that he wants to be
worshipped. Better please the Omnipotent by kind acts toward all living
creatures than by offering ridiculous exhortations for favors and
forgiveness. You proffer insults to the Creator when you claim you can
change His immutable plans by prayer; when you think he would take from
one and give to another; when you pretend to communicate with Him; when
you imagine He takes part in the silly squabbles of human beings; when
you say that man was made in His image; when you take His name in vain.

"A united world, with all living things on the same plane of perfection
and working harmoniously together for the common good is the heaven
humanity should strive to reach. It is within the power of mankind to
perfect itself, but this can only be accomplished through the unselfish
efforts of the whole people. Each individual can make better or worse
his own condition and thereby stamp a good or bad impression upon the
lives of his descendants. The creature who passes his life without
adding to the knowledge and goodness of the world has lived for naught,
and he who fails to improve his own worth morally, mentally or
physically has spent a life of uselessness for which his descendants
must suffer; for to misuse oneself is to commit a crime against
posterity. Each generation should be an improvement upon the preceding
one. Having been entrusted with a piece of living machinery, it is the
duty of everyone to give it the very best care and attention possible,
that its value might be increased to nature, hence moral, mental and
physical perfection are the highest aims of life to achieve. Parents
should have no off-spring when one or both of them are insane, diseased,
gluttons, drunkards or criminals.

"Practice moderation in all things that you may live longer and acquire
strength to enjoy natural blessings and bestow character upon those to
follow. Pleasure can only be extracted from temperateness; it increases
or decreases in proportion to quantity, and he who takes sparingly,
lives longer to enjoy the most. Do not over-work, over-study, over-eat,
over-drink, over-sleep, or commit any excess whatsoever. The surest way
to make the world better is to begin with yourself. Such is the essence
of Natural Law."

CHAPTER XIII

"At the present time," proceeded Arletta, "the earth resembles a huge
table over-loaded with good things and surrounded by a pack of gluttons
each striving to secure the largest portion. And in this piggish
scramble the strong obtain more and the weak less than is needed while
enough is wasted to amply supply the whole. The best forces of the
participants, which should be utilized for other purposes are also lost
in the ravenous struggle, for it requires more power to retain than
obtain these things.

"The same avaricious principal--individual accumulation--is the
foundation of every government in the world today, and consequently all
of your social systems are being run upside down. Your people spend
their time and strength in looking for remedies instead of stopping the
source from which all evils flow. Corruption is the result of a diseased
root and as long as that remains, iniquities will continue to multiply.
Extirpate the cause, however, and sin will depart like magic.

"The system which allows the individual to acquire personal wealth is
the direct cause for nearly every evil in existence. There is no remedy
for a wrong unless you eradicate it entirely, and just as long as a
nation clings to the pernicious plan which permits separate persons to
store up the products of the earth for private uses, just so long will
selfishness be the characteristic feature of the people, and all kinds
of criminals will be bred from the material which otherwise would prove
very useful to a unified world. According to present methods success is
based upon what each individual accumulates and not what mankind is
capable of producing.

"The foundation of existence is effort, without which the inhabitants of
the world would perish. United exertion produces better results and with
less toil than competitive efforts. With united labor in force, every
living being must work, for he who consumes and does not produce is a
thief. If all the inhabitants of the world combined their labors on the
most economic basis, there would be enough comforts for all created by
one-tenth of the power expended at the present time. Each person would
add his mite to the whole, and in return would receive as much as anyone
else. All worthless occupations would be done away with, and the power
thereof directed into useful channels. Labor would rule the world
instead of money. For of what good would be all the money on earth if
there was no labor to produce the necessities of life? At present there
exists but one honest toiler whose labors enrich the world, to ten
schemers who spend their time plotting to secure the results of his
work; and these parasites actually confiscate the largest portion of
that which is produced. The schemers feast and govern, while the
laborers fast and are governed. Can you imagine more unnatural
conditions than one class of beings producing all the comforts and
receiving none in return?

"With the abolition of the noxious system of individual accumulation,
money would have no value and all the evils arising therefrom would
cease. Take away the opportunity of the individual to accumulate wealth
for himself, and you remove the temptation for fraud, theft and numerous
other crimes, for there is then no incentive left for them. Expel the
motive and selfishness will disappear, and each mortal give his best
efforts toward perfecting himself morally, mentally and physically for
the good he may render the world.

"Teach the child that it will not have to worry over the future; that it
will not have to lie, cheat, steal, murder or take any advantage of its
fellow beings in order to receive its share of the good things of life;
explain to it that the real incentive is to give its best services
toward increasing the general production of the earth, that all mankind
may enjoy the sweets thereof together in peace and harmony; impress upon
its young mind, that he who works in excess of others for the good of
mankind, lives the noblest life and receives the highest esteem of his
fellow beings and the blessed approbation of his own soul, and that
child, reaching maturity, will be a thousand times more useful to
himself and humanity than he who has been taught to hoard up riches for
his own special purposes.

"Individual accumulation is responsible for crime; crime necessitates
laws; laws breed tyranny.

"Abolish individualism, and crime, tyranny and nine-tenths of your
superfluous laws will be exterminated.

"A few well-defined and just laws properly enforced are sufficient to
successfully operate the governmental machinery of the human race
according to Natural Law."


CHAPTER XIV

"Telepathy," continued Arletta, "proved to be one of the greatest
factors for good utilized by our people. Through its agency we not only
found that it was the most natural and complete way to converse with one
another, but also learned to think collectively as well as singly.

"The brain is both a receiver and transmitter of thought, and all minds
are directly connected with each other by an invisible force. Thought is
an element of life and exists everywhere; it is not originated by the
mind, but is a utility for it. Thoughts are sustenance for the brain, as
air is for the lungs, or food for the appetite; they are good and bad in
quality, and it is within man's power to accept or reject them at will.
By admitting good and repelling bad thoughts, the brain acquires moral
as well as mental strength but vice versa it is poisoned, and degeneracy
is sure to follow.

"Nature created both the mountains and the thoughts; look and you can
see those lofty hills; think and you can receive inspiring thoughts.
Shut your eyes and you cannot see; close your brain and you cannot
think. The broader the mind, the greater the ideas to enter. Ignorance
is bred from a closed brain; intelligence from an open one. He who is
incapable of thinking is like the blind who cannot see or the deaf who
cannot hear. The thought is the mightiest force for good or evil,
humanity has to contend with; time is measured by it and pure meditation
makes the days short and sweet, while evil notions lengthen and
depreciate them. The mind that retains good ideas and refuses bad ones
is of incalculable value to mankind for it has an instantaneous effect
upon other minds in all parts of the earth.

"It is easier for many minds working in harmony together to grasp a
thought, than for the single brain to receive it without aid. No one
earthly being ever conceived a great idea unassisted. One might have
believed and proclaimed the origin of an idea, but unknown and
innumerable others secretly aided in its conception. The strongest
intellect, however, retained and gave it to the world, and he who
accepts, practices and impresses the thought upon others, deserves the
credit thereof.

"It took several generations of continuous experimentation by the
Sagemen to acquire the fundamental principles of telepathy and many more
to establish the custom of conversing with the mind instead of the
voice. In the beginning, the evil ones looked upon the practice with
horror, for it was impossible to conceal anything from their fellow
beings. But this very fact alone caused them to keep clean and allow no
impure thoughts to enter their minds that would lower them in the
estimation of their associates, and after a few generations of active
use it was accepted as one of the great benefits of nature.

"Whenever a great problem confronted the nation, a hundred or more of
our deepest thinkers would simultaneously concentrate their mental
forces upon it, and if unsuccessful in reaching a satisfactory
conclusion, then the whole people would devote an hour each day upon it
until finally solved. Thus in thought as well as in action we labored
together as a unit, harmoniously working out vast ideas that never could
have been conceived by a single brain, and each mortal receiving an
equal share of the many blessings derived therefrom.

"And there again is where your individual system retards natural
progress. A little Apeman receives part of one of nature's ideas. His
immature brain is incapable of receiving the whole of it so he spends
his entire life stumbling along in the dark, vainly searching for the
remainder. Sometimes he becomes insane or dies under the strain of the
burden, and mankind loses the portion he had already understood. It was
his greedy desire that caused him to struggle alone for something that
many minds could easily have brought forth had they been called to his
assistance. But no, his purpose was not to aid humanity, but get money
and the power to wield over his fellow creatures by accepting and having
patented for himself one of nature's gifts.

"And then again one of your little Apemen finally does conceive a good
idea, or part of one, after thirty years, more or less, of constant
strain upon his mental faculties. So the progress of the world must be
held in check for that length of time for an invention that could have
been produced and put into useful operation by the combined efforts of
many minds in a few days, weeks or months. But it is the individual
system and not the individual himself which causes this stupendous waste
of time and power, and as long as it is kept in force the leakage of
human progress will naturally be beyond calculation.

"It seems a pity," said Arletta, looking at me sympathetically, "that
your brain is not sufficiently developed to enable you to grasp the
magnificent principle of life as it was understood by the Sage-men, but
it would be as hard for you to comprehend an attempted explanation of
the whole subject as it would be for a monkey to understand algebra. So
I have to be content with impressing upon your little intellect just as
much as it will absorb.

"But come, you look tired, let us partake of some refreshments. And
remember, do not overload your stomach."

CHAPTER XV

"Do not overload your stomach." This admonition caused me to feel like a
child once more, and I was uncertain whether I ought to laugh or become
indignant over the remark. Still I fully realized the necessity of this
warning; not only for myself alone, but for the entire human race from
which I sprung. How many beings are there in the world today who would
not profit by following this advice? How many are there with sense
enough to heed it? I cannot recall to memory any person I have ever met
who had absolute control of his appetite.

"We take pleasure in living, but do not live for pleasure," continued
Arletta, as she touched an invisible spring concealed within a dainty
flower and graciously invited me to eat--or rather to breathe. And as I
inhaled the delicious fumes it seemed that the very breath of life
itself was injected into every pore of my body.

"That is enough of the soup," commented Arletta mirthfully, "now try the
roast; now the entree; and here, perhaps, a little dessert will not hurt
you; there, that is plenty; a little is strengthening but too much is
poisonous.

"You see, this process of living is very simple indeed; our chemists
merely extracted the vital parts of vegetables, herbs, cereals, fruits,
nuts, flowers, etc., and reduced them to aeriform. These artificial
flowers are arranged to conceal small tubes from which the nutriment
flows. By operating these automatic springs the substance is allowed to
escape in such quantities as is required for meals. Very simple, is it
not? Much cleaner and better than munching a piece of fat pork, don't
you think? And there are no cooks needed to prepare it, no waiters to
serve it, nor any dishes to wash afterward. Our food was arranged ready
for consumption at the great national laboratories and piped directly to
the people, to use as they pleased."

"It is all very wonderful," exclaimed I, looking up to Arletta as if she
were the goddess of life itself, "but there is one thing in particular I
am anxious to know and that is: what causes daylight here when darkness
prevails on the outside of this building?"

"Very simple," explained she, "about a thousand years before the great
catastrophe our scientists discovered a method whereby they could store
up the rays of the sun for light, heat and power, and after much
experimenting they found that they could mix these rays with other
ingredients into solid substances. The light you observed in the hallway
before entering here is merely compressed into the material of which the
walls are composed and as long as that remains light will shine from it.
The light in this room comes from the miniature sun you see in the
picture; that too will give forth radiance as long as the material holds
together. Our scientists were remarkable men; they not only made use of
the sun's rays in many different ways for the benefit of mankind, but
actually controlled the power of the sun itself insofar as it related to
the earth. They also restrained the atmosphere which surrounds the earth
and made the weather conditions to suit their own welfare. But these
things are so infinitely beyond the Apeman's comprehension, who feels
that he has almost reached the limit of human resources with his crude
little steam engines, that it would only be a waste of time and power to
try and explain them to you, besides being a considerable strain upon
your half-grown brain."

"This is certainly a wonderful painting," said I, looking about the room
with much admiration. "I have never seen anything to compare with it
before."

"There is nothing about it that is extraordinary," remarked Arletta, "it
is merely a little ornamentation of my own private apartment which I did
myself according to my own fancy. Any of our ordinary house decorators
could have done as well or better. All of our children were taught to
paint and they devoted considerable of their spare time to the art, but
the works of the real artists were placed upon exhibition in the
national galleries where everybody could see and enjoy their
magnificence."

"I observe an absence of jewelry about your person," mentioned I, "was
it not the custom of your people to wear jewels?"

"Do you think that to wear rings around your toes and suspended from
your nose is a sensible thing to do?" inquired Arletta.

"No, no; decidedly not," answered I, "such are the customs of the
barbarians only, but our civilized people wear rings around their
fingers and in their ears."

"Indeed, and wherein lies the difference?" asked she, good naturedly. It
then struck me rather forcibly that there was no difference and that it
was just as ridiculous to wear rings from the ears and around the
fingers as it was to have them suspended from the nose and about the
toes. "But were there no diamonds in your country?" questioned I.

"Yes," replied Arletta, "there was a large pile of them in the national
museum which we looked upon as old junk--sort of relics of the savage
Apemen. When our children were shown these things and informed that a
king of an Apeman nation would gladly sacrifice the lives of a hundred
thousand of his subjects in an attempt to gain possession of them, or
that his subjects would murder their friends, brothers, wives or
children in an effort to secure some for themselves, it was impossible
for their youthful minds to fully understand why the Apeman should
become so ferocious and idiotic over such trifles. They naturally looked
upon your species as you would view a tribe of monkeys fighting amongst
themselves for the possession of a string of glass beads. The Apeman
like the monkey is incapable of seeing his own absurdities."

"And what about gold?" I inquired. "We had a building constructed of
it," answered she. "One of the first things the Sagemen did after they
abolished the system of individual accumulation was to take all the gold
there was in the country, and mould it into a huge edifice to be used as
a national museum, and represent a sort of monument to a dead system."

"It must have been a magnificent structure," said I, in amazement. "On
the contrary," replied Arletta, "it was the most hideous building in our
land. As a curiosity it was worth seeing, but as an object of grandeur
it was a total failure. There is more real beauty in one of nature's
tiniest flowers than there would be in a mountain built of gold and
studded with diamonds, but the little Apeman who considers gold the
standard of value cannot understand this."

"When you mentioned the absurdity of wearing jewelry," said I, "it
brought to my attention the fact that you wear no shoes upon your feet,
and that your toes are much longer and far more shapely and supple than
is the case nowadays."

"Yes," answered she, "that is because we made use of our toes as well as
our fingers for useful purposes. It appears to me that the Apeman has
permitted his feet to grow into mere hoofs with which to stump along
upon, and from what I observed during my excursion around the world,
your people are even allowing their hoofs to become worthless," and here
she smiled as she recalled to mind some of the gouty, rheumatic and
over-fed mortals she had seen during that trip.

As Arletta smiled, her beautiful lips parted and for the first time I
noticed, much to my surprise, that she had no teeth. A woman of our own
kind without teeth generally presents a rather dilapidated appearance,
but here was a woman that I thought actually looked more lovely without
them.

"Well," remarked Arletta, noting my astonishment, "I do not have teeth
to bite and chew with like the lower animals. The Sageman shed his teeth
shortly after he discontinued the filthy animal habit of devouring flesh
and other solid substances for subsistence, and substituted the more
scientific, cleanly and healthful method of inhalation."

CHAPTER XVI

"Now we shall enjoy a little music," said Arletta, as she turned her
attention to the pictorial orchestra.

"Music," repeated I, "then it was real music I heard a short time ago
and not a mere fancy of my own."

"I was not aware that you heard it at all," replied she. "Yes,"
responded I, "when first coming into this room, the men in the picture
appeared to me to be alive, and wishing to attract their attention I
touched the shoulder of the leader, and then it was that I thought I
heard the sweetest and grandest music it has ever been my good fortune
to listen to."

"In that case," said Arletta, "your ears did not deceive you, for you
certainly heard real music. You see in this picture, an exact portrayal
of that which existed over four thousand years ago. This delineation is
an almost perfect representation of one of our national bands as they
once appeared in life ready to play. The music, of course, is reproduced
mechanically, the mechanism being concealed from view behind the
scenery. When you placed your hand upon the shoulder of the leader you
unconsciously pressed the spring which set the machinery in motion,
causing a reproduction of the same strains once rendered by these men."

"But this being a painting, I cannot understand how the figures moved as
if playing upon their instruments," said I.

"They did not move at all," answered Arletta, "it was your soul that
brought to your senses the movements that once took place among these
men in real life. Music is inspired by the soul, and likewise has a
direct influence upon it. No Sageman was considered an eminent composer
if his work lacked the force to convey the soul of the listener to the
actual scene from whence the inspiration was derived. No doubt your
inferior brain was incapable of grasping the magnificent conception of
the author, but the selection being so enrapturous your soul awakened
and brought your senses to the point where you could see the movements
of the musicians. Perhaps the next rendition may have a stronger effect
upon your soul which will cause you to get an outline of what was
intended by the composer. The composition which the orchestra will now
reproduce for your benefit was considered by our people to be the
musical masterpiece of all time. It was named 'The Soul's
Retrospection,' and was composed by the leader of this band only a few
years prior to the great catastrophe. Look," said Arletta, with much
feeling as she waved her hand toward the exalted director, "take a good
look at this model of a perfect man and you may be able to realize just
what qualities he had to possess before acquiring the tremendous
intellectual strength necessary to produce the wonderful work that will
shortly be impressed upon you. Note the extraordinary look of kindness,
gentleness and self-denial that is stamped upon his handsome features.
See the expression of thankfulness and intense reverence he maintained
for the many splendid gifts nature bestows upon all mankind capable of
accepting them. Observe the optimistic appearance of one that believed
the earth was real heaven and who strived to make it so. Notice the cast
of superior intellectuality caused by devoting his time and mentality to
natural thoughts, instead of allowing absurd civilized theories to take
root in his expansive brain. Behold the magnificent physique, the result
of the constant care and attention he gave to the machinery nature
provided him with. Ah, me! such a noble being, and to think that there
is not another piece of flesh and blood on earth at the present time to
compare with him seems cruel."

At this point Arletta appeared almost overcome with sadness and emotion
as she buried herself in contemplation of a glorious past and an unknown
future. Great tears rolled from her beautiful eyes, and unconsciously
from my own as well. How utterly helpless I felt at that moment. I knew
of no way to cheer her, although I would have gladly given up my life to
do so. Aye, more than that, my love for her was so strong that in order
to make her happy, I should have welcomed back to life again, if such a
thing were possible, any one of those handsome fellows in the picture.
However, by a superb display of will power, she quickly regained control
of herself, and becoming cheerful once more, bade me recline upon one of
the lounges while she pressed the spring which set the musical apparatus
in motion.

And as I followed her directions, there suddenly burst forth the
voluminous and harmonious sound of a hundred strange instruments,
causing an indescribable thrill of ecstasy to take possession of my
senses, until it seemed that there was nothing left of me but an
invisible spirit. And then, even the music apparently stopped, and a
peculiar feeling overcame me as if my soul had actually left its charge
and was flying about in an effort to find a convenient resting place.
Suddenly, as if half awake and half dreaming, I found myself within a
luxuriously furnished hall, surrounded by a score of richly-clad beings,
who were bowing, kneeling, and cutting up all sorts of silly antics
about me. In a dreamy sort of a way, I looked down at myself and
discovered that I was arrayed in the gorgeous garments of a king, and
weighted down with dazzling jewels from head to foot. Then everything
became clear enough to my memory; I was the king, and these idiotic
creatures fawning and cringing about me were my obedient subjects; my
slaves; the willing tools which kept me in power. A gouty feeling in my
feet, a dyspeptic ache of the stomach and an alcoholic pain in the head,
caused me to be in a very disagreeable mood, and I felt like kicking the
entire gathering out of my presence.

"Sire," squeaked a knock-kneed, sickly looking civilized creature about
five feet high, who wore knee breeches, silk stockings and fancy
ribbons, as he bowed low in addressing me, "those ungrateful subjects of
your majesty, the ignorant common laboring horde whom God in His
infinite wisdom has entrusted to your noble guidance, have become
dissatisfied and turbulent again, and are disturbing the peaceful
prosperity of the domain by clamoring for bread--more bread and less
toil is their beastly cry. A delegation of their representatives
requested me to beg your majesty to grant them an audience that they
might state their imaginary grievances to you in person."

"More bread and less toil," shouted I furiously, "the audacity of the
vermin! By the gods! I shall teach those craven beggars that I am the
master and will tolerate no new-fangled ideas. Give orders to the
generalissimo to have this delegation beheaded at once and to put to the
sword every dissatisfied laborer in the land." As I uttered those words,
intermingled with terrible oaths, and with intense hatred for the
wretches who dared to complain against such conditions a sudden change
affected me and I found myself within a dark, filthy little room, seated
at a bare table, with a feeling of hunger gnawing at my stomach. My
limbs felt tired and sore from a hard day's toil. Beside me sat a thin,
haggard, sorrowful woman and several half-famished children piteously
crying for something to eat. Oh, what a dismal, melancholy feeling.
"What is it," mused I, observing my bony hands, crooked limbs and ragged
clothes, "that causes my inability to earn enough money to supply bread
for myself and family, after working fifteen hours a day, while
thousands of men in this land do not work at all and have luxuries to
waste? What unnatural law governs the world that starves myself and
family who work, and over-feeds the pet dog of the aristocrat, who
loafs? The Church teaches me that God rules the universe, and that in
order to please Him I must be contented with my lot. Can I believe this
unreasonable doctrine of the Church? Can I give thanks to such a god?"

Another change, and behold, I am clad in the garments of a hunter,
seated upon the back of a spirited horse and in mad pursuit of a fleet-
footed antelope. I raise my rifle and blaze away at the frightened
beast. There, I have hit the mark and brought him down at the first
shot, much to my delight. But lo, it is not dead yet; see how it pants
and struggles in desperation, as it tries to regain its feet. Now I am
right upon it, and quickly dismounting, I take hold of its horns, draw a
long keen knife from its sheath, and with a powerful stroke I almost
sever the victim's head from the body. And as the warm blood pours forth
in every direction and the last sign of life departs from its shivering
body, I view the work of destruction with the fiendish glee of a noble
sportsman.

But hold! What causes me to tremble with fear as though some blood-
thirsty monster were pursuing me with the intention of crushing out my
life's blood? Ah, I understand. I am the four-footed beast and am
running, running, running as fast as my weary limbs will carry me. And
such a terrified feeling overcomes me as I look backward and discover I
am pursued by the most dangerous, savage and cruel animal in existence--
man. How relentlessly he dogs my footsteps. On, on, on he comes until he
is right behind me and there is no chance to escape--nor any hope for
quarter. At last being brought to bay I turn about and decide to give
battle to my pursuer. But look! The cowardly savage will not fight after
all. No, he will not advance and fight fair, but at a distance and out
of harm's way, he stops, and pointing a weapon at me, takes deliberate
aim, there is a loud report, a quick flash, and the scene once more
changes.

And thus I transmigrated from one thing into another, in a seemingly
endless procession of lives, experiencing all the peculiar sensations of
the many bodies I temporarily inhabited. In some cases I was the big
strong brute--either physically or mentally--taking advantage of the
puny weakling. In others, I was the miserable weakling, being crushed by
the over-powering strength of the bully. But whether strong or weak,
either physically or mentally, I was always the moral coward and selfish
creature, ready to cater to those who were stronger, and take advantage
of those who were feebler than myself, until finally I emerged into a
most extraordinary being, utterly deficient in all human weaknesses.

Master of a physique absolutely free from all imperfections, and
controlling a mind powerful enough to grasp nature's beautiful ideas
unadulterated, I found myself seated upon a platform in the center of a
mammoth theatre and surrounded by the finest body of musicians the earth
has ever produced--the immortal Sixth National Band of Sageland. Then I
fully realized that as leader of this wonderful group I was about to
render for the first time, my latest musical conception and masterpiece--
"The Soul's Retrospection"--which would prove to humanity beyond a
doubt, the positive truth of one of nature's grandest secrets--the
indestructibility of the soul.

It was generally believed that music was the direct inspiration of the
soul. It was also thought that the soul was one of the unchangeable
forces of nature whose duty it was to operate and purify different
pieces of natural machinery known as animal lives; starting each on its
brief career and remaining a part thereof until the mechanism exhausted
its power and collapsed, after which it attached itself to another bit
of animal matter, remaining therewith until its death, and so on
indefinitely.

And now, after a life of unswerving devotion to this purpose, I was
about to establish the truth of these theories by producing a musical
composition that would cause the listener's soul to leave the body, and
going backward, revisit, as in a dream, the various animal forms it had
previously inhabited. How extremely happy I felt to think what a great
blessing humanity was about to receive direct from nature, through the
instrumentality of myself and the incalculable good that would result
therefrom. Not only would it prove of vast scientific value to my own
countrymen, but also to the millions of ferocious Apemen in all parts of
the world, who could now be made to understand that no soul is immune
from hardship, misery and torture until all living things on earth have
reached the highest stage of perfection.

The news that the first production of "The Soul's Retrospection" was
about to be given had attracted great attention among the Sagemen, and I
observed that the great National Auditorium, which was capable of
seating four hundred thousand persons, was crowded to its very doors, a
proceeding I had never witnessed before, notwithstanding my companions
and I had appeared there many times previously to give musical
performances. I also noticed that the transmitters in all of the domes
of the auditorium were open and ready for use and I knew that my
countrymen in every part of Sageland were at their musical receivers
ready to obtain the instantaneous results of our efforts. All of the
celebrated wise men and great scientists, while openly skeptical
concerning the claims of my composition, showed their interest in the
matter by being present personally and appearing anxious for success to
crown my efforts. As my eyes wandered over the great assemblage
completely filling tiers upon tiers of seats, as far back in every
direction as the natural eye could reach, I felt positive that there was
at least one person present who had no doubts of successful results.
"Ah, where is she?" mused I, looking about for a sign of recognition.
"Here I am," came the quick telepathic response, and immediately my gaze
fell upon the loveliest woman on earth--Arletta--nature's companion to
my soul. I am utterly powerless to describe the feeling of joy
experienced as our eyes met in mutual admiration. Being held momentarily
spellbound by her loving glance, I fully recognized the fact that she
was the acme of purity--the guiding star of my life. And with such a
guide there was no such thing as fail.

All in readiness, I arose to my feet and the entire audience did
likewise, as a token of appreciation for past services rendered.
Acknowledging the honor and waiving them seated, without further ado I
signaled my assistants to begin.

Never did a body of musicians commence a difficult task with more
determination to create, through the medium of their instruments, an
exact interpretation of the author's purpose. In no degree could they
have succeeded more admirably than on this occasion. Never was an entire
audience so completely carried beyond the borders of reality than now.
From the first until the last note not a twitch of a muscle could be
seen in all that mass of humanity, which now resembled a great concourse
of motionless statues. The musicians themselves, with their minds and
souls bent upon giving the fullest expression to their grand work, were
the only evidence that any life at all remained in the large auditorium.
How bravely they stuck to their laborious undertaking; how beautifully
they executed their divine work.

At last the piece was finished, and looking about, I observed that the
great audience jumped to its feet instantly, and every person present
frantically extended both hands above the head--a sign that we had been
successful. Never before did I see my countrymen under such intense
excitement and jubilation as now. Men hugged each other; women cried
with joy. The world is saved, was the general exclamation. Amid the
great confusion that followed, I noticed Arletta with her arms
outstretched toward me--a sign that she was betrothed to me forever. Her
beautiful face was the picture of happiness and love. As I descended
from the platform and started forward to clasp her in my arms the entire
audience seemed to vanish into nothingness, and my head began to whirl.
I turned and looked backward, and to my great astonishment and confusion
beheld myself still seated upon the platform. It seemed to me that I was
divided into two parts. I rubbed my eyes in amazement and looked again.
There was the leader of the band sitting on the platform motionless and
surrounded by his faithful helpmates. I looked in the other direction.
There was Arletta reclining upon the couch with her lustrous eyes fixed
upon me. I glanced down at myself and found that I was the same old John
Convert dressed in sailor's clothes.

For several moments I stood there buried in the depth of serious
meditation. Then slowly walking over near Arletta, I stooped and resting
upon one foot and knee, I tenderly took her hand in mine and bowed my
head in reverence. I understood it all now.

CHAPTER XVII

"What a wonderful world this is! What writer of fiction could draw upon
his imagination for anything to compare with this extraordinary freak of
nature?" soliloquized I, arising and taking a seat opposite Arletta and
staring at her in amazement.

"There is no such thing as a freak of nature," corrected Arletta, "the
utmost reason prevails for all of her acts; but the simplest of nature's
laws appears complex and incomprehensible to the Apeman, who merely uses
his brain as an organ for self-gratification instead of an instrument to
grasp natural laws for which purpose it is intended. And therefore,
while your famous Apemen stunt the growth of the brain by misusing it
for the base purpose of accumulating individual wealth, our great men
utilized their brains to receive, understand and operate the wise laws
established by nature for the equal benefit and betterment of all
mankind. And therein lies the chief difference between the piece of
human machinery your soul now occupies and that which it once directed
over four thousand years ago. Behold," said she, dramatically pointing
at the director of the band, "that you were," and then casting her eyes
upon me, "that you are. Does your mind lack the strength to fully
appreciate the magnificent lesson nature has forced upon you, and which,
no doubt, stands unparalleled in the history of your species?

"Oh, if each little Apeman could only be made to understand, that the
present body is but one little installment of the innumerable lives his
soul has to preside over, and that the rich and powerful today may be
the weak and lowly tomorrow, he would begin at once to treat all living
things with equal kindness and sympathy. If he could only realize that
the dog he kicks, the horse he mistreats, or the poor mental or physical
weakling he takes advantage of might possibly be impelled by the same
soul that moved the form of his deceased father, mother, or offspring,
his selfishness and cruelty would vanish forever. If he could only
comprehend that the soul suffers as well as the flesh it stimulates, and
that it must naturally continue to do so, more or less, until every
particle of living matter has been cleansed and remoulded into the
highest type of earthly being, he would strive to reach perfection
himself and urge others to do likewise. For all terrestrial life must go
up or down together; a moment of selfish pleasure now, means an age of
suffering and torment in the future. Such are the immutable laws of
nature. And these laws must be obeyed before mankind can climb the
ladder of greatness.

"It sometimes appears as if Natural Law works very slowly before
reaching a given point, but there is always a reason for every one of
its movements. While apparently incomprehensible, still it was in
accordance with an eternal law, that you were sent back here again after
an interim of over tour thousand years. My soul, which had been held a
captive during all that time, might have remained here for millions of
years had you not come back to release it from its peculiar bondage. But
you did return, and nature thereby demonstrated that it never forgets
anything, from the workings of the great living things of which the
suns, moons and planets are but mere organs, down to the minutest
microbe of the microbe. So you can readily perceive that at least two of
the bodies which your soul has inhabited were chosen to perform great
services for the human race. First, by a natural course of instruction,
you proved to the Sagemen over four thousand years ago that the soul was
indestructible. And now, through a mysterious operation of nature you
are brought back here in an inferior organism and have had a positive
manifestation of the identical principle thus established, in order that
you might resurrect and make known to all mankind the unalterable truth--
Natural Law. Do you not feel highly honored to be called upon twice for
such grand missions?"

"But I cannot understand," said I, "why nature, after having allowed the
Sagemen to reach such a state of physical, mental and moral superiority,
should destroy them just when they had reached the threshold of
success."

"Nature did not destroy the Sagemen," replied Arletta, "they
extinguished themselves in making an effort to accomplish something
beyond their powers. They tried to operate a law with which they had not
become sufficiently familiar to insure success. If one of your little
Apemen experiments with steam or dynamite and is blown to atoms, that is
his own fault, not nature's.

"For a thousand years the Sagemen had made remarkable progress along
scientific lines. They had mastered themselves, and had learned to think
both individually and collectively; and also to properly distribute and
enjoy the products of their combined efforts. They had acquired a
thorough knowledge of the particles of which the earth is composed, and
had secured control of the atmosphere that surrounds it. They had
harnessed the chemical properties of the sun after reaching the earth,
and had gained possession of many other valuable utilities by following
the course of Natural Law, but when they undertook to regulate the
earth's path in space they simply over-stepped the confines of their
abilities and failed. That was one of nature's laws they were not
thoroughly acquainted with. However, as it requires many drawbacks to
achieve extraordinary success in all things, humanity should not be
discouraged over this failure, but gradually work its way up again until
it has not only reached, but surpassed the high standard of excellence
attained by the Sagemen.

"In the great stretch called time, the length of one little human
existence is but a mere fraction of a moment. Therefore, one should
devote his best efforts during that brief period, to making better the
conditions of the place in which he has to spend many lives, for,
according to what he has done in one life, so must he contend with in
the next. If, while possessing physical and mental strength in one body,
he assists in upholding a corrupt social system which takes from the
weak and gives to the strong, he must expect these same conditions to
exist when he returns as a weakling. For as long as hogs are bred and
slaughtered, so must he take his chances of being one of them. How much
better to help mankind seek a higher plane of intelligence, in which
equality would be a reality, thus firmly cementing the tie of sympathy
and love between all living things. In this case he would have no fear
concerning his chances upon the next visit, no matter in what form he
might appear. And how much better to carry on the work of decreasing the
birth of the lower animals and increasing the numbers and quality of the
higher species, until there was nothing left on earth but the very best
type of human beings for all souls to inhabit.

"Natural Law is very easily understood if the mind is properly directed
toward it. Great thoughts are easily conveyed from one to another after
the strong intellects have conceived them. Nature itself is simply the
principle of the utilization of creative life. This principle plainly
shows an evolutionary tendency of all living particles toward a final
state of complete intelligence. This intelligence is absorbed by the
mind. The mind itself is expanded in proportion to the quantity it takes
in, and is capable of directing it for either good or evil purposes. The
difference between good and evil is merely that between unselfishness
and selfishness. Owing to its immature growth, the mind has a tendency
to use the intelligence it acquires for selfish ends. And here is where
the soul or conscience has its work to perform, in trying to direct it
into good channels.

"Intelligence means the ability to think, or understand the thoughts
conceived by others. The most intelligent mind will listen to the soul,
and use the thought as an unselfish medium with which to aid others. The
poorly developed brain stifles the pleadings of the conscience and
utilizes it as a selfish weapon to secure the power to take from others.
The battle of existence is constantly carried on between selfishness,
which is bred from the very lowest form of intelligence, and
unselfishness, which represents the very highest state of mentality. A
well-balanced mind wants all men to enjoy equal rights and opportunities
in common with one another, affording each a chance to rise as high as
his capabilities will permit. For the more intelligent beings there are
in existence, the better for all concerned. If you want to eradicate
disease, you must stamp out the conditions that breed it. Before you can
reach the highest form of intelligence, you must exterminate the causes
which create selfishness. And he who labors to improve others,
unconsciously produces better conditions for himself."

CHAPTER XVIII

"The history of Sageland," continued Arletta, "during one thousand years
prior to the great catastrophe was simply a record of heaven on earth,
in which the inhabitants lived for and loved one another. The abolition
of the pernicious system of individual accumulation was the direct cause
for the existence of this beautiful state of affairs. For when the
people discovered that they could no longer hoard up wealth for personal
advantage, but were required to give their best efforts toward general
production in exchange for the necessities of life, they lost all evil
desires and endeavored to secure the highest esteem of their fellow-
beings by perfecting themselves mentally, morally and physically for the
good of the community.

"The system by which the State required each individual to devote a
portion of his time toward general production, and which gave him in
return for his services a home, food, clothes, education, entertainment,
and, in fact, everything necessary to his welfare and comfort, is so
simple and easy of comprehension that any living thing above the
intellectual line of the Ape should be able to understand it.

"In the first place, the State was simply the people--all of the people--
working harmoniously together as a unit. Every child was educated from
its infancy in the economic principles of the State, and upon arriving
at maturity was given a voice in its government. There were no
privileges whatsoever granted to any particular person or persons, no
matter how superior their intelligence nor how valuable the services
they rendered to the country. As long as any one, whether strong or
weak, lived up to the laws of the State and applied himself to the best
of his ability, just so long was he allowed a voice in the government
and an equal proportion of the benefits accorded to all. Both men and
women enjoyed equal rights. Every man and woman in the country was a
public servant; they all worked for the public good. Each law adopted
was put into force through the direct vote of all the people. Municipal
and sectional laws were made uniform throughout the entire nation. The
public officials were chosen from the wisest men and women of the land.
These officials formulated the laws, but none of them became operative
until sanctioned by the people through suffrage. And no matter whether
the law was great or trivial, it was left for the people to decide
whether they would accept or reject it. The majority always settled the
question, and the law went into operation for a stated period, at the
expiration of which time the question would again be reconsidered and
voted upon if necessary. The laws were few and perfectly plain, and
could not be evaded. Nor was there any advantage to be gained by evading
them. The principle simply decreed, that all persons must devote a
certain portion of their time to advancing the conditions of the country
which gave them sustenance. The State allotted to the individual the
employment for which it was demonstrated he was best fitted. The working
hours were few, so that there was no strain upon any one, no matter what
labor he had to perform. The average length of time the individual was
compelled to work for the public was four hours daily, the balance of
the time being at his own disposal, but usually occupied as follows:
four hours study; two hours for physical exercise and recreative games;
three hours to music, painting and other intellectual amusements; three
hours for nourishment and eight hours for sleep. While it was not
compulsory to pass one's time as stated, still it was generally taught
and believed that in so doing the individual developed his greatest
qualities.

"As the State provided everything the individual needed from time of
birth until death, it gave him an opportunity to devote his time to
higher and purer thoughts and purposes than the mere animal desires for
selfish gain, and thus exterminated the cause of deception, fraud, theft
and all other crimes arising therefrom.

"According to our laws the public owned and operated everything, and
produced and distributed all of its own goods. And in doing this it set
aside all superfluous vocations that merely wasted public power and
turned these forces into other channels for the common good. For
instance: as the State owned all of the land and everything that was
produced, and simply gave to the individual that which he was capable of
consuming, there was no need for such things as taxes. And without taxes
there was no public labor wasted by tax collectors, lawyers, treasurers,
auditors, clerks, book-keepers, etc.

"Then again, the individual being able to obtain everything free of
charge, money became valueless, all the evils of the financial system
eliminated, and the preponderance of labor expended in upholding this
unnatural system was used for productive purposes, thus doing away with
such occupations as money making, money lending, banking, broking,
speculating, gambling, etc.

"Without money in existence, and labor being the only purchasing power,
and as every want was satisfied by the State in return for the
individual's services, there was nothing left to steal, and consequently
no necessity for utilizing the labor of an army of human beings as
police, detectives, judges, lawyers, juries, etc.

"And as all the public necessities were produced and distributed by the
most systematic, direct, and economic methods, straight from the store-
houses to the consumers, there was no use for merchants, traders,
jobbers, agents, salesmen, clerks, peddlers, etc.

"As each individual was compelled to give a percentage of his time
toward general production, in order to be a member, in good standing, of
the community, and able to enjoy all the rights that such membership
accorded, there was no chance to avoid honest work and no room for such
parasites as tramps, beggars and society loafers.

"So that in abolishing the stupid system of individual accumulation and
substituting nature's plan of united labor and honest distribution, all
useless vocations and parasitic accessories were extirpated entirely,
thus transferring that tremendous leakage of human power into honest
production, the beneficial results of this change being: shorter work
hours, increased education, refinement, comfort, and security for
everybody, and the extermination of selfishness and crime.

"United labor merely utilized the various forces of nature, to produce
and distribute all the necessities of life for the general welfare of
mankind, by the most intelligent, humane, and unselfish methods."

"But," said I, as Arletta paused for a moment, "was it not a very
difficult matter to make all men give their best efforts to the State
when there was no incentive for personal gain other than that which
everybody else received, and did not those who were capable of
accomplishing more work than others, complain of the benefits given
those with less ability and not so industriously inclined as
themselves?"

"Those same questions were asked and answered over five thousand years
ago," replied Arletta, "and were subsequently proved to be fallacies. If
a man's highest aim in life is to foolishly pile up worldly products for
his own piggish satisfaction, then he is really on no higher plane than
the swine; for the rich accumulate wealth like the hog does filth, for
what, they know not. It requires far more ability to build a strong
moral character and a kindly feeling for others, than it does to
accumulate a mountain of produce. The Sagemen, with their splendid
intellects, would gladly have worked themselves to death for the public
good had not the State restricted the working hours and required each
person to give proper care and attention to himself as well as to the
public.

"Immediately after discarding the old system of individual accumulation,
the Sagemen passed a law that all persons refusing to do their portion
of work for the public should be considered insane, and put into asylums
until such time as they regained their proper senses. No work, no
freedom, the statute said. But even in the beginning there was very
little use for these asylums, and within two generations they became
obsolete for the want of inmates. The vast majority of human beings are
anxious to appear in the best possible light in the eyes of their
contemporaries and are swayed either forward or backward by the
sentiment of others. If public opinion says to the individual: you are
held equally responsible with everybody else for the general welfare and
conditions of your country, and if you show a lack of self-respect by
trying to evade the small portion of work necessary to pay for your
keeping, then you shall be judged mentally and morally unsound, and not
fit to associate with respectable people, he will not only do all that
is expected of him, but will try to out-work everybody else in order to
secure the highest esteem of his fellow beings.

"The system of individual accumulation as now practiced throughout the
entire world is a most brutal plan of existence. It is either directly
or indirectly responsible for all the crime and suffering humanity has
to contend with. It causes men to forget their souls in the desperate
struggle for a mere living. It saps the strength of the individual and
then censures him for being weak. It robs him of the fruits of his labor
and then blames him for being poor. It forces him to steal and then
punishes him for being a thief. It drives him to all sorts of crime, and
then condemns him for being a criminal. It encourages and gives
everything to the strong and discourages by taking everything from the
weak. It originated with the primitive savages, and is the most beastly
and debasing system conceivable. It keeps mankind in the very lowest
stage of intelligence, and in a condition of helplessness on one side
and slavery on the other. It has been saturated with so many idiotic
laws and so-called remedies since its inception that it now resembles a
great network of legalized corruption. Laws for this and laws for that,
and laws to offset other laws are enacted until the power of the human
race is wasted, in either making or breaking the innumerable edicts made
to uphold a weak and rotten system.

"You cannot make right by patching up wrong. A new and effective system
cannot be created by changing the features of an old and putrid one. An
entirely new foundation must be constructed in order to insure solidity
and strength. That was the reason the Sagemen uprooted entirely the
cancerous system of individual accumulation and planted in its place the
scientific and mutually beneficial plan of united labor and equal
distribution as decreed by Natural Law.

"The Apeman being the foremost of living particles on earth at the
present time, and nature being capable, willing and generous enough to
abundantly provide for all of his needs, he should immediately cast off
the yoke of greed and devote his time and best efforts to a nobler work
than the petty accumulation of plunder."

CHAPTER XIX

"In equal proportion to man's moral and mental strength, so should he be
well-balanced physically," proceeded Arletta. "In fact, he cannot accept
his greatest opportunities unless perfectly sound and healthful. The
mind derives its power of conception from the body, as well as the body
secures its impetus from mind, therefore, the development of the frame
should at least keep pace with that of the intellect, if not exceeding
it. There is nothing more delightful to behold or conceive than a
perfect physical man, whose features manifest strong moral and mental
attributes, as exemplified by the portraits of the Sagemen."

"Excepting a perfect woman as depicted by yourself," thought I, with
uncontrollable rapture, as I feasted my eyes upon her exquisite form and
lovely countenance. Taking notice of my passionate cogitation, she
interjected, "Nature created the male and female, and in order to
perpetuate life itself, the union thereof is necessary; therefore, the
highest aim of each should be to win and hold the love and companionship
of the other. To do this successfully, each must strive to reach the
very highest point of physical, as well as mental and moral excellence.
Our men adored women as the most sacred and beautiful objects of life;
the women revered men as the grandest things extant.

"According to the philosophy of Sage--who, by the way, was the founder
of our government, and the first to expound the principles of Natural
Law--men belonged to the community, and not the community to man. He
contended that it was just as essential to the general welfare of the
public for the individual to build himself up from a healthful
standpoint, and likewise make himself pleasing to the eyes of others, as
it was to construct sanitary and artistic houses.

"Health and beauty are natural; disease and deformity are acquired, and
are therefore crimes against mankind. There are three good reasons why
it is criminal for one to neglect health. First, by going contrary to
Natural Law, he unfits himself to give his best labors toward the
progress of his species. Second, by breeding disease in himself, he
forces it into the community. Third--the most heinous crime of all--he
passes down to his offspring the ghastly inheritances resulting from his
own degraded weaknesses, which, in turn, are handed down from generation
to generation.

"Intemperance, such as over-eating, over-drinking, over-work, over-rest,
and many other forms of over-doing things, together with worry and
uncleanliness, is directly responsible for disease and deformity. All
living things would be healthful, if they contained enough intelligence
to live according to Natural Law.

"Besides using moderation in taking nourishment, work and pleasure, the
Sageman was careful about his exercises, assiduously devoting from two
to three hours each day to physical culture. He practiced all manner of
games and acrobatic performances, in order to bring the body up to its
best possible shape. Suppleness, agility, and gracefulness were desired
in preference to brute strength. Running, jumping, swimming, and flying
were considered a necessary part of every one's daily routine, from
early youth until old age and death."

"Flying," exclaimed I, incredulously, "you surely do not mean to inform
me that the Sagemen could fly?"

"Yes," answered Arletta, "the practice of floating in the air was begun
shortly prior to the great catastrophe and many of our men and women
were becoming adepts at it. You see, after the Sagemen discontinued the
animal method of eating flesh and other solid substances and adopted the
aeriform process of nourishment, he naturally became much lighter in
proportion to his bulk, and gravitation did not hold him so tightly to
the earth as formerly. Of course it took many generations of tendency in
that direction before he could even acquire the rudiments of aerial
propulsion. But after the dread feeling of worry and want was finally
eradicated from his mind by the abolition of the individual accumulative
system, he then began to apply himself carefully to physical
development, and as running, jumping and acrobatic work have the best
symmetrical effects upon the human form, this kind of exercise was
extensively followed, and as each generation succeeded in outdoing the
feats of the preceding one, the entire nation finally evolved into one
of extraordinary springing propensities. What will you think, when I
tell you that any of our men or women could jump over the highest
building there is in the world today, or run faster than any of your
steam locomotives? It seems hard for you to realize such things, but
still these are facts. In these days, the Apeman devotes his time to the
construction of machinery with which to carry around his decaying and
almost useless frame, while the Sageman utilized the power of his own
body to propel himself as nature intended.

"The gradual increase from year to year, and generation to generation,
of the Sageman's ability to make high leaps, and his continual desire to
remain in the air as long as possible, eventually bore evolutionary
results by man learning to fly. And like swimming, so with flying, the
mind plays the biggest part towards its accomplishment.

"As you appear incredulous regarding my statements, I will just give you
a little illustration," said Arletta, and before I was aware of her
intentions she arose, and with an almost imperceptible spring went
straight up to the ceiling, and then with a graceful movement somewhat
similar to a fish swimming in the water, she went half way across the
room and slowly descended to the floor again. "There is no good reason
why a man should not fly as well as swim," said Arletta, being seated
once more. "Time and inclination work wonders, and the human race has no
limit to its achievements if it only takes the right course.

"In order to obtain the best results physically, the individual must
live according to the simple laws of nature. Plenty of good healthful
exercise must be taken regularly and without strain. The intelligent
direction of the mind must also be brought into action with all muscular
efforts. Man's daily employment should be a mixture of both mental and
physical labor, for all brain work strains the mind and weakens the
flesh, while all bodily exertion over-taxes the frame and retards the
growth of intellect. Deep breathing, an abundance of pure fresh air and
plenty of sunlight are indispensable to perfect health. Daily baths are
essential to keep the exterior of the body clean, while the interior
must be kept in good order with a moderate supply of simple, wholesome
and unadulterated foods. Nature's plain beverage, water, is all that man
should imbibe. No evil thoughts must be allowed to enter the mind.
Cheerfulness, self-control, kindliness and optimism are great aids in
promoting health. Pessimism, worry, anger, fear and violent emotions are
poison to the system. There should be nothing in life to fear. The
unselfish know no fear. Those who teach it, or cause others to fear are
common enemies to health and progress.

"The beastly custom of drinking intoxicating liquors, now prevalent
throughout the world, is one of the very worst forms of robbing the
individual of his physical strength and vitality, as well as his reason
and moral character.

"The tobacco habit also; that idiotic and ridiculous performance of
filling the mouth with smoke merely to blow it out again, is another
dangerous obstacle thrown in the path of good health. It seems strange
that the Apeman cannot open his eyes wide enough to see the danger as
well as the absurdity of these silly customs which sap his strength and
leave him in a state of abject weakness. What a pity he cannot exert
enough will power to overcome these stupid and harmful practices.

"If you want to use your faculties when you are old, exercise them
properly when you are young. Improve yourself and you make better the
world."

CHAPTER XX

"Sageland, previous to the catastrophe," resumed Arletta, "was a small
oblong continent surrounded by what are now known as the Indian and
South Atlantic Oceans. It ran from north-east to southwest. Its extreme
length was nine hundred and twenty-eight miles and its greatest width
was three hundred and ninety-six miles. There were a little over thirty
million inhabitants in the land.

"Unlike the different countries of the present time, there were no large
cities in Sageland. The population was scattered over the entire surface
of the country at intervals and was domiciled in two distinct ways,
namely: the rural form of dwelling, in which a single family occupied a
separate house for its own private use, and the borough settlements,
whereby several thousand persons lived together under one roof.

"The great structures known as borough buildings covered about a square
mile of land each, and were from fifty to eighty stories in height. They
were very artistically designed, most luxuriously furnished and the
sanitary arrangements absolutely perfect. They contained, besides a
private room for each individual, public reception rooms, libraries,
music halls, theatres, gymnasiums, baths, etc. No person was allowed
more than one room for private use, but a family could have a suite of
apartments in proportion to its own number. The reception rooms, music
halls, theatres, libraries, gymnasiums, baths, etc., were entirely
public and all persons were at liberty to come or go as they pleased.
The room in which you are now seated was my own private apartment in a
borough building which was occupied by seven thousand people.

"I have already explained the method whereby we received our sustenance,
the different aeriform substances being piped directly from the
laboratories to the consumers' personal apartments, thus obviating the
necessity for dining halls and kitchens.

"There being no such agency as commerce in Sageland, through which the
necessities of life were bought, sold, exchanged, or stolen, there was,
of course, no need for such establishments as wholesale or retail
stores, banks, etc. Neither were there any jails. Great national work-
shops, laboratories, and store-houses, a national auditorium, art
gallery, museum, and observatory were the only buildings erected besides
the rural and borough dwellings.

"The chief industries of our people were planting, reaping, condensing
and distributing dietary substances; manufacturing such things as
machinery, clothing, paints, musical and scientific instruments, and
building. Railroads, steamships, mail service, the telegraph and
telephone had become obsolete with the Sagemen. In the first place, it
was not necessary for men to travel at all in person, for by the power
of mind sight they were able to see what took place at any particular
place on earth, and also they were capable of communicating with each
other telepathically at any distance just as easily as I am now
conversing with you.

"Great centrifugal and centripetal engines, capable of transplanting any
quantity of material from one place to another, were constructed for
carrying purposes, while automatic transmuting machines, by which one
element could be turned into another, cut down the necessity of
transportation to a minimum. Machinery, directed by the human mind, and
deriving its power from the sun and other forces of nature, did all of
the Sageman's laborious work.

"The Sageman's discovery and partial utilization of the two great forces
of nature, centrifugal and centripetal power, were the causes of his
final destruction, however, for he not only used them advantageously
here, but by that method actually tried to regulate the earth's course
in space to suit himself. And furthermore, he not only contemplated
steering his own world in whatever direction or part of the heavens he
might choose, but his ultimate plans were to visit, inhabit and control
the movements of all the great bodies of the universe.

"These laudable purposes, while no doubt practical, failed by being
undertaken prematurely as forewarned by many of our ablest thinkers,
who, unfortunately, were in the minority when the question of making the
initial trial was voted upon. And by this failure the earth was rent in
a fearful manner, its map considerably altered and Sageland and its
people wiped out of existence entirely.

"Many millions of Apemen who inhabited the balance of the globe at that
time must also have perished from the effects of the awful convulsion
which no doubt shook the earth to its core. And so it was, I presume,
the upset atmospheric conditions of the earth resulting from this
catastrophe, forty-two hundred and thirty years ago, that is responsible
for the legend by which the Apeman blames the Creator for sending a
flood to destroy the inhabitants of the world, good and bad alike.

"But notwithstanding his superior intellectuality the Sageman was far
from being infallible. He often made mistakes as he relentlessly
struggled along in search of knowledge. Natural Law teaches that the
main object of life is to absorb, concentrate and utilize intelligence.
Intelligence rules the universe. The Sageman considered it his duty to
first control himself, then the earth, and finally the universe. But he
became impatient, and wanted to explore the heavens before he had
assimilated all terrestrial life, and concentrated sufficient power to
insure success. He was anxious to control new worlds before he had put
his own into the best order. Had he waited until the Apeman and other
living particles could have reached the same state of intelligence as
himself, and then concentrated and utilized the combined mental strength
of the whole to solve the great problem, no doubt he would have been
more successful in his first attempt at universal navigation.

"However, he tried and failed, and by that failure thoroughly
demonstrated the futility of one part of humanity trying to rush ahead
of the whole, and the absolute necessity for all mankind to work
unitedly and harmoniously, and go forward as a unit to accomplish the
greatest results within its power."

"But," inquired I, "what law or chance was it that destroyed all of your
countrymen, and still preserved you through all these ages?"

"That is the most remarkable circumstance of the whole affair," answered
Arletta, as she cast a loving glance in the direction of the leader of
the band, and then, reverently pointing toward him, she continued, "he
was the foremost man of his day, and it was generally conceded by all of
our people that he was the greatest man the earth ever produced. Like
Sage, the founder of our government, he lived entirely fox others. His
sole aim in life was to make better the conditions of all living things;
to make hardship, sorrow, suffering or misery an impossibility on earth.
In order to be of the greatest service to others, he knew that he must
not only be unselfish, but also build up his body, brain and character
to the very highest degree of efficiency and perfection. And he did so.
He built himself up from a physical, mental, and moral standpoint, until
it seemed to others that he was the personification of intelligence,
love, virtue, and magnificence. While possessing the greatest brain
power, still he was the most humble man in Sageland. Although a giant in
physical strength, yet he was as gentle as a lamb. He was the greatest
thinker of all time, but there was no room in his brain for an impure
thought. Notwithstanding he was still a young man, being but fifty years
of age, nevertheless he had attained distinct success and fame as a
musician, composer, scientist, inventor, architect, and athlete. He
endeavored to unravel all the mysteries of nature which attracted his
attention. One of the many occult forces he experimented with was human
magnetism. It was his belief that man could preserve himself
indefinitely, either in a state of animation or suspended vitality, by
the strength of his own will power. He often said that, barring
accidents, he would live to be a thousand years old. In order that he
might thoroughly study the subject and discover, if possible, the exact
forces that caused life and death, he often used me as an example for
his experiments. Many times he had caused me to lie in a trance for
several months' duration without the slightest change in my appearance
showing itself. While my aid was necessary to suspend animation, yet
when once under the influence of the strange forces by which it was
accomplished, my senses departed entirely, and I had no power to revive
myself, but had to depend upon him to restore consciousness. Ten days
prior to the date set for the first trial whereby man was to navigate
the earth in space, I allowed him to put me under the spell of these
influences, and although it seems like yesterday that it happened, still
over forty-two centuries have since passed by. Uncounted billions of
human beings have lived, suffered and died since that time, but the same
soul which guided the magnificent being who put me into that trance, has
lived through it all, and by a mysterious power, has finally returned to
release my soul from its incarceration. It was a natural law which
caused me to sleep peacefully through all those centuries, and likewise
it was according to nature's principle that you were brought back here
to awaken me.

"The seed of united labor sown by the immortal Sage, which proved so
prolific in love and progress to the Sagemen, was not entirely destroyed
by the great catastrophe, but lay smouldering in this tomb during the
dark ages of superstition, ignorance and cruel civilization, that have
since elapsed, and must now be replanted in the soil of human hearts,
and its benevolent results spread throughout the earth, offering peace
and good will to all living things.

"And you, who are guided by the soul of my final consort," said Arletta,
as the full rays of her luminous eyes were fastened upon me, "I entreat
you to go forth as a messenger of truth and justice and teach the
principles of Natural Law to all of your species."

CHAPTER XXI

"But what about yourself?" inquired I of Arletta, as I met her
sympathetic gaze with a look of adoration. "If you would visit the
different countries of the world you could revolutionize things in a
very short time, I am sure. You could explain the principles of Natural
Law to the people, and teach them methods of which I know nothing. The
wise and learned men of the present time would understand your
explanation much better, and would give the subject far more serious
consideration than if I, a poor ignorant fellow with neither education
nor standing, undertook to instruct them. The whole world would stop and
listen to you. The inhabitants would set you up as a goddess, and rally
to your standard as mistress of the earth. Besides, the power your
apparently unlimited intelligence would create, your wonderful beauty
would immediately charm every mortal who once set eyes on you. Kings,
emperors and potentates of all kinds would fall madly in love with you
at first sight, and you would have but to command to bring them to your
feet as slaves ready to do your slightest bidding. To further your own
purposes you could"-but here I stopped short in my recital, shocked by a
thousand little demons of jealousy entering my brain as it occurred to
me that perhaps Arletta would forget me entirely if all the great
persons of the earth showered honors and favors upon her. I felt
intensely miserable at the very idea of such a thing.

"Do not allow silly thoughts to enter your head," said she
compassionately, "I shall never leave this place. This room has been the
scene of the happiest hours of my life in which my coeternal companion,
incased in the flesh of a real man, plighted his everlasting love and
devotion to me. And by a simple and intelligent law of nature I have
been held a captive in this room through countless generations to
witness the transformation and return of that faithful comrade to
release my soul from captivity. And now this room shall be my mortal
sepulcher.

"Although I should like, ever so much, to go forth and devote many years
to teaching the Apeman the glorious principles of Natural Law as
prescribed by my beloved countrymen, yet it is not within my power to do
so.

"Owing to the constant change in the chemical composition of the
atmosphere, and the vast difference in its present arrangement and that
of four thousand two hundred years ago, it would be impossible for me to
live five minutes outside of this chamber. In fact I have noticed that
the supply of air, which must have been hermetically sealed within this
vault at the time of the catastrophe, has been gradually escaping by way
of the hole through which you forced a passageway. Hence within a very
short time my life will have oozed away for the want of proper stimulus.
Then again, the period in which the particles of this human frame should
naturally cling together has long since expired, and should I but expose
myself to the elements now existing on the exterior of this place, I
should no doubt, crumble into dust and be blown away with the winds.
Notwithstanding nature compels the mutability of all things, its laws
however remain unchangeable, and as the time has passed and the
conditions altered since I should have lived my natural life, this
material of which I am now composed must soon collapse, its parts
disintegrate and return to the elements from whence they came.

"But my soul shall continue to live, and the same law which brought you
back here to me will also bring our souls together many times and in
different forms during eternity. And as you now possess the strength,
intelligence and opportunity, it is your sacred duty to go forth and
teach Apemen to love one another and practice kindness toward all living
things, for you know not in what shape I may return. As you would be
kind to me now, so must you treat all of nature's creatures. And
remember, that the soul you so ardently worship now and so reverently
loved over four thousand years ago, cannot return in a perfect form if
there are none such forms to inhabit, or in a good and pure being if
there are no such beings extant. But, on the contrary, if in the future
none but good and beautiful lives exist on earth, my soul cannot
possibly occupy anything else. Thus, Natural Law plainly teaches that,
as you prepare earthly conditions in one form of life, so must you
tolerate them in the next. In fact, our own future safety and happiness
depend upon all living things reaching a high state of perfection and
equality. And now," said Arletta, arising and exhibiting considerable
emotion, "having briefly instructed you in Natural Law as deeply as your
limited mental capacity will permit, the time has arrived that we must
part, for I feel that I am growing weak and cannot live much longer. In
fact, it has been through the power of my will alone that I have been
kept alive until now. So prepare yourself to go."

"Go!" ejaculated I, jumping to my feet with an awful feeling of anguish
as I realized the full meaning of her words. "Me, go? Never! I shall
remain here and we shall die together. I could never live without you.
There would be left no object in life worth living for." And then,
advancing forward, I took her shapely hand in mine, and, looking
directly into her lovely eyes with much earnestness, said: "I fully
understand that in comparison to the Sage-man, I am a hideous and
degraded creature. And I also know that the love that filled the heal is
of your contemporaries for one another was sublime, having for a few
moments during that musical spell been moved by the same emotions that
once impelled the exalted being of which I am the re-incarnation, but
believe me when I say that my love for you now is ten thousand times
stronger than it was then. I worship you. I shall die for and with you.
Aye, even nature itself cannot keep me alive after you have gone. I may
not be the equal of the Sageman in other ways, but I shall prove that my
love for you is equally as great."

During this outburst of my thoughts, Arletta stood in a motionless
attitude, holding my outstretched hand and returning my excited gaze
with a look of mingled pity and sorrow. "Is it possible," said she,
"that there is not one Apeman in the world today with sufficient
strength of character to relinquish his own selfish desires for the good
of his species? Can it be that not one Apeman exists whom nature can
rely upon for the great work of uplifting humanity, who is brave enough
to resist the temporary fascination of a lovable woman? And have I lived
to see the reincarnated soul of the bravest and noblest man that ever
breathed, bound within the flesh of a wretched coward incapable of
living for any greater purpose than his own self-gratification? Am I to
understand that one who is controlled by the spirit of my everlasting
associate, intends betraying nature's trust by shirking the
responsibilities of manhood, because he lacks the courage to live? Will
there be promulgated among the records of time an account of my immortal
partner having deserted his post of duty by sneaking out of the world
before his allotted time? Would this being, who is blessed with physical
strength and a well-balanced brain, allow himself to sink to the level
of a craven suicide, because he cannot secure something beyond his
reach? Does he think that nature brought him into existence for no other
purpose than to feed his own petty desires? Would he deliberately die
like a useless poltroon, and leave the world in its present state of
savagery and wretchedness, without even attempting to be of service to
humanity in the very work it requires the most?"

"Stop! Enough!" cried I. "You have wounded my feelings to the very core.
I'll admit that I am weak in this instance. Very weak indeed. But this
is the first time that my courage has ever been assailed by anyone, and
to have you above all persons, openly insinuate that I am a coward is
far worse than having inflicted upon me the cruelest tortures of the
Ape-man's prospective hell. I am only an Apeman, but as I said before, I
love you beyond all power of expression. You no doubt, cannot understand
my puny feelings any more than I can fully comprehend your lofty ideals
or the full meaning of your higher knowledge of things. The very
greatest hardship for me to undergo would be to live after you have
passed away. But, if by the promise of so doing I can gain your respect
and one encouraging look or word of approval, I will not only rescind
the text of my previous statement and live, but I swear to you in the
name of the Creator of the law which governs all things, that I shall
strictly follow to the letter any instructions you may wish to offer
concerning my future movements, no matter what they might be. So make my
task a hard one, for the courage you so unfeelingly attacked must be
tested to its full limits. I am ready to obey your commands."

Having thus addressed Arletta, I straightened myself up to my full
height with as much dignity as I could assume, folded my arms across my
chest and awaited her orders.

"The Sagemen never urged their desires by a command," replied Arletta,
"they simply requested that which they would like to have done. The
request I shall make concerning your future duty can be incorporated in
a very few words, but it will require a lifetime and great strength of
character to execute. But as you have promised like a man to follow my
instructions, I shall die with implicit confidence in your determination
to do so. So consider well the following mandate, for it contains the
essence which will stimulate you to heroic deeds:

"Always consult your soul for advice,

"Do no act your conscience will not sanction."

Three times Arletta slowly repeated this precept, and then placing her
hands upon my shoulders, she continued: "The first time you act contrary
to the admonition of your soul, then you will have broken your promise
to me. Now go," said she, turning me about until I faced the doorway, "I
must request your immediate departure. Go, and try to be a man. We shall
meet many times in the future, so while you have the chance try and make
better the conditions of life, that we may eventually meet on the same
plane of equality without the shadow of strife or animosity to mar our
happiness. Good-bye."

With the meaning of these words ringing in my head, I fully understood
that my audience with Arletta was at an end, and overcome with grief and
gloom I weakly responded, "good-bye," and then added, "I shall never
break my promise." Then with a heavy tread I walked to the opening
through which I had entered, turned half around and took one long, last,
loving look at Arletta and passed into the corridor beyond. At the same
time I fancied I heard her gently sobbing.

CHAPTER XXII

Suffering with a dejected feeling of despair, I wended my way through
the chaotic anterior hall in search of the hole through which I had so
miraculously entered. It seemed as if life's sole aim had suddenly been
stricken from the range of my vision. I could not understand why nature
should be so cruel as to give me but one momentary glimpse of that
angelic mortal and then thrust me away from her in such an indifferent
manner. I wondered why the world was not populated exclusively by such
lovely beings. Was it because the people themselves, through their
individual accumulative system, created conditions whereby only the most
abject and debased mortals could survive? Was this system responsible
for petty selfishness, instead of conscience governing man, causing him
in his greedy scramble for temporary gain, to keep others in a state of
helplessness, ignorance, and squalor, thus propagating an inferior race
of physical, mental, and moral pigmies as the foremost inhabitants of
the earth? Why could not humanity organize itself as a great unit of
unselfish effort and equality, for the purpose of uplifting and
strengthening all of its component parts, instead of those parts pulling
down, weakening, and destroying one another in a ferocious struggle for
individual predominance?

As these and similar thoughts crowded themselves into my brain, my
attention was attracted by soft strains of music emanating from the room
I had just left, and I stood still and listened. Arletta had evidently
set the orchestral mechanism in motion again, and was accompanying it by
tenderly singing her own requiem. With tremulous modulation, her vocal
chords produced sounds such as I had never heard before, and of which I
am powerless to give the faintest description. Like a statue, I stood
and listened to the almost supernatural melody, and inwardly prayed that
it might continue forever. But suddenly both the music and singing
ended, and absolute quietness prevailed. It may have been a pure fancy
on my part, but as I waited in breathless silence, hoping for more
music, the apparition of Arletta seemed to pass directly over my head,
and continued right on up through the solid roof of the hallway.
Startled beyond expression at what I now consider a mere delusion, I
shouted Arletta at the top of my voice several times, and receiving no
answer, either telepathically or phonetically, I came to the awful
conclusion that she was no more.

Is it unmanly to cry? If so, I must confess my unmanliness, for on this
occasion it was impossible for me to repress the tears from coursing
down my cheeks, as I realized that the last of nature's grandest and
noblest earthly beings had passed away. But the tears I shed apparently
softened my nature, and as I stood buried in the depth of meditation
concerning the preceding events, I became impregnated with the desire to
try and do some real good in the world; to make myself useful to
mankind; to live for others instead of myself alone. And then and there
I resolved that I would devote the remainder of my natural life to
teaching human beings the beautiful principles of Natural Law, as I
understood them, without expectation of compensation or future reward. I
would go forth, as Arletta had requested, and plant the seed of real
truth, justice, love, and equality in human hearts to the best of my
ability, and trust in the souls of men to further aid in its universal
and everlasting productiveness. I felt positive that the theory of the
Sagemen was right, and that the soul just released from Arletta was even
then beginning life in a different form. Would it not be criminal on my
part to make no effort to better earthly conditions for her future
welfare? Perhaps, conjectured I, the soul of my own mother, who died at
the time of my birth, might, even at that moment, be incased in a
degraded body, surrounded by want and misery, caused by the operation of
that selfish, brutal and murderous system, which encourages the strong
to squeeze the very light and hope from the weak, thus forcing and
keeping mankind in a state of continual degradation. A system that was
created in the beginning by savages, and which is upheld at the present
time by savages. And the Church, that gigantic symbol of ignorance and
stupidity, not only fails to protest against such a beastly system, but
actually advocates its continuance.

How long I stood there, seriously thinking on this subject, and forming
new and laudable resolutions for the future, I do not know; but at last
I awoke to the fact that I was still nothing more nor less than a common
adventurer, held captive on an isolated projecture in the middle of the
sea. This became more apparent as I faintly heard the ocean's waves
dashing against the rocks on the outside of the place. So, following in
the direction of the sounds, they became louder and more distinct, until
finally I found myself looking up at the very hole through which I had
bored my way so unceremoniously. It was night, and I could easily
distinguish the stars in the outer darkness. In making a careful survey
of the surroundings, I discovered that it was going to be a much more
difficult task to get out than it was to get in this extraordinary
grotto. The aperture was located about three feet above my head; was
barely large enough to squeeze through, and there was no way by which I
could climb up to it. I observed, however, that adjoining the hole there
was a huge marble pillar running upward and outward in an oblique slant,
and wedged in its position by several other massive stones, but with its
end protruding below the rest. So, without wasting any time, I leaped up
and caught hold of it with both hands, and then, adopting the tactics of
a gymnast, I began slowly working my way through the hole feet foremost,
like an acrobat going over a horizontal bar. This feat, which required
great muscular strength, flexibility, and tenaciousness, was the very
hardest physical performance I ever accomplished, for, besides being
unable to get a firm grip on it, I found, to my dismay, that the great
pillar I clung to was insecure in its position, and threatened to fall
and crush me beneath its weight. And as inch by inch I slowly and
persistently worked my way upward and outward, so inch by inch did it
slowly, but surely, work its way downward. Passing my feet and legs
beyond the brink of the opening, I doubled myself up in such a way that
the lower half of my body rested upon a sort of a level platform, and,
with head downward, I pushed my way up until I found myself kneeling
upon the crust I had previously broken through, and which I subsequently
decided must have been a great pane of glass, covered by the coagulated
settlings of the air, which for centuries had been forming a solid
coating. I remained in a kneeling position for several moments, catching
my breath and regaining strength. I feared to move, lest the thin layer
upon which I rested would once more give way beneath me. It appeared to
waver, as did everything else around me. After a short rest, I carefully
arose to a standing position, and then observed that I was located in a
sort of a pit, surrounded by rocks of various shapes and sizes. As I
cautiously climbed upward, each one of them appeared to tremble at my
very touch, until just as I reached the topmost point the whole mass
apparently gave way at once, I lost my balance and fell forward, there
was a terrible crash, and after that I became dizzy and confused.

The most peculiar and disconnected sensations then passed through my
mind. First I thought there was a great hole in the side of my head,
which I tried to fill with small stones. Then my head became full of
holes, and finally I fancied that I possessed a half dozen heads and all
of them were cut and bleeding. And then apparently all of these heads
were suddenly and mysteriously severed from my body, and floated away in
space like a lot of toy balloons. Following that, it felt as if every
bone in my body had been broken, and I was taking these bones from their
places and trying to repair them. Then I imagined that I had several
different bodies, and all of them were bruised and mangled. These forms
increased in numbers until I could see nothing else but them, and they
appeared to be struggling to extricate themselves from beneath a huge
object which seemed to grow in size until it was as large as a mountain.
Finally released, they began climbing up the mountain until the summit
was reached and then gradually decreased until there was but one left.

"What is the matter with me?" I wondered. "Who am I, what am I, and
where do I belong?" I tried to think coherently, but my mind was feeble
and incapable of grasping an intelligent thought. Day and night went and
came many times, but still I remained on that mountain wondering,
wondering, wondering. Sometimes I would expand until I felt larger than
the mountain itself; then again I would shrink to the size of a flea.
One time I would feel as if I were up near the North Pole, surrounded by
ice and freezing to death. At another time I would imagine that I was in
the middle of the Sahara Desert, being roasted alive by the scorching
rays of the sun. And, still again, I would feel that I was shipwrecked
upon a barren island, and was slowly dying for the want of food and
water. Sometimes I fancied that I could see ships all about me, and I
would yell, and roar at the top of my voice to attract attention, but
without results, as they would pass beyond view without taking any
notice of me. At other times it seemed that ships would cast their
anchors right in front of my eyes, and apparently remain stationed there
for weeks and months at a time, and yet no one would come to my
assistance. At last there appeared to be ten thousand ships all of the
same pattern lowering small boats into the water, and these boats manned
by stalwart oarsmen started to race with each other in my direction.
What an evenly matched contest. On, on, on they came, bunched closely
together, each using the same uniform stroke as if all were guided by
the same coxswain. Now they were right upon me. "Great race," I shouted,
as they came within hearing distance. "Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!" "The
poor devil is mad," I fancied I heard someone exclaim, and my mind
became a blank.

CHAPTER XXIII

FIRST VOICE: "This is a most peculiar case of enteric fever, in which
the patient baffles all medical aid towards a cure. The fellow has been
out of his head ever since he was brought here, two months ago, and
fancies that he has been in a trance since the time of Noah and the Ark.
He has a strange hallucination that he can be awakened from his
protracted nap by a kiss from a certain female, whom he describes as
Arletta the Beautiful. Although he is as crazy as a loon, yet some of
his utterances are really remarkable for the depth of logic they
contain. The case has its amusing side also, for every woman by the name
of Arletta who visits this hospital cannot resist the temptation of
kissing the man, in order to ascertain whether they possess the secret
charm to restore his right senses. But so far the osculatory experiment
has proved a dire failure. He bears evidence of being a handsome and
distinguished person, notwithstanding he is a charity patient, and
without friends. His identification is unknown, he having been picked up
on the street in his present condition by the police, who had him sent
here. I fully believe-but Miss, you are crying. Evidently your nature is
too emotional for the sick room, so come, we will pass along."

SECOND VOICE: "No, wait a moment, Doctor. I--I think--I am positive that
I know this man. In fact, I was very well acquainted with him a few
years ago. It all seems so strange, but-well-you see-he often told me
that he loved me. Yes, my name is Arletta, but I did not love him, nor
even like him. My father and mother hated him, and we all had to
secretly leave home and travel abroad in order for me to avoid his
undesirable attentions. But notwithstanding that, my heart now bleeds
for him in his terrible plight, and I want to do something for him. My
conscience would not allow me to pass along without trying to aid him.
You say that in his ravings he claims that a kiss from Arletta would
save him. I have never done such a thing before in my life, but now an
irresistible force from within has taken possession of me and I feel
that it is my duty to try the experiment myself, and see if it will have
the effect of restoring his normal condition. Therefore, Doctor, whether
this strange method proves efficacious or not, I shall rely upon your
honor to keep the secret, and never mention the incident to him. If he
knew of it I should die of shame. My parents would disown me for such an
act."

As though awakening from a long and profound sleep the aforesaid
colloquy seemed to have been impressed upon my mind, and then I opened
my eyes and looked about in astonishment. The strangeness of my position
and surroundings surprised me beyond expression. I was lying upon my
back in a small narrow bed stationed within a large oblong room about
one hundred by fifty feet in dimensions. Long rows of little white beds
extended from one end of the apartment to the other, each containing the
form of a human being. Most of these forms appeared to be soundly
sleeping, some lay awake silently meditating, while others tossed about
nervously from one position to another as if in terrible agony. An
occasional howl of torture rent the air. Moving hither and thither among
the different beds were women attired in white dresses and wearing
little white caps on their heads. They carried in their hands, spoons,
tumblers, trays, and various instruments and vessels of peculiar design.

At the front of my bed stood a man of medium height and build, with a
heavy reddish mustache and pointed beard. At one side, half way between
the head and foot of my bed, was the figure of a woman, apparently about
twenty-one years of age. She was tall, slender, graceful, and
magnificently gowned in street clothes. Her head was shapely and covered
with an abundance of dark brown hair. Her physiognomy was intellectually
strong, and the whole cast of her features showed extraordinary beauty.
Her eyes were clear and bright, and expressed a tender and sympathetic
nature. She was looking straight at me in a half-startled sort of a
manner, and appeared to be backing away from the bed upon which I lay.
As my eyes met her steady gaze I involuntarily exclaimed, "Arletta!"
Then instantly my memory returned, and I remembered all that had taken
place, as explained in the preceding chapters.

Notwithstanding, however, that my mind became clear and well-balanced, I
became extremely puzzled as I looked at this beautiful woman, to note
that she bore a striking resemblance to the sublime being, who had just
passed away among the remnants of Sageland, and I became still further
confounded when she timidly approached me and softly said: "You are John
Convert, are you not?"

"Yes," answered I, "that is my name."

"And do you recognize me?" inquired she.

"I recognize in you a living demonstration and positive realization of
the principle of re-incarnation, as embodied in the Sageman's theory of
Natural Law," answered I, slowly and deliberately. "I recognize in you
the soul of Arletta, of Sageland, my eternal companion, and a fulfilment
of her prophecy that she would be born again. But while I make this
declaration with the utmost positiveness, still I am at a loss to
understand how such a thing could be, as the soul of that lovely being,
having but just left its material body, should according to Natural Law,
have attached itself to an embryo form, while you are a full-grown
woman." At these words she appeared considerably amazed for a moment,
but quickly recovering herself, she said with much sympathy and
tenderness of feeling: "Come, now, Mr. Convert, try and think clearly
and talk sensibly. Don't you recollect how, three years ago, we became
acquainted in Paris; how persistently you followed me all over Europe,
then crossed the Atlantic aboard the same steamer, and finally journeyed
out West to my home? Don't you remember how angry Papa became, and how
he threatened you with dire punishment if you did not stop annoying us?"

"No," said I emphatically, "there must be some mistake, for I have never
visited Paris and I distinctly recollect having been in Japan three
years ago, as I celebrated my nineteenth birthday in Tokio."

"Now that is absurd," said she, with a mingled look of pity and
suppressed amusement. "Three years ago you told me that you were forty
years old. Don't you recollect how you once cautioned me not to consider
you an old man simply because your hair was white, and how angry you
became because I called you Grandpa? Come now, think real hard."

At these words I began to seriously doubt my own identity, but after a
moment of calm deliberation I replied, "No, I do not recollect any such
happenings, and moreover, I am not forty years of age, but twenty-two,
and neither is my hair white but black as you can plainly see. Will you
please tell me where I am? My mind is a trifle confused at the strange
surroundings."

"You are in the Ruff Hospital, New York," answered she. "I, myself, have
been spending some time in this city, and, strangely enough, took a
notion that I should like to see the different hospitals. It was purely
accidental that I ran across you. The doctor says you have typhoid
fever, but," she added, in an encouraging manner, "you will soon be
well. So cheer up, and try to concentrate your mind, so that you can
think properly."

"Ruff Hospital, New York!" ejaculated I, in astonishment. "How the deuce
did I get away over here? Oh, I understand; I fell among the rocks and
was hurt; then the sailors came and rescued me, and I was brought here.
That seems like a few moments ago, but I presume at least a month must
have elapsed since or the ship could not have reached this port. What
month is this, January?"

"No, this is the month of March," replied she.

"March!" exclaimed I. "Great heavens, how the time has flown! Why, that
is about three months that I have known absolutely nothing. Let's see,
it was December 5th that I was thrown overboard, and it must have been
December 7th that Arletta died. That's right, December 7, 1881-I shall
always remember that date and keep it holy. It must be now March, 1882."

"Why, Mr. Convert, you are certainly dreaming," responded she, "this the
year 1903, not 1882. But how strange that you should get so mixed in the
dates-December 7, 1881, was the day I was born. That was over twenty-one
years ago, instead of three months, as you fancy."

At this juncture the red-whiskered individual came forward and said: "It
seems to be a hopeless case, Miss. He has talked in that same strain
ever since he came here. Perhaps after his fever abates somewhat he may
regain his equanimity, but to me it looks as if his mind will always be
unbalanced. He has a nasty scar right over the temporal region, which
portends ill for his future reason. Perhaps it would be better not to
talk to him any further at present. He is awfully weak, and appears more
excited than usual. You have evidently made some impression upon him,
however, and if you would visit him every few days he might eventually
be able to recognize you, which would have a strong tendency to set him
mentally straight again."

"Very well," said she, hesitatingly, as if not anxious to go. "May I
call and see him tomorrow, Doctor?"

"There are only three visiting days here each week, Miss; Sundays,
Wednesdays and Fridays, between the hours of three and four P. M. But
any time you call, if you will ask at the office for Doctor Savage, that
is my name, I shall consider it a pleasant duty to render you any
service within my power," replied he, looking at her with unsuppressed
admiration, of which she apparently took no notice. Then continuing, he
said, "Would you kindly give me your card that I may know your full name
in case you call at other times than the regular visiting hours?"

She opened her pocket book as if to take out a card, stopped and
reflected a moment, and then said, "Well, never mind my last name; just
remember me as Arletta," and before I could collect my wits sufficiently
to voice my agitated thoughts they passed from the room together.

CHAPTER XXIV

As I lay musing over the strange occurrences recorded in the previous
chapter, and wondering whether my entire life was a reality or merely a
peculiar dream, one of the white-capped nurses strode up to the side of
my bed and without the slightest warning roughly pushed a little glass
tube in my mouth. Not knowing whether she wanted me to swallow it or was
merely trying to puncture a hole in my tongue, I put it out again and
asked what she intended doing.

"Now look here," said she, in an irritated way, "I have about lost all
patience with you, and unless you do as I tell you hereafter I shall
have the orderly punish you again."

"But," said I, in amazement, "you have not mentioned yet what you would
have me do."

"I have told you fully a hundred times to put this thermometer under
your tongue and keep it there," replied she, exhibiting considerable
temper, as she viciously jammed it once more into my mouth and twisted
it under my tongue. "You are about the biggest chump that ever came into
this hospital," continued she, grasping my wrist as though she intended
breaking it and simultaneously taking my pulse and temperature.

A few moments later she jerked the thermometer from my mouth, glanced at
it hurriedly and then entered a record upon a chart suspended from the
head of my bed. Then calling one of the male attendants, she instructed
him to fill the tub preparatory to giving me an ice bath. This attendant
went to the corner of the room from whence he secured a bath tub on
wheels, which he pushed over to the side of my bed. The tub was already
partly filled with water, and I afterward learned that owing to the
laziness and filthiness of the attendants, the same water was often used
over and over again for the different typhoid patients. I observed that
this attendant, who was otherwise called an orderly, was about as
ignorant and degraded a specimen of humanity as a much boasted
civilization could possibly breed.

He was about six feet tall, round-shouldered, knock-kneed, and weighed
about two hundred pounds of flabby flesh, mostly covered by filthy
garments. His head was pyramidal in shape, and covered by a mass of
unkempt red hair. He had practically no forehead. His eyes were dull and
bloodshot. His nose was flat and bent to one side, and his whole face
was covered with pimples. His mouth was wide and beastly, and filled
with tobacco. His mustache was irregular, and dyed almost to the roots
by tobacco juice. His breath was odoriferous with fumes of whiskey,
cigarettes, and foul stomach disorders, causing a poisonous stench to
pollute the surrounding atmosphere. One could not look upon him without
a feeling of sickening disgust. He was a twentieth century American
civilized Christian. He was not, of course, the highest type of a
civilized Christian, but nevertheless he was of a high enough order for
a Christian community to breed, rear, and put in charge of its sick and
unfortunate members. As he pushed the tub along he carelessly allowed it
to strike the end of my bed, which gave me a shock as though I had been
pierced by a thousand daggers, causing an involuntary groan to escape
from my lips.

"Shut up there, you old duffer," said he, looking at me in a stupid,
expressionless sort of a way, "you are not hurt yet. I'll give you
something to cry about if you don't quit making such a fuss over
nothing. You're the biggest baby I ever saw."

Having fixed the tub in position, put some pieces of ice into the water,
and adjusted a small portable partition around my bed, which obstructed
the view of the other patients, he called for the assistance of another
attendant, and began preparations to put me into the tub. As they
uncovered me, I glanced down at my emaciated form and was astounded at
my own appearance. Nothing now remained of the once muscular and
powerful frame I had always felt so proud of, but sickly looking skin
and bones. Raising my arm to the level of my eyes I discovered that it
was shriveled, and ghastly to behold, and it fell back to my side with a
sickening thud for the want of strength to remain erect. It seemed as if
a great fiery furnace was located within me and that I was fairly
burning alive. Ten thousand different pains were shooting back and forth
in every part of my body, but the most excruciating of all was a
terrible pain in the center of my back, which caused me to think that my
spinal column had been dislocated. And then as if all of the tortures of
a refined civilization had suddenly been thrust upon me, as though some
supernatural hellish agency was instrumental in causing me to go the
full limit of human suffering, those two devilish orderlies took hold of
me, one by the head and the other by the feet, and without any leverage
whatever to break the strain upon my backbone, they raised and then
dumped me into the tub of ice-water below. I had always considered
myself invulnerable to bodily pain, and from early youth had schooled
myself against outward manifestation of suffering, no matter what the
circumstances might be, but on this occasion the power of resistance
deserted me entirely and I gave vent to a howl, of rage like the
bellowing of a maddened bull, and partly arising, endeavored to clutch
the throat of the unfeeling beast at my head, but too weak to accomplish
my purpose I fell back into the tub exhausted. At the same time the
orderly took hold of my own throat and almost strangling me, beat my
head against the tub several times cursing me under his breath in the
vilest of language at the same time.

"Look out you don't kill him," cautioned the other orderly at the foot
of the tub, "or we might have to go through another of those damned
investigations."

Just then the doctor and nurse came within the inclosure, and inquired
as to the cause of the commotion.

"This damned idiot has broken loose again, and I am teaching him how to
behave himself," replied the orderly.

"Well, he certainly needs a lesson in good behavior," chimed in the
nurse; "I cannot understand why he has not been sent over to the Island
for more strenuous treatment long ago."

"Why don't you do as told?" inquired the be-whiskered Dr. Savage, in a
harsh tone of voice, as he approached close to me, but I was too weak
and exhausted to answer, and merely looked from one to the other with
the utmost feeling of contempt. After censuring me sternly and advising
me to behave myself in the future, the doctor strolled away as if such
incidents were of trifling importance.

I was kept in that tub of ice-water, freezing, for fifteen minutes,
while the nurse and orderlies lazily rubbed my arms, legs, and trunk,
and poured pitcher after pitcher of ice-water over my head, in an effort
to reduce the fever. It was a barbarous method of treatment, and seemed
of several hours' duration, but it allayed that intense burning
sensation, and put new life and vigor into me. As they were about to
transfer me back to the bed again, I quietly informed the nurse that my
back was in a terrible condition, and requested that the orderlies be
instructed to handle me a little more carefully, and to take hold of my
body instead of my head and feet when lifting me up, so that the strain
would be less on the middle of my back.

"There is nothing the matter with your back," snapped she. "I have told
you many times before that you only imagine your back hurts.
Furthermore, we understand our business without any advice from you."

And with this rejoinder, the orderlies once more took hold of my head
and heels, and after much tugging and twisting, managed to lift me up
into the bed. This time the pain seemed even greater to bear than
before, but, summoning all my will power, I managed to take the brutal
treatment in silence, and said no more. Back upon the bed again,
shivering and shaking with cold as though my bones would break, I was
covered with heavy blankets, and shortly afterwards fell asleep,
thoroughly exhausted, and feeling assured beyond a doubt that I had once
more returned to civilization.

CHAPTER XXV

It is not my intention to give a full description of hospital life as it
came under my personal observation, nor to recount the many cruel acts
or cases of stupid negligence on the part of the house staff as
perpetrated upon myself and other patients, during my stay in the Ruff
Hospital as a ward patient, as to do the subject justice would require
at least a volume in itself. Neither is it my desire to hold responsible
any particular person or persons for the existence of such a barbarous
state of affairs, in which degraded wretches inflict punishment upon the
sick, knowing that this is but one of the logical results bred from the
debasing system kept in force by a semi-intelligent class of selfish
brutes, who are crafty enough to gain control of others by teaching the
cruel and savage doctrine known as the "survival of the fittest." I have
nothing but a feeling of compassion and sorrow for those abject
creatures who mistreated me when I was sick, knowing that they, as well
as those whom they mistreated, were but the victims of this pernicious
system.

In the desperate struggle for a mere existence, most men and women are
forced into employment for which they are entirely unfitted, and
consequently take no other interest in their work than that of receiving
their weekly or monthly stipend. This fact was thoroughly demonstrated
to me by the action of several nurses who appeared to look upon their
work as tasks to be executed mechanically, instead of duties to be
performed with pleasure. Then again, others who really preferred the
work were either kept away from it entirely, or else made dull, peevish
and irritable by the great number of hours they were forced to be on
duty each day, thus turning what should have been pleasant employment
into a drudgery. And like the nurses, so were the orderlies; their daily
work hours were so long and their pay so small that only the least
intelligent and most stupid moral idiots could be secured to take
positions that should be filled by men of the very highest intelligence,
character and sympathy.

The physicians themselves I found to be inexperienced youths, generally
masquerading under a set of whiskers, which some people are foolish
enough to mistake for brains and ability. Coming direct from the medical
colleges, they accepted these positions in order to gain some practical
experience at the expense of the lives of the hospital patients.

The bricklayer, who devotes his life to the honorable work of building
the edifice; the hod carrier, who gives his best services to the
community in an equally honorable employment; the locomotive engineer,
who safely carries from city to city a train load of human beings each
day for many years, are only fit to be practiced upon by inexperienced
physicians, and abused by irritable nurses and cruel orderlies, if they
are finally overcome by sickness and enter a charity hospital for
treatment.

For several days I lay upon my little ward cot in the Ruff Hospital,
with my life hanging in the balance, and obliged to accept for succor
the abuse and mistreatment of an inferior house staff. And worse still,
I had to be an eye witness to cruelties imposed upon other and less
fortunate sufferers than myself. I feel sure that many a poor fellow
that I saw carried away upon a stretcher, a lifeless corpse, had given
up all hope of recovery and died, for the want of a few cheering words
and kindly sympathy from sonic one, instead of the constant abuse and
brutality he was subjected to.

I fully believe that I myself must have inevitably succumbed to my
pitiless treatment, had it not been for the fact that the young girl,
Arletta, visited me each day for a half hour, bestowing upon me a tender
sympathy, and manifesting the greatest concern for my welfare and
recovery.

I was placed in a most peculiar position. I could get no information
whatsoever from the doctors, nurses, or orderlies, and even Arletta said
very little, and cautioned me against talking or exciting myself in any
manner. I learned enough, however, to know that twenty-one years had
actually elapsed since my wonderful experience with Arletta of Sageland,
and felt convinced beyond a doubt that the beautiful young girl, who
took such an interest in my welfare, was impelled by the same soul as my
noble instructress in Natural Law. But I was intensely mystified and
unable to conceive what had become of the time between the going of the
one and the coming of the other Arletta.

Twenty-one years had been swallowed up as completely as if they had
never been. Nearly one-half of my life had passed away, of which I could
give absolutely no account. A look into the mirror was a convincing
proof of this fact, for therein I saw a white-haired and premature old
man, with a thin, haggard and drawn countenance, which plainly showed
the results of having lived a life of hardship, and almost
unrecognizable as my own face. My heavy black mustache was gone, and in
its place nothing but white stubble remained. The more I endeavored to
reach some tangible solution of the mystery, the more confused I became.
According to the girl, Arletta's story, I had been introduced to her at
a reception in Paris three years previously, had apparently fallen
desperately in love with her, and made myself obnoxious by following her
everywhere she went for several months. But as neither she nor her
parents liked me, I was finally eluded, and had not been seen for over
two years. According to her account, I was generally looked upon as a
rich gentleman of leisure and bad habits, who did nothing but travel and
spend money recklessly. This being the case, the foremost questions of
my mind were: Where had I gotten the money to spend so extravagantly?
Had I lived those twenty-one years as a rational being, earning and
accumulating wealth and still not knowing anything about it? Arletta of
Sageland had told me that there was no such thing as a freak of nature,
and that everything worked according to Natural Law, but my case
certainly seemed to be an exception to the general run of things. What
would be the final outcome of my mysterious career, was a question to be
answered that was entirely beyond the limits of my imagination. It gave
me a severe pain in the head to contemplate beyond the surface of the
subject, and I finally allowed the whole matter to slip from my
attention and bent my efforts toward recovery from the effects of my
physical ailments.

One day Arletta said to me in as kindly a manner as possible: "Mr.
Convert, the doctor informs me that the reason you do not get well is
because you lack the will power to do so."

"Will power," exclaimed I, "my dear sweet girl, that is all I have left.
It is the only force that is keeping me alive in the face of the
cruelest treatment man could possibly receive at the hands of his fellow
beings. Without will power I should have been killed long ago by these
people, but through that agency alone I have been enabled to defy death
and I promise you that I shall get well in spite of them."

"Why, Mr. Convert, how can you talk so harshly against these kind
people? I am sure they are doing everything within their power to make
you well."

"You think so because you know nothing of the case," answered I. "You
simply visit this place for a half hour each day, at a time that
everything is moving along smoothly, and merely get a surface view of
matters. It is my earnest hope that you may never get a practical
insight into these things by being placed in the same position as myself
or these other poor fellows all around me. If all the poor unfortunates
I have seen carried out of this ward, corpses, have died for want of the
same kind of will power I require, then all I can say is that the
doctors here should be held responsible for a great many cases of actual
murder."

"Why, Mr. Convert, what do you mean by talking in this way?" inquired
she.

"Just this," replied I, "these doctors are treating me for the wrong
ailment. I am suffering no more from the effects of typhoid fever than
you are, but still these doctors are trying to cure me of a malady which
does not exist. Since recovering my memory I have observed that the many
typhoid patients all around me have been bathed from five to ten times
daily, while my fever rises to a point which necessitates an ice bath to
reduce it but once each day, and always at the same hour, five o'clock
in the afternoon. In any part of the world where malaria is prevalent
these symptoms indicate nothing more nor less than chills and fever and
should be cured within a day or two by a few doses of quinine. I have
explained this to the doctors several times, but with a wisdom born of
book learning they have contemptuously disregarded my advice and still
continue to treat me for enteric fever, and then lay the blame upon me
for not getting well. Do not doubt me, my dear girl, I know what I am
talking about. Up to a few days ago my memory was obscured, but now I am
in my right senses and fully capable of using all of my reasoning
faculties to their fullest extent. Some day I shall explain many strange
things to you, of which you know nothing. But now I must devote all of
my thoughts and forces toward regaining my former physical strength, and
likewise increase my moral and mental vigor for a future great work."

Arletta said no more at that time, but to my great surprise, the next
day I was transferred from the charity ward to a paid private room in
another part of the hospital. The furnishings of this room were of the
most luxurious description, and the nurse informed me that it was the
very best and highest priced apartment in the building. I afterwards
learned that the cost of renting this room, including attendance, was
one hundred dollars per week. Arletta had secured it for me. It was
really remarkable how quickly the value of my life increased in the eyes
of those hospital attendants, by the expenditure of a little money. From
a worthless proletariat I was suddenly transformed into a man of great
importance. There were two private nurses to wait on me, and they moved
with the celerity of antelopes in response to my slightest bidding. They
appeared to be bubbling over with kindness and attention, and seemed to
anticipate my every want. The orderlies treated me as if I were the
crowned ruler of the universe, while the doctors displayed an unnatural
politeness that was almost amusing. I found out later that Arletta was
to fee them all handsomely in case of my early recovery. My new nurses
were always ready to answer questions and give me any information I
wanted.

Upon arriving at my new and sumptuous quarters, one of the nurses
informed me that I was to receive a personal visit from the great Doctor
Know-all that day. She further informed me that he was considered to be
the leading physician of America and that he never made a professional
call for less than one thousand dollars. As if by appointment Arletta
and this doctor arrived at almost the same moment. Several of the house
physicians also followed him into the room anxious to learn what
diagnosis this celebrated practitioner would make of a case which had so
baffled them. He lost no time in unnecessary talk but got down to work
immediately, first looking over the charts which recorded my condition
since my entrance to the hospital. Then he examined me carefully, with
various instruments, from the tip of my head to the sole of my foot,
meanwhile asking me many questions on widely different subjects.

At last he turned to the house physicians and said: "It is my opinion
that when this man first entered the hospital he was merely suffering
from a simple case of malaria and not enteric fever, as you have
diagnosed. Since then his kidneys have become affected, and he now
suffers from both malaria and lumbago. For the fever, give him ten
grains of quinine three times a day for two days and gradually diminish
the quantity until the fever abates entirely. Begin to feed him after
the second day. For the lumbago, give him at least two quarts of lithia
water to drink each day. Now as to the man's mental calibre, I find him
perfectly sane and normal. But owing to a fracture of the skull
sustained by him some time in the past, the two sides of his brain have
become separated, causing two distinct personalities to exist. When one
side of the brain works, the other side remains dormant, and vice versa.
He likewise possesses a dual memory, and is only capable of recollecting
events as they happen separately and distinctly, according to the side
of the brain which takes the impression. Consequently, this man may have
lived a perfectly sane life during the past twenty-one years, of which
he claims to have no recollection. He may at any time in the future
resume either personality by some slight mental disturbance, but his two
personalities will always remain as strangers to each other."

Having thus delivered himself, the doctor, who apparently was bent upon
making a few more thousand dollar calls that day, hurriedly, but with
great dignity, strode out of the room, closely followed by the other
physicians.

After they had departed, and we were alone, Arletta pulled a chair up
close to the head of my bed, and, looking steadily and earnestly into my
eyes, said: "I sincerely hope, Mr. Convert, that you may never again
resume your other personality."

CHAPTER XXVI

The change from a charity patient to the highest paid patient in the
Ruff Hospital bore magical results, and I was soon on the road to
recovery. The quinine knocked all the fever out of me within two days.
The food I was given to eat after fasting two months, began to
strengthen me at once and within ten days I was able to walk about the
room. Arletta never failed to visit me at least once each day, and on
some days, two and three times. With each visit she brought flowers,
fruit, or some little delicacy, and I was not long in discovering that
she was taking more than an ordinary interest in me. As the days flew
by, her visits became more frequent and of longer duration, until
finally it seemed as if she almost lived in my apartment. Many times she
came in the morning and remained all day, taking her lunch with me in
the meantime. As my health improved, and I became more vigorous in
bodily strength, those same feelings of admiration and love I bore for
the first Arletta took a firm hold of me until it seemed that she was a
part of my very life. Ah! those were happy and heavenly days indeed. The
happiness I enjoyed there, was of that kind which can only exist between
two souls fore-ordained and mated to each other for all eternity. As the
time went by-all too rapidly-we had much to talk about. Arletta
described the many progressive strides made by science and invention
during the twenty-one years in which my mind was a blank, and I told her
hair-raising stories of my early travels and adventures in all parts of
the world. We said very little regarding my other personality. That
subject appeared distasteful, and caused her to shudder whenever it was
brought up. She seemed to think that in my other character I was all
that was low, mean and contemptible, while she openly avowed that my
present self was noble, honorable, and manly.

There was one hitch, however, which seemed to take root and stand
threateningly in the path of absolute harmony between us, and that was
my belief in Natural Law. She refused to believe the story I told her of
the wonderful Sagewoman of whom she was the re-incarnation, claiming
that it was nothing more nor less than a fancy of my disordered brain.
She also seemed greatly displeased when I informed her that it was my
intention to go out into the world and teach the principles of Natural
Law. It pained her to think that I should allow myself to even question
the authenticity and infallibility of the Bible. Her faith was so strong
and her nature so gentle that I refrained from discussing the subject in
any form, after I found how much she grieved over it. So I said no more
about my experience with the divine Sagewoman and my promise to follow
her instructions during the remainder of my natural life, but confined
my conversation to other subjects, and to the full enjoyment of her
daily companionship during my period of convalescence.

Day by day my weight and strength increased, until at last the time
arrived for me to quit the hospital and go into the outer world. I had
made no plans as to what I should do when thrown upon my own resources,
but felt confident that once well and strong I should find plenty of
work to do with both my hands and brain. Arletta, who appeared to have
an unlimited bank account, was generously supplying me with every
comfort and luxury that money could purchase, notwithstanding my earnest
protests against it. The tailor had visited me, taken my measure, and
returned a fine black frock suit of clothes. The hatter had furnished a
silk tile, the shoemaker, shoes, and the haberdasher all the other
articles necessary to complete my wearing apparel in the most up-to-date
style. The barber, the manicurists, and even the chiropodist had visited
me and taken extra pains in polishing me off.

"You are the handsomest old gentleman in New York," said Arletta,
girlishly, as she saw me for the first time dressed in street clothes,
and all ready to take my departure. "But you do not look so old, after
all," she added reflectively, "if it were not for your white hair you
might pass for a man of thirty-five. My! what a great big fellow you
are! Really, I am afraid that all of the women at the Waldoria will
become infatuated with you at first sight," continued she, critically
looking me over from head to foot.

"And what do you mean by the Waldoria?" inquired I.

"The Waldoria Hotel," answered she. "I have arranged for you to live
there until you have thoroughly recuperated and regained your full
strength-there, now, no more objections, or I shall become angry. At
present, you are in my charge, and must do just what I tell you."

"Notwithstanding I consider the task of following your instructions a
most pleasant one," replied I, "still it seems to me that I am not doing
exactly right in accepting your most generous offerings, for the simple
reason that I shall never be able to repay you for all you have done."

"I have been amply repaid already," said Arletta, "by the miraculous
transformation of a very bad and offensive man whom I did not like, into
a thoroughly good one whom I do like. So say no more about the matter,
for the present at least. After you have fully recovered from the
effects of the terrible ordeal through which you have just passed, then
I shall consider any protests you may have to offer, but not before. I
have ordered the carriage to come for you at noon, and have given
instructions to have you taken to the hotel. When you arrive there, you
will go to the head clerk's desk and hand him your card." Here she gave
me a small package of visiting cards on which was inscribed "John
Convert." "You will then ask to be shown to your apartments, which have
been settled for in advance for one year, after which make yourself as
comfortable as possible in the place. Do not mention your business in
any way as it pertains to you and me. It will be impossible for me to
see you as often as I should like, but whenever it is convenient I shall
have you come and see me. I am stopping at a different hotel in another
part of the city, and for reasons best known to myself, I shall continue
to withhold my last name from you, as you seem to have no recollection
of it whatever, and it will also be necessary for the present to meet
you in some out-of-the-way place, which I will designate later. Perhaps
some day you will learn who I am, and all about me, but until I am ready
to furnish you with further information concerning my identity, I shall
rely upon your honor as a man not to undertake, by any methods
whatsoever, to discover who I am, or where I reside."

With this mysterious admonition and a tender farewell, Arletta left me
in the depth of meditation as to what strange occurrence nature's
storehouse might still contain for me, and a few minutes later I was
notified that the carriage was in waiting.

CHAPTER XXVII

It would be almost impossible to record my impressions of the different
things that came to my notice for the first time in twenty-one years, as
I was driven from the hospital to the hotel.

While great progress had taken place in many lines during that time,
still after having had such a realistic mental picture of the wonders of
Sage-land stamped upon my mind, the new inventions, such as trolley
cars, automobiles, etc., which I had never seen before, seemed crude and
insignificant.

As I passed from street to street I could not fail to observe the great
disorder that prevailed everywhere, in the foremost city of the world.
In the first place, I was struck by the inharmonious and ragged
appearance of the buildings. Here was a tall skyscraper of nice white
marble thirty stories high, towering up into the clouds like a great
beanpole, while on one side of it was a squatty little two-story red
brick structure, and on the other side a six-story brown stone building,
the whole forming a most irregular and distracting appearance to the
eye. In other places, right in the heart of the city, and adjoining
well-designed buildings, were vacant lots inclosed by high ugly board
fences, on which were painted fantastic and ridiculous advertisements.

These defects, of course, could only be thoroughly remedied by putting
into force the logical economic principle of State ownership of all land
and buildings, instead of permitting the individual to do as he pleased
with property made valuable by the community.

The disarrangement of the buildings, however, merely typified the
incongruous and illogical disorganization of the people themselves. For
instance, here was a big, strong, well-fed fashionably groomed young
man, walking along the street, carrying no heavier burden than a light
walking stick, while just beside him was a half-starved old woman,
almost bent double under the weight of a large basket of clothes she had
washed for somebody else.

Then again, here were two big, strong men, perched upon the driver's
seat of a magnificent carriage, drawn by two great powerful horses, and
conveying about the city for recreation a dyspeptic lap-dog, while
trudging along the gutter in search of work or something to eat was a
weak, ill-fed, broken-down old man, who had, no doubt, given the best
years of his life to the actual labor which had increased the wealth of
the community.

Along the streets everywhere were dirty young boys of tender age, who
should have been at school or play, rushing madly in every direction,
trying to earn a few cents by the sale of newspapers, polishing shoes,
and acting as chore boys.

Little brass bands were scattered about here and there, braying forth
inharmoniously, and organ grinders and street piano players were rending
the air with bad music in return for a few pennies, thrown to them by
passing pedestrians.

Venders of fruit, shoe-strings, collar-buttons, and other light
merchandise were scattered along the sidewalks and gutters, trying to
earn a living by the sale of their wares, while beggars occasionally
stopped the more fortunate members of society with pathetic
importunities for money to buy bread.

Cabmen and horses were wasting the public power by standing idly about
waiting for engagements, or else driving aimlessly in all directions,
searching for patronage.

Wagons of every description were rushing about hither and thither in a
wretchedly unsystematic method of retail delivery, utilizing in many
cases the labor of two men and a team of horses to carry a small package
several miles distant.

Countless little retail merchants, with an incalculable force of
managers, clerks, book-keepers, errand boys, etc., were fairly throwing
away the public power in enormous quantities through the brainless
struggle of competitive trade.

All these imperfections could be extirpated by the abolition of the
money system, thought I, as the carriage came to a standstill in front
of a great brown stone edifice, and the driver announced that we had
reached our destination. The door of the carriage was swung open by a
uniformed employee, and, alighting therefrom, I was immediately ushered
into the main office of the leading institution of its kind in the
World--the Waldoria Hotel.

It was quite a new sensation for me to enter this great hostelry as a
guest, having spent the fore part of my life as a rough adventurer who
had never known the meaning of luxury or refinement. But still, somehow
or other, it always seemed natural for me to carry myself properly in
whatever position I happened to be placed, and on this occasion I felt
composed and at my ease as I entered and made known my identity to the
head clerk.

This pompous servant showed extraordinary affability and politeness
toward me, which caused me to wonder how I should have been received by
him had I been a shoemaker, a carpenter, or some other honest son of
toil, whose labor increases the wealth of the world, instead of a
moneyed gentleman of leisure and extravagance, as he evidently supposed
me to be.

"Your secretary has deposited five thousand dollars to your credit here,
Mr. Convert," said he, handing me a blank cheque book, "so if you will
kindly give me your signature for certification, you can then draw upon
that amount as you see fit."

In astonishment I was about to inform him that I had no secretary, and
that the money was not mine, when it occurred to me that perhaps
Arletta, or her agent, if she had one, must have pretended to be my
secretary. So I said nothing and did as requested.

Upon being shown to my apartments, a handsomely furnished suite of two
rooms and a bath, upon the tenth floor, I was further amazed to find
therein a trunk, two dress-suit cases, a traveling bag, and six suits of
fine clothes, made in different styles, from an evening dress to a sack
business suit. And the bedstead, tables and bureaus were literally
covered with articles, such as a bath-robe, pajamas, underwear, shirts,
collars, cuffs, gloves, hats, shoes, etc., all brand new and marked
"John Convert." Upon the dressing case was a small jewel box, containing
several kinds of gold cuff buttons, diamond scarf pins, and a solid gold
watch, on the inside of which was inscribed, "From Arletta to John."

It took some time for me to get over the wonderment into which I was
plunged at the sight of these things, and the contemplation of how far
Arletta intended going before ceasing her benevolent acts towards me,
but after spending an hour or two in becoming accustomed to my
surroundings and putting the various articles away into the bureaus and
wardrobes, I decided to make a general survey of the entire hotel
premises.

I learned that the Waldoria Hotel was thirty stories high, and covered
an entire block in the most fashionable district in New York City. In
many ways it resembled a small city in itself, containing a bank,
theatre, music hall, photograph gallery, art studio, gymnasium, laundry,
electric plant, Turkish baths, tonsorial apartments, brokers' offices,
library, and various ball-rooms, besides four different restaurants, two
cafes, and several reception and smoking rooms for the use of its
patrons.

The entire roof of the building was utilized as a promenade and summer
garden for musical entertainments.

The hotel could accommodate about three thousand guests, who occupied
apartments, the rentals of which cost from three to one hundred and
fifty dollars per day. About two thousand employees were necessary to
keep the establishment in good running order. Each floor had a separate
clerk and corps of attendants, and nobody could gain admission to any of
the apartment floors except the occupants and their guests.

All of the apartments of the hotel, from the magnificent "Royal Suite"
to the single bedrooms of the transients, were furnished in the most
luxurious manner possible. Costly draperies, priceless paintings, and
exquisite furnishings of every description, adorned the drawing-rooms,
ball-rooms, foyers and restaurants. Statues of ancient personages
ornamented the different hallways, while the carved marble and woodwork
seen everywhere showed splendid workmanship. Sweet strains of music from
the orchestras stationed in different balconies could be heard in most
any part of the building.

Seated on either side of the long, commodious corridors, on lounges
overhung by palms and tropical plants of various descriptions, were men
and women of the fashionable set, who represented the largest portion of
wealth of the community.

The women with their low-cut gowns, highly perfumed, and weighted down
with jewels of every kind, formed a brilliant spectacle that was
bewitching and bewildering to behold. They vied with one another in the
display of their gorgeous gowns and jewels, with the desire to impress
upon each other thereby the wealth they possessed and the position they
held in society. In fact, wealth seemed to be the predominant feature of
their whole existence.

Beautiful young women scarcely out of their teens, could be seen paying
all of their attentions to decrepit, bald-headed old men of apparent
opulence, while on the other hand, young and athletic looking men were
courting women old enough to be their grandmothers. In either case, the
young were quite willing to sell their persons for wealth. These
unnatural facts plainly demonstrated to what depths the human being,
will go in an endeavor to secure money, or the power derived therefrom.

In the restaurants, the most criminal extravagance was practiced by
these moneyed people, in many cases the costly viands and high-priced
wines ordered being only partly consumed, and the remainder left to be
thrown into the waste barrel. In fact, it appeared that the individual's
importance was gauged by the amount of money he could spend, and men who
no doubt in a great many cases squeezed the pennies from the poor
laboring classes through their different financial methods of
confiscation, thought nothing of spending from five to fifty dollars for
a single meal.

In short, I found the Waldoria Hotel to be a sort of a heavenly place,
infested principally by hellish beings-a welcome nest for people with
money but a very unwelcome place for persons who had none. It made
absolutely no difference how people got their money as long as they had
it.

The stone masons, iron-workers, carpenters, painters, plumbers and other
laborers who built the beautiful edifice were not allowed inside of it.
The furniture makers, carpet and tapestry weavers, interior decorators,
etc., through whose skill the hotel was made grand, were not permitted
to enjoy the magnificence of their own creation. But owing to the stupid
money system, which these laborers them selves help to keep in force,
the results of their combined efforts were either usurped by an
unproductive class fortunate enough to be born rich, or those shrewd
enough to accumulate money, such as trust managers, bankers, real estate
speculators, stock jobbers, and brokers, gamblers, burglars, money loan
swindlers, high salaried clergymen, etc.

CHAPTER XXVIII

In looking over the daily newspapers the next morning my attention was
forcefully called to the fact that fully nine-tenths of the news columns
was given to the promulgation of crime in all its various forms, of
which ninety per cent could be directly traced to the money evil, of
which the system of individual accumulation must be held responsible.
For the benefit of future generations who may desire information that
will give them an exact idea of the real value of their civilized
ancestors, I herewith reproduce a few extracts from the newspapers, word
for word, just as the despatches were published.

"Albany, N. Y., Special Despatch: It is reported on high authority that
State Senator Grab has received a half million dollars, to be
distributed among the various senators and assemblymen, for the purpose
of securing their votes in exchange for certain legislative laws that
will favor the Gas Trust in its iniquitous squeeze of the people for
higher rates. Several senators have openly threatened to vote against
these measures, claiming that Senator Grab is acting the hog and will
not divide the booty fairly among them."

"Fall River, Mass.: Ten thousand workingmen and women have been thrown
out of employment by the mills of this city, owing to the unprecedented
rise in the price of cotton, caused by the recent manipulations of that
famous Wall Street speculator, Dan Bull, who by forcing up the prices in
the speculative market has added millions to his own bank account during
the past few weeks. The mills have been shut down indefinitely and
starvation is now facing thousands of men, women and children as a
consequence."

"Brooklyn, N. Y.: The marriage ceremony between the Right Reverend Q. T.
Getrich, Bishop of New York, and Mrs. E. Z. Money was solemnized here
today with great pomp, and attended by some of the very wealthiest and
most fashionable people of the country. It has been suggested by some
ungodly reprobate that perhaps the young and handsome bishop married the
fat and aged widow to gain possession of her millions, but this
sacrilegious imputation is furiously resented by all pious church
members."

"Chicago, Ill.: Municipal ownership of public utilities seems to have
been given a serious setback by the very costly and unsuccessful
experiment this city undertook in operating its own electric and water
plants during the past year. It appears that city officials are just as
susceptible to the charm of money as private corporations, and just as
willing, by corrupt methods, to fleece the public in order to obtain it.
It is evident that as long as there is money in use there will always be
boodlers."

"Baltimore, Md.: The pure food inspectors of this city after having made
an inspection of the different canned goods, have come to the conclusion
that at least ninety per cent. of the same is adulterated and that the
public is being slowly poisoned to death. The greed of the various
concerns which produce these things for bigger profits, causes them to
use cheap chemicals in their adulterative methods in place of higher
priced and genuine substances. These inspectors make the astonishing
statement that they believe all foods and drinks are more or less
adulterated and that in the general rush for money profits, the
inhabitants of the world are actually poisoning each other by slow
degrees."

"St. Louis, Mo.: An epidemic of diphtheria is raging in this city and
hundreds of children are dying daily from the effects of its ravages.
The deaths in most cases are children of the poorer classes who cannot
afford to pay the exorbitant prices lately put upon antitoxin by the
Medicine Trust. This trust, which controls the supply of antitoxin, has
increased the price nearly two hundred per cent, during the past year at
different intervals, until it has now become absolutely prohibitive to
all except the wealthy. Unless there is something done immediately to
alleviate this condition of affairs, the lives of thousands of young
children will be blotted out, which might otherwise have been saved."

"Kokomo, Ind.: An awful tragedy took place in this town yesterday when
Peter Doles, apparently driven insane from poverty and want of
employment, killed his wife and five children by splitting their heads
open with an axe, and afterward thrust a knife into his own heart. Doles
was at one time a wealthy citizen of this place, but speculation was the
cause of his downfall."

"Philadelphia, Pa.: A terrible state of affairs has been brought to
light here by the police who have discovered that a regular system of
child murder has been in practice for some time by a syndicate of fiends
who murder children for the insurance. These fiends, who secured their
victims from regularly operated baby farms of illegitimate children,
would have their lives insured for large sums and then destroy them
afterwards, in order to obtain the insurance money."

"Paterson, N. J.: U. R. Dire was sentenced to be hung today for the
murder of his father. Some time ago, young Dire obtained information
that his millionaire father was about to make a new will, and cut him
off without money, so he deliberately entered into a cold-blooded plan
with his father's secretary to murder the old man by poison. The
secretary afterward turned State's evidence and upon his testimony the
young man was convicted."

"Reno, Nev.: This town was the scene of murderous outlawry last night
when an organized band of burglars gained entrance to a local bank, and
blew up the vaults. The night watchman discovered their presence, and
raising an alarm brought the police and other citizens to the premises.
Then occurred a general encounter between the police and the burglars in
which over a hundred shots were fired, causing the death of three
policemen, two private citizens and four of the burglars. The remainder
of the desperadoes jumped on their horses and escaped with the money."

"Boston, Mass.: Rev. D. D. Sly, the eminent clergyman of this city,
announced today that he has received a call from the Lord to take up his
work in another field. He will leave at once for New York City, where he
will take charge of a fashionable Fifth Avenue pastorate. Reverend Sly's
salary will be increased from two thousand five hundred to five thousand
dollars per annum through the change, which once more brings up the
question as to whether the Lord was ever known to call a pastor to a new
field at a lower salary."

"Buffalo, N. Y.: A case brought up in court here today shows to what
extent the extortionate loan sharks will go in their greed for money. It
was proved that two years ago O. U. Curr loaned Mrs. Kate Poor, a
washer-woman with three small children, the sum of fifty dollars on
household furniture. A contract was entered into, whereby the widow was
to pay interest at the rate of twenty per cent per month until the
principal had been paid. Mrs. Poor stated under oath that she has
already paid Curr, in monthly installments, over three hundred dollars
and that she is still indebted to him for the original loan of fifty
dollars."

"Scranton, Pa.: Trades Unionism is receiving a great deal of public
censure at present in this city, owing to the recent disclosure made
against Judas Pilate, a union agent, who has been blackmailing different
contractors for several years past, by making them pay him large sums of
money, under threats of ordering union men to strike. It has been proved
that Pilate has secured over fifty thousand dollars by this method. His
followers, however, still remain loyal to him, notwithstanding he sold
them out many times and brought disrepute upon Trades Unionism."

"Harrisburg, Pa.: The various manufacturers of cigarettes in this state
have banded together to defeat the Anti-Cigarette League in its efforts
to have laws passed forbidding the sale of cigarettes to children. While
the manufacturers do not deny that the cigarette is wrecking the
physical, mental, and moral character of the American youth, they
contend that it will prove detrimental to their business interests, and
thereby cause a loss of many thousand dollars if the Anti-Cigarette Law
is put into effect. Reliable statistics for the past three years show
that one hundred thousand children are ruined annually by smoking
cigarettes."

"Pittsburg, Pa.: The Steel Trust has made a general reduction in the
salaries of all its employees throughout the United States, which will
decrease the wages of the worker from ten to twenty per cent, and
affecting in the neighborhood of two hundred thousand men. It is
estimated that this sweeping reduction will save the Steel Trust
approximately twenty millions of dollars per year. Owing to the
manipulations of the Wall Street schemers, this saving becomes necessary
to keep the Trust in existence, as in the great merger of the several
different steel companies, the actual valuation of the plants was
increased one hundred times over in watered stock, so that it not only
becomes necessary for those who do the labor to pay dividends on bona
fide investments of the capitalists, but to pay dividends on watered
stock criminally increased one hundred fold besides. This decrease in
wages will cause great suffering among the laboring classes, for, owing
to the increased cost of living caused by the raising of prices by the
various food trusts, it is almost impossible for the ordinary man to
make both ends meet. It appears to all thoughtful students of political
economy that the object of those in control of the money markets is to
limit the supply of necessities of life, so that the demand for them
will force prices up, and, by decreasing production, will cause a
superfluous quantity of labor, which, in turn, will force wages down.
With cheap labor to produce, and a high selling price for the
production, the trust managers and other financiers have easily solved
the question of how to legally confiscate the wealth of the world."

"New York City: A great war is now being waged between the rich tenement
house owners and their poor tenants on the East Side, which promises to
end in lawlessness, riots, and much suffering in consequence. It appears
that the owners of these houses have increased the rents from time to
time until they are now beyond the reach of the tenants' ability to pay.
At least three thousand of these occupants have banded together to fight
the last raise, while the landlords have also combined to evict them
unless they comply with the terms. The tenants, who are mostly hard
working laborers, claim that it is utterly impossible for them to meet
the extortionate prices of foods, fuel, gas, oil, and rents, now being
forced upon them by the financiers with the small amount of wages that
they receive for their work from the industrialists, and if they are
evicted from their present homes it is a problem as to what they will do
or where they will go. The landlords claim that is none of their
concern; that they themselves are merely following the system now in
existence of getting all they can, through their property rights,
according to the law of supply and demand. Some of them even claim that
these tenants are nothing more than vermin, anyway, and that it would be
well to push them all into the East River and exterminate them
entirely."

The newspaper articles, which I have reproduced, are but a few of the
thousands chronicled daily of the terrible crimes which take place in
all parts of civilized Christendom over the individual possession of
money, or its equivalent, and they also demonstrate that after nineteen
hundred years of Christianity the world still remains in a savage state.
The Christian must admit, if he will stop and consider, that there must
be something lacking in his religion, if after all these centuries, such
barbarous conditions still exist. What is lacking? This question can be
answered in a few words. The abolition of the money system. The
eradication of individual accumulation. The substitution of united labor
and honest distribution. The adherence to the principles of Natural Law.

Had Christ taught Natural Law instead of supernatural religion, had he
been an organizer and started a movement toward the abolition of the
money system and established a united labor organization in place of the
system of individual accumulation, the world long ere this would have
been a heavenly abiding place for the human family, instead of a
seething furnace of petty quarrels, murderous fights, and selfish strife
among all of the inhabitants.

Why should one hog have more to eat than another? Why should one man
have more luxuries and privileges than another? Why should the man who
conceives an idea receive a greater reward than he who puts the idea
into execution? Why should the man who works with his brain have more of
the sweets of life than he who works with his hands? Why should the man
who lays the brick have more of the world's goods than he who carries
the brick mortar to him? These questions do not apply alone to the
capitalist, but also to the laborer as well, and as long as the laboring
classes champion the cutthroat policy of grading man's allowance
according to his ability, of giving more to one than another, owing to a
slight difference of brain capacity, he should not, after showing his
own greediness in this respect, expect the capitalist not to be greedy
also. He must learn that all men should have equal opportunities and
benefits from the whole production of united labor. As long as money
exists, so long will fights and quarrels take place between capital and
labor, and between the different branches of labor as well. The laborer
will fight the capitalist until he in turn becomes a capitalist, and
then he will turn about and fight the laborer. So there is but one
reasonable method to pursue in order to better the conditions on earth,
and to eliminate suffering and crime entirely, and that method is to
strike at the very root of the cause, and abolish money and the system
of individual accumulation.

CHAPTER XXIX

My sojourn at the Waldoria Hotel was a rather pleasant one in many ways.
I enjoyed the luxury and refinement of the surroundings. The harmonious
music of the orchestras was pleasant to listen to, and the magnificent
paintings and beautiful works of art were pleasing to the eye. I also
took some pleasure in wearing the different suits of fine clothes with
which I had been supplied, and in making my own person appear as well as
possible in the eyes of others. I even enjoyed entering the spacious and
luxurious restaurants and eating sparingly of some of the delicious
viands prepared by the scientific chef. In fact, the many delightful
advantages to be derived from living at the Waldoria directly appealed
to me as being some of the blessings supplied by nature for all human
beings to enjoy.

But still there was a serious drawback to my thorough and absolute
enjoyment of these conditions, when I took into consideration the fact
that I was in no way responsible for their existence. I was accepting
something from the community, but giving nothing in return. I felt that
in living at the Waldoria, and doing no work for the community, I was
like a great sponge soaking up the life-blood of honest toil, and
returning nothing for the sustenance it afforded me. I felt that I
should at least go to work and do something that would help to pay for
my keeping. True it was that I had the money to pay for these things,
but where did the money come from? Where does all money come from? To
have money to pay for things does not mean that one has earned them. So
I decided that I would go to work as soon as possible, and give to the
community an equivalent for the things I enjoyed.

But then, the great difficulty arose when I tried to find something to
do. It made little difference what kind of work I should engage in as
long as it was of a productive nature. But when I went around looking
for employment, I discovered that there was none to be had.

It is certainly a most unnatural system which fails to utilize all the
power at its command for the good of universal production, and it seems
hard to realize that such conditions can exist; but during my wanderings
from street to street, store to store, and factory to factory,
throughout the great commonwealth of New York, I discovered that besides
myself, there were also thousands of other earnest men tramping the
streets, willing, but unable, to find work. At last, however, I was put
in the peculiar position of having to pay to work. One day, after a week
of unsuccessful attempts to obtain employment, I ran across one of the
sub-bosses of the street-cleaning department. Making known my desire to
him, I was amazed when he told me that he would let me work on condition
that I paid him twenty-five dollars for the job and promised to give him
ten per cent. of my wages each month. He informed me that all of the men
under his charge had to do likewise. In fact, he intimated that in order
to hold his own position as sub-boss he had to pay this money to bosses
higher up in the department.

And so in order to feel that I was at least doing something for the
community to earn my right to live, I was forced to pay for the
opportunity and also to aid in keeping alive one of the many systems of
graft, which unnaturally swallows up the results of honest men's labor.
So I began work as a street-sweeper--a position looked upon generally as
one of the lowest in the scale of human employment. Why the man who
sweeps the streets, making clean and wholesome the thoroughfares, which
have to be traveled constantly by the people, and saving the public from
filth and disease, should be looked down upon by the rest of his fellow
beings for doing this great service, seems beyond the limits of sane
reasoning; but such is the case in this world, where money is the god
worshiped by all.

An illustrative incident occurred while I held the unique position of
street-sweeper, and at the same time being a guest at the fashionable
Waldoria Hotel. I had become acquainted with many of the wealthy guests
of the place, who, no doubt, supposing me to be a man of riches, courted
my society to some extent. In fact, I had become rather popular among
the permanent residents. There was one family in particular, a certain
Mrs. Snipe and her two daughters, who took every occasion to pay me
attentions, until one day as I was engaged in my daily work on the
street, some distance from the hotel, I noticed a carriage approaching
which held Mrs. Snipe and her brood. They were all looking straight at
me, but gave no sign of recognition as they passed along. That evening,
after I had changed my working clothes, which by the way, resembled the
white duck outfit worn by an African explorer, and, having left them in
the tool-house, I went home and attired myself in evening dress. Again I
met the Snipe family in one of the foyers of the hotel. The old lady,
accompanied by her eligible daughters, approached me and said: "Mr.
Convert, I have something awfully funny to tell you. It is just too
funny to keep to myself. You have a double; we saw him today. Now, don't
get angry when I tell you where we saw him and who he is, but he
resembled you so much that if it were not for the position he occupied I
should have sworn it was you. He was a member of the street-sweeping
brigade, and if you wish to see him just go over to Fifth avenue and
Twenty-sixth street tomorrow and you can see for yourself. There, now,
you are not angry, are you?"

"No," answered I, "the person you refer to I have seen many times. There
is nothing to be angry about. Certainly, not because he holds the
honorable position of cleaning the streets which you have to travel."

"Honorable," retorted Mrs. Snipe; "you must be joking. I cannot
understand how an aristocratic gentleman like yourself would otherwise
make such an absurd remark."

"I am not joking at all," said I; "in my estimation, the street-sweeper
belongs to the most honorable portion of mankind. He is down-trodden by
society now, owing to an unnatural system which permits the strong to
take the largest portion of wealth and rule; but the day will come when
men who sweep the streets or occupy other positions of worth to the
community, will enjoy the same luxuries and surroundings that you and
other non-producers now enjoy. They will live in the palaces now
occupied by the parasites who do no work. Such places as the Waldoria
Hotel will be utilized for their benefit, and those who do not work,
those who claim the right to live without labor, will be thrown out
entirely."

"Why, Mr. Convert, what do you mean by talking in such a beastly way? If
you are so fond of those vulgar street-sweepers, why don't you become
one of them?"

"I have," I answered. "The man you saw today sweeping the streets was
none other than myself, and I am proud of it."

"You are either joking or else you have gone out of your mind," said
Mrs. Snipe with a look of disgust. But upon my reiteration that I was
really the man she saw, both she and her daughters abruptly left my
presence and never looked at me afterwards. They no doubt communicated
the text of our conversation to the different people of the hotel, also,
for I discovered later that the other guests with whom I had become
acquainted, not only refused to converse with me, but regarded me as a
sort of curiosity or peculiar freak of nature. They would pass me on the
street, where I was working at different times, in their gorgeous
carriages, and, calling each other's attention would pass jokes at my
expense, and laugh loud and mockingly at me. At first these things
troubled me to some degree, but gradually I gathered courage to bear
their sneers-courage such as I had never experienced before.

I had faced all manner of dangers during my life without fear, but I had
never known the real meaning of courage until I made up my mind to do
right under all conditions, and accept the ridicule of my fellow beings
without resentment. In my humble position I could now appreciate the
philosophy and the true greatness of the Sagewoman's beautiful lessons
of unselfishness. I felt that I was just beginning to get strong-strong
in the grandest attribute a human being can possess-moral courage. The
great Sagewoman's teachings on forbearance were beginning to take root
in my nature. I was learning to understand that I must work and feel for
others, regardless of my own selfish desires.

One day, while I was busily engaged in my daily toil, my attention
became attracted to a big, fashionably dressed man, standing on the
sidewalk near by, calmly smoking a high-priced cigar. He was apparently
about thirty years of age, six feet tall, and weighed over two hundred
pounds. He was beastly in appearance, and looked as if he considered his
own selfish wants as the only things in the world worth attention. He
probably had never done an honest day's labor in his life. A ragged old
man, about sixty years of age, who apparently had given his whole life
to productive toil, but now feeble and half-starved in appearance,
approached and appealed to him for a few cents with which to buy
something to eat. The big fellow roughly told him to go along and not
bother him, and the old man, not doing as he was ordered, the young man
deliberately swung his fist and struck the poor beggar between the eyes,
knocking him senseless to the pavement. For a moment I was dumbfounded
by this exhibition of brutality, and then instantly every drop of blood
in my body was set boiling at the sight. I lost control of myself. My
old-time pugnacious spirit asserted itself, and I sprang forward like a
maddened bull, striking the brute a vicious blow upon the head with my
fist, and sending him sprawling several feet away. As he scrambled to
his feet, in a dazed condition, I rushed forward furiously, with the
intention of felling him to the ground. After allowing him to regain his
feet, I raised my arm to deal a well-directed blow with all my strength,
when something within me suddenly cried out: "Don't strike." "Don't make
a brute of yourself because the other did." "Let the law take its
course." And, as I hesitated momentarily, there passed through my mind
like an electric flash, these words:

"Always consult your soul for advice.

"Do no act your conscience will not sanction."

Then instantly recognizing the mandate I had so faithfully promised the
great Sagewoman to obey, I overcame my rage and allowed my arms to fall
to my sides without striking another blow.

Two policemen hurriedly approached the scene. I stated what had occurred
and requested them to take the bully to jail. To my surprise, however,
at the command of the well-dressed ruffian, who I afterward learned was
a wealthy financier, both myself and the beggar were taken to the
station-house. I was fined ten dollars, and the poor old man was
sentenced to jail for thirty days.

While I knew that in this case the law of justice had been misapplied in
favor of the cowardly Wretch with money, nevertheless I felt that I had
gained incalculable strength in self-control by not acting contrary to
the warning of my soul and making of myself the same kind of a brute as
the one whom I had intended to injure.

CHAPTER XXX

Central Park is a tract of land situate in the middle of residential New
York. It is oblong in shape, being two miles in length, half a mile in
width and covering an area of about eight hundred and sixty acres. The
ground has been artificially changed from a wild waste to one of the
most beautiful spots to be found anywhere. It is coursed by a net-work
of splendid drive-ways, equestrian roads and foot-paths running in all
directions among the many little rocky hills and miniature lakes. Trees,
flower-beds and shrubbery of various kinds have been cleverly arranged
by skilled artists to form a delightfully picturesque effect. Chirping
birds of many colors and tame squirrels in multitudinous numbers find
this park a heavenly abiding place where the danger of annihilation is
minimized. Playgrounds for the children are laid out in different parts
of the domain while a zoological garden where animals are kept
imprisoned in small cages for the term of their natural lives, is put
forth as one of its many features.

As one passes through the entrance gate at Seventy-eighth street and
Central Park West, and turns first to the right, then to the left, and
finally to the right again, following a foot-path similar in its
windings to a letter S, and crossing two small bridges, he will come to
an abrupt ending of a narrow path running into an immense projecting
rock. Here is located a canopied seat just large enough for two people.
Facing this shelter is a small lake, on the edge of which overhanging
trees afford delightful shade during the hot months. That was the place
selected by Arletta for our meeting ground. It was an out-of-the-way,
quiet and romantic spot where we spent many pleasant afternoons and
evenings enjoying each other's company. Whenever Arletta wanted to see
me she sent a note which never failed to bring me there. In fact, such a
feeling of enchantment did the place hold for me, that many times I
wandered out there and sat alone for hours, musing.

But notwithstanding that our many meetings had the effect of
strengthening our mutual admiration and love for each other, and that I
was beginning to fairly idolize this beautiful young woman, still
certain things came to pass that I could not understand, and which
caused me to feel that Arletta's actions were very mysterious, and that
there was something about her life she was trying to withhold from me.

In the first place she would never meet me anywhere else except in that
obscure nook in the park, and in departing would not permit me to escort
her beyond the Seventy-eighth street entrance, where she would abruptly
bid me a hasty adieu, with instructions that I must take another route.

That, in itself, appeared to be a strange proceeding, but one evening as
I entered a fashionable Fifth avenue restaurant on one of my tours of
inspection of plutocratic conditions, I was amazed to see her seated at
one of the tables, drinking wine with a male companion. Her face was
flushed from the effects of the beverage, and she was acting a trifle
hilarious, and displaying traits of frivolity such as I had never
observed in her before. As I caught her eye she gave a quick start, and
then deliberately turned her head in another direction, and pretended
not to have seen me. At this act I rushed out into the street, and it
was with great difficulty that I was able to control my feelings.

The next evening I met her in the park, and was further surprised when
she not only failed to mention the incident, but intimated that she had
spent the evening at an entirely different place. She appeared so
innocent, however, and was so charming in her manner that I almost
immediately forgot the affair, and said nothing about it. A few nights
later, though, as I was walking down Broadway, near Twenty-seventh
street, I noticed a large crowd of men and women gathered, and
questioning a bystander as to the reason thereof, I was informed that a
stylishly dressed lady was "too drunk to navigate" and was in the hands
of a policeman. As I craned my neck to get a glimpse of the unfortunate
woman, I was shocked beyond expression to find that it was none other
than Arletta who had created the commotion. Horrified, I rushed through
the crowd, pushing men right and left, until I had reached the
policeman, who was holding her up by the arm and trying to ascertain her
name and address. She could hardly stand, and seemed dazed to the point
of falling, but as I spoke her name, her memory revived somewhat, and,
fixing her half-closed eyes upon me, she said: "Why, hello Jack" And
then, turning to the officer, remarked: "This is my friend Jack; he will
take me home." I could not understand the reason she called me Jack. She
had never addressed me in that way before. But without delay I informed
the policeman that I would take charge of her, and requested him to call
a cab. When the vehicle arrived it became necessary for me to lift her
bodily into it, and then I was at a loss to know just where to take her.
In order to get away from the crowd, however, I told the driver to go on
and I would give him the address later.

"Tell him to take us to the Seraglio Apartments," she mumbled.

"Do you know where the Seraglio Apartments are?" I inquired of the
driver.

"Yes, sir, in Central Park West," replied he, as he whipped up his horse
and started in that direction.

Arletta said no more, but remained silent, as if stupefied from the
effects of the intoxicating drink she had taken.

"What a pity," thought I, as we sped along, "that this young woman, with
all of her beauty, grace and charm, and with all of her splendid traits
of character, should fall a victim to the awful curse of drink! Could
this condition have been brought about because she had no work to
perform and too much time and money to squander recklessly? What a pity
that there are human beings who make and sell poisonous stuff for money
which not only robs those who use it of their reasoning power, but which
undermines the very foundation of the human race! Those people who make
and sell liquor, knowing that it will ultimately destroy the lives of
thousands of human beings, are just as much murderous poisoners as would
be the chemist who would knowingly give a deadly drug to an intended
suicide."

When we arrived at the apartment house, which was one of the most
magnificent in New York, it was with some difficulty that I was able to
arouse her sufficiently so that she could walk with my assistance.
Entering the vestibule, I asked her if she could get along without
further help, but she insisted that I should go to her rooms, so getting
into the elevator we were taken up to the eighth floor. As though he was
accustomed to this sort of an affair, the elevator attendant went ahead
and opened one of the doors on the right of the hallway, and after
turning on the electric light, and we had entered, he withdrew at once,
quietly closing the door after him. I then found myself within one of
the most elegantly furnished drawing rooms imaginable. At one end of the
apartment was an archway gorgeously draped with costly tapestries which
partially screened another room beyond, which served as a bed-chamber.
Arletta staggered forward, half pulling me along with her into this
other room, and throwing herself upon the bed, ordered me, in a dazed
sort of a way, to remove her clothing. I was dumbfounded at this
extraordinary command and felt that I was placed in an extremely awkward
position. I did not like the idea of allowing the poor girl to remain
over night, in the uncomfortable position she had taken, bound as she
was by tightly fitting garments, and still I realized that it was a very
delicate undertaking to follow out her instructions, knowing full well
that if she were in her right senses she would be horrified at the
thought of such a thing. But as I stood looking at her for several
moments in a state of perplexed indecision, and wondering what course to
pursue, she began to moan as if in agony, and without further hesitation
I decided to go ahead and do my best to make her position more
comfortable. So I began by taking off her shoes.

"What a superb foot!" mused I enthusiastically, as I unlaced and removed
her pretty little shoes. "Was there ever another quite so shapely or
entrancing? And the ankle! How daintily its joints showed beneath
embroidered hose of exquisite material." Hardly had I begun this task
before I realized that a strange magnetic force was stealing upon me.
With such a feast for my eyes to contend with, it seemed as if my senses
were being gradually overcome by the intoxicating clutch of voluptuous
dreams.

The shoes off, I turned my attention to the collar which apparently
caused her much uneasiness. The collar, as I discovered, was a part of
the bodice and could not be taken off without removing the whole
garment, which task required considerable time, patience, and careful
maneuvering to perform. This I finally accomplished, however, with the
aid of Arletta, who revived occasionally from her comatose state long
enough to give a few indistinct directions, and then as my eyes rested
upon her lovely arms, neck and shoulders, I was plunged into ecstatic
emotion such as words have not the power to express. At last I succeeded
in loosening the stays and different cords and ribbons usually worn by
women, which alleviated her distress considerably, and after throwing a
light robe over her form was about to, arrange her position so that she
might rest comfortably, when to my utter astonishment she threw her arms
around my neck, kissed me several times, and whispered in my ear, "You
won't leave me alone tonight, will you, darling?"

This seemed to be almost too much for me to bear; the cravings of my
sensual nature began a desperate struggle with my better self. My blood
started to tingle with the heat of passion. Evil thoughts crowded
themselves into my brain. The more of these evil thoughts I allowed to
enter my head the less power of resistance I held against their subtle
ravages. I was losing self-control. I felt powerless to battle
successfully against the temptation. Stealthily walking over to the
door, I softly bolted it and then stood still for some time and
listened. It was past midnight and everything was quiet. I turned out
the light and started to go over to Arletta. As I did so, something
within me seemed to cry out with shame against such cowardice. As I
paused for a moment, the voice from within became stronger in its
disapproval of my intentions. Apparently I became divided into two
parts, and each was struggling for the mastery of me. One side was
trying with all its might to push me forward, while the other was
attempting to hold me back with reproachful warnings. These two parts
were my material and spiritual selves, contending for supremacy. I
wavered back and forth, from one to the other, and it seemed that the
material side was about to conquer and carry me down to disgrace, when
suddenly there passed through my mind like a great wave of strength the
Sagewoman's wonderful precept:

"Always consult your soul for advice.

"Do no act your conscience will not sanction."

And recognizing the full meaning of these words, I immediately turned
about, unbolted the door, and quietly left the apartment, feeling that
the soul was still master of my actions.

CHAPTER XXXI

Almost from the first day after I left the hospital I began to feel an
earnest desire to follow out the instructions of the great Sage-woman in
regard to teaching my fellow beings the philosophy of Natural Law, and,
knowing of no better way to begin this work, I decided to go out and
lecture upon the streets to all persons who might care to listen. I set
aside three evenings each week to preach the Truth, and took a position
at the corner of Fifth avenue, and Twenty-third street, just opposite
the "Flatiron" building, with nothing but a soap-box for a platform; it
was here that I devoted many evenings instructing the masses in the
principles of Sagemanism. At first I felt a little awkward, and could
not find sufficient words to express myself properly upon the subject,
but gradually there came self-reliance, which enabled me to communicate
my thoughts to others, and within a few weeks I had acquired a fluency
of speech whereby I could talk for hours without embarrassment. During
my first attempts at public speaking, few people would remain more than
a moment or two to hear what I had to say, but with the increased force
and power of speech, which I acquired with practice, my audiences grew
larger and larger, until finally the streets were blockaded with their
numbers at these meetings. Many of my hearers, both rich and poor alike,
got into the habit of coming repeatedly to listen to these talks, and
after a short time they would come to me one by one and request personal
tutorage in the principles set forth. In fact, the number of these
proselytes increased to such an extent, and their intentions were so
earnest and serious, that it finally became necessary to engage a hall,
where we might hold private meetings. It was in this way that there was
finally organized the society for the propagation of the principles of
Natural Law. Little by little the society gained in numerical strength,
until I felt sure that the seed of this grand work had been planted in
human soil for all time to come, and that its fruits would blossom forth
in abundance as time passed by.

But while success appeared to be crowning my humble efforts in this
direction, and the more progress I made in this propaganda, the more
opposed to my methods Arletta became. She grew intensely antagonistic to
my work, and tried in every way to have me discontinue it. She could not
believe that all human beings were born to have equal rights and
privileges in the world. She had been taught from infancy that there
must always be a master and a servant, and that the Deity was
responsible for the position held between them. She believed, as most
good Christians do, that it is the Creator's will that some people are
born in wealth and luxury, while others are born and bred in poverty and
squalor. She repeatedly endeavored to persuade me to desist in the work
I had undertaken and re-enter the Church as a good Christian member. My
efforts to convert her as a believer in Natural Law were futile, and a
great gulf seemed to be springing up and separating us from one another.
I felt that I was placed in a very difficult position. On the one hand,
I loved this beautiful young woman more than words can convey any idea
of. She seemed to be a part of my life. I would have gladly suffered any
pain or torture, if by so doing it would have afforded her one moment of
pleasure. On the other hand, I had sworn most solemnly to the great
Sagewoman that I would devote the remainder of my natural life to the
dissemination of the principles in which she had instructed me. I often
wondered at my strange predicament. Here I was being censured by the
reincarnated soul of the great Sage-woman for carrying out the very work
she taught me, and for fulfilling my promise to her.

The climax of this peculiar situation was reached one night at our
meeting place in the park. Arletta had sent me an urgent despatch to
come and see her without fail, and then she had stated that it was her
intention to leave New York the next day on a protracted trip through
Europe. She said she had come to bid me good-bye, and that it was to be
good-bye forever, as she never intended to see me again. She appeared
depressed and sad upon this occasion, and her eyes were filled with
tears. In answer to my inquiry, as to her reason for leaving me in this
way, she said that it was because she could not uphold me in my crusade
against all recognized principles of religious beliefs.

She told me frankly that she loved me and that she cared nothing for any
other man in the world except myself, but that she could not do
otherwise than go away and forget me. She claimed that nothing further
could come of our friendship as long as I continued an emissary of
Natural Law; that her religion forbade it and her parents would oppose
it; that her friends would be against it, and the whole world would
sneer at it; and that to be placed in such a trying position was more
than she could possibly bear. According to her, there was no good reason
why I could not give up my undertaking, to please her. She had
everything in the world to make me happy and was willing to give me
anything within her power, if I would only relinquish my purpose and
promise never to think of it again. She told me that she was wealthy,
that she had millions in her own name, and that her father and uncles
were multi-millionaires, to whose wealth she would be the sole heir. She
said that if I would promise to quit the work I was engaged in, that she
would give me her hand in marriage, and also deposit in the bank to my
credit one million dollars on the following day as a dowry, with which I
could do as I pleased. She was serious and, apparently in earnest, and I
did not doubt one word of what she said as being the truth. So I was
placed in the position of choosing between great wealth, the woman I
loved, and all other earthly pleasures on the one hand, and a duty which
I had solemnly sworn to perform, on the other. It was a trying
situation, to say the least. With bowed head I sat and considered all
phases of the matter, with much earnestness and equal indecision. To
think that Arletta would leave me forever was to feel that my heart was
being torn from its fastenings. To have her as my wife, this alone
seemed to be the very greatest happiness that life could afford, and
mayhap, the promise of a million dollars was not without its allurement.
A position in the very best society of the country also loomed before my
vision, as I considered these things. On the other hand, if I refused, I
could look forward to a life of poverty, hard work, and the abuse of my
fellow beings. The temptation was a trying one, and it seemed impossible
for me to refuse Arletta's offering. As I raised my head and looked into
her beautiful eyes, which expressed great love, and tenderness, and
expectation, I felt that I could not say no to her. It seemed as if I
had been placed between honor and temptation, and was about to fall into
the arms of the latter. I hesitated a moment, undecided as to what to
do, when something within me distinctly said: "Be a man. Give up all
earthly pleasures during this life and teach Natural Law, according to
your promise." Then once again the wise words of the great Sagewoman
passed through my mind:

"Always consult your soul for advice.

"Do no act your conscience will not sanction."

Instantly arising and feeling that I should follow the advice of my soul
above all other considerations, I determined to do that which was right.
I concluded that to lose Arletta, and all the pleasures incidental to a
life with her, was but a temporary loss, but the opportunity of setting
a great example to my fellow beings, a precedent that would have lasting
influence, might never arrive again, and that it was my solemn duty to
seize this chance while I had the power to do so. So, standing erect and
without further hesitation, I took Arletta's hand in mine and said: "My
dear girl, to lose you will cause me much suffering and pain, so much
that it would be impossible for you to form any conception of it. To
lose you is to deprive me of all that is dear and sweet in this life. To
permit you to go without acceding to your wishes taxes my strength to
the utmost limit, but believe me, the life of one little human being is
of short duration in the immense sea of time, and while I am giving up
the delight and pleasure of your companionship now, I am doing so in
order that I may lend my feeble efforts toward the establishment of a
social system whereby the conditions of this world will be made such
that at some future date our souls may be able to join each other in
peace and harmony and enjoy the blessings of a heavenly world, free from
money, which I hope will eventually be the result of my present labors.
Therefore, in acting contrary to your wishes now, I feel that I am
working for your future happiness. I shall remain at my present post of
duty, trying to uplift mankind, I shall follow the dictates of my
conscience in doing this, and as long as the bones of my little anatomy
hold together as a living being and my brain has the power to reason, I
shall teach the principles of Natural Law even if all the world follows
your example and turns against me."

At the conclusion of this little speech my emotion overcame me and I
could say no more. Arletta also appeared overcome with sadness, and was
unable to speak. She withdrew her hand from mine and without a word
turned and walked slowly away, sobbing bitterly as she left. I stood and
watched her retreating form in a dazed sort of a way. With each step
which put us farther apart, increasing darkness obscured my vision. I
wanted to call her back but a lump came in my throat and I could not
speak. My brain was in a whirl. A terrible feeling of gloom over-
shadowed me. I labored under great excitement. My head seemed as if it
were ready to burst. I felt that I was going mad. The trees and
everything else appeared to be moving about in great confusion. Those
same symptoms which I experienced after falling among the rocks of
Sageland returned. My body seemed to be dividing into several parts and
then becoming one again. I tried to control myself but without avail.
All of a sudden I saw standing before me two Arlettas, one at the right
hand and the other at the left. The one at the right I instantly
recognized as the great Sagewoman, while on the left stood the girl
Arletta. They were facing and pointing in opposite directions. Looking
to my right I saw a path running up a steep hill which seemed almost
impossible to climb and upon which was inscribed the word strength. To
my left I observed a path running down the hill upon which was written
the word weakness. At the top of the hill everything looked bright and
cheerful and orderly, while at the bottom darkness and confusion
prevailed. Above the extreme top, as though stamped in space like a
great rainbow, these words appeared: Natural Law, Wisdom, Love for
Others. At the bottom, and almost obscured in the gloom, I faintly
discerned the following: Religion, Ignorance, Love of Self.

As I stood speechless at this wonderful vision everything suddenly
became dark and I knew no more.

CHAPTER XXXII

The next impression my memory has any record of was a huge ocean
steamer, floating away upon the deep. Great volumes of smoke were
pouring forth from its smoke-stacks as it majestically glided over the
water. Upon its many decks were hundreds of human beings, scattered
about in little groups, gaily chatting and enjoying to the fullest
extent the delight experienced by an ocean voyage. Among all of the
happy faces, however, there was one that appeared sad and forlorn. It
was the face of a beautiful young woman, standing alone against the
railing of the promenade deck, who was weeping in silence. As she raised
her eyes and looked in my direction, I instantly recognized the girl
Arletta, and realized that she was leaving me forever. And then, like
one in a dream, I held out my hands and mutely implored her to return.
She appeared to be within a short distance and looking straight at me,
but still made no sign of recognition. I could not understand the reason
for such coldness on her part, and in astonishment rubbed my eyes and
looked again, when lo and behold, she had vanished from sight. But far
out into the distance, almost to the horizon, I could plainly see a
large steamer headed toward the vast ocean beyond. I looked around in a
confused sort of a way, and discovered, to my surprise, that I was
standing almost at the water's edge on one of the docks near Battery
Place. It was daylight, and the sun was shining overhead. I then
concluded that I must have been out of my head for some time, and
questioning a stranger, who stood nearby, I learned that just fourteen
hours had elapsed since I had bade Arletta good-bye, and I could form no
recollection of the slightest incident that happened since then.

After watching the steamer until it had disappeared from view, I slowly
walked to a bench in Battery Park and sat down, in the depths of
despair, to reflect upon the strange occurrence. I must have sat there
for about an hour in deep meditation, when my attention was attracted by
a newspaper urchin, shouting at the top of his voice: "Paper! Extra! All
about the great murder." At the same time he rushed up to me, pushed a
paper into my hand, took the penny I offered him mechanically, and
scampered along.

"Another murder," mused I; "what a pity human beings cannot dwell
together without taking each other's lives."

Glancing over the headlines, I learned from the big black type that a
beautiful young woman had been murdered in cold blood. Reading further,
I was horrified to find that the young woman's name was Arletta Fogg,
and that she was murdered in her own rooms, at the Seraglio Apartments,
Central Park West. I could hardly believe my eyes saw the thing aright.
I felt sure that it must be an optical illusion wrought by my constant
thought of Arletta. I looked again and again, yet read ever the same
words, and, laboring under tremendous excitement, I hurriedly perused
the account of the murder. It stated that about eleven o'clock of the
previous night Arletta Fogg had arrived at the apartment house, and had
been taken to her rooms by the elevator attendant. A half hour later a
tall, smooth-faced, white-haired gentleman arrived, and was shown to her
apartments. This man was seen by the watchman to leave the place at
three o'clock in the morning, and the chambermaid discovered her at ten
o'clock in the morning, dead, and covered with blood from several stabs
in the body.

Cold perspiration oozed from every pore of my body as I read and re-read
this article, over and over again. I was puzzled, dumbfounded, horror-
stricken. The description given of the apparent murderer tallied exactly
with myself. Straining every nerve I endeavored to regain some
impression that might lead to a knowledge of my actions from the time
Arletta left me the night before until I had recovered my senses that
day. But try as I might, I could no more recall to memory the slightest
movement on my part during that time than I could recollect any event
which happened during the twenty-one years of which my life had been a
blank.

Like a man under the influence of liquor I arose and staggered hurriedly
forward until I reached the "L" station where I boarded a train and rode
up to Eighty-first street. Here I alighted and walked rapidly over to
the Seraglio Apartments. A vast crowd of curious people was collected
about the place, and as I approached, all eyes were apparently turned
upon me.

Hastening forward I bounded up the entrance steps and almost flew into
the vestibule. There were little knots of people standing about the
hallway, talking in low tones. Even their voices hushed as I hurried
into the elevator and told the attendant to take me up to the eighth
floor. The operator appeared to be almost frightened out of his wits at
the sight of me, but after a momentary pause he ran the elevator to the
eighth floor, peering at me all the time as he might have eyed a wild
beast who was about to devour him. Many people were in the upper hall-
way, but looking neither to the right nor to the left, I went straight
to the door of the room I had entered the night I had taken Arletta
home. Finding it locked, without a moment's hesitation I threw against
it, all of the force my gigantic frame could command which caused it to
give way and fly open before me. I then observed that there were several
men in the room, in different positions and groups, as if making a study
of the surroundings. Lying upon the bed, in the room adjoining, was the
form of a woman partly covered by a spread, and being examined by a man
who might have been the coroner. As I rushed forward like a madman,
every one there became frightened and made way for me to pass.

Approaching the bed I eagerly scanned her features, and being positive
of her identity I took the inanimate form of Arletta in my arms and
kissing her tenderly, was overcome by emotion.

CHAPTER XXXIII

Arrested for the murder of Arletta Fogg, after being positively
identified by the elevator attendant and the night watchman as being the
only person who visited her apartments on the night of the crime, was
the next incident of my strange career. Thrown into prison, and caged
like a savage beast in a little cell hardly large enough to turn around
in, has been my lot ever since that awful tragedy. The case attracted
widespread interest, and the newspapers teemed with sensational accounts
of it. At the trial, all of the evidence pointed directly to me as the
perpetrator of the deed. The elevator operator swore that I was the man
whom he had taken to Arletta's apartments shortly after eleven o'clock
that night. The watchman testified that he saw me leave her room at
three o'clock in the morning. On the stand, I was made to tell, under
oath, that Arletta and I had been lovers; that we had been together that
same night in the park, and had parted at about half past ten o'clock;
that she had informed me of her intention to never see me again. By
these statements the prosecuting attorney showed the motive for the
crime. I could give no account of my time between half past ten that
night and the next day at noon, which was another strong point against
me. I had pleaded not guilty, feeling that as I knew nothing about the
crime I could not very wisely do otherwise, but also, stating that I had
suffered a temporary aberration of the mind during that time, and that
if I really did commit the deed, which I could not believe possible,
then I had done it in an entirely different character or personality
from my normal self.

My attorney endeavored to have me sham insanity during the trial, and he
became irritably insolent in his manner toward me because I positively
refused to do so. He told me that if I stuck to the truth I would surely
be convicted, but if I followed his advice by openly assuming idiotic
tactics in court and making false statements under oath, according to
his directions, he could save me without any trouble. He frequently
growled and cursed at me for the straightforward way that I gave my
testimony, claiming that his professional reputation was being ruined by
my telling the truth. He privately acknowledged that, in his opinion, I
was guilty, but that if he were successful in having me acquitted, he
would achieve great fame thereby, and incidentally be able to increase
the size of his future clients' fees.

It was proved in court-alas, the saddest blow I had yet received, that
Arletta was a frivolous young woman, who practically lived a life of
ease and luxury, by monetary gifts derived from two wealthy men, one a
United States Senator and the other a prominent Wall Street financier,
both being high pillars of the Church, and one of them being old enough
to be her grandfather. That was the most painful testimony of the whole
proceedings. It did not seem possible to me that the dear, sweet,
innocent girl, whom I had loved so much for her gentleness and kindness
of nature, could possibly lead such a dual existence, and I could not
understand why she should have deceived me, with accounts of herself so
at variance with the facts. When I thought of her as she had always
appeared to me, excepting those times when I saw her under the influence
of liquor, she seemed like a good angel, who was far beyond even the
suspicion of reproach; and so when I learned the worst, I pictured her
at her best, and my love remained unshaken. While I realized that it was
the poor girl's weakness that led her into temptation, still it was
plain to discern that the cause of her downfall was money and the
miserable creatures who utilized it to buy her very life's blood and
drag her along the mire of shame. The poor girl is dead, but the great
men, through whose efforts she was disgraced, are still alive, and are
considered eminently respectable by both the Church and the community.
The curse of money could not have been more forcibly demonstrated than
by this incident. The unfortunate young woman craved money, and sold
herself for it. My deepest sympathy goes after her to the grave. The
finger of scorn is now raised against Arletta by the whole world, but if
she could be brought back to life again, I should gladly take her by the
hand and say, that my love for her was as strong as ever, and that I
would defend her against the insults of the depraved society which
reared and educated her in the vices which it now deplores.

It took the jury just forty-five minutes to reach a decision against me.
Ten minutes of this time, as I learned from newspaper accounts, were
devoted to prayer, that the Almighty should point out the right way to
decide the case. Evidently the god, to whom the jury prayed,
demonstrated that it was their duty to convict me. For convict me they
did, by bringing in a verdict of murder in the first degree. My sentence
was that I pay the penalty of the crime with my life by being
electrocuted.

The trial was severe and brutal from beginning to end, from my point of
view. I was bullied by the prosecutor, scathingly censured by the judge,
libeled by the press, cursed by the public, and deserted by my own
attorney. I was treated like a cowardly beast of the most depraved type.
But with all the abuse that was heaped upon me, I endured it without a
murmur, calmly claiming that I was not responsible for the deed, but
perfectly willing to take any punishment the law meted out to me. There
was one thing, however, which stood out prominently amidst the many
shoals of my misfortune, which made me feel that I had not lived in
vain. My faithful little band of followers, whom I had taught the
principles of Natural Law, remained loyal to me until the very end. Not
one member of the society was there who would believe that I was guilty
of such an atrocious crime. They insisted that there was some mistake,
and spent much time and money in trying to ferret out the mystery. They
called upon me as often as the prison regulations would permit, and amid
scenes that were touching, protested their undying fidelity to me and
the cause I espoused. Each individual promised most solemnly to carry on
the work I had begun as long as his life lasted, and I feel sure that,
although the end of my time is drawing near, the work entrusted to me by
the great Sagewoman is born again, and will grow to huge proportions as
time passes on.

And so I have come to the end of my story. Tomorrow I must die. In
writing this book, I have tried to confine myself exclusively to the
truth. I have felt all along, however, my inability to do the subject
justice. There are many things that the great Sagewoman tried to impress
upon me which my little brain was not strong enough to grasp. There are
also many things which are perfectly clear in my mind, that I have been
unable to convey to others, but I have done my best, and that is all
that can be expected of any one. I should like to have given more
attention to the arrangement of this work, but unfortunately the time
allowed me has been very short, and I have had to rush it along in order
to complete it. I have produced this treatise while confined within my
cell in the death-house, and therefore have had many disadvantages to
contend with. I shall give the manuscript to the little body of men and
women who are banded together and known as the Natural Law Society, of
which I had the honor to be the founder, with the understanding that it
will be published and distributed at the earliest possible date. I could
wish that the reader might peruse the contents of this work a second
time, if it is not asking too much; at least that he might go over
carefully and thoughtfully that portion of it which contains the
teachings of the great Sagewoman. While I probably have failed to
present clearly much of the great wisdom directly received from her
magnificent brain, there may arise in the future, wise men, who will be
capable of reading in these lines much more than even I, who write them,
am able to comprehend. It is my one hope that great men will spring up
in the future and take hold of this work--men with minds so strong, so
broad, so courageous, and so unselfish, that they will be willing to
devote their lives to the noble task of trying to put the whole human
race on a footing of equality. There can be no equality so long as those
who are strong want to take more of nature's gifts than those who are
weak, and no man can ever be great who thinks that one human being is
entitled to more than another. That is selfishness. Selfishness and
greatness are the extreme opposites.

This is my last day on earth, to use a common but erroneous expression.
At noon today my soul will be separated from its body by the hand of
man, acting according to a most unnatural, diabolical, and murderous
law. And the poor unfortunate creature, who actually slays me, will do
so, not because he has a thirst for blood, but for money. Money
furnished by the State--a Christian civilization which bred and reared
us both.

I am now forty-four years old, and have just reached the threshold of
mental strength. As I am in perfect condition physically, and have a
splendid constitution as a foundation, there is no good reason why I
could not have lived at least forty years more. Forty years longer could
I have served the world at my very best, but my fellow beings have
decided to kill me, right at a time when I could have been of the most
use to them. I am really sorry that I must die, not because I fear
death, but because my opportunity to do good to others is taken from me.
Twenty-two years ago I was anxious to die, aye even by my own hand. I
thought that there was nothing to live for at that time. But the
beautiful teachings of the great Sagewoman awakened new ideas of
responsibility within me, and now I can see that the grandest thing
within the reach of a human being is to live; live as long as nature
will allow; live for others.

Natural Law teaches that it is idiotic to pray, and I believe that
prayer is a form of insanity, but were I to pray, which I profess I have
no idea of doing, my one request of the Creator would be that I might
live out my life, in order to spread the principles of Natural Law to
the furthermost corners of the earth; or, that I might be born again in
a well-constructed body, with a mind capable of grasping nature's ideas
in their entirety, and interpreting them to my fellow men in a way that
could not be misunderstood. If the Creator would grant me this request,
and I could have the ability and the power to change the conditions of
the earth to those existing in Sageland before the Catastrophe, I would
gladly give in exchange for the privilege, my eternal soul as a
sacrifice, and take upon myself everlastingly, all of the misery,
suffering, and torture now inflicted upon the rest of mankind.

Good-bye, dear reader, and may your soul always guide you.

END OF JOHN CONVERT'S WORK.

Epilogue on following pages.

EPILOGUE

FROM THE NEW YORK DAILY (Special Despatch:)

"SING SING, N. Y., 11 A. M.-Electrocution day here always attracts many
curious people about the prison walls, but the much heralded execution
of John Convert seems to have brought an unusual number of persons to
this neighborhood, and the hill overlooking the prison is almost black
with people, who have come from all parts of the State.

"Viewed from this hill, Sing Sing prison presents the appearance of a
huge, square pen, covering many acres of land, and enclosed by a high,
brick wall on the three land sides, and a tall, iron picket fence on the
side adjoining the Hudson River.

"On the top of these walls, sentinels are stationed at intervals, who
walk back and forth, armed with breech-loading rifles, and under orders
to shoot dead any prisoner attempting to escape.

"Within the enclosure, at the north end, are several red brick
buildings, which are used as workshops for the twelve hundred time
prisoners, now incarcerated here. Running along its eastern border is a
massive stone structure, about seven hundred feet long, fifty feet wide,
and sixty feet high, with windows crated by heavy, iron bars. This is
the main building of the prison, and is used principally as a dormitory
for the inmates and offices for those who have charge of the
institution.

"The extreme south end of the main building is walled off separately,
and occupied exclusively by prisoners whom the State has doomed to
death. This place is called the Death Chamber. Inside of this chamber is
a high steel cage, four tiers high, and divided into several cells,
which are about eight by six feet in dimension. Thick, cement walls,
floor, and ceiling, make each cell separate and distinct from the
others. Heavy doors of barred steel open outward onto the different
platforms, which run all the way around the inside of the cage. Armed
patrolmen, known as death guards, are kept constantly walking around
these platforms. Within this cage is John Convert and many other
notorious murderers, waiting their turns to be put to death as
punishment for their heinous crimes.

"At the south end of the Death Chamber is a solid iron door, which leads
into an adjoining little red brick building, about fifty by twenty feet
in dimension, one story high, and containing two rooms. These rooms are
perfectly bare, excepting that in one of them there is a chair, and in
the other a table. About ten feet from the door leading from the Death
Chamber is the electric chair, by which the State kills its worst
criminals. In appearance it is similar to a plain, old-fashioned garden
arm-chair, with a high back. Connected to this chair are several straps,
by which the condemned man is harnessed in a sitting position, so that
he cannot move. These straps are adjusted across the head, chest,
abdomen, both fore and upper arms and the ankles. They are not bound too
tightly, but left taut in order to allow for the expansion of the body.
The electro connections are at the head and the inside of the right
calf, the trousers being cut from the knee downward, so that a contact
can be made with the bare flesh. Just back of the chair is a large
closet, which conceals all of the electrical apparatus necessary to
throw on or off the current at the will of the Electrician, by whose
hand the condemned man is sent to eternity. Stationed within the closet,
the Electrocutioner can see what is going on outside, but cannot be seen
from without. Just back of the closet is a partition dividing the two
rooms, through which is a door leading into it. In the center of this
other room is a stationary table, upon which the autopsy is performed.

"All of the machinery has been thoroughly tested, and found to be in
good running order, and neither the State's Electrician nor the Warden
expect the slightest hitch in connection with today's proceedings. The
twelve witnesses invited by the Warden, and made necessary by law,
together with the brain experts, have arrived upon the scene, and
everything is in complete readiness for the electrocution of John
Convert."

FROM THE NEW YORK DAILY (Special Despatch:)

"SING SING, N. Y., 1:15 P. M.-One of the strangest and most pathetic
tragedies that has ever happened in the State of New York has just taken
place within the house of electrocution here, the result of which must
cause the whole civilized world to pause and shudder. Your correspondent
earnestly prays that he may never again be called upon to witness
another such horror, the effects of which have completely unnerved him
and beggars even a faint description.

"At precisely twelve o'clock today, with the State Electrician, medical
experts, and witnesses, mutely stationed in their places, the great iron
door leading from the Death Chamber was suddenly swung open, and between
two guards the gigantic form of John Convert walked over to the electric
chair, with a firm and unfaltering step. Immediately, all eyes were
turned upon him, and at the same instant there was a subdued murmur of
surprise by many of those present at the magnificent appearance of the
man.

"Tall and erect, with finely formed limbs, and powerfully built
shoulders, he easily towered above all of the other occupants of the
room. With a clean shaven face, the handsome features of which expressed
extraordinary intelligence, kindness, and gentleness of nature, combined
with wonderful strength of character, and a shapely head, overhung by an
abundance of beautiful snow-white hair, he looked more like an
ambassador from heaven than a convicted murderer. He wore a black Prince
Albert suit of clothes. As he reached the side of the chair he paused,
and calmly looking from one to the other of the assemblage, he began to
address them in a clear and melodious voice. Almost from the first
utterance, his hearers became electrified by his charming manner and
eloquence, and for nearly half an hour were held spellbound, while he
explained the principles of Natural Law, and the vast benefits the human
race could derive by putting them into effect.

"In a convincing way he drew a beautiful picture upon the minds of those
present of a heaven that should be established here on earth by and for
all living things, in which they should work united and harmoniously
together for a common and unselfish cause, instead of each one pulling
in a different direction for his own selfish purposes. He explained that
all living things were composed of the same material, which was
constantly undergoing a change from life to death and from death to life
by being molded and remolded into different forms, which are constructed
according to the intelligence absorbed by the whole. That it is within
the power of the human race, if working together as a unit, to
reconstruct all living matter on earth into more perfect organisms, just
as it is within the power of man to re-mould a pile of dead scrap iron
into new and useful machinery. That these results could only be
accomplished by the eradication of selfishness from the human race, and
that it was impossible to extinguish selfishness as long as the money
system was kept in force, and individuals were recompensed according to
their craftiness to help themselves. He told of the soul being
everlasting, and how a wise law of nature breaks the monotony of its
existence through the process of re-incarnation, and that the soul of
the rich aristocrat of today may be the soul of the suckling pig
tomorrow. He said that it was within the power of every living thing to
do good, if only following the advice of the soul, and that the oftener
this advice was taken the easier it became to do right, but that the
less the soul's warning was heeded, the more hardened and vile became
the nature of the individual. He told of how children inherit the
weaknesses of their parents, and mentioned how much grander it is for
parents to give their children character without gold, than to give them
gold without character.

"So earnestly and pathetically did he present the whole subject, that at
the conclusion of his discourse there was not a dry eye in the room, and
as he calmly took his seat in the electric chair, the whole assemblage,
including the guards, stood motionless for several moments as if in a
hypnotic trance. And then, as the guards reluctantly began to adjust the
straps about his body, three men burst into loud sobs and rushed from
the room, bitterly denouncing the electrocution as savagery, and
refusing to witness the proceedings any further. With the exception of
the condemned man, everybody was completely unstrung. But John Convert,
in the shadow of death, did not lose his wonderful self-control for a
moment, but sat with perfect equipoise in that murderous chair, calmly
watching with apparent interest the work of fastening him in. "'You have
that strap around the abdomen twisted,' he coolly remarked to one of the
excited guards, and then quietly added, 'you are not sufficiently
hardened for this kind of work, my man, but perhaps your children may
be.' And as if stung by remorse at these words, the guard suddenly burst
into a frenzy of grief and cried out in piteous tones: 'No, no! Don't
say that! I love my children. I undertook this objectionable work for
their sakes, that I might be able to give them the same advantages that
other children enjoy. But now that you have spoken, I can see that I am
paying for their advantages at the expense of their moral characters,
and that they too might follow in my miserable footsteps and, eventually
sell themselves for money. But listen, I have but just taken this
position, and now I am getting my first experience at this kind of work,
and I feel as if _I_ were about to commit murder. And now, after hearing
your wonderful words, my conscience is crying out within me to stop, and
so, in the presence of these witnesses, I not only renounce all further
connection with this abominable act, but I most solemnly swear that I
believe in Natural Law, and that I shall henceforth devote my life to
teaching its principles to my own children, and also to those of my
fellow beings. My eyes have suddenly been opened. For the first time in
my life I feel like a man.'

"At this unexpected turn of affairs, the countenance of John Convert
lighted up with a look of divine happiness that was truly glorious to
behold, and, addressing the guard, he said: 'Well spoken, my noble man.
May you accumulate sufficient strength to enable you to faithfully
follow out your splendid resolution; may your future deeds be so
unselfish, heroic, and fruitful, towards uplifting mankind, that the
grandchildren of your enemies may live to praise your name.'

"These words seemed to have a cheering effect upon the guard, who
affectionately shook the hand of Convert, and then left the room.

"During this time, however, the other guard had continued the work of
adjusting the straps, and finally having them properly arranged, stepped
backward a few feet and raised his left arm as a sign to the
Electrocutioner in the closet that everything was in readiness. And
then, just as John Convert uttered the words, 'Always Consult Your Soul
for Advice,' a terrible, dull, buzzing sound took the place of his
voice, his body suddenly expanded, as if about to burst, his limbs were
drawn up and distorted, blue flames shot forth with a weird glow, a
sickening odor of burning flesh saturated the air, and quicker than it
takes to tell, the deadly current had penetrated through every fiber of
his body.

"And then, as all turned away their heads from the awful sight, a loud
crash was heard, and the door leading from the court-yard into the other
room burst open, and in rushed the Warden, yelling like a madman: 'Stop
it! For God's sake, stop it! You are killing the wrong man!' And pulling
open the door of the closet which concealed the Electrician, he threw
off the current with his own hands. At the same time, amidst great
confusion, several of the spectators rushed forward and began
unfastening the straps which bound the unfortunate man to the chair,
after which the body was carried into the other room and laid upon the
table.

"Following in the footsteps of the Warden, was a tall, beautiful, young
woman, hatless, and with hair disheveled and dress disarranged. She was
panting heavily, and a wild, terrified look gleamed in her eyes. She
appeared dazed and almost exhausted. Catching sight of Convert, she
frantically tried to get near him, but was held in check by one of the
doctors, while the other one made a hurried examination of the body. And
then, this doctor, apparently suffering from great mental excitement,
turned toward those present, and, with his eyes full of tears, chokingly
whispered, 'Too late, he is dead.'

"At these terrible words, the young woman uttered a heart-piercing
shriek, and, rushing forward, threw herself upon the corpse, as she
piteously moaned: 'You have murdered him. You have murdered him.'"

FROM THE NEW YORK DAILY.

"The following statement, made by one of Chicago's most beautiful and
brilliant young society women, is the sequel to the most extraordinary
case that ever attracted public attention in this country:

"'My name is Arletta Wright. My father is R. U. Wright, of Chicago,
Ill., the well-known financier and multi-millionaire. A few years ago,
while in Paris, I was introduced to a man by the name of John Convert. I
supposed he was an American, but at that time did not take enough
interest in him to inquire as to who he was or where he came from.
Later, however, I found that he was continually crossing my path, and
appeared anxious to court my attention. He was a tall, well-built,
handsome man, with a clean-shaven face and snow-white hair, apparently
about forty years old. But there was something about his looks and
actions that I did not like, and I tried to avoid him as much as
possible. But he was not to be avoided very easily, and, after
persistently following me all over Europe, he crossed the ocean in the
same steamer, and finally came to my home in Chicago. He got to be such
a nuisance that he was refused admittance to our house, and in order to
get rid of him entirely, I secretly left Chicago and went abroad again.
A few months afterward I returned home, and found that he had left for
parts unknown, and the incident was soon forgotten.

"'During the month of March, 1903, about two and a half years later,
important business called my father to New York for a stay of several
months, and mother and I, accompanying him, we took apartments at the
Opulent Hotel, on Broadway, near Seventy-eighth street.

"'About that time I decided to visit the different institutions of New
York, and one day as I was being shown through a charity ward of the
Ruff Hospital, I was astonished to see John Convert lying sick upon one
of the cots. He had a wild and peculiar stare in his eyes and at first
gave no sign of recognition, but seemed to be undergoing an intense"
mental strain, as if trying to recall to mind some event that had
escaped his memory. The doctor informed me that he was an unidentified
charity patient suffering with typhoid fever and was evidently insane.
He told me that the man imagined he had been in a trance for over four
thousand years, and could only be brought out of it by a kiss from one
he called Arletta. My heart seemed to melt with pity and sorrow, and my
dislike changed into love for the man upon hearing these words, and
without hesitation I kissed him, at the same time hoping most sincerely
that the act would have a salutary effect. Strange as it may seem, the
whole expression of his countenance changed instantly as if by some
magic force; his eyes lighted up radiantly, and looking at me in great
astonishment he uttered my name-Arletta. But while I was quite elated
over my strange success, I was also much surprised and puzzled at his
following utterances, whereby he claimed that I was the re-incarnated
soul of Arletta of Sageland, who, according to his story, had died on
the same day I was born, over twenty-one years before, and from which
time he could form no recollection of events whatever.

"'Subsequently, I was informed by an eminent brain specialist, who
examined him, that he was mentally sound, but that owing to a severe
fracture of the skull received some time previously his brain had become
divided into two distinct parts, causing two personalities to exist and
enabling him to recollect events only as they were separately recorded
on either side of the brain. By this explanation I readily understood
the reason why he did not recognize me and also for the wonderful change
which took place, both in his character and my feelings toward him. On
that day my first and last love for man was born.

"'As time passed by, and he recovered his health and strength, he
appeared to me the most beautiful character I had ever known, and with
each succeeding day my love for him grew stronger. But while love formed
a strong mutual link of attachment between us, another force succeeded
in putting us apart.

"'He believed in Natural Law and unselfishness, with equal rights for
both strong and weak alike. I believed in religion and selfishness, with
the strong enjoying more earthly blessings than the weak.

"'He believed in a Supreme Being, who created immutable laws whereby the
entire machinery of the universe is governed, and that these laws could
no more be changed by the silly prayers of man than by the prayers of a
microbe. I believed in a god to whom I could pray to change earthly
conditions to suit my fancies; a god willing to grant me favors even at
the expense of others.

"'He believed in re-incarnation, and the power of the soul to eventually
master the flesh and create a heaven on earth. I believed in the
transmigration of the soul to some obscure heaven where there would be
nothing farther to do but rest during all eternity.

"'He was broad in his views and never tried to restrain me from thinking
as I liked. I was narrow in mine, and quite unwilling that he should
believe in any theory except my own.

"'These and other differences of opinion caused us to separate.

"'One night last June, the same night that awful murder took place in
the Seraglio Apartments, I met John Convert at our regular meeting place
in Central Park for the last time. It was my habit to meet him in an
out-of-the-way corner of the park, because I did not want my parents or
friends to know of it. For this same reason, I had never told him my
last name or place of residence. At this meeting, I informed him that he
must either give up all further connection with the movement he had
instituted toward the regeneration of mankind, or bid me good-bye
forever. He chose the latter course, although I know that his heart was
fairly bursting with grief when I left him.

"'Now, that it is too late, I can fully appreciate what a grand, noble
fellow he was. I offered him a million dollars to forsake the cause he
had pledged himself to uphold. Think of it, one million dollars! A sum
of money for which most civilized men would gladly sell their eternal
souls. But John Convert, a believer in Natural Law, could not be bought
at any price, and even though I offered him my hand in marriage, an
offering which many Crown Princes of Europe have repeatedly begged for,
still he would not recede from the grand purpose he had undertaken.

"'Well, we parted, and the next morning I boarded a steamer bound for
Europe. But I was wretched and unhappy, and felt that life was a burden
to me. I was unable to drive the image of John Convert out of my mind,
and as I stood upon the deck of the steamer, as it passed along the
river leading to the ocean. I looked back toward New York, and fancied I
could see poor John standing alone, and forlorn, upon one of the docks,
with his arms outstretched, sadly imploring me to return, and with a
feeling of remorse I started for my stateroom to lie down and have a
good cry.

"'As I hurried along the dark passageway leading to my room, I was
almost startled out of my senses by coming face to face with the very
man I thought I had left behind, John Convert. He appeared to be even
more startled than myself, and, stepping backward a few paces, he fairly
trembled, as he hoarsely exclaimed: 'My God, Arletta, is that really
you?' At these words I became frightened, and as the faint rays of light
from a distant port-hole fell squarely upon his face, I observed a wild,
peculiar stare in his eyes, and noticed that his whole countenance was
overcast by a most villainous expression. At that moment, I remembered
the doctor's warning words, that he might change personalities at any
time that he was subjected to severe mental excitement, and I now
recognized in the man standing before me the same character I had met in
Paris. Just as quickly as love had taken possession of my feelings for
John Convert in the hospital, just that suddenly did it depart when I
saw this detestable looking creature in front of me. In an instant he
became loathsome to my sight, and without waiting for another word I
rushed into my state-room and bolted the door.

"'Not once did I leave my room during that trip across the ocean, but
when the steamer arrived at Liverpool, and I started to go ashore, the
very first person my eyes rested upon was John Convert; and from that
time on he incessantly dogged my footsteps all over Europe. The more I
saw of him, the more debased and despicable he appeared to me. The good,
kind, old face, that I had loved so well, had now apparently become
distorted by a murderous expression, and the soulful eyes which had
intoxicated me with ecstasy, now depicted the nature of a degenerate. I
shunned him as I would a leper, and many times I wished that I had left
him to die in the hospital, instead of aiding him to recover. He became
so objectionable to my sight that I threatened to have him arrested if
he did not stop following me about. But this had no effect upon him
whatever, and after three long, weary months of travel on the continent,
in which I attempted to elude him, without success, I finally returned
to England and boarded a steamer at Southampton for New York. I fully
expected to see John Convert make the voyage also, but to my surprise
and great joy I saw him standing on the pier after the steamer had left
her moorings and was steaming away. He stood waving his hand at me, and
I watched him until beyond the range of vision, then went down to my
state-room, with a feeling of relief, as though a great load had been
lifted from my shoulders. One of the first things that attracted my
attention after entering the state-room, was a large, well-filled
envelope, lying upon the bed, and addressed to me. Tearing it open, I
found an assortment of various documents, among which was the following
letter.'"

"'My dear Arletta: At last realizing that you are beyond my reach and
that further efforts to win your love would be useless, and feeling that
after all, my affinity is not really you but she whom I recently killed,
and as my conscience is torturing me until I can find no rest or
contentment in life, I have decided to avenge the many crimes I have
committed during the past by taking my own life, and ere you read these
lines I shall be dead.

"'My life has been a most miserable failure, and were it not for the
fact that during my last hours I feel a strong desire to try and make
amends, through you, to the man I have been impersonating for many
years, I should, quietly pass out of existence without further ado.

"'In the first place my name is not John, but Edward Convert, son of
Henry Convert, and grandson of Peter Convert, who many years ago was a
wealthy banker of London, England.

"'My grandfather had two sons; James, the elder, being my uncle, and
Henry the younger, my father.

"'About the time my father reached maturity, both he and my uncle fell
in love with beautiful twin sisters of a poor family, and in due course
of time each took one as a wife. This was done in direct opposition to
my grandfather's commands, and so incensed did he become over the
affair, that when he died shortly afterward, it was found that he had
cut them both off with a mere pittance, while the bulk of his estate
which was valued at several million pounds, was to be held in trust
until the eldest son of my uncle James had reached maturity, after which
it was to be delivered to him intact.

"'At that time neither my father nor uncle had children, and being of
different temperaments-my uncle a pious clergyman, and my father a
broker with gambling tendencies-they soon parted and lost track of each
other.

"'My parents emigrated to Canada and resided in Toronto for some years,
in which city I was born. When I was about five years of age my mother
died, and a short time later my father moved to Buffalo, N. Y., and
entered into the brokerage business there. As I grew up, I was educated
with the sole idea that the only purpose for which I had been created
was to get money. At home I was taught by my father, in school through
books, and at church by the pastor, that my success in life would be
judged according to the amount of money I could accumulate. Was it any
wonder, then, that I grew up to worship money as the real god, and to
finally sell my soul for it? Oh, the terrible curse of money! And what
an awful crime for parents to teach their children to love it! Had I not
been taught from infancy to crave money, I might have become a useful
member of the human family, and utilized my brain power for some worthy
cause, instead of using it to scheme, cheat, steal, and even murder, in
order that I might obtain it.

"Well, one day when I was about sixteen years old, my father, having
just returned from one of his western trips, informed me that he had
accidentally run across his brother James, the clergyman, in a little
Kansas town named Eden. He said that my uncle told him that his wife had
died sixteen years before, while giving birth to an only son, as they
were crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Subsequently this son, who had been
named John, ran away from home when he was but eleven years old, and had
never been seen or heard of since. My father said that Uncle James had
evidently brooded over the matter so long that he was broken down in
health and could not live much longer. Then he showed me a picture of
John Convert, when he was ten years old, and said that it looked exactly
like me at that age. Finally, he told me that Cousin John was the sole
heir to his grandfather's estate, and intimated that it would be a
splendid stroke of business for me to go to Eden and pretend to be the
long-lost son, and, after reaching the age of twenty-one, claim the
estate as my own. My father told me that as soon as he heard my uncle's
story, his well-trained financial brain had immediately formulated this
excellent plan, and consequently he led my uncle to believe that he had
no children of his own. He also ascertained the names of the different
places where my uncle had lived during the past, and proposed that I
should visit these localities and become acquainted with John's old
playmates, in order to acquire a thorough knowledge of his youthful
characteristics and any other useful information necessary to carry out
the deception successfully.

"'Well, I entered into the plot with enthusiasm, and within six months
presented myself to Uncle James as his son.

"'At first the scheme worked to perfection, and there was great
rejoicing in the little town of Eden, where the Rev. James Convert was
an honored and respected citizen of the community. But as time went by,
my uncle apparently began to doubt my identity, for at times he would
look at me long and searchingly, and then, with a sorrowful shake of the
head, would remark that I lacked the character of the boy he had known
as his son. So, fearing that he might ultimately discover the fraud and
foil our plans, my father and I jointly murdered him by a slow process
of poison. Then, with the necessary papers in my possession, and plenty
of reputable witnesses from Eden to swear that I was the acknowledged
son of the Rev. James Convert, at the age of twenty-one I took
possession of my grandfather's vast estate in England.

"'But the fear of the rightful heir turning up sooner or later to expose
the fraud began to haunt me, and, feeling my insecurity as long as he
was alive, I began a long and tedious search for John Convert, which
extended to all parts of the world, and covered a period of over twenty-
three years, with the sole purpose of killing him if found.

"'In the meantime, fearing that my father might become conscience-
stricken sooner or later, and make a confession of our crime to the
authorities, I killed him also; and of the three murders, of which I am
now responsible, I feel less concern over my father's death than of the
other two; for was it not from him that I inherited the instincts to
lie, cheat, steal, and murder for money, and by his instructions that
these instincts were developed, instead of being discouraged from
infancy?

"'Well, although I searched in nearly every nook and corner of the
globe, I was unable to find even a clue to my missing cousin, but during
that time a most peculiar affair happened, which resulted in my killing
a third victim.

"'As you will remember, I met and became infatuated with you in Paris
over three years ago, and then followed you to Chicago. After learning
that you had secretly departed for Europe again in order to avoid me, I
made up my mind to bother you no further, and taking a trip in the
opposite direction I spent considerable time touring Australia, Africa
and Asia. It was about two years after, while stopping at a fashionable
hotel in Berlin that I discovered a young woman boarding there by the
name of Arletta Fogg. So closely did she resemble you that I supposed it
was you living there under an assumed name. At first when I accused her
of being Arletta Wright, of Chicago, she denied it emphatically. But
later, after learning that I was a millionaire, she pretended that I was
right in my supposition and led me to believe that she had left home for
an indefinite period owing to some family disagreement and was now
traveling incognito. She permitted me to show her many attentions and
gradually we became very good friends. So infatuated with her charms did
I become that I was her abject slave. We went to Italy and Egypt
together and I lavished money upon her without stint. I proposed
honorable marriage to her a hundred times, but she always refused,
saying that she preferred a free and independent life. We went to New
York, and there I discovered that there were other men besides myself
interested in her, and that she had two different places of residence.
Several times I saw her in fashionable restaurants dining with other
men, and following her one night into the Seraglio Apartments, I found
that she occupied a suite of rooms there, of which I had known nothing.
She was somewhat under the influence of liquor that night, and the
information I secured from her was of such a kind that it almost drove
me mad with jealousy, and in a fit of frenzy I stabbed her to death with
her own toy dagger and left her lying on the bed. The next morning I
quietly boarded the steamer for Europe, and keeping out of sight until
away from land, I started to go to the purser's office to pay for my
passage, when the very first person I met was you. You can well imagine
how it startled me to see one whom I thought was dead. But after the
first shock had passed away, and learning from the list that Arletta
Wright was a passenger, I gave the whole matter thoughtful consideration
and finally concluded that Arletta Fogg and Arletta Wright were two
different persons and that the other was merely a beautiful adventuress
and your double.

"'Well, you know the rest. You never would care for me, and as the great
wealth I so wrongfully acquired cannot buy happiness of peace of mind, I
shall ask God to forgive my sins and then blow out the brains that have
become so useless.

"'Somewhere in this world the right John Convert may be earning his
bread by the sweat of his brow, entirely ignorant of the fact that he is
a millionaire by birth, for it was his father's intention never to
disclose this secret to him, preferring that he should spend his time as
a useful laborer, rather than a moneyed loafer, living without work.
Whether he resembles me at this age or not, I cannot say. Perhaps not,
for my hair has become prematurely white from sin and worry. Then again,
he may wear a beard, while my face is clean shaven. But no matter where
he is, what he does, or how he looks, I shall trust in you to do all
within your power to try and locate him, and deliver into his hands the
enclosed papers, which will be the means of restoring his possessions to
him.

"'If you are fortunate enough to find him, beg his forgiveness for me,
and say that the cause of all my wickedness was money, and a father who
taught me to love it. With a prayer to God for mercy, I shall expect to
go to heaven in spite of my sins, as I have faith in Jesus Christ, and,
hoping to meet you there, I bid you good-bye until then.

"'Sincerely yours,

"'EDWARD (JOHN) CONVERT.'"

"'Notwithstanding the dreadful contents of this letter, I felt like
crying with joy after reading it, as my mind once more became occupied
with thoughts of the splendid character whom I had so ardently loved,
but shamefully deserted in New York three months previously. I made up
my mind to return and ask his forgiveness, and then join him in his
praiseworthy labors of uplifting mankind. Oh! what happiness I
experienced during the next few days in anticipation of seeing him again
and hearing his manly voice. But alas, how little we know what sorrows
are in store for us! The steamer arrived at her wharf at ten o'clock
this morning, and a few minutes later. I was seated in a carriage
speeding along in the direction of the Waldoria Hotel. At forty minutes
past ten I inquired of the clerk for John Convert. Then came the
appalling information that he was to be electrocuted at noon for the
murder of Arletta Fogg. The rest seems like an awful nightmare. Getting
a schedule of trains for Sing Sing, I rushed outside the hotel, and,
jumping in the first cab I saw, handed the driver a roll of bills, and
told him they were all his if he could get me to the depot in time to
catch the eleven o'clock train. Through the streets like mad we whirled,
and, reaching the station, I quickly alighted and ran to the ticket
office, and from there to the train, which I boarded just as it started
away. It was an express, which made no stops before reaching Sing Sing,
and was due there at exactly twelve o'clock, the time set for the
electrocution. I told the conductor that I would give him a million
dollars if he would land me in Sing Sing fifteen minutes ahead of time,
but he apparently thought I was insane, and paid no attention to my
frantic entreaties to go faster. To make matters worse, the train
arrived five minutes late, but, hoping against hopes, I got into a
carriage and was driven to the prison.

"Here the attendants thought I was crazy, as I rushed into the reception
room, crying out to stop the electrocution, and they would not permit me
to see the Warden, who was in his private office. Hearing my cries,
however, the Warden came out to see what was the trouble, and as quickly
as possible I explained to him the circumstances surrounding the murder
of Arletta Fogg, and showed him the written confession of Edward
Convert. He read just enough to make sure he was right, and then with an
exclamation of horror he rushed out of the office, followed by me.
Through grated doors, long, dismal corridors, and a court-yard, we ran,
and coming to a little, red brick house, he broke open the frame door
with a crash, and hurried inside, only to find that we were just a
minute too late.'"

"After a fit of sobbing, Arletta Wright quieted herself long enough to
say: 'Telegraph the news to all parts of the civilized world that the
State of New York has just murdered the noblest mortal of which history
has ever made mention. Tell the inhabitants that through his teachings a
new dispensation has sprung into existence, and that Sagemanism is born
again. Publicly announce my firm belief in the beautiful principles of
Natural Law, and say that henceforth I renounce all further allegiance
to a religion which permits the strong to victimize the weak, and
upholds a corrupt and unnatural system, which allows schemers, thieves,
gamblers, sneaks, loafers, spongers, and all other kinds of human
parasites to grow fat off the labors of those who toil. Say that I shall
take up the work where John Convert left off, and devote the remainder
of my life and all of my wealth towards the cause he advocated.'"

(THE END.)

STRAY SHOTS

The foundation of humbug is faith.

The light of the universe is reason.

Better be an unselfish dog than a selfish man.

Advice is cheap, so always give the best.

To exhibit temper is to demonstrate insanity.

The rich of today breed thieves for tomorrow.

Strengthen yourself that you may help those less fortunate.

There is never a pleasure lost that there is not another gained.

True philanthropy does not steal from one to give to another.

Religions burn their bridges in front instead of behind them.

One good man on earth is better than ten thousand in heaven.

Feed the mind with good thoughts and you will always be happy.

Keep the mind and body clean and the soul will take care of itself.

Put your trust in the desires of your conscience.

There are two ways to think--animal and human.

Make your soul the master of your mind and body.

Observe at least one day each week for rest and play.

Man is great among men as the flea is great among fleas.

No drawback should cause man to lose control of himself.

Better be a good man persecuted, than a bad man praised.

You of few weaknesses should not judge harshly of those with many
weaknesses.

Hate not, but pity your enemies, for thereby you demonstrate your own
superiority.

It makes little difference who gets the credit, as long as the world
derives the benefit.

Without Labor, Capital would starve; without Capital, Labor could live
in luxury.

A liar is a moral coward who fears to speak the truth and abide by the
consequences.

Permit your soul to look from the eye and all of nature's objects will
appear beautiful.

Hide not your face behind a fantastic beard, that the world may read
your character.

The expression of the face is caused by the tendency of the thought.

Semi-intelligent beings try to live on the strength of those less
intelligent.

Persecution is a deadly poison which reacts upon those who administer
it.

He with many faults is generally too weak to overlook the faults of
others.

Which is the most beastly, the pig itself, or the man who rears, kills
and eats it?

Behold yourself through the eyes of others and judge your worth
accordingly.

When man dies he leaves his works for the approbation or contempt of
posterity.

As the mother loves her child, so should all living things love each
other.

The sins of the parents are visited upon the children as a natural
result, and not by an act of the Almighty.

There are thoughts in existence today which man will not be able to
grasp for thousands of years to come.

Replace the Church with schools of moral, mental and physical culture
and the world will pro& thereby.

As the swindler first creates a feeling of faith in his intended victim,
so religion demands faith in its followers.

Of what good are you if you gain the produce of the whole world and
breed ten thousand criminal descendants.

There are many men in this world who call it work to figure how they can
secure the results of others' labor.

If you have knowledge, offer it to others; if they do not accept it,
that is their loss.

Do not fill your head so full of other people's ideas that there is no
room left for your own.

Point out the defects of him who is present; praise the good qualities
of him who is absent.

Those who ride upon the backs of others must in turn carry others upon
their own backs.

The Bible not only proves its own absurdities, but any others that the
human mind can conceive.

Parents should mould their children's character before they are born, by
their own thoughts and actions.

Your ancestors are responsible for the weaknesses you inherit, but you
are responsible for non-improvement.

Marrying for money or position without mutual love is but one way to
breed and preserve the germs of prostitution.

It is not only the selfishness of the strong that robs the weak, but
also the selfishness of the weak that keeps them so.

If nature has blessed you with superior ability and you do not use it to
benefit mankind, then you have betrayed nature's trust.

The laborer furnishes the capitalist with money, houses, clothes,
eatables, service and then the weapons and power to keep him enslaved.

If you have not improved your condition physically, mentally and morally
over that of your parents, your life has been a failure.

Religion is a great cudgel held threateningly by the strong over the
heads of the weak to keep them in a state of ignorance and slavery.

If the soul were born with the body, then it must die with it; but if
the soul live afterward, then it must have lived before the body was
born.

The learned man is sometimes wise; the wise man is not always learned.
The wise man produces good thoughts direct from nature; the learned man
acquires them afterward.





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