The Golden Age Of Science Fiction Vol I Part 6

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"The amir?" I asked; "what is that?"

"It is the metropolis," said she.

I was utterly overwhelmed, yet still I tried to console her; but the attempt was vain.

"Oh!" she cried, "you will not understand. The sacrifice is but a part--it is but the beginning. Death is terrible; yet it may be endured--if there is only death. But oh!--oh think!--think of that which comes after--the Mista Kosek!"

Now the full meaning flashed upon me, and I saw it all. In an instant there arose in my mind the awful sacrifice on the pyramid and the unutterable horror of the Mista Kosek. Oh, horror, horror, horror! Oh, hideous abomination and deed without a name! I could not speak. I caught her in my arms, and we both wept pa.s.sionately.

The happiness of our love was now darkened by this tremendous cloud that lowered before us. The shock of this discovery was overpowering, and some time elapsed before I could rally from it. Though Almah's love was sweet beyond expression, and though as the time pa.s.sed I saw that every jom she regained more and more of her former health and strength, still I could not forget what had been revealed. We were happy with one another, yet our happiness was clouded, and amid the brightness of our love there was ever present the dread spectre of our appalling doom.

These feelings, however, grew fainter. Hope is ever ready to arise; and I began to think that these people, though given to evil ways, were after all kind-hearted, and might listen to entreaty. Above all, there was the Kohen, so benevolent, so self-denying, so amiable, so sympathetic. I could not forget all that he had said during Almah's illness, and it seemed more than probable that an appeal to his better nature might not be without effect. I said as much to Almah.

"The Kohen," said she; "why, he can do nothing."

"Why not? He is the chief man here, and ought to have great influence."

"You don't understand," said she, with a sigh. "The Kohen is the lowest and least influential man in the city."

"Why, who are influential if he is not?" I asked.

"The paupers," said Almah.

"The paupers!" I exclaimed, in amazement.

"Yes," said Almah. "Here among these people the paupers form the most honored, influential, and envied portion of the community."

This was incomprehensible. Almah tried to explain, but to no purpose, and I determined to talk to the Kohen.



I determined to talk to the Kohen, and try for myself whether he might not be accessible to pity. This greatest of cannibals might, indeed, have his little peculiarities, I thought, and who has not?--yet at bottom he seemed full of tender and benevolent feeling; and as he evidently spent his whole time in the endeavor to make us happy, it seemed not unlikely that he might do something for our happiness in a case where our very existence was at stake.

The Kohen listened with deep attention as I stated my case. I did this fully and frankly. I talked of my love for Almah and of Almah's love for me; our hope that we might be united so as to live happily in reciprocal affection; and I was going on to speak of the dread that was in my heart when he interrupted me: "You speak of being united," said he. "You talk strangely. Of course you mean that you wish to be separated."

"Separated!" I exclaimed. "What do you mean? Of course we wish to be united."

The Kohen stared at me as I said this with the look of one who was quite puzzled; and I then went on to speak of the fate that was before us, and to entreat his sympathy and his aid that we might be saved from so hideous a doom. To all these words the Kohen listened with an air of amazement, as though I were saying incomprehensible things.

"You have a gentle and an affectionate nature," I said--"a nature full of sympathy with others, and n.o.ble self-denial."

"Of course," said the Kohen, quickly, as though glad to get hold of something which he could understand, "of course we are all so, for we are so made. It is our nature. Who is there who is not self-denying? No one can help that."

This sounded strange indeed; but I did not care to criticize it. I came to my purpose direct and said, "Save us from our fate."

"Your fate?"

"Yes, from death--that death of horror."

"Death?--horror? What do you mean by horror?" said the Kohen, in an amazement that was sincere and unfeigned. "I cannot comprehend your meaning. It seems as though you actually dislike death; but that is not conceivable. It cannot be possible that you fear death."

"Fear death!" I exclaimed, "I do--I do. Who is there that does not fear it?"

The Kohen stared.

"I do not understand you," he said.

"Do you not understand," said I, "that death is abhorrent to humanity?"

"Abhorrent!" said the Kohen; "that is impossible. Is it not the highest blessing? Who is there that does not long for death? Death is the greatest blessing, the chief desire of man--the highest aim. And you--are you not to be envied in having your felicity so near? above all, in having such a death as that which is appointed for you--so n.o.ble, so sublime? You must be mad; your happiness has turned your head."

All this seemed like hideous mockery, and I stared at the Kohen with a gaze that probably strengthened his opinion of my madness.

"Do you love death?" I asked at length, in amazement.

"Love death? What a question! Of course I love death--all men do; who does not? Is it not human nature? Do we not instinctively fly to meet it whenever we can? Do we not rush into the jaws of sea-monsters, or throw ourselves within their grasp? Who does not feel within him this intense longing after death as the strongest pa.s.sion of his heart?"

"I don't know--I don't know," said I. "You are of a different race; I do not understand what you say. But I belong to a race that fears death. I fear death and love life; and I entreat you, I implore you to help me now in my distress, and a.s.sist me so that I may save my life and that of Almah."

"I--I help you!" said the Kohen, in new amazement. "Why do you come to me--to me, of all men? Why, I am nothing here. And help you to live--to live! Who ever heard of such a thing?"

And the Kohen looked at me with the same astonishment which I should evince if a man should ask me to help him to die.

Still, I persisted in my entreaty for his help.

"Such a request," said he, "is revolting; you must be mad. Such a request outrages all the instincts of humanity. And even if I could do such violence to my own nature as to help you to such a thing, how do you think I could face my fellow-men, or how could I endure the terrible punishment which would fall upon me?"

"Punishment!" said I. "What! would you be punished?"

"Punished!" said the Kohen. "That, of course, would be inevitable. I should be esteemed an unnatural monster and the chief of criminals. My lot in life now is painful enough; but in this case my punishment would involve me in evils without end. Riches would be poured upon me; I should be raised to the rank of Kohen Gadol; I should be removed farther away than ever from the pauper cla.s.s--so far, indeed, that all hope in life would be over. I should be made the first and n.o.blest and richest in all the land."

He spoke these words just as if he had said, "the lowest, meanest, poorest, and most infamous." It sounded like fresh mockery, and I could not believe but that he was amusing himself at my expense.

"This is cruel," said I. "You are mocking me."

"Cruel?--cruel?" said he; "what is cruel? You mean that such a fate would be cruel for me."

"No, no," said I; "but alas! I see we cannot understand one another."

"No," said the Kohen, musingly, as he looked at me. "No, it seems not; but tell me, Atam-or, is it possible that you really fear death--that you really love life?"

"Fear death!--love life!" I cried. "Who does not? Who can help it? Why do you ask me that?"

The Kohen clasped his hands in amazement.

"If you really fear death," said he, "what possible thing is there left to love or to hope for? What, then, do you think the highest blessing of man?"

"Long life," said I, "and riches and requited love."

At this the Kohen started back, and stared at me as though I were a raving madman.

"Oh, holy shades of night!" he exclaimed. "What is that you say? What do you mean?"

"We can never understand one another, I fear," said I. "The love of life must necessarily be the strongest pa.s.sion of man. We are so made. We give up everything for life. A long life is everywhere considered as the highest blessing; and there is no one who is willing to die, no matter what his suffering may be. Riches also are desired by all, for poverty is the direst curse that can embitter life; and as to requited love, surely that is the sweetest, purest, and most divine joy that the human heart may know."

At this the Kohen burst forth in a strain of high excitement: "Oh, sacred cavern gloom! Oh, divine darkness! Oh, impenetrable abysses of night! What, oh, what is this! Oh, Atam-or, are you mad? Alas! it must be so. Joy has turned your brain; you are quite demented. You call good evil, and evil good; our light is your darkness, and our darkness your light. Yet surely you cannot be altogether insane. Come, come, let us look further. How is it! Try now to recall your reason. A long life--a life, and a long one! Surely there can be no human being in a healthy state of nature who wishes to prolong his life; and as to riches, it is possible that anyone exists who really and honestly desires riches? Impossible! And requited love! Oh, Atam-or, you are mad to-day! You are always strange, but now you have quite taken leave of your senses. I cannot but love you, and yet I can never understand you. Tell me, and tell me truly, what is it that you consider evils, if these things that you have mentioned are not the very worst?"

He seemed deeply in earnest and much moved. I could not understand him, but could only answer his questions with simple conciseness.

"Poverty, sickness, and death," said I, "are evils; but the worst of all evils is unrequited love."

At these words the Kohen made a gesture of despair.

"It is impossible to understand this," said he. "You talk calmly; you have not the air of a madman. If your fellow-countrymen are all like you, then your race is an incomprehensible one. Why, death is the greatest blessing. We all long for it; it is the end of our being. As for riches, they are a curse, abhorred by all. Above all, as to love, we shrink from the thought of requital. Death is our chief blessing, poverty our greatest happiness, and unrequited love the sweetest lot of man."

All this sounded like the ravings of a lunatic, yet the Kohen was not mad. It seemed also like the mockery of some teasing demon; but the gentle and self-denying Kohen was no teasing demon, and mockery with him was impossible. I was therefore more bewildered than ever at this reiteration of sentiments that were so utterly incomprehensible. He, on the other hand, seemed as astonished at my sentiments and as bewildered, and we could find no common ground on which to meet.

"I remember now," said the Kohen, in a musing tone, "having heard of some strange folk at the Amir, who profess to feel as you say you feel, but no one believes that they are in earnest; for although they may even bring themselves to think that they are in earnest in their professions, yet after all everyone thinks that they are self-deceived. For you see, in the first place, these feelings which you profess are utterly unnatural. We are so made that we cannot help loving death; it is a sort of instinct. We are also created in such a way that we cannot help longing after poverty. The pauper must always, among all men, be the most envied of mortals. Nature, too, has made us such that the pa.s.sion of love, when it arises, is so vehement, so all-consuming that it must always struggle to avoid requital. This is the reason why, when two people find that they love each other, they always separate and avoid one another for the rest of their lives. This is human nature. We cannot help it; and it is this that distinguishes us from the animals. Why, if men were to feel as you say you feel, they would be mere animals. Animals fear death; animals love to acc.u.mulate such things as they prize; animals, when they love, go in pairs, and remain with one another. But man, with his intellect, would not be man if he loved life and desired riches and sought for requited love."

I sank back in despair. "You cannot mean all this," I said.

He threw at me a piteous glance. "What else can you believe or feel?" said he.

"The very opposite. We are so made that we hate and fear death; to us he is the King of Terrors. Poverty is terrible also, since it is a.s.sociated with want and woe; it is, therefore, natural to man to strive after riches. As to the pa.s.sion of love, that is so vehement that the first and only thought is requital. Unrequited love is anguish beyond expression--anguish so severe that the heart will often break under it."

The Kohen clasped his hands in new bewilderment.

"I cannot understand," said he. "A madman might imagine that he loved life and desired riches; but as to love, why even a madman could not think of requital, for the very nature of the pa.s.sion of love is the most utter self-surrender, and a shrinking from all requital; wherefore, the feeling that leads one to desire requital cannot be love. I do not know what it can be--indeed, I never heard of such a thing before, and the annals of the human race make no mention of such a feeling. For what is love? It is the ardent outflow of the whole being--the yearning of one human heart to lavish all its treasures upon another. Love is more than self-denial; it is self-surrender and utter self-abnegation. Love gives all away, and cannot possibly receive anything in return. A requital of love would mean selfishness, which would be self-contradiction. The more one loves, the more he must shrink from requital."

"What!" cried I, "among you do lovers never marry?"

"Lovers marry? Never!"

"Do married people never love one another?"

The Kohen shook his head.

"It unfortunately sometimes happens so," said he, "and then the result is, of course, distressing. For the children's sake the parents will often remain with one another, but in many cases they separate. No one can tell the misery that ensues where a husband and wife love one another."

The conversation grew insupportable. I could not follow the Kohen in what seemed the wildest and maddest flights of fancy that ever were known; so I began to talk of other things, and gradually the Kohen was drawn to speak of his own life. The account which he gave of himself was not one whit less strange than his previous remarks, and for this reason I add it here.

"I was born," said he, "in the most enviable of positions. My father and mother were among the poorest in the land. Both died when I was a child, and I never saw them. I grew up in the open fields and public caverns, along with the most esteemed paupers. But, unfortunately for me, there was something wanting in my natural disposition. I loved death, of course, and poverty, too, very strongly; but I did not have that eager and energetic pa.s.sion which is so desirable, nor was I watchful enough over my blessed estate of poverty. Surrounded as I was by those who were only too ready to take advantage of my ignorance or want of vigilance, I soon fell into evil ways, and gradually, in spite of myself, I found wealth pouring in upon me. Designing men succeeded in winning my consent to receive their possessions; and so I gradually fell away from that lofty position in which I was born. I grew richer and richer. My friends warned me, but in vain. I was too weak to resist; in fact, I lacked moral fibre, and had never learned how to say 'No.' So I went on, descending lower and lower in the scale of being. I became a capitalist, an Athon, a general officer, and finally Kohen.

"At length, on one eventful day, I learned that one of my a.s.sociates had by a long course of reckless folly become the richest man in all the country. He had become Athon, Melek, and at last Kohen Gadol. It was a terrible shock, but I trust a salutary one. I at once resolved to reform. That resolution I have steadily kept, and have at least saved myself from descending any lower. It is true, I can hardly hope to become what I once was. It is only too easy to grow rich; and, you know, poverty once forfeited can never return except in rare instances. I have, however, succeeded in getting rid of most of my wealth, chiefly through the fortunate advent of Almah and afterward of yourself. This, I confess, has been my salvation. Neither of you had any scruples about accepting what was bestowed, and so I did not feel as though I was doing you any wrong in giving you all I had in the world. Most of the people of this city have taken advantage of your extraordinary indifference to wealth, and have made themselves paupers at your expense. I had already become your slave, and had received the promise of being elevated to the rank of scullion in the cavern of the Mista Kosek. But now, since this event of your love for Almah, I hope to gain far more. I am almost certain of being made a pauper, and I think I can almost venture to hope some day for the honor of a public death."

To such a story I had nothing to say. It was sheer madness; yet it was terribly suggestive, and showed how utterly hopeless was my effort to secure the a.s.sistance of such a man toward my escape from death.

"A public death!" I said, grimly. "That will be very fortunate! And do you think that you will gain the dignity of being eaten up afterward?"

The Kohen shook his head in all seriousness.

"Oh no," said he; "that would be far beyond my deserts. That is an honor which is only bestowed upon the most distinguished."



These people call themselves the Kosekin. Their chief characteristic, or, at least, their most prominent one, is their love of darkness, which perhaps is due to their habit of dwelling in caves. Another feeling, equally strong and perhaps connected with this, is their love of death and dislike of life. This is visible in many ways, and affects all their character. It leads to a pa.s.sionate self-denial, an incessant effort to benefit others at their own expense. Each one hates life and longs for death. He, therefore, hates riches, and all things that are a.s.sociated with life.

Among the Kosekin everyone makes perpetual efforts to serve others, which, however, are perpetually baffled by the unselfishness of these others. People thus spend years in trying to overreach one another, so as to make others richer than themselves. In a race each one tries to keep behind; but as this leads to confusion, there is then a universal effort for each one to be first, so as to put his neighbor in the honorable position of the rear. It is the same way in a hunt. Each one presses forward, so as to honor his companion by leaving him behind. Instead of injuring, everyone tries to benefit his neighbor. When one has been benefited by another, he is filled with a pa.s.sion which may be called Kosekin revenge--namely, a sleepless and vehement desire to bestow some adequate and corresponding benefit on the other. Feuds are thus kept up among families and wars among nations. For no one is willing to accept from another any kindness, any gift, or any honor, and all are continually on the watch to prevent themselves from being overreached in this way. Those who are less watchful than others are overwhelmed with gifts by designing men, who wish to attain to the pauper cla.s.s. The position of Almah and myself ill.u.s.trates this. Our ignorance of the blessings and honors of poverty led us to receive whatever was offered us. Taking advantage of our innocence and ignorance, the whole city thereupon proceeded to bestow their property upon us, and all became paupers through our fortunate arrival.

No one ever injures another unless by accident, and when this occurs it affords the highest joy to the injured party. He has now a claim on the injurer; he gets him into his power, is able to confer benefits on him and force upon him all that he wishes. The unhappy injurer, thus punished by the reception of wealth, finds himself helpless; and where the injury is great, the injured man may bestow upon the other all his wealth and attain to the envied condition of a pauper.

Among the Kosekin the sick are objects of the highest regard. All vie with one another in their attentions. The rich send their luxuries; the paupers, however, not having anything to give, go themselves and wait on them and nurse them. For this there is no help, and the rich grumble, but can do nothing. The sick are thus sought out incessantly, and most carefully tended. When they die there is great rejoicing, since death is a blessing; but the nurses labor hard to preserve them in life, so as to prolong the enjoyment of the high privilege of nursing. Of all sick the incurable are most honored, since they require nursing always. Children also are highly honored and esteemed, and the aged too, since both require the care of others and must be the recipients of favors which all are anxious to bestow. Those who suffer from contagious diseases are more sought after than any other cla.s.s, for in waiting on these there is the chance of gaining the blessing of death; indeed, in these cases much trouble is usually experienced from the rush of those who insist on offering their services.

For it must never be forgotten that the Kosekin love death as we love life; and this accounts for all those ceremonies which to me were so abhorrent, especially the scenes of the Mista Kosek. To them a dead human body is no more than the dead body of a bird: there is no awe felt, no sense of sanct.i.ty, of superst.i.tious horror; and so I learned, with a shudder, that the hate of life is a far worse thing than the fear of death. This desire for death is, then, a master-pa.s.sion, and is the key to all their words and acts. They rejoice over the death of friends, since those friends have gained the greatest of blessings; they rejoice also at the birth of children, since those who are born will one day gain the bliss of death.

For a couple to fall in love is the signal for mutual self-surrender. Each insists on giving up the loved one; and the more pa.s.sionate the love is, the more eager is the desire to have the loved one married to someone else. Lovers have died broken-hearted from being compelled to marry one another. Poets here among the Kosekin celebrate unhappy love which has met with this end. These poets also celebrate defeats instead of victories, since it is considered glorious for one nation to sacrifice itself to another; but to this there are important limitations, as we shall see. Poets also celebrate street-sweepers, scavengers, lamp-lighters, laborers, and above all, paupers, and pa.s.s by as unworthy of notice the authors, Meleks, and Kohens of the land.

The paupers here form the most honorable cla.s.s. Next to these are the laborers. These have strikes as with us; but it is always for harder work, longer hours, or smaller pay. The contest between capital and labor rages, but the conditions are reversed; for the grumbling capitalist complains that the laborer will not take as much pay as he ought to while the laborer thinks the capitalist too persistent in his efforts to force money upon him.

Here among the Kosekin the wealthy cla.s.s forms the ma.s.s of the people, while the aristocratic few consist of the paupers. These are greatly envied by the others, and have many advantages. The cares and burdens of wealth, as well as wealth itself, are here considered a curse, and from all these the paupers are exempt. There is a perpetual effort on the part of the wealthy to induce the paupers to accept gifts, just as among us the poor try to rob the rich. Among the wealthy there is a great and incessant murmur at the obstinacy of the paupers. Secret movements are sometimes set on foot which aim at a redistribution of property and a levelling of all, so as to reduce the haughty paupers to the same condition as the ma.s.s of the nation. More than once there has been a violent attempt at a revolution, so as to force wealth on the paupers; but as a general thing these movements have been put down and their leaders severely punished. The paupers have shown no mercy in their hour of triumph; they have not conceded one jot to the public demand, and the unhappy conspirators have been condemned to increased wealth and luxury, while the leaders have been made Meleks and Kohens. Thus there are among the Kosekin the unfortunate many who are cursed with wealth, and the fortunate few who are blessed with poverty. These walk while the others ride, and from their squalid huts look proudly and contemptuously upon the palaces of their unfortunate fellow-countrymen.

The love of death leads to perpetual efforts on the part of each to lay down his life for another. This is a grave difficulty in hunts and battles. Confined prisoners dare not fly, for in such an event the guards kill themselves. This leads to fresh rigors in the captivity of the prisoners in case of their recapture, for they are overwhelmed with fresh luxuries and increased splendors. Finally, if a prisoner persist and is recaptured, he is solemnly put to death, not, as with us, by way of severity, but as the last and greatest honor. Here extremes meet; and death, whether for honor or dishonor, is all the same--death--and is reserved for desperate cases. But among the Kosekin this lofty destiny is somewhat embittered by the agonizing thought on the part of the prisoner, who thus gains it, that his wretched family must be doomed, not, as with us, to poverty and want, but, on the contrary, to boundless wealth and splendor.

Among so strange a people it seemed singular to me what offences could possibly be committed which could be regarded and punished as crimes. These, however, I soon found out. Instead of robbers, the Kosekin punished the secret bestowers of their wealth on others. This is regarded as a very grave offence. a.n.a.logous to our crime of piracy is the forcible arrest of s.h.i.+ps at sea and the transfer to them of valuables. Sometimes the Kosekin pirates give themselves up as slaves. Kidnapping, a.s.sault, highway robbery, and crimes of violence have their parallel here in cases where a strong man, meeting a weaker, forces himself upon him as his slave or compels him to take his purse. If the weaker refuse, the a.s.sailant threatens to kill himself, which act would lay the other under obligations to receive punishment from the state in the shape of gifts and honors, or at least subject him to unpleasant inquiries. Murder has its counterpart among the Kosekin in cases where one man meets another, forces money on him, and kills himself. Forgery occurs where one uses another's name so as to confer money on him.

There are many other crimes, all of which are severely punished. The worse the offence is, the better is the offender treated. Among the Kosekin capital punishment is imprisonment amid the greatest splendor, where the prisoner is treated like a king, and has many palaces and great retinues; for that which we consider the highest they regard as the lowest, and with them the chief post of honor is what we would call the lowest menial office. Of course, among such a people, any suffering from want is unknown, except when it is voluntary. The pauper cla.s.s, with all their great privileges, have this restriction, that they are forced to receive enough for food and clothing. Some, indeed, manage by living in out-of-the-way places to deprive themselves of these, and have been known to die of starvation; but this is regarded as dishonorable, as taking an undue advantage of a great position, and where it can be proved, the children and relatives of the offender are severely punished according to the Kosekin fas.h.i.+on.

State politics here move, like individual affairs, upon the great principle of contempt for earthly things. The state is willing to destroy itself for the good of other states; but as other states are in the same position, nothing can result. In times of war the object of each army is to honor the other and benefit it by giving it the glory of defeat. The contest is thus most fierce. The Kosekin, through their pa.s.sionate love of death, are terrible in battle; and when they are also animated by the desire to confer glory on their enemies by defeating them, they generally succeed in their aim. This makes them almost always victorious, and when they are not so not a soul returns alive. Their state of mind is peculiar. If they are defeated they rejoice, since defeat is their chief glory; but if they are victorious they rejoice still more in the benevolent thought that they have conferred upon the enemy the joy, the glory, and the honor of defeat.

Here all shrink from governing others. The highest wish of each is to serve. The Meleks and Kohens, whom I at first considered the highest, are really the lowest orders; next to these come the authors, then the merchants, then farmers, then artisans, then laborers, and, finally, the highest rank is reached in the paupers. Happy the aristocratic, the haughty, the envied paupers! The same thing is seen in their armies. The privates here are highest in rank, and the officers come next in different graduations. These officers, however, have the command and the charge of affairs as with us; yet this is consistent with their position, for here to obey is considered n.o.bler than to command. In the fleet the rowers are the highest cla.s.s; next come the fighting-men; and lowest of all are the officers. War arises from motives as peculiar as those which give rise to private feuds; as, for instance, where one nation tries to force a province upon another; where they try to make each other greater; where they try to benefit unduly each other's commerce; where one may have a smaller fleet or army than has been agreed on, or where an amba.s.sador has been presented with gifts, or received too great honor or attention.

In such a country as this, where riches are disliked and despised, I could not imagine how people could be induced to engage in trade. This, however, was soon explained. The laborers and artisans have to perform their daily work, so as to enable the community to live and move and have its being. Their impelling motive is the high one of benefiting others most directly. They refuse anything but the very smallest pay, and insist on giving for this the utmost possible labor. Tradesmen also have to supply the community with articles of all sorts; merchants have to sail their s.h.i.+ps to the same end--all being animated by the desire of effecting the good of others. Each one tries not to make money, but to lose it; but as the compet.i.tion is sharp and universal, this is difficult, and the larger portion are unsuccessful. The purchasers are eager to pay as much as possible, and the merchants and traders grow rich in spite of their utmost endeavors. The wealthy go into business so as to lose money, but in this they seldom succeed. It has been calculated that only two per cent in every community succeed in reaching the pauper cla.s.s. The tendency is for all the labors of the working-cla.s.s to be ultimately turned upon the unfortunate wealthy cla.s.s. The workmen being the creators of wealth, and refusing to take adequate pay, cause a final acc.u.mulation of the wealth of the community in the hands of the ma.s.s of the non-producers, who thus are fixed in their unhappy position, and can hope for no escape except by death. The farmers till the ground, the fishermen fish, the laborers toil, and the wealth thus created is pushed from these incessantly till it all falls upon the lowest cla.s.s--namely, the rich, including Athons, Meleks, and Kohens. It is a burden that is often too heavy to be borne; but there is no help for it, and the better-minded seek to cultivate resignation.

The Golden Age Of Science Fiction Vol I Part 6

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