News from Nowhere, Morgan Library Transcription
[Sidney Cockerell's handwriting]
Exhibited at the Morris Centenary Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1934, no.321 [?], and later in the same year at Walthamstow.
News from Nowhere
It was in the year 1952, and matters were drawing to a head. Within the last fifty years 'wages,' i. e. the price for which the lower classes sold themselves to the upper, had risen a good deal: these latter, as you can well imagine [had crossed out] done their utmost to make this apparent price delusive, and had used their privilege of taxing labour as far as it would go. But it would not go as far as in times past. The 'government' had been forced by strikes and other signs of discontent growing out of the graduate organization of the workers to check the action of privilege, a --- law prescribing a minimum price for labour, and a maximum price for certain rough necessaries was enacted under this pressure, mere matter of figures; and government workshops and factories were established to complete with private manufacturers though they were not carried on with [ ...
Altogether the [ ...
less oppressed than formerly, their hopes rose with their material condition, and they felt their oppression no less than when it was heavier. Moreover they had learned the theory of socialism thoroughly, (indeed they were generally admitted, though not acted on, like the theories of religion in earlier days) and the practice of combination and taught them the administration of affairs after many years of failure disaster and disgrace: they were now ready for the opportunity for action.
'It did not fail them: the theories of Communism & the partial practice of State-Socialism had for years past dislocated the marvellous system of Commerce under which the old world lived so miserably, and over and over again came times when compared with other times manufacture almost came to a stand-still.
The year 1952 was one of the worst of these times: the workman suffered dreadfully; the partial inefficient government-factories, which were terribly jobbed all but broke down, and a vast part of the population had for the time to be fed by undisguised 'charity', as it was called.
The combined workmen had already formulated their claim to the ['] freedom of labour'; they now by a universal vote of their federated societies insisted on the first step towards carrying this out, which practically involved the giving up of the management of the whole of the natural resources of the land and the machinery or tools of labour into the power of the combined workers. Their demands which admitted the giving of some kind of pension to the privileged classes would seem absurdly inadequate to us now but to the privileged of that day although their privilege had been much crippled, through an attempt to destroy the [ …
The year 1952 was one of the worst of these times: the workman suffered dreadfully; the partial inefficient government-factories, which were terribly jobbed all but broke down, and a vast part of the population had for the time to be fed by undisguised 'charity', as it was called.
The combined workmen had already formulated their claim to the ['] freedom of labour'; they now by a universal vote of their federated societies insisted on the first step towards carrying this out, which practically involved the giving up of the management of the whole of the natural resources of the land and the machinery or tools of labour into the power of the combined workers. Their demands which admitted the giving of some kind of pension to the privileged classes would seem absurdly inadequate to us now but to the privileged of that day although their privilege had been much crippled, through an attempt to destroy the [ …
turn began to look towards mere brute force for retaining what they had and regaining some at least of what they had lost. In short they could not conceive of themselves as living except by slave-holding of some sort; and they now saw that it would no longer [d] to put up with any disobedience on the part of their slaves. 'The insatiable greed of the Lower Classes must be repressed'. They must be taught a lesson' thse were the sacramental phrases in use amongst them.'
The old man stopped to look keenly at my attentive and wondering face, and then said:
"I know, dear guest, that I have been using words and phrases which very few people amongst us could understand, wihthout long & laborious explanation; and not even then perhaps: but since I see that you have not gone to sleep yet, and since I am to speak to you as a man from another planet, I may venture to ask you if you have followed me so far?'
'O yes,' said I, I quite understand, pray go on a great deal of what you have been saying was commonplace with us when -- when'
'Yes,' said he, 'when you were dwelling in the other planet. Well now for the crash aforesaid.
Up at the League, says a friend, there has been a brisk conversational discussion one evening, as to the probable future of society on the morrow of the revolution: it was a good tempered discussion as things go: at no time were more than six people speaking at once, and since] since and \and since/ there were but six in company there were but six in company, no one spoke louder than he could. The friend says that considering there were present only six sections of the same party, party-spirit did not run very high. One of these sections (whom this friend knows very well indeed), and who in the beginning of the discussion sat almost silent, but ended by roaring out very loud, and damning everybody all round as fools, after having bidden the others good night very amicably, went home by himself, and at last emerged from the 'district sewer' into the midnight quiet a few minutes walk from house and found himself at first very self reproachful at having forgotten in the heat of debate so many excellent and conclusive arguments. Being however somewhat used to this feeling he had only gone a few steps toward the bank of the Thames. Where (says our friend) all that slid off him. It was a beautiful night in early winter; the air just enough to be refreshing after the hot rooms and stinking railways; the wind which had turned just a point or tow north of west had blown the sky clear of all but a few little white clouds; the moon was high and white'; and when the home-farer caught the branches of an elm against the sky he almost forgot the shabby London suburb' and it seemed to him as if he were in a pleasant country place; pleasanter almost than the even the country as he had known it. He came down to the river side and lingered a little note the moonlit river near high water going swirling and glittering under the moon down to Chiswick Eyot; as for the ugly suspension bridge he scarcely noted, except when (says our friend) he thought for a minute that he missed the row of lights across the river; then he turned round to his house and let himself in; and as he shut the door all that brilliant logic and foresight (as he had thought it) which had so illuminate the recent discussion passed from him, and he could scarce say that he thought of anything but vague hope for days of peace and rest and cleanness and smiling good-will.
So he tumbled into bed, and at first felt as comfortable as a hard-working Socialist could wish; but not long after, as he supposes, woke up again and was in that curiously wide awake condition that sometimes surprises good sleepers, a conditions in which one feels all one's wits preternaturally sharpened, and wherein also all the miserable muddles one has ever got into, all the disgraces and losses of one's life will insist on thrusting themselves forward for the consideration of those preternaturally sharpened wits. In this state he lay sometime till he had almost begun to enjoy it, till his own stupidities amused him, and the entanglements to come, which he foresaw so clearly began almost to shape themselves into an amusing story for him. He heard two o'clock strike, three o'clock, and four; and thereafter a little he went to sleep again. Our friend says that from that sleep he woke once more, and went through such strange experiences that they seem to him worth telling to the comrades of the League and therefore proposes to tell them; but says he, I think it would be better if I told them in the first person, as if they had happened to my myself, as indeed I understand the feelings and desires of the comrade I am speaking of better than anyone else in the world does.
Well then I awoke and found I had kicked all the clothes off; and no wonder for it was certainly very warm. I jumped up and washed and hurried on my clothes with a hazy feeling on me as if I had slept for a long long time and could not shake off my access of slumber. In fact [[--though--]] I rather took it for granted that I was at home in my own room than saw that it was so. When I was dressed I was so warm that I went straight out of the room and out of the house, and was astonished enough, for
as I told you it was winter when I went to bed and now to judge by the trees on the river-side it was summer
a beautiful bright morning in early June. There however was the Thames at any rate, over high water and sparkling under the sun as I had seen it gleaming under the moon last night. I felt very queer and dizzy even when I was out in the fresh air, and thinks I to myself I should like a swim, I wonder if I could get a man to take one out into midstream: it seems very early, but I shall find someone at Biffin's I daresay. However I did not turn to my left to get to Biffin's, but went straight before me, because right then I began to see that there was a sort of wharf before me, just where my neighbour had rigged up one, though it did not look much like that either.
Well down to the said wharf I went, and there sure enough was a man lying on his sculls in a solid little tub of a boat clearly meant for bathers, who nodded to me and said good morning and seemed to expect me; so in I jumped without any loitering, and he paddled away quietly as I peeled for my swim. I couldn't help looking at the water as we went, and said, 'How clear the water is this morning.'
'Is it,' he said, 'I haven't noticed it: you see the flood-tide always thickens it a bit.'
'Hm.' I said, 'I have seen it pretty muddy even at half ebb.'
He said nothing in answer, but as he now lay just stemming the tide, and I had my clothes off, in I jumped without more ado, and when I had my head above water and had turned toward the tide, without thinking about it I looked for the suspension bridge, and was so astonished that I forgot to strike out and went spluttering underwater again, and when I came up made for the boat at once; for I felt I must ask some questions of my waterman, the half sight I had seen with the water hardly out of my eyes had been so bewildering to me.
He had been lowering some steps for me to get up in the boat again and consequently we were now drifting up towards Chiswick; but when he had helped me in which he did very civily he took the sculls again and brought the boat's head round, saying, A short swim, neighbour, but perhaps you find the water cold this morning. Shall I put you ashore again? He spoke in a way so unlike that which I should have expected a waterman to speak. That I stared at him as I said to him please hold her a little: I want to look about me a bit.' 'All right' he said. 'It's jolly out here this time in the morning: it isn't 5 o'clock yet.' I didn't know what to do or thing; for now the astonishment which my sight of the river and its banks had thrown me into was transferred to my waterman. He was a handsome young fellow with a peculiarly pleasant and friendly look about his eyes, such as I had never seen before, dark-haired and berry brown of skin, but as clean as might be and dressed in what seemed to me a very elegant costume of dark blue not white in shape to the less extravagant dresses of the early 14th century, plain enough but of fine stuff, and without a stain on it. He had a brown leather belt round his waist the clasp of which was very beautifully wrought in damascened steel: in short he seemed to me like some specially manly and refined young gentleman playing waterman for a spree; and I concluded that this was the case.
I felt I must make some conversation, so I pointed to the Surrey shore, where I noticed some light plank stages running down the foreshore, with windlasses at the shoreward end of them, and said What are they doing with those things there? If we were on the Tay I should have said that they were for drawing the salmon-nets - but here –
'Well,' said he smiling, 'Of course that's what they _are_ for. Where there are salmon there are likely to be salmon nets: but of course they are not always in use: we don't want salmon every day.'
I was going to say, But is this the Thames? but held
peace and turned my bewildered eyes eastward to look at the bridge again, and the shores of the water, and surely there was enough change to have astonished me; for in the first place, although there _was_ a bridge, and wharves and houses on the Middlesex side, all was changed. The chimneys of the soap works whose stink I had so often cursed were not there, nor the steam blowing off the pipes of the engineers, nor even the lead works. Then the bridge! I had perhaps dreamed of such a bridge, but never seen one out of an illuminated manuscript: an arched bridge solidly built of stone, the sweep of the arches very graceful amidst their strength; and high enough to let ordinary river traffic through easily. A very wide bridge clearly, and rising over the parapet quaint and fanciful little buildings that looked like booths or shops beset with gilded vanes and spirelets. The stone was a little weathered but showed no marks of the grimy sootiness I had been used to connect all London stone buildings more than a year old. My sculler looked at me and said as if in answer to my thoughts: 'Yes, it is a pretty bridge, isn't it: Even the up-stream bridges which are so much smaller are scarcely prettier; and the big down-stream ones are scarcely more dignified and stately.'
I found myself saying & almost without my will: 'How old is it?'
'O not very old,' he said, 'it was built, or at least opened in 1971?'
The date shut my mouth as if a lock had been turned on it; for I saw that something uncanny had happened and that I should get into a game of cross questions and crooked answers if I said much. So I tried to look unconcerned as I glanced at either shore of the river, both of which had a good few of pretty, very pretty houses, not very large mostly; of brick and roofed with red tile standing a little way back from the water, with a continuous garden in front of them where the flowers were blossoming luxuriantly and sending
delicious waves of summer scent over the eddying stream; behind the houses I could see great trees rising mostly elms; and looking down the water could the old familiar reaches towards Putney looking almost like a lake surrounded by trees, and I said aloud as if to myself; 'Well, I'm glad that they haven't built over Barne Elms?
I blushed for my fatuity as the words slipped out of my mouth, and my companion looked at me with a half smile which I understood: so I made haste to say, "Will you take me in now please? He nodded and brought her head round with a sharp stroke and in a trice we were at the landing-stage again. He jumped out and I followed him; and of course I was not surprised to see him wait, as if for the inevitable conclusion of rowing a stranger in need of that service. I put my hand in my waistcoat pocket, and said 'How much is it?' still with the uncomfortable feeling that I was offering money to a gentleman. He said, "How much? What are you talking about? do you mean the tide its very nearly high water? I blushed and stammered & said, Please don't take it amiss if I ask you: I mean no offence; but what ought I to pay you: you see I am a stranger and don't know your customs. And therewith I took a handful of money out of my pocket as one does in a foreign country. He seemed rather puzzled as I spoke but not at all offended: but as he looked at the money with some curiosity: I thought, 'well after all he _is_ a waterman and is considering what he may venture to ask me: he seems such a nice fellow that I am sure I dont grudge him a little overpayment: and I shook the coins up in my hand: so my new friend said, 'I think I know what you mean: I have done something for you, and so you want to give me something, which I am not to give away to a neighbor, unless he has done something special for me.
He will be up by now; 'tis a shame lying abed these beautiful summer mornings?
With that he took up a little silver bugle-horn and blew two or three sharp but agreeable notes on it, and waited; but only for a minute or two, for presently from the house which stood on the sight of my dwelling, (whereof more presently) another young man came across the road to us. He was not so well looking or so strong-built as my sculler being sandy-haired and rather pale; but his face did not lack that pleasant friendly expression which I had noticed in the other one: he was dressed in the same kind of garments as my sculler as to cut; but was much gayer; for his surcoat was green with embroidery of gold boughs on the upper part of the sleeves, and his girdle was of silver filigree work.
He greeted his friend joyously and said, 'Well, Dick, what is it this morning? am I to have my job or rather your job? I rather dreamed last night that we were both off fishing up the water?
'All right, Bob said my sculler, it is my job you will have; you wont want any help I think; but if you get busy, there is James Brightling about handy to take it up. There is a stranger come here, who is willing to amuse me today by asking questions about our way of living, and you may imagine that I dont want to lose the opportunity; and in any case I am due in the hayfields up the water in a few days.
The new conner turned to me and said very civily; Neighbor both you and friend Dick are lucky and will have a good time today: but you and he both had better come in at once and get something to eat; I suppose you came into the Guest-house after I had gone to bed last night?
I nodded to him and now began to take in the look of the Guest-house which as I have said was on the site of my old dwelling. It was handsomely built of
very good red bricks like the other houses about, but more ornamented than they were; its gable ends were turned away from the road so that it looked long and important; under the eaves between the windows was abundance of figure work moulded in baked clay and very well designed and executed; and their subjects were familiar enough to me. We went in through a deep ornamented porch and found ourselves in a lofty hall with an open roof of timber and a marble floor, and a great deal of elegantly traceried window on the side away from the road: the hall was not very big but one felt in it that exhilarating sense of space and solidity which satisfactory works of architecture give us. Everything about it was more than handsome, but it was by no means overdone with ornament, the most marked of which was a band of well drawn fair coloured picture-work above the panelling on the wall opposite to the windows. There were three young women flitting to and fro in the hall dressed very neatly and becomingly but not in any holiday-like garments. But if their garments were not noteworthy they themselves were; for I thought I had never seen such well-knit healthy figures before, or such happy and kind-looking faces, though their features were not specially regular: they at once came tripping up to us without any affectation of shyness, and shook hands with me kindly, though I could not help noticing they looked askance at my garments for I had my clothes of last night on and was never a dressy person.
A word of two from Robert the Weaver, and the girls bustled about and presently came and took us by the hands and led us to a pleasant corner of the hall where our table was ready for us; then one of them race out of the hall into the garden and came back presently with a great bunch of roses, very different in size and quality to what Hammersmith had been used to grow, but very like the produce of an
old garden in the country; she hurried back again to the buttery and then came back with a delicately made glass in which she set them and put them amidst us on the table; another girl came in with a big cabbage leaf filled with strawberries some of them barely ripe and said as she sat them on the table. There now, I thought of that before I got up this morning but seeing the stranger here getting into your boat Dick put it out of my head so that I was not before all the blackbirds; however there are a few, and I don't think you will find any better in Hammersmith. Robert patted her on the head in a friendly manner and we fell to on our breakfast which simple enough, but most delicately cooked and set on the table with much daintiness. The bread was particularly good and of different kinds from the big dark coloured sweet farm-house loaf which was my great treasure to thin little pipe stems of wheaten crust such as I have eaten at Turin. As I was putting the first mouthfuls into my mouth my eye caught a carved and gilded inscription on the panelling behind
what we should have called the high table in an Oxford hall, and a familiar name in it forced me to read it: Thus in ran. Guests and neighbours, on the site of this guest hall once stood a hall of a Branch of the Socialist League drink a glass to the memory. May 1952.
This difficult to tell you how I felt when I read these words and I suppose my face showed how much I was moved, for both my friends looked curiously at me and there was silence between us for a little while. Then the Weaver who was not quite so well-mannered a man as the ferry-man said to me rather awkwardly: We don't know what to call you Guest, is there any indiscretion in asking your name? We said I I have some doubts about it myself; so suppose you me Guest and add William to it. Dick nodded kindly to me but a shade of anxiousness passed over the weaver's face and he said, I hope you don't mind my asking, but would you mind telling me where come from. You see I'm curious about such things. Dick was clearly kicking him underneath the table but he was not much abashed and awaited my answer somewhat eagerly.
As for me I was just obliged to blurt out Hammer when I thought that it would lead to such an entanglement of cross purposes that I took time for a careful lie with circumstance guarded by a little truth, and said Why you I have been a long time away from Europe so that lings look stranger to me now; but I was born & bred on the edge of Epping Forest; Walthamstow Woodford you know. A pretty place too, thrust in Dick a very jolly place now that the trees have had time to grow since the great clearing of houses in 1955. Then quoth the irrepressible weaver My dear neighbor since you knew the Forrest some time ago, would tell me what truth there is in the report that in the 19th century the greater part of the tree were pollards. This was catching me on my natural history archiological side and I fell into the trap at once without any thought of where & when I was: and I began while one of the girls who had now been scattering little lavenders twigs and other sweet herbs about the hall floor came near to listen and stood behind me laying her hand in which she held some plant I used to call balm on my shoulder so that the aromatic scent brought back to my mind
the kitchen-garden at Woodford and the large blue plums that grew on the wall beyond the sweet-herb patch; the meaning of which all boys will understand. So I started off at once: When I was a boy and for long after the forest except a piece about Q. E. Lodge and High beech was almost wholly of pollard Hornbeams with patches of holly here & there: but when the corporation of London took it over about 25 years ago the Topping & Lopping which was part of the old commoners' rights came to an end and the trees were let grow. But I haven't seen the place for a good many years except once when we Leaguers went to Highbeach & I am told that city phillistines are humbugging it about. I am only too glad to hear what you are saying about the building stopping & the trees growing but you know-- I suddenly remembered Dick's date & stopped rather confused. The eager wear didn't notice, and said hastily and as if he were aware of his breach of good manners. But I say I say how old are you? Dick and the pretty girl both burst out laughing and Dick said. Hold hard
Bob and don't question our guest so much. Why you a like the radical weavers and coblers of the silly old novels who would trample down everything in the pursuit of knowledge-- You have so muddled your head with mathematics and grubbing into those idiotic old books about political econmy (he he!) that you really don't know how to behave. Really you sorely want some open air work my friend to clear away the cobwebs from your brain.
Bob laughed good humouredly and the girl went up to him and patted his cheek and said laughingly, poor fellow he was born so! As for me I was a little puzzled but I laughed too partly for company & partly for pleasure of their happiness & good temper and before Bob could make an excuse I said But I don't in the least mind answering questions. When I can it's easy. I will tell you all about Epping Forest forest when I was a boy and as to my age, I'm not a fine lady you know wo why shouldn't I tell you. I'm hard on 56. In spite of the lecture on good manners the weaver couldn't help letting out a thoughtful whew of astonishment
and I looked so puzzled that the girl came to my help and said, Well he is rude poor fellow: but he means that you look rather old for your age but if you have been travelling and one doesn't know where there's nothing wonderful in that; and all people think that England is a place where people keep their good looks long. She blushed a little as she spoke and then said Why how old do you think I am? I shouldn't like to guess I said--Come Come guess dear friend she said. Said I have always been told that a woman is as old as looks and you look--well--20.She laughed and said well I _am_ 42. I might well start at that: for there was not a careful line on her face her skin was as smooth as ivory her cheeks full and round her lips as red as the roses she had brought us in, and her beautiful arms which she had bared for her work firm and well knit from wrist to should. She blushed again as I looked at her so I said to pass it off well the old saw shows the proper manner of acting here at any rate. She laughed merrily and said well lads I must be off about my business: For we shall have more people coming in presently, and I want
You have rather puzzled me I confess: but late on I hope we shall have some more talk together when Dick isn't here. I know he thinks me rather a grinder , and despises me for not being able to use my hands, that's the way nowadays. its clear to me what I have read of the 19 cent. literature that this is a kind of revenge for the old stupidity which despised everybody who could use his hands / but Dick my friend, ne quid nimis / don't overdo it.
Not I Bob-said the ferry man laughing I am the most tolerant man in the world and so long as you don't make me learn mathematics or your new science of aesthetics and let me practice a little aesthetics work in gold & [steel] with science in atching my steel I shall try my best not to hurt your feelings but hello here comes another questioner for you my poor, you will really will need a defender
now, Here Boffin here we are if you must have it. I turned, over my shoulder and seemed to see something flash and gleam in the sunshine that crossed the hall
So I turned round fully and saw a a splendid figure slowly sauntering up the hall his dress embroidered with gold most copiously as well as elegantly, so that the sun flashed back from it as if he were clad in gold armour. The man himself was tall and dark-haired and exceedingly handsome and had that somewhat haughty look which stateliness of beauty is apt to give both men and women; he came & sat down at our table thrusting out his long legs in and having his arm over the chair a slowly graceful which tall well built people use without affectation: he was a man in the prime of life and looked as happy as a child who has just had a new toy; he bowed gracefully to me and said I see clearly that you are our guest of whom Annie told me just now who have come from some country that does not know of us or our ways of life/So I daresay you would not mind answering a few questions for you see. Here Dick broke in no non I wont hat it Boffin of course you wont
the guest to be happy and comfortable, and so I'm not going to have badgered with questions -- on the contrary I am going to take him to where he can his questions answered to my grandfather in Bloomsbury/ So you had much better go out and get me a carriage for I shall drive him there myself and tell Jim to let me have the old grey, for I can drive wherry much better than a carriage. Stir your stumps old man / I rather stared at Dicks addressing such a dignified person so curtly for I thought Boffin in spites of his familiar name must be a senator or some such dignitary at least. However he got up and said all right old fellow whatever you like, this is not one of my busy days, and though with another condescending bow to me my pleasure of a talk with this learned guest is put off yet I admit that he ought to see your worthy kinsman and also that he will be better able perhaps to answer my questions.
after he has had his own answered Therewith he got up and swung out of the hall -- I said what is W. Boffin? Whose name by the way reminds me of such pleasant hours of reading. As it does us said Dick: for [unintelligible] his real name is not Boffin, we only call him that in memory of Dickens because he is a dustman and will dress like a medieval lord with all that gold about him: I held my tongue after that for a while. But Dick went on: he is a capital fellow and you cant help liking him but he has a whim for writing reactionary novels [and why should he not dress as he pleases] & he thinks as you come from some forgotten corner he may get something out of you. Quoth the weaver well Dick I think his novels very good -- of course you do said Dick birds of a feather flock together but I wont recommend them to our guest -- But here he comes again. The golden Dustman haled us from the door therewith and we all
got up and went up at the door with a strong grey horse in the shafts stood
a wheeled carriage which I couldn't help noticing because though it was quite plain it had none of the sickening vulgarity which was inseparable from the carriages I had know (especially the more elegant ones) but was as graceful and pleasant to look at as a Wessex wagon.
We drove off quietly enough and got into the man road between Windsor & London but if I hadn't seen the river first I should not have known where I was, for King Street was gone and the road ran through meadows and pleasant garden garden like tillage with a few houses scattered here all of which had a pleasant countrified air about them and were very pretty in design. like the houses by the river they were mostly of red brick -- but didn't possess too much ornament I didn't say much, for I was fairly afraid my committing myself and my companion who was clearly in very good spirits seemed to understand that he would trouble me by much speaking. I thought I recognized the Broadway though all was so much changed: close by
the way side there was a range of buildings and courts from which arose the roof of a great hall very handsomely built and ornamented and in that respect forming a great contrast with the pretentiousness of the dwelling-houses round about, and on the other side of the way was an octagonal building with a high roof not unlike the Baptistery at Florence and quite as delicately ornamented. This mass of fine architecture was not only so beautiful in itself but it had such a look of generosity and such amplitude about it that it was most exhilarating and I quite chuckled with pleasure. We pulled up for a few minutes amongst a crowd of carts wherein sat handsome healthy-looking people men women & children very gaily dressed and which were clearly market carts for they were full of country produce. I said, I need not ask if that is a market on the left for I can see it is but what market is it and what is the big hall inside used for. O he said it is just our Hammersmith market and we think it rather pretty: of course the hall inside is our winter mote-house for in summer we meet in a field by the riverside yonder and
the building on the right hand is our theatre and really as pretty a one as you are likely to see in the south country. He blushed a little and said: I had a hand in making the doors though, we will look at them later on if you like: but perhaps we ought to get on now. As to the market this is not one of the busy days so we shall do better another time because you will see more people. I thanked him and said are these people the regular country people? What very pretty girls and as I spoke my eye caught the face of a splendid tall dark haired woman dressed in a pretty light dress in honour of the hot day who smiled kindly at me and still more kindly on him: and I said again: I ask because I have not seen any of the country looking people I should have expected to see at a market nor altogether what you mean by country people. These are the neighbours, and the sort of people you will see in the Thames
Valley which is rather thick of people: there are pleaces rougher and rainier than this where people are not quite so smart in their clothes, and where the folk look
tougher and more hard-bitten than we do; but people think them better looking than us. However I think thats rather a matter of taste: he blushed again and I thought his eye wandered from me to a little, for that pretty girl was just going in at the fate (with her basket of roses) and showing an enchanting foot and ankle as she disappeared. I smiled but my thought would slip out of me and I said: I mean I haven't seen any poor people about. He knit his brows a little & said no, naturally; if any body is poorly he is like to be within doors or at least crawling about his garden but I don't know of anyone sick at present. Why should you expect to see poorly people in the streets? No no said I, I don't mean sick people. I mean poor people you know. No said he smiling merrily I really _don't_ know; the fact is you must come along quick to my grandfather who I think will understand you better than I do. Come on greylocks! And he shook his rein and we went on merrily eastward. There were fewer houses now for a little till presently we came to another market and
quicker-growing trees (amongst which I thought the planes and sycamores too numerous) were very big and fine grown. It was very pleasant amongst the dappled shade for the day was now growing very hot, and the coolness and shade soothed my excited mind into a dreamy pleasure, so I felt as if I should like to go on forever through all that freshness: my companion seemed to share in my feelings and let the horse go slower and slower as he sat inhaling the fresh forest scents amongst which the summer smell of the trodden bracken was the most characteristic. Romantic as this Kensington forest was however it was not lonely: we came on many groups both coming and going, many of whom were children playing and laughing with the utmost energy. They were splendid specimens of children, some of them were playing round little tents and here & there was fire burning and pots hanging over it gipsy-fashion. Dick explained to me that there were houses in the forest of which indeed we caught a glimpse of one or two; small said he mostly, such as once used to be called cottages when there were slaves in the country; but very pleasant when you got inside them. People thought it out of character
Yes; what do you mean by that! I don't know how the word can mean anything to do with children: we talk indeed of a school of herring or a school of painting, and in the former sense we might talk of a school of children - but otherwise I must own myself beaten. Hang it thought I, I can't open my mouth without digging up some new complexity. I didn't try to set my friend's etymology right, and thought I had better hold my tongue about the boy farms which I saw were discarded. Oh I only used it in the sense of a plan of education. Education said he meditatively I know enough Latin to know that the word must come from _educere_, and I have heard it used but I never could quite understand what it meant. Well said I but aint the children taught anything? _I_ don't understand. Taught said
he, of course they are. I don't suppose there is one of the children we have seen boy or girl who cannot swim: and every one of them has been used to tumbling about the little forest ponies: they know how to cook also, all of them; and many of them the bigger ones have learned mowing: many can thatch and do odd carpentering jobs and so forth. I assure you they are very well taught if that's what you mean: but reading writing and book learning said I haven't they been taught these? Well you
know said he: most children I think manage to read by the time they are 4 without much teaching though I'm told it wasn't always so with children. As to writing we don't encourage them to scrawl too soon, though scrawl a bit they will, because they get into a habit of writing so badly and for serious long spells we don't use writing very much now that rough printing has been made so easily: though good writing is much admired amongst us, especially as it breeds work well and many people will write their books out for the public or get them written out. When a great many copies are not wanted; I mean with poems and such like writings - however I'm wandering from my lambs - but I must tell you that I am a good engrosser myself. Well said I about the children, when they know how to read and write don't they learn languages. Of course he said sometimes they can talk French very young even before they can read, that's the nearest language talked on the other side of the water; and they soon get to learn German, which is talked by a huge number of communes and colleges and towns further on in the mainland (they have bigger towns than ours) these are the principal languages that we speak in these islands along with English & Welsh
and children pick up these tongues very fast because their elders generally know them, and also because our oversea guests often bring their children with them and the little ones get together and rub their speech into each other you know. And etymology I said are they taught that? What is it, he said, I don't know the word. Why said I the history of language. O yes he said they learn history if they like to, of course they do: when a man can read of course you know he reads what he likes, and he will easily get someone to tell him what books had better read ad hoc, or to explain what he doesn't understand in any of them: and as to the history of language surely language is an historical affair and you cannot learn history without learning that history. But said I I suppose they don't _all_ learn history. Ho no, said he; some don't care about it, and they can easily find other things to learn which will breed work for them: such things as the make of herbs, and beasts, and the fashion of the heavens, and even some though _I_ don't hanker after after that the queer learning which is called mathematics. But said I you don't mean that children learn all these things? Well that has to do with that
This seemed to me very queer talk and I was on the point of asking another question when just as we came to the top of a little rising ground I looked down a long glade on my right and saw at the end of it a stately building rising whose outline was familiar to me and I cried out Westminster Abbey. Yes
he said Westminster Abbey what there is left of it - why said I what have you done with it - O we he said nothing much but you know all the outside has been spoilt centuries ago: as to the inside that remains in its beauty after the great clearance which took place about 100 years ago of the beastly monuments to fools and knaves as grandfather says. And there said I is that the Houses of Parliament yonder they are still left? Yes he said there they are but getting very ruinous: we don't feel inclined to do much to repair them. In fact as I am told it was intended to pull them down in quite an early period of our era: but there was a queer antiquarian society which had done great service in its day which set up its pipe against their destruction as it
has done with many other buildings which most people looked upon as worthless and public nuisances; and it was so energetic and on the whole so reasonable that it has generally gained its point: and I must say I am not sorry now all is said: because you know at the worst these silly old buildings serve as a kind of foil to the beautiful ones which we are building now: and on this line of building we need not be anxious as to the breeding of pleasant work because you know there is always room for more & more work in new building, even without making it pretentious. For my part e.d. I think elbow room _within_ doors is so delightful that I am always inclined rather to trench on the outdoor space to get it, let alone the matter of ornament which I admit may be overdone in mere living houses; for in Mote Halls and markets and the like we may go to any extremes of splendor. That's what my grand says at all events. I thought this very good sense & said so, but as I spoke we came suddenly out of the woodland into a short street of tall houses very handsomely built which seemed to me to be on the site of Piccadilly. The lower part of
then seemed to be regular shops and very handsome goods were displayed in them, about halfway down was a round building which taught by Hammersmith I perceived to be a theatre and a huge mote-house with its gables turned away from the street towered above the other houses. Said Dick here you see is quite a differently planned marked and I think a very handy one. The top part of the houses are all used for guest houses as people often want to spend a few days in this part of the country; as it is very thickly inhabitated and there are plenty of people who are fond of crowds though I am not. The theatre you see is a very big one and the mote-house goes with it, and they are going to enlarge the latter. But I say do you want anything? if so you may as well get it here. I looked at my blue rags & said well, how it be if I bought some sort of an overcoat -- if I could buy a cheap one said I with some hesitation. No he said laughing don't get that yet: nobody will trouble himself as your clothes except my grandfather the anti-
than some of our moralists think. He sighed and reddened as he spoke and then added in a very serious tone, Yes only a fortnight ago there was terrible tragedy down by us that cost the lives of two
men and a woman, and made us all very sad. Don't ask about it just now. I will tell you afterwards perhaps. By this time we were in the shop in which there sat a good-looking brown-skinned boy of about 12 reading a book, a pretty little girl about a year older. Good morning little neighbours said Dick my friend here wants tobacco and a pipe can you help him: the boy looked up and stared at my queer attire but reddened as he did so as if he knew that he was not behaving very well; but the firl put on the solemn face of a child playing at shop keeping and said dear neighbour guest what tobacco do you like. I asked with humility for my favourite Latakia and she went straight to a big jar and took out a double handful and put it on the long counter: won't you weigh it my dear, quoth I. Is it more than you want she said: you had better take as much as your bag will hold as they don't always keep Latakia. I fumbled about for
bag and at last pulled out my piece of print that serves me for a tobacco pouch; but she looked at it with some disdain and said: but dear neighbour I can give you something better than that cotton rag. She tripped off up the shop and came back presently and whispered something to the boy who nodded and went out. Then she held unto me a red morocco bag gaily embroidered and said there I've chosen it for you: it will hold that and more, and she stuffed it with tobacco and laid it down before me. Now for the pipe said smiling and mind I shall choose for you again there are three very pretty ones just come in. She disappeared again for a moment,, and came back with a big bowled pipe in her hand of hard wood. Elaborately carved and mounted in gold with jewelry in it; in short as gay a toy as need be. Well said I this is altogether too grand for me I shall be losing it presently and then. Well she said you will easily get one as good and even if you do lose it the chances are that somebody else will find it so where's the harm. Well said I taking it out of her hand to admire it but how am I to pay for such a handsome
thing. Dick laid his hand on my shoulder, and as I turned round and met his eyes I saw a comical expression in them which I understood and blushed at my mistake while the little girl stood behind the country with a grave countenance as if she were playing a part most excellently. Thank so kindly said I at last putting the pipe in my pocket and feeling I must say very like a thief -- O you are so welcome said the girl with an affectation of grown up manners at their best which was very quaint. It is such a pleasure to serve nice old gentlemen like you especially when one can see at once that you have come from across the sea. Yes said I my dear, have been a great traveller. as I spoke in came the lad again with a tray in his hands on which I saw a long flask and two beautiful glasses; please neighbours before you go drink a glass to us said the boy eagerly we don't have guests like this everyday, and he puts the tray on the counter and very solemnly pours out a pretty-coloured wine into the long Venetian-like glasses nothing
why they make swell wine
we drank I with no little pleasure indeed come thinks I am yet in the world the grapes of the Rhine have not yet lost their flavour; for if ever I drunk good Steinberger this is it. Don't you drink my lad and lass? quoth I. No said the little lady I like lemonade better and I ginger beer said the boy. Neither have the children's taste changed much thought I as we kissed our young neighbours and went out of the booth. To my disappointment the beautiful woman was gone and our old now grey-headed and white-bearded was holding the horse for us, who told us that the maiden couldn't wait and had asked him to wait for us. Where are you going neighbour said he. To Bloomsbury quoth Dick. Said the elder if you don't want to be alone I'll go with you. All right quoth Dick. Tell me where you want to get down, and therewith we all got in again and drove slowly off. I asked Dick do children generally wait on people in the booths, no he said only sometimes they like to amuse themselves with it, and it's good for them, for they handle a lot of wares and get to learn something about them, besides it's such very easy
work that anybody can do it; It is said that in the early days of our epoch there were a good many people ho were congenitally afflicted with a disease called idleness, because they were the direct descendants of those who in the old bad days made other people work for them, and these people mostly served in such boots as the one we have been into, and I'm not sure that they were not more or less compelled to do some such work because otherwise they got so ugly that the neighbours couldn't stand it. However that is all gone by now the disease is either extinct or exists in such a mild form. That's true of today said the old man but I remember 80 years ago before the present craze for employment came on some people were still nervous about that disease of idleness; for you remember that at one time we gave ourselves a great deal of trouble about trying to cure people of it." Dick shouted out, just think what a queer idea of people not liking to work why even you like to work old fellow said he patting the horse affectionately with the whip. What an odd
disease and he burst out laughing rather boisterously. Again I laughed from the teeth out for I didn't see anything funny in it and presently I was busy looking about me. We had got out of Picc. Market and were amidst a region of elegantly build much ornamented houses each standing in a piece of garden, most carefully cultivated and running over with abundance of flowers: the trees of which there were many seemed to be nearly all fruit trees: except for a bay tree here and there in a sheltered place, the cherries were laden with fruit and as we passed by the garden gates two or three times we were offered baskets of the best specimens. With all these houses and gardens it was difficult to trace the site of the old streets, but I saw that the main road ways remained pretty much where they had been;
we came into a large open space into the middle of which was a fine apple orchard with a little booth in it like a refreshment stall from the souther side of it ran along road chequered over by the shadow of a
row of tall pear trees at the end of which I caught a sight of the tall tower of the parliament house. I shut my eyes a moment from the bright sun and the loveliness of this abode of gardens, and there passed before them a stranger phantasmagoria of a seething excited crowd dominated by crowded omnibusses, walking round a
[[--deserted--]] paced sq. [[--with a great column--]] populated only by ugly images (one on the top of a tall column) and guarded by a fourfold line of blue clad bludge-bearers; then [[--look--]] at the further end road way the helmets of a band of horse soldiers white in the greyness of the winter day and I opened my eyes to the sunset and cried among the green leaves Trafalgar Sq. Yes said Dick so it is. I don't wonder at your finding the name stupid but it was nobody's business to alter it, and nobody to be offended at a mere name so there it rests. But we might perhaps have commemorated the great battle of 1942 that was important enough if the historians don't lie. They often do or at least did said the old man: there is a muddled account in some of the books of a sort of a fight which took place here in 1887 or thereabout, but I never
some people were going to hold a ward mote here I understand and the government of London the Council or the Commission or what not other barbarians half hatched body of fools fell upon them with the armed hand: that seems almost too ridiculous to be true especially as nothing followed on it according to this version of the story. Well quoth I it _is_ about true except that there was no fighting merely unarmed people attacked by ruffians armed with bludgeons. And they put up with that? said Dick, with the first unpleasant expression on his face I had yet seen. We had to said I. The old man looked at me keenly and said You seem to know a great deal about it neighbour and is it true that nothing came of it. Said I a good many persons were send to prison. What of the bludgeoners? Said the old man, poor devils. No no said I of the bludgeoned said the old man rather severely. Friend I suspect that you have got hold of some rotten collection of lies + have been too easily taken in. I assure it's true said I. Well well said he I know the times were bad. Dick had been sitting with
knit brows as if cogitating. And now he said gently and rather sadly, I have heard of those prisons: how strange it is that there should once have been men like ourselves and living in this beautiful & happy country and who judging from the old books had feelings and affections like us and yet could do such dreadful things! It is hard to understand. Yes said I in a didactic tone but after all those days were a great improvement on [[--the early mediaeval times--]] that had gone before them: haven't you read of the mediaeval times and the ferocity of their criminal law and how they fairly seem to have
enjoyed the tormenting of their fellow men. Yes said Dick there are good books on that period also and I've read some of them, but as to the improvement of the 19 century I confess I can't see it: and it seems to me off that you take up the cudgels for that murdering period of tyranny the 19 century. If you only knew thought I you wouldn't wonder. Then said I you have no prisoners now -- I mean in this country, I said
I saw at once I had asked an indiscreet question, for Dick flushed red & frowned and [[--said--]] the old man looked surprised & pained and at least Dick said: rather angrily Why how can you ask such a question when I have told you that I know what prison means and you yourself have noticed to me that people look so happy about the streets. How could people look happy if people were shut up in prison? and they must know if you couldn't hide if from them like you can an occasional slaying here & there which of course people don't talk about. But forgive me he said smiling I'm afraid you will think ill of me for losing my temper -- of course you can't know these things I've made you feel uncomfortable. O no not at all said I though he had. To change the subject and turn & looked to the left of where we were staged and saw down a beautiful grove of plane trees a stately building with some remains of the thrice copied style of the sham renaissance of our own days. Ah said he that is an old building
built quite in the beginning of the 20th century & not very good but there are some fine things in these full of all sorts of various history too: its called the national gallery--a queer name isn't it I wonder what it means. But it is full of all kinds of pictures some of them very old. So now wherever there [[--are--]] is a place where pictures are kept permanently we call them national galleries after this one. I didn't try to enlighten him feeling the test too heavy, and I took out my magnificent pipe and lighted it and fell smoking well said Dick we're loitering rather suppose we get on; and he set the old grey going again. Said I this pipe is a very elaborate toy you seem so reasonable & your architecture is so good that I rather wonder at your dealing with such trivialities as I said it I thought that rather an ungrateful speech to make in return for such a magnificent present. but he didn't seem to notice my bad manners & said, Well I don't know it _is_ a pretty thing & since nobody need make such things unless they like I don't see why they shouldn't make them _if_ they like. Of course if carvers were
scarce they would be all busy on the grander works and then these toys as you call them would not be much made. But said he with a sigh when work is as scarce as it is now we rather encourage all kinds of work. I'm afraid we may get into trouble through it one of these days -- but added he, his face clearing You must admit that [[--your--]] that pipe is a very pretty thing with the little people running about under the trees there. Too elaborate for a pipe perhaps, but well, it is pretty. Too valuable perhaps said I. What's that said he, I don't understand. I was going in a hapless way to try to make
him understand when we came to a big building where work seemed to be going on -- what building is that said I eagerly it seems like a factory. Yes said he I know what you mean, and it is that, but we don't call them factories here but workshops. That is places where people collect who want to work may together. I suppose said I, 'tis a place where power of some sort is used. No no said he why should people collect together to use power when they can have it in the places where they live any two or three of them or any one of them
for that matter. No people collect in workshops for doing combined handwork where that is necessary, which is often not uninteresting. That workshop is for pottery & glass making of the rougher kind of vessels and they turn out a good deal of work. You see said he smiling with all the care you may take such goods are perishable so they give plenty to do.
Again I held my tongue and wondered and we turned into a lane nearly overshadowed with great plane-trees behind which lay houses low but pretty close together. This is Long Acre said Dick so it must once have been cornfields here. To think how things change & keep their old names. just look how thick the houses stand: and at the back there they are still building look you. Yes said the old man but I think the cornfields must have been built over before the 19th century. I have heard that about here was one of the thickest parts of the town. But I must get down here neighbours I've got to call on a friend who lives in the gardens behind this Long-acre. Goodbye goodluck Guest! And he jumped down and strode
away vigorously. How old will that gentlemen be said I: for I saw that he was old and yet dry and sturdy like a piece of old oak, a type of old man I was not much used. About 90 I should say said Dick. How long-lived your people are said I. Well yes said Dick we have beaten the threescore and 10 of the Jewish proverb book: but then you see that was in Syria a hot country where people couldn't be expected to live so long as in these temperate: however it don't matter so long as one is healthy & happy while one does live. Now we are so near to my old kinsman's [[--house--]] dwelling that I think [[--we--]] you had better keep all your questions for him.
I nodded yes and therewith we turned and went down a slope through some beautiful rose gardens on what I supposed was the side of Endell St. He stopped as we crossed a long straight road with houses scattered down it here and there, and said waving his hand right and left, Oxford Road that side Holborn that. This was once an important part of the city outside the walls: the mediaeval nobles we are told had big houses on both sides of the road. Don't you remember the bishop of Ely's house is mentioned
in Shakespeares play of Richard III. It isn't of the same importance now that the walls are gone and pretty much the city also.
I could scarcely forbear a smile to think how [[--clean--]] the 19th century we were so proud counted for nothing in the memories of this man who had not forgotten Shakespear and the Middle Ages. We crossed by a short narrow [[--road--]] lane and came out into a wide road on one side of which was a great long building gable end away from the road which I at once saw was another public group. Opposite was a wide space of greenery through which I could just see a pillared portico quite familiar to me, no less familiar a friend in fact than the Brit. Mus. I said nothing but let Dick speak: said he that is the B. M. where my great grandfather lives: and this building on the left is the Museum Market. I think we had better turn in there for Greylocks will be wanting his rest and his oats, and besides I suppose you will stay [[--there--]] with my kinsman the greater part of the day: and to say the truth said he blushing there is somebody there whom I want to see for my own part.'
he turned the horse under an archway and we came into a very large paved quadrangle with a big sycamore tree in each corner, and nothing else but a few stalls covered over with gay striped cloths: round the quadrangle was an [[--beautiful--]] arcade whose fanciful but strong architecture I could not sufficiently admire Dick said to me apologetically: nothing much doing here today, Friday is generally the busiest day you would see plenty of people then: however I daresay we shall have a pretty good gathering at --[[dinner--]] our midday meal. We drove through the quadrangle & into a fine large stable on the other side where we speedily housed the old nag and made him happy with oats, and then turned back through the market. I noticed that people couldn't help looking at me, and considering my clothes & theirs I dont wonder, but that whenever they caught my eye they made a very friendly sign of greeting. We walked straight into the forecourt of the museum where except for the trees nothing seemed much changed: the very pigeons were wheeling about as of old. Said Dick It's rather an ugly old building isn't it
about which a few people men & women & children were gathered
Many people have wanted to pull it down and rebuild it, and perhaps if work gets scarcer we shall yet do so: but as my great grand father will tell you it couldn’t be a straight forward job: for there are wonderful collections of all kinds of antiquities there besides an enormous library with many exceedingly beautiful books, and the worry and anxiety and even risk there would be in moving all this has saved the buildings themselves: besides it isn’t a bad thing to have some record of what our forefathers thought a handsome building, for there is plenty of labour & material in it. I see said I I quite agree. This way said he leading me to the old official lodgings. My kinsman is too old to do
ian of the books: but he still lives here a good deal. In fact I think he looks upon himself as a part of the old books or they of him added he laughing. Your kinsman doesn’t much care about pretty building then said I as we entered the dreary classical house, which indeed was as bare as need be except for some big pots of
but was very clean & nicely coloured & whitewashed. O I don’t know said Dick he is getting old certainly over 104 and doesn’t much care about moving but of course he can pick the prettiest house about to live in if he likes: he is not obliged to live in one place any more than any one else. X This way and he opened a door into a fair sized room of the old type quite plain like the rest of the house and with furniture very simple & even rude but solid and with a good deal of well-designed but unskilfully executed carving on it. At the furthest corner of the room near the window a desk sat [a] little old man in a roomy oak chair becushioned about. He was dressed in an old thread bare sort of Norfolk jacket of blue with breeches of the same and and grey worsted stockings. He was as dry as a chip but bright-eyed and alert He jumped up from his chair and said welcome Dick my lad: I expect Clara will be even more glad to see you than I am; though I like it too You seem to bring the fresh smell of the river in with you: but I see you have a friend: You are welcome also neighbor: very specially
said with frank courtesy; for I see you are going to amuse an old man a musty old digger in the past with news from over sea countries. Far off places – said he thoughtfully gazing at me Might I ask where you come from, neighbor, as you are obviously a stranger.
I said in an absent way: I used to live in England and now I am come back again.X He bowed gravely but I thought seemed a little disappointed; meantime I was looking at him harder perhaps than good manners allowed; for in truth his face dried-apple-like as it was seemed strangely familiar: as if I had seen it before – in a looking-glass, said I to myself. Well he said wherever you come from, you have come among friends: and I see my kinsman Richard Hammond has an air about him as if he had brought you here for me to do something for you: is that so Dick? Well yes said Dick our guest finds things much changed and so I thought I would bring him to you, since you know so much of all that has happened within the last 200 years. The old man’s eyes glittered. Frankly guest he said
X and I slept at the Hammersmith guest house last night.
You will do me a great pleasure by setting my old tongue wagging: my love of talking still abides with me. But now without laying impertinent and inquisitive questions upon you let me ask you this: am I to consider you as a questioner who knows a little about our ways of life or as one who comes from some place where the very foundations of life are different from ours. He looked at me keenly and with wonder in his eyes as he spoke and I answered in a low voice The truth is you must talk to me almost as if I were a being from another planet: for I know nothing of your ways of life. He nodded & smiled and was just going to speak when a light step was heard outside, the door opened and a beautiful young woman came hurrying into the room, who without more ado ran up to Dick threw her arms round his neck and fell to kissing him which he returned nothing loth. I don’t know if the girl saw me when she first came in, but she certainly didn’t trouble her head about me till she had satisfied her joy at seeing the handsome Dick; but when they had become two again she turned round
to me very quietly and gracefully, and shook my hand and said; you are a stranger I see, and a new friend of my friends. She was a very pretty creature as pretty as the prettiest we had seen fair golden-haired & pink & white and I thought my friend Dick lucky. But the old man laughed an old mans laugh & said: I have no doubt you two will behave very prettily if you stay here; but Im sure you won't listen to a couple of old fellows talking, and we might be a constraint on you so as there is plenty of room in the house I think you had better go; and we shall meet again at dinner. goodbye. Clara laughed and took Dick's hand, and said come along Dick I can see your kinsman has set in for a long long talk: and he is quite right we should be in the way if we stayed. Dick went as a matter of course and I have no doubt he was happy, but I thought he looked a little as if he would have liked to have listened to our talk a little. The old man (whose name by the way was Morse) sighed as the door shut on them, as if he remembered his past youth. But his face soon cleared.
no no, of course I know there used to be such lunatic affairs; but you forget that their cases all had to do with property quarrels; and I suppose my dear fellow that though you do come from another plant, you know from the look of things that such things couldn't happen now. Indeed my drive from H[ammersmith] to B[roadway] and all the happy quiet life I had hints of had told me that private property was at an end. So I sat silent; and the elder took up the thread and said; Fancy a court for enforcing a contract of passion or sentiment; that would be the reductio ad absurdum of the enforcement of contract, I think. You may as well understand at once that we have changed these matters, or rather they have changed themselves as we have changed in the last two hundred years.
We know that we must face the unhappiness that comes of a man and a woman confusing the relations between natural passion and sentiment and friendship, but we are not so mad as to pile up degradation on that unhappiness by sordid squabbles about livelihood and position and the power of tyrannising over
as it was in the days when we burdened by self inflicted diseases. So we shake these griefs off in a way which perhaps the sentimentalists of earlier days would think contemptible and unheroic, but which we think necessary 7 manlike. (xxxx written out)
I said O and the legislation do they take any part in that? Hammond smiled & said I think you had better wait for an answer to that till we get on to the subject of legislation.
Very well I said But about this woman question I saw at the guest-house that the women were in the position of waiting on the men. that seems a little like reaction doesn't it. Does it said the old man. Perhaps you think house-keeping an unimportant occupation not deserving of respect. I believe that was the opinion of the advanced women of the 19th cent. of whom were talking. Is it yours? If so I recommend to your notice an old Norwegian folklore tale which I have read in one of our collections call how the man minded the house the result of which minding was in the long run that after various tribulations the man and the
households how we live
which the mother must go through form a bond of union between man & woman an extra stimul[[--o--]]us to love and affection between them and that this is universally recognized. Remember also that all the artificial burdens of motherhood are taken away. A mother has no longer any mere sordid anxieties for the future of her children: they may turn out better or worse, they may disappoint her highest hopes: anxieties on such points as these are a part of the mingled pleasure and pain that goes to make up the life of mankind: but nowadays she is certain that artificial disabilities will make her children something less than men and women they will live and act according to the measure of their faculties. In old times it is clear that the society of the day helped the Judaised God & the modern 'man of science' in visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children: to reverse this process and to take the sting out of heredity has been one of the most constant cares of thoughtful men amongst us. So that you see the ordinary healthy woman, (and most of our women are both healthy and at least comely) respected as a child
and rearer desired as a woman, loved as a companion unanxious for the future of her children has much more instinct for maternity than the poor drudge of past days or her sister of the upper classes brought up in affect ignorance of natural facts in an atmosphere of mingled prudery and prurience could ever have. You speak warmly I said, but not without reason; I [[--can see that--]] must needs
agree with you. Yes he said and I believe firmly that the results of all this freedom have been very good for us. What did you think of the looks of the people you have come across today. Said I I could hardly have believed that there could be [[--were--]] so many good looking people in any civilised country.
He crowed a little like the old bird he was: What are we still civilized? Said he, Well as to our looks the English & Jutish blood which on the whole is predominant here [[--doesn't--]] used not to produce much beauty: but there is no doubt that of the improvement in our looks. I know a man who has a large collection of portraits printed from photographs as they were called of the 19th century and going over those puts
that fact out of question. and some people think it not too fantastic to connect this with the freedom we have gained in these matters. They believe that a child which is the result of natural & healthy love between a man and a woman is likely to turn out better in all ways and especially in beauty of body that the birth of the old commercial bed, or the dull despair of the drudge of that accursed system. Pleasure begets pleasure they say. What do you think. I am much of that mind said I.
Well said the old man you must get on with your questions Guest I have been some time over the first. Said I a word or two about education I gathered from Dick that you let your children run wild and didn't teach them anything. Then you gathered lefthanded quoth he. but I think I understand what you mean. You expected to see children thrust into schools when they have reached an age conventionally supposed to be the right age, and there to be subjected to a certain conventional course of learning entirely against their will and quite regardless of what
their special faculties may be--my friend don't you see that such a proceeding means ignoring the fact of growth bodily & mental in a child. I'm sure if you come to think of it you will remember that only those could come out of such a process uninjured who had the quality of rebellioin strong in them. That as a matter of fact most children have always rebelled more or less -- but Dick will have said as much as this to you. I need only say that in these days we are not hurried as we used to be. There is no need to shove a little information by means of torture into a hapless child for fear if he doesn't have it when he isn't fit to reveive it he will never have it at all, he may have it now whenever he wants it.
But said I suppose he never wants it. Suppose e.g. he objects to learning arithmetic or maybe like I did ought not he to be forced to learn these things? a little said I. And how old are you now? 55 said I. and how much arithmetic and maths do you know now? None whatever I am sorry to say quoth I. Hammond laughed
but made no other comment & I dropped the subject of education perceiving him to be hopeless on that side. I thought a little and said. You spoke just now of households and so forth, I should have supposed that you would have got beyond that, and that you would have lived altogether in public-- Phalangsteries eh? said he, well no; we live as we like and we like to live as a rule with certain housemates that we have got used to, and in a certain way: again remember that there is no more poverty; and that the Ph. which the Fourierists ( [[--with whom--]] who in some points were prophetic) drove to death rather implied a kind of refuge from mere destitution a kind of life wh. only poverty could think of. But you must also understand that though we have separate households and those of many patterns no door is shut to any good-tempered person. We never forget that the whole community is one -- only of course it would be unreasonable for one man to drop into a household and bid them alter their ways of life to please him since he can go
elsewhere and still live if he likes it however since you are going up the country with Dick you will learn all about that from actual experience of it -- Your big towns now -- London which -- which I had read of as the modern Babylon seems to have disappeared.
Well well said Old Hammond perhaps after all London today is more like ancient Babylon than the modern Babylon of the 19 century was, but let that pass. After all there is a good of population between between there and Ham-- ((mersmith)). and from here toward the East? said I -- said he time was [[--when--]] if you mounted a good horse at my door and rode east a smart trot for say 2 hours you would still be in the thick of London and the greater part of all that slums as they were called, i.e. places of torture for innocent men & women -- nay worse breeding stews of men & women grown so degraded that they would not feel that torture. I know I know I said that was what was tell me now what is. Is any of that left
Not an inch he said yet some memory
of it is left and I am glad of it. Once a year on May day we hold a solemn feast in those easterly communes of London to commemorate the Clearing of Misery, music & dancing and merry games and happy feasting on the site of that worst of the old slums which are traditionally known, and the custom is for the prettiest girls to sing there some of the old revolutionary and wailing songs of the past on the spots where those horrible crimes of class murder were committed. To a man like me who have studied the past so diligently it is a curious sight to be sure. To see some beautiful girl daintily dressed & crowned with the flowers of the neighbouring fields standing amongst the happy people on some mount perhaps where once was stook a house in which men & women lived packed amongst the filth like pilchards in a cask lived in such a way that they only could have lived at all on the terms of being far more degraded than the beasts. To hear the terrible words of lamentation
coming from her beautiful happy lips, to hear her say singing Hood's Song of the Shirt & to know that all the time
she does not understand in the least what tis all about -- is indeed strange and affecting to see and has often brought the tears of joy to my eyes to think how happy the world has grown.
His old cheeks flushed and his eyes glittered as he spoke and I looked at him wondering that he should think of anything but his own daily dinner at such an age. Then I said Tell us more in detail what lies Eastward of Bl ((oomsbury)) now. Said he population is rather thick in what used to be the old city. Our forefathers in the first clearing of the East End were not in a hurry to pull down to pull down the houses where to the end of the 19th century was called the business quarter of the town, and a little later was known as the Swindling Kens. You see they were roomy and fairly well built & clean because they were not lived in, though they stood hideously thick on the ground and so the poor folk from the cleared slums took them for lodgings till we had time to think of something better for them and they were pulled down rather gradually, so to this day that is the most populous part
look over the river at Shooters Hill & Kent in general, & then turn to the soft meadow with the long long distance -- There is a place called Canning's Town and further out Silver town, where once doubtless were slums which are now the pleasantest of summer meadows. South of the river? said I said he well it is much as the land about Hammersmith. The northern suburb runs up high beyond the forest you passed through; and Hampstead a beautiful & well build place fairly ends London on that side.
I smiled: So much for what was once London said I. How about the other towns? Said he as to the big towns which were once, as we know, the centres of manufacture they have gone the same road as London only in some [[--where the--]] of them are more big workshops: You can easily imagine that the great advance in the use of mechanical force would probably have allowed us to [[--have got--]] get rid of the manufacturing districts as they used to be called, even if we had not changed our habits so much. Whatever coal or mineral we need is of course brought to grass & sent to where it is needed with as little as possible of dirt, confusion, and distressing of quiet peoples lives: one would be tempted to think from all one has read of the 19th century that they in those days worried & befouled men as much
but there are many towns scarcely less beautiful
which is current there: though perhaps you don't know that in the 19th century it was the breeding-place of a peculiar class of parasites who called themselves cultivated people and though they were really cynically indifferent to anything but their individual advancement, yet affected an exaggeration of cynicism. The middle-classes of the day (they had no relations with any other class) treated them much as a shrewd Mediaeval baron treated his jester (though they were by no means as pleasant as the old jesters being in fact _the_ bores of society) [[--that is--]] they were laughed at despised -- and paid -- which last was what they wanted.
Dear me though I, how apt history is, it reverses contemporary judgments! How about the villages said I aloud. Said Hammond. [[--The villages which--]] toward the end of the 19th century the villages were almost destroyed unless they became [[--small centres or--]] adjuncts to the manufacturing districts: [[--but in--]] at best, they were the homes of abject poverty where poor wretches drew from the earth wealth which they never touched themselves: naturally there was no intellectual stir there nothing but
became definitely commercial and was the
incredible shabbiness and niggardly pinching. Did you know all this? I have heard that is was so quoth I but what happened afterwards? The change said Hammong which took place in that respect at the beginning of our epoch was [[--as--]] most strange and rapid: People flocked into the country villages and so to say flung themselves onto the freed land like a wild beast on its prey and in a little time the villages of England were more populous than they had been since the 14th century. Of course this was awkward to deal with and would have created much misery if the folk of the day had been still under the bondage of class monopoly; but as it was things righted themselves after a while; people found out what they were fit for, and if the town invaded the country the invaders as has happened in warlike invasions yielded to the influences of their surroundings and became country-people and in their turn, as they became more numerous than the townsmen influenced them also, so that the difference between town and country grew to be less and less. Again I say many blunders were made, much has been left for the men of my earlier life at least
to set right. The crude ideas of the first half of the 20 century when men were still oppressed by the fear of poverty and did not give themselves leisure enough to look to the present pleasure of life spoilt a great deal of what the commercial age had left us of external beauty [[--and the pleasure--]] and I
admit that it was but slowly that men recovered from the injuries they had thus inflicted on themselves. But now in short said the old man with a pleased smile, You will see that we live now in a pretty place, and are not made effeminate by it. He paused and seemed seeking for words then said: This is how we stand: England was once a country of clearings amongst the woods and wastes with a few towns interspersed which were fortresses for the feudal army, markets for the folk, gathering places for the craftsmen; it then became a country of huge and foul workshops and fouler gambling dens surrounded by an ill kept poverty stricken farm pillaged by the masters of the workshops. It is now a garden where nothing is wasted and nothing is spoilt, with the necessary dwellings sheds & workshops scattered up and down all trim
Besides the villages are there any country houses? Yes plenty, said he: exceptin(g) the wastes & forests it is not easy to be out of sight of a house; and where the houses are thinly scattered the houses run larger & are more like one of the old cottages than what the country houses used to be: that is for society's sake: you see the country dwellers are not necessarily all husbandmen. So that after all said I rather surprised the country is tolerably populous. Certainly said he; the population is believed to be the same as at the end of the 19th century: we have spread it that's all. Of course we have helped to populate other countries -- where we were wanted. One last word about this matter of the country you mentioned wastes & woods, and I myself have just seen the Middlesex & Essex forest. How dows that go with the country being a garden. Said he, Did you never hear of shrubberies in a garden, or rockeries? I advise you to go north some time this summer and see the Cumberland-rockeries. And you know you will see some sheep there. Why the sheep walks between Pen-y-Gwent & Ingleborough [[--are--]] make one of the most beautiful places in these islands.
Now said I I have come to the point where will I nill I, this question must come: what kind of a government have you: has republicanism finally triumphed? and where do you house your parliament since you have turned the old houses into a dung-market? The old man laughed very heartily and said Well dung is not the worst kind of rottenness certainly. It produces fertility which the other rotten stuff didn't produce anything. Dear guest our parliament would be hard to house in one place because [[--it is--]] the whole people is our parliament. I don't understand, said I. No? said he. I suppose not. Well let me tell you at once that we no longer have anything that you a native of another planet would call a government. True it is that certain arrangements have to be made. True also that everybody does not always wholly agree with those arrangements: but also it is true that a man no more needs elaborate laws and an elaborate system of government with its army navy and police to force him to
give way to the [[--necessity of--]] will of the great majority of his _equals_ than he does to make him understand that his head and a stone wall cannot occupy the same space at the same moment. Do you want further explanation. Well, yes I must say I do, quoth I.
Said he, I suppose you know pretty well how the government process acted in the old times? Well I am supposed to know, said I. What was the government in those days? was it the Parliament or any part of it, ministry or what not? No said I. Was the parliament partly a kind of watch committee to see that the interests of the upper classes took no harm; partly a mere bling to make people think that they had some share in managing their own affairs. History seems to show us this said I. What was the government then? Said he. Said I well what was it. Said he shall we be far wrong if we say it was the law courts [[--and--]] at their beck plus the executive at their beck which handled the brute force which the people had been deluded to giving into their charge -- army navy & police. Reasonable men must needs think that you are right said I. And these law courts; were they carried out fairly? had a poor man a good chance of defending his property & person successfully in them. Said I it is well-known that even rich men looked upon a lawsuit as a dire misfortune; and as for a poor one - why it
was considered a miracle of justice & beneficence if he escaped utter ruin and prison [[--from them--]] if once he got into the clutches of the law. It seems then my son said the old man as if this government by the law courts which was the real government of the 19th century was not a great success even to the people of that day living under the class system: but now try to think of it [[--under--]] as we live now; I mean when those rights of property which mean clenching the fist on a piece of goods and crying out to the neigh(bours) you shan't have this [[--are--]] have disappeared when even a jest on them is impossible. Said I under these circumstances it is clearly impossible. Happily said Hammond. But again for what other purpose than the protection of the rich from the poor, the strong from the weak did these governments exist? It was said quoth I that it was their office to defend their citizens against the attacks of other countries. Perhaps, said Hammond, though that was said, no one was expected to believe it. For instance: Did the English Government protect the English citizen against the French? So it was said quoth I. Then said he if the French had
invaded England and conquered it, they would not have allowed the English workmen to earn good wages? I laughed at this and said: As far as I can make out the English masters of workmen would not allow them to earn good wages because they wanted the gods they made for themselves like robbers do. Well said he but if the French had conquered would they have given the English workmen less than the English masters did. I think not said I because then the English workmen would have died and then the French Conquest would have ruined the French just as if the English horses & cattle had died of underfeeding: so that the English workmen would have been no worse off for the conquest -
- well said Hammond: But we have seen that it was the business of Governments to protect the rich and not the poor. didn't they protect the rich English against the French? I don't hear that they needed the protection said I because it [[that]] even when two nations were at war the rich men of each nation[[--s--]] dealt with each other & even sold each other weapons to kill their own countrymen, said Hammond. In short
we must come to this conclusion that whereas the so-called Government protection of property by the law courts meant destruction of wealth, This protection of the citizen from other countries' by war or the threat of war meant exactly the same thing. Said I I see no way out of it but that. Said he [[he]] consider did the Gov: exist for any other purpose
Well said I about those arrangements you spoke of as taking the place of governments could you give me any hint about how they are managed. Neighbour he said although we have simplified our lives a great deal yet our life is too complex for me to tell you in brief words how it is arranged. We have been living for nearly 200 years more or less in our present manner and a tradition or habit of acting on the whole for the best has grown up amongst us; it is easy to live as we do without strife or robbery; I grant it would be possible to live otherwise but it would be hard to do so therefore we go on on the whole living peaceably and acting fairly to each other. Transgressions of this habit occur; but everybody transgresses and all understand what they are and nobody is driven to live by transgressing
as it is so much easier to live by acting on the square. You mean that you have no criminal classes? No how could we have them since we have no rich class? [[--And no laws. Well--]] No properly speaking none all our laws could be written on a small sheet of paper they are nothing but maxims for action everybody habitually acts on them so that no enforcement of them is needed by brute force. Private property being abolished has of course abolished all the laws and crimes which it manufactured: so what could we make laws on? Well crimes of violence? In the first place remember that most of the crimes of violence of past days were really the result of private property, and the general coercion born of it. Again many crimes of violence were caused by the intercourse between the sexes jealous[[l]]y & the like: now where you look into the history of these you will find that at the root of them was the now-exploded idea of the woman being the property of the man husband father brother whatnot. Other crimes again were caused by family tyranny which no longer exists as the families we have now are kept together by no bond of coercion legal or social anyone is free to come or go as he
very different from the old ones: people bring free to exercise their special faculties to the utmost there is little room for that lowering envy which caused so much unhappiness in times past and with irritable and passionate men led once more to crimes. I laughed & said then in short you have no crimes of violence. I do not say that he said; but they are infrequent: hot blood errs sometimes as I said before: a man may strike another and the stricken may strike in return and a homicide may be the result -- but what then? we do not think so poorly of each other as to suppose the slain man calls on us to revenge him or will the death of the slayer bring the slain to life again? Yes but consider said I the safeguarding of the community? Do you really think said he that the society which must needs be safeguarded against an occasional unhappy homicide by itself committing homicide it worth safeguarding a society of ferocious cowards. No I do not quoth I. Said the old man, that is right neighbour. But understand, in the case of any violence committed society expects the transgressor to make any atonement possible to him for his error
and I may now tell you that this disease is more uncommon than any other.
Well so you have no civil law and no criminal law. But have you no law of the market no law of exchange of wares.
We have regulations varying according to the circumstances, & guided by general custom. But laws mind you must be backed by force or they are not laws. Execution follows judgment, and our regulations need no force behind them. A form of war quoth I. But now as to politics how are you as to them? Said Hammond smiling I am glad that you have asked _me_ the question: for I do very believe anybody else would have made you explain yourself or try to till you were sick to death: but I do know what you mean, and I answer we are well off in politics indeed, for we have none. What! said I there is no difference of opinion amongst you? No no I didn't say so but the difference of opinion does not crystallize people into groups permanently hostile to one another, or even only pretending to be so in order to force the public to pay for the expensive game of keeping and amusing [[--certain--]] a few cliques
When you see the judge on his bench, you see the policeman and soldier behind him as clearly as if he were made of glass.
of ambitious men; which was, I have learned, the essence of politics in the days when they existed. The differences which we have relate to passing occurrences and do not divide men permanently even in opinion, because the immediate outcome shows which opinion was the right one. It is not very easy for example to make a political party on the question whether haymaking shall begin this week or next week when all men agree that it must begin the week after next, and when people can go down
into the meadows themselves & see if the seeds are ripe enough. But you settle these differences great & small by the will of the majority I suppose. Certainly said he, how else can we settle them: there could be no difference of opinion in matters merely personal that do not affect the whole community, and when the matter is common to all the majority will have their ways, unless that minority were to take up arms & show that they are the effective majority which however in a society of men who are free and equal is little likely to happen: because the apparent majority is the real majority and the others as I hinted before know that too well to obstruct in a pig-headed manner, as they have had plenty of opportunity to
putting forward their side of the question. How is that managed said I. Well said he take one of the units of population a commune or ward or parish, for we have all three names with little real distinction between them now though there once was some. In such a district you would call it some neighbours think something ought to be done, or undone: a new town hall built, or say a stone bridge substituted for an ugly old iron one -- there you have doing & undoing both at once. Well unless the matter presses very much at the next ordinary meeting or Mote (as we call it after the ancient tongue when such things were) a neighbour proposes the change: of course if all agree there is an[[--d--]] end of all discussion; if no one backs the neighbour (seconds him it used to be said) again there is an end of discussion [[--to--]] for the time being, but of course that is not likely to happen amongst reasonable men; the matter will have been talked over informally beforehand. Well to proceed if it turns out that a good many neighbours think the beastly iron bridge good enough for the time & don't want to be bothered to build a new one the question is put off till the next Mote, and meantime the arguments pro & con
are generally printed so that everybody can see what is going on; and when the Mote comes there is again discussion and finally a vote by show of hands: if the division is a close one the question is without words put off for further discussion: if not the minority are asked if they will agree to the opinion of the majority and they often do: if they refuse the matter is debated once more, and then if they are still in a small minority they always give way, though if there is any rule on the matter they are not compelled to and might carry it on further. They are convinced not perhaps that their view is the wrong one but that they cannot force the community to adopt it. Very good said I, but what happens if the divisions are still narrow. Well said he as a matter of principle the question has to be differed (sic; "deferred") the majority must sit down under the status quo. But I must tell you that the minority even if a large one generally gives way in a friendly manner. But do you know said I that this seems very like democracy and I thought that democracy was considered to have been played out long ago. The old boy's eyes twinkled. i really can't help it said he; I grant you that our proceedings have that drawback: what's to be done? no one
amongst us can be got to complain of not _always_ having his own way since it is quite clear that everyone cannot have that indulgence. The only alternative to our method that I can conceive of are 1st that we should choose our or breed a class of superior persons capable of judging on all matters without consulting the neighbours, get us an aristocracy of intellect in short; or 2nd that [[--we should--]] for the purpose of safeguarding the freedom of the individual will, and so that we might get nothing done, we should reestablish private property again. What do you think of those two expedients. Well I think you are better as you are said he. He laughed very heartily and said: Do you indeed I quite agree with you; and so we all do. Yes I said, and besides it does not press hard on the minority; because no individual is obliged to help in building the bridge is he. And if he doesn't like the ways of life of one commune he can go to another? He laughed again. Shrewdly put said he but from the point of view of the native of another planet. If his feelings _are_ hurt by his defeat he can relieve them by not using the bridge no doubt: but dear neighbour that is not a very effective plaster to heal the tyranny of a majority in our case; because as all work done is beneficial or hurtful to the community and the burden of it has to be [[--done--]] borne by the community he is benefitted
we fear that we may come to be short of work [[--and--]] at the same time that we are not short of wealth which would surely imply that we do not find work distasteful or a suffering but a pleasure and that we naturally do not want to lose a pleasure: so you see we have reversed the views that used to be held -- in the other planet. I see said I and wonder that the world can have changed so much. This seems to me a much greater change than all the other changes as to politics property crime marriage and the rest. You are right said he and you may add that without this change all the others would have been impossible: happiness in daily work is the true bond of a stable society.
Said I but tell me _how_ have you managed to make all work happy? Briefly said he by the absence of artificial coercion, [[--and--]] the freedom for every man to do what he can do best, and by the knowledge (slowly attained to I admit) of what things produced by labour we really needed. Could you explain more in detail? Said I.
Yes said he by means of contrast with the customs of the past. It is clear from all we hear and read that
cheapening of production, as it was called everything was sacrificed: the happiness of the workman at his work, nay his most elementary comfort and bare health; his food his clothes his dwelling his [[--new--]] ( ((pencil)) leisure ) amusement, his life in short did not weigh a grain of sand against this dire necessity. Nay we are told and we must believe it though many people hardly can that driven by this nightmare even rich and powerful men the masters of these poor devils submitted to live amidst sights and sounds and smells which it is in the very nature of man to abhor and flee from: the whole community was in fact cast into the jaws of this ravening monster. Dear me said I but what happened? Didn't their cleverness and facility in production master this chaos of misery at last? didn't they devise means for relieving themselves from this extra labour. He smiled bitterly. Did they try to? I am not sure. You know that according to the old saw the beetle gets used to living in dung: and these people
whether they found the dung sweet or not certainly lived in it. His estimate of the life of the 19 century made me catch my breath and I said feebly -- But the labour saving machines? -- The labour-saving machines
96 scornfully. Yes they were meant to save labour in order that the labour (let us speak plainly and call it lives of men might be expended wasted that is on other useless work: that is to say that all their devices for cheapening production simply ended in increasing the burden of labour the world market grew with what it fed on: the countries within the ring of what was called civilization (ie organized unhappiness) were glutted with the abortions it forced men to make; and force and fraud were used to open up barbarian Countries. That is to say any bold unprincipled adventurer that could be got hold, the stupider and crueller the better and was set on to 'create a market' by breaking up whatever [[--ancient--]] traditional society whatever repose or pleasure he might find there creating new wants amongst the hapless people and so forcing them to sell themselves into the slavery of ceaseless toil in order that they might produce something marketable to exchange for the nullities of [[--the--]] civilized production. Ah I have read books and papers in there of the strangest kind of the way in which civilization treated non civilization from the time when the B((ritish)) government deliberately sent blankets infected with small-pox to inconvenient tribes
made to sell
red skins in American to the time when Africa was infested by a man named Stanley -- Excuse me said I but time presses I fear and I want to ask you another question: how about the quality of the things so made.
Quality said the old man rather huffed at being cut short in his story, how could they possibly attend to that? the best of their wares only came up to a low average and the worst of them were simply makeshifts that nobody would have put up with if they could have got anything else. i forgot though there was one kind of wares which they made thoroughly well, and that was the machines themselves which were usually perfect pieces of workmanship admirably adapted to their end in view: so that it may fairly be said that the great achievement of the 19 century was the making of machines which were wonders of skill and patience, so that they might produce worthless makeshifts in measureless quantities. And all this said I you have quite altered. Quite said he: the wares we make are made because they are needed: men make for their neighbours' use as if they were making for them-
Excellence [in pencil]
It was a common jest amongst them which you as coming from another planet may understand, but which our people would not that such and such an article was only made to sell
and the only admitted test of utility was whether the wares would find buyers wise men or fools as it might happen.
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selves as there is no buying and selling it would be mere necessity to make goods on the chance of their being wanted; so that whatever is made is thoroughly good for the purpose there are no inferior wares made _because_ everything is made for use. [[--and since we are not d--]] On the other hand we have as I said before found out what we want, so we make no more than we want; and as we are not driven to make a vast mass of useless things we have time and resources enough to consider our pleasure in making them: all work that would be irksome to do by hand is done by immensely improved machinery; and in all work which it is a pleasure to do by hand machinery is dispensed with even though it might be [[--easier--]] done quicker by machinery. There is no difficulty in finding work which suits the special turn of mind of everyone; so that no man is sacrificed to the wants of another: nay from time to time when we have found out that some work was too troublesome or unpleasant we have given it up and done without the thing altogether. Now surely you can see that under the circumstances all the work we do is an exercise of the mind and body more or less pleasant to be done; so that instead of avoiding
work everybody seeks it; and since people generation after generation have got defter in doing the work it has become so easy to do that it seems as if there were less to do, and that perhaps explains the fear of a scarcity of work which you have noticed and which is a feeling certainly on the increase and has been for a score of years. And do you think, said I that there will be a work famine amongst you? No said he I do not and I will tell you why: it is everybody's business to try to make each man his own work pleasanter and pleasanter which of course leads to raising the standard of excellence in work and also to greater deliberation in turning it out; and there such a vast number of things that can be treated as works of art that this alone gives delightful employment to a host of people: then there is the whole field of science which is inexhaustible, and though it is no longer the one [[--thing--]] innocent employment which is thought worthy of occupying an intelligent person, as it once was [[--yet--]] there are still many people who care for it more than anything else. Again as more pleasure is imported into work we shall take up kinds of work which
produce desirable wares but which we gave up because we could not carry them on pleasurably. Moreover I think that it is only in parts of Europe which are more advanced than the rest of the world that you will hear this talk at all. e.g. America especially the part once called the United States will be a great resource in this matter: for that country suffered so terribly from the full force of the last days of civilization that she is now very backward; and indeed one may say that for the last 100 years they have been engaged there in making a country out of a stinking dustheap and they have still got a great deal to do more especially as the country is so big. Well said all that is satisfactory and now one or two more questions & I [[--am--]] have done for today.
As I spoke.
p. 141 (in another hand, likely that of S. Cockerell, pg. in 1st ed)
William Morris [signature pasted in]