Imatges de pÓgina


the scenery from the window.
it be possible,” said I, "that the tradi-`
tions of Sybaris really linger here?"

my first

In a

as the old joke says; but there were tracks in the shingle of the beach showing where wheels had been, and these led me to a cart-track between high growths of that Mediterranean reed which grows all along in those low flats. There is one of the reeds on the hooks above my gun in the hall as you came in. I followed up the track, but without seeing barn, house, horse, or man, for a quarter of a mile, perhaps, when behold, Not the footprint of a man! as to rapidity, so that it was soon out of sight. Robinson Crusoe ;


Not a gallows and man hanging! as in the sailor story above named;

But a railroad track! Evidently a horse-railroad.


"A horse-railroad in Italy!" said I, aloud. "A horse-railroad in Sybaris! It must have changed since the days of the coppersmiths!" And I flung myself on a heap of reeds which lay there, and waited.

In two minutes I heard the fast step of horses, as I supposed; in a minute more four mules rounded the corner, and a "horse-car " came dashing along the road. I stepped forward and waved my hand, but the driver bowed respectfully, pointed back, and then to a board on top of his car, and I read, as he dashed by me, the word


displayed full above him; as one may read Complet on a Paris omnibus.

Now Πλήρον is the Greek for full. "In Sybaris they do not let the horserailroads grind the faces of the passengers," said I. "Not so wholly changed since the coppersmiths." And, within the minute, more quadrupedantal noises, more mules, and another car, which stopped at my signal. I entered, and found a dozen or more passengers, sitting back to back on a seat which ran up the middle of the car, as you might ride in an Irish jauntingcar. In this way it was impossible for the conductor to smuggle in a standing passenger, impossible for a passenger to catch cold from a cracked window, and possible for a passenger to see

I sat quite in the front of the car, so that I could see the fate of friend IIλýpov, - the full car. very few minutes it switched off from our track, leaving us still to pick up our complement, and then I saw that it dropped its mules, and was attached, on a side track, to an endless chain, which took it along at a much greater

I addressed my next neighbor on the subject, in Greek which would have made my fortune in those old days of the pea-green settees. But he did not seem to make much of that, but in sufficiently good Italian told me, that, as soon as we were full, we should be attached in the same way to the chain, which was driven by stationary engines five or six stadia apart, and so indeed it proved. We picked up one or two market-women, a young artist or two, and a little boy. When the child got in, there was a nod and smile on people's faces; my next neighbor said to me, IIλýpov, as if with an air of relief; and sure enough, in a minute more, we were flying along at a 2.20 pace, with neither mule nor engine in sight, stopping about once a mile to drop passengers, if there was need, and evidently approaching Sybaris.

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All along now were houses, each with its pretty garden of perhaps an acre, no fences, because no cattle at large. I wonder if the Vineland people know they caught that idea from Sybaris! All the houses were of one story, stretching out as you remember Pliny's villa did, if Ware and Van Brunt ever showed you the plans, or as Erastus Bigelow builds factories at Clinton. I learned afterwards that stair-builders and slaveholders are forbidden to live in Sybaris by the same article in the fundamental law. This accounts, with other things, for the vigorous health of their women. I supposed that this was a mere suburban habit, and, though the houses came nearer and nearer, yet, as no two houses touched in a block,

I did not know we had come into the city till all the passengers left the car, and the conductor courteously told me we were at our journey's end.

When this happens to you in Boston, and you leave your car, you find yourself huddled on a steep sloping sillewalk, under the rain or snow, with a hundred or more other passengers, all eager, all wondering, all unprovided for. But I found in Sybaris a large glass-roofed station, from which the other lines of neighborhood cars radiated, in which women and even little children were passing from route to to route, under the guidance of civil and intelligent persons, who, strange enough, made it their business to conduct these people to and fro, and did not consider it their duty to insult the traveller. For a moment my mind reverted to the contrast at home; but not long. As I stood admiring and amused at once, a bright, brisk little fellow stepped up to me, and asked what my purpose was, and which way I would go. He spoke in Greek first, but, seeing I did not catch his meaning, relapsed into very passable Italian, quite as good as mine.

I told him that I was shipwrecked, and had come into town for assistance. He expressed sympathy, but wasted not a moment, led me to his chief at an office on one side, who gave me a card with the address of an officer whose duty it was to see to strangers, and said that he would in turn introduce me to the chief of the boat-builders; and then said, as if in apology for his promptness,

* Χρη ξείνον παρεόντα φιλεῖν, ἐθέλοντα δὲ πέμπειν." "Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest." He called to me a conductor of the red line, said Eévos, which we translate guest, but which I found in this case means "dead-head," or "free," bowed, and I saw him no more.

"Strange country have I come to, indeed," said I, as I thought of the passports of Civita Vecchia, of the indifference of Scollay's Buildings, and of the surliness of Springfield. "And this is Sybaris!"

WE sent down a tug to the cove which I indicated on their topographical map, and to the terror of the old fisherman and his sons, to whom I had sent a note, which they could not read, our boat was towed up to the city quay, and was put under repairs. That last thump on the hidden rock was her worst injury, and it was a week before I could get away. It was in this time that I got the information I am now to give, partly from my own observations, partly from what George the Proxenus or his brother Philip told me, more from what I got from a very pleasing person, the wife of another brother, at whose house I used to visit freely, and whose boys, fine fellows, were very fond of talking about America with me. They spoke English very funnily, and like little schoolbooks. The ship-carpenter, a man named Alexander, was a very intelligent person; and, indeed, the whole social arrangement of the place was so simple, that it seemed to me that I got on very fast, and knew a great deal of them in a very short time.

I told George one day, that I was surprised that he had so much time to give to me. He laughed, and said he could well believe that, as I had said that I was brought up in Boston. "When I was there," said he, "I could see that your people were all hospitable enough, but that the people who were good for anything were made to do all the work of the vauriens, and really had no time for friendship or hospitality. I remember an historian of yours, who crossed with me, said that there should be a motto stretched across Boston Bay, from one fort to another, with the words, "No admittance, except on business."

I did not more than half like this chaffing of Boston, and asked how they managed things in Sybaris.


Why, you see," said he, "we hold pretty stiffly to the old Charondian laws, of which perhaps you know something; here's a copy of the code, if you would like to look over it," and he took one out of his pocket. "We are still

very chary about amendments to statutes, so that very little time is spent in legislation; we have no bills at shops, and but little debt, and that is all on honor, so that there is not much account-keeping or litigation; you know what happens to gossips, - gossip takes a good deal of time elsewhere, -and somehow everybody does his share of work, so that all of us do have a good deal of what you call ‘leisure.' Whether," he added pensively, "in a world God put us into that we might love each other, and learn to love, whether the time we spend in society, or the time we spend caged behind our office desks, is the time which should be called devoted to the 'business of life,' that remains to be seen."

"How came you to Boston," said I, "and when?"

"O, we all have to travel," said George, "if we mean to go into the administration. And I liked administration. I observe that you appoint a foreign ambassador because he can make a good stump speech in Kentucky. But since Charondas's time, training has been at the bottom of our system. And no man could offer himself here to serve on the school committee, unless he knew how other nations managed their schools."

"Not if he had himself made schoolbooks?" said I.

"No!" laughed George, "for he might introduce them. With us no professor may teach from a text-book he has made himself, unless the highest council of education order it; and on the same principle we should never choose a bookseller on the school committee. And so, to go back," he said, "when my father found that administration was my passion, he sent me the grand tour. I learned a great deal in America, and am very fond of the Americans. But I never saw one here before."

I did not ask what he learned in America, for I was more anxious to learn myself how they administered government in Sybaris.

As we

large, not extending much beyond the
compass of a large private house.
Mine was kept by a woman.
sat there, smoking on the piazza, the
first evening I was there, I asked George
about this horse-railroad management,
and the methods they took to secure
such personal comfort.

He said that my question cut pretty low down, for that the answer really involved the study of their whole system. "I have thought of it a good deal," said he, "when I have been in St. Petersburg, and in England and America; and as far as I can find out, our peculiarity in everything is, that we respect I have sometimes thought we almost worshipped the rights, even the notions or whims, of the individual citizen. With us the first object of the state, as an organization, is to care for the individual citizen, be he man, woman, or child. We consider the state to be made for the better and higher training of men, much as your divines say that the Church is. Instead of our lumping our citizens, therefore, and treating Jenny Lind and Tom Heenan to the same dose of public schooling, instead of saying that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, - we try to see that each individual is protected in the enjoyment, not of what the majority likes, but of what he chooses, so long as his choice injures no other man."

I thought, in one whiff, of Stuart Mill, and of the coppersmiths.

"Our horse-railroad system grew out of this theory," continued he. "As long ago as Herodotus, people lived here in houses one story high, with these gardens between. But some generations ago, a young fellow named Apollidorus, who had been to Edinburgh, pulled down his father's house and built a block of what you call houses on the site of it. They were five stories high, had basements, and so on, with windows fore and aft, and, of course, none on the sides. The old fogies looked aghast. But he found plenty of fools to hire them. But the tenants had not been

THE INNS at Sybaris are not very in a week, when the Kategoros, district

attorney, had him up 'for taking away from a citizen what he could not restore.' This, you must know, is one of the severest charges in our criminal code.

"Of course, it was easy enough to show that the tenants went willingly; he showed dumb-waiters, and I know not what infernal contrivances of convenience within. But he could not show that the tenants had north windows and south windows, because they did not. The government, on their side, showed that men were made to breathe fresh air, and that he could not ventilate his houses as if they were open on all sides; they showed that women were not made to climb up and down ladders, and to live on stages at the tops of them; and he tried in vain to persuade the jury that this climbing was good for little children. He had lured these citizens into places dangerous for health, growth, strength, and comfort. And so he was compelled to erect a statue typical of strength, and a small hospital for infants, as his penalty. That spirited Hercules, which stands in front of the market, was a part of his fine.

"Of course, after a decision like this, concentration of inhabitants was out of the question. Every pulpit in Sybaris blazed with sermons on the text, 'Every man shall sit under his vine and under his fig-tree.' Everybody saw that a house without its own garden was an abomination, and easy communication with the suburbs was a necessity.

"It was, indeed, easy enough to show, as the city engineer did, that the power wasted in lifting people up, and, for that matter, down stairs, in a five-story house, in one day, would carry all those people I do not know how many miles on a level railroad track in less time. What you call horse-railroads, therefore, became a necessity."

I said they made a great row with us. "Yes," said he, "I saw they did. With us the government owns and repairs the track, as you do the track of any common road. We never have any difficulty.

"You see," he added after a pause,

"with us, if a conductor sprains the ankle of a citizen, it is a matter the state looks after. With you, the citizen must himself be the prosecutor, and virtually never is. Did you notice a pretty winged Mercury outside the station-house you came to?"

I had noticed it.

"That was put up, I don't know how long ago, in the infancy of these things. They took a car off one night, without public notice beforehand. One old man was coming in on it, to his daughter's wedding. He missed his connection out at Little Krastis, and lost half an hour. Down came the Kategoros. The company had taken from a citizen what they could not restore, namely, half an hour."

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George lighted another cigar, and laughed very heartily. "That's a great case in our reports," he said. "The company ventured to go to trial on it. They hoped they might overturn the old decisions, which were so old that nobody knows when they were made, — as old as the dancing horses,” said he, laughing. "They said time was not a thing, - it was a relation of ideas; that it did not exist in heaven; that they could not be made to suffer because they did not deliver back what no man ever saw, or touched, or tasted. What was half an hour? But the jury was pitiless. A lot of business men, you know, they knew the value of time. What did they care for the metaphysics? And the company was bidden to put up an appropriate statue worth ten talents in front of their station-house, as a reminder to all their people that a citizen's time was worth something."

This was George's first visit to me; and it was the first time, therefore, that I observed. a queer thing. Just at this point he rose rather suddenly and bade me good evening. I begged him to stay, but had to repeat my invitation twice. His hand was on the handle of the door before he turned back. Then he sat down, and we went on talking; but before long he did the same thing again, and then again.

At last I was provoked, and said: "What is the custom of your country? Do you have to take a walk every eleven minutes and a quarter?"

George laughed again, and indeed blushed. "Do you know what a bore is?" said he.

"Alas! I do," said I.

"Well," said he, "the universal custom here is, that an uninvited guest, who calls on another man on his own business, rises at the end of eleven minutes, and offers to go. And the courts have ruled, very firmly, that there must be a bona fide effort. We get into such a habit of it, that, with you, I really did it unawares. The custom is as old as Cleisthenes and his wedding. But some of the decisions are not more than two or three centuries old, and they are very funny.

"On the whole," he added, "I think it works well. Of course, between friends, it is absurd, but it is a great protection against a class of people who think their own concerns are the only things of value. You see you have only to say, when a man comes in, that you thank him for coming, that you wish he would stay, or to take his hat or his stick, you have only to make him an invited guest, and then the rule does not hold."

"Ah!" said I; "then I invite you to spend every evening with me while I am here."

"Take care," said he; "the Government Almanac is printed and distributed gratuitously from the fines on bores. Their funds are getting very low up at the department, and they will be very sharp on your friends. So you need not be profuse in your invitations."

THIS Conversation was a clew to a good many things which I saw while I was in the city. I never was in a place where there were so many tasteful, pretty little conveniences for everybody. At the quadrants, where the streets cross, there was always a pretty little sheltered seat for four or five people, - shaded,

stuffed, dry, and always the morning and evening papers, and an advertisement of the times of boats and trains, for any one who might be waiting for a car or for a friend. Sometimes these were votive offerings, where public spirit had spoken in gratitude. More often they had been ordered at the cost of some one who had taken from a citizen what he could not repay. The private citizen might often hesitate about prosecuting a bore, or a nuisance, or a conceited company officer. But the Kategoroi made no bones about it. They called the citizen as a witness, and gave the criminal a reminder which posterity held in awe. Their point, as they always explained it to me, is, that the citizen's health and strength are essential to the state. The state cannot afford to have him maimed, any more than it can afford to have him drunk or ignorant. The individual, of course, cannot be following up his separate grievances with people who abridge his rights. But the public accuser can and does.

With us, public servants, who know they are public servants, are always obliging and civil. I would not ask better treatment in my own home than I am sure of in Capitol, State-house, or city hall. It is only when you get to some miserable sub-bureau, where the servant of the servant of a creature of the state can bully you, that you come to grief. For instance the State of Massachusetts just now forbids corporations to work children more than ten hours a day.. The corporations obey. But the overseers in the rooms, whom the corporations employ, work children eleven hours, or as many as they choose. They would not stand that in Sybaris.

I WAS walking one day with one of the bright boys of whom I spoke, and I asked him, as I had his father, if I was not keeping him away from his regular occupation. Ought he not be at school?

"No," said he; "this is my off


"Pray, what is that?"

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