Pictures of the Socialistic Future

Richter, Eugene
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Henry Wright, trans.
First Pub. Date
London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Ltd.
Pub. Date
Introduction by Thomas Mackay.
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Chapter XXII


THE discontent in the country has now reached its culmination upon its becoming generally known that all concerts, and theatres, and other amusements in Berlin are free. The inhabitants of every little insignificant bit of a place demand that the national purse provide them with the same diversions that we have here; and they base their claim upon the acknowledged social equality of all, and upon the right of all to enjoy the same identical recompense for the same labours. They say that even under the best of circumstances they are still placed at a great disadvantage, as every village can't have gas or electric lighting, heating by hot-air pipes, and the like.


The Onward attempted to soothe the feelings of the people in the country by graceful and appropriate references to the advantages of country life, idyllic remarks upon the enjoyment of nature, and the sweet freshness of the air. This was looked upon as irony, and they wanted to know what enjoyment of Nature there was during heavy rains, or in the long winter evenings?


"What fresh air do we get in the cramped little cottages in the country, or in the stables and shippons?"


Thus they grumbled in letters to the paper.


It was pointed out to them that it had never been any different. They admitted the truth of this, but then went on to say that formerly everyone who did not care to stay in the country was at liberty to remove into a town. Now, however, it was very different, and the countryman was tied to his clod of earth until it pleased the authorities to dispose otherwise of him. And under these circumstances they must look to the State to provide them with just the same amusements as the large towns had. They merely asked for equal rights for all, and no more.


The Chancellor did not at all know what to do. The wise government of a people has unquestionably more knotty points about it than the cleaning of boots and the brushing of clothes. This scheme of planning recreations for the people has been about the only thing he has carried through. But with the best will in the world he could not possibly have a band of music, a circus, and a company of specialists at every street-crossing. Pondering upon this business, the happy thought occurred to him to have a few hundred thousand Berliners transferred to the enjoyments of the country every Sunday, and a corresponding number of country people brought up to the attractions of the town. But unfortunately for this social equality the weather proved very unequal. In rainy weather the Berlin people showed no great liking for damp excursions into the country. But the country people, who had arrived in great numbers, naturally expected those seats at the various places of amusement which the Berliners did not care to relinquish.


After the Chancellor had succeeded in thus setting the townspeople and the country people thoroughly at loggerheads with each other, his retirement was deemed expedient, in order that the feeling against him might not unduly prejudice the coming general elections. In Berlin, as might be expected, the disgust at the stoppage of all further free recreations is universal. Henceforth places at the theatres and similar entertainments can only be had against payment in the coupons of the money-certificates.


The Secretary to the Treasury has been appointed as the Chancellor's successor. He is known as a man who goes straight to the point, regardless of all considerations, and he also has the reputation of being a good financier. This latter quality will be all the more welcome, as there are all sorts of ugly whispers abroad respecting the disproportion there is between income and expenditure in the finances of the socialised Community.

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