Across the Zodiac eBook

Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 587 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.

The theatre was a more prized and less common indulgence.  It is little frequented by the elder Martialists; and not enjoying it themselves, they seldom sacrifice their hours to the enjoyment of their women.  But it forms so important an aid to education, and tends so much to keep alive in the public memory impressions which policy will not permit to fade, that both from the State and from the younger portion of the community it receives an encouragement quite sufficient to reward the few who bestow their time and talent upon it.  Great buildings, square or oblong in form, the stage placed at one end, the arched boxes or galleries from which the spectators look down thereon rising tier above and behind tier to the further extremity, are constantly filled.  There are no actors, and Martial feeling would hardly allow the appearance of women as actresses.  But an art, somewhat analogous to, but infinitely surpassing, that displayed in the manipulation of the most skilfully constructed and most complicated magic lanterns, enables the conductors of the theatre to present upon the stage a truly living and moving picture of any scene they desire to exhibit.  The figures appear perfectly real, move with perfect, freedom, and seem to speak the sounds which, in fact, are given out by a gigantic hidden phonograph, into which the several parts have long ago been carefully spoken by male and female voices, the best suited to each character; and which, by the reversal of its motion, can repeat the original words almost for ever, with the original tone, accent, and expression.  The illusion is far more perfect than that obtained by all the resources of stage management and all the skill of the actor’s art in the best theatres of France.  After the first novelty, the first surprise and wonder were exhausted, I must confess that these representations simply bored me, the more from their length and character.  But even Eveena enjoyed them thoroughly, and my other companions prized an evening or afternoon thus spent above all other indulgences.  A passage running along at the back of each tier admits the spectator to boxes so completely private as to satisfy the strictest requirements of Martial seclusion.

The favourite scenes represent the most striking incidents of Martial history, or realise the life, usages, and manners of ages long gone by, before science and invention had created the perfect but monotonous civilisation that now prevails.  One of the most interesting performances I witnessed commenced with the exhibition of a striking scene, in which the union of all the various States that had up to that time divided the planet’s surface, and occasionally waged war on one another, in the first Congress of the World, was realised in the exact reproduction of every detail which historic records have preserved.  Afterwards was depicted the confusion, declining into barbarism and rapid degradation, of the Communistic revolution, the secession of the Zveltau and their merely political

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Across the Zodiac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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