Across the Zodiac eBook

Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 490 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.

A chief luxury and expense in which, when aware what my income was, I indulged myself freely was the purchase of Martial literature.  Only ephemeral works are as a rule printed in the phonographic character, which alone I could read with ease.  The Martialists have no newspapers.  It does not seem to them worth while to record daily the accidents, the business incidents, the prices, the amusements, and the follies of the day; and politics they have none.  In no case would a people so coldly wise, so thoroughly impressed by experience with a sense of the extreme folly of political agitation, legislative change, and democratic violence, have cursed themselves with anything like the press of Europe or America.  But as it is, all they have to record is gathered each twelfth day at the telegraph offices, and from these communicated on a single sheet about four inches square to all who care to receive it.  But each profession or occupation that boasts, as do most, an organisation and a centre of discussion and council, issues at intervals books containing collected facts, essays, reports of experiments, and lectures.  Every man who cares to communicate his passing ideas to the public does so by means of the phonograph.  When he has a graver work, which is, in his view at least, of permanent importance to publish, it is written in the stylographic character, and sold at the telegraphic centres.  The extreme complication and compression employed in this character had, as I have already said, rendered it very difficult to me; and though I had learnt to decipher it as a child spells out the words which a few years later it will read unconsciously by the eye, the only manner in which I could quickly gather the sense of such books was by desiring one or other of the ladies to read them aloud.  Strangely enough, next to Eveena, Eive was by far the best reader.  Eunane understood infinitely better what she was perusing; but the art of reading aloud is useless, and therefore never taught, in schools whose every pupil learns to read with the usual facility a character which the practised eye can interpret incomparably faster than the voice could possibly utter it.  This reading might have afforded many opportunities of private converse with Eveena, but that Eive, whose knowledge was by no means proportionate to her intelligence, entreated permission to listen to the books I selected; and Eveena, though not partial to her childish companion and admirer, persuaded me not to refuse.

The story of my voyage and reports of my first audience at Court were, of course, widely circulated and extensively canvassed.  Though regarded with no favour, especially by the professed philosophers and scientists, my adventures and myself were naturally an object of great curiosity; and I was not surprised when a civil if cold request was preferred, on behalf of what I may call the Martial Academy, that I would deliver in their hall a series of lectures, or rather a connected oral account of

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Across the Zodiac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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