Caesar's Column eBook

Ignatius Donnelly
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 355 pages of information about Caesar's Column.
to do so, they might just as well shuffle off the mortal coil in the way that would give least trouble to their surviving fellow-citizens.  That, as it was, they polluted the rivers, and even the reservoirs of drinking-water, with their dead bodies, and put the city to great expense and trouble to recover and identify them.  Then came the humanitarians, who said that many persons, intent on suicide, but knowing nothing of the best means of effecting their object, tore themselves to pieces with cruel pistol shots or knife wounds, or took corrosive poisons, which subjected them to agonizing tortures for hours before death came to their relief; and they argued that if a man had determined to leave the world it was a matter of humanity to help him out of it by the pleasantest means possible.  These views at length prevailed, and now in all the public squares or parks they have erected hand some houses, beautifully furnished, with baths and bedrooms.  If a man has decided to die, he goes there.  He is first photographed; then his name, if he sees fit to give it, is recorded, with his residence; and his directions are taken as to the disposition of his body.  There are tables at which he can write his farewell letters to his friends.  A doctor explains to him the nature and effect of the different poisons, and he selects the kind he prefers.  He is expected to bring with him the clothes in which he intends to be cremated.  He swallows a little pill, lies down upon a bed, or, if he prefers it, in his coffin; pleasant music is played for him; he goes to sleep, and wakes up on the other side of the great line.  Every day hundreds of people, men and women, perish in this way; and they are borne off to the great furnaces for the dead, and consumed.  The authorities assert that it is a marked improvement over the old-fashioned methods; but to my mind it is a shocking combination of impiety and mock-philanthropy.  The truth is, that, in this vast, over-crowded city, man is a drug,—­a superfluity,—­and I think many men and women end their lives out of an overwhelming sense of their own insignificance;—­in other words, from a mere weariness of feeling that they are nothing, they become nothing.

I must bring this letter to an end, but before retiring I shall make a visit to the grand parlors of the hotel.  You suppose I will walk there.  Not at all, my dear brother.  I shall sit down in a chair; there is an electric magazine in the seat of it.  I touch a spring, and away it goes.  I guide it with my feet.  I drive into one of the great elevators.  I descend to the drawing-room floor.  I touch the spring again, and in a few moments I am moving around the grand salon, steering myself clear of hundreds of similar chairs, occupied by fine-looking men or the beautiful, keen-eyed, unsympathetic women I have described.  The race has grown in power and loveliness—­I fear it has lost in lovableness.

Good-by.  With love to all, I remain your affectionate brotherly

Project Gutenberg
Caesar's Column from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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