Mizora, by Mary E. Bradley Lane

Chapter 7

One of the most curious and pleasing sights in Mizora was the flower gardens and conservatories. Roses of all sizes and colors and shades of color were there. Some two feet across were placed by the side of others not exceeding the fourth of an inch in order to display the disparity in size.

To enter into a minute description of all the discoveries made by the Mizora people in fruit and floriculture, would be too tedious; suffice to say they had laid their hands upon the beautiful and compelled nature to reveal to them the secret of its formation. The number of petals, their color, shape and size, were produced as desired. The only thing they could neither create nor destroy was its perfume. I questioned the Preceptress as to the possibility of its ever being discovered? She replied:

“It is the one secret of the rose that Nature refuses to reveal. I do not believe we shall ever possess the power to increase or diminish the odor of a flower. I believe that Nature will always reserve to herself the secret of its creation. The success that we enjoy in the wonderful cultivation of our fruits and flowers was one of our earliest scientific conquests.”

I learned that their orchards never failed to yield a bounteous harvest. They had many fruits that were new to me, and some that were new and greatly improved species of kinds that I had already seen and eaten in my own or other countries. Nothing that they cultivated was ever without its own peculiar beauty as well as usefulness. Their orchards, when the fruit was ripe, presented a picture of unique charm. Their trees were always trained into graceful shapes, and when the ripe fruit gleamed through the dark green foliage, every tree looked like a huge bouquet. A cherry tree that I much admired, and the fruit of which I found surpassingly delicious, I must allow myself to describe. The cherries were not surprisingly large, but were of the colors and transparency of honey. They were seedless, the tree having to be propagated from slips. When the fruit was ripe the tree looked like a huge ball of pale amber gems hiding in the shadows of dark pointed leaves.

Their grape arbors were delightful pictures in their season of maturity. Some vines had clusters of fruit three feet long; but these I was told were only to show what they could do in grape culture. The usual and marketable size of a bunch was from one to two pounds weight. The fruit was always perfect that was offered for sale.

Science had provided the fruit growers of Mizora with permanent protections from all kinds of blight or decay.

When I considered the wholesomeness of all kinds of food prepared for the inhabitants of this favored land. I began to think they might owe a goodly portion of their exceptional health to it, and a large share of their national amiability to their physical comfort. I made some such observation to the Preceptress, and she admitted its correctness.

“The first step that my people made toward the eradication of disease was in the preparation of healthy food; not for the rich, who could obtain it themselves, but for the whole nation.”

I asked for further information and she added:

“Science discovered that mysterious and complicated diseases often had their origin in adulterated food. People suffered and died, ignorant of what produced their disease. The law, in the first place, rigidly enforced the marketing of clean and perfect fruit, and a wholesome quality of all other provisions. This was at first difficult to do, as in those ancient days, (I refer to a very remote period of our history) in order to make usurious profit, dealers adulterated all kinds of food; often with poisonous substances. When every state took charge of its markets and provided free schools for cooking, progress took a rapid advance. Do you wonder at it? Reflect then. How could I force my mind into complete absorption of some new combination of chemicals, while the gastric juice in my stomach was battling with sour or adulterated food? Nature would compel me to pay some attention to the discomfort of my digestive organs, and it might happen at a time when I was on the verge of a revelation in science, which might be lost. You may think it an insignificant matter to speak of in connection with the grand enlightenment that we possess; but Nature herself is a mass of little things. Our bodies, strong and supple as they are, are nothing but a union of tiny cells. It is by the investigation of little things that we have reached the great ones.”

I felt a keen desire to know more about their progress toward universal health, feeling assured that the history of the extirpation of disease must be curious and instructive. I had been previously made acquainted with the fact that disease was really unknown to them, save in its historical existence. To cull this isolated history from their vast libraries of past events, would require a great deal of patient and laborious research, and the necessary reading of a great deal of matter that I could not be interested in, and that could not beside be of any real value to me, so I requested the Preceptress to give me an epitomized history of it in her own language, merely relating such facts as might be useful to me, and that I could comprehend, for I may as well bring forward the fact that, in comparison to theirs, my mind was as a savages would be to our civilization.

Their brain was of a finer intellectual fiber. It possessed a wider, grander, more majestic receptivity. They absorbed ideas that passed over me like a cloud. Their imaginations were etherealized. They reached into what appeared to be materialless space, and brought from it substances I had never heard of before, and by processes I could not comprehend. They divided matter into new elements and utilized them. They disintegrated matter, added to it new properties and produced a different material. I saw the effects and uses of their chemistry, but that was all.

There are minds belonging to my own age, as there have been to all ages, that are intellectually in advance of it. They live in a mental and prophetic world of their own, and leave behind them discoveries, inventions and teachings that benefit and ennoble the generations to come. Could such a mind have chanced upon Mizora, as I chanced upon it, it might have consorted with its intellect, and brought from the companionship ideas that I could not receive, and sciences that I can find no words in my language to represent. The impression that my own country might make upon a savage, may describe my relation to Mizora. What could an uncivilized mind say of our railroads, or magnificent cathedrals, our palaces, our splendor, our wealth, our works of art. They would be as difficult of representation as were the lofty aims, the unselfishness in living, the perfect love, honor and intellectual grandeur, and the universal comfort and luxury found in Mizora, were to me. To them the cultivation of the mind was an imperative duty, that neither age nor condition retarded. To do good, to be approved by their own conscience, was their constant pleasure.


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