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The Coming Race

Chapter 15
Kind to me as I found all in this household, the young daughter of my host was the most
considerate and thoughtful in her kindness. At her suggestion I laid aside the habiliments
in which I had descended from the upper earth, and adopted the dress of the Vril-ya, with
the exception of the artful wings which served them, when on foot, as a graceful mantle.
But as many of the Vril-ya, when occupied in urban pursuits, did not wear these wings,
this exception created no marked difference between myself and the race among whom I
sojourned, and I was thus enabled to visit the town without exciting unpleasant curiosity.
Out of the household no one suspected that I had come from the upper world, and I was
but regarded as one of some inferior and barbarous tribe whom Aph-Lin entertained as a
guest.
The city was large in proportion to the territory round it, which was of no greater extent
than many an English or Hungarian nobleman's estate; but the whole if it, to the verge of
the rocks which constituted its boundary, was cultivated to the nicest degree, except
where certain allotments of mountain and pasture were humanely left free to the
sustenance of the harmless animals they had tamed, though not for domestic use. So great
is their kindness towards these humbler creatures, that a sum is devoted from the public
treasury for the purpose of deporting them to other Vril-ya communities willing to
receive them (chiefly new colonies), whenever they become too numerous for the
pastures allotted to them in their native place. They do not, however, multiply to an
extent comparable to the ratio at which, with us, animals bred for slaughter, increase. It
seems a law of nature that animals not useful to man gradually recede from the domains
he occupies, or even become extinct. It is an old custom of the various sovereign states
amidst which the race of the Vril-ya are distributed, to leave between each state a neutral
and uncultivated border-land. In the instance of the community I speak of, this tract,
being a ridge of savage rocks, was impassable by foot, but was easily surmounted,
whether by the wings of the inhabitants or the air-boats, of which I shall speak hereafter.
Roads through it were also cut for the transit of vehicles impelled by vril. These
intercommunicating tracts were always kept lighted, and the expense thereof defrayed by
a special tax, to which all the communities comprehended in the denomination of Vril-ya
contribute in settled proportions. By these means a considerable commercial traffic with
other states, both near and distant, was carried on. The surplus wealth on this special
community was chiefly agricultural. The community was also eminent for skill in
constructing implements connected with the arts of husbandry. In exchange for such
merchandise it obtained articles more of luxury than necessity. There were few things
imported on which they set a higher price than birds taught to pipe artful tunes in concert.
These were brought from a great distance, and were marvellous for beauty of song and
plumage. I understand that extraordinary care was taken by their breeders and teachers in
selection, and that the species had wonderfully improved during the last few years. I saw
no other pet animals among this community except some very amusing and sportive
creatures of the Batrachian species, resembling frogs, but with very intelligent
countenances, which the children were fond of, and kept in their private gardens. They
appear to have no animals akin to our dogs or horses, though that learned naturalist, Zee,
 
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