Utopia Limited

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Dialogue following No. 12

Zara: Why, Arthur, what does it matter? When the higher qualities of the heart are all that can be desired, the higher notes of the voice are matters of comparative insignificance. Who thinks slightingly of the cocoanut because it is husky? Be sides (demurely), you are not singing for an engagement (putting her hand in his), you have that already!

Fitzbattleaxe: How good and wise you are! How unerringly your practiced brain winnows the wheat from the chaff — the material from the merely incidental!

Zara: My Girton training, Arthur. At Girton all is wheat, and idle chaff is never heard within its walls! But tell me, is not all working marvelously well? Have not our Flowers of Progress more than justified their name?

Fitzbattleaxe: We have indeed done our best. Captain Corcoran and I have, in concert, thoroughly remodelled the sister-services — and upon so sound a basis that the South Pacific trembles at the name of Utopia!

Zara: How clever of you!

Fitzbattleaxe: Clever? Not a bit. It's easy as possible when the Admiralty and Horse Guards are not there to interfere. And so with the others. Freed from the trammels imposed upon them by idle Acts of Parliament, all have given their natural talents full play and introduced reforms which, even in Eng land, were never dreamt of!

Zara: But perhaps the most beneficent changes of all has been effected by Mr. Goldbury, who, discarding the exploded theory that some strange magic lies hidden in the number Seven, has applied the Limited Liability principle to individuals, and every man, woman, and child is now a Company Limited with liability restricted to the amount of his declared Capital! There is not a christened baby in Utopia who has not already issued his little Prospectus!

Fitzbattleaxe: Marvelous is the power of a Civilization which can transmute, by a word, a Limited Income into an Income Limited.

Zara: Reform has not stopped here — it has been applied even to the costume of our people. Discarding their own barbaric dress, the natives of our land have unanimously adopted the tasteful fashions of England in all their rich entirety. Scaphio and Phantis have undertaken a contract to supply the whole of Utopia with clothing designed upon the most approved English models — and the first Drawing-Room under the new state of things is to be held here this evening.

Fitzbattleaxe: But Drawing-Rooms are always held in the afternoon.

Zara: Ah, we've improved upon that. We all look so much better by candlelight! And when I tell you, dearest, that my Court train has just arrived, you will understand that I am longing to go and try it on.

Fitzbattleaxe: Then we must part?

Zara: Necessarily, for a time.

Fitzbattleaxe: Just as I wanted to tell you, with all the passionate enthusiasm of my nature, how deeply, how devotedly I love you!

Zara: Hush! Are these the accents of a heart that really feels? True love does not indulge in declamation — its voice is sweet, and soft, and low. The west wind whispers when he woos the poplars!

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