Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia
Only the best pupils were given this opportunity. No public moneys were wasted on lazy or incompetent boys, while the honor was eagerly sought by those who were diligent and ambitious. The love of adventure which boys had in the trying adolescent age was not only curbed by this means but stimulated into wholesome channels, just as an automobile was propelled forward by a series of little explosions.
These school caravans were systematically planned by the Education Department of the New Society, which had equipped school buildings in the various countries visited, where every provision was made for the care as well as for the instruction of the boys. These buildings were always situated in small towns near the great capitals. In France, for example, the educational building of the New Society was at Versailles. It was better for the physical and spiritual welfare of the pupils that they should live away from the dangerous capital cities. Each of the institutions was in charge of a resident principal, and the caravans were conducted by class teachers who spent three months abroad with their pupils. The itineraries were arranged at the educational headquarters in Jerusalem. Thus the boys saw something of the world without interruption of their studies.
"What about the girls?" quizzed Friedrich.
"Girls don't go on such tours," replied Miriam. "We believe that the place of a growing girl is beside her mother, even when she has been well trained for her duties in the New Society and fulfills them."
While David was engaged with his affairs, Miriam, Friedrich, and Professor Steineck sauntered through the busy town. They saw very little Oriental merchandise in the shops, most of which were agencies for European firms.
They had very good accommodations at an English hotel. Friedrich no longer marveled at the comforts found in Palestine. It was natural enough that a center of international traffic should provide for the comfort of travelers.
That evening they had an early dinner, intending to make an early start the next morning for the so called "granary" of Palestine.
The morning sky was glowing with delicate color as they boarded the electric train that was to carry them through a bewitching spring landscape. Friedrich felt stirring of the springtides of his boyhood in his blood. And, though he dared hardly admit it to himself, the proximity of the lovely Miriam was not without its influence upon his mood. How capably she explained the things that attracted his attention. Sometimes, when she was not fully enough informed, David and Steineck helped her out.
Friedrich, having been trained only in the law and never having studied the applied sciences, really had little notion of modem technical progress and in this he was like most of the educated men of his day. He therefore thought Steineck must be teasing him with some scientific joke when he said that the waters which flowed up from the north and the south met at the watershed here. Steineck did, as it happened, want his little joke with the unscientific Friedrich, but did not long withhold the explanation. Of course, the waters did not flow uphill of themselves, but were forced up by hydraulic pressure. Even in "Old-New-Land" it had been no more possible to change the laws of Nature than the nature of man. But, with the progress of civilization, men had come to understand natural forces better, and had learned how to utilize them. It was no longer necessary to set a mill wheel directly under a waterfall, as in the simple old days. Nowadays the mill wheel was driven by a brook flowing fifteen or twenty miles away, whose power was carried in the form of electric current over cables. By the end of the nineteenth century, this problem had been fully solved; in America, especially, they had gone far in this respect. Electric power from Niagara Falls had been transmitted over a distance of one hundred and sixty-two kilometers and current had also been carried, with a very slight loss of power, for one hundred and thirty-three kilometers from the San Bernardino mountains in Southern California to the city of Los Angeles. These things were easily copied in Palestine. The water power of the Dead Sea Canal in the south and of the springs of the Hermon and the Lebanon in the north was also transmitted in the same way.
"The real founders of 'Old-New-Land,'" said David, "were the hydraulic engineers. There was everything in having the swamps drained, the arid tracts irrigated, and a system of power supply installed."
After traveling for an hour and a half, they reached a model farm established by a millionaire benevolent association and supervised by the New Society. The manager showed them over the whole magnificent estate. Friedrich was especially taken with the central electric station near the administration building. Its walls were covered with buttons, numbers, and little tablets. Two simply dressed young girls were working there under the instructions of an official who sat at a desk and continually put up the telephone receiver to his ear. It reminded Friedrich of a visit he had once paid to a telephone exchange. The manager explained that the electric current was transmitted from this station to all parts of the estate as needed, and shut off the moment it was not needed. The station served not only the farm, but also several allied industrial enterprises-a sugar factory, a brewery, a spirit refinery, a mill, etc.
The farm buildings which they saw, like the .factories, roads, and fields, had the last word in technical appliances. The place was painfully clean, and all work was performed so quietly that one could not help noting it. The great wheels of the estate turned with a minimum of noise. A group of workers in uniform passed by, tools slung over their shoulders, and eyes averted. Some of them seemed sullen, others shy. They gave the manager the military salute.
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