A Modern Utopia

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My utopian self 1.

It falls to few of us to interview our better selves. My Utopian self is, of course, my better self—according to my best endeavours—and I must confess myself fully alive to the difficulties of the situation. When I came to this Utopia I had no thought of any such intimate self-examination.

The whole fabric of that other universe sways for a moment as I come into his room, into his clear and ordered work-room. I am trembling. A figure rather taller than myself stands against the light.

He comes towards me, and I, as I advance to meet him, stumble against a chair. Then, still without a word, we are clasping hands.

I stand now so that the light falls upon him, and I can see his face better. He is a little taller than I, younger looking and sounder looking; he has missed an illness or so, and there is no scar over his eye. His training has been subtly finer than mine; he has made himself a better face than mine… . These things I might have counted upon. I can fancy he winces with a twinge of sympathetic understanding at my manifest inferiority. Indeed, I come, trailing clouds of earthly confusion and weakness; I bear upon me all the defects of my world. He wears, I see, that white tunic with the purple band that I have already begun to consider the proper Utopian clothing for grave men, and his face is clean shaven. We forget to speak at first in the intensity of our mutual inspection. When at last I do gain my voice it is to say something quite different from the fine, significant openings of my premeditated dialogues.

“You have a pleasant room,” I remark, and look about a little disconcerted because there is no fireplace for me to put my back against, or hearthrug to stand upon. He pushes me a chair, into which I plump, and we hang over an immensity of conversational possibilities.

“I say,” I plunge, “what do you think of me? You don't think I'm an impostor?”

“Not now that I have seen you. No.”

“Am I so like you?”

“Like me and your story—exactly.”

“You haven't any doubt left?” I ask.

“Not in the least, since I saw you enter. You come from the world beyond Sirius, twin to this. Eh?”

“And you don't want to know how I got here?”

“I've ceased even to wonder how I got here,” he says, with a laugh that echoes mine.

He leans back in his chair, and I in mine, and the absurd parody of our attitude strikes us both.

“Well?” we say, simultaneously, and laugh together.

I will confess this meeting is more difficult even than I anticipated.

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