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Several more brightly clad people met me in the doorway, and so
we entered, I, dressed in dingy nineteenth-century garments,
looking grotesque enough, garlanded with flowers, and
surrounded by an eddying mass of bright, soft-coloured robes and
shining white limbs, in a melodious whirl of laughter and laughing

‘The big doorway opened into a proportionately great hall hung
with brown.

The roof was in shadow, and the windows, partially glazed with
coloured glass and partially unglazed, admitted a tempered light.
The floor was made up of huge blocks of some very hard white
metal, not plates nor slabs-blocks, and it was so much worn, as I
judged by the going to and fro of past generations, as to be deeply
channelled along the more frequented ways. Transverse to the
length were innumerable tables made of slabs of polished stone,
raised perhaps a foot from the floor, and upon these were heaps of
fruits. Some I recognized as a kind of hypertrophied raspberry and
orange, but for the most part they were strange.

‘Between the tables was scattered a great number of cushions.
Upon these my conductors seated themselves, signing for me to do
likewise. With a pretty absence of ceremony they began to eat the
fruit with their hands, flinging peel and stalks, and so forth, into
the round openings in the sides of the tables. I was not loath to
follow their example, for I felt thirsty and hungry. As I did so I
surveyed the hall at my leisure.

‘And perhaps the thing that struck me most was its dilapidated
look. The stained-glass windows, which displayed only a
geometrical pattern, were broken in many places, and the curtains
that hung across the lower end were thick with dust. And it caught
my eye that the corner of the marble table near me was fractured.
Nevertheless, the general effect was extremely rich and
picturesque. There were, perhaps, a couple of hundred people
dining in the hall, and most of them, seated as near to me as they
could come, were watching me with interest, their little eyes
shining over the fruit they were eating. All were clad in the same
soft, and yet strong, silky material.

‘Fruit, by the by, was all their diet. These people of the remote
future were strict vegetarians, and while I was with them, in spite
of some carnal cravings, I had to be frugivorous also. Indeed, I
found afterwards that horses, cattle, sheep, dogs, had followed the
Ichthyosaurus into extinction. But the fruits were very delightful;
one, in particular, that seemed to be in season all the time I was
there-a floury thing in a three-sided husk-was especially good,
and I made it my staple.
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