by Henry Wright
"IF it be true that 'good wine needs no bush,' it is true that a good play needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes; and good plays prove the better for the help of good epilogues. What a case am I in then, that am neither a good epilogue, nor cannot insinuate with you in behalf of a good play."
Amongst the various writers who of recent years have painted, for the world's benefit, pictures of the state of society which they conceive would result from a widely extended Socialism, Bellamy and Morris take prominent rank. Perhaps by the time, in the twentieth century, that Socialism is realised, human nature will have undergone such an extraordinary and phenomenal transformation that the views of above-named sanguine gentlemen will prove to have been justified. Let us hope such will be the case.
Meanwhile the talented and clear-sighted Member of Parliament for Hagen, Eugene Richter, pictures to himself a somewhat different state of things as the result of the establishment of Socialism. And his little book may be read, perhaps not quite without advantage, as a slight contribution to the literature of this subject, as presenting the consummation in a different light, and as an expression of what some will doubtless regard as eccentric and extreme views.
In treating a prosy subject of this kind, the mind has a natural craving to get away now and then from the dry detail of statistics and political economy, and to escape, if only for occasional moments, into an atmosphere of lightness and laughter. So far as English readers are concerned, it is to be regretted that Richter did not see fit to arrange his matter in a less dry and ponderous way, and to introduce an element of fun and ridicule into his treatment of the subject. The English are firmly persuaded that the Germans quite lack all sense of humour. It need hence occasion no surprise that this nation, with that stolidity conventionally ascribed to it by the English, have, nevertheless, read this little book with avidity in editions of hundreds of thousands.