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Romance of VERY SCAR<

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1884

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FLATLAND A Romance of Many Dimensions .

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FLATLAND A Romance of Many Dimensions With by the Illustrations Author. 47 &r 48. ESSEX STREET. how franticly 1 square my talk!' LONDON SEELEY &f Co. 46. A SQUARE " Fie. fie.. STRAND (Late 15/54 FLEET STREET) 1884 .

LONDON R. CLAY. : AND TAYLOR. . SONS. BREAD STREET HILL.

To The Inhabitants of SPACE IN GENERAL And H. This C. IN is PARTICULAR Dedicated of Flatland that Work By a Humble Native In the Hope Even as he was Initiated into the Mysteries Of THREE Dimensions Having been previously conversant With ONLY So the Citizens of that Two Celestial Region May To aspire yet higher and higher the Secrets of FOUR FIVE OR EVEN Six Dimensions Thereby contributing To the Enlargement of THE IMAGINATION And the possible Development Of that most rare and excellent Gift of MODESTY Among the Superior Races Of SOLID HUMANITY .

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CONTENTS PART I THIS Section 1 WORLD Of the Nature of Flatland 2 Of the Climate and Houses in Flatland 3 Concerning the Inhabitants of Flatland 4 5 Concerning the Women Of Of our Methods of Recognizing one another Recognition by Sight 6 7 Concerning Irregular Figures 8 9 10 1 1 Of the Ancient Practice of Painting Of Of the Universal Colour Bill the Suppression of the Chromatic Sedition Concerning our Priests 12 Of the Doctrine of our Priests .

to having in vain tried words. and what came of it I still 20 21 How the Sphere encouraged me in a Vision Dimensions to How I tried to teach the Theory of Three success my Grandson. but could not 15 16 Concerning a Stranger from Spaceland How How the Stranger vainly endeavoured to reveal to me in words the mysteries of Spaceland 17 the Sphere. Sphere showed me other mysteries of Spaceland. though desired more . and of .viii Contents Section 13 How 1 had a How in Vision of Lineland Vision 14 my I endeavoured to explain the nature of Flatland. and with what 22 How I then tried to diffuse the the result Theory of Three Dimensions by other means. resorted to deeds 1 8 How I came Spaceland and what I saw there the 19 How.

for the world is broad and wide" .PART 1 "Be -patient.

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but to make who are privileged to live Of the Nature of Flat land. and other figures. we could see nothing of the kind. Hexagons. I its CALL our world Flatland. On will the contrary.FLATLAND PART THIS i. my happy readers. you will perceive at once that it is impossible that " there should be anything of what you. very will much like shadows only hard and with luminous edges correct notion of I and you then have a pretty should have my country and " " said my universe : Alas. not because nature clearer to you. but without the power of rising above or sinking below it. but now my mind has been opened to higher views of things. in Space. countrymen. Squares. on or in the surface. not at least so as to . Pentagons. instead of remaining fixed in their places. you suppose that we could at least distinguish by sight the Triangles Squares and other figures moving about as I have described them. In such a country. a few years ago. Triangles. I WORLD we call it so. Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines. call a " solid kind but I dare say . move freely about.

(3) your eye were close to the or all but on the level of the table. When I was in Spaceland I heard that your sailors have very similar experiences while they traverse your seas and discern some distant island (and that how we see him . Space . as it were. and level of the table in if your eye were quite on the is Flatland) you would see nothing but a straight line. Take for example an equilateral Triangle of the who represents with class. while you were bending over him from above figs. or Square. 2 and 3 represent the Tradesman. represents the (2) Tradesman as you would see him . to us. and the necessity of this I will and distinguish one figure from another. gradually lower your eye (thus bringing yourself more and more into the condition of the inhabitants of Flatland). It will appear a circle. as if you would see him level. nor could be except straight Lines. the same way a Triangle.4 Flatland Nothing was visible. The same thing would happen as you were to at treat in a straight line. you will find that to ceases to appear you a figure. so if far as you can see. and that it becomes in appearance a straight line. visible. and you will find the penny becoming more and more oval to your view . or any other figure cut out of pasteboard. and will have become. us a I Tradesman respectable Fig. look down upon it. Place a penny on the middle of one of your tables in leaning over it. As soon you look it with your eye on the edge of it the table. But now. speedily demonstrate. actually a Flatland citizen) the penny will then have ceased to appear oval at all. drawing back to the edge of the table. and at last when you have placed your eye exactly on the edge of the table (so that you are.

us. Square. and. nothing but a grey unbroken line upon the water. so also with North. angles in and out to any number and extent yet at a distance you see none of these (unless indeed your sun shines bright upon them revealing the projections and retirements by means of light and shade). but we have a method of our own. By a Law of Nature with us. what you a straight Line he looks and nothing else. As there are four points of the compass There being no sun nor other heavenly bodies. and say a word or two about the climate and houses in our country. You may perhaps ask how under these disadvantageous circumstances we are able to distinguish our friends from one another: but the answer to this very natural question will be more fitly and easily given when I come to describe the inhabitants of Flatland. 2. may have bays.Flatland or coast lying on the horizon. that is just what we see when one of our triangular or other As there is neither sun acquaintances comes towards us in Flatland. forelands. it is impossible for us to determine the North in the usual way . it becomes smaller he looks like a straight be he a Triangle. if he leaves us line will . Well. with you. South. 5 The far-off land . we have none If our friend of the helps to the sight that you have in Spaceland. Hexagon. comes close to us : we but see his line becomes larger still . Pentagon. Moreover . although in reasonable health difficulty temperate climates this very slight can journey several furlongs northward without much is so that even a Woman quite yet the hampering effect of the southward attraction sufficient to serve as a compass in most parts of our earth. us. defer this For the present let me subject. and West. with nor any light of such a kind as to make shadows. Circle. Of the climate ana houses in Flatland. East. there in is a constant attraction to the South is .

know now only but too well the true solution of this mysterious problem intelligible to a single one of my knowledge cannot be made countrymen and I am mocked at I. Altogether. alas I alone in Flatland . absolutely prohibited them. I. It was in old days. walking sometimes have been no houses nor trees to guide me. the Legislature. and especially on of attraction tells much more heavily than the On on the robust of the Male Sex. is towns we have the guidance of the houses. attempts to suppress such investigations indirectly by making them liable to a heavy tax. the trunks of the as trees serve some sort of guide. I have been occasionally compelled to remain stationary for hours together.6 the rain (which falls Flatland at stated intervals) . with no other result crowd our lunatic asylums fruitless with the would-be solvers. What the origin of light and the solution of than to after has been repeatedly attempted. interesting and oft-investigated it question. to do always it at short notice when you are in rude health and in a climate where is difficult to tell your Windows alike in our all there are none in our houses: for the light comes to us homes and out of them. we have not so much difficulty as might be expected in determining our bearings. waiting till the rain came a perfectly desolate plain where there before continuing my journey. if you meet a Lady in the street. In the country. so that it is a point of breeding. so that the roofs may keep off the rain from the and in the North. where there are no houses. our is with learned men. which of course have their side-walls running for the most part North and South. my . whence we know not. an additional assistance coming always from the North. in in which the southward attraction hardly felt. Yet is in our more temperate regions. by day and by night. the force weak and aged. in comparatively recent times. equally at times and in all places. Hence. delicate Females. an . . always to give her the North side of the way by no means an easy thing North from your South.

it powder-magazines.Flatland the sole possessor of the truths of introduction of Light from the world of Three Dimensions Space and of the theory of the as if I were : the maddest of the let mad ! But a truce to these painful digressions for the construction of a figure. barracks. The two Northern sides RO. the But. as in the annexed roof. and the lines of inanimate objects (such as houses) being dimmer than the lines of Men and Women. me return to our houses. still everywhere permitted. The angles of a Square (and still more those of an equilateral Triangle) being much more pointed than those of a Pentagon. Law decided that in all the angle of a Pentagon towns containing a population above ten thousand. OF. it follows that there is no little danger lest the points of a square or triangular house residence might do serious injury to an inconsiderate or perhaps absent- minded early traveller suddenly running century against era. for the on the West a much larger Men the South side or . fortifications. square houses were discouraged by a special tax. them : and therefore. . The most common form or house is five-sided pentagonal. as as the eleventh of our triangular houses were universally forbidden by Law. floor is usually doorless. the only exceptions being state buildings. and other which is not desirable that the general public should approach without circumspection. and for this reason. was the smallest house-angle that could be . At this period. though about three centuries afterwards. for the constitute the and on the most part have no doors is the East a small door for Women one . Square and triangular houses are not allowed.

in the country. Soldiers and equal sides. name I shall refer to them in the following pages. Concerning the Inhabitants of Flatland. community has seconded the efforts of the Legislature and now. so they can hardly be distinguished from Straight Lines or Women . Lowest Classes of Workmen are Triangles with two each about eleven inches long.8 Flatland The good sense of the allowed consistently with the public safety. Twelve inches may be regarded as a maximum. circle. the It is only now pentagonal construction has superseded every other. and a base or third side so Indeed when their bases are of the short (often not exceeding half an inch) that they form at their vertices a very sharp and formidable angle. he is included in the Circular or all. that the figure their sides till number of cannot be distinguished from a Priestly order . Next above these come the Nobility. and the sides themselves so small. and from thence they receive the honourable title of Polygonal. or rising in the Hexagons. Professional Men and Gentlemen are Squares (to which class myself belong) and Five-sided figures or Pentagons. Our Middle Our I Class consists of Equilateral or Equal-sided Triangles. these Triangles are distinguished from others by being called Isosceles and by this . most degraded type (not more than the eighth part of an inch in size). and then in some very remote and backward agricultural district that an antiquarian 3. and this is the highest class of . may still discover a square house. Our Women Our are Straight Lines. extremely pointed are their vertices. as with you. With us. of whom there are several degrees. beginning at Six-sided Figures. even . Finally when the number of the sides becomes so numerous. The greatest length or breadth of a full-grown inhabitant of Flatland may be estimated at about eleven of ryour inches. or many-sided.

" What need certificate Son a from Nature of a certificate?" a Spaceland critic may ask : " Is not the procreation of a Square " 1 reply that no herself.e. as its antecedents. so that each generation shall rise (as a rule) one step Thus the son of a Square in nobility. not only a series of carefully arranged intermarriages. which either fails to attain the Pentagonal rank. even from the Nevertheless. after a long series of military successes. and to the Workmen. With them therefore the (i. in proportion to the vast number of Isosceles births is a genuine and certifiable 1 Such a birth parents. is a Pentagon But this rule applies not always to the Tradesmen. and still less often to the Soldiers. it is generally found that the more intelligent among the Artisan and Soldier classes manifest a slight increase of their third side or base. who indeed can hardly be the scale of development and . a Hexagon and so on. .It is a Law of Nature with us that a male child shall have one more side than his father. and a shrinkage of the two other sides. systematic. said to deserve the sides name of human Figures. a Triangle with two sides equal) remains all hope is not shut out. the^ Priests) Intermarriages (arranged between the sons and daughters of these more intellectual by members of the lower classes generally result in an offspring approxi- mating still Rarely more to the type of the Equal-sided Triangle. the son of a Pentagon. or and skilful labours. and a patient. and the son of an Isosceles Isosceles Isosceles. B . but also a long-continued frugality exercise of on the part of the would-be ancestors of the coming Equilateral. may ultimately rise : above his degraded diligent condition. posterity that his For. proving the Equal-sidedness of the Father ? position will marry an uncertified Triangle. Law of Nature does not hold . and continuous development self-control and of the Isosceles intellect through 1 many generations. or relapses to Lady of any : the Triangular. still. Square offspring has sometimes resulted from a slightly Irregular Triangle but in almost every such case the Irregularity of the first generation is visited on the third . Equal-sided Triangle produced from Isosceles requires. since they have not all their equal.

serve as a most useful barrier against revolution from below. and hope shed upon the monotonous squalor of as a their existence. in the most brutal and formidable of women in their lack of intelligence it is found that. they might have found leaders in some of their many seditious outbreaks. if certified as Regular. their as they wax in the mental ability necessary to so tremendous penetrating power to advantage. and in that same proportion their acute angle (which makes them physically terrible) shall increase also the Equilateral Triangle. He is then immediately taken from his proud yet sorrowing is parents and adopted by some childless Equilateral. so able as to render their superior all. the soldier class creatures almost on a level with and approximate to the harmless angle of Thus. the infant. without exception. gleam of light welcomed not only by the poor serfs themselves. in all Circles. while they do to vulgarise their or nothing own privileges. but also by the Aristocracy at large . for fear lest the freshly fall organism may. . After a strict eximination conducted by the Sanitary and Social Board. Had the acute-angled rabble been numbers and strength too much even for the wisdom of the that. absolutely destitute of hope and of ambition. who never to permit the child henceforth to enter his former as to look bound by oath or so home much upon his relations again.io Flatland The birth of a True Equilateral Triangle from Isosceles parents is the subject of rejoicing in our country for many furlongs round. is with solemn ceremonial admitted into the class of Equilaterals. by force of unconscious imitation. employ do they wane in the power of penetration itself. hereditary level. knowledge. developed back again into his The occasional emergence of an Isosceles from the ranks of his serfis born ancestors. But a wise ordinance of Nature has decreed proportion as virtue. the working-classes increase in intelligence. for all the higher classes little are well aware that these rare phenomena.

at least at the two extremities. the divine origin of the aristocratic constitution of the States in Flatland By a judicious use of this Law of Nature. Concerning the Women. B 2 . taking advantage of the irrepressible and boundless hopefulness of the human mind. Add to this the power of making Female. . are by the small body of their brethren . where they are kept in honourable confinement for life one or two alone of the more are . if a Soldier a wedge. in and perish by one another's No less than one hundred and twenty rebellions are recorded our annals. Isosceles. so to speak. obstinate. it may be readily inferred that far is more formidable are our Women. are induced to enter the State Hospitals. allured by the prospect of being ultimately ennobled. planless Then the wretched rabble of the either transfixed without resistance and leaderless. foolish. all point. and hopelessly irregular are led to execution. being. If our highly pointed Triangles of the Soldier class are formidable. the Polygons and Circles are almost always able its to stifle sedition in very cradle. is For. is and you will perceive that a a creature by no means to be trifled with. 4.' Art also comes to the It is generally found possible aid of Law and Order. angles. a Woman a needle .1 1 How admirable is this Law of Compensation ! And how ! perfect a proof of the natural fitness and. them still at once into the privileged classes a much larger number. by a little artificial compression or expansion on the part of the State physicians to make and some of the more to admit intelligent leaders of a rebellion perfectly Regular. they are stirred to mutual warfare. who below the standard. besides minor outbreaks . or else by means of jealousies and suspicions skilfully fomented among them by the Circular party. herself practically invisible at will. numbered at two hundred and thirty-five and they have all ended thus. I may almost say. in Flatland. whom more the Chief Circle keeps in pay for emergencies of this kind often.

to run against a Working Man involves a gash if dangers collision with an if Officer of the military class necessitates a serious wound . to be apparent without any explanation. look at . what can from the vertex of a Private Soldier brings with it danger of death it be to run against a Woman. Place a needle on a table. and human beings more general view of the Code casual and involuntary motions. perhaps. even for the most cautious. that meets our eye. except absolute and immediate ? destruction And when how a Woman is invisible. it However. of a respectable Triangle in the middle class if is Women must now angle . when the end containing her is eye or mouth with us these two organs are identical the part . and you see nothing but a point it has become practically so is it with one of our Women. almost as dim as an inanimate object her hinder extremity and. in order to minimize this peril and in the Southern is temperate climates. a mere touch . I woman can make herself invisible. If even the its not without . we see her as a straight line for . always to avoid collision Many and less are the enactments made at different . then being only sub-lustrous. the back serves her as a kind of Invisible Cap. difficult ! must be. think. with your eye on the level of the and you see the whole length of it but look side-ways.1 2 But here. or visible it only as a dim sub-lustrous point. invisible. then we see nothing but a highly lustrous point but when is presented to our view. it clear to the most unreflecting. times in the different States of Flatland. in Flatland Flatland some of my younger Readers may ask how a This ought. a few words will make Then. the Laws concerning Women are naturally much more stringent. where the force of gravitation liable to greater. at it end-ways. When her side is turned Just table. The dangers to which we are exposed from our be manifest to the meanest capacity in Spaceland. indeed. But a : may be obtained from the following summary . : towards us.

and may be accepted as a rough exemplification of our Female Code. For whenever the temper of the Women is thus exasperated by con- home or hampering regulations abroad. manner respectful Female shall walk in any public place without continually 2. No . or by her Women altogether to their houses except during the religious festivals. suffice for the better regulated States. or servants. others confine be followed by one of her sons. not in Legislature. Sept. they are apt to vent .Flatland 1. Hence the Three Laws. under penalty of death. or But it has been found by the wisest of our Circles of restrictions on Females tends Statesmen that the multiplication not only to the debilitation and diminution of the race. mentioned above. p. 1255) that they may "approach in a becoming and respectful manner. to husband . for the use " in a of Females only by which all females shall enter becoming and " * and not by the Men's or Western door. others oblige a Woman. shall be instantly destroyed. After 1 all. or any disease necessitating involuntary motions. under penalty of death. 1 3 Every house shall have one entrance in the Eastern side. St. In some of the States there is an additional Law forbidding Females. but in When I was Spaceland I understood that some of your Priestly Circles have in the same way a of Board Schools (Spectator. from walking or standing without moving their backs constantly from right to their in left any public place so as to indicate presence to those 'behind them . separate entrance for Villagers. Fanners. keeping up her Peace-cry. Vitus's Dance. our principal safeguard in is found. duly fits. certified to be suffering from 3." . Any Female. when travelling. but also to the increase of domestic murders it to such an extent that a State loses more than finement at their spleen gains by a too prohibitive Code. and Teachers 1884. chronic cold accompanied by violent sneezing. upon their husbands and children and in the less temperate climates the whole male population of a village has been sometimes destroyed in one or two hours of simultaneous female outbreak.

I pointed out that in some less civilised States no female suffered to stand in any public place with- out swaying her back from right to left. like the ticking of a pendulum . and have neither reflection. over every other consideration. and the regular tick of the Equilateral no less admired and copied by the wife of the progressive and aspiring Isosceles. being inferior in this respect to the very lowest of the. as back as the memory of Figures can reach. yet unless they can at instantaneous once disengage their stinging extremity from the struggling body of own frail their victim. judgment nor forethought. It is considered a disgrace to any State that legislation should have to enforce what ought to be. This is. Isosceles. back motion " as prevalent as time itself and consideration. they remember no claims and recognise no distinctions. in the Frail Sex. also is The power of Fashion is on our side. their bodies are liable to be shattered. and far is in may rank every respectable female. although they can inflict death by a retrograde movement. who can achieve nothing beyond a mere monotonous swing. and half an hour . that it Not must be destitute of affection. in their fits of fury. for a moment supposed that our Women are But unfortunately the passion of the moment predominates. This practice has been universal among ladies of any pretensions to breeding in all well-governed States. a necessity arising from their unfortunate conformation. if I so say. well-modulated undulation of the back in our ladies of Circular is envied and imitated by the wife of a common is Equilateral. and hardly any memory. in the females " " of any kind has become as yet a back-motion of whose family no necessity of " life. For as they have no pretensions to an angle. Hence. Hence. a natural instinct. of course. is in every family of position . I have actually known a case where a Woman has exterminated her whole household. The rhythmical and. and the husbands and sons in these households enjoy immunity at least from invisible attacks. For. they are consequently wholly devoid of brain-power.14 the interests of the Flatland Women themselves.

lower strata of the Military Classes. Yet even in our best regulated and most approximately circular families cannot say that the ideal of family life is so high as with you in Spaceland. and stolid regard or irritate their wives by ill-advised expressions out of doors. incident for which they death. and the wisdom of the Circles has ensured safety at the cost of domestic .Flatland afterwards. . may be at this moment threatening you with it nor the promises which you in may have found necessary to make order to pacify their fury. There is peace. has asked what has become of her husband and her children ! Obviously then a Woman is not to be irritated as long as she is in a When you have them in thtir position where she can turn round. at times indescribable Relying too much on the offensive weapons of their acute angles instead of the defensive organs of good sense and seasonable simulations. which they refuse immediately to retract. There the want of tact and discretion on the part of the husbands produces disasters. make those lavish moment pacify his its advantages. these reckless creatures too often neglect the prescribed construction of the Women's apartments. for literal truth indisposes Moreover a blunt them to promises by which the more judicious Circle can in a The result is massacre not however without consort. On except the whole in the we get on pretty smoothly in our domestic relations. which are constructed with a view to denying them that power you can say and do what you like for they are then wholly impotent for mischief. and will not remember a few minutes hence the apartments . . and nipping Revolution in the bud. in so far as the absence of slaughter may be called by that I name. as it eliminates the more brutal and troublesome of the the destructiveness Isosceles and is by many of our regarded as one Circles of the Thinner Sex among many providential arrangements for suppressing redundant population. but there cautious is necessarily little harmony of tastes or pursuits . 15 when her rage was over and the fragments swept away.

1 6 Flatland In every Circular or Polygonal household it comfort. . and light itself not more skill persistent than the stream of feminine discourse. humming sound of the continuous often no homes of the upper classes there is too Peace-cry peace. and to the ultimate elevation of the whole of his degraded caste but no Woman can truly deplorable. while pursuing her household avocations there are at least intervals of quiet. not a few cynics have been found to aver that they prefer the danger of the death-dealing but inaudible sting to the safe sonorousness of a Woman's it is. this custom. so they shall have no memory to . always a Woman" is a Decree of Nature and the very Laws of Evolution seem suspended in her Yet at least we can admire the wise Prearrangement which has disfavour. Once a Woman. entertain such hopes for her sex. " ordained that. a The tact and which suffice to avert Woman's . To my Isosceles readers in Spaceland the condition of our Women may seem Male of the lowest type of the may look forward to some improvement of his angle. is soon shew. Woman's mouth and as the wife has absolutely nothing and absolutely no constraint of wit. and daughters should husband and his male and for a lady in a family of distinction to turn her back upon her loss of status. sting are unequal to the task of stopping a to say. when the wife is neither seen nor heard. as I shall safety. other end. or conscience to prevent her from saying it. though not without its disadvantages. husband would be regarded as a kind of portent. it has the advantage of In the house of the Working wife is Man or respectable Tradesman where the allowed to turn her back upon her husband. as they have no hopes. involving But. sense. and so indeed A . There the voluble mouth and bright penetrating eye but in the are is ever directed towards the Master of the household . except for the . has been a habit instinct from time immemorial the and has now become a kind of that the mothers among women of our higher classes constantly keep their eyes and mouths towards their friends .

is partly because the faculty of voice-discrimination a plebeian virtue not there is of imposture much developed among we cannot the Aristocracy. who are blessed with shade as well as light. But as we ascend in the social scale. which with us is far more highly developed than with you. and the Pentagon for of the Isosceles I take no account. the Equilateral. animate or inanimate. partly because voices are assimilated. far which enables us not only to distinguish by the voice our personal but even to discriminate between different classes. that of a straight Line. You. Of our methods of recognizing one another. you. at least so as concerns the three lowest orders. so that an Isosceles can easily feign the voice of a . present to our view the same. the vocal organs are developed to a degree more than correspondent with those of hearing. 1 7 and no forethought to anticipate. The first means of recognition is the sense of hearing . and contemplate the complete circumference of a Circle in the happy region of the Three Dimensions how shall I make clear to you the extreme difficulty which we in Flatland experience in recognizing one another's configurations ? you above. who can actually see an angle. All beings in Flatland. viz. appearance. and friends. endowed with a knowledge of perspective. where all appear the same ? The answer is threefold. and charmed with the enjoyment of various colours. the miseries and humiliations which are at once a necessity of their existence and the basis of the constitution of Flatland. or I Recall what told nearly the same. How then can one be distinguished from another. 5.Flatland recall. the Square. you who are gifted with two eyes. the process of discriminating and being discriminated by hearing increases in difficulty. no matter what their form. trust to this And wherever any danger method. Amongst our lowest orders.

of course. but as to the class. So-and-so the more old-fashioned of our country gentlemen in districts remote from " towns. polite or fast society in the " Mr. and this. at is. need not say that the brainless vertex of an It is therefore not feel necessary. meaning. the customary formula for a Flatland introduction. Let me ask you to feel Mr. Jones. more modern and dashing young gentlemen are extremely averse to superfluous effort and supremely indifferent Among our still who to the purity of their native language the formula is still further curtailed by the use of "to feel" in a technical sense. Smith. therefore " introduction" is among the higher " " Permit " me classes in Spaceland. to do more than tells a single angle of any individual . permit me Let not my Reader however suppose that " feeling " is with us the tedious process that it would be with you. and Pentagon . that the process of feeling is with us. enable us to discriminate at once by the sense of touch.i8 Flatland Polygon. What to ask is still. classes about our upper all the principal test of recognition. and when the question not as to the individual. between the angles of an equal-sided Triangle. events between strangers. upper classes sanctions such a barbarism as to feel you Mr. Square. and is I acute-angled Isosceles obvious to the dullest touch. as a rule. and " . us the class of the person whom we are . towns. But in the among men is it is of business. once ascertained. So-and" " assumed. that the feeling is to be recipro- cal." we determine the class Long practice and training. among you to feel and be felt by my friend Mr. A second method is therefore more commonly resorted Feeling is. begun in the schools and continued in the experience of daily life. the words " " be felt by " are omitted and the sentence so although abbreviated to. with some training. that of a Circle himself. and. "to recommend-for-the " " and at this moment the " slang of purposes-of-feeling-and-being-felt . among our Women and lower classes I shall speak presently to.or that we find it necessary to feel right round all the sides of every individual before to which he belongs.

University of Wentbridge has been twelve-sided Polygon .Grand father. has been tious. unless indeed he belongs to the higher sections of the nobility. a miscarriage of this kind. Those of my readers who recall the extracts I gave above from the Otherwise Legislative code concerning Women. What wonder then if an involuntary toss of the head has ere I now deprived the State of a valuable life ! have heard that my excellent Grandfather class. even a violent sneeze. yes. They are moreover of a rough coarse nature. and in the act of being felt by a Polygon. There the difficulty is much greater. will readily perceive that the process of introduction by contact requires some care and discretion. a fidgety shifting of the position. It angles might essential for the safety of the Feeler that the Felt should stand inflict still.Flatland 19 addressing. far eye from their vertex that they can scarcely take cognizance of what goes on at that extremity of their frame. the is on the unwary Feeler irreparable injury. 30'. perfectly A start. not sensitive to the delicate touch of the highly organized Polygon. Especially With them. is known before and to nip situated in the bud many now to prove fatal to the incaua promising friendship. the this true is among so the lower classes of the Triangles. being afflicted with rheumatism. least irregular of his unhappy Isosceles who indeed shortly before his decease. my unfortunate Ancestor. four out of seven votes for passing him from the Sanitary and Social Board into the class of the Equal-sided often deplored with a tear in his venerable eye. had occurred a respectable Working Man with an angle or brain of 59 According to his account. one of the obtained. which to his great-great-great. by one sudden start accidentally transfixed the Great Man . Even a Master known to confuse a of Arts in our ten-sided with a and there is hardly a Doctor of Science in or out of that famous University to decide promptly and between a twenty-sided and a twenty-four sided member of unhesitatingly who could pretend the Aristocracy.

enables us to distinguish angles far more ever discern any angle. full all And I 60 attained. who could you in Flatland . Specimens of which are placed in the class of Regulars. and developed by long training. how can you much less register angles of different sizes ? I answer that though we cannot see angles. we can infer them. and the Ascent from the Isosceles this series of calamities from one little accident in the process of Feeling. result The lost was that in the next generation the family brain was registered till at only 58. It is " with us a Law of Nature that the brain of the Isosceles class shall begin at half a degree. stimulated by necessity. can see two straight lines inclined to one another but you. threw back our family a degree and a half in their ascent towards better things. and accurately than your sense of sight. and this with great precision. the finally achieved. when the condition of serfdom is quitted. partly in consequence of his long imprisonment and degradation. Owing more frequent moral and intellectual . and partly because of the moral shock which pervaded the whole of my Ancestor's relations. because we in the region of Space. Flatland and thereby. when unaided by a rule or measure of angles. Nor must I omit to explain that we have great natural helps. it increases by half a degree in every generation until the goal of 60 is reached. every Elementary School still to occasional retrogressions. to throughout the land. at all) and shall increase (if . or thirty minutes. Nature herself supplies us with an ascending scale or Alphabet of angles for half a degree up to 60. Our sense of touch. or minutes ? We can see an angle.2O through the diagonal . and the freeman enters Consequently. degrees. or at all events only a number of bits of straight lines all in one straight line. At this point think I hear some of my better educated readers know anything about angles and exclaim. " How can see nothing but one straight line at a time. and not the lapse of five generations was the ground recovered.

to dispense with food. partly in the expenditure and partly in the diminished accuracy of the angles. gained by for the longer existence of the Specimens food. number of them." as is it is called disposed to think that this is one of the many cases in I am myself which expense the truest economy. Enough has been said. These are absolutely destitute of civic rights and a great . 21 Criminal and to the extraordinary fecundity of the is and Vagabond Classes." Nor must we forget to add. in enumerating the advantages of the more expensive system. which is about the average duration of the foodless is existence of the Criminal class. there always a vast superfluity of individuals of the half degree and single degree class. to the diminution of the population an object which every statesman in I Flatland constantly keeps in view. they are our Infant Schools.Flatland stagnation. not having even of warfare. In some states the Specimens are occasionally fed and suffered to exist for several years by the Board of Education for the more temperate and better regulated regions. that it tends. I trust. which " are impaired after a few weeks of constant feeling. and a fair abundance of Specimens up to 10. what is lost. there is a reaction in favour of " the cheap system. redundant Isosceles though slightly yet perceptibly. but in the every month. are intelligence enough for the purposes devoted by the States to the service of education. it is found in the long run more advantageous for the educational interests of the young. In the cheaper schools. On the whole therefore although am not ignorant that. and there they are purpose of imparting to the offspring of the Middle Classes that tact and intelligence of which these wretched creatures themselves are utterly devoid. and to renew the Specimens . Fettered immovably so as to remove placed in the class rooms of utilized all possibility of danger. to show that Recognition . in many popularly elected School Boards. But from I my must not allow questions of School Board politics to divert me subject.

prefer a third method. as has been pointed out above. I am how we are able If in however the Reader will take the trouble to refer to the passage is which Recognition by Feeling qualification stated to be universal. If Fog were non-existent. is the result of Fog. depressing the spirits. and as the Nurse of arts and Parent of sciences. . the objection is that this method not without danger. the description of which shall for the be reserved next section. is meaning. ' For this reason many in the Middle and Lower and all without exception in the Polygonal and Circular orders. That which is with you in Spaceland an unmixed this evil. But let me explain my blotting out the landscape. he will find It is this "among the lower classes. in- and this is actually the case in those is which the atmosphere perfectly dry unhappy and transparent. all lines would appear equally and distinguishably clear countries in . 6. am it about to appear very inconsistent. That and enfeebling the health. power exists in any regions and for any classes. that it is consequently impossible to distinyet guish by the visual organ between individuals of different classes and : now about to explain to my Spaceland Critics to recognize one another by the sense of sight. Flatland is not so tedious or indecisive a process as might have been it and Still is obviously more trustworthy than Recognition by there remain. . I Of Recognition by Sight. by us recognized as a blessing scarcely inferior to air itself.22 by Feeling supposed hearing. classes. without further eulogies on this beneficent Element. In previous sections I have . which prevails during the greater part of the year in all parts save the torrid zones. said that all figures in Flatland present the appearance of a straight line was added or implied." only among the higher classes and in our more temperate climates that Sight Recognition is practised.

next to AB). nearest to me which the middle point (A) will be very bright because but on either side the line will shade away rapidly into dimness. that. and . are appreciably . An instance will clear.Flatland But wherever there say of three is a rich supply of Fog. I shall contemplate the two impartially. because the sides AC and AD recede rapidly into the fog . view will lie as it were evenly between are his two sides that (viz. in . or Equilateral other words. what shall I see ? I shall see a straight line DAE. so me that CA and size. if I can bring my the eye so that its glance may bisect an angle (A) of my approaching stranger. we are enabled to infer with great exactness the configuration of the object observed. to every child Spaceland who has touched the threshold of Geometrical It will in Studies. objects that are at a distance. do more than a volume of generalities to make my meaning Suppose I see two individuals approaching whose rank I wish to ascertain. c D They are. we will suppose. dimmer than those is at a distance of two feet eleven inches and the result that by careful and constant experi- mental observation of comparative dimness and clearness. feet. and both will appear of the in the case of (i) the same Now it is Merchant. a Merchant in and a Physician. an a Triangle and Pentagon ? : how am I to distinguish them E be obvious.

approaches me. then. example. will and E'. so far as to conceive the possibility of it and not to reject my account as altogether If my incredible I shall have attained all I attempt further details I should only perplex. will ) recede less rapidly into and what appear to me the Physician's extremities. I am for moment in other doubtful whether he may not be a Straight Line. it may be needful to point out that in actual most of the problems of Sight Recognition are far If for more subtle and complex. yet 7 it will though I shall here shade away less viz. very dim indeed. D' rapidly into dimness. the Triangle. contemplating one of his sides (AB) full front. of the manner in which I should recognize my Father and my Sons that Recognition by life sight is an easy affair. or until "-fit me have edged the my eye round him. who may perchance infer from the two simple instances I have given above. The Reader possible for the probably understand from these two instances how after a very long training supplemented by constant experience it is well-educated classes among us to discriminate with fair accuracy between the middle and lowest orders. until I have happens to present his side to asked him to rotate. he instead of his angle. what appear to me as the Merchant's extremities. when my I Father. Again.24 Flatland viz. a Woman. Were I to Yet for the sake of the young and inexperienced. . A'B the fog . 7 also see a line (D'A'E) with a bright centre (A ). or. when I am pany of one of my two hexa- in the com- gonal Grandsons. can reasonably expect. will be On the other hand in the case of (2) the Physician. because the sides (A'C'. be not so dim as the extremities of the Merchant. words. D and C. by the sense of sight. Spaceland Patrons have grasped this general conception.

must not give way to the temptation The meanest mathematician in Spaceland that the problems of life. would be to you. as for example in a ball-room or conversazione must be of a nature to task the angularity of the most intellectual. all or Serf. I topics. is mean occasionally very perplexing. advancing or retreating. apparently straight. but of which the parts would vary irregularly and perpetually in brightness or dimness. of enlarging on these will readily believe me when I assert which present themselves to the well-educated when they are themselves in motion. and amply justify the rich endowments of the Learned Professors of Geometry. is And of course to a it common Tradesman. a Mathematician and the Grandfather of two most hopeful and perfectly regular Hexagons. and C . you nothing but a Line. who are able to give the time and money necessary for the thorough prosecution of this noble and valuable Art. where the Science and Art of Sight Recognition are regularly taught to large classes of the It is elite of the States.Flatland it 25 diagram that (shading I will be evident from the accompanying line shall off see one whole (AB) in comparative brightness hardly at all at the ends) and two smaller lines (CA and BD) dim through- out and shading away into greater But dimness toward the extremities C and D. and at the same time attempting to discriminate by the sense of sight between a number of Polygons of high rank moving in different directions. such a sight almost as unintelligible as my Reader. rotating Polygons of the higher classes. to find myself in the midst of a crowd of standing. only a few of the scions of our noblest and wealthiest houses. were you suddenly transported into our country. Even if you had completed your sides of third year in the Pentagonal In such a crowd you could see on and Hexagonal classes in the University. both Static and Kinetic. in the illustrious University of Wentbridge. of no Even to me. rotating.

most undeveloped. you would still find that there was need of many years of experience. Elementary schools (where the " Feeling" is discouraged children." None who perfection. while you know very little or nothing about theirs. But among the lower classes the as an unattainable luxury. about your movements.) . to comport oneself with perfect propriety in know all Polygonal society. whom it is against etiquette to ask to " feel. by their superior culture and breeding. one ought to be a Polygon oneself. and Expulsion for the second. and by with you. and . instead of going art of Feeling is taught. It is astonishing Such at least is how much is the Art or I may Just almost call it instinct it developed by " the avoidance of the custom of Feeling." if of Sight Recognition the habitual practice of as. and dumb.26 Flatland were perfect in the theory of the subject. or absolutely to the Public among our Higher Classes. the deaf once allowed to gesticulate and to use the hand-alphabet. listless behaviour of the half- instructed youths of the Polygonal class but when the latter have at last their theory completed their University course." and who. so it is with us as regards " Seeing " and " Feeling. to " feel Rustication for the first offence. will never acquire the more difficult but far more valuable art of lip-speech and lip-reading. involving trious University. and are prepared to put . and they first gain thereby a precocity and an early vivacity which contrast at inert. The children of the " feel " from their earliest to years. the painful teaching of my experience. From the cradle their forbidden. in early life resort to "Feeling" will ever learn "Seeing" in For this reason. In a word. his son art of Sight Recognition is regarded A life common Tradesman cannot afford to let spend a third of his poor are therefore allowed favourably with the in abstract studies. are sent to higher Seminaries of an exclusive character and at our illus" is regarded as a most serious fault. before you could move in a fashionable crowd without jostling against your betters.

Irregularities. that By this I mean that a Woman must not . Final Examination of the University should be either imprisoned for or extinguished by a painless death. science. the 27 as a new birth. the lower. and social pursuit they rapidly overtake and distance their Triangular competitors. as experience shows that the offspring of such unfortunate and ill-endowed parents is generally itself unfortunate. 7. only be a but a straight line that an Artisan or Soldier must have C 2 . change that comes over them may almost be described and in every art.Flatland into practice. line. nor yet the native precocity and mercurial versatility of the youthful Tradesman. Only a few of the Polygonal Class fail to pass the Final Test or Leaving Examination at the University. the public services are closed against them . human being in Flatland is a Regular Figure. from these specimens of the refuse of our Nobility that the great Tumults and Seditions of past ages have generally derived their leaders . yet they have the greatest difficulty in forming suitable alliances. Rejected from the higher class. It is if not positively Irregular. The condition of the unsuccessful minority is truly pitiable. The in professions. by enacting that all who fail to pass the life. Of Irregular Figures. a But I find myself digressing into the subject of it matter of such vital interest that demands a separate section. and so great is the mischief thence arising that an increasing minority of our more progressive Statesmen are of opinion that true mercy would dictate their entire suppression. Throughout the previous pages I have been assuming what perhaps should have been laid down at the beginning as a distinct and fundamental proposition is that every to say of regular construction. and though most States they are not actually debarred from marriage. they are also They have neither the matured and systematically despised by trained powers of the Polygonal Bachelors and Masters of Arts.

or Equality of Angles. Feeling. humble member). Flatland that Tradesmen must have three a sides equal . civilization would relapse into barbarism. Am I going too ? fast to carry my Readers with me to these obvious conclusions Surely a moment's reflection. sufficient to feel. But life would be too short for such a tedious groping. class. two or three Tradesmen in the street. and a single instance from common life. and it need "much reflection to see that the whole of the social life does not under consideration. four sides equal. all forethought . in a word. and you ask them to step into your house to lunch. most simple social arrangements. because every one knows to an inch or two the . intercourse to all would become perilous or impossible there would be an end no one would be safe in making the confidence. The size of the sides would of course depend upon the age of the A Female at birth would be about an inch long.28 two of his sides equal (of . for example. may be roughly said that the length of three feet or a little an adult's when added is together. . must convince every one that our whole social system is based upon Regularity. all the sides must be equal. But the size of our sides not I am speaking of the equality of sides. or estimate sight. while a tall individual. that in every Polygon. whom you recognize at once to be Tradesmen by a glance at their angles and rapidly bedimmed sides. more. so far as an art. Lawyers which class I am adult it Woman is might extend to a foot. and. You meet. If our sides its were unequal our angles would be unequal. in Flatland rests upon the fundamental fact that Nature wills all Figures to have their sides equal. generally. As to the Males of every sides. would not long survive . This you do at present with perfect confidence. Instead of by being determine the form of an individual. a single angle in order to The whole science and art of Sight Recognition it is would at once perish . it would be necessary to ascertain each angle by the experiment of Feeling.

. activity. or with you. by the is police till he comes of age and presents himself for inspection then he if either destroyed. it is true. a combination of moral obliquity and criminality is treated accordingly. "is from his birth scouted brothers and society. found to exceed the fixed margin of deviation. all . his "The neglected by by the domestics. Obviously the measurements of a single angle would no longer be sufficient under such portentous circumstances. trust. scorned and suspected by posts of responsibility. no necessary Irregular. be any Women in or Soldiers present perhaps considerable loss of Expediency therefore concurs with Nature approval upon Regularity of conformation in seconding their efforts. and useful is own parents. and more than. sisters. or else immured in a Government Office as a clerk of the seventh class prevented from marriage forced to drudge at an uninteresting occupation for a miserable he is . or if slightest panic would cause serious there happened to life. a parallelogram of twelve what are you to do with such a monster diagonal adult Triangle : : house door ? sticking fast in your But I am insulting the intelligence of details my Readers by accumulating which must be patent to every one who enjoys the advantages of a Residence in Spaceland. derided by his and excluded from all His every movement jealously watched ." connection between geometrical and moral Irregularity. and the injuries. . There are not wanting. : nor has the stamping the seal of its Law been backward " " Irregularity of Figure means with us the same as. that there is some promulgators of paradoxes who maintain they say. Already the difficulties of avoiding a collision in a crowd are enough to tax the sagacity of even a well-educated Square but if no one could calculate the Regularity of a single figure in the company. one's whole life would be taken up in feeling or surveying the perimeter of one's acquaintances. would be chaos and confusion.Flatland area occupied 29 by an drags behind his regular or thirteen inches in but imagine that your Tradesman and respectable vertex.

but the interests of the Greater Number require that Irregular is hard . with a triangular front and a polygonal back were allowed to exist and to propagate a still more Irregular posterity. where an infant whose angle deviates is half a degree from the correct angularity birth. that our ancestors erred in laying of Irregularity is it down as an axiom of policy that the toleration Doubtless. as it has not convinced the wisest of our Statesmen. forty-five or even lives minutes : and the loss of their precious . have as. how he to be prevented from carrying desolation into the ranks of his comrades ? Again. If a man what would become of the churches in arts of life ? Are the houses and doors and ? Flatland to be altered in order to accommodate such monsters Are our ticket-collectors to be required to measure every man's perimeter before they allow him to enter a theatre. men summarily destroyed at of real genius. Not by that I should be disposed to recommend in (at present) the extreme measures adopted some States. is what wonder that human nature. office. even embittered and perverted by such surroundings " ! All this very plausible reasoning does not convince me. for my part have never known an to be Irregular who was all not also what Nature evidently intended him a hypocrite. up to the limits of his power a perpetrator of manner of mischief. it shall be hard. and. the life of an incompatible with the safety of the State. Some of our highest and ablest men. a misanthropist. ! How easy for him to enter a shop with and to order goods to any extent from a falsely called confiding tradesman ! Let the advocates of a Philanthropy I plead as they may for the abrogation of the Irregular Penal Laws. and to take even his vacation under close supervision in the best and purest. Flatland obliged to live and board at the . during their earliest days laboured under deviations as great greater than. or to take his place in a lecture ? room is ? Is an Irregular to be exempted from the militia And if not.30 stipend . what irresistible temptations to fraudulent impostures must needs beset such a creature his polygonal front foremost.

I would suggest that the Irregular offspring be painlessly and to set. but at the period when the frame just beginning and when the Medical Board has reported that recovery is improbable. Of the Ancient Practice of Painting. continually inducing conjecture and giving the opportunity of immediate verification. mercifully consumed. threw a transient charm upon the lives of our ancestors in the remotest ages. . all one's landscapes. trepannings. aesthetically and artistically. life is they will not be surprised to hear that somewhat dull in Flatland. conspiracies. also has achieved some of its most glorious triumphs extensions. is said to have begun by decorating first his house. in the compressions. historical pieces. Ad- vocating therefore a line of Via Media. colligations. If my Readers have followed me with any attention up to this point. and all those other .Flatland < 31 The art of healing would have been an irreparable injury to the State. I do not. prospect. I would lay down no fixed or absolute is demarcation . -and other surgical or diaetetic operations by which Irregularity has been partly or wholly cured. with no varieties except degrees of brightness and obscurity ? It was not always thus. How can be otherwise. mean that there are not battles. very dull indeed. tumults. factions. imparts to our existence a zest which you in Spaceland can hardly comprehend. of course. when all one's still life. if Tradition speaks the truth. flowers. phenomena which are supposed to make nor would I deny that the strange mixture of the and the problems of Mathematics. Colour. 8. are nothing but a single line. Some private individual a Pentagon whose name is variously reported having casually discovered the constituents of the simpler colours and a rudimentary method of painting. portraits. then his slaves. once for the space of half a dozen centuries or more. I History interesting life problems of speak now from the life aesthetic and artistic point of view when I say that with us is dull it .

or failed to his voice make way him was saved the labour of that exhausting utterance by which we colourless Squares and Pentagons are often forced to proclaim . But manifestly to our Priests and Women this adage The latter had only one side. extending the innovation to these two classes. his Sons and Grandsons. and still only a few of the more conservative Pentagons held out. if at least they would assert their claim to be really and truly and not mere high-class Polygons with an infinitely large number of infinitesimally small sides were in the habit of boasting (what Women confessed and deplored) that . every Square and Triangle had copied the example of Chromatistes. did not apply. No one now needed to . " feel " him . and attracted respect. Here Nature herself appeared to erect a barrier. in the district Before a week was over. A year and within two generations no one in all Flatland was colourless except the Women and the Priests. by that name the most trustworthy authorities turned his variegated frame. no one jostled him. our individuality when we move amid a crowd of ignorant Isosceles. there he at once excited attention. Needless to say. then his Father. concur in calling him. The fashion spread like wildfire. lastly himself. Many-sidedness was almost is essential as a pretext for the Innovators. and therefore plurally and no sides. no one mistook ascertained his front for his back all his movements were on for readily their by his neighbours without the slightest strain powers of calculation. two found even the Dodecagons infected with the had not elapsed before the habit had spread to all but the very highest of the Nobility. converting whole towns at a time to the new culture.32 Flat Iand The convenience to all. as well as the beauty of the results commended themselves for Wherever Chromatistes. the custom soon made its way from the A month or innovation. " " Distinction of sides intended by Nature in to imply distinction of colours such was the. sophism which those days flew from mouth to mouth. pedantically speaking The former Circles. and to plead against district of Chromatistes to surrounding regions .

Hence it came to pass that these two Classes could see no force in the so-called axiom about all " Distinction of Sides implying Distinction of Colour" . To was then in itself a delight. in other words. geometricians these may well have been sufficient to render credible and aides-de-camp the famous story illustrious Circle. and purple of the two sides including their acute angle the militia of the sight of . artillerymen rapidly rotating near their vermilion guns the dashing and flashing of the five- coloured and six-coloured Pentagons and Hexagons careering across the field all in their offices of surgeons. anarchical. from an aesthetic point of view. nor even reached the blossom of live youth. The Equilateral Triangles tricoloured in red. that never ripened into manhood. them by what names you will yet. how an exclaiming that he henceforth exchanged them for the artist's pencil. because living implied seeing. and blue . those ancient days of the Colour Revolt were the glorious childhood of Art in Flatland a childhood. and when others had succumbed alone to the fascinations of corporal decoration. licentious.Flatland 33 they also had no sides. overcome by the artistic beauty of the forces under his command. white. . the Priests and the still Women remained pure from the pollution of paint. all is said to have been the unspeakable magnificence of a line of battle of twenty thousand Isosceles suddenly and exchanging the sombre black of their bases for the orange facing about. the mauve. gamboge. threw aside his marshal's baton and his royal crown. alas. ultra- marine. How great and glorious the sensuous development of these days must have been is in part indicated by the very language and vocabulary of the period. Even at a small party. unscientific call Immoral. the company was a the richly varied hues of the assembly in a church or theatre are said to have more than once proved too distracting for our greatest teachers and actors . being blessed with a perimeter of one line or. but most ravishing of a military review. a Circumference. and burnt umber of the Square . pleasure to behold .

of Sight Recognition. they began to insist that inasmuch as Colour. . Kinetics. Then the Isosceles classes. and Feeling. came soon and fell into disrepute and neglect even at our University. The inferior Art of Feeling speedily experienced the same fate at our Elementary Schools. by the simple process of Colour Recognition. Soon. and for whatever rhythm still remains in the more scientific utterance of these modern days. Statics. Of the Universal Colour Bill. was no longer and the studies of Geometry.34 The commonest Flatland utterances of the commonest citizens in the time of the Colour Revolt seem to have been suffused with a richer tinge of word or thought and to that era we are even now indebted for our finest poetry . waxed daily more numerous and more insolent on the strength of immunity from the old burden which had formerly exercised the twofold wholesome effect of at once taming their brutal nature and thinning their excessive numbers. now that they were raised to an equality with the latter. neglect into which Sight Recognition was Not content with the falling. Mathematics. asserting that the Specimens were no longer used nor needed. whether Statical and Kinetical. natural demand the legal prohibition of all " they began boldly to " monopolising and aristocratic Arts and the consequent abolition of all endowments for the studies of Sight Recognition. and refusing to pay the customary tribute from the Criminal classes to the service of Education. 9. and other kindred to be considered superfluous. and enabled to grapple with all the difficulties and solve all the problems of life. But meanwhile the intellectual Arts were fast decaying. The Art practised subjects. their assert Year by year the Soldiers and Artisans began more vehemently to and with increasing truth that there was no great difference between them and the very highest class of Polygons. had destroyed the need . which was a second Nature. being no longer needed.

every would appear like a Priest. objected that Priests and When it was Women had no sides. they retorted that Nature and Expediency concurred being (that is in dictating that the front half of every human to say. much less to devise. have not from any Isosceles angularity enough state-craft no being so degraded would had to appreciate. the Revolutionists thereby ensured that. the half containing his eye half. which indeed emanated. Finding the higher Orders wavering and undecided. and mouth) should be before a distinguishable from his hinder They all therefore brought general and extraordinary Assembly of the States of Flatland a Bill proposing that in every Woman the half containing the eye and mouth should be coloured red. in certain positions. For by assigning to the Women the same two colours as were assigned to the Priests. the leaders of the Revolution advanced still further in their requirements. such a model of but from an Irregular Circle who. red being applied to that semicircle in which the painted eye and mouth formed the middle point while the other or hinder semi. On the one hand the proposition was calculated to bring the Women his country in all classes over to the side of the Chromatic Innovation.Flatland of aristocratic distinctions. and the other half green. the 35 Law should follow in the same path. in the The Priests were to be same way. There was no little cunning in for this proposal. and be treated with corresponding respect and deference a prospect that could not fail to attract the Female Sex in a mass. on was reserved by a foolish indulgence to bring desolation and destruction on myriads of his followers. the Priests and the Women not excepted. Woman . instead of being destroyed in his childhood. should do homage to Colour by submitting to be painted. circle was to be coloured green. and at last demanded that all classes alike. and classes should that henceforth all individuals and all be recognized as absolutely equal and entitled to equal rights.

e. . and with the hinder half green. Bear in mind the decay of Sight Recognition which threatened society at the time of the Colour Revolt add too the certainty that Women would speedily learn to shade off their extremities so as to imitate the Circles it must then . a word or two will make it obvious. whole line (CD) will be rather shorter perhaps than that of a full-sized Woman. but the identity of the colours would give you an immediate impression of identity not Class. my dear Reader. and if will shade off more rapidly towards its extremities . what you will see will be a straight line The (CBD). of which one half (CB) will be red. under the new Legislation. so that the diameter AB divides the green from the red. while his hinder semicircle is green . if so. according to the new Code with (i. may not be recognized . and the other (BD) green. whose front and whose is semicircle (AMB) consequently coloured red. making you neglectful of other details. be surely obvious to you. . the front half Imagine a woman duly decorated. at her from one side. Obviously you will see imagine a at M. How attractive this prospect must have been to the Frail Sex may readily be imagined. They anticipated with delight the confusion that would ensue. If you contemplate the Great Man in the so as to have your eye line as his dividing same straight diameter (AB). half half green. that the Colour Bill placed us under a great danger of confounding a Priest with a young Woman. a straight line. Now mouth is Priest. the half containing eye and mouth) red.36 Flatland But by some of my Readers the possibility of the identical appearance of Priests and Women. At home they might hear political and ecclesiastical secrets . Look red.

the Female Sex could not be Even in the houseexpected to give a thought to these considerations. every parental and every childish Circle would demoralize each other. but even increased their lead of other classes by abstinence from the popular fashion. the Nobles alone preserved the Sacred Art of Sight Recognition. up to the date of the introduction of the Universal Colour Bill. From childhood. and might even out of doors the striking issue commands in the name of a priestly Circle . Now therefore the artful Irregular Bill. " The second still object aimed at by the alization of the Circles themselves. without addition of any other colours. holds of the Circles. them and at the same time to destroy their domestic opportunities of training in the Art of Sight Recognition. whom I described above as the real author of this diabolical the Hierarchy by forcing determined at one blow to lower the status of to submit to the pollution of Colour. and the Women would gain whatever the Circles lost. would be sure to lead the common people into endless mistakes. so as to enfeeble their intellects by depriving them of their pure and colourless homes. in discerning Only between the Father and the Mother would the Circular its infant find problems for the exercise of understanding problems too . familiarized in their Circular households with the total absence of Colour. in the deference of the passers by. with all the advantages that result from that admirable training of the intellect. and as to the consequent subversion of the Constitution. the Women were all in favour of the Universal Colour Bill. Once subjected to the chromatic taint. Bill was the gradual demorIn the general intellectual decay they preserved their pristine clearness and their earliest strength of understanding. As for the scandal that would befall the Circular Class if the frivolous and unseemly conduct of the Women were imputed to them. the Circles had not only held their own. combination of red and green.Flatland 37 intended not for them but for their husbands and brothers. Hence.

Worse than all. fell on and slaughtered their and some. because of the absurdly disproportionate power with which they appeal to the sympathies of the populace. rinding innocent children and . the wives in many a noble household wearied their lords with prayers to give up their opposition to the Colour Bill their entreaties fruitless. perishing themselves in the act of carnage. . Of the Suppression of the Chromatic Sedition. some of the ablest Circles fell a prey to conjugal fury. husbands. It seemed as though the . often to anticipate. and sometimes perhaps to originate. 10. with a brain little if above four degrees accidentally dabbling in the colours of some painted himself. It is recorded that during that triennial agitation no less than twenty-three Circles perished in domestic discord.38 often likely to be corrupted Flatland by maternal impostures with the result of Thus by degrees the all logical conclusions. Priests had no choice between submission and extermination when suddenly the course of events was completely changed by one of those picturesque incidents which Statesmen ought never to neglect. The agitation for the Universal Colour Bill continued for three years it and up to the last moment of that period were destined to triumph. or caused Tradesman whose shop he had plundered himself to be painted (for the story varies) with the twelve colours of a . It at all happened that an Isosceles of a low type. all shaking the child's faith in intellectual lustre of the Priestly Order would wane. A whole army of Polygons. seemed as though Anarchy to fight as private soldiers. who turned out was utterly annihilated by a superior force of Isosceles Triangles the Squares and Pentagons meanwhile remaining neutral. Great indeed was the peril. and the road would then lie open for a total destruction of Aristocratic Legislature and for the subversion of our Privileged Classes. Infuriated by political animosity.

the Chief Circle of those days name Pantocyclus arose to find himself hissed and hooted Isosceles. name Then followed a speech. When minds the news of this catastrophe spread from State to State the of the Women were violently agitated. fatuity cautions on the part of the relations and neglect of ordinary preof the bride. it was . the orphan daughter of a noble Polygon. by by a hundred yielding to Bill.Flatland Dodecahedron. Amidst an unprecedented concourse. on the . to receive in the his followers the submission of the Hierarchy. Sympathy with the miserable victim and anticipations of similar deceptions for themselves. their sisters. With a grave appearance of impartiality he declared that as they were now finally committing themselves to Reform or Innovation. they secured the attendance of a large number of reactionary Women. he invited Chromatistes. he succeeded in congirl summating the The unhappy committed suicide on discovering the fraud to which she had been subjected. aided on the one side by a string of lucky accidents too long to relate. . other. which occupied nearly a day to the delivery. made them now regard the Colour Bill in an entirely new aspect. a in masterpiece of rhetoric. whose affection in former days he had sought in vain and by a series of deceptions. antagonism avowal. henceforth the Circles would enter on a policy of Concession the wishes of the majority. the leader of the Sedition. into the centre of the hall. an extraordinary Assembly of the States Convicts. the rest Not a few openly avowed themselves converted to needed only a slight stimulus to make a similar and besides the usual guard of Seizing this favourable opportunity the Circles hastily convened . they would accept the Colour The of uproar being at once converted to applause. and. and their daughters. and which no summary can do justice. 39 in a feigned Going into the Market Place he accosted voice a maiden. and twenty thousand But he secured silence by declaring that . by an almost inconceivable marriage.

attempted to step forward and address them. in spite of all these defects. they intended to accept the Colour full they view of the consequences. the Professional Classes and the Gentlemen. that is to say the Criminal Classes. universal adoption of Colour. A But he found himself encompassed with guards and forced to remain silent while the Chief Circle in a few impassioned words made a final appeal to the Women. were moved by his words and were either neutral or averse to it the Bill. political power would be in the Irregularity hands of the greatest number. its defects as well as its advantages. with the development would give place to retrogression Workman would in a few generations be degraded to the level of the Military. subdued murmur of assent ran through the ranks of the Artisans. Turning now to the be neglected. or even the Convict Class. Gradually introducing the mention of the dangers to the Tradesmen. and that. in alarm. With the . ought at least to Workmen if he asserted that their interests must not Bill. hypocrisy would pervade every household . he was willing to accept the Bill if was approved by the majority. were on the point of being admitted to the class of the Regular Triangles. if the Colour Bill passed. others anticipated for their children a distinction they could not hope for themselves. no marriage would fate of the henceforth be safe. and would soon out-number all the other Classes put together when the usual Compensative Laws of Nature were violated. deception. he silenced the rising murmurs of the Isosceles by reminding them that. But it was manifest that all. would cease Regularity would be confused . distinctions . no woman's honour secure fraud. and Chromatistes. domestic bliss would share the . Many of them. who were already more numerous than the Workmen. That honourable ambition would do so with a now have all to be sacrificed. he said. . except the Isosceles. exclaiming that.40 Flatland desirable that they should take one last view of the perimeter of the whole subject.

Criminal Class slain by one another's angles attested the triumph of Order. and treachery. multitude was living and the fragments of seven score thousand of the push their victory to the uttermost. made way for a band of Women who. . he cried words. and by the violation of the D . Every Isosceles now In half an hour not one of that vast fate. the Isosceles Convicts fell on and transfixed the wretched Chromatistes the . slaughter. and very many extracted their uninjured. leader-less. The Circles delayed not to The Working Men they spared but decimated. example of their betters. or rather carnage. they at once raised the cry of " and finding egress cut after their manner lost This sealed their by the Convicts behind presence of mind.Flatland Constitution and pass to speedy perdition. reasonable grounds. attacked off all by invisible foes. The skilful battle. through upwards classes . sting was of short duration. under direction of the Circles. in front Surprised." in . village. was destroyed by Court Martial." Regular Classes opening their ranks. back foremost. But no second blow was needed ready for a second the rabble of the Isosceles did the rest of the business for themselves. generalship of the Circles Under the almost every Woman's charge was fatal. The homes of the Military and Artisan were inspected in a course of visitations extending of a year and during that period every town. Meantime bands of Convicts occupied every entrance with an impenetrable phalanx. without the formality of exact measurement by the Social Board. which were the preconcerted signal for action. them. and hamlet was systematically purged of that excess of the lower orders which had been brought about by the neglect to pay the Tribute of Criminals to the Schools and University. also opened their ranks. " 41 Sooner than this. saw and felt a foe every other. invisibly and the Artisans. imitating the unerringly upon the unconscious Soldiers . The Militia of the Equilaterals was at once called out and every Triangle suspected of Irregularity on . moved. Come At these death.

. stone. must omit many matters of which the explanation as for flatter myself. be without interest for my Readers : is example. my initiation into the mysteries of Space. was at our University in some of the very highest and most esoteric classes which I myself have never been it is understood that the sparing use of Colour is privileged to attend still sanctioned for the purpose of illustrating some of the deeper problems of mathematics. and fresh ones introduced. propelling and stopping ourselves. the Workmen are annually consumed. is Elsewhere in Colour now non-existent. One manufactory alone produces it and. The art of making being . Thus the balance of was again restored its Needless to say that henceforth the use of Colour was abolished. T/iat is my subject . all that has gone before For this reason I would not. I can only speak from hearsay. . It is Concerning our Priests. looks back to the far-distant days of the agitation for the Universal Colour Bill. known to only one living person. although the means by which we give fixity to structures of wood. nor avail ourselves of the lateral pressure brick. ii. and Even the utterance of any word denoting possession prohibited. But of this Flatland. I merely preface. by Only qualified scientific teachers. Colour. the Chief Circle for the time and by him it is handed down on his death-bed to none but his it is .42 other natural classes Flatland Laws of the Constitution of Flatland. So great is the terror with which even now our Aristocracy Successor. high time that I should pass from these brief and discursive notes about things in Flatland to the central event of this book. nor can lay foundations as you can. lest the secret should be betrayed. our method of destitute of feet . except by the Circles or punished by a severe penalty. or we although of course we have no hands.

43 the manner in which the rain originates in the intervals between our various zones. Statesmanship. Engineering. Theology . when the number is : the highest society. our trees and vegetables. . Recognition by Feeling is unknown among for. Although popularly every one called a Circle is deemed a Circle. it is extremely difficult for the most delicate touch to feel any polygonal angles. let me not be understood as meaning no more than the term denotes with you. Architecture. our seasons and harvests . it would be difficult as I have shown above. Generalship. doing nothing themselves. say for example three or four hundred. In proportion to the number of the sides the Polygon approxivery great. Morality. our Priests are Administrators of all Business. Yet before will I proceed to no doubt be expected of the Constitution of Flatland. mines. With us. adapted to our linear tablets these and a do details of our physical existence I must pass over. the adoration my legitimate subject some few final remarks by my Readers upon those pillars and mainstays controllers of our conduct and shapers of our destiny. but only a Polygon with a very large number of very small sides. they are the Causes of everything. but from his regard for the time of the Reader. Let me say rather. Art. mates to a Circle and. This habit of abstention from Feeling in the D 2 . Legislature. and to feel a Circle would be considered a most best audacious insult. that is done by others. Education. and Science Directors of Trade.Flatland of the earth . Commerce. so that the northern regions do not intercept the moisture from falling on the southern the nature of our hills and . our Alphabet. the objects of universal : homage and almost of ? need I say that I mean our Circles or Priests When I call them Priests. worth doing. nor mention them now except to indicate to my readers that their omission proceeds not from forgetfulness on the part of the Author. yet among the better educated Classes it is known that no Circle is really a Circle. . and method of hundred other I writing. .

and his whole frame re-set. Nature's Law prescribes two antagonistic sides. . Polygon has been sides. Our physicians have discovered that the small and tender sides of an infant Polygon of the higher class can be fractured. that in the same proportion. known to possess five hundred and or even six hundred Art also steps in to help the process of the higher Evolution. by courtesy. rare to find a more than one never On the other hand the son of a five-hundred-sided fifty. of a Polygon of is or five hundred sides seen. the four decrees affecting Circular propagation . or little more than the tenth part of an inch and in a Polygon of six or seven hundred sides the sides are little larger than the diameter of a Spaceland pin-head. so development shall proceed at an accelerated pace . that as the race climbs higher in the scale of development. first. he is wont to enwrap the exact nature of which. Three feet being the average Perimeter his Perimeter or Circumference. each side will be no more than the hundredth part of a foot in length. with such exactness that a Polygon of two or three hundred sides sometimes by no means always. by the Law of Nature If it limits the increase of eides to one in each generation. for the process is attended with serious risk but sometimes overleaps two or three hundred generations.44 society enables a Circle the Flatland more easily to sustain the veil of mystery in from his earliest years. The which so. and as it were . is not restricted. that the Chief Circle for the time being ascent of the posterity of the Circles in the social scale it is has ten thousand sides. second. It is always assumed. it follows that. and Equilateral Triangle would necessarily be a Polygon with five hundred But this is not the case. the race shall four become less fertile. Consequently it is in the home son . as among the lower Regular classes. were the number of sides in a Circle would be a mere question of pedigree hundred and ninety-seventh descendant of an and arithmetic. in a Polygon of three hundred sides.

Flatland
doubles at a stroke, the number
of his descent.

45

of his progenitors and the nobility

Many

a promising child

is

sacrificed in this

way.

Scarcely one out

of ten survives. Yet so strong is the parental ambition among those Polygons who are, as it were, on the fringe of the Circular class, that it is

very rare to find a

Nobleman of

that position in society,

who has

neglected

to place his first-born son in the

Circular Neo-Therapeutic

Gymnasium

before he has attained the age of a month.

One year determines
child has,
in
all

success or failure.

At

the end of that time the

probability,

added one more to the tombstones that

crowd the

Neo-Therapeutic Cemetery; but on rare occasions a glad procession bears back the little one to his exultant parents, no longer a Polygon, but a Circle, at least by courtesy and a single instance of so
:

blessed a result induces multitudes of Polygonal parents to submit to
similar domestic sacrifices,

which have a dissimilar

issue.

12.

Of

the

Doctrine of our
it

Priests.

As
single

to the doctrine of the Circles

may

briefly

be

summed up

in

a

maxim, "Attend

to

your

Configuration."
its

Whether

political,

ecclesiastical, or moral,

all their

teaching has for

object the improve-

ment of individual and
are subordinated.

collective Configuration

of course to the Configuration of the Circles, to which

with special reference all other objects

It is the merit of the Circles that

they have effectually suppressed those

ancient heresies which led

men

to waste energy

and sympathy

in the

vain belief that conduct depends upon will, effort, training, encouragement, praise, or anything else but Configuration. It was Pantocyclus the
illustrious Circle

mentioned above, as the queller of the Colour Revolt

who

first

convinced mankind that Configuration makes the

man

;

that

if,

46
for

Flatland

example, you are born an Isosceles with two uneven sides, you will for which purpose assuredly go wrong unless you have them made even

you must go to the

you are a Triangle, or Square, or even a Polygon, born with any Irregularity, you must be taken
Isosceles Hospital
;

similarly, if

to one of the Regular Hospitals to have your disease cured

;

otherwise

you

will

end your days

in the State

Prison or

by

the angle of the State

Executioner.
All faults or defects, from the slightest misconduct to the most flagitious
crime, Pantocyclus attributed to

some deviation from
(if

perfect Regularity in
in

the bodily figure, caused perhaps a crowd
;

not congenital)

by

neglect to take exercise, or

by some collision by taking too much of it
;

or

even by a sudden change of temperature, resulting

in a shrinkage or

expansion in some too susceptible part of the frame. Therefore, concluded that illustrious Philosopher, neither good conduct nor bad conduct
is

a

fit

subject, in

any sober estimation,

for either praise or

blame.

For
faith-

why

should you praise, for example, the integrity of a Square

who

fully defends the interests of his client,

to admire the exact precision of his Rectangles
lying, thievish Isosceles

when you ought in reality rather ? Or again, why blame a
rather to deplore the incurable

when you ought
doctrine
is

inequality of his sides
Theoretically, this

?

unquestionable

;

but

it

has practical

In dealing with an Isosceles, if a rascal pleads that he cannot help stealing because of his unevenness, you reply that for that very reason, because he cannot help being a nuisance to his neighbours,

drawbacks.

you, the Magistrate, cannot help sentencing
there's

him
out

to be

consumed

and
where

an end

of

the matter.

But

in little
is

domestic

difficulties,

the penalty of

consumption, or

death,

of the
;

question, this

theory of

Configuration sometimes comes

in

awkwardly

and

I

must

confess that occasionally

when one of

pleads as an excuse for his

Hexagonal Grandsons disobedience that a sudden change of the

my own

Flatland

47

temperature has been too much for his Perimeter, and that I ought to lay the blame not on him but on his Configuration, which can only be
strengthened by abundance of the choicest sweetmeats, I neither see way logically to reject, nor practically to accept, his conclusions.

my

good sound scolding or castigation has some latent and strengthening influence on my Grandson's Configuration though I own that I have no grounds for thinking so. At
part, I find
it
;

For

my own

best to assume that a

all

events
;

I

am

not alone in

my way

of extricating myself from this

dilemma

for I find that

many

of the highest Circles, sitting as Judges in
;

Law
and

courts, use praise
in their

and blame towards Regular and Irregular Figures
that,

homes

I

know by experience
"

when scolding

their children,

" they speak about right
if

or

"

"

wrong

as vehemently

they believed that these names represented real human Figure is really capable of choosing between them.
Consistently carrying out their policy of

and passionately as existences, and that a

making Configuration the lead-

ing

idea in
in

every mind, the Circles reverse the nature of that

Commandment
next to the
is

which

Spaceland regulates the relations between parents and children.
children are taught to honour their parents; with us are the chief object of universal

With you,
Circles,

who
his

homage

a

man

taught to

honour

Grandson, if he has one; or, if not, his Son. By "honour," howno means meant " indulgence," but a reverent regard for their ever, by and the Circles teach that the duty of fathers is to highest interests
is
:

subordinate their

own

interests to those of posterity, thereby

advancing

the welfare of the whole State as well as that of their

own immediate

descendants.

The weak

point in the system of the Circles

if

a humble Square

may

venture to speak of anything Circular as containing any element of weakness appears to me to be found in their relations with Women.

As

it is

of the utmost importance for Society that Irregular births should
it

be discouraged,

follows that no

Woman who

has any Irregularities in her

is thought " an excellent thing in Woman. a Square or Pentagon. barren. The loss of a few sides in a highly-developed Polygon is not easily noticed. But it is not so. Circle has been known deliberately to take a wife who has had an Irregular Great-Grandfather. to say their potential Irregularities as regards possible This is effected by . even more than with you. carefully-kept pedigrees. with us. or because of the charms of a low voice which. not result in positive Irregularity or in diminution of sides these evils have hitherto proved sufficiently deterrent. as I have described above and the Circles are too much disposed to acquiesce . and all because of some slight superiority of lustre. a Hexagon or Dodecahedron is even more careless of the wife's pedigree but a . in infecundity as a Law of the superior development. which are preserved and supervised by the State is and without a certified pedigree no Woman allowed to marry. does not enquire above the five-hundredth generation . might have been supposed that a Circle proud of his ancestry and regardful for a posterity which might possibly issue hereafter in a Chief Circle would be more careful than any other to choose a wife who it Now had no blot on her escutcheon. . to take a wife who reckoned a single Irregularity among her Ancestors. that offspring. Now Women the Irregularity of a Male a matter of measurement . who is confident that his family is steadily on the rise." they do but none of if Such ill-judged marriages are. but as are straight. as might be expected. if this evil be . Yet. The care in choosing a Regular wife appears to diminish as one rises in the social scale. and is sometimes compensated by a successful operation in the Neo-Therapeutic Gymnasium. one has I to devise some other means of ascertaining what is may call their invisible Irregularity. Nothing would induce an aspiring Isosceles. and therefore visibly Regular so to speak. who had hopes of generating an Equilateral Son.48 ancestry is Flatland a fit partner for one who is desires that his posterity should rise by regular degrees all in the social scale.

" irrational and the ances . I cannot so mention a remedy and this also refers to it our relations . the gradual diminution of the Circular class may soon become more rapid. My fear is that. nor receive any mental education. For the consequence is that. among Women. One easily other word of warning suggests itself to me. and the time may be not far distant when. we use language implying the utmost deference for their is and they fully believe that the Chief Circle Himself not more devoutly adored by us than they are of : by all except the very but behind their backs they are both regarded and spoken " young as being little better than mindless organisms." "duty. " Love then becomes ' the an" " " " becomes " necessity " or " fitness . fiction and emotional conceptions. we Males have to lead a kind of bi-lingual. of which has no object except to control feminine exuberourselves.[The consequence was that they were no longer taught to read. Sex . which have no existence. and hence they sensibly declined during each generation in intellectual power. this policy has been carried so far as to react injuriously on the Male Sex. Moreover." "hope. and duty and ." "wrong. as things now are. About three hundred years ago. we speak and other of " love. idiom. other words are correspondingly transmuted. ticipation of benefits in our books. still And this system of female non-education or quietism prevails.with Women. and I may almost say bi-mental existence. with the best intentions." "right." "pity.Flatland 49 not arrested. nor even to master Arithmetic enough to enable them to count the angles of their husband or children . was decreed by the Chief Circle that. . With the Women. we have an entirely different " almost say. I but among vocabulary and may . the race being no longer able to produce a Chief Circle. though . they ought no longer to be treated as rational." . the Constitution of Flatland must fall. since women are deficient in Reason but abundant in Emotion.

they are taken from the maternal care and taught to unlearn the old language except for the purpose of repeating it in the presence of their Mothers and Nurses and to learn the vocabulary and idiom of science. I the simple ground of the enfeebling of the Male rest this humble appeal to the highest Authorities to reconsider On the regulations of Female Education. fear is that this double training. Now my humble especially when. Already methinks I discern a weakness in the grasp of mathematical truth at the present time as compared with the more robust intellect of our ancestors three hundred years ago. age of three years old. I say nothing of the possible danger if a Woman should ever surreptitiously learn to read and convey to her Sex the . result of her perusal of a single popular volume disobedience of nor of the possibility that the indiscretion or some infant Male might reveal to a Mother the secrets of the logical dialect. in language as well as in thought.50 Our Theology also in the Flatland Women's chambers is entirely different from our Theology elsewhere. . imposes at the somewhat too heavy a burden upon the young. intellect.

PART

II

OTHER WORLDS
brave new worlds, That have such people in them ! "
"

O

13.

How I had

a Vision of Lineland.

IT was the

last

day of the Long

Vacation.

day but one of the 1 999th year of our era, and the first Having amused myself till a late hour with
had
retired to rest with

my

favourite recreation of Geometry, I
I

an unsolved

problem in my mind. In the night had a dream. I saw before me a vast multitude of small Straight Lines (which I naturally assumed to be Women) interspersed with other Beings still
smaller and of the nature of lustrous Points
all

moving
I

to

and

fro in

one

and the same Straight Line, and, as nearly as

could judge, with the

same

velocity.

but received no answer. and in It seemed that which he passed his existence. Woman. I second and third appeal on my accosted her.54 Platland A them noise of confused. I brought my mouth into a position full in front of her mouth so as to intercept her motion. Losing patience at what appeared to me intolerable rudeness. hearing a voice as it were from in my own intestines. he had heard my he had no conception of anything out of it. multitudinous chirping or twittering issued from at intervals as long as they were all moving . Not being able either to move or to see. and indeed the whole of Space. But I had the greatest possible difficulty in obtaining any information on points that really interested me . and then was silence. but sometimes they ceased from motion. save in his Straight Line. besought the King to give me some account of his dominions. Receiving this abrupt reply. what signifies this concourse. by persevering questions I elicited poor ignorant Monarch as he called himself was persuaded that the Straight Line which he called his Kingdom. for the Monarch could not him must refrain from constantly assuming that whatever that I was familiar to in jest." Until the moment when I placed my mouth in his ." as he expressed it. " " and seeing no man. I begged pardon if I had in any way startled or molested his Royal Highness and describing myself as a stranger I . Though voice when I first addressed him. Approaching one of the largest of what I thought to be Women. constituted the whole of the world. and loudly repeated " my question. A part were equally ineffectual." replied the small Line " I am the Monarch of the " But thou. the sounds had come to him a manner so contrary to his experience that he had made no answer. also be known to me and was simulating ignorance the following facts: this However. no Woman. whence intrudest thou into my realm of Lineland ? . and this strange and confused chirping. and this monotonous motion to and fro in one and the same Straight Line?" " I am world.

. plunged into it My wives and " are well and happy. vision limited to a Point. which constituted his Universe. at Pardon me. nor had he even which I had come. Wondering whether it was possible. all was a blank to him . Neighbours remained motion to a Straight death did them part. and no one could move to the right or left to make way for passers by. at this answer for in the immediate proximity of the Staggered Monarch (as I had noted in my dream before " I entered Lineland) there I were none but imagine Men I ventured to reply. narrow path. with all Such a Line. woman. Straight Line. nay. Once neighbours. thing each was a Point to the eye of a Linelander. but what he called his inside or stomach . always neighbours. to enjoy the hesitated for some time last I " to question his Royal Highness on so delicate a subject . but cannot how your Royal Highness can any time either see or approach ." children. all was His subjects of whom the small Lines were Men and the Points Women were all alike confined in motion and eye." he replied. anything but a Point. Only by the sound of the voice could sex or age be Moreover. I relations. . child. say. which was their World. now the least conception of the region from Outside his World. as each individual occupied the whole of the distinguished. amid circumstances so unfavourable to domestic pleasures of conjugal union. rather. or Line. but at by abruptly inquiring as to the health of his family. it followed that no Linelander could ever pass another. Neighbourhood with them was like marriage with neighbours till life. Man. he had neither seen me. and all seemed to me inexpressibly dreary and I was surprised to note the vivacity and cheerfulness of the King. not even a blank. us.sight to that single need scarcely be added that the whole of their horizon was limited to a Point nor could any one ever see It .Flatland 55 World. so to speak. for a blank implies Space non-existent. nor heard anything except confused sounds beating against what I called his side.

Women ? " " " But supposing. no neighbourhood is needless for the union of hearts and the birth ." said is that a " . No. " How can there be a completely harmonious union without the combination of the Four in One." I would have interrupted him but he proceeded as follows " Once in the middle of each week a Law of Nature compels us to or that the .56 their: Majesties. I you as were the " baby consummated by means of the Lineland. if Yet you are you are pleased to veriest in affect ignorance. human eye should see a Straight Line. since You cannot be will ignorant of instruct this. the Universe would soon be depopulated. " That confirms my " impression. "If were indeed as you suggest. But to continue." I replied that had but one voice. then. nor pass by ? Is it possible is not necessary for marriage and for the "How it . whom you that in Lineland proximity " generation of children ? can neither see through. that you are not a utterly Man." said the King. that marriages faculty of sound You are of course aware that every Man and the sense of hearing. the Bass and Tenor of Man and the Soprano and Contralto of the two " I. the viz. " Nature herself having ordained that every Man should wed two " " wives Why two ? asked I. : . can you ask so absurd a question ?" replied the Monarch. of children is too important a matter to have been allowed to depend upon such an accident as proximity. and that I had not been aware that His Royal Highness had two. but a feminine Monstrosity with a bass voice and an uneducated ear. I a bass at one and a tenor at the other of his exthis." he said it is " It should prefer one wife or three ? as inconceivable as that two and one should make five. Flatland when there are at least half a dozen intervening indi- viduals. should not mention but that I have been unable to I distinguish your tenor in the course of our conversation." he cried. has two mouths or voices as well as two eyes tremities. " You carry your affected simplicity too far. Know. man impossible.

speechless for fury and some time elapsed before I could induce him " to resume his narrative. results in a threefold Male and Female " offspring which takes " ? place in Lineland. first suppose that every bachelor among us finds wooing in this universal Marriage Chorus. recognise at once the responsive note of their destined Lover three. at perhaps accord with one of the future or the Soprano and first.Flatland move to 57 and fro with a rhythmic motion of more than usual violence. the process is by most of us many times repeated. and. On the Few are the contrary. of course. " What Always " threefold said Must one wife then always " have twins " ? Bass-voiced Monstrosity ! yes. Love unites the The marriage ! in that instant consummated its I. of Tenor to the that oftentimes Loved Ones. which continues for the time you would take to count a hundred and one. Universe pause fullest. So exquisite the adaptation of Bass to Treble. and each individual sends forth sweetest strain. In the midst of this choral dance. in full career. two girls were not born " ? every boy ? Would you . if How else could for the balance of the Sexes be maintained. each fresh discovery of discord. induces the less perfect to modify his or her vocal utterance so as to E . In such cases Nature has provided may that every weekly Chorus shall bring the three Lovers into closer harmony. ignore the very Alphabet of Nature He ceased. almost imperceptibly Contralto not quite harmonise. It is in this decisive is moment that all our marriages are made. Each trial of voice. at the fifty-first pulsation. hearts whose happy lot it is at once to recognise in each other's voices the his mates at the partner intended for perfectly harmonious embrace. You will not. though twenty thousand leagues away. The Wooer's voices duration. with either . . Contralto. the inhabitants of the his richest. or not. penetrating the paltry obstacles of distance. them by Providence. but not with both ." replied the King. and to fly into a reciprocal and With most of us the courtship is of long may wives.

again. but he continued scornfully. " 14. And after many trials and many ap- There comes a day at last." I ventured to suggest. to bring Thinking that to the level of was time down the Monarch from his raptures common sense. the wedded Triplet is rapt vocally into a duplicate embrace and Nature rejoices over one more marriage and . between a Line and a Point by . while the wonted Marriage Chorus goes forth from universal Lineland. the one to the North. that is to say of the nature of things in Flatland. and that some of the Lines are larger You speak of an impossibility." interrupted the King " you must have . in the nature of things. the result is Flatland perfect. So I began thus " How does your Royal Highness distinguish : the shapes and positions of his subjects ? I for my part noticed by the sense of sight. Interrupt me and I have done. How I it vainly tried to explain the nature of Flatland." .58 approximate to the more proximations." said he. harmony. Fool. "Since you are impervious you shall hear with your ears how by means of my two voices I reveal my shape to my Wives. the three far-off Lovers suddenly find themselves in exact at last achieved. when. before they are aware. the sense of sight as every one knows. and by the same means my shape can be exactly ascertained. apologised. Behold me I am a Line. and. over six inches of Space " " " Of Length. the longest in but it Lineland." I to argument. I determined to endeavour to open up to him some glimpses of the truth. the other to the South. before are Lines " I entered your Kingdom. Listen. " Space is Length. over three more births. who are at this moment six thousand miles seventy yards two feet eight inches away. that some of your people " and others Points. impossible can be detected by the sense of hearing. seen a vision for to detect the difference is. I call to them. .

Flatland He moment chirruped. closely followed by the other. when E 2 ." said I. infer that one of my mouths is 6*457 inches further from them than the other. touch. and accordingly know my shape But you will of course understand that my wives to be 6*457 inches. is punishable in And the reason is obvious. " if a Man feigns a Woman's voice with one at of his two voices. once for before we were married. being liable to be my shattered by such an approximation. "And indeed what possible purpose would be served by this call illegal and unnatural excess of approximation which you touching. But they could make any time. and " " I . leave no space between two individuals. The frail dominions by death." " If Feel. but I asked with the view of " irritating What ! succeeded perfectly." I replied. explain your meaning. "approaching so close as to know. must be preserved by the State but since Women cannot be distinguished by the sense of sight from ." " But how. " cried he in horror. And in the same way I can estimate the shape of any of my Male subjects by the sense of sound. come into contact. that this offence you mean by feeling" said the King. Stranger. for feeling could cause great inconvenience ? And not have answered the purpose the Monarch. form of a Woman. do not make this calculation all. They made it it. Man. the Law ordains universally that neither Man nor Woman shall be approached so closely as to destroy the interval between the approximator and the approximated. every time they hear my two voices. and perceiving that the latter reaches them after an interval in which sound can traverse 6*457 inches. and then complacently continued receiving the sound of one of " : 59 My wives at this my voices. or so disguises his Southern voice that recognised as the echo of the Northern ? it cannot be May not such deceptions have you no means of checking frauds of this kind by commanding your neighbouring subjects to feel one " another ? This of course was a very stupid question.

even to the number of a billion. ! mental. multitude of lilliputian grasshoppers. not even to know what a Straight Line is To see. as if in an ecstasy. But come. by sight. "so far as the numbers and sexes are . only hark So saying he paused and listened. one after another. so that I could penetrate my subjects. " Truly. corporal. To see nothing but ! a Point be able to Contemplate a Straight Line Nay. verifying the size and distance of each by the sense of feeling: how much time and energy would be wasted in this clumsy and inaccurate method Whereas now. in one moment of audition. suppose that had the power of passing through solid things. and spiritual. I And let me prove Just before to right. : at once more easily and more exactly by it is As to your suggested danger of deception." replied and fills up many life in your sense of hearing serves you in good stead. better or chirping. and eight Men and two Women on your right. and then from right to left. to a sound which seemed to me no better than a tiny chirping from an innumerable being in Lineland. left saw you dancing from your kingdom. is to than a multitudinous twittering me no least I it. of every living " Hark. yet to be cut off from ! Not even ! those Linear prospects which are vouchsafed to us in Flatland surely to have no sense of sight at all than to see so grant you concert of I ! Better ! little . being the essence of be thus changed at will. But at can discern.60 all Flatland the ends of so brutal and coarse a process are attained the sense of hearing. cannot I non-existent for the Voice. with seven Men and a Woman Came into I in your immediate proximity on the " left. Is not this correct ? "It is correct. I all have not your discriminative faculty of hearing for the Lineland which gives you such intense pleasure. But permit me to point out I. of your deficiencies. a Line from a Point. " that your Lineland must be deplorably to dull. one's Being." said the King. local. I take as it were the ! census and statistics.

any Man ? But you must have heard these and then dreamed that you saw them. Out of of Space /. If you cannot indicate yourself moving /. turning your eye round so as to look in the direction towards which your side is now fronting ? In other words. this motion from left to Nay. things. is Space is not the true Space. Never. your motion of Northward and another motion which I call from right to left. do you never feel a desire to move in the direction. King. though I 61 ' ' know not what you But that I is deny that you saw these things. there King. only a Line. right. And let me ask what you ' ' mean by those words " left and " ' right. besides Exhibit to me. then If you cannot tell beg you your right side from I to describe to me in words. it How shall I make clear ? When you move move in straight on." replied is Southward. of your side ? King.' I suppose it is your way of saying Northward and Southward. I fear that no words of mine can make my meaning in the least clear to you." Not so. yes. /. Alas it I ! do not understand you. King. unless you could step out of your Line altogether. that I cannot do. And what do you mean ? How can a man's inside . this motion from it left to right by in it. does not sometimes occur to you that you could some other way. ? my Line ? Do you mean out of the World ? Out Well." I . of mean by right and For how could you see the ' left. /. my left. so to speak. Out of your Space. But surely you cannot be ignorant of so simple a distinction. For your True Space is a Plane but your Space . instead of always moving in the direction of one of your extremities. if you please. to say the inside. King.' Line. Out of your World.Flatland concerned.

out of the Straight Line I which you Space. since words cannot explain the matter. " I I . still you you are I see not moving. ? Well then. where can see things as they And moment it . You ask me to believe that there is another Line besides that which besides that of which in I my senses indicate. with that. At the word began to move my body out of Lineland. "I am are. I cried triumphantly. As long as any part of me remained in his dominion and in his view. myself out of his Line. the King see kept exclaiming. he cried in his shrillest voice. taking up the same " position as before. describing size. ask you to describe words or indicate by . and another motion conscious. that call to say. am daily in return. will I will try deeds. you would listen to reason. their When this I had done at last " Does this at great length. and at this in the true I Space. and move gradually out of Lineland I in the direction which I desire to indicate to you. I. and the interval between each." is " I am not dead. simply out of Lineland. I once more entered Lineland. she is She vanished dead. " convince you ? And. can see your Line. as you appear to have only one voice I have little doubt you are not a Man but a Woman but. If you were a Man of sense-^-though. or side I or inside as you are pleased to call and can also see the Men and Women on the North and South of you." replied ." their order. But the Monarch replied." But had " when I at last is moved . if you had a particle of sense.62 "front" in any direction? Flatland Or how can a man move in the direction of his inside /. whom I will now enumerate. you.

but can see Straight Lines and infer the existence of Angles.Flatland motion that other Line of which you speak. . Why waste more words self. and the could . Spell-bound and motionless I nor move to avert the impending destruction speak noise grew louder. the hope of enlightening your ignorance. there arose in from myriads till of at his last subjects a multitudinous war-cry. merely exercise some magic art of vanishing and returning to sight instead of and your new World. rivalled the roar of an army of a hundred thousand and the artillery of a thousand] Pentagons. Triangles. while you are in reality the most imperfect and' imbecile. I account visit among in the great Nobles of Flatland." Hearing these words the King advanced towards me with a menacing cry as if to pierce me through the diagonal and in that same moment . you simply tell me the any numbers and sizes of some forty of my retinue. " Besotted Being ! You think yourself the perfection of existence. Acknowledge your be ignorant of folly or depart from my dominions. Hexagons. it increasing vehemence methpught Isosceles. Squares. You profess to see. whereas you can see nothing but a Point Straight ! You plume I yourself on inferring the existence of a Line. Pentagons. and especially indignant that he professed to my Sex. you . neither still and the find King came closer. and even Circles. lucid description of 63 Instead of moving. facts known to any Can anything be more irrational or audacious ? child in my capital. whence have come to you. but I am a Line of Lines. I retorted in no measured terms. called in my am country of little a Square and even I. when I awoke to the breakfast-bell recalling me to the realities of Flatland." Furious at his perversity. ? suffice it that I am the completion of your incomplete You : are a Line. infinitely superior though I am to you.

and I was sitting in the company of my wife. His uncles and I had been giving him his usual practical lesson in Sight Recognition. My four Sons and . and his answers had been so satis- factory that I had been induced to reward him by giving him a few hints on Arithmetic." increase of lustre and " standing. I had put them together so as to make one large Square. as applied to Geometry." which are perfectly well recognise the different mental states of volition implied in to some extent indicated to a beholder by a slight But on this. and a thousand other kindred corresponding to the increase of volition. It was the last day of the 1999^1 year of our era. signify that word for as we have no do not mean any change of attitude such as you in Flatland " " nor " stand (in your sense of feet. now rapidly. now more slowly.64 Flat land 15. The pattering of 1 the rain had long ago announced nightfall . musing on the events of the past and the prospects of the coming year. and questioning him as to our positions . turning ourselves upon our centres. pondering in my mind some words that had casually issued from the mouth of my youngest Grandson. Concerning a Stranger from Spaceland. " Nevertheless. and I had hence proved to square inches in 1 my to see the inside of the Square was impossible for us yet we might ascertain the number of a Square by simply squaring the number of inches little Grandson that though it When by I say " sitting. . with a side of three inches." of course I . From dreams I proceed to facts. the coming Millennium. a most promising young Hexagon of unusual brilliancy and perfect angularity. each an inch every way. the coming century. several apartments two orphan Grandchildren had retired to their and my Wife alone remained with me to see the old in. Taking nine Squares. Millennium out and the new one I was rapt in thought. tyi n g>" we "sitting. we can no more "sit the word) than one of your soles or flounders. time forbids me to dwell. subjects.

and a is chilling breath thrilled my very being. . or 9. . 3 3 . represented . endeavouring to form a retrospect of the year 1999 and of the possibilities of the year 2000. way " and this must be represented by I. makes a Square of three inches every way. 65 that y. by moving makes a Line of three inches represented by 3 and if a straight Line of three inches. again returning to his former suggestion. and how a Line of three inches. my Grandson. if a Point 2 it must be that a Square of three by 3 inches every way." The Hexagon meditated on this awhile and then said jo me: "But . represents the is in the side " : and thus." I. " Upon this. if you would So my Grandson had disappeared in disgrace and there I sat by my Wife's side." Go to bed. " He no such thing. . rather suddenly and exclaimed. took me up three inches. which may be represented by y. which may at all. then. moving parallel to itself. by his you would remember more little ruffled a " interruption sense. I in the half-hour glass." And then through a length of three inches makes a Line of three inches. moving somehow parallel to itself (but I don't see how) must make a Something else (but I don't see what) of three inches every inches every way. " The boy I is a fool.Flatland . Only a few sands now remained the act." said " I." Straightway became conscious of a Presence through in the room. turned the glass Northward for the last time Rousing myself from my reverie I and in in the old Millennium . but not quite able to shake off the thoughts suggested by the prattle of my bright little Hexagon. makes a Square of three Well. moving parallel to through a length of three inches." said talk less nonsense. you have been teaching me to raise numbers to the third power 3 what does it mean ? " 3 must mean something in Geometry ." ." . " not at least in be represented by itself 3 . I suppose " Nothing Geometry for Geometry has only Two replied I began to show the boy how a Point by moving Dimensions. we know number of square inches in a little Square whose side 3 inches long. exclaimed aloud.

" But I took no notice of her. my dear. I have no patience with your Sight Recognition. . Straight Feeling is believing and Line to the touch is worth a Circle to the sight " two Proverbs. "Well. before us a moment's observation shewed me it that the extremities passed into dimness too rapidly to represent one of the thought it a Circle. I started up. but what makes you think that the stranger is a Woman ? I see by my " " power of Sight Recognition Oh. Looking my in Wife. I say 33 can have no At once there came a distinctly audible reply. The boy is a fool." . round every direction I could see nothing . a Circle or for any Regular Figure of which had had But my Wife had not my experience. and shivered as the cold whisper came again. "if it must be so. What was glance it our horror when we saw At the first appeared to be a Woman. nor the~ coolness necessary to hastiness note these characteristics. . although she did not understand their meaning. there is no draught what are you There was nothing and I resumed looking for ? There is nothing. she flew at once to the conclusion that a Woman " How comes this had entered the house some small through aperture. " What is " " the matter ? said my Wife." " Nor are there any. that there our new house.66 cried Flatland "and you are breaking the Commandments in thus dishonouring your own Grandson. person here?" she exclaimed. very ' ' " ' ' A common with the Frailer Sex in Flatland. should be no ventilators in " "you promised me. my seat. " My Wife as well as myself heard the words." replied she." said I ." " The boy is not a fool and 33 has an obvious Geometrical meaning. I. and both of us sprang forward in the direction of the sound. and I should have seemed to change its size in a manner I impossible experience. again exclaiming. Figure seen sideways but a ! ." . With the usual and unreasoning jealousy of her Sex. yet still I felt a Presence. only that for Female Sex. meaning in Geometry." said for I was afraid of irritating her. .

Permit me. Madam.Flatland demand an by " 67 introduction. " ? Oh ! it is are no angles either. by into the feigning the voice of a Circle. began to approach the Stranger with the intention of taking a nearer : view and of bidding him be seated but his appearance struck me dumb and motionless with astonishment." in Flatland . which must not deliver few minutes in ' your presence But my Wife would not so r arid. . How the Stranger vainly endeavoured to reveal to me in words the mysteries of Sfiaceland. and there be that I have so "and a misbehaved to a perfect Circle " I am indeed. " Madam. then. my me a burglar or cut-throat. As soon I as the sound of my Wife's retreating footsteps had died away. The last sands had fallen. " my Wife felt advanced towards the Stranger. she at last retreated to her apartment. and assuring the Circle that the hour own retirement had long passed. "I have a mildly." replied the Voice. am many Then he added more I but to speak more accurately. Can it Woman. some monstrous to stab who. dear ." Assuming her most gracious manner. more I perfect Circle than Circles in any one. with many reiterated apologies for her recent indiscretion. not a to feel and be suddenly recoiling. and was now preparing me with his acute angle. message. if ) ou would suffer us to retire for a listen to the proposal that our august Visitor should for her incommode himself. not a trace of one. in a certain sense a Circle. had obtained admission somehow house. I glanced at the half-hour glass. 1 6. The second Millennium had begun. to your husband. Without the slightest symptoms of angularity he nevertheless varied every instant with gradations of size and brightness scarcely possible experience. for The thought flashed across any Figure within the scope of me that I might have before Irregular Isosceles.

Space. surprise and I consequent on this somewhat unexpected visit. down as near as I for I can recollect omitting only some of my I. And beseech you to reveal my indiscretion to no one. From Space. which arises not from little ignorance of the usages of polite society. but from a nervousness. would he deign to satisfy the curiosity of one who would gladly know whence his Visitor came ? Stranger.68 Flatland In a sitting-room. should Circle. made it difficult for me especially at the short distance at which I fear. which I will endeavour it. felt Have you me enough by this time ? Are you not introduced to /. and especially not to my Wife. felt Sir " and him. : is height and breadth indefinitely prolonged. my Lord. from Space. a perfectly satisfactory Circle. Stranger. Exactly you see you do not even know what Space . was covered with shame and humiliation that It have been guilty of the impertinence of feeling a was commenced by the Stranger with some impatience at the lengthiness of Stranger. profuse apologies a Square. not the slightest I roughness or inequality Circle. ! /. the absence of Fog (and the season happened to be to trust to Sight Recognition. Desperate with rushed forward with an unceremonious " You must permit me. your Lordship and his humble servant. remarkably dry). my yet ? introductory process. even at this moment ? Stranger. My Wife was right. There was not the trace of an : angle. Pooh what do you know of Space ? Define Space. Sir : whence else ? Pardon me. is. never in my life had I met with a more perfect He remained motionless while walked round him. Then followed a dialogue. I was standing. beginning from his eye and returning to it again. /. excuse my awkwardness. Circular he was throughout. my Lord. me Most illustrious Sir. But before your Lordship enters into further communications. but is not your Lordship already in Space. there could not be a doubt of to set it.

your very all and yes even your insides and stomachs. Such assertions are easily made. but ! we An eye my am inside in An will Spaceland should call it your side. But not easily proved. I mean nothing of the kind. /. your houses. My Lord means seemingly that it is Northward and Southward. you mean. breadth. . but Three Dimensions. because you have no eye in your side. think it is 69 I You of Two . my Lord. came from It is you cannot look. or breadth and thickness. thus denoting four names. your churches. Stranger. Would your Lordship indicate or explain to me in what direction Third Dimension. from Land of Three Dimensions whence your Plane I which you discerned call Space but lately looked down upon From that position of forsooth. the since you not understand what Space means. a that I have a perfect luminary at the juncture of two of Lordship my sides. unknown to me ? I up above and down below. eye. eye my stomach Your Lordship jests. my view. /.Flatland Dimensions only but to you a Third height. moment's inspection will convince your /. Yes : but in order to see into Space you ought to have an is. no jesting humour. . have come to announce We also speak of length and height. it. Pardon me. call your inside in I or. I tell you that I come from Space. Your Lordship is pleased to be merry. my Lord. Stranger. I mean a direction in which Stranger. in in ! Stranger. I advantage all that "). you speak of as solid (by which you mean chests " enclosed on four sides safes. and length. But I mean to prove mine. Two Dimensions by Stranger. that on what you would probably /. but on your side. not on your Perimeter. But /. lying open and exposed to /. Stranger. is the I mean not only three names.

one I When I cut through your plane as am now call doing. Your as you know very well. me. but an infinite number of inches in Circles. or the top of which you and your countrymen move about. /. You call me a Circle . three and the little Page in the scullery. has been recently repaired. Your Lordship must be aware that such facts touching the belongof his humble servant might be easily ascertained by any one in ings what I the neighbourhood possessing your Lordship's ample information. and how do you think roof. but a Solid. I saw your four Sons. each in and your two Grandsons the Hexagons I saw your his apartment. in your plane a section which you. Not I tell suppose. are living on You a Plane. I saw your Isosceles servants. without below it. all to an inhabitant of Flatland must needs manifest himself as a . Flatland the vast level surface of what I may call fluid. I came ? Through the Stranger. youngest Hexagon . Then /. leaving in you and your Wife alone. Are you not convinced by have told you of your children and household. the Pentagons. you I by which even a Woman could come from Space. I rising above it or falling am not a plane Figure. is Sir . on. I make if a Circle. I so. and has no aperture penetrate. What you a style in. remain a while with you and then retire to his room. of size varying from a Point to a Circle of thirteen placed on the top of the othen diameter. but in reality I am not a Circle. in my own country he manifest himself at Circle. I in the kitchen at supper. means of obtaining a plain suffice. roof.70 When I Flatland descended here. How shall I convince him ? Surely statement of facts followed by ocular demonstration ought to listen to Now. came here. number. very For even a Sphere which is my proper name rightly. Stranger.

but he diminished and I winked once or twice to make sure that I was not finally vanished. discerned last night do you not when you entered the realm of Lineland. close to For from the depths " of nowhere came forth a hollow voice my heart it seemed Am I quite . or Circles. cannot indeed see more than one of for my sections.Flatland Do you not remember for I. 71 who see all things. but as a Line. your country of of me. Space. and the upon your eye it be a that my become smaller and smaller dwindles to point and finally vanishes. Circle will I will rise. as smaller. You . But it was no dream. because that Linear Realm had not Dimensions enough to represent the whole of you. I say. which is Two Dimensions is not spacious enough a being of Three. but can only exhibit a slice or section to represent me. at a time you have no power to raise your eye out of the plane of Flatland I rise in . There was no "rising" that I could see. But now prepare to receive proof positive of the truth of my assertions. The diminished brightness of your eye indicates incredulity. what you call a Circle. you were remember. but you can at least see that. so effect my till section becomes will See now. how. dreaming. but only a slice or section of you ? the phantasmal vision of Lineland written upon your brain In precisely the same way. compelled to manifest yourself to the King not as a Square.

After a long pause he remains. SpJiere.72 gone? to Flatland will Are you convinced now? Well. that the Circle had made himself and vanished. all. still Analogy. Mathematician and leaves a luminous wake. And a straight Line has how many extremities ? Two. proficient though I was in Flatland Mathematics. And at tales indeed was now inclining to the belief that he must be no Circle . although All that smaller rapidly saw the facts before me. I "One resource alone I am not to resort to action. now I Flatland." Then followed a our dialogue. must try the method of longer silence. what name would you give to the wake ? . and at last very small indeed. and you shall see my section become reader in will easily gradually return larger and larger. I But to me. and that he had now reappeared and was size. Tell me. /. A straight Line. /. ascending in the three positions indicated or to any Flatlander. Now conceive the Northward straight line moving parallel . but some extremely clever juggler true. child that the Sphere." Spaceland my mysterious Every Guest was speaking the language of truth and even of simplicity. then small. it was by understand that no means a simple matter. if muttered to himself. When perceived he had regained his original he heaved a deep sigh failed to . But to me. of full size. SpJiere. as a Circle. the causes were as dark as ever. for he by I my silence that I had altogether comprehend him. it The rough diagram given above must needs will make clear to any Spaceland there. or else that the old wives' were and that after all there were such people as Enchanters and Magicians. I could comprehend was. making himself larger. after which he continued if a Point moves Northward. at first have manifested himself to me. approaching to a Point. Mr. Sphere.

but Analogy. Square ? say ? A Square. Oh. Sphere. I moved Northward. mean that every Point in you for you are a Square and is the purpose of my illustration every Point in you. And how many sides has a sides And how many Angles little. Sphere. so that every point straight ? leaves behind to it the wake of a Line. you must not speak of the result as being a Figure. Southern points in the Square would . . Restraining my to rush blindly at " was now under a strong temptation impatience my Visitor and to precipitate him into Space. or out for I I of Flatland. in accordance with Analogy surely it must be clear to you. But I will describe it to you. the move through the positions But that is out of Flatland altogether." It is Sphere. SpJiere. by the way. What name. Now your imagination itself a and conceive a Square /. so that could get rid of him I replied : And what may by this ' out ' be the nature of the Figure which I am to shape motion which you are pleased to denote by the word upward ? I presume it is describable in the language of Flatland. will What name suppose that will it thereby formed We you give Figure moves through a distance I the Line. all plain and simple.Flatland to itself. /. previously occupied by the Northern will serve not my meaning. in Flatland. but as a Solid. is to pass upwards through Space such a way by This that no Point shall pass through the position . No. What? it moving Northward? parallel to upward. upward have to points. equal to the original straight /. anywhere. and in strict accordance with Analogy only. F . If not Northward . 73 in it East and West. certainly. that to say in in what you call your inside. Or rather not I. any other Point is all previously occupied but each Point shall describe a straight Line of its own. ? Four and four stretch angles.

What is the next number. One Line produces a Square with four terminal Points. . that is to see say. which of course being itself a Point has only one terminal Point. The one Square produces ? a Something-which-you- do-not-as-yet-know-a-name-for-but-which-we-call-a-Cube with eight terminal Points. solids or sides will appertain to this Being whom I " the motion of inside in an " upward direction. 2. 4 . /. Exactly. a Point has o a Line. You would call Sphere. by the according to Analogy. And what is the next number ? Six. Sphere. but what we call sides. solids. Now are you convinced And has this Creature sides. way. Arithmetical. sides) ? . has 2 sides (for the Points of a Line its may what be called by courtesy. /. /. And how many am to generate by whom you call a Cube Sphere. Eight. o. Sphere. Now you can yourself give the answer to your own 4. question : I. Exactly. as there sides . may so say. Then you will The Cube which you you have answered your own question. not what you call sides. eh ? . Of course and all them I. are evidently in Geometrical Progression. One Point produces a Line with two terminal Points. a Square has 4 sides . six of your insides.74 Flatland We began with a single Point. Sphere. 2. Progression do you call that /. Consequently. You see it all now. if I may so say. no Dimension behind a Point. " ? as well as angles or what you call " terminal Points But. one Dimension behind the thing. and my ? ? How is can you ask if I is And you a mathematician ! The side of anything always. generate will be bounded by six sides.

Soon there was a had hoped I But I still heard the Intruder's voice. I a thousand years it. rushed to the closet and dashed the door open. I see in yonder cupboard near which you are standing. but moving : somehow out of blank." I 75 no shrieked. any ordinary Circle from my contact . "be thou juggler. I brought my hardest right angle into violent collision with the Stranger. . or devil. the cupboard and am taking the tablet. dream. With a mocking laugh. more will I endure thy mockeries. truth. I saw you lock the cupboard But I I know you have the key in your possession. Sphere. and board and to bring you one of those tablets." And saying these words precipitated myself upon him. Now I have it.Flatland "Monster. the world and vanishing to nothing. pressing on him with a force sufficient to have destroyed in vain. but I could feel him slowly and unarrestably slipping not edging to the right nor to the left. I Either thou or I must perish. my friend. One was gone. and not words. the Stranger appeared in the other F 2 . I am about to descend into that cup- half an hour ago. several of what you call boxes (but like everything else in Flatland. they have no tops nor bottoms) full of money have told you things that can see from you consider closed. which in am allowed to to con- preach once only vince you. having in vain tried words. Now I am in Now I ascend of the tablets with I it. you see. I have Deeds. the doors. descend from Space . I see also two tablets of accounts. resorted to deeds. I my position in Space the inside of all For example. 17. remain unmoved. It How was the Sphere. in fit Why will- you refuse to listen to reason ? I to find you as being a man of sense and an accomplished mathematician a apostle for the Gospel of the Three Dimensions. shall proclaim the Listen. : but now I know not how Stay. enchanter.

and a demoniacal laugh seemed to issue from within me.j6 Flatland corner of the room. their several apartments . doubting whether " : I was not out of but the Stranger continued Surely you must now see that and no other. leaving nothing but a dull ache behind. You could leave this Plane yourself. I don't " know what will convince you. and the further though of course I see it ascending now I can see your neighbour the Hexagon and his family see. I took it up. A moment afterwards the sharp agony had ceased. What say you ? My resolution was taken. I felt my inside. and the Stranger began to reappear. if you could but " summon up The higher I the necessary volition. go from your Plane. and at the same time the tablet appeared upon the floor. all A can I slight see. " There. as he gradually If you increased in size. I am in off. For example. Circle in his study. as a crowning proof. only see the outsides." Before I could utter a word of remonstrance. what do you say ? the least touch. . Now I come back And. the more I on a smaller scale. upward or downward motion would enable you to see can that I mount. suits the phenomena What you call Solid things are tion. and look down upon the insides of the things of which you . just not seriously injure you. really superficial I my senses my explana. saying. now is I see the inside of the Theatre. It seemed intolerable that I should endure existence subject to the arbitrary visitations of a Magician who could thus . ten doors . I groaned with horror. There could be no doubt it was the missing tablet. have I ? are not convinced now. and the you may suffer cannot be compared with the mental benefit a shooting pain in you will receive. Space. sitting at his books. in your stomach slight pain It will to my giving you a touch. from which the audience only just departing and on shall the other side a to you. am in what you call Space is really nothing but a great Plane. I have not hurt you much.

hearing. addressing me no stranger must : witness what you have witnessed. know never Fool . same time alarming the whole household by my cries for aid." heard him say " either he must listen to reason. as I thought. before of Three Dimensions must not fruits be thus frustrated. and continued to shout for assistance." calmly replied the voice of the Sphere. " or whither you " . hear her coming. and really my found difficulty in rising. and what I saw there. and not myself." " Is it come to this ? thundered the Stranger ! : " : ! then meet " ! your fate out of your Plane you go. at the had sunk below our Plane. pressed against him with redoubled vigour. believe. Back ! back not ! Away into the you must go with me Land of Three Dimensions!" from me.Flatland play tricks with one's very stomach. to pin If only I could in ! 77 any way manage at the I him against the wall till help came Once more I dashed my hardest angle against him. she enters the apartment." neither. There was a darkness . " Either this is mad" It is ness or it is Hell. the Stranger moment A convulsive I thought I have recourse to the in shudder ran through the Sphere. like seeing . he hurriedly exclaimed." " a louder tone. could find voice. Once. Listen Then. the sound of some help approaching. or I must . I saw a Line was no Line I . sickening sensation of sight that was not . An that unspeakable horror seized me. ! Madman " ! Irregular ! I exclaimed will I release thee " Ha thou shalt pay the penalty of thine impostures. thrice 'Tis done 1 8. Not thus must the of one thousand years of waiting be thrown away. When . I shrieked aloud in agony. " This must not be. while I. twice. The Gospel I Send your Wife back at once. Space that was not Space I was myself. of onset. then a dizzy. last resource of civilization. How I came to Space land. In any case he remained motionless.

you What you could discern before. it is Three Dimensions: open your eye once again and try to look steadily. Let us begin by casting back a glance at the first and whence you came. liver?" it is not given to think you see. of my intestines. I followed as if " Look yonder.jS "it is Flatland Knowledge." " ! thought about. Were I a Circle. as I told you many And. and. O consummate loveliness and wisdom. nor lungs. behold. to behold my internal parts. nor arteries. but I am in a Being composed." Bewildered though longer chafed against I it. the Many the One. for open to my view yet I could see no heart. was by my Teacher's enigmatic utterance. different order of Beings from those in Flatland. thy lungs. till but." I looked below. I am of a you. called in this country a Sphere. and yet cannot discern thy " heart. the Sphere leading the way. of perfect seemed the centre of the Stranger's form lay inferred. conjectured. that I had before Circular beauty. By degrees dawn upon you. in silent adoration. that " I see thy inside. my Readers in Spaceland. visibly incorporate. but you." he replied nor to any other Being. I How is it. ." I looked. just as the outside of a Cube is a Square. thy arteries. only a beautiful harmonious Something which I had no words " cried. : behold your own Pentagonal house and all its inmates. but never seen with the sense of sight " Impossible in I cried a dream. Return with me a while to the plains of FlatI will show you that which you have so often reasoned and a visible angle. and once more his voice arrested me . Circles. thy . What : dreamed. understand the deeper mysteries of Spaceland. I no but worshipped him " : He you continued. and saw with my physical eye all that domestic . Prostrating myself mentally before divine ideal of my Guide. with more mildness in his voice Distress not yourself if cannot at they will region land. you see not. a all new world ! There stood before me. would call it the surface of the Sphere. so the outside of a Sphere presents the appearance of a Circle.

All this could now not and as we came nearer and nearer. two orphan Grandsons the the South Servants. anxiously awaiting left his Also the Page. my all in their several apartments." It Once more felt myself rising through space. the Butler. was even as the . and the two chests of gold. I could discern even the my cabinet. and in fallen somewhere I a faint." said my Guide " . I had had room. and the tablets of which the Sphere had made mention. see. contents of Touched by my Wife's distress. my study. Only my affec- tionate Wife. my ab- had quit- ted her room and was roving up and return.Flatland individuality which I 79 had hitherto merely inferred with the understanding. meantime. cries. but I found myself incapable of motion. alarmed by continued sence. was prying merely infer into the cabinet in . she will not be long in anxiety . down in the Hall. I would have sprung downward to " reassure her. And how poor and shadowy was the inferred conjecture in comparison with the reality which I now beheld My four Sons calmly asleep in the ! North-Western rooms. aroused by my my under pretext of ascertaining whether. I let us take a survey of Flatland. Trouble not left yourself about your Wife. Daughter. my to .

But. Look yonder. I am become as a God. not for me to classify human faculties according to affections than of the understanding. is if a pick-pocket or a cut-throat is -of our country can see everything that m your country. Flatland The further we receded from the object we beheld. the secrets of the earth. the became the field of vision. My native city. than of your belauded Circles. Not in make you more just. Yet many of the best and wisest in Spaceland think more of the more of your despised Straight Lines But enough of this. or the attribute of God alone. the depths of mines and inmost caverns of the hills. But these are the is qualities of women mere And we know that a Circle a higher Being than a Straight Line. We mounted higher. Do you know that building ? . in so far as knowledge affection. Behold. as they express our country say that to see ail things. the least. for there is country are not one of But trust me. For the wise men it. I do not know. your wise men /. as you does ? it loving /. Awestruck at the sight of the mysteries of the earth. and lo. is not a common word in Spacemore merciful. with the interior of every house and every creature therein. is and wisdom are more to be esteemed than Sphere. lay open to my view in miniature. in is something of scorn so indeed ? in the voice of my Teacher as he made answer cut-throats of : : " Is it Then the very pickpockets and by your wise see as my to be worshipped them that does not men as much as you being Gods see now. Then how does more loving " ! by you as a God. are wrong." There was omnividence. more it make you more divine ? " ! More merciful. It merit." Then is omnividence the attribute of others beside Gods ? Sphere. surely that no reason why land the pick-pocket or cut-throat should be accepted call it it This omnividence. I said to my Companion. thus unveiled " before my unworthy eye.8o Sphere had larger said. less selfish. were bared before me.

The minutes of the previous meetings were now read by one whom I at once recognized as my brother. a perfectly Symmetrical Square. the nature of real space so ." Death or imprisonment " Not so. awaits the Apostle of replied I. Acting. " Here we descend. to destroy all such as were Isosceles of any degree. and professing to produce demonstrations whereby they had instigated to frenzy both themselves and others. the first hour of the day of the two thousandth year of our era." first said my Guide. special injunctions be sent to the Prefects in the several districts of Flatland. and without formality' of mathematical examination. It and the Chief Clerk of the occasion that " : High Council. and also on the first hour of the first day of the year o. " the Gospel of Three Dimensions. and afar off I saw an immense Polygonal which recognized the General Assembly Hall of the States of Flatland. sending him straightway to the Capital to be examined and judged by the Council. as was their wont. which I knew to be streets . in strict accordance with precedent. while the Council was Asylum. the highest Circles of the realm were meeting in solemn conclave." "the matter is now so clear to me. the great Metropolis." " You hear your fate." said the Sphere to me. as they had met on the first hour of the first day of the year 1000. to make strict search for such misguided persons. and passing for the third time the formal resolution. to scourge and imprison any regular Triangle. sur- rounded by dense lines of Pentagonal buildings at right angles to each and I perceived that I was approaching other. in looked.Flat land I I 81 structure. it had been for this cause unanimously resolved by the Grand Council that on the first day of each millenary. It was now morning. Whereas the States had ^been troubled by was found recorded on each divers ill-in- tentioned persons pretending to hav received revelations from another World. to cause any Square or Pentagon to be sent to the district to arrest any one of higher rank.

he men ." "Not yet.82 palpable. " Arrest the policeYou know your duty. his life would be spared. at some length. to proclaim a land of Three Dimensions. ing. say nothing of these outside the Cabinet. now summoned the guard. concluded. could see many sign from the presiding Circle." Before departhe expressed." Raising his voice." cried he. . right in the midst of the ring of Counsellors. my excellent but most unfortunate brother. me that a similar occurrence happened on the last two millennial commencements. he leaped it) with great dexterity into the sea may " I of Flatland. yes . child understand it. trifles You will. to the Clerk." (if I Saying these words." said Meantime so call I must perform my mission. My Lords." said the President to the Junior Circles of the Council. . gag them. of course. surprise who showed not the slightest alarm or upon the Sphere. that there I is " come. his sincere regret that." After he had consigned to their fate the State-secret which wretched policemen ill-fated and unwilling witnesses of a they were not to be permitted to reveal he again " addressed the Counsellors. that methinks I Flatland could make a that." of the younger Counsellors start back in manifest But on a horror. there is not the slightest need for surprise tell . still ! six Isosceles of a low type from six different quarters rushed " No " we have him cried We have him. the secret archives. Stay thou there thy place. he's going ! he's gone "My " I Lords. the business of the Council being I have only to wish you a happy New Year. to which alone have access. as the Sphere's circular section widened before them. in accordance with precedent and sake of secrecy. Permit me but to descend at this my Guide. but added his satisfaction that. unless some mention were made by for the him of that day's incident. he must condemn him to perpetual imprisonment. " the time will moment come for in and enlighten them." they " ! .

my Lord. attempted to down I into the Council farewell. of Spaceland." " Pardon me. not. haply thou shalt have ample time Follow me. other mysteries it. and we call it a Cube. though the Sphere showed me . because you as in light and shade and perspective just it . am building up a Solid by is a multitude of Squares parallel to one another. I Now a second. Once more we ascended said the Sphere." . is painful to my eyes. whose inside is laid I words. Northward of the other. . my Guide. . I still desired more and what came of I When leap I saw my him " poor brother led away to imprisonment. now a third. " into space. Now the Solid is complete. so that the very sight of True." said the Sphere " . or at least bid Chamber. " Hitherto. but a Plane such . who said in gloomy Heed not thy brother hereafter to condole with him." replied I " but to my eye the appearance is as of an Irregular Figure . methinks as open to the view in other see no Solid. How." have shown you naught save Now I must Plane Figures and their interiors. but on the other. I put one on another. being as high as it long and broad. Behold this multitude of moveable square cards.Flatland 19. absolutely depended on the volition of tones. See. and reveal to you the plan I upon which they are constructed. as you supposed." are not accustomed to appears to you a Plane. See. we " infer in Flatland only of an Irregularity which betokens some it monstrous criminal. desiring to intercede on his behalf. But I found that I had no motion of my own. introduce you to Solids.

But " . I will endure this and worse. and I found that this marvellous no Plane. who knows these things by his lucid statements. an that inhabitant of Space. could now readily distinguish between a Circle and a a Plane Figure and a Solid. This was the Climax. and I I did not hesitate to put my difficulties before Were and clear to give the Sphere's explanation of these matters. membered I the saying of the Sphere that just such a Creature as this : would be formed by a Square moving. . and by sacred allowing me to feel several objects clear to and even his I own Person. it would be tedious to already. still I could not fully understand " " the " Teacher had told tive me concerning light and meaning of what my " and " perspecshade him. shall learn reality it is a Solid." me to the Cube. if by any . Henceforth I have to relate the story of ! my miserable Fall: most For why should the thirst for miserable. he at last made all things me. so that Sphere. the Paradise. as you by the sense of Feeling.84 Flatland a Flatland Hexagon would appear a But Straight Line to in one who has not the Art of Sight Recognition. and by changing the the position of objects and lights. Suffice it. only to be disappointed and punished ! volition shrinks like a second I from the painful task of recalling my humiliation yet. in Space. yet surely most undeserved My knowledge be aroused. means spirit may arouse in the interiors of Plane and of rebellion against sions to Two or Three or Humanity a the Conceit which would limit our DimenAway then any number short of Infinity. parallel to himself and rejoiced to think that so insignificant a Creature as I could in some sense be called the Progenitor of so illustrious an offspring. Prometheus. Solid . but a Solid and that he was endowed with Being was indeed six plane sides and eight terminal points called solid angles and I reHe then introduced . of my strange eventful History. succinct though it was.

suryou passing even the Solids of Spaceland. the exact words. whither thou dost surely purpose to lead me O Thou Whom I shall always call. as I began. " " Pardon me. path of dispassionate History. thy intestines. pursuing the plain The exact facts." this Sphere. without further digressions or anticipations." Sphere. superior to all Flatland many Circles in One. my Priest. My Lord. your own wisdom has taught me to aspire to One even more great. everywhere and in all Dimensions. /.Flatland with all 85 continue to personal considerations ! Let me the end. upon my brain. and more closely approximate to Perfection than yourself. I must no longer address as thee to vouchsafe thy of all Beauty but let me beg servant a sight of thine interior. combine of a certainty there is yet above us some higher. the Perfection O Thou Whom . and . purer region. I ventured to interrupt him. who are now in Space. in . more beautiful. me in the conformation of but Pyramids. Philosopher. so forms. Cones. so doubtless there is One above who combines many Spheres in One Supreme Existence. I thirsted for deeper and draughts than he was offering to me. And even as we. Not yet that I Dodecahedrons and Spheres was wearied of knowledge." said I. Pentahedrons. Cylinders. "My what?" interior : " Thine " thy stomach. Whence by ill-timed impertinent longer request ? And what of all mean Beauty you " ? saying that I am no the Perfection /. fuller : On the contrary. look down on Flatland and see the insides of all things. Hexahedrons. As you yourself. shall be and let my Readers judge set down without between me and The Sphere would trinating willingly have all continued his lessons by indocregular Solids. and they are burnt alteration of an iota Destiny.

in I thy power satisfied am for ever. . intestines of every solid living creature. the treasures of the mines in Spaceland. from the vantage-ground of which we shall look down together upon the revealed insides of Solid things. let . deny me not what I know it is Grant me but one glimpse of thine interior. from Flatland. me say at once. then. and those of thy kindred Spheres. and where thine own intestines.86 Friend Flatland some yet more spacious Space. gracious Teacher. The very Sphere. Sphere. to whom is so Pooh! Stuff! Enough of this trifling! The time short. But where : is this land of Four Dimensions ? know not but doubtless my Teacher knows. I idea of it is utterly inconceivable. Sphere. Well. Nay. from thy Sphere. the secrets of the solid earth. even of the noble and adorable Spheres. will lie exposed to the view of the poor wandering exile much has already been vouchsafed. /. What therefore more easy than now to take into the Land of his servant on a second journey into the blessed region of the Fourth Dimension. and the sions. and to feed upon the words that fall lips. /. and to perform. some more dimensionable Dimensionality. thy unemancipable slave. where I shall look down with him once more upon this land of Three Dimen- and see the inside of every three-dimensioned house. ready to receive all thy teachings remaining henceforth thy docile pupil. There is no such land. and much remains to be done before you are fit to proclaim the Gospel of Three Dimensions to your blind benighted countrymen in Flatland. have me turn my stomach inside out to oblige you ? 7. I would show you what you wish if I could but I cannot. to content and silence you. Not I. Would you in But my Lord has shown me the intestines of all my countrymen the Land of Two Dimensions by taking me with him Three.

with eight this eye of mine behold it terminal points ? And and alas in Four Dimensions shall not a if for the Progress of Truth. though blind senseless wretch. And that it must exist Lord himself has taught me. did not a moving Square produce did not that blessed Being. the land of Three Dimensions. had no power to touch it. I Doubtless we cannot see that other higher because we have no eye in our stomachs. ? 2. But. it be not so shall not. I crave. 8. no eye in my interior to discern so of a surety there is a Fourth Dimension. 4. the more divine Organization with 16: is motion of a divine Cube result sixteen terminal points ? a still Behold the " infallible confirmation of the Series. 4. my Lord . for Analogy. and touching my frame. a Cube. Or can he have forgotten what he himself imparted to his servant ? In One Dimension. 6 is not this an Arithmetical Progression ? And : . did not a moving Point produce a Line with two terminal points ? In Two Dimensions. it. 2. was my Lord that as in a Line there are two bounding Points. I. thirst. so in a Cube there must be six bounding Squares ? Behold once more the confirming Series. and in a Square there are four bounding Lines. which my my Lord perceives with the inner eye of thought. 87 whether he remembers the Your Lordship tempts more knowledge. though that poor puny Lineland Monarch could was neither turn to left nor right to discern it. not this a Geometrical Progression Is not this " ? if I might quote my Lord's own words strictly I according to Analogy not taught by Again. there was the realm of Flatland. in moving Cube alas. for Trifle not with me. his servant to see revelations imparted to him. did not a moving Line produce a Square with four terminal points ? In Three Dimensions. just as Spaceland now.Flatland /. and just as there close at hand. I say.

But men are divided in And even granting the ways. whither Spliere now entreat you me ? (moodily]. a Fourth Dimension I . It opinion as to the facts. ask therefore. /. and appeal to your Lordship to confirm or my logical anticipations. I myself in faith upon conjecture. the reply to this question I Deny and am henceforth silent. best of Teachers have patience with me and answer me yet one more Those who have thus appeared no one ! knows whence also and have returned no one knows whither have they that contracted their sections and vanished I somehow to conduct if into more Spacious Space. deny not knowing the facts. I yield. . am wrong. entering closed rooms. I am Sphere (after a pause}. certainly they ever ap- peared. I was certain that my anticipations would be fulfilled. my Lord. and let facts. without the opening of doors or windows. If I if but. the fact. behold. or is it not. that ere now your countryhave witnessed the descent of Beings of a higher order than men also their own. And now question. in any case. pray have done with this trifling. ? On it.88 consequently does it Flatland not of necessity follow that the more divine offspring of the divine Cube in the Land of Four Dimensions. Fourth Dimension. must have 8 bounding Cubes : and is not this also. us return to business. They have vanished. my Lord will listen to reason. in different reported so. and appearing and vanishing at will thing. and will no longer demand I am right. even as your Lordship entered mine. is ready to stake everyOnly vouchsafe an answer. they explain them however great may be the number of I was certain of it. " strictly according to Analogy O. no one has adopted or suggested the theory of a Therefore. And different explanations. But most people say that these visions arose from the thought you will not understand me from the brain from the perturbed angularity . as " ? my Lord has taught me I cast to believe. is it. my Lord. of the Seer.

I at was once more a common creeping Square. reiterate know not. yielding to our intellectual onset. the end was not long coming. shall therein ? we ! Ah. indeed be so. so as to make every particle of Space with a of his interior pass through a shall create a still new kind wake of its own once more perfect perfection than himself. Perhaps I Nothing could was to blame . In vain did the his commands of silence. an Eighth How threaten t long I should have continued I Sphere. one last and never-to-be-forgotten glimpse I had of that dull level wilderness which was now to become my Universe again spread out before was rapidly doom. Down ! down ! down ! I descending. in my Study home.Flatland 7. no linger on the threshold of the Fifth. and Eight solid Cubes for his Perimeter. However. . 89 Or if it Say they so other Space I ? Oh. My words were cut short by a crash outside. before in Thought see the insides of solid things. One my . came to myself. all-consummating thunder-peal and. a Cube. Then a final. moving in some altogether new direction. eye. believe them really not. stem the flood of but indeed my ecstatic aspirations. shall And we stay our upward course ? In that blessed region of Four Dimensions. in his voice of thunder. my ravished eye. which impelled me through Space with in a velocity that precluded speech. and a simultaneous crash inside me. and I knew that return to Flatland was my glimpse. but strictly according to Analogy. G . with sixteen terminal Extra-solid angles. listening to the Peace-Cry of my approaching Wife. and I me I with the direst penalties if persisted. Then a when I darkness. the gates of after that a Seventh. and not enter Let us rather resolve that our ambition shall soar with Then. that this is Thoughtland. was intoxicated with the recent draughts of Truth to which he himself had introduced me. then take shall me to that blessed all Region where There. and then the Sixth Dimension shall fly open our corporal ascent. there.

the words." I fell a sound refreshing sleep. invented for the occasion. tale necessarily appeared extraordinary and my Wife. Not apprehended. So mechanically a charm. that I must conceal my experiences from my by a kind Wife. Square. How I the less Sphere encouraged me in a Vision. that it It was not so clear as " I could have wished ." and as the clue which. whose lustrous hue betokened that he had exchanged wrath against me for perfect placability. know the moment. I felt. into could not like fail to guide me to the solution. any danger from her divulging that to^any Woman in Flatland the narrative my adventures must needs be unintelligible. did not argue with me on the subject. During my slumber the side of the his I had a dream. So I endeavoured I to reassure her by some story. repeating. whose good sense far exceeds that of the average of her Sex. I thought I was once more by Sphere. and especially the process by which a Cube is constructed through the motion of a by myself. We were moving together towards a bright but infinitesimally small Point. When I was at ill last but before my eyes drowsy sensation fell on me closed I endeavoured to reproduce the Third Dimension.90 Flatland 20. and yet not Northward. "Upward yet not Northward. Although that I had than a minute for reflection. if determined steadfastly to retain these words firmly grasped. and who perceived that I was unusually excited. a . of instinct. through the trap-door of the our country and had there The Southward a attraction in is so slight that even to well-nigh Woman my . to . but insisted that I was incredible but and required repose. but I remembered I must be Upward. had accidentally fallen lain stunned. I was glad of an excuse for retiring to my chamber to think quietly over what had happened. at but I my of secret. that cellar.

" continued the little soliloquizing Creature. As we noise issued a slight humming the approached. " in . that to be self-contented is to be vile and ignorant. ceased . nor has he a thought of Plurality . from which I caught these words. that babies and babyish people who cannot distinguish themselves " from the world. nor Height. Vacuum through which we soared. " Look yonder. low. monotonous. now. of Lineland thou hast received a vision thou hast soared with me to the heights of Spaceland. of any other than himself he can he knows not Length. " and . . speak of themselves in the Third Person ? But hush ! " It fills all Space. even to the realm of Pointland. methought as from one of your so slight indeed that Spaceland blue-bottles. experience. . being really Nothing. as from one of your Spaceland " Infinite beatitude of phonographs." said "does the puny creature mean by 'it'?" the "He before said Sphere " : have you not noticed now. and there I. is none else beside It. Yet mark his perfect contentment. He himself own Universe. for he is himself self- One and All. nor Breadth." "What. the his number Two . even in the perfect the sound reached not our ears till we checked our flight at a distance from it of something under twenty human diagonals. He and there arose from the little existence ! It is . Now listen. Flatland thou hast lived . That Point is a Being is like ourselves. the Abyss of No Dimensions.Flatland which there 91 my Master directed from it my attention. only less resonant stillness of by far. " I Behold yon miserable to creature. but distinct tinkling." buzzing creature a tiny. and that to aspire is better than to be blindly and impotently happy." means himself. his but confined his the non-dimensional Gulf. form no conception he has no cognizance even of for he has had no experience of them own World. and hence learn this lesson." said my Guide. in order to complete the range of thy conduct thee downward to the lowest depth of existence.

ever my words. my voice to "try you. " hush. and lead up to something higher. the joy of Being! said Ah." said Hereon." The lustre of the Monarch. silence. you have said enough." interrupted the Sphere. Thought. but you are the Nothing your so-called Universe is a mere speck " " in a Line. and yet the All in All. that It utters . that It hears and It itself is Thinker. the divine creative power of the All "You So his far your words have done. and what It utters. Let us leave this God of Pointland to the ignorant fruition of his : omnipresence and omniscience him from his self-satisfaction. and a Line is a mere shadow as compared with Hush. Hearer.92 what It fills. as the Monarch understands them at all. who beamed more brightly than upon hearing placency and ." uttermost. contemptible Creature. What It thinks. raising as follows " : my Master. it is the One." nothing that you or I can do can rescue . " What can It not achieve by Ah." my Teacher. as you it told me . the joy. the happiness. "how little he cannot conceive of any other except himself and plumes himself upon the variety of Its Thought as an instance of creative for ' ' own Power. the joy of Thought ! thinking ! Its own Thought coming enhance ! to Itself. Utterer. now listen. the happiness of Being Can you not Tell it startle the little thing it out of its complacency it ? said " what really is. " ! Ah. thereby to Its happiness " Sweet rebellion stirred up in to result in One! triumph Ah." the addressed the Point Silence. reveal to the narrow " limitations of Pointland. is. Audition " I. Flatland It . I That is no easy task. " ah. ah. : You call yourself the All in All. Word. . ! suggestive of Its dis- paragement. and mark the effect of your harangue on the King of Pointland. the joy. showed clearly that he retained his com- I had hardly ceased when he took up his strain again. he accepts them as see.

Just as I had decided on the plan of my operations. he had received fresh insight. methought. as to be patent even to the Female Sex. imprisonment. 21. and evangelize the whole of Flatland. I recognized the words of the Resolution of the Council. Dimensions my Grandson. enjoining the arrest. into mysteries yet higher than those I had witnessed. and to teach others to aspire. and by professing to have received revelations from another World. How I to tried to teach the theory of Three success. angered at first he confessed by my ambition to soar to Dimensions above the Third but. Listening attentively. at once. and he was as floated gently . It would be better to avoid by omitting all mention of my Revelation. Then followed a louder voice. and by proceeding on the path of Demonstration which after all. was a herald's proclamation. to initiate me showing me how to construct Extra-Solids by the motion of Solids. 93 back to Flatland. so easy. I could hear the mild voice of my Companion pointing the moral of my vision. and He had been stimulating me to aspire. I would begin with my Wife. This danger was not to be it trifled with. sound of I heard the many voices in the street It commanding silence. seemed so simple and so conclusive that nothing would be lost by discarding the . and Double Extra-Solids by the motion of Extra-Solids. I reflected. I would go forth.Flatland After this. we Then he proceeded not too proud to acknowledge his error to a Pupil. and with what and began to reflect on the glorious career before me. and all "strictly according to Analogy. Even to Women and Soldiers should the Gospel of Three I awoke rejoicing." all by methods so simple. since then. Dimensions be proclaimed. or execution of any one who should pervert the minds of the people by delusions.

after we had interchanged a few words conversation. if they found me seriously maintaining the seditious heresy of the Third Dimension. whose casual remarks on the meaning of 33 had met with the approval of the Sphere Discussing the matter with him. mere boy. immediately sent for my for. not to begin with her. at that Though my Wife entered the room opportunely just decided. who naturally wished to way know something of the the reasons for which the Circle had desired that mysterious interview. my it dream. would be a most suitable Why therefore not make my ? first experiment with my precocious Grandson. But it occurred to me that a young little and docile Hexagon. with a mathematical pupil. Without entering an account. This done. Grandson . proof. I first Flatland was the clue to the whole Upward. turn. not Northward had seemed to me fairly clear before I fell asleep and when .94 former means. " " It awoke. fear. me But the first thing to be done was to satisfy in some curiosity of my Wife. in My that respect. and of the means by which he had entered our house. but not great in mathematics. to confess the . fresh from . and physicians of no mean reputation. for I he would know nothing of could not feel the Proclamation of the Council whereas sure that my so greatly did their patriotism and reverence for the Circles pre- dominate over mere blind affection might not feel compelled to hand over to the Prefect. not quite so consistent with truth as desire. I my Readers I in must be content return with saying that Spaceland might succeeded at last in persuading her to quietly to her household duties without eliciting from I me any reference to the World of Three Dimensions. unfit for my purpose. Sons I should be in perfect safety . I of commonplace Pentagonal Sons were men of character and standing. a . moment. I into the details of the elaborate account I gave her. it had appeared as patent as Arithmetic but somehow did not seem to me quite so obvious now. and.

and I don't think I said anything about the Third Dimension and I am sure I did not say one word about Upward. . I felt that all that 95 in had seen and heard was the image of a some strange way slipping away from me. How could a thing move Upward. not Northward. move it Upward to say. you young At this moment we heard once more the herald's " O yes ! O yes ! outside in the street proclaiming the Resolution of the Council. grasped move it. you see. Grandson entered the room I carefully secured the door. and not Northward so absurd as that. to ' After this. now." and. and how a straight Line in Two Dimensions I produces a Square. skill in my Then." he only my fun. tantalizing dream. taught him once more how a Point by motion in One Dimension produces a Line. and of course I meant nothing at all by not was and we did know anything ' then about the new Law ." " Say that again. and then. " Dear Grandpapa. like half-grasped. I " and that I is here for example. I a moveable Square. And may scamp. you same way a sort of rascal. my Grandson who was unusually intelligent for his age. as you would call them. you wanted motion Upward. not Northward but my temper " . make me believe that a Square in the figure. not Northward. Young though he was. I said. bursting into tears. " that He remained silent till the last words of the Proclamation had died away. not Northward. sitting down by his side and taking our mathematical tablets or. said. it . " forcing a laugh. and not Northward ? Even if I were a baby.Flatland I truth." said I.' for that would be such nonsense.' produce another by extra Square in Three Dimensions. Lines I told him we would resume the lesson of yesterday. I which was lying at hand yes. and bred up in perfect reverence for the authority of the Circles took in the situation with an acuteness for which I was quite unprepared. at the word. How silly it is Ha ha ha " ! ! ! ! ! " Not at all silly. you know. I could not be Upward. and I longed to essay When my making a first disciple. losing take this Square. but I move it .

and for this purpose it seemed necessary to resort to writing. My failure my . phrase " Upward. out of the room. . and writing this I . with the view of evading possible. How I with then tried to other diffuse the Theory the of Three Dimensions by means. treatise (which I entitled " not feel certain that Through Flatland many would understand to Thoughtland ") I could my meaning. shaking the Square about in a purposeless manner. 22. the Law." but must rather endeavour to seek a demonstration by setting before the public a clear view of the whole subject . and where it was possible that there might be supposed to exist a Figure environed. with six Squares. all in one straight Line and only distinguishable by difference of size and brightness so that.96 somewhere not exactly like Flatland this. and containing eight terminal Points. So I devoted several months in privacy to the composition of a treatise on the mysteries of Three Dimensions. but somehow Here I brought my sentence to an inane conclusion. and so saying he unlocked the door and ran but joking with him . but of a Thoughtland whence. a Figure could look down upon Flatland and see simultaneously the insides of all things. there are no tablets but Lines. book no diagrams but Lines. I spoke not of a physical Dimension. Grandson did not encourage me to communicate my secret to others of my household yet neither was I led by it to Only I saw that I must not wholly rely on the catchdespair of success. as it were. and declared that I was not teaching him. who burst out laughing louder than ever. when I had finished my . and of result. But in found myself sadly hampered by the impossibility of drawing such diagrams as were necessary for my purpose for of course. in theory. much to the amusement of my Grandson. Thus ended my first attempt to convert a pupil to the Gospel of Three Dimensions. not Northward. if Only. in our country of Flatland.

and found daily more difficult to reproduce even before my own mental vision. thereby could have produced conviction. fall the forbidden terms " the Third and Fourth Dimensions. I would quote the saying of an ancient Circle. and could hardly refrain from making my life was under a cloud. felt that I would have been willing to sacrifice I my if I for the Cause. I tried to see a and though I succeeded my afterwards. yet what. yet which I could impart to no one. and I gave vent to Already I was considered heterodox if not spirit and I I was keenly alive to the dangers of my position . mad and I all-seeing land once or twice I even let last. This made me more . One day. was too strong for me. because I could not but compare what I saw in Two Dimensions with what it really was if seen in Three.melancholy failed Cube with eye closed. about eleven months after my return from . 97 All pleasures palled upon and tempted me to outspoken treason. but than before.Flatland Meanwhile ray ." and the . how could ? I convince the highest and most developed Circles in the land And yet at times my dangerous treasonable. nevertheless could not at times refrain from bursting out into suspicious utterances. utterances. I was not then quite certain (nor have I been ever afterwards) that I had exactly realized the original. the question arose about the treatment of those lunatics who said that they had received the power of seeing the insides of things. When. Spaceland. I neglected my clients and my own business to give myself to the contemplation of the mysteries which I had once beheld. me all sights tantalized comparisons aloud. or half-seditious even among the highest who declared that prophets and inspired people are always considered by the majority to be " : could not help occasionally dropping such " " expressions as the eye that discerns the interiors of things. for example." At to complete a series of minor H . could not convince my Grandson. life I knew not. Polygonal and Circular society. and determined I if me to take some step But .

executed or imprisoned. my foresaw my narration unquestioned and uninterrupted. me two Whether " questions I could indicate the direction which " ? meant when I used the words Upward. But from the first for the President. noting that a of Policemen was in attendance. by an inferior I knew only too well what that meant. I was to be class of 2 or 3. I was describing the imaginary enthusiasm soon forced I experiences of a fictitious person but my me to all throw off all disguise. and of Assembly return home. not Northward .98 indiscretions. and Hall in our Metropolis. this officials who had heard it . exhorted my hearers to divest themselves of prejudice and to become believers in the Third Dimension. and why far the attribute of omnividence forgot myself as to give an assigned to the Supreme alone^I so exact account of the whole of to the my my voyage with the Sphere into Space. the President. some extremely silly person having read an elaborate paper exhibiting the precise reasons why Providence has limited the is number of Dimensions to Two. in a fervent peroration. indeed. under 55. and finally. if at all. and of everything that I had seen and heard in fact or At first. I pretended that . asked i. perhaps perceiving some of the junior Circles : had been moved by my I evident earnestness. and then to Space again. at a Flatland meeting of our Local Speculative Society held at the palace of the Prefect himself. being the case. After that I had concluded my defence. and my story was to be kept secret from the fate . Need I say that I was at once arrested and taken before the Council in the ? Next morning. ordered them to be relieved before I began my defence. standing ago the Sphere had stood continue I in my very place where but a very few months company. I was allowed to begin and to guard of the better sort little. of angularity world by the simultaneous destruction of the and. vision. the President desired to substitute the cheaper for the more expensive victims.

Seven years have elapsed and the occasional visits of that of I am still a prisoner. 99 Whether I could by any diagrams or descriptions (other than the I enumeration of imaginary sides and angles) indicate the Figure pleased to call a Cube? I declared that I could say nothing more. but if the Truth intended that should emerge from prison and evangelize the world. and. My brother . at least in . and that I could not do better. for aught that I the millennial Revelation has been made to me for nothing. and. Meanwhile I should be subjected to no discomfort that was not escape. just. . Hence can see. planation of the scarcely a phenomena then given to the Circles. by who had preceded me to my prison. week has passed during seven whole years. the Truth might be trusted to bring that result to pass. and that was I must commit myself to the Truth. without his hearing a repetition of the part I played in that manifestation. I should be occasionally permitted to see my brother. unless I necessary to preclude forfeited the privilege misconduct. whose cause would surely prevail in the end. . Since that time. cause me the bitterest pain. and not without fraternal affection yet I must confess that my my jailers. Yet I take shame to be forced to confess it my brother has not yet grasped the nature of the Third Dimension. weekly He was present when the Sphere manifested himself in the Council Chamber he saw the Sphere's changing sections he heard the exinterviews. sensible. The President replied that he quite concurred in my sentiment. one respect.Flatland 2. cheerful. and frankly avows his disbelief in the existence of a Sphere. I must be sentenced I to perpetual imprison- ment . and the from me arguments for the existence of Solid things derivable from Analogy. I am absolutely destitute of converts. together with ample descriptions of all the phenomena in Spaceland. and all my brother is debarred from except companionship save if I one of the best of Squares.

Alas. confident as to the exact shape of the once-seen. Upward. CLAY. None . not Northward. nay. so. I Yet I hope that these memoirs. PRINTERS.ioo Prometheus mortals. when even on which this I hard wall that bars writing. LONDON: R. or the baseless fabric of a dream. the minds of humanity in rebels Some Dimension. may and may stir up find their way to a race of who is shall refuse to That the hope of my be confined to limited Dimensionality. SONS." haunts part of the me like a soul-devouring Sphinx. into the background of scarce-possible existences Three Dimensions seems almost as when Cubes and Spheres flit away when the Land of visionary as the Land of One or . me from my freedom. in some manner. itself. but Flatland up I in Spaceland was bound for lie bringing down the fire for poor Flatland Prometheus to here in prison for bringexist in ing down nothing my countrymen. It martyrdom which I endure for the cause of the Truth that there are seasons of mental weakness. AND TAYLOR. oftin Cube my nightly visions the mysterious precept. it is not always brighter moments. know not how. . Heavily weighs on honestly say regretted " is me and at times the burdensome reflection that I cannot I am . these very tablets Flatland am and all the substantial realities of appear no better than the offspring of a diseased imagination.

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