“These things are quite improbable, to be sure; but are they impossible?
Our big world rolls over as smoothly as it did centuries ago, without a squeak to show it needs oiling after all these years of revolution. But times change because men change, and because civilization, like John Brown’s soul, goes ever marching on.
The impossibilities of yesterday become the accepted facts of to-day.
Here is a fairy tale founded upon the wonders of electricity and written for children of this generation. Yet when my readers shall have become men and women my story may not seem to their children like a fairy tale at all.
Perhaps one, perhaps two—perhaps several of the Demon’s devices will be, by that time, in popular use.
– L. Frank Baum, The Master Key: An Electrical Fairy Tale Founded Upon The Mysteries Of Electricity And The Optimism Of Its Devotees.
THE MAN OF SCIENCE -AN ILLUSTRATED NOVEL OF SCIENCE AND DISCOVERY FOR SCHOOLCHILDREN
KNOWN TO INCREASE MENTAL APTITUDE, AND WELL REGARDED BY THE COUNTY’S SCHOOLMASTER’S FOR THE IMPROVING PROPERTIES OF THE TALE
THIS TEXT IS TO BE FOLLOWED WITH REFERENCE TO THE ILLUSTRATIONS PROVIDED OVERLEAF. CHILDREN MAY ASK FOR ASSISTANCE WITH TURNING THE PAGE IF REQUIRED. APPROXIMATELY ONE HOUR’S CLASSROOM TIME, OR THREE HOURS TIME AT HOME, SHOULD BE DEVOTED TO THE READING AND UNDERSTANDING OF THIS TEXT.
1 & 2. Theodore followed that most solitary of professions. Being a man of science, he became so lonely that even the most foul-smelling lighthouse keeper, or beggar-boy, might take pity on him. One day, while examining a light bulb, and occasionally ejaculating a loud cry of “aah” or a small sigh of “oh” – and looking into the small cage which housed the crippled bird with severed wings (not pictured) that told him certain secrets of the sort that it is only God’s place to understand –
3. So lonely was he, that it became his fancy to to don masks, and adopt such mannerisms that he might play-act in the role of his own, “imaginary” friends. This was stormingly good fun, and he enjoyed it very much. However, it was wrong.
NOTE: THE TEACHER MAY CHOOSE TO REINFORCE THIS, THE MORAL OF THE STORY, BY SWIFTLY STRIKING EACH OF HIS PUPILS.
4. The consequences of this act of sin – for it can be called nothing less – is that henceforth, for all his days, the Man of Science believed that he was his own friends. He used this machine, of his own foul invention, to say “hello” to them.
And, doing so, he placed his hand elsewhere, turned the nob which was tuned into his own demonic frequency, pressed the button (which delivered “more” electricity) and moved the stick-like device to the other position which was the opposite to the position it had previously occupied, thereby delivering more fuel to his devilish scheme.
5. The professor pitied himself greatly, and collapsed out of shame. And got back up again.
6. He thought of his late colleague’s slender yet masculine hand, touching his instruments with abandon.
7, 8 & 9. The bat’s were in the belfry, the illusionist looked on through a distorted magic window, and the cat, being a Catholic, was the only picture granted the privilege of full-colour reproduction.
EXERCISE B – SING A SONG IN DEDICATION TO “THE POPE OF CATS”.
10. The Man of Science, already light-headed from collapsing in shame and striking his head upon a giant wooden “Electric Field Emitter”, collapsed once more, and remembered his old study, decorated so beautifully as would make any man’s eye’s water!
And then, at once, his mind turned to the memory of his late colleague, and the way he would sit across his desk. “Good for circulation” he would say, cheerfully.