A Journey in Other Worlds - A Romance of the Future
by John Jacob Astor
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When they had followed up the river about sixty miles towards its source they came upon what at first had the appearance of an ocean. They knew, however, from its elevation, and the flood coming from it, that the water must be fresh, as they soon found it was. This lake was about three hundred miles wide, and stretched from northeast to southwest. There was rolling land with hills about its shores, and the foliage on the banks was a beautiful shade of bluish purple instead of the terrestrial ubiquitous green.

When near the great lake's upper end, they passed the mouth of a river on their left side, which, from its volume, they concluded must be the principal source, and therefore they determined to trace it. They found it to be a most beautiful stream, averaging two and a half miles in width, evidently very deep, and with a full, steady current. After proceeding for several hours, they found that the general placidity grew less, the smooth surface occasionally became ruffled by projecting rocks and rapids, and the banks rose till the voyagers again found themselves in a ravine or canon.

During their sojourn on Jupiter they had had but little experience with the tremendous winds that they knew, from reason and observation, must rage in its atmosphere. They now heard them whistling over their heads, and, notwithstanding the protection afforded by the sides of the canon, occasionally received a gust that made the Callisto swerve. They kept on steadily, however, till sunset, at which time it became very dark on account of the high banks, which rose as steeply as the Palisades on the Hudson to a height of nearly a thousand feet. Finding a small island near the eastern bank, they were glad to secure the Callisto there for the night, below the reach of the winds, which they, still heard singing loudly but with a musical note in what seemed to them like the sky.

"It is incomprehensible to me." said Ayrault, as they sat at dinner, "how the sun, at a distance of four hundred and eighty-three million miles, can raise the amount of water we have here passing us, and compared with which the discharge of the greatest river on earth would be insignificant, to say nothing of the stream we ascended before reaching this."

"We must remember," replied Cortlandt, "that many of the conditions are different here from those that exist on earth. We know that some of the streams are warm, and even hot, and that the temperature of Deepwaters Bay, and doubtless that of the ocean also, is considerably higher than ours. This would facilitate evaporation. The density of the atmosphere and the tremendous winds, of which I suspect we may see more later, must also help the sun very much in its work of raising vapour. But the most potent factor is undoubtedly the vast size of the basin that these rivers drain."

"The great speed at which the atmospheric currents move," said Bearwarden, "coupled with the comparative lowness of the mountain chains and the slight obstruction they offer to their passage, must distribute the rain very thoroughly, notwithstanding the great unbroken area of the continents. There can be no such state of things here as exists in the western part of South America, where the Andes are so high that any east-bound clouds, in crossing them, are shoved up so far into a cold region that all moisture they may have brought from the Pacific is condensed into rain, with which parts of the western slope are deluged, while clouds from the Atlantic have come so far they have already dispersed their moisture, in consequence of which the region just east of the Andes gets little if any rain. It is bad for a continent to have its high mountains near the ocean from which it should get its rain, and good for it to have them set well back."

"I should not be surprised," said Cortlandt, "if we saw another waterfall to-morrow, though not in the shape of rain. In the hour before we stopped we began to see rapids and protruding rocks. That means that we are coming to a part of the channel that is comparatively new, since the older parts have had time to wear smooth. I take it, then, that we are near the foot of a retreating cascade, which we may hope soon to see. That is exactly the order in which we found smooth water and rapids in river No. 1, which we have named the Harlem."

After this, not being tired, they used the remaining dark hours for recording their recent adventures.



With the first light they resumed their journey, and an hour after setting out they sighted, as Cortlandt had predicted, another cloud of vapour. The fall—for such it proved to be—was more beautiful than the other, for, though the volume of water was not so great, it fell at one leap, without a break, and at the same tremendous speed, a distance of more than a thousand feet. The canon rang with the echoes, while the spray flew in sheets against the smooth, glistening, sandstone walls. Instead of coming from a river, as the first fall had, this poured at once from the rocky lip, about two miles across, of a lake that was eleven hundred feet above the surging mass in the vale below.

"It is a thousand pities," said Bearwarden, "that this cataract has got so near its source; for, at the rate these streams must cut, this one in a few hundred years, unless something is done to prevent it, will have worn back to the lake, and then good-bye to the falls, which will become a series of rapids. Perhaps the first effect will be merely to reduce by a few feet the height of the falls, in which case they will remain in practically the same place."

About the shores of this lake they saw rhinoceroses with long thick wool, and herds of creatures that much resembled buffaloes.

"I do not see," said Bearwarden, "why the identical species should not exist here that till recently, in a geological sense, inhabited the earth. The climate and all other conditions are practically the same on both planets, except a trifling difference in weight, to which terrestrials would soon adapt themselves. We know by spectroscopic analysis that hydrogen, iron, magnesium, and all our best-known substances exist in the sun, and even the stars, while the earth contains everything we have found in meteorites. Then why make an exception of life, instead of supposing that at corresponding periods of development the same living forms inhabit all? It would be assuming the eternal sterilization of the functions of Nature to suppose that our earth is the only body that can produce them."

"The world of organic life is so much more complex," replied Cortlandt, "than that of the crystal, that it requires great continuity. So far we certainly have seen no men, or anything like them, not even so much as a monkey, though I suppose, according to your reasoning, Jupiter has not advanced far enough to produce even that."

"Exactly," replied Bearwarden, "for it will require vast periods; and, according to my belief, at least half the earth's time of habitability had passed before man appeared. But we see Jupiter is admirably suited for those who have been developed somewhere else, and it would be an awful shame if we allowed it to lie unimproved till it produces appreciative inhabitants of its own, for we find more to admire in one half-hour than its entire present population during its lifetime. Yet, how magnificent this world is, and how superior in its natural state to ours! The mountainous horns of these crescent-shaped continents protect them and the ocean they enclose from the cold polar marine currents, and in a measure from the icy winds; while the elevated country on the horns near the equator might be a Garden of Eden, or ideal resort. To be sure, the continents might support a larger population, if more broken up, notwithstanding the advantage resulting from the comparatively low mountains along the coasts, and the useful winds. A greater subdivision of land and water, more great islands connected by isthmuses, and more mediterraneans joined by straits, would be a further advantage to commerce; but with the sources of power at hand, the resistless winds and water-power, much increased in effectiveness by their weight, the great tides when several moons are on the same side, or opposite the sun, internal heat near the surface, and abundant coal-supply doubtless already formed and also near the surface, such small alterations could be made very easily, and would serve merely to prevent our becoming rusty.

"As Jupiter's distance from the sun varies from 506,563,000 miles at aphelion to only 460,013,000 at perihelion, this difference, in connection with even the slight inclination of the axis, must make a slight change in seasons, but as the inclination is practically nothing, almost the entire change results from the difference in distance. This means that the rise or fall in temperature is general on every degree of latitude, all being warmed simultaneously, more or less, as the planet approaches or departs from the sun. It means also that about the same conditions that Secretary Deepwaters suggested as desirable for the earth, prevail here, and that Jupiter represents, therefore, about the acme of climate naturally provided. On account of its rapid rotation and vast size, the winds have a tornado's strength, but they are nothing at this distance from the sun to what they would be if a planet with its present rate of rotation and size were where Venus or even the earth is. In either of these positions no land life with which we are acquainted could live on the surface; for the slope of the atmospheric isobars—i. e., the lines of equal barometric pressure that produce wind by becoming tilted through unequal expansion, after which the air, as it were, flows down-hill—would be too great. The ascending currents about the equator would also, of course, be vastly strengthened; so that we see a wise dispensation of Providence in placing the large planets, which also rotate so rapidly, at a great distance from the sun, which is the father of all winds, rotation alone, however rapid, being unable to produce them."

They found this lake was about six times the size of Lake Superior, and that several large and small streams ran into its upper end. These had their sources in smaller lakes that were at slightly higher elevations. Though the air was cool, the sun shone brightly, while the ground was covered with flowers resembling those of the northern climes on earth, of all shapes and lines. Twice a day these sent up their song, and trees were covered with buds, and the birds twittered gaily. The streams murmured and bubbled, and all things reminded the travellers of early morning in spring.

"If anything could reconcile me," said Bearwarden, "to exchange my active utilitarian life for a rustic poetical existence, it would be this place, for it is far more beautiful than anything I have seen on earth. It needs but a Maud Muller and a few cows to complete the picture, since Nature gives us a vision of eternal peace and repose."

Somehow the mention of Maud Muller, and the delicate and refined flowers, whose perfume he inhaled, brought up thoughts that were never far below the surface in Ayrault's mind. "The place is heavenly enough," said he, "to make one wish to live and remain here forever, but to me it would be Hamlet with Hamlet left out."

"Ah! poor chap," said Cortlandt, "you are in love, but you are not to be pitied, for though the thrusts at the heart are sharp, they may be the sweetest that mortals know."

The following morning they reluctantly left the picturesque shores of Lake Serenity, with their beautiful tints and foliage, and resumed the journey, to explore a number of islands in the ocean in the west, which were recorded on their negatives. Ascending to rarefied air, they saw great chains of mountains, which they imagined ran parallel to the coast, rising to considerable altitudes in the east. The tops of all glistened with a mantle of snow in the sunlight, while between the ridges they saw darker and evidently fertile valleys. They passed, moving northwest, over large and small lakes, all evidently part of the same great system, and continued to sweep along for several days with a beautiful panorama, as varying as a kaleidoscope, spread beneath their eyes. They observed that the character of the country gradually changed. The symmetrically rounded mountains and hills began to show angles, while great slabs of rock were split from the faces. The sides also became less vertical, and there was an accumulation of detrital fragments about their bases. These heaps of fractured stone had in some cases begun to disintegrate and form soil, on which there was a scant growth of vegetation; but the sides and summits, whose jaggedness increased with their height, were absolutely bare.

"Here," said Cortlandt, "we have unmistakable evidence of frost and ice action. The next interesting question is, How recently has denudation occurred? The absence of plant life at the exposed places," he continued, as if lecturing to a class, "can be accounted for here, as nearer the equator, by the violence of the wind; but I greatly doubt whether water will now freeze in this latitude at any season of the year, for, even should the Northern hemisphere's very insignificant winter coincide with the planet's aphelion, the necessary drop from the present temperature would be too great to be at all probable. If, then, it is granted that ice does not form here now, notwithstanding the fact that it has done so, the most plausible conclusion is that the inclination of Jupiter's axis is automatically changing, as we know the earth's has often done. There being nothing incompatible in this view with the evidence at hand, we can safely assume it correct for the time being at least. When farther south, you remember, we found no trace of ice action, notwithstanding the comparative slowness with which we decided that the ridges in the crust had been upheaved on account of the resisting power of gravity, and, as I see now, also on account of Jupiter's great mass, which must prevent its losing its heat anything like as fast as the earth has, in which I think also we have the explanation of the comparatively low elevation of the mountains that we found we could not account for by the power of gravitation alone.[2] From the fact that the exposed surface farther south must be old, on account of the slow upheaval and the slight wear to which it is exposed, about the only wearing agent being the wind, which would be powerless to erase ice-scratches, especially since, on account of gravity's power, it cannot, like our desert winds, carry much sand—which, as we know, has cut away the base of the Sphinx—I think it is logical to conclude that, though Jupiter's axis is changing naturally as the earth's has been, it has never varied as much as twenty-three and a half degrees, and certainly to nothing like the extent to which we see Venus and Uranus tilted to-day."

[2] It is well known that mountain chains are but ridges or foldings in the crust upheaved as the interior cools and shrinks. This is proved by reason and by experiments with viscous clay or other material placed upon a sheet of stretched rubber, which is afterwards allowed to contract, whereupon the analogues of mountain ridges are thrown up.

"I follow you," said Bearwarden, "and do not see how we could arrive at anything else. From Jupiter's low specific gravity, weighing but little more than an equal bulk of water, I should say the interior must be very hot, or else is composed of light material, for the crust's surface, or the part we see, is evidently about as dense as what we have on earth. These things have puzzled me a good deal, and I have been wondering if Jupiter may not have been formed before the earth and the smaller planets."

"The discrepancies between even the best authorities," replied Cortlandt, "show that as yet but little has been discovered from the earth concerning Jupiter's real condition. The two theories that try to account for its genesis are the ring theory and the nebulous. We know that the sun is constantly emitting vast volumes of heat and light, and that, with the exception of the heat resulting from the impact of falling meteors, it receives none from outside, the principal source being the tremendous friction and pressure between the cooling and shrinking strata within the great mass of the sun itself. A seeming paradox therefore comes in here, which must be considered: If the sun were composed entirely of gas, it would for a time continue to grow hotter; but the sun is incessantly radiating light and heat, and consequently becoming smaller. Therefore the farther back we go the hotter we find the sun, and also the larger, till, instead of having a diameter of eight hundred and eighty thousand miles, it filled the space now occupied by the entire solar system. Here is where the two theories start. According to the first, the revolving nebulous mass threw off a ring that became the planet Neptune, afterwards another that contained the material for Uranus, and so on, the lightest substance in the sun being thrown off first, by which they accounted for the lightness of the four great planets, and finally Mars, the earth, and the small dense planets near the sun. The advocates of this theory pointed to Saturn's rings as an illustration of the birth of a planet, or, rather, in that case a satellite. According to this, the major planets have had a far longer separate existence than the minor, which would account for their being so advanced notwithstanding their size. This theory may again come into general acceptance, but for the present it has been discredited by the nebulous. According to this second theory, at the time the sun filled all the space inside of Neptune's, orbit, or extended even farther, several centres of condensation were formed within the nebulous, gaseous mass. The greatest centre became the sun, and the others, large and small, the planets, which—as a result of the spiral motion of the whole, such as is now going on before our eyes in the great nebulae of fifty-one M. Canuin venaticorum, and many others—began to revolve about the greatest central body of gas. As the separate masses cooled, they shrank, and their surfaces or extreme edges, which at first were contiguous, began to recede, which recession is still going on with some rapidity on the part of the sun, for we may be sure its diameter diminishes as its density increases. According to either theory, as I see it, the major planets, on account of their distance from the central mass, have had longer separate existences than the minor, and are therefore more advanced than they would be had all been formed at the same time.

"This theory explains the practical uniformity in the chemical composition of all members of this system by assuming that they were all once a part of the same body, and you may say brothers and sisters of the sun, instead of its offspring. It also makes size the only factor determining temperature and density, but of course modified by age, since otherwise Jupiter would have a far less developed crust than that with which we find it. I have always considered the period from the molten condition to that with a crust as comparatively short, which stands to reason, for radiation has then no check; and the period from the formation of the crust, which acts as a blanket, to the death of a planet, as very long. I have not found this view clearly set forth in any of the books I have read, but it seems to me the simplest and most natural explanation. Now, granted that the solar system was once a nebula, on which I think every one will agree—the same forces that changed it into a system of sun and planets must be at work on fifty-one M. Canum venaticorum, Andromeda, and ninety-nine M. Virginis, and must inevitably change them to suns, each with doubtless a system of planets.

"If, then, the condition of a nebula or star depends simply on its size, it is reasonable to suppose that Andromeda, Sirius, and all the vast bodies we see, were created at the same time as our system, which involves the necessity of one general and simultaneous creation day. But as Sirius, with its diameter of twelve million miles, must be larger than some of the nebulae will be when equally condensed, we must suppose rather that nebulae are forming and coming into the condition of bright and dead stars, much as apples or pears on a fruit tree are constantly growing and developing, so that the Mosaic description of the creation would probably apply in point of time only to our system, or perhaps to our globe, though the rest will doubtless pass through precisely the same stages. This, I think, I will publish, on our return, as the Cortlandt astronomical doctrine, as the most rational I have seen devised, and one that I think we may safely believe, until, perhaps, through increased knowledge, it can be disproved."

After they crossed a line of hills that ran at right angles to their course they found the country more rolling. All streams and water-courses flowed in their direction, while their aneroid showed them that they were gradually descending. When they were moving along near the surface of the ground, a delicious and refined perfume exhaled by the blue and white flowers, that had been growing smaller as they journeyed northward, frequently reached their nostrils. To Cortlandt and Bearwarden it was merely the scent of a flower, but to Ayrault it recalled mental pictures of Sylvia wearing violets and lilies that he had given her. He knew that the greatest telescopes on earth could not reveal the Callisto moving about in Jupiter's sunshine, as even a point of light, at that distance, and, notwithstanding Cortlandt's learning and Bearwarden's joviality, he felt at times extremely lonely.

They swept along steadily for fifty hours, having bright sunny days and beautifully moonlit nights. They passed over finely rounded hills and valleys and well-watered plains. As they approached the ocean and its level the temperature rose, and there was more moisture in the air. The plants and flowers also increased in size, again resembling somewhat the large species they had seen near the equator.

"This would be the place to live," said Bearwarden, looking at iron mountains, silver, copper, and lead formations, primeval forests, rich prairies, and regions evidently underlaid with coal and petroleum, not to mention huge beds of aluminum clay, and other natural resources, that made his materialistic mouth water. "It would be joy and delight to develop industries here, with no snow avalanches to clog your railroads, or icy blizzards to paralyze work, nor weather that blights you with sun-strokes and fevers. On our return to the earth we must organize a company to run regular interplanetary lines. We could start on this globe all that is best on our own. Think what boundless possibilities may be before the human race on this planet, which on account of its vast size will be in its prime when our insignificant earth is cold and dead and no longer capable of supporting life! Think also of the indescribable blessing to the congested communities of Europe and America, to find an unlimited outlet here! Mars is already past its prime, and Venus scarcely habitable, but in Jupiter we have a new promised land, compared with which our earth is a pygmy, or but little more than microscopic."

"I see," said Ayrault, "that the possibilities here have no limit; but I do not see how you can compare it to the promised land, since, till we undertook this journey, no one had even thought of Jupiter as a habitable place."

"I trace the Divine promise," replied Bearwarden, "in what you described to us on earth as man's innate longing and desire to rise, and in the fact that the Almighty has given the race unbounded expansiveness in very limited space. This would look to me as the return of man to the garden of Eden through intellectual development, for here every man can sit under his own vine and fig-tree."

"It seems to me," said Cortlandt, "that no paradise or heaven described in anything but the Bible compares with this. According to Virgil's description, the joys on the banks of his river Lethe must have been most sad and dreary, the general idleness and monotony apparently being broken only by wrestling matches between the children, while the rest strolled about with laurel wreaths or rested in the shade. The pilot Palinurus, who had been drowned by falling overboard while asleep, but who before that had presumably done his duty, did not seem especially happy; while the harsh, resentful disposition evidently remained unsoftened, for Dido became like a cliff of Marpesian marble when AEneas asked to be forgiven, though he had doubtless considered himself in duty bound to leave her, having been twice commanded to do so by Mercury, the messenger of Jove. She, like the rest, seems to have had no occupation, while the consciences of few appear to have been sufficiently clear to enable them to enjoy unbroken rest."

"The idleness in the spirit-land of all profane writers," added Bearwarden, "has often surprised me too. Though I have always recommended a certain amount of recreation for my staff—in fact, more than I have generally had myself—an excess of it becomes a bore. I think that all real progress comes through thorough work. Why should we assume that progress ceases at death? I believe in the verse that says, 'We learn here on earth those things the knowledge of which is perfected in heaven.'"

"According to that," said Cortlandt, "you will some day be setting the axis of heaven right, for in order to do work there must be work to be done—a necessary corollary to which is that heaven is still imperfect."

"No," said Bearwarden, bristling up at the way Cortlandt sometimes received his speeches, "it means simply that its development, though perfect so far as it goes, may not be finished, and that we may be the means, as on earth, of helping it along."

"The conditions constituting heaven," said Ayrault, "may be as fixed as the laws of Nature, though the products of those conditions might, it seems to me, still be forming and subject to modification thereby. The reductio ad absurdu would of course apply if we supposed the work of creation absolutely finished."



Two days later, on the western horizon, they beheld the ocean. Many of the streams whose sources they had seen when they crossed the divide from the lake basin, and whose courses they had followed, were now rivers a mile wide, with the tide ebbing and rising within them many hundreds of miles from their mouths. When they reached the shore line they found the waves breaking, as on earth, upon the sands, but with this difference: they had before noted the smallness of the undulations compared with the strength of the wind, the result of the water's weight. These waves now reminded them of the behaviour of mercury, or of melted lead when stirred on earth, by the rapidity with which the crests dropped. Though the wind was blowing an on-shore gale, there was but little combing, and when there was any it lasted but a second. The one effort of the crests and waves seemed to be to remain at rest, or, if stirred in spite of themselves, to subside.

When over the surface of the ocean, the voyagers rose to a height of thirty thousand metres, and after twenty-four hours' travelling saw, at a distance of about two hundred miles, what looked like another continent, but which they knew must be an island. On finding themselves above it, they rose still higher to obtain a view of its outlines and compare its shape with that of the islands in the photographs they had had time to develop. The length ran from southeast to northwest. Though crossed by latitude forty, and notwithstanding Jupiter's distance from the sun, the southern side had a very luxuriant vegetation that was almost semi-tropical. This they accounted for by its total immunity from cold, the density of the air at sea-level, and the warm moist breezes it received from the tepid ocean. The climate was about the same as that of the Riviera or of Florida in winter, and there was, of course, no parching summer.

"This shows me," said Bearwarden, "that a country's climate depends less on the amount of heat it receives from the sun than on the amount it retains; proof of which we have in the tops of the Himalayas perpetually covered with snow, and snow-capped mountains on the very equator, where they get the most direct rays, and where those rays have but little air to penetrate. It shows that the presence of a substantial atmosphere is as necessary a part of the calculation in practice as the sun itself. I am inclined to think that, with the constant effect of the internal heat on its oceans and atmosphere, Jupiter could get along with a good deal less solar heat than it receives, in proof of which I expect to find the poles themselves quite comfortable. The reason the internal heat is so little taken into account on earth is because, from the thickness of the crust, it cannot make itself felt; for if the earth were as chilled through as ice, the people on the surface would not feel the difference."

A Jovian week's explorations disclosed the fact that though the island's general outlines were fairly regular, it had deep-water harbours, great rivers, and land-locked gulfs and bays, some of which penetrated many hundred miles into the interior. It also showed that the island's length was about six thousand miles, and its breadth about three thousand, and that it had therefore about the superficial area of Asia. They found no trace of the great monsters that had been so numerous on the mainland, though there were plenty of smaller and gentle-looking creatures, among them animals whose build was much like that of the prehistoric horse, with undeveloped toes on each side of the hoof, which in the modern terrestrial horse have disappeared, the hoof being in reality but a rounded-off middle finger.

"It is wonderful," said Bearwarden, "how comparatively narrow a body of water can keep different species entirely separate. The island of Sumatra, for instance, is inhabited by marsupials belonging to the distinct Australian type, in which the female, as in the kangaroo, carries the slightly developed young in a pouch; while the Malay peninsula, joined to the mainland, has all the highly developed animals of Asia and the connected land of the Eastern hemisphere, the narrow Malacca Strait being all that has kept marsupials and mammals apart, though the separating power has been increased by the rapid current setting through. This has decreased the chance of creatures carried to sea on drift-wood or uprooted trees getting safely over to such a degree that apparently none have survived; for, had they done so, we may be certain that the mammals, with the advantage their young have over the marsupials, would soon have run them out, the marsupials being the older and the less perfect form of life of the two."

Before leaving the beautiful sea-girt region beneath them, Cortlandt proposed that it be named after their host, which Bearwarden seconded, whereupon they entered it as Ayrault Island on the charts. After this they rose to a great height, and flew swiftly over three thousand miles of ocean till they came to another island not quite as large as the first. It was four thousand five hundred miles long by something less than three thousand wide, and was therefore about the size of Africa. It had several high ranges of mountains and a number of great rivers and fine harbours, while murmuring, bubbling brooks flowed through its forest glades. There were active volcanoes along the northern coast, and the blue, crimson, and purple lines in the luxuriant foliage were the most beautiful they had ever seen.

"I propose," said Bearwarden, "that we christen this Sylvialand." This Cortlandt immediately seconded, and it was so entered on the charts.

"These two islands," said Bearwarden, "may become the centres of civilization. With flying machines and cables to carry passengers and information, and ships of great displacement for the interchange of commodities, there is no limit to their possible development. The absence of large waves will also be very favourable to sea-spiders, which will be able to run at tremendous speeds. The constancy in the eruptions of the volcanoes will offer a great field to Jovian inventors, who will unquestionably be able to utilize their heat for the production of steam or electricity, to say nothing of an inexhaustible supply of valuable chemicals. They may contain the means of producing some force entirely different from apergy, and as superior to electricity as that is to steam. Our earthly volcanoes have been put to slight account because of the long intervals between eruptions."

After leaving Sylvialand they went westward to the eastern of the two crescent continents. It was separated from the island by about six thousand miles of ocean, and had less width than the western, having about the proportions of a three-day crescent, while the western had the shape of the moon when four or five days old. They found the height of the mountains and plateaus somewhat less than on the eastern continent, but no great difference in other respects, except that, as they went towards the pole, the vegetation became more like that of Scotland or a north temperate region than any they had seen. On reaching latitude fifty they again came out over the ocean to investigate the speckled condition they had observed there. They found a vast archipelago covering as great an area as the whole Pacific Ocean. The islands varied from the size of Borneo and Madagascar to that of Sicily and Corsica, while some contained but a few square miles. The surface of the archipelago was about equally divided between land and water.

"It would take good navigation or an elaborate system of light-houses," said Bearwarden, "for a captain to find the shortest course through these groups."

The islands were covered with shade trees much resembling those on earth, and the leaves on many were turning yellow and red, for this hemisphere's autumn had already begun.

"The Jovian trees," said Cortlandt, "can never cease to bear, though the change of seasons is evidently able to turn their colour, perhaps by merely ripening them. When a ripe leaf falls off, its place is doubtless soon taken by a bud, for germination and fructification go on side by side."

Before leaving, they decided to name this Twentieth Century Archipelago, since so much of the knowledge appertaining to it had been acquired in their own day. At latitude sixty the northern arms of the two continents came within fifteen hundred miles of each other. The eastern extension was split like the tail of a fish, the great bay formed thereby being filled with islands, which also extended about half of the distance across. The western extremity shelved very gradually, the sand-bars running out for miles just below the surface of the water.

After this the travellers flew northward at great speed in the upper regions of the air, for they were anxious to hasten their journey. They found nothing but unbroken sea, and not till they reached latitude eighty-seven was there a sign of ice. They then saw some small bergs and field ice, but in no great quantities. As their outside thermometer, when just above the placid water—for there were no waves here—registered twenty-one degrees Fahrenheit, they accounted for this scarcity of ice by the absence of land on which fresh water could freeze, and by the fact that it was not cold enough to congeal the very salt sea-water.

Finally they reached another archipelago a few hundred miles in extent, the larger islands of which were covered with a sheet of ice, at the edges of which small icebergs were being formed by breaking off and slowly floating. Finding a small island on which the coating was thin, they grounded the Callisto, and stepped out for the first time in several days. The air was so still that a small piece of paper released at a height of six feet sank slowly and went as straight as the string of a plumb-line. The sun was bisected by the line of the horizon, and appeared to be moving about them in a circle, with only its upper half visible. As Jupiter's northern hemisphere was passing through its autumnal equinox, they concluded they had landed exactly at the pole.

"Now to work on our experiment," said Cortlandt. "I wonder how we may best get below the frozen surface?"

"We can explode a small quantity of dynamite," replied Bearwarden, "after which the digging will be comparatively easy."

While Cortlandt and Bearwarden prepared the mine, Ayrault brought out a pickaxe, two shovels, and the battery and wires with which to ignite the explosive. They made their preparations within one hundred feet of the Callisto, or much nearer than an equivalent amount of gunpowder could have been discharged.

"This recalls an old laboratory experiment, or rather lecture," said Cortlandt, as they completed the arrangements, "for the illustration is not as a rule carried out. Explode two pounds of powder on an iron safe in a room with the windows closed, and the windows will be blown out, while the safe remains uninjured. Explode an equivalent amount of dynamite on top of the safe, and it will be destroyed, while the glass panes are not even cracked. This illustrates the difference in rapidity with which the explosions take place. To the intensely rapid action of dynamite the air affords as much resistance as a solid substance, while the explosion of the powder is so slow that the air has time to move away; hence the destruction of the windows in the first case, and the safe in the second."

When they had moved beyond the danger line, Bearwarden, as the party's practising engineer, pressed the button, and the explosion did the rest. They found that the ground was frozen to a depth of but little more than a foot, below which it became perceptibly warm. Plying their shovels vigorously, they had soon dug the hole so deep that its edges were above their heads. When the floor was ten feet below the surrounding level the thermometer registered sixty.

"This is scarcely a fair test," said Cortlandt, "since the heat rises and is lost as fast as given off. Let us therefore close the opening and see in what time it will melt a number of cubic feet of ice."

Accordingly they climbed out, threw in about a cart-load of ice, and covered the opening with two of the Callisto's thick rugs. In half an hour all the ice had melted, and in another half hour the water was hot.

"No arctic expedition need freeze to death here," said Bearwarden, "since all a man would have to do would be to burrow a few feet to be as warm as toast."

As the island on which they had landed was at one side of the archipelago, but was itself at the exact pole, it followed that the centre of the archipelago was not the part farthest north. This in a measure accounted for the slight thickness of ice and snow, for the isobaric lines would slope, and consequently what wind there was would flow towards the interior of the archipelago, whose surface was colder than the surrounding ocean. The moist air, however, coming almost entirely from the south, would lose most of its moisture by condensation in passing over the ice-laden land, and so, like the clouds over the region east of the Andes, would have but little left to let fall on this extreme northern part. The blanketing effect of a great thickness of snow would also cause, the lower strata of ice to melt, by keeping in the heat constantly given off by the warm planet.

"I think there can be no question," said Cortlandt, "that, as a result of Jupiter's great flattening at the poles and the drawing of the crust, which moves faster in Jupiter's rotation than any other part, towards the equator, the crust must be particularly thin here; for, were it as thin all over, there would be no space for the coal-beds, which, judging from the purity of the atmosphere, must be very extensive. Further, we can recall that the water in the hot spring near which we alighted, which evidently came from a far greater depth than we have here, was not as hot as this. The conclusion is clear that elsewhere the internal heat is not as near the surface as here."

"The more I see of Jupiter," exclaimed Bearwarden enthusiastically, "the more charmed I become. It almost exactly supplies what I have been conjuring up as my idea of a perfect planet. Its compensations of high land near the equator, and low with effective internal heat at the poles, are ideal. The gradual slope of its continental elevations, on account of their extent, will ease the work of operating railways, and the atmosphere's density will be just the thing for our flying machines, while Nature has supplied all sources of power so lavishly that no undertaking will be too great. Though land as yet, to judge by our photographs, occupies only about one eighth of the surface, we know, from the experience of the other planets, that this is bound to increase; so that, if the human race can perpetuate itself on Jupiter long enough, it will undoubtedly have one fourth or a larger proportion for occupation, though the land already upheaved comprises fully forty times the area of our entire globe, which, as we know, is still three-fourths water."

"Since we have reached what we might call the end of Jupiter, and still have time," continued Ayrault, "let us proceed to Saturn, where we may find even stranger things than here. I hoped we could investigate the great red spot, but am convinced we have seen the beginning of one in Twentieth Century Archipelago, and what, under favourable conditions, will be recognized as such on earth."

It was just six terrestrial weeks since they had set out, and therefore February 2d on earth.

"It would be best, in any case, to start from Jupiter's equator," said Cortlandt, "for the straight line we should make from the surface here would be at right angles to Saturn. We shall probably, in spite of ourselves, swing a few degrees beyond the line, and so can get a bird's-eye view of some portion of the southern hemisphere."

"All aboard for Saturn!" cried Bearwarden enthusiastically, in his jovial way. "This will be a journey."



Having returned the rugs to the Callisto, they applied the maximum power of the batteries to rising, closed all openings when the barometer registered thirty, and moved off into space. When Several thousand miles above the pole, they diverted part of the power to attracting the nearest moon that was in the plane of Jupiter's equator, and by the time their upward motion had ceased were moving well in its direction. Their rapid motion aided the work of resisting gravity, since their car had in fact become a small moon, revolving, like those of Uranus or that of Neptune, in an orbit varying greatly from the plane of the ecliptic. As they flew south at a height ranging from two thousand to three thousand miles, the planet revolved before them, and they had a chance of obtaining a thorough view. There were but a few scattered islands on the side of the Northern hemisphere opposite to that over which they had reached the pole, and in the varying colours of the water, which they attributed to temperature or to some substance in solution, they recognized what they had always heard described on earth as the bands of Jupiter, encircling the planet with great belts, the colour varying with the latitude. At about latitude forty-five these bands were purple, farther south light olive green, and at the equator a brown orange. Shortly after they swung across the equator the ocean again became purple, and at the same time a well-defined and very brilliant white spot came into view. Its brightness showed slight variations in intensity, though its general shape remained unchanged. It had another peculiarity, in that it possessed a fairly rapid motion of its own, as it moved eastward across the surface of the ocean. It exhibited all the phenomena of the storm they had watched in crossing Secretary Deepwaters Bay, but covered a larger area, and was far more violent. Their glasses showed them vast sheets of spray driven along at tremendous speed, while the surface was milky white.

"This," said Bearwarden, picking up a book, "solves to my mind the mystery of the white spot described by the English writer Chambers, in 1889, as follows:

"'During the last few years a brilliant white spot has been visible on the equatorial border of the great southern belt. A curious fact in connection with this spot is, that it moves with a velocity of some two hundred and sixty miles per hour greater than the red spot. Denning obtained one hundred and sixty-nine observations of this bright marking during the years 1880-1883, and determined the period as nine hours, fifty minutes, eight and seven tenths seconds (five and a half minutes less than that of the red spot). Although the latter is now somewhat faint, the white spot gives promise of remaining visible for many years. During the year 1886 a large number of observations of Jupiter were made at the Dearborn Observatory, Chicago, U. S., by Prof. G. W. Hough, using the eighteen-and-a-half-inch refractor of the observatory. Inasmuch as these observations are not only of high intrinsic interest, but are in conflict, to some extent, with previous records, a somewhat full abstract of them will be useful: The object of general interest was the great red spot. The outline, shape, and size of this remarkable object has remained without material change from the year 1879, when it was first observed here, until the present time. According to our observations, during the whole of this period it has shown a sharp and well-defined outline, and at no time has it coalesced or been joined to any belt in its proximity, as has been alleged by some observers. During the year 1885 the middle of the spot was very much paler in colour than the margins, causing it to appear as an elliptical ring. The ring form has continued up to the present time. While the outline of the spot has remained very constant, the colour has changed materially from year to year. During the past three years (1884-'86) it has at times been very faint, so as barely to be visible. The persistence of this object for so many years leads me to infer that the formerly accepted theory, that the phenomena seen on the surface of the planet are atmospheric, is no longer tenable. The statement so often made in text-books, that in the course of a few days or months the whole aspect of the planet may be changed, is obviously erroneous. The oval white spots on the southern hemisphere of the planet, nine degrees south of the equator, have been systematically observed at every opposition during the past eight years. They are generally found in groups of three or more, but are rather difficult to observe. The rotation period deduced from them is nearly the same as from the great red spot. These spots usually have a slow drift in longitude of about five seconds daily in the direction of the planet's rotation, when referred to the great red spot; corresponding to a rotation period of twenty seconds less than the latter.'

"This shows," continued Bearwarden, "that as long ago as towards the close of the nineteenth century the old idea that we saw nothing but the clouds in Jupiter's atmosphere was beginning to change; and also how closely the two English writers and Prof. Hough were studying the subject, though their views did not entirely agree. A white spot is merely a storm-centre passing round and round the planet, the wind running a little ahead of the surface, which accounts for its rapid rotation compared with the red spot, which is a fixture. A critic may say we have no such winds on earth; to which I reply, that winds on a planet of Jupiter's size, with its rate of rotation—though it is 480,000,000 miles from the sun and the internal heat is so near the surface—and with land and water arranged as they are, may and indeed must be very different from those prevailing on earth, the conditions producing and affecting them being so changed. Though the storm-centre moves two hundred and sixty miles an hour, the wind need not blow at that rate."

Later they saw several smaller spots drifting eastward, but concluded that any seaworthy ship might pass safely through them, for, though they were hurricanes of great violence, the waves were small.

"There would be less danger," said Bearwarden, "of shipping seas here than there is on earth; the principal risk to travellers would be that of being blown from the deck. On account of the air's weight in connection with its velocity, this would necessitate some precaution."

The next object of interest was the great red spot. It proved, as Cortlandt had predicted, to be a continent, with at that time no special colour, though they easily recognized it by comparing its outlines with those of the spot in the map. Its length, as they already knew, was twenty-seven thousand miles, and its breadth about eight thousand miles, so that it contained more square miles than the entire surface of the earth, land and water included.

"It is clear," said Cortlandt, "that at some season of Jupiter's long year a change takes place that affects the colour of the leaves—some drought or prolonged norther; for it is obvious that that is the simplest explanation. In like manner we may expect that at some times more white spots will move across the ocean than at others."

"On account of the size of these continents and oceans," said Bearwarden, "it is easy to believe that many climatic conditions may prevail here that can scarcely exist on earth. But what a magnificent world to develop, with its great rivers, lakes, and mountains showing at even this distance, and what natural resources must be lying there dormant, awaiting our call! This constantly recurs to my mind. The subjugation and thorough opening up of this red spot continent will probably supply more interesting problems than straightening the axis of the earth."

"At our next visit," replied Ayrault, "when we have established regular interplanetary lines of travel, we may have an opportunity to examine it more closely." Then they again attracted the nearest moon beyond which they had swung, increased the repulsion on Jupiter, and soared away towards Saturn.

"We have a striking illustration of Jupiter's enormous mass," said Cortlandt, as the apparent diameter of the mighty planet rapidly decreased, "in the fact that notwithstanding its numerous moons, it still rotates so rapidly. We know that the earth's days were formerly but half or a quarter as long as now, having lasted but six or eight hours. The explanation of the elongation is simple: the earth rotates in about twenty-four hours, while the moon encircles it but once in nearly twenty-eight days, so that our satellite is continually drawing the oceans backward against its motion. These tidal brakes acting through the friction of the water on the bottom, its unequal pressure, and the impact of the waves on the shore, are continually retarding its rotation, so that the day is a fraction of a second longer now than it was in the time of Caesar. This same action is of course taking place in Jupiter and the great planets, in this case there being five moons at work. Our moon, we know, rotates on its axis but once while it revolves about the earth, this being no doubt due to its own comparative smallness and the great attraction of the earth, which must have produced tremendous tides before the lunar oceans disappeared from its surface."

In crossing the orbits of the satellites, they passed near Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon.

"This," said Cortlandt, "was discovered by Galileo in 1610. It is three thousand four hundred and eighty miles in diameter, while our moon is but two thousand one hundred and sixty, revolves at a distance of six hundred and seventy-eight thousand three hundred miles from Jupiter, completes its revolution in seven days and four hours, and has a specific gravity of 1.87."

In passing, they observed that Ganymede possessed an atmosphere, and continents and oceans of large area.

"Here," said Bearwarden, "we have a body with a diameter about five hundred miles greater than the planet Mercury. Its size, light specific gravity, atmosphere, and oceans seem to indicate that it is less advanced than that planet, yet you think Jupiter has had a longer separate existence than the planets nearer the sun?"

"Undoubtedly," said Cortlandt. "Jupiter was condensed while in the solar-system nebula, and began its individual existence and its evolutionary career long before Mercury was formed. The matter now in Ganymede, however, doubtless remained part of the Jupiter-system nebula till after Mercury's creation, and, being part of so great a mass, did not cool very rapidly. I should say that this satellite has about the same relation to Jupiter that Jupiter has to the sun, and is therefore younger in point of time as well as of development than the most distant Callisto, and older, at all events in years, than Europa and Io, both of which are nearer. This supposition is corroborated by the fact that Europa, the smallest of these four, is also the densest, having a specific gravity of 2.14, its smallness having enabled it to overtake Ganymede in development, notwithstanding the latter's start. In the face of the evidence before us we must believe this, or else that, perhaps, as in the case of the asteroid Hilda, something like a collision has rejuvenated it. This might account for its size, and for the Nautical Almanac's statement that there is a 'small and variable' inclination to its orbit, while Io and Europa revolve exactly in the plane of Jupiter's equator."

They had about as long a journey before them as they had already made in going from the earth to Jupiter. The great planet soon appeared as a huge crescent, since it was between them and the sun; its moons became as fifth- and sixth-magnitude stars, and in the evening of the next day Jupiter's disk became invisible to the unaided eye. Since there were no way stations, in the shape of planets or asteroids, between Jupiter and Saturn, they kept the maximum repulsion on Jupiter as long as possible, and moved at tremendous speed. Saturn was somewhat in advance of Jupiter in its orbit, so that their course from the earth had been along two sides of a triangle with an obtuse angle between. During the next four terrestrial days they sighted several small comets, but spent most of their time writing out their Jovian experiences. During the sixth day Saturn's rings, although not as much tilted as they would be later in the planet's season, presented a most superb sight, while they spun in the sun's rays. Soon after this the eight moons became visible, and, while slightly reducing the Callisto's speed, they crossed the orbits of Iapetus, Hyperion, and Titan, when they knew they were but seven hundred and fifty thousand miles from Saturn.

"I am anxious to ascertain," said Cortlandt, "whether the composition of yonder rings is similar to that of the comet through which we passed. I am sure they shine with more than reflected light."

"We have been in the habit," said Ayrault, "of associating heat with light, but it is obvious there is something far more subtle about cometary light and that of Saturn's rings, both of which seem to have their birth in the intense cold of interplanetary space."

Passing close to Mimas, Saturn's nearest moon, they supplemented its attraction, after swinging by, by their own strong pull, bringing their speed down to dead slow as they entered the outside ring. At distances often of half a mile they found meteoric masses, sometimes lumps the size of a house, often no larger than apples, while small particles like grains of sand moved between them. There were two motions. The ring revolved about Saturn, and the particles vibrated among themselves, evidently kept apart by a mutual repulsion, which seemed both to increase and decrease faster than gravitation; for on approaching one another they were more strongly repelled than attracted, but when they separated the repulsion decreased faster than the attraction, so that after a time divergence ceased, and they remained at fixed distances.

The Callisto soon became imbued with motion also, but nothing ever struck it. When any large mass came unusually near, both it and their car emitted light, and they rapidly separated. The sunlight was not as strong here as it had been when they entered the comet, and as they penetrated farther they were better able to observe the omnipresent luminosity. They were somewhat puzzled by the approach of certain light-centres, which seemed to contain nothing but this concentrated brightness. Occasionally one of these centres would glow very brightly near them, and simultaneously recede. At such times the Callisto also glowed, and itself recoiled slightly. At first the travellers could not account for this, but finally they concluded that the centres must be meteoric masses consisting entirely of gases, possessing weight though invisible.

"We have again to face," said Cortlandt, "that singular law that till recently we did not suppose existed on earth. All kinds of suppositions have been advanced in explanation of these rings. Some writers have their thickness, looked at from the thin edge, as four hundred miles, some one hundred, and some but forty. One astronomer of the nineteenth century, a man of considerable eminence, was convinced that they consisted of sheets of liquid. Now, it should be obvious that no liquid could maintain itself here for a minute, for it would either fall upon the planet as a crushing hail, or, if dependent for its shape on its own tenacity, it would break if formed of the toughest steel, on account of the tremendous weight. Any number of theories have been advanced by any number of men, but in weight we have the rub. No one has ever shown how these innumerable fragments maintain themselves at a height of but a few thousand miles above Saturn, withstanding the giant's gravitation-pull. Their rate of revolution, though rapid, does not seem fast enough to sustain them. Neither have I ever seen it explained why the small fragments do not fall upon the large ones, though many astronomers have pictured the composition of these rings as we find they exist. Nor do we know why the molecules of a gas are driven farther apart by heat, while their activity is also increased, though if this activity were revolution about one another to develop the centrifugal, it would not need to be as strong then as when they are cold and nearer together. There may be explanations, but I have found none in any of the literature I have read. It seems to me that all this leads to but one conclusion, viz.: apergy is the constant and visible companion of gravitation, on these great planets Jupiter and Saturn, perhaps on account of some peculiar influence they possess, and also in comets, in the case of large masses, while on earth it appears naturally only among molecules—those of gases and every other substance."

"I should go a step further," said Bearwarden, "and say our earth has the peculiarity, since it does not possess the influence necessary to generate naturally a great or even considerable development of apergy. The electricity of thunderstorms, northern lights, and other forces seems to be produced freely, but as regards apergy our planet's natural productiveness appears to be small."

The omnipresent luminosity continued, but the glow was scarcely bright enough to be perceived from the earth.

"I believe, however," said Bearwarden, referring to this, "that whenever a satellite passes near these fragments, preferably when it enters the planet's shadow, since that will remove its own light, it will create such activity among them as to make the luminosity visible to the large telescopes or gelatine plates on earth."

"Now," said Ayrault, "that we have evolved enough theories to keep astronomers busy for some time, if they attempt to discuss them, I suggest that we alight and leave the abstract for the concrete."

Whereupon they passed through the inner ring and rapidly sank to the ground.




Landing on a place about ten degrees north of the equator, so that they might obtain a good view of the great rings—since ON the line only the thin edge would be visible—they opened a port-hole with the same caution they had exercised on Jupiter. Again there was a rush of air, showing that the pressure without was greater than that within; but on this occasion the barometer stopped at thirty-eight, from which they calculated that the pressure was nineteen pounds to the square inch on their bodies, instead of fifteen as at sea-level on earth. This difference was so slight that they scarcely felt it. They also discarded the apergetic outfits that had been so useful on Jupiter, as unnecessary here. The air was an icy blast, and though they quickly closed the opening, the interior of the Callisto was considerably chilled.

"We shall want our winter clothes," said Bearwarden; "it might be more comfortable for us exactly on the equator, though the scene at night will be far finer here, if we can stand the climate. Doubtless it will also be warmer soon, for the sun has but just risen."

"I suspect this is merely one of the cold waves that rush towards the equator at this season, which corresponds to about the 10th of our September," replied Cortlandt. "The poles of Saturn must be intensely cold during its long winter of fourteen and three quarter years, for, the axis being inclined twenty-seven degrees from the perpendicular of its orbit, the pole turned from the sun is more shut off from its heat than ours, and in addition to this the mean distance—more than eight hundred and eighty million miles—is very great. Since the chemical composition of the air we have inhaled has not troubled our lungs, it is fair to suppose we shall have no difficulty in breathing."

Having dressed themselves more warmly, and seen by a thermometer they had placed outside that the temperature was thirty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, which had seemed very cold compared with the warmth inside the Callisto, they again opened the port-hole, this time leaving it open longer. What they had felt before was evidently merely a sudden gust, for the air was now comparatively calm.

Finding that the doctor's prediction as to the suitability of the air to their lungs was correct, they ventured out, closing the door as they went.

Expecting, as on Jupiter, to find principally vertebrates of the reptile and bird order, they carried guns and cartridges loaded with buckshot and No. 1, trusting for solid-ball projectiles to their revolvers, which they shoved into their belts. They also took test-tubes for experiments on the Saturnian bacilli. Hanging a bucket under the pipe leading from the roof, to catch any rain that might fall—for they remembered the scarcity of drinking-water on Jupiter—they set out in a southwesterly direction.

Walking along, they noticed on all sides tall lilies immaculately pure in their whiteness, and mushrooms and toadstools nearly a foot high, the former having a delicious flavour and extreme freshness, as though only an hour old. They had seen no animal life, or even sign of it, and were wondering at its dearth, when suddenly two large white birds rose directly in front of them. Like thought, Bearwarden and Ayrault had their guns up, snapping the thumb-pieces over "safe" and pulling the triggers almost simultaneously. Bearwarden, having double buckshot, killed his bird at the first fire; but Ayrault, having only No. 1, had to give his the second barrel, almost all damage in both cases being in the head. On coming close to their victims they found them to measure twelve feet from tip to tip, and to have a tremendous thickness of feathers and down.

"From the looks of these beauties," said Bearwarden, "I should say they probably inhabited a pretty cold place."

"They are doubtless northern birds," said Cortlandt, "that have just come south. It is easy to believe that the depth to which the temperature may fall in the upper air of this planet must be something startling."

As they turned from the cranes, to which species the birds seemed to belong, they became mute with astonishment. Every mushroom had disappeared, but the toadstools still remained.

"Is it possible we did not see them?" gasped Ayrault.

"We must inadvertently have walked some distance since we saw them," said Cortlandt.

"They were what I looked forward to for lunch," exclaimed Bearwarden.

They were greatly perplexed. The mushrooms were all about them when they shot the birds, which still lay where they had fallen.

"We must be very absent-minded," said the doctor, "or perchance our brains are affected by the air. We must analyze it to see if it contains our own proportion of oxygen and nitrogen. There was a good deal of carbonic-acid gas on Jupiter, but that would hardly confuse our senses. The strange thing is, that we all seem to have been impressed the same way."

Concluding that they must have been mistaken, they continued on their journey.

All about they heard a curious humming, as that of bees, or like the murmuring of prayers in a resonant cathedral. Thinking it was the wind in the great trees that grew singly around them, they paid no attention to it until, emerging on an open plain and finding that the sound continued, they stopped.

"Now," said Bearwarden, "this is more curious than anything we found on Jupiter. Here we have an incessant and rather pleasant sound, with no visible cause."

"It may possibly be some peculiarity of the grass," replied Cortlandt, "though, should it continue when we reach sandy or bare soil, I shall believe we need a dose of quinine."

"I FEEL perfectly well," said Ayrault; "how is it with you?"

Each finding that he was in a normal state, they proceeded, determined, if possible, to discover the source from which the sounds came. Suddenly Bearwarden raised his gun to bring down a long-beaked hawk; but the bird flew off, and he did not shoot. "Plague the luck!" said he; "I went blind just as I was about to pull. A haze seemed to cover both barrels, and completely screened the bird."

"The Callisto will soon be hidden by those trees," said Cortlandt. "I think we had better take our bearings, for, if our crack shot is going to miss like that, we may want canned provisions."

Accordingly, he got out his sextant, took the altitude of the sun, got cross-bearings and a few angles, and began to make a rough calculation. For several minutes he worked industriously, used the rubber at the end of his pencil, tried again, and then scratched out. "That humming confuses me so that I cannot work correctly," said he, "while the most irrelevant things enter my mind in spite of me, and mix up my figures."

"I found the same thing," said Bearwarden, "but said nothing, for fear I should not be believed. In addition to going blind, for a moment I almost forgot what I was trying to do."

Changing their course slightly, they went towards a range of hills, in the hope of finding rocky or sandy soil, in order to test the sounds, and ascertain if they would cease or vary.

Having ascended a few hundred feet, they sat down near some trees to rest, the musical hum continuing meanwhile unchanged. The ground was strewn with large coloured crystals, apparently rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, about the size of hens' eggs, and also large sheets of isinglass. Picking up one of the latter, Ayrault examined it. Points of light and shade kept forming on its surface, from which rings radiated like the circles spreading in all directions from a place in still water at which a pebble is thrown. He called his companions, and the three examined it. The isinglass was about ten inches long by eight across, and contained but few impurities. In addition to the spreading rings, curious forms were continually taking shape and dissolving.

"This is more interesting," said Bearwarden, "than sounding shells at the sea-shore. We must make a note of it as another thing to study."

They then spread their handkerchiefs on a mound of earth, so as to make a table, and began examining the gems.

"Does it not seem to you," asked Ayrault, a few minutes later, addressing his companions, "as though we were not alone? I have thought many times there was some one—or perhaps several persons—here besides ourselves."

"The same idea has occurred to me," replied Cortlandt. "I was convinced, a moment ago, that a shadow crossed the page on which I was taking notes. Can it be there are objects about us we cannot see? We know there are vibrations of both light and sound that do not affect our senses. I wish we had brought the magnetic eye; perchance that might tell us."

"Anything sufficiently dense to cast a shadow," said Ayrault, "should be seen, since it would also be able to make an image on our retinas. I believe any impressions we are receiving are produced through our minds, as if some one were thinking very intently about us, and that neither the magnetic eye nor a sensitive plate could reveal anything."

They then returned to the study of the isinglass, which they were able to split into extremely thin sheets. Suddenly a cloud passed over the table, and almost immediately disappeared, and then a sharpened pencil with which Ayrault had been writing began to trace on a sheet of paper, in an even hand, and with a slight frictional sound.

"Stop!" said Bearwarden; "let us each for himself describe in writing what he has seen."

In a moment they had done this, and then compared notes. In each case the vision was the same. Then they looked at the writing made by the invisible hand. "Absorpta est mors in Victoria," it ran.

"Gentlemen," began Bearwarden, as if addressing a meeting, "this cannot be coincidence; we are undoubtedly and unquestionably in the presence of a spirit or of several spirits. That they understand Latin, we see; and, from what they say, they may have known death. Time may show whether they have been terrestrials like ourselves. Though the conditions of life here might make us delirious, it is scarcely possible that different temperaments like ours should be affected in so precisely the same way; besides, in this writing we have tangible proof."

"It is perfectly reasonable," said Ayrault, "to conclude it was a spirit, if we may assume that spirits have the power to move the pencil, which is a material object. Nobody doubts nowadays that after death we live again; that being the case, we must admit that we live somewhere. Space, as I take it, can be no obstacle to a spirit; therefore, why suppose they remain on earth?"

"This is a wonderful place," said Cortlandt. "We have already seen enough to convince us of the existence of many unknown laws. I wish the spirit would reveal itself in some other way."

As he finished speaking, the rays of the distant and cold-looking sun were split, and the colours of the spectrum danced upon the linen cloth, as if obtained by a prism. In astonishment, they rose and looked closely at the table, when suddenly a shadow that no one recognized as his own appeared upon the cover. Tracing it to its source, their eyes met those of an old man with a white robe and beard and a look of great intelligence on his calm face. They knew he had not been in the little grove thirty seconds before, and as this was surrounded by open country there was no place from which he could have come.



"Greetings and congratulations," he said. "Man has steadfastly striven to rise, and we see the results in you."

"I have always believed in the existence of spirits," said Cortlandt, "but never expected to see one with my natural eyes."

"And you never will, in its spiritual state," replied the shade, "unless you supplement sight with reason. A spirit has merely existence, entity, and will, and is entirely invisible to your eyes."

"How is it, then, that we see and hear you?" asked Cortlandt. "Are you a man, or a spectre that is able to affect our senses?"

"I WAS a man," replied the spirit, "and I have given myself visible and tangible form to warn you of danger. My colleagues and I watched you when you left the cylinder and when you shot the birds, and, seeing your doom in the air, have been trying to communicate with you."

"What were the strange shadows and prismatic colours that kept passing across our table?" asked Bearwarden.

"They were the obstructions and refractions of light caused by spirits trying to take shape," replied the shade.

"Do you mind our asking you questions?" said Cortlandt.

"No," replied their visitor. "If I can, I will answer them."

"Then," said Cortlandt, "how is it that, of the several spirits that tried to become embodied, we see but one, namely, you?"

"That," said the shade, "is because no natural law is broken. On earth one man can learn a handicraft better in a few days than another in a month, while some can solve with ease a mathematical problem that others could never grasp. So it is here. Perhaps I was in a favourable frame of mind on dying, for the so-called supernatural always interested me on earth, or I had a natural aptitude for these things; for soon after death I was able to affect the senses of the friends I had left."

"Are we to understand, then," asked Cortlandt, "that the reason more of our departed do not reappear to us is because they cannot?"

"Precisely," replied the shade. "But though the percentage of those that can return and reappear on earth is small, their number is fairly large. History has many cases. We know that the prophet Samuel raised the witch of Endor at the behest of Saul; that Moses and Elias became visible in the transfiguration; and that after his crucifixion and burial Christ returned to his disciples, and was seen and heard by many others."

"How," asked Bearwarden deferentially, "do you occupy your time?"

"Time," replied the spirit, "has not the same significance to us that it has to you. You know that while the earth rotates in twenty-four hours, this planet takes but about ten; and the sun turns on its own axis but once in a terrestrial month; while the years of the planets vary from less than three months for Mercury to Neptune's one hundred and sixty-four years. Being insensible to heat and cold, darkness and light, we have no more changing seasons, neither is there any night. When a man dies," he continued with solemnity, "he comes at once into the enjoyment of senses vastly keener than any be possessed before. Our eyes—if such they can be called—are both microscopes and telescopes, the change in focus being effected as instantaneously as thought, enabling us to perceive the smallest microbe or disease-germ, and to see the planets that revolve about the stars. The step of a fly is to us as audible as the tramp of a regiment, while we hear the mechanical and chemical action of a snake's poison on the blood of any poor creature bitten, as plainly as the waves on the shore. We also have a chemical and electrical sense, showing us what effect different substances will have on one another, and what changes to expect in the weather. The most complex and subtle of our senses, however, is a sort of second sight that we call intuition or prescience, which we are still studying to perfect and understand. With our eyes closed it reveals to us approaching astronomical and other bodies, or what is happening on the other side of the planet, and enables us to view the future as you do the past. The eyes of all but the highest angels require some light, and can be dazzled by an excess; but this attribute of divinity nothing can obscure, and it is the sense that will first enable us to know God. By means of these new and sharpened faculties, which, like children, we are continually learning to use to better advantage, we constantly increase our knowledge, and this is next to our greatest happiness."

"Is there any limit," asked Bearwarden, "to human progress on the earth?"

"Practically none," replied the spirit. "Progress depends largely on your command of the forces of Nature. At present your principal sources of power are food, fuel, electricity, the heat of the interior of the earth, wind, and tide. From the first two you cannot expect much more than now, but from the internal heat everywhere available, tradewinds, and falling water, as at Niagara, and from tides, you can obtain power almost without limit. Were this all, however, your progress would be slow; but the Eternal, realizing the shortness of your lives, has given you power with which to rend the globe. You have the action of all uncombined chemicals, atmospheric electricity, the excess or froth of which you now see in thunderstorms, and the electricity and magnetism of your own bodies. There is also molecular and sympathetic vibration, by which Joshua not understandingly levelled the walls of Jericho; and the power of your minds over matter, but little more developed now than when I moved in the flesh upon the earth. By lowering large quantities of high-powered explosives to the deepest parts of the ocean bed, and exploding them there, you can produce chasms through which some water will be forced towards the heated interior by the enormous pressure of its own weight. At a comparatively slight depth it will be converted into steam and produce an earthquake. This will so enlarge your chasm, that a great volume of water will rush into the red-hot interior, which will cause a series of such terrific eruptions that large islands will be upheaved. By the reduction of the heat of that part of the interior there will also be a shrinkage, which, in connection with the explosions, will cause the earth's solid crust to be thrown up in folds till whole continents appear. Some of the water displaced by the new land will also, as a result of the cooling, be able permanently to penetrate farther, thereby decreasing by that much the amount of water in the oceans, so that the tide-level in your existing seaports will be but slightly changed. By persevering in this work, you will become so skilled that it will be possible to evoke land of whatever kind you wish, at any place; and by having high table-land at the equator, sloping off into low plains towards north and south, and maintaining volcanoes in eruption at the poles to throw out heat and start warm ocean currents, it will be possible, in connection with the change you are now making in the axis, to render the conditions of life so easy that the earth will support a far larger number of souls.

"With the powers at your disposal you can also alter and improve existing continents, and thereby still further increase the number of the children of men. Perhaps with mild climate, fertile soil, and decreased struggle for existence, man will develop his spiritual side.

"Finally, you have apergy, one of the highest forces, for it puts you almost on a plane with angels, and with it you have already visited Jupiter and Saturn. It was impossible that man should remain chained to the earth during the entire life of his race, like an inferior animal or a mineral, lower even in freedom of body than birds. Heretofore you have, as I have said, seen but one side in many workings of Nature, as if you had discovered either negative or positive electricity, but not both; for gravitation and apergy are as inseparably combined in the rest of the universe as those two, separated temporarily on earth that the discovery of the utilization of one with the other might serve as an incentive to your minds. You saw it in Nature on Jupiter in the case of several creatures, suspecting it in the boa-constrictor and Will-o'-the-wisp and jelly-fish, and have standing illustrations of it in all tailed comets—luminosity in the case of large bodies being one manifestation—in the rings of this planet, and in the molecular motion and porosity of all gases, liquids, and solids on earth; since what else is it that keeps the molecules apart, heat serving merely to increase its power? God made man in his own image; does it not stand to reason that he will allow him to continue to become more and more like himself? Would he begrudge him the power to move mountains through the intelligent application of Nature's laws, when he himself said they might be moved by faith? So far you have been content to use the mechanical power of water, its momentum or dead weight merely; to attain a much higher civilization, you must break it up chemically and use its constituent gases."

"How," asked Bearwarden, "can this be done?"

"Force superheated steam," replied the spirit, "through an intensely heated substance, as you now do in making water-gas—preferably platinum heated by electricity—apply an apergetic shock, and the oxygen and hydrogen will separate like oil and water, the oxygen being so much the heavier. Lead them in different directions as fast as the water is decomposed—since otherwise they would reunite—and your supply of power will be inexhaustible."

"Will you not stay and dine with us?" asked Ayrault. "While in the flesh you must be subject to its laws, and must need food to maintain your strength, like ourselves."

"It will give me great pleasure," replied the spirit, "to tarry with you, and once more to taste earthly food, but most of all to have the blessed joy of being of service to you. Here, all being immaterial spirits, no physical injury can befall any of us; and since no one wants anything that any one else can give, we have no opportunity of doing anything for each other. You see we neither eat nor sleep, neither can any of us again know physical pain or death, nor can we comfort one another, for every one knows the truth about himself and every one else, and we read one another's thoughts as an open book."

"Do you," asked Bearwarden, "not eat at all?"

"We absorb vitality in a sense," replied the spirit. "As the sun combines certain substances into food for mortals, it also produces molecular vibration and charges the air with magnetism and electricity, which we absorb without effort. In fact, there is a faint pleasure in the absorption of this strength, when, in magnetic disturbances, there is an unusual amount of immortal food. Should we try to resist it, there would eventually be a greater pressure without than within, and we should assimilate involuntarily. We are part of the intangible universe, and can feel no hunger that is not instantly appeased, neither can we ever more know thirst."

"Why," asked Cortlandt reverently, "did the angel with the sword of flame drive Adam from the Tree of Life, since with his soul he had received that which could never die?"

"That was part of the mercy of God," the shade replied; "for immortality could be enjoyed but meagrely on earth, where natural limitations are so abrupt. And know this, ye who are something of chemists, that had Adam eaten of that substance called fruit, he would have lived in the flesh to this day, and would have been of all men the most unhappy."

"Will the Fountain of Youth ever be discovered?" asked Cortlandt.

"That substances exist," replied the spirit, "that render it impossible for the germs of old age and decay to lodge in the body, I know; in fact, it would be a break in the continuity and balance of Nature did they not; but I believe their discovery will be coincident with Christ's second visible advent on earth. You are, however, only on the shore of the ocean of knowledge, and, by continuing to advance in geometric ratio, will soon be able to retain your mortal bodies till the average longevity exceeds Methuselah's; but, except for more opportunities of doing good, or setting a longer example to your fellows by your lives, where would be the gain?

"I now see how what appeared to me while I lived on earth insignificant incidents, were the acts of God, and that what I thought injustice or misfortune was but evidence of his wisdom and love; for we know that not a sparrow falleth without God, and that the hairs of our heads are numbered. Every act of kindness or unselfishness on my part, also, stands out like a golden letter or a white stone, and gives me unspeakable comfort. At the last judgment, and in eternity following, we shall have very different but just as real bodies as those that we possessed in the flesh. The dead at the last trump will rise clothed in them, and at that time the souls in paradise will receive them also."

"I wonder," thought Ayrault, "on which hand we shall be placed in that last day."

"The classification is now going on," said the spirit, answering his thought, "and I know that in the final judgment each individual will range himself automatically on his proper side."

"Do tell me," said Ayrault, "how you were able to answer my thought."

"I see the vibrations of the grey matter of your brain as plainly as the movements of your lips; in fact, I see the thoughts in the embryonic state taking shape."

When their meal was ready they sat down, Ayrault placing the spirit on his right, with Cortlandt on his left, and having Bearwarden opposite. On this occasion their chief had given them a particularly good dinner, but the spirit took only a slice of meat and a glass of claret.

"Won't you tell us the story of your life," said Ayrault to the spirit, "and your experiences since your death? They would be of tremendous interest to us."

"I was a bishop in one of the Atlantic States," replied the spirit gravely, "and died shortly before the civil war. People came from other cities to hear my sermons, and the biographical writers have honoured my memory by saying that I was a great man. I was contemporaneous with Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. Shortly after I reached threescore and ten, according to earthly years, I caught what I considered only a slight cold, for I had always had good health, but it became pneumonia. My friends, children, and grandchildren came to see me, and all seemed going well, when, without warning, my physician told me I had but a few hours to live. I could scarcely believe my ears; and though, as a Churchman, I had ministered to others and had always tried to lead a good life, I was greatly shocked. I suddenly remembered all the things I had left undone and all the things I intended to do, and the old saying, 'Hell is paved with good intentions,' crossed my mind very forcibly. In less than an hour I saw the physician was right; I grew weaker and my pulse fluttered, but my mind remained clear. I prayed to my Creator with all my soul, 'O spare me a little, that I may recover my strength, before I go hence, and be no more seen.' As if for an answer, the thought crossed my brain, 'Set thine house in order, for thou shalt not live, but die.' I then called my children and made disposition of such of my property and personal effects as were not covered by my will. I also gave to each the advice that my experience had shown me he or she needed. Then came another wave of remorse and regret, and again an intense longing to pray; but along with the thought of sins and neglected duties came also the memory of the honest efforts I had made to obey my conscience, and these were like rifts of sunshine during a storm. These thoughts, and the blessed promises of religion I had so often preached in the churches of my diocese, were an indescribable comfort, and saved me from the depths of blank despair. Finally my breathing became laboured, I had sharp spasms of pain, and my pulse almost stopped. I felt that I was dying, and my sight grew dim. The crisis and climax of life were at hand. 'Oh!' I thought, with the philosophers and sages, 'is it to this end I lived? The flower appears, briefly blooms amid troublous toil, and is gone; my body returns to its primordial dust, and my works are buried in oblivion. The paths of life and glory lead but to the grave.' My soul was filled with conflicting thoughts, and for a moment even my faith seemed at a low ebb. I could hear my children's stifled sobs, and my darling wife shed silent tears. The thought of parting from them gave me the bitterest wrench. With my fleeting breath I gasped these words, 'That mercy I showed others, that show thou me.' The darkened room grew darker, and after that I died. In my sleep I seemed to dream. All about were refined and heavenly flowers, while the most delightful sounds and perfumes filled the air. Gradually the vision became more distinct, and I experienced an indescribable feeling of peace and repose. I passed through fields and scenes I had never seen before, while every place was filled with an all-pervading light. Sometimes I seemed to be miles in air; countless suns and their planets shone, and dazzled my eyes, while no bird-of-paradise was as happy or free as I. Gradually it came to me that I was awake, and that it was no dream. Then I remembered my last moments, and perceived that I had died. Death had brought freedom, my work in the flesh was ended, I was indeed alive.

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