Part 2 out of 6
do for the country to have all its eggs in one basket."
"Are you not afraid you will find the surface hot, or even
molten?" asked Vice-President Dumby. "With its eighty-six
thousand five hundred mile diameter, the amount of original
internal heat must have been terrific."
"No, said Cortlandt, "it cannot be molten, or even in the least
degree luminous, for, if it were, its satellites would be visible
when they enter its shadow, whereas they entirely disappear."
"I do not believe Jupiter's surface is even perceptibly warm,"
said Bearwarden. "We know that Algol, known to the ancients as
the 'Demon Star,' and several other variable stars, are
accompanied by a dark companion, with which they revolve about a
common centre, and which periodically obscures part of their
light. Now, some of these non-luminaries are nearly as large as
our sun, and, of course, many hundred times the size of Jupiter.
If these bodies have lost enough heat to be invisible, Jupiter's
surface at least must be nearly cold."
"In the phosphorescence of seawater," said Cortlandt, "and in
other instances in Nature, we find light without heat, and we may
soon be able to produce it in the arts by oxidizing coal without
the intervention of the steam engine; but we never find any
considerable heat without light."
"I am convinced," said Bearwarden, "that we shall find Jupiter
habitable for intelligent beings who have been developed on a
more advanced sphere than itself, though I do not believe it has
progressed far enough in its evolution to produce them. I expect
to find it in its Palaeozoic or Mesozoic period, while over a
hundred years ago the English astronomer, Chambers, thought that
on Saturn there was good reason for suspecting the presence of
"What sort of spaceship do you propose to have?" asked the
"As you have to pass through but little air," said Deepwaters, "I
should suggest a short-stroke cylinder of large diameter, with a
flat base and dome roof, composed of aluminum, or, still better,
of glucinum or beryllium as it is sometimes called, which is
twice as good a conductor of electricity as aluminum, four times
as strong, and is the lightest of all known metals, having a
specific gravity of only two, which last property will be of
great use to you, for of course the more weight you have to
propel the more apergetic repulsion you will have to develop."
"I will get some drawing-paper I left outside in my trap," said
Ayrault, "when with your ideas we may arrive at something
definite," saying which, he left the room.
"He seems very cynical in his ideas of life and the world in
general," said Secretary Stillman, "for a man of his age, and one
that is engaged."
"You see," replied Bearwarden, "his fiancee is not yet a senior,
being in the class of two thousand and one at Vassar, and so
cannot marry him for a year. Not till next June can this sweet
girl graduate come forth with her mortar-board and sheepskin to
enlighten the world and make him happy. That is, I suspect, one
reason why he proposed this trip."
HARD AT WORK.
In a few moments Ayrault returned with pencils, a pair of
compasses, and paper.
"Let us see, in the first place," said Deepwaters, "how long the
journey will take. Since a stone falls 16.09 feet the first
second, and 64+ feet the next, it is easy to calculate at what
rate your speed would increase with the repulsion twice that of
the ordinary traction. But I think this would be too slow. It
will be best to treble or quadruple the apergetic charge, which
can easily be done, in which case your speed will exceed the
muzzle-velocity of a projectile from a long-range gun, in a few
seconds. As the earth's repulsion decreases, the attraction of
mars and Jupiter will increase, and, there being no resistance,
your gait will become more and more rapid till it is necessary to
reverse the charge to avoid being dashed to pieces or being
consumed like a falling star by the friction in passing through
Jupiter's atmosphere. You can be on the safe side by checking
your speed in advance. You must, of course, be careful to avoid
collisions with meteors and asteroids but if you do, they will be
of use to you, for by attracting or repelling them you can change
your course to suit yourself, and also theirs in inverse ratio to
their masses. Jupiter's moons will be like head and stern lines
in enabling you to choose the part of the surface on which you
wish to land. With apergy it is as essential to have some heavy
body on which to work, within range, as to have water about a
ship's propellers. Whether, when apergy is developed,
gravitation is temporarily annulled, or reversed like the late
attraction of a magnet when the current is changed, or whether it
is merely overpowered, in which case your motion will be the
resultant of the two, is an unsettled and not very important
point; for, though we know but little more of the nature of
electricity than was known a hundred years ago, this does not
prevent our producing and using it."
"Jupiter, when in opposition," he continued, "is about
380,000,000 miles from us, and it takes light, which travels at
the rate of 190,000 miles a second, just thirty-four minutes to
reach the earth from Jupiter. If we suppose the average speed of
your ship to be one- five-hundredth as great, it will take you
just eleven days, nineteen hours and twenty minutes to make the
journey. You will have a fine view of Mars and the asteroids,
and when 1,169,000 miles from Jupiter, will cross the orbit of
Callisto, the fifth moon in distance from the giant planet. That
will be your best point to steer by."
"I think," said Ayrault, "as that will be the first member of
Jupiter's system we pass, and as it will guide us into port, it
would be a good name for our ship, and you must christen her if
we have her launched."
"No, no," said Deepwaters, "Miss Preston must do that; but we
certainly should have a launch, for you might have to land in the
water, and you must be sure the ship is tight."
"Talking of tight ships," said Bearwarden, passing a decanter of
claret to Stillman, "may remind us that it is time to splice the
'main brace.' There's a bottle of whisky and some water just
behind you," he added to Deepwaters, "while three minutes after I
ring this bell," he said, pressing a button and jerking a handle
marked '8,' "the champagne cocktails will be on the desk."
"I see you know his ways," said Stillman to Bearwarden, drooping
his eyes in Deepwaters's direction.
"Oh, yes, I've been here before," replied Deepwaters. "You see,
we navy men have to hustle now-a-days, and can't pass our time in
a high-backed chair, talking platitudes."
At this moment there was a slight rumbling, and eight champagne
cocktails, with the froth still on, and straws on a separate
plate, shot in and landed on a corner of the desk.
"Help yourselves, gentlemen," said Bearwarden, placing them on a
table; "I hope we shall find them cold."
"Do you know," said Deepwaters to Ayrault, while rapidly making
his cocktail disappear, "the Callisto's cost with its outfit will
be very great, especially if you use glucinum, which, though the
ideal metal for the purpose, comes pretty high? I suggest that
you apply to Congress for an appropriation. This experiment
comes under the 'Promotion of Science Act,' and any bill for it
would certainly pass."
"No, indeed," replied Ayrault; "the Callisto trip will be a
privilege and glory I would not miss, and building her will be a
part of it. I shall put in everything conducive to success, but
will come to the Government only for advice."
"I will send a letter to all our ambassadors and consuls," said
Stillman, "to telegraph the department anything they may know or
learn that will be of use in adjusting the batteries, controlling
the machine, or anything else, and will turn over to you in a
succinct form all information that may be relevant, for without
such sorting you would be overwhelmed."
"And I," said Deepwaters, "will order the commanders of our
vessels to give you a farewell salute at starting, and to pick
you up in case you fail. When you have demonstrated the
suitability of apergy," he continued, "and the habitability of
Jupiter and Saturn--,which, with their five and eight moons,
respectively, and rings thrown in, must both be vastly superior
to our little second-rate globe--we will see what can be done
towards changing our orbit, and if we cannot swing a little
nearer to our new world or worlds. Then we'll lower, or rather
raise, the boats in the shape of numerous Callistos, and have a
landing-party ready at each opposition, while a man or two can be
placed in charge of each projectile to bring it back in ballast.
Thus we may soon have regular interplanetary lines."
"As every place seems to have been settled from some other," said
Cortlandt, "I do not see why, with increased scientific
facilities, history should not repeat itself, and this be the
point from which to colonize the solar system; for, for the
present at least, it would seem that we could not get beyond
"As it will be quite an undertaking to change the orbit, said
Deepwaters, "we shall have time meanwhile to absorb or run out
all inferior races, so that we shall not make the mistake of
extending the Tower of Babel."
"He is putting on his war-paint," said Stillman, "and will soon
want a planet to himself."
"I see no necessity for even changing the orbit," said
Bearwarden, "except for the benefit of those that remain. If
this attempt succeeds, it can doubtless be repeated. An increase
in eccentricity would merely shorten the journey, if aphelion
always coincided with opposition, which it would not."
"Let us know how you are getting on," said Deepwaters to Ayrault,
"and be sure you have the Callisto properly christened. Step
lively there, landlubbers!" he called to Stillman; "I have an
appointment at Washington at one, and it is now twenty minutes
past twelve. We can lunch on the way."
Ayrault immediately advertised for bids for the construction of a
glucinum cylinder twenty-five feet in diameter, fifteen feet high
at the sides, with a domed roof, bringing up the total height to
twenty-one feet, and with a small gutter about it to catch the
rain on Jupiter or any other planet they might visit. The sides,
roof, and floor were to consist of two sheets, each one third of
an inch thick and six inches apart, the space between to be
filled with mineral wool, as a protection against the intense
cold of space. There were also to be several keels and supports
underneath, on which the car should rest. Large, toughened
plate-glass windows were to be let into the roof and sides, and
smaller ones in the floor, all to be furnished with thick shades
and curtains. Ayrault also decided to have it divided into two
stories, with ceilings six and a half to seven and a half feet
high, respectively, with a sort of crow's nest or observatory at
the top; the floors to be lattice- work, like those in the
engine-room of a steamer, so that when the carpets were rolled up
they should not greatly obstruct the view. The wide, flat base
and the low centre of gravity would, he saw, be of use in
withstanding the high winds that he knew often prevailed on
As soon as possible he awarded the contract, and then entering
his smart electric trap, steered for Vassar University along what
was the old post-road--though its builders would not have
recognized it with its asphalt surface, straightened curves, and
easy grades--to ask his idol to christen the Callisto when it
should be finished.
Starting from the upper end of Central Park, he stopped to buy
her a bunch of violets, and then ran to Poughkeepsie in two
Sylvia Preston was a lovely girl, with blue eyes, brown hair, and
perfect figure, clear white skin, and just twenty. She was
delighted to see him, and said she would love to christen the
Callisto or do anything else that he wished. "But I am so sorry
you are going away," she went on. "I hate to lose you for so
long, and we shall not even be able to write."
"Why couldn't we be married now," he asked, "and go to Jupiter
for our honeymoon?"
"I'm afraid, dear," she answered, "you would be sorry a few years
hence if I didn't take my degree; and, besides, as you have asked
those other men, there wouldn't be room for me."
"We could have made other arrangements," he replied, "had I been
able to persuade you to go."
"Won't you dine with us at Delmonico's this evening, and go to
the play?" she asked. "Papa has taken a box."
"Of course I will," he said, brightening up. "What are you going
"Oh, I suppose something light and cool, for it's so hot," she
"I'll go now, so as to be ready," he said, getting up and going
towards the door to which Sylvia followed him.
A man in livery stood at the step of the phaeton. Ayrault got in
and turned on the current, and his man climbed up behind.
On turning into the main road Ayrault was about to increase his
speed, when Sylvia, who had taken a short cut appeared at the
wayside carrying her hat in one hand and her gloves in the other.
"I couldn't let you go all by yourself," she said. "The fact is,
I wanted to be with you."
"You are the sweetest thing that ever lived, and I'll love you
all my days," he said, getting down and helping Sylvia to the
seat beside him. "What a nuisance this fellow behind is!" he
continued--referring to the groom-- "for, though he is a Russian,
and speaks but little English, it is unpleasant to feel he is
"You'll have to write your sweet nothings, instead of saying
them," Sylvia replied.
"For you to leave around for other girls to see," answered
Ayrault with a smile.
"I don't know what your other girls do," she returned, "but with
me you are safe."
Ayrault fairly made his phaeton spin, going up the grades like a
shot and down like a bird. On reaching New York, he left Sylvia
at her house, then ran his machine to a florist's, where he
ordered some lilies and roses, and then steered his way to his
club, where he dressed for dinner. Shortly before the time he
repaired to Delmonico's--which name had become historical, though
the founders themselves were long dead--and sat guard at a table
till Sylvia, wearing his flowers and looking more beautiful than
any of them, arrived with her mother and father, and Bearwarden,
whom they knew very well.
"How are the exams getting on, Miss Preston?" Bearwarden asked.
"Pretty well," she replied, with a smile. "We had English
literature yesterday, and natural history the day before. Next
week we have chemistry and philosophy."
"What are you taking in natural history?" asked Bearwarden, with
"Oh, principally physical geography, geology, and meteorology,"
she replied. "I think them entrancing."
"It must be a consolation," said Ayrault, "when your best hat is
spoiled by rain, to know the reason why. Your average," he
continued, addressing Sylvia, "was ninety in the semi-annuals,
and I haven't a doubt that the finals will maintain your record
for the year."
"Don't be too sure," she replied. "I have been loafing awfully,
and had to engage a 'grind' as a coach."
After dinner they went to the play, where they saw a presentation
of Society at the Close of the Twentieth Century, which Sylvia
and Ayrault enjoyed immensely.
A few days after the Delmonico dinner, while Bearwarden,
Cortlandt, and Ayrault sat together discussing their plans, the
servant announced Ayrault's family physician, Dr. Tubercle
Germiny, who had been requested to call.
"Delighted to see you, doctor," said Ayrault, shaking hands.
"You know Col. Bearwarden, our President, and Dr. Cortlandt--an
LL. D., however, and not a medico."
"I have had the pleasure," replied Dr. Germiny, shaking hands
"As you may be aware, doctor," said Ayrault, when they were
seated, "we are about to take a short trip to Jupiter, and, if
time allows, to Saturn. We have come to you, as one familiar
with every known germ, for a few precautionary suggestions and
advice concerning our medicine-chest."
"Indeed!" replied Dr. Germiny, "a thorough knowledge of
bacteriology is the groundwork of therapeutics. It is
practically admitted that every ailment, with the exception of
mechanical injuries, is the direct result of a specific germ; and
even in accidents and simple fractures, no matter what may be the
nature of the bruise, a micro-organism soon announces its
presence, so that if not the parent, it is the inseparable
companion, in fact the shadow, of disease. Now, though not the
first cause in this instance, it has been indubitably proved,
that much of the effect, the fever and pain, are produced and
continued by the active, omnipresent, sleepless sperm. Either
kill the micrococcus or heal the wound, and you are free from
both. It being, therefore, granted that the ills of life are in
the air, we have but to find the peculiar nature of the case in
hand, its habits, tastes, and constitution, in order to destroy
it. Impoverish the soil on which it thrives, before its arrival,
if you can foresee the nature of the inoculation to which you
will be exposed, by a dilute solution of itself, and supply it
only with what it particularly dislikes. For an already
established tubercle requiring rapid action of the blood, such as
may well exist among the birds and vertebrates of Jupiter and
Saturn, I suggest a hypodermic rattlesnake injection, while
hydrocyanic acid and tarantula saliva may also come in well. The
combinations that so long destroyed us have already become our
"I see you have these poisons at your fingers' ends," said
Ayrault, "and we shall feel the utmost confidence in the remedies
and directions you prescribe."
They found that, in addition to their medicine-chest, they would
have to make room for the following articles, and also many more:
six shot-guns (three double-barrel 12-bores, three magazine
10-bores,) three rifles, three revolvers; a large supply of
ammunition (explosive and solid balls), hunting-knives,
fishing-tackle, compass, sextant, geometrical instruments, canned
food for forty days, appliance for renewing air, clothing, rubber
boots, apergetic apparatus, protection-wires, aneroid barometer,
At last the preparations were completed, and it was arranged that
the Callisto should begin its journey at eleven o'clock A. M.,
December 21st--the northern hemisphere's shortest day.
Though six months' operations could hardly be expected to have
produced much change in the inclination of the earth's axis, the
autumn held on wonderfully, and December was pronounced very
mild. Fully a million people were in and about Van Cortlandt
Park hours before the time announced for the start, and those
near looked inquiringly at the trim little air-ship, that, having
done well on the trial trip, rested on her longitudinal and
transverse keels, with a battery of chemicals alongside, to make
sure of a full power supply.
The President and his Cabinet--including, of course, the shining
lights of the State and Navy Departments--came from Washington.
These, together with Mr. and Mrs. Preston, and a number of people
with passes, occupied seats arranged at the sides of the
platform; while sightseers and scientists assembled from every
part of the world.
"There's a ship for you!" said Secretary Stillman to the
Secretary of the Navy. "She'll not have to be dry-docked for
barnacles, neither will the least breeze make the passengers
"That's all you landlubbers think of," replied Deepwaters. "I
remember one of the kings over in Europe said to me, as he
introduced me to the queen: 'Your Secretary of State is a great
man, but why does he always part his hair in the middle?'
"'So that it shall not turn his head,' I replied.
"'But with so gallant and handsome an officer as you to lean
upon,' he answered, 'I should think he could look down on all the
world.' Whereupon I asked him what he'd take to drink."
"Your apology is accepted," replied Secretary Stillman.
Cortlandt also came from Washington, where, as chief of the
Government's Expert Examiners Board, he had temporary quarters.
Bearwarden sailed over the spectators' heads in one of the
Terrestrial Axis Straightening Company's flying machines, while
Ayrault, to avoid the crowd, had come to the Callisto early, and
was showing the interior arrangements to Sylvia, who had
accompanied him. She was somewhat piqued because at the last
moment he had not absolutely insisted on carrying her off, or
offered, if necessary, to displace his presidential and
Doctor-of-Laws friends in order to make room.
"You will have an ideal trip," she said, looking over some
astronomical star-charts and photographic maps of Jupiter and
Saturn that lay on the table, with a pair of compasses, "and I
hope you won't lose your way."
"I shall need no compass to find my way back," replied Ayrault,
"if I ever succeed in leaving this planet; neither will
star-charts be necessary, for you will be a magnet stronger than
any compass, and, compared with my star, all others are dim."
"You should write a book," said Sylvia, "and put some of those
things in it." She was wearing a bunch of forget-me-nots and
violets that she had cut from a small flower-garden of potted
plants Ayrault had sent her, which she had placed in her father's
At this moment the small chime clock set in the Callisto's
wood-work rang out quarter to eleven. As the sounds died away,
Sylvia became very pale, and began to regret in her womanly way
that she had allowed her hero to attempt this experiment.
"Oh," she said, clinging to his arm, "it was very wrong of me to
let you begin this. I was so dazzled by the splendour of your
scheme when I heard it, and so anxious that you should have the
glory of being the first to surpass Columbus, that I did not
realize the full meaning. I thought, also, you seemed rather
ready to leave me," she added gently, "and so said little; you do
not know how it almost breaks my heart now that I am about to
lose you. It was quixotic to let you undertake this journey."
"An undertaker would have given me his kind offices for one even
longer, had I remained here," replied Ayrault. "I cannot live in
this humdrum world without you. The most sustained excitement
cannot even palliate what seems to me like unrequited love."
"O Dick!" she exclaimed, giving him a reproachful glance, "you
mustn't say that. You know you have often told me my reason for
staying and taking my degree was good. My lot will be very much
harder than yours, for you will forget me in the excitement of
discovery and adventure; but I--what can I do in the midst of all
the old associations?"
"Never mind, sweetheart," he said, kissing her hand, "I have
seemed on the verge of despair all the time."
Seeing that their separation must shortly begin, Ayrault tried to
assume a cheerful look; but as Sylvia turned her eyes away they
were suspiciously moist.
Just one minute before the starting-time Ayrault took Sylvia back
to her mother, and, after pressing her hand and having one last
long look into her--or, as he considered them, HIS--deep-sea
eyes, he returned to the Callisto, and was standing at the foot
of the telescopic aluminum ladder when his friends arrived. As
all baggage and impedimenta bad been sent aboard and properly
stowed the day before, the travellers had not to do but climb to
and enter by the second-story window. It distressed Bearwarden
that the north pole's exact declination on the 21st day of
December, when the axis was most inclined, could not be figured
out by the hour at which they were to start, so as to show what
change, if any, had already been brought about, but the
astronomers were working industriously, and promised that, if it
were finished by midnight, they would telegraph the result into
space by flash-light code.
Raising his hat to his fiancee and his prospective
parents-in-law, Ayrault followed them up. To draw in and fold
the ladder was but the work of a moment. As the clocks in the
neighbouring steeples began to strike eleven, Ayrault touched the
switch that would correspond to the throttle of an engine, and
the motors began to work at rapidly increasing speed. Slowly the
Callisto left her resting-place as a Galatea might her pedestal,
only, instead of coming down, she rose still higher.
A large American flag hanging from the window, which, as they
started, fluttered as in a southern zephyr, soon began to flap as
in a stiff breeze as the car's speed increased. With a final
wave, at which a battery of twenty-one field-pieces made the air
ring with a salute, and the multitude raised a mighty cheer, they
drew it in and closed the window, sealing it hermetically in
order to keep in the air that, had an opening remained, would
soon have become rarefied.
Sylvia had waved her handkerchief with the utmost enthusiasm, in
spite of the sadness at her heart. But she now had other use for
it in trying to hide her tears. The Callisto was still going
straight up, with a speed already as great as a cannon ball's,
and was almost out of sight. The multitude then began to
disperse, and Sylvia returned to her home.
Let us now follow the Callisto. The earth and Jupiter not being
exactly in opposition, as they would be if the sun, the earth,
and Jupiter were in line, with the earth between the two, but
rather as shown in the diagram, the Callisto's journey was
considerably more than 380,000,000 miles, the mean opposition
distance. As they wished to start by daylight--i. e., from the
side of the earth turned towards the sun--they could not steer
immediately for Jupiter, but were obliged to go a few hundred
miles in the direction of the sun, then change their course to
something like a tangent to the earth, and get their final right
direction in swinging near the moon, since they must be
comparatively near some material object to bring apergy into
The maximum power being turned on, the projectile shot from the
earth with tremendous and rapidly increasing speed, by the
shortest course--i. e., a straight line--so that for the present
it was not necessary to steer. Until beyond the limits of the
atmosphere they kept the greatest apergetic repulsion focused on
the upper part of their cylinder, so that its point went first,
and they encountered least possible resistance. Looking through
the floor windows, therefore, the travellers had a most superb
view. The air being clear, the eastern border of North America
and the Atlantic were outlined as on a map, the blue of the ocean
and brownish colour of the land, with white snow- patches on the
elevations, being very marked. The Hudson and the Sound appeared
as clearly defined blue ribbons, and between and around the two
they could see New York. They also saw the ocean dotted for
miles with points in which they recognized the marine spiders and
cruisers of the North Atlantic squadron, and the ships on the
home station, which they knew were watching them through their
"I see," said Cortlandt, "that Deepwaters has been as good as his
word, and has his ships on the watch to rescue us in case we
"Yes," replied Bearwarden, "he is the right sort. When he gave
that promise I knew his men would be there."
They soon perceived that they had reached the void of space, for,
though the sun blazed with a splendour they had never before
seen, the firmament was intensely black, and the stars shone as
at midnight. Here they began to change their course to a curve
beginning with a spiral, by charging the Callisto apergetically,
and directing the current towards the moon, to act as an aid to
the lunar attraction, while still allowing the earth to repel,
and their motion gradually became the resultant of the two
forces, the change from a straight line being so gradual,
however, that for some minutes they scarcely perceived it. The
coronal streamers about the sun, such as are visible on earth
during a total eclipse, shone with a halo against the
ultra-Cimmerian background, bursting forth to a height of twenty
or thirty thousand miles above the surface in vast cyclonic
storms, producing so rapid a motion that a column of incandescent
gas may move ten thousand miles in less than ten minutes.
Whether these great streaks were in part electrical phenomena
similar to the aurora borealis, or entirely of intensely heated
material thrown up by explosions within the sun's mass, they
could not tell even from their point of vantage.
"I believe," said Cortlandt, pointing to the streamers, "that
they are masses of gas thrown beyond the sun's atmosphere, which
expand enormously when the pressure to which they are subjected
in the sun is removed--for only in space freed from resistance
could they move at such velocities, and that their brilliancy is
increased by great electrical disturbance. If they were entirely
the play of electrical forces, their change of place would be
practically instantaneous, which, however rapid their movement,
is not the case."
THE LAST OF THE EARTH.
Finding that they were rapidly swinging towards their proper
course, and that the earth in its journey about the sun would
move out of their way, they divided their power between repelling
the body they had left and increasing the attraction of the moon,
and then set about getting their house in order.
Bearwarden, having the largest appetite, was elected cook, the
others sagely divining that labour so largely for himself would
be no trial. Their small but business- like-looking electric
range was therefore soon in full blast, with Bearwarden in
command. It had enough current to provide heat for cooking for
four hundred hours, which was an ample margin, and it had this
advantage, that, no matter how much it was used, it could not
exhaust the air as any other form of heat would.
There were also a number of sixteen-candle-power incandescent
lamps, so that when passing through the shadow of a planet, or at
night after their arrival on Jupiter, their car would be brightly
illuminated. They had also a good search-light for examining the
dark side of a satellite, or exploring the spaces in Saturn's
rings. Having lunched sumptuously on canned chicken soup, beef
a la jardiniere, and pheasant that had been sent them by some of
their admirers that morning, they put the bones and the glass can
that had contained the soup into the double-doored partition or
vestibule, placing a large sheet of cardboard to act as a wad
between the scraps and the outside door. By pressing a button
they unfastened the outside door, and the articles to be disposed
of were shot off by the expansion of the air between the
cardboard disk and the inside door; after which the outside door
was drawn back to its place by a current sent through a magnet,
but little power being required to reclose it with no resisting
atmospheric pressure. As the electricity ran along a wire
passing through a hermetically sealed opening in the floor, there
was no way by which more air than that in the vestibule could
escape; and as the somewhat flat space between the doors
contained less than one cubic foot, the air- pressure inside the
Callisto could not be materially lessened by a few openings.
"By filling the vestibule as full as possible," said Bearwarden,
"and so displacing most of its air, we shall be able to open the
outside door oftener without danger of rarefaction."
The things they had discharged flew off with considerable speed
and were soon out of sight; but it was not necessary for them to
move fast, provided they moved at all, for, the resistance being
nil, they would be sure to go beyond the range of vision,
provided enough time was allowed, even if the Callisto's speed
was not being increased by apergy, in which case articles outside
and not affected would be quickly left behind.
The earth, which at first had filled nearly half their sky, was
rapidly growing smaller. Being almost between themselves and the
sun, it looked like a crescent moon; and when it was only about
twenty times the size of the moon they calculated they must have
come nearly two hundred thousand miles. The moon was now on what
a sailor would call the starboard bow--i. e., to the right and
ahead. Being a little more than three quarters full, and only
about fifty thousand miles off, it presented a splendid sight,
brilliant as polished silver, and about twenty-five times as
large as they had ever before seen it with the unaided eye.
It was just ten hours since they had started, and at that moment
9 A. M. in New York; but, though it was night there, the Callisto
was bathed in a flood of sunlight such as never shines on earth.
The only night they would have was on the side of the Callisto
turned away from the sun, unless they passed through some shadow,
which they intended to avoid on account of the danger of
colliding with a meteor in the dark. The moon and the Callisto
were moving on converging lines, the curve on which they had
entered having swung them to the side nearest the earth; but they
saw that their own tremendous and increasing speed would carry
them in front of the moon in its nearly circular orbit. Wishing
to change the direction of their flight by the moon's attraction,
they shut off the power driving them from the earth, whereupon
the Callisto turned its heavy base towards the moon. They were
already moving at such speed that their momentum alone would
carry them hundreds of thousands of miles into space, and were
then almost abreast of the earth's satellite, which was but a few
thousand miles away. The spectacle was magnificent. As they
looked at it through their field glasses or with the unaided eye,
the great cracks and craters showed with the utmost clearness,
sweeping past them almost as the landscape flies past a railway
train. There was something awe-inspiring in the vast antiquity
of that furrowed lunar surface, by far the oldest thing that
mortal eye can see, since, while observing the ceaseless
political or geological changes on earth, the face of this dead
satellite, on account of the absence of air and water and
consequent erosion, has remained unchanged for bygone ages, as it
doubtless will for many more.
They closely watched the Callisto's course. At first it did not
seem to deflect from a straight line, and they stood ready to
turn on the apergetic force again, when the car very slowly began
to show the effect of the moon's near pull; but not till they had
so far passed it that the dark side was towards them were they
heading straight for Jupiter. Then they again turned on full
power and got a send-off shove on the moon and earth combined,
which increased their speed so rapidly that they felt they could
soon shut off the current altogether and save their supply.
"We must be ready to watch the signals from the arctic circle,"
said Bearwarden. "At midnight, if the calculations are finished,
the result will be flashed by the searchlight." It was then ten
minutes to twelve, and the earth was already over four hundred
thousand miles away. Focusing their glasses upon the region near
the north pole, which, being turned from the sun, was towards
them and in darkness, they waited.
"In this blaze of sunlight," said Cortlandt, "I am afraid we can
Fortunately, at this moment the Callisto entered the moon's
"This," said Ayrault, "is good luck. We could of course have
gone into the shadow; but to change our course would have delayed
us, and we might have lost part of the chance of increasing our
"There will be no danger from, meteors or sub-satellites here,"
said Bearwarden, "for anything revolving about the moon at this
distance would be caught by the earth."
The sun had apparently set behind the moon, and they were
eclipsed. The stars shone with the utmost splendour against the
dead-black sky, and the earth appeared as a large crescent, still
considerably larger than the satellite to which they were
accustomed. Exactly at midnight a faint phosphorescent light,
like that of a glow-worm, appeared in the region of Greenland on
the planet they had left. It gradually increased its strength
till it shone like a long white beam projected from a lighthouse,
and in this they beheld the work of the greatest search-light
ever made by man, receiving for a few moments all the electricity
generated by the available dynamos at Niagara and the Bay of
Fundy, the steam engines, and other sources of power in the
northern hemisphere. The beam lasted with growing intensity for
one minute; it then spelled out with clean-cut intervals,
according to the Cable Code: "23@ no' 6". The southern
hemisphere pumps are now raising and storing water at full blast.
We have already begun to lower the Arctic Ocean."
"Victory!" shouted Bearwarden, in an ecstasy of delight. "Nearly
half a degree in six months, with but one pole working. If we
can add at this rate each time to the speed of straightening
already acquired, we can reverse our engines in five years, and
in five more the earth will be at rest and right."
"Look!" said Ayrault, "they are sending something else." The
flashes came in rapid succession, reaching far into space. With
their glasses fixed upon them, they made out these sentences:
"Our telescopes, in whatever part of the earth was turned towards
you, have followed you since you started, and did not lose sight
of you till you entered the moon's shadow. On your present
course you will be in darkness till 12.16, when we shall see you
On receiving this last earthly message, the travellers sprang to
their searchlight, and, using its full power, telegraphed back
the following: "Many thanks to you for good news about earth,
and to Secretary Deepwaters for lending us the navy. Result of
work most glorious. Remember us to everybody. Shadow's edge
This was read by the men in the great observatories, who
evidently telephoned to the arctic Signal Light immediately, for
it flashed back: "Got your message perfectly. Wish you greatest
luck. The T. A. S. Co. has decked the Callisto's pedestal with
flowers, and has ordered a tablet set up on the site to
commemorate your celestial journey."
At that moment the shadow swept by, and they were in the full
blaze of cloudless day. The change was so great that for a
moment they were obliged to close their eyes. The polished sides
of the Callisto shone so brightly that they knew they were easily
seen. The power temporarily diverted in sending them the message
then returned to the work of draining the Arctic Ocean, which, as
the north pole was now returning to the sun, was the thing to do,
and the travellers resumed their study of the heavenly bodies.
SPACE AND MARS.
Never before had the travellers observed the stars and planets
under such favourable conditions. No air or clouds intervened,
and as the Callisto did not revolve on its axis there was no
necessity for changing the direction of the glasses. After an
hour of this interesting work, however, as it was already late at
the longitude they had left on earth, and as they knew they had
many days in space before them, they prepared to go to bed. When
ready, they had only to pull down the shades; for, as apergy was
not applied to them, but only to the Callisto, they still looked
upon the floor as down, and closed the heavy curtains to have
night or darkness. They found that the side of the Callisto
turned constantly towards the sun was becoming very warm, the
double-toughened glass windows making it like a greenhouse; but
they consoled themselves with the thought that the sun's power on
them was hourly becoming less, and they felt sure the double
walls and thick upholstery would protect them almost anywhere
within the solar system from the intense cold of space.
"We could easily have arranged," said Ayrault, for night and day
on alternate sides of the Callisto by having strips of metal
arranged spirally on the outside as on the end of an arrow.
These would have started us turning as slowly as we like, since
we passed through the atmosphere at a comparatively low rate of
"I am afraid," said Cortlandt, "the motion, however slow, would
have made us dizzy. It would be confusing to see the heavens
turning about us, and it would interfere with using the glasses."
The base and one side of the Callisto had constant sunshine,
while the other side and the dome were in the blackest night.
This dome, on account of its shape, sky windows, and the
completeness with which it could be isolated, was an ideal
observatory, and there was seldom a time during their waking
hours for the rest of the journey when it was not occupied by
one, two, or all the observers.
"There is something marvellous," said Cortlandt, "about the
condition of space. Its absolute cold is appalling, apparently
because there is nothing to absorb heat; yet we find the base of
this material projectile uncomfortably warm, though, should we
expose a thermometer in the shade in front, we know it would show
a temperature of three hundred to four hundred degrees below
zero--were the instrument capable of recording it."
Artificial darkness having been obtained, the travellers were
soon asleep, Bearwarden's dreams being regaled with thoughts of
his company's triumph; Ayrault's, naturally, with visions of
Sylvia; while Cortlandt frequently started up, thinking he had
already made some great astronomical discovery.
About 9 A. M., according to seventy-fifth meridian time, the
explorers awoke feeling greatly refreshed. The tank in which the
liquefied oxygen was kept automatically gave off its gas so
evenly that the air remained normal, while the lime contained in
cups absorbed the carbon dioxide as fast as they exhaled it.
They had darkened those windows through which the sun was
actually pouring, for, on account of the emptiness of the
surrounding ether and consequent absence of diffusion of light,
nothing but the inky blackness of space and the bright stars
looked in at the rest. On raising the shades they got an idea of
their speed. A small crescent, smaller than the familiar moon,
accompanied by one still tinier, was all that could be seen of
the earth and its satellite.
"We must," said Bearwarden, "be moving at the rate of nearly a
million miles an hour, from the way we have travelled."
"We must be doing fully a million," replied Cortlandt, "for by
this time we are pretty well in motion, having got a tremendous
start when so near the moon, with it and the earth in line."
By steering straight for Jupiter, instead of for the place it
would occupy ten days later, they knew they would swing past, for
the giant planet, being in rapid motion, would advance; but they
did not object to this, since it would give them a chance to
examine their new world in case they wished to do so before
alighting; while, if they preferred to land at once, they could
easily change their course by means of the moons, the fourth,
from which their car was named, being the one that they knew
would be of most use. Their tremendous speed showed them they
should have time for exploration on their arrival, and that they
would reach their destination sooner than they had expected. The
apergetic force being applied, as we have seen, only to the
Callisto, just as power in starting is exerted on a carriage or
railway car and only through it to the passengers, Ayrault and
his companions had no unusual sensation except loss of weight,
for, when they were so far from the earth, its attraction was
very slight, and no other planet was near enough to take its
place. After breakfast, wishing to reach the dome, and realizing
that it would be unnecessary to climb, each in turn gave a slight
spring and was obliged to put up his hands to avoid striking the
roof. In the cool quiet of the dark dome it was difficult to
believe that only twenty feet away the sun was shining with such
intensity upon the metal base as to make it too hot on the inside
to touch without gloves.
The first thing that attracted their attention was the size and
brilliance of Mars. Although this red planet was over forty
million miles from the earth when they started, they calculated
that it was less than thirty million miles from them now, or five
millions nearer than it had ever been to them before. This
reduction in distance, and the clearness of the void through
which they saw it, made it a splendid sight, its disk showing
clearly. From hour to hour its size and brightness increased,
till towards evening it looked like a small, full moon, the sun
shining squarely upon it. They calculated that on the course
they were moving they should pass about nine hundred thousand
miles to the right or behind it, since it was moving towards
their left. They were interested to see what effect the mass of
Mars would have on the Callisto, and saw here a chance of still
further increasing their speed. Notwithstanding its tremendous
rate, they expected to see the Callisto swerve from its straight
line and move towards Mars, whose orbital speed of nine hundred
miles a minute they thought would take it out of the Callisto's
way, so that no actual collision would occur even if their
air-ship were left to her own devices.
Towards evening they noticed through their glasses that several
apparently island peaks in the southern hemisphere, which was
turned towards them, became white, from which they concluded that
a snow-storm was in progress. The south polar region was also
markedly glaciated, though the icecap was not as extensive as
either of those at the poles of the earth.
"As the Martian winters must be fully as severe as ours," said
Cortlandt, "on account of their length, the planet's distance
from the sun, and the twenty-seven and a half degrees inclination
of its axis, we can account for the smallness of its ice-caps
only by the fact that its oceans cover but one fourth of its
surface instead of three quarters, as on the earth, and there is
consequently a smaller evaporation and rain and snow-fall."
They were too much interested to think of sleeping that night,
and so, after dining comfortably returned to their observatory.
When within four million miles of Mars the Callisto began to
swerve perceptibly, its curve, as when near the moon beginning
with a spiral. They swung on unconcernedly, however, knowing
they could check their approach at any time. Soon Mars appeared
to have a diameter ten times as great as that of the moon, and
promised shortly to occupy almost one side of their sky.
"We must be on the lookout for the satellites," said Cortlandt;
"a collision with either would be worse than a wreck on a desert
They therefore turned their glasses in the direction of the
"Until Prof. Hall, at Washington, discovered the two satellites
in 1877," he continued, "Mars was supposed to be without moons.
The outer one, Deimos, is but six miles in diameter, and revolves
about its primary in thirty hours and eighteen minutes, at a
distance of fourteen thousand six hundred miles. As it takes but
little longer to complete a revolution than Mars does to rotate
on its axis, it remains in the Martial sky one hundred and
thirty-two hours between rising and setting, passing through all
the phases from new moon to full and back again four times; that
is, it swings four times around Mars before going below the
horizon. It is one of the smallest bodies discovered with a
telescope. The inner one, Phobos, is considerably larger, having
a diameter of about twenty miles. It is but twenty-seven hundred
miles from Mars's surface, and completes its revolution in seven
hours and thirty-eight minutes, which is shorter than any other
known period, Jupiter's nearest moon being the next, with eleven
hours and fifty- nine minutes. It thus revolves in less than a
third of the time Mars takes to rotate, and must consequently
rise in the west and set in the east, as it is continually
running ahead of the surface of the planet, though the sun and
all the other stars rise and set on Mars in the same way as on
When about fifteen thousand miles from Mars, they sighted Deimos
directly ahead, and saw that they should pass on its left--i. e.,
behind--for it was moving across them. The sun poured directly
upon it, making it appear full and showing all its features.
There were small unevennesses on the surface, apparently seventy
or a hundred feet high, which were the nearest approach to
mountains, and they ran in ridges or chains. There were also
unmistakable signs of volcanic action, the craters being large
compared with the size of the planet, but shallow. They saw no
signs of water, and the blackness of the shadows convinced them
there was no air. They secured two instantaneous photographs of
the little satellite as the Callisto swept by, and resumed their
inspection of Mars. They noticed red and brownish patches on the
peaks that had that morning turned white, from which they
concluded that the show had begun to melt under the warm spring
sun. This strengthened the belief they had already formed, that
on account of its twenty-seven and a half degrees inclination the
changes in temperature on Mars must be great and sudden. So
interested were they with this, that they did not at first see a
large and bright body moving rapidly on a course that converged
"We must be ready to repel boarders," said Bearwarden, observing
it for the first time and fixing his glass upon it. "That must
Not ten miles off they beheld Mars's inner moon, and though their
own speed caused them to overtake and rush by it like a
whirlwind, the satellite's rapid motion in its orbit, in a course
temporarily almost parallel with theirs, served to give them a
chance the better to examine it. Here the mountain ranges were
considerably more conspicuous than on Deimos, and there were
boulders and loose stones upon their slopes, which looked as if
there might at some time have been frost and water on its
surface; but it was all dry now, neither was there any air. The
evidences of volcanic action were also plainly visible, while a
noticeable flattening at the poles showed that the little body
had once rotated rapidly on its axis, though whether it did so
still they had not time to ascertain. When abreast of it they
were less than two miles distant, and they secured several
instantaneous impressions, which they put aside to develop later.
As the radius of Phobos's circle was far shorter than that of the
parabolic curve they were making, it began to draw away, and was
rapidly left behind. Applying the full apergetic force to Mars
and the larger moon, they shot away like an arrow, having had
their speed increased by the planet's attraction while
approaching it, and subsequently by repulsion.
"Either of those," said Bearwarden, looking back at the little
satellites, "would be a nice yacht for a man to explore space on.
He would also, of course, need a sun to warm him, if he wished to
go beyond this system, but that would not have to be a large
affair--in fact, it might be smaller than the planet, and could
revolve about it like a moon."
"Though a sun of that size," replied Cortlandt, "might retain its
heat for the time you wished to use it, the planet part would be
nothing like as comfortable as what we have here, for it would be
very difficult to get enough air-pressure to breathe on so small
a body, since, with its slight gravitation-pull, to secure
fifteen pounds to the square inch, or anything like it, the
atmosphere would have to extend thousands of miles into space, so
that on a cloudy day you would be in darkness. It would be
better, therefore, to have such a sun as you describe and
accompany it in a yacht or private car like this, well stocked
with oxygen and provisions. When passing through meteoric swarms
or masses of solid matter, collision with which is the most
serious risk we run, the car could follow behind its sun instead
of revolving around it, and be kept from falling into it by
partially reversing the attraction. As the gravitation of so
small a sun would be slight, counteracting it for even a
considerable time would take but little from the batteries."
"There are known to be several unclaimed masses," added Ayrault,
"with diameters of a few hundred yards, revolving about the earth
inside the orbit of the moon. If in some way two of these could
be brought into sufficiently violent collision, they would become
luminous and answer very well; the increase in bulk as a result
of the consolidation, and the subsequent heat, about serving to
bring them to the required size. Whenever this sun showed spots
and indications of cooling, it could be made to collide with the
solid head of some comet, or small asteroid, till its temperature
was again right; while if, as a result of these accretions, it
became unwieldy, it could be caused to rotate with sufficient
rapidity on its axis to split, and we should have two suns
instead of one."
"Bravo!" said Bearwarden. "There is no limit to what can be
done. The idea of our present trip would have seemed more
chimerical to people a hundred years ago than this new scheme
Thus they sat and talked, or studied maps and star- charts, or
the stars themselves, while the hours quickly passed and they
shot through space. They had now a straight stretch of over
three hundred million miles, and had to cross the orbits of
innumerable asteroids on the way. The apparent size of the sun
had by this time considerably decreased, and the interior of the
Callisto was no longer uncomfortably warm. They divided the day
into twenty-four hours from force of habit, and drew the shades
tightly during what they considered night, while Bearwarden
distinguished himself as a cook.
The following day, while in their observatory, they saw something
not many miles ahead. They watched it for hours, and in fact all
day, but notwithstanding their tremendous speed they came but
"They say a stern chase is a long one," said Bearwarden; but that
beats anything I have ever seen."
After a while, however, they found they WERE nearer, the time
taken having been in part due to the deceptive distance, which
was greater than they supposed.
"A comet!" exclaimed Cortlandt excitedly. "We shall really be
able to examine it near."
"It's going in our direction," said Ayrault, "and at almost
exactly our speed."
While the sun shone full upon it they brought their camera into
play, and again succeeded in photographing a heavenly body at
close range. The nucleus or head was of course turned towards
the sun; while the tail, which they could see faintly, preceded
it, as the comet was receding towards the cold and dark depths of
space. The head was only a few miles in diameter, for it was a
small comet, and was composed of grains and masses of stone and
meteoric iron. Many of the grains were no larger than peas or
mustard-seeds; no mass was more than four feet in diameter, and
all of them had very irregular shapes. The space between the
particles was never less than one hundred times their masses.
"We can move about within it," said Ayrault, as the Callisto
entered the aggregation of particles, and moved slowly forward
The windows in the dome, being made of toughened glass, set
somewhat slantingly so as to deflect anything touching them, and
having, moreover, the pressure of the inside air to sustain them,
were fairly safe, while the windows in the sides and base were
but little exposed. Whenever a large mass seemed dangerously
near the glass, they applied an apergetic shock to it and sent it
kiting among its fellows. At these times the Callisto recoiled
slightly also, the resulting motion in either being in inverse
ratio to its weight. There was constant and incessant movement
among the individual fragments, but it was not rotary. Nothing
seemed to be revolving about anything else; all were moving,
apparently swinging back and forth, but no collisions took place.
When the separate particles got more than a certain distance
apart they reapproached one another, but when seemingly within
about one hundred diameters of each other they swung off in some
other direction. The motion was like that of innumerable
harp-strings, which may approach but never strike one another.
After a time the Callisto seemed to become endowed with the same
property that the fragments possessed; for it and they repelled
one another, on a near approach, after which nothing came very
Much of the material was like slag from a furnace, having
evidently been partly fused. Whether this heat was the result of
collision or of its near approach to the sun at perihelion, they
could not tell, though the latter explanation seemed most simple
and probable. When at about the centre of the nucleus they were
in semi-darkness--not twilight, for any ray that succeeded in
penetrating was dazzlingly brilliant, and the shadows, their own
included, were inky black. As they approached the farther side
and the sunlight decreased, they found that a diffused luminosity
pervaded everything. It was sufficiently bright to enable them
to see the dark side of the meteoric masses, and, on emerging
from the nucleus in total darkness, they found the shadow
stretching thousands of miles before them into space.
"I now understand," said Bearwarden, "why stars of the sixth and
seventh magnitude can be seen through thousands of miles of a
comet's tail. It is simply because there is nothing in it. The
reason ANY stars are obscured is because the light in the tail,
however faint, is brighter than they, and that light is all that
the caudal appendage consists of, though what produces it I
confess I am unable to explain. I also see why the tail always
stretches away from the sun, because near by it is overwhelmed by
the more powerful light; in fact, I suspect it is principally in
the comet's shadow that the tail is visible. It is strange that
no one ever thought of that before, or that any one feared the
earth's passing through the tail of a comet. It is obvious to me
now that if there were any material substance, any gas, however
rarefied, in this hairlike accompaniment, it would immediately
fall to the comparatively heavy head,
and surround that as a centre."
 Comet means literally a hair.
"How, then," asked Cortlandt, "do you account for the spaces
between those stones? However slight gravitation might be
between some of the grains, if it existed at all, or was
unopposed by some other force, with sufficient time--and they
have eternity--every comet would come together like a planet into
one solid mass. Perhaps some similar force maintains gases in
the distended tail, though I know of no such, or even any
analogous manifestation on earth. If the law on which we have
been brought up, that 'every atom in the universe attracts every
other atom,' were without exceptions or modifications, that comet
could not continue to exist in its present form. Until we get
some additional illustration, however, we shall be short of data
with which to formulate any iconoclastic hypothesis. The source
of the light, I must admit, also puzzles me greatly. There is
certainly no heat to which we can attribute it."
Having gone beyond the fragments, they applied a strong repulsion
charge to the comet, creating thereby a perfect whirlpool among
its particles, and quickly left it. Half an hour later they
again shut off the current, as the Callisto's speed was
For some time they had been in the belt of asteroids, but as yet
they had seen none near. The morning following their experience
with the comet, however, they went to their observatory after
breakfast as usual, and, on pointing their glasses forward,
espied a comparatively large body before them, a little to their
"That must be Pallas," said Cortlandt, scrutinizing it closely.
"It was discovered by Olbers, in 1802, and was the second
asteroid found, Ceres having been the first, in 1801. It has a
diameter of about three hundred miles, being one of the largest
of these small planets. The most wonderful thing about it is the
inclination of its orbit--thirty-five degrees--to the plane of
the ecliptic; which means that at each revolution in its orbit,
it swings that much above and below the imaginary plane cutting
the sun at its equator, from which the earth and other larger
planets vary but little. This no doubt is due to the near
approach and disturbing attraction of some large comet, or else
it was flung above or below the ordinary plane in the catastrophe
that we think befell the large planet that doubtless formerly
existed where we now find this swarm. You can see that its path
makes a considerable angle to the plane of the ecliptic, and that
it is now about crossing the line."
It soon presented the phase of a half moon, but the waviness of
the straight line, as in the case of Venus and Mercury, showed
that the size of the mountains must be tremendous compared with
the mass of the body, some of them being obviously fifteen miles
high. The intense blackness of the shadows, as on the moon,
convinced them there was no trace of atmosphere.
"There being no air," said Cortlandt, "it is safe to assume there
is no water, which helps to account for the great inequalities on
the body's surface, since the mountains will seem higher when
surrounded by dry ocean- bottom than they would if water came
halfway up their sides. Undoubtedly, however, the main cause of
their height is the slight effect of gravitation on an asteroid,
and the fact that the shrinking of the interior, and consequent
folding of the crust in ridges, may have continued for a time
after there was no longer water on the surface to cut them down.
"The temperature and condition of a body," continued Cortlandt,
"seem to depend entirely on its size. In the sun we have an
incandescent, gaseous star, though its spots and the colour of
its rays show that it is becoming aged, or, to be more accurate,
advanced in its evolutionary development. Then comes a great
jump, for Jupiter has but about one fourteen-hundredth of the
mass of the sun, and we expect to find on it a firm crust, and
that the planet itself is at about the fourth or fifth period of
development, described by Moses as days. Saturn is doubtless
somewhat more advanced. The earth we know has been habitable
many hundreds of thousands or millions of years, though three
fourths of its surface is still covered by water. In Mars we see
a further step, three fourths of its surface being land. In
Mercury, could we study it better, or in the larger satellites of
Jupiter or Saturn, we might find a stepping-stone from Mars to
the moon, perhaps with no water, but still having air, and being
habitable in all other respects. In our own satellite we see a
world that has died, though its death from an astronomical point
of view is comparatively recent, while this little Pallas has
been dead longer, being probably chilled through and through.
From this I conclude that all bodies in the solar system had one
genesis, and were part of the same nebulous mass. But this does
not include the other systems and nebulae; for, compared with
them, our sun, as we have seen, is itself advanced and small
beside such stars as Sirius having diameters of twelve million
As they left Pallas between themselves and the sun, it became a
crescent and finally disappeared.
Two days later they sighted another asteroid exactly ahead. They
examined it closely, and concluded it must be Hilda, put down in
the astronomies as No. 153, and having almost the greatest mean
distance of any of these small bodies from the sun.
When they were so near that the disk was plainly visible to the
unaided eye, Hilda passed between them and Jupiter, eclipsing it.
To their surprise, the light was not instantly shut off, as when
the moon occults a star, but there was evident refraction.
"By George!" said Bearwarden, "here is an asteroid that HAS an
There was no mistaking it. They soon discovered a small ice-cap
at one pole, and then made out oceans and continents, with
mountains, forests, rivers, and green fields. The sight lasted
but a few moments before they swept by, but they secured several
photographs, and carried a vivid impression in their minds.
Hilda appeared to be about two hundred miles in diameter.
"How do you account for that living world," Bearwarden asked
Cortlandt, "on your theory of size and longevity?"
"There are two explanations," replied Cortlandt, "if the theory,
as I still believe, is correct. Hilda has either been brought to
this system from some other less matured, in the train of a
comet, and been captured by the immense power of "Jupiter, which
might account for the eccentricity of its orbit, or some accident
has happened to rejuvenate it here. A collision with another
minor planet moving in an orbit that crossed its own, or with the
head of a large comet, would have reconverted it into a star,
perhaps after it had long been cold. A comet may first have so
changed the course of one of two small bodies as to make them
collide. This seems to me the most plausible theory. Over a
hundred years ago the English astronomer, Chambers, wrote of
having found traces of atmosphere in some of these minor planets,
but it was generally thought he was mistaken. One reason we know
so little about this great swarm of minor planets is, that till
recently none of them showed a disk to the telescope. Inasmuch
as only their light was visible, they were indistinguishable from
stars, except by their slow motion. A hundred years ago only
three hundred and fifty had been discovered; our photographic
star-charts have since then shown the number recorded to exceed
PREPARING TO ALIGHT.
That afternoon Ayrault brought out some statistical tables he had
compiled from a great number of books, and also a diagram of the
comparative sizes of the planets. "I have been not a little
puzzled at the discrepancies between even the best authors," he
said, "scarcely any two being exactly alike, while every decade
has seen accepted theories radically changed." Saying which, he
spread out the result of his labours (shown on the following
pages), which the three friends then studied.
(1) Mean distance from sun in millions of miles
(2) Semimajor axis of orbit, earth's distance as 1
(3) Eccentricity of orbit
(4) Planets inclination of orbit to elliptic
(5) Light at perihelion
(6) Light at apehelion
(7) Heat, earth as 1
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
Mercury... 36.0 0.387 0.2056 7@0'8" 10.58 4.59 6.67
Venus..... 67.2 0.723 0.0068 3@23'35" 1.94 1.91 1.91
The Earth. 92.9 1.000 0.068 0@0'0" 1.03 0.997 1.00
Mars......141.5 1.524 0.0933 1@51'2" 0.52 0.360 1.43
Asteroids 204.4 to 2.200 0.4 to 5@-35@ 325.2 to 3.500 0.34
Jupiter.. 483.3 5.203 0.0483 1@18'41" 0.04 0.034 0.037
Saturn... 886.0 9.539 0.0561 2@29'40" 0.012 0.0099 0.011
Uranus.. 1781.9 19.183 0.0463 0@46'20" 0.0027 0.0025 0.003
Neptune. 2791.6 30.055 0.0090 1@47'2" 0.0011 0.0011 0.001
(1) MOVEMENT IN ORBIT. Velocity compared with earth as 1.
(2) MOVEMENT IN ORBIT. Period of revolution in years and days.
(3) MOVEMENT IN ORBIT. Orbital velocity in miles per second.
(4) Mean diameter in miles
(5) Surface compared with earth as 1.
(6) Volume compared with earth as 1.
(7) Mass compared with earth as 1.
Planets (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
Mercury..... 0.88 23 to 35 1.6 3,000 0.14 0.056 0.13
Venus.....0.224 1/2 21.9 1.17 7,700 0.94 0.92 0.78
The Earth... 1.00 18.5 1.0 7,918 1.00 1.00 1.00
Mars........ 1.88 15.0 0.81 4,230 0.28 0.139 0.124
Asteroids... 3.29 .... .... From a few to 6.56
miles to 300
Jupiter..... 11.86 8.1 0.44 86,500 118.3 1309.00 316.0
Saturn...... 29.46 6.0 0.32 1,000 0.4 760.0 95.0
Uranus...... 84.02 4.2 0.23 31,900 16.3 65.0 14.7
Neptune.... 164.78 3.4 0.18 34,800 19.3 90.0 17.1
(1) Length of day. hrs. min. sec.
(2) Length of seasons
(3) DENSITY Compared with earth as 1
(4) DENSITY Compared with water as 1
(5) FORCE OF GRAVITY AT SURFACE OF PLANET Compared with earth as
(6) FORCE OF GRAVITY AT SURFACE OF PLANET Bodies fall in one
(7) Inclination of axis.
Planets (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
Mercury. ........ ......... 1.24 7.17 0.85 13.7 .....
Venus... 23 21 22 ........ 0.92 5.21 0.83 13.4 53+
The Earth. ..... Spring, 93 1.00 5.67 1.00 16.09 23 1/2
Terrestrial days Autumn, 90
Mars... 24 37 23 Spring, 191 0.96 2.54 0.38 6.2 27 1/2
Martian days Autumn, 149
Jupiter. 9 55 28 ......... 0.22 1.29 2.55 40.98 1 1/2
Saturn..10 29 17 ......... 0.13 0.63 1.15 18.53 27
Uranus. ....... ......... 0.18 1.41 0.91 14.6 102(?)
Neptune......... ......... 0.20 0 0.88 14.2 .....
"You see," Ayrault explained, "on Jupiter we shall need our
apergetic outfits to enable us to make long marches, while on
Saturn they will not be necessary, the increase in our weight as
a result of that planet's size being considerably less than the
usual load carried by the Roman soldier."
"I do not imagine," said Cortlandt, "we should long be troubled
by gravitation without our apergetic outfits even on Jupiter,
for, though our weight will be more than doubled, we can take off
one quarter of the whole by remaining near the equator, their
rapid rotation having apparently been given providentially to all
the large planets. Nature will adapt herself to this change, as
to all others, very readily. Although the reclamation of the
vast areas of the North American Arctic Archipelago, Alaska,
Siberia, and Antarctic Wilkes Land, from the death-grip of the
ice in which they have been held will relieve the pressure of
population for another century, at the end of that time it will
surely be felt again; it is therefore a consolation to feel that
the mighty planets Jupiter and Saturn, which we are coming to
look upon as our heritage, will not crush the life out of any
human beings by their own weight that may alight upon them."
Before going to bed that evening they decided to be up early the
next day, to study Jupiter, which was already a brilliant object.
The following morning, on awakening, they went at once to their
observatory, and found that Jupiter's disk was plainly visible to
the naked eye, and before night it seemed as large as the full
They then prepared to check the Callisto's headlong speed, which
Jupiter's attraction was beginning to increase. When about two
million miles from the great planet, which was considerably on
their left, they espied Callisto ahead and slightly on their
right, as Deepwaters had calculated it would be. Applying a mild
repulsion to this--which was itself quite a world, with its
diameter of over three thousand miles, though evidently as cold
and dead as the earth's old moon--they retarded their forward
rush, knowing that the resulting motion towards Jupiter would be
helped by the giant's pull. Wishing to be in good condition for
their landing, they divided the remainder of the night into
watches, two going to sleep at a time, the man on duty standing
by to control the course and to get photographic negatives, on
which, when they were developed, they found two crescent-shaped
continents, a speckled region, and a number of islands. By 7 A.
M., according to Eastern standard time, they were but fifty
thousand miles from Jupiter's surface, the gigantic globe filling
nearly one side of the sky. In preparation for a sally, they got
their guns and accoutrements ready, and then gave a parting
glance at the car. Their charge of electricity for developing
the repulsion seemed scarcely touched, and they had still an
abundant supply of oxygen and provisions. The barometer
registered twenty-nine inches, showing that they had not lost
much air in the numerous openings of the vestibule. The pressure
was about what would be found at an altitude of a few hundred
feet, part of the rarefaction being no doubt due to the fact that
they did not close the windows until at a considerable height
above Van Cortlandt Park.
They saw they should alight in a longitude on which the sun had
just risen, the rocky tops of the great mountains shining like
helmets in its rays. Soon they felt a sharp checking of their
forward motion, and saw, from the changed appearance of the stars
and the sun, that they had entered the atmosphere of their new
Not even did Columbus, standing at the prow of the Santa Maria,
with the New World before him, feel the exultation and delight
experienced by these latter-day explorers of the twenty-first
century. Their first adventures on landing the reader already
EXPLORATION AND EXCITEMENT.
When they awoke, the flowers were singing with the volume of a
cathedral organ, the chant rising from all around them, and the
sun was already above the horizon. Finding a deep natural
spring, in which the water was at about blood-heat, they prepared
for breakfast by taking a bath, and then found they had brought
nothing to eat.
"It was stupid of us not to think of it," said Bearwarden, "yet
it will be too much out of our way to return to the Callisto."
"We have two rifles and a gun," said Ayrault, "and have also
plenty of water, and wood for a fire. All we need is game."
"The old excuse, that it has been already shot out, cannot hold
here," said Cortlandt.
"Seeing that we have neither wings nor pneumatic legs, and not
knowing the advantage given us by our rifles," added Bearwarden,
"it should not be shy either. So far," he continued, "we have
seen nothing edible, though just now we should not be too
particular; but near a spring like this that kind must exist."
"The question is," said the professor, "whether the game like
warm water. If we can follow this stream till it has been on the
surface for some time, or till it spreads out, we shall doubtless
find a huntsman's paradise."
"A bright idea," said Bearwarden. "Let's have our guns ready,
and, as old Deepwaters would say, keep our weather eye open."
The stream flowed off in a southeasterly direction, so that by
following it they went towards the volcanoes.
"It is hard to realize," said the professor, "that those
mountains must be several hundred miles away, for the reason that
they are almost entirely above the horizon. This apparent
flatness and wide range of vision is of course the result of
Jupiter's vast size. With sufficiently keen sight, or aided by a
good glass, there is no reason why one should not see at least
five hundred miles, with but a slight elevation."
"It is surprising," said Ayrault, "that in what is evidently
Jupiter's Carboniferous period the atmosphere should be so clear.
Our idea has been that at that time on earth the air was heavy
"So it was, and doubtless is here," replied Cortlandt; "but you
must remember that both those qualities would be given it by
carbonic-acid gas, which is entirely invisible and transparent.
No gas that would be likely to remain in the air would interfere
with sight; water vapour is the only thing that could; and though
the crust of this planet, even near the surface, is still hot,
the sun being so distant, the vapour would not be, raised much.
By avoiding low places near hot springs, we shall doubtless have
very nearly as clear an atmosphere as on earth. What does
surprise me is the ease with which we breathe. I can account for
it only by supposing that, the Carboniferous period being already
well advanced, most of the carbonic acid is already locked up in
the forests or in Jupiter's coal-beds."
"How, asked Bearwarden, "do you account for the 'great red spot'
that appeared here in 1878, lasted several years, and then
gradually faded? It was taken as unmistakable evidence that
Jupiter's atmosphere was filled with impenetrable banks of cloud.
In fact, you remember many of the old books said we had probably
never seen the surface."
"That has puzzled me very much," replied Cortlandt, "but I never
believed the explanation then given was correct. The
Carboniferous period is essentially one of great forest growth;
so there would be nothing out of the way in supposing the spot,
notwithstanding its length of twenty-seven thousand miles and its
breadth of eight thousand miles, to have been forest. It
occurred in what would correspond to the temperate region on
earth. Now, though the axis of this planet is practically
straight, the winds of course change their direction, and so the
temperature does vary from day to day. What is more probable
than that, owing perhaps to a prolonged norther or cold spell, a
long strip of forest lying near the frost line was brought a few
degrees below it, so that the leaves changed their colours as
they do on earth? It would, it seems to me, be enough to give
the surface a distinct colour; and the fact that the spot's
greatest length was east and west, or along the lines of
latitude, so that the whole of that region might have been
exposed to the same conditions of temperature, strengthens this
hypothesis. The strongest objection is, that the spot is said to
have moved; but the motion--five seconds--was so slight that it
might easily have been an error in observation, or the first area
affected by the cold may have been enlarged on one side. It
seems to me that the stability the spot DID have would make the
cloud theory impossible on earth, and much more so here, with the
far more rapid rotation and more violent winds. It may also have
been a cloud of smoke from a volcano in eruption, such as we saw
on our arrival, though it is doubtful whether in that case it
would have remained nearly stationary while going through its
greatest intensity and fading, which would look as though the
turned leaves had fallen off and been gradually replaced by new
ones; and, in addition to this, the spot since it was first
noticed has never entirely disappeared, which might mean a
volcanic region constantly emitting smoke, or that the surface,
doubtless from some covering whose colour can change, is normally
of a different shade from the surrounding region. In any case,
we have as yet seen nothing that would indicate a permanently
Though they had walked a considerable distance, the water was not
much cooled; and though the stream's descent was so slight that
on earth its current would have been very slow, here it rushed
along like a mountain torrent, the reason, of course, being that
a given amount of water on Jupiter would depress a spring balance
2.55 times as much as on the earth.
"It is strange," said Ayrault, "that, notwithstanding its great
speed, the water remains so hot; you would think its motion would
"So it does," answered the professor. "It of course cools
considerably more in a given period--as, for instance, one
minute--than if it were moving more slowly, but on account of its
speed it has been exposed to the air but a very short time since
leaving the spring."
Just before them the stream now widened into a narrow lake, which
they could see was straight for some distance.
"The fact is," said Bearwarden, "this water seems in such haste
to reach the ocean that it turns neither to right nor to left,
and does not even seem to wish to widen out."
As the huge ferns and palms grew to the water's edge, they
concluded the best way to traverse the lake would be on a raft.
Accordingly, choosing a large overhanging palm, Bearwarden and
Ayrault fired each an explosive ball into its trunk, about
eighteen inches from the ground. One round was enough to put it
in the water, each explosion removing several cubic feet of wood.
By repeating this process on other trees they soon had enough
large timber for buoyancy, so that they had but to superimpose
lighter cross-logs and bind the whole together with pliable
branches and creepers to form a substantial raft. The doctor
climbed on, after which Bearwarden and Ayrault cast off, having
prepared long poles for navigating. With a little care they kept
their bark from catching on projecting roots, and as the stream
continued to widen till it was about one hundred yards across,
their work became easy. Carried along at a speed of two or three
miles an hour, they now saw that the water and the banks they
passed were literally alive with reptiles and all sorts of
amphibious creatures, while winged lizards sailed from every
overhanging branch into the water as they approached. They
noticed also many birds similar to storks and cranes, about the
size of ostriches, standing on logs in the water, whose bills
were provided with teeth.
"We might almost think we were on earth," said Ayrault, "from the
looks of those storks standing on one leg, with the other drawn
up, were it not for their size."
"How do you suppose they defend themselves," asked Bearwarden,
"from the snakes with which the water is filled?"
"I suspect they can give a pretty good account of themselves,"
replied Cortlandt, "with those teeth. Besides, with only one leg
exposed, there is but a very small object for a snake to strike
at. For their number and size, I should say their struggle for
existence was comparatively mild. Doubtless non-poisonous, or,
for that matter, poisonous snakes, form a great part of their
On passing the bend in the lake they noticed that the banks were
slightly higher, while palms, pine-trees, and rubber plants
succeeded the ferns. In the distance they now heard a tremendous
crashing, which grew louder as the seconds passed. It finally
sounded like an earthquake. Involuntarily they held their breath
and grasped their weapons. Finally, at some distance in the
woods they saw a dark mass moving rapidly and approaching the
river obliquely. Palms and pine-trees went down before it like
straws, while its head was continually among the upper branches.
As the monster neared the lake, the water at the edges quivered,
showing how its weight shook the banks at each stride, while
stumps and tree-trunks on which it stepped were pressed out of
sight in the ground. A general exodus of the other inhabitants
from his line of march began; the moccasins slid into the water
with a low splash, while the boa-constrictors and the tree-snakes
moved off along the ground when they felt it tremble, and a
number of night birds retreated into the denser woods with loud
cries at being so rudely disturbed. The huge beast did not stop
till he reached the bank, where lie switched his tail, raised his
proboscis, and sniffed the air uneasily, his height being fully
thirty feet and his length about fifty. On seeing the raft and
its occupants, he looked at them stupidly and threw back his
"He seems to be turning up his nose at us," said Bearwarden.
"All the same, he will do well for breakfast."
As the creature moved, his chest struck a huge overhanging palm,
tearing it off as though it had been a reed. Brushing it aside
with his trunk, he was about to continue his march, when two
rifle reports rang out together, rousing the echoes and a number
of birds that screeched loudly.
MASTODON AND WILL-O'-THE WISPS.
Bearwarden's bullet struck the mammoth in the shoulder, while
Ayrault's aim was farther back. As the balls exploded, a
half-barrelful of flesh and hide was shot from each, leaving two
gaping holes. Instantly he rushed among the trees, making his
course known for some time by his roars. As he turned,
Bearwarden fired again, but the hall flew over him, blowing off
the top of a tree.
"Now for the chase!" said Ayrault. "There would be no excuse for
Quickly pushing their raft to shore and securing it to the bank,
the three jumped off. Thanks to their rubber boots and galvanic
outfits which automatically kept them charged, they were as spry
as they would have been on earth. The ground all about them, and
in a strip twelve feet wide where the mammoth had gone, was torn
up, and the vegetation trodden down. Following this trail, they
struck back into the woods, where in places the gloom cast by the
thick foliage was so dense that there was a mere twilight,
startling as they went numbers of birds of grey and sombre
plumage, whose necks and heads, and the sounds they uttered, were
so reptilian that the three terrestrials believed they must also
possess poison fangs.
"The most highly developed things we have seen here," said
Bearwarden, "are the flowers and fireflies, most of the birds and
amphibians being simply loathsome."
As they proceeded they found tracks of blood, which were rapidly
attracting swarms of the reptile birds and snakes, which,
however, as a rule, fled at their approach.
"I wonder what can have caused that mammoth to move so fast, and
to have seemed so ill at ease?" said the doctor. "His motive
certainly was not thirst, for he did not approach the water in a
direct line, neither did he drink on reaching it. One would
think nothing short of an earthquake or a land-slide could
"There can be no land-slide here," said Ayrault, for the country
is too flat."
"And after yesterday's eruptions," added Bearwarden, "it would
seem as though the volcanoes could have scarcely enough steam
left to make trouble."
The blood-tracks, continuing to become fresher, showed them they
were nearing the game, when suddenly the trail took a sharp turn
to the right, even returning towards the lake. A little farther
it took another sharp turn, then followed a series of doublings,
while still farther the ground was completely denuded of trees,
its torn-up and trampled condition and the enormous amount of
still warm blood showing how terrific a battle had just taken
While they looked about they saw what appeared to be the trunk of
a tree about four feet in diameter and six feet long, with a
slight crook. On coming closer, they recognized in it one of the
forefeet of the mammoth, cut as cleanly as though with a knife
from the leg just above the ankle, and still warm. A little
farther they found the huge trunk cut to slivers, and, just
beyond, the body of the unfortunate beast with three of its feet
gone, and the thick hide cut and slashed like so much paper. It
still breathed, and Ayrault, who had a tender heart, sent an
explosive ball into its skull, which ended its suffering.
The three hunters then surveyed the scene. The largest and most
powerful beast they had believed could exist lay before them
dead, not from the bite of a snake or any other poison, but from
mechanical injuries of which those they had inflicted formed but
a very small part, and literally cut to pieces.
"I am curious to see the animal," said Cortlandt, "capable of
doing this, though nothing short of dynamite bombs would protect
us from him."
"As he has not stopped to eat his victim," said Bearwarden, "it
is fair to suppose he is not carnivorous, and so must have had
some other motive than hunger in making the attack; unless we can
suppose that our approach frightened him away, which, with such
power as he must possess, seems unlikely. Let us see," he
continued, "parts of two legs remain unaccounted for. Perhaps,
on account of their shape, he has been able the more easily to
carry or roll them off, for we know that elephant foot makes a
"From the way you talk," said Cortlandt, "one would suppose you
attributed this to men. The Goliath we picture to ourselves
would be a child compared to the man that could cut through these
legs, though the necessity of believing him to have merely great
size does not disprove his existence here. I think it probable
we shall find this is the work of some animal with incisors of
such power as it is difficult for us to conceive of."
"There is no indication here of teeth," said Bearwarden, "each
foot being taken off with a clean cut. Besides, we are coming to
believe that man existed on earth during the greater part, if not
the whole, of our Carboniferous period."
"We must reserve our decision pending further evidence," said
"I vote we take the heart," said Ayrault, "and cook it, since
otherwise the mammoth will be devoured before our eyes."
While Bearwarden and Ayrault delved for this, Cortlandt, with
some difficulty, parted the mammoth's lips and examined the
teeth. "From the conical projections on the molars," said he,
"this should be classed rather as a mastodon than as a mammoth."
When the huge heart was secured, Bearwarden arranged slices on
sharpened sticks, while Ayrault set about starting a fire. He
had to use Cortlandt's gun to clear the dry wood of snakes,
which, attracted doubtless by the dead mastodon, came in such
numbers that they covered the ground, while huge pterodactyls,
more venomous-looking than the reptiles, hovered about the
Arranging a double line of electric wires in a circle about the
mastodon and themselves, they sat down and did justice to the
meal, with appetites that might have dismayed the waiting throng.
Whenever a snake's head came in contact with one wire, while his
tail touched the other, he gave a spasmodic leap and fell back
dead. If he happened to fall across the wires, lie immediately
began to sizzle, a cloud of smoke arose, and lie was reduced to
"Any time that we are short of mastodon or other good game," said
Ayrault, "we need not hunger if we are not above grilled snake."
All laughed at this, and Bearwarden, drawing a whiskey-flask from
his pocket, passed it to his friends.
"When we rig our fishing-tackle," he continued, "and have fresh
fish for dinner, an entree of rattlesnake, roast mastodon for the
piece de resistance, and begin the whole with turtle soup and
clams, of which there must be plenty on the ocean beach, we shall
want to stay here the rest of our lives."
"I suspect we shall have to," replied Ayrault "for we shall
become so like Thanksgiving turkeys that the Callisto's door will
be too small for us."
While they sat and talked, the flowers and plants about them
softly began their song, and, as a visual accompaniment, the
fire-flies they had not before noticed twinkled through the
"My goodness! " exclaimed Cortlandt, "how time goes here! We
started to get breakfast, and now it's growing dark."
Hastily cutting some thick but tender slices from the mastodon,
and impaling them with the remains of the heart on a sharpened
stake, they took up the wires, and the battery that had been
supplying the current, and retraced their steps by the way they
had come. Their rubber-lined cowhide boots protected them from
all but the largest snakes, and as these were for the most part
already enjoying their gorge, they trampled with impunity on
those that remained in their path. When they had covered about
half the distance to the raft, a huge boa-constrictor, which they
had mistaken for a branch, fell upon Cortlandt, pinioning his
arms and bearing him to the ground. Dropping their loads,
Bearwarden and Ayrault threw themselves upon the monster with
their hunting-knives with such vim that in a few seconds it beat
a hasty retreat, leaving, as it did so, a wake of phosphorescent
"Are you hurt?" asked Bearwarden, helping him up.
"Not in the least," replied Cortlandt. "What surprises me is
that I am not. The weight of that boa-constrictor would be very
great on earth, and here I should think it would be simply
Groping their way through the rapidly growing darkness, they
reached the raft without further adventure, and, once on the
lake, had plenty of light. Two moons, one at three quarters and
the other full, shone brightly, while the water was alive with
gymnotuses and other luminous creatures. Sitting and living upon
the cross-timbers, they looked up at the sky. The Great Bear and
the north star had exactly the same relation to each other as
when seen from the earth, while the other constellations and the
Milky Way looked identically as when they had so often gazed at
them before, and some idea of the immensity of space was conveyed
to them. Here was no change; though they had travelled three
hundred and eighty million miles, there was no more perceptible
difference than if they had not moved a foot. Perhaps, they
thought, to the telescopes--if there are any--among the stars,
the sun was seen to be accompanied by two small, dark companions,
for Jupiter and Saturn might be visible, or perhaps it seemed
merely as a slightly variable star, in years when sun-spots were
numerous, or as the larger planets in their revolutions
occasionally intercepted a part of its light. As they floated
along they noticed a number of what they took to be
Will-o'-the-wisps. Several of these great globules of pale flame
hovered about them in the air, near the surface of the water, and
anon they rose till they hung above the trees, apparently having
no forward or horizontal motion except when taken by the gentle
breeze, merely sinking and rising.
"How pretty they are!" said Cortlandt, as they watched them.
"For bodies consisting of marsh gas, they hold together
Presently one alighted on the water near them. It was
considerably brighter than any glow-worm, and somewhat larger
than an arc lamp, being nearly three feet in diameter; it did not
emit much light, but would itself have been visible from a
considerable distance. Cortlandt tried to touch it with a
raft-pole, but could not reach far enough. Presently a large
fish approached it, swimming near the surface of the water. When
it was close to the Jack-o'-lantern, or whatever it was, there
was a splash, the fish turned up its white under side, and, the
breeze being away from the raft, the fire-ball and its victim
slowly floated off together. There were frequently a dozen of
these great globules in sight at once, rising and descending, the
observers noticing one peculiarity, viz., that their brightness
increased as they rose, and decreased as they sank.
About two and a half hours after sunset, or midnight according to
Jupiter time, they fell asleep, but about an hour later Cortlandt
was awakened by a weight on his chest. Starting up, he perceived
a huge white-faced bat, with its head but a few inches from his.
Its outstretched wings were about eight feet across, and it
fastened its sharp claws upon him. Seizing it by the throat, he
struggled violently. His companions, awakened by the noise,
quickly came to his rescue, grasping him just as he was in danger
of being dragged off the raft, and in another moment Bearwarden's
knife had entered the creature's spine.
"This evidently belongs to the blood-sucking species," said
Cortlandt. "I seem to be the target for all these beasts, and
henceforth shall keep my eyes open at night."
As day would break in but little over an hour, they decided to
remain awake, and they pushed the dead bat overboard, where it
was soon devoured by fishes. A chill had come upon the air, and
the incessant noise of the forms of life about them had in a
Cortlandt passed around a box of quinine as a preventive against
malaria, and again they lay back and looked at the stars. The
most splendid sight in their sky now was Saturn. At the
comparatively short distance this great planet was from them, it
cast a distinct shadow, its vast rings making it appear twice its
real size. With the first glimmer of dawn, the fire-balls
descended to the surface of the water and disappeared within it,
their lights going out. With a suddenness to which the explorers
were becoming accustomed, the sun burst upon them, rising as
perpendicularly as at the earth's equator, and more than twice as
fast, having first tinged the sky with the most brilliant hues.
The stream had left the forest and swamp, and was now flowing
through open country between high banks. Pushing the raft
ashore, they stepped off on the sand, and, warming up the remains
of the mastodon's heart, ate a substantial breakfast.
While washing their knives in the stream preparatory to leaving
it--for they wished to return to the Callisto by completing the
circle they had begun--they noticed a huge flat jelly-fish in
shallow water. It was so transparent that they could see the
sandy bottom through it. As it seemed to be asleep, Bearwarden
stirred up the water around it and poked it with a stick. The
jelly- fish first drew itself together till it touched the
surface of the water, being nearly round, then it slowly left the
stream and rose till it was wholly in the air, and,
notwithstanding the sunlight, it emitted a faint glow.
"Ah!" exclaimed Bearwarden, "here we have one of our
Jack-o'-lanterns. Let us see what it is going to do."
"It is incomprehensible to me," said Cortlandt, "how it maintains
itself; for it has neither wings nor visible means of support,
yet, as it was able to immerse itself in the stream, thereby
displacing a volume of liquid equivalent to its bulk, it must be
at least as heavy as water."
The jelly-fish remained poised in the air until directly above
them, when it began to descend.
"Stand from under!" cried Bearwarden, stepping back. "I, for one,
should not care to be touched."
The great soft mass came directly over the spot on which they had
been standing, and stopped its descent about three feet from the
ground, parallel to which it was slowly carried by the wind. A
few yards off, in the direction in which it was moving, lay a
long black snake asleep on the sand. When directly over its
victim the jelly globule again sank till it touched the middle of
the reptile's back. The serpent immediately coiled itself in a
knot, but was already dead. The jellyfish did not swallow, but
completely surrounded its prey, and again rose in the air, with
the snake's black body clearly visible within it.