Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

A Strange Discovery by Charles Romyn Dake

Part 3 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

opposite brink at this point is ten or twelve feet lower than the spot
where Pym and Peters stand, which gives them an excellent view of Lilama
and Ahpilus. It is impossible to say just why, but it is obvious that
the time which they dread has come. Ahpilus stands looking at the
beautiful maiden who crouches in front of him; and as he gazes his
powerful form seems to swell, as does that of a wild animal that has
determined to spring upon its prey. His arms move forward to grasp her.
He has no fear of interruption--he has for the moment forgotten the
strangers. He slightly alters his position--his back is toward the
chasm--his hands touch the person of his prey. Lilama partly raises her
head. She glances past the maniac for a last look at her lover. She does
not scream, even as those vise-like hands close upon her, and slowly,
oh, so slowly, but steadily, draw her within that iron embrace--slowly,
slowly, as might a maniac devotee move in the desecration of his idol.

"But why does she not scream? Why are her eyes fastened--not on her
lover--not on the madman, but upon another object? What is that object?
Is it a man? Can any man move as that thing moves? Surely that cannot be
a man, that streak of drab color--yonder thing that casts to the ground
a garment, then shoots backward twenty feet from the abyss--swifter than
a panther, as silent as death, with two balls of living fire glaring
from--from a face? Surely not a human face! Yes, it is a human face. She
does not see the pallid face, the wild eyes of her lover, looking, too,
at that thing--that human embodiment of animal agility. No: she has not
time to look, for though the human eye is quick, that thing is quicker;
and if she take her eye from it for half a second, her gaze will lose
it. She cannot take from it her gaze--she is fascinated. Within the past
second of time an heroic resolve has been formed, and a drama has begun;
in the next two seconds an act in the drama will be completed; in sixty
seconds more, a whole tragedy will be added to the list of human
sorrows.

"No tongue can tell what cannot quite be seen. A rush of color toward
that awful gap; it reaches the edge; it rises in the air and shoots out
over that gulf that might indeed have been the portal of Tartarus. Fifty
feet as flies the bird. It is in the air--it is half-way over--and yet
the maniac has seen it not. But the maniac is turning with his victim in
his arms. The streak of drab has passed forty feet--ten feet further if
it is to reach the other brink--ten thousand if it fails to reach it;
and it has already sunk ten feet in space--with ten feet more of
horizontal distance to cover, it is already on a level with the edge of
the abyss which it must safely reach, or--The maniac has turned; and the
streak of drab has reached the brink--but, ah! below the surface. The
form is that of Peters--the only man who could be in such a situation
yet live on. One of those invincible arms is thrown upon the surface
above the chasm, and those long fingers fasten upon the immovable lava.
And now the madman sees the danger that menaces his design--but too
late, for Peters the unconquerable stands erect between him and the
chasm. Then Ahpilus quickly sets on the ground his living burden; and
Peters, the human bird of passage, risks again his life.

"But, for a man like Peters, such a contest was scarcely a risk. Had
Ahpilus been less savage in his baffled rage, Peters would have spared
the madman; but it was not to be. There was scarcely a man in all
Hili-li that could physically cope with Ahpilus; but he was no match for
Peters. For a few moments the sailor protected himself without any act
of aggression; but it soon became apparent that he would be obliged to
destroy his adversary, or himself be destroyed. Ahpilus had pushed
Peters, or Peters had carelessly allowed himself to shift his own
position, to within dangerously close proximity to the chasm, and at the
moment when Peters noticed this circumstance, he also saw that he was
between Ahpilus and the abyss: and Ahpilus, in all his furious madness,
also observed his advantage. Peters had in his possession a very long
and keen knife, but, as he afterward said in talking over this incident,
he had never yet seen the time when he was compelled to use an
artificial weapon in an encounter with a single combatant; and
particularly would he never have used a knife, even though his adversary
were a maniac, if a maniac without an artificial weapon. Peters saw that
Diregus had found Pym, and, as was also the boatman, he and Pym were, of
course, viewing the struggle. I should not, however, have included Pym
in the party of observers; for he knew too well how the combat would end
to be much absorbed in it. He had no eyes for anything but Lilama.--But
to return: As Ahpilus saw his advantage, by a supreme effort he summoned
all his great muscular strength, and aided by that invincible motor, the
will of a madman, he endeavored to force Peters over the brink. At that
precise moment the sailor had his right hand closed on the top of
Ahpilus's left shoulder, and his left hand just beneath Ahpilus's right
arm on the side of the exile's chest. He quickly shifted his left hand
to the side of the hip; and then those great gorilla arms raised from
the ground the body of the madman, swung it overhead as another man
might swing the body of a three-year-old child, as he did so bringing
the back of his adversary downward; and then came a movement of
Herculean power in which the long arms approximated with a twisting,
bending effect; two vertebras in Ahpilus's back at the point of least
resistance separated, the spine was dislocated, and a mass of helpless,
vibrating human flesh fell at the feet of the victor. Peters, whilst his
brute instinct was in full possession of him, might, instead of dropping
Ahpilus to the ground, have thrown the body into the abyss; but Diregus
had anticipated such an action, and called to Peters not to injure the
poor insane fellow more than was necessary to prevent him from injuring
others. Ahpilus was not dead--that is, he was not dead over his entire
body: the hips and all below were as nerveless as the body of a corpse;
but above the hips, the same old vigor remained--and so it would be
though he lived for yet a hundred years."

Here Doctor Bainbridge ceased to speak. Doctor Castleton had entered the
room two or three minutes before, and, keeping silent, had heard the
last three or four hundred words, which described the close of that
brief but terrible combat.

The FIFTEENTH Chapter

"Well," said Doctor Castleton, as Bainbridge closed. "Peters could, when
he was fifty years younger, have done that very thing to any living man
weighing not more than a hundred and eighty or a hundred and ninety
pounds. I myself have seen him throw to the ground a powerful horse, and
the little giant must have been older than sixty at the time. Then
again, he possesses that wonderful instinct of certainty in action which
belongs to purely animal life. It is said that the tiger when it strikes
never misses its aim; and that our American panther makes the most
unusual leaps without ever making an attempt beyond its powers. I have
many times observed that even our comparatively degenerate domestic cat
very rarely indeed, if ever, fails to accomplish the purpose of a
stroke. Peters possesses, or did possess, that instinct."

"Yes," said Bainbridge, "you are right. Peters says that on almost every
vessel he ever shipped on he was called 'the baboon'--because of his
great physical power and agility, he says; but as we know, rather
because of his extremely short stature, his large mouth--in fact, his
resemblance in many striking ways to the gorilla, or the orang-outang;
and perhaps, also, in part, to his habit, mentioned in Pym's description
of him, of feigning mental aberration--assuming to be 'simple.'"

"This won't do," said Castleton, with that peculiar look on his face
which always appeared when he was about to deflect from the serious to
the humorous. "Whilst I should not object to hearing my old friend
Peters called a gorilla, I draw the line at gorilla. I should object to
the appellation orang-outang, and I should resent with emphasis that of
baboon. But gorilla I will accept, for in many ways the gorilla is, or
at least once was, the superior of man. Even if we limit the source of
our deductions to the skeleton of the animal, the truth of my last
assertion is strongly evidenced. In the first place, the gorilla is more
sedate and less pettily curious than man; this is proved by his having
only three, instead of four, bones in the last division of his spine,
giving him a shorter caudal appendage than man's, and proving the animal
to be farther from the monkey than are we; then in the second place, the
gorilla has thirteen ribs, which would seem to be rational evidence
that, whatever the present gorilla may be, his ancestors of by-gone ages
were handsomer than man; because in the gorilla's first search for a
wife the field of operations was not limited to his own chest."

"That will do very well, doctor; but don't you think you are a little
severe on Adam?" I said.

"I have no sympathies with Adam. Not that I ever blamed him for his
weakness in the apple incident; but I do blame him for his garrulity,
and his paltry cowardice in exposing Eve. Eve was an instinctive
agnostic--and she didn't purpose to be anybody's slave. If Adam decided
to keep up with the procession, as he at first did decide to do, he had
no business to whine over the outcome. I'd wager freely that Eve earned
the living after the pair left paradise. Cain took after his mother; and
I hazard the opinion that Eve was in sympathy with Cain in the Abel
episode--that is, after the tragedy. Eve and Cain had the best of
everything all the way through, for they acted in harmony with their
feelings; whilst poor old feeble, vacillating Adam tried to use his
worthless old brain-box, and the natural consequence ensued. His
feelings, which constituted the strongest part of his mind, were always
in conflict with his intellect, which was just strong enough to get him
into trouble when a pure out-and-out unreasoning animal would have been
safe; and he never had enough will properly to correct an error when he
did see it."

We laughed over this conceit of Castleton's, and Bainbridge said:

"Speaking of biblical characters, I have thought that Moses would, with
even slight literary training, have far surpassed the modern writer of
adventure-fiction. His style may be open to adverse criticism, but his
originality is beyond question. If he left any material for a purely
original story, I fail to detect it. He gave to literature the
sea-story, the war-story, and the love-story--stories that hinge on all
the human passions, and stories of the supernatural in all its phases.
He first presented to a world innocent of fiction-literature the giant
and the dwarf; the brave man, the strong man, and the man of supreme
fortitude; the honest man, the truthful king, and the woman that knows
how to wait for the man she loves; voices in the air, signs in the
sky--in short, everything. Even poor old Aesop wasn't in time to grasp a
reputation for originality. The modern story-teller may combine, extend,
and elaborate; but all opportunity for a display of invention seems to
be forever barred."

"By the bye, doctor," said Castleton, evidently impatient at his
enforced silence whilst another spoke, "do any of your volcanoes or
mountains in Hili-li blow up?"

"No, sir," answered Bainbridge, with dignity.

"Well, if I had been Pym I should have blown those mountains into the
Antarctic Ocean," said Castleton. "I understand from the words that I
caught this evening as I entered here that your heroine is safe; but if
I had been Pym, I should have taken no risks. I should have sent your
madman word to return the girl, or take the consequences--the
consequences being that I should have blown him and the entire mountain
into the mighty deep. 'Sir,' I should have said, 'return the lady, or I
will annihilate you.' And so I should have done, if a hair of her head
had been harmed.--By the bye, gentlemen, I believe you never heard of my
invention for stopping war, did you?" We intimated that we had thus far
been deprived of that pleasure. I saw that one of his peculiar outbursts
was at hand--one of those apparently serious, though, I thought,
intentionally humorous sallies, so puzzling coming from a man of
Castleton's intellectual attainments, and the mental _primum mobile_ of
which I had already been much interested in trying to determine.

"Well, gentlemen," he continued, "it was about fourteen years ago,
during the dark days of The War"--he referred to the great rebellion in
the United States, which began in 1861, and which it required the
existing government about four years to suppress. "It was during the
period when our great President was most worried. I had thought the
matter over--as I always do think over vast questions, from the
standpoint of true greatness. 'Why not,' I mentally soliloquized, 'why
not end this matter at a blow? 'As I drove about through our retired
roads and lanes, I gave the subject my very best attention. I thought to
myself how the present system of the universe depends upon what we term
the luminiferous ether; of the perfect elasticity and inexpansibility of
that ether; of what its nature must be. I concluded that no ultimate
particle of it--as with matter no atom--is ever added to or removed from
the universe. Now, if we could succeed in removing from this
inexpansible, universal ocean of ether even the most ultimate portion,
there would be a literal vacuum with nothing to fill it, and the
equilibrium of the universe would be destroyed. Now, gentlemen, is or is
not this supposition logical?"

We admitted our inability to deny its truth.

"'Well, then,' I reasoned, looking at the subject on the reverse side,
'could an additional portion of ether be created, there would be in
space no place to receive it; the universe in its present state--a state
in which what we term matter or substance exists--would just simply
cease to exist--instantly, and within the compass of every star and
planet.'

"But how to create that particle of ether--that was what occupied my
mind for weeks. I would seem to grasp the hint that came and went within
the recesses of a brain which--so say my friends--has perhaps never had
its equal for variety of conception and rapid response to the slightest
external or internal stimulus. Now, many physicists suppose matter to be
simply a form of ether--plainly, that matter originated out of
ether--was made from ether; so that, after all, the universe was created
from nothing--that is, nothing if we correctly define matter. It was but
a step for me, then, to the end: remove all radiant energy from a fixed
gas--a gas without the property of condensation to another form of
matter, _i.e._, to a fluid or a solid--and the thing, I said to myself,
is done. I am positive that I know of such a gas, and within a few years
all physicists will recognize it. At present the method of procuring it
is my secret, as I may still wish to experiment with what is now but a
theoretical discovery, though certain to unfold in practice exactly as I
have explained it. You understand, of course, that I remove from my gas,
by artificial cold and compression, the last vestige of heat, my gas
becomes ether, there is no place for it in the universal ocean of
inexpansible ether, the balance of the universe as it now exists is
destroyed, all matter instantly ceases to exist, and we just sit back
and wait for a few billions of trillions of cycles of time, until
another system of nature is formed."

For a time we all kept silence: Doctor Bainbridge, I suppose, like
myself, marvelling at the peculiarities of our strange companion. At
last I said:

"And how about the war, doctor?"

"Now comes the humiliation!" he replied. "Oh, must genius ever grovel at
the feet of mere physical power--insolent official power! Why are great
men so difficult of access! Why, in 1453, did not Constantine in his day
of trouble listen to your brainy countryman, and save Europe from the
inroads of the Turk? Well, I hastened to Washington City, determined
that no ear other than the President's own should hear the secret; and
that no power on earth should draw it from me. I went to the White
House. I admit that war-times are busy times--but those infernal White
House flunkies kept me waiting in the reception-rooms for four hours! I
told my plans to the ushers, to a waiting soldier or two, and to a
foreign diplomat with whom I struck up a talk. All of them acted
suspiciously, and I believe were jealous of my wisdom. When, for the
third time, an usher took my card--or pretended to take my card--to the
President, his secretary came down to me. At first I told him that my
secret was for the President's ear alone; but at last I gave him a clew
to the nature of my business. He left me, but he did not return. Such is
reflected political power. But I thought of my power--aye, and physical
power, too--the only real power. I never blamed the President--I to this
day believe that that fellow H---- never told Lincoln of my visit to the
White House."

After an appreciative murmur and movement on the part of Bainbridge and
myself--for we felt like laughing, and yet sighs of wonderment were
expected by Castleton--and after a grunt from Arthur in his corner, I
asked, for want of something better to say,

"Were you ever in the army, doctor?"

"Well--ah--no--yes--no, sir; not exactly," Castleton replied. "But I had
a younger brother who beat the drum for a whole week in an
enlisting-office tent in Chicago. Poor boy! he died of brain fever in
1869--always a genius--great brain.--And this talk reminds me that I am
getting no pension from the United States Government on that poor,
neglected, sacrificed boy. Curse my thoughtlessness! Yes, and--but no: I
belong to the old school of patriots--I will not curse my country."

As Castleton uttered the last sentence, he approached the door of exit
to the hall. He had as usual been pacing the floor; and with the closing
word he shot into the hall and was gone. And as the sound of his
footsteps rang through the corridors of the hotel, Arthur remarked, from
his corner:

"It's a pity he didn't sit down on his boomerang infernal-machine, and
then set it a-going: he might a been on the moon by this time, where the
fool belongs, with the other lunatics. If he ever comes into my new
ice-cream parlor--(twelve by sixteen, gas-lights, three tables, and six
chairs; two spoons furnished with one saucer if desired, and a napkin
for your lady free; ten cents a saucer, and ginger-bread thrown in)--why
out he goes, too quick. Oh, he's a daisy, he is! If you ever want to
remind me of him, anybody, ask me to lend you a dime; and when I shake
my head and my teeth rattle, I'll remember the lunkhead, sure enough."

I frowned down the youngster, for he had promised not to obtrude his
opinion in the presence of Bainbridge. But as his words did not refer in
any manner to the story that Bainbridge was telling us, I should not
have objected to them, but that with Arthur it was necessary to be
cautious in creating precedents, which, as I have intimated, in his case
almost immediately congealed into vested rights; and our agreement had
obligated him to observe complete silence on the subject of Peters'
story, and, if I correctly remember--though Arthur denied this
latter--on all other subjects, in the presence of Doctor Bainbridge.

As Bainbridge appeared to have nothing further to say, and was making
those slight occasional movements which I knew presaged his departure, I
began to talk of Peters' leap; and in the most guarded manner--for with
Bainbridge any question of the facts of his narrative required tact and
delicacy to avoid the giving of offence--to discuss the subject of
leaping in general, the facts and probabilities relating to distance,
and the laws and conditions that might govern and regulate the
running-leap.

"Do you not think," I finally asked, "that Peters somewhat overestimates
the distance of his marvelous leap? I am aware that Peters was, both in
strength and in agility, almost preterhuman; but fifty feet or
thereabouts! That seems scarcely possible. Our best athletes, I believe,
have never, on level ground, made a running leap of much more than half
that distance. Now forty feet, under all the circumstances, would not
strike me as impossible, though thirty-five would better chime with my
ideas of the probable, and thirty would remove all possibility of any
draft on my credulity."

"It is not a question of ideas or of credulity," answered Bainbridge,
"but one of fact. However, we will look at the incident from the
stand-point of reason and experience. Now let us assume that a running
leap of twenty-five feet on level ground would not be beyond the ability
of a trained athlete. I think you will allow to Peters a natural
advantage of seven feet over an ordinary athlete, when you consider the
superiority of his form, so well adapted to leaping--a form that gives
to him the advantage of an orang-outang, without the disadvantage of
hand-like feet, so poorly suited to flat surfaces. From the fullest
information I could obtain from Peters, I believe that in leaping he
obtains more impetus from his arms than from his legs; but even with his
preternatural strength he does not get quite as much impulse-force from
his legs as would an ordinary athlete. I myself think that the use of
his arms in making this leap gave him an advantage of one-third over
another man of equal strength. However, I ask you to allow him from all
advantage of form, in the leap alone, seven feet, or twenty-eight per
cent."

To this proposition I assented.

"Then," continued Bainbridge, "it must be remembered that so far as the
actual leap is concerned, he missed the opposite edge of the abyss--for
he did miss it, and any other man would have gone to the bottom of the
chasm. It was only the length of his arm, with its excessive strength,
and the iron grip of that enormous hand, which prevented complete
failure. As a matter of fact, the walls of the abyss being fifty feet
apart, Peters leaped only forty-seven feet. Am I correct?"

Again I assented.

"Then," said Bainbridge, "we have brought within the limits of reason
thirty-five of the fifty feet, and fifteen feet remain to be accounted
for. Now let us recall to your memory the fact that the edge of the
abyss toward which he leaped was twelve feet lower than the edge from
which he sprung; and that, in his progress across the chasm he fell, in
addition to this twelve feet, his own height--which, according to Pym's
diary was, at that period, four feet and eight inches. If Peters could
have covered thirty-five feet on level ground, could he have covered
fifty feet with the advantage of a drop of nearly seventeen feet?
Assuming a certain weight for Peters, we could calculate the number of
foot-pounds of energy, or the initial velocity, necessary to make a leap
of thirty-five feet on level ground, and how many foot-pounds it would
require to make a leap of fifty feet with a drop of sixteen feet and
eight inches taken into the conditions. But as most of the equations in
our calculation are approximative, I prefer that the element of
gravitation should be handled in a general way. If a leaper were to
impel himself horizontally only, he would, in the shortest leap, fall
below a level. This fall may be met to the extent of about two feet, by
drawing up the legs--that is, by 'hunkering' as the leap progresses, and
alighting on his feet with the body to that extent lower than when the
spring began. In a leap of twenty-five feet, however, the leaper is
compelled to project himself upward as well as forward; and an
instinctive sense of just how little energy may be expended in raising
himself, and how much may be left for the forward impulse, is one of the
chief elements of his proficiency. Peters did not have to raise his body
at all."

"I begin to comprehend," said I.

"Yes," replied Bainbridge, "the more you think of it, the more convinced
will you become that Peters made the leap as he states. Of course he
could not have sprung fifty feet, or even forty feet, on a level; for,
in a leap of only forty feet, one would have to raise himself more than
twelve feet into the air, and (except for a possible small advantage of
position in leaping) it requires the same amount of force to raise a
body ten feet on an incline, as it does to raise the same body ten feet
perpendicularly into space--an impossible feat, even to Peters at
twenty-eight or thirty years of age."

"I quite believe that he did it," I said, "and when we consider that he
claims to have measured the distance only mentally, and that he might
therefore honestly have mistaken it to the extent of a few feet, I am
willing to say that my confidence in his intended veracity is
unshaken--even if he is an old sailor."

"Yes," said Bainbridge, "and we must not overlook the fact that a man's
mental state at the time of performing a physical feat is a very
important determining factor in the result of the performance. A
powerful but lackadaisical fellow might, with only a few dollars at
stake, make a very poor showing; yet to preserve his life he might make
a really wonderful leap. What effect, then, did mental condition exert
on a man like Peters under the circumstances attending this unparalleled
leap? Think of the enormous muscular power developed by the message
received through the nerves from a mind thus affected! His own life, and
that of another, if not of two others, depended upon the success of his
effort. Under such circumstances muscular power would either be
paralyzed, or else intensified beyond our common conception of such
force. Peters positively asserts, that when a boy of sixteen he
frequently leaped from the flat upper deck of a boat--that is, from a
height of twenty feet--into the surrounding water, habitually covering a
distance of from forty to forty-five feet; whilst other boys, under the
same conditions, rarely covered twenty-five feet, and never thirty."

A moment later Bainbridge arose to depart; but he lingered for a moment,
standing, and with his left hand resting on the centre table, began to
speak in a general way of the great antarctic crater and its surrounding
wonders. It was my habit to make full notes of the actual facts stated
by him in the more formal parts of these evening recitals, and sometimes
even of his comments; and I regret that I did not do so at the
particular moment to which I am now alluding. It was not until the
following morning that I made a few memoranda of the closing incident of
the evening. With the help of these notes and a fairly good memory, I
hope to be able at this late day to describe for the reader an episode
that I should dislike entirely to omit from this narrative.

He spoke for several minutes of the wonderful power of nature to
accomplish certain ends--the force that accomplishes which, he termed a
_purpose_ in nature; and he made some remarks along the line of a
contention, that the development of all matter into higher forms was
what he called an unconscious intention, explaining that there was no
paradox in the expression "unconscious intention"; for, he said, even
men, individual men, are constantly performing a thousand acts that have
an unconscious purpose or intention--as, for instance, the automatic
action of winding a watch without the slightest exercise of will, and
without remembering the action. This unconscious motive-force, he said,
is inherent in vegetables as well as in animals, and that in fact it
exists, though relatively of very slow and feeble action, in all matter,
the power being an attribute of all molecules, and even of elemental
atoms. He, however, claimed no originality for any of the views which he
expressed.

"To my consciousness," he said, "the conviction of individual
immortality is so clear that, if I were not perfectly aware of the cause
of their doubt or disbelief, I should wonder at intelligent persons
questioning the fact. Like everything else taught by Christ, that we are
immortal is a fact; and it is not in a billion years that we shall live
again under new conditions, but, as He intimated, 'to-morrow.' And I
surmise that we shall not do so in any absurdly physical way, nor yet in
a manner so deeply abstruse that it would require a logician and a
professional physicist, were it explained, to comprehend it. As with all
that God has given us, we shall find the conditions of the next life
very simple. Educated men--nearly all highly educated men, and
particularly educated theologians--when they touch this subject remind
me of the cuttle-fish. There is nothing around them that is not
perfectly transparent until, by their own act, everything is obscured to
themselves and to their neighbors. But whilst the cuttle-fish swims out
of the zone of opacity created by himself, the theologian remains in
his, fighting the obscurity with logic--for that purpose the poorest of
all devices. You cannot guide an emotional boat with an intellectual
rudder. Something to me much more convincing than reason, tells me that
our bodies will not be long in their graves before we shall again begin
to live; and my feeling is, that, though consciousness will at the death
of this body be obscured for a time, it will not be lost for a _long_
time. I feel that almost at once after death the mystery of conscious
individuality will again assert itself. Refined by this life, as the
molecular construction of inorganic matter is refined by passing through
organic life, so the consciousness lately within the molecules of your
discarded body, will not be as the consciousness within like molecules
of mineral or of vegetable matter; for it will be your consciousness
--_your_ consciousness, created by God and developed by His edict
--developed after slumbering for ages within the mineral; awakening
to quicker action in the vegetable world; touching the domain of
conscious memory in lower animals; aroused to keener moral and
intellectual existence in your late body, and at last made ready for a
new mystery--what, we know not--in another world, possibly in the
direction of what we might call a 'fourth dimension' of consciousness.
Oh, no; there should not be anything to prevent us from knowing now that
we shall continue to exist, and to go ever upward, upward, upward.
Nature permits us, in each sphere of being, to catch a glimpse of the
succeeding one, if only we will not ourselves obstruct the view."

A moment later he dropped into an animated, almost rhapsodical, running
comment on some of the scenic beauties surrounding Hili-li.

"Imagine," he said, "what the scenic effects must have been, everywhere
within the illumination of that great lake of fire, covering an area of
nearly two hundred square miles--that great lake of white, boiling,
earthy matter, brilliantly lighting the long antarctic night. Think of
those mountains, with the Olympian offshoot six miles in height; and of
the peak called Mount Olympus, looming up ten thousand feet above even
that great mountain-range. Try to picture the valleys, the chasms, the
overhanging cliffs, the many smaller active craters, like mammoth
watch-fires lighted on the mountain-tops in all directions; and the
masses of glistening salt, thrown by upheavals of the earth high upon
the mountain-side. Cannot you almost behold the scene? May we not, with
the brush of fancy, paint for our mental vision many a strange, weird
picture? Here we see, high on the mountain-front, a mass of crystal
salt--many millions of tons--thrown, by a mere fillip of terrestrial
power, thirty thousand feet above the ocean level, to rest and sparkle
like a gem on the bosom of that old mountain-god, Olympus. Then, still
higher, on the very summit--for even here, in the glare of this great
crater, where evaporation rains upward from the sea, all vapor is
quickly condensed and frozen on the higher peaks--we see, like the
tresses of the aged, the pearly snow and ice overhanging the Olympian
brow. Aye, may we not even--"

Well, dear reader, I expect to be censured. As Bainbridge drew toward
what I suppose would, under any circumstances, have been his close, I
was sitting with my face toward Arthur, and the actions of that
unpolished gem told me that the catastrophe was at hand. Those who say
that "the expected never happens" misinform us; for the expected very
frequently does happen. The wretched boy did not--would not--look at me,
and I could not, of course, interrupt the flow of eloquence that poured
from the lips of Bainbridge. What could I have done? Even at this late
day, I cannot see what I could have done, though I did know the nature
of what was coming. It was the words "snow and ice" that added the last
straw which broke the camel's back, and let fall the load of annoyance;
and as Bainbridge uttered the words, "Aye, may we not even----," Arthur,
that miserable factotum, whom I had so rashly trusted, shot from his
chair into the air; and, with arms waving, and eyes glistening with
excitement, he fairly yelled:

"Great geewhilikin! Think of that ice, and that salt, and that climate!
Now if a fellow only had a drove of Giganticus cows, with old Olympus
for 'em to run over free, where would the other ice-cream fellows be?
Free ice, free salt, free cream, free fodder, and no end of 'em all,
too! Why, in that hot hole a man 'ud be a ice-cream king in no time.
Well, now! doesn't that make your windows bulge? You're a shoutin', Doc.
Please don't speak again in the same language till I rest my mind, if
you love me!"

I could not stop him. Frowning had no effect, and toward the end of his
outburst I even protested in words. But it was no use. He spoke quickly,
and he spoke very loudly, and not a word was lost on Bainbridge.
Bainbridge had a fine sense of humor; but like many other humorists, he
did not relish jocosities of which he was the subject. Any levity in any
manner connected with Hili-li, I knew would be to him unendurable. He
had from the beginning taken the Peters disclosures, and even the old
sailor himself, very seriously. Little happenings during our stay at the
old sailor's home, which had brought a smile to my own face, had never
for a moment altered the countenance of Bainbridge from the stern
seriousness becoming that of one who is gathering facts of the most
solemn import. I am positive that he would have taken with a poor grace
the slightest levity from even myself on the subject of Hili-li. But
from the bell-boy of a hotel! Olympus to become a pasture field for
mastodon cows! Its ice and its saline wonders to be employed in the
making of ice-cream!

Well, I just sat, and said nothing, and blamed myself. The thing was
done, as it is said, and could not be undone. Doctor Bainbridge looked
at me, with an injured but resigned expression, which seemed to say.
"Well, you see you've done it; you _would_ allow the creature to drink
in the nectar of refined literary production, and one of the natural
results has followed." He took up his hat, and more in grief than in
anger, he made his adieux, and quietly walked out of the doorway,
through the hallway, down the stairs, and out of the house. And a moment
later I said:

"Now, young man, you probably see what you have done! We may, or we may
not hear more of Lilama, of Pym, of Ahpilus, and the others. I am
anxious to know what became of the poor fellow, Ahpilus; and I intend to
find out, if I have to go to Peters for the information." Then, as I saw
the boy was really repentant; and when I began to consider the fact that
he could not comprehend why Bainbridge should be offended, when no
offence had been intended, I mentally threw all the blame upon myself,
and added:

"But never mind; it does not amount to much. Doctor Bainbridge will
probably be here to-morrow evening, and will, no doubt, have forgotten,
or at least buried the incident. But after this, Arthur, you may come to
me each morning, and as I dress I will tell you all about what the
evening before I shall learn from the doctor. So, goodnight to you, and
here is a dollar to help you start the ice-cream parlor."

The SIXTEENTH Chapter

On the following evening, at his usual hour, Bainbridge entered my
apartment; and after the customary greeting, seated himself. No mention
was made of Arthur's hapless interruption of the evening before,
Bainbridge acting as if that miserable incident had not occurred.

"If I remember rightly," he said, "we left Ahpilus lying with a broken
back, and Peters standing by him, with Lilama crouching near; whilst on
the opposite side of the chasm or canyon stood Pym, Diregus, and the
boatman, who had accompanied the rescue party in their ascent of the
mountain.

"After a moment of astonishment, Diregus inquired concerning the
condition of Ahpilus; and Peters replied that the maniac not only lived,
but was not in danger of dying; that he was scarcely conscious, however,
and that even if fully aroused would in all probability not be able to
walk--Peters knowing from personal experience with similar 'accidents'
what the results were likely to be.

"When Lilama heard Peters' statement, she approached the injured
man--the friend of her childhood and her girlhood--and did what little
she could to make his position at least appear more comfortable.

"There was no possible way for the divided party to unite, other than by
returning several miles down the mountain-side. Now that Lilama was
safe, and Ahpilus not only mentally alienated from his people but also
physically helpless, a kindly feeling came to the party for their old
friend thus reduced to a condition doubly lamentable, and very pitiable
to persons so refined and sensitive as were the Hili-lites. There was
some discussion on the subject of Ahpilus's future; and then Peters said
that he could easily carry the injured man down the mountain-side. This
he at once began to do; and in the course of four or five hours, during
which he stopped for a rest a number of times, he reached a point in the
descent at which the canyon narrowed to a width of not more than ten
feet, and across which a rude foot-bridge of logs had been constructed.
Lilama, as well as those on the opposite side of the chasm, had kept
pace with Peters; and the divided party now came together.

"Ahpilus was gently placed on the ground; and as his old friends
gathered about him it was observed that not only had consciousness
returned, but that the helpless man looked quite the Ahpilus of former
and happier days. As his old friends looked into his eyes, those windows
of the mind, they saw a soul unruffled, and at peace with nature.

"Then Diregus addressed to Ahpilus some words of inquiry; but it was
soon apparent that the stricken man could answer no question relating to
recent days, or even to the past year or two. In fact, Diregus soon
recognized that Ahpilus knew nothing of his own past from a period
antedating his exile to the present time. It appears that the nervous
shock which accompanied the breaking of his spine had, in some way,
dispelled his madness, and also those less maniacal, comparatively mild
delusions which for several years had clouded and perverted his
otherwise brilliant mind; so that he was again the same loving and
lovable Ahpilus of former times; but in all the sixty or seventy years
that he might yet live, he never again would be able to walk, or even to
stand, unaided.

"The party of five, carrying the helpless man, sadly and silently
continued on their way to Volcano Bay, which in the course of an hour
they reached. There they found the other boatmen waiting for them, and,
also, standing here and there in groups, a number of the exiles, among
them Medosus. It had gone forth among these pariahs of Hili-liland, that
something unusual was astir; and, fearing something, they knew not what,
they had determined to observe the movements of the invading party.
Diregus soon explained what had brought them to Olympus, and the results
of their search. The exiles were at first quite unable to believe that
Peters had crossed the chasm at the point stated, though lying was in
Hili-li a lost art, the history of that country stating positively that
but three adult liars (visitors excepted) had existed in Hili-li for
five hundred years, the last of whom had, two centuries before, died.
When the Olympians (as the exiles were generally in derision called)
learned of Ahpilus's condition, and of its cause, it appeared for a few
moments that Peters would be attacked; but the soothing words of Pym and
Diregus, and the presence of Lilama, whom they knew had been in extreme
danger, as well as the expression on the face of Peters when he first
grasped the idea that an attack upon him was imminent--all of these
things together prevented trouble.

"When the party had made Ahpilus as comfortable as possible in the
bottom of the boat, and had seated themselves preparatory to their
return, Medosus stepped down to the shore, and asked Diregus if he would
convey for the exiles a message to the King and Councillors of Hili-li,
and also to the aged mystic, Masusaelili, who, though not an official,
was in reality the chief adviser of those who did control the kingdom.
Diregus, whose father was perhaps second only to the King--it was
supposed by many that the Duke was the real power behind the throne, and
it was within the range of reasonable possibility that his son, Diregus,
might some day reign--replied that he must hear the message before
making any promise. Then Medosus, knowing that his former friend and
schoolmate was at heart in sympathy with the exiles, and did not really
believe them to be in any way vicious (Diregus himself had twice
offended, as had a majority of all Hili-lite youths, past and present;
but he had not offended for a third time), spoke as follows:

"'Say for us to His Majesty, and to the Honorable Councillors, that we,
the so-called Exiles of Olympus, request our release, and also
permission to return to Hili-li. In making this request we are not
willing to say that we have ever in the past done to the State any
serious wrong. We have, however, reached a time of life when we are
willing to abjure the delights and benefits of wrestling, of
ground-ball, of bat-ball, and of other athletic sports. We are willing
to promise not again to visit the savages of surrounding islands--a rare
sport. We regret the broken neck of young Selimus, which occurred during
a game of ground-ball some three years ago, and we regret the accidental
breaking of a few other bones; but we think these accidents no more
deplorable than the death of Testube the scholar, or the blinding of the
chemist, Amurosus--accidents which occurred whilst they were in their
own laboratories, performing experiments of no material benefit, so far
as we know, to the people of Hili-li. I might also allude to the
lamentable death of Solarsistus, who some four years ago fell from his
tower whilst observing the noted shower of falling meteors. And we ask
these wise men--particularly Masusaeslili, whose mind is as cultivated as
his body is neglected--what they think would become of the people of
Hili-li if, at some future time, even so few as one thousand such men as
these two strangers standing there should make war upon us, assuming
that the decrees of those in power shall have been for a single
generation faithfully observed. When the barbarian of the north overcame
our ancestors in ancient Rome, it was only after indolent habits had
sapped the physical power of the patrician; and when we here repelled
with ease many times our number of barbarians, it was whilst yet our
race was hardy from its combat with adverse forces in this then new
land. We have not forgotten the strange power which Masusaelili is able
to exert over a limited number of persons at one time. We are not
unaware of the beneficent results of those laws and customs that compel
the most of our people, between the ages of eighteen and fifty, to
perform physical labor during twelve hours of each week; but we maintain
that the elements of contest and danger are necessary concomitants of
physical exertion, if we are to acquire and retain the manly quality of
physical bravery, and that other quality so frequently wanting in him
who is only a scholar--fortitude.

"'Look,' he continued, pointing to Peters. 'There stands a man inured to
physical danger. A few hours ago he was placed where prompt resolution
was demanded to decide the fate of one of the loveliest creatures upon
whom the light of yonder crater-fire ever shone--perhaps upon whom the
sun ever shone; he had scarcely sixty seconds of time in which to
determine whether she should die, or he should take the chance of a
terrible death, with a hand-to-hand conflict, a powerful madman for an
adversary, certain to confront him should his leap by a miracle prove
successful. To have leaped over an abyss of half the width of that one,
and then to have met an ordinary adversary, would have been a
wonderfully brave deed. He decided promptly--and, too, he succeeded. No
man in Hili-li could have done half as much, even had he dared attempt
the feat.

"'That, I think, is all,' continued Medosus. 'We have rarely found our
rulers deaf to reasonable petitions, and we believe that they will, upon
mature deliberation, annul our sentences of ten years' banishment. If I
do not overtax your time and your patience, I should like to ask you,
Diregus, to suggest to your father and to Masusaelili this thought: Since
the termination of those extended surveys which the State inaugurated
and terminated after the departure of that ship which visited us about
two hundred and fifty years ago, we have been aware that Hili-li is
situated in a great inland sea, about twelve hundred miles in diameter,
which sea contains from two hundred to three hundred islands, and in
which our main island occupies a position some three hundred miles from
the nearest mainland in one direction, and some nine hundred miles from
the nearest mainland in another direction. We are also aware that the
sailing vessel which came to us found an entrance through this vast
ring-like continent, which entrance-way is only three hundred miles in
width, and is the only means of access to this inland sea, except a
narrower channel diametrically opposite to the broader one. The broader
opening, in its main part, is traversed by warm currents outward, which
remain warm until the continent is passed; and by one broad central warm
current inward, which is very swift, and the source of the great warmth
of which we have never been able to determine. The narrower passage,
generally completely frozen, or choked with ice, conveys to the central
sea only water at nearly the freezing temperature. The mainland consists
chiefly of volcanic mountains, is apparently covered with ice, and is
wholly impassable. Now, we have long thought ourselves safe from the
outer world, as we really are from the savages of the other islands
within this great sea. We know that in the first thousand years of our
history there came to us once two wrecked sailors, and at another time a
single sailor; then came the ship; and since then every ten to thirty
years we have had some token, animate or inanimate, from the great
beyond. But none that came, save the ship-load of two hundred and fifty
years ago, ever left us; and those who sailed that vessel could not
again have found us, had they tried during the remainder of their lives.
Hence, our Councillors appear to think that we shall forever remain
secreted here in safety. Now I only wish to suggest to those who are
wiser, but whose minds are not like ours sharpened by hardship and
solitude, that some great event in the vast outer world must have
occurred preceding the visit of that ship. The conditions of the world
have in some manner changed. Yet, whilst the vast ring-like continent of
ice-covered volcanoes will long protect us, the warm strait will be
discovered and mapped, and then design will carry to us many, over the
same course by which chance has conveyed a few. As usual, I suppose,
these two men will not be allowed to leave us. But in some way the
outside world will learn of us and of our exhaustless supplies of these
pebbles' (he pointed to nuggets of gold lying on the shore of the bay),
'which we know are the same as others in our museum, that our ancestors
brought from Rome, and of which--so says our ancient history--one pebble
the size of a fingerend would purchase a human captive! Some chance will
carry to those people (no doubt the descendants of those barbarians who
almost exterminated our Roman ancestors) a knowledge of this.' Here
Medosus picked from the ground a nugget of gold about the size of a
large orange, and threw it carelessly from him into the bay. 'Aurum,' he
said, disdainfully; 'aurum, the curse of our ancestors! What would not
the outer world endure to gain the ship-loads of this stuff that lie
scattered over our volcanic islands? Stuff which we use only in building
and for pavements, because it is easily worked, and bright, and lasting.
What will our people do when ship-loads of men like these two strangers
come to us? And, come, too, not almost starved and without weapons, but
with spears, and practised arms to use their spears. Astuteness is a
poor weapon, when it is the only weapon, against men who are maddened
with avarice: bravery, physical power, fortitude; the strong arm, backed
by the quick eye, and the mind inured to danger--these, in such a time
of need, will alone avail to protect our lives, our land, and our homes
from a ruthless foe.

"'Pardon my prolixity; but, as I talked, I became more interested in the
fate of my countrymen, even than in that of my fellow-exiles and myself.
You understand me, my old friend? I know that you will speak for us.
Good-by.'

"And then wishing the exiles good-by, the party in the boat moved from
the shore--at first by paddle-power; but on reaching the outlet of
Volcano Bay the sails of their boat were spread for the run across the
open sea."

Here Doctor Bainbridge paused for a moment in his narration, lighted a
cigar, took a whiff or two, and then continued:

"You must pardon me for entering so fully into the affairs of Medosus
and his fellow-exiles. It was only by tact and patience that, little by
little, I gathered from Peters the facts. My excuse for this verbosity
is, that from the speech of Medosus--whose words show that he supposed
Pym and Peters would never be allowed to leave Hili-li--we obtain,
better than from all other sources of information which were opened to
Peters, an insight of the geographical knowledge, and of many of the
peculiarities, of a strange, isolated people--a people which, beyond all
doubt, I think, is descended from the pure imperial Roman stock; and
also because it explains the means by which the exiles afterward
obtained their liberty, and were thus enabled to assist their relatives
and friends in the City of Hili-li, at a time when, though of brief
duration, the islands of Hili-li were threatened with depopulation. It
seems that the message of Medosus, joined with the lesson of Lilama's
abduction, carrying as it did a suggestion of future possibilities
should the exiles continue to increase in number whilst growing more
reckless, and at the same time no strangers be at hand to assist in
overcoming them--these considerations, and the influence of Pym, who
described the quality of English, German, French, and American soldiers
that were produced in lands where, he said, sports and games similar to
those of Hili-li (he explained the nature of sparring, cricket, etc.)
were in no manner restricted by law. (This, you will remember, was in
the year 1828.)

"The rescue party were met at the Duke's landing by all the residents of
the palace, and by many relatives and friends of Lilama, who had
gathered to receive her. As soon as Peters' wonderful feat was
explained, he became the hero of the island.

"The Hili-lites showed themselves in one respect much like other races.
They had no sooner decided to rescind the interdict against the hitherto
obnoxious athletic games, than all classes began to patronize these
sports, and immediately they became very popular; and to the other games
was added that of contests at leaping. Some of the feats performed at
this time by Peters were certainly astonishing. One of his performances
which took place during an exhibition in the presence of the elite of
Hili-li, was to leap from an improvised platform, placed eighty feet
above the ground, grasp the limb of a tree which projected about thirty
feet beneath and several feet away from the platform, instantly drop to
another limb, twenty-five feet lower, and then to the ground. To an
observer he appeared to jump from the platform, to strike one limb and
then another in his descent, and to fall, a mass of bruised flesh and
broken bones, upon the earth; the real climax being when, instead, he
fell lightly on his feet, and walked away to prepare for his next act in
this public display.

"But we must hasten on. And before proceeding to subjects of greater
interest, I will tell at once what was the future of Ahpilus. He had
when a boy been noted for a love of study, and now when he could no
longer walk, he turned his attention to literary pursuits. Masusaelili
took an interest in the unfortunate young man, and allowed him at first
to be brought occasionally to the studio which the reader has already
visited, and later to become an assistant in his researches. Peters and
Pym felt very kindly to the poor fellow, and evinced their regard by
inventing and making for him a sort of chair on two main wheels and a
small third wheel, upon which he could sit and guide himself with ease
and comfort from place to place in the city, and that, too, with quite
as great speed as he had in the past been able to attain by walking. The
last thing heard of him by Peters was, that he had begun a history of
the Hili-lite people, from the settlement of Hili-li to 1828. And this
reminds me to say that, to Pym and Peters, one of the strangest things
in Hili-li was their count of time, which appeared the same as our own.
It was not in fact the same, however, though Peters insists that it was;
for whilst we, of course, count time according to the Gregorian
calendar, the Hili-lites must have counted time according to the Julian
calendar. This would have placed the Hili-lites about eleven days in
arrear of Pym's count--a difference which, under the circumstances,
Peters might easily have overlooked.

"Not many weeks after the rescue of Lilania, she and Pym were married
according to the usual form of Hili-li. The wedding ceremony was a very
quiet one. I have thought that perhaps the customs of Hili-li might
account for the lack of any festivity; and, again, that the Ahpilus
incident may have precluded all social gaiety at such a time, the
injured man being still in a precarious condition."

Here Bainbridge paused for a moment, took a turn or two across the
floor, relit the long-neglected cigar that he held in his fingers,
seated himself, and continued:

The SEVENTEENTH Chapter

It is pleasant to dwell on this period in the life of young Pym. We
think of his home on the far-away island of Nantucket, with the loving
mother, the proud father, the doting old grandfather--all cast aside,
and probably forever, by the momentary folly of a boy; then of his
connection with the ship-mutiny--unquestionably one of the most horrible
positions in which it is ever the fate of man to stand; the death of his
friend and his friend's father; the shipwreck, and the long, lonely days
of watching, in hunger and thirst, for a sail; the final loss of all
companions save a gorilla-like half-breed, whose animal instinct of love
and fidelity fell about the poor boy like a protecting garment. Then
comes this bright spot in his life away in Hili-liland, like a momentary
rift in the clouds of a stormy day. For Pym the sun shone with a
heavenly effulgence, whilst the obstructions of a dire destiny were for
a time removed; but when again the clouds closed between him and the
brightness of existence, they closed forevermore. Yet this mere boy,
into whose life hardship and danger had introduced more than the
experience of most old men, enjoyed, too, what many very aged men never
have possessed--what Alexander the Great never possessed--that of which
wealth or other source of power seems actually to deprive many men. He
enjoyed what was worth more than all that ambition backed by wealth and
power can give--that is, the faithful love of a beautiful woman, loved
truly in return. This boy was loved by one who was capable with her
witching loveliness of satisfying every desire, enthralling the
imagination, rousing in the heart that passion which inspires the mind
to regions where it throbs in harmony with the Divine, and touches--as
might some dying desert-waif with his parched lips a cooling
fountain--the very source of love itself. But the most of human
love--how debased and debasing, how vile! God, for purposes of His own,
links for mankind the Aphroditic passion to the love Divine. The two are
separable, and man assuredly separates them. True love may be witnessed
as low in the scale of life, and as high, as consciousness is found. We
find it in the heart of the faithful animal that dies on a loved
master's grave, howling in anguish its life away. And we find it in the
purity of woman's heart, where it rests ready for the contact that is to
ignite it into illumination forever. Woman herself is divine. Man has
placed her everywhere, sometimes behind the barred doors of a harem,
sometimes on the throne of empire; but he has not blotted out the
divine.

"With Pym it may not have been a love that would have carried him safely
into and through a beatific old age--or it may have been; we choose to
think that it was a growth that would have bloomed perennially. It was,
I think, such a love as every man of imagination feels to be a mountain
of wealth beside which all else is dwarfed to utter nothingness--a
concretion from the endless and eternal ocean of love--a glimpse into
that paradise where exists the Almighty, who is Love.

"I should judge from what Peters knows well enough, but which I gleaned
by patient toil from that wicked though unsophisticated old segment of
intelligence, that these two young persons had a most delightful, though
extremely peculiar, wedding journey. The months had flown, until it was
again December--the antarctic midsummer month, in which, and the greater
part of January, there is no night.

"At this, the delightful season of the antarctic year, a beautiful
yacht-like vessel was equipped; and with Peters as captain, and four men
under his orders; Lilama, and a lady friend, with two maids; and Pym,
accompanied by his now close friend, Diregus, the journey began.

"To Peters' mind, the most remarkable part of this pleasure excursion,
was the extreme differences in climatic conditions which the party
experienced within the range of a single day's, or even a single hour's
travel. In December and January, Hili-li was so warm as scarcely to be
habitable--certainly not comfortably habitable for natives of the
central temperate zone of North America; yet at this same period of
time, there was a small island on the meridian of Hili-li, and only
thirty miles from the large surface-crater, on which the temperature was
about 65 deg. F. There was, just across 'The Mountain'--as the Hili-lites
frequently spoke of the rings of mountain-ranges surrounding the central
crater--an island of somewhat greater area, upon which ice was at all
times to be found at a few feet above sea-level, and which, during eight
months of the year, was so cold that no animal life could have existed
upon it. Then, at variable distances from the crater, and in different
directions, islands were to be found of almost any desired temperature.
The wealthier Hili-lites owned summer residences on these out-lying
islands, situated at sailing distances varying from an hour to six
hours' travel from Hili-li.

"The wedding-party, owing to the social position or the personal
qualities of its members--which included official rank, hereditary
prestige, beauty, mental culture, and preternatural prowess--was
everywhere warmly welcomed. It was expected, received with open arms,
and every source of entertainment was exhausted to make its visit at
each island enjoyable.

"The party visited the island owned by Lilama, where they found the
temperature quite cold, but the island comfortably habitable. It was at
about the same distance from the crater as was Hili-li; and was so
situated as to be of nearly one temperature all the year round. They
found at work there a body of men, numbering not more than fifteen or
twenty. It seems that upon making a trial of the various islands as a
home for the descendants of the animals brought south by the original
settlers, it was found that upon this island conditions were the best
for raising sheep for their wool; and from the wool raised, Lilama's
income was much greater than from the precious stones found there later,
though precious stones were found on no other island in Hili-liland.
Peters knows next to nothing, either theoretically or practically, of
geology; but he says this island looked very different from the others
in that region, and that its mountainous central portion appeared
altogether different from any other of the mountains in Hili-liland.
Asked to say if he had ever seen a mountain-range which Lilama's
mountain resembled, he replied, but could not say why he so thought,
that it reminded him of various parts of the Appalachian range.

"In strolling about the island, the party entered a small warehouse in
which the precious stones were kept. Peters says that the gems which he
there saw were of all sizes up to a large hen-egg, and of all colors
except green. He particularly remembers being given several beautiful
specimens, including blue, red, yellow, violet, gray, and white stones,
all transparent; a black stone, and a brown-gray opaque stone. These
were, of course, the sapphire, ruby, topaz, amethyst, and other
varieties of corundum, the islands evidently containing no emeralds or
diamonds. Lilama selected from a tray a stone the color of pigeon-blood,
and about the size of an English walnut, which she handed to Pym as she
might have handed him a beautiful rose. In Europe or America this stone
would have purchased a fair-sized town.

"Peters described a strange natural phenomenon that exists on an island
not more than half a mile in length, which the party visited after
leaving Lilama's island. Near the centre of this last-mentioned island,
says Peters, is a volcanic mountain about four thousand feet in height,
with an extinct crater reaching down through the centre of the mountain
to within a hundred feet of the sea-level, and, at its lower part,
communicating with the outer surface by a tunnel some ten feet in
diameter. Upon entering, by means of the tunnel, this sunken crater, a
gallery was found, ascending spirally by at least twenty turns to the
extreme peak of the mountain. The diameter of the crater was about one
hundred feet at the bottom, about two hundred feet at the top--the
diameter widening at each complete circuit of the gallery by from eight
to twelve feet, the breadth of the gallery varying from four feet to
six. Looking from below at the opening above, the spot of sky, says
Peters, looked like the full moon. The length of the gallery, as its
gradient is about forty-five degrees, must be about a mile and a half.
Out of the gallery, at several points in the ascent, passes a small
side-tunnel, communicating with the exterior.

"On still another island, about a hundred miles from Hili-li, but on
about the same meridian--that is to say, in the same warm air-current,
though the heat of the current was there much diminished by
dilution--the party visited certain ruins which had always greatly
puzzled the Hili-lites. The island was quite large, and was covered with
agricultural farms, from which a single crop was taken each year. The
ruins were quite uninjured by time; and one small stone structure was so
complete as to be scarcely more dilapidated in appearance than would be
any other old and neglected stone building in Hili-li. The stone of
which the various structures were composed had never in all the
centuries of their residence there been found by the Hili-lites
elsewhere than in these buildings; the supposition being that it came
from the great surrounding continent. But, after all, the real
peculiarity of these buildings was in their architecture. The difficulty
of obtaining from Peters any architectural facts, you will never
appreciate unless you attempt, as I have done, to procure such
information. He declares that in these buildings were neither columns
nor arches; and he also declares that the absence of arches and columns
he knows, not only from his own observation, but because that fact was
alluded to in his presence by the Hili-lite members of the party; yet he
is equally certain that in one of the larger of the ruins the roof was
intact. How a roof could be supported without reasonable vertical
resistance, and without arch resistance, I am unable to say; and it is
wholly improbable that the walls in a building of its dimensions could,
without an arch, support a roof. The Hellenes, you recall, were very
artful in hiding from observation the arch, though they frequently
employed it. I admit that I must have greatly bored old man Peters over
this subject of architecture; and as I myself know next to nothing of
the subject, technically, and he knows absolutely nothing of it,
technically or otherwise, and as he took no interest in the ruins even
when they were before his eyes, you will understand that my information
concerning these ruins is not very clear. It was also utterly impossible
for me to gain from the old man data upon which to base an opinion as to
the style of architecture of these structures. The buildings generally
were very large, very beautiful, and constructed in a style entirely
distinct from any known ancient style--that is, for instance, they were
not Hellenic, or Egyptian, or Assyrian, or Roman. This much the
Hili-lites knew and said. Then, further, there were inscriptions in
characters unknown to the world at the time of the barbarian overflow
into the Roman Empire, and also unknown to Pym. In one of the ruins was
a large window made of blue and yellow transparent corundum, in which
appeared an inscription made by a setting of rubies.

"What a strange world, in which entire races come and go, some of them
leaving a ruin or two, and perhaps an odd indecipherable inscription
here and there! The world was fortunate indeed to grasp, from the
obliterated and forgotten past, Hebraism and Hellenism--the moral and
the beautiful; from which man's craving for goodness has resulted in
Christianity; and from which his impulses of sweetness and brightness
and loveliness have developed the Renascence! Between goodness and
beauty, why should there ever be conflict? Pure goodness is pure love,
and love is almost synonymous with beauty.--But, pardon the digression.

"The tour of the islands comprising Hili-liland continued through
December and January. I could tell you much of the social gayeties in
many a bright country-home during these two months; but in these Peters
was not much interested, and I could not get from him many of the
particulars. Thus far I have striven to keep all facts unpolluted by any
possible alloy of my own imagination--let me continue to be, in word and
in spirit, true to the facts. Were I to attempt a description of these
island festivities in faraway Hili-liland, perhaps, inadvertently--the
facts being meagre--I might say something bordering on untruth; and,
rather than untruth--a thousand times rather--silence.

"I will close for this evening by saying that the wedding-party arrived
at the island of Hili-li about February 1st--the year being 1829. Some
time before starting on the tour, Lilama had begun the construction of a
new home; and by the time of her return it was completed. Her new
residence was not large, but it was elegant. Here the happy couple
dwelt, Peters having an apartment to himself which was enough to set a
sailor wild with joy. Peters says that he grew to like very much what he
calls 'volcano tobacco;' that it was 'good and strong'--to his taste all
the better for that. The only mistake that Lilama's architect made in
his plan for her new home was in not having Peters' apartment either on
the roof, or else next door. Peters now smokes American tobacco; and
even now--but let the past go; I did not sit on the edge of the old
sailor's bed for thirty hours for nothing. Tomorrow evening I shall tell
you of the great catastrophe which occurred on the island of Hili-li
during the visit of Pym and Peters."

Here Bainbridge closed his recital for the evening. I believe that he
would have remained for at least a few minutes longer; but as he was
about to reply to a question of mine, Castleton rushed into the room,
and Bainbridge departed.

Castleton, who was overflowing with joyous excitement, informed me that
the dreaded yellow fever of the South was on its way North; and that if
I would delay my return to England for a week or ten days I could see
it. His remark did not much alarm me. Then I proceeded to tell him in
outline what had become of Ahpilus, of the marriage of Lilama and Pym,
and of the wedding-tour of the islands. As I closed, he said:

"Young man, you will soon be returning to England, that lordly nation to
whose hind-quarters the sun is kinder than to its head-quarters. When
you get home tell your countrymen of the discoveries you have here made.
Tell them of the wonders of Hili-li--but be careful. This fellow
Bainbridge is a romantic youth, and he is liable to lead you astray in
some important respects. Tell your noble countrymen of the central
crater--that, no doubt, Peters saw; as to the Hili-lites being
descendants of the pure stock of ancient Rome, that, too, I believe. But
do not repeat this foolish theory about love which he introduces into
Peters' narrative. The wise, practical, and puissant residents of that
Corinthian Capital of Brains--I refer to London--will know better. Oh,
yes; women are true!--very true! Better than wealth--pshaw! better than
empire--pooh! That nonsense will pass at twenty-five; at forty a man has
some brains. The 'constancy' of women--that gets me! Why, sir, I once
loved three women at the same time, and not one of the three was true to
me--yet Bainbridge talks of a woman's constancy, single-heartedness, and
such chimerical stuff--the kind of stuff, that, with youth, takes the
place of the recently discarded nursery fiction. I think of the hundreds
of women that I have loved, beginning in my early boyhood, passing
through my adolescence to the acme of my powers, and even now as I stand
on the verge of my desuetude! Surely some one of these many women would
have been constant, if women have any constancy in their make-up. Show
me a woman howling out her life on _my_ grave, and then I'll believe
Bainbridge. But I know all about Bainbridge. I know where he goes the
evenings that he doesn't come here. Never mind--I'm silent as the grave.
I don't need to tell a man of your superlative acumen what Bainbridge's
talk implies. He mustn't talk to me though about woman's constancy and
single-heartedness till he's ten years older; let him tell that stuff to
Peters and the other mariners."

After some further talk, Castleton remarked:

"It seems, then, according to Bainbridge, that we moderns owe about all
we have to the Jew and the Dago! Now, men less intelligent than you and
I, after looking at the average Jew and Dago as seen to-day in the
United States, would doubt this assertion. I cannot dispute it, however;
for through the ancient Jew certainly came Christianity, and through the
ancients in Greece and Italy our art."

He paused for a moment, and then continued:

"A delightfully euphonious set of names those Hili-lites possess. The
name _Hi_li-_li_ is not bad itself: _Hi_li-_li_, _Hi_li-_lite_,
_Hi_li-_li_land--pretty good. _Li_-la-ma, Ah-_pe_-lus, Di-_re_-gus,
Me-_do_-sus, Ma-_su_-se-_li_-la--all pretty fair. I have no doubt that
Bainbridge would spell them so as to produce a Latin appearance. And
this reminds me of a certain name not Latin."

I saw that the doctor was about to recount a "personal experience." He
continued:

"One day a stranger came to our town--a plain, clean-looking, blue-eyed
sort of scientific fellow from somewhere so far out in the suburbs of
Europe that the name of his country or province has wholly slipped my
memory--a mighty rare thing, by the by, and it always galls me when I
forget anything. This chap came here to look at coal, or to hammer
rocks, or to look for curiosities. Well, he ran up against me. Don't ask
me his name--I believe he spelled it S-c-h-w-o-j-k-h-h-j-z-y-t-y-h-o
B-j-h-z-o-w-h-j-u-g-h-s-c-h-k-j. One day he asked me to introduce him to
a certain Bellevue capitalist. The fellow had pleased me, and I agreed
to do the introducing--partly, I admit, to see whether a man that
gutteralled his words out of his stomach could swindle one of our own
sharpers that talked through his nose. But now came the rub: how was I
to introduce a man when I couldn't utter his name? I used to practice at
pronouncing that name as I rode around in my buggy, but it was no go. At
last the day came when I was to introduce the fellow with a surplus of
knowledge, to the fellow with a surplus of cash. That morning I awoke
with the worst sorethroat of my life. I felt as if I had two boiled
potatoes in my throat. The passage from my nose to my windpipe was
closed for repairs, and that from my mouth to my throat was
seven-eighths closed. Pretty soon, just from recent habit, I began to
practise on the scientific chap's name. Great Scott! I could pronounce
it better than its owner could. There were certain grunts and sneezes in
the name--particularly one syllable between a grunt and a sneeze--that I
suppose no Anglo-Saxon had ever before or has ever since uttered
correctly; but they were nothing to me, so long as my sorethroat
lasted."

Then Castleton rushed from the room; calling back from the head of the
stairs, and in tones intentionally audible to every man and woman on
that floor of the hotel:

"It's coming, sir, depend upon it--the genuine yellow fever--evaded the
New Orleans quarantine three weeks ago--three cases at Shreveport and
two at Memphis reported--talk, too, of a case in St. Louis. Heavens! but
I hope a beneficent Creator will not allow some other doctor to get the
first case, when, happily, it shall have reached Bellevue."

The last sentence was uttered _sotto voce_, as he descended the stairs.

The EIGHTEENTH Chapter

"It appears," continued Bainbridge, on the following evening, "that
Hili-li was subject to the recurrence about once in forty-seven years of
a strange thermic phenomenon, the mean duration of which was about fifty
hours. This change had occurred twenty-one times in the preceding
thousand years; its duration had once been as brief as thirty hours, and
at another time had lasted one hundred and twenty hours. The interval
between two of its visitations had once been somewhat less than eight
years; whilst at the period of Pym and Peters' presence in Hili-li, it
had not occurred for eighty-six years and some months. For some reason
that could not be conjectured, at these times the wind-currents,
generally varying but slightly in force and duration, changed, the wind
coming from a point of the compass almost diametrically opposite to its
usual direction, and increasing in velocity and force to that of a
tempest or blizzard. The result was, that in a very few hours the
temperature of Hili-li fell to about zero Fahrenheit, if in December or
January; to 60 deg. or 70 deg. Fahrenheit below freezing, if in July or August.
During the first few hours of the change, owing to the extremely moist
state of the atmosphere for many miles in all directions from the crater
of Hili-li, there occurred a heavy snowfall--which, however, diminished
as the temperature fell, until at somewhat above the zero point it
ceased.

"The government of Hili-li, by laws and by the encouragement of custom,
did much to prevent damage from these storms--which, as I have
intimated, were a combination of hurricane and snow-storm, with a very
sudden and rapid fall of temperature; and when the interval between two
of them was not greater than twenty years, the provisions made by the
state were ample to prevent loss of life. By the law of the land,
residence houses had to be built in such a manner that at least one room
in each house could be warmed by a fire. Fire for purposes of warmth was
never in Hili-li required, except during these storms; and all cooking
was done on a peculiar stove made chiefly of gold, the fuel of which was
either fish oil, or another oil termed by the boatmen who sold it
'continent oil'--or, rather, by a name corresponding in the Hili-li
language to those words in the English. The law further provided that on
the premises of each home wood should be kept, ready for use, in chests
of a size convenient for two persons to carry into the room in which it
was to be burned. By this means, the worst that could happen to a family
was that its members might suddenly at any time be confined to a single
room, comfortably warmed, for from thirty to a hundred hours, or
thereabouts. Even if there should be very little food in any one home,
or if the wood supply should be neglected, the next door neighbor could
be relied upon for succor.

"Ninety-four years prior to the summer that now concerns us, a cold
spell had occurred after an interval of eighty-one years, which lasted a
hundred and ten hours, and during which one-third of the inhabitants of
Hili-li, between hunger and cold, lost their lives. Not more than one
hundred persons remembered the last preceding storm, and they must have
been very young children when it occurred; and even they felt no alarm
on the subject, as the storm preceding it had happened about sixteen
years earlier, and, though a light one, was sufficient to alarm both the
rulers and the masses, and resulted in a state of preparedness for the
next storm. But now, the middle-aged men knew of these cold spells only
as matters of history, to which they gave little practical attention;
and from the lips of their grandparents, who, as I have said, had never
personally known one of them to cause serious distress or loss of life.

"On the morning of February 17, 1829, there was not on the Island of
Hili-li a single residence which had the wood-supply contemplated by the
forgotten statute relating to that subject; there were few homes that
had in store food sufficient for more than forty-eight hours use; and,
though most families were in possession of some oil, their cook-stoves
were not constructed for heating, and were connected with flues in
outbuildings; and, further, there was not enough oil on the island to
have warmed the city at such a time for twenty-four hours.

"It must also be remembered that the Hili-lites were accustomed to a
temperature, all the year through, year in and year out, of 90 deg. to 108 deg.
Fahrenheit scale; and that for a resident of England, or of the United
States above the latitude of Washington City, a temperature of ten
degrees below zero would be quite as well borne as would a temperature
of thirty degrees above zero by these islanders. There was little
physical and mental inurement to cold, and the lightest of clothing was
worn. A resident of Hili-li, when business compelled him to visit an
island on which the temperature was cold enough to freeze water,
prepared himself personally for the journey as would a Swede or
Norwegian for a journey of exploration to the North Pole.

"In the night between February 16th and 17th, Peters, who was in the
habit in Hili-li of sleeping _in puris naturalibus_, awoke in a shiver.
He arose, and closing his window-sash began to look around his room for
bed-covering; but he found only a sheet, and a very fine wool bedspread,
which he drew over him as he once more assumed a recumbent position. He
again fell asleep; but in an hour awoke, shivering harder than before.
He then dressed, and lighting his pipe, walked up and down the floor.
Then he looked from the window, and saw that a fine snow was falling,
the separately almost invisible flakes whirling in sharp spirals as they
fell. The sailor instinct--the aptitude of the navigator--instantly told
him what this thermic change meant for Hili-li. Others in the house were
now moving about, and Peters sought them out. Pym did not seem at once
to realize the danger; and Lilama said she had heard of these storms,
but did not think that they lasted long. All except Peters were wrapped
in shawl-like garments, and some of the servants had about their forms
light rugs which they had taken from the floors. Soon, however, all
except Pym and Peters were shivering; and every article of covering
obtainable was in use. Lilama told a maid to bring out her dresses and
wrappers, which she divided among the servants, each donning several
garments. Peters, stoical, but always on the alert, called Pym aside,
and explained to him that this change meant nothing less than the
devastation of Hili-li--that the temperature was steadily falling, the
wind increasing, and that the storm was only beginning. Pym could not
but perceive that the cold was due to a pronounced alteration in the
direction of wind-currents; and that under the circumstances the cold
would of necessity increase to the point of normal antarctic
temperature--no doubt below zero--unless the wind should before then
change. Quickly his mind grasped the circumstances in which they were
placed. They were on an island, situated in water navigable at all
seasons and hours, with the chief food-supply on near-by islands, and
each day brought to Hili-li for that day's consumption; they were in a
city practically without fuel; the inhabitants were accustomed to heat,
and wholly unused to cold; the houses were built without protection
against cold, because, except occasionally for a few hours at a time,
there were no climatic conditions demanding such a construction.
Further, the climate being very warm, there was not--except in the
possession of a hundred men whose business took them on visits to
islands lying outside of the crater-warmed air-currents--a heavy wrap of
any kind, such as overcoat, cloak, or shawl, in the entire city. Carpets
were not known in Hili-li, so it would be impossible for the
hard-pressed people to retire to bed, where, covering the body with a
few sheets and some clothing, they might add the carpets, and, in hunger
but in safety, remain protected against those freezing blasts till the
wind should change. Pym comprehended the terrible position in which
Lilama and the other Hili-lites stood; the extremity of desolation which
must soon prevail standing out before him like a vivid picture, and for
a moment overawing even his brave, true soul. He did not doubt that
Peters and himself could withstand the cold, though they might not be
able to obtain more than a flimsy shelter from the biting antarctic
winds. He scarcely thought of himself--he thought only of Lilama, and,
in a measure, of the other residents of the beautiful, stricken city.
Exposure to danger had made Pym in times of trouble a rapid thinker, and
the thoughts which I have mentioned passed through his mind in less than
a minute of time. Then he turned to Lilama, and asked if there was
beneath the house a cellar. Fortunately there was--the house was one of
the few in Hili-li beneath a portion of which a cellar was constructed
as a depository, and as a protection against heat for certain articles
of food, most of the residents not caring to construct cellars; articles
of food easily destructible by heat being twice daily brought to the
city and distributed to the houses, and ice costing only the expense of
shipping it by water some six or eight hours' sailing distance.

"Pym and Peters moved about the house, making certain arrangements so
rapidly as to startle the languid Hili-lites. In ten or fifteen minutes
they had removed to the cellar all the necessary furniture of a
comfortable room, including a bedstead for Lilama, and another for her
two maids. Three lamps were taken to the cellar, lighted, and oil
sufficient for a week's consumption placed conveniently near. The house
contained enough food to sustain Lilama, and the women servants, for
from six to eight days. Within twenty minutes of the time Peters had
suggested to Pym the danger of freezing to be apprehended, Lilama and
her maids were safely placed in the cellar, and were making merry over
their strange surroundings and attire. Then Pym and Peters hastened from
the house, to see what could be done for others.

"And now was witnessed the influence on man, of heredity and
environment, and the insurmountable difficulties in the way, even under
the most pressing need, of overcoming such influence. The Hili-lites in
more than a thousand years had fought only one battle, and that five
hundred years before; nor had they found necessary any struggle for
food, or against rigorous climate. They were a brainy people, and were
almost superhumanly perceptive in every sense organ and in every nerve.
But they were wanting in that quality possessed by most European peoples
and by Americans, which takes practical cognizance of the fact that
prompt action and fearlessness is the true protection against danger. In
the face of this great calamity among the Hili-lites, even the leading
men seemed paralyzed. Not that they displayed a particle of fear--it was
simply not in them to move rapidly, and to face joyfully great dangers.
With them, when mental processes failed to subdue, there was not much
left. They could have conquered a modern warship, provided they could
have come in contact with its officers, by controlling in some strange
way the minds of those men; but against a storm, or the course of
inanimate nature in any other direction, they were as powerless as any
other people, and their sense of powerlessness was paralyzing to them.
On the other hand, Pym and Peters had sprung from races that had in the
past thousand years gone through hundreds of struggles, amid every kind
of danger, for existence; and Peters, on the mother's side, she being an
American Indian, belonged to a race which had gone through what was
infinitely worse than a barbarian invasion--namely, a 'civilized' and
'enlightened' invasion. These two men seemed to court danger--to revel
in it; but in reality they pursued the course which exposed them to the
least risk of injury consistent with the performance of their full duty.
The question was one of method in procedure to save the greatest number
of lives; and they hastened first to the residence of Lilama's uncle and
cousin--to the home of the Duke and Diregus."

The NINETEENTH Chapter

Arriving there, they found the Duke and Diregus quite actively
engaged--for Hili-lites; still, very much valuable time was being
wasted. Already the snow had ceased to fall, and the temperature, Peters
thinks, must have reached ten degrees below freezing, and was rapidly
falling. In the ducal palace there were, in two or three rooms, hearths,
and flue-openings for carrying off smoke; but as there was no wood ready
for burning, and as there seemed to be no dry wood in sight, the Duke
and his son were at the end of their resources as soon as they had
gathered together into a safe place food sufficient to last for a week
or ten days. Fortunately the palace was unusually well stocked with
edibles.

When Pym and Peters arrived, their cool manner and prompt action
exhaling confidence with every look and movement, the Duke and Diregus
were soon enlivened, as in fact were all others who came in contact with
these two active and intrepid strangers.

Pym glanced about him, compassing at a look all possible resources. Then
he issued his orders, himself working with the others, and, so to speak,
'setting the pace.' In ten minutes a large outbuilding--similar to our
summer-houses, or Anglo-Saxon kiosks--was razed to the ground, broken in
pieces, and placed in the rooms, in which fires were soon glowing and
crackling. In twenty minutes, those whom Pym and Peters had found
half-frozen and wholly discouraged, were cheerful, comfortable, and out
of danger.

The two men hastened forth through the city, giving assistance and
advice, and infusing confidence. The smaller residences, as well as many
of those of medium size, were constructed of wood. Pym went rapidly
through the city, ordering that one house in each square be demolished,
and the wood divided--but haste! haste! The temperature was rapidly
declining to a point at which a Hili-lite, even when actively at work,
could not exist.

Pym and Peters might, unaided, have reached one-tenth of the people of
Hili-li, and have shown them the way to safety. As many more, possibly,
might have found other means of saving themselves. It seems improbable
that more than one-fourth of the people of Hili-li would have survived
this terrible storm, had Pym and Peters not been reinforced.

"Let no man, in his finite weakness, ever question the methods of
Infinite Wisdom, which is Infinite Goodness. At the very time when every
moment gained by Pym and Peters meant the saving of a hundred more
lives--at the very moment when two additional men, hardy and inured to
danger, would have doubled the life-saving force, four hundred of the
'Exiles of Olympus' arrived in the city. They had left behind them
warmth and safety, and sailing across thirty miles of tempestuous sea,
had come, headed by Medosus, to try to save their fellow-countrymen.
These four hundred men, young and vigorous, comprised the real
enterprise and daring of Hili-li. They had been promised their liberty,
and their visits, individually, to Hili-li had recently been not only
allowed but even encouraged by those in authority; but the final act
permitting them to return had been, by the formalities of state,
delayed.

"Pym, Peters, and Medosus consulted for a moment, and then the exiles
divided into a hundred parties of four each, and systematically
scattered through the city, doing the work of giants. Finally the exiles
established a hundred stations, selecting for the purpose large rooms,
in which they built hearths of lava-blocks taken from the streets, in
most of the houses the hearths being placed in the centre of an upper
room, and an opening directly above cut through the roof. At each of
these stations one exile at a time took charge of the fire, whilst the
other three of the party in charge scoured the neighborhood for persons
that might in the first desultory search have been overlooked. Then,
when all seemed provided for, the exiles, protecting their bodies with
such additional clothing as those now cared for could spare, went forth
in search of food, to the deserted houses, and to such depots of supply
as the city possessed.

"The work of rescue being thoroughly inaugurated, Pym had a moment in
which his mind might roam from the work immediately in hand; and he
thought of the aged mystic, Masusaelili. The old man resided in a spot so
retired that the various rescue parties might easily have overlooked
him; and the temperature was now probably fifty degrees below freezing.
Fortunately, at the instant he thought of the old philosopher, he and
Peters were near the city limits, and within a third of a mile of
Masusaelili's home; and starting off at a brisk run, the two were five
minutes later in the old man's house, standing outside his laboratory
door. As the two had hurried along, Peters would continue to murmur
against the project: 'What's the use,' he would growl; 'we'll only find
the old fellow roasting himself in front of a magic fire of burning snow
or ice. _He's_ all right, and we'd better be saving human people.'

"As several raps, increasing from the gentlest to the most vigorous,
elicited no response, Pym opened the laboratory door, and with Peters
entered. But the old man was nowhere to be seen. Pym hastily returned to
the hallway, and discovering a stair leading to a small cellar, he
descended. The cellar was filled with _debris_, two small window
casements opening to the exterior air were broken and decayed to the
last degree of dilapidation, and the icy wind whistled through the
rubbish of the doleful spot. He ran back to the laboratory, where Peters
was hunting about, hoping to find Masusaelili alive, yet fearing to find
his emaciated form lying lifeless amid the mass of chemical and
mechanical appliances which littered the room. Several of the large
vase-like objects before alluded to stood here and there; and as the
smaller of them might have hidden the body of a large-sized man, the
searchers even glanced into them. Each vase sat apart upon the floor,
flaring upward like a giant lily to a height of four or five feet; and
from each of them projected, within an inch of the floor, a faucet of
rude construction, through which passed a very primitive spigot. One of
these enormous vases, large enough to have secreted two small men, stood
inverted; and Pym, with no particular object in view, but simply because
he could not think of anything else to do, gave the vase a push, in such
a way as to raise for an inch or two from the floor its large rim,
flaring out to a diameter of probably four feet.

"'Put that down,' came a hollow and stridulous voice, so unexpected and
startling to Pym that he withdrew his hand, allowing the vase to drop
back to the floor with a resounding thud.

"'If thou hast aught of importance to impart, 'continued the voice--that
of Masusaelili--still stridulous, but now having also the quality
possessed by a voice heard through a speaking-tube, 'put thy mouth near
to the spigot-hole, and disclose thine errand.'

"Pym placed his lips within an inch of the open faucet, which was only
an inch or two lower than his mouth as he stood beside the vase, and
from the opening of which came a fog-like vapor, similar in appearance
to that exhaled from the mouth and nostrils on a very cold day, and
said:

"'We came, sir, to offer our help--to procure for you wood, and, if
possible, food; or, if you should so prefer, to remove you in safety to
comfortable quarters.'

"For a moment there was silence, during which the fog-like vapor
continued to come from the spigot-hole of the inverted vase. Then the
voice of the aged mystic was again heard in reply:

"'Youth--and thine ape-like companion--go hence. Through three and fifty
of these storms have I safely passed. Beneath this vase have I two
lamps, alight; oil wherewith to supply with fuel these two lamps for a
space of eight days, which hitherto has been the longest duration of any
of these periodical storms; food and water have I sufficient for my
body's wants for a week. And, too, have I mental aliment; for have I
here a manuscript written by the youthful sage, AEgyptus, who sent it to
me by the hand of Azza, long before the legend of Romulus started from
its mythic source to float adown the stream of time: a manuscript which
it delighteth my soul once in each century to peruse. Fear not for one
who knows no fear. Go hence, and quickly go--go with humiliation in thy
heart; for thou hast not yet begun to live, and yet thou presumest to
think in danger one who helped to plan and to construct what thou
callest the ancient city of Babylon. Youth, when thou didst disturb me,
I was reading from my friend, who writes from a village called Sakkarah,
of how a foolish Pharaoh thinks to perpetuate his memory by building a
mighty pyramidal structure of stone, which my friend terms a device
planned by himself to divert the fancy of his ruler, and incidentally to
astonish those European barbarians who may happen that way; and, among
other matters, this Azza asks for my opinion concerning the outer
surface of his pyramid; to which request for advice I remember that I
replied, saying that the walls should be constructed so as to ascend in
step-like angles. Ha, ha, ha!' came from the spigot-hole a hollow,
cracked attempt at derisive laughter--'Ye say--ha, ha!--ye say this
Pharaoh was of the _first_ dynasty!--ha, ha!--the first! Go hence, vain
child.'

"'But, sir,' insisted Pym, after a pause, 'have you provided for
ventilating your--your small apartment?'

"'In the floor beneath me is a knot-hole, which doth open to the outer
air; and upon the opening is a flat stone, which, little by little, more
or less, I remove and replace in accordance with certain laws, allowing
just the proper amount of atmospheric air to enter from below. This oil
maketh very little smoke, yet seest thou not some smoke emerge from the
open faucet? Feel'st thou not with thine hand the heat escape? Again I
say, go hence, vain youth.'

"Pym stood for a moment, meditating; and then something--perhaps
something connected with the words several months before whispered into
his ear by Masusaelili--impelled him to say:

"'Good sir, we meant you no harm. Tell me, Allwise One, can you read the
future?'

"Before a reply came, there was a pause so long that, says Peters, Pym
was about to speak again. Then came the voice of this old man who had
investigated and pondered for thousands of years that only inexhaustible
study in the universe, the phenomenon of consciousness--the aged mystic
no doubt being pleasantly warmed and mollified by the appellation
'Allwise One.'

"'None but God,' said Masusaelili, 'knows of a certainty the future.
Truly wise men, and the lower animals, when they would penetrate the
future, use not the crude instrument termed _reason_; but rather do they
nestle close to the bosom of--what now call ye Him? Thine ancestors, the
barbarians of Britannia, when I was with them, named Him God. Thus, and
only thus, may the future become known to thee. Have faith, as the bird,
the fish, the little ant, which, _feeling_ God, act, and are not
disappointed. Think ye that the lowest of God's creatures would not have
heard His warning voice, or seen His beckoning arm, or felt His guiding
hand when in the air lurked this present danger? Yet reason told not
you! God shows to us the future, when we should know His edicts in
advance, always--always, if only we will look and hearken. But this,
good youth, God doth permit only to those who lean with full confidence
upon Him, as do the lower animals. To the consciousness of man it is
given, if but the right conditions be attained, truly to know what in
the present happeneth anywhere in the universe. _Time_ is a barrier to
the voluntary acquisition of knowledge, but _distance_ is not an
impediment. My body is confined to this poor vase, but certainly not my
mind--it roams in Europe, in Asia, or amid the stars--but wait a moment.
Poor youth! The hand on the dial of thy destiny moves rapidly. Go! Go
now, and go in haste; for one who loves thee, at this moment sorely
needs thee. Farewell.'

"Pym scarcely heard the word 'farewell;' for he was crossing the
threshold of the house as Masusaelili uttered it, and Peters was turning
to follow. They ran as rapidly as the snow and the cutting wind would
permit, and had covered the necessary three miles in about half an hour.
The air was growing intensely cold. They met a party of three exiles,
who were helping to scour the city for any food that might have been
left in deserted homes. These men informed Pym that, in spite of the
promptitude and haste of the rescue parties, more than a hundred persons
had been frozen to death; and that frozen hands and feet by the thousand
had been reported. The Hili-lites were so extremely susceptible to cold
that, at a temperature of 20 deg. Fahrenheit, if they were not well
protected by clothing, they soon became drowsy, then slept, and, if not
found and resuscitated within a very short time, died. One case was
reported in which a woman, only six hundred feet from one of the rescue
stations, was frozen to death in somewhat less than an hour, though she
must have been thoroughly chilled when last seen in an apparently
natural condition. During the day a party of three exiles, whilst on one
of their rounds, had visited the house of this poor woman, and had
carried her three children to the nearest station; and the woman
herself, who was at the time hurrying about the room gathering together
a few articles, it was supposed had followed close behind them. In this
way she was overlooked, until, in the somewhat crowded room to which the
children were taken, the youngest child, a little girl of four years,
broke into tears and began to cry out for her mother. Then two men
hastened back, and found the woman unconscious and apparently dead. The
usual methods of resuscitation were inaugurated, and long continued, but
the woman could not be revived.

"Peters says that he has during his life-time seen a number of persons
who were frozen, several of them fatally; of which a part were in the
Eastern States, others in the far north; and that these Hili-lites froze
to death very differently from those in the northern part of the north
temperate zone. He mentions the case of a Canadian who was exposed to
extreme cold during a whole night. When found, the poor fellow was not
only unconscious, but apparently dead. The arms and legs were frozen
through and through, and the entire body was rigid. He was resuscitated,
but afterwards lost his hands and feet. In Hili-li persons lost their
lives from exposure to cold whose bodies were very little--a few of them
not at all--frozen. The explanation of this difference is to be found in
the fact that an animal dies when bodily temperature in the interior of
the body reaches a certain degree of reduction, which point of reduction
in the Hili-lites is much less than in persons habituated to life in a
colder climate. In persons accustomed to a climate as warm as that of
Hili-li, the heat-producing functions are feeble, and the heat-expelling
functions are very active; but this does not fully explain why, in
Peters' words, 'the people there froze to death without freezing.' Any
person dying as a result of exposure to cold, dies long before any of
the vital organs are frozen; and the Hili-lites no doubt ceased to live
with a reduction of bodily temperature which would not have seriously
inconvenienced a resident of Scotland or Canada. In the storm of which
we speak, the people were nervously depressed as a result of fright.
However, from all I can gather, the temperature was at times certainly
as low as 40 deg. Fahrenheit below freezing, at which degree almost any
thinly clad person might freeze to death.

"But the hour is late, and, though I had expected to close Peters' story
this evening, such a conclusion is, owing to my prolixity, scarcely
practicable. If you still expect to start for home in three days, I
shall certainly in one more evening complete the telling of Peters'
experiences in Hili-li. The day after tomorrow I shall be engaged during
the entire evening, and if we delay our next meeting till the following
evening--your last in Bellevue--it is possible that something may happen
to prevent our meeting; so, if you are willing, my next and last visit
to you here shall be tomorrow evening."

I expressed my satisfaction with the arrangement, and he took his leave.

The following morning, I gave to Arthur, in my own way, an account of
the storm in Hili-li, meanwhile leisurely dressing--a performance which,
except under pressure, I have never in the morning been able unaided to
accomplish in less than an hour. I had completed my toilet, but not my
story, when in rushed Castleton.

After a little general conversation, I seemed naturally to return to the
Peters story; and now, in a five-minute talk, I so closed it to the
point reached by Bainbridge as to satisfy Arthur, and not weary the
restless doctor. As I ended, Castleton said:

"I didn't get in to see you yesterday. The last time I was in we were
talking of names; and to tell you the truth, it was a matter of names
that held me back yesterday at the very time I was going to come up. You
see, I have an old friend here in town, ----; you've no doubt heard of
him--ex-member of Congress, and as good as appointed Minister to
Venezuela right now. A scholar of the deepest erudition; a speaker and
writer of great force and nicety, and of exquisite literary taste.
Yesterday we met, and during our talk he told me that his book, the
result of many years of thought, was completed. Now, for my part, I
never believed that a rose would smell as sweet as it does if we called
it a turnip. If Poe had, instead of 'Narrative of A. Gordon Pym,' named
his story, 'Adventures of Dirk Peters, the Half-Breed,' he would have
sold twice as many books. My friend is about to publish his book. 'Its
name?' I asked him. 'There can be little choice of names for a
translation of Montesquieu's "Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans,"
with notes by myself,' he replied. 'There can't?' said I; 'well, my
friend, let me tell you there can. Now compare this name: "Montesquieu's
Considerations on the Causes of the Grandeur and Decadence of the
Romans, with illustrative notes," etc., with a name like this: "The
Roman Aristocrats Ripped, Rooted, and Routed"; or, "How the Roman
Plutocrats were Peppered and Pounded." Heavens and Earth! what do the
masses know about decadence? Why not name his book (and so I said to
him), "How the Rich Romans Rotted"? Half the people would think from
such a title that the Romans were enemies of the United States, and that
Montesquieu and my friend were after them hot and fast; and then the
story would go out that the French were helping us again. "General
Montesquieu" would be heard on all sides, associated with endless
repetitions of Lafayette memories. Lord, Lord! I sometimes think a man
is better under-educated than over-educated."

Then after a pause he continued:

"Pretty good, that talk of Masusaelili's through the faucet--pretty good,
pretty good! But, pshaw! for me there's nothing new on earth. Why, sir,
I've always drawn my best philosophy out of a spigot-hole. The very
sight of a spigot inspires me, and drives away my troubles. But, man
alive! We must keep this thing secret. The fellow with an exhaustless
stock of _elixir vitae_ isn't half worked out in fiction yet--and
besides, how can a person reread his 'Wandering Jew,' and his 'Last Days
of Pompeii,' and his 'Zanoni,' with such an outlandish picture as a
mystic under a lamp-warmed vase in mind? Why didn't Bainbridge take a
not unusual historical license, and say that the aged philosopher was
found warming himself before a crystal vase filled with magically
glowing rubies?"

After we had laughed a little over this, he said:

"And I suppose Bainbridge tried--in fact I know by what you say that he
did try--to air his knowledge on the subject of animal heat? No doubt
talked for half an hour about the effects of cold on the animal economy?
Oh, he's a rapid man! You heard, sir, how idiotically he talked that
day, just before I cured old man Peters? If Bainbridge had had his way,
Peters' story would have been a short one. I suppose his remedy for a
frozen Hili-lite would be to send him to the North Pole! Now, sir, I
instantly grasped the whole idea of the necessary effect of that cold
wave on those Hili-lites, for I now have data in abundance for reading
those people through and through. In a word, sir--and observe my
sententious brevity--their thermogenistic organization being adynamic,
and their thermolysic functions being over-active owing to their thermic
environment, and the thermotaxic balance being habitually anomalous, the
emergency was not successfully encountered; and this was more
particularly the case because the nerve-centres of vital resistance to
sudden and extreme thermal abstraction were atrophied."

This was the last remark, except a few words of farewell at the time of
my departure for home, that I ever heard from Doctor Castleton. It was
his habit, as he was about to leave the presence of an auditor or
interlocutor, to fire off, so to speak, a set speech, or a piece of
surprising information, and then hastily to retreat--a habit displaying
considerable sagacity, and one engendered by street-corner discussion,
in which a return fire--or perhaps a troublesome question--was often to
be avoided if a dramatic climax was not to be sacrificed. On this
occasion, as the last words left his lips he vanished through the
doorway, and we were alone.

"Well," said Arthur, "am I allowed to speak?"

"You are," I replied.

"Then tell me," said he, "what it was he said? Why doesn't he, some day
when he has time, dictate a dictionary? And isn't there any way to stop
such talk by law? That man gets worse instead of better. He forgets
everything except words. Says he, the other day, 'Well, Arthur, my boy,
when are you coming in to pay your doctor bill?' Now mind, I paid him
a'ready, and just think of my teeth! But I told him, nice and easy, how
I paid him the two dollars. Then I told him about my teeth rattlin'
whenever I go down the stairs, and asked him what to do for them. He
just laughed and gave me a half-dollar, and said, 'Bone-set tea, my
boy--drink bone-set tea, and plenty of it;' and so I do."

The TWENTIETH Chapter

"Pym left the exiles," said Bainbridge, on the following evening, as, in
accordance with his engagement, he continued the story of the great
storm in Hili-li; "and hastened on toward his home. Arrived there, he
went directly to the cellar, where he found the three large lamps
alight, brilliantly illuminating and comfortably warming the apartment;
but Lilama was missing, though he found there one of her maids. This
girl told Pym that Lilama had, some four hours earlier, taken with her
her maid Ixza, and hastened from the house. Questioned closely, she said
that after Pym had gone, Lilama suddenly bethought her of a former
servant, an old nurse, who for some years past had lived quite alone,
and that Lilama had decided to have the poor old woman found, and cared
for. It seems that when the young wife was herself in safety and had the
mental leisure to think of others, the thought of her poor old servant
and friend in danger grew more and more unbearable. She had waited
almost an hour for Pym to return, and then, taking Ixza with her, had
gone forth; but where the old nurse resided, only Lilama and Ixza knew.
The maid knew only that Lilama had left the cellar with the intention of
assisting, in some manner, the nurse of her babyhood.

"In ten minutes Pym and Peters, going in different directions, had
aroused many of the exiles, who hastened in all directions, to search
thoroughly the poorer quarters of the city, and to inquire of everyone
whom they might encounter concerning the residence of the old nurse. The
exiles had already visited, or sent others to visit, about every house
in the city; but in a few instances--particularly where but one person
lived in a house--the occupant had been advised, and had consented, to
come to a central station and there remain till the storm abated or
passed; and then, for some purpose delaying, had been overcome by the
cold, and, as the system of search included only one visit to each
house, had been left to die--the fact transpiring through an accidental
second visit, or when the city was later scoured in search of food that
might have been overlooked.

"An hour later, one of many messengers who were searching for Pym met
him, and told him that Lilama was found. He hastened to the house in
which they had found her--a small frame structure, the residence of her
former nurse.

"At the entrance of this house stood Peters, waiting for his young
friend; and as Pym felt the hand of the old sailor, put forth to stop
him in his breathless haste, and as he looked into the hard, rugged face
of his old friend, he knew that he must nerve himself for a shock. Alas!
His surmise was only too correct. They entered the main room of the
house together, Peters in the rear. Drawing aside from the entrance to
the room a portiere--Peters had already visited the room--Pym passed in,
Peters remaining on the outer side of the curtained doorway, that he
might prevent others from following, or even from viewing the young
friend who was now to receive one of the keenest stabs with which
Destiny ever pierces the human heart.

"For a moment Pym would wholly have mistaken the scene before him, had
Peters not said a word of warning as the portiere fell behind his young
friend.

"On the lounge which stood against the farther wall as he entered, lay
an elderly woman, apparently asleep; and covering her were the outer
wraps--scanty, indeed, for such a day--of Lilama. On the left, as Pym
swept at a glance the apartment, he saw the maid Ixza, reclining in a
large chair; she, also, to all appearances, was asleep. Then he saw his
wife. She crouched on the floor at the foot of the lounge, only her
wealth of light golden hair at first visible. Stepping to her side, Pym
saw her, as many times in the ducal gardens he had seen her drop to the
ground in her girlish fashion, to rest. Her arms were intertwined upon
the foot of the lounge, her head resting upon them; and there the tired,
childlike young wife had gone to sleep--forever.

"How beautiful she was in death! The gentle hand that had never touched
the person of another but in helpfulness--how fair, how pallid; the fond
sweet eyes that knew no glance but that of love and kindness--they were
almost hidden by the drooping lids; the tenderest, loveliest face the
sunlight ever kissed, smiled upward at him as he gazed--his heart felt
colder than was this dear form he dropped beside and clasped. But the
lips--the ripe red lips--the rapturous, maidenly lips, the first touch
of which had raised him forever from the coarse earth--the arch lips
that had bewitched him with their own seductive smile, and could not
shape themselves to harsher act than pouting--a fleeting pout, that
captivated ere it vanished--he could not look at them in death--he could
not.

"Sweet child of a weird land and a strange people! She was one of those
whose spotless souls need not the purifying fire of a long earthly life.
For Pym, now and later, the sorrow and the yearning void; for her, only
an earlier advancement.

"Pym's mind was shocked; but behind the shock he felt the awful anguish
of such a separation. Was this the end? Could it be the end? For him,
truly that day his last hope for this life died. But hereafter? Surely
this was not to be the end of all! A few more years of grovelling on the
clay bosom of the cold, selfish earth, and then--only oblivion? No, no:
he would not, he could not believe it.

"As Pym stood there, where many, many other men have stood, and millions
yet will stand, did his soul rise into the heavenly atmosphere, or did
it question God's decrees and sink to rise no more? This I cannot
answer.

"After such a loss, oh, the weary weight of unutterable woe; the awful
sense that hope is dead, whilst the mourner can only stand with
streaming eyes and bleeding heart, forever chained to the ghastly corpse
of every dear ambition, of every joy, and all that our universe of
feeling builds on hope. But we should learn from such a loss a lesson,
for the lesson if learned insures our own advancement: such losses are
but the purposes of God unfolding for those we love and for ourselves an
eternity of blissful harmony."

Thus Doctor Bainbridge closed; and, though his words were of death, and
the thoughts which he expressed were as old as the human race, I was
much affected by them. Young as was the speaker, his utterances conveyed
to me the impression that he himself had in some way learned the lesson
of which he spoke. For several moments we sat in silence; and then,
though I knew that he would have a few more words to say, I thought it
an appropriate time to thank him for his long, painstaking elaboration
of the old sailor's disclosures, which, as I knew partly from my own
personal knowledge, had been gained only by untiring perseverance and
inexhaustible patience. I thanked him, and complimented him as I thought
he deserved; and he was pleased, I plainly saw, with the few words of
commendation which he knew came from my heart.

We sat, smoking our cigars and chatting on various topics, until it was
almost the hour at which he usually said to me goodnight. Then he
returned to the Peters' story, saying:

"It only remains for me properly to dispose of Pym and Peters. Peters
knows no more--in fact, not as much--of Pym after he returned home, as
do we. Poe, we know, in the note to his 'Narrative,' alludes to 'the
late sudden and distressing death of Mr. Pym.' This is all we know, and
even this fact, when I told it to Peters, was new to him; for Pym and
Peters parted in the month of February, 1830, at the City of Montevideo,
Uruguay; Peters, with an old sailor chum, whom he happened to meet in
South America, shipping to Australia; and Pym, a few days later,
starting for the United States.

"It had no doubt been the policy of the Hili-lites to prevent all
strangers from returning to the outer world; but this policy was, it
seems, not a firmly founded one, and many circumstances arose to modify
and finally even to reverse it. They looked upon Pym almost as one of
themselves. When he left them, it was with the intention of returning;
and they exacted of him a promise to hide, even from Peters, the
longitudes traversed during the entire journey from Hili-li until they
should touch the land of some civilized people, or meet with a ship; to
which promise Pym rigidly adhered. And though they were in other ways
very kind to him, they would not allow him to take away a single grain
of gold, of which nuggets were as plentiful in the fissures of the
Olympian ranges as are pebbles in the beds of mountain streams; nor
would they allow him to retain, of the many precious stones in his
possession, even the ruby which Lilama had given him; and no amount of
argument or pleading could move them to a different decision. The
Hili-lites were anxious to get rid of Peters, which had much to do with
their willingness to 'speed the parting guest.' It seems that Pym for
months after the death of Lilama was in an extremely morbid state of
mind. He spent most of his time with Masusaelili, who allowed him to see
Lilama's apparition or wraith many times. The aged mystic explained to
Pym the scientific _modus operandi_ of the production, so that he was in
no way deceived into thinking that he met Lilama in person; but we may
presume that, as it is to each of us some gratification to look at a
painting or a photograph of a departed friend, it must have been a still
greater pleasure for Pym thus to have reproduced for him the living,
moving form and features of his lost darling--reproduced or simulated in
such a manner that he might see her, and touch her, and hear her
voice--even though he was told that the image was only a likeness.
During Pym's abstraction, Peters was left almost entirely to himself;
and his worst qualities, long inactive (partly because there had not
been opportunity for their display, and partly because of Pym's
influence), now came prominently to the surface. He associated with the
wildest characters on the neighboring islands, making them even wilder
and more ungovernable than before his arrival. Finally, with revenge for
an excuse, but in reality from sheer restlessness, he began to organize
a raid on the outlying barbarians, more particularly, he still avers,
because he wished 'to get even with old Too-wit' and his barbarian
followers for having murdered his companions, as described in Pym's
diary. This the Hili-lites thought was going too far; and as it was now
October, the Council of State decided to allow Pym to depart for home,
taking Peters with him.

"One bright December morning these two toys of fortune said good-by to
their kind hosts, and started on their long and perilous journey. A
strong and handsome though small sail-boat had been provided for them. A
number of Hili-lite youths--among them some of the former exiles--were
to accompany them past the great antarctic continent; and for this
piloting party a larger boat had been built. After many days, the
continent was passed; and Pym and Peters, alone, began their wearisome
voyage across the great Antarctic Ocean. Fortunately, in January they
encountered a large schooner, which six weeks later, in February, landed
them at Montevideo. Peters says that Montevideo was at that
time--1830--little more than a walled fortress. This scarcely harmonizes
with the fact that it was then, as now, the capital of Uruguay; but
Peters appears to know what he is talking about. As I have said, at this
place Pym and Peters parted, never to meet again. The younger man
started for his home, and found an early grave; the older man sought new
adventures, and he, at the age of eighty, still lives to tell of their
adventures had in a country strange beyond man's credulity to believe."

These were the last words spoken by Doctor Bainbridge on the subject of
Peters' adventures. Two days later I said farewell to my American

Book of the day: