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The Brick Moon, et. al. by Edward Everett Hale

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The Brick Moon
and Other Stories

Short Story Index Reprint Series


To read these stories again, thirty and more years after
they were written, is to recall many memories, sad or
glad, with which this reader need not be interrupted.
But I have to make sure that they are intelligible to
readers of a generation later than that for which they
were written.

The story of The Brick Moon was begun in my dear
brother Nathan's working-room in Union College,
Schenectady, in the year 1870, when he was professor of
the English language there. The account of the first
plan of the moon is a sketch, as accurate as was needed,
of the old chat and dreams, plans and jokes, of our
college days, before he left Cambridge in 1838. As I
learned almost everything I know through his care and
love and help, directly or indirectly, it is a pleasure
to say this here. The story was published in the
"Atlantic Monthly," in 1870 and 1871. It was the last
story I wrote for that magazine, before assuming the
charge of "Old and New," a magazine which I edited from
1870 to 1876, and for which I wrote "Ten Times One is
Ten," which has been printed in the third volume of this

Among the kind references to "The Brick Moon" which
I have received from sympathetic friends, I now recall
with the greatest pleasure one sent me by Mr. Asaph Hall,
the distinguished astronomer of the National Observatory.
In sending me the ephemeris of the two moons of Mars,
which he revealed to this world of ours, he wrote, "The
smaller of these moons is the veritable Brick Moon."
That, in the moment of triumph for the greatest
astronomical discovery of a generation, Dr. Hall should
have time or thought to give to my little parable,--this
was praise indeed.

Writing in 1870, I said, as the reader will see on
page 66, that George Orcutt did not tell how he used a
magnifying power of 700. Nor did I choose to tell then,
hoping that in some fortunate winter I might be able
myself to repeat his process, greatly to the convenience
of astronomers who have not Alvan Clark's resources at
hand, or who have to satisfy themselves with glass lenses
of fifteen inches, or even thirty, in diameter. But no
such winter has come round to me, and I will now give
Orcutt's invention to the world. He had unlimited
freezing power. So have we now, as we had not then.
With this power he made an ice lens, ten feet in
diameter, which was easily rubbed, by the delicate hands
of the careful women around him, to precisely the
surface which he needed. Let me hope that before next
winter passes some countryman or countrywoman of mine
will have equalled his success, and with an ice lens will
surpass all the successes of the glasses of our time.

The plan of "Crusoe in New York" was made when I was
enjoying the princely hospitality of Henry Whitney
Bellows in New York. The parsonage in that city
commanded a view of a "lot" not built on, which would
have given for many years a happy home to any disciple of
Mayor Pingree, if a somewhat complicated social order had
permitted. The story was first published in Frank
Leslie's illustrated paper. In reading it in 1899, I am
afraid that the readers of a hard, money generation may
not know that "scrip" was in the sixties the name for
small change.

I regard a knowledge of every detail of the original
Robinson Crusoe as well-nigh a necessity in education.
Girls may occasionally be excused, but never boys. It
ought to be unnecessary, therefore, to say that some of
the narrative passages of Crusoe in New York are taken,
word for word, from the text of Defoe. If I do state
this for the benefit of a few unfortunate ladies who are
not familiar with that text, it is because I think no one
among many courteous critics has observed it.

"The Survivor's Story" is one of eight short stories
which were published in the first Christmas number of
"Old and New."

Of the other stories I think no explanation is
needed, but such as was given at the time of their
publication and is reprinted with each of them here.

ROXBURY, July 6, 1899.




[From the papers of Captain FREDERIC INGHAM.]



I have no sort of objection now to telling the whole
story. The subscribers, of course, have a right to
know what became of their money. The astronomers may
as well know all about it, before they announce any
more asteroids with an enormous movement in
declination. And experimenters on the longitude may as
well know, so that they may act advisedly in attempting
another brick moon or in refusing to do so.

It all began more than thirty years ago, when we were
in college; as most good things begin. We were studying
in the book which has gray sides and a green back, and is
called "Cambridge Astronomy" because it is translated
from the French. We came across this business of the
longitude, and, as we talked, in the gloom and glamour of
the old South Middle dining-hall, we had going the usual
number of students' stories about rewards offered by the
Board of Longitude for discoveries in that matter,--
stories, all of which, so far as I know, are lies. Like
all boys, we had tried our hands at perpetual motion.
For me, I was sure I could square the circle, if they
would give me chalk enough. But as to this business of
the longitude, it was reserved for Q.[1] to make the
happy hit and to explain it to the rest of us.

[1] Wherever Q. is referred to in these pages my
brother Nathan is meant. One of his noms de plume
was Gnat Q. Hale, because G and Q may be silent letters.

I wonder if I can explain it to an unlearned world,
which has not studied the book with gray sides and a
green cambric back. Let us try.

You know then, dear world, that when you look at the
North Star, it always appears to you at just the same
height above the horizon or what is between you and the
horizon: say the Dwight School-house, or the houses in
Concord Street; or to me, just now, North College. You
know also that, if you were to travel to the North Pole,
the North Star would be just over your head. And, if you
were to travel to the equator, it would be just on your
horizon, if you could see it at all through the red,
dusty, hazy mist in the north, as you could not. If you
were just half-way between pole and equator, on the line
between us and Canada, the North Star would be half-way
up, or 45@ from the horizon. So you would know there
that you were 45@ from the equator. Then in Boston, you
would find it was 42@ 20' from the horizon. So you know
there that you are 42@ 20' from the equator. At Seattle
again you would find it was 47@ 40' high, so our friends
at Seattle know that they are at 47@ 40' from the
equator. The latitude of a place, in other words, is
found very easily by any observation which shows how high
the North Star is; if you do not want to measure the
North Star, you may take any star when it is just to
north of you, and measure its height; wait twelve hours,
and if you can find it, measure its height again. Split
the difference, and that is the altitude of the pole, or
the latitude of you, the observer.

"Of course we know this," says the graduating world.
"Do you suppose that is what we borrow your book for, to
have you spell out your miserable elementary astronomy?"
At which rebuff I should shrink distressed, but that a
chorus of voices an octave higher comes up with, "Dear
Mr. Ingham, we are ever so much obliged to you; we did
not know it at all before, and you make it perfectly

Thank you, my dear, and you, and you. We will not
care what the others say. If you do understand it, or do
know it, it is more than Mr. Charles Reade knew, or he
would not have made his two lovers on the island guess at
their latitude, as they did. If they had either of them
been educated at a respectable academy for the Middle
Classes, they would have fared better.

Now about the longitude.

The latitude, which you have found, measures your
distance north or south from the equator or the pole. To
find your longitude, you want to find your distance
east or west from the meridian of Greenwich. Now, if any
one would build a good tall tower at Greenwich, straight
into the sky,--say a hundred miles into the sky,--of
course if you and I were east or west of it, and could
see it, we could tell how far east or west we were by
measuring the apparent height of the tower above our
horizon. If we could see so far, when the lantern with
a Drummond's light, "ever so bright," on the very top of
the tower, appeared to be on our horizon, we should know
we were eight hundred and seventy-three miles away from
it. The top of the tower would answer for us as the North
Star does when we are measuring the latitude. If we were
nearer, our horizon would make a longer angle with the
line from the top to our place of vision. If we were
farther away, we should need a higher tower.

But nobody will build any such tower at Greenwich, or
elsewhere on that meridian, or on any meridian. You see
that to be of use to the half the world nearest to it, it
would have to be so high that the diameter of the world
would seem nothing in proportion. And then, for the
other half of the world you would have to erect another
tower as high on the other side. It was this difficulty
that made Q. suggest the expedient of the Brick Moon.

For you see that if, by good luck, there were a ring
like Saturn's which stretched round the world, above
Greenwich and the meridian of Greenwich, and if it would
stay above Greenwich, turning with the world, any one
who wanted to measure his longitude or distance from
Greenwich would look out of window and see how high this
ring was above his horizon. At Greenwich it would be
over his head exactly. At New Orleans, which is quarter
round the world from Greenwich, it would be just in his
horizon. A little west of New Orleans you would begin to
look for the other half of the ring on the west instead
of the east; and if you went a little west of the Feejee
Islands the ring would be over your head again. So if we
only had a ring like that, not round the equator of the
world,--as Saturn's ring is around Saturn,--but vertical
to the plane of the equator, as the brass ring of an
artificial globe goes, only far higher in proportion,--
"from that ring," said Q., pensively, "we could calculate
the longitude."

Failing that, after various propositions, he
suggested the Brick Moon. The plan was this: If from
the surface of the earth, by a gigantic peashooter, you
could shoot a pea upward from Greenwich, aimed northward
as well as upward; if you drove it so fast and far that
when its power of ascent was exhausted, and it began to
fall, it should clear the earth, and pass outside the
North Pole; if you had given it sufficient power to get
it half round the earth without touching, that pea would
clear the earth forever. It would continue to rotate
above the North Pole, above the Feejee Island place,
above the South Pole and Greenwich, forever, with the
impulse with which it had first cleared our atmosphere
and attraction. If only we could see that pea as it
revolved in that convenient orbit, then we could measure
the longitude from that, as soon as we knew how high the
orbit was, as well as if it were the ring of Saturn.

"But a pea is so small!"

"Yes," said Q., "but we must make a large pea." Then
we fell to work on plans for making the pea very large
and very light. Large,--that it might be seen far away
by storm-tossed navigators: light,--that it might be the
easier blown four thousand and odd miles into the air;
lest it should fall on the heads of the Greenlanders or
the Patagonians; lest they should be injured and the
world lose its new moon. But, of course, all this lath-
and-plaster had to be given up. For the motion through
the air would set fire to this moon just as it does to
other aerolites, and all your lath-and-plaster would
gather into a few white drops, which no Rosse telescope
even could discern. "No," said Q. bravely, "at the least
it must be very substantial. It must stand fire well,
very well. Iron will not answer. It must be brick; we
must have a Brick Moon."

Then we had to calculate its size. You can see, on
the old moon, an edifice two hundred feet long with any
of the fine refractors of our day. But no such
refractors as those can be carried by the poor little
fishermen whom we wanted to befriend, the bones of whose
ships lie white on so many cliffs, their names
unreported at any Lloyd's or by any Ross,

Themselves the owners and their sons the crew.

On the other hand, we did not want our moon two hundred
and fifty thousand miles away, as the old moon is, which
I will call the Thornbush moon, for distinction. We did
not care how near it was, indeed, if it were only far
enough away to be seen, in practice, from almost the
whole world. There must be a little strip where they
could not see it from the surface, unless we threw it
infinitely high. "But they need not look from the
surface," said Q.; "they might climb to the mast-head.
And if they did not see it at all, they would know that
they were ninety degrees from the meridian."

This difficulty about what we call "the strip,"
however, led to an improvement in the plan, which made it
better in every way. It was clear that even if "the
strip" were quite wide, the moon would have to be a good
way off, and, in proportion, hard to see. If, however,
we would satisfy ourselves with a moon four thousand
miles away, THAT could be seen on the earth's surface
for three or four thousand miles on each side; and twice
three thousand, or six thousand, is one fourth of the
largest circumference of the earth. We did not dare have
it nearer than four thousand miles, since even at that
distance it would be eclipsed three hours out of every
night; and we wanted it bright and distinct, and not of
that lurid, copper, eclipse color. But at four
thousand miles' distance the moon could be seen by a belt
of observers six or eight thousand miles in diameter.
"Start, then, two moons,"--this was my contribution to
the plan. "Suppose one over the meridian of Greenwich,
and the other over that of New Orleans. Take care that
there is a little difference in the radii of their
orbits, lest they `collide' some foul day. Then, in most
places, one or other, perhaps two will come in sight. So
much the less risk of clouds: and everywhere there may be
one, except when it is cloudy. Neither need be more than
four thousand miles off; so much the larger and more
beautiful will they be. If on the old Thornbush moon old
Herschel with his reflector could see a town-house two
hundred feet long, on the Brick Moon young Herschel will
be able to see a dab of mortar a foot and a half long, if
he wants to. And people without the reflector, with
their opera-glasses, will be able to see sufficiently
well." And to this they agreed: that eventually there
must be two Brick Moons. Indeed, it were better that
there should be four, as each must be below the horizon
half the time. That is only as many as Jupiter has. But
it was also agreed that we might begin with one.

Why we settled on two hundred feet of diameter I
hardly know. I think it was from the statement of dear
John Farrar's about the impossibility of there being a
state house two hundred feet long not yet discovered, on
the sunny side of old Thornbush. That, somehow, made
two hundred our fixed point. Besides, a moon of two
hundred feet diameter did not seem quite unmanageable.
Yet it was evident that a smaller moon would be of no
use, unless we meant to have them near the world, when
there would be so many that they would be confusing, and
eclipsed most of the time. And four thousand miles is a
good way off to see a moon even two hundred feet in

Small though we made them on paper, these two-
hundred-foot moons were still too much for us. Of course
we meant to build them hollow. But even if hollow there
must be some thickness, and the quantity of brick would
at best be enormous. Then, to get them up! The pea-
shooter, of course, was only an illustration. It was
long after that time that Rodman and other guns sent iron
balls five or six miles in distance,--say two miles, more
or less, in height.

Iron is much heavier than hollow brick, but you can
build no gun with a bore of two hundred feet now,--far
less could you then. No.

Q. again suggested the method of shooting oft the
moon. It was not to be by any of your sudden explosions.
It was to be done as all great things are done,--by the
gradual and silent accumulation of power. You all know
that a flywheel--heavy, very heavy on the circumference,
light, very light within it--was made to save up power,
from the time when it was produced to the time when it
was wanted. Yes? Then, before we began even to
build the moon, before we even began to make the brick,
we would build two gigantic fly-wheels, the diameter of
each should be "ever so great," the circumference heavy
beyond all precedent, and thundering strong, so that no
temptation might burst it. They should revolve, their
edges nearly touching, in opposite directions, for years,
if it were necessary, to accumulate power, driven by some
waterfall now wasted to the world. One should be a
little heavier than the other. When the Brick Moon was
finished, and all was ready, IT should be gently rolled
down a gigantic groove provided for it, till it lighted
on the edge of both wheels at the same instant. Of
course it would not rest there, not the ten-thousandth
part of a second. It would be snapped upward, as a drop
of water from a grindstone. Upward and upward; but the
heavier wheel would have deflected it a little from the
vertical. Upward and northward it would rise, therefore,
till it had passed the axis of the world. It would, of
course, feel the world's attraction all the time, which
would bend its flight gently, but still it would leave
the world more and more behind. Upward still, but now
southward, till it had traversed more than one hundred
and eighty degrees of a circle. Little resistance,
indeed, after it had cleared the forty or fifty miles of
visible atmosphere. "Now let it fall," said Q., inspired
with the vision. "Let it fall, and the sooner the
better! The curve it is now on will forever clear
the world; and over the meridian of that lonely
waterfall,--if only we have rightly adjusted the gigantic
flies,--will forever revolve, in its obedient orbit,


the blessing of all seamen,--as constant in all change
as its older sister has been fickle, and the second
cynosure of all lovers upon the waves, and of all girls
left behind them." "Amen," we cried, and then we sat in
silence till the clock struck ten; then shook each other
gravely by the hand, and left the South Middle dining-

Of waterfalls there were plenty that we knew.

Fly-wheels could be built of oak and pine, and hooped
with iron. Fly-wheels did not discourage us.

But brick? One brick is, say, sixty-four cubic
inches only. This moon,--though we made it hollow,--
see,--it must take twelve million brick.

The brick alone will cost sixty thousand dollars!

The brick alone would cost sixty thousand dollars.
There the scheme of the Brick Moon hung, an airy vision,
for seventeen years,--the years that changed us from
young men into men. The brick alone, sixty thousand
dollars! For, to boys who have still left a few of their
college bills unpaid, who cannot think of buying that
lovely little Elzevir which Smith has for sale at
auction, of which Smith does not dream of the value,
sixty thousand dollars seems as intangible as sixty
million sestertia. Clarke, second, how much are sixty
million sestertia stated in cowries? How much in
currency, gold being at 1.37 1/4/? Right; go up. Stop,
I forget myself!

So, to resume, the project of the Brick Moon hung in
the ideal, an airy vision, a vision as lovely and as
distant as the Brick Moon itself, at this calm moment of
midnight when I write, as it poises itself over the
shoulder of Orion, in my southern horizon. Stop! I
anticipate. Let me keep--as we say in Beadle's Dime
Series--to the even current of my story.

Seventeen years passed by, we were no longer boys,
though we felt so. For myself, to this hour, I never
enter board meeting, committee meeting, or synod, without
the queer question, what would happen should any one
discover that this bearded man was only a big boy
disguised? that the frockcoat and the round hat are none
of mine, and that, if I should be spurned from the
assembly, as an interloper, a judicious public, learning
all the facts, would give a verdict, "Served him right."
This consideration helps me through many bored meetings
which would be else so dismal. What did my old copy

"Boards are made of wood, they are long and narrow."

But we do not get on!

Seventeen years after, I say, or should have said,
dear Orcutt entered my room at Naguadavick again. I had
not seen him since the Commencement day when we
parted at Cambridge. He looked the same, and yet not the
same. His smile was the same, his voice, his tender look
of sympathy when I spoke to him of a great sorrow, his
childlike love of fun. His waistband was different, his
pantaloons were different, his smooth chin was buried in
a full beard, and he weighed two hundred pounds if he
weighed a gramme. O, the good time we had, so like the
times of old! Those were happy days for me in
Naguadavick. At that moment my double was at work for me
at a meeting of the publishing committee of the
Sandemanian Review, so I called Orcutt up to my own
snuggery, and we talked over old times; talked till tea
was ready. Polly came up through the orchard and made
tea for us herself there. We talked on and on, till
nine, ten at night, and then it was that dear Orcutt
asked me if I remembered the Brick Moon. Remember it? of
course I did. And without leaving my chair I opened the
drawer of my writing-desk, and handed him a portfolio
full of working-drawings on which I had engaged myself
for my "third"[1] all that winter. Orcutt was delighted.
He turned them over hastily but intelligently, and said:
"I am so glad. I could not think you had forgotten. And
I have seen Brannan, and Brannan has not forgotten."
"Now do you know," said he, "in all this railroading of
mine, I have not forgotten. When I built the great
tunnel for the Cattawissa and Opelousas, by which we
got rid of the old inclined planes, there was never a
stone bigger than a peach-stone within two hundred miles
of us. I baked the brick of that tunnel on the line with
my own kilns. Ingham, I have made more brick, I believe,
than any man living in the world!"

[1] "Every man," says Dr. Peabody, "should have a
vocation and an avocation." To which I add,"A third."

"You are the providential man," said I.

"Am I not, Fred? More than that," said he; "I have
succeeded in things the world counts worth more than
brick. I have made brick, and I have made money!"

"One of us make money?" asked I, amazed.

"Even so," said dear Orcutt; "one of us has, made
money." And he proceeded to tell me how. It was not in
building tunnels, nor in making brick. No! It was by
buying up the original stock of the Cattawissa and
Opelousas, at a moment when that stock had hardly a
nominal price in the market. There were the first
mortgage bonds, and the second mortgage bonds, and the
third, and I know not how much floating debt; and worse
than all, the reputation of the road lost, and deservedly
lost. Every locomotive it had was asthmatic. Every car
it had bore the marks of unprecedented accidents, for
which no one was to blame. Rival lines, I know not how
many, were cutting each other's throats for its
legitimate business. At this juncture dear George
invested all his earnings as a contractor, in the
despised original stock,--he actually bought it for 3 1/4
per cent,--good shares that had cost a round hundred
to every wretch who had subscribed. Six thousand eight
hundred dollars--every cent he had--did George thus
invest. Then he went himself to the trustees of the
first mortgage, to the trustees of the second, and to the
trustees of the third, and told them what he had done.

Now it is personal presence that moves the world.
Dear Orcutt has found that out since, if he did not know
it before. The trustees who would have sniffed had
George written to them, turned round from their desks,
and begged him to take a chair, when he came to talk with
them. Had he put every penny he was worth into that
stock? Then it was worth something which they did not
know of, for George Orcutt was no fool about railroads.
The man who bridged the Lower Rapidan when a freshet was
running was no fool.

"What were his plans?"

George did not tell--no, not to lordly trustees--what
his plans were. He had plans, but he kept them to
himself. All he told them was that he had plans. On
those plans he had staked his all. Now, would they or
would they not agree to put him in charge of the running
of that road, for twelve months, on a nominal salary?
The superintendent they had had was a rascal. He had
proved that by running away. They knew that George was
not a rascal. He knew that he could make this road pay
expenses, pay bond-holders, and pay a dividend,--a thing
no one else had dreamed of for twenty years. Could
they do better than try him?

Of course they could not, and they knew they could
not. Of course they sniffed and talked, and waited, and
pretended they did not know, and that they must consult,
and so forth and so on. But of course they all did try
him, on his own terms. He was put in charge of the
running of that road.

In one week he showed he should redeem it. In three
months he did redeem it!

He advertised boldly the first day: "Infant
children at treble price."

The novelty attracted instant remark. And it showed
many things. First, it showed he was a humane man, who
wished to save human life. He would leave these
innocents in their cradles, where they belonged.

Second, and chiefly, the world of travellers saw that
the Crichton, the Amadis, the perfect chevalier of the
future, had arisen,--a railroad manager caring for the
comfort of his passengers!

The first week the number of the C. and O.'s
passengers was doubled: in a week or two more freight
began to come in, in driblets, on the line which its
owners had gone over. As soon as the shops could turn
them out, some cars were put on, with arms on which
travellers could rest their elbows, with head-rests where
they could take naps if they were weary. These excited
so much curiosity that one was exhibited in the museum
at Cattawissa and another at Opelousas. It may not
be generally known that the received car of the American
roads was devised to secure a premium offered by the
Pawtucket and Podunk Company. Their receipts were
growing so large that they feared they should forfeit
their charter. They advertised, therefore, for a car in
which no man could sleep at night or rest by day,--in
which the backs should be straight, the heads of
passengers unsupported, the feet entangled in a vice, the
elbows always knocked by the passing conductor. The
pattern was produced which immediately came into use on
all the American roads. But on the Cattawissa and
Opelousas this time-honored pattern was set aside.

Of course you see the result. Men went hundreds of
miles out of their way to ride on the C. and O. The
third mortgage was paid off; a reserve fund was piled up
for the second; the trustees of the first lived in dread
of being paid; and George's stock, which he bought at 3
1/4, rose to 147 before two years had gone by! So was it
that, as we sat together in the snuggery, George was
worth well-nigh three hundred thousand dollars. Some of
his eggs were in the basket where they were laid; some he
had taken out and placed in other baskets; some in nests
where various hens were brooding over them. Sound eggs
they were, wherever placed; and such was the victory of
which George had come to tell.

One of us had made money!

On his way he had seen Brannan. Brannan, the pure-
minded, right-minded, shifty man of tact, man of brain,
man of heart, and man of word, who held New Altona in the
hollow of his hand. Brannan had made no money. Not he,
nor ever will. But Brannan could do much what he pleased
in this world, without money. For whenever Brannan
studied the rights and the wrongs of any enterprise, all
men knew that what Brannan decided about it was well-nigh
the eternal truth; and therefore all men of sense were
accustomed to place great confidence in his prophecies.
But, more than this, and better, Brannan was an
unconscious dog, who believed in the people. So, when he
knew what was the right and what was the wrong, he could
stand up before two or three thousand people and tell
them what was right and what was wrong, and tell them
with the same simplicity and freshness with which he
would talk to little Horace on his knee. Of the
thousands who heard him there would not be one in a
hundred who knew that this was eloquence. They were fain
to say, as they sat in their shops, talking, that Brannan
was not eloquent. Nay, they went so far as to regret
that Brannan was not eloquent! If he were only as
eloquent as Carker was or as Barker was, how excellent he
would be! But when, a month after, it was necessary for
them to do anything about the thing he had been speaking
of, they did what Brannan had told them to do;
forgetting, most likely, that he had ever told them,
and fancying that these were their own ideas, which, in
fact, had, from his liquid, ponderous, transparent, and
invisible common sense, distilled unconsciously into
their being. I wonder whether Brannan ever knew that he
was eloquent. What I knew, and what dear George knew,
was, that he was one of the leaders of men!

Courage, my friends, we are steadily advancing to the
Brick Moon!

For George had stopped, and seen Brannan; and Brannan
had not forgotten. Seventeen years Brannan had
remembered, and not a ship had been lost on a lee-shore
because her longitude was wrong,--not a baby had wailed
its last as it was ground between wrecked spar and cruel
rock,--not a swollen corpse unknown had been flung up
upon the sand and been buried with a nameless epitaph,--
but Brannan had recollected the Brick Moon, and had, in
the memory-chamber which rejected nothing, stored away
the story of the horror. And now George was ready to
consecrate a round hundred thousand to the building of
the Moon; and Brannan was ready, in the thousand ways in
which wise men move the people to and fro, to persuade
them to give to us a hundred thousand more; and George
had come to ask me if I were not ready to undertake with
them the final great effort, of which our old
calculations were the embryo. For this I was now to
contribute the mathematical certainty and the lore
borrowed from naval science, which should blossom and
bear fruit when the Brick Moon was snapped like a cherry
from the ways on which it was built, was launched into
the air by power gathered from a thousand freshets, and,
poised at last in its own pre-calculated region of the
ether, should begin its course of eternal blessings in
one unchanging meridian!

Vision of Beneficence and Wonder! Of course I

Oh that you were not so eager for the end! Oh that
I might tell you, what now you will never know,--of the
great campaign which we then and there inaugurated! How
the horrible loss of the Royal Martyr, whose longitude
was three degrees awry, startled the whole world, and
gave us a point to start from. How I explained to George
that he must not subscribe the one hundred thousand
dollars in a moment. It must come in bits, when "the
cause" needed a stimulus, or the public needed
encouragement. How we caught neophyte editors, and
explained to them enough to make them think the Moon was
well-nigh their own invention and their own thunder.
How, beginning in Boston, we sent round to all the men of
science, all those of philanthropy, and all those of
commerce, three thousand circulars, inviting them to a
private meeting at George's parlors at the Revere. How,
besides ourselves, and some nice, respectable-looking old
gentlemen Brannan had brought over from Podunk with him,
paying their fares both ways, there were present only
three men,--all adventurers whose projects had failed,--
besides the representatives of the press. How, of these
representatives, some understood the whole, and some
understood nothing. How, the next day, all gave us
"first-rate notices." How, a few days after, in the
lower Horticultural Hall, we had our first public
meeting. How Haliburton brought us fifty people who
loved him,--his Bible class, most of them,--to help fill
up; how, besides these, there were not three persons whom
we had not asked personally, or one who could invent an
excuse to stay away. How we had hung the walls with
intelligible and unintelligible diagrams. How I opened
the meeting. Of that meeting, indeed, I must tell

First, I spoke. I did not pretend to unfold the
scheme. I did not attempt any rhetoric. But I did not
make any apologies. I told them simply of the dangers of
lee-shores. I told them when they were most dangerous,--
when seamen came upon them unawares. I explained to them
that, though the costly chronometer, frequently adjusted,
made a delusive guide to the voyager who often made a
harbor, still the adjustment was treacherous, the
instrument beyond the use of the poor, and that, once
astray, its error increased forever. I said that we
believed we had a method which, if the means were
supplied for the experiment, would give the humblest
fisherman the very certainty of sunrise and of sunset in
his calculations of his place upon the world. And I said
that whenever a man knew his place in this world, it
was always likely all would go well. Then I sat down.

Then dear George spoke,--simply, but very briefly.
He said he was a stranger to the Boston people, and that
those who knew him at all knew he was not a talking man.
He was a civil engineer, and his business was to
calculate and to build, and not to talk. But he had come
here to say that he had studied this new plan for the
longitude from the Top to the Bottom, and that he
believed in it through and through. There was his
opinion, if that was worth anything to anybody. If that
meeting resolved to go forward with the enterprise, or if
anybody proposed to, he should offer his services in any
capacity, and without any pay, for its success. If he
might only work as a bricklayer, he would work as a
bricklayer. For he believed, on his soul, that the
success of this enterprise promised more for mankind than
any enterprise which was ever likely to call for the
devotion of his life. "And to the good of mankind," he
said, very simply, "my life is devoted." Then he sat

Then Brannan got up. Up to this time, excepting that
George had dropped this hint about bricklaying, nobody
had said a word about the Moon, far less hinted what it
was to be made of. So Ben had the whole to open. He did
it as if he had been talking to a bright boy of ten years
old. He made those people think that he respected
them as his equals. But, in fact, he chose every
word, as if not one of them knew anything. He explained,
as if it were rather more simple to explain than to take
for granted. But he explained as if, were they talking,
they might be explaining to him. He led them from point
to point,--oh! so much more clearly than I have been
leading you,--till, as their mouths dropped a little open
in their eager interest, and their lids forgot to wink in
their gaze upon his face, and so their eyebrows seemed a
little lifted in curiosity,--till, I say, each man felt
as if he were himself the inventor, who had bridged
difficulty after difficulty; as if, indeed, the whole
were too simple to be called difficult or complicated.
The only wonder was that the Board of Longitude, or the
Emperor Napoleon, or the Smithsonian, or somebody, had
not sent this little planet on its voyage of blessing
long before. Not a syllable that you would have called
rhetoric, not a word that you would have thought
prepared; and then Brannan sat down.

That was Ben Brannan's way. For my part, I like it
better than eloquence.

Then I got up again. We would answer any questions,
I said. We represented people who were eager to go
forward with this work. (Alas! except Q., all of those
represented were on the stage.) We could not go forward
without the general assistance of the community. It was
not an enterprise which the government could be asked to
favor. It was not an enterprise which would yield
one penny of profit to any human being. We had
therefore, purely on the ground of its benefit to
mankind, brought it before an assembly of Boston men and

Then there was a pause, and we could hear our watches
tick, and our hearts beat. Dear George asked me in a
whisper if he should say anything more, but I thought
not. The pause became painful, and then Tom Coram,
prince of merchants, rose. Had any calculation been made
of the probable cost of the experiment of one moon?

I said the calculations were on the table. The brick
alone would cost $60,000. Mr. Orcutt had computed that
$214,729 would complete two flywheels and one moon. This
made no allowance for whitewashing the moon, which was
not strictly necessary. The fly-wheels and water-power
would be equally valuable for the succeeding moons, it
any were attempted, and therefore the second moon could
be turned off, it was hoped, for $159,732.

Thomas Coram had been standing all the time I spoke,
and in an instant he said: "I am no mathematician. But
I have had a ship ground to pieces under me on the
Laccadives because our chronometer was wrong. You need
$250,000 to build your first moon. I will be one of
twenty men to furnish the money; or I will pay $10,000
to-morrow for this purpose, to any person who may be
named as treasurer, to be repaid to me if the moon is not
finished this day twenty years."

That was as long a speech as Tom Coram ever made.
But it was pointed. The small audience tapped applause.

Orcutt looked at me, and I nodded. "I will be
another, of the twenty men," cried he. "And I another,"
said an old bluff Englishman, whom nobody had invited;
who proved to be a Mr. Robert Boll, a Sheffield man, who
came in from curiosity. He stopped after the meeting;
said he should leave the country the next week, and I
have never seen him since. But his bill of exchange came
all the same.

That was all the public subscribing. Enough more
than we had hoped for. We tried to make Coram treasurer,
but he refused. We had to make Haliburton treasurer,
though we should have liked a man better known than he
then was. Then we adjourned. Some nice ladies then came
up, and gave, one a dollar, and one five dollars, and one
fifty, and so on,--and some men who have stuck by ever
since. I always, in my own mind, call each of those
women Damaris, and each of those men Dionysius. But
those are not their real names.

How I am wasting time on an old story! Then some of
these ladies came the next day and proposed a fair; and
out of that, six months after, grew the great Longitude
Fair, that you will all remember, if you went to it, I am
sure. And the papers the next day gave us first-rate
reports; and then, two by two, with our subscription-
books, we went at it. But I must not tell the details of
that subscription. There were two or three men who
subscribed $5,000 each, because they were perfectly
certain the amount would never be raised. They wanted,
for once, to get the credit of liberality for nothing.
There were many men and many women who subscribed from
one dollar up to one thousand, not because they cared a
straw for the longitude, nor because they believed in the
least in the project; but because they believed in
Brannan, in Orcutt, in Q., or in me. Love goes far in
this world of ours. Some few men subscribed because
others had done it: it was the thing to do, and they must
not be out of fashion. And three or four, at least,
subscribed because each hour of their lives there came up
the memory of the day when the news came that the---- was
lost, George, or Harry, or John, in the----, and they
knew that George, or Harry, or John might have been at
home, had it been easier than it is to read the courses
of the stars!

Fair, subscriptions, and Orcutt's reserve,--we
counted up $162,000, or nearly so. There would be a
little more when all was paid in.

But we could not use a cent, except Orcutt's and our
own little subscriptions, till we had got the whole. And
at this point it seemed as if the whole world was sick of
us, and that we had gathered every penny that was in
store for us. The orange was squeezed dry!



The orange was squeezed dry! And how little any of us
knew,--skilful George Orcutt, thoughtful Ben Brannan,
loyal Haliburton, ingenious Q., or poor painstaking
I,--how little we knew, or any of us, where was another
orange, or how we could mix malic acid and tartaric
acid, and citric acid and auric acid and sugar and
water so as to imitate orange-juice, and fill up the
bank-account enough to draw in the conditioned
subscriptions, and so begin to build the MOON. How
often, as I lay awake at night, have I added up the
different subscriptions in some new order, as if that
would help the matter: and how steadily they have come
out one hundred and sixty-two thousand dollars, or even
less, when I must needs, in my sleepiness, forget
somebody's name! So Haliburton put into railroad
stocks all the money he collected, and the rest of us
ground on at our mills, or flew up on our own wings
towards Heaven. Thus Orcutt built more tunnels, Q.
prepared for more commencements, Haliburton calculated
more policies, Ben Brannan created more civilization,
and I, as I could, healed the hurt of my people of
Naguadavick for the months there were left to me of my
stay in that thriving town.

None of us had the wit to see how the problem was to
be wrought out further. No. The best things come to us
when we have faithfully and well made all the
preparation and done our best; but they come in some way
that is none of ours. So was it now, that to build the
BRICK MOON it was necessary that I should be turned out
of Naguadavick ignominiously, and that Jeff. Davis and
some seven or eight other bad men should create the Great
Rebellion. Hear how it happened.

Dennis Shea, my Double,--otherwise, indeed, called by
my name and legally so,--undid me, as my friends
supposed, one evening at a public meeting called by poor
Isaacs in Naguadavick. Of that transaction I have no
occasion here to tell the story. But of that transaction
one consequence is that the BRICK MOON now moves in
ether. I stop writing, to rest my eye upon it, through
a little telescope of Alvan Clark's here, which is always
trained near it. It is moving on as placidly as ever.

It came about thus. The morning after poor Dennis,
whom I have long since forgiven, made his extraordinary
speeches, without any authority from me, in the Town Hall
at Naguadavick, I thought, and my wife agreed with me,
that we had better both leave town with the children.
Auchmuty, our dear friend, thought so too. We left in
the seven o'clock Accommodation for Skowhegan, and so
came to Township No. 9 in the 3d Range, and there for
years we resided. That whole range of townships was set
off under a provision admirable in its character, that
the first settled minister in each town should receive
one hundred acres of land as the "minister's grant,"
and the first settled schoolmaster eighty. To No. 9,
therefore, I came. I constituted a little Sandemanian
church. Auchmuty and Delafield came up and installed me,
and with these hands I built the cabin in which, with
Polly and the little ones, I have since spent many happy
nights and days. This is not the place for me to publish
a map, which I have by me, of No. 9, nor an account of
its many advantages for settlers. Should I ever print my
papers called "Stay-at-home Robinsons," it will be easy
with them to explain its topography and geography.
Suffice it now to say, that, with Alice and Bertha and
Polly, I took tramps up and down through the lumbermen's
roads, and soon knew the general features of the lay of
the land. Nor was it long, of course, before we came out
one day upon the curious land-slides, which have more
than once averted the flow of the Little Carrotook River,
where it has washed the rocks away so far as to let down
one section more of the overlying yielding yellow clay.

Think how my eyes flashed, and my wife's, as,
struggling though a wilderness of moosewood, we came out
one afternoon on this front of yellow clay! Yellow clay
of course, when properly treated by fire, is brick! Here
we were surrounded by forests, only waiting to be burned;
yonder was clay, only waiting to be baked. Polly looked
at me, and I looked at her, and with one voice, we cried
out, "The MOON!"

For here was this shouting river at our feet, whose
power had been running to waste since the day when the
Laurentian hills first heaved themselves above the hot
Atlantic; and that day, I am informed by Mr. Agassiz, was
the first day in the history of this solid world. Here
was water-power enough for forty fly-wheels, were it
necessary to send heavenward twenty moons. Here was
solid timber enough for a hundred dams, yet only one was
necessary to give motion to the fly-wheels. Here was
retirement,--freedom from criticism, an escape from the
journalists, who would not embarrass us by telling of
every cracked brick which had to be rejected from the
structure. We had lived in No. 9 now for six weeks, and
not an "own correspondent" of them all had yet told what
Rev. Mr. Ingham had for dinner.

Of course I wrote to George Orcutt at once of our
great discovery, and he came up at once to examine the
situation. On the whole, it pleased him. He could not
take the site I proposed for the dam, because this very
clay there made the channel treacherous, and there was
danger that the stream would work out a new career. But
lower down we found a stony gorge with which George was
satisfied; he traced out a line for a railway by which,
of their own weight, the brick-cars could run to the
centrings; he showed us where, with some excavations, the
fly-wheels could be placed exactly above the great mill-
wheels, that no power might be wasted, and explained to
us how, when the gigantic structure was finished, the
BRICK MOON would gently roll down its ways upon the rapid
wheels, to be launched instant into the sky!

Shall I ever forget that happy October day of

We spent many of those October days in tentative
surveys. Alice and Bertha were our chain-men,
intelligent and obedient. I drove for George his stakes,
or I cut away his brush, or I raised and lowered the
shield at which he sighted and at noon Polly appeared
with her baskets, and we would dine al fresco, on a
pretty point which, not many months after, was wholly
covered by the eastern end of the dam. When the field-
work was finished we retired to the cabin for days, and
calculated and drew, and drew and calculated. Estimates
for feeding Irishmen, estimates of hay for mules,--George
was sure he could work mules better than oxen,--estimates
for cement, estimates for the preliminary saw-mills,
estimates for rail for the little brick-road, for wheels,
for spikes, and for cutting ties; what did we not
estimate for--on a basis almost wholly new, you will
observe. For here the brick would cost us less than our
old conceptions,--our water-power cost us almost
nothing,--but our stores and our wages would cost us much

These estimates are now to me very curious,--a
monument, indeed, to dear George's memory, that in the
result they proved so accurate. I would gladly print
them here at length, with some illustrative cuts, but
that I know the impatience of the public, and its
indifference to detail. If we are ever able to print a
proper memorial of George, that, perhaps, will be the
fitter place for them. Suffice it to say that with the
subtractions thus made from the original estimates,--even
with the additions forced upon us by working in a
wilderness,--George was satisfied that a money charge of
$197,327 would build and start THE MOON. As soon as we
had determined the site, we marked off eighty acres,
which contained all the essential localities, up and down
the little Carrotook River,--I engaged George for the
first schoolmaster in No. 9, and he took these eighty
acres for the schoolmaster's reservation. Alice and
Bertha went to school to him the next day, taking lessons
in civil engineering; and I wrote to the Bingham trustees
to notify them that I had engaged a teacher, and that he
had selected his land.

Of course we remembered, still, that we were near
forty thousand dollars short of the new estimates, and
also that much of our money would not be paid us but on
condition that two hundred and fifty thousand were
raised. But George said that his own subscription was
wholly unhampered: with that we would go to work on the
preliminary work of the dam, and on the flies. Then, if
the flies would hold together,--and they should hold if
mortise and iron could hold them,--they might be at
work summers and winters, days and nights, storing up
Power for us. This would encourage the subscribers, it
would encourage us; and all this preliminary work would
be out of the way when we were really ready to begin upon
the MOON.

Brannan, Haliburton, and Q. readily agreed to this
when they were consulted. They were the other trustees
under an instrument which we had got St. Leger[1] to draw
up. George gave up, as soon as he might, his other
appointments; and taught me, meanwhile, where and how I
was to rig a little saw-mill, to cut some necessary
lumber. I engaged a gang of men to cut the timber for
the dam, and to have it ready; and, with the next spring,
we were well at work on the dam and on the flies! These
needed, of course, the most solid foundation. The least
irregularity of their movement might send the MOON awry.

[1] The St. Leger of these stories was Francis Brown
Hayes, H. C. 1839.

Ah me! would I not gladly tell the history of every
bar of iron which was bent into the tires of those flies,
and of every log which was mortised into its place in the
dam, nay, of every curling mass of foam which played in
the eddies beneath, when the dam was finished, and the
waste water ran so smoothly over? Alas! that one drop
should be wasted of water that might move a world,
although a small one! I almost dare say that I remember
each and all these,--with such hope and happiness did I
lend myself, as I could, each day to the great
enterprise; lending to dear George, who was here and
there and everywhere, and was this and that and
everybody,--lending to him, I say, such poor help as I
could lend, in whatever way. We waked, in the two cabins
in those happy days, just before the sun came up, when
the birds were in their loudest clamor of morning joy.
Wrapped each in a blanket, George and I stepped out from
our doors, each trying to call the other, and often
meeting on the grass between. We ran to the river and
plunged in,--oh, how cold it was!--laughed and screamed
like boys, rubbed ourselves aglow, and ran home to build
Polly's fire beneath the open chimney which stood beside
my cabin. The bread had risen in the night. The water
soon boiled above the logs. The children came laughing
out upon the grass, barefoot, and fearless of the dew.
Then Polly appeared with her gridiron and bear-steak, or
with her griddle and eggs, and, in fewer minutes than
this page has cost me, the breakfast was ready for Alice
to carry, dish by dish, to the white-clad table on the
piazza. Not Raphael and Adam more enjoyed their
watermelons, fox-grapes, and late blueberries! And, in
the long croon of the breakfast, we revenged ourselves
for the haste with which it had been prepared.

When we were well at table, a horn from the cabins
below sounded the reveille for the drowsier workmen.
Soon above the larches rose the blue of their smokes; and
when we were at last nodding to the children, to say
that they might leave the table, and Polly was folding
her napkin as to say she wished we were gone, we would
see tall Asaph Langdon, then foreman of the carpenters,
sauntering up the valley with a roll of paper, or an
adze, or a shingle with some calculations on it,--with
something on which he wanted Mr. Orcutt's directions for
the day.

An hour of nothings set the carnal machinery of the
day agoing. We fed the horses, the cows, the pigs, and
the hens. We collected the eggs and cleaned the hen-
houses and the barns. We brought in wood enough for the
day's fire, and water enough for the day's cooking and
cleanliness. These heads describe what I and the
children did. Polly's life during that hour was more
mysterious. That great first hour of the day is devoted
with women to the deepest arcana of the Eleusinian
mysteries of the divine science of housekeeping. She who
can meet the requisitions of that hour wisely and bravely
conquers in the Day's Battle. But what she does in it,
let no man try to say! It can be named, but not
described, in the comprehensive formula, "Just stepping

That hour well given to chores and to digestion, the
children went to Mr. Orcutt's open-air school, and I to
my rustic study,--a separate cabin, with a rough square
table in it, and some book-boxes equally rude. No man
entered it, excepting George and me. Here for two hours
I worked undisturbed,--how happy the world, had it
neither postman nor door-bell!--worked upon my Traces of
Sandemanianism in the Sixth and Seventh Centuries, and
then was ready to render such service to The Cause and to
George as the day might demand. Thus I rode to Lincoln
or to Foxcroft to order supplies; I took my gun and lay
in wait on Chairback for a bear; I transferred to the
hewn lumber the angles or bevels from the careful
drawings: as best I could, I filled an apostle's part,
and became all things to all these men around me. Happy
those days!--and thus the dam was built; in such Arcadian
simplicity was reared the mighty wheel; thus grew on each
side the towers which were to support the flies; and
thus, to our delight not unmixed with wonder, at last we
saw those mighty flies begin to turn. Not in one day,
nor in ten; but in a year or two of happy life,--full of
the joy of joys,--the "joy of eventful living."

Yet, for all this, $162,000 was not $197,000, far
less was it $250,000; and but for Jeff. Davis and his
crew the BRICK MOON would not have been born.

But at last Jeff. Davis was ready. "My preparations
being completed," wrote General Beauregard, "I opened
fire on Fort Sumter." Little did he know it,--but in
that explosion the BRICK MOON also was lifted into the

Little did we know it, when, four weeks after, George
came up from the settlements, all excited with the
news! The wheels had been turning now for four days,
faster of course and faster. George had gone down for
money to pay off the men, and he brought us up the news
that the Rebellion had begun.

"The last of this happy life," he said; "the last,
alas, of our dear MOON." How little he knew and we!

But he paid off the men, and they packed their traps
and disappeared, and, before two months were over, were
in the lines before the enemy. George packed up, bade us
sadly good-by, and before a week had offered his service
to Governor Fenton in Albany. For us, it took rather
longer; but we were soon packed; Polly took the children
to her sister's, and I went on to the Department to offer
my service there. No sign of life left in No. 9, but the
two gigantic Fly-Wheels, moving faster and faster by day
and by night, and accumulating Power till it was needed.
If only they would hold together till the moment came!

So we all ground through the first slow year of the
war. George in his place, I in mine, Brannan in his,--we
lifted as we could. But how heavy the weight seemed! It
was in the second year, when the second large loan was
placed, that Haliburton wrote to me,--I got the letter,
I think, at Hilton Head,--that he had sold out every
penny of our railroad stocks, at the high prices which
railroad stocks then bore, and had invested the whole
fifty-nine thousand in the new Governments. "I could
not call a board meeting," said Haliburton, "for I am
here only on leave of absence, and the rest are all away.
But the case is clear enough. If the government goes up,
the MOON will never go up; and, for one, I do not look
beyond the veil." So he wrote to us all, and of course
we all approved.

So it was that Jeff. Davis also served. Deep must
that man go into the Pit who does not serve, though
unconscious. For thus it was that, in the fourth year of
the war, when gold was at 290, Haliburton was receiving
on his fifty-nine thousand dollars seventeen per cent
interest in currency; thus was it that, before the war
was over, he had piled up, compounding his interest, more
than fifty per cent addition to his capital; thus was it
that, as soon as peace came, all his stocks were at a
handsome percentage; thus was it that, before I returned
from South America, he reported to all the subscribers
that the full quarter-million was secured: thus was it
that, when I returned after that long cruise of mine in
the Florida, I found Polly and the children again at No.
9, George there also, directing a working party of nearly
eighty bricklayers and hodmen, the lower centrings well-
nigh filled to their diameter, and the BRICK MOON, to the
eye, seeming almost half completed.

Here it is that I regret most of all that I cannot
print the working-drawings with this paper. If you will
cut open the seed-vessel of Spergularia Rubra, or any
other carpel that has a free central placenta, and
observe how the circular seeds cling around the circular
centre, you will have some idea of the arrangement of a
transverse horizontal section of the completed MOON. Lay
three croquet-balls on the piazza, and call one or two of
the children to help you poise seven in one plane above
the three; then let another child place three more above
the seven, and you have the CORE of the MOON
completely. If you want a more poetical illustration, it
was what Mr. Wordsworth calls a mass

"Of conglobated bubbles undissolved."

Any section through any diameter looked like an
immense rose-window, of six circles grouped round a
seventh. In truth, each of these sections would reveal
the existence of seven chambers in the moon,--each a
sphere itself,--whose arches gave solidity to the whole;
while yet, of the whole moon, the greater part was air.
In all there were thirteen of these moonlets, if I am so
to call them; though no one section, of course, would
reveal so many. Sustained on each side by their groined
arches, the surface of the whole moon was built over
them and under them,--simply two domes connected at the
bases. The chambers themselves were made lighter by
leaving large, round windows or open circles in the parts
of their vaults farthest from their points of contact, so
that each of them looked not unlike the outer sphere of
a Japanese ivory nest of concentric balls. You see
the object was to make a moon, which, when left to its
own gravity, should be fitly supported or braced within.
Dear George was sure that, by this constant repetition of
arches, we should with the least weight unite the
greatest strength. I believe it still, and experience
has proved that there is strength enough.

When I went up to No. 9, on my return from South
America, I found the lower centring up, and half full of
the working-bees,--who were really Keltic laborers,--all
busy in bringing up the lower half-dome of the shell.
This lower centring was of wood, in form exactly like a
Roman amphitheatre if the seats of it be circular; on
this the lower or inverted brick dome was laid. The
whole fabric was on one of the terraces which were heaved
up in some old geological cataclysm, when some lake gave
way, and the Carrotook River was born. The level was
higher than that of the top of the fly-wheels, which,
with an awful velocity now, were circling in their wild
career in the ravine below. Three of the lowest
moonlets, as I have called them,--separate croquet-balls,
if you take my other illustration,--had been completed;
their centrings had been taken to pieces and drawn out
through the holes, and were now set up again with other
new centrings for the second story of cells.

I was received with wonder and delight. I had
telegraphed my arrival, but the despatches had never
been forwarded from Skowhegan. Of course, we all had a
deal to tell; and, for me, there was no end to inquiries
which I had to make in turn. I was never tired of
exploring the various spheres, and the nameless spaces
between them. I was never tired of talking with the
laborers. All of us, indeed, became skilful bricklayers;
and on a pleasant afternoon you might see Alice and
Bertha, and George and me, all laying brick together,--
Polly sitting in the shade of some wall which had been
built high enough, and reading to us from Jean Ingelow or
Monte-Cristo or Jane Austen, while little Clara brought
to us our mortar. Happily and lightly went by that
summer. Haliburton and his wife made us a visit; Ben
Brannan brought up his wife and children; Mrs. Haliburton
herself put in the keystone to the central chamber, which
had always been named G on the plans; and at her
suggestion, it was named Grace now, because her mother's
name was Hannah. Before winter we had passed the
diameter of I, J, and K, the three uppermost cells of
all; and the surrounding shell was closing in upon them.
On the whole, the funds had held out amazingly well.
The wages had been rather higher than we meant; but the
men had no chances at liquor or dissipation, and had
worked faster than we expected; and, with our new brick-
machines, we made brick inconceivably fast, while their
quality was so good that dear George said there was never
so little waste. We celebrated Thanksgiving of that year
together,--my family and his family. We had paid
off all the laborers; and there were left, of that busy
village, only Asaph Langdon and his family, Levi Jordan
and Levi Ross, Horace Leonard and Seth Whitman with
theirs. "Theirs," I say, but Ross had no family. He was
a nice young fellow who was there as Haliburton's
representative, to take care of the accounts and the pay-
roll; Jordan was the head of the brick-kilns; Leonard, of
the carpenters; and Whitman, of the commissariat,--and a
good commissary Whitman was.

We celebrated Thanksgiving together! Ah me! what a
cheerful, pleasant time we had; how happy the children
were together! Polly and I and our bairns were to go to
Boston the next day. I was to spend the winter in one
final effort to get twenty-five thousand dollars more if
I could, with which we might paint the MOON, or put on
some ground felspathic granite dust, in a sort of paste,
which in its hot flight through the air might fuse into
a white enamel. All of us who saw the MOON were so
delighted with its success that we felt sure "the
friends" would not pause about this trifle. The rest of
them were to stay there to watch the winter, and to be
ready to begin work the moment the snow had gone.
Thanksgiving afternoon, how well I remember it,--that
good fellow, Whitman, came and asked Polly and me to
visit his family in their new quarters. They had moved
for the winter into cells B and E, so lofty, spacious,
and warm, and so much drier than their log cabins.
Mrs. Whitman, I remember, was very cheerful and
jolly; made my children eat another piece of pie, and
stuffed their pockets with raisins; and then with great
ceremony and fun we christened room B by the name of
Bertha, and E, Ellen, which was Mrs. Whitman's name. And
the next day we bade them all good-by, little thinking
what we said, and with endless promises of what we would
send and bring them in the spring.

Here are the scraps of letters from Orcutt, dear
fellow, which tell what more there is left to tell:--

"December 10th.
". . . After you left we were a little blue, and hung
round loose for a day or two. Sunday we missed you
especially, but Asaph made a good substitute, and Mrs.
Leonard led the singing. The next day we moved the
Leonards into L and M, which we christened Leonard and
Mary (Mary is for your wife). They are pretty dark, but
very dry. Leonard has swung hammocks, as Whitman did.

"Asaph came to me Tuesday and said he thought they
had better turn to and put a shed over the unfinished
circle, and so take occasion of warm days for dry work
there. This we have done, and the occupation is good for
us. . . ."

"December 25th.
I have had no chance to write for a fortnight. The
truth is, that the weather has been so open that I let
Asaph go down to No. 7 and to Wilder's, and engage five-
and-twenty of the best of the men, who, we knew, were
hanging round there. We have all been at work most of
the time since, with very good success. H is now wholly
covered in, and the centring is out. The men have named
it Haliburton. I is well advanced. J is as you left it.
The work has been good for us all, morally."

"February 11th.
". . . We got your mail unexpectedly by some
lumbermen on their way to the 9th Range. One of them has
cut himself, and takes this down.

"You will be amazed to hear that I and K are both
done. We have had splendid weather, and have worked half
the time. We had a great jollification when K was closed
in,--called it Kilpatrick, for Seth's old general. I
wish you could just run up and see us. You must be
quick, if you want to put in any of the last licks.

"March 12th.
"DEAR FRED,--I have but an instant. By all means
make your preparations to be here by the end of the month
or early in next month. The weather has been faultless,
you know. Asaph got in a dozen more men, and we have
brought up the surface farther than you could dream. The
ways are well forward, and I cannot see why, if the
freshet hold off a little, we should not launch her by
the 10th or 12th. I do not think it worth while to wait
for paint or enamel. Telegraph Brannan that he must be
here. You will be amused by our quarters. We, who were
the last outsiders, move into A and D to-morrow, for a
few weeks. It is much warmer there.
"Ever yours,
G. O."

I telegraphed Brannan, and in reply he came with his
wife and his children to Boston. I told him that he
could not possibly get up there, as the roads then were;
but Ben said he would go to Skowhegan, and take his
chance there. He would, of course, communicate with me
as soon as he got there. Accordingly I got a note from
him at Skowhegan, saying he had hired a sleigh to go over
to No. 9; and in four days more I got this letter:--

March 27th.
DEAR FRED,--I am most glad I came, and I beg you to
bring your wife as soon as possible. The river is very
full, the wheels, to which Leonard has added two
auxiliaries, are moving as if they could not hold out
long, the ways are all but ready, and we think we must
not wait. Start with all hands as soon as you can. I
had no difficulty in coming over from Skowhegan. We did
it in two days.

This note I sent at once to Haliburton; and we got
all the children ready for a winter journey, as the
spectacle of the launch of the MOON was one to be
remembered their life long. But it was clearly
impossible to attempt, at that season, to get the
subscribers together. Just as we started, this despatch
from Skowhegan was brought me,--the last word I got from

Stop for nothing. There is a jam below us in the
stream, and we fear back-water.

Of course we could not go faster than we could. We
missed no connection. At Skowhegan, Haliburton and I
took a cutter, leaving the ladies and children to follow
at once in larger sleighs. We drove all night, changed
horses at Prospect, and kept on all the next day. At No.
7 we had to wait over night. We started early in the
morning, and came down the Spoonwood Hill at four in the
afternoon, in full sight of our little village.

It was quiet as the grave! Not a smoke, not a man,
not an adze-blow, nor the tick of a trowel. Only the
gigantic fly-wheels were whirling as I saw them last.

There was the lower Coliseum-like centring, somewhat
as I first saw it.

But where was the Brick Dome of the MOON?

"Good Heavens! has it fallen on them all?" cried I.

Haliburton lashed the beast till he fairly ran down
that steep hill. We turned a little point, and came out
in front of the centring. There was no MOON there! An
empty amphitheatre, with not a brick nor a splinter

We were speechless. We left the cutter. We ran up
the stairways to the terrace. We ran by the familiar
paths into the centring. We came out upon the ways,
which we had never seen before. These told the story too
well! The ground and crushed surface of the timbers,
scorched by the rapidity with which the MOON had slid
down, told that they had done the duty for which they
were built.

It was too clear that in some wild rush of the waters
the ground had yielded a trifle. We could not find that
the foundations had sunk more than six inches, but that
was enough. In that fatal six inches' decline of the
centring, the MOON had been launched upon the ways just
as George had intended that it should be when he was
ready. But it had slid, not rolled, down upon these
angry fly-wheels, and in an instant, with all our
friends, it had been hurled into the sky!

"They have gone up!" said Haliburton; "She has gone
up!" said I;--both in one breath. And with a common
instinct, we looked up into the blue.

But of course she was not there.


Not a shred of letter or any other tidings could we
find in any of the shanties. It was indeed six weeks
since George and Fanny and their children had moved into
Annie and Diamond,--two unoccupied cells of the MOON,--so
much more comfortable had the cells proved than the
cabins, for winter life. Returning to No. 7, we found
there many of the laborers, who were astonished at what
we told them. They had been paid off on the 30th, and
told to come up again on the 15th of April, to see the
launch. One of them, a man named Rob Shea, told me that
George kept his cousin Peter to help him move back into
his house the beginning of the next week.

And that was the last I knew of any of them for
more than a year. At first I expected, each hour, to
hear that they had fallen somewhere. But time passed by,
and of such a fall, where man knows the world's surface,
there was no tale. I answered, as best I could, the
letters of their friends; by saying I did not know where
they were, and had not heard from them. My real thought
was, that if this fatal MOON did indeed pass our
atmosphere, all in it must have been burned to death in
the transit. But this I whispered to no one save to
Polly and Annie and Haliburton. In this terrible doubt
I remained, till I noticed one day in the "Astronomical
Record" the memorandum, which you perhaps remember, of
the observation, by Dr. Zitta, of a new asteroid, with an
enormous movement in declination.



Looking back upon it now, it seems inconceivable that
we said as little to each other as we did, of this
horrible catastrophe. That night we did not pretend to
sleep. We sat in one of the deserted cabins, now
talking fast, now sitting and brooding, without
speaking, perhaps, for hours. Riding back the next day
to meet the women and children, we still brooded, or we
discussed this "if," that "if," and yet others. But
after we had once opened it all to them,--and when we
had once answered the children's horribly naive
questions as best we could,--we very seldom spoke to
each other of it again. It was too hateful, all of it,
to talk about. I went round to Tom Coram's office one
day, and told him all I knew. He saw it was dreadful
to me, and, with his eyes full, just squeezed my hand,
and never said one word more. We lay awake nights,
pondering and wondering, but hardly ever did I to
Haliburton or he to me explain our respective notions
as they came and went. I believe my general impression
was that of which I have spoken, that they were all
burned to death on the instant, as the little aerolite
fused in its passage through our atmosphere. I believe
Haliburton's thought more often was that they were
conscious of what had happened, and gasped out their
lives in one or two breathless minutes,--so horribly
long!--as they shot outside of our atmosphere. But it
was all too terrible for words. And that which we could
not but think upon, in those dreadful waking nights, we
scarcely whispered even to our wives.

Of course I looked and he looked for the miserable
thing. But we looked in vain. I returned to the few
subscribers the money which I had scraped together
towards whitewashing the moon,--"shrouding its guilty
face with innocent white" indeed! But we agreed to spend
the wretched trifle of the other money, left in the
treasury after paying the last bills, for the largest
Alvan Clark telescope that we could buy; and we were
fortunate in obtaining cheap a second-hand one which
came to the hammer when the property of the Shubael
Academy was sold by the mortgagees. But we had, of
course, scarce a hint whatever as to where the miserable
object was to be found. All we could do was to carry the
glass to No. 9, to train it there on the meridian of No.
9, and take turns every night in watching the field, in
the hope that this child of sorrow might drift across it
in its path of ruin. But, though everything else seemed
to drift by, from east to west, nothing came from south
to north, as we expected. For a whole month of spring,
another of autumn, another of summer, and another of
winter, did Haliburton and his wife and Polly and I glue
our eyes to that eye-glass, from the twilight of evening
to the twilight of morning, and the dead hulk never hove
in sight. Wherever else it was, it seemed not to be on
that meridian, which was where it ought to be and was
made to be! Had ever any dead mass of matter wrought
such ruin to its makers, and, of its own stupid inertia,
so falsified all the prophecies of its birth! Oh, the
total depravity of things!

It was more than a year after the fatal night,--if it
all happened in the night, as I suppose,--that, as I
dreamily read through the "Astronomical Record" in the
new reading-room of the College Library at Cambridge, I
lighted on this scrap:--

"Professor Karl Zitta of Breslau writes to the
Astronomische Nachrichten to claim the discovery
of a new asteroid observed by him on the night of
March 31st.

App. A. R. App. Decl.
Bresl. M. T. h. m. s. h. m. s. @ ' " Size.
March 31 12 53 51.9 15 39 52.32 -23 50 26.1 12.9
April 1 1 3 2.1 15 39 52.32 -23 9 1.9 12.9

He proposes for the asteroid the name of Phoebe. Dr.
Zitta states that in the short period which he had for
observing Phoebe, for an hour after midnight, her motion
in R. A. seemed slight and her motion in declination very

After this, however, for months, nay even to this
moment, nothing more was heard of Dr. Zitta of Breslau.

But, one morning, before I was up, Haliburton came
banging at my door on D Street. The mood had taken him,
as he returned from some private theatricals at
Cambridge, to take the comfort of the new reading-room at
night, and thus express in practice his gratitude to the
overseers of the college for keeping it open through all
the twenty-four hours. Poor Haliburton, he did not sleep
well in those times! Well, as he read away on the
Astronomische Nachrichten itself, what should he find
but this in German, which he copied for me, and then, all
on foot in the rain and darkness, tramped over with, to
South Boston:--

"The most enlightened head professor Dr. Gmelin
writes to the director of the Porpol Astronomik at
St. Petersburg, to claim the discovery of an asteroid in
a very high southern latitude, of a wider inclination of
the orbit, as will be noticed, than any asteroid yet

"Planet's apparent {alpha} 21^h. 20^m. 51^s.40.
Planet's apparent {delta}-39@ 31' 11".9. Comparison star

"Dr. Gmelin publishes no separate second observation,
but is confident that the declination is diminishing.
Dr. Gmelin suggests for the name of this extra-zodiacal
planet `Io,' as appropriate to its wanderings from the
accustomed ways of planetary life, and trusts that the
very distinguished Herr Peters, the godfather of so many
planets, will relinquish this name, already claimed for
the asteroid (85) observed by him, September 15, 1865."

I had run down stairs almost as I was, slippers and
dressing-gown being the only claims I had on society.
But to me, as to Haliburton, this stuff about "extra-
zodiacal wandering" blazed out upon the page, and though
there was no evidence that the "most enlightened" Gmelin
found anything the next night, yet, if his "diminishing"
meant anything, there was, with Zitta's observation,--
whoever Zitta might be,--something to start upon. We
rushed upon some old bound volumes of the Record and
spotted the "enlightened Gmelin." He was chief of a
college at Taganrog, where perhaps they had a spyglass.
This gave us the parallax of his observation. Breslau,
of course, we knew, and so we could place Zitta's,
and with these poor data I went to work to construct,
if I could, an orbit for this Io-Phoebe mass of brick and
mortar. Haliburton, not strong in spherical
trigonometry, looked out logarithms for me till
breakfast, and, as soon as it would do, went over to Mrs.
Bowdoin, to borrow her telescope, ours being left at No.

Mrs. Bowdoin was kind, as she always was, and at noon
Haliburton appeared in triumph with the boxes on P.
Nolan's job-wagon. We always employ P., in memory of
dear old Phil. We got the telescope rigged, and waited
for night, only, alas! to be disappointed again. Io had
wandered somewhere else, and, with all our sweeping back
and forth on the tentative curve I had laid out, Io would
not appear. We spent that night in vain.

But we were not going to give it up so. Phoebe might
have gone round the world twice before she became Io;
might have gone three times, four, five, six,--nay, six
hundred,--who knew? Nay, who knew how far off Phoebe-
Io was or Io-Phoebe? We sent over for Annie, and
she and Polly and George and I went to work again. We
calculated in the next week sixty-seven orbits on the
supposition of so many different distances from our
surface. I laid out on a paper, which we stuck up on the
wall opposite, the formula, and then one woman and one
man attacked each set of elements, each having the
Logarithmic Tables, and so in a week's working-time the
sixty-seven orbits were completed. Seventy-seven
possible places for Io-Phoebe to be in on the
forthcoming Friday evening. Of these sixty-seven, forty-
one were observable above our horizon that night.

She was not in one of the forty-one, nor near it.

But Despair, if Giotto be correct, is the chief of
sins. So has he depicted her in the fresco of the Arena
in Padua. No sin, that, of ours! After searching all
that Friday night, we slept all Saturday (sleeping after
sweeping). We all came to the Chapel, Sunday, kept awake
there, and taught our Sunday classes special lessons on
Perseverance. On Monday we began again, and that week we
calculated sixty-seven more orbits. I am sure I do not
know why we stopped at sixty-seven. All of these were on
the supposition that the revolution of the Brick Moon, or
Io-Phoebe, was so fast that it would require either
fifteen days to complete its orbit, or sixteen days, or
seventeen days, and so on up to eighty-one days. And,
with these orbits, on the next Friday we waited for the
darkness. As we sat at tea, I asked if I should begin
observing at the smallest or at the largest orbit. And
there was a great clamor of diverse opinions. But little
Bertha said, "Begin in the middle."

"And what is the middle?" said George, chaffing the
little girl.

But she was not to be dismayed. She had been in and
out all the week, and knew that the first orbit was of
fifteen days and the last of eighty-one; and, with true
Lincoln School precision, she said, "The mean of the
smallest orbit and the largest orbit is forty-eight

"Amen!" said I, as we all laughed. "On forty-eight
days we will begin."

Alice ran to the sheets, turned up that number, and
read, "R. A. 27@ 11'. South declination 34@ 49'."

"Convenient place," said George; "good omen, Bertha,
my darling! If we find her there, Alice and Bertha and
Clara shall all have new dolls."

It was the first word of pleasantry that had been
spoken about the horrid thing since Spoonwood Hill!

Night came at last. We trained the glass on the
fated spot. I bade Polly take the eye-glass. She did
so, shook her head uneasily, screwed the tube northward
herself a moment, and then screamed, "It is there! it is
there,--a clear disk,--gibbous shape,--and very sharp on
the upper edge. Look! look! as big again as Jupiter!"

Polly was right! The Brick Moon was found!

Now we had found it, we never lost it. Zitta and
Gmelin, I suppose, had had foggy nights and stormy
weather often. But we had some one at the eye-glass all
that night, and before morning had very respectable
elements, good measurements of angular distance when we
got one, from another star in the field of our lowest
power. For we could see her even with a good French
opera-glass I had, and with a night-glass which I used to
carry on the South Atlantic Station. It certainly
was an extraordinary illustration of Orcutt's engineering
ability, that, flying off as she did, without leave or
license, she should have gained so nearly the orbit of
our original plan,--nine thousand miles from the earth's
centre, five thousand from the surface. He had always
stuck to the hope of this, and on his very last tests of
the Flies he had said they, were almost up to it. But
for this accuracy of his, I can hardly suppose we should
have found her to this hour, since she had failed, by
what cause I then did not know, to take her intended
place on the meridian of No. 9. At five thousand miles
the MOON appeared as large as the largest satellite of
Jupiter appears. And Polly was right in that first
observation, when she said she got a good disk with that
admirable glass of Mrs. Bowdoin.

The orbit was not on the meridian of No. 9, nor did
it remain on any meridian. But it was very nearly South
and North,--an enormous motion in declination with a very
slight RETROGRADE motion in Right Ascension. At five
thousand miles the MOON showed as large as a circle two
miles and a third in diameter would have shown on old
Thornbush, as we always called her older sister. We
longed for an eclipse of Thornbush by B. M., but no such
lucky chance is on the cards in any place accessible to
us for many years. Of course, with a MOON so near us the
terrestrial parallax is enormous.

Now, you know, dear reader, that the gigantic
reflector of Lord Rosse, and the exquisite fifteen-
inch refractors of the modern observatories, eliminate
from the chaotic rubbish-heap of the surface of old
Thornbush much smaller objects than such a circle as I
have named. If you have read Mr. Locke's amusing Moon
Hoax as often as I have, you have those details fresh in
your memory. As John Farrar taught us when all this
began,--and as I have said already,--if there were a
State House in Thornbush two hundred feet long, the first
Herschel would have seen it. His magnifying power was
6450; that would have brought this deaf and dumb State
House within some forty miles. Go up on Mt. Washington
and see white sails eighty miles away, beyond Portland,
with your naked eye, and you will find how well he would
have seen that State House with his reflector. Lord
Rosse's statement is, that with his reflector he can see
objects on old Thornbush two hundred and fifty-two feet
long. If he can do that he can see on our B. M. objects
which are five feet long; and, of course, we were beside
ourselves to get control of some instrument which had
some approach to such power. Haliburton was for at once
building a reflector at No. 9; and perhaps he will do it
yet, for Haliburton has been successful in his paper-
making and lumbering. But I went to work more promptly.

I remembered, not an apothecary, but an observatory,
which had been dormant, as we say of volcanoes, now for
ten or a dozen years,--no matter why! The trustees
had quarrelled with the director, or the funds had given
out, or the director had been shot at the head of his
division,--one of those accidents had happened which will
happen even in observatories which have fifteen-inch
equatorials; and so the equatorial here had been left as
useless as a cannon whose metal has been strained or its
reputation stained in an experiment. The observatory at
Tamworth, dedicated with such enthusiasm,--"another
light-house in the skies," had been, so long as I have
said, worthless to the world. To Tamworth, therefore, I
travelled. In the neighborhood of the observatory I took
lodgings. To the church where worshipped the family
which lived in the observatory buildings I repaired;
after two Sundays I established acquaintance with John
Donald, the head of this family. On the evening of the
third, I made acquaintance with his wife in a visit to
them. Before three Sundays more he had recommended me to
the surviving trustees as his successor as janitor to the
buildings. He himself had accepted promotion, and gone,
with his household, to keep a store for Haliburton in
North Ovid. I sent for Polly and the children, to
establish them in the janitor's rooms; and, after writing
to her, with trembling eye I waited for the Brick Moon to
pass over the field of the fifteen-inch equatorial.

Night came. I was "sole alone"! B. M. came, more
than filled the field of vision, of course! but for that
I was ready. Heavens! how changed. Red no longer,
but green as a meadow in the spring. Still I could see--
black on the green--the large twenty-foot circles which
I remembered so well, which broke the concave of the
dome; and, on the upper edge--were these palm-trees?
They were. No, they were hemlocks, by their shape, and
among them were moving to and fro---------- flies? Of
course, I cannot see flies! But something is moving,--
coming, going. One, two, three, ten; there are more than
thirty in all! They are men and women and their

Could it be possible? It was possible! Orcutt and
Brannan and the rest of them had survived that giddy
flight through the ether, and were going and coming on
the surface of their own little world, bound to it by its
own attraction and living by its own laws!

As I watched, I saw one of them leap from that
surface. He passed wholly out of my field of vision, but
in a minute, more or less, returned. Why not! Of course
the attraction of his world must be very small, while he
retained the same power of muscle he had when he was
here. They must be horribly crowded, I thought. No.
They had three acres of surface, and there were but
thirty-seven of them. Not so much crowded as people are
in Roxbury, not nearly so much as in Boston; and,
besides, these people are living underground, and have
the whole of their surface for their exercise.

I watched their every movement as they approached the
edge and as they left it. Often they passed beyond it,
so that I could see them no more. Often they sheltered
themselves from that tropical sun beneath the trees.
Think of living on a world where from the vertical heat
of the hottest noon of the equator to the twilight of the
poles is a walk of only fifty paces! What atmosphere
they had, to temper and diffuse those rays, I could not
then conjecture.

I knew that at half-past ten they would pass into the
inevitable eclipse which struck them every night at this
period of their orbit, and must, I thought, be a luxury
to them, as recalling old memories of night when they
were on this world. As they approached the line of
shadow, some fifteen minutes before it was due, I counted
on the edge thirty-seven specks arranged evidently in
order; and, at one moment, as by one signal, all thirty-
seven jumped into the air,--high jumps. Again they did
it, and again. Then a low jump; then a high one. I
caught the idea in a moment. They were telegraphing to
our world, in the hope of an observer. Long leaps and
short leaps,--the long and short of Morse's Telegraph
Alphabet,--were communicating ideas. My paper and pencil
had been of course before me. I jotted down the
despatch, whose language I knew perfectly:--

"Show `I understand' on the Saw-Mill Flat."
"Show `I understand' on the Saw-Mill Flat."
"Show `I understand' on the Saw-Mill Flat."

By "I understand" they meant the responsive signal
given, in all telegraphy, by an operator who has received
and understood a message.

As soon as this exercise had been three times
repeated, they proceeded in a solid body--much the most
apparent object I had had until now--to Circle No. 3, and
then evidently descended into the MOON.

The eclipse soon began, but I knew the MOON'S path
now, and followed the dusky, coppery spot without
difficulty. At 1.33 it emerged, and in a very few
moments I saw the solid column pass from Circle No. 3
again, deploy on the edge again, and repeat three times
the signal:--

"Show `I understand' on the Saw-Mill Flat."
"Show `I understand' on the Saw-Mill Flat."
"Show `I understand' on the Saw-Mill Flat."

It was clear that Orcutt had known that the edge of
his little world would be most easy of observation, and
that he had guessed that the moments of obscuration and
of emersion were the moments when observers would be most
careful. After this signal they broke up again, and I
could not follow them. With daylight I sent off a
despatch to Haliburton, and, grateful and happy in
comparison, sank into the first sleep not haunted by
horrid dreams, which I had known for years.

Haliburton knew that George Orcutt had taken with him
a good Dolland's refractor, which he had bought in
London, of a two-inch glass. He knew that this would
give Orcutt a very considerable power, if he could only
adjust it accurately enough to find No. 9 in the 3d
Range. Orcutt had chosen well in selecting the "Saw-Mill
Flat," a large meadow, easily distinguished by the
peculiar shape of the mill-pond which we had made. Eager
though Haliburton was to join me, he loyally took moneys,
caught the first train to Skowhegan, and, travelling
thence, in thirty-six hours more was again descending
Spoonwood Hill, for the first time since our futile
observations. The snow lay white upon the Flat. With
Rob. Shea's help, he rapidly unrolled a piece of black
cambric twenty yards long, and pinned it to the crust
upon the snow; another by its side, and another. Much
cambric had he left. They had carried down with them
enough for the funerals of two Presidents. Haliburton
showed the symbols for "I understand," but he could not
resist also displaying ..-- .--, which are the dots and
lines to represent O. K., which, he says, is the
shortest message of comfort. And not having exhausted
the space on the Flat, he and Robert, before night closed

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