Part 2 out of 3
many, whom you will meet, with magnetic waves, hoping against hope, that
some response might be gained, some hint of that connection through
space which the physicists of this planet expect, ere long, may make all
the beings of the universe one great sidereal society.'
"He stopped and leaned away from me, perusing my face with interest.
Words came to my lips, memory again asserted its triumphant declaration
that I was the same being as had lived upon the earth, and with it the
sudden turbulence of hope that she, your mother, whom we so often
expected to regain, might, as I had, have reached this planet, too, and
to me, renewed in youth, might come the glory and the joy of knowing her
"I turned to him and spoke: 'Kind friend, I am yet dazed and stricken
with the marvellousness of my being here. It seems but a short time, a
lapse of even a day, that I bade good-bye to my son on the death-bed in
my home on earth. I am too tormented with wonder to speak to you much. I
can tell all I know of myself in a little while. But now as I grow
stronger, tell me of this new world, and oh! give me, sir, food. I feel
the quickening fevers of appetite and desire.'
"The man arose and left the room. In a few moments he returned followed
by a boy and a young woman bearing a basket. They spread a yellow cloth
upon a small ivory table and set down two plates of the bright blue
metal; upon one they placed a pile of small round cakes and on the other
a number of red and yellow gourd shaped fruits. At a signal from my
companion I arose and sat at the table.
"He remained at the window and continued: 'While you break your long
fast, let me tell you what I know about this new world which will now be
your home for a long time. You will learn all, but I am not watching
to-night. In seeing you and hearing the familiar English speech I am
moved myself by currents of retrospection; my earth home comes back to
me. I will satisfy your curiosity, and, you in turn, must tell me what
has happened in the old home.'
"He paused; from the streets of the city rose a sacred song. It came
like a slowly increasing torrent of sound, soft and low, rising with
impetuous fervor until it seemed to engulf us in its melodic tide.
Individual tones were heard in it, but its solidity and mass were most
impressive. I shook and trembled beneath the impact of its vibrations;
in its surging glory of sound I became fully reincarnated. I awoke naked
and ashamed. The man saw my confusion. He hurried to a niche in the wall
and handed me the tunic of the Martians with its girdle of blue cord and
its cap and shoes of the blue metal exquisitely wrought and light. I put
them upon me and lifting the cakes and the mellow-soaked pears to my
"'The Martians,' he continued, 'are both a natural and supernatural
race. The natural race are largely prehistoric, though many yet exist;
the supernatural race are made up of beings from other worlds and a
great majority come up from the earth. How reincarnation first began on
Mars is unknown, though the natural people, the Dendas, have traditions
about it, vague and contradictory. It must have been slow. The
supernatural people thus brought to Mars have created its civilization,
discovered the phosphori, and established Music, which is so much of
their life, and accelerated in the way you have learned the process of
"'They built this City of Light from phosphorescent stone quarried from
the Mountains of Tiniti. Formerly the spirits came helter skelter to
Mars all over its surface and went wandering about, helped to
reincarnation by the various villagers or citizens. The great new
improvement in the last half century has been the creation of the
receiving station at the Hill of the Phosphori, the building of the
Chorus Halls, and the establishment of the City of Light. Light draws
the spirits, and though spirits reach other points of Mars, the
centralization of Light here, draws most of them to this side. The
Martians are not immortal. They vanish in time.
"'As reincarnated all spirit becomes young but nourishment has undergone
a change. The physiological process is singular. I need not dwell upon
it. Evaporation replaces defecation. Love enters the Martian world, but
it has lost much of the earthly passion. The physiological effects are
also different. There are no children here.
"'We live in the tropical regions mostly of Mars, and the polar and
north temperate zones are empty. The natural Martian races are found
more plentifully there. They are strong and small and work under the
supervision of the supernaturals. They are like the earthlings and eat
meat. Our food is bread and fruit. Our language does not lend itself to
composition; it only sings. Literature, as we knew it on earth, does not
exist here. The natural Martians have tales and stories and plays and
some books. These things no longer interest the supernaturals. Our life
is quite simple, almost expressionless, except for the power of our
music. The souls from different parts of the earth recognize each other
and converse in human language, but, unless practiced, it is forgotten
and our euphonies take its place. I have used my earth language with a
friend and still speak English well.
"'We have art here, but it is almost wholly sculpture and architecture
and design. Color, except in glass, does not greatly please the Martians
and there are few painters. They survive from other worlds, but cannot
secure pigments, and draw only in black and white for the most part.
They are cartoonists, as we would say, on the earth. But we grow fruits
and flowers, the former in varieties and richness unknown upon the
earth and the latter in delicate tints with blues and yellows, the only
primary strong tints the Martians admire.
"'Mechanical invention is discouraged, except as it assists astronomy.
Astronomy is the great profession. Cars, railroads and conveyances, as
you say on earth, do not exist. We walk or sail and float upon our
canals. Our industry is agriculture and building. Architecture is
studied and advanced beyond all you have ever known on the earth. Mars
is filled with beautiful cities. Its whole government consists in a
council at the City of Scandor, from which representatives issue to its
various departments. One is here in the City of Light. His motives are
always just. There are no parties, for there are no policies. Life is so
simple. Beauty and knowledge only rule us. Character, as you, as I, knew
it on the earth, does not exist. There are no temptations, and we live
as children of Light, in a sort of childhood of feeling, with great
gifts of mind. But even living is noble. There is indeed rivalry. Yes,
envy is with us. We worship God in great temples in services of song.
Sermons are never heard.
"'In this city the great designers live, also the men who work at the
deep problems of life and thought and matter; and the sculptors. It is
the next largest city to Scandor. Scandor is far away. I never saw it.
Glass work is done here and throughout Mars. Making the blue metal which
you see, quarrying stone and ore and coal for the smelters and glass
factories, the fabrication of dress material and fabrics for houses,
making our boats and canal ships, cutting down the forests in the
Martian highlands, cultivating fruits and flowers and the great wheat
fields are the chief industries, and there are lesser lines of work, as
the potteries and the instrument makers.
"'There are no industries in the City of Light. It is employed as I told
you. Its population is constantly changing, for spirits like you are
reincarnated here, and these new multitudes come and go. To-morrow, the
ships on the canals will carry many away. The spirits, as you did, when
they enter the city, wander as they will; they enter the houses, the
workshops, the laboratories, everything in obedience to their
instinctive choice. The people of the City of Light are therefore
largely engaged in caring for them as they fall into bodily forms,
clothing, feeding, housing them.
"'Each householder and all citizens report to the Registeries what
spirits have come to them, and whence they came, and the great diversion
and entertainment of our people is to listen to the stories of other
worlds, which these new arrivals bring. Memory does not survive long
and they soon forget their past history. It is best so, except in
fugitive and dreamlike fragments, unless they are great.
"'According to their desire or aptitudes, the spirits are sent away when
Martianized to the different parts of Mars, and many stay here with us
in the workshops and laboratories.
"'Besides Music, the people of Mars delight in recitation, and in the
City of Scandor I hear there are great theatres or public places where
recitations and concerts and even noble operas are held. Many of these
are brought to us by great spirits from other worlds, their own works in
poetry or prose or music. In Scandor there are great orchestras with all
the instruments we had upon the earth, and the paper, Dia, is published
there, which is read everywhere in Mars. There are few books, no schools
in the common sense. The thinkers have assemblies and there are
announcements and explanations of discoveries.
"'Our life in many ways is like the life on earth, but less active, more
contemplative, and sin and money-making are almost absent. The wicked of
all sorts have one fate; they are fired off the planet. We can overcome
the attraction of gravitation by our Toto powder. These executions are
strange to earth eyes. You will see them. The Toto powder is also a
"'We have a medium of exchange, silver, and there are rich and poor with
us, but no poverty. There can be no armies nor navies. The government
carries on extensive works of improvement and keeps the canals and pays
its laborers. The government supports this City of Light and the people
here are paid for the number of spirits they care for and assist.
Happiness reigns on Mars, but it is a pensive happiness. We never,
because of the singular physiology of our bodies, can know the
boisterous and passionate joys of earth, neither do we know many of the
ills of the flesh. We have sickness and there are accidents. We have a
death, but it is like evaporation. We decline again after a long life to
the spirit stage and vanish. So there are partings here, and the old
sadness of the end as on earth; but the gaiety of children, the ambition
of youth, the devotion of parents is unknown.'
"His voice sank, he bent his head upon his hands, and a sort of tremor
ran through him, and when again he looked upon me his eyes shone with
moisture, and the hot tears ran down his cheeks. Memory might be
fleeting on Mars, but the loved ones of the earth were yet remembered,
and the abysses of the eternal void of space could never be crossed by
the wave of speech or recognition. This was the pathos of the Martian
"I was shown by him, as the slowly arising sweetness of fatigue showed
itself within me, to a bedchamber of charming simplicity. The graceful
bedstead of the blue metal was covered with snowy covers, curtains hung
at the windows also white. The furniture of the room was of a sort of
pale, red wood obtained in the great Martian forests where the trees
known as the Ribi grow, whose leaves and flowers have a pink tint, which
in seasons of fruitage is more intense, and present enormous areas of
"This room was at the top of one of the many branching wings of this
composite astronomical laboratory. To reach my room we walked through
hallways all illuminated with the phosphorescent glowing balls while the
radiant patterns in the walls shone also with a pale beauty. These balls
possess a wonderful lighting power and besides their self-illumination
can be stimulated into the most intense brilliancy by electric currents
with which the Martians are profoundly acquainted. The electrical
displays on Mars surpass description and the waves of magnetism I am now
utilizing to send to you these messages are ten miles in amplitude.
"I fell asleep, quickly lulled into an almost death-like slumber by the
cadence of innumerable fountains. Near the _Patenta_ is the Garden of
Fountains, which I shall tell you about in another message. It was the
plash and rivulous current of these water courts that brought on sleep.
"I awoke when the Martian dawn was coming on. Slumber had given me the
last reassurance of identity of body, and I awoke with a delightful
sense of health and youth. I stood at the wide window near my bed and
gazed out upon the yet luminous City of Occupation. The picture was of
surprising strangeness and beauty. Far off, until melting into the
encroaching edges of an outer blackness, the City extended its folds and
surfaces of light. The streets were empty, the music of the Chorus Halls
stilled. Here and there, a spirit was moving slowly through the streets,
a half-made Martian; a breeze soft and salubrious stirred the thickly
leaved trees and the firmament shone with the larger stars, beginning to
pale before the rising sun. As the sun rose higher, the effulgence of
the City died away, the light of the same great orb which brings the
dawn to you, covered with its rays the white and glorious City, the
music seemed again revived, and from the doorways of the houses I could
see forms issuing, while far off the Hill of the Phosphori raised its
glass domes in the air, where the homogeneous tide of spirit was
undergoing differentiation, as we might say, into separate cognizable,
discreet beings. An unspeakable delight filled me. I felt the power of
mind and with it the radiant energy of manhood."
No more words came. The message ended. Not a motion or sound succeeded
this wonderful trans-abysmal dispatch.
Well, here, at last, was the long expected, impossible, amazing reality.
When I had deciphered the last word, when I had it borne fully in upon
me, the significance of it all, I turned to the one natural effort to
answer this Martian communication. I sent out from the battery of our
transmitter the longest wave of magnetic oscillation I could emit. The
message was simple: "Have received all. Await more. Transmission
Again for weeks I watched the station. My assistants relieved me, and
amongst them was now included Miss Dodan. It was only a few days after
the Dodans found me at the register, absorbed in receiving my father's
message, that Miss Dodan called. She ran toward me at the open door of
the station, her face fixed in an anxious expression of half-alarmed
"Did you really, Mr. Dodd, hear anything? Is it true that something came
from your father. Oh, tell me, can it be possible?"
I took her clasped hands in my own, looked into her face and told her
everything. She was the first visitor to the station since the day of
the marvellous experience. My assistants had promised secrecy, which I
reinforced effectively by doubling their salaries. I felt I ought not to
have revealed this thing to Miss Dodan, and when in the first impulse of
confidence everything so unwittingly passed my lips, I took her arm in
mine and walked out upon the broad plateau toward the opposite end
where our smaller experimenting station had been built.
"Miss Dodan," I said, "I am going to ask a great favor of you."
"Yes," she answered, half musingly, for the tremendous fact I had
related had half robbed her of her consciousness of passing things.
"I want you solemnly for the present to promise me not to reveal the
strange thing I have told you. It would hardly be believed. No, I am
sure it would be laughed at, and I would become in the eyes of everyone
a foolish, impossible dreamer. This would give me a deep sorrow. My
father's name would be dragged into the mire of this common ridicule.
You revered my father."
I bent more closely over her, I felt her breath upon my cheeks, her eyes
seemed fixed in mine, and then I did what I had never done before, I
kissed the lips of a woman and it was also the lips of the woman I
loved. There was no resistance, no withdrawal; a tremor--was it
pleasure?--seemed to disturb her for a moment and again I kissed her.
This time with a quiet effort toward release she separated herself from
me, and while I still held her hands, our walk stopped and we faced each
other, just where looking westward the spires, and flocking houses of
Christ Church came fully in view.
"Miss Dodan," I began, fearful to use her first name through a
reluctance that was itself the expression of the deep love I bore her,
"Miss Dodan, I may for some time yet be engaged in this now imperative
work. I cannot, you know, now leave it. It is the most marvellous thing
the world has ever known. It means so much to me, indeed to us all.
These messages are erratic--fitful. I have now waited for weeks for a
renewal of these strange communications and there is nothing. But in the
midst of this, a distracting love for you seems to unnerve and torment
me. I beg you to wait until those days may come when I can show you all
the devotion I yearn now to give you, but must not, for every moment
that voice may reach me from beyond the grave, and I would be recreant
to the most sacred obligations, and deep responsibilities that seem now
to shape themselves before me, to our common humanity, if I forfeited an
instant of inattention. I beg you to remember all this and wait, wait,
until the depthless power of my love for you can be made clear."
I would have sunk upon my knees in the abasement and passion of my
desire for her, had she not suddenly drawn me to her, flung her arms
about my neck and placed her head where--well, I am no connoisseur in
love scenes--but that day Agnes Dodan, without a syllable of sound gave
her heart to me.
We passed back in silence, and when she left me the fluttering
handkerchief that had so often waved back its salutation on the winding
distant road was now in my hands, and its signals sent by me came to her
from the plateau. It was the simple pledge of our mutual love, a pledge
that even now as I prepare these last pages of a manuscript that is a
testament to the world, soothes my pain and renews the happiness of that
day, forever and forever lost.
The next message came a few days after my interview with Miss Dodan. It
was a rainy day in November--the spring time of that Southern land. The
register was heard by one of my assistants, Jack Jobson, a man who had
unremittingly taken my place when I was absent, and who seemed more than
anyone else dazed and wonder stricken over the experience we had. He
came running to me, a wild terror in his face, exclaiming, "It's going
again, sir. Hurry! It's running slow." I sprang upstairs, and before I
had reached it heard the telltale clicks. It was not altogether a
sheltered position, and as I reached the table I felt the bleak and
chilly air penetrating the crevices of the window, a raw ocean breeze
that in a few instants crept through my bones. But I was again
unconscious of everything; that marvellous ticking obliterated all
thought of earth, its affairs, accidents, dangers, loves, hopes,
despairs, all forgotten, swallowed up in the immeasurable revelation I
was about to receive.
The second message began at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon of November
25, 1893, two months exactly after the first. Its very opening sentences
I failed to get. It lasted late into the morning of the next day. The
strain of taking it was somehow singularly intense upon me. I was taken
from the table the next morning unconscious. I had fainted at the close.
It began, as I received it, a few opening sentences having been lost:
"...was sent to you I was in the City of Light, and now I am in the City
"The morning of that wonderful night in which I became a flesh and blood
Martian, strong and young and beautiful, dawned fair. My friend came for
me, and we went together to the great 'Commons' of the Patenta, a superb
hall where all the professors, investigators, and students in the great
Academy sit at many tables. This huge dining room is at the center of
the group of buildings which make up the Patenta. Corridors lead into it
from the four sections of the Patenta, and as we entered, from the
different sides there were many men and some women taking the ivory
chairs at the side's of the long tables of marble, on which rose in
beautiful confusion of color crowded vases of fruits.
"Surrounding the room are niches instead of windows, and in each niche
one noble symbolic figure in white or colored marble.
"Light fell in a torrent of glory through the faintly opalescent glass
compartments of the ceiling, from which, at the intersection of the
broad and long rafters of blue metal, hung chandeliers formed in
branching arms with cup-like extremities, and holding spheres of the
"I stood a moment with my companion at the entrance of the great dining
room, and watched the groups and individual arrivals, as they assorted
themselves into companies or engaged in some short interchange of
greetings. It was a very beautiful scene. The faces of all were
wonderfully clear and strong, and in the commingling of forms, the bold,
intellectual features of some, the more rare, delicate outlines of other
faces, the flowing of the graceful tunics and robes, the pleasant,
musical confusion of voices, with the quick, glancing movements of
attendants, the heaped up chalices and baskets, vases and broad
spreading plates of fruit, the many carelessly arranged and profuse
bunches of radiant flowers in tall receptacles of glass or alabaster, in
all this, with the strong, simple architectural features of the Hall,
the eye and mind and senses seemed equally stimulated and satisfied.
"Amongst the glorious throng my companion pointed out to me many of
those great men and women whom I seemed to know by their writings and
portraits when on the earth. At one table sat Mary Somerville,
Leverrier, Adams, La Place, Gauss and Helmholz; at another Dalton,
Schonbeim, Davy, Tyndall, Berthollet, Berzelius, Priestly, Lavoisier,
and Liebig; here were groups of physicists--Faraday, Volta, Galvani,
Ampere, Fahrenheit, Henry, Draper, Biot, Chladini, Black, Melloni,
Senarmont, Regnault, Daniells, Fresnel, Fizeau, Mariotte, Deville,
Troost, Gay-Lussac, Foucault, Wheatstone, and many, many more. At a
small table immediately beneath a dome of glass, through whose softly
opaline texture an aureole of light seemed to embrace them, sat
Franklin, Galileo and Newton. It would be impossible to describe to you
my amazement at the astonishing picture.
"It almost seemed as if the air vibrated with the excitement of its
impact and use, as these giant minds conversed together. Endowed again
with youth, scintillating, brilliant, the flush of a semi-immortality
impressed upon their faces, which again bespoke the eminence of their
intellects, in picturesque and effective, almost pictorial groupings,
this wondrous gathering filled me with new rapture. My comrade led me to
other branching halls similarly occupied. Chemists were here
conspicuous--Chevreuil, Talbot, Wedgewood, Daguerre, Cooke, Fresenius,
Schmidt, Avogadro, Liebig, Davy, Berthollet, and many, many more.
"It formed an equally striking scene. I turned to my companion and asked
him how it was that the mathematicians, chemists, physicists,
astronomers, were so crowded together. He said, 'The Patenta covers,
with all its buildings, a space about one mile square, and here in
laboratories and in the great observatories these men have flocked
because of a sympathy in their tastes and talents. Although astronomy is
the great profession, and, as I will show you, the marvels of the
Universe are being more and more fully known, yet the study of the
elements and the laws of matter is popular and also followed
unremittingly. It is true that we know these people are from your earth;
they have reported all that to the Registeries, to whom I will soon
conduct you; they yet retain strong memories of the earth, though it is
confined more largely to knowledge than to experience. In some, the
Martian life and habit has almost obliterated their earthly notions and
designs. It is singular that of the scientific workers of the earth the
astronomers, physicists, and chemists alone reach Mars. The biologists,
zoologists, botanists, geographers, and geologists rarely are booked at
the Registeries as coming from the Earth. Their lives may be prolonged
elsewhere, they seldom reach us.
"'There are some exceptions. The plants of Mars are numerous, its rocks
and animal life curious, and they are well understood. A few doctors
from the earth are here, but medicine and surgery are not so much
needed, yet in the study of life our philosophers have made great
strides. Your thinkers and poets, artists, composers, dramatists,
musicians, come here, but of all the wonderful students of Nature the
earth has produced, as far as I know or have heard, Lamarck and Agassiz,
Owen, and Cuvier alone have been reincarnated on our globe. And the
warriors and generals of the earth are unknown here.'
"We had reached a table unnoticed, unheard. There was a constant rush of
words about us. The melodic charm of the Martian tongue, like the soft
vocalization of Italian pleased me. If the Martians are without books
or papers, they possess all the resources of conversation. Animation,
pleasure, salutation, cheerfulness and joy was everywhere, the perfume
of flowers filled the air, the shafts of sunlight broken into the most
enticing iridescence filled the great noble rooms with lovely colors,
and the clear white tables, beautifully spread with fruit, seemed to
chasten appetite into something ethereal and rare.
"As we stood an instant at our places the people arose, and from some
distant and concealed place, so situated I afterwards learned, as to
gain access to all the dining halls, there came a swell and burst of
jubilant music. It was so fresh and free and bewitching in its glee and
ringing cadences, so consonant and accordant with the glad and
illustrious feeling of the place and time, that my heart seemed to leap
within me; and then it softened, and changing into notes of melodic
gravity, ended in a splendid outcry of soaring, piercing notes--the
salute to the morning. Long after the voices had finished, the rolling
notes of an organ continued the loud outburst.
"As we sat down, the conversation was again resumed and I noted then the
singular clearness and suavity of this Martian language. I must hasten
my narrative. I have so much to tell you. We ate the great cereal of
Mars--the Rint--a delicious food, in which, as it seemed to me, the
substance of a sort of rice was mingled with a creamy exudation in all
of which was enclosed the flavor of the orange and the peach. This, with
a fruit, a kind of milk, and many wines, forms the nourishment of the
Martians. The fruits are most various, and every hidden or patent fancy
of the gourmet seems elicited or satisfied in them. I cannot now
describe them even if I recalled them. One commended itself to my taste
strongly, a sort of nodular banana, holding a fragrant nucleus, like a
large strawberry immersed in a savory juice, and coated with a rind
stripped from it by the hand. It is of most stimulating qualities. It is
"Few implements are in use; the Rint is taken in short spoons and the
fruit is usually manipulated with the fingers. The milk and wine are
drunk from the most ingeniously devised and ornamented glasses, napkins
of the Tofa weed are used, a pale green cloth, and large bowls of
acidified water in which floats a morsel of soap are served at the end
of meals. Great variety prevails, and individual fancy, taste, desire,
or invention sway as with you on earth.
"The breakfast over, the companies arose and moved out in clusters and
trains to the avocations of the day. Many of these workers in the
Patenta have houses throughout the city, while others living singly
congregate in the numerous apartments, and enjoy these commons. The
extraordinary assemblage I saw here is repeated in the other great
communal halls where the artists, philosophers and inventors congregate.
But the Halls are of quite different construction in each quarter of the
"Accompanying or associated with these Halls are the Courts of
Announcement and Recreation. Here lectures, conferences, entertainments,
are given, and the people of the City flock in droves not infrequently
accompanied by numbers of the new Spirits who here are often enabled to
gain their final solidification; '_Gell_' as the Martians say.
"My companion led me out of the Hall. Men and women were moving slowly
in various directions and as we made our way over the campus and between
the many noble buildings I saw many of the lambent spirits half emergent
into fleshly shapes accompanied by the watchers, who are in great
numbers in the City, carrying over their arms the white and blue dresses
with which to clothe them as the spirits fall into solid forms.
"Amongst these buildings I easily noted the marvellous observatories
where objectives twenty feet in diameter are used with which the
astronomers actually discern the life of our earth. The reports they
make from week to week of their inspection of the Solar system, and of
the commotions, changes, births and demolition of Stars, are the
sensations of Mars. These Reports are read aloud in the Halls of
Announcement and Recreation. But astounding beyond belief, they
photograph the surfaces of these distant bodies, and report in moving
pictures the disturbances of the cosmic universe. No wonder that the
whole Mind, as it were, of Mars is concentrated on the fabulous results
of their cosmic studies.
"We descended from Patenta Hill in an avenue that led between the white
columned houses with their spheres of Phosphori and their umbrageous
squares around them. It was a season of flowers, though I understood
that by the use of fertilizing injections the number of flowers in a
shrub and even in an herb can be here greatly multiplied. The windows of
the houses were open and their sills crowded with blossoms. The use of
the red blossoming vine was strangely extravagant. In many cases it had
thrown its branches over an entire house, clambering over the roof and
encircling the phosphoric cage, so that the white house was dissected by
its twigs and tendrils, while the red honeysuckle flowers depended in
clusters from the walls, the roof gutters, and the light house globes
"The Court of the Registeries was a long low structure made of the
prevalent white stone with a roof of what seemed to be red copper. It
was built upon one of the canals which here enter the city and formed
one side of a long pier or dock to which and from which interesting
little boats were constantly approaching and as constantly departing.
"A hum of business and everyday work surrounded the place, and it seemed
refreshing to note the stir and bustle of affairs. Streams of people
were entering the Court as we arrived. They were inhabitants and
watchers bringing the new incarnations to the Registeries to have their
origin recorded if they could recall it. Indeed many spirits fail
utterly to remember their former condition, and happen, as we might say,
upon Mars, unexplained and inexplicable. They even are without speech
and learn the Martian language as a child learns to talk.
"We pushed in with the jostling crowd, and even as I entered I could
hear the murmurous chant of the Chorus Halls, borne hither-ward on the
morning wind. It now seemed a long time, although but one day apparently
had elapsed since I sat, a trail of luminous ether, undergoing the
strange process of materialization.
"How incredible it all was, how incomprehensible. I pinched myself until
I could have cried out with pain, and at that very instant a voice
saluted me, calling me by name and a rushing figure encountered me. I
stood transfixed. Before me was Chapman, the mechanic, workman, and
photographer for Mr. Rutherford, in New York in the seventies, a man
whom I knew well, from whom I had learned much, and whose skill helped
so largely in the production of Rutherford's negatives of the Moon. My
repulsion was over in an instant. I clasped him heartily. It seemed so
good, so human, to embrace something in this strange world. An equal
resistance met my own. We were indeed substance.
"'Mr. Dodd,' exclaimed my old acquaintance, 'are you here? This is
wonderful. Have you just become one of us? What luck! what a great
providence for me! I am in the observatory. Must sail to-morrow to
Scandor to report a sudden confusion in Perseus. They call it here
_Pike_. You shall go with me. I have a long leave of absence I will show
you many marvels. And you can tell me everything about Tony. He was a
baby when I knew you.' Turning to my smiling companion, he spoke in
Martian, of which to give you some semblance I cipher these words: 'Aru
meta voluca volu li tonti tan dondore mal per vuele vonta bidi ami.'
"I returned Chapman's hearty salutation. I yet retained the human speech
of earth and I was struck with the miraculous incident that in the
planet Mars, in a populous city, I was addressing a friend in the
"But the joy of it was inexpressible. Oh, the sweetness of old
acquaintanceship in strange, and as here, impossible surroundings! I
gazed on him with unspeakable curiosity. I talked to him just to hear my
own voice and his in response, to realize if words were still words with
the old meaning, if the intangible mutation I had undergone was a
reality, if I was indeed alive, if my lungs and throat, the
configuration of my mouth, the vocalic impact of the air, was a fact, a
sound, a meaning, or whether it all was some phantasmagoria, beautiful
and fair indeed, to be dispelled with a shock of annihilation.
"No! we were breathing, sensate things, were human kin and kind. The
sudden vertigo sent me throbbing, like a stricken animal, against the
high pillars of the room we had entered, and a reflex tide of emotion
swept over me in a storm that shook me with convulsive sobs.
"My companion handed me a black wafer. I took it, it dissolved, a
fierce acridity seemed formed in my mouth, and in an instant I felt
strong and bold.
"The Registeries were offices in the alcove-like openings in the sides
of this very long building. In the same building were the Courts, which
are few, and here the rooms for the reception and storage of supplies
for the City. The Hall of Registeries is prolonged into a series of huge
buildings extending along the walls of the Canal.
"I was led by my unknown friend and Chapman to one of these recesses on
which I recognized a globe of our earth with its continents in relief.
Here upon simple tables were spread great bound books made up of thick
creamy leaves of white paper. These were the Registers. The original
home, planet, world, or star, from which each emigrant spirit had
departed was, as far as possible, determined, and appropriately
recorded. The details of their lives were inquired into, the condition
and history of the sphere they had left examined, and thus by the
revision and comparison of these narratives the history of the various
worlds was in a fair way known, almost as accurately as their present
inhabitants knew them.
"The alcoves of the Registeries were really ample rooms. Cases holding
voluminous records were ranged upon their walls; maps, charts, even
paintings and drawings, as made by the arriving spirits hung upon the
walls, and in broad albums were gathered the portraits, in small size,
of the incarnated persons. The Registeries were young men who, from long
intercourse with the affairs and occupants of each of the different
extra-Martian bodies, whence spirits came, had become familiar with
their languages and circumstances and avocations.
"The keeping, indexing, compiling, illustration, of these extraordinary
records is a difficult and inexhaustible task.
"The results are often reproduced to the Martians in lectures,
bulletins, or in sections of the great newspaper Dia.
"The young men approached us as we entered the room, and after saluting
my guide and also Chapman with the Martian cry, Tintotita, led me to a
chair, and giving me one of the black wafers, whose acidity had a short
time before so vigorously renewed my consciousness, began their inquiry.
"The photograph of each visitor is taken, and a process quite like our
collodion or wet process is used. The portraits are more permanent than
with the perishable dry plates. It is a curious thing to learn that for
100 years these records and pictures have been taken, and that there
are on Mars hosts of unidentified spirits, who entered its wondrous
precincts before that time.
"The duration of life in Mars is very various. There seems here an
undiscovered law, and a group of observers in Mars are to-day trying to
penetrate this mystery. It is asserted that there is evidence that
Egyptians of the ante-Christian epoch are to-day living in Mars, but
their identification is now almost impossible. On the other hand, it is
a fact ascertained and recorded that in one hundred years many Martians
die, while others scarcely survive the ordinary limit of our human life
on earth. This gives a great interest to Martian society. Here for ages
have possibly flown disembodied spirits from our earth; in their
reincarnation they have assumed the features and faculties of youth;
they have also, under changed conditions of life, and moderated
functions and activity in living, been physically, perhaps mentally,
modified. Their own memory of their past on Earth, however vivid, and
then in exceptional beings, has slowly disappeared or left only vague
cloud-like waverings and congeries of reminiscences.
"So that great human souls that have entered Mars in the early centuries
of our earth's historic periods may be living here almost unrecognized.
They have drifted into occupations suitable to their genius in some of
the many great cities, and no vestige of their past remains. The system
of the Registeries is scarcely a century old, and while now from the
marvellous industry and persistence of the investigators, the great ones
of the neighboring worlds, and even the most obscure are in some
cognizable way identified, yet from the long ages before that there is
almost no authentic registration.
"This is more to be regretted as the law of life on the planet might
then be better formulated. Essentially it seems necessary for existence
here to be in unison with the conditions; contentment means longevity.
Of course, the remarkable men and women I saw at the Patenta were all
well known. They had made themselves known, and not only were their
earthly names and lives put down on the pages of the Registers, but all
their knowledge had been as inquisitively and scrupulously impressed.
Nor is this all. From many worlds and earths there is flowing constantly
to this planet new, strange, wonderful beings. Here is a cosmos of
races, tastes, nationalities, destinies, civilizations, and instincts,
from whose amalgamated and fused vortices of tendency this marvellous
life has been formed.
"However completely the mere memory of detail vanishes, the traits of
nature remain, and these mingling beings present a kaleidoscope of
contrasted or blending talents. But union of beings comes in here as in
our States to combine all together and create this unique expression of
social beauty, tenderness, scientific power, progress and spiritual
exaltation. Marriage is here as with us, and love holds its deathless
sway among the white and noble Martians as on earth, while the affection
of friendship seems to weave every atom of society to every other atom
in a social texture over which only moves the refining powers of thought
"Mars does indeed seem a sort of Paradise, for it is quite certain that
the best, the truest, the deeper and emphatic souls come here; and while
a sort of sin or social incompatibility is found here, and there are
crimes, and while death and sickness and accidents occur here, as I have
told you, yet these things have a moral or mental, rather than physical
expression. At least, in a great measure, and they are rare. No!
accidents of matter pertain to Mars; its materiality is complete. As I
send this to you I feel my warmth, the heat of my body, the expiration
of my breath, the movements of my eyes, the beating of my heart, all,
all, these bodily phenomena seem unchanged--their physiology is changed,
their corporate reality seems the same, their corporeal consequences
are different. But I cannot explain clearly this to you. Do I know it
"I was questioned by the Registeries, both of whom had come from the
earth, though in them, as in all the less highly endowed, memory was
fading. Because of this, Registeries quickly succeed each other, since
the later arrivals from the other worlds are better adapted to elicit
the information needed from the new spirits. And this applies to other
worlds, to Mercury and Venus, etc., whose Registeries are, so far as
possible, appointed from previous occupants of those spheres.
"The larger, far larger percentage of spirits come from the three
planets, Mercury, Venus and the Earth; but there are singular
inexplicable arrivals from distant stars, and of these the records are
in many instances of extraordinary wonderfulness. I must not pause to
recount this. I know it very imperfectly.
"My examiners had little to do. My memory seemed of great power, and I
told them the story of our experiments, discoveries and our compact to
communicate with each other. This portion of my story was listened to
with admiration. Chapman, my guide, and the two Registeries leaped to
their feet, exclaimed with delight and embraced each other in ecstacy.
'At last! At last!' cried out all of them, while hastily calling
officers of the building to them they rapidly explained my singular
announcement. It seemed to run like fire through the throngs. A great
crowd was soon pressing in upon us on every side, while the Martian
ejaculation '_Hi mitla_' rang in all directions. I was astounded. What
was this strange excitement, and why had my simple tale awakened this
"My guide noting my dismay and alarm, laughingly explained the reason of
the confusion. 'For years and years,' he said, 'it has been hoped by the
Martians to send some message to the Earth. We understand wireless
telegraphy, we can bridge almost infinite distances with the monstrous
waves of magnetic disturbances, it is possible for us to generate. We
have bombarded the earth with magnetic waves, but no response, no single
indication has been returned to us that our messages were received. Our
knowledge of the earth language is complete, even our knowledge of the
telegraphic codes is partially so. But we have hopelessly repeated, are
even now repeating these efforts.
"'You, my friend, are the first man from Earth who tells us that
wireless telegraphy is understood upon Earth, that receivers have been
invented; but above all it amazes and transports us to know that you
have perfected means, before leaving the Earth, to have such messages as
you may deliver from Mars properly received. There is, though,' he
exclaimed, as he turned to the eager, shining faces about me, 'still a
grave doubt whether our good friend can assure us of the ability of the
_Earthlings_ to send us back any communication. They may be unable to
force through this enormous distance waves of sufficient magnitude to
"There was a loud murmur of disappointment, mingled with exclamations of
dissent and reproach. Once more I was plied with questions, and then, my
son, there came to me, singularly clouded in forgetfulness until that
instant, the memory of that fruitless message which we received about a
year before my death on Earth.
"I arose, and amid a hush of expectation excited by this motion,
accompanied as it were with a gesture inviting silence, spoke aloud in
"'My friends, I recall a night in August, 1890, in the Earth's
chronology, when my son and myself, then hoping against hope that the
carefully adjusted receiver we had, would ever be called upon to herald
a message from another world, were suddenly surprised to see and hear
the register of our instrument move and sound. It was indeed animated
by some extra terrestrial power. Could that power have come from your
Mars; were we the first to receive one of your messages that you have so
long been raining on the Earth?'
"I looked around in enthusiasm, and with a conscious sense of
companionship, pride and affection. I do not think I was altogether
understood, except by a few, but the contagion of my own pleasure seized
the multitude, and a great melodious shout arose, while cries of '_Hi
mitla_' echoed in the Hall, and then, carried away with an emotional
impulse, these excited Martians broke into a song, a swinging chant,
that brought to the doors of the room new accessions of spectators whose
instantaneous sympathy was expressed by the added volume of sound they
contributed, until beneath the vibrant power of the great chorus the
building seemed itself to tremble.
"And then a curious and astounding thing happened. My old acquaintance,
Chapman, leaped up in the dense clusters, and springing on a table
shouted, 'To the Patenta.' The words seemed understood by almost all. I
was seized by powerful arms, swung upon the shoulders of two splendid,
vigorous youths. While by one impulse the throng surged through the
doors in a sort of triumphal progress, I found myself moving in the
midst of the excited populace up a broad avenue to the central hill of
the city again, which was crowned by the many towers, halls, domes and
aggregated arms and facades of the wonderful Patenta, the great communal
home of Experiment and Observation.
"The clamor of our approach brought to the scene the dwellers in the
houses and the wanderers in the streets. And amongst the great density
of forms and faces I saw the phosphorescent figures of many forming
spirits swept on in this friendly anarchy of delight and anticipation.
"My son, as I send these words out into the ether-filled realms of space
across the millions of miles that intervene between that speck of light
on which even now I know you lament my departure, and this new home of
mine, which to you also is but a speck of light, I feel in a desperation
of doubt that you will never hear them.
"How thrilled and awe-struck I became as I gazed around me, and looking
over the surging mob beheld their multitudinous lineaments, the faces of
the races of our earth, its many nations, the faces of men or women who
had lived in Venus, in Mercury, in the fixed stars, perhaps, as we call
those globes from whose lambent surface light reached the earth after
the expiration of a century of years. What a beautiful exhilaration of
feeling it imparted, these flushed and shining faces, the liquid eyes of
the south now charged with the fires of transporting expectation, the
steady gaze of blue-eyed northerners firm and rapt and steadfast; the
power of huge, colossal frames of muscle, the sinuous activity of spare
and slender forms all attired in that consummate garb of blue and white,
their caps of metal reflecting the light in cerulean lustres.
"On, upward, we moved, impelled by an impulse quite indefinable but
sufficient to condense about us by its contagion the Martian populace,
quick, responsive, inquisitive, intelligent and excitable as children.
We were approaching the Patenta by an ever widening avenue, our rustling
approach announced by a chant of vociferous and yet melodious notes.
"The avenue of Approach is known as the _Imprintum_. On either side rose
lines of marble columns, their lofty capitals crowned with statues,
their bases clustering with marble groups, while breaking now and then
the white monotony, spiral and intertwining pillars of colored glass
sprang into the air, like titanic tropical vines holding in extended
fingers the balls of phosphori.
"The pavement we trod was made of blocks of the phosphori, and at night
this magnificent, indescribable and transcendent street becomes a path
of flame, showering upon the files of silent marble statues above it the
splendor of this spectral effulgence.
"As we came near the buildings of the Patenta our outcry and the
sonorous pulsations of the singing brought to its windows and doorways
the many workers in the laboratories, lecture halls, and offices. We
were regarded with wonder. But there seems present amongst these people
a telepathic power, not perhaps what we call that in the Earth, but an
intuitive construction of meaning upon the passing of a word or a hint.
Forerunners furthermore had given some account of the strange new spirit
from the Earth, who had prearranged with people on the Earth itself, to
return to them, if possible, messages of his experiences after a human
death. It had been the dream of the Martians, the sensation of their
daily lives, the hope of returning to their former dwelling places, some
token, word, salutation, indeed to somehow begin that almost apocryphal
conception of binding the Universe into a conversational unit.
"No marvel that they were now excited, transported; no wonder that I,
the accidental being, who falling in their world, as it were, from
outside, should be the agency to lead to the eventual conquest of these
"On we swept like a tide that advances upon a coast, encompasses each
salient rock, island and projection, and evading it by embracing it,
rises still further into the bays and harbors, and brings the full tide
at last to its most remote limits. So columns and stairways, halls, and
wings, and arms, of buildings successively were surged round, and the
vast complex pushed its way to the great Hall of Attention.
"This enormous structure was built somewhat to one side of the great
Observatories. It was rectangular, elevated and attained to by stairs on
every side. It resembles a huge Grecian temple, but the interior
treatment was quite contrasted. Externally it was made of the white
phosphorescent marble with colonnades of columns of the blue metal
supporting its projecting roofs. I was carried as by a cataract of
waters up its stairways. Already its bronze gates were swung wide open,
and through them the Martian army passed with impetuous stride. Learned
men, the leaders and great physicists, many of those I had seen in the
morning had reached the Hall. These were constantly augmented by new
arrivals from the more distant Schools of Philosophy, Design and Art,
while streaming in at every door came the joyous multitude, and the
great vault of the Hall of Attention resounded with the rolling chorus.
"It was a moving, an impossible spectacle. The balconies swept upward
to a wall of polished granite. They were supported by columns of mosaic
marble; the floor of roughened glass was concealed with benches of a
gray stone, whose backs were carved in a tracery of branches, over which
were thrown pale yellow rugs or shawls; the broad ceiling was divided
into deep, rectangular recesses _plafonded_ with opalescent glass, and
these recesses were made by the intersection of huge girders of the blue
metal, while provisions were made throughout for electric lighting by
tall glass cylinders, which glow like pillars of lambent flame, and
stood upright, affixed to the walls at regular intervals, or concealed
in cavities along the ceiling, or grouped like the fasces of the Roman
lictors, at the railings of the balconies.
"A wide platform occupied the center of this vast auditorium, and upon
this I was carried as by a wave of the sea. Here I touched the floor;
the accompanying crowds dispersed through the hall, which became filled,
and as it filled some unnoticed signal ushered the glow of the electric
ether in the cylinders, until a glory of radiance mingled with the
sunlight and illuminated the audience, whose songs had died away, and
who sat in attitudes of attention, their faces upturned, their blue
caps shining resplendently, like a surface of tempered steel.
"I stood alone with my former guide, and Chapman. I felt moved by some
singular enthusiasm; the exaltation of the moment possessed me, and
unannounced, as yet unquestioned, I rose to my full height upon a narrow
rostrum in the platform, and turning from side to side spoke with an
elation that seemed to propel my ringing words over the great assembly
with the power and shock of a trumpet:
"'Men and women,' I cried, 'I have reached your wonderful world from
that habitation of mortal men known to many of you as the Earth, where
death ceaselessly destroys generation after generation, and only the
incessant processes of birth as quickly renew the falling ranks of life.
To us on earth, the disappearance of those we love and cherish, the
sundering of ties which a lifetime of love and companionship has
established, the sharp vanishing away into nothingness and silence of
the faces and spirits of the great and glorious, the good, the helpful,
the true and noble, has made death an awful, hideous, to some a hopeless
"'We stand on earth speechless before the unseen power which snatches
from our caresses all that we most cherish, all that makes our life
there worth living. There is no solution of the mystery, no voice, no
return, no message, only a blankness of doubt, misgiving and desperate
yearning in those who must continue. There is indeed with those on Earth
a partial confidence by reason of religious faith, but strong as that
seems to be, the endless succession of centuries, each crowding the
viewless habitations of the dead with the still more and deeper streams
of disembodied souls, unaccompanied by any response, any utterance or
return, limit or telltale apparition, has somehow filled all minds with
a creeping wonder if even the assurances of Revelation can be believed.
"'Dying on the Earth may have continued in historic, and what is called
prehistoric time, for over 50000 years, and yet from those unnumbered
millions not a cry or a whisper, note, or vision, is heard or seen to
betray their destiny, if destiny beyond the grave there is.
"'But back of Religion, back of experience, back of rational doubt or
infidelity, the heart keeps up its importunate cry of hope. We dare not
crush out within us the sweet thought of reunion. Upon that earth I lost
a wife, who summed up to me everything of value, virtue, and beauty
human life can claim. The passionate desire to regain her, the defiant
mutiny of my heart against any thought of her annihilation, made me
turn to the shining hosts of heaven for reassurance. In them somewhere I
believed the vanished soul of my companion had flown. This wonderful
world was known to me, and what the wise men of the Earth said of its
possible population. It was then that with my son I devised, following
certain suggestions, a system of wireless telegraphy. We have both, my
son and myself, felt certain that some disturbance was recorded by our
instrument from some planet beyond the earth. From that moment my son
and myself felt convinced that we might be permitted to bring about a
release of the inhabitants of the Earth from the narrow limits of its
own surface, and launch out upon the spaces of the universe the messages
that would return to us with some news of other worlds, or bring
assurance that the Death of the world was but the swinging door to some
"'Men of Mars, that Death which tore from me my wife set his seal at
last on me, but before the summons was executed, I had made arrangements
in every possible detail to communicate with my son. We agreed upon a
cypher, and I have so imprinted each measure of our compact upon my
memory that all of it is as clear to my mind as it was before I left the
Earth. Give me possession of your great instruments, let me bridge the
millions of miles to our earth, and in an instant stir the populations
of the Earth into fierce attention, so that from now on through all the
coming years you Martians shall speak with the people of the earth and
again from Mars, as from some relay station, messages shall pass outward
to the stars, and thus from planet to planet the reinforced utterance
may pierce the universe of worlds.'
"I finished; a great shout arose from the immense multitude; with one
impulse the light blue metal caps were swung from their heads and tossed
upward, while the cheers passing out into the streets were caught up,
and in refluent waves of sound rolled back upon me like the murmur of a
distant storm at sea.
"I do not think I was quite understood, but the chief feature of my
speech was realized, and the Martians, quick to respond to any
suggestion, and inflammable of nature, had become enthusiastic over the
prospects of this new revelation.
"I stood an instant uncertain what I should do, or what new development
would follow my evident popularity. Suddenly a strong, ringing voice
spoke from the gallery immediately in front of me. It said--I could not
quite separate the speaker in the moving throng: 'Come to the _Manana_.'
"Chapman and my friend whispered together 'Volta,' and then turning to
me told me to follow them. I followed. Already the hall had become
partially emptied, and we pushed onward amongst radiant men and women,
who received me with smiles and gestures of approval. Once outside the
Hall of Attention, we hurried through some narrow corridors, up winding
stairways, until at length we emerged upon a lofty platform carrying a
railing about it, and so elevated above all the surrounding buildings of
the Patenta that my glance seemed to sweep the circuit of the City, and
swept outward over a rolling and low country through which ran wide
mirror-like ribbons of water, the great canals of Mars, while afar off
melting into the crystalline hazes of the horizon rose dark masses of
"I stood an instant stupified and overcome. The deep voice of a
salutation came to my ears, and turning I saw the face of Volta. Beside
me was a large induction coil, and above it two huge plates of copper
about ten feet apart. The next instant a flash passed between the
electrodes, and I was caught and turned aside with my companions. The
light of the spark was intense, and the spark itself of great
"Volta then spoke: 'My friend, your arrival on the surface of our planet
is a sensation. We are all delighted. You have solved our difficulties.
With this transmitter you can yourself send to the earth the message you
wish. And this receiver will catch the waves of the smallest
"He pointed to a singular train of tubes, each filled apparently with a
shining line of straw shaped metallic bodies. This was raised by some
silk cord passing to a pulley and arm, perhaps a hundred feet above us.
"Volta spoke with difficulty; he seemed preoccupied, and after I was
shown the transmitter, and its mechanism was explained, he took my hand
warmly, pressed it between his own, and then speaking in the Martian
tongue to Chapman, left us.
"I then sent you, my son, my first message. What pleasure! The great
sparks flashed magnificently. Chapman and my friend were in ecstacies. I
worked steadily until the night. And when all was over I waited until
the stars came out, until again the City of Light shone like some huge,
myriad faceted stone, and then there came, while Chapman and my friend
stood mute beside me, your faint response.
"I scarcely caught the lisping ticks, but they came, and it seemed
indeed as if the power of the Creator had passed into the hands of men.
"With a joy too deep for the futile hopelessness of words to express,
we both descended from the high station and through the great halls. I
found my way to the charming, peaceful room above the glowing city and
fell asleep with prayers upon my lips for all the dead and dying upon
"The next day as I awoke I found my friend and Chapman waiting for me. I
felt wonderfully refreshed, and the exultant mood of the Martians
possessed me. I sang with an interior tumult of excitement. I drew
before my mind the beauty of your mother reincorporated in this gay,
lovely world of Mars, so full of power and light and youthful impulse.
Again I sang, and it was the very air your mother so often played to me,
'Der Grüne Lauterband,' of Schubert. A few passers by, below my window,
caught the refrain, my voice rose higher and higher, and their
disappearing figures seemed to carry the merry, hopping notes far away.
How fair and glorious it all was!
"And I was to visit Scandor, to visit the beautiful Martian country, the
mines, the huge fossil ivory deposits, to sail on those canals, whose
resplendent lines we had detected from the earth.
"My door was shaken, and almost as if yet living on the earth, I cried
out 'Come in.' Chapman and my friend entered with laughter and
congratulation. Chapman spoke first: 'Dodd, you are summoned to the
Council of the Patenta. All are anxious to see you. At present it is
hoped you will not push further the matter of the telegraphy with the
Earth. The disturbances in Pike increase daily--flashing stars seem to
emerge from nothing, meteoric showers, like a rain of sparks rush across
the fields of the telescopes, gaseous disengagements from what seem like
shining nuclei, shoot upward for thousands of miles from their surfaces;
all is chaos, and these disturbances have been noticed in other regions
of the heavens. Again spirits have ceased arriving at the Hill of the
Phosphori, the Chorus Halls are almost empty, and the singers have no
employment. Such a dearth of spirits has not been known before for
months. It is not uncommon for long intervals to occur when only a few
spirits arrive, but now there are none.
"'The Registeries report that many lately reincarnated spirits speak the
languages of Venus and Mercury, and tell of the terrific physical
convulsions in both planets, that wars are raging in Mercury, and a
singular plague devastating Venus. The country people have sent in word
by the canals that rockets in clusters covering hundreds of square miles
are arising from Scandor. The cause is unknown, cannot even be
surmised, and last night Herschell and Gauss, at the big telescopes,
detected a comet charging towards us with an incredible velocity. The
Council believe I should at once start for Scandor to bring the month's
report, and these new excitements, to the paper Dia, while they urge
that you should recount to the governors at Scandor your story, and the
marvellous fact of the answer sent back from the Earth to you by your
son. We will go, after an audience with the Council, together, and
because of some need of more stone from the quarries, we will stop on
our way out and leave orders at Mit and Sinsi, where the quarries are.
The trip is full of beauty and wonder, and Scandor, I am told, is Heaven
"He paused. I thought there was a shade of disappointment in my friend's
face, as Chapman drew me to one side, and I stepped quickly back to him,
and said: 'Will you not go with us, too? You first cared for me and
brought me food and raiment.' His eyes were again bright with peace.
'No, my new friend, I cannot go now. I am waiting, waiting here at the
City of Light, watching the spirits, if perchance my son from your earth
is amongst them. Surely he will come some day, and then my happiness
will be all God can make it.'
"We hurried away to the Chamber of the Council. Once more through the
devious paths of the great groups of buildings which make up the
Patenta, between the flowering trees and the tulip flowered vines we
made our way, with feet so buoyant and so strong that we seemed almost
"The Chamber of the Council of the Patenta was a beautiful room. It was
one of the few great chambers in the City of Light, dressed in color and
tapestries. A deep carpet of scarlet Talta wool covered the floor, and
there hung at irregular intervals from a silver cornice deep green
curtains. The furniture was very wonderful. A dark wood, like teak,
opulently fitted with silver, formed the great table that occupied the
center of the room, as also the heavy chairs on which were placed
cushions of a golden yellow silk. There were no windows in the room. The
light entered from above through two simple round apertures covered with
white glass. Book cases stood about the room filled with large folios,
which, as I observed from a few spread upon the table, were not printed
books, but filled with writing in a round, clear hand, legible at some
"But the most extraordinary feature of the room was a marvellous
colossal figure at one end of the room, in a recess richly hung with
green tapestries. It was cast in silver upon which dull shades and
frosted and polished surfaces were appropriately combined, as their
position required, in the portrayal of a Being of incredible benignity
of expression, attired in flowing robes with an outstretched hand, his
face invested with a harmonious union of power and sweetness. Beneath it
upon the enormous black pedestal the letters in silver were
conspicuous--Tarunta--the Deity. This amazing creation arrested the
attention of my friend Chapman, and myself, and we stood half
spell-bound under the influence of its seraphic and potent beauty.
"The next moment we were conscious of the throng filling the room. There
were many of the great physicists and chemists and astronomers and
observers whom I had seen at the breakfast in the Dining Hall the
previous morning with a few others who were the first men I had seen in
Mars wearing the expression of age. They almost seemed venerable. I
remembered then what I had learned on my arrival at the Patenta--that
age and death also supervene in Mars.
"I was observed at once, and friendly hands were extended to me from all
sides. I was led to the head of the table. There I was invited to
enlarge my story as given in the Hall of Attention, and I was told to
tell it in English. A scribe near me conveyed to pads of paper my
"When I had finished an audible murmur of approval filled the room, and
the most aged of the older men arising, and speaking in Martian,
translated to me by the scribe, said:
"'My friend, you have delighted us. The time is approaching when we can,
I trust, receive such visitors from all the worlds, and gradually bring
it to pass that the visible universe may be bound together through the
power and sympathy of language. The Council desires that at present you
refrain from sending your second message until you have visited Scandor,
and seen something of this new world upon which you have so auspiciously
"'Heroma (Sir, Sire, etc., etc.), Chapman will accompany you. The
government at Scandor should be apprized of certain strange celestial
conditions, and we are in receipt of news that at Scandor also unusual
things are happening. While all we know or have observed could be
transmitted to Scandor, and all their own knowledge in turn sent to us
by wireless telegraphy, for reasons which we are not at liberty to
explain at present, it has been thought best to send the approved diary
of the Patenta to the government, and also learn in return, by word of
mouth, what has transpired at our capital. It will afford you some
opportunity to visit the Martian Mountains, and be more informed for the
second message you are expected to transmit to the Earth when you
"After a few salutations, in which interview I found myself face to face
with the reincarnated forms of some of the greatest scientific thinkers
who have lived upon our globe, I left the Council Chamber with my friend
and Chapman, to prepare for our coming journey. It was then that I
entered more deeply the City of Light, and saw the unspeakable splendor
of the Garden of the Fountains.
"The Garden of the Fountains lies over toward the great Halls of
Philosophy, Design and Invention, whose domes and temple-pointed roofs
of copper and blue metal I could easily discern. It covers over half a
square mile of space. It is supplied with water from an enormous lake
resting in the hollow of an extinct volcano, fifty miles to the east of
the City of Light, at an elevation of 5,000 feet. A great conduit or
water main, as we would say, conveys the water to the garden. The Garden
is built actually upon piers of concrete and stone, connected by arches
of brick, and through the subterranean chambers, thus formed, the
division of the streams is made, and there controlled. The whole was
designed by the great Martian artist, Hinudi, whom some aver is the
reincarnated Leonardo da Vinci of our Earth.
"The Garden is approached through a labyrinthine avenue made up of
Palms, which on that side of the City seem to be plentiful, and over
these palms in extraordinary profusion the vines of the red flowered
honeysuckle. You cannot see beyond the wall of green on either side in
this winding way, and only as you gaze upward does the eye escape the
imprisonment of its surroundings, where above the waving summits of the
palms you see a lane of the bluest sky.
"As you draw near the debouchment (into the garden) of this oscillating
road, the splash and roar of falling waters invades your retreat. And
then suddenly as if a curtain had arisen or dropped to the earth you
emerge upon a great marble terrace of steps, and before you is spread a
forest of geysers distributed in entrancing vistas in a lake of tumbling
and scintillating waters. The scene is amazing and transporting. Rushing
jets of water are enclosed in hollow pillars of glass, whose lines are
ravishingly combined in the separate clusters of fountains.
"The heights of these fountains vary from 150 to 200 feet, and they are
arranged in a peculiar disorder, which, however, conforms to an
elaborate plan. The water rises in these colored tubes in green columns,
then breaks into sheets and bubble-laden cataracts of spray above them,
pouring far outward like blazing showers of little lamps in the full
sunlight. Many of the tubes are inclined, and the ejected shafts of
water collide above them, producing explosive clouds of shattered
vesicles of moisture that float off or drop in miniature rains over the
lake. This wildness of fountains extends over many a mile. All the jets
are not in tubes. Many uncovered fountains are interjected amongst the
"The pillars vary in form, and have much diversity of aperture, so that
the water shoots from them in every posture and form. It makes a
bewildering picture. The exposure of water in the great lake or pond
which holds these fountains is broken with waves, and the tempestuous
scene with the constant excitement of the rising and flowing avalanches
of water creates feelings of abounding wonder. The marble steps extend
around the lake, and behind them on all sides rises the wall of the
palms, beaten into motion by the wind blowing ceaselessly. The
esplanade-like margin between the top step and the palm enclosure
accommodated great numbers, while the benches in retreating alcoves,
were also filled.
"It was a varied, exhilarating scene. The moving throngs, the wonderful
confusion of the spouting fountains in their chrysalids of glass against
the sky line, the perpetually waving fronds of the palms!
"We hurried to the pier of the Registeries after Chapman had secured the
sealed envelope, in which were placed the communications to the
government at Scandor. The canal which enters the City of Light at this
point is divided into a number of branches whose confluent arms, about a
mile from the City, unite into two parallel canals whose course we were
now to follow to the City of Scandor. The small boat we entered was a
curious vessel of white porcelain, broad and short, with raised keel,
prow, and expanded stern.
"It was moved by some motor, electric in nature. A pilot took his place
at the bow, and, under a canopy of silk, in the light of a setting sun,
followed by the music of the City, we passed away from the City, which,
even as we left it, slowly, in the descending darkness of the night,
began to kindle into light, and send upward into the velvet zenith its
"It was afternoon when Chapman and I, fully equipped and provisioned,
moved off from the long granite pier at the Registeries, after an
affectionate parting from my guide and friend, who returned sorrowfully
to resume his watch for his son, whose coming to Mars seemed to him so
"How wonderfully strange and exciting it all seemed! Down the crowded
canal we slowly moved, amidst the calling crews, the pleasant cheers,
and beckonings of sightseers; and back of us rose on its hills the City
of Light, that, as we passed still further away, and watched it in the
fading sunset, began to glow, and finally, to shine like some titanic
opal in the velvet shadows of the night.
"These numerous arms of the canal some miles from the City coalesce and
merge into the enormous trunk canal that passes on to Scandor through
hills and mountains and the plain country, excavated by the wonderful
Toto powder. This trunk canal is doubled; upon one member, the boats
pass outward to Scandor, and on the other the boats return. Branches
pass north and south at centers of population, and of some of these
which pass actually into the frozen depths of the polar countries, I may
tell you later.
"As we slowly progressed into the undulating plain country, with its
villages and farm lands, diversified by woods, and sometimes solitary
projections of rock, as the stars stole urgently into the sky, as the
phosphori lamps began their soft illumination of the decks, and while
murmurs of songs from merrymakers on the land came to us in snatches
bewitchingly, though incongruously mingled with the delicious odors of
the Napi grass, I turned to Chapman, and felt that now, throughout the
hours of the genial night, I would pour out unchecked the flood of
inquiry that had risen again and again to my lips in this strange new
"'Chapman,' I began, 'you must feel that I have a great deal to ask you.
This new life, with its surprises and the strange incidents of the two
or three days I have already lived here have suggested so many
questions, can we not now talk about these marvels?'
"'Certainly,' replied Chapman, as he lifted a glass of delicate pearl
pink, filled with the pungent and keenly stimulating _Ridinda_, to his
lips. 'Put on your thinking cap, and perforate me with all the puzzles
you can think of. I am a trifle rattled myself in this new ranch--have
not been here long--but I tell you, Dodd, Mars is first class. It suits
me. Never enjoyed living so much, never found it so much a matter of
course, and as to livelihood, when I think of those freezing nights on
the earth in Rutherford's cheesebox shooting at the moon with wet
plates, I can tell you this sort of thing isn't a long call from all I
ever hoped to find in Heaven. Open your batteries. To-morrow will be
full of sight-seeing, and I guess you will forget all you want to know
to-day in trying to remember what you will see then.' He took another
sip of the snapping liquid, drew his chair closer to my own, and while a
sort of musical echo lingered in the air, I began:
"'Chapman, where on Mars are we? I seem to feel neither heat nor cold. I
see these flowers, the palms in the Garden of the Fountains, day passes
into night, and there is no very apparent change of temperature, so far
as feeling goes. What are we made of? Is this new body we carry
insensible to heat or cold? I feel indeed my pulse beat. I am conscious
of warmth in the sun, and of coolness in the shade. I feel the wind blow
on my cheeks, but all these sensations are so much less keen than on the
earth, and yet again I realize that sensations are in some ways as vivid
as on the earth. The pleasure of my ears and eyes is wonderfully deep
and exhaustive, the sense of taste rapid and delightful. I am happy,
supremely happy, and affection, even the hidden fires of love, burn in
my veins as on the earth.' Chapman looked at me with that bright smile
he wore on earth, and his gestures of expostulation were amusing. 'Wait,
Dodd, don't talk so fast. You remember I had a slow way on the earth. I
have no reason to think it will prove any less pleasant to stay slow on
Mars. One thing at a time. My own sense of position is not so secure
that I can tell exactly all you want to know, and there are a good many
things that the heavyweights up here don't pretend yet to explain. Now,
where are we? Well, the City of Light is about 40 degrees south of the
Martian equator, not so far from what on earth would be the position of
Christ Church, where you "shuffled off the mortal coil." Don't frown.
Mars is a serene, sweet place, but I am not yet so intimidated by the
lofty life here as to drop my jokes. Some Martians strike me as a trifle
heavy in style, just a suggestion of a kind of sublimated Bostonese
about them, don't you know. Curious! However, the ordinary Martian is
gamy, good company, full of happiness, with a considerable fancy for
jokes, absurdly addicted to music, and as credulous as a child. Somehow,
Dodd, a good deal of my earthly nature has stuck to me, and I revel in a
dual life. I have my Martian side, but I can't, and this life can't,
knock the old foibles of the world you left, out of me yet. I may get
the proper sort of exultation in time, but just now I've imported
considerable human horse sense.'
"He looked at me whimsically; I walked away, and watched the receding
"The motion of our white boat was so smoothly rapid, that soon, and
almost unnoticed we had threaded all the many lanes, windings, and locks
that led to the broad canals some twenty miles from the city. We had
passed laden barges, flat and storied boats carrying excursions or
freight, and trains of smaller craft crowded with fruit brought in from
distant farms for the great population of the City of Light. The scene
assumed a fairy-like unreality as night settled down, and the boats
swarming with light, or else carrying a few red lanterns, passed us
while their occupants or owners chanted the lonely lullaby of the
Martians, which begins: 'Ana cal tantil to ti.'
"It was yet to me all a wonderful dream, from which each moment I
dreaded awakening. It was all so beautiful!
"I sat again with Chapman under the canopy, talking of the earth.
Strange Mystery! Here we were with our earth memories yet vivid,
recalling incidents of life in New York City, and summoning amid all the
appealing charm of this strange new life, the little, sordid variances
and trials, vexations and minor sufferings that had marred his own life
on earth. We turned to these things, not because they were grateful or
pleasing to remember, but because it seemed to _establish_ us, or rather
me, to give me identity, and build up the growing certainty that I had
come from the earth, and was re-embodied in this new sphere of active
feeling and experience.
"I told him of you, of the death of your mother, of our flight to New
Zealand, our experiments, the Dodans, and then turning to him, as we saw
the Martian moon rise in ruddy fullness far away over the hill of
_Tiniti_, I said, searchingly: 'Chapman, you remember Martha? How
beautiful and good she was! I have kept one long, sad, and still
deathless hope in my repining heart. I shall see her again! It must be!
I have felt so certain of this that no argument, no appeal to reason,
can drive away the keen sense of its realization. Have you seen her on
Mars amongst the thousands you have met, and is there on this entrancing
orb any other place than the Hill of the Phosphori, for the disembodied
of other worlds to enter this new world?
"Chapman smiled. 'Yes,' he answered, 'I remember your wife very well. I
could pick her out from ten thousand, but I have never seen her yet in
the City of Light. You may, my dear friend, cherish only an illusion,
and yet I am half willing to agree with you; such intuitive feelings
have a deeper philosophy of truth than we can fathom, and no laughing
skepticism, no mere frivolous doubt can expel them. Wait, my friend; it
may yet be meant for you to meet her. And now I do recall some accounts
told me of occasional visitants to Mars entering its life at different
points; many indeed have been received near Scandor, and on one or two
occasions the prehistoric peoples, the little strong men of the
mountains and the northern ice have brought in such a chance waif that
has become body amongst them. How wild and frightened they become! And
quite naturally! Ghosts dropping out of the air becoming flesh and blood
might startle a rational being into a rigid course of religious
practices, not to say superstition. But look, how fair the night has
"The landscape about us was wonderfully illuminated by the two
satellites, Deimos and Phobos, which, as you well know, were made known
to astronomers on the earth by Prof. Asaph Hall in 1877. What a
marvellous spectacle they presented, moving almost sensibly at their
differing rates of revolution through a sky sown with stellar lights.
The combined lights of these singular bodies surpassed the light of our
terrestrial moon, by reason of their closeness to the surface of Mars,
while the more rapid motion of the inner satellite causes the most weird
and beautiful changes of effect in the nocturnal glory they both lend to
the Martian life.
"We were sailing in a broad river-like canal, perhaps one mile or more
wide. On all sides the undulating ground, covered with cultivation,
varied with thick patches of trees, with here and there shining lights
from villages and isolated homes, carried the eye onward to a rising
hill country, beyond which, again, silhouetted against the shining sky
where Phobos began to rise mountain tops were just discernible.
"Deimos, the outer moon, was already shining, and its pale, sick light
imparted a peculiar blueness impossible to describe upon all surfaces it
touched. Here was the phenomenon we witnessed with increasing pleasure.
Phobos was emerging from a cloud and its yellow rays possessing a
greater illuminating power, mingled suddenly with the blue and spectral
beams of Deimos and the land thus visited by the complimentary flood of
light from these twin luminaries seemed suddenly dipped in silver. A
beautiful white light, most unreal, as you mortals might say, fell on
tree and water, cliff, hill, and villages. The effect was not unlike
that instant in photography when a developing plate shows the outlines
of its objects in dazzling silver before the half tints are added, and
the image fades away into indistinguishable shadow.
"It was a print in silver, and while we gazed in mute astonishment the
sharp shadows changed their position as Phobos, racing through the
zenith, changed the inclination of its incident beams. The effect was
indescribable. I walked the deck in an agitation of wonder and delight.
Chapman, to whom the novelties of this Martian life were still
wonderful, followed me, and was the first to speak.
"'Dodd, you know that the strangest thing about this whole place is your
body. It's body all right enough, but I can't quite understand what sort
of a body it is. It hurts in a way, and is pleased in a way, but it
seems a better made affair in texture and parts than anything we
possessed on earth. Exertion is so easy.'
"'Well, Chapman,' I answered, while my eyes rested on the water, through
which an approaching barge rose like a vessel of frosted or burnished
white metal, 'we were taught on the earth that, with gravitation reduced
one-half, the same weight on Mars would seem only half as heavy as on
the earth, and that the effort which there carried us eight feet would
here send us sixteen.'
"'It is true,' returned Chapman, 'but that doesn't explain everything.
We sleep less here, we scarcely touch meat, and yet exertion, prolonged
by hours, scarcely accelerates the blood or vexes the nerves, and
generally we don't grow old. Our bodies are light; the texture,
apparently firm and resisting, is somehow diaphanous. I've seen the
light through the palm of my hand. And then again I haven't. Somehow
mind works in the body here and changes it, and changes it different at
different times. Why, Dodd, the other day at the Patenta, a student
jumped up with a cry of delight at something, and stumbled and fell from
a window to the ground, but he stood up without a bruise or hurt of any
kind. His exultation, his emotional excitement made him buoyant, I
think, and he fell to the earth like a thistledown. There was no
"'Well,' I responded, 'I cannot tell. I know very little as yet. I feel
wonderfully active and vitalized. My senses are acute. I see further,
hear further, smell further than I ever did on earth, and it even seems
to me I can anticipate things. The nerve currents are so rapid, the mind
seems so persuasive, that coming events are registered by a prophetic
feeling I can scarcely describe. For that reason, Chapman, I grow
happier every minute, for now I see approaching that great joy, my
reunion with Martha, the one great divine event I hunger and hope for.
"'Well,' said Chapman, as a cloud covered the scudding moons, 'I do hope
you may see her, and somehow I think, too, you will. But, Dodd,' the
moons emerged, and the lower one was in transit across the face of the
upper, 'I must call your attention to this strange peculiarity of our
bodies, that we undergo extremes of temperature with almost no
noticeable sense of the great heat or cold. This region we are
traversing is about the latitude of Christ Church, as I told you, and it
is the period of harvests, and the heat is moderate, but in the height
of summer the heat seems scarcely more felt than now, and in the
clothing I am now wearing, I have sailed through the ice packs of the
North, and slept thinly covered in its snows, but without undue
discomfort. I tell you, matter in us, and flesh and blood in us are all
"'Why not ask these questions of the wise men of the Patenta, the
doctors and chemists?' I replied. 'I can think of an analogy that might
make this Martian constitution intelligible. A close, dense body
conducts heat or cold; a loose, open texture or cellular mass does not.
In our curious embodiment from spirit the substance of our bodies is an
etherealized matter, loosely, I might say, flocculently, disposed, and
while it conveys sensations of a certain tone or key of vibratory
intensity, it will not respond to any violent or coarse shocks. They
simply cannot be carried. They escape us. Are the people all alike
amongst the Martians?'
"'Oh, no,' returned Chapman, who pointed to the widening spaces in the
beams between the slow Deimos and the fleeter flying Phobos, 'there are
great differences. I have seen that. In materialization some seem badly
put together, and these resemble our former terrestrial bodies. They
grow old, they succumb to disease, they feel changes of weather and they
have less vitality. Yes,' and he drew nearer, 'it is these unhappy
misbirths in this spirit land who retain the sin of earth and cannot
survive and get the _Kinkotantitomi_ or irreverently, as the earthling
would say, the grand bounce. They are fired off the planet.'
"He paused and laughed. How strange this almost human laugh sounded, and
yet how pleasant! I looked at him with a deep affection. He noticed the
impression, and quickly drawing me to him, said half timidly:
"'Dodd, that sort of laugh and those words of mine just used, are not
Martian, they don't belong to these rarefied beings here. They have a
human or earthly taint, and they frighten me. I seem so lonely
sometimes. My stray fun which I once enjoyed on earth must somehow be
forgotten here. I feel so irreverent at times, so full of horse play,
but I must keep up the high key and act like the rest. Indeed for the
most of the time I feel as they do, I suppose, but sometimes that sort
of ribaldry and feelings of the ludicrous that made us joke, and prank,
and cut up in genial companionships come over me, and I am suffocating
with a glee out of place to this exalted society. Ah! it's good to feel
you, my friend, so fresh and new from earth. It's promised here in the
learned talk I have heard, that those who disappear from Mars become
reincorporated upon earth again, if they belong there. Well, I wouldn't
mind if I got returned, wonderful and sweet and happy as all this seems.
The dear, dear old Earth!'
"He flung his arms around me, and our faces met, as if we had been lost
brothers. A sort of terrifying melancholy invaded me. I was so distant
from all I had known and loved, so distant from the surges we had
watched from our observatory at Christ Church, so distant from the life
of heat and clothing and genial domesticities; the life even, it might
be called, of the daily paper, the novel, the new book, the life of
politics and human history, and conventionality, the life of ups and
downs, of sickness and health, of individual enterprise, of routine and
mechanical fatigue, the life of exertion, contrast and social
inequality, with its picturesqueness, its incessant interest, all this
was now utterly removed by all the measureless leagues of icy space
between me and the floating planet--the old sin-stricken Earth--that was
shining in the Martian skies, so inconspicuous and tiny--so
"But my heart was pulsating audibly. If I could recover Martha, if, in
this serene atmosphere of good will and fairness and kindness, in the
midst of unknown possibilities of knowledge, in the company of
enthusiastic and high-minded men and women, in this arena of scientific
wonders, and in the joy and beauty of universal happiness and thrift and
peace and well doing and intuition, I could find a human companionship
in the woman whose face and nature have summed up for me the whole of
life, if I could find her! then, indeed, this new world would be all my
earthly home could be, and the endless future with her for guide and
friend would lose its terror and lonely isolation, and--I dared to think
it--even the presence of God himself become bearable.
"Chapman had stolen away from me. He had stolen to the little, dainty
rooms that were sunk in the cockpit or cabin of our boat, and I was
standing alone in the light of the midnight moons in Mars, a waif from
the far earth, incomprehensibly born after death into this human
presentiment and renewal in youth, and again instinct with revivified
passion and desire; and breathing the atmosphere of a planet that for
years I had watched through the tube of a telescope, as a floating flake
of celestial fire. A delicious drowsiness overcame me, and while I
noticed the pilot was changed, his place being taken by another, and
that we were approaching a ridgy or disturbed country, I found my way to
the white couch prepared for me, and sank into a deep and dreamless
"The morning of the next day was clear and beautiful. Shall I ever
forget that first approach to the mountains of Tiniti, where Mit and
Sinsi, the villages of the quarries, are located. All day long the boat
propelled through a diversified country, covered with morainal
heaps--great hills of drift matter, heaps of worn pebbles and rolling
plains of estuarine sediment. Much of this land seemed untouched with
cultivation, and sublime forests of the loftiest trees covered it. The
canal passed through solitudes, where the silence was only broken by the
cackling laugh of a crane-like bird, marching in lines along the banks,
or perched like sleepy sentinels amid the outstretched branches of the
"These wild and fascinating regions were often alternated by miles of
bright plantations radiant with the yellow leaves of the Rint, bearing
its deep red pods, while avenues of palms, not unlike the royal palm of
the Earth, led in long vistas to clustering groups of houses, and we,
too, caught glimpses of basking lakes on which, even as in the Earth,
the patient fisherman in basket-like circular boats, waited for his
"Then, again, there were prairie-like stretches of a sort of pampas
waving in cloudy lines, the glistening pappus of the wild Nitoti, a
peculiar, low composite, that grows in abundance and furnishes food to
the strange gazelle of this latitude in Mars.
"This animal, the Rimondi, could be seen in scampering herds over these
plains, its horns making an hour glass form above its head, as they bent
to each other, touched, and then curved outward again to reunite a
"We were rapidly moving northward, and just as it would be on the earth,
the changing vegetation gave visible notice of our advance.
"But more interesting than nature were the scenes of life along our way,
and the custom of public worship filled me with wonder. Amphitheatres
of stone built high above the ground, and approached by encircling
terraces of steps dotted the country at long intervals. These, Chapman
explained, were the churches of the people. Here they gathered from long
distances around, and, even as he described their meaning, the
congregations were seen assembling, while later we heard the music flung
in waves of sound from these houses of song and worship.
"Chapman did not understand the Martian faith. There seemed little to
understand about it. It was one national expression of the love of
goodness and of beauty, but it was all directed to a source of
infallible wisdom, power and justice.
"Thus considering the country and its customs we fell again into a long
"'Dodd,' said Chapman, musingly, 'we should all become as these people
about us, and do the same things, and believe and act as they do. You
will, but I think I remain a little strange. I seem a spectator that a
caprice has cast upon this globe, and though I live here, I must succumb
to a certain alienation, a lack of mediation between their life and my
former existence, and because of this subtle estrangement, I shall
contract disease, or meet with accident, or waste in age, while you
shall stay young, and living, sink into the Martian life and yield to
it a spiritual, a mental acquiescence. You will become absorbed, and,
with your love realized, the whole rhapsodic life of this world will
mingle you forever in its tide of song and science and labor.'
"'Yes,' I answered, 'I am sure I shall. For whatever period of time I
stay here, I am one with this beautiful and strange life. I respond
naturally to all this serenity and joy, this precision of power over
inanimate things; this flooded being and the dawning sense that through
the stepping stone of Mars, I approach yet higher beatitudes of living.
At least in Mars the sordid taint of suffering, of ignominious physical
torture and privation, which spoiled the Earth, is almost unknown.'
"Chapman laughed, and an echo gave back from some hillside its musical
response. 'Ah, it may be, I know it is true, and yet--and yet--the Earth
possessed a pictorial, a dramatic power in its contrasts of happiness
and suffering, of goodness and sin. It had literary material. Its
consecutive growth in the ages of social and national and economic
history were so wonderful, so thrilling in interest, in the details of
character and adventure, in the incessant panoramic display it gave of
light and shade. And on it rested the shadow of a strange, pathetic
doubt, the mystery of creation. Its romance, its fiction, its fable, and
the animating picture it furnished, with its sceptics and its
believers, its haters and its lovers, its tyrants and its heroes. Its
wide, verbal immensity! I miss all that, or almost all. This life is
evenly celestial, and glowing, and carelessly happy. And here knowledge
is extreme and pervasive and omnipotent. The dear commonplaces of the
Earth life are unknown too, the ludicrous is absent, and the sublimity
of sacrifice impossible.'
"He laughed again, and I felt for one brief, incredible instant a pang,
too, that the blossoming, full, sensual Earth has passed from beneath my
"But it was past. For me nothing was left behind when Martha had gone
before. The future for me was the pilgrimage through worlds for her lost
face. The sum and substance of a world's growth, of the unintermittent
and heraldic progress of the soul was union with her. And deeper in my
convictions than science or faith or desire, lay the consciousness of my
"Again the evening fell. We arrived at the entrance of a gloomy and
stupendous gorge. It was the wonderful passage driven through the first
area of igneous rocks before we reached the quarry country of the
Tiniti. It pierced the dark and stubborn dike that rose in sheer walls
like the Palisades on the Hudson, 1,000 and 1,200 feet above our heads,
and it seemed that the darkening tide was carrying us into the bowels of
the sphere. As the precipitous walls rose on either side, a loud report,
followed by another more muffled, startled us. Looking upward, Chapman,
shouting '_Golki, tanto_,' with outstretched hand pointed to a flaming
missile passing over our heads, and apparently in the direction we were
"It was a meteor. It was just such a phenomenon as we know of on the
Earth. I felt certain that it was a bolide from space, one of those
fiery visitors of stone and iron that collide occasionally with our
Earth, and that somewhere before us, in the country we were approaching,
it would be found.
"Later a few straggling shooting stars appeared. The languor of fatigue
overcame me, and I slept prostrate on the cushions of the deck as the
murmurous reverberations from the walls of the rock-bound canal rose and
fell, with the cadence of the waves, splashing softly against their
"I dreamt of the Earth, the pictures naturally recalled, by these
surroundings, of my life on the Hudson River in New York, and it seemed
so real, that I should find myself with you working away in the old
laboratory at Yonkers near the Albany Road. Suddenly I was shaken, and
opening my eyes I beheld the firmament of heaven falling in coruscating
cascades about us. Starting up, I found myself clutching Chapman, who
had called to the pilot to stop the boat. A few of the attendants were
grouped near us, and the loudly suppressed exclamations made me realize
that these visitations were perhaps infrequent upon Mars.
"It was a meteoric shower, like our leonids in November. It rained
pellets or balls of fire, these phosphorescent trains gleaming
spectrally, while a kind of half audible crackling accompanied the fall.
Shooting in irregular shoals or volleys, they would increase and
diminish, and recurrent explosions announced the arrival at the ground
of some meteoric mass.
"It was a marvellous and splendid scene. It lasted till the dawn. We
remained almost unchanged in position, while the tiny comets crowded the
sky with their uninterrupted march, and the air was shot through with
intermingled lanes of light.
"As the morning broke, we had passed the great gorge in the canal, and
had entered a wild, savage, almost treeless country. Great weathered
columns of rock stood alone in the debris of their own dismemberment,
the bare gray or rusty and jagged expanses sloping up steeply from the
edge of the canal, sparingly dotted over with gray bushes, and covered
with an ashen colored lichen.
"The scene was here forbidding and desolate. We moved for miles through
the waste of a ruined world. The whole region had been the stage of
great volcanic activity, and the monticules of scoriaceous rock, the
broad plains excavated with deep pools that reflected their dismal,
untenanted borders in the black depths of unruffled water, spoke of
meteorological conditions long prolonged and intense. It was a weird,
strange place, silent and dead. But amongst these vast ejections, these
truncated fossil craters were embedded masses of the rare self-luminous
stone that made the City of Light. Chapman told me how in pockets or
huge amygdaloidal cavities, this white phosphorescent substance was
quarried, brought up bodily perhaps in the slow upheaval of the region
from the deep-seated sources of this mineral flood.
"The canal passed along for miles in the depression between two folds of
the surface. Finally, gazing ahead, there slowly came into view a huge
_rictus_, a gaping rent in the side of the black and gray and red walls
to our right, and a minute movement of living forms, scarcely
discernible, revealed the first quarry near the little town of Sinsi.
"As we drew nearer I descried a slant incline from the open excavation
down which the blocks of stone were slid. They were brought to the
surface by hoisting cranes, and just as our little porcelain
cockle-shell glided to the dock, an enormous fragment rudely shaped into
a cubical form, was moving down the metal road bed to the edge of the
"Here we landed, and a crowd of people hailed us, and amongst them were
many of the prehistoric people, the short, sturdy brown or copper
colored northerners who work in the quarries and mines. It was
nightfall. Their day's work was over, and they crowded around us with
interest. They were good-natured, but quiet, and dressed in a kind of
overalls that was made in one garment from head to feet.
"Chapman pushed amongst them, followed by me. We made our way to a
pleasant house, built of the quarried volcanic rock, alternating with
the white stone of the quarry, and covered with an almost flat roof of
the blue metal. In this house we were received by the Superintendent of
Quarries, a supernatural, who still retained a mechanical aptitude,
brought with him from the earth. The greetings were pleasant, and as the
Superintendent spoke his former earth language, which had been French,
we got along intelligibly.
"The rooms of this house were large, square apartments, simply furnished
with the white chairs, tables and couches I had seen in the City of
Light, but on its walls were drawings and photographs of the quarry, the
country, and groups of the workmen. Amongst the pictures were some
wonderful large scenes of an ice country, and the lustrous high wall of
a gigantic glacier. I pointed these out to Chapman. He told me that to
the north of the mountains lay the great northern sea, in winter a sea
of ice, and that from continental elevations within it glacial masses
pushed outward, invading the southern country. A road led over the
mountain from Sinsi to regions beyond, where there were fertile
intervals and plains inhabited by populations of the small, early people
we had met.
"Here were their settlements, from which the workmen of the quarries had
been brought. Beyond this again lay the margins of the polar sea. The
Superintendent--his name was Alca--had visited this region, and probably
made the pictures I wondered at. The Superintendent said we should visit
the great quarry in the morning before we started again for Scandor. And
he showed us, as the darkness descended about us, a marvellous
phenomenon. Standing on the roof of his house, we looked up the mountain
side to the immense opening forced in its flank, and it had become a
great surface of palpitating, rising and falling light. The waves of
glorious soft radiance bathed the village about us, the waters of the
canal, and the arid crusts of rock beyond, the circle of encompassing
darkness straining like a great black wall, on its spent edges.
"Song and music closed the day, and after eating the wine-soaked cakes
of Pintu, we made our way to the white and simple bedchamber and waited
for the morning.
"It came, fresh and splendid. The air of this latitude of Mars is so
pure, vivid and dustless! My strength and power and vitality seemed
boundless. And as in the broad mirror of my bedchamber I viewed my
reflection, I leaped with wonder to see the youth I had been, formed
anew in lineaments, fairer than Earth's. My son, I have become younger
than yourself, age has vanished, and all the restraint of differing
years between has vanished with it.
"Alca, Chapman and myself, as is the Martian habit, walked to the quarry
mouth, up a winding and hard stone road. This dreary and desolate region
seemed to have a charm. Its expanse of rigid waves of stone, pimpled
with sharp excrescences, and as deeply pitted with cavernous grottoes,
where no life seemed able to survive, save a stunted herbage, sparsely
assembled in vagrant groups, or gathered in thirsty lines around the lip
of the still pools, was full of scenic interest, but more deeply
eloquent of great geological convulsions.
"Chapman and Alca were in front of me, speaking the Martian tongue,
while I stood looking backward every few steps, delighted to trace the
broad river of the canal winding through the desolation for miles
beyond. Then I noticed how rapid and effortless is motion in Mars.
Volition is so easy and penetrating, the body becomes a mere plaything
for the mind. Every function, every part is swayed into vitality by the
mind. There is the apparent motion of the limbs, but really the whole
frame sweeps on as by an intangible process of translation, and the body
is transferred to the point the mind desires it to reach almost without
fatigue. This gives strength exactly proportioned to Will, and the shorn
powers of disease and Time proceed from the creative faculty of thought.
The disabling of the body in Mars by weakness or disease, or accident or
age, sprang front a mental discord, an emotional dissonance. Here was
the explanation of those disorders that still cling to the Martian life.
In this lay also the secret of crime.
"I looked upward to Chapman, who was then peering with hand raised to
his eyes at some object before him which the Superintendent had pointed
out, and I felt sorrowful that he should be in disagreement with this
life. It boded ill. I had begun to love Chapman, and the first sense of
suffering I had felt seemed now awakened at the thought of harm coming
"But there was no time for meditation. Chapman and Alca were looking
backward and shouting. They beckoned with their arms, and as I gazed I
saw between them, and ahead of them a great black object, about which a
number of the little workmen were running excitedly like a swarm of
ants. I leaped to their position. Chapman exclaimed: 'You remember the
meteor we saw. Well, there it is.'
"Extended like a gigantic and deformed missile lay an iron meteorite
before us, the same thing as the Siderites that appear in your Museums
on Earth. It was yet warm, a crevice spread down into its interior, and
it had apparently rolled from the spot of its first impact, since a
hammered side, abraded and worn on the hard rock, lay uppermost. It bore
the significant pits, thumb-marks and depressions of the terrestrial
objects, while streaming striations spread from its front breast where
the iron in melting had run like tears over its surface. It measured
some four feet in length, and must have weighed many tons.
"Then a curious thing happened, or seemed to happen. Alca, the
Superintendent, advanced to it, and bending against it with
outstretched arm, muttered a few words, frowned as if in concentrated
thought, and--was it credible--the iron object moved. I looked aghast at
Chapman, who turned away with what I dismally interpreted was an
expression of disgust. I pressed up close to him, and he murmured, 'Was
that a miracle? If it was I should like to get back to common sense and
"We continued upward, and now the terrific gulf piercing the ground for
over two terrestrial miles yawned at our feet. The steep precipice, lost
in a twilight dusk below, was disconcerting. The blocks of stone were
hoisted from the gigantic pit by hoists worked by hand. Here is one of
the anomalies of this existence in Mars. Electrical science and its
application is understood, great stores of mechanical experience and
wisdom can be drawn on, and yet in most of the mechanical work, hand
work, the toilsome method of the Pharaohs of Egypt prevails. There are
no railroads or trolleys or steam vehicles. The boats are driven by
explosive engines, and there are electric carriages of velocity and
power. But the latter are infrequent. The canals are numerous,
especially about Scandor, and the great trunk canals are broad avenues
"The intense swift motion of the Martians meets their needs in most
cases. Where hard labor on a mammoth scale is necessary, the little race
of _prehistorics_ serves all their purposes. The canals are their great
engineering feats, and the wonderful telescopes, their triumphs in
applied science, their knowledge of the transmutation of the
elements,--their greatest intellectual victory,--and Scandor, the City
of Glass, their architectural gem and miracle.
"We stood in a line gazing upon the receding roof of the great cavern,
the heavy walls left like buttresses to hold up the overlying mountain
ridge, and the tiny figures dimly swarming on the distant floor.
"The quarry extends far in under the ridge. Much barren rock is taken
out, for the Phosphori rock occurs variously in masses, layers,
lenticles, and almond shaped inclusions in the igneous matrix.
"We were to descend, but before we did so the Superintendent led us to
the summit of the ridge. From here, with a superb hand telescope, we
gazed up a distant land beyond the volcanic area we had surmounted,
occupied by farms and villages. It was the North country where the
prehistorics dwelt. It seemed peaceful and attractive. Beyond this again
we just discerned the shimmering surface of the Great Glacier, the
superb train of ice, that comes southward in the winter, and encroaches
even upon some of the exposed margins of the land of the prehistorics.
Its retreat is rapid in the warm season, and its broad tract is broken
by emergent backs of rocks and land, that are seamed with wild flowers.
The Martians travel to these oases in the Ocean of Ice, and it is from
these flowers that an entrancing perfume is extracted, of which the
Martians are extremely fond.
"We lingered on this pinnacle of rock and surveyed a prospect on either
side of contrasted and great interest. The land of the Zinipi north of
us resembled the fertile hill and valley country of the Genesee River in
western New York, the great region south of us a combination of the
Snake River country in Idaho, and the fissured ranges of the Silverton
Quadrangle in Colorado.
"Between these rose this high partition of castellated rock.
"We descended again to the mouth of the quarry, and, led by the
Superintendent, were swung far out from its dizzy sides into the lake of
air between them upon a platform, used for an aerial elevator. Chapman
clung nervously to me, and complained of a light nausea and dread. I
felt only a tonic exhilaration, and as we slowly sank through the shaft
of air, crossed by sunlight for some distance, and then passed into the
cooler shadows of its deeper parts, where the yet level sun failed to
penetrate, I cried aloud with delight, and the abyss around us shouted
its salutation back.
"Still we descended, and soon saw back in the deep prolongations of the
tunnel the shining walls of this phosphorescent cave. The light glowed
so effulgently that it seemed a soft radiant haze, through which came
the sound of voices, and in it black figures moved incessantly.
"The method of quarrying is not unlike that of the marble quarries on
the earth. Drilling long holes in and under the stone, which from
pressure has assumed a rudely cubical cleavage, separates the rock into
heavy pieces. These holes are wedged, and the rocks forced off into
useful blocks. All is done by hand, and the picture of activity, with
workers constantly engaged at their various duties made a singular
scene. We walked far into the ever deepening womb of the mountain, while
on either hand lateral tunnels, or rather avenues had been pushed,
penetrating rich segregations wherever they had been traced, and where
also glowed the welcome glow of this lithic lamp.
"The Superintendent explained that the stone was quite unequal in
quality, and he told us how the illuminating power of the stone was
actually tested in what on the Earth we would call candle powers, but
is known on Mars as Ki-kans, or a unit of light derived from a platinum
wire one millimetre thick, carrying 100 volts current. We could see the
varying radiations, and came upon rayless sections, which from admixture
of impurities or imperfect chemical perfection, were deprived of all
"Returning, it seemed as if in the sharp convulsions of the crust a
flood of light had been somehow absorbed by the rock, and then this
light-saturated rock had been overwhelmed and buried out of sight, only
to be painfully restored to its first home, in the open skies, by the
labor of men.
"But time was pressing. Chapman must reach Scandor, his envoy's errand
was important, and bidding the kind Alca good-bye, which the Martians
execute by a kiss and an embrace, we came out again into the deep well,
and gazed upward past the glistening precipices, irregular with little
ledges, and over-reaching cavities, to the distant sky.
"And now a terrible calamity befell us. The Superintendent pointed out a
narrow path that led circuitously around the great crags of rock to the
top. It was a narrow winding ledge, rising by a mild incline, and
circling the pit before it finally reached its brim. In parts it was
quite unprotected, but the extraordinary nerves of the men made the
achievement of passing out or in the quarry by this means a very simple
test of endurance. Even as the Superintendent alluded to its use, a file
of dark figures was just above us, with soldierlike precision marching
down to the level we occupied. Chapman banteringly asked me to try it,
and I accepted the challenge, urging him to follow.
"We started up. At first the ascent was simple, and the view backward
just a little exciting. We continued, and I noticed that the path
contracted, and nervously looking on ahead, was startled to find it
broken with short gaps, which must be crossed by jumping. I had felt the
vague premonitions about Chapman increasing, and somehow, by that
intuition which becomes prophetic, in this semi-etherealized
constitution of our bodies and minds, in Mars, I knew an impending blow
hung over us.
"I looked back and saw Chapman gravely following me. The cheer and
laughter had disappeared from his face, the jesting gayety had fled, and
he seemed enfeebled. I hastened to him, and he raised his face with a
"'Dodd,' he said, 'I am dizzy. I feel strangely here,' and he felt his
forehead. 'I wonder that it is so. But come! Don't be frightened. It
will pass over.' He pushed me from him. For an instant we stood and
gazed around us. Far up we saw the outer sunlight beating on the barren
exposures of the mountain, around us was black excavated rock, and below
the shining walls, faintly blue and pink.
"'Chapman,' I said, 'let us go back. The hoists will take us out.'
'Folly,' was the answer. 'I shall be all right. Why, a Martian has no
physical weakness or dread. Come, Dodd, you have not yet acquired the
Martian defiance of accident, disease, or death. You are sneaking back
under the cover of fear for me.'
"His voice seemed peevish. I looked at him with wonder. He leaped past
me, with a forced agility, and sprang on upward. I followed with
lightness born of thought, with which the true Martians move.
"On, on, we sped. The narrowing path carried us up until one of those
gaps I had noticed came in view. Chapman stopped, and then hearing my
approaching steps, ran forward and jumped. His calculation and strength
were yet secure and adequate. He safely passed the first break in the
pathway, and, as I crossed it with a wide leap, we both still sped on
upon an even narrower shelf, which also was more steeply inclined
about the jutting prominences of the rocky cliff.
"The next gap was reached, and now the edge of the succeeding length of
pathway was not only farther away, but higher up. Chapman, I could see
imperfectly, because of a slim projection in my way, had reached the
lower side, and, hesitatingly, drew backward. It was his preparation for
the leap. He launched forward. I rushed precipitately upward, feeling
the air about me vibrating, it seemed, with an impending disaster.
Chapman had landed on the further side of the break, but the cruel,