Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Zarlah the Martian
Author: Grisewood, R. Norman (Robert Norman), 1876-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Zarlah the Martian" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Frontispiece: "Zarlah's car was hurled upwards into space with
frightful velocity."]



Zarlah The Martian


By


R. Norman Grisewood



1909



_Zarlah, The Martian_



CONTENTS.

    CHAPTER                                PAGE

    I. THE STRANGE SHADOW

    II. THE MARTIAN

    III. THE VOICE FROM ANOTHER WORLD

    IV. THE STORY OF MARTIAN LIFE

    V. THE HAZARDOUS UNDERTAKING

    VI. "AS OTHERS SEE US"

    VII. THE MELODY OF FLOWERS AND ZARLAH

    VIII. A HUNDRED MILES A MINUTE IN AN AERENOID

    IX. THE REALIZATION OF A HOPELESS LOVE

    X. ZARLAH'S CONFESSION

    XI. THE DISCOVERY AT THE MARTIAN OBSERVATORY

    XII. THE WARNING OF DANGER--THE RACE WITH DEATH

    XIII. THE END OF A PERILOUS JOURNEY

    XIV. HURLED FROM THE MOON



ZARLAH, THE MARTIAN.



CHAPTER I.

THE STRANGE SHADOW.


So thrilling were my experiences during that period, so overcrowded with
feverish action and strong emotions was each wonderful moment, and so
entirely changed are the conditions of life as I now find it, that it is
with considerable difficulty that I recall in detail all that happened
prior to my remarkable discovery which opened communication between
Earth and Mars. One says "discovery" advisedly, but let it not be
imagined that communication with the planet Mars was established as a
result of any careful and systematic research, or that I possessed a
subtle genius for astronomical science that was destined to introduce
into society what must eventually revolutionize it. Nothing could be
further from the facts. Into the daily grind of my absolutely uneventful
career, burst the almost terrifying revelations with a suddenness that
stunned me, while I was engaged in experiments of an entirely extraneous
nature. Albeit one wonders that the Martian rays, which have swept our
planet with their searching gaze for so many centuries, were not
discovered long ago. But this is anticipating my story.

I had reached the age of thirty, when, in the Spring of 19--, I sailed
out of New York harbor on board _La Provence_, en route for Paris. It
was not so much my purpose to seek pleasure as the determination to turn
my eight years of experience in the United States to some avenue of
profitable livelihood, that decided me to make the journey, although I
looked forward with no small degree of pleasant anticipation to meeting
some of my fellow students in the Académie des Sciences in Paris, where
I had received five years of excellent training.

My trip across and my subsequent arrival in Paris were without any
events of particular interest, and one bright morning in the early
summer I found myself comfortably lodged in the house where I had
previously boarded while a student. Connected with my rooms, which were
at the top of the house, was one of considerable size that I had
formerly used as a laboratory, and this I now set about fitting up to
serve the same purpose. The daylight found its way into the room through
a skylight, and though admirably suited for an artist's studio, it
answered my purpose equally as well.

I had collected many new instruments and appliances by dint of days
spent in shopping, and was anxious to begin work in earnest, when one
evening, as I glanced through the columns of a newspaper, my attention
was arrested by an article of particular interest. This set forth the
great and increasing demand for a substitute for glass, one which would
answer the purpose in every respect, and at the same time be
indestructible and a good conductor of sound. The article concluded with
an enumeration of the many uses for which such a substitute would be
invaluable, hinting at the enormous financial possibilities which would
be open to the inventor. The more I considered the matter, the more
desirous I became to test several theories which forthwith presented
themselves to my mind, and the next morning found me determined to begin
my experiments at once. In theory, I saw the solution of the problem in
artificially producing increased atomic motion, and with that object in
view I went to work.

My experiments involved me in weeks of hard work, and it was toward the
end of the summer before I could admit having had any important results.
I now had a substance resembling glass in appearance, though vastly
different in composition, which I made into a film, extremely thin and
highly sensitive to vibrations. Running through this film were slender
wires made of various metals, about one inch apart, which served not
only to give rigidity to the film, but also to conduct a current of
electricity through it, engendering a high state of atomic agitation.
The current was controlled by a small switch placed in a heavy box-like
frame, which bounded the film on its four sides and contained the
batteries, coils, etc. To this were attached four legs, supporting it
about the height of an ordinary table from the floor. The whole device
measured about seven feet square.

This film substance contained certain elements which I had found to be
necessary to secure the desired intensity of agitation. It had taken me
almost a month to secure the fine quality I desired, and I looked
forward to the test with the feeling that results would prove that I was
nearing the goal, if I had not actually attained it.

At last the day arrived when my device was ready for the test. I had
worked all the afternoon giving the finishing touches and it had grown
dusk without my realizing it. But everything was now ready, and moving
the switch, I turned the current of electricity through the composition.
Just as I was about to begin my test, I noticed what appeared to be a
faint shadow of a man move across the surface of the film. My first
thought was that someone had entered the room without my knowledge, and
his figure had been reflected on the surface of the film, which was
highly glazed, but a glance around the room assured me that this
explanation was untenable. Moreover, I found, upon further
investigation, that the film was lying in such a position that it would
be impossible to reflect any person in the room. I then examined the
skylight, only to find that, owing to the sharp inclination of the roof,
it would be an utter impossibility for anyone to reach it from the
outside without the aid of a ladder. I investigated this source further,
thinking to find the reflection on the film to be from some street in
the city below, but on account of the extent of the roof, no street was
visible from the skylight.

Completely baffled, I descended into the room again and turned on the
current. Immediately the shadow appeared on the film, and this time, in
consequence of the room now being quite dark, I noticed that it was
surrounded by a phosphorus-colored glow. The figure was certainly that
of a man, although very faint, and it became evident to me, after
watching it for a while, that he was trying to signal with his arms.

I now noticed that, in addition to the peculiar light on the film, the
entire surface seemed to vibrate with frequent, but scarcely audible,
humming sounds. Upon turning off the current all disappeared, only to
reappear when I switched it on again. It was evident then that the
phenomenon was caused only when the instrument was charged with
electricity, and consequently was no ordinary reflection, as I had at
first supposed.

Everything pointed to its being the manifestation of some outside
agency; possibly electrical waves which my apparatus received and in a
measure responded to, coming through the open skylight from--where? The
question reiterated itself in my mind, as I stood gazing perplexedly at
the phenomenon. I might have been satisfied with the supposition that,
unknowingly, I had made an instrument which was capable of receiving
wireless waves from another instrument of similar tone in or near Paris,
if I had had only the humming sounds to contend with, but the shadow
impelled me to look for the reason further than this. I glanced upward,
eagerly seeking some explanation. One star was visible through the open
skylight--Mars. Clear and bright it shone in the inky blackness framed
by the window.

Once more I climbed to the skylight, feeling that I must seek the
explanation in that direction, when my attention was suddenly turned to
the apparatus below me. The glow was slowly passing off one side of the
film. I hastily descended and examined the batteries, thinking I would
find the cause of this in a failing current, but all was apparently in
perfect order. Still the glow and shadow moved steadily off, growing
fainter every moment, until it disappeared completely.

With a sudden impulse, born of a weird and almost terrifying thought, I
bent over until my eyes were on a level with the film, then I looked
upward; the star was no longer visible from the position of the
instrument, it had risen above the frame of the window. At once I was
seized with an intense excitement; could it be possible that my
apparatus was responding to waves mysteriously projected from Mars? If
not, why had the glow and shadow faded from the film at the same instant
that Mars disappeared above the window frame?

Hoping to test this further, I endeavored to move the apparatus to a
position where Mars would again be visible, but alas, I found it much
too heavy. I felt keenly disappointed at the sudden termination of this
strange phenomenon, but, upon reflection, I realized that it was only
the simultaneous disappearance of Mars and the glow on the film that had
caused me to attribute waves to that far source. The more I pondered
upon the matter, the more impossible it seemed, yet, strange to say, the
more convinced I became that the theory was correct. Light-waves, I
argued, unlike the wireless waves in common use, could be received only
when the two objects were in line of vision; but I realized that if they
were of Martian origin they were of remarkable magnification, projected
through space by some unknown and powerful agent, thousands of times
more powerful than electricity as we know it upon Earth. That the shadow
on the film had been that of a Martian, I dared not hope. Though my mind
continually reverted to this wild conjecture, I impatiently put it
aside, as the apparent impossibility of it all would force itself upon
me.

Nothing further could be done that night, and as I had worked hard all
day preparing for my experiment, without even stopping for meals, I now
felt the effect of the excitement I had undergone and resolved to take a
walk in the cool air, I wanted to think, and, if possible, to plan a
line of action for the morrow which would bring me better results, if my
theory of light-waves should prove to be correct. Needless to say, I
determined to cease my former experiments, and devote all my energy to
ascertaining whether my apparatus was actually responding to Martian
light-waves of remarkable integrity, and if such proved to be the case,
to put every effort into improving the device with the hope of obtaining
their import. I also determined to keep my discovery a secret, at least
for the present.



CHAPTER II.

THE MARTIAN.


I returned to my rooms with a much clearer conception of the conditions
with which I had to cope, if the waves to which my apparatus responded
should prove to be Martian waves. My mind was fully made up to proceed
as if this were an established fact, as, in order to give my best
efforts to improving my apparatus, I felt that I must eliminate all
scepticism. I clearly appreciated the advantage of moving my instrument
outside, where I could command a view of Mars for a much longer time,
but the necessity of being in my laboratory while I was engaged in these
improvements, decided me against any immediate change.

Accordingly I proceeded the next morning to make the changes I deemed
necessary, being goaded into a fever of haste by a feeling of
suppressed excitement. The composition I had used in the form of a film
I now liquefied, having concluded that in the former condition, although
necessary in my original experiments, it now only retarded the vibration
of the wires.

That this composition was essential there could be no doubt, as it was
its elements that responded to the agent used on Mars to project the
waves. I therefore liquefied the film substance, being careful in so
doing not to alter its properties. I then procured wires, much thinner
than those I had previously used, and dipped them-into the liquid. After
they had become perfectly dry, I stretched them on the frame as close
together as I could without their coming into contact with one another.
As light-waves are received in hundreds of different vibrations
simultaneously, according to the light or shade of the object projected,
I concluded that each wire should be capable of individual vibration.
The device now resembled a large piece of mosquito netting with the
cross wires removed, the coating of composition on each wire being so
thin that it was hardly discernible. The batteries and coils I
connected as before, taking great care not to change their arrangement.

My preparations were now completed, and before me stood an instrument as
delicate and sensitive to wave vibrations as I could make it. Raising
one side of the frame a foot higher than the other, in order that the
surface of wires would be squarely facing the star when it appeared
above the casement, I waited impatiently for the moment which should
prove the truth or falsity of my surmises.

The day had closed, and I spent the remaining time speculating upon the
results of my labors. But even the wildest flights of my imagination did
not picture, in the smallest degree, the wonderful transformation which
my new instrument would make in what had appeared before as a shadow on
the film. Little did I imagine to what an extent the unknown was to be
revealed to me.

As I stood by the side of the frame all in readiness, Mars appeared, but
it still had a little farther to climb before it would be visible from
the level of the wires. Nevertheless, I turned on the current from the
batteries. All was darkness; never before had darkness seemed to me so
profound, so absolutely appalling. Minutes passed like hours, but still
that ominous darkness reigned. I felt the keen disappointment of
failure; I grew incredulous as the time passed, and found myself
admitting and rehearsing the absurdity of it all. I even blamed myself
for having been so easily deflected from my former experiments, by what
now seemed to be merely an idle fancy.

Suddenly I bent over the frame and gazed eagerly at the surface of
wires, for there, on the top edge, appeared a touch of the
phosphorus-colored glow. My heart thumped with wild excitement. I
stooped down until my eyes were on the level of the wires, and looking
up toward the window I could just see the rim of Mars appearing above
the casement. A shout of joy burst from my lips at the sight of it, for
it was now beyond all doubt that the phenomenon was attributable to
Mars. Brighter and brighter became the light as it covered the surface
of wires, until all its resemblance to a phosphorus glow had gone, and
it shone with such brilliancy that my eyes, accustomed as they were to
the darkness of the room, quailed before it. Turning away so that my
eyes might gradually become accustomed to the glare, I noticed that in
spite of the brilliant white light on the surface of the wires, the room
was in perfect darkness--the light had no power of illumination!
Impenetrable mystery enshrouded the agent which Mars was employing to
communicate with Earth!

A curious humming sound issuing from the frame, much louder than I had
noticed the night before, caused me to turn involuntarily, and as I did
so I uttered a cry of wonder at the marvelous vision that met my eyes.
There lay before me, as bright as daylight, a picture that a thousand
times surpassed my highest, wildest hope. The great secret of another
planet was revealed, and I stood motionless, beholding an inhabitant of
a star millions of miles away.

Among the vast multitude who for centuries have yearned for a glimpse
into the unknown worlds that surround us, I stood alone gazing upon the
image of a Martian. The thought stunned me; I was seized with a wild
impulse to rush out into the street and bring in the throng, that they
might look upon the form of this wonderful being on our sister planet.
But what proof was there to give them that this was so? I would
undoubtedly be ridiculed and accused of trickery. The very fact that had
brought a cry of amazement to my lips--the remarkable brilliancy and
clearness of the image, and the appearance of the Martian himself--would
serve to bring discredit upon anything I might say. Personally I had
ample proof that the image was that of a Martian, but what instant proof
could I give a jeering crowd? I had expected to find in a Martian a
strange grotesque being in appearance, if not in mind, much after the
weird and fierce character so many authors have portrayed him. Judge,
then, my astonishment when I beheld one who, in every particular of form
and feature, resembled the people of Earth.

He appeared to be a man of about forty years of age, judging by our
earthly standard of time, possessing clear-cut features and dark
complexion. His face, which was clean-shaven, was remarkably handsome,
and his piercing dark eyes, although they enhanced the smile that
greeted my appearance at the instrument, seemed to search into my very
soul and to hold me spellbound with mute challenge. Nor could I, upon
afterthought, remember having shown the common courtesy of returning his
greeting.

My astonishment was so great that every faculty seemed to leave me, and
I stood transfixed, staring at the image of the Martian without even the
power of thought. Gradually recovering my senses, however, I took note
of the man and his surroundings. He stood in a room of about the same
dimensions as my laboratory, which seemed to be flooded with bright
daylight, though I could not see any windows on three sides of the room
to admit the light, nor any shadows to indicate that the light came from
a window in the fourth. He held in his hands an instrument unknown to
me, and seemed to be perfectly at his ease, showing neither surprise nor
curiosity. Evidently this was not the first time that he had seen an
inhabitant of the Earth. So unconcerned was he and so natural did he
appear, even in the smallest detail of dress, that it was hard to
believe I was not looking at an image of some room and its occupant in
Paris. His close-fitting clothes seemed to be of a dark green material,
and resembled, to some degree, the uniform of an army officer.

Bending over the instrument he held, he placed his mouth close to the
top of it, and immediately the humming sounds, which I had noticed
before, emanated from the wires of my apparatus. The thought flashed
through my mind that the Martian held in this instrument a means of
communicating sound. If so, what were the words--what language? The
possibility of what I heard being words, made me strain every nerve to
catch the slightest resemblance to such sounds, but alas, with no
success. That they were intended to convey a message, I became fully
convinced, but I could not rest in the belief that this jumble of sounds
was the Martian language. If the Martians themselves resembled, in so
striking a degree, the inhabitants of Earth, I argued, then it was in
the nature of things to expect a language that, in some way,
corresponded to one of our languages. The fault lay in my instrument, I
was sure of that, and in the keen disappointment of my failure to
receive his message and the excitement of the moment, I gave utterance
to an exclamation of despair. Immediately a smile overspread the
Martian's countenance, and, to my great astonishment, he put down the
instrument and clapped his hands by way of showing his approval.

Before I could recover from my surprise at this new evidence of Martian
familiarity with the customs of Earth, the light suddenly grew dim and
in a few seconds had disappeared completely, leaving the instrument
plunged in darkness. Mars had risen above the frame of the skylight, and
I was no longer in contact with the light-waves. I listened intently,
thinking that if the sound-waves were of the nature of the
electrical-waves we employ in the wireless system, I would still be in
touch with my newly found friend, but I heard no further sound from the
instrument, thus proving that these waves also were projected by the
mysterious agent known only to the Martians.

I had so much to occupy my mind, with what I had just witnessed, and so
many thoughts rushed in upon me regarding the perfecting of my
instrument so that it might properly respond to the sound-waves, that I
did not experience the disappointment I had felt before at the short
duration of our contact with each other. I was glad of the opportunity
to think; I felt that it was necessary to do so before further action,
if I ever hoped to attain the knowledge of Mars and its inhabitants that
my remarkable discovery had placed within my reach. I determined that on
the morrow, if I did not meet with better results in the sound
vibrations, I would try to communicate with the Martian by writing some
simple sentence in a bold hand, and in as many languages as I could.
This I would expose in front of the instrument, but I placed little hope
in the success of the scheme, for it was not possible that the Martian
language would be identical with any of ours.



CHAPTER III.

THE VOICE FROM ANOTHER WORLD


This thought of communicating with the Martian by writing, did not deter
me from using every effort to perfect my instrument, so that this might
be done verbally, or that at least I might hear a voice and a language
spoken on a world millions of miles away. Accordingly I gave the subject
of sound-waves my best thought, and the next morning I had formulated
clearly laid principles upon which to work. By these I hoped to make an
instrument that would be the means of conversing with a Martian.

I had come to the conclusion that the jumble of sound was caused by the
prolonged vibration of the wires after each distinct wave from Mars was
received, as the wires of a piano will vibrate long after they have been
touched. With light-waves it was necessary to have a highly sensitive
surface of the composition, capable of responding to many different
vibrations, according to the light or shade of the object projected.
This accounted for the success I met with upon adopting the coated
wires, and I concluded thereupon that they were indispensable. But I now
saw that the presence of wires in the composition, though successful
with light-waves, was inimical to sound-waves, and it became evident
that a firmer but highly sensitive surface was required. The film had
not brought good results, either from sound-waves or light-waves, but,
it will be remembered, there were wires running through it to give it
rigidity, which, although necessary in my original experiments, must be
avoided in connection with sound vibrations. Clearly my new film must
not be rigid. I thereupon made a film of composition, as thin as
possible, and stretched it upon the frame of my instrument, as a
diaphragm behind the wires, hoping that the sound-waves would pass
between the wires, and vibrate the diaphragm, which, being made of
composition, would undoubtedly glow, but not more than the film had
done. This, I concluded, would not interfere with the image on the
wires, owing to the brilliancy of the latter.

I was now hopeful of success, and anxiously waited for the day to close.
Everything was in readiness by noon, and I had at least eight hours to
wait before Mars would be in a position for wave contact. But now
appeared an adversary with which I had not reckoned. Clouds began to
gather, thin and fleecy at first, but growing heavier as the afternoon
passed, until by evening the heavens were completely obscured. This was
a condition that might last for several days, and the dread of it filled
me with despair. How could I wait for days inactive, without seeing or
even hearing from my friend in Mars?

It now occurred to me how absolutely absorbed I had become in the
Martian investigation. Ordinarily a sociable person, in the past week I
had become a recluse. College friends that I had seen almost daily since
my return to Paris, I now completely neglected, even shunned, lest they
should call at my rooms some evening when I was in wave contact with
Mars. It also occurred to me that, as surely as my friendship and
necessity for them was declining, in like ratio was increasing an
attachment for an inhabitant of another world. I felt a strange soul
kinship for this Martian, which seemed to spring up the moment I saw his
image portrayed on my instrument. And the feeling was not one of
ordinary friendship. I felt I was drawn to him by some mysterious power,
that gave him the place of a brother in my affections--a power that
seemed to have brought us together, and now united us with a great
common and compelling interest. And yet as I pictured his handsome,
almost beautiful face, there was still another face I had seen--but
where? The Martian had been alone, yet I was conscious of a face that
was wonderfully beautiful, that seemed the goal for which I was
striving. It led me to greater effort after failure; the face which I
yearned to see and yet strangely dreaded seeing.

It was useless for me to try to understand such thoughts, and to banish
them from my mind was impossible. I was overcome with a sense of
loneliness. Looking at my watch, I found that it was already past the
hour when Mars would be visible through the window on a clear night,
but, alas, the sky showed no signs of clearing; though my instrument
stood ready, it was useless.

But, obeying some irresistible impulse, I decided to turn on the current
and stand by the instrument in case an opening in the clouds should
occur, for even a moment. I therefore turned the switch that controlled
the current, and immediately, to my astonishment, the surface of wires
became as brilliant as on the previous evening under a clear sky.
Turning away for a moment, to allow my eyes to become accustomed to the
brilliancy, I noticed that the sky was still overcast with heavy rain
clouds. My joy at the discovery that the Martian projecting agent was
not arrested by vapor was unbounded, for it meant that I could be in
wave-contact with Mars every night, during the period that the planet
was visible from Earth.

I approached the instrument with the intention of at once testing the
diaphragm, but, to my surprise, my Martian friend was not there to greet
me. The room and its furnishings, however, were depicted as clearly as
before, and I now had an opportunity to note the instruments, the large
volumes of books, and the maps of the heavens which hung on the wall.
Everything pointed to this being a fully equipped Martian observatory,
though the instruments were entirely strange to me. I was examining
these latter more closely, when heavy portières parted, and my Martian
friend stepped into the room. So anxious was I to give him a pleasant
greeting, instead of staring at him in a semi-stupefied condition, as I
had done previously, that I forgot, for the moment, my determination to
test my diaphragm at the first opportunity, and greeted him merely with
a smile and a bow.

My serene demeanor lasted but a moment, for simultaneously with his
bowed response to my greeting, came in a clear voice, with perfect
accent: "Bon soir, Monsieur!"

I started back, for it seemed as if someone in the room had spoken, but
then I noticed that the Martian held in his hand the instrument I had
seen on the previous evening. Was it possible that this was his voice,
speaking French from a distance of millions of miles as clearly as if he
were in the room? The thing was incredible! How could a Martian know a
language evolved here on Earth? Was the whole thing then a delusion of
an overwrought mind? I stood staring at the instrument in amazement.

The Martian, now seeing by my actions that his voice had been heard,
raised his instrument and repeated his greeting. The voice rang as
clearly as before; there could be no further doubt; through this
wonderful instrument the Martian's voice was projected, almost
instantaneously to the Earth--millions of miles in a second. The
mysterious power which enabled the Martian to project the waves,
compared with our electricity as the telegraph does with the
stage-coach. Was it strange that I stood aghast, as my mind slowly
comprehended the enormous distance which that voice had traversed almost
instantaneously?

It was some moments before my amazement permitted me to respond to this
extraordinary salutation, then--my mind still too bewildered properly to
grasp the situation--I mumbled something in English about my great
astonishment at hearing a language of Earth spoken from a distant world.

The sound of my voice seemed to cause the Martian some surprise, but
immediately his voice issued again in clear tones from the instrument.

"I greeted you in what I supposed was your native tongue," he said in
perfect English. "Although now we have but one composite language here,
over a thousand years ago we spoke in many languages, as the people of
your planet do at the present time.

"For more than six hundred years we have been able to observe the
progress of your planet," he went on, "through an instrument by which
light-waves are projected and received, and have found it to be
identical with ours of almost fifteen hundred years ago. By the placards
in the streets of your cities and towns, we discovered that you also
spoke in many tongues, and although the progress was necessarily slow,
our astronomers were, by this means, able to learn the principal
languages of Earth.

"Anxiously we have watched and waited for the discovery of an instrument
that would respond to our projected light-waves and reveal to you the
inhabitants of your neighboring planet. At last this momentous time has
arrived. I congratulate you upon bringing it about."

As he spoke, his voice, coming from the diaphragm of my instrument,
sounded as distinct as if he were in the room, and his image, depicted
life-size, made it hard to believe that he was more than a few feet
away. That my informant was, in reality, millions of miles away, my mind
absolutely refused to grasp.

A thousand questions to put to my Martian acquaintance rushed into my
mind, but alas, in supposing that I could not come in contact with Mars
on account of cloud obscurity, I had lost much of the precious time, and
now the waning light on my instrument warned me that the planet would,
in a few moments, pass out of range. We therefore hastily bade each
other adieu, promising to continue our conversation on the morrow, as
though we had parted at a street corner. The light now faded completely,
and the instrument, that a few moments previously had been animated with
such an exuberance of life and mystery, now stood before me wrapped in
profound darkness and silence.

How impossible, how inconceivable it all seemed! How the outside world
would scoff if I attempted to explain or publish my discovery! I felt
that the time had not yet come to take anyone into my confidence, and I
determined still to keep all a secret. I was then unaware, however, that
the more I learned of Mars and its people the more closely I would guard
my knowledge.

Pacing excitedly up and down my laboratory, I spent most of the night in
reviewing what I had heard, and speculating the rare knowledge that the
morrow would bring. The secrets of another world would be unfolded to
me, and the scientific achievements of a people over a thousand years in
advance of us would be mine. What glorious possibilities this disclosed!
What a brilliant future as a scientist such knowledge would assure me!
And in the exuberance of my spirits I little thought that the possession
of this knowledge would come to mean naught to me; for I had yet to
learn that man cannot share the riches of another world without also
becoming a partner in its sorrows and its passions.



CHAPTER IV.

THE STORY OF MARTIAN LIFE.


With a determination of finding a room from which I could command a
longer view of Mars, the next day I visited several studios which were
for rent, and finally succeeded in securing one formerly occupied by a
photographer, which was located on the top floor of a house in the
immediate vicinity of my old rooms.

The room was large, in fact it occupied the entire top floor of the
building, and this feature pleased me greatly. The only communication
with the house was by a door which had every appearance of an outside
door, so heavy were the hinges and lock. The landlord, in drawing my
attention to this, had smiled and remarked that the former tenant, who
lived in another section of the city, had been very careful always to
leave his studio securely locked. The ceiling of half the room was
entirely of glass, sloping down to the floor at the angle of the roof,
and this was the only means of obtaining air and light. It was
constructed in two sections, which would slide back and forth, for the
purpose of ventilation. This arrangement, I found, would give me an
unobstructed view of Mars for several hours each night. Nothing could be
better adapted to my requirements; I could not be observed by anyone
outside, and I need not fear being overheard while conversing with my
Martian friend.

I therefore determined to have my instrument moved at once, in order to
be installed in my new quarters that evening.

I next bought a crate, used for large oil paintings, and upon its
delivery at my old rooms, I immediately commenced packing my instrument
in it. Owing to its great weight this was no easy work, and it would
express the procedure better if I said that I placed the crate around
the instrument. Making sure that it was all covered carefully, I had it
moved to my new quarters and set in place, the impression of the
carriers being that it was a painting which I was very anxious that no
one should see until it was completed.

As it was now within an hour of the time when I expected Mars to appear,
I decided to leave my books and other belongings at my former rooms
until the next day. I uncovered the instrument, and got everything into
readiness, being careful to see that the batteries were all in place, so
that nothing might occur to interrupt the long talk with the Martian
which I was anticipating.

Having turned on the current, and opened the sliding section of the
glass roof, I now awaited the appearance of Mars. There occurred to me
question alter question that seemed of sufficient importance to prompt
immediate inquiry, only to be forgotten as others came into my mind;
until the presence of the increasing faint glow on my instrument found
me unprepared with any single question of actual importance.
Consequently I decided to allow my distant informant to continue with
the account of Martian observations of Earth, as being at once the most
instructive and surest way of suggesting important questions.

As my eyes got accustomed to the brilliancy I saw the Martian waiting
for me, with his instrument in readiness. We greeted each other with the
affection we both now sincerely felt, and though I could not clasp his
hand, I endeavored in every way to show him the brotherly warmth of
feeling I entertained for him.

It now occurred to me that in the excitement of our first communication
with each other, we had completely overlooked an important
conventionality. I therefore announced that I was known on Earth as
Harold Lonsdale.

"My name is Almos," he responded, his dark eyes sparkling as he quickly
entered into the spirit of the occasion. "Although it was customary once
for us to have two or three names, we found it in better harmony with
the changed conditions of the present time to have but one. This you
will more easily understand when you have become better acquainted with
this planet and its people."

"And as I am most anxious to learn more about the conditions of life in
your world," I added, eagerly, "I trust you will continue the account of
Martian observations of Earth, which was barely commenced last evening
when the wave contact ceased. But first let me ask how you located my
whereabouts, for this morning I moved to another section of the city."

"Ah!" he replied, with a smile, "I was not aware you had moved.
Experience has taught me about where to look for the large city you call
Paris, on the side of Earth that is now exposed to us, and then by
systematic search I soon located the response of your instrument.

"As our observations of Earth with projected light-rays have been
carried on for seven hundred years, it will be necessary to give you an
outline of our history and the progress of science covering that time.
This will not only be of interest as a forecast of your own world's
future, but will also prove of the greatest value to you, if you decide
to visit this planet, an undertaking which I am convinced lies within
your power."

His words wrung an exclamation of astonishment from my lips, but, as
though not wishing to be interrupted, he went on:

"Seven hundred years ago, a power derived from that substance known on
Earth as radium, was discovered on Mars. This power was found to be
capable of projecting light rays almost instantaneously through space
for inconceivable distances, at the same time preserving their integrity
to such a remarkable degree that they would reach the farthest planets
without diffusion or diminution. Thus my image, thrown upon the
instrument before me, is conveyed to Earth in light-waves by this flow
of super-radium with such tremendous speed as to be practically
instantaneous; these are received in your instrument, which is
responsive to the flow of super-radium, in the same condition as when
they left Mars, consequently depicting the image life-size.

"Having come in contact with another body in the heavens, this
outward-flowing current of super-radium is changed to an inward-flowing
current. In making this change it frees the light-waves it conveyed from
Mars, and retains the light-waves of the objects about it, which is
merely repeating its performance upon leaving Mars. These light-waves of
objects on another globe it now conveys on its return journey to Mars,
entering a receiving instrument and depicting the objects therein
life-size.

"Possessing rays invisible to the human eye, except when agitated by a
substance of its own nature, daylight on a planet becomes an entirely
unnecessary adjunct to observations made with super-radium, and we are
able to explore the dark side of planets and other heavenly bodies, just
as effectually as those illuminated by the sun.

"Thus have we, for seven hundred years, been able to study the country,
cities, streets, and people of Earth. And not only did we note a
remarkable similarity in the people, buildings, and scientific progress
to early Martian ages, but, by the advertisements, placards, and other
street signs we were able to learn the principal languages spoken on
your planet, and these were found to correspond in a remarkable degree
to those in use on Mars, before conditions on our planet made the
adoption of a composite language an absolute necessity. And undoubtedly
these same conditions in due time will face the people of Earth."

I could not restrain an exclamation of astonishment at this prediction,
but Almos at once reassured me by stating that when the time did come,
it would be the beginning of universal peace and happiness on Earth.

"Am I to understand, then," said I, "that a condition of perfect
happiness prevails on Mars?"

"Unhappiness is considered a disease with us," Almos rejoined. "It is
heard of, but very rarely, and is treated as a serious malady. But you
will understand these things better as you gradually become acquainted
with the conditions here. You must remember that you are in the position
of a man over fifteen hundred years in advance of his day.

"Having become convinced, through close observations, that the progress
of Earth was identical with that of Mars, and that Earth, being the
younger planet, was consequently following our lead, we anxiously
watched for the discovery on Earth of the wonderful power that had been
the means of bringing us into such close visual contact with you. When
you discovered radium, we realized that this would eventually lead to
the discovery of the higher power, but we feared that this might not be
for hundreds of years.

"That communication was possible through the medium of radium and
electricity, we were totally ignorant of. It was the responsive
properties of radium in your instrument, however, that first attracted
my attention while searching over Paris for an object I had previously
been observing. Thereafter my interest in your progress was as great as
your own, and every twenty-four hours, when the eastern hemisphere of
Earth was turned toward Mars, I searched with the radioscope until I got
the response of your instrument.

"I have kept my success in communicating with Earth a secret, as it
involves an invention of mine which I have not yet made public, and of
which I will now tell you. This invention is the radiphone, through
which we are now conversing, and to which the diaphragm of your
instrument responds, as it doubtless contains radium also. My entire
life has been devoted to the development of Martian-Earthly
communication, and this instrument has been the goal which I have
striven to reach since boyhood, and yet its success in communicating
with Earth came as a great surprise to me."

So accustomed was I to hear the Martian speak of the most miraculous
occurrences in an ordinary conversational tone, that the idea of there
still remaining something on Mars to be discovered appeared a still
greater wonder.

"We have made a most important discovery," pursued Almos. "I say 'we,'
as without the response of your instrument the action of a super-radium
current on sound-waves would not have been discovered."

"I feel that I can hardly share in the honors," I protested modestly.
"Without the super-radium current from Mars, I would still be
experimenting with the hope of finding a substitute for glass."

I now entered into a full account of the experiments I had conducted,
describing how, quite accidentally, I had made a substance responsive to
the waves from Mars. He was greatly amused upon hearing of my
astonishment at finding that Martians resembled the people on Earth; and
when I drew for him a verbal picture of the ferocious creatures the
inhabitants of Mars were supposed to be, he laughed aloud.

"We never suspected that the people of Earth did us such a great
injustice," he said, his whole countenance lighting up with good humor.
"I have several volumes here giving accounts of observations of Earth,
some of them written eight hundred years ago. It would perhaps interest
you to hear what the Martian conception of the inhabitants of Earth was
at that time."

"Indeed it would," I exclaimed, with rising curiosity.

"Well then," rejoined Almos, bringing one of the books and turning over
the leaves, while a curious smile still played about his mouth, "you
must understand that this was written over a hundred years before
super-radium was discovered, and at that time we had no means of
observing Earth except through the telescope, which showed us the
mountains, seas, and continents, much the same as your telescope must
reveal the physical features of Mars. On the question of whether Earth
is inhabited the author says:

"'That this planet is inhabited we have no reason to doubt, as it is
known to be enveloped in an atmosphere, and it is now a generally
accepted theory that the changes noticed in its color throughout the
year are the seasonal effects on vegetable matter existing on its
surface.... What the inhabitants are like, however, we can only
surmise, but a study of the conditions under which they live will help
us to picture the wild amphibious creatures they must be. Their planet,
more than half covered with water, and being so many millions of miles
nearer the sun than we are, is almost continually enveloped in heavy
clouds of vapor, which, unless they were half fish, must surely
suffocate them. They doubtless seek the depths of water when these
clouds of thick vapor arise. Upon emerging, however, they have to face
such intense heat as none of us could tolerate a minute and live....
They are no doubt provided with steel-like skin to resist this
temperature.... That they are of a fierce temperament there can be
little doubt, as their atmosphere, which is twice the weight of ours, is
so overcharged with electricity, owing to the heat and clouds of vapor,
that violent storms are constantly breaking over them, doubtless killing
thousands of them at a time and tending to make the natures of the
survivors as fierce as the elements which surround them.... Their year
is but half as long as ours, and this--impeding the laws of propagation,
thus making impossible the higher order of mankind--would naturally
have the effect of rendering their lives a short, reckless, and
ferocious existence, full of unrestrained cruelty and passions....'

"And now," continued Almos, with a smile, after closing the volume, "you
see there is no occasion for apologies from you."

"No," I answered, somewhat dryly.

"The fact is, my dear fellow," said Almos, laughing and seeming to enjoy
the situation immensely, "the entire solar system is pursuing the same
path; what A thinks of B, B has already thought of A."

The failing light on my instrument at this moment gave warning of the
passing of Mars out of wave contact, and we were obliged to bid each
other good-bye, Almos promising important revelations on the morrow.

As I stood for a moment before my instrument, now wrapped in darkness, I
was conscious of a strange feeling that, in bidding Almos adieu, I had
also parted from another inhabitant of Mars. Though well aware that I
had only seen and conversed with Almos, my mind, nevertheless, also
reproduced the likeness of a young girl, wonderfully beautiful. I had
first experienced this mental image immediately after my first
conversation with Almos. At that time I had tried hard to put it from me
as merely a delusion resulting from nervous tension. But I found that
after each interview with Almos, the image became clearer and more
definitely fixed in my mind, until now I firmly believed in the
existence of this beautiful being on Mars, and, remarkable though it
seemed, I could not deny my growing affection for her. I had not
mentioned this mental image to Almos, as I felt convinced that he knew
nothing of it, and therefore would be unable to help me in any way.
Moreover, my training had taught me to seek a scientific reason for
things which might appeal to the superstitious as weird and uncanny. I
was therefore loath to speak of it to Almos, until I had proved beyond
doubt that it was not an hallucination.

After I had spent many hours in vainly seeking a possible cause for this
mysterious mental image, the realization that I was but the veriest
infant in the wonderful achievements of our sister planet, finally
decided me upon the wiser course of leaving such matters until I had
become better acquainted with Martian inventions and scientific
progress. I therefore looked forward to visiting this wonderful world
with the greatest anticipation, and though I was entirely ignorant of
how this stupendous and seemingly impossible feat should be
accomplished, such was my faith in Almos' superior knowledge of science,
that I did not, for a moment, doubt the possibility of such a thing.
Little did I realize the fearful nature of the journey--the success of
which was based entirely on theories--or I would have shrunk in horror
from such an undertaking.



CHAPTER V.

THE HAZARDOUS UNDERTAKING.


The greater part of the next day was spent in moving the rest of my
belongings to my new quarters and in settling down there. Indeed, so
occupied was I with this task, that the approach of darkness found me
quite unprepared for wave contact with Mars. I had been obliged to take
my instrument apart in order to allow the larger pieces of furniture to
be brought into the room, and it required almost two hours to put it
together again.

When at last all was in readiness and I had turned on the current, I
found my Martian friend waiting for me.

"This is to be the last of my narrative," he remarked, after we had
greeted each other.

"What!" I ejaculated in amazement.

"You see, my dear fellow," continued Almos, "it was necessary for you
to become gradually acquainted with the advanced contions on Mars,
properly to understand them, and I have tried to school your mind
accordingly. It is essential, however, for you to see these things,
fully to appreciate the advancement of almost twenty centuries, and only
thus can my highest ambition be realized."

"How is it possible?"

"When I have told you of several important ways in which life on Mars
differs from that on Earth, you will more readily understand.

"I have said that unhappiness on Mars is almost unknown. It is only the
presence of ill health that causes unhappiness. If the body can be kept
in a condition of absolutely perfect health--and by that I mean
something far beyond what is considered perfect health on Earth--then
unhappiness is impossible. Its causes, sorrow, jealousy, envy, hatred,
and discontent, are eliminated, and a normal condition of perfect
immunity from wrong-doing and unhappiness exists.

"It has been discovered on Earth that crime is the result of a diseased
brain, and with us this discovery, in time, developed the fact that
wrong-doing, even in its minor phases, is the result of physical ill
health. Maintain, then, a perfect state of bodily health in a community,
and there is no wrong-doing and consequent unhappiness.

"The means of obtaining this bodily health was discovered on Mars, in
the form of invisible light rays, almost six hundred years ago, and its
discovery led to a complete transformation in social conditions,
establishing perfect tranquillity and happiness upon the entire globe.

"Separate governments became intolerable and were abandoned when race
distinction was forgotten, and the people of Mars became as one family,
speaking one tongue. Friendship for one's neighbor was transmuted into
love for one's brother. The pursuit of personal gain was replaced by a
desire to work for the good of all, and now a keen individual sense of
right and duty actuates the entire population, and is paramount in all
things. Duties are performed without other compensation than that which
the fulfillment of something well done brings.

"It was soon found that the remarkable regenerating properties of these
rays perpetuated life and youth. Not only did they prevent sickness of
any kind, but they rebuilt the tissues of the body as fast as they wore
out, thus making the aging of the body impossible. A child therefore
grows up to full manhood or womanhood and remains in that state of the
body's highest excellence. While the child is developing the rays
stimulate his progress; anything beyond that would be decaying, a
condition the rays prevent."

Accustomed though I had become to a long recital of the most marvelous
accounts without interrupting, I could not suppress an exclamation of
astonishment at the information that Martians enjoy everlasting life.

Almos received my evident amazement with the quiet smile I had grown
accustomed to observe upon such occasions, and, with a view of
illustrating the point further, said:

"Although one's actual age becomes a very unimportant matter when,
instead of being limited to sixty or seventy years, it extends over
hundreds of years, I can readily ascertain my age, from the fact that I
was twenty years old at the time these wonderful rays were discovered. I
have lived, then, about six hundred of Earth's years, or three hundred
Martian years."

"Six hundred years!" I exclaimed, as I looked at the reflection of his
handsome face; his eyes flashing, his cheeks aglow with ruddy health,
his whole countenance animated with the full vigor of manhood.

"Of course, we do not know how long the effects of regenerating rays
will make it possible to live," pursued Almos, "but in theory, it would
seem that by their daily use perfect health will be assured, and life
itself will continue indefinitely."

"And death become unknown on Mars!" I added, enthusiastically.

"Not quite unknown," rejoined Almos. "For lives are sometimes lost in
accidents. Instant death defies all our science, and will not be
conquered. But in accidents, no matter how serious, where a spark of
life remains, we can prevent that from escaping until the body is in a
condition to take care of it.

"This is accomplished by a device known as a virator, which, though
simple in construction, is the greatest marvel of the age. It consists
of a dome, made of material similar to glass in appearance, but which
differs from anything else known, in that it is absolutely atomless.
This dome fits over the operating table, upon which the patient lies,
with just sufficient room for two persons inside, and is kept at the
temperature of the body. On its top is a small globe made of the same
material, measuring but a few inches in diameter, which is connected
with the large chamber below by a neck or passage about an inch wide.
The patient is placed inside, and there operated upon. If life leaves
the body, either during the operation or after, the spirit ascends
through the narrow passage into the small globe above and is there
retained, as it cannot pass through the material of which the walls of
this chamber are constructed. The body is then kept continually bathed
in the regenerating rays, which not only preserve it as if life were in
it, but actually carry on the process of healing. This continues until
the body is in a perfectly sound and healthy condition again, and well
able to retain life.

"And now occurs the most wonderful of all. When everything is in
readiness for the spirit to enter the body again, a strong flow of
super-radium is sent through the top globe from an instrument attached.
Passing through the small chamber and down the narrow passage, it
reaches the body, and immediately changes to a return flow. This current
is but momentary; the patient is seen to move, and the body is once more
quickened by the life spark. The flow of super-radium has conveyed the
spirit of the patient from the small chamber above and released it in
the body as it returned, in exactly the same manner as it does with
light-waves or sound-waves."

"Marvelous!" I gasped, though my mind could only slowly comprehend this
almost miraculous achievement. With such vast scientific resources
nothing seemed impossible to Martians.

Almos had stopped abruptly. A change came over him. His face paled and
his lips set in a hard, determined expression. Instantly I felt my every
faculty strain to the utmost, in response to the new character of this
remarkable being.

Speaking slowly and deliberately, his keen eyes holding mine fascinated
by a strange fire that seemed kindled within them, he said:

"A few words more and we have reached that point at which death may
await the inhabitant of Earth who would proceed farther. A death that no
scientific knowledge can avert. I have tried to school your mind, to the
end that you may fully understand the nature of a desperate undertaking,
never before attempted by any human being, which, if you wish to
attempt, you must risk alone.

"Impelled by a motive that I cannot now explain, I have spanned the
millions of miles of universe lying between us by a bridge of theories,
which, should they prove realities, would enable you to see and live in
another world. Should they prove untenable, however, no power on Earth
or Mars can save you; in five hours all would be over. You must consider
the possible consequences ere it be too late."

"Never!" I cried. "My dear Almos, I am too vitally interested; I have
proceeded too far now to hesitate at any step toward such a goal.
Explain your theories to me, and I will test them, even if it costs me
my life, for Mars holds that which is dearer to me than life on Earth
ever can be."

"Well, my brave fellow," said Almos, his voice softening, "you must
follow me closely in all I tell you, and remember every word I say, for
to-morrow I can be of no assistance to you. Alone you must undertake the
journey."

I was glad Almos had not questioned me regarding the import of what I
had said in the enthusiasm of the moment, for I could not help feeling
now that I had acted unjustly in not confiding in him, at once, the
facts regarding the mental image of the beautiful young girl whom I
fully believed existed on Mars, and whose destiny, I was certain, was
inextricably bound with mine. I now decided to do so on the first
opportunity.

"I have explained to you how the spirit may be retained in the upper
chamber of a virator after it has left the body," pursued Almos, "and as
it is this apparatus we shall employ, I have but to describe the
additions I have made to it to meet our requirements, and also my
theories in connection with them.

"To the lower chamber or dome of a virator I have connected the
receiving apparatus of a radioscope, first removing the image surface.
This can be disconnected easily, and the projecting apparatus
substituted, from which I have also removed the image surface. Thus we
may have a free current of super-radium flowing from the radioscope to
Earth and returning into the virator, and by substituting the projecting
apparatus, we have a current flowing from the virator to Earth and
returning into the receiving apparatus.

"This is exactly the condition that exists in a virator in ordinary use
with these exceptions: the current of super-radium is made to flow
either in or out of the bottom chamber, as well as the top; instead of
being local, the current is between Earth and Mars, and consequently
much more powerful. The currents from both the top and bottom chambers
are controlled by clockwork which I have devised for that purpose, and
in place of an operating table in the virator I have substituted a
couch.

"And now I enjoin you to summon all your courage, for in this
undertaking nothing but nerves of steel will carry you safely through."

"I shall faithfully carry out your instructions, Almos," I responded,
trying to appear perfectly calm, though my being fifteen hundred years
behind Martian times never seemed so much a handicap as now.

"Follow me, then, word for word," resumed Almos. "Understand all I say,
for in the error of a second, the misconception of a word, the hesitancy
of a moment, there is death!

"To-morrow, when that part of the Earth's surface on which Paris is
situated appears, I shall attach the receiving apparatus of the
radioscope to the lower chamber of the virator, so that the return
current from Earth will flow into it. I shall then set the clockwork to
turn on the current of super-radium in half an hour. In that time my
body must be in a condition to receive your spirit."

I could not suppress a shudder upon hearing this, but I deemed it best
not to interrupt Almos.

"Filling a cone with the required amount of chloroform, I shall enter
the virator, and, reclining upon the couch, place the cone over my mouth
and nose. In a few minutes my spirit will have passed into the upper
chamber.

"By experimenting, I have found that regenerating rays are contained in
super-radium. In fact, my theory is that the regenerating rays and the
invisible rays of super-radium are synonymous. Such being the case, when
the current of super-radium is turned on by the clockwork, it will flow
to Earth and, returning, enter the virator and restore my body to a
normal condition, freeing it from the fumes of chloroform and making it
capable of receiving its new life.

"The glow of your instrument, in response to the super-radium current,
will warn you that this has taken place, and you must then prepare
yourself for departure. You will not observe any image, owing to my
having removed the lenses of the radioscope, but your instrument will
glow in response to the current.

"Having prepared a cone of chloroform, you must move a couch directly in
front of your instrument, so that upon lying down your body will obscure
the rays from it. You will thus know that you are in the path of the
super-radium current; this is of the greatest importance as, otherwise,
your spirit would undoubtedly escape upon leaving the body and be lost
forever.

"After taking every possible precaution to safeguard against any
movement of the body, place the cone securely over your mouth and nose.
Within a short time your spirit will leave the body and will instantly
be caught up by the super-radium current, on its return flow to Mars.
Entering the receiving apparatus and thus passing into the virator, the
flow will come into direct contact with my body, into which it will
discharge your spirit."

Almos stopped abruptly, consternation written on his face. A moment
later, I realized the cause--the two planets were passing out of wave
contact. At such a critical moment nothing could be more unfortunate,
and I was about hastily to suggest a postponement, when Almos exclaimed:
"It is all right!--I shall leave----"

Wave contact ceased before he had time to finish the sentence, and I was
left standing before the instrument in a state of irresolution.

How could I arrive on Mars totally unprepared to meet the conditions?
Upon my regaining consciousness these might present themselves in the
most urgent form, demanding immediate attention and a thorough knowledge
of Martian sciences. Almos' life, indeed, might depend upon just such a
condition.

Undetermined upon the course I should pursue the next day, my mind
filled with the most formidable fancies of so strange an undertaking, I
at last sought repose, hoping that with the morrow would come clearer
thought.



CHAPTER VI.

"AS OTHERS SEE US."


The next morning found me resolved to make the journey to Mars at any
cost. That Almos had intended to say he would leave further
instructions, I had no doubt. The instructions would probably be
written, and placed where I would immediately see them upon regaining
consciousness. In any event, I argued, if, at the usual hour of Martian
contact, my instrument should glow in response to super-radium, it would
clearly be my duty to fulfil my part of the agreement, for the glow
would be proof that Almos had fulfilled his and that his spirit had
passed into the upper chamber of the virator.

I had purchased the necessary articles for my remarkable journey, and
had taken the precaution to fasten a notice outside my door to the
effect that I would be out during the evening. I could not restrain a
grim smile at the thought of the uncanny literal truth in this
announcement.

These things done I fell to speculating upon what would be my experience
on Mars if, indeed, I ever reached that planet. For the first hours, try
as I would to check it, there was, at times, a doubt as to the outcome
of this wild soul-adventure. But, strange as it may appear, although I
fully realized the danger attending such an undertaking, the success of
which was based entirely on theories, it did not, in any way, act as a
deterrent. So great was the prize to be attained, that the risk of life
seemed unimportant. Indeed, the first step of the journey to Mars was to
take my life, as we understand the term on Earth, and, having become
reconciled to this, I was not sensible of any danger beyond. So absorbed
was I in these thoughts, that the time passed without my realizing it,
and only the fading daylight warned me of the near approach of the hour
of Martian contact.

I now made a complete examination of all the batteries and coils of my
instrument, as failure in any of these might result most seriously.
Finding all to be in perfect working order, I next proceeded to arrange
my couch so as to bring it directly between the instrument and the
window. Having thus completed my preparations, possessed by conflicting
emotions, I now waited for the appearance of Mars.

Early in the day I had arranged my letters and private papers so that in
the event of the worst happening, they could be readily packed, and it
now occurred to me that it would be only proper to leave a word of
explanation with them. I therefore hastily penned a note to a cousin
living in England--my nearest relative--briefly explaining my discovery
of the Martian super-radium current, and also the character of the
adventure in which I was about to participate. This note I placed with
my papers.

Returning to the instrument, I discovered that Mars was already visible.
Quickly turning on the current and finding no responsive glow, I knew
that Almos was already making the preparations he had described to me.
He had said that within half an hour the clockwork would turn on the
current, and the glow of my instrument would be the signal for my
departure.

No time was to be lost. Securely fastening the door of my room, I
prepared the cone of chloroform and extinguished the light, in order not
to excite the suspicion of a chance caller during the evening.

I now sat on the couch awaiting with anxiety the current of super-radium
that would convey me to the far world of my dreams. Minutes seemed like
hours, as I sat in the darkness, with every nerve strained to its
uttermost, awaiting Death. What if Death should refuse to release me!
Millions have been wrapped in Death's cold arms, but no mortal has
returned to give accounting.

What was that!--A blinding flash made me instantly shield my eyes. Ah!
The glow at last! But such was its dazzling brilliancy that I could not
stand the glare. I had been accustomed to see the glow gradually creep
up the surface of the instrument, slowly growing brighter as the rim of
the star appeared above the window casement, but this time Mars had
risen to full view before the current was turned on by the clockwork.
This was ample proof that everything had happened as Almos had planned.
It was now my turn to act and I must not hesitate. Stretching myself on
the couch so that I came into full contact with the current of
super-radium, I seized the cone saturated with chloroform, and fastened
it securely over my mouth and nose.

A few moments of a slightly suffocating sensation, then a long, long
fall, gradual at first, then quicker, quicker--

       *       *       *       *       *

With a feeling of exhilaration, such as I had never before experienced,
I opened my eyes and sprang to my feet. My brain was perfectly clear,
and so active that my mind utterly failed to keep pace with the
multitude of thoughts that were crowded upon it--thoughts that were
strange to my mind, yet perfectly familiar to my brain, if this
paradoxical statement may stand. It seemed as if my mind stood, apart
and marveled at the remarkable activity and knowledge possessed by the
brain--of which knowledge my mind was entirely ignorant.

I was in another world, millions of miles away from Earth. My mind
realized that something little short of a miracle had happened, and yet
I felt absolutely familiar with all the objects about me. The glass-like
walls that surrounded me, reaching up and forming a dome several feet
above my head; the narrow passage in the center of the dome (just as the
neck of a bottle would appear if viewed from inside), through which the
spirit of Almos had passed to the chamber above; all these were
wonderfully familiar to me.

I was in the virator, but it was uncomfortable to remain inside, as the
air was oppressively warm. Moreover, dictated my brain, I must prepare
the virator for my return within five hours, and my hand instinctively
grasped a lever in the wall of the apparatus. A door opened and I
stepped out, carefully closing it behind me. Again I was astonished at
my wonderful familiarity with everything. If I had lived on Mars all my
life, I could not have had a more intimate knowledge of my surroundings.
I seemed to know exactly how to proceed, and after attending to several
important details, and carefully noting the temperature of the virator
on a thermometer placed for that purpose, I consulted a chronometer to
ascertain how long it would be safe for me to remain on Mars. I found
that, allowing a half-hour for the process of arrival and the same for
departure, I had just five hours.

My mind, at first stunned by the new and strange conditions to which it
was subjected, now gradually began to realize its remarkable position in
relation to the brain.

That the mind and the spirit are one, or so closely related as to be
indistinguishable and inseparable, was now beyond doubt, as I was keenly
aware of all that had happened to me on Earth, showing that my mind not
only existed, but also possessed the same faculty of thought in Almos'
body as it did in mine while on Earth. Here was a positive proof, in
fact a demonstration, of the theory advanced by some scientists, that
the mind is separate and distinct from the brain.

But the gulf that lies between life and death remained as wide as ever.
Death was still shrouded in mystery, for my mind knew nothing from the
moment it left the body on Earth, until it awakened in the body on Mars.
Flesh and blood, then, were essential to the mind's existence. Mind or
spirit must have expression through some form. Although man may achieve
much by scientific advancement, that to which he has progressed is but
as a grain of sand in the desert, to the wonders that surround him.
Science shall never penetrate the mystery of those things that are
withheld from him.

The brain of which my mind now took control, acted merely as the
material handle by which the machinery of the body was operated, thus
converting thoughts into actions. But although my mind, having by now
become perfectly familiar with the strange conditions, was able to
record new impressions on the brain, there still existed the impression
of Almos' thoughts. It resembled a book which my mind could instantly
refer to and be guided by, and thus was I in possession of a perfect
knowledge of Mars, its people, and its language.

I now realized that my first actions, upon becoming conscious, had
simply been carrying out the instructions Almos had left for me. Strange
to the conditions in those first few minutes, I had instinctively done
what the brain dictated. In this remarkable way had Almos completed the
instructions he was about to give me when interrupted by the cessation
of wave contact.

Having thus arrived at what I felt to be the true relation of my mind
with Almos' body, I now turned my attention to the objects surrounding
me.

I stood in a room about the size of my laboratory on Earth. There were
no windows to admit light, but the ceiling, which was fully twenty feet
high, emitted a beautifully diffused white light, which filled every
corner of the room, leaving absolutely no shadows. Its effect was that
of daylight, and so closely did it resemble the sky, that, had I not
been supplied with Almos' knowledge of Martian science, I would have
naturally supposed that there was no ceiling to the room. Immediately
upon the question coming into my mind, however, I became aware that the
ceiling was coated with a composition, one of the component parts of
which was radium in a highly developed state. Its action upon the other
elements that composed this substance resulted in a perpetual light
without heat, which was equal in every way to daylight.

The tourist, finding himself in a new country, has but one thought, one
ambition, that of seeing all he can; yet, strange to say, although a
whole new world lay before me, my first thought was of Mother Earth. A
desire to view my old habitat as Martians see it seemed almost
irresistible.

To touch the radioscope that was trained on Earth, would result in an
instant change taking place in my body as it lay in the laboratory, and
this would be disastrous. It was only the regenerating properties of the
super-radium current that kept it in a state acceptable to my return,
and the delicate mechanism of this instrument was regulated so as to
keep the current exactly in position, as long as that part of the
Earth's surface was exposed to Mars. To interfere then with this
current, for a moment, would mean certain death.

Immediately I became conscious of the presence of another instrument,
which was in a room adjoining, and, feeling absolutely familiar with
every inch of the way, I proceeded thence. The room was a small one,
just large enough, indeed, to operate the radioscope, which was exactly
the same as the one in the room I had just quitted.

With a perfect knowledge of the mechanism of the instrument, I was soon
at work adjusting the projecting and receiving apparatus. An ordinary
telescope was attached to the huge tube of the radioscope, and with
Almos' dexterity I soon located Earth through it, thus sighting the
radioscope for that planet.

I had now but to turn on the current to see the people on Earth and
watch their doings, as had done Martians for hundreds of years, but,
with my hand on the lever that controlled the current, I paused.

The sight of Earth, as it appeared through the telescope, was too
beautiful to pass by with a mere glance. Half illuminated, owing to the
greater distance of Mars from the sun and the position of the planets at
that time, Earth appeared about the size the moon looks to the naked
eye. But what a wonderful sight! Bathed in sunlight lay the eastern half
of the continents of North and South America, faintly outlined by the
pale blue of the western portion of the Atlantic Ocean. So familiar was
I with the appearance of these two great continents as drawn in an
atlas, that I had difficulty in recognizing them as they now appeared.
Mexico and Central America seemed almost as broad as that part of the
United States from San Francisco to Washington; the whole tapering down
from Canada to Cape Horn almost in the shape of a cone.

Aeronauts passing over a lake or river are able to see the bottom, owing
to their altitude; this was undoubtedly the explanation of the strange
appearance of the continents of North and South America. On account of
the enormous distance I was away from Earth, the shallow waters appeared
as land, obliterating completely the familiar coast line, and only the
extreme depth of an ocean showed a pale blue.

Night covered Europe and Africa, which would otherwise have been visible
to me, and the shadow of darkness was steadily creeping across the
Atlantic Ocean, as the Earth revolved upon its axis. I could not
suppress a shudder at the thought that I must cover that enormous
distance ere it revolved too far.

I now moved the lever that controlled the current, and at once the lens
in the receiving apparatus shone with a brilliant dark blue color. The
current of super-radium had reached Earth and returned in less than a
second, and I saw, beautifully pictured before me, an expanse of ocean
with waves tumbling and tossing so near me that it seemed as if I were
but a few feet above them.

By diminishing the current I found that the image on the lens grew
smaller, the effect being exactly the same as that from a balloon
rising. The picture at first appeared slanting at an angle of about
thirty degrees, owing to the curvature of the Earth, but by manipulating
a small lever close at hand that operated a mirror in the radioscope,
this defect was corrected.

After searching about with the current, I at last came upon a large
steamer, evidently an ocean liner. Throwing huge billows aside in clouds
of white spray as she cut through the water, she made a beautiful sight,
and it was with difficulty that I kept her in the field of vision. As I
appeared to be looking straight down upon her decks, it was evident that
she was about in the center of the Earth's surface exposed to Mars.

I now moved the current in a westerly direction, travelling at what
would be a terrific speed on Earth, until I came to land. Not
recognizing the small coast town that first came in view, I moved up the
coast in a northerly direction, diminishing the current until I could
see a large stretch of country. Toward the northwest a large city
appeared, which I immediately recognized as Washington. Directing the
instrument to that city, I increased the current until the people on the
streets measured two or three feet on the lens of my instrument. Here I
found that the curvature of the Earth resulted in my looking down
obliquely at the objects on its surface, but not at a sufficient angle
to see the faces of those who passed across my lens.

But now I became aware of a strange condition that, owing to the motion
of the liner at sea, had escaped my notice before. Although I was
looking at the people passing before one of the large government
buildings in Washington, I had to keep regulating the instrument in
order to keep this building in view. Moreover, I discovered that I had
to regulate it as fast as I had done with the ocean liner. In fact,
obviously the liner's speed mattered but little; it was the rate at
which the Earth was revolving upon its axis and journeying around the
sun with which I had to contend. Through the telescope this was not
discernible, but now that I had come into such close visual contact with
the Earth's surface, I realized the terrific speed with which it rushed
through space. Hundreds of miles a minute was the speed my instrument
had to be regulated to, in order to keep an object on Earth in view--the
motion of the liner was insignificant!

Moving the current eastward over the Atlantic Ocean, I discovered that
darkness in no way hindered my view of objects on Earth's surface. The
reproduction on the lens, however, presented quite a different
appearance to that which I had witnessed while observing the part of
Earth illuminated by the sun. The beautiful colors which contributed so
much realism to the picture were now replaced by a sombre gray tone,
greatly resembling a photograph in appearance.

So absorbed had I become in all that this wonderful instrument revealed
to me of the different phases of life on Earth, that I forgot all else,
until, with a start, I realized that someone was moving about in the
large room which contained the virator that I had recently left. I was
filled with apprehension. Who could it be? And what was the reason of
this unexpected visit? Almos had not warned me against intrusion of any
kind, and I felt that to meet and converse with a Martian, thus
unprepared, would be impossible. In that room, however, were the
instruments that held two lives within their delicate mechanism, and
even now they might have been tampered with enough to cause the most
serious consequences. I must not hesitate a moment longer. Hastening
down the passage that led to the larger room, I pushed aside the heavy
portieres and found myself in the presence of a Martian.



CHAPTER VII.

THE MELODY OF FLOWERS AND ZARLAH.


My visitor appeared to be a young man of about twenty-five, tall,
handsome, broad-shouldered, and fair-complexioned, with that frank and
open countenance which claims the friendship of all men. Without a
moment's hesitation he stepped forward with outstretched hand and, in
the composite language of Mars, said:

"Good-evening, Almos. I am afraid this is an intrusion. I have
interrupted your studies, I know, but the fact is--"

"Not at all, my dear Reon!" I found myself replying. "I am glad to see
you at any time, and now, how can I be of service to you?"

Although I answered him in the composite language, and in a manner that
did not excite the slightest suspicion, I did so unconsciously. In
spite of the quandary in which I found myself upon coming face to face
with an inhabitant of Mars, I outwardly remained perfectly calm, nor did
it require any effort to appear so. The brain, in such an emergency,
followed instinctively its natural habit. It was as if another man had
spoken from within me, one who was perfectly acquainted with the visitor
and with Martian affairs. I found, however, when the surprise of the
first few moments had passed, that my mind could take control whenever
it exerted itself to do so. Thus I was able to say whatever I wished,
or, if necessity demanded, draw upon Almos' knowledge for information.
Replies came with the ease that Almos himself would have experienced in
answering questions, and I soon found that, with discretion, there was
no danger of my visitor suspecting the remarkable change of personality
in his friend.

I learned that Reon had come with a message from Sarraccus, one of Mars'
greatest scientists, who was about to give a demonstration of his latest
invention, a remarkable musical instrument called the lumaharp. A
recognized authority on anything of a scientific nature, Almos' counsel
was sought, and it was desired that he should be present at the recital
of this wonderful instrument.

Hastily ascertaining the time, I found that I had only two hours in
which it would be safe to remain on Mars. So interested had I been in my
observations of Earth, that the time had passed without my being aware
of the narrow margin I had left myself in which to see the planet. I,
however, informed my visitor that I would be ready to accompany him in a
few minutes, and with all haste, prepared myself for this new
undertaking.

I realized that once having left the observatory and stepped into a new
and strange world, many things might happen to prevent me returning
within two hours. But besides feeling that I was in duty bound to Almos
to attend this demonstration, I also felt that the risks I had taken
were too great to go unrewarded by even a glimpse into the life of this
wonderful planet. The future, too, held that element of uncertainty
which made me feel that I might pay dearly for the five hours spent in
another world. If the return current failed to do what was expected of
it, if I had erred in my calculation of the time I could remain on
Mars, or if my room had been broken into and my body moved, the results
would be disastrous.

I must attend this demonstration at any cost, but I would explain to my
host that it was most urgently necessary to return to the observatory
within two hours. I was now ready for the strange journey, and,
approaching my visitor, I said:

"And now, Reon, I will accompany you, but there is no time to be lost,
as an experiment I am conducting with one of these instruments demands
my attention in two hours."

I held back the portières as Reon passed out, and following him down a
short passage, we stepped out upon a wide balcony constructed of white
marble.

A wonderful sight met my astonished gaze. It was a summer evening, and
the dome of the heavens seemed ablaze with the light of myriads of
diamonds, so countless were the stars to be seen and so brilliant did
they appear in this rarefied atmosphere. Below me stretched out what
appeared to be a magnificent park, with white marble buildings scattered
here and there, while floating easily in the air were hundreds of small
canoe-like airships, containing the inhabitants of this fairyland,
reclining on cushions and enjoying sailing through the cool night air.
As the question of buoyancy of these remarkable airships arose in my
mind, I immediately became aware that they were sustained, in the air by
a metal which was used in their construction that was repellent to the
surface of Mars. It had been discovered by the Martians that their
planet, like a magnet, had both the power of attracting and repelling.
The north and south poles were found to be the repelling poles of this
immense magnetic sphere. Nothing could exist on these poles that was not
a fixture to the planet's surface, consequently no snow or ice existed
at the poles themselves. Many explorers' lives had been lost before this
discovery was made; those who succeeded in reaching the pole having made
the discovery too late to save themselves from being hurled off the
planet into space. But so small was the surface of this repelling pole
that it was argued that the pole must run through the center of the
planet, to make it equal in mass to the attracting force which covered
the rest of the surface.

Working on this theory, although it was impossible to reach the pole
itself without danger of being hurled off the planet, excavations were
made as near it as possible, and a tunnel was run under the surface
until the desired point was reached. A change from rock to ore was
encountered, with evidences of its having been subjected to intense
heat, and upon penetrating farther, pure metal was discovered. This
strange metal, unlike any other metal known to the Martians, was found
to possess a powerful repelling force. And when it was brought to the
surface, it was discovered that it not only retained its repelling
force, as a lodestone retains its attracting power, but that this same
force was greatly increased, doubtless owing to the close proximity of
an unfriendly element in the surface of the planet away from the pole.
The repelling force of this metal was found to be ten times as great as
the specific gravity of a piece of iron of relative proportions, and by
its use in the construction of airships, the problem of aerial
navigation on Mars had been solved.

Almos' knowledge of such matters made me instantly aware of all this the
moment the question of buoyancy presented itself in my mind, but,
although I could not help marveling at the ingenuity of this wonderful
people, I outwardly preserved the calm demeanor which Almos' strong
personality had made a characteristic. Indeed, Reon, who had been
preparing an aerenoid for our use--such was the Martian name for these
airships--was quite unaware of my astonishment, and it was plain that
with the exercise of due care, when I spoke without the prompting of
Almos' knowledge, there was no likelihood of anyone's having a suspicion
of my true personality.

The aerenoid in which we were going to make our journey differed in
appearance considerably from those which I saw floating about us.
Cigar-shaped, with windows in its sides and roof like a steamer's
portholes, it more nearly resembled a submarine boat than an airship, as
it rested on a platform built in the side of the balcony for the
purpose. Yet such was the repelling force of this wonderful metal which
the Martians had discovered, and which I found was attached in two or
more strips to the bottom of the aerenoids, that the matter of weight in
their construction was of little importance. While resting on the
ground these strips were encased in a material that was a non-conductor,
thus neutralizing the repelling force. In order to raise the car the
casing was merely drawn back by means of a controlling lever, until
enough of the metal was exposed to the surface of Mars to cause the
repelling force to lift the aerenoid, and by preserving this exposure,
any desired height could thus be attained.

The entire design of this aerenoid indicated that it was built to attain
great speed, and yet as I stepped into it through a door that closed
flush with the rounded sides, I was astonished at seeing no traces of
machinery. Instantly I became aware of the extraordinary means of
propulsion, however, and so simple, yet so effective, was it, that I
could not restrain a cry of admiration at this new evidence of
scientific progress.

Atmospheric pressure, instead of retarding speed, was employed to
produce it. Under the floor of the car and occupying the entire rear
half, was a chamber of steel, five or six feet broad at one end, and
tapering down with the sides of the aerenoid until it reached the stern,
where it ended in an opening one inch in diameter. By a chemical
process the air in the chamber was exhausted, instantly causing a
vacuum. Immediately the air outside the car rushed in through the small
opening at the rear end, with such great force as to cause a concussion
against the forward and broad end of the chamber, thus driving the
aerenoid ahead. So quick was this action that, when going at great
speed, more than one hundred exhaustions would occur in a minute. Simple
though this means of propulsion was, gravity having been overcome and
the long pointed body of the aerenoid offering little resistance, the
speed thus attained was remarkable.

Taking his position at the forward end, where a window in the top of the
car afforded a view ahead, Reon now moved a lever at his side and we
rose until clear of the observatory building. We then commenced to glide
along without either vibration or sound. Slowly we made our way through
the many small aerenoids that floated about us, and a soft light, coming
from a canopy containing the substance used to illuminate the
observatory, clearly revealed the occupants to me, as we passed close
by them. I now noticed that the women were wonderfully
beautiful--beauty that was possible only where sickness had been unknown
for hundreds of years.

Leaving this happy gathering, we passed over what appeared to be a river
about a mile broad, whose banks rose perpendicularly a hundred feet or
more from the water. These were illuminated with lights, placed every
hundred yards or so, giving it the appearance of a broad city street
stretching as far as the eye could see. At once it occurred to me that
this was one of the wonderful canals, visible even from Earth, and as we
passed over it I observed another canal, equal in proportions, running
parallel. Although both were on level ground, their waters were flowing
rapidly in different directions. What new wonder was this!

Into this second canal our aerenoid now turned, sinking slowly until
within thirty feet from the surface. Gradually our speed increased until
the lights along the banks formed one long unbroken line. One hundred
miles a minute we sped along, and yet without the least vibration or
sound. At such a speed it was possible to encircle Mars in seventy
minutes, almost, I thought, as rapidly as could Puck in "Midsummer
Night's Dream," who boasted of putting a girdle round the Earth in forty
minutes.

On we flew down the walled-in track, passing numerous other canals
equally as broad, flowing into it, until within ten minutes a faint gray
light appeared. It was daylight, and in a few moments sunlight crowned
the banks on either side of us. Even as I looked the sun itself
appeared, and in the space of fifty seconds it was high in the heavens.
In fifteen minutes we had covered almost a quarter of the globe, and now
it was the middle of the afternoon.

The importance of having speedways in which to confine aerenoids,
travelling at the terrific velocity of one hundred miles a minute, was
obvious, and what could be better adapted to the purpose than these
magnificent waterways, which completely cover the surface of the planet
with such geometrical exactness, that they have always been a source of
great wonder to astronomers on Earth. Thousands and thousands of years
old, the method of constructing this gigantic system of canals remains
enshrouded in the same mystery to the Martians, as that which surrounds
the building of the pyramids in Egypt.

I was now made aware of another valuable use to which the canals were
put, in fact a most important adjunct to the operation of an aerenoid.
The checking of such terrific speed would be impossible, were it not for
the water in these canals. We had covered several hundred miles without
propulsion, and our speed had not decreased perceptibly, when, moving a
lever at his side, Reon turned the aerenoid slightly downward. In an
instant we were plunging along the surface of the water, sending high
into the air great clouds of spray, which formed snow-white banks on
either side of the wake, and made a most remarkable picture. I now
realized why this high-speed aerenoid resembled a submarine boat in
appearance.

Gradually our speed was reduced until, moving at not more than a mile a
minute, we gently left the surface of the water and proceeded down
several branch canals. At last we slowly rose above the top of the canal
banks. Higher and higher we ascended until we were about a thousand
feet in the air, and then proceeded at a greatly reduced speed.

A veritable fairyland lay beneath us. Stretching as far as the eye could
reach lay a landscape of pink and green, dotted with white marble
buildings of magnificent architecture. Narrow paths, shaded by trees,
could be seen winding in and out over rustic bridges and beside
sparkling brooks. But nowhere did there appear either cities or
towns--not even a road was there to indicate a volume of traffic in any
particular direction.

No small aerenoids were to be seen floating about, and as the air in our
car was now very close, I realized that in consequence of the light
atmosphere of Mars, the sun's direct rays gave great heat. It was
evidently the custom for Martians to remain as much as possible under
cover in the daytime.

Opening the door of the aerenoid to obtain a fresh supply of air, I was
at once struck with the remarkable appearance of the sky, which was
intensely blue in color, but of such a dark shade as to appear almost
black. It presented all the appearance of night, so many stars were
visible and so brightly did they shine, while the sun blazed forth with
such brilliancy from the surrounding blackness, that it was impossible
to look westward without shading the eyes. I now appreciated the
enormous advantage of having an atmosphere as dense as Earth's, which
diffused the light to a much more comfortable extent. But the appearance
of the Martian sky was magnificent, and I stood lost in admiration
until, with a hardly perceptible shock, I discovered that we had come to
rest upon a ledge which projected from the circular balcony of a most
palatial building.

Jumping out, I moored the aerenoid by means of ropes that were attached
to the balcony for that purpose. I was aware that this was my duty upon
landing, and when I had made everything secure, Reon left his place at
the levers and joined me.

There were numerous other aerenoids moored to the balcony, some of the
high-speed class similar to ours, and a few of the lighter class
resembling rowboats. The balcony was entirely deserted, however, and it
was evident that all were inside listening to the recital of the
lumaharp.

As we proceeded across the broad balcony, I was astonished to discover
that the outside walls of this building were entirely covered with
beautifully carved reliefs, representing the inventions of Sarraccus.
Had it been daylight at the observatory, I would have noticed that it,
too, was decorated with the wonders of other worlds discovered by Almos.
The mountains on Earth, the seas, clouds, volcanoes, and ships; these
and many other objects that do not exist on Mars, were carved with
remarkable faithfulness upon the walls of the observatory, and were
looked upon by Martians as the wonders of a strange world.

As at the observatory, the doorway was hung with heavy portières, and,
passing through these, we found ourselves in what appeared to be an
immense palm garden, in which Martians were to be seen sitting in
groups, or walking about admiring the plants and flowers. Sunlight
streamed in through the roof, the covering of which had been rolled
back, and I became aware that it was in such places as this that the
Martians were to be found during the heat of the day.

Rain being unknown, it was necessary to grow the more delicate plants
where they might be watered regularly and sheltered from the heat of the
midday sun, and also from the hot winds that often came at this season.
I now realized that the trees that I had noticed were to be found only
upon the banks of streams and lakes, and that, with the exception of the
green these afforded, Mars was entirely covered with a small and hardy
pink flower of the antennaria family, which flourishes in a dry and
sandy soil.

Reon now left me, promising to return within an hour, in order that I
might reach the observatory in due time. As I walked slowly among the
tall palms, taking a path here and there at random and admiring the
beautiful beds of flowers, some of which I recognized as flowers also
indigenous to Earth, I noticed that all whom I met greeted me in the
most cordial way, some pausing to say a few words. I saw the importance
of saying whatever was prompted by the first appearance of the
individual, and I found that I could thus join in a most enjoyable
conversation with these charming people, with a knowledge of their names
and the matters of interest to them. All were very enthusiastic about
the lumaharp, and I anxiously awaited another number upon this wonderful
instrument.

As the paths I turned down were all strange to me, I judged that Almos
was not familiar with the interior of this particular building, but as
there were many gardens nearer the observatory, he would have no reason
to visit this one, except on an occasion of this kind.

Not realizing the enormous size of the building, I had wandered far from
the entrance at which I was to meet Reon, and had decided to ask to be
directed back, when suddenly I stopped, rooted to the ground, every
nerve straining to catch a faint melodious sound that seemed to fill the
air. No music on Earth could equal it! Before me arose a vision of
beautiful flowers--flowers that had thoughts as beautiful as themselves,
and that through the genius of a man poured forth their souls in a
volume of melody, so beautiful as to beggar description.

As Almos was perfectly familiar with this remarkable invention, a
gradual comprehension of the wonderful genius of Sarraccus, its
inventor, came to me. Tall, calm, and of dignified bearing; a man of
great learning, but of few words; Sarraccus had won the love and
admiration of all by his discovery of the regenerating rays that had
given the people of Mars perpetual life and health. He it was who had
discovered super-radium, and this wonderful power had, in time, been
used by others until many important inventions had developed from it,
such as the virator, the radioscope, the radiphone, illumination without
expenditure of power or material, and several minor inventions, all of
which, however, contributed greatly to the comfort and advancement of
this great people.

The aerenoid, one of his most important inventions, had made it possible
to reach any part of the globe within an hour, and this, coming at the
time of the great change in the social conditions on Mars, had expedited
the movement to a wonderful extent by bringing the inhabitants of every
quarter of the globe into daily contact with one another. So easy and
rapid was this means of transit through the air, that cities and towns
were soon abolished, and in the process of time, Mars attained the
ideal, and became a World Beautiful--the magnificent estate of one large
family.

And now Sarraccus had given the flowers a voice to sing of their
beauty. In the mind of this great genius was conceived the idea that
inasmuch as there is ineffable beauty to the eye in the soft colors and
shades of a flower--beauty too rare for the hand of man to
reproduce--there must also be a corresponding sweetness of sound or
vibration, if it were possible to transform its beauty into sound.
Light-waves, he reasoned, varying according to the color and shade of
the object, might be changed into sound-waves, if an instrument were
made sensitive enough to vibrate in response to these extremely delicate
undulations of light. The vibrations would then vary in accordance with
the light-waves, and a harmony of sound, corresponding in sweetness to
the beauty of the flower, would result.

After many unsuccessful trials, Sarraccus found a material that, in the
form of a fine wire, twenty or thirty feet in length, vibrated in
response to light of a certain color, as a wire in a piano or harp will
often be attuned sympathetically to a certain note in the human voice,
and will vibrate whenever that note is reached. The vibrations of this
wire in response to light, however, were almost imperceptible, and it
was only upon testing with a highly sensitive instrument that they were
discovered. Several wires were then made of different thickness, and
each was found to have a sympathetic vibration to a light of a certain
color. The quantity of wires was then increased to represent every
possible shade of color, and when these were stretched between two large
drums, a faint sound was detected. The drums were then enclosed in
chambers that led into large horns, and thus the sounds caused by the
delicate vibrations of the wires, though as soft as the sighing of the
wind, were diffused and augmented so as to reach into every corner of
the large building. Enclosed in a dark room, the wires occupied the
position of a plate in a camera, a large lens being adjusted in the wall
opposite them.

The image of a flower, illuminated by the sun's light, was now thrown
upon the wires, and a marvelous melody of sound resulted. Each delicate
shade of color in the flower found a sympathetic wire which vibrated in
response to it, and the harmony produced by all in chorus was the
ineffably sweet song of Nature. As Nature expressed its dreams of
beauty in flowers, which in their simplicity and radiance defy the hand
of man to equal, so did the melody of these flowers far surpass anything
that the ear of man had ever before heard. Did not the lilies of the
field receive the tribute of Christ? What wonderfully effective yet
simple truth would not He have heard in this surpassing melody? As
different flowers were placed before the instrument, so would the music
change; often sad and appealing as a whispered prayer, it would change
again to a joyous triumphal chorus, full of the gladness of life and
beauty.

For a moment I stood spellbound, then by some irresistible, mystic power
I was drawn to it; and eagerly seeking the paths that led in the
direction of the sound, I became aware that as I gradually understood
and sympathized with this compelling cry of Nature, so the melody seemed
to become my every hope. Ambition, love, aspiration, and passion surged
through that grand symphony. It was heard and understood by the soul, as
other music ministers to the ear, and as I eagerly listened I was
sensible of a yearning for a love--a love that was soon forgotten, and I
knew it to be mine. In the wonders of this new world I had forgotten
the love that, while on Earth, I had been ready to risk my life for, and
now it was the eleventh hour, and who could say whether I should ever
return to this paradise?

Seeing a little rustic arbor, and being overcome with the excess of
emotion and beauty, I turned my steps thither to rest and think.
Situated in a shaded corner of the building, the interior of the arbor
was almost in darkness, and I felt that here I would be alone and
unobserved. Every instant I grew more sad at heart over the time which I
now felt had been wasted, and as the melody died away, my head sank on
my arms, as I rested them upon the table before me. My Earth-tuned soul
seemed still to linger under the spell of the enchanted music.

I had remained thus but a few moments when I became conscious of a hand
softly laid upon my shoulder, and a voice, as sweet and gentle as the
melody that had just died away, murmured, "Almos, poor Almos!"

The touch had a healing in it and was as gentle as the fall of snow.
Raising my head I started up, giving utterance to the name that
instinctively came to my lips--"Zarlah!" It was as if another man had
spoken the name while I stood entranced with the small soft hand held a
prisoner in both mine, gazing down upon the beautiful being whose image
I had so often seen pictured in my mind. It was Zarlah!

I knew, now, that this beauteous image had not been an hallucination,
and by what miracle it had all happened I cared not. Enough that this
beautiful, radiant woman actually existed, and in one quick bound of the
heart, I realized my all-consuming, deathless love for her.

What I might have indiscreetly said in the great emotions of those first
moments, I know not, but before I could give utterance to further words,
Almos' calm demeanor had asserted itself, and in a voice that gave no
evidence of how I was torn within, I said:

"How is it, Zarlah, that you find time from your studies to linger
here?"

"My studies have brought me here," she answered, gently withdrawing her
hand and rising as if to go. Then quickly lifting her shining eyes to
mine, in a playfully reproachful tone, she said, "And have you no
experiments at the observatory that demand your attention that you can
afford to linger here, Almos?"

How beautiful she looked as she stood before me thus! Surely I could not
hope for a better time than now to tell her all that was in my heart.
There was uncertainty in the future--perhaps I would never again be
given the opportunity to speak that with which my soul burned.

Placing a hand lightly on her shoulder and looking down into her
wonderful eyes, I said tenderly, "The reason I have lingered here,
Zarlah, was to think of you."

A tremor of her slight form was the only response I received for some
seconds that seemed hours to me, then, with her eyes turned away so I
could not read in them my fate, she murmured, "Did you not come to hear
the wonderful instrument by which Sarraccus gives the flowers a voice?"

"I did," I answered passionately, "and its sweet melody whispered only
of you--the radiant rose of the spheres. It told me of the yearning in
my heart--it sang of your great beauty, and of my unspeakable love for
you, and sobbed at the time I have wasted, a fortune of golden moments;
then, as it died away, it led me to you. Is not this melody of flowers
direct from God's own hand, Zarlah? It must then be decreed by Him that
I should love you, for being truth itself, it can appeal only to the
truth that is within the soul."

I drew her unresisting form toward me, and, gently pushing back the
waves of soft brown hair, I tenderly kissed the beautiful face, radiant
with the light of love. A thought of fabled beauties of Earth passed
before me. Could any of them compare with my Martian love? Would not the
face of Helen--that which "launched a thousand ships" at Troy--have
paled into insignificance beside it?

For some moments we remained thus, neither of us caring to break that
sacred silence which to lovers means infinitely more than words. The joy
of feeling that my love was returned, and that she whom I held in my
arms was mine, made me forget all else, until, with a little sob, Zarlah
whispered:

"Dearest, in our great happiness, we must not forget the duties that
have been confided to us. You must return to the observatory at once.
Come, and I will accompany you to where Reon waits."

The truth of Zarlah's words flashed upon me, and with it a full
realization of the terrible mistake I had made. In the eyes of Zarlah I
was a Martian, her life-long friend, Almos, and her anxiety for me to
return to the observatory was the prompting of her Martian sense of
duty--her sole creed. In what words could I ever hope to explain that I
was not Almos, when the voice, the manners, the features, and even the
knowledge of her affairs were those of her intimate friend? And even if
it were possible to make Zarlah believe in the remarkable change of
personality, by explaining in full the weird and uncanny details of how
the change was effected, what happiness could I hope to derive from it;
it was Almos she loved, not a strange spirit of whom she could know
nothing--a spirit even from an alien world.

Such were the thoughts that filled my mind, as I walked beside Zarlah
through this more than Edenic garden toward the entrance where Reon was
to wait for me. But, although utterly crushed by the realization of my
own hopeless case, I felt that the knowledge of Zarlah's love, of which
I had so wrongly come into possession, had imposed upon me a sacred
duty. I therefore gave no outward evidence of my emotions, though my
cup of happiness was now changed to one of sorrow and bitterness, and
when Zarlah proposed that we should meet the following evening, I
quickly assented with all a lover's eagerness.

We had now reached the entrance and, as we stepped out on the balcony, I
saw Reon waiting for me with the aerenoid in readiness. Seeing a merry
party in a large open aerenoid, and knowing them to be Zarlah's friends,
I would have escorted her to them, but in a low tone she earnestly
besought me to lose no time in reaching the observatory.

A few words of farewell--a slight pressure of hands, and we parted; and
as I walked over to where Reon stood, ready for the journey, I could not
help marveling at the great sacredness in which all duties are held in
the eyes of the Martians; duties, too, that have no other reward than
their own fulfillment. A feeling of shame came over me as I thought of
the endless struggle, selfishness, and crime of another world that is a
slave to Gold.



CHAPTER VIII.

A HUNDRED MILES A MINUTE IN AN AERENOID.


Reon was at his place by the levers when I stepped into the aerenoid,
and as I closed and fastened the steel door, we slowly rose, and
describing a large circle, sailed toward the canal. As the sun was now
low in the heavens, numerous open aerenoids were to be seen, but these
were soon passed, and within a few minutes we had reached the branch
canal where our speed increased.

My thoughts were now turned to the long journey before me. So deeply
absorbed had I been in the rapid events since I left the observatory,
that I had given little thought to time. My great happiness at meeting
and being with Zarlah had caused me to forget completely the importance
of returning to the observatory within two hours, and as the thought
now flashed through my mind, I hastily consulted the time. To my great
dismay I found I had but twenty minutes in which to cover quarter of
Mars. This I knew was possible, but it left such a narrow margin that
any delay or accident, en route, would prove disastrous to our plans,
thus bringing fatal consequences.

We had now reached the large canal in which we had attained such great
speed, and, rising, we proceeded to pass over it. As we crossed the
banks there came a rushing sound from beneath us, as of a mighty gust of
wind, and, looking through one of the small windows in the side of the
car, I saw in the distance a speck, which, in another moment,
disappeared. Our aerenoid now gently rocked with the motion of a boat
that is in the swell of a passing steamer, and I instantly realized that
another aerenoid, travelling at a terrific speed, had passed in the
canal beneath us.

We had now reached the canal that ran parallel to the one over which we
had just passed. This was in every way similar to the first and was used
by aerenoids going in an opposite direction. Into this canal we turned,
sinking lower as our speed increased, until, when we had reached our
maximum speed, we were travelling not more than thirty feet above the
water. Thus, whenever necessary, we were ready for an instant plunge in
order to reduce our speed, and thus did this simple rule of starting
high and sinking lower as the speed increased make collisions
impossible.

As it was late in the afternoon when we started, the daylight soon
faded, and in a few minutes we had reached complete darkness, the double
line of lights on the canal banks being our only guide. Anxiously did I
count the minutes as we sped along, but knowing the danger of
distracting Reon's attention, even for a moment, while we were
travelling at such a terrific speed, I kept silent, nor did I allow my
manner to give any evidence of my anxiety.

I now realized that if I reached the observatory in time, I would owe my
life to Zarlah. Twice had she reminded me of my duties at the
observatory, and had insisted upon my immediate departure, when, under
the influence of her great beauty, I would have lingered until too late.
My mind was fully determined as to how to proceed with regard to
righting the wrong I felt I had done Almos, in confessing to Zarlah my
love for her. I would leave a note for him at the observatory to the
effect that I wished to communicate with him the following evening, when
I would tell him all.

The hopelessness of my love was plain, for it was Almos whom she loved,
and she believed also that Almos had confessed his love to her; and,
with a lover's conviction that everyone must love the one he loves, I
felt that Almos undoubtedly loved Zarlah. Indeed, it was probably his
affection for her through which I had silently won her confession. Almos
would then have no cause to regret my action, and Zarlah would never
know the strange circumstances that had brought them together. Thus did
I picture in my mind a happy conclusion to my selfish and precipitate
action, which, I had feared at first, must bring overwhelming sorrow and
humiliation into three lives, two of which were dearer to me than any on
Earth.

I was roused from these meditations by the sudden roar of rushing waters
as, in order to reduce speed, we plunged along the surface of the
canal. We were nearing our destination at last, and my mind at once
reverted to the now imminent danger--that of arriving at the observatory
only to find that the wave contact with Paris had ceased, and I was too
late ever to return to the world from which I had come. In such a case,
I determined to write a brief account of my experiences to Almos, and,
after arranging the current of super-radium so that it would convey my
spirit out of the virator (whither I knew not), I would then enter the
virator and deliver the body to its rightful owner.

Although I determined upon this course as being clearly my duty, in the
event of my being too late to return to Earth, the desperate nature of
such a proceeding roused me to action. We had now risen from the canal
and were floating slowly in the air at a considerable height. Striving
hard to suppress my agitation, I urged Reon to make more speed, and he
at once responded by increasing the power. As it was now after midnight
in this part of Mars, we were in no danger of encountering small
aerenoids in our flight, and in a few moments, to my great relief, I
distinguished the observatory lying far beneath us. Describing circles
over the building, we slowly descended and in a few seconds we had
reached the balcony.

Thanking my companion with a hearty handshake (which came perfectly
natural even on Mars), I bade him adieu, and, stepping on to the
balcony, made my way into the observatory with all haste. Everything was
in the condition I had left it, and I was greatly relieved to find that
the necessary time for the process of departure still remained, before
wave contact with Paris ceased. My heart now went out in true gratitude
and love to her who, in the simple desire to do what was right, had
placed duty before her love, and had thus been of such inestimable
service to me.

Immediately upon my arrival, I had prepared the virator for my journey
back to Earth by substituting the projecting apparatus of the radioscope
for the receiving apparatus. It was only necessary now to start the
clockwork that would shut off the current to earth in half an hour, and
would start the current flowing through the upper chamber of the
virator.

After having written a brief note to Almos, saying that I wished to
communicate with him the following evening before making another visit,
I made a hasty examination of the current of super-radium which now
flowed through the virator to Earth from the projecting apparatus. The
instant my spirit was released, it would be caught up in this current
and conveyed to my body, where it lay in my rooms in Paris. In half an
hour the clockwork would shut off the current flowing to Earth, and
would then turn on the current which flowed through the upper chamber of
the virator, thus transferring Almos' spirit back to the body, as it lay
in the lower chamber.

All was in perfect order, but it was not without a feeling of reluctance
and anxiety that I stepped into the virator and, after carefully
fastening the door, prepared the cone of chloroform. I realized that
there were many dangers attending the return journey that were not
present in my journey to Mars. If I had erred in my calculation of the
time the super-radium current could be kept on my body in Paris, or if
my body had moved in that time, it would undoubtedly mean death to me;
and the thought of whether Almos, in such a case, would learn of my
fate on the morrow flashed through my mind. Realizing the danger of such
apprehensions, not only from the loss of valuable time which they
occupied, but also from the fact that they tended to unnerve me at the
moment when hesitation meant death, I quickly fastened the chloroform
cone over my face and inhaled the fumes.

A moment's consciousness--a flickering light--

       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER IX.

THE REALIZATION OF A HOPELESS LOVE.


I opened my eyes--it was broad daylight, and for some moments I lay
dreamily surveying the familiar objects in my room, unconscious of all
that had happened to me during the previous night. Then, noticing that I
was fully dressed, a sudden realization of it all came upon me, and,
springing to my feet, I excitedly paced up and down my room, pinching my
arms and legs to make sure that they were in normal condition.
Satisfying myself upon this point, I then looked at the time, and, to my
astonishment, found that it was noon.

As Mars passed out of wave contact about one o'clock in the morning, I
must have slept eleven hours after the return of my spirit to Earth. I
had greatly feared that even if it were my good fortune ever to regain
consciousness, it would be only to discover that I had lost the use of
my limbs and was powerless to move. That the super-radium current would
preserve my body in such a natural condition as even to induce sleep I
would not have believed possible. Yet there was every indication that I
had awakened from a natural sleep. I felt fresh and full of vigor, and
there on my couch lay the cone which, in my sleep, I had unfastened and,
in turning over, crushed. If I had remained unconscious the entire time
there would not have been this evidence of restlessness, and I
considered it of importance as being proof that my sleep had been
natural. Beyond this, however, I did not consider the removal of the
cone from my face as important, as the chloroform must have completely
evaporated soon after I became unconscious.

Now that I was once again in my laboratory with the humdrum life of a
matter-of-fact world surging about me, evincing itself by the continual
roar of traffic which reached me through the open window, my remarkable
adventure of the night before seemed like a strange dream. As there was
no tangible proof that I had actually been on Mars, I might have been
led to the conclusion that I had chloroformed myself into
unconsciousness only, and had passed from this state into a deep sleep,
in which I had dreamed my remarkable experiences. But the clearness and
consistency of every detail were amply sufficient to convince me of the
genuineness of my experiences on Mars, and that the characters, so
vividly portrayed in my mind, lived in flesh and blood on a world
millions of miles away. Much more convincing than this, however, was the
moral obligation that I felt incumbent upon me--a duty I owed to
another. No dream could have left me with this keen sense of
responsibility.

Alas, I knew only too well that I loved, with an impossible love, a
beautiful being of another planet, and that my duty lay in the
renunciation of this love to Almos, its rightful possessor.

Thus my discovery had not brought me the joy of triumph. The proud
moments in an inventor's career when he holds up to the world the fruit
of his ingenuity and study could not be mine. Indeed, the thought of the
excitement that the news of such easy communication with Mars would
cause, if I demonstrated its truth before reputable scientists, made me
determined to guard the secret of my discovery the more jealously.
Hundreds of instruments similar to mine would be made, and it would soon
become known to all the inhabitants of Mars that they could talk to the
people of Earth, resulting in constant communication from all parts of
both planets. Such an innovation would soon be a regular pastime of the
rich. It would then be impossible for me to visit Mars again, as the
crossing of the currents of super-radium would add a grave danger to
such an undertaking.

The possibility of my secret becoming known through an accident (someone
breaking into my room or overhearing me talk with Almos) now occurred to
me, and, in the fear of my being separated from Zarlah forever, I
determined upon another visit to Mars that evening.

I had planned to tell Almos at once of my thoughtless confession of love
to Zarlah, but in an effort to justify my great desire to see her again,
I now saw several important reasons for postponing this. I had given my
promise to Zarlah to be with her the following evening, and it seemed
only honorable for me first to fulfil my promise to her. Moreover, under
the circumstances, it might be embarrassing for Almos to meet her upon
such short notice. When a man takes a step of this kind, he usually has
spent some time in consideration beforehand, how much more necessary,
then, is time for consideration when this step has been taken for him. I
therefore decided to keep my promise to Zarlah and to endeavor to visit
Mars again during the next wave contact.

I did not regret having left the note for Almos, however, as I had no
means of telling whether the mechanism of the virator had done what was
expected of it, or not. Almos' life depended upon the accurate working
of this mechanism after I had gone, and I was anxious to learn of his
safety. He would also want to learn of my safe arrival before preparing
himself for another undertaking of the kind; to see each other was
therefore necessary. Almos would undoubtedly have warned me of this, had
not the cessation of wave contact prevented him from giving me
instructions.

It was late in the afternoon when a feeling of intense hunger reminded
me that I had not tasted food for twenty-four hours. I contented myself,
however, with a light meal at a neighboring cafe, knowing the danger of
eating heavily at this time. To my great surprise, I found that this
small amount of food was evidently all my system required. Not only was
my hunger appeased, but, while returning to my rooms, I was conscious of
a strength and vigor which were entirely new to me, and which I now
remembered I had first experienced upon awakening. Could it be that the
super-radium current, possessing the wonderful regenerating rays that
had brought perpetual life to the people of Mars, was gradually working
this change in my body over a distance of millions of miles? Impossible
as this seemed there was no other way of accounting for the remarkable
change which had taken place in my body.

The intense excitement I experienced at the thought of possessing
perpetual life, health, and youth was but momentary, and I reached my
laboratory with a full realization of the enormous responsibilities
which my discovery was placing upon me. I could no longer keep it
secret; each day that I withheld the knowledge of these rays from my
fellow beings, hundreds, nay thousands, of lives would be laid to my
account. The knowledge had not been given to me that I should guard it
selfishly. The hope that, even though I could never call Zarlah my own,
I might often spend a few happy hours with her in her Martian paradise
was now shattered forever. I must stifle my love or commit a crime
against every living soul on Earth; and as I paced my room in agony,
with my hands pressed to my temples to ease their throbbing, a great cry
of anguish from the multitude in Death's grasp rang through my brain. My
heart was torn asunder by two great conflicting emotions, Love and Duty,
and in this torture of mind and body I moved restlessly back and forth
in my room, until the fading light warned me of the near approach of
wave contact with Mars.

There was but one course open to me; I would tell Almos of my experience
with the rays, and if he should decide that they were the same as the
regenerating rays, possessing all their properties, and that continual
life was now within reach of the people on Earth, I would make my
discovery public on the morrow. This would be my solemn duty, no matter
what sacrifice it involved, and I could not help feeling that this
second visit to Mars might be the last.

A hasty examination of my instrument assured me that all was in order,
and, turning on the current, I now watched the surface of wires for the
glow that would signalize the commencement of wave contact. Should this
glow appear without an image of any kind it would have but one
meaning--that the mechanism of the virator had failed to do its work the
night previous, and that disaster had befallen Almos.

My heart beat fast, therefore, when in a short time a faint glow
appeared on the upper portion of my instrument and rapidly spread until
it covered the entire surface. As it grew brighter I was obliged to turn
away, before I could recognize any image, and, as I stood shielding my
eyes from the strong glare, I felt my heart sink within me. But, before
I could approach the instrument again, I heard my name called in the
clear, ringing tones of Almos' beloved voice.

I reached the instrument with a bound, and there, standing with his
hands extended toward me and a smile of greeting on his handsome face, I
saw my brave Martian brother.

"My dear Almos, how glad I am to see you are safe!" I cried, tears of
joy springing to my eyes at finding that the fears of a moment ago were
unfounded.

"It is entirely due to your forethought in leaving the note, that either
of us are safe," Almos responded. "Had you not done this, disaster to
one or both of us must certainly have resulted, through ignorance of
each other's plans. Let me congratulate you, my brave fellow, for having
so successfully accomplished your remarkable journey. This is the
initial step in the linking together of the destinies of Earth and Mars.

"But now I should like to hear an account of your experiences here, for
although I have gradually become aware of many impressions you left, I
find it is only of the things suggested by my mind that I can gather
anything."

"Then it is evident that the brain is merely a book of reference for the
mind," I replied, "as I was not instantly aware of your knowledge of
Martian affairs, but only upon a subject being suggested by my mind,
was the information regarding it available. Thus, the mind is aware of
impressions it has made on the brain, but is totally ignorant of
impressions made by another mind, unless the thought is suggested."

I now gave Almos a brief description of my journey, explaining that, as
I intended to make another visit to Mars that evening, I would leave the
full account of my experiences until the following night. I was careful
not to make any reference to Zarlah, as I felt that my second meeting
with her would put me in a much better position to approach Almos on
this extremely delicate subject and lay before him my plans. Moreover, I
was anxious that nothing should interfere with those few happy hours to
which I looked forward with such intense desire.

Almos listened to my narrative with wrapt attention, and not until I
concluded by describing the remarkable effects of the regenerating rays,
did he give utterance to a word. Then, to my amazement, he said:

"The result is what I fully expected. The proof that the regenerating
rays exist in the super-radium current, lies in the fact that your body
was perfectly preserved for six hours, and there is no reason for
supposing that they differ, in any way, from the rays which preserve
life here for an unlimited time."

"Then I can no longer keep my discovery a secret," I declared
resolutely. "It becomes my solemn duty at once to make public the
knowledge of these wonderful rays emanating from Mars."

"What you say is indeed the truth," rejoined Almos. "The time has now
arrived; the existence of a people on Mars, our early history, progress,
and the conditions under which we live at the present day, must now
become known upon Earth; our inventions and scientific advancement must
be made available to Earth's scientists. Since the discovery of the
radioscope, which enabled us to see the people on your planet, Mars has
yearned to give a helping hand to her younger sister. That time has now
come, and before many years the conditions of life on Earth will be
similar to those here. A great work must be accomplished, however, but
the burden of that work rests upon me; when it is finished the goal of
my life has been reached. There are many things that are not clear to
you now, my dear fellow, but there is no time at present for
explanations. In half an hour I shall have prepared for your
visit--remember, no matter what happens, tomorrow all shall be
explained."

Having thus spoken, his voice and manner evincing great earnestness and
determination, he waved his hand in farewell, and instantly the
instrument was plunged into darkness.

For some moments I stood motionless under the spell that his remarkable
personality had cast over me, nor did even his abrupt manner appear at
all strange, such perfect harmony of word and action existed in this
Martian genius. Indeed, it seemed a fitting conclusion to all that had
gone before. Speaking rapidly, as though realizing the loss of time in
mere words, his handsome face, strong with determination, holding me
fascinated, he had confessed the ambition nearest and dearest to his
heart--that of giving to Earth the discoveries and inventions of
hundreds of years of advancement in science; all that had resulted in
the longevity, health, peace, and happiness which existed upon Mars.

Humbled at my own insignificance and full of admiration for this great
character, I turned slowly away, and, procuring a light, commenced to
prepare for my journey.

My letters and other papers, with a brief note of explanation, still
remained on my desk, and, as my glance fell upon this bundle, I became
conscious of a nervousness, which, although to many would be perfectly
natural at such a time, was entirely strange to me. I had not
experienced the least nervousness on the occasion of my first visit the
night before, yet the mere sight of this package on my desk, with its
note of explanation, now caused me an uneasiness, which, try as I would,
I could not ignore.

Making the few necessary preparations about my room for the night, I
secured the door with lock and bolt, and, drawing my couch before the
instrument, poured out a glass of wine and lit a cigar, hoping thus to
steady my nerves.

The day had been warm and close, and a thunderstorm of unusual violence
made the night a wild one. Vivid flashes of lightning that seemed to vie
with each other in intensity, darted from the heavens, accompanied by
deafening crashes of thunder that shook the building to its
foundations, while the shrieking of the wind, as though it were rushing
through the rigging of a ship at sea, added to the noise of the tempest.

Within a few moments the glow on my instrument would be the signal for
my departure, and, as I prepared the cone of chloroform, I could not
suppress a shudder at the thought of my spirit going out into the fury
of such a storm. It seemed as if Death, in the fear of being driven from
Earth and forever despoiled of his cruel victories, had turned loose the
elements in his fury, and waited without to wreak vengeance on my
audacious spirit as it sped through space.

An instant an intensely white glare on the surface of wires at this
moment gave evidence of the super-radium current. It was the signal for
my departure, and, with a brief but earnest prayer, I seized the cone,
and, taking my position on the couch, inhaled the fumes of chloroform.

       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER X.

ZARLAH'S CONFESSION.


It was with a feeling of thankfulness that, upon opening my eyes, I
found myself in the virator. The storm, which I had feared might prove
disastrous, had been passed through safely, and now reigned the
wonderful quiet of Mars. The strange uneasiness, which I had experienced
upon my departure from Earth, was forgotten in the anticipation of the
great joy before me, or I would have noticed that the usual calm, ever
characteristic of Almos, was lacking.

It was already past the hour of my appointment with Zarlah, and, eager
to be with her, I hastily made the necessary preparations for my return
to Earth. Although these consisted merely of changing the current so
that it would flow from the virator to Earth, and adjusting the
clockwork for the hour of departure, I had decided upon the importance
of doing this beforehand, as any mistake made in the haste of departure
would prove fatal to either Almos or myself.

These preparations attended to, I now made my way to the balcony. I had
relied upon Almos' knowledge to guide me to Zarlah, and, as I reached
the open air, I at once felt his judgment assert itself. Two aerenoids
were moored to the balcony, a large high-speed one of the submarine-boat
type and a small open one. Into the latter I stepped, and, with a
perfect knowledge of its operation, glided out upon the cool night air.

Gently rising to about three hundred feet, I lay suspended between the
fairyland stretched beneath me and the brilliantly starred heavens. I
was perfectly aware of the direction in which I was to go, but for a few
moments I lay thus suspended, enjoying as could only an inhabitant of
Earth, the strangeness and marvel of it all.

The little vessel had reached the limit of height to which it was
designed to ascend and, upon realizing this, I became aware that, for
safety, all aerenoids are limited to a certain height by the amount of
repelling metal used in their construction. The high-speed aerenoids,
owing to their build, being better adapted to withstand the atmospheric
conditions at a great altitude, can ascend several thousand feet, but
all are limited to what is considered a safe height for the class to
which they belong. The action of the repelling metal being independent
of the atmosphere, the danger of an aerenoid getting beyond control, and
rising above the envelope of air which surrounds the planet is thus
eliminated.

As these thoughts came into my mind, I glanced up into the heavens with
its countless stars--one being the world from which I came--when lo! a
remarkable phenomenon met my gaze. In the west hung a crescent moon,
somewhat smaller than Earth's moon, but extremely brilliant, while out
of the east rose another moon at its full. So rapidly did this latter
moon rise, that its journey through the heavens was perceptible, and it
was evident that within an hour it would sink into the western horizon,
having gradually changed its phase to a crescent. In seven hours it
would encircle Mars, and again appear above the eastern horizon.

My interest in this moon was intensified when I realized that it was
but a few thousand miles distant, and so small, that it would require
but a couple of days' comfortable walking to encircle it. Compared with
my journey from Earth, this few thousand miles seemed but an
insignificant distance, and I immediately thought of the possibility of
reaching it in a high-speed aerenoid to which a sufficient amount of the
repelling metal was attached to overcome the gravity of Mars. But I
instantly was aware of the fact that an attempt to reach this moon had
been made many years previously, and that the intrepid Martians who
undertook the hazardous journey, never returned. Although their aerenoid
carried enough oxygen to supply them for many days after they had left
the atmosphere of Mars, it was decided later that they had been lost in
space, unable either to reach the moon or return to Mars. The gravity of
so small a body would be insufficient to draw them to it, unless they
traveled straight in its direction, and, as the moon was moving rapidly
around Mars, the chances of this were admittedly small. Moreover, once
out of the atmosphere of Mars, it would be impossible to propel the
aerenoid, and, having missed the moon, they would travel on and on
through endless space. Had they reached the moon they could have
returned, as the repelling force on a body with so little gravity, would
be greatly increased, and would have hurled them into the gravity of
Mars again, as soon as they exposed the repelling metal. There could be
no doubt that they had never reached the moon, and their terrible fate
resulted in a safe limitation of this dangerous metal upon all
aerenoids.

So absorbed had I become in these intensely interesting details supplied
by Almos' knowledge, that time had passed without my realizing it, and,
reproaching myself for having wasted the valuable moments I might have
spent with Zarlah, I now moved the lever at my side and glided gently
forward.

The moon, however, as it rapidly journeyed across the heavens, seemed to
hold a strange fascination for me, and my gaze constantly reverted to
it. Had I realized that this fascination was caused by the approach of a
terrible danger, I might have paid heed to the warning, but desirous now
to get to my journey's end, which, according to Earth's proverb, should
end in a lover's meeting, I thought only of the time I had lost, and
impatiently put the subject from my mind.

Moreover, as my meeting with Zarlah drew near, thoughts that were
relevant and of a more serious character filled my mind. My present
visit to her now began to appear most unjustifiable. If I had found
excuse for my action of the previous evening, in the enthusiasm of so
suddenly beholding the object of my adoration, unaccustomed as I was to
my strange position, I had no such excuse now. To appear before her
again as Almos, after having seen my folly and realized the deceit of my
position toward her, would be an act of shameful duplicity. I had not
realized this before, for I had thought only of my great love for her
and the joy of again being with her, but now the crushing force with
which the truth presented itself, caused me to hesitate before taking
another step that I now felt would be impossible to justify before
Almos. In this great uncertainty of mind I glided slowly along.

The wonderful stillness of the night was broken only by the faint hum of
voices and merry laughter that reached me from below. Glancing down, I
observed numerous open aerenoids floating some two hundred feet beneath
me, while now and then those of the high-speed class appeared, slowly
wending their way toward the canals, to fly to different parts of the
globe. But although I was aware that for convenience of landing it was
customary to travel just high enough to escape the buildings, I
continued on at my present elevation, as I felt the need of deep and
earnest thought, which I realized would be impossible amid the gay
throng nearer the surface.

As the highest speed attainable by open aerenoids, which were used
mainly for pleasure, was but eight miles an hour, my journey of five
miles gave me ample time for meditation; and when I at last alighted on
the balcony of a small white marble villa, to which I had instinctively
guided my aerenoid, I had fully determined upon what I felt to be the
only honorable course to pursue. This was to confide all in Zarlah, and,
no matter at what cost, to reveal to her the strange conditions that hid
the identity of a being from another world behind that of her friend
Almos.

Having secured my aerenoid, I stood on the balcony, entranced at the
beauty of the scene before me, which lay bathed in a wonderful
starlight--far more brilliant than the light of the full moon upon
Earth--shed by a myriad of blazing gems in a sky that knew no clouds. A
perfect stillness reigned, save for the rippling laughter of a little
stream, that wended its way through an avenue of trees to a lake of
glistening silver, a short distance beyond.

"What happiness would be mine in such a paradise, with Zarlah for my
own!" I thought, and a great anguish filled my heart, as I realized the
impossibility of it--and now for the first time I also realized the
impossibility of life without Zarlah. A sudden dread of meeting the one
I loved came upon me--a dread of seeing the light of love in her eyes,
even for an instant, knowing that it was not for me. I felt I could not
bear to behold the look of tenderness in her beautiful face change to
one of hatred, upon learning how she had been deceived; and in my agony
of spirit, I cried in a voice of deep emotion:

"Ah, Zarlah! I have won you, yet you are not mine! You have loved me,
yet I am not loved!"

"I am yours, and I love you, Harold," softly protested a voice at my
side.

With a start I turned and beheld Zarlah, and for a moment I stood as if
gazing at an apparition.

Realizing my bewilderment, she laid her hand gently upon my arm, and in
a low voice, full of compassion, said: "It is Harold Lonsdale whom I
love!"

In a delirium of ecstasy I caught the small white hand and pressed it to
my lips. Passing my arm about her I drew her tenderly toward me, gazing
down into her beautiful eyes where lay a world of tenderness and love.
My heart was too full for words--it was all too wonderful to understand;
enough that I knew Zarlah to be wholly mine, and in those few silent
moments of absolute happiness and contentment, the little stream's merry
laughter seemed to swell into the great joyous chorus of all creation,
behind which is the great love principle.

Together we left the balcony and walked beneath the giant trees toward
the lake, Zarlah relating to me how, through an instrument she
possessed, which transmitted and received thought-waves, she had not
only learned of Almos' communication with Earth, but had descried a
mental picture of the inhabitant of that distant world with whom he had
spoken.

On the evening of my first communication with Mars, Zarlah was testing
this instrument on Almos' mind, when, to her great astonishment, she
came into thought communication with Earth. As this was the first trial
of the instrument, Almos himself was unaware of the success that had
crowned Zarlah's invention, though he had taken much interest in it, and
had on several occasions given his advice during its construction.
Although this instrument was only capable of transmitting and receiving
thought-waves over a few miles, it was evident that through the medium
of Almos' mind, which was in communication with mine, the thought-waves
were conveyed to Earth by the super-radium current.

Zarlah had thus learned of my proposed visit to Mars, but had not known
when the attempt was to be made, until, seeing Almos in evident distress
at the recital of the lumaharp, she had feared that the attempt had
proved disastrous. When, however, I evinced my astonishment at seeing
her, she knew instantly that before her stood the personality of the
man from distant Earth, who had been projected to her in mental
pictures, and who was called Harold Lonsdale. When I spoke to her of my
love, she realized that her image had also been projected to my mind,
and, as she listened to my impassioned words, she recognized in them the
thoughts of love that had accompanied the projection of my image.
Indeed, my every thought of Zarlah, during wave contact, had been
projected to her through the medium of this remarkable instrument.

With a keen desire to see and examine the mechanism, by which thoughts
could be transferred over millions of miles, I said: "But where is this
wonderful instrument of which you speak, Zarlah?"

We had reached the lake, and now stood on the bank overlooking its
glistening surface.

A tremor ran through her slight form as she drew closer to me, and said
imploringly: "You must not ask to see it! Oh, Harold! Do you not realize
the grief this instrument has brought into our lives? Have you partaken
of the sweetness so deeply, that you fail to perceive the bitterness
that lies beneath? You can be but a beloved memory to me--the memory of
a lover millions of miles away--but we are separated by that which is
far greater than distance!"

Her voice died away in a sob, and, as I drew her gently toward me, she
wept bitterly. Thus had I of Earth brought tears into a world that had
not known sorrow for hundreds of years.

"But, dearest," I argued, tenderly smoothing back the soft brown hair,
and striving to cheer her, "we are now commencing on an era of planet
communication, and it may not be long before a means is discovered of
actually transferring people from one planet to another. Did not
explorers, some years ago, have this in mind, when they attempted to
reach the nearest moon? And even though they failed to reach their goal,
who knows that they were not drawn to some planet that was in opposition
at that time, and are now prepared for a return journey at the next
opposition? With the complete absence of resistance there is in space,
their speed would become terrific--thousands of miles a minute--and at
such a rate it would be possible to reach a planet in opposition, long
before their month's supply of oxygen became exhausted. Heat would not
be generated as there would be no friction until the planet's
atmosphere was reached, but long before this they would have applied
their repelling force, which would reduce their speed, thus enabling
them to sail gently through the atmosphere and alight safely on the
planet's surface."

Although I had not as much confidence in such an achievement as I sought
to inspire (well knowing the vast difference between a spiritual
transfer and a material one over such a tremendous distance), I wished,
above all, to cheer Zarlah. Indeed, I feared that grief might bring the
most serious consequences on Mars. I was greatly relieved, therefore,
upon observing her countenance light up with a sudden interest, as I
expressed these sanguine predictions as to the future.

It was not until some hours later, when I was alone, that this incident
caused me much anxiety, as I remembered that, in spite of the keen
interest Zarlah had evinced, she had carefully avoided any allusion to
the subject afterwards. But in the subsequent events of the evening this
escaped my notice, and, glad to observe the soothing effect my words had
upon her, I did not pursue the thought further.

We had descended by a flight of stone steps to the water's edge, and,
as we stepped upon the narrow strip of pebbly beach, walled in by
cavernous rocks, Zarlah, with great earnestness, exclaimed: "You are
right, dear Harold, we must be hopeful, and not waste the few precious
moments we have together in regrets that are useless. We shall always
love each other, and if we are brave--even unto death--Love will find a
way!"

Poor Zarlah! Little did I imagine the desperate plan that was already
forming in her mind when she uttered these words, that before the close
of another day would indeed have proved her "brave even unto death."

Drawing closer to me and turning her beautiful face up to mine, she
said, after a pause, in which she seemed to read my very soul: "Before
me lies a duty, Harold, which with you at my side I have the strength to
perform, but without you the sacrifice is too great."

"What is it, dearest?" I asked, pressing the little hand I held to my
lips.

"It is to destroy the wicked instrument of which I have told you. I had
not the courage to do this before, as I feared for your safety in
returning to Earth, and to have destroyed it then would have left me in
fearful suspense. But now I must put away, forever, this awful thing
that possesses the power to reveal the thoughts of my fellow beings,
that its mechanism may never become known and thus prove an eternal
curse to the world."

With these words, Zarlah disappeared for a moment in the gloom of a cave
nearby, and, returning with a small metal box, said in a voice which
betrayed great emotion: "Take it, Harold, and hurl it far out into the
waters of the lake, where it will sink forever from sight!"

The earnestness with which Zarlah had spoken of this device, proved how
deeply its existence troubled her conscience, and restrained me from
making any attempt to persuade her from thus severing a connecting
strand between two hearts so widely separated. I therefore took the box
and, with all my strength, hurled it far out into the lake, where it
sank to remain a secret for all time.

Swiftly flew those precious moments in which Fate had destined that two
hearts from separate worlds should taste of each other's love, and
then--what? Alone in our great love we drank deeply the cup of
happiness, and the hour of parting, ever drawing nearer, seemed but a
cloud on the horizon. At last, yielding to necessity, we retraced our
steps, leaving the scene of our joyous love behind, and the dread of
parting filled our hearts and stifled our words of happiness.

Strange to say, as I stood in that other world, there surged through my
alien mind some lines of Clinton Scollard's, which I had once learned,
little dreaming of their significance:

    "Lo, it has come, the inevitable hour
    When thou and I, beloved one, must part;
    When heart be sundered from caressing heart,
    And ungloomed skies be turned to dreary gray."

A silence fell upon us, both dreading to put into words the thoughts we
knew must be spoken. Then, as our hearts beat audibly in the sacred
stillness of night that had fallen about us, Zarlah murmured, clinging
to me in despair, "Oh, Harold, my love, how can we bear the agony of
being parted!"

"I would give my life to remain with you, dearest!" I answered, pressing
her passionately to me, but in a more soothing tone I added,

"We must be brave, love, it is but for a day--to-morrow I shall return,
but before my departure from Earth I will speak with Almos, and tell him
that I wish to abandon my body forever and to abide in spirit on Mars.
In a virator constructed with two upper chambers, my spirit could be
retained indefinitely, and I would then see you daily through the medium
of Almos. To-morrow, dearest, I shall return to you with good news."

"Ah! Harold, you do not see the impossibility of such a thing--you
cannot behold it through a woman's eyes. No, no! I can never see Almos
again! I gave my love to you through his medium, and to see him when you
were absent would be greater agony than I could bear. I must go with
you, Harold, to the world in which you live, where I can have you
always."

With words of love and assurance I tried to comfort the brave little
heart that beat so loyally for me, and, fearing to leave her in this
unhappy condition, I lingered until barely time remained in which to
reach the observatory before Paris would pass out of wave contact.
Explaining this to Zarlah, we hurried to the villa, and, as we ascended
the steps to the balcony, I beheld a large high-speed aerenoid resting a
short distance from mine. This, Zarlah begged me to take, explaining
that by rising a few hundred feet above the elevation of small
aerenoids, I could safely exceed the customary speed of local traffic.
She explained that her brother had just returned in it from the north,
where he had spent the day in the enjoyment of winter pastimes.

My heart was too full of the sorrow of parting to be aroused to
enthusiasm at even such a wonder as this, and, realizing that I would be
unaccustomed to an aerenoid that was strange to Almos, I decided to
trust to the smaller one reaching the observatory in time. But not a
moment was to be lost, and, begging Zarlah to be courageous until my
return the following evening, I pressed her to my heart in a last fond
embrace.

Oh! the agony of that moment, as I felt the slender form in my arms
convulsed with sobs, while I, struggling frantically with the emotions
that tore my heart, whispered words of passionate love; and as at last I
rose in the night air, condemned by Fate to journey millions of miles
from her I adored, my soul cried out in its anguish:

    "'Ah, Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
    To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
    Would not we shatter it to bits--and then
    Re-mould it nearer to our Heart's Desire?'"



CHAPTER XI.

THE DISCOVERY AT THE MARTIAN OBSERVATORY.


Although I well knew the fatal consequences of arriving at the
observatory too late, and realized that in this slow travelling aerenoid
my chances of covering the five miles in time were but slight, so
depressed and desperate was I that I gave the matter little thought.
Indeed, my mind was entirely occupied with thoughts of Zarlah. Vainly
did I search Almos' scientific knowledge for a means of transportation
over millions of miles of space. All my theories led to but one
conclusion--that no material transit over such an enormous distance was
possible. My heart sank within me as I thought how brief my happiness
had been. But then came the bewildering realization that an eternity of
loneliness would not be too much to pay for the unutterable joy which
nothing could take from me. Raised aloft to the highest pinnacle of
happiness, I had been permitted to experience the joy of Zarlah's
love--a love that I had thought was for Almos--only to be dashed down
into still deeper despair. Then a great anguish filled my heart as I
realized that before I was alone in my misery, which, through a
thoughtless action, I had brought upon myself, but now my agony was
shared by a loving and trusting heart that had been joined to mine by
the decree of Fate.

The thought of the unhappiness I had brought into Zarlah's life maddened
me, and when at last the aerenoid rested upon the balcony of the
observatory, I stepped out, caring little whether wave contact had
ceased or not. I would enter the virator in any case, and at once fulfil
my obligation to Almos, through whose generosity I had been permitted to
visit this veritable paradise. Then, if wave contact with Paris still
existed my spirit would return to my body which lay there, but if not, I
felt that Fate would have thus solved the hopeless tangle into which it
had precipitated me.

As I proceeded across the balcony, I was astonished to observe a
high-speed aerenoid lying close to the one I knew belonged to Almos.
What could it mean! That a visitor would enter the observatory knowing
Almos to be absent, I could not conceive, as I was well aware of the
sanctity of a dwelling in the Martian mind, especially when that
dwelling was the theatre of such experiments and observations as the
observatory conducted by Almos.

Greatly perturbed I turned and entered the building, and, with all
haste, proceeded down the corridor. As I reached the portières of the
large room, the sound of someone within moving about caused my heart to
beat wildly, and, thrusting aside the curtains, I beheld Reon.

For a moment I was mute with astonishment, then, as he smilingly
advanced with extended hand, I knew instantly that he was present at
Almos' request. Without further time for thought, I grasped his hand and
greeted him cordially, realizing that no matter what the object of his
visit was, it was known to Almos, and under no circumstances must I
appear surprised. Without waiting to be questioned, Reon offered me a
slip of paper on which I observed Almos' handwriting.

"I carefully followed your instructions, Almos, regarding the virator,
and, half an hour later, I turned off the current of super-radium. I was
just preparing to leave. You are late in returning, are you not?"

While Reon thus spoke, I had gained time to glance hastily over the
instructions that Almos had written upon the slip of paper which I held
in my hand, and I now replied, with every nerve strung in an effort to
appear calm:

"I am, Reon, a whole hour late, and very sorry, indeed, to have kept you
waiting so long. But now, my good fellow, you must be off; I will not
detain you a moment longer than it takes to thank you for your kindness
from the bottom of my heart."

So saying, I shook his hand warmly, and accompanying him to the balcony,
waved him adieu.

The gratitude which I had thus expressed to Reon, was by no means mere
acting. My hasty glance at the instructions had convinced me that he had
been the means of saving my life. Without noticing the hour mentioned, I
had just time enough, while Reon was speaking, to note that he was
instructed to turn on the current from the upper chamber of the
virator, and, half an hour later, to shut off the super-radium current.
I felt that Almos had in this way prepared to save my life, in case I
arrived at the observatory too late to return to Earth. With wonderful
forethought--perhaps even a premonition of my late return--he had
requested Reon to visit the observatory and instructed him what to do at
a certain time, with the result that Almos' spirit had been transferred
to my body in Paris, before it was lost forever by passing out of wave
contact.

Hastening to the virator, I now examined it, and found that Reon had
faithfully carried out the instructions, although he was unaware that in
so doing he had saved a life, doubtless thinking that in Almos' absence,
he had merely attended to the details of an important experiment.

I felt that I could never repay Almos for all he had undertaken for my
safety. The following evening I would enter the virator, and do
precisely as Almos had done on previous evenings. When Almos' spirit had
arrived, he would then change the current to an outflowing one, and
dispatch my spirit to Earth.

Although my thoughts of Zarlah had been interrupted by the excitement
incident to finding Reon at the observatory, I was soon absorbed once
more in the subject ever foremost in my mind. With my head resting on my
hands, I sat hour after hour, endeavoring to conceive some plan--no
matter how hazardous--that would result in my being able to remain on
Mars with Zarlah. But the gloom of despair only deepened, and all
solutions were perforce dismissed.

At my feet lay the slip of paper which bore the instructions for Reon.
Many times during the long hours of deep thought, had my eyes rested
upon it, only to seek a new object as a new problem confronted me.
Suddenly, starting to my feet and snatching the paper from the ground, I
uttered an exclamation of astonishment. For the first time, I noticed
the hour at which Reon was to carry out his instructions--_it was three
hours before the time for my departure_!

Almos had, then, deliberately planned to take my place on Earth, and in
return to give me his on Mars. How I had been kept in ignorance of these
plans, I knew not, but, as I stood staring at the paper in my hand, my
mind gradually comprehended all that Almos had, until now, so
successfully hidden from me.

Impelled by these strange revelations, I hastened to the sleeping
chamber, and glanced eagerly around in search of some message that would
explain more fully the reason for Almos' departure to Earth. Nor was I
disappointed, for upon the couch lay a letter addressed to "Harold
Lonsdale." Almos had naturally supposed that I would retire soon after
making the discovery that he had gone to Earth, and that I would then
find the letter which, in this chamber, was safe from Reon's
observation.

As I read the contents my eyes filled with tears of overwhelming
gratitude, and my heart went out in sincere affection to him who, in
this brief message, which was the sacrifice of a strong and noble
character, offered me his life on Mars with the love that he had known
was mine, but which otherwise I could never possess.

Pacing the room under the influence of strong emotions, I laid the
letter down, only to pick it up again and reread its contents carefully.
No other man, living on Earth or Mars, could have done as much for me
as had Almos this night. He had not only saved my life, but had given to
me the thing that was far dearer. It was a princely gift, and my mind,
trained as it had been to the cramped confines of a sordid existence in
a mercenary world, was slow to comprehend the limitless wealth of
happiness and love which it bestowed upon me. Sleep was impossible, and
I longed for the morning, that I might hasten to my beloved, and tell
her of the happiness that was ours.



CHAPTER XII.

THE WARNING OF DANGER----THE RACE WITH DEATH.


Slowly crept the long tedious hours of darkness. The heavy cloud of
despair that had so long hung over me, now being dispelled as if by
magic, I was all impatience. My heart yearned for the moment when,
gazing into the depths of Zarlah's wondrous eyes, I should see
there--not the appealing timid look, full of the dread of hopeless
separation from her lover, that had so wrung my heart at our last
parting--but the radiant happiness of perfect contentment and fulfilled
desire. I had thrown myself on the couch, and, as a miser jealously
counts over his gold, fondling each precious bit with eager fingers, so
I pondered on the happy hours spent with Zarlah, carefully reviewing
each golden moment with its precious burden of Love's confessions.

Suddenly I sprang to my feet--a piercing, despairing cry of "Harold, my
love, save me! save me!" was ringing in my ears.

It was Zarlah's voice, and some terrible danger confronted her.

Rushing into the adjoining room, I glanced anxiously about--all was
still. The numerous books and instruments lay just as I had left them,
and I gradually realized that, tired with the experiences I had lately
undergone, I had unconsciously fallen asleep, and Zarlah's cry for help
was only a dream.

Although greatly relieved by this discovery, my mind remained in a state
of unrest. I was oppressed with a sense of danger which, in spite of my
endeavor to overcome by occupying my mind with the volumes of Martian
astronomical discoveries, I found to be impossible. Laying aside the
book I had endeavored to read, I started to my feet and paced restlessly
to and fro, but each footfall, echoing in the profound stillness, seemed
to be an appealing cry for help. A premonition that a terrible danger
hung over Zarlah came upon me, and, maddened by the thought that I
remained inactive, whilst yet I might save her, I rushed out upon the
balcony.

The sun was just rising, but in place of the gray light of dawn on Earth
with its beautifully colored eastern sky, there appeared sharp contrasts
of the blackest darkness and the most brilliant light, in the long
shadows that were cast across the landscape. Without the diffusion of
light which the denser atmosphere of Earth causes, night seemed to
linger on the very footsteps of day. Though the remarkable effect of
this Martian sunrise would have been pleasing under other circumstances,
it now served only to increase my apprehension, warning me that I was in
a strange world, and that I must be prepared to meet extraordinary
emergencies.

I had but one thought, that of reaching Zarlah as speedily as possible
and saving her from the awful fate which menaced her. What this fate
was, I knew not, but I could feel its presence like the hot breath of
some ferocious beast, as it stands over its prostrate victim. Greatly
did I now deplore the loss of Zarlah's valuable instrument.

With eager hands I prepared the high-speed aerenoid for the journey,
feeling that I must trust to Almos' knowledge of its operation to carry
me through safely. Though I realized that the danger was increased a
thousand times in an aerenoid capable of such terrific speed, the fear
that even now I might be too late compelled me to make use of it.

Taking my place in the forward part of the car, I was greatly relieved
to find that my hand instinctively sought the levers, and operated them
with a judicious care that could result only from long experience.

Rising high enough to avoid small aerenoids, I proceeded at a
considerable speed and soon came within sight of Zarlah's dwelling. The
serene and peaceful appearance of this beautiful white marble villa, as
the morning sun glorified it, quickly dispelled the fears that had
brought me hither at such an early hour, and I gladly attributed them to
overwrought nerves and the loss of a night's sleep.

Moreover, as I slowly circled over the lake that only a few hours before
Zarlah and I had wistfully gazed upon together as we built a world of
happiness for ourselves, I felt that I was near to her, should the
danger of which I had been forewarned prove real. Here in the scene of
our happiness I would wait through the early hours--the last hours of
our separation.

Slowly descending, I brought the aerenoid to rest in a spot obscured by
trees from the villa. A few feet away, the little brook sparkled merrily
in the sunlight as it leaped along on its journey to the lake, and, as I
opened the door of the car, its joyous song swelled upon the fragrant
morning air, laughing at my forebodings in this world of peace, as it
had laughed at my despair of the previous night.

As I stepped out into the warm sunlight and made my way toward the
lake, a great joy filled my heart. It would not be long ere Zarlah
shared with me the happiness of the knowledge that we need never again
be separated.

"Poor Zarlah!" I murmured, as the memory of our last parting with its
great anguish of a forlorn hope sent a pang to my heart. "The bitterness
in thy cup was indeed great, but it is past. Oh, my beloved, awake to
the light of a new day filled with gladness, and sorrow shall not again
cross thy path!"

I paused, fancying I heard footsteps, and, glancing back, listened
intently. All was still, and I was just about to proceed when again the
sound came. This time I could not be mistaken; it was the sound of
hurried footsteps some distance off and in the direction of the villa.

I was still hidden from the villa by the trees, but across the stream,
some thirty yards away, was an opening from which a view of it could be
had. Leaping the stream I hastened thither, anxious to learn the cause
of the untimely activity. Another moment, and I should have been too
late to see a slight figure, laden with what appeared to be wraps and
other travelling equipment, hurry across the balcony and step into the
large high-speed aerenoid that I had observed there the previous
evening.

It was Zarlah! But what was the reason of this hasty departure at such
an hour? Suddenly a frenzy seized me, and, rushing toward the villa, I
frantically called to her, but it was too late. She had not seen me,
and, before I had taken many steps, the aerenoid rose rapidly to a great
height and disappeared over the trees.

Not a moment was to be lost. Turning, I dashed wildly back toward the
aerenoid I had so foolishly left in concealment. Reaching the stream, I
stumbled over an entanglement of vines and plunged headlong therein,
only to scramble, dripping and bruised, up the opposite bank and
continue my frantic efforts to reach the aerenoid, before Zarlah's car
had disappeared from sight. What her intention was I knew not, but the
early hour, the haste with which she had departed, and the absence of
her brother, all conspired to arouse the fears that had beset me during
the long hours of the night.

Arriving at the aerenoid at last, after a journey that seemed to consume
hours, I jumped in and closed the door. Frantically I seized the lever
that controlled the ascension and, pulling it so that the full repelling
power was instantly exposed, the car bounded high into the air with
terrific force.

The shock hurled me off my feet, but in an instant my eyes were again
fixed upon a mere speck many miles distant, which I knew to be the
aerenoid containing all that life possessed for me. As the car plunged
forward at great speed, the speck disappeared, and I at once realized
that Zarlah had reached a canal, into which she had turned her aerenoid.
It was now impossible for me to see which direction she took, and unless
I arrived at the canal within a few seconds, I felt that all hope of
overtaking her would have vanished, as she would doubtless proceed at
full speed and soon be lost to sight.

Opening to its fullest extent the valve that controlled the exhaustion
of air in the chamber beneath, the velocity of the car soon became
terrific, and, rising still higher as I sped along, I caught sight of
Zarlah's aerenoid proceeding in a northerly direction.

With a disregard for all safety I swerved to the north, thus forming the
third side of a triangle, of which the other sides were the course
Zarlah had taken. This movement reduced the distance between the two
aerenoids considerably, and upon turning into the speedway of the canal,
I was greatly relieved to find that I was but a few miles in the rear.
The hope that Zarlah might see the car speeding so close behind her,
flashed through my mind, but instantly I realized the impossibility of
such a thing, for a glance behind, even for a second, while travelling
with such frightful velocity, would entail certain destruction by being
dashed to pieces against the sides of the canal. My only chance lay in
overtaking her and making some signal, and with my free hand I wrenched
at the speed valve, endeavoring to open it wider.

On we sped in our wild career over the planet's surface. Hundreds of
miles were quickly swept beneath us, but not one foot did I seem to
gain. Vainly did I strive to put from my mind the fears that lurked
there, by seeking a plausible reason for Zarlah's strange action.

On, on we flew, each aerenoid going at its maximum speed; surely Zarlah
had gone far enough north; she must slacken her speed soon to turn down
a branch canal, and I would then be able to run alongside of her car and
signal my presence. There was a gleam of hope in this, and to it I clung
like a drowning man to a straw.

The air in the car, which had steadily grown colder, was now biting in
its sharpness, and as I clutched the steering apparatus with numbed
hands, a white object loomed up in the distance and in a second flew
beneath me--another came, then another, and another, and as they
appeared in greater numbers, I observed that they were huge blocks of
ice. The sight filled me with grave apprehension. It was now impossible
to stop our terrific momentum, yet in spite of this great danger, on and
on we sped, still farther north.

What could be the reason for this perilous journey? Did Zarlah not
realize the danger to which she was exposed, rushing thus madly into the
wilds of the North--the region of the Repelling Pole--without the means
of stopping?

Suddenly I shrank in horror as a fearful thought entered my mind. My
senses reeled, and a strange sensation swept over me, as of an awful
Presence in the car with me. "No, no," I muttered between clenched
teeth; "it cannot be! She surely realizes that it would be going to a
certain and terrible death!" And as I frantically wrenched at the valve
in an effort to get more speed, a strange hollow voice echoed through my
brain, laughing at my unutterable agony, and crying with fiendish glee,
"Your love has no thought of stopping; she hastens to her bridegroom,
Death!"

As hot irons scorching the living flesh, the words burned into my
brain, setting it on fire. It was the voice of Death--which voice no
living mortal can mistake--and I recognized it also as the fury of the
storm which was abroad when I departed from Earth, and the echo of the
stream's song of peace in the midst of danger. Had Death thus followed
me from the world in which he thrived to wreak this vengeance upon me,
by tempting my bride into his arms, believing that she hastened to her
love?

On, on we rushed into the region of the dreaded Pole. All signs of the
canal had disappeared, and before us lay only a vast uninhabitable field
of ice. I stood at the levers, frozen rigid with the intense cold, but
with my eyes ever on the flying object before me, while visions of my
beloved one, now so close to death, passed rapidly through my fevered
brain. As if Death had thus planned to torture me, before tearing my
loved one from my very arms, I seemed to stand impersonally apart and
watch two lovers--Zarlah and myself. Bending over her, I tried to
console her with a false hope--a story of impossible fulfillment. I
succeeded; and now I saw that I had laid the trap which Death had
placed in my hands to draw her toward him, and, with a cry of horror, I
tried to wrench my hand from the lever to which it was frozen, so that I
might shut such a scene from my sight--

I realized the meaning of it all now. Zarlah, unable to obtain the
repelling force necessary to carry her off Mars, was rushing toward the
Repelling Pole to be hurled off the planet, risking all in the hope of
being drawn to Earth, which was in opposition. It was a vain hope--alas,
I knew this too well. She was rushing to her death--a death that I had
lured her to, and my hands would be stained with the blood of my
beloved.

Desperately I wrenched at my frozen hands to free them from the metal to
which they adhered, with a wild idea of smashing the window and calling
loudly to Zarlah. The skin tore from the flesh like paper at the fury of
my efforts, and I freed my hands at last, only to find that my arms hung
lifeless at my side.

In a frenzy of grief and despair at my utter helplessness, I fell on my
knees, crying aloud, "Oh, my God! Save her from this awful death!"

A sudden gloom filled the car, and, struggling to my feet, I found that
we had entered the belt of semi-darkness that covers the polar caps in
their winter season. Our doom was near at hand--nothing could save
Zarlah now, and only by swerving my car around instantly and returning
could I preserve myself. But life was nought to me without Zarlah--I
preferred death to such an empty existence. Condemned by Fate to be
separated in life, we would meet death together.

I could dimly see Zarlah's car outlined against the white snow beyond,
but, even as I stood now helplessly and silently awaiting the end, a
dark line rapidly spread over this field of white. Beyond, all was
black, and as this sharp-cut boundary line rapidly approached Zarlah's
car, my blood froze in my veins, for in this vast area of bare black
rock I recognized the terrible power of the North Repelling Pole. There
was another moment in which my heart refused to beat, then a groan of
great anguish escaped my lips, as Zarlah's car was hurled upwards into
space with frightful velocity.

Shutting my eyes I awaited death. For an instant it seemed to me that I
heard Zarlah's voice call to me in clear accents, then came a terrific
shock which hurled me to the far end of the aerenoid, amid a confusion
of furniture, books, and instruments that had been torn from their
fastenings. Frozen into a state of utter helplessness, my senses fast
leaving me, I lay unable to extricate myself from the heavy mass.

In this comatose condition I remained totally ignorant of the lapse of
time, until, feeling the terrible pressure diminish, I opened my eyes
and dreamily beheld the heavy instruments and pieces of furniture move
gently away, and bump against one another as they floated lightly about
within the car.

Relieved of the great weight, I now breathed more freely. My senses grew
clearer, and soon I became conscious of a loud hissing noise close at
hand. Drowsily I turned my head in the direction of the sound, and
discovered that it came from the door in the side of the aerenoid. In an
instant the full faculty of my senses returned, as with intense horror I
realized the cause--the air of the car was escaping into the void of the
universe without! Desperately I struggled to gain my feet, but being
without weight, the effort resulted only in my drifting helplessly about
the car, until, gasping for air, I realized that the end had come.

A moment's consciousness of being drawn gently to the floor of the car
again, while the furniture and other articles that had been drifting
about piled lightly upon me without any perceptible weight; a slight
shock, then, as the suffocating sensation became more intense, a
blackness rushed in upon me, and my senses reeled--

       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XIII.

THE END OF A PERILOUS JOURNEY.


A tall, gaunt figure, swathed in black robes, Stood waiting some
distance from me. I knew that it was Death, for under the hood I beheld
the grinning skull with its sightless eye-holes, and I turned away in
loathsome dread. But even as I did so, the bony arms were stretched out
in welcome, and to them ran a slight girlish form--it was Zarlah! For a
moment I stood paralyzed with horror, then rushing toward the now
retreating figures, I called out wildly, "Zarlah! Zarlah! Flee not with
Death! I am here--your Harold is here!" Suddenly I was seized from
behind; instantly my strength seemed to be sapped from me and I fell
back exhausted, crying in my despair, "Oh, my God! save her! save her!"

A cool, soft hand was laid upon my burning brow, and a sweet voice
gently murmured, "Poor Harold! If you could only know that God in His
mercy has saved us both!"

It was the voice of the living, not the dead, and slowly the words
formed a meaning in my confused brain, dragging me from the depths of
unconsciousness to the life that still existed about me, warmed as it
was by the wondrous power of a woman's love. Opening my eyes I beheld
Zarlah bending over me, her beautiful face full of compassionate love.
It seemed as though in a dream my loved one had come to me, and for a
moment I lay peacefully gazing into her face, feeling neither curiosity
nor alarm. Then, as my mind awoke to a realization of all that had
transpired, a sudden bewilderment came upon me, and, clasping the hand
that sought to ease my head, lest the vision should vanish, I cried:

"Zarlah, my beloved, speak to me! Are we by a miracle saved from the
death that had engulfed us, or is this the strange meeting of our souls
after death?"

At the sound of my voice, Zarlah clasped her hands in a fervent prayer
of thankfulness, then, burying her face on my shoulder, gave way to a
flood of tears.

"Oh, Harold, my love!" she sobbed. "Thank God, you have been spared to
me! It is indeed by a miracle that this moon, intercepting our aerenoids
in their wild flight through space, thus brought us together at the
eleventh hour, and laid you helpless and dying at my feet."

"The _moon_!" I gasped, raising myself and staring out of the window at
my side in astonishment, as my mind gradually comprehended our
hairbreadth escape from death.

A blazing orb of fire, shining from the intense blackness around it, was
all that met my gaze, and I sank back, exhausted with the effort, into
the arms that awaited me.

"Tell me more, darling," I said, as a great happiness came over me, and
my heart was filled with the simple desire to hear the gentle voice I
loved. What mattered it to me whether we ever reached Mars or not? The
future held no fears for me now; enough that I had Zarlah, for the walls
of the aerenoid that surrounded us seemed to compass the whole universe.

"Ah, my love!" sighed Zarlah, bending over me and nervously clasping my
hands in hers, "now that the danger is past and you are restored to me,
the long hours of agony seem like a dream. But, oh, the anguish of that
moment when I beheld another aerenoid lying close to mine, upon the
surface of the moon that had intercepted my journey to Earth! My soul
cried out that in it lay my beloved, suffocating to death. Who else
would have followed me over the dreaded Pole! With wild haste I attached
an oxygen respirator to my mouth, and, releasing the air from the car,
sprang out upon the surface, little suspecting the danger that lurked
there. But so small is the force of gravity upon this moon that I was
without perceptible weight, and the tendency to rise with every step I
took filled me with terror, and I crept upon my hands and knees to the
aerenoid which lay a few yards away. Opening the door, I found you lying
apparently lifeless upon the floor. My heart told me that it was my love
who lay within Death's grasp, and, desperate at the thought that you had
been so near to me, only to be torn away by the hand of Death, I lifted
you up and hastened with you back to the aerenoid I had left. The small
amount of gravity now aided me, and I carried you without feeling the
burden.

"Filling the car with oxygen and applying regenerating rays, I waited
for a sign of life. Oh, the agony of those moments, as in despair I
frantically called your name! At last the sign came--a quiver of the
lips, a faint breath--and I knew there was hope. Gradually your
breathing became stronger, but a terrible fever raged within you.
Through long, long hours on this strange globe I knelt beside you,
listening to your piercing cries of delirium, as you lived that awful
experience over and over again. Little by little, in the cries of agony
that rent my heart, I learned how you had come to me a moment too late;
how you had followed my aerenoid, and, being unable to stop me, had
rushed to the fate that was mine, to be hurled into space, unprepared
for such a journey; how you had suffocated, and--oh! my love, as you lay
through the long hours, gazing at me with wild unseeing eyes--ever
calling my name--imploring me not to rush to my death--I at last
despaired of your life, and my soul prepared itself to fly with yours to
the life beyond, leaving our bodies clasped in each other's arms, to
circle round the world which had denied us our love until the end of
time!

"But suddenly the light of reason came into your eyes--your voice lost
its wild accents, and I knew that you had been restored to me. In a few
hours now, Harold, the rays will have completed their work, and you will
be in full possession of your former strength."

What a happy future we now looked out upon! The danger of our position
upon a heavenly body but a few miles in diameter, with barely enough
gravity to hold us on its surface, was forgotten in the great joy of
being together and feeling that we should never again be parted.

I related to Zarlah all that had happened since I had left her; how I
had encountered Reon at the observatory and learned of Almos' departure
to Earth, and how I had later discovered the letter in which Almos gave
to us the great happiness we had despaired of ever possessing. And now
the fast encroaching darkness warned us of the approach of a lunar
night. As darkness with us would necessarily mean daylight on that part
of Mars to which we had come opposite in our journey round the planet, I
felt that now had arrived the time for action, as Mars would become
visible. Moreover, as the days and nights of this rapidly moving
satellite were but three and a half hours in duration, I realized that
no time should be lost in making the necessary preparations for our
hazardous journey. But although I was now able to get on my feet and had
the use of my arms, I had not by any means regained all my strength, and
upon laying my plans before Zarlah, she urged me not to undertake such a
journey until the rays had fully restored me. Therefore it was decided
to postpone our attempt to reach Mars until the following night.

But soon a strange and unforeseen incident warned us of the great danger
to which we were exposed on the surface of this diminutive moon, and
left us no alternative but immediate departure.



CHAPTER XIV.

HURLED FROM THE MOON.


Together we stood gazing in silence out into the abyss over the small
surface of the moon that was visible to us, oppressed with a sense of
awe as the sun dropped from sight, leaving us plunged in darkness.

Suddenly there appeared from out of the inky blackness of the heavens a
huge crescent, stretching across the sky far above us. The sight of it
fascinated us, and, as we stood lost in admiration at the majestic
proportions of the beautiful arch of light, ever growing in width, we
gradually realized that it was the sun-tipped rim of the planet which
our moon was journeying around--the world from which we had been hurled
and to which we must return.

A sense of great reverence overpowered me; I realized that we looked
upon sights, and felt great forces never before bared to mortals.
Through my mind ran lines of Addison's ode:

    "The spacious firmament on high
    With all the blue ethereal sky,
    And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
    Their great _Original_ proclaim.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Forever singing as they shine
    The hand that made us is divine."

Slowly the light crept over the planet's surface until the huge
illuminated sphere, almost filling the entire heavens, made a scene of
the most exquisite grandeur that human eyes have ever beheld.

"Dearest!" I exclaimed, with sudden impulse, as a most remarkable and
terrifying fact occurred to me, "wonderful though our deliverance from
death seems to us, it is even more miraculous than we had any conception
of! To meet with this moon in our journey through space, we must have
described an arc, as this satellite never passes over the pole."

"How can such a thing be possible?" returned Zarlah, in tremulous
accents, drawing closer to me as the awfulness of our narrow escape
appalled her.

"Ah, my love, we may never know that!" I answered. "The Great Creator of
all these wonders has, indeed, guided us to this haven in our wild
flight through space. We can but theorize that the pole, being several
miles in diameter, hurled us from its edge, the tremendous repelling
force not permitting our aerenoids to proceed over its surface. The
rotary motion of the planet upon its axis would then cause us to
describe a curve in our flight from its surface, as only in the center
of the pole would this rotary motion lose its effect."

"Oh, Harold," whispered Zarlah, timidly, when I had finished speaking,
"the thought of these terrible things and the sight of this immense
globe hanging over us fill me with dread! Do you think we shall ever
reach our world again? It appears to be so near and yet is so far away
from us. What veritable atoms we are in the glory of this tumultuous
whirl!"

"I do not think we could possibly miss it, sweetheart," I answered,
cheerfully, as I placed my arm about her and drew her away from the
window which commanded a view of Mars. "Come, let us look out upon the
little globe that supports us; we are entirely missing the beautiful
effect of this grand reflection of light"

The surface of the moon was now bathed in a beautiful diffused light,
and our surroundings where once more visible. Indeed, many objects,
which we had been unable to see in the dazzling brilliancy of the sun's
light, as it blazed forth from a heaven unsoftened by any atmosphere,
were now clearly revealed. We had approached a window and were looking
at these new objects of interest, when Zarlah suddenly cried in dismay:
"Look, Harold, look! The other aerenoid is moving!"

Quickly turning my gaze in the direction indicated, I saw the aerenoid
in which I had made the journey from Mars move a space of several yards
with a jerky motion, then, to my intense horror, glide off the surface
of the moon into space. At the same instant, the car in which we stood
rocked as though about to turn over upon its side.

Not a moment was to be lost! Some unknown force was exerting its
influence over the movable objects on the moon's surface. What this
power was I knew not, but the direction in which the aerenoid had
glided proved it to be other than Mars. Our position was now perilous in
the extreme, for were we suddenly to glide off into space we would
undoubtedly be lost, as it was necessary to have air surrounding us in
order to propel the car. Without an atmosphere we would therefore be
helpless and entirely at the mercy of the unknown and mysterious power.
Indeed, it was evident that only our increased weight had saved us from
immediately following the other aerenoid, and I felt that at any moment
we might do so. Although lacking the power of propulsion, my hope was
that our repelling force, which I knew must be increased to an enormous
extent by the slight gravity on the moon's surface, would hurl us off
that satellite straight upward into the influence of Mars' gravity.

Seizing the lever, I cried to Zarlah to He on the floor of the car, but
even as she did so, the aerenoid rocked again with still greater
violence--in another moment it would be too late! Thrusting the lever
over, I exposed the full repelling force to the moon's surface. The
shock hurled me to the floor, and so terrific was the force with which
we shot upward, that I was held powerless to move hand or foot. For a
space of time which seemed to me hours I was obliged to remain thus,
contenting myself with calling words of encouragement to my dear one,
whom I greatly feared must have suffered severely from the awful shock.
At last, finding that I could rise, I hastened to her side, and, to my
great relief, discovered that she had entirely escaped injury.

As it was impossible in any way to control the aerenoid speeding upward
through space, it was useless for me to stand by the levers, and,
assisting Zarlah to rise, we approached a window in the roof of the car
and glanced upward at the planet to which we were rushing. A remarkable
phenomenon met our eyes! Mars appeared to be no longer a sphere--the
great globe that we had beheld from the moon--but instead a huge dome,
which hung over us, ever deepening in the center as we rushed up toward
it. Inconceivable though it seemed, I knew that, to produce such an
effect, we must already have covered more than half the distance
between the two bodies. Upward we shot, and although there was no means
of ascertaining how fast we were travelling, I knew by the rapidly
changing appearance of the dome above us that our speed must be
terrific.

We had steadily grown lighter, and now we discovered that we were
entirely without weight, and that it required some effort to keep our
feet on the floor of the car.

Still upward we rushed into the center of the dome which now stretched
down and encircled us on all sides like an immense umbrella, when
suddenly, without the slightest perceptible movement of the car, the
dome appeared to swing around until it lay beneath us, and instantly we
felt our feet settling upon the floor of the car.

"We are safe from the unknown power now, dearest!" I exclaimed,
anxiously examining the lever that controlled the descent, to make sure
that the repelling metal was fully exposed. "We are dropping upon Mars,
and our repelling metal should soon check our speed."

"Oh, Harold, my love," sighed Zarlah, timidly clinging to me, her eyes
filled with tears, and a look of great yearning coming into them, "my
heart despairs at the dangers that encompass us! With you as my goal I
knew no fear; but now that I have you, I am a coward. Is our love
forbidden, that we should be thus pursued by these terrible dangers?"

"Courage, dearest!" I replied, reassuringly. "We shall soon be safe, and
then nothing shall interrupt the happiness for which we have endured so
much."

I hid from her the anxiety that lurked near my heart, and endeavored to
interest her by advancing several theories upon the phenomenal
appearance of the planet's surface.

Like a huge cup the land now stretched up and around us, but we were
still descending with frightful velocity. I had noticed that the air in
the car was becoming warmer, and now, filled with apprehension, I
stretched out my hand and touched the wall. Instantly I withdrew it--the
wall was hot! Like a flash the full realization of our terrible danger
burst upon me. I had relied upon the repelling metal to check our
descent before we entered the region of air, and had supposed that we
would float lightly to the ground under perfect control. But now I saw
how foolishly I had erred, in omitting to take into consideration the
terrific momentum we would attain in our journey of six thousand miles
through space. This momentum was now driving us to the ground, in spite
of our strong repelling force, and with such a frightful speed that heat
was being generated by friction with the air as we rushed through it.
The creaking and straining sound coming from the bottom of the aerenoid
was evidence of the fight the repelling metal was making to overcome
this momentum before the surface of Mars was reached, but I shuddered as
I realized what little effect it had upon this gigantic force.

In a few seconds the air became unbearably hot, and, with a gasp, Zarlah
lay limp in my arms, as she turned her face to me to speak. Laying her
tenderly upon the floor, I hastily wrapped wet blankets around her, and,
dashing water over myself, I staggered across the car to the window
again. We were still descending rapidly, but, as I felt the walls of the
car, I found that they were now cooler, proving that our terrific speed
had been reduced. The increased pressure of my feet upon the floor of
the car was also evidence that our descent was being steadily checked.
A wild hope surged within me that the repelling metal would overcome the
momentum in time to save us from destruction.

Glancing down, I saw white specks lying far beneath us. My heart stood
still as I realized that these were buildings. We could not be more than
a few miles from the surface, yet down, down we sped. A few moments more
and the buildings became plainly visible, and my heart thumped wildly,
as they seemed to rush up to meet us. We would be dashed to pieces! The
repelling force could not possibly stop us in time! Turning, in despair,
I threw myself down beside Zarlah, and enfolded her in a last embrace.

Instantly there was a terrific shock--a deafening crash. Then all was
dark, while a flood of water came pouring in upon us. I staggered to my
feet with Zarlah in my arms, only to be thrown to the floor again by an
upward bound of the aerenoid. Sunlight once more filled the car, and, as
I struggled to my feet, a cool breeze wafted in through the shattered
windows. To what further extremes of temperature and mediums were we to
be subjected?

I was still too dazed by the shock to realize how we had escaped from a
death that seemed inevitable, but I knew that we were flying upward with
the full force of our repelling metal. Tenderly lifting Zarlah to a
safer and more comfortable place, I seized the lever and gradually
decreased the repelling power, until we rested motionless in the air.

We had already attained a considerable height, and, as I eagerly gazed
down, I beheld far beneath us the glistening surface of a lake. With a
gasp of horror, I realized what a narrow escape had been ours. Into this
lake we had plunged with a velocity sufficient to have dashed us to
pieces had we struck the ground; the damage which the car had sustained
upon striking the water was evidence of this. Our descent being stopped,
the repelling metal, which was fully exposed, had then sent us bounding
into the air again, and in all probability had thus saved us from being
drowned beneath the waters of the lake.

Death had indeed been close to us many times during our strange
adventure, and now that all the dangers were past, I breathed a
heartfelt prayer of thankfulness for our safe deliverance.

Freeing Zarlah from the wet blankets I had wrapped around her during
the intense heat, I gazed anxiously down upon the beautiful, unconscious
face.

"My love! my love!" I murmured, passionately. "How much you have
risked--how much you have suffered for my sake! Oh, cruel the fate that
thus delays our happiness!"

The sun was setting, and I now realized the importance of descending
nearer to the ground, that I might ascertain our whereabouts, as from
our present altitude, even with Almos' knowledge of Mars, I was unable
to recognize any familiar landmark, and I knew that darkness would soon
be upon us.

Bending once again over the form of my loved one, I tenderly kissed the
silent lips, but as I did so, her arms closed about my neck, and
dreamily opening her eyes, she smiled up at me as a child awakening from
a peaceful sleep.

"We are safe now, darling, all the danger is past!" I murmured, and
falling on my knees beside her, I took her up into my arms, with the
prayer that I might ever shield her in the days to come.

The shadows lengthened; quickly the gloom gathered, and darkness closed
in upon us, but still we remained suspended in the cool night air under
the dome of the starry heavens, unmindful of all in the joy of our great
love; for with the fulfillment of our hearts' long cherished desire,
came the realization that our journey was ended.

       *       *       *       *       *

PARIS, February 17, 19--.

Six months have elapsed since that memorable evening when Harold and
Zarlah--radiant with their new-found happiness--were portrayed upon the
instrument in Paris at which I anxiously waited, after having exchanged
my existence on Mars for one on Earth. The account of his strange
adventures, which Harold has since given me, I have endeavored to record
in the foregoing pages, as nearly as possible in his own words, trusting
that this narration of the events connected with the opening of
communication between Earth and Mars will prepare the way for the
greater developments soon to be announced by scientists.

ALMOS.



THE END.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Zarlah the Martian" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home