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Title: Etidorhpa or the End of Earth. - The Strange History of a Mysterious Being and The Account - of a Remarkable Journey
Author: Lloyd, John Uri
Language: English
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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 "Etidorhpa or the End of Earth. - The Strange History of a Mysterious Being and The Account - of a Remarkable Journey" ***

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[Illustration]



ETIDORHPA

OR

THE END OF EARTH.


THE STRANGE HISTORY OF A MYSTERIOUS BEING

AND

The Account of a Remarkable Journey



AS COMMUNICATED IN MANUSCRIPT TO

LLEWELLYN DRURY

WHO PROMISED TO PRINT THE SAME, BUT FINALLY EVADED THE RESPONSIBILITY


WHICH WAS ASSUMED BY

JOHN URI LLOYD



WITH MANY ILLUSTRATIONS BY

J. AUGUSTUS KNAPP


SIXTH EDITION


CINCINNATI

THE ROBERT CLARKE COMPANY

1896



ASCRIPTION.

To Prof. W. H. Venable, who reviewed the manuscript of this work, I am
indebted for many valuable suggestions, and I can not speak too kindly
of him as a critic.

The illustrations, excepting those mechanical and historical, making in
themselves a beautiful narrative without words, are due to the admirable
artistic conceptions and touch of Mr. J. Augustus Knapp.

Structural imperfections as well as word selections and phrases that
break all rules in composition, and that the care even of Prof. Venable
could not eradicate, I accept as wholly my own. For much, on the one
hand, that it may seem should have been excluded, and on the other, for
giving place to ideas nearer to empiricism than to science, I am also
responsible. For vexing my friends with problems that seemingly do not
concern in the least men in my position, and for venturing to think,
superficially, it may be, outside the restricted lines of a science
bound to the unresponsive crucible and retort, to which my life has been
given, and amid the problems of which it has nearly worn itself away, I
have no plausible excuse, and shall seek none.

                                                        JOHN URI LLOYD


COPYRIGHT, 1895, BY JOHN URI LLOYD.
COPYRIGHT, 1896, BY JOHN URI LLOYD.

[_All rights reserved._]



PREFACE


[Illustration]

Books are as tombstones made by the living for the living, but destined
soon only to remind us of the dead. The preface, like an epitaph, seems
vainly to "implore the passing tribute" of a moment's interest. No man
is allured by either a grave-inscription or a preface, unless it be
accompanied by that ineffable charm which age casts over mortal
productions. Libraries, in one sense, represent cemeteries, and the rows
of silent volumes, with their dim titles, suggest burial tablets, many
of which, alas! mark only cenotaphs--empty tombs. A modern book, no
matter how talented the author, carries with it a familiar personality
which may often be treated with neglect or even contempt, but a volume a
century old demands some reverence; a vellum-bound or hog-skin print, or
antique yellow parchment, two, three, five hundred years old, regardless
of its contents, impresses one with an indescribable feeling akin to awe
and veneration,--as does the wheat from an Egyptian tomb, even though it
be only wheat. We take such a work from the shelf carefully, and replace
it gently. While the productions of modern writers are handled
familiarly, as men living jostle men yet alive; those of authors long
dead are touched as tho' clutched by a hand from the unseen world; the
reader feels that a phantom form opposes his own, and that spectral eyes
scan the pages as he turns them.

[Illustration: "THE STERN FACE, ... ACROSS THE GULF."]

The stern face, the penetrating eye of the personage whose likeness
forms the frontispiece of the yellowed volume in my hand, speak across
the gulf of two centuries, and bid me beware. The title page is read
with reverence, and the great tome is replaced with care, for an almost
superstitious sensation bids me be cautious and not offend. Let those
who presume to criticise the intellectual productions of such men be
careful; in a few days the dead will face their censors--dead.

Standing in a library of antiquated works, one senses the shadows of a
cemetery. Each volume adds to the oppression, each old tome casts the
influence of its spirit over the beholder, for have not these old books
spirits? The earth-grave covers the mind as well as the body of its
moldering occupant, and while only a strong imagination can assume that
a spirit hovers over and lingers around inanimate clay, here each title
is a voice that speaks as though the heart of its creator still
throbbed, the mind essence of the dead writer envelops the living
reader. Take down that vellum-bound volume,--it was written in one of
the centuries long past. The pleasant face of its creator, as fresh as
if but a print of yesterday, smiles upon you from the exquisitely
engraved copper-plate frontispiece; the mind of the author rises from
out the words before you. This man is not dead and his comrades live.
Turn to the shelves about, before each book stands a guardian
spirit,--together they form a phantom army that, invisible to mortals,
encircles the beholder.

[Illustration: "THE PLEASANT FACE OF ITS CREATOR ... SMILES UPON YOU."]

Ah! this antique library is not as is a church graveyard, only a
cemetery for the dead; it is also a mansion for the living. These
alcoves are trysting places for elemental shades. Essences of
disenthralled minds meet here and revel. Thoughts of the past take shape
and live in this atmosphere,--who can say that pulsations unperceived,
beyond the reach of physics or of chemistry, are not as ethereal
mind-seeds which, although unseen, yet, in living brain, exposed to such
an atmosphere as this, formulate embryotic thought-expressions destined
to become energetic intellectual forces? I sit in such a weird library
and meditate. The shades of grim authors whisper in my ear, skeleton
forms oppose my own, and phantoms possess the gloomy alcoves of the
library I am building.

[Illustration: "SKELETON FORMS OPPOSE MY OWN."]

With the object of carrying to the future a section of thought current
from the past, the antiquarian libraries of many nations have been
culled, and purchases made in every book market of the world. These
books surround me. Naturally many persons have become interested in the
movement, and, considering it a worthy one, unite to further the
project, for the purpose is not personal gain. Thus it is not unusual
for boxes of old chemical or pharmacal volumes to arrive by freight or
express, without a word as to the donor. The mail brings manuscripts
unprinted, and pamphlets recondite, with no word of introduction. They
come unheralded. The authors or the senders realize that in this unique
library a place is vacant if any work on connected subjects is missing,
and thinking men of the world are uniting their contributions to fill
such vacancies.

       *       *       *       *       *

Enough has been said concerning the ancient library that has bred these
reflections, and my own personality does not concern the reader. He can
now formulate his conclusions as well perhaps as I, regarding the origin
of the manuscript that is to follow, if he concerns himself at all over
subjects mysterious or historical, and my connection therewith is of
minor importance. Whether Mr. Drury brought the strange paper in person,
or sent it by express or mail,--whether it was slipped into a box of
books from foreign lands, or whether my hand held the pen that made the
record,--whether I stood face to face with Mr. Drury in the shadows of
this room, or have but a fanciful conception of his figure,--whether the
artist drew upon his imagination for the vivid likeness of the several
personages figured in the book that follows, or from reliable data has
given fac-similes authentic,--is immaterial. Sufficient be it to say
that the manuscript of this book has been in my possession for a period
of seven years, and my lips must now be sealed concerning all that
transpired in connection therewith outside the subject-matter recorded
therein. And yet I can not deny that for these seven years I have
hesitated concerning my proper course, and more than once have decided
to cover from sight the fascinating leaflets, hide them among
surrounding volumes, and let them slumber until chance should bring them
to the attention of the future student.

These thoughts rise before me this gloomy day of December, 1894, as,
snatching a moment from the exactions of business, I sit among these old
volumes devoted to science-lore, and again study over the unique
manuscript, and meditate; I hesitate again: Shall I, or shall I
not?--but a duty is a duty. Perhaps the mysterious part of the subject
will be cleared to me only when my own thought-words come to rest among
these venerable relics of the past--when books that I have written
become companions of ancient works about me--for then I can claim
relationship with the shadows that flit in and out, and can demand that
they, the ghosts of the library, commune with the shade that guards the
book that holds this preface.

                                                       JOHN URI LLOYD.



PREFACE TO THIS EDITION.


The foot-note on page 160, with the connected matter, has awakened
considerable interest in the life and fate of Professor Daniel Vaughn.

The undersigned has received many letters imparting interesting
information relating to Professor Vaughn's early history, and asking
many questions concerning a man of whose memory the writer thinks so
highly but whose name is generally unknown.

Indeed, as some have even argued that the author of Etidorhpa has no
personal existence, the words John Uri Lloyd being a _nom de plume_, so
others have accepted Professor Vaughn to have been a fanciful creation
of the mystical author.

Professor Daniel Vaughn was one whose life lines ran nearly parallel
with those of the late Professor C. S. Rafinesque, whose eventful history
has been so graphically written by Professor R. Ellsworth Call. The cups
of these two talented men were filled with privation's bitterness, and
in no other place has this writer known the phrase "The Deadly Parallel"
so aptly appropriate. Both came to America, scholars, scientists by
education; both traveled through Kentucky, teachers; both gave freely to
the world, and both suffered in their old age, dying in
poverty--Rafinesque perishing in misery in Philadelphia and Vaughn in
Cincinnati.

Daniel Vaughn was not a myth, and, in order that the reader may know
something of the life and fate of this eccentric man, an appendix has
been added to this edition of Etidorhpa, in which a picture of his face
is shown as the writer knew it in life, and in which brief mention is
made of his record.

The author here extends his thanks to Professor Richard Nelson and to
Father Eugene Brady for their kindness to the readers of Etidorhpa and
himself, for to these gentlemen is due the credit of the appended
historical note.

                                                                J. U. L.



A VALUABLE AND UNIQUE LIBRARY.

From the Pharmaceutical Era, New York, October, 1894.


In Cincinnati is one of the most famous botanical and pharmacal
libraries in the world, and by scientists it is regarded as an
invaluable store of knowledge upon those branches of medical science. So
famous is it that one of the most noted pharmacologists and chemists of
Germany, on a recent trip to this country, availed himself of its rich
collection as a necessary means of completing his study in the line of
special drug history. When it is known that he has devoted a life of
nearly eighty years to the study of pharmacology, and is an emeritus
professor in the famous University of Strassburg, the importance of his
action will be understood and appreciated. We refer to Prof. Frederick
Flueckiger, who, in connection with Daniel Hanbury, wrote
Pharmacographia and other standard works. Attached to the library is an
herbarium, begun by Mr. Curtis Gates Lloyd when a schoolboy, in which
are to be found over 30,000 specimens of the flora of almost every
civilized country on the globe. The collections are the work of two
brothers, begun when in early boyhood. In money they are priceless, yet
it is the intention of the founders that they shall be placed, either
before or at their death, in some college or university where all
students may have access to them without cost or favor, and their wills
are already made to this end, although the institution to receive the
bequest is not yet selected. Eager requests have been made that they be
sent to foreign universities, where only, some persons believe, they can
receive the appreciation they deserve.

The resting place of this collection is a neat three-story house at 204
West Court street, rebuilt to serve as a library building. On the door
is a plate embossed with the name Lloyd, the patronymic of the brothers
in question. They are John Uri and Curtis Gates Lloyd. Every hour that
can be spent by these men from business or necessary recreation is spent
here. Mr. C. G. Lloyd devotes himself entirely to the study of botany and
connected subjects, while his brother is equally devoted to materia
medica, pharmacy, and chemistry.

In the botanical department are the best works obtainable in every
country, and there the study of botany may be carried to any height. In
point of age, some of them go back almost to the time when the art of
printing was discovered. Two copies of Aristotle are notable. A Greek
version bound in vellum was printed in 1584. Another, in parallel
columns of Greek and Latin, by Pacius, was published in 1607. Both are
in excellent preservation. A bibliographical rarity (two editions) is
the "Historia Plantarum," by Pinaeus, which was issued, one in 1561, the
other in 1567. It appears to have been a first attempt at the production
of colored plates. Plants that were rare at that time are colored by
hand, and then have a glossy fixative spread over them, causing the
colors still to be as bright and fresh as the day that the
three-hundred-years-dead workmen laid them on. Ranged in their sequence
are fifty volumes of the famous author, Linnæus. Mr. Lloyd has a very
complete list of the Linnæan works, and his commissioners in Europe and
America are looking out for the missing volumes. An extremely odd work
is the book of Dr. Josselyn, entitled "New England Rarities," in which
the Puritan author discusses wisely on "byrds, beastes and fishes" of
the New World. Dr. Carolus Plumierus, a French savant, who flourished in
1762, contributes an exhaustive work on the "Flora of the Antilles." He
is antedated many years, however, by Dr. John Clayton, who is termed
Johannes Claytonus, and Dr. John Frederick Gronovius. These gentlemen
collated a work entitled the "Flora of Virginia," which is among the
first descriptions of botany in the United States. Two venerable works
are those of Mattioli, an Italian writer, who gave his knowledge to the
world in 1586, and Levinus Lemnius, who wrote "De Miraculis Occultis
Naturæ" in 1628. The father of modern systematized botany is conceded to
be Mons. J. P. Tournefort, whose comprehensive work was published in
1719. It is the fortune of Mr. Lloyd to possess an original edition in
good condition. His "Histoire des Plantes," Paris (1698), is also on the
shelves. In the modern department of the library are the leading French
and German works. Spanish and Italian authors are also on the shelves,
the Lloyd collection of Spanish flora being among the best extant.
Twenty-two volumes of rice paper, bound in bright yellow and stitched in
silk, contain the flora of Japan. All the leaves are delicately tinted
by those unique flower-painters, the Japanese. This rare work was
presented to the Lloyd library by Dr. Charles Rice, of New York, who
informed the Lloyds that only one other set could be found in America.

One of the most noted books in the collection of J. U. Lloyd is a Materia
Medica written by Dr. David Schoepf, a learned German scholar, who
traveled through this country in 1787. But a limited number of copies
were printed, and but few are extant. One is in the Erlangen library in
Germany. This Mr. Lloyd secured, and had it copied verbatim. In later
years Dr. Charles Rice obtained an original print, and exchanged it for
that copy. A like work is that of Dr. Jonathan Carver of the provincial
troops in America, published in London in 1796. It treats largely of
Canadian materia medica. Manasseh Cutler's work, 1785, also adorns this
part of the library. In addition to almost every work on this subject,
Mr. Lloyd possesses complete editions of the leading serials and
pharmaceutical lists published in the last three quarters of a century.
Another book, famous in its way, is Barton's "Collections Toward a
Materia Medica of the United States," published in 1798, 1801, and 1804.

Several noted botanists and chemists have visited the library in recent
years. Prof. Flueckiger formed the acquaintance of the Lloyds through
their work, "Drugs and Medicines of North America," being struck by the
exhaustive references and foot-notes. Students and lovers of the old art
of copper-plate engraving especially find much in the ornate title pages
and portraits to please their æsthetic sense. The founders are not
miserly, and all students and delvers into the medical and botanical
arts are always welcome. This library of rare books has been collected
without ostentation and with the sole aim to benefit science and
humanity. We must not neglect to state that the library is especially
rich in books pertaining to the American Eclectics and Thomsonians.
Since it has been learned that this library is at the disposal of
students and is to pass intact to some worthy institution of learning,
donations of old or rare books are becoming frequent.



CONTENTS.



                                                                   PAGE.

PROLOGUE--History of Llewellyn Drury,                                  1

CHAPTER.

      I. Home of Llewellyn Drury--"Never Less Alone than When Alone,"  3

     II. A Friendly Conference with Prof. Chickering,                 16

    III. A Second Interview with the Mysterious Visitor,              23

     IV. A Search for Knowledge--The Alchemistic Letter,              35

      V. The Writing of "My Confession,"                              44

     VI. Kidnapped,                                                   46

    VII. A Wild Night--I am Prematurely Aged,                         55

   VIII. A Lesson in Mind Study,                                      63

     IX. I Can Not Establish My Identity,                             67

      X. My Journey Towards the End of Earth Begins--The Adepts
           Brotherhood,                                               74

     XI. My Journey Continues--Instinct,                              80

    XII. A Cavern Discovered--Biswell's Hill,                         84

   XIII. The Punch Bowls and Caverns of Kentucky--"Into the Unknown
           Country,"                                                  89

    XIV. Farewell to God's Sunshine--"The Echo of the Cry,"           99

     XV. A Zone of Light, Deep Within the Earth,                     105

    XVI. Vitalized Darkness--The Narrows in Science,                 109

   XVII. The Fungus Forest--Enchantment,                             119

  XVIII. The Food of Man,                                            123

    XIX. The Cry from a Distance--I Rebel Against Continuing the
           Journey,                                                  128


FIRST INTERLUDE.--THE NARRATIVE INTERRUPTED.

     XX. My Unbidden Guest Proves His Statements, and Refutes
           My Philosophy,                                            134


MY UNBIDDEN GUEST CONTINUES HIS MANUSCRIPT.

    XXI. My Weight Disappearing,                                     142


SECOND INTERLUDE.

   XXII. The Story Again Interrupted--My Guest Departs,              149

  XXIII. Scientific Men Questioned--Aristotle's Ether,               151

   XXIV. The Soliloquy of Prof. Daniel Vaughn--"Gravitation is
           the Beginning and Gravitation is the End:
           All Earthly Bodies Kneel to Gravitation,"                 156


THE UNBIDDEN GUEST RETURNS TO READ HIS MANUSCRIPT,
CONTINUING THE NARRATIVE.

    XXV. The Mother of a Volcano--"You Can Not Disprove, and You
           Dare Not Admit,"                                          162

   XXVI. Motion from Inherent Energy--"Lead Me Deeper Into this
           Expanding Study,"                                         169

  XXVII. Sleep, Dreams, Nightmare--"Strangle the Life from My
           Body,"                                                    175


THIRD INTERLUDE.--THE NARRATIVE AGAIN INTERRUPTED.

 XXVIII. A Challenge--My Unbidden Guest Accepts It,                  179

   XXIX. Beware of Biology--The Science of the Life of Man--The
           Old Man relates a Story as an Object Lesson,              186

    XXX. Looking Backward--The Living Brain,                         193


THE MANUSCRIPT CONTINUED.

   XXXI. A Lesson on Volcanoes--Primary Colors are Capable of
           Farther Subdivision,                                      204

  XXXII. Matter is Retarded Motion--"A Wail of Sadness
           Inexpressible,"                                           218

 XXXIII. "A Study of True Science is a Study of God"--Communing
           with Angels,                                              224

  XXXIV. I Cease to Breathe, and Yet Live,                           226

   XXXV. "A Certain Point Within a Circle"--Men are as Parasites
           on the Roof of Earth,                                     230

  XXXVI. The Drinks of Man,                                          235

  XXVII. The Drunkard's Voice,                                       238

XXXVIII. The Drunkard's Den,                                         240

  XXXIX. Among the Drunkards,                                        247

     XL. Further Temptation--Etidorhpa Appears,                      252

    XLI. Misery,                                                     262

   XLII. Eternity Without Time,                                      272


FOURTH INTERLUDE.

  XLIII. The Last Contest,                                           277


THE NARRATIVE CONTINUED.

   XLIV. The Fathomless Abyss--The Edge of the Earth's Shell,        306

    XLV. My Heart-throb is Stilled, and Yet I Live,                  310

   XLVI. The Inner Circle, or the End of Gravitation--In the
           Bottomless Gulf,                                          317

  XLVII. Hearing Without Ears--"What Will Be the End?"               322

 XLVIII. Why and How--The Straggling Ray of Light from those
           Farthermost Outreaches,                                   327

   XLIX. Oscillating Through Space--The Earth Shell Above Us,        333

      L. My Weight Annihilated--"Tell me," I cried in alarm,
           "is this a Living Tomb?"                                  340

     LI. Is That a Mortal?--"The End of Earth,"                      345


FIFTH INTERLUDE.

    LII. The Last Farewell,                                          352


EPILOGUE--Letter Accompanying the Mysterious Manuscript,             360



ILLUSTRATIONS.


FULL-PAGE.

  Likeness of The--Man--Who--Did--It.                      Frontispiece

                                                                   PAGE.

  Preface Introduction--"Here lies the bones," etc.                 iii.

  "And to my amazement, saw a white-haired man."                   7, 8.

  "The same glittering, horrible, mysterious knife."             29, 30.

  "Fac-simile of the mysterious manuscript of I--Am--The--Man--
            Who--Did--It."                                       35, 36.

  "My arms were firmly grasped by two persons."                      47.

  "Map of Kentucky near entrance to cavern."                     85, 86.

  "Confronted by a singular looking being."                      95, 96.

  "This struggling ray of sunlight is to be your last for
    years."                                                    101, 102.

  "I was in a forest of colossal fungi."                       117, 118.

  "Monstrous cubical crystals."                                131, 132.

  "Far as the eye could reach the glassy barrier spread as a
    crystal mirror."                                           147, 148.

  "Soliloquy of Prof. Daniel Vaughn--'Gravitation is the
    beginning, and gravitation is the end; all earthly bodies
    kneel to gravitation.'"                                    157, 158.

  "We came to a metal boat."                                   165, 166.

  "Facing the open window he turned the pupils of his eyes
    upward."                                                   197, 198.

  "We finally reached a precipitous bluff."                    205, 206.

  "The wall descended perpendicularly to seemingly infinite
    depths."                                                   209, 210.

  Etidorhpa.                                                   255, 256.

  "We passed through caverns filled with creeping reptiles."   297, 298.

  "Flowers and structures beautiful, insects gorgeous."        303, 304.

  "With fear and trembling I crept on my knees to his side."   307, 308.

  Diagram descriptive of journey from the Kentucky cavern to
    the "End of Earth," showing section of earth's crust.      332, 333.

  "Suspended in vacancy, he seemed to float."                  347, 348.

  "I stood alone in my room holding the mysterious
    manuscript."                                               357, 358.

  Fac-simile of letter from I--Am--The--Man.                        363.

  Manuscript dedication of Author's Edition.                   364, 365.


HALF-PAGE AND TEXT CUTS.

  "The Stern Face." Fac-simile, reduced from copper plate title
    page of the botanical work (1708), 917 pages, of Simonis
    Paulli, D., a Danish physician. Original plate 7 × 5-1/2
    inches.                                                          iv.

  "The Pleasant Face." Fac-simile of the original copper plate
    frontispiece to the finely illustrated botanical work of
    Joannes Burmannus, M.D., descriptive of the plants collected
    by Carolus Plumierus. Antique. Original plate 9 × 13 inches.      v.

  "Skeleton forms oppose my own." Photograph of John Uri Lloyd
    in the gloomy alcove of the antiquated library.                  vi.

  "Let me have your answer now."                                     12.

  "I espied upon the table a long white hair."                       14.

  "Drew the knife twice across the front of the door-knob."          32.

  "I was taken from the vehicle, and transferred to a
    block-house."                                                    52.

  "The dead man was thrown overboard."                               54.

  "A mirror was thrust beneath my gaze."                             58.

  "I am the man you seek."                                           70.

  "We approach daylight, I can see your face."                      106.

  "Seated himself on a natural bench of stone."                     108.

  "An endless variety of stony figures."                            129.

  Cuts showing water and brine surfaces.                            136.

  Cuts showing earth chambers in which water rises above brine.     137.

  Cuts showing that if properly connected, water and brine
    reverse the usual law as to the height of their surfaces.  138, 139.

  "I bounded upward fully six feet."                                143.

  "I fluttered to the earth as a leaf would fall."                  144.

  "We leaped over great inequalities."                              145.

  "The bit of garment fluttered listlessly away to the distance,
    and then--vacancy."                                             173.

  Cut showing that water may be made to flow from a tube higher
    than the surface of the water.                                  182.

  Cut showing how an artesian fountain may be made without earth
    strata.                                                         184.

  "Rising abruptly, he grasped my hand."                            191.

  "A brain, a living brain, my own brain."                          200.

  "Shape of drop of water in the earth cavern."                     211.

  "We would skip several rods, alighting gently."                   227.

  "An uncontrollable, inexpressible desire to flee."                229.

  "I dropped on my knees before him."                               232.

  "Handing me one of the halves, he spoke the single word,
    'Drink.'"                                                       234.

  "Each finger pointed towards the open way in front."              242.

  "Telescoped energy spheres."                                      280.

  "Space dirt on energy spheres."                                   281.

  "I drew back the bar of iron to smite the apparently
    defenseless being in the forehead."                             313.

  "He sprung from the edge of the cliff into the abyss below,
    carrying me with him into its depths."                          315.

  "The Earth and its atmosphere."                                   336.



PROLOGUE.


My name was Johannes Llewellyn Llongollyn Drury. I was named Llewellyn
at my mother's desire, out of respect to her father, Dr. Evan Llewellyn,
the scientist and speculative philosopher, well known to curious
students as the author of various rare works on occult subjects. The
other given names were ancestral also, but when I reached the age of
appreciation, they naturally became distasteful; so it is that in early
youth I dropped the first and third of these cumbersome words, and
retained only the second Christian name. While perhaps the reader of
these lines may regard this cognomen with less favor than either of the
others, still I liked it, as it was the favorite of my mother, who
always used the name in full; the world, however, contracted Llewellyn
to Lew, much to the distress of my dear mother, who felt aggrieved at
the liberty. After her death I decided to move to a western city, and
also determined, out of respect to her memory, to select from and
rearrange the letters of my several names, and construct therefrom three
short, terse words, which would convey to myself only, the resemblance
of my former name. Hence it is that the Cincinnati Directory does not
record my self-selected name, which I have no reason to bring before the
public. To the reader my name is Llewellyn Drury. I might add that my
ancestors were among the early settlers of what is now New York City,
and were direct descendants of the early Welsh kings; but these matters
do not concern the reader, and it is not of them that I now choose to
write. My object in putting down these preliminary paragraphs is simply
to assure the reader of such facts, and such only, as may give him
confidence in my personal sincerity and responsibility, in order that he
may with a right understanding read the remarkable statements that occur
in the succeeding chapters.

The story I am about to relate is very direct, and some parts of it are
very strange, not to say marvelous; but not on account of its
strangeness alone do I ask for the narrative a reading;--that were mere
trifling. What is here set down happened as recorded, but I shall not
attempt to explain things which even to myself are enigmatical. Let the
candid reader read the story as I have told it, and make out of it what
he can, or let him pass the page by unread--I shall not insist on
claiming his further attention. Only, if he does read, I beg him to read
with an open mind, without prejudice and without predilection.

Who or what I am as a participant in this work is of small importance. I
mention my history only for the sake of frankness and fairness. I have
nothing to gain by issuing the volume. Neither do I court praise nor
shun censure. My purpose is to tell the truth.

Early in the fifties I took up my residence in the Queen City, and
though a very young man, found the employment ready that a friend had
obtained for me with a manufacturing firm engaged in a large and
complicated business. My duties were varied and peculiar, of such a
nature as to tax body and mind to the utmost, and for several years I
served in the most exacting of business details. Besides the labor which
my vocation entailed, with its manifold and multiform perplexities, I
voluntarily imposed upon myself other tasks, which I pursued in the
privacy of my own bachelor apartments. An inherited love for books on
abstruse and occult subjects, probably in part the result of my blood
connection with Dr. Evan Llewellyn, caused me to collect a unique
library, largely on mystical subjects, in which I took the keenest
delight. My business and my professional duties by day, and my studies
at night, made my life a busy one.

In the midst of my work and reading I encountered the character whose
strange story forms the essential part of the following narrative. I may
anticipate by saying that the manuscript to follow only incidentally
concerns myself, and that if possible I would relinquish all connection
therewith. It recites the physical, mental, and moral adventures of one
whose life history was abruptly thrust upon my attention, and as
abruptly interrupted. The vicissitudes of his body and soul,
circumstances seemed to compel me to learn and to make public.



ETIDORPHA.



CHAPTER I.

    "NEVER LESS ALONE THAN WHEN ALONE."


More than thirty years ago occurred the first of the series of
remarkable events I am about to relate. The exact date I can not recall;
but it was in November, and, to those familiar with November weather in
the Ohio Valley, it is hardly necessary to state that the month is one
of possibilities. That is to say, it is liable to bring every variety of
weather, from the delicious, dreamy Indian summer days that linger late
in the fall, to a combination of rain, hail, snow, sleet,--in short,
atmospheric conditions sufficiently aggravating to develop a suicidal
mania in any one the least susceptible to such influences. While the
general character of the month is much the same the country
over,--showing dull grey tones of sky, abundant rains that penetrate man
as they do the earth; cold, shifting winds, that search the very
marrow,--it is always safe to count more or less upon the probability of
the unexpected throughout the month.

The particular day which ushered in the event about to be chronicled,
was one of these possible heterogeneous days presenting a combination of
sunshine, shower, and snow, with winds that rang all the changes from
balmy to blustery, a morning air of caloric and an evening of numbing
cold. The early morning started fair and sunny; later came light showers
suddenly switched by shifting winds into blinding sleet, until the
middle of the afternoon found the four winds and all the elements
commingled in one wild orgy with clashing and roaring as of a great
organ with all the stops out, and all the storm-fiends dancing over the
key-boards! Nightfall brought some semblance of order to the sounding
chaos, but still kept up the wild music of a typical November day, with
every accompaniment of bleakness, gloom, and desolation.

Thousands of chimneys, exhaling murky clouds of bituminous soot all day,
had covered the city with the proverbial pall which the winds in their
sport had shifted hither and yon, but as, thoroughly tired out, they
subsided into silence, the smoky mesh suddenly settled over the houses
and into the streets, taking possession of the city and contributing to
the melancholy wretchedness of such of the inhabitants as had to be out
of doors. Through this smoke the red sun when visible had dragged his
downward course in manifest discouragement, and the hastening twilight
soon gave place to the blackness of darkness. Night reigned supreme.

Thirty years ago electric lighting was not in vogue, and the system of
street lamps was far less complete than at present, although the gas
burned in them may not have been any worse. The lamps were much fewer
and farther between, and the light which they emitted had a feeble,
sickly aspect, and did not reach any distance into the moist and murky
atmosphere. And so the night was dismal enough, and the few people upon
the street were visible only as they passed directly beneath the lamps,
or in front of lighted windows; seeming at other times like moving
shadows against a black ground.

As I am like to be conspicuous in these pages, it may be proper to say
that I am very susceptible to atmospheric influences. I figure among my
friends as a man of quiet disposition, but I am at times morose,
although I endeavor to conceal this fact from others. My nervous system
is a sensitive weather-glass. Sometimes I fancy that I must have been
born under the planet Saturn, for I find myself unpleasantly influenced
by moods ascribed to that depressing planet, more especially in its
disagreeable phases, for I regret to state that I do not find
corresponding elation, as I should, in its brighter aspects. I have an
especial dislike for wintry weather, a dislike which I find growing with
my years, until it has developed almost into positive antipathy and
dread. On the day I have described, my moods had varied with the
weather. The fitfulness of the winds had found its way into my
feelings, and the somber tone of the clouds into my meditations. I was
restless as the elements, and a deep sense of dissatisfaction with
myself and everything else, possessed me. I could not content myself in
any place or position. Reading was distasteful, writing equally so; but
it occurred to me that a brisk walk, for a few blocks, might afford
relief. Muffling myself up in my overcoat and fur cap, I took the
street, only to find the air gusty and raw, and I gave up in still
greater disgust, and returning home, after drawing the curtains and
locking the doors, planted myself in front of a glowing grate fire,
firmly resolved to rid myself of myself by resorting to the oblivion of
thought, reverie, or dream. To sleep was impossible, and I sat moodily
in an easy chair, noting the quarter and half-hour strokes as they were
chimed out sweetly from the spire of St. Peter's Cathedral, a few blocks
away.

Nine o'clock passed with its silver-voiced song of "Home, Sweet Home";
ten, and then eleven strokes of the ponderous bell which noted the
hours, roused me to a strenuous effort to shake off the feelings of
despondency, unrest, and turbulence, that all combined to produce a
state of mental and physical misery now insufferable. Rising suddenly
from my chair, without a conscious effort I walked mechanically to a
book-case, seized a volume at random, reseated myself before the fire,
and opened the book. It proved to be an odd, neglected volume, "Riley's
Dictionary of Latin Quotations." At the moment there flashed upon me a
conscious duality of existence. Had the old book some mesmeric power? I
seemed to myself two persons, and I quickly said aloud, as if addressing
my double: "If I can not quiet you, turbulent Spirit, I can at least
adapt myself to your condition. I will read this book haphazard from
bottom to top, or backward, if necessary, and if this does not change
the subject often enough, I will try Noah Webster." Opening the book
mechanically at page 297, I glanced at the bottom line and read,
"Nunquam minus solus quam cum solus" (Never less alone than when alone).
These words arrested my thoughts at once, as, by a singular chance, they
seemed to fit my mood; was it or was it not some conscious invisible
intelligence that caused me to select that page, and brought the
apothegm to my notice?

Again, like a flash, came the consciousness of duality, and I began to
argue with my other self. "This is arrant nonsense," I cried aloud;
"even though Cicero did say it, and, it is on a par with many other
delusive maxims that have for so many years embittered the existence of
our modern youth by misleading thought. Do you know, Mr. Cicero, that
this statement is not sound? That it is unworthy the position you occupy
in history as a thinker and philosopher? That it is a contradiction in
itself, for if a man is alone he is alone, and that settles it?"

I mused in this vein a few moments, and then resumed aloud: "It won't
do, it won't do; if one is alone--the word is absolute,--he is single,
isolated, in short, alone; and there can by no manner of possibility be
any one else present. Take myself, for instance: I am the sole occupant
of this apartment; I am alone, and yet you say in so many words that I
was never less alone than at this instant." It was not without some
misgiving that I uttered these words, for the strange consciousness of
my own duality constantly grew stronger, and I could not shake off the
reflection that even now there were two of myself in the room, and that
I was not so much alone as I endeavored to convince myself.

This feeling oppressed me like an incubus; I must throw it off, and,
rising, I tossed the book upon the table, exclaiming: "What folly! I am
alone,--positively there is no other living thing visible or invisible
in the room." I hesitated as I spoke, for the strange, undefined
sensation that I was not alone had become almost a conviction; but the
sound of my voice encouraged me, and I determined to discuss the
subject, and I remarked in a full, strong voice: "I am surely alone; I
know I am! Why, I will wager everything I possess, even to my soul, that
I am alone." I stood facing the smoldering embers of the fire which I
had neglected to replenish, uttering these words to settle the
controversy for good and all with one person of my dual self, but the
other ego seemed to dissent violently, when a soft, clear voice claimed
my ear:

"You have lost your wager; you are not alone."

[Illustration: "AND TO MY AMAZEMENT SAW A WHITE-HAIRED MAN."]

I turned instantly towards the direction of the sound, and, to my
amazement, saw a white-haired man seated on the opposite side of the
room, gazing at me with the utmost composure. I am not a coward, nor a
believer in ghosts or illusions, and yet that sight froze me where I
stood. It had no supernatural appearance--on the contrary, was a plain,
ordinary, flesh-and-blood man; but the weather, the experiences of
the day, the weird, inclement night, had all conspired to strain my
nerves to the highest point of tension, and I trembled from head to
foot. Noting this, the stranger said pleasantly: "Quiet yourself, my
dear sir; you have nothing to fear; be seated." I obeyed, mechanically,
and regaining in a few moments some semblance of composure, took a
mental inventory of my visitor. Who is he? what is he? how did he enter
without my notice, and why? what is his business? were all questions
that flashed into my mind in quick succession, and quickly flashed out
unanswered.

The stranger sat eying me composedly, even pleasantly, as if waiting for
me to reach some conclusion regarding himself. At last I surmised: "He
is a maniac who has found his way here by methods peculiar to the
insane, and my personal safety demands that I use him discreetly."

"Very good," he remarked, as though reading my thoughts; "as well think
that as anything else."

"But why are you here? What is your business?" I asked.

"You have made and lost a wager," he said. "You have committed an act of
folly in making positive statements regarding a matter about which you
know nothing--a very common failing, by the way, on the part of mankind,
and concerning which I wish first to set you straight."

The ironical coolness with which he said this provoked me, and I hastily
rejoined: "You are impertinent; I must ask you to leave my house at
once."

"Very well," he answered; "but if you insist upon this, I shall, on
behalf of Cicero, claim the stake of your voluntary wager, which means
that I must first, by natural though violent means, release your soul
from your body." So saying he arose, drew from an inner pocket a long,
keen knife, the blade of which quiveringly glistened as he laid it upon
the table. Moving his chair so as to be within easy reach of the
gleaming weapon, he sat down, and again regarded me with the same quiet
composure I had noted, and which was fast dispelling my first impression
concerning his sanity.

I was not prepared for his strange action; in truth, I was not prepared
for anything; my mind was confused concerning the whole night's doings,
and I was unable to reason clearly or consecutively, or even to satisfy
myself what I did think, if indeed I thought at all.

The sensation of fear, however, was fast leaving me; there was something
reassuring in my unbidden guest's perfect ease of manner, and the mild,
though searching gaze of his eyes, which were wonderful in their
expression. I began to observe his personal characteristics, which
impressed me favorably, and yet were extraordinary. He was nearly six
feet tall, and perfectly straight; well proportioned, with no tendency
either to leanness or obesity. But his head was an object from which I
could not take my eyes,--such a head surely I had never before seen on
mortal shoulders. The chin, as seen through his silver beard, was
rounded and well developed, the mouth straight, with pleasant lines
about it, the jaws square and, like the mouth, indicating decision, the
eyes deep set and arched with heavy eyebrows, and the whole surmounted
by a forehead so vast, so high, that it was almost a deformity, and yet
it did not impress me unpleasantly; it was the forehead of a scholar, a
profound thinker, a deep student. The nose was inclined to aquiline, and
quite large. The contour of the head and face impressed me as indicating
a man of learning, one who had given a lifetime to experimental as well
as speculative thought. His voice was mellow, clear, and distinct,
always pleasantly modulated and soft, never loud nor unpleasant in the
least degree. One remarkable feature I must not fail to mention--his
hair; this, while thin and scant upon the top of his head, was long, and
reached to his shoulders; his beard was of unusual length, descending
almost to his waist; his hair, eyebrows, and beard were all of singular
whiteness and purity, almost transparent, a silvery whiteness that
seemed an aureolar sheen in the glare of the gaslight. What struck me as
particularly remarkable was that his skin looked as soft and smooth as
that of a child; there was not a blemish in it. His age was a puzzle
none could guess; stripped of his hair, or the color of it changed, he
might be twenty-five,--given a few wrinkles, he might be ninety. Taken
altogether, I had never seen his like, nor anything approaching his
like, and for an instant there was a faint suggestion to my mind that he
was not of this earth, but belonged to some other planet.

I now fancy he must have read my impressions of him as these ideas
shaped themselves in my brain, and that he was quietly waiting for me
to regain a degree of self-possession that would allow him to disclose
the purpose of his visit.

He was first to break the silence: "I see that you are not disposed to
pay your wager any more than I am to collect it, so we will not discuss
that. I admit that my introduction to-night was abrupt, but you can not
deny that you challenged me to appear." I was not clear upon the point,
and said so. "Your memory is at fault," he continued, "if you can not
recall your experiences of the day just past. Did you not attempt to
interest yourself in modern book lore, to fix your mind in turn upon
history, chemistry, botany, poetry, and general literature? And all
these failing, did you not deliberately challenge Cicero to a practical
demonstration of an old apothegm of his that has survived for centuries,
and of your own free will did not you make a wager that, as an admirer
of Cicero's, I am free to accept?" To all this I could but silently
assent. "Very good, then; we will not pursue this subject further, as it
is not relevant to my purpose, which is to acquaint you with a narrative
of unusual interest, upon certain conditions, with which if you comply,
you will not only serve yourself, but me as well."

"Please name the conditions," I said.

"They are simple enough," he answered. "The narrative I speak of is in
manuscript. I will produce it in the near future, and my design is to
read it aloud to you, or to allow you to read it to me, as you may
select. Further, my wish is that during the reading you shall interpose
any objection or question that you deem proper. This reading will occupy
many evenings, and I shall of necessity be with you often. When the
reading is concluded, we will seal the package securely, and I shall
leave you forever. You will then deposit the manuscript in some safe
place, and let it remain for thirty years. When this period has elapsed,
I wish you to publish this history to the world."

"Your conditions seem easy," I said, after a few seconds' pause.

"They are certainly very simple; do you accept?"

I hesitated, for the prospect of giving myself up to a succession of
interviews with this extraordinary and mysterious personage seemed to
require consideration. He evidently divined my thoughts, for, rising
from his chair, he said abruptly: "Let me have your answer now."

I debated the matter no further, but answered: "I accept,
conditionally."

"Name your conditions," the guest replied.

"I will either publish the work, or induce some other man to do so."

[Illustration: "LET ME HAVE YOUR ANSWER NOW."]

"Good," he said; "I will see you again," with a polite bow; and turning
to the door which I had previously locked, he opened it softly, and with
a quiet "Good night" disappeared in the hall-way.

I looked after him with bewildered senses; but a sudden impulse caused
me to glance toward the table, when I saw that he had forgotten his
knife. With the view of returning this, I reached to pick it up, but my
finger tips no sooner touched the handle than a sudden chill shivered
along my nerves. Not as an electric shock, but rather as a sensation of
extreme cold was the current that ran through me in an instant. Rushing
into the hall-way to the landing of the stairs, I called after the
mysterious being, "You have forgotten your knife," but beyond the faint
echo of my voice, I heard no sound. The phantom was gone. A moment later
I was at the foot of the stairs, and had thrown open the door. A street
lamp shed an uncertain light in front of the house. I stepped out and
listened intently for a moment, but not a sound was audible, if indeed I
except the beating of my own heart, which throbbed so wildly that I
fancied I heard it. No footfall echoed from the deserted streets; all
was silent as a churchyard, and I closed and locked the door softly,
tiptoed my way back to my room, and sank collapsed into an easy chair. I
was more than exhausted; I quivered from head to foot, not with cold,
but with a strange nervous chill that found intensest expression in my
spinal column, and seemed to flash up and down my back vibrating like a
feverous pulse. This active pain was succeeded by a feeling of frozen
numbness, and I sat I know not how long, trying to tranquilize myself
and think temperately of the night's occurrence. By degrees I recovered
my normal sensations, and directing my will in the channel of sober
reasoning, I said to myself: "There can be no mistake about his visit,
for his knife is here as a witness to the fact. So much is sure, and I
will secure that testimony at all events." With this reflection I turned
to the table, but to my astonishment I discovered that the knife had
disappeared. It needed but this miracle to start the perspiration in
great cold beads from every pore. My brain was in a whirl, and reeling
into a chair, I covered my face with my hands. How long I sat in this
posture I do not remember. I only know that I began to doubt my own
sanity, and wondered if this were not the way people became deranged.
Had not my peculiar habits of isolation, irregular and intense study,
erratic living, all conspired to unseat reason? Surely here was every
ground to believe so; and yet I was able still to think consistently and
hold steadily to a single line of thought. Insane people can not do
that, I reflected, and gradually the tremor and excitement wore away.
When I had become calmer and more collected, and my sober judgment said,
"Go to bed; sleep just as long as you can; hold your eyelids down, and
when you awake refreshed, as you will, think out the whole subject at
your leisure," I arose, threw open the shutters, and found that day was
breaking. Hastily undressing I went to bed, and closed my eyes, vaguely
conscious of some soothing guardianship. Perhaps because I was
physically exhausted, I soon lost myself in the oblivion of sleep.

[Illustration: "I ESPIED UPON THE TABLE A LONG WHITE HAIR."]

I did not dream,--at least I could not afterwards remember my dream if I
had one, but I recollect thinking that somebody struck ten distinct
blows on my door, which seemed to me to be of metal and very sonorous.
These ten blows in my semi-conscious state I counted. I lay very quiet
for a time collecting my thoughts and noting various objects about the
room, until my eye caught the dial of a French clock upon the mantel.
It was a few minutes past ten, and the blows I had heard were the
strokes of the hammer upon the gong in the clock. The sun was shining
into the room, which was quite cold, for the fire had gone out. I arose,
dressed myself quickly, and after thoroughly laving my face and hands in
ice-cold water, felt considerably refreshed.

Before going out to breakfast, while looking around the room for a few
things which I wanted to take with me, I espied upon the table a long
white hair. This was indeed a surprise, for I had about concluded that
my adventure of the previous night was a species of waking nightmare,
the result of overworked brain and weakened body. But here was tangible
evidence to the contrary, an assurance that my mysterious visitor was
not a fancy or a dream, and his parting words, "I will see you again,"
recurred to me with singular effect. "He will see me again; very well; I
will preserve this evidence of his visit for future use." I wound the
delicate filament into a little coil, folded it carefully in a bit of
paper, and consigned it to a corner in my pocket-book, though not
without some misgiving that it too might disappear as did the knife.

The strange experience of that night had a good effect on me; I became
more regular in all my habits, took abundant sleep and exercise, was
more methodical in my modes of study and reasoning, and in a short time
found myself vastly improved in every way, mentally and physically.

The days went fleeting into weeks, the weeks into months, and while the
form and figure of the white-haired stranger were seldom absent from my
mind, he came no more.



CHAPTER II.

    A FRIENDLY CONFERENCE.


It is rare, in our present civilization, to find a man who lives alone.
This remark does not apply to hermits or persons of abnormal or
perverted mental tendencies, but to the majority of mankind living and
moving actively among their fellows, and engaged in the ordinary
occupations of humanity. Every man must have at least one confidant,
either of his own household, or within the circle of his intimate
friends. There may possibly be rare exceptions among persons of genius
in statecraft, war, or commerce, but it is doubtful even in such
instances if any keep all their thoughts to themselves, hermetically
sealed from their fellows. As a prevailing rule, either a loving wife or
very near friend shares the inner thought of the most secretive
individual, even when secrecy seems an indispensable element to success.
The tendency to a free interchange of ideas and experiences is almost
universal, instinct prompting the natural man to unburden his most
sacred thought, when the proper confidant and the proper time come for
the disclosure.

For months I kept to myself the events narrated in the preceding
chapter. And this for several reasons: first, the dread of ridicule that
would follow the relation of the fantastic occurrences, and the possible
suspicion of my sanity, that might result from the recital; second, very
grave doubts as to the reality of my experiences. But by degrees
self-confidence was restored, as I reasoned the matter over and
reassured myself by occasional contemplation of the silvery hair I had
coiled in my pocket-book, and which at first I had expected would vanish
as did the stranger's knife. There came upon me a feeling that I should
see my weird visitor again, and at an early day. I resisted this
impression, for it was a feeling of the idea, rather than a thought, but
the vague expectation grew upon me in spite of myself, until at length
it became a conviction which no argument or logic could shake.
Curiously enough, as the original incident receded into the past, this
new idea thrust itself into the foreground, and I began in my own mind
to court another interview. At times, sitting alone after night, I felt
that I was watched by unseen eyes; these eyes haunted me in my solitude,
and I was morally sure of the presence of another than myself in the
room. The sensation was at first unpleasant, and I tried to throw it
off, with partial success. But only for a little while could I banish
the intrusive idea, and as the thought took form, and the invisible
presence became more actual to consciousness, I hoped that the stranger
would make good his parting promise, "I will see you again."

On one thing I was resolved; I would at least be better informed on the
subject of hallucinations and apparitions, and not be taken unawares as
I had been. To this end I decided to confer with my friend, Professor
Chickering, a quiet, thoughtful man, of varied accomplishments, and
thoroughly read upon a great number of topics, especially in the
literature of the marvelous.

So to the Professor I went, after due appointment, and confided to him
full particulars of my adventure. He listened patiently throughout, and
when I had finished, assured me in a matter-of-fact way that such
hallucinations were by no means rare. His remark was provoking, for I
did not expect from the patient interest he had shown while I was
telling my story, that the whole matter would be dismissed thus
summarily. I said with some warmth:

"But this was not a hallucination. I tried at first to persuade myself
that it was illusory, but the more I have thought the experience over,
the more real it becomes to me."

"Perhaps you were dreaming," suggested the Professor.

"No," I answered; "I have tried that hypothesis, and it will not do.
Many things make that view untenable."

"Do not be too sure of that," he said; "you were, by your own account,
in a highly nervous condition, and physically tired. It is possible,
perhaps probable, that in this state, as you sat in your chair, you
dozed off for a short interval, during which the illusion flashed
through your mind."

"How do you explain the fact that incidents occupying a large portion of
the night, occurred in an interval which you describe as a flash?"

"Easily enough; in dreams time may not exist: periods embracing weeks or
months may be reduced to an instant. Long journeys, hours of
conversation, or a multitude of transactions, may be compressed into a
term measured by the opening or closing of a door, or the striking of a
clock. In dreams, ordinary standards of reason find no place, while
ideas or events chase through the mind more rapidly than thought."

"Conceding all this, why did I, considering the unusual character of the
incidents, accept them as real, as substantial, as natural as the most
commonplace events?"

"There is nothing extraordinary in that," he replied. "In dreams all
sorts of absurdities, impossibilities, discordancies, and violation of
natural law appear realities, without exciting the least surprise or
suspicion. Imagination runs riot and is supreme, and reason for the time
is dormant. We see ghosts, spirits, the forms of persons dead or
living,--we suffer pain, pleasure, hunger,--and all sensations and
emotions, without a moment's question of their reality."

"Do any of the subjects of our dreams or visions leave tangible
evidences of their presence?"

"Assuredly not," he answered, with an incredulous, half-impatient
gesture; "the idea is absurd."

"Then I was not dreaming," I mused.

Without looking at me, the Professor went on: "These false presentiments
may have their origin in other ways, as from mental disorders caused by
indigestion. Nicolai, a noted bookseller of Berlin, was thus afflicted.
His experiences are interesting and possibly suggestive. Let me read
some of them to you."

The Professor hereupon glanced over his bookshelf, selected a volume,
and proceeded to read:[1]

    [1] This work I have found to be Vol. IV. of Chambers' Miscellany,
    published by Gould and Lincoln, Boston.--J. U. L.

     "I generally saw human forms of both sexes; but they usually
     seemed not to take the smallest notice of each other, moving as
     in a market place, where all are eager to press through the
     crowd; at times, however, they seemed to be transacting business
     with each other. I also saw several times, people on horseback,
     dogs, and birds.

     "All these phantasms appeared to me in their natural size, and as
     distinct as if alive, exhibiting different shades of carnation in
     the uncovered parts, as well as different colors and fashions in
     their dresses, though the colors seemed somewhat paler than in
     real nature. None of the figures appeared particularly terrible,
     comical, or disgusting, most of them being of indifferent shape,
     and some presenting a pleasant aspect. The longer these phantasms
     continued to visit me, the more frequently did they return, while
     at the same time they increased in number about four weeks after
     they had first appeared. I also began to hear them talk: these
     phantoms conversed among themselves, but more frequently
     addressed their discourse to me; their speeches were uncommonly
     short, and never of an unpleasant turn. At different times there
     appeared to me both dear and sensible friends of both sexes,
     whose addresses tended to appease my grief, which had not yet
     wholly subsided: their consolatory speeches were in general
     addressed to me when I was alone. Sometimes, however, I was
     accosted by these consoling friends while I was engaged in
     company, and not unfrequently while real persons were speaking to
     me. These consolatory addresses consisted sometimes of abrupt
     phrases, and at other times they were regularly executed."

Here I interrupted: "I note, Professor, that Mr. Nicolai knew these
forms to be illusions."

Without answering my remark, he continued to read:

     "There is in imagination a potency far exceeding the fabled power
     of Aladdin's lamp. How often does one sit in wintry evening
     musings, and trace in the glowing embers the features of an
     absent friend? Imagination, with its magic wand, will there build
     a city with its countless spires, or marshal contending armies,
     or drive the tempest-shattered ship upon the ocean. The following
     story, related by Scott, affords a good illustration of this
     principle:

     "'Not long after the death of an illustrious poet, who had
     filled, while living, a great station in the eyes of the public,
     a literary friend, to whom the deceased had been well known, was
     engaged during the darkening twilight of an autumn evening, in
     perusing one of the publications which professed to detail the
     habits and opinions of the distinguished individual who was now
     no more. As the reader had enjoyed the intimacy of the deceased
     to a considerable degree, he was deeply interested in the
     publication, which contained some particulars relating to himself
     and other friends. A visitor was sitting in the apartment, who
     was also engaged in reading. Their sitting-room opened into an
     entrance hall, rather fantastically fitted up with articles of
     armor, skins of wild animals, and the like. It was when laying
     down his book, and passing into this hall, through which the moon
     was beginning to shine, that the individual of whom I speak saw
     right before him, in a standing posture, the exact representation
     of his departed friend, whose recollection had been so strongly
     brought to his imagination. He stopped for a single moment, so as
     to notice the wonderful accuracy with which fancy had impressed
     upon the bodily eye the peculiarities of dress and position of
     the illustrious poet. Sensible, however, of the delusion, he felt
     no sentiment save that of wonder at the extraordinary accuracy of
     the resemblance, and stepped onward to the figure, which resolved
     itself as he approached into the various materials of which it
     was composed. These were merely a screen occupied by great coats,
     shawls, plaids, and such other articles as are usually found in a
     country entrance hall. The spectator returned to the spot from
     which he had seen the illusion, and endeavored with all his power
     to recall the image which had been so singularly vivid. But this
     he was unable to do. And the person who had witnessed the
     apparition, or, more properly, whose excited state had been the
     means of raising it, had only to return to the apartment, and
     tell his young friend under what a striking hallucination he had
     for a moment labored.'"

Here I was constrained to call the Professor to a halt. "Your stories
are very interesting," I said, "but I fail to perceive any analogy in
either the conditions or the incidents, to my experience. I was fully
awake and conscious at the time, and the man I saw appeared and moved
about in the full glare of the gaslight,--"

"Perhaps not," he answered; "I am simply giving you some general
illustrations of the subject. But here is a case more to the point."

Again he read:

     "A lady was once passing through a wood, in the darkening
     twilight of a stormy evening, to visit a friend who was watching
     over a dying child. The clouds were thick--the rain beginning to
     fall; darkness was increasing; the wind was moaning mournfully
     through the trees. The lady's heart almost failed her as she saw
     that she had a mile to walk through the woods in the gathering
     gloom. But the reflection of the situation of her friend forbade
     her turning back. Excited and trembling, she called to her aid a
     nervous resolution, and pressed onward. She had not proceeded far
     when she beheld in the path before her the movement of some very
     indistinct object. It appeared to keep a little distance ahead of
     her, and as she made efforts to get nearer to see what it was, it
     seemed proportionally to recede. The lady began to feel rather
     unpleasantly. There was some pale white object certainly
     discernible before her, and it appeared mysteriously to float
     along, at a regular distance, without any effort at motion.
     Notwithstanding the lady's good sense and unusual resolution, a
     cold chill began to come over her. She made every effort to
     resist her fears, and soon succeeded in drawing nearer the
     mysterious object, when she was appalled at beholding the
     features of her friend's child, cold in death, wrapt in its
     shroud. She gazed earnestly, and there it remained distinct and
     clear before her eyes. She considered it a premonition that her
     friend's child was dead, and that she must hasten to her aid. But
     there was the apparition directly in her path. She must pass it.
     Taking up a little stick, she forced herself along to the object,
     and behold, some little animal scampered away. It was this that
     her excited imagination had transformed into the corpse of an
     infant in its winding sheet."

I was a little irritated, and once more interrupted the reader warmly:
"This is exasperating. Now what resemblance is there between the
vagaries of a hysterical, weak-minded woman, and my case?"

He smiled, and again read:

     "The numerous stories told of ghosts, or the spirits of persons
     who are dead, will in most instances be found to have originated
     in diseased imagination, aggravated by some abnormal defect of
     mind. We may mention a remarkable case in point, and one which is
     not mentioned in English works on this subject; it is told by a
     compiler of Les Causes Célèbres. Two young noblemen, the
     Marquises De Rambouillet and De Precy, belonging to two of the
     first families of France, made an agreement, in the warmth of
     their friendship, that the one who died first should return to
     the other with tidings of the world to come. Soon afterwards De
     Rambouillet went to the wars in Flanders, while De Precy remained
     at Paris, stricken by a fever. Lying alone in bed, and severely
     ill, De Precy one day heard a rustling of his bed curtains, and
     turning round, saw his friend De Rambouillet, in full military
     attire. The sick man sprung over the bed to welcome his friend,
     but the other receded, and said that he had come to fulfill his
     promise, having been killed on that very day. He further said
     that it behooved De Precy to think more of the afterworld, as all
     that was said of it was true, and as he himself would die in his
     first battle. De Precy was then left by the phantom; and it was
     afterward found that De Rambouillet had fallen on that day."

"Ah," I said, "and so the phantom predicted an event that followed as
indicated."

"Spiritual illusions," explained the Professor, "are not unusual, and
well authenticated cases are not wanting in which they have been induced
in persons of intelligence by functional or organic disorders. In the
last case cited, the prediction was followed by a fulfillment, but this
was chance or mere coincidence. It would be strange indeed if in the
multitude of dreams that come to humanity, some few should not be
followed by events so similar as to warrant the belief that they were
prefigured. But here is an illustration that fits your case: let me read
it:

     "In some instances it may be difficult to decide whether spectral
     appearances and spectral noises proceed from physical derangement
     or from an overwrought state of mind. Want of exercise and
     amusement may also be a prevailing cause. A friend mentions to us
     the following case: An acquaintance of his, a merchant, in
     London, who had for years paid very close attention to business,
     was one day, while alone in his counting house, very much
     surprised to hear, as he imagined, persons outside the door
     talking freely about him. Thinking it was some acquaintances who
     were playing off a trick, he opened the door to request them to
     come in, when to his amazement, he found that nobody was there.
     He again sat down to his desk, and in a few minutes the same
     dialogue recommenced. The language was very alarming. One voice
     seemed to say: 'We have the scoundrel in his own counting house;
     let us go in and seize him.' 'Certainly,' replied the other
     voice, 'it is right to take him; he has been guilty of a great
     crime, and ought to be brought to condign punishment.' Alarmed
     at these threats, the bewildered merchant rushed to the door; and
     there again no person was to be seen. He now locked his door and
     went home; but the voices, as he thought, followed him through
     the crowd, and he arrived at his house in a most unenviable state
     of mind. Inclined to ascribe the voices to derangement in mind,
     he sent for a medical attendant, and told his case, and a certain
     kind of treatment was prescribed. This, however, failed; the
     voices menacing him with punishment for purely imaginary crimes
     continued, and he was reduced to the brink of despair. At length
     a friend prescribed entire relaxation from business, and a daily
     game of cricket, which, to his great relief, proved an effectual
     remedy. The exercise banished the phantom voices, and they were
     no more heard."

"So you think that I am in need of out-door exercise?"

"Exactly."

"And that my experience was illusory, the result of vertigo, or some
temporary calenture of the brain?"

"To be plain with you, yes."

"But I asked you a while ago if specters or phantoms ever leave tangible
evidence of their presence." The Professor's eyes dilated in
interrogation. I continued: "Well, this one did. After I had followed
him out, I found on the table a long, white hair, which I still have,"
and producing the little coil from my pocket-book, I handed it to him.
He examined it curiously, eyed me furtively, and handed it back with the
cautious remark:

"I think you had better commence your exercise at once."



CHAPTER III.

    A SECOND INTERVIEW WITH THE MYSTERIOUS VISITOR.


It is not pleasant to have one's mental responsibility brought in
question, and the result of my interview with Professor Chickering was,
to put it mildly, unsatisfactory. Not that he had exactly questioned my
sanity, but it was all too evident that he was disposed to accept my
statement of a plain matter-of-fact occurrence with a too liberal
modicum of salt. I say "matter-of-fact occurrence" in full knowledge of
the truth that I myself had at first regarded the whole transaction as a
fantasia or flight of mind, the result of extreme nervous tension; but
in the interval succeeding I had abundant opportunity to correlate my
thoughts, and to bring some sort of order out of the mental and physical
chaos of that strange, eventful night. True, the preliminary events
leading up to it were extraordinary; the dismal weather, the depression
of body and spirit under which I labored, the wild whirl of thought
keeping pace with the elements--in short, a general concatenation of
events that seemed to be ordered especially for the introduction of some
abnormal visitor--the night would indeed have been incomplete without a
ghost! But was it a ghost? There was nothing ghostly about my visitor,
except the manner of his entrance and exit. In other respects, he seemed
substantial enough. He was, in his manners, courteous and polished as a
Chesterfield; learned as a savant in his conversation; human in his
thoughtful regard of my fears and misgivings; but that tremendous
forehead, with its crown of silver hair, the long, translucent beard of
pearly whiteness, and above all the astounding facility with which he
read my hidden thoughts--these were not natural.

The Professor had been patient with me--I had a right to expect that; he
was entertaining to the extent of reading such excerpts as he had with
him on the subject of hallucinations and their supposed causes, but had
he not spoiled all by assigning me at last to a place with the
questionable, unbalanced characters he had cited? I thought so, and the
reflection provoked me; and this thought grew upon me until I came to
regard his stories and attendant theories as so much literary trash.

My own reflections had been sober and deliberate, and had led me to seek
a rational explanation of the unusual phenomena. I had gone to Professor
Chickering for a certain measure of sympathy, and what was more to the
point, to secure his suggestions and assistance in the further
unraveling of a profound mystery that might contain a secret of untold
use to humanity. Repulsed by the mode in which my confidence had been
received, I decided to do what I should have done from the outset--to
keep my own counsel, and to follow alone the investigation to the end,
no matter what the result might be. I could not forget or ignore the
silver hair I had so religiously preserved. That was genuine; it was as
tangible, as real, as convincing a witness as would have been the entire
head of my singular visitant, whatever might be his nature.

I began to feel at ease the moment my course was decided, and the
feeling was at once renewed within me that the gray head would come
again, and by degrees that expectation ripened into a desire, only
intensified as the days sped by. The weeks passed into months; summer
came and went; autumn was fast fading, but the mysterious unknown did
not appear. A curious fancy led me now to regard him as my friend, for
the mixed and indefinite feelings I felt at first towards him had almost
unaccountably been changed to those of sincere regard. He was not always
in my thoughts, for I had abundant occupation at all times to keep both
brain and hands busy, but there were few evenings in which I did not,
just before retiring, give myself up for a brief period to quiet
communion with my own thoughts, and I must confess at such times the
unknown occupied the larger share of attention. The constant
contemplation of any theme begets a feeling of familiarity or
acquaintance with the same, and if that subject be an individual, as in
the present instance, such contemplation lessens the liability to
surprise from any unexpected development. In fact, I not only
anticipated a visit, but courted it. The old Latin maxim that I had
played with, "Never less alone than when alone" had domiciled itself
within my brain as a permanent lodger--a conviction, a feeling rather
than a thought defined, and I had but little difficulty in associating
an easy-chair which I had come to place in a certain position for my
expected visitor, with his presence.

Indian summer had passed, and the fall was nearly gone when for some
inexplicable reason the number seven began to haunt me. What had I to do
with seven, or seven with me? When I sat down at night this persistent
number mixed itself in my thoughts, to my intense annoyance. Bother take
the mystic numeral! What was I to do with seven? I found myself asking
this question audibly one evening, when it suddenly occurred to me that
I would refer to the date of my friend's visit. I kept no journal, but
reference to a record of some business transactions that I had
associated with that event showed that it took place on November
seventh. That settled the importunate seven! I should look for whomever
he was on the first anniversary of his visit, which was the seventh, now
close at hand. The instant I had reached this conclusion the number left
me, and troubled me no more.

November third had passed, the fourth, and the fifth had come, when a
stubborn, protesting notion entered my mind that I was yielding to a
superstitious idea, and that it was time to control my vacillating will.
Accordingly on this day I sent word to a friend that, if agreeable to
him, I would call on him on the evening of the seventh for a short
social chat, but as I expected to be engaged until later than usual,
would he excuse me if I did not reach his apartments until ten? The
request was singular, but as I was now accounted somewhat odd, it
excited no comment, and the answer was returned, requesting me to come.
The seventh of November came at last. I was nervous during the day,
which seemed to drag tediously, and several times it was remarked of me
that I seemed abstracted and ill at ease, but I held my peace. Night
came cold and clear, and the stars shone brighter than usual, I thought.
It was a sharp contrast to the night of a year ago. I took an early
supper, for which I had no appetite, after which I strolled aimlessly
about the streets, revolving how I should put in the time till ten
o'clock, when I was to call upon my friend. I decided to go to the
theater, and to the theater I went. The play was spectacular, "Aladdin;
or, The Wonderful Lamp." The entertainment, to me, was a flat failure,
for I was busy with my thoughts, and it was not long until my thoughts
were busy with me, and I found myself attempting to answer a series of
questions that finally became embarrassing. "Why did you make an
appointment for ten o'clock instead of eight, if you wished to keep away
from your apartments?" I hadn't thought of that before; it was stupid to
a degree, if not ill-mannered, and I frankly admitted as much. "Why did
you make an appointment at all, in the face of the fact that you not
only expected a visitor, but were anxious to meet him?" This was easily
answered: because I did not wish to yield to what struck me as
superstition. "But do you expect to extend your call until morning?"
Well, no, I hadn't thought or arranged to do so. "Well, then, what is to
prevent your expected guest from awaiting your return? Or, what
assurance have you that he will not encounter you in the street, under
circumstances that will provoke or, at the least, embarrass you?" None
whatever. "Then what have you gained by your stupid perversity?"
Nothing, beyond the assertion of my own individuality. "Why not go home
and receive your guest in becoming style?" No; I would not do that. I
had started on this course, and I would persevere in it. I would be
consistent. And so I persisted, at least until nine o'clock, when I quit
the theater in sullen dejection, and went home to make some slight
preparation for my evening call.

With my latch-key I let myself into the front door of the apartment
house wherein I lodged, walked through the hall, up the stair-case, and
paused on the threshold of my room, wondering what I would find inside.
Opening the door I entered, leaving it open behind me so that the light
from the hall-way would shine into the room, which was dark, and there
was no transom above the door. The grate fire had caked into a solid
mass of charred bituminous coal, which shed no illumination beyond a
faint red glow at the bottom, showing that it was barely alive, and no
more. I struck a match on the underside of the mantel shelf, and as I
lit the gas I heard the click of the door latch. I turned instantly; the
door had been gently closed by some unknown force if not by unseen
hands, for there was no breath of air stirring. This preternatural
interference was not pleasant, for I had hoped in the event of another
visit from my friend, if friend he was, that he would bring no uncanny
or ghostly manifestation to disturb me. I looked at the clock; the index
pointed to half past nine. I glanced about the room; it was orderly,
everything in proper position, even to the arm-chair that I had been
wont to place for my nondescript visitor. It was time to be going, so I
turned to the dressing case, brushed my hair, put on a clean scarf, and
moved towards the wash-stand, which stood in a little alcove on the
opposite side of the room. My self-command well-nigh deserted me as I
did so, for there, in the arm-chair that a moment before was empty, sat
my guest of a year ago, facing me with placid features! The room began
to revolve, a faint, sick feeling came over me, and I reeled into the
first convenient chair, and covered my face with my hands. This
depression lasted but an instant, however, and as I recovered
self-possession, I felt or fancied I felt a pair of penetrating eyes
fixed upon me with the same mild, searching gaze I remembered so well. I
ventured to look up; sure enough, there they were, the beaming eyes, and
there was he! Rising from his chair, he towered up to his full height,
smiled pleasantly, and with a slight inclination of the head, murmured:
"Permit me to wish you good evening; I am profoundly glad to meet you
again."

It was full a minute before I could muster courage to answer: "I wish I
could say as much for myself."

"And why shouldn't you?" he said, gently and courteously; "you have
realized, for the past six months, that I would return; more than
that--you have known for some time the very day and almost the exact
hour of my coming, have even wished for it, and, in the face of all
this, I find you preparing to evade the requirements of common
hospitality;--are you doing either me or yourself justice?"

I was nettled at the knowledge he displayed of my movements, and of my
very thoughts; my old stubbornness asserted itself, and I was rude
enough to say: "Perhaps it is as you say; at all events, I am obligated
to keep an engagement, and with your permission will now retire."

It was curious to mark the effect of this speech upon the intruder. He
immediately became grave, reached quietly into an inner pocket of his
coat, drew thence the same glittering, horrible, mysterious knife that
had so terrified and bewildered me a year before, and looking me
steadily in the eye, said coldly, yet with a certain tone of sadness:
"Well, I will not grant permission. It is unpleasant to resort to this
style of argument, but I do it to save time and controversy."

I stepped back in terror, and reached for the old-fashioned bell-cord,
with the heavy tassel at the end, that depended from the ceiling, and
was on the point of grasping and giving it a vigorous pull.

"Not so fast, if you please," he said, sternly, as he stepped forward,
and gave the knife a rapid swish through the air above my head, causing
the cord to fall in a tangle about my hand, cut cleanly, high above my
reach!

I gazed in dumb stupor at the rope about my hand, and raised my eyes to
the remnant above. That was motionless; there was not the slightest
perceptible vibration, such as would naturally be expected. I turned to
look at my guest; he had resumed his seat, and had also regained his
pleasant expression, but he still held the knife in his hand with his
arm extended, at rest, upon the table, which stood upon his right.

[Illustration: "THE SAME GLITTERING, MYSTERIOUS KNIFE."]

"Let us have an end to this folly," he said; "think a moment, and you
will see that you are in fault. Your error we will rectify easily, and
then to business. I will first show you the futility of trying to escape
this interview, and then we will proceed to work, for time presses, and
there is much to do." Having delivered this remark, he detached a single
silvery hair from his head, blew it from his fingers, and let it float
gently upon the upturned edge of the knife, which was still resting on
the table. The hair was divided as readily as had been the bell-cord. I
was transfixed with astonishment, for he had evidently aimed to exhibit
the quality of the blade, though he made no allusion to the feat, but
smilingly went on with his discourse: "It is just a year ago to-night
since we first met. Upon that occasion you made an agreement with me
which you are in honor bound to keep, and--" here he paused as if to note
the effect of his words upon me, then added significantly--"will keep. I
have been at some pains to impress upon your mind the fact that I
would be here to-night. You responded, and knew that I was coming, and
yet in obedience to a silly whim, deliberately made a meaningless
engagement with no other purpose than to violate a solemn obligation. I
now insist that you keep your prior engagement with me, but I do not
wish that you should be rude to your friend, so you had better write him
a polite note excusing yourself, and dispatch it at once."

I saw that he was right, and that there was no shadow of justification
for my conduct, or at least I was subdued by his presence, so I wrote
the note without delay, and was casting about for some way to send it,
when he said: "Fold it, seal it, and address it; you seem to forget what
is proper." I did as he directed, mechanically, and, without thinking
what I was doing, handed it to him. He took it naturally, glanced at the
superscription, went to the door which he opened slightly, and handed
the billet as if to some messenger who seemed to be in waiting
outside,--then closed and locked the door. Turning toward me with the
apparent object of seeing if I was looking, he deftly drew his knife
twice across the front of the door-knob, making a deep cross, and then
deposited the knife in his pocket, and resumed his seat.[2]

    [2] I noted afterward that the door-knob, which was of solid
    metal, was cut deeply, as though made of putty.

As soon as he was comfortably seated, he again began the conversation:
"Now that we have settled the preliminaries, I will ask if you remember
what I required of you a year ago?" I thought that I did. "Please repeat
it; I wish to make sure that you do, then we will start fair."

"In the first place, you were to present me with a manuscript--"

"Hardly correct," he interrupted; "I was to acquaint you with a
narrative which is already in manuscript, acquaint you with it, read it
to you, if you preferred not to read it to me--"

"I beg your pardon," I answered; "that is correct. You were to read the
manuscript to me, and during the reading I was to interpose such
comments, remarks, or objections, as seemed proper; to embody as
interludes, in the manuscript, as my own interpolations, however, and
not as part of the original."

"Very good," he replied, "you have the idea exactly; proceed."

"I agreed that when the reading had been completed, I would seal the
complete manuscript securely, deposit it in some safe place, there to
remain for thirty years, when it must be published."

[Illustration: "DREW HIS KNIFE TWICE ACROSS THE FRONT OF THE
DOOR-KNOB."]

"Just so," he answered; "we understand each other as we should. Before
we proceed further, however, can you think of any point on which you
need enlightenment? If so, ask such questions as you choose, and I will
answer them."

I thought for a moment, but no query occurred to me; after a pause he
said: "Well, if you think of nothing now, perhaps hereafter questions
will occur to you which you can ask; but as it is late, and you are
tired, we will not commence now. I will see you just one week from
to-night, when we will begin. From that time on, we will follow the
subject as rapidly as you choose, but see to it that you make no
engagements that will interfere with our work, for I shall be more
exacting in the future." I promised, and he rose to go. A sudden impulse
seized me, and I said: "May I ask one question?"

"Certainly."

"What shall I call you?"

"Why call me aught? It is not necessary in addressing each other that
any name be used."

"But what are you?" I persisted.

A pained expression for an instant rested upon his face, and he said,
sadly, pausing between the words: "I--Am--The--Man Who--Did--It."

"Did what?"

"Ask not; the manuscript will tell you. Be content, Llewellyn, and
remember this, that I--Am--The--Man."

So saying he bade me good night, opened the door, and disappeared down
the broad stair-case.

One week thereafter he appeared promptly, seated himself, and producing
a roll of manuscript, handed it to me, saying, "I am listening; you may
begin to read."

On examination I found each page to be somewhat larger than a sheet of
letter paper, with the written matter occupying a much smaller space, so
as to leave a wide white border. One hundred pages were in the package.
The last sentence ending abruptly indicated that my guest did not expect
to complete his task in one evening, and, I may anticipate by saying
that with each successive interview he drew about the same amount of
writing from his bosom. Upon attempting to read the manuscript I at
first found myself puzzled by a style of chirography very peculiar and
characteristic, but execrably bad. Vainly did I attempt to read it; even
the opening sentence was not deciphered without long inspection and
great difficulty.

The old man, whom I had promised that I would fulfill the task,
observing my discomfiture, relieved me of the charge, and without a word
of introduction, read fluently as follows:



THE MANUSCRIPT OF I--AM--THE--MAN.



CHAPTER IV.

    A SEARCH FOR KNOWLEDGE.--THE ALCHEMISTIC LETTER.


I am the man who, unfortunately for my future happiness, was
dissatisfied with such knowledge as could be derived from ordinary books
concerning semi-scientific subjects in which I had long been absorbed. I
studied the current works of my day on philosophy and chemistry, hoping
therein to find something tangible regarding the relationship that
exists between matter and spirit, but studied in vain. Astronomy,
history, philosophy and the mysterious, incoherent works of alchemy and
occultism were finally appealed to, but likewise failed to satisfy me.
These studies were pursued in secret, though I am not aware that any
necessity existed for concealment. Be that as it may, at every
opportunity I covertly acquainted myself with such alchemical lore as
could be obtained either by purchase or by correspondence with others
whom I found to be pursuing investigations in the same direction. A
translation of Geber's "De Claritate Alchemiæ," by chance came into my
possession, and afterwards an original version from the Latin of
Boerhaave's "Elementa Chemiæ," published and translated in 1753 by
Peter Shaw. This magnificent production threw a flood of light upon the
early history of chemistry, being far more elaborate than any modern
work. It inspired me with the deepest regard for its talented author,
and ultimately introduced me to a brotherhood of adepts, for in this
publication, although its author disclaims occultism, is to be found a
talisman that will enable any earnest searcher after light to become a
member of the society of secret "Chemical Improvers of Natural
Philosophy," with which I affiliated as soon as the key was discovered.
Then followed a systematic investigation of authorities of the
Alchemical School, including Geber, Morienus, Roger Bacon, George
Ripley, Raymond Lully, Bernard, Count of Trevise, Isaac Hollandus,
Arnoldus de la Villanova, Paracelsus, and others, not omitting the
learned researches of the distinguished scientist, Llewellyn.

[Illustration: FAC-SIMILE OF PAGE OF MANUSCRIPT.]

I discovered that many talented men are still firm believers in the lost
art of alchemy, and that among the followers of the "thrice-famed
Hermes" are to be found statesmen, clergymen, lawyers, and scientific
men who, for various reasons, invariably conceal with great tact their
connection with the fraternity of adepts. Some of these men had written
scientific treatises of a very different character from those
circulating among the members of our brotherhood, and to their
materialistic readers it would seem scarcely possible that the authors
could be tainted with hallucinations of any description, while others,
conspicuous leaders in the church, were seemingly beyond occult
temptation.

The larger number, it was evident, hoped by studies of the works of the
alchemists, to find the key to the alkahest of Van Helmont, that is, to
discover the Philosopher's Stone, or the Elixir of Life, and from their
writings it is plain that the inner consciousness of thoughtful and
scientific men rebelled against confinement to the narrow bounds of
materialistic science, within which they were forced to appear as
dogmatic pessimists. To them scientific orthodoxy, acting as a weight,
prohibited intellectual speculation, as rank heresy. A few of my
co-laborers were expert manipulators, and worked experimentally,
following in their laboratories the suggestions of those gifted students
who had pored over precious old manuscripts, and had attempted to solve
the enigmatical formulas recorded therein, puzzles familiar to students
of Hermetic lore. It was thus demonstrated,--for what I have related is
history,--that in this nineteenth century there exists a fraternity, the
members of which are as earnest in their belief in the truth of Esoteric
philosophy, as were the followers of Hermes himself; savants who, in
secret, circulate among themselves a literature that the materialism of
this selfsame nineteenth century has relegated to the deluded and murky
periods that produced it.

One day a postal package came to my address, this being the manner in
which some of our literature circulated, which, on examination, I
found to be a letter of instruction and advice from some unknown member
of our circle. I was already becoming disheartened over the mental
confusion into which my studies were leading me, and the contents of the
letter, in which I was greatly interested, made a lasting impression
upon me. It seemed to have been circulating a long time among our
members in Europe and America, for it bore numerous marginal notes of
various dates, but each and every one of its readers had for one reason
or another declined the task therein suggested. From the substance of
the paper, which, written exquisitely, yet partook of the ambiguous
alchemistic style, it was evident that the author was well versed in
alchemy, and, in order that my position may be clearly understood at
this turning point in a life of remarkable adventure, the letter is
appended in full:

     THE ALCHEMISTIC LETTER.

     TO THE BROTHER ADEPT WHO DARES TRY TO DISCOVER ZOROASTER'S CAVE,
     OR THE PHILOSOPHER'S INTELLECTUAL ECHOES, BY MEANS OF WHICH THEY
     COMMUNICATE TO ONE ANOTHER FROM THEIR CAVES.

     Know thou, that Hermes Trismegistus did not originate, but he
     gave to our philosophy his name--the Hermetic Art. Evolved in a
     dim, mystic age, before antiquity began, it endured through the
     slowly rolling cycles to be bandied about by the ever-ready
     flippancy of nineteenth century students. It has lived, because
     it is endowed with that quality which never dies--truth. Modern
     philosophy, of which chemistry is but a fragment, draws its
     sustenance from the prime facts which were revealed in ancient
     Egypt through Hermetic thought, and fixed by the Hermetic stylus.

     "The Hermetic allegories," so various in interpretable
     susceptibility, led subsequent thinkers into speculations and
     experimentations, which have resulted profitably to the world. It
     is not strange that some of the followers of Hermes, especially
     the more mercurial and imaginative, should have evolved nebulous
     theories, no longer explainable, and involving recondite
     spiritual considerations. Know thou that the ultimate on
     psycho-chemical investigation is the proximate of the infinite.
     Accordingly, a class came to believe that a projection of natural
     mental faculties into an advanced state of consciousness called
     the "wisdom faculty" constitutes the final possibility of
     Alchemy. The attainment of this exalted condition is still
     believed practicable by many earnest savants. Once on this lofty
     plane, the individual would not be trammelled by material
     obstacles, but would abide in that spiritual placidity which is
     the exquisite realization of mortal perfection. So exalted, he
     would be in naked parallelism with Omniscience, and through his
     illuminated understanding, could feast his soul on those exalted
     pleasures which are only less than deific.

     Notwithstanding the exploitings of a number of these
     philosophers, in which, by reason of our inability to comprehend,
     sense seemed lost in a passage of incohesive dreamery and
     resonancy of terminology, some of the purest spiritual researches
     the world has ever known, were made in the dawn of history. The
     much abused alchemical philosophers existed upon a plane, in some
     respects above the level of the science of to-day. Many of them
     lived for the good of the world only, in an atmosphere above the
     materialistic hordes that people the world, and toiling over
     their crucibles and alembics, died in their cells "uttering no
     voice." Take, for example, Eirenæus Philalethes, who, born in
     1623, lived contemporaneously with Robert Boyle. A fragment from
     his writings will illustrate the purpose which impelled the
     searcher for the true light of alchemy to record his discoveries
     in allegories, and we have no right to question the honesty of
     his utterances:

     "The Searcher of all hearts knows that I write the truth; nor is
     there any cause to accuse me of envy. I write with an unterrified
     quill in an unheard of style, to the honor of God, to the profit
     of my neighbors, with contempt of the world and its riches,
     because Elias, the artist, is already born, and now glorious
     things are declared of the city of God. I dare affirm that I do
     possess more riches than the whole known world is worth, but I
     can not make use of it because of the snares of knaves. I
     disdain, loathe, and detest the idolizing of silver and gold, by
     which the pomps and vanities of the world are celebrated. Ah!
     filthy evil! Ah! vain nothingness! Believe ye that I conceal the
     art out of envy? No, verily, I protest to you; I grieve from the
     very bottom of my soul that we (alchemists) are driven like
     vagabonds from the face of the Lord throughout the earth. But
     what need of many words? The thing that we have seen, taught, and
     made, which we have, possess, and know, that we do declare; being
     moved with compassion for the studious, and with indignation of
     gold, silver, and precious stones. Believe me, the time is at the
     door, I feel it in spirit, when we, adeptists, shall return from
     the four corners of the earth, nor shall we fear any snares that
     are laid against our lives, but we shall give thanks to the Lord
     our God. I would to God that every ingenious man in the whole
     earth understood this science; then it would be valued only for
     its wisdom, and virtue only would be had in honor."

     Of course there was a more worldly class, and a large contingent
     of mercenary impostors (as science is always encumbered),
     parasites, whose animus was shamefully unlike the purity of true
     esoteric psychologists. These men devoted their lives to
     experimentation for selfish advancement. They constructed
     alchemical outfits, and carried on a ceaseless inquiry into the
     nature of solvents, and studied their influences on earthly
     bodies, their ultimate object being the discovery of the
     Philosopher's Stone, and the alkahest which Boerhaave asserts
     was never discovered. Their records were often a verbose melange,
     purposely so written, no doubt, to cover their tracks, and to
     make themselves conspicuous. Other Hermetic believers occupied a
     more elevated position, and connected the intellectual with the
     material, hoping to gain by their philosophy and science not only
     gold and silver, which were secondary considerations, but the
     highest literary achievement, the Magnum Opus. Others still
     sought to draw from Astrology and Magic the secrets that would
     lead them to their ambitious goal. Thus there were degrees of
     fineness in a fraternity, which the science of to-day must
     recognize and admit.

     Boerhaave, the illustrious, respected Geber, of the alchemistic
     school, and none need feel compromised in admiring the talented
     alchemists who, like Geber, wrought in the twilight of morn for
     the coming world's good. We are now enjoying a fragment of the
     ultimate results of their genius and industry in the
     materialistic outcomes of present-day chemistry, to be followed
     by others more valuable; and at last, when mankind is ripe in the
     wisdom faculty, by spiritual contentment in the complacent
     furtherings beyond. Allow me briefly to refer to a few men of the
     alchemistic type whose records may be considered with advantage.

     Rhasis, a conspicuous alchemist, born in 850, first mentioned
     orpiment, borax, compounds of iron, copper, arsenic, and other
     similar substances. It is said, too, that he discovered the art
     of making brandy. About a century later, Alfarabe (killed in
     950), a great alchemist, astonished the King of Syria with his
     profound learning, and excited the admiration of the wise men of
     the East by his varied accomplishments. Later, Albertus Magnus
     (born 1205), noted for his talent and skill, believed firmly in
     the doctrine of transmutation. His beloved pupil, Thomas Aquinas,
     gave us the word amalgam, and it still serves us.
     Contemporaneously with these lived Roger Bacon (born 1214), who
     was a man of most extraordinary ability. There has never been a
     greater English intellect (not excepting his illustrious
     namesake, Lord Bacon), and his penetrating mind delved deeper
     into nature's laws than that of any successor. He told us of
     facts concerning the sciences, that scientific men can not fully
     comprehend to-day; he told us of other things that lie beyond the
     science provings of to-day, that modern philosophers can not
     grasp. He was an enthusiastic believer in the Hermetic
     philosophy, and such were his erudition and advanced views, that
     his brother friars, through jealousy and superstition, had him
     thrown into prison--a common fate to men who in those days dared
     to think ahead of their age. Despite (as some would say) of his
     mighty reasoning power and splendid attainments, he believed the
     Philosopher's Stone to be a reality; he believed the secret of
     indefinite prolongation of life abode in alchemy; that the future
     could be predicted by means of a mirror which he called
     Almuchese, and that by alchemy an adept could produce pure gold.
     He asserted that by means of Aristotle's "Secret of Secrets,"
     pure gold can be made; gold even purer and finer than what men
     now know as gold. In connection with other predictions he made an
     assertion that may with other seemingly unreasonable predictions
     be verified in time to come. He said: "It is equally possible to
     construct cars which may be set in motion with marvelous
     rapidity, independently of horses or other animals." He declared
     that the ancients had done this, and he believed the art might be
     revived.

     Following came various enthusiasts, such as Raymond, the
     ephemeral (died 1315), who flared like a meteor into his brief,
     brilliant career; Arnold de Villanova (1240), a celebrated adept,
     whose books were burned by the Inquisition on account of the
     heresy they taught; Nicholas Flamel, of France (1350), loved by
     the people for his charities, the wonder of his age (our age will
     not admit the facts) on account of the vast fortune he amassed
     without visible means or income, outside of alchemical lore;
     Johannes de Rupecissus, a man of such remarkable daring that he
     even (1357) reprimanded Pope Innocent VI., for which he was
     promptly imprisoned; Basil Valentine (1410), the author of many
     works, and the man who introduced antimony (antimonaches) into
     medicine; Isaac of Holland who, with his son, skillfully made
     artificial gems that could not be distinguished from the natural;
     Bernard Trevison (born 1406), who spent $30,000 in the study of
     alchemy, out of much of which he was cheated by cruel alchemic
     pretenders, for even in that day there were plenty of rogues to
     counterfeit a good thing. Under stress of his strong alchemic
     convictions, Thomas Dalton placed his head on the block by order
     of the virtuous (?) and conservative Thomas Herbert, 'squire to
     King Edward; Jacob Bohme (born 1575), the sweet, pure spirit of
     Christian mysticism, "The Voice of Heaven," than whom none stood
     higher in true alchemy, was a Christian, alchemist, theosophist;
     Robert Boyle, a conspicuous alchemical philosopher, in 1662
     published his "Defense of the Doctrine touching the Spring and
     Weight of the Air," and illustrated his arguments by a series of
     ingenious and beautiful experiments, that stand to-day so high in
     the estimation of scientific men, that his remarks are copied
     verbatim by our highest authorities, and his apparatus is the
     best yet devised for the purpose. Boyle's "Law" was evolved and
     carefully defined fourteen years before Mariotte's "Discours de
     la Nature de l'Air" appeared, which did not, however, prevent
     French and German scientific men from giving the credit to
     Mariotte, and they still follow the false teacher who boldly
     pirated not only Boyle's ideas, but stole his apparatus.

     Then appeared such men as Paracelsus (born 1493), the celebrated
     physician, who taught that occultism (esoteric philosophy) was
     superior to experimental chemistry in enlightening us concerning
     the transmutation of baser metals into gold and silver; and
     Gueppo Francisco (born 1627), who wrote a beautiful treatise on
     "Elementary Spirits," which was copied without credit by Compte
     de Gabalis. It seems incredible that the man (Gueppo Francisco),
     whose sweet spirit-thoughts are revivified and breathe anew in
     "Undine" and "The Rape of the Lock," should have been thrown into
     a prison to perish as a Hermetic follower; and this should teach
     us not to question the earnestness of those who left us as a
     legacy the beauty and truth so abundantly found in pure alchemy.

     These and many others, cotemporaries, some conspicuous, and
     others whose names do not shine in written history, contributed
     incalculably to the grand aggregate of knowledge concerning the
     divine secret which enriched the world. Compare the benefits of
     Hermetic philosophy with the result of bloody wars ambitiously
     waged by self-exacting tyrants--tyrants whom history applauds as
     heroes, but whom we consider as butchers. Among the workers in
     alchemy are enumerated nobles, kings, and even popes. Pope John
     XXII. was an alchemist, which accounts for his bull against
     impostors, promulgated in order that true students might not be
     discredited; and King Frederick of Naples sanctioned the art, and
     protected its devotees.

     At last, Count Cagliostro, the chequered "Joseph Balsamo" (born
     1743), who combined alchemy, magic, astrology, sleight of hand,
     mesmerism, Free Masonry, and remarkable personal accomplishments,
     that altogether have never since been equalled, burst upon the
     world. Focusing the gaze of the church, kings, and the commons
     upon himself, in many respects the most audacious pretender that
     history records, he raised the Hermetic art to a dazzling height,
     and finally buried it in a blaze of splendor as he passed from
     existence beneath a mantle of shame. As a meteor streams into
     view from out the star mists of space, and in corruscating glory
     sinks into the sea, Cagliostro blazed into the sky of the
     eighteenth century, from the nebulæ of alchemistic speculation,
     and extinguished both himself and his science in the light of the
     rising sun of materialism. Cagliostro the visionary, the poet,
     the inspired, the erratic comet in the universe of intellect,
     perished in prison as a mountebank, and then the plodding chemist
     of to-day, with his tedious mechanical methods, and cold,
     unresponsive, materialistic dogmas, arose from the ashes, and
     sprang into prominence.

     Read the story backward, and you shall see that in alchemy we
     behold the beginning of all the sciences of to-day; alchemy is
     the cradle that rocked them. Fostered with necromancy, astrology,
     occultism, and all the progeny of mystic dreamery, the infant
     sciences struggled for existence through the dark ages, in care
     of the once persecuted and now traduced alchemist. The world owes
     a monument to-day more to Hermetic heroes, than to all other
     influences and instrumentalities, religion excepted, combined,
     for our present civilization is largely a legacy from the
     alchemist. Begin with Hermes Trismegistus, and close with Joseph
     Balsamo, and if you are inclined towards science, do not
     criticise too severely their verbal logorrhea, and their
     romanticism, for your science is treading backward; it will
     encroach upon their field again, and you may have to unsay your
     words of hasty censure. These men fulfilled their mission, and
     did it well. If they told more than men now think they knew, they
     also knew more than they told, and more than modern philosophy
     embraces. They could not live to see all the future they eagerly
     hoped for, but they started a future for mankind that will far
     exceed in sweetness and light the most entrancing visions of
     their most imaginative dreamers. They spoke of the existence of a
     "red elixir," and while they wrote, the barbarous world about
     them ran red with blood,--blood of the pure in heart, blood of
     the saints, blood of a Saviour; and their allegory and wisdom
     formulæ were recorded in blood of their own sacrifices. They
     dreamed of a "white elixir" that is yet to bless mankind, and a
     brighter day for man, a period of peace, happiness, long life,
     contentment, good will and brotherly love, and in the name of
     this "white elixir" they directed the world towards a vision of
     divine light. Even pure gold, as they told the materialistic
     world who worship gold, was penetrated and whelmed by this
     subtle, superlatively refined spirit of matter. Is not the day of
     the allegorical "white elixir" nearly at hand? Would that it
     were!

     I say to you now, brothers of the eighteenth century, as one
     speaking by authority to you, cease (some of you) to study this
     entrancing past, look to the future by grasping the present, cast
     aside (some of you) the alchemical lore of other days, give up
     your loved allegories; it is a duty, you must relinquish them.
     There is a richer field. Do not delay. Unlock this mystic door
     that stands hinged and ready, waiting the touch of men who can
     interpret the talisman; place before mankind the knowledge that
     lies behind its rivets. In the secret lodges that have preserved
     the wisdom of the days of Enoch and Elias of Egypt, who
     propagated the Egyptian Order, a branch of your ancient
     brotherhood, is to be found concealed much knowledge that should
     now be spread before the world, and added to the treasures of our
     circle of adepts. This cabalistic wisdom is not recorded in books
     nor in manuscript, but has been purposely preserved from the
     uninitiated, in the unreadable brains of unresponsive men. Those
     who are selected to act as carriers thereof, are, as a rule, like
     dumb water bearers, or the dead sheet of paper that mechanically
     preserves an inspiration derived from minds unseen: they serve a
     purpose as a child mechanically commits to memory a blank verse
     to repeat to others, who in turn commit to repeat again--neither
     of them speaking understandingly. Search ye these hidden paths,
     for the day of mental liberation approaches, and publish to the
     world all that is locked within the doors of that antiquated
     organization. The world is nearly ripe for the wisdom faculty,
     and men are ready to unravel the golden threads that mystic
     wisdom has inwoven in her web of secret knowledge. Look for
     knowledge where I have indicated, and to gain it do not hesitate
     to swear allegiance to this sacred order, for so you must do to
     gain entrance to the brotherhood, and then you must act what men
     will call the traitor. You will, however, be doing a sacred duty,
     for the world will profit, humanity will be the gainer, "Peace on
     Earth, Good Will to Man," will be closer to mankind, and at last,
     when the sign appears, the "white elixir" will no longer be
     allegorical; it will become a reality. In the name of the Great
     Mystic Vase-Man, go thou into these lodges, learn of their
     secrets, and spread their treasures before those who can
     interpret them.

Here this letter ended. It was evident that the writer referred to a
secret society into which I could probably enter; and taking the advice,
I did not hesitate, but applied at once for membership. I determined,
regardless of consequence, to follow the suggestion of the unknown
writer, and by so doing, for I accepted their pledges, I invited my
destiny.

My guest of the massive forehead paused for a moment, stroked his long,
white beard, and then, after casting an inquiring glance on me, asked,
"Shall I read on?"

"Yes," I replied, and The--Man--Who--Did--It, proceeded as follows:



CHAPTER V.

    THE WRITING OF MY CONFESSION.


Having become a member of the Secret Society as directed by the writer
of the letter I have just read, and having obtained the secrets hinted
at in the mystic directions, my next desire was to find a secluded spot
where, without interruption, I could prepare for publication what I had
gathered surreptitiously in the lodges of the fraternity I designed to
betray. This I entitled "My Confession." Alas! why did my evil genius
prompt me to write it? Why did not some kind angel withhold my hand from
the rash and wicked deed? All I can urge in defense or palliation is
that I was infatuated by the fatal words of the letter, "You must act
what men will call the traitor, but humanity will be the gainer."

In a section of the state in which I resided, a certain creek forms the
boundary line between two townships, and also between two counties.
Crossing this creek, a much traveled road stretches east and west,
uniting the extremes of the great state. Two villages on this road,
about four miles apart, situated on opposite sides of the creek, also
present themselves to my memory, and midway between them, on the north
side of the road, was a substantial farm house. In going west from the
easternmost of these villages, the traveler begins to descend from the
very center of the town. In no place is the grade steep, as the road
lies between the spurs of the hill abutting upon the valley that feeds
the creek I have mentioned. Having reached the valley, the road winds a
short distance to the right, then turning to the left, crosses the
stream, and immediately begins to climb the western hill; here the
ascent is more difficult, for the road lies diagonally over the edge of
the hill. A mile of travel, as I recall the scene, sometimes up a steep,
and again among rich, level farm lands, and then on the very height,
close to the road, within a few feet of it, appears the square
structure which was, at the time I mention, known as the Stone Tavern.
On the opposite side of the road were located extensive stables, and a
grain barn. In the northeast chamber of that stone building, during a
summer in the twenties, I wrote for publication the description of the
mystic work that my oath should have made forever a secret, a sacred
trust. I am the man who wantonly committed the deplorable act. Under the
infatuation of that alchemical manuscript, I strove to show the world
that I could and would do that which might never benefit me in the
least, but might serve humanity. It was fate. I was not a bad man,
neither malignity, avarice, nor ambition forming a part of my nature. I
was a close student, of a rather retiring disposition, a stone-mason by
trade, careless and indifferent to public honors, and so thriftless that
many trifling neighborhood debts had accumulated against me.

What I have reluctantly told, for I am forbidden to give the names of
the localities, comprises an abstract of part of the record of my early
life, and will introduce the extraordinary narrative which follows. That
I have spoken the truth, and in no manner overdrawn, will be silently
evidenced by hundreds of brethren, both of the occult society and the
fraternal brotherhood, with which I united, who can (if they will)
testify to the accuracy of the narrative. They know the story of my
crime and disgrace; only myself and God know the full retribution that
followed.



CHAPTER VI.

    KIDNAPPED.


The events just narrated occurred in the prime of my life, and are
partly matters of publicity. My attempted breach of faith in the way of
disclosing their secrets was naturally infamous in the eyes of my
society brethren, who endeavored to prevail upon me to relent of my
design which, after writing my "Confession," I made no endeavor to
conceal. Their importunities and threatenings had generally been
resisted, however, and with an obliquity that can not be easily
explained, I persisted in my unreasonable design. I was blessed as a
husband and father, but neither the thought of home, wife, nor child,
checked me in my inexplicable course. I was certainly irresponsible,
perhaps a monomaniac, and yet on the subject in which I was absorbed, I
preserved my mental equipoise, and knowingly followed a course that
finally brought me into the deepest slough of trouble, and lost to me
forever all that man loves most dearly. An overruling spirit, perhaps
the shade of one of the old alchemists, possessed me, and in the face of
obstacles that would have caused most men to reflect, and retrace their
steps, I madly rushed onward. The influence that impelled me, whatever
it may have been, was irresistible. I apparently acted the part of
agent, subject to an ever-present master essence, and under this
dominating spirit or demon my mind was powerless in its subjection. My
soul was driven imperiously by that impelling and indescribable
something, and was as passive and irresponsible as lycopodium that is
borne onward in a steady current of air. Methods were vainly sought by
those who loved me, brethren of the lodge, and others who endeavored to
induce me to change my headstrong purpose, but I could neither accept
their counsels nor heed their forebodings. Summons by law were served on
me in order to disconcert me, and my numerous small debts became the
pretext for legal warrants, until at last all my papers (excepting my
"Confession"), and my person also, were seized, upon an execution served
by a constable. Minor claims were quickly satisfied, but when I regained
my liberty, the aggression continued. Even arson was resorted to, and
the printing office that held my manuscript was fired one night, that
the obnoxious revelation which I persisted in putting into print, might
be destroyed. Finally I found myself separated by process of law from
home and friends, an inmate of a jail. My opponents, as I now came to
consider them, had confined me in prison for a debt of only two dollars,
a sufficient amount at that time, in that state, for my incarceration.
Smarting under the humiliation, my spirit became still more rebellious,
and I now, perhaps justly, came to view myself as a martyr. It had been
at first asserted that I had stolen a shirt, but I was not afraid of any
penalty that could be laid on me for this trumped-up charge, believing
that the imputation and the arrest would be shown to be designed as
willful oppression. Therefore it was, that when this contemptible
arraignment had been swept aside, and I was freed before a Justice of
the Peace, I experienced more than a little surprise at a rearrest, and
at finding myself again thrown into jail. I knew that it had been
decreed by my brethren that I must retract and destroy my "Confession,"
and this fact made me the more determined to prevent its destruction,
and I persisted sullenly in pursuing my course. On the evening of August
12th, 1826, my jailer's wife informed me that the debt for which I had
been incarcerated had been paid by unknown "friends," and that I could
depart; and I accepted the statement without question. Upon my stepping
from the door of the jail, however, my arms were firmly grasped by two
persons, one on each side of me, and before I could realize the fact
that I was being kidnapped, I was thrust into a closed coach, which
immediately rolled away, but not until I made an outcry which, if heard
by anyone, was unheeded.

"For your own sake, be quiet," said one of my companions in confinement,
for the carriage was draped to exclude the light, and was as dark as a
dungeon. My spirit rebelled; I felt that I was on the brink of a
remarkable, perhaps perilous experience, and I indignantly replied by
asking:

"What have I done that you should presume forcibly to imprison me? Am I
not a freeman of America?"

"What have you done?" he answered. "Have you not bound yourself by a
series of vows that are sacred and should be inviolable, and have you
not broken them as no other man has done before you? Have you not
betrayed your trust, and merited a severe judgment? Did you not
voluntarily ask admission into our ancient brotherhood, and in good
faith were you not initiated into our sacred mysteries? Did you not
obligate yourself before man, and on your sacred honor promise to
preserve our secrets?"

"I did," I replied; "but previously I had sworn before a higher tribunal
to scatter this precious wisdom to the world."

"Yes," he said, "and you know full well the depth of the self-sought
solemn oath that you took with us--more solemn than that prescribed by
any open court on earth."

"This I do not deny," I said, "and yet I am glad that I accomplished my
object, even though you have now, as is evident, the power to pronounce
my sentence."

"You should look for the death sentence," was the reply, "but it has
been ordained instead that you are to be given a lengthened life. You
should expect bodily destruction; but on the contrary, you will pass on
in consciousness of earth and earthly concerns when we are gone. Your
name will be known to all lands, and yet from this time you will be
unknown. For the welfare of future humanity, you will be thrust to a
height in our order that will annihilate you as a mortal being, and yet
you will exist, suspended between life and death, and in that
intermediate state will know that you exist. You have, as you confess,
merited a severe punishment, but we can only punish in accordance with
an unwritten law, that instructs the person punished, and elevates the
human race in consequence. You stand alone among mortals in that you
have openly attempted to give broadly to those who have not earned it,
our most sacred property, a property that did not belong to you,
property that you have only been permitted to handle, that has been
handed from man to man from before the time of Solomon, and which
belongs to no one man, and will continue to pass in this way from one to
another, as a hallowed trust, until there are no men, as men now exist,
to receive it. You will soon go into the shadows of darkness, and will
learn many of the mysteries of life, the undeveloped mysteries that are
withheld from your fellows, but which you, who have been so presumptuous
and anxious for knowledge, are destined to possess and solve. You will
find secrets that man, as man is now constituted, can not yet discover,
and yet which the future man must gain and be instructed in. As you have
sowed, so shall you reap. You wished to become a distributor of
knowledge; you shall now by bodily trial and mental suffering obtain
unsought knowledge to distribute, and in time to come you will be
commanded to make your discoveries known. As your pathway is surely laid
out, so must you walk. It is ordained; to rebel is useless."

"Who has pronounced this sentence?" I asked.

"A judge, neither of heaven nor of earth."

"You speak in enigmas."

"No; I speak openly, and the truth. Our brotherhood is linked with the
past, and clasps hands with the antediluvians; the flood scattered the
races of earth, but did not disturb our secrets. The great love of
wisdom has from generation to generation led selected members of our
organization to depths of study that our open work does not touch upon,
and behind our highest officers there stand, in the occult shades
between the here and the hereafter, unknown and unseen agents who are
initiated into secrets above and beyond those known to the ordinary
craft. Those who are introduced into these inner recesses acquire
superhuman conceptions, and do not give an open sign of fellowship; they
need no talisman. They walk our streets possessed of powers unknown to
men, they concern themselves as mortals in the affairs of men, and even
their brethren of the initiated, open order are unaware of their exalted
condition. The means by which they have been instructed, their several
individualities as well, have been concealed, because publicity would
destroy their value, and injure humanity's cause."

Silence followed these vague disclosures, and the carriage rolled on. I
was mystified and alarmed, and yet I knew that, whatever might be the
end of this nocturnal ride, I had invited it--yes, merited it--and I
steeled myself to hear the sentence of my judges, in whose hands I was
powerless. The persons on the seat opposite me continued their
conversation in low tones, audible only to themselves. An individual by
my side neither moved nor spoke. There were four of us in the carriage,
as I learned intuitively, although we were surrounded by utter darkness.
At length I addressed the companion beside me, for the silence was
unbearable. Friend or enemy though he might be, anything rather than
this long silence. "How long shall we continue in this carriage?"

He made no reply.

After a time I again spoke.

"Can you not tell me, comrade, how long our journey will last? When
shall we reach our destination?"

Silence only.

Putting out my hand, I ventured to touch my mate, and found that he was
tightly strapped,--bound upright to the seat and the back of the
carriage. Leather thongs held him firmly in position; and as I pondered
over the mystery, I thought to myself, if I make a disturbance, they
will not hesitate to manacle me as securely. My custodians seemed,
however, not to exercise a guard over me, and yet I felt that they were
certain of my inability to escape. If the man on the seat was a
prisoner, why was he so reticent? Why did he not answer my questions? I
came to the conclusion that he must be gagged as well as bound. Then I
determined to find out if this were so. I began to realize more forcibly
that a terrible sentence must have been meted me, and I half hoped that
I could get from my partner in captivity some information regarding our
destination. Sliding my hand cautiously along his chest, and under his
chin, I intended to remove the gag from his mouth, when I felt my flesh
creep, for it came in contact with the cold, rigid flesh of a corpse.
The man was dead, and stiff.

The shock unnerved me. I had begun to experience the results of a severe
mental strain, partly induced by the recent imprisonment and extended
previous persecution, and partly by the mysterious significance of the
language in which I had recently been addressed. The sentence, "You will
now go into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and learn the mysteries
of life," kept ringing through my head, and even then I sat beside a
corpse. After this discovery I remained for a time in a semi-stupor, in
a state of profound dejection,--how long I can not say. Then I
experienced an inexplicable change, such as I imagine comes over a
condemned man without hope of reprieve, and I became unconcerned as a
man might who had accepted his destiny, and stoically determined to
await it. Perhaps moments passed, it may have been hours, and then
indifference gave place to reviving curiosity. I realized that I could
die only once, and I coolly and complacently revolved the matter,
speculating over my possible fate. As I look back on the night in which
I rode beside that dead man, facing the mysterious agents of an
all-powerful judge, I marvel over a mental condition that permitted me
finally to rest in peace, and slumber in unconcern. So I did, however,
and after a period, the length of which I am not able to estimate, I
awoke, and soon thereafter the carriage stopped, and our horses were
changed, after which our journey was resumed, to continue hour after
hour, and at last I slept again, leaning back in the corner. Suddenly I
was violently shaken from slumber, and commanded to alight. It was in
the gray of morning, and before I could realize what was happening, I
was transferred by my captors to another carriage, and the dead man also
was rudely hustled along and thrust beside me, my companions speaking to
him as though he were alive. Indeed, as I look back on these maneuvers,
I perceive that, to all appearances, I was one of the abducting party,
and our actions were really such as to induce an observer to believe
that this dead man was an obstinate prisoner, and myself one of his
official guards. The drivers of the carriages seemed to give us no
attention, but they sat upright and unconcerned, and certainly neither
of them interested himself in our transfer. The second carriage, like
that other previously described, was securely closed, and our journey
was continued. The darkness was as of a dungeon. It may have been days,
I could not tell anything about the passage of time; on and on we rode.
Occasionally food and drink were handed in, but my captors held to their
course, and at last I was taken from the vehicle, and transferred to a
block-house.

I had been carried rapidly and in secret a hundred or more miles,
perhaps into another state, and probably all traces of my journey were
effectually lost to outsiders. I was in the hands of men who implicitly
obeyed the orders of their superiors, masters whom they had never seen,
and probably did not know. I needed no reminder of the fact that I had
violated every sacred pledge voluntarily made to the craft, and now
that they held me powerless, I well knew that, whatever the punishment
assigned, I had invited it, and could not prevent its fulfillment. That
it would be severe, I realized; that it would not be in accordance with
ordinary human law, I accepted.

[Illustration: "I WAS TAKEN FROM THE VEHICLE, AND TRANSFERRED TO A
BLOCK-HOUSE."]

Had I not in secret, in my little room in that obscure Stone Tavern,
engrossed on paper the mystic sentences that never before had been
penned, and were unknown excepting to persons initiated into our sacred
mysteries? Had I not previously, in the most solemn manner, before these
words had been imparted to my keeping, sworn to keep them inviolate and
secret? and had I not deliberately broken that sacred vow, and scattered
the hoarded sentences broadcast? My part as a brother in this fraternal
organization was that of the holder only of property that belonged to no
man, that had been handed from one to another through the ages, sacredly
cherished, and faithfully protected by men of many tongues, always
considered a trust, a charge of honor, and never before betrayed. My
crime was deep and dark. I shuddered.

"Come what may," I mused, reflecting over my perfidy, "I am ready for
the penalty, and my fate is deserved; it can not but be a righteous
one."

The words of the occupant of the carriage occurred to me again and
again; that one sentence kept ringing in my brain; I could not dismiss
it: "You have been tried, convicted, and we are of those appointed to
carry out the sentence of the judges."

The black silence of my lonely cell beat against me; I could feel the
absence of sound, I could feel the dismal weight of nothingness, and in
my solitude and distraction I cried out in anguish to the invisible
judge: "I am ready for my sentence, whether it be death or imprisonment
for life"; and still the further words of the occupant of the carriage
passed through my mind: "You will now go into the Valley of the Shadow
of Death, and will learn the mysteries of Life."

Then I slept, to awake and sleep again. I kept no note of time; it may
have been days or weeks, so far as my record could determine. An
attendant came at intervals to minister to my wants, always masked
completely, ever silent.

That I was not entirely separated from mankind, however, I felt assured,
for occasionally sounds of voices came to me from without. Once I
ventured to shout aloud, hoping to attract attention; but the persons
whom I felt assured overheard me, paid no attention to my lonely cry. At
last one night, my door opened abruptly, and three men entered.

"Do not fear," said their spokesman, "we aim to protect you; keep still,
and soon you will be a free man."

I consented quietly to accompany them, for to refuse would have been in
vain; and I was conducted to a boat, which I found contained a
corpse--the one I had journeyed with, I suppose--and embarking, we were
silently rowed to the middle of the river, our course being diagonally
from the shore, and the dead man was thrown overboard. Then our boat
returned to the desolate bank.

Thrusting me into a carriage, that, on our return to the river bank we
found awaiting us, my captors gave a signal, and I was driven away in
the darkness, as silently as before, and our journey was continued I
believe for fully two days. I was again confined in another log cabin,
with but one door, and destitute of windows. My attendants were masked,
they neither spoke to me as they day after day supplied my wants, nor
did they give me the least information on any subject, until at last I
abandoned all hope of ever regaining my liberty.

[Illustration: "THE DEAD MAN WAS THROWN OVERBOARD."]



CHAPTER VII.

    A WILD NIGHT.--I AM PREMATURELY AGED.


In the depths of night I was awakened by a noise made by the opening of
a door, and one by one seven masked figures silently stalked into my
prison. Each bore a lighted torch, and they passed me as I lay on the
floor in my clothes (for I had no bedding), and ranged themselves in a
line. I arose, and seated myself as directed to do, upon the only stool
in the room. Swinging into a semi-circle, the weird line wound about me,
and from the one seat on which I rested in the center of the room, I
gazed successively upon seven pairs of gleaming eyes, each pair directed
at myself; and as I turned from one to another, the black cowl of each
deepened into darkness, and grew more hideous.

"Men or devils," I cried, "do your worst! Make me, if such is your will,
as that sunken corpse beside which I was once seated; but cease your
persecutions. I have atoned for my indiscretions a thousand fold, and
this suspense is unbearable; I demand to know what is to be my doom, and
I desire its fulfilment."

Then one stepped forward, facing me squarely,--the others closed
together around him and me. Raising his forefinger, he pointed it close
to my face, and as his sharp eyes glittered from behind the black mask,
piercing through me, he slowly said: "Why do you not say brothers?"

"Horrible," I rejoined; "stop this mockery. Have I not suffered enough
from your persecutions to make me reject that word as applied to
yourselves? You can but murder; do your duty to your unseen masters, and
end this prolonged torture!"

"Brother," said the spokesman, "you well know that the sacred rules of
our order will not permit us to murder any human being. We exist to
benefit humanity, to lead the wayward back across the burning desert
into the pathways of the righteous; not to destroy or persecute a
brother. Ours is an eleemosynary institution, instructing its members,
helping them to seek happiness. You are now expiating the crime you have
committed, and the good in your spirit rightfully revolts against the
bad, for in divulging to the world our mystic signs and brotherly
greetings, you have sinned against yourself more than against others.
The sting of conscience, the bitings of remorse punish you."

"True," I cried, as the full significance of what he said burst upon me,
"too true; but I bitterly repent my treachery. Others can never know how
my soul is harrowed by the recollection of the enormity of that breach
of confidence. In spite of my open, careless, or defiant bearing, my
heart is humble, and my spirit cries out for mercy. By night and by day
I have in secret cursed myself for heeding an unhallowed mandate, and I
have long looked forward to the judgment that I should suffer for my
perfidy, for I have appreciated that the day of reckoning would surely
appear. I do not rebel, and I recall my wild language; I recant my
'Confession,' I renounce myself! I say to you in all sincerity,
brothers, do your duty, only I beg of you to slay me at once, and end my
suspense. I await my doom. What might it be?"

Grasping my hand, the leader said: "You are ready as a member of our
order; we can now judge you as we have been commanded; had you persisted
in calling us devils in your mistaken frenzy, we should have been forced
to reason with you until you returned again to us, and became one of us.
Our judgment is for you only; the world must not now know its nature, at
least so far as we are concerned. Those you see here, are not your
judges; we are agents sent to labor with you, to draw you back into our
ranks, to bring you into a condition that will enable you to carry out
the sentence that you have drawn upon yourself, for you must be your own
doomsman. In the first place, we are directed to gain your voluntary
consent to leave this locality. You can no longer take part in affairs
that interested you before. To the people of this State, and to your
home, and kindred, you must become a stranger for all time. Do you
consent?"

"Yes," I answered, for I knew that I must acquiesce.

"In the next place, you must help us to remove all traces of your
identity. You must, so far as the world is concerned, leave your body
where you have apparently been drowned, for a world's benefit, a
harmless mockery to deceive the people, and also to make an example for
others that are weak. Are you ready?"

"Yes."

"Then remove your clothing, and replace it with this suit."

I obeyed, and changed my garments, receiving others in return. One of
the party then, taking from beneath his gown a box containing several
bottles of liquids, proceeded artfully to mix and compound them, and
then to paint my face with the combination, which after being mixed,
formed a clear solution.

"Do not fear to wash;" said the spokesman, "the effect of this lotion is
permanent enough to stay until you are well out of this State."

I passed my hand over my face; it was drawn into wrinkles as a film of
gelatine might have been shrivelled under the influence of a strong
tannin or astringent liquid; beneath my fingers it felt like the
furrowed face of a very old man, but I experienced no pain. I vainly
tried to smooth the wrinkles; immediately upon removing the pressure of
my hand, the furrows reappeared.

Next, another applied a colorless liquid freely to my hair and beard; he
rubbed it well, and afterward wiped it dry with a towel. A mirror was
thrust beneath my gaze. I started back, the transformation was complete.
My appearance had entirely changed. My face had become aged and
wrinkled, my hair as white as snow.

I cried aloud in amazement: "Am I sane, is this a dream?"

"It is not a dream; but, under methods that are in exact accordance with
natural physiological laws, we have been enabled to transform your
appearance from that of one in the prime of manhood into the semblance
of an old man, and that, too, without impairment of your vitality."
Another of the masked men opened a curious little casket that I
perceived was surmounted by an alembic and other alchemical figures, and
embossed with an Oriental design. He drew from it a lamp which he
lighted with a taper; the flame that resulted, first pale blue, then
yellow, next violet and finally red, seemed to become more weird and
ghastly with each mutation, as I gazed spell-bound upon its fantastic
changes. Then, after these transformations, it burned steadily with the
final strange blood-red hue, and he now held over the blaze a tiny cup,
which, in a few moments, commenced to sputter and then smoked, exhaling
a curious, epipolic, semi-luminous vapor. I was commanded to inhale the
vapor.

[Illustration: "A MIRROR WAS THRUST BENEATH MY GAZE."]

I hesitated; the thought rushed upon me, "Now I am another person, so
cleverly disguised that even my own friends would perhaps not know me,
this vapor is designed to suffocate me, and my body, if found, will not
now be known, and could not be identified when discovered."

"Do not fear," said the spokesman, as if divining my thought, "there is
no danger," and at once I realized, by quick reasoning, that if my death
were demanded, my body might long since have been easily destroyed, and
all this ceremony would have been unnecessary.

I hesitated no longer, but drew into my lungs the vapor that arose from
the mysterious cup, freely expanding my chest several times, and then
asked, "Is not that enough?" Despair now overcame me. My voice, no
longer the full, strong tone of a man in middle life and perfect
strength, squeaked and quavered, as if impaired by palsy. I had seen my
image in a mirror, an old man with wrinkled face and white hair; I now
heard myself speak with the voice of an octogenarian.

"What have you done?" I cried.

"We have obeyed your orders; you told us you were ready to leave your
own self here, and the work is complete. The man who entered has
disappeared. If you should now stand in the streets of your village
home, and cry to your former friends, 'It is I, for whom you seek,' they
would smile, and call you a madman. Know," continued the voice, "that
there is in Eastern metaphysical lore, more true philosophy than is
embodied in the sciences of to-day, and that by means of the
ramifications of our order it becomes possible, when necessary, for him
who stands beyond the inner and upper Worshipful Master, to draw these
treasures from the occult Wisdom possessions of Oriental sages who
forget nothing and lose nothing. Have we not been permitted to do his
bidding well?"

"Yes," I squeaked; "and I wish that you had done it better. I would that
I were dead."

"When the time comes, if necessary, your dead body will be fished from
the water," was the reply; "witnesses have seen the drowning tragedy,
and will surely identify the corpse."

"And may I go? am I free now?" I asked.

"Ah," said he, "that is not for us to say; our part of the work is
fulfilled, and we can return to our native lands, and resume again our
several studies. So far as we are concerned, you are free, but we have
been directed to pass you over to the keeping of others who will carry
forward this judgment--there is another step."

"Tell me," I cried, once more desponding, "tell me the full extent of my
sentence."

"That is not known to us, and probably is not known to any one man. So
far as the members of our order are concerned, you have now vanished.
When you leave our sight this night, we will also separate from one
another, we shall know no more of you and your future than will those of
our working order who live in this section of the country. We have no
personal acquaintance with the guide that has been selected to conduct
you farther, and who will appear in due season, and we make no surmise
concerning the result of your journey, only we know that you will not be
killed, for you have a work to perform, and will continue to exist long
after others of your age are dead. Farewell, brother; we have discharged
our duty, and by your consent, now we must return to our various
pursuits. In a short time all evidence of your unfortunate mistake, the
crime committed by you in printing our sacred charges, will have
vanished. Even now, emissaries are ordained to collect and destroy the
written record that tells of your weakness, and with the destruction of
that testimony, for every copy will surely be annihilated, and with your
disappearance from among men, for this also is to follow, our
responsibility for you will cease."

Each of the seven men advanced, and grasped my hand, giving me the grip
of brotherhood, and then, without a word, they severally and silently
departed into the outer darkness. As the last man disappeared, a figure
entered the door, clad and masked exactly like those who had gone. He
removed the long black gown in which he was enveloped, threw the mask
from his face and stood before me, a slender, graceful, bright-looking
young man. By the light of the candle I saw him distinctly, and was at
once struck by his amiable, cheerful countenance, and my heart bounded
with a sudden hope. I had temporarily forgotten the transformation that
had been made in my person, which, altogether painless, had left no
physical sensation, and thought of myself as I had formerly existed; my
soul was still my own, I imagined; my blood seemed unchanged, and must
flow as rapidly as before; my strength was unaltered, indeed I was in
self-consciousness still in the prime of life.

"Excuse me, Father," said the stranger, "but my services have been
sought as a guide for the first part of a journey that I am informed you
intend to take."

His voice was mild and pleasant, his bearing respectful, but the
peculiar manner in which he spoke convinced me that he knew that, as a
guide, he must conduct me to some previously designated spot, and that
he purposed to do so was evident, with or without my consent.

"Why do you call me Father?" I attempted to say, but as the first few
words escaped my lips, the recollection of the events of the night
rushed upon me, for instead of my own, I recognized the piping voice of
the old man I had now become, and my tongue faltered; the sentence was
unspoken.

"You would ask me why I called you Father, I perceive; well, because I
am directed to be a son to you, to care for your wants, to make your
journey as easy and pleasant as possible, to guide you quietly and
carefully to the point that will next prove of interest to you."

I stood before him a free man, in the prime of life, full of energy, and
this stripling alone interposed between myself and liberty. Should I
permit the slender youth to carry me away as a prisoner? would it not be
best to thrust him aside, if necessary, crush him to the earth? go forth
in my freedom? Yet I hesitated, for he might have friends outside;
probably he was not alone.

"There are no companions near us," said he, reading my mind, "and, as I
do not seem formidable, it is natural you should weigh in your mind the
probabilities of escape; but you can not evade your destiny, and you
must not attempt to deny yourself the pleasure of my company. You must
leave this locality and leave without a regret. In order that you may
acquiesce willingly I propose that together we return to your former
home, which you will, however, find no longer to be a home. I will
accompany you as a companion, as your son. You may speak, with one
exception, to whomever you care to address; may call on any of your old
associates, may assert openly who you are, or whatever and whoever you
please to represent yourself, only I must also have the privilege of
joining in the conversation."

"Agreed," I cried, and extended my hand; he grasped it, and then by the
light of the candle, I saw a peculiar expression flit over his face, as
he added:

"To one person only, as I have said, and you have promised, you must not
speak--your wife."

I bowed my head, and a flood of sorrowful reflections swept over me. Of
all the world the one whom I longed to meet, to clasp in my arms, to
counsel in my distress, was the wife of my bosom, and I begged him to
withdraw his cruel injunction.

"You should have thought of her before; now it is too late. To permit
you to meet, and speak with her would be dangerous; she might pierce
your disguise. Of all others there is no fear."

"Must I go with you into an unknown future without a farewell kiss from
my little child or from my babe scarce three months old?"

"It has been so ordained."

I threw myself on the floor and moaned. "This is too hard, too hard for
human heart to bear. Life has no charm to a man who is thrust from all
he holds most dear, home, friends, family."

"The men who relinquish such pleasures and such comforts are those who
do the greatest good to humanity," said the youth. "The multitude exist
to propagate the race, as animal progenitors of the multitudes that are
to follow, and the exceptional philanthropist is he who denies himself
material bliss, and punishes himself in order to work out a problem such
as it has been ordained that you are to solve. Do not argue further--the
line is marked, and you must walk direct."

Into the blaze of the old fireplace of that log house, for, although it
was autumn, the night was chilly, he then cast his black robe and false
face, and, as they turned to ashes, the last evidences of the vivid acts
through which I had passed, were destroyed. As I lay moaning in my utter
misery, I tried to reason with myself that what I experienced was all a
hallucination. I dozed, and awoke startled, half conscious only, as one
in a nightmare; I said to myself, "A dream! a dream!" and slept again.



CHAPTER VIII.

    A LESSON IN MIND STUDY.


The door of the cabin was open when I awoke, the sun shone brightly, and
my friend, apparently happy and unconcerned, said: "Father, we must soon
start on our journey; I have taken advantage of your refreshing sleep,
and have engaged breakfast at yonder farm-house; our meal awaits us."

I arose, washed my wrinkled face, combed my white hair, and shuddered as
I saw in a pocket mirror the reflection of my figure, an aged,
apparently decrepit man.

"Do not be disturbed at your feeble condition," said my companion; "your
infirmities are not real. Few men have ever been permitted to drink of
the richness of the revelations that await you; and in view of these
expectations the fact that you are prematurely aged in appearance should
not unnerve you. Be of good heart, and when you say the word, we will
start on our journey, which will begin as soon as you have said farewell
to former friends and acquaintances."

I made no reply, but silently accompanied him, for my thoughts were in
the past, and my reflections were far from pleasant.

We reached the farm-house, and as I observed the care and attention
extended me by the pleasant-faced housewife, I realized that, in one
respect at least, old age brought its compensation. After breakfast a
man appeared from the farmer's barn, driving a team of horses attached
to an open spring-wagon which, in obedience to the request of my guide,
I entered, accompanied by my young friend, who directed that we be
driven toward the village from which I had been abducted. He seemed to
know my past life as I knew it; he asked me to select those of my
friends to whom I first wished to bid farewell, even mentioning their
names; he seemed all that a patient, faithful son could be, and I began
to wonder at his audacity, even as much as I admired his
self-confidence.

As we journeyed onward we engaged in familiar talk. We sat together on
the back seat of the open spring-wagon, in full sight of passers, no
attempt being made to conceal my person. Thus we traveled for two days,
and on our course we passed through a large city with which I was
acquainted, a city that my abductors had previously carried me through
and beyond. I found that my "son" possessed fine conversational power,
and a rich mine of information, and he became increasingly interesting
as he drew from his fund of knowledge, and poured into my listening ears
an entrancing strain of historical and metaphysical information. Never
at a loss for a word or an idea, he appeared to discern my cogitations,
and as my mind wandered in this or that direction he fell into the
channel of my fancies, and answered my unspoken thoughts, my
mind-questions or meditations, as pertinently as though I had spoken
them.

His accomplishments, for the methods of his perception were
unaccompanied by any endeavor to draw me into word expression, made me
aware at least, that, in him, I had to deal with a man unquestionably
possessed of more than ordinary intellect and education, and as this
conviction entered my mind he changed his subject and promptly answered
the silent inquiry, speaking as follows:

"Have you not sometimes felt that in yourself there may exist
undeveloped senses that await an awakening touch to open to yourself a
new world, senses that may be fully developed, but which saturate each
other and neutralize themselves; quiescent, closed circles which you can
not reach, satisfied circuits slumbering within your body and that defy
your efforts to utilize them? In your dreams have you not seen sights
that words are inadequate to describe, that your faculties can not
retain in waking moments, and which dissolve into intangible
nothingness, leaving only a vague, shadowy outline as the mind quickens,
or rather when the senses that possess you in sleep relinquish the body
to the returning vital functions and spirit? This unconscious conception
of other planes, a beyond or betwixt, that is neither mental nor
material, neither here nor located elsewhere, belongs to humanity in
general, and is made evident from the unsatiable desire of men to pry
into phenomena latent or recondite that offer no apparent return to
humanity. This desire has given men the knowledge they now possess of
the sciences; sciences yet in their infancy. Study in this direction is,
at present, altogether of the material plane, but in time to come, men
will gain control of outlying senses which will enable them to step from
the seen into the consideration of matter or force that is now subtle
and evasive, which must be accomplished by means of the latent faculties
that I have indicated. There will be an unconscious development of new
mind-forces in the student of nature as the rudiments of these so-called
sciences are elaborated. Step by step, as the ages pass, the faculties
of men will, under progressive series of evolutions, imperceptibly pass
into higher phases until that which is even now possible with some
individuals of the purified esoteric school, but which would seem
miraculous if practiced openly at this day, will prove feasible to
humanity generally and be found in exact accord with natural laws. The
conversational method of men, whereby communion between human beings is
carried on by disturbing the air by means of vocal organs so as to
produce mechanical pulsations of that medium, is crude in the extreme.
Mind craves to meet mind, but can not yet thrust matter aside, and in
order to communicate one with another, the impression one mind wishes to
convey to another must be first made on the brain matter that
accompanies it, which in turn influences the organs of speech, inducing
a disturbance of the air by the motions of the vocal organs, which, by
undulations that reach to another being, act on his ear, and secondarily
on the earthly matter of his brain, and finally by this roundabout
course, impress the second being's mind. In this transmission of motions
there is great waste of energy and loss of time, but such methods are a
necessity of the present slow, much-obstructed method of communication.
There is, in cultivated man, an innate craving for something more
facile, and often a partly developed conception, spectral and vague,
appears, and the being feels that there may be for mortals a richer,
brighter life, a higher earthly existence that science does not now
indicate. Such intimation of a deeper play of faculties is now most
vivid with men during the perfect loss of mental self as experienced in
dreams, which as yet man in the quick can not grasp, and which fade as
he awakens. As mental sciences are developed, investigators will find
that the medium known as air is unnecessary as a means of conveying
mind conceptions from one person to another; that material sounds and
word pulsations are cumbersome; that thought force unexpressed may be
used to accomplish more than speech can do, and that physical exertions
as exemplified in motion of matter such as I have described will be
unnecessary for mental communication. As door after door in these
directions shall open before men, mystery after mystery will be
disclosed, and vanish as mysteries to reappear as simple facts.
Phenomena that are impossible and unrevealed to the scientist of to-day
will be familiar to the coming multitude, and at last, as by degrees,
clearer knowledge is evolved, the vocal language of men will disappear,
and humanity, regardless of nationality, will, in silence and even in
darkness, converse eloquently together in mind language. That which is
now esoteric will become exoteric. Then mind will meet mind as my mind
now impinges on your own, and, in reply to your unuttered question
regarding my apparently unaccountable powers of perception, I say they
are perfectly natural, but while I can read your thoughts, because of
the fact that you can not reciprocate in this direction, I must use my
voice to impress your mind. You will know more of this, however, at a
future day, for it has been ordained that you are to be educated with an
object that is now concealed. At present you are interested mainly in
the affairs of life as you know them, and can not enter into these purer
spheres. We are approaching one of your former friends, and it may be
your pleasure to ask him some questions and to bid him farewell."



CHAPTER IX.

    I CAN NOT ESTABLISH MY IDENTITY.


In surprise I perceived coming towards us a light spring wagon, in which
rode one of my old acquaintances. Pleasure at the discovery led me to
raise my hat, wave it around my head, and salute him even at the
considerable distance that then separated us. I was annoyed at the look
of curiosity that passed over his countenance, and not until the two
vehicles had stopped side by side did it occur to me that I was
unrecognized. I had been so engrossed in my companion's revelations,
that I had forgotten my unfortunate physical condition.

I stretched out my hand, I leaned over almost into the other vehicle,
and earnestly said:

"Do you not know me? Only a short time ago we sat and conversed side by
side."

A look of bewilderment came over his features. "I have never seen you
that I can recall," he answered.

My spirit sank within me. Could it be possible that I was really so
changed? I begged him to try and recall my former self, giving my name.
"I am that person," I added; but he, with an expression of countenance
that told as plainly as words could speak that he considered me
deranged, touched his horse, and drove on.

My companion broke the awkward silence. "Do you know that I perceived
between you two men an unconscious display of mind-language, especially
evident on your part? You wished with all the earnestness of your soul
to bring yourself as you formerly appeared, before that man, and when it
proved impossible, without a word from him, his mind exhibited itself to
your more earnest intellect, and you realized that he said to himself,
'This person is a poor lunatic.' He told you his thoughts in
mind-language, as plainly as words could have spoken, because the
intense earnestness on your part quickened your perceptive faculties,
but he could not see your mental state, and the pleading voice of the
apparent stranger before him could not convince the unconcerned
lethargic mind within him. I observed, however, in addition to what you
noticed, that he is really looking for you. That is the object of his
journey, and I learn that in every direction men are now spreading the
news that you have been kidnapped and carried from your jail. However,
we shall soon be in the village, and you will then hear more about
yourself."

We rode in silence while I meditated on my remarkable situation. I could
not resign myself without a struggle to my approaching fate, and I felt
even yet a hope, although I seemed powerless in the hands of destiny.
Could I not, by some method, convince my friends of my identity? I
determined, forgetting the fact that my guide was even then reading my
mind, that upon the next opportunity I would pursue a different course.

"It will not avail," my companion replied. "You must do one of two
things: you will voluntarily go with me, or you will involuntarily go to
an insane asylum. Neither you nor I could by any method convince others
that the obviously decrepit old man beside me was but yesterday hale,
hearty, young and strong. You will find that you can not prove your
identity, and as a friend, one of the great brotherhood to which you
belong, a craft that deals charitably with all men and all problems, I
advise you to accept the situation as soon as possible after it becomes
evident to your mind that you are lost to former affiliations, and must
henceforth be a stranger to the people whom you know. Take my advice,
and cease to regret the past and cheerfully turn your thoughts to the
future. On one side of you the lunatic asylum is open; on the other, a
journey into an unknown region, beyond the confines of any known
country. On the one hand, imprisonment and subjection, perhaps abuse and
neglect; on the other, liberation of soul, evolution of faculty, and a
grasping of superior knowledge that is denied most men--yes, withheld
from all but a few persons of each generation, for only a few, unknown
to the millions of this world's inhabitants, have passed over the road
you are to travel. Just now you wished to meet your jailer of a few
hours ago; it is a wise conclusion, and if he does not recognize you, I
ask in sincerity, who will be likely to do so? We will drive straight to
his home; but, here he comes."

Indeed, we were now in the village, where my miserable journey began,
and perhaps by chance--it seems that it could not have been
otherwise--my former jailer actually approached us.

"If you please," said my companion, "I will assist you to alight from
the wagon, and you may privately converse with him."

Our wagon stopped, my guide opened a conversation with the jailer,
saying that his friend wished to speak with him, and then assisted me to
alight and retired a distance. I was vexed at my infirmities, which
embarrassed me most exasperatingly, but which I knew were artificial; my
body appeared unwilling although my spirit was anxious; but do what I
could to control my actions, I involuntarily behaved like a decrepit old
man. However, my mind was made up; this attempt to prove my personality
should be the last; failure now would prove the turning point, and I
would go willingly with my companion upon the unknown journey if I could
not convince the jailer of my identity.

Straightening myself before the expectant jailer, who, with a look of
inquisitiveness, regarded me as a stranger, I asked if he knew my former
self, giving my name.

"That I do," he replied, "and if I could find him at this moment I would
be relieved of a load of worry."

"Would you surely know him if you met him?" I asked.

"Assuredly," he replied; "and if you bring tidings of his whereabouts,
as your bearing indicates, speak, that I may rid myself of suspicion and
suspense."

Calling the jailer by name, I asked him if my countenance did not remind
him of the man he wished to find.

"Not at all."

"Listen, does not my voice resemble that of your escaped prisoner?"

"Not in the least."

[Illustration: "I AM THE MAN YOU SEEK."]

With a violent effort I drew my form as straight as possible, and stood
upright before him, with every facial muscle strained to its utmost, in
a vain endeavor to bring my wrinkled countenance to its former
smoothness, and with the energy that a drowning man might exert to
grasp a passing object, I tried to control my voice, and preserve my
identity by so doing, vehemently imploring him, begging him to listen to
my story. "I am the man you seek; I am the prisoner who, a few days ago,
stood in the prime of life before you. I have been spirited away from
you by men who are leagued with occult forces, which extend forward
among hidden mysteries, into forces which illuminate the present, and
reach backward into the past unseen. These persons, by artful and
damnable manipulations under the guidance of a power that has been
evolved in the secrecy of past ages, and transmitted only to a favored
few, have changed the strong man you knew into the one apparently
feeble, who now confronts you. Only a short period has passed since I
was your unwilling captive, charged with debt, a trifling sum; and then,
as your sullen prisoner, I longed for freedom. Now I plead before you,
with all my soul, I beg of you to take me back to my cell. Seal your
doors, and hold me again, for your dungeon will now be to me a
paradise."

I felt that I was becoming frantic, for with each word I realized that
the jailer became more and more impatient and annoyed. I perceived that
he believed me to be a lunatic. Pleadings and entreaties were of no
avail, and my eagerness rapidly changed into despair until at last I
cried: "If you will not believe my words, I will throw myself on the
mercy of my young companion. I ask you to consider his testimony, and if
he says that I am not what I assert myself to be, I will leave my home
and country, and go with him quietly into the unknown future."

He turned to depart, but I threw myself before him, and beckoned the
young man who, up to this time, had stood aloof in respectful silence.
He came forward, and addressing the jailer, called him by name, and
corroborated my story. Yes, strange as it sounded to me, he reiterated
the substance of my narrative as I had repeated it. "Now, you will
believe it," I cried in ecstacy; "now you need no longer question the
facts that I have related."

Instead, however, of accepting the story of the witness, the jailer
upbraided him.

"This is a preconcerted arrangement to get me into ridicule or further
trouble. You two have made up an incredible story that on its face is
fit only to be told to men as crazy or designing as yourselves. This
young man did not even overhear your conversation with me, and yet he
repeats his lesson without a question from me as to what I wish to learn
of him."

"He can see our minds," I cried in despair.

"Crazier than I should have believed from your countenance," the jailer
replied. "Of all the improbable stories imaginable, you have attempted
to inveigle me into accepting that which is most unreasonable. If you
are leagued together intent on some swindling scheme, I give you warning
now that I am in no mood for trifling. Go your way, and trouble me no
more with this foolish scheming, which villainy or lunacy of some
description must underlie." He turned in anger and left us.

"It is as I predicted," said my companion; "you are lost to man. Those
who know you best will turn from you soonest. I might become as wild as
you are, in your interest, and only serve to make your story appear more
extravagant. In human affairs men judge and act according to the limited
knowledge at command of the multitude. Witnesses who tell the truth are
often, in our courts of law, stunned, as you have been, by the decisions
of a narrow-minded jury. Men sit on juries with little conception of the
facts of the case that is brought before them; the men who manipulate
them are mere tools in unseen hands that throw their several minds in
antagonisms unexplainable to man. The judge is unconsciously often a
tool of his own errors or those of others. One learned judge unties what
another has fastened, each basing his views on the same testimony, each
rendering his decision in accordance with law derived from the same
authority. Your case is that condition of mind that men call lunacy. You
can see much that is hidden from others because you have become
acquainted with facts that their narrow education forbids them to
accept, but, because the majority is against you, they consider you
mentally unbalanced. The philosophy of men does not yet comprehend the
conditions that have operated on your person, and as you stand alone,
although in the right, all men will oppose you, and you must submit to
the views of a misguided majority. In the eyes of a present generation
you are crazy. A jury of your former peers could not do else than so
adjudge you, for you are not on the same mental plane, and I ask, will
you again attempt to accomplish that which is as impossible as it would
be for you to drink the waters of Seneca Lake at one draught? Go to
those men and propose to drain that lake at one gulp, and you will be
listened to as seriously as when you beg your former comrades to believe
that you are another person than what you seem. Only lengthened life is
credited with the production of physical changes that under favorable
conditions, are possible of accomplishment in a brief period, and such
testimony as you could bring, in the present state of human knowledge,
would only add to the proof of your lunacy."

"I see, I see," I said; "and I submit. Lead on, I am ready. Whatever my
destined career may be, wherever it may be, it can only lead to the
grave."

"Do not be so sure of that," was the reply.

I shuddered instinctively, for this answer seemed to imply that the
stillness of the grave would be preferable to my destiny.

We got into the wagon again, and a deep silence followed as we rode
along, gazing abstractedly on the quiet fields and lonely farm-houses.
Finally we reached a little village. Here my companion dismissed the
farmer, our driver, paying him liberally, and secured lodgings in a
private family (I believe we were expected), and after a hearty supper
we retired. From the time we left the jailer I never again attempted to
reveal my identity. I had lost my interest in the past, and found myself
craving to know what the future had in store for me.



CHAPTER X.

    MY JOURNEY TOWARDS THE END OF EARTH BEGINS.--THE ADEPTS'
    BROTHERHOOD.


My companion did not attempt to watch over my motions or in any way to
interfere with my freedom.

"I will for a time necessarily be absent," he said, "arranging for our
journey, and while I am getting ready you must employ yourself as best
you can. I ask you, however, now to swear that, as you have promised,
you will not seek your wife and children."

To this I agreed.

"Hold up your hand," he said, and I repeated after him: "All this I most
solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, with a firm and steadfast
resolution to keep and perform my oath, without the least equivocation,
mental reservation or self-evasion whatever."

"That will answer; see that you keep your oath this time," he said, and
he departed. Several days were consumed before he returned, and during
that time I was an inquisitive and silent listener to the various
conjectures others were making regarding my abduction which event was
becoming of general interest. Some of the theories advanced were quite
near the truth, others wild and erratic. How preposterous it seemed to
me that the actor himself could be in the very seat of the disturbance,
willing, anxious to testify, ready to prove the truth concerning his
position, and yet unable even to obtain a respectful hearing from those
most interested in his recovery. Men gathered together discussing the
"outrage"; women, children, even, talked of little else, and it was
evident that the entire country was aroused. New political issues took
their rise from the event, but the man who was the prime cause of the
excitement was for a period a willing and unwilling listener, as he had
been a willing and unwilling actor in the tragedy.

One morning my companion drove up in a light carriage, drawn by a span
of fine, spirited, black horses.

"We are ready now," he said, and my unprecedented journey began.

Wherever we stopped, I heard my name mentioned. Men combined against
men, brother was declaiming against brother, neighbor was against
neighbor, everywhere suspicion was in the air.

"The passage of time alone can quiet these people," said I.

"The usual conception of the term Time--an indescribable something
flowing at a constant rate--is erroneous," replied my comrade. "Time is
humanity's best friend, and should be pictured as a ministering angel,
instead of a skeleton with hour-glass and scythe. Time does not fly, but
is permanent and quiescent, while restless, force-impelled matter rushes
onward. Force and matter fly; Time reposes. At our birth we are wound up
like a machine, to move for a certain number of years, grating against
Time. We grind against that complacent spirit, and wear not Time but
ourselves away. We hold within ourselves a certain amount of energy,
which, an evanescent form of matter, is the opponent of Time. Time has
no existence with inanimate objects. It is a conception of the human
intellect. Time is rest, perfect rest, tranquillity such as man never
realizes unless he becomes a part of the sweet silences toward which
human life and human mind are drifting. So much for Time. Now for Life.
Disturbed energy in one of its forms, we call Life; and this Life is the
great enemy of peace, the opponent of steadfast perfection. Pure energy,
the soul of the universe, permeates all things with which man is now
acquainted, but when at rest is imperceptible to man, while disturbed
energy, according to its condition, is apparent either as matter or as
force. A substance or material body is a manifestation resulting from a
disturbance of energy. The agitating cause removed, the manifestations
disappear, and thus a universe may be extinguished, without unbalancing
the cosmos that remains. The worlds known to man are conditions of
abnormal energy moving on separate planes through what men call space.
They attract to themselves bodies of similar description, and thus
influence one another--they have each a separate existence, and are
swayed to and fro under the influence of the various disturbances in
energy common to their rank or order, which we call forms of forces.
Unsettled energy also assumes numerous other expressions that are
unknown to man, but which in all perceptible forms is characterized by
motion. Pure energy can not be appreciated by the minds of mortals.
There are invisible worlds besides those perceived by us in our
planetary system, unreachable centers of ethereal structure about us
that stand in a higher plane of development than earthly matter which is
a gross form of disturbed energy. There are also lower planes. Man's
acquaintance with the forms of energy is the result of his power of
perceiving the forms of matter of which he is a part. Heat, light,
gravitation, electricity and magnetism are ever present in all
perceivable substances, and, although purer than earth, they are still
manifestations of absolute energy, and for this reason are sensible to
men, but more evanescent than material bodies. Perhaps you can conceive
that if these disturbances could be removed, matter or force would be
resolved back into pure energy, and would vanish. Such a dissociation is
an ethereal existence, and as pure energy the life spirit of all
material things is neither cold nor hot, heavy nor light, solid, liquid
nor gaseous--men can not, as mortals now exist, see, feel, smell, taste,
or even conceive of it. It moves through space as we do through it, a
world of itself as transparent to matter as matter is to it, insensible
but ever present, a reality to higher existences that rest in other
planes, but not to us an essence subject to scientific test, nor an
entity. Of these problems and their connection with others in the unseen
depths beyond, you are not yet in a position properly to judge, but
before many years a new sense will be given you or a development of
latent senses by the removal of those more gross, and a partial insight
into an unsuspected unseen, into a realm to you at present unknown.

"It has been ordained that a select few must from time to time pass over
the threshold that divides a mortal's present life from the future, and
your lot has been cast among the favored ones. It is or should be deemed
a privilege to be permitted to pass farther than human philosophy has
yet gone, into an investigation of the problems of life; this I say to
encourage you. We have in our order a handful of persons who have
received the accumulated fruits of the close attention others have
given to these subjects which have been handed to them by the
generations of men who have preceded. You are destined to become as they
are. This study of semi-occult forces has enabled those selected for the
work to master some of the concealed truths of being, and by the partial
development of a new sense or new senses, partly to triumph over death.
These facts are hidden from ordinary man, and from the earth-bound
workers of our brotherhood, who can not even interpret the words they
learn. The methods by which they are elucidated have been locked from
man because the world is not prepared to receive them, selfishness being
the ruling passion of debased mankind, and publicity, until the chain of
evidence is more complete, would embarrass their further evolutions, for
man as yet lives on the selfish plane."

"Do you mean that, among men, there are a few persons possessed of
powers such as you have mentioned?"

"Yes; they move here and there through all orders of society, and their
attainments are unknown, except to one another, or, at most, to but few
persons. These adepts are scientific men, and may not even be recognized
as members of our organization; indeed it is often necessary, for
obvious reasons, that they should not be known as such. These studies
must constantly be prosecuted in various directions, and some monitors
must teach others to perform certain duties that are necessary to the
grand evolution. Hence, when a man has become one of our brotherhood,
from the promptings that made you one of us, and has been as ready and
determined to instruct outsiders in our work as you have been, it is
proper that he should in turn be compelled to serve our people, and
eventually, mankind."

"Am I to infer from this," I exclaimed, a sudden light breaking upon me,
"that the alchemistic manuscript that led me to the fraternity to which
you are related may have been artfully designed to serve the interest of
that organization?" To this question I received no reply. After an
interval, I again sought information concerning the order, and with more
success.

"I understand that you propose that I shall go on a journey of
investigation for the good of our order and also of humanity."

"True; it is necessary that our discoveries be kept alive, and it is
essential that the men who do this work accept the trust of their own
accord. He who will not consent to add to the common stock of knowledge
and understanding, must be deemed a drone in the hive of nature--but few
persons, however, are called upon to serve as you must serve. Men are
scattered over the world with this object in view, and are unknown to
their families or even to other members of the order; they hold in
solemn trust our sacred revelations, and impart them to others as is
ordained, and thus nothing perishes; eventually humanity will profit.

"Others, as you soon will be doing, are now exploring assigned sections
of this illimitable field, accumulating further knowledge, and they will
report results to those whose duty it is to retain and formulate the
collected sum of facts and principles. So it is that, unknown to the
great body of our brotherhood, a chosen number, under our esoteric
teachings, are gradually passing the dividing line that separates life
from death, matter from spirit, for we have members who have mastered
these problems. We ask, however, no aid of evil forces or of necromancy
or black art, and your study of alchemy was of no avail, although to
save the vital truths alchemy is a part of our work. We proceed in exact
accordance with natural laws, which will yet be known to all men.
Sorrow, suffering, pain of all descriptions, are enemies to the members
of our order, as they are to mankind broadly, and we hope in the future
so to control the now hidden secrets of Nature as to be able to govern
the antagonistic disturbances in energy with which man now is everywhere
thwarted, to subdue the physical enemies of the race, to affiliate
religious and scientific thought, cultivating brotherly love, the
foundation and capstone, the cement and union of this ancient
fraternity."

"And am I really to take an important part in this scheme? Have I been
set apart to explore a section of the unknown for a bit of hidden
knowledge, and to return again?"

"This I will say," he answered, evading a direct reply, "you have been
selected for a part that one in a thousand has been required to
undertake. You are to pass into a field that will carry you beyond the
present limits of human observation. This much I have been instructed to
impart to you in order to nerve you for your duty. I seem to be a young
man; really I am aged. You seem to be infirm and old, but you are
young. Many years ago, cycles ago as men record time, I was promoted to
do a certain work because of my zealous nature; like you, I also had to
do penance for an error. I disappeared, as you are destined to do, from
the sight of men. I regained my youth; yours has been lost forever, but
you will regain more than your former strength. We shall both exist
after this generation of men has passed away, and shall mingle with
generations yet to be born, for we shall learn how to restore our
youthful vigor, and will supply it time and again to earthly matter.
Rest assured also that the object of our labors is of the most laudable
nature, and we must be upheld under all difficulties by the fact that
multitudes of men who are yet to come will be benefited thereby."



CHAPTER XI.

    MY JOURNEY CONTINUES.--INSTINCT.


It is unnecessary for me to give the details of the first part of my
long journey. My companion was guided by a perceptive faculty that, like
the compass, enabled him to keep in the proper course. He did not
question those whom we met, and made no endeavor to maintain a given
direction; and yet he was traveling in a part of the country that was
new to himself. I marveled at the accuracy of his intuitive perception,
for he seemed never to be at fault. When the road forked, he turned to
the right or the left in a perfectly careless manner, but the continuity
of his course was never interrupted. I began mentally to question
whether he could be guiding us aright, forgetting that he was reading my
thoughts, and he answered: "There is nothing strange in this
self-directive faculty. Is not man capable of following where animals
lead? One of the objects of my special study has been to ascertain the
nature of the instinct-power of animals, the sagacity of brutes. The
carrier pigeon will fly to its cote across hundreds of miles of strange
country. The young pig will often return to its pen by a route unknown
to it; the sluggish tortoise will find its home without a guide, without
seeing a familiar object; cats, horses and other animals possess this
power, which is not an unexplainable instinct, but a natural sense
better developed in some of the lower creatures than it is in man. The
power lies dormant in man, but exists, nevertheless. If we develop one
faculty we lose acuteness in some other power. Men have lost in mental
development in this particular direction while seeking to gain in
others. If there were no record of the fact that light brings objects to
the recognition of the mind through the agency of the eye, the sense of
sight in an animal would be considered by men devoid of it as
adaptability to extraordinary circumstances, or instinct. So it is that
animals often see clearly where to the sense of man there is only
darkness; such sight is not irresponsive action without consciousness
of a purpose. Man is not very magnanimous. Instead of giving credit to
the lower animals for superior perception in many directions, he denies
to them the conscious possession of powers imperfectly developed in
mankind. We egotistically aim to raise ourselves, and do so in our own
estimation by clothing the actions of the lower animals in a garment of
irresponsibility. Because we can not understand the inwardness of their
power, we assert that they act by the influence of instinct. The term
instinct, as I would define it, is an expression applied by men to a
series of senses which man possesses, but has not developed. The word is
used by man to characterize the mental superiority of other animals in
certain directions where his own senses are defective. Instead of
crediting animals with these, to them, invaluable faculties, man
conceitedly says they are involuntary actions. Ignorant of their mental
status, man is too arrogant to admit that lower animals are superior to
him in any way. But we are not consistent. Is it not true that in the
direction in which you question my power, some men by cultivation often
become expert beyond their fellows? and such men have also given very
little systematic study to subjects connected with these undeniable
mental qualities. The hunter will hold his course in utter darkness,
passing inequalities in the ground, and avoiding obstructions he can not
see. The fact of his superiority in this way, over others, is not
questioned, although he can not explain his methods nor understand how
he operates. His quickened sense is often as much entitled to be called
instinct as is the divining power of the carrier pigeon. If scholars
would cease to devote their entire energies to the development of the
material, artistic, or scientific part of modern civilization, and turn
their attention to other forms of mental culture, many beauties and
powers of Nature now unknown would be revealed. However, this can not
be, for under existing conditions, the strife for food and warmth is the
most important struggle that engages mankind, and controls our actions.
In a time that is surely to come, however, when the knowledge of all men
is united into a comprehensive whole, the book of life, illuminated
thereby, will contain many beautiful pages that may be easily read, but
which are now not suspected to exist. The power of the magnet is not
uniform--engineers know that the needle of the compass inexplicably
deviates from time to time as a line is run over the earth's surface,
but they also know that aberrations of the needle finally correct
themselves. The temporary variations of a few degrees that occur in the
running of a compass line are usually overcome after a time, and without
a change of course, the disturbed needle swerves back, and again points
to the calculated direction, as is shown by the vernier. Should I err in
my course, it would be by a trifle only, and we could not go far astray
before I would unconsciously discover the true path. I carry my magnet
in my mind."

Many such dissertations or explanations concerning related questions
were subsequently made in what I then considered a very impressive,
though always unsatisfactory, manner. I recall those episodes now, after
other more remarkable experiences which are yet to be related, and
record them briefly with little wonderment, because I have gone through
adventures which demonstrate that there is nothing improbable in the
statements, and I will not consume time with further details of this
part of my journey.

We leisurely traversed State after State, crossed rivers, mountains and
seemingly interminable forests. The ultimate object of our travels, a
location in Kentucky, I afterward learned, led my companion to guide me
by a roundabout course to Wheeling, Virginia, by the usual mountain
roads of that day, instead of going, as he might perhaps have much more
easily done, via Buffalo and the Lake Shore to Northern Ohio, and then
southerly across the country. He said in explanation, that the time lost
at the beginning of our journey by this route, was more than recompensed
by the ease of the subsequent Ohio River trip. Upon reaching Wheeling,
he disposed of the team, and we embarked on a keel boat, and journeyed
down the Ohio to Cincinnati. The river was falling when we started, and
became very low before Cincinnati was reached, too low for steamers, and
our trip in that flat-bottomed boat, on the sluggish current of the
tortuous stream, proved tedious and slow. Arriving at Cincinnati, my
guide decided to wait for a rise in the river, designing then to
complete our journey on a steamboat. I spent several days in Cincinnati
quite pleasantly, expecting to continue our course on the steamer
"Tecumseh," then in port, and ready for departure. At the last moment my
guide changed his mind, and instead of embarking on that boat, we took
passage on the steamer "George Washington," leaving Shipping-Port
Wednesday, December 13, 1826.

During that entire journey, from the commencement to our final
destination, my guide paid all the bills, and did not want either for
money or attention from the people with whom we came in contact. He
seemed everywhere a stranger, and yet was possessed of a talisman that
opened every door to which he applied, and which gave us unlimited
accommodations wherever he asked them. When the boat landed at
Smithland, Kentucky, a village on the bank of the Ohio, just above
Paducah, we disembarked, and my guide then for the first time seemed
mentally disturbed.

"Our journey together is nearly over," he said; "in a few days my
responsibility for you will cease. Nerve yourself for the future, and
bear its trials and its pleasures manfully. I may never see you again,
but as you are even now conspicuous in our history, and will be closely
connected with the development of the plan in which I am also
interested, although I am destined to take a different part, I shall
probably hear of you again."



CHAPTER XII.

    A CAVERN DISCOVERED.--BISWELL'S HILL.


We stopped that night at a tavern in Smithland. Leaving this place after
dinner the next day, on foot, we struck through the country, into the
bottom lands of the Cumberland River, traveling leisurely, lingering for
hours in the course of a circuitous tramp of only a few miles. Although
it was the month of December, the climate was mild and balmy. In my
former home, a similar time of year would have been marked with snow,
sleet, and ice, and I could not but draw a contrast between the two
localities. How different also the scenery from that of my native State.
Great timber trees, oak, poplar, hickory, were in majestic possession of
large tracts of territory, in the solitude of which man, so far as
evidences of his presence were concerned, had never before trodden. From
time to time we passed little clearings that probably were to be
enlarged to thrifty plantations in the future, and finally we crossed
the Cumberland River. That night we rested with Mr. Joseph Watts, a
wealthy and cultured land owner, who resided on the river's bank. After
leaving his home the next morning, we journeyed slowly, very slowly, my
guide seemingly passing with reluctance into the country. He had become
a very pleasant companion, and his conversation was very entertaining.
We struck the sharp point of a ridge the morning we left Mr. Watts'
hospitable house. It was four or five miles distant, but on the opposite
side of the Cumberland, from Smithland. Here a steep bluff broke through
the bottom land to the river's edge, the base of the bisected point
being washed by the Cumberland River, which had probably cut its way
through the stony mineral of this ridge in ages long passed. We climbed
to its top and sat upon the pinnacle, and from that point of commanding
observation I drank in the beauties of the scene around me. The river at
our feet wound gracefully before us, and disappeared in both
directions, its extremes dissolving in a bed of forest. A great black
bluff, far up the stream, rose like a mountain, upon the left side of
the river; bottom lands were about us, and hills appeared across the
river in the far distance--towards the Tennessee River. With regret I
finally drew my eyes from the vision, and we resumed the journey. We
followed the left bank of the river to the base of the black
bluff,--"Biswell's Hill," a squatter called it,--and then skirted the
side of that hill, passing along precipitous stone bluffs and among
stunted cedars. Above us towered cliff over cliff, almost
perpendicularly; below us rolled the river.

[Illustration: SECTION OF KENTUCKY, NEAR SMITHLAND, IN WHICH THE
ENTRANCE TO THE KENTUCKY CAVERN IS SAID TO BE LOCATED.]

I was deeply impressed by the changing beauties of this strange Kentucky
scenery, but marveled at the fact that while I became light-hearted and
enthusiastic, my guide grew correspondingly despondent and gloomy. From
time to time he lapsed into thoughtful silence, and once I caught his
eye directed toward me in a manner that I inferred to imply either pity
or envy. We passed Biswell's Bluff, and left the Cumberland River at its
upper extremity, where another small creek empties into the river.
Thence, after ascending the creek some distance, we struck across the
country, finding it undulating and fertile, with here and there a small
clearing. During this journey we either camped out at night, or stopped
with a resident, when one was to be found in that sparsely settled
country. Sometimes there were exasperating intervals between our meals;
but we did not suffer, for we carried with us supplies of food, such as
cheese and crackers, purchased in Smithland, for emergencies. We thus
proceeded a considerable distance into Livingston County, Kentucky.

I observed remarkable sinks in the earth, sometimes cone-shaped, again
precipitous. These cavities were occasionally of considerable size and
depth, and they were more numerous in the uplands than in the bottoms.
They were somewhat like the familiar "sink-holes" of New York State, but
monstrous in comparison. The first that attracted my attention was near
the Cumberland River, just before we reached Biswell's Hill. It was
about forty feet deep and thirty in diameter, with precipitous stone
sides, shrubbery growing therein in exceptional spots where loose earth
had collected on shelves of stone that cropped out along its rugged
sides. The bottom of the depression was flat and fertile, covered with a
luxuriant mass of vegetation. On one side of the base of the gigantic
bowl, a cavern struck down into the earth. I stood upon the edge of this
funnel-like sink, and marveled at its peculiar appearance. A spirit of
curiosity, such as often influences men when an unusual natural scene
presents itself, possessed me. I clambered down, swinging from brush to
brush, and stepping from shelving-rock to shelving-rock, until I reached
the bottom of the hollow, and placing my hand above the black hole in
its center, I perceived that a current of cold air was rushing
therefrom, upward. I probed with a long stick, but the direction of the
opening was tortuous, and would not admit of examination in that manner.
I dropped a large pebble-stone into the orifice; the pebble rolled and
clanked down, down, and at last, the sound died away in the distance.

"I wish that I could go into the cavity as that stone has done, and find
the secrets of this cave," I reflected, the natural love of exploration
possessing me as it probably does most men.

My companion above, seated on the brink of the stone wall, replied to my
thoughts: "Your wish shall be granted. You have requested that which has
already been laid out for you. You will explore where few men have
passed before, and will have the privilege of following your destiny
into a realm of natural wonders. A fertile field of investigation awaits
you, such as will surpass your most vivid imaginings. Come and seat
yourself beside me, for it is my duty now to tell you something about
the land we are approaching, the cavern fields of Kentucky."



CHAPTER XIII.

    THE PUNCH-BOWLS AND CAVERNS OF KENTUCKY.--"INTO THE UNKNOWN
    COUNTRY."


"This part of Kentucky borders a field of caverns that reaches from near
the State of Tennessee to the Ohio River, and from the mouth of the
Cumberland, eastward to and beyond the center of the State. This great
area is of irregular outline, and as yet has been little explored.
Underneath the surface are layers of limestone and sandstone rock, the
deposits ranging from ten to one hundred and fifty feet in thickness,
and often great masses of conglomerate appear. This conglomerate
sometimes caps the ridges, and varies in thickness from a few feet only,
to sixty, or even a hundred, feet. It is of a diversified character,
sometimes largely composed of pebbles cemented together by iron ore into
compact beds, while again it passes abruptly into gritty sandstone, or a
fine-grained compact rock destitute of pebbles. Sometimes the
conglomerate rests directly on the limestone, but in the section about
us, more often argillaceous shales or veins of coal intervene, and
occasionally inferior and superior layers of conglomerate are separated
by a bed of coal. In addition, lead-bearing veins now and then crop up,
the crystals of galena being disseminated through masses of fluor-spar,
calc-spar, limestone and clay, which fill fissures between tilted walls
of limestone and hard quartzose sandstone. Valleys, hills, and
mountains, grow out of this remarkable crust. Rivers and creeks flow
through and under it in crevices, either directly upon the bedstone or
over deposits of clay which underlie it. In some places, beds of coal or
slate alternate with layers of the lime rock; in others, the interspace
is clay and sand. Sometimes the depth of the several limestone and
conglomerate deposits is great, and they are often honeycombed by
innumerable transverse and diagonal spaces. Water drips have here and
there washed out the more friable earth and stone, forming grottoes
which are as yet unknown to men, but which will be discovered to be
wonderful and fantastic beyond anything of a like nature now familiar.
In other places cavities exist between shelves of rock that lie one
above the other--monstrous openings caused by the erosive action of
rivers now lost, but that have flowed during unnumbered ages past; great
parallel valleys and gigantic chambers, one over the other, remaining to
tell the story of these former torrents. Occasionally the weight of a
portion of the disintegrating rock above becomes too great for its
tensile strength and the material crumbles and falls, producing caverns
sometimes reaching so near to the earth's surface, as to cause sinks in
its crust. These sinks, when first formed, as a rule, present clear rock
fractures, and immediately after their formation there is usually a
water-way beneath. In the course of time soil collects on their sides,
they become cone-shaped hollows from the down-slidings of earth, and
then vegetation appears on the living soil; trees grow within them, and
in many places the sloping sides of great earth bowls of this nature
are, after untold years, covered with the virgin forest; magnificent
timber trees growing on soil that has been stratified over and upon
decayed monarchs of the forest whose remains, imbedded in the earth,
speak of the ages that have passed since the convulsions that made the
depressions which, notwithstanding the accumulated debris, are still a
hundred feet or more in depth. If the drain or exit at the vortex of one
of these sinks becomes clogged, which often occurs, the entire cavity
fills with water, and a pond results. Again, a slight orifice reaching
far beneath the earth's surface may permit the soil to be gradually
washed into a subterranean creek, and thus are formed great bowls, like
funnels sunk in the earth--Kentucky punch-bowls.

"Take the country about us, especially towards the Mammoth Cave, and for
miles beyond, the landscape in certain localities is pitted with this
description of sinks, some recent, others very old. Many are small, but
deep; others are large and shallow. Ponds often of great depth,
curiously enough overflowing and giving rise to a creek, are to be found
on a ridge, telling of underground supply springs, not outlets, beneath.
Chains of such sinks, like a row of huge funnels, often appear; the soil
between them is slowly washed through their exit into the river,
flowing in the depths below, and as the earth that separates them is
carried away by the subterranean streams, the bowls coalesce and a
ravine, closed at both ends, results. Along the bottom of such a ravine,
a creek may flow, rushing from its natural tunnel at one end of the
line, and disappearing in a gulf at the other. The stream begins in
mystery, and ends in unfathomed darkness. Near Marion, Hurricane Creek
thus disappears, and, so far as men know, is lost to sight forever. Near
Cridersville, in this neighborhood, a valley such as I have described,
takes in the surface floods of a large tract of country. The waters that
run down its sides, during a storm form a torrent, and fence-rails,
timbers, and other objects are gulped into the chasm where the creek
plunges into the earth, and they never appear again. This part of
Kentucky is the most remarkable portion of the known world, and although
now neglected, in a time to come is surely destined to an extended
distinction. I have referred only to the surface, the skin formation of
this honeycombed labyrinth, the entrance to the future wonderland of the
world. Portions of such a superficial cavern maze have been traversed by
man in the ramifications known as the Mammoth Cave, but deeper than man
has yet explored, the subcutaneous structure of that series of caverns
is yet to be investigated. The Mammoth Cave as now traversed is simply a
superficial series of grottoes and passages overlying the deeper cavern
field that I have described. The explored chain of passages is of great
interest to men, it is true, but of minor importance compared to others
yet unknown, being in fact, the result of mere surface erosion. The
river that bisects the cave, just beneath the surface of the earth, and
known as Echo River, is a miniature stream: there are others more
magnificent that flow majestically far, far beneath it. As we descend
into the earth in that locality, caverns multiply in number and increase
in size, retaining the general configuration of those I have described.
The layers of rock are thicker, the intervening spaces broader; and the
spaces stretch in increasingly expanded chambers for miles, while high
above each series of caverns the solid ceilings of stone arch and
interarch. Sheltered under these subterrene alcoves are streams, lakes,
rivers and water-falls. Near the surface of the earth such waters often
teem with aquatic life, and some of the caves are inhabited by species
of birds, reptiles and mammals as yet unknown to men, creatures
possessed of senses and organs that are different from any we find with
surface animals, and also apparently defective in particulars that would
startle persons acquainted only with creatures that live in the
sunshine. It is a world beneath a world, a world within a world--" My
guide abruptly stopped.

I sat entranced, marveling at the young-old adept's knowledge, admiring
his accomplishments. I gazed into the cavity that yawned beneath me, and
imagined its possible but to me invisible secrets, enraptured with the
thought of searching into them. Who would not feel elated at the
prospect of an exploration, such as I foresaw might be pursued in my
immediate future? I had often been charmed with narrative descriptions
of discoveries, and book accounts of scientific investigations, but I
had never pictured myself as a participant in such fascinating
enterprises.

"Indeed, indeed," I cried exultingly; "lead me to this Wonderland, show
me the entrance to this Subterranean World, and I promise willingly to
do as you bid."

"Bravo!" he replied, "your heart is right, your courage sufficient; I
have not disclosed a thousandth part of the wonders which I have
knowledge of, and which await your research, and probably I have not
gained even an insight into the mysteries that, if your courage permits,
you will be privileged to comprehend. Your destiny lies beyond, far
beyond that which I have pictured or experienced; and I, notwithstanding
my opportunities, have no conception of its end, for at the critical
moment my heart faltered--I can therefore only describe the beginning."

Thus at the lower extremity of Biswell's Hill, I was made aware of the
fact that, within a short time, I should be separated from my
sympathetic guide, and that it was to be my duty to explore alone, or in
other company, some portion of these Kentucky cavern deeps, and I longed
for the beginning of my underground journey. Heavens! how different
would have been my future life could I then have realized my position!
Would that I could have seen the end. After a few days of uneventful
travel, we rested, one afternoon, in a hilly country that before us
appeared to be more rugged, even mountainous. We had wandered leisurely,
and were now at a considerable distance from the Cumberland River, the
aim of my guide being, as I surmised, to evade a direct approach to some
object of interest which I must not locate exactly, and yet which I
shall try to describe accurately enough for identification by a person
familiar with the topography of that section. We stood on the side of a
stony, sloping hill, back of which spread a wooded, undulating valley.

"I remember to have passed along a creek in that valley," I remarked,
looking back over our pathway. "It appeared to rise from this direction,
but the source ends abruptly in this chain of hills."

"The stream is beneath us," he answered. Advancing a few paces, he
brought to my attention, on the hillside, an opening in the earth. This
aperture was irregular in form, about the diameter of a well, and
descended perpendicularly into the stony crust. I leaned far over the
orifice, and heard the gurgle of rushing water beneath. The guide
dropped a heavy stone into the gloomy shaft, and in some seconds a dull
splash announced its plunge into underground water. Then he leaned over
the stony edge, and--could I be mistaken?--seemed to signal to some one
beneath; but it must be imagination on my part, I argued to myself, even
against my very sense of sight. Rising, and taking me by the hand, my
guardian spoke:

"Brother, we approach the spot where you and I must separate. I serve my
masters and am destined to go where I shall next be commanded; you will
descend into the earth, as you have recently desired to do. Here we
part, most likely forever. This rocky fissure will admit the last ray of
sunlight on your path."

My heart failed. How often are we courageous in daylight and timid by
night? Men unflinchingly face in sunshine dangers at which they shudder
in the darkness.

"How am I to descend into that abyss?" I gasped. "The sides are
perpendicular, the depth is unknown!" Then I cried in alarm, the sense
of distrust deepening: "Do you mean to drown me; is it for this you have
led me away from my native State, from friends, home and kindred? You
have enticed me into this wilderness. I have been decoyed, and, like a
foolish child, have willingly accompanied my destroyer. You feared to
murder me in my distant home; the earth could not have hidden me;
Niagara even might have given up my body to dismay the murderers! In
this underground river in the wilds of Kentucky, all trace of my
existence will disappear forever."

I was growing furious. My frenzied eyes searched the ground for some
missile of defense. By strange chance some one had left, on that
solitary spot, a rude weapon, providentially dropped for my use, I
thought. It was a small iron bolt or bar, somewhat rusted. I threw
myself upon the earth, and, as I did so, picked this up quickly, and
secreted it within my bosom. Then I arose and resumed my stormy
denunciation:

"You have played your part well, you have led your unresisting victim to
the sacrifice, but if I am compelled to plunge into this black grave,
you shall go with me!" I shrieked in desperation, and suddenly threw my
arms around the gentle adept, intending to hurl him into the chasm. At
this point I felt my hands seized from behind in a cold, clammy,
irresistible embrace, my fingers were loosed by a strong grasp, and I
turned, to find myself confronted by a singular looking being, who
quietly said:

"You are not to be destroyed; we wish only to do your bidding."

The speaker stood in a stooping position, with his face towards the
earth as if to shelter it from the sunshine. He was less than five feet
in height. His arms and legs were bare, and his skin, the color of light
blue putty, glistened in the sunlight like the slimy hide of a water
dog. He raised his head, and I shuddered in affright as I beheld that
his face was not that of a human. His forehead extended in an unbroken
plane from crown to cheek bone, and the chubby tip of an abortive nose
without nostrils formed a short projection near the center of the level
ridge which represented a countenance. There was no semblance of an eye,
for there were no sockets. Yet his voice was singularly perfect. His
face, if face it could be called, was wet, and water dripped from all
parts of his slippery person. Yet, repulsive as he looked, I shuddered
more at the remembrance of the touch of that cold, clammy hand than at
the sight of his figure, for a dead man could not have chilled me as he
had done, with his sappy skin, from which the moisture seemed to ooze as
from the hide of a water lizard.

[Illustration: "CONFRONTED BY A SINGULAR LOOKING BEING."]

Turning to my guide, this freak of nature said, softly:

"I have come in obedience to the signal."

I realized at once that alone with these two I was powerless, and that
to resist would be suicidal. Instantly my effervescing passion subsided,
and I expressed no further surprise at this sudden and remarkable
apparition, but mentally acquiesced. I was alone and helpless; rage gave
place to inertia in the despondency that followed the realization of my
hopeless condition. The grotesque newcomer who, though sightless,
possessed a strange instinct, led us to the base of the hill a few
hundred feet away, and there, gushing into the light from the rocky
bluff, I saw a magnificent stream issuing many feet in width. This was
the head-waters of the mysterious brook that I had previously noticed.
It flowed from an archway in the solid stone, springing directly out of
the rock-bound cliff; beautiful and picturesque in its surroundings. The
limpid water, clear and sparkling, issued from the unknown source that
was typical of darkness, but the brook of crystal leaped into a world of
sunshine, light and freedom.

"Brother," said my companion, "this spring emerging from this prison of
earth images to us what humanity will be when the prisoning walls of
ignorance that now enthrall him are removed. Man has heretofore relied
chiefly for his advancement, both mental and physical, on knowledge
gained from so-called scientific explorations and researches with
matter, from material studies rather than spiritual, all his
investigations having been confined to the crude, coarse substance of
the surface of the globe. Spiritualistic investigations, unfortunately,
are considered by scientific men too often as reaching backward only.
The religions of the world clasp hands with, and lean upon, the dead
past, it is true, but point to a living future. Man must yet search by
the agency of senses and spirit, the unfathomed mysteries that lie
beneath his feet and over his head, and he who refuses to bow to the
Creator and honor his handiwork discredits himself. When this work is
accomplished, as it yet will be, the future man, able then to comprehend
the problem of life in its broader significance, drawing from all
directions the facts necessary to his mental advancement, will have
reached a state in which he can enjoy bodily comfort and supreme
spiritual perfection, while he is yet an earth-bound mortal. In
hastening this consummation, it is necessary that an occasional human
life should be lost to the world, but such sacrifices are noble--yes,
sublime, because contributing to the future exaltation of our race. The
secret workers in the sacred order of which you are still a member, have
ever taken an important part in furthering such a system of evolution.
This feature of our work is unknown to brethren of the ordinary
fraternity, and the individual research of each secret messenger is
unguessed, by the craft at large. Hence it is that the open workers of
our order, those initiated by degrees only, who in lodge rooms carry on
their beneficent labors among men, have had no hand other than as agents
in your removal, and no knowledge of your present or future movements.
Their function is to keep together our organization on earth, and from
them only an occasional member is selected, as you have been, to perform
special duties in certain adventurous studies. Are you willing to go on
this journey of exploration? and are you brave enough to meet the trials
you have invited?"

Again my enthusiasm arose, and I felt the thrill experienced by an
investigator who stands on the brink of an important discovery, and
needs but courage to advance, and I answered, "Yes."

"Then, farewell; this archway is the entrance that will admit you into
your arcanum of usefulness. This mystic Brother, though a stranger to
you, has long been apprised of our coming, and it was he who sped me on
my journey to seek you, and who has since been waiting for us, and is to
be your guide during the first stages of your subterrene progress. He is
a Friend, and, if you trust him, will protect you from harm. You will
find the necessaries of life supplied, for I have traversed part of your
coming road; that part I therefore know, but, as I have said, you are to
go deeper into the unexplored,--yes, into and beyond the Beyond, until
finally you will come to the gateway that leads into the 'Unknown
Country.'"



CHAPTER XIV.

    FAREWELL TO GOD'S SUNSHINE.--THE ECHO OF THE CRY.


Thus speaking, my quiet leader, who had so long been as a shepherd to my
wandering feet, on the upper earth, grasped my hands tightly, and placed
them in those of my new companion, whose clammy fingers closed over them
as with a grip of iron. The mysterious being, now my custodian, turned
towards the creek, drawing me after him, and together we silently and
solemnly waded beneath the stone archway. As I passed under the shadow
of that dismal, yawning cliff, I turned my head to take one last glimpse
of the world I had known--that "warm precinct of the cheerful day,"--and
tears sprang to my eyes. I thought of life, family, friends,--of all for
which men live--and a melancholy vision arose, that of my lost, lost
home. My dear companion of the journey that had just ended stood in the
sunlight on the banks of the rippling stream, gazing at us intently, and
waved an affectionate farewell. My uncouth new associate (guide or
master, whichever he might be), of the journey to come, clasped me
firmly by the arms, and waded slowly onward, thrusting me steadily
against the cold current, and with irresistible force pressed me into
the thickening darkness. The daylight disappeared, the pathway
contracted, the water deepened and became more chilly. We were
constrained to bow our heads in order to avoid the overhanging vault of
stone; the water reached to my chin, and now the down-jutting roof
touched the crown of my head; then I shuddered convulsively as the last
ray of daylight disappeared.

Had it not been for my companion, I know that I should have sunk in
despair, and drowned; but with a firm hand he held my head above the
water, and steadily pushed me onward. I had reached the extreme of
despondency: I neither feared nor cared for life nor death, and I
realized that, powerless to control my own acts, my fate, the future, my
existence depended on the strange being beside me. I was mysteriously
sustained, however, by a sense of bodily security, such as comes over us
as when in the hands of an experienced guide we journey through a
wilderness, for I felt that my pilot of the underworld did not purpose
to destroy me. We halted a moment, and then, as a faint light overspread
us, my eyeless guide directed me to look upward.

"We now stand beneath the crevice which you were told by your former
guide would admit the last ray of sunlight on your path. I also say to
you, this struggling ray of sunlight is to be your last for years."

I gazed above me, feeling all the wretchedness of a dying man who, with
faculties intact, might stand on the dark edge of the hillside of
eternity, glancing back into the bright world; and that small opening
far, far overhead, seemed as the gate to Paradise Lost. Many a person,
assured of ascending at will, has stood at the bottom of a deep well or
shaft to a mine, and even then felt the undescribable sensation of
dread, often terror, that is produced by such a situation. Awe, mystery,
uncertainty of life and future superadded, may express my sensation. I
trembled, shrinking in horror from my captor and struggled violently.

"Hold, hold," I begged, as one involuntarily prays a surgeon to delay
the incision of the amputating knife, "just one moment." My companion,
unheeding, moved on, the light vanished instantly, and we were
surrounded by total darkness. God's sunshine was blotted out.

[Illustration: "THIS STRUGGLING RAY OF SUNLIGHT IS TO BE YOUR LAST FOR
YEARS."]

Then I again became unconcerned; I was not now responsible for my own
existence, and the feeling that I experienced when a prisoner in the
closed carriage returned. I grew careless as to my fate, and with stolid
indifference struggled onward as we progressed slowly against the
current of water. I began to interest myself in speculations regarding
our surroundings, and the object or outcome of our journey. In places
the water was shallow, scarce reaching to our ankles; again it was so
deep that we could wade only with exertion, and at times the passage up
which we toiled was so narrow, that it would scarcely admit us. After a
long, laborious stemming of the unseen brook, my companion directed me
to close my mouth, hold my nostrils with my fingers, and stoop; almost
diving with me beneath the water, he drew me through the submerged
crevice, and we ascended into an open chamber, and left the creek behind
us. I fancied that we were in a large room, and as I shouted aloud to
test my hypothesis, echo after echo answered, until at last the cry
reverberated and died away in distant murmurs. We were evidently in a
great pocket or cavern, through which my guide now walked rapidly;
indeed, he passed along with unerring footsteps, as certain of his
course as I might be on familiar ground in full daylight. I perceived
that he systematically evaded inequalities that I could not anticipate
nor see. He would tell me to step up or down, as the surroundings
required, and we ascended or descended accordingly. Our path turned to
the right or the left from time to time, but my eyeless guide passed
through what were evidently the most tortuous windings without a mishap.
I wondered much at this gift of knowledge, and at last overcame my
reserve sufficiently to ask how we could thus unerringly proceed in
utter darkness. The reply was:

"The path is plainly visible to me; I see as clearly in pitch darkness
as you can in sunshine."

"Explain yourself further," I requested.

He replied, "Not yet;" and continued, "you are weary, we will rest."

He conducted me to a seat on a ledge, and left me for a time. Returning
soon, he placed in my hands food which I ate with novel relish. The
pabulum seemed to be of vegetable origin, though varieties of it had a
peculiar flesh-like flavor. Several separate and distinct substances
were contained in the queer viands, some portions savoring of wholesome
flesh, while others possessed the delicate flavors of various fruits,
such as the strawberry and the pineapple. The strange edibles were of a
pulpy texture, homogeneous in consistence, parts being juicy and acid
like grateful fruits. Some portions were in slices or films that I could
hold in my hand like sections of a velvet melon, and yet were in many
respects unlike any other food that I had ever tasted. There was neither
rind nor seed; it seemed as though I were eating the gills of a fish,
and in answer to my question the guide remarked:

"Yes; it is the gill, but not the gill of a fish. You will be instructed
in due time." I will add that after this, whenever necessary, we were
supplied with food, but both thirst and hunger disappeared altogether
before our underground journey was finished.

After a while we again began our journey, which we continued in what was
to me absolute darkness. My strength seemed to endure the fatigue to a
wonderful degree, notwithstanding that we must have been walking hour
after hour, and I expressed a curiosity about the fact. My guide replied
that the atmosphere of the cavern possessed an intrinsic vitalizing
power that neutralized fatigue, "or," he said, "there is here an
inherent constitutional energy derived from an active gaseous substance
that belongs to cavern air at this depth, and sustains the life force by
contributing directly to its conservation, taking the place of food and
drink."

"I do not understand," I said.

"No; and you do not comprehend how ordinary air supports mind and
vitalizes muscle, and at the same time wears out both muscle and all
other tissues. These are facts which are not satisfactorily explained by
scientific statements concerning oxygenation of the blood. As we descend
into the earth we find an increase in the life force of the cavern air."

This reference to surface earth recalled my former life, and led me to
contrast my present situation with that I had forfeited. I was seized
with an uncontrollable longing for home, and a painful craving for the
past took possession of my heart, but with a strong effort I shook off
the sensations. We traveled on and on in silence and in darkness, and I
thought again of the strange remark of my former guide who had said:
"You are destined to go deeper into the unknown; yes, into and beyond
the Beyond."



CHAPTER XV.

    A ZONE OF LIGHT DEEP WITHIN THE EARTH.


"Oh! for one glimpse of light, a ray of sunshine!"

In reply to this my mental ejaculation, my guide said: "Can not you
perceive that the darkness is becoming less intense?"

"No," I answered, "I can not; night is absolute."

"Are you sure?" he asked. "Cover your eyes with your hands, then uncover
and open them." I did so and fancied that by contrast a faint gray hue
was apparent.

"This must be imagination."

"No; we now approach a zone of earth light; let us hasten on."

"A zone of light deep in the earth! Incomprehensible! Incredible!" I
muttered, and yet as we went onward and time passed the darkness was
less intense. The barely perceptible hue became gray and somber, and
then of a pearly translucence, and although I could not distinguish the
outline of objects, yet I unquestionably perceived light.

"I am amazed! What can be the cause of this phenomenon? What is the
nature of this mysterious halo that surrounds us?" I held my open hand
before my eyes, and perceived the darkness of my spread fingers.

"It is light, it is light," I shouted, "it is really light!" and from
near and from far the echoes of that subterranean cavern answered back
joyfully, "It is light, it is light!"

I wept in joy, and threw my arms about my guide, forgetting in the
ecstasy his clammy cuticle, and danced in hysterical glee and
alternately laughed and cried. How vividly I realized then that the
imprisoned miner would give a world of gold, his former god, for a ray
of light.

"Compose yourself; this emotional exhibition is an evidence of weakness;
an investigator should neither become depressed over a reverse, nor
unduly enthusiastic over a fortunate discovery."

"But we approach the earth's surface? Soon I will be back in the
sunshine again."

"Upon the contrary, we have been continually descending into the earth,
and we are now ten miles or more beneath the level of the ocean."

[Illustration: "WE APPROACH DAYLIGHT, I CAN SEE YOUR FORM."]

I shrank back, hesitated, and in despondency gazed at his hazy outline,
then, as if palsied, sank upon the stony floor; but as I saw the light
before me, I leaped up and shouted:

"What you say is not true; we approach daylight, I can see your form."

"Listen to me," he said. "Can not you understand that I have led you
continually down a steep descent, and that for hours there has been no
step upward? With but little exertion you have walked this distance
without becoming wearied, and you could not, without great fatigue, have
ascended for so long a period. You are entering a zone of inner earth
light; we are in the surface, the upper edge of it. Let us hasten on,
for when this cavern darkness is at an end--and I will say we have
nearly passed that limit--your courage will return, and then we will
rest."

"You surely do not speak the truth; science and philosophy, and I am
somewhat versed in both, have never told me of such a light."

"Can philosophers more than speculate about that which they have not
experienced if they have no data from which to calculate? Name the
student in science who has reached this depth in earth, or has seen a
man to tell him of these facts?"

"I can not."

"Then why should you have expected any of them to describe our
surroundings? Misguided men will torture science by refuting facts with
theories; but a fact is no less a fact when science opposes."

[Illustration: "SEATED HIMSELF ON A NATURAL BENCH OF STONE."]

I recognized the force of his arguments, and cordially grasped his hand
in indication of submission. We continued our journey, and rapidly
traveled downward and onward. The light gradually increased in
intensity, until at length the cavern near about us seemed to be as
bright as diffused daylight could have made it. There was apparently no
central point of radiation; the light was such as to pervade and exist
in the surrounding space, somewhat as the vapor of phosphorus spreads a
self-luminous haze throughout the bubble into which it is blown. The
visual agent surrounding us had a permanent, self-existing luminosity,
and was a pervading, bright, unreachable essence that, without an
obvious origin, diffused itself equally in all directions. It reminded
me of the form of light that in previous years I had seen described as
epipolic dispersion, and as I refer to the matter I am of the opinion
that man will yet find that the same cause produces both phenomena. I
was informed now by the sense of sight, that we were in a cavern room of
considerable size. The apartment presented somewhat the appearance of
the usual underground caverns that I had seen pictured in books, and yet
was different. Stalactites, stalagmites, saline incrustations,
occurring occasionally reminded me of travelers' stories, but these
objects were not so abundant as might be supposed. Such accretions or
deposits of saline substances as I noticed were also disappointing, in
that, instead of having a dazzling brilliancy, like frosted snow
crystals, they were of a uniform gray or brown hue. Indeed, my former
imaginative mental creations regarding underground caverns were
dispelled in this somber stone temple, for even the floor and the
fragments of stone that, in considerable quantities, strewed the floor,
were of the usual rock formations of upper earth. The glittering
crystals of snowy white or rainbow tints (fairy caverns) pictured by
travelers, and described as inexpressibly grand and beautiful in other
cavern labyrinths, were wanting here, and I saw only occasional small
clusters of quartz crystals that were other than of a dull gray color.
Finally, after hours or perhaps days of travel, interspersed with
restings, conversations, and arguments, amid which I could form no idea
of the flight of time, my companion seated himself on a natural bench of
stone, and directed me to rest likewise. He broke the silence, and spoke
as follows:



CHAPTER XVI.

    VITALIZED DARKNESS.--THE NARROWS IN SCIENCE.


"In studying any branch of science men begin and end with an unknown.
The chemist accepts as data such conditions of matter as he finds about
him, and connects ponderable matter with the displays of energy that
have impressed his senses, building therefrom a span of theoretical
science, but he can not formulate as yet an explanation regarding the
origin or the end of either mind, matter, or energy. The piers
supporting his fabric stand in a profound invisible gulf, into which
even his imagination can not look to form a theory concerning basic
formations--corner-stones.

"The geologist, in a like manner, grasps feebly the lessons left in the
superficial fragments of earth strata, impressions that remain to bear
imperfect record of a few of the disturbances that have affected the
earth's crust, and he endeavors to formulate a story of the world's
life, but he is neither able to antedate the records shown by the meager
testimony at his command, scraps of a leaf out of God's great book of
history, nor to anticipate coming events. The birth, as well as the
death, of this planet is beyond his page.

"The astronomer directs his telescope to the heavens, records the
position of the planets, and hopes to discover the influences worlds
exert upon one another. He explores space to obtain data to enable him
to delineate a map of the visible solar universe, but the instruments he
has at command are so imperfect, and mind is so feeble that, like
mockery seems his attempt to study behind the facts connected with the
motions and conditions of the nearest heavenly bodies, and he can not
offer an explanation of the beginning or cessation of their movements.
He can neither account for their existence, nor foretell their end."

"Are you not mistaken?" I interrupted; "does not the astronomer foretell
eclipses, and calculate the orbits of the planets, and has he not
verified predictions concerning their several motions?"

"Yes; but this is simply a study of passing events. The astronomer is no
more capable of grasping an idea that reaches into an explanation of the
origin of motion, than the chemist or physicist, from exact scientific
data, can account for the creation of matter. Give him any amount of
material at rest, and he can not conceive of any method by which motion
can disturb any part of it, unless such motion be mass motion
communicated from without, or molecular motion, already existing within.
He accounts for the phases of present motion in heavenly bodies, not for
the primal cause of the actual movements or intrinsic properties they
possess. He can neither originate a theory that will permit of motion
creating itself, and imparting itself to quiescent matter, nor imagine
how an atom of quiescent matter can be moved, unless motion from without
be communicated thereto. The astronomer, I assert, can neither from any
data at his command postulate nor prove the beginning nor the end of the
reverberating motion that exists in his solar system, which is itself
the fragment of a system that is circulating and revolving in and about
itself, and in which, since the birth of man, the universe he knows has
not passed the first milestone in the road that universe is traveling in
space immensity.

"The mathematician starts a line from an imaginary point that he informs
us exists theoretically without occupying any space, which is a
contradiction of terms according to his human acceptation of knowledge
derived from scientific experiment, if science is based on verified
facts. He assumes that straight lines exist, which is a necessity for
his calculation; but such a line he has never made. Even the beam of
sunshine, radiating through a clear atmosphere or a cloud bank, widens
and contracts again as it progresses through the various mediums of air
and vapor currents, and if it is ever spreading and deflecting can it be
straight? He begins his study in the unknown, it ends with the
unknowable.

"The biologist can conceive of no rational, scientific beginning to life
of plant or animal, and men of science must admit the fact. Whenever we
turn our attention to nature's laws and nature's substance, we find man
surrounded by the infinity that obscures the origin and covers the
end. But perseverance, study of nature's forces, and comparison of the
past with the present, will yet clarify human knowledge and make plain
much of this seemingly mysterious, but never will man reach the
beginning or the end. The course of human education, to this day, has
been mostly materialistic, although, together with the study of matter,
there has been more or less attention given to its moving spirit. Newton
was the dividing light in scientific thought; he stepped between the
reasonings of the past and the provings of the present, and introduced
problems that gave birth to a new scientific tendency, a change from the
study of matter from the material side to that of force and matter, but
his thought has since been carried out in a mode too realistic by far.
The study of material bodies has given way, it is true, in a few cases
to the study of the spirit of matter, and evolution is beginning to
teach men that matter is crude. As a result, thought will in its
sequence yet show that modifications of energy expression are paramount.
This work is not lost, however, for the consideration of the nature of
sensible material, is preliminary and necessary to progression (as the
life of the savage prepares the way for that of the cultivated student),
and is a meager and primitive child's effort, compared with the richness
of the study in unseen energy expressions that are linked with matter,
of which men will yet learn."

"I comprehend some of this," I replied; "but I am neither prepared to
assent to nor dissent from your conclusions, and my mind is not clear as
to whether your logic is good or bad. I am more ready to speak plainly
about my own peculiar situation than to become absorbed in abstruse
arguments in science, and I marvel more at the soft light that is here
surrounding us than at the metaphysical reasoning in which you indulge."

"The child ignorant of letters wonders at the resources of those who can
spell and read, and, in like manner, many obscure natural phenomena are
marvelous to man only because of his ignorance. You do not comprehend
the fact that sunlight is simply a matter-bred expression, an outburst
of interrupted energy, and that the modification this energy undergoes
makes it visible or sensible to man. What, think you, becomes of the
flood of light energy that unceasingly flows from the sun? For ages,
for an eternity, it has bathed this earth and seemingly streamed into
space, and space it would seem must have long since have been filled
with it, if, as men believe, space contains energy of any description.
Man may say the earth casts the amount intercepted by it back into
space, and yet does not your science teach that the great bulk of the
earth is an absorber, and a poor radiator of light and heat? What think
you, I repeat, becomes of the torrent of light and heat and other forces
that radiate from the sun, the flood that strikes the earth? It
disappears, and, in the economy of nature, is not replaced by any known
force or any known motion of matter. Think you that earth substance
really presents an obstacle to the passage of the sun's energy? Is it
not probable that most of this light producing essence, as a subtle
fluid, passes through the surface of the earth and into its interior, as
light does through space, and returns thence to the sun again, in a
condition not discernible by man?" He grasped my arm and squeezed it as
though to emphasize the words to follow. "You have used the term
sunshine freely; tell me what is sunshine? Ah! you do not reply; well,
what evidence have you to show that sunshine (heat and light) is not
earth-bred, a condition that exists locally only, the result of contact
between matter and some unknown force expression? What reason have you
for accepting that, to other forms unknown and yet transparent to this
energy, your sunshine may not be as intangible as the ether of space is
to man? What reason have you to believe that a force torrent is not
circulating to and from the sun and earth, inappreciable to man,
excepting the mere trace of this force which, modified by contact action
with matter appears as heat, light, and other force expressions? How can
I, if this is true, in consideration of your ignorance, enter into
details explanatory of the action that takes place between matter and a
portion of this force, whereby in the earth, first at the surface,
darkness is produced, and then deeper down an earth light that man can
perceive by the sense of sight, as you now realize? I will only say that
this luminous appearance about us is produced by a natural law, whereby
the flood of energy, invisible to man, a something clothed now under the
name of darkness, after streaming into the crust substance of the earth,
is at this depth, revivified, and then is made apparent to mortal eye,
to be modified again as it emerges from the opposite earth crust, but
not annihilated. For my vision, however, this central light is not a
necessity; my physical and mental development is such that the energy of
darkness is communicable; I can respond to its touches on my nerves, and
hence I can guide you in this dark cavern. I am all eye."

"Ah!" I exclaimed, "that reminds me of a remark made by my former guide
who, referring to the instinct of animals, spoke of that as a natural
power undeveloped in man. Is it true that by mental cultivation a new
sense can be evolved whereby darkness may become as light?"

"Yes; that which you call light is a form of sensible energy to which
the faculties of animals who live on the surface of the earth have
become adapted, through their organs of sight. The sun's energy is
modified when it strikes the surface of the earth; part is reflected,
but most of it passes onward into the earth's substance, in an altered
or disturbed condition. Animal organisms within the earth must possess a
peculiar development to utilize it under its new form, but such a sense
is really possessed in a degree by some creatures known to men. There is
consciousness behind consciousness; there are grades and depths of
consciousness. Earth worms, and some fishes and reptiles in underground
streams (lower organizations, men call them) do not use the organ of
sight, but recognize objects, seek their food, and flee from their
enemies."

"They have no eyes," I exclaimed, forgetting that I spoke to an eyeless
being; "how can they see?"

"You should reflect that man can not offer a satisfactory explanation of
the fact that he can see with his eyes. In one respect, these so-called
lower creatures are higher in the scale of life than man is, for they
see (appreciate) without eyes. The surfaces of their bodies really are
sources of perception, and seats of consciousness. Man must yet learn to
see with his skin, taste with his fingers, and hear with the surface of
his body. The dissected nerve, or the pupil of man's eye, offers to the
physiologist no explanation of its intrinsic power. Is not man
unfortunate in having to risk so much on so frail an organ? The
physiologist can not tell why or how the nerve of the tongue can
distinguish between bitter and sweet, or convey any impression of
taste, or why the nerve of the ear communicates sound, or the nerve of
the eye communicates the impression of sight. There is an impassable
barrier behind all forms of nerve impressions, that neither the
microscope nor other methods of investigation can help the reasoning
senses of man to remove. The void that separates the pulp of the
material nerve from consciousness is broader than the solar universe,
for even from the most distant known star we can imagine the
never-ending flight of a ray of light, that has once started on its
travels into space. Can any man outline the bridge that connects the
intellect with nerve or brain, mind, or with any form of matter? The
fact that the surface of the bodies of some animals is capable of
performing the same functions for these animals that the eye of man
performs for him, is not more mysterious than is the function of that
eye itself. The term darkness is an expression used to denote the fact
that to the brain which governs the eye of man, what man calls the
absence of light, is unrecognizable. If men were more magnanimous and
less egotistical, they would open their minds to the fact that some
animals really possess certain senses that are better developed than
they are in man. The teachers of men too often tell the little they know
and neglect the great unseen. The cat tribe, some night birds, and many
reptiles can see better in darkness than in daylight. Let man compare
with the nerve expanse of his own eye that of the highly developed eye
of any such creature, and he will understand that the difference is one
of brain or intellect, and not altogether one of optical vision surface.
When men are able to explain how light can affect the nerves of their
own eyes and produce such an effect on distant brain tissues as to bring
to his senses objects that he is not touching, he may be able to explain
how the energy in darkness can affect the nerve of the eye in the owl
and impress vision on the brain of that creature. Should not man's
inferior sense of light lead him to question if, instead of deficient
visual power, there be not a deficiency of the brain capacity of man?
Instead of accepting that the eye of man is incapable of receiving the
impression of night energy, and making no endeavor to improve himself in
the direction of his imperfection, man should reflect whether or not his
brain may, by proper cultivation or artificial stimulus, be yet
developed so as to receive yet deeper nerve impressions, thereby
changing darkness into daylight. Until man can explain the modus
operandi of the senses he now possesses, he can not consistently
question the existence of a different sight power in other beings, and
unquestioned existing conditions should lead him to hope for a yet
higher development in himself."

"This dissertation is interesting, very," I said. "Although inclined
toward agnosticism, my ideas of a possible future in consciousness that
lies before mankind are broadened. I therefore accept your reasoning,
perhaps because I can not refute it, neither do I wish to do so. And now
I ask again, can not you explain to me how darkness, as deep as that of
midnight, has been revivified so as to bring this great cavern to my
view?"

"That may be made plain at a future time," he answered; "let us proceed
with our journey."

We passed through a dry, well ventilated apartment. Stalactite
formations still existed, indicative of former periods of water
drippings, but as we journeyed onward I saw no evidence of present
percolations, and the developing and erosive agencies that had worked in
ages past must long ago have been suspended. The floor was of solid
stone, entirely free from loose earth and fallen rocky fragments. It was
smooth upon the surface, but generally disposed in gentle undulations.
The peculiar, soft, radiant light to which my guide referred as
"vitalized darkness" or "revivified sunshine," pervaded all the space
about me, but I could not by its agency distinguish the sides of the
vast cavern. The brightness was of a species that while it brought into
distinctness objects that were near at hand, lost its unfolding power or
vigor a short distance beyond. I would compare the effect to that of a
bright light shining through a dense fog, were it not that the medium
about us was transparent--not milky. The light shrunk into nothingness.
It passed from existence behind and about me as if it were annihilated,
without wasting away in the opalescent appearance once familiar as that
of a spreading fog. Moreover, it seemed to detail such objects as were
within the compass of a certain area close about me, but to lose in
intensity beyond. The buttons on my coat appeared as distinct as they
ever did when I stood in the sunlight, and fully one-half larger than I
formerly knew them to be. The corrugations on the palms of my hands
stood out in bold serpentine relief that I observed clearly when I held
my hands near my eye, my fingers appeared clumsy, and all parts of my
person were magnified in proportion. The region at the limits of my
range of perception reminded me of nothingness, but not of darkness. A
circle of obliteration defined the border of the luminous belt which
advanced as we proceeded, and closed in behind us. This line, or rather
zone of demarkation, that separated the seen from the unseen, appeared
to be about two hundred feet away, but it might have been more or less,
as I had no method of measuring distances.

[Illustration: "I WAS IN A FOREST OF COLOSSAL FUNGI."]



CHAPTER XVII.

    THE FUNGUS FOREST.--ENCHANTMENT.


Along the chamber through which we now passed I saw by the mellow light
great pillars, capped with umbrella-like covers, some of them reminding
me of the common toadstool of upper earth, on a magnificent scale.
Instead, however, of the gray or somber shades to which I had been
accustomed, these objects were of various hues and combined the
brilliancy of the primary prismatic colors, with the purity of clean
snow. Now they would stand solitary, like gigantic sentinels; again they
would be arranged in rows, the alignment as true as if established by
the hair of a transit, forming columnar avenues, and in other situations
they were wedged together so as to produce masses, acres in extent, in
which the stems became hexagonal by compression. The columnar stems,
larger than my body, were often spiral; again they were marked with
diamond-shaped figures, or other regular geometrical forms in relief,
beautifully exact, drawn as by a master's hand in rich and delicately
blended colors, on pillars of pure alabaster. Not a few of the stems
showed deep crimson, blue, or green, together with other rich colors
combined; over which, as delicate as the rarest of lace, would be
thrown, in white, an enamel-like intricate tracery, far surpassing in
beauty of execution the most exquisite needle-work I had ever seen.
There could be no doubt that I was in a forest of colossal fungi, the
species of which are more numerous than those of upper earth cryptomatic
vegetation. The expanded heads of these great thallogens were as varied
as the stems I have described, and more so. Far above our path they
spread like beautiful umbrellas, decorated as if by masters from whom
the great painters of upper earth might humbly learn the art of mixing
colors. Their under surfaces were of many different designs, and were of
as many shapes as it is conceivable could be made of combinations of the
circle and hyperbola. Stately and picturesque, silent and immovable as
the sphinx, they studded the great cavern singly or in groups, reminding
me of a grown child's wild imagination of fairy land. I stopped beside a
group that was of unusual conspicuity and gazed in admiration on the
huge and yet graceful, beautiful spectacle. I placed my hand on the stem
of one plant, and found it soft and impressible; but instead of being
moist, cold, and clammy as the repulsive toadstool of upper earth, I
discovered, to my surprise, that it was pleasantly warm, and soft as
velvet.

"Smell your hand," said my guide.

I did so, and breathed in an aroma like that of fresh strawberries. My
guide observed (I had learned to judge of his emotions by his facial
expressions) my surprised countenance with indifference.

"Try the next one," he said.

This being of a different species, when rubbed by my hand exhaled the
odor of the pineapple.

"Extraordinary," I mused.

"Not at all. Should productions of surface earth have a monopoly of
nature's methods, all the flavors, all the perfumes? You may with equal
consistency express astonishment at the odors of the fruits of upper
earth if you do so at the fragrance of these vegetables, for they are
also created of odorless elements."

"But toadstools are foul structures of low organization.[3] They are
neither animals nor true vegetables, but occupy a station below that of
plants proper," I said.


    [3] The fungus Polyporus graveolens was neglected by the guide.
    This fungus exhales a delicate odor, and is used in Kentucky to
    perfume a room. Being quite large, it is employed to hold a door
    open, thus being useful as well as fragrant.--J. U. L.

"You are acquainted with this order of vegetation under the most
unfavorable conditions; out of their native elements these plants
degenerate and become then abnormal, often evolving into the poisonous
earth fungi known to your woods and fields. Here they grow to
perfection. This is their chosen habitat. They absorb from a pure
atmosphere the combined foods of plants and animals, and during their
existence meet no scorching sunrise. They flourish in a region of
perfect tranquillity, and without a tremor, without experiencing the
change of a fraction of a degree in temperature, exist for ages. Many of
these specimens are probably thousands of years old, and are still
growing; why should they ever die? They have never been disturbed by a
breath of moving air, and, balanced exactly on their succulent,
pedestal-like stems, surrounded by an atmosphere of dead nitrogen,
vapor, and other gases, with their roots imbedded in carbonates and
minerals, they have food at command, nutrition inexhaustible."

"Still I do not see why they grow to such mammoth proportions."

"Plants adapt themselves to surrounding conditions," he remarked. "The
oak tree in its proper latitude is tall and stately; trace it toward the
Arctic circle, and it becomes knotted, gnarled, rheumatic, and dwindles
to a shrub. The castor plant in the tropics is twenty or thirty feet in
height, in the temperate zone it is an herbaceous plant, farther north
it has no existence. Indian corn in Kentucky is luxuriant, tall, and
graceful, and each stalk is supplied with roots to the second and third
joint, while in the northland it scarcely reaches to the shoulder of a
man, and, in order to escape the early northern frost, arrives at
maturity before the more southern variety begins to tassel. The common
jimson weed (datura stramonium) planted in early spring, in rich soil,
grows luxuriantly, covers a broad expanse and bears an abundance of
fruit; planted in midsummer it blossoms when but a few inches in height,
and between two terminal leaves hastens to produce a single capsule on
the apex of the short stem, in order to ripen its seed before the frost
appears. These and other familiar examples might be cited concerning the
difference some species of vegetation of your former lands undergo under
climatic conditions less marked than between those that govern the
growth of fungi here and on surface earth. Such specimens of fungi as
grow in your former home have escaped from these underground regions,
and are as much out of place as are the tropical plants transplanted to
the edge of eternal snow. Indeed, more so, for on the earth the ordinary
fungus, as a rule, germinates after sunset, and often dies when the sun
rises, while here they may grow in peace eternally. These meandering
caverns comprise thousands of miles of surface covered by these growths
which shall yet fulfill a grand purpose in the economy of nature, for
they are destined to feed tramping multitudes when the day appears in
which the nations of men will desert the surface of the earth and pass
as a single people through these caverns on their way to the immaculate
existence to be found in the inner sphere."

"I can not disprove your statement," I again repeated; "neither do I
accept it. However, it still seems to me unnatural to find such
delicious flavors and delicate odors connected with objects associated
in memory with things insipid, or so disagreeable as toadstools and the
rank forest fungi which I abhorred on earth."



CHAPTER XVIII.

    THE FOOD OF MAN.


"This leads me to remark," answered the eyeless seer, "that you speak
without due consideration of previous experience. You are, or should be,
aware of other and as marked differences in food products of upper
earth, induced by climate, soil and cultivation. The potato which, next
to wheat, rice, or corn, you know supplies nations of men with starchy
food, originated as a wild weed in South America and Mexico, where it
yet exists as a small, watery, marble-like tuber, and its nearest
kindred, botanically, is still poisonous. The luscious apple reached its
present excellence by slow stages from knotty, wild, astringent fruit,
to which it again returns when escaped from cultivation. The cucumber is
a near cousin of the griping, medicinal cathartic bitter-apple, or
colocynth, and occasionally partakes yet of the properties that result
from that unfortunate alliance, as too often exemplified to persons who
do not peel it deep enough to remove the bitter, cathartic principle
that exists near the surface. Oranges, in their wild condition, are
bitter, and are used principally as medicinal agents. Asparagus was once
a weed, native to the salty edges of the sea, and as this weed has
become a food, so it is possible for other wild weeds yet to do.
Buckwheat is a weed proper, and not a cereal, and birds have learned
that the seeds of many other weeds are even preferable to wheat. The
wild parsnip is a poison, and the parsnip of cultivation relapses
quickly into its natural condition if allowed to escape and roam again.
The root of the tapioca plant contains a volatile poison, and is deadly;
but when that same root is properly prepared, it becomes the wholesome
food, tapioca. The nut of the African anacardium (cachew nut) contains a
nourishing kernel that is eaten as food by the natives, and yet a drop
of the juice of the oily shell placed on the skin will blister and
produce terrible inflammations; only those expert in the removal of the
kernel dare partake of the food. The berry of the berberis vulgaris is
a pleasant acid fruit; the bough that bears it is intensely bitter. Such
examples might be multiplied indefinitely, but I have cited enough to
illustrate the fact that neither the difference in size and structure of
the species in the mushroom forest through which we are passing, nor the
conditions of these bodies, as compared with those you formerly knew,
need excite your astonishment. Cultivate a potato in your former home so
that the growing tuber is exposed to sunshine, and it becomes green and
acrid, and strongly virulent. Cultivate the spores of the intra-earth
fungi about us, on the face of the earth, and although now all parts of
the plants are edible, the species will degenerate, and may even become
poisonous. They lose their flavor under such unfavorable conditions, and
although some species still retain vitality enough to resist poisonous
degeneration, they dwindle in size, and adapt themselves to new and
unnatural conditions. They have all degenerated. Here they live on
water, pure nitrogen and its modifications, grasping with their roots
the carbon of the disintegrated limestone, affiliating these substances,
and evolving from these bodies rich and delicate flavors, far superior
to the flavor of earth surface foods. On the surface of the earth, after
they become abnormal, they live only on dead and devitalized organic
matter, having lost the power of assimilating elementary matter. They
then partake of the nature of animals, breathe oxygen and exhale
carbonic acid, as animals do, being the reverse of other plant
existences. Here they breathe oxygen, nitrogen, and the vapor of water;
but exhale some of the carbon in combination with hydrogen, thus
evolving these delicate ethereal essences instead of the poisonous gas,
carbonic acid. Their substance is here made up of all the elements
necessary for the support of animal life; nitrogen to make muscle,
carbon and hydrogen for fat, lime for bone. This fungoid forest could
feed a multitude. It is probable that in the time to come when man
deserts the bleak earth surface, as he will some day be forced to do, as
has been the case in frozen planets that are not now inhabited on the
outer crust; nations will march through these spaces on their way from
the dreary outside earth to the delights of the salubrious inner sphere.
Here then, when that day of necessity appears, as it surely will come
under inflexible climatic changes that will control the destiny of
outer earth life, these constantly increasing stores adapted to nourish
humanity, will be found accumulated and ready for food. You have already
eaten of them, for the variety of food with which I supplied you has
been selected from different portions of these nourishing products
which, flavored and salted, ready for use as food, stand intermediate
between animal and vegetable, supplying the place of both."

My instructor placed both hands on my shoulders, and in silence I stood
gazing intently into his face. Then, in a smooth, captivating,
entrancing manner, he continued:

"Can you not see that food is not matter? The material part of bread is
carbon, water, gas, and earth; the material part of fat is charcoal and
gas; the material part of flesh is water and gas; the material part of
fruits is mostly water with a little charcoal and gas.[4] The material
constituents of all foods are plentiful, they abound everywhere, and yet
amid the unlimited, unorganized materials that go to form foods man
would starve.

    [4] By the term gas, it is evident that hydrogen and nitrogen were
    designated, and yet, since the instructor insists that other gases
    form part of the atmosphere, so he may consistently imply that
    unknown gases are parts of food.--J. U. L.

"Give a healthy man a diet of charcoal, water, lime salts, and air; say
to him, 'Bread contains no other substance, here is bread, the material
food of man, live on this food,' and yet the man, if he eat of these,
will die with his stomach distended. So with all other foods; give man
the unorganized materialistic constituents of food in unlimited amounts,
and starvation results. No! matter is not food, but a carrier of food."

"What is food?"

"Sunshine. The grain of wheat is a food by virtue of the sunshine fixed
within it. The flesh of animals, the food of living creatures, are
simply carriers of sunshine energy. Break out the sunshine and you
destroy the food, although the material remains. The growing plant locks
the sunshine in its cells, and the living animal takes it out again.
Hence it is that after the sunshine of any food is liberated during the
metamorphosis of the tissues of an animal although the material part of
the food remains, it is no longer a food, but becomes a poison, and
then, if it is not promptly eliminated from the animal, it will destroy
the life of the animal. This material becomes then injurious, but it
is still material.

"The farmer plants a seed in the soil, the sunshine sprouts it,
nourishes the growing plant, and during the season locks itself to and
within its tissues, binding the otherwise dead materials of that tissue
together into an organized structure. Animals eat these structures,
break them from higher to lower compounds, and in doing so live on the
stored up sunshine and then excrete the worthless material side of the
food. The farmer spreads these excluded substances over the earth again
to once more take up the sunshine in the coming plant organization, but
not until it does once more lock in its cells the energy of sunshine can
it be a food for that animal."

"Is manure a food?" he abruptly asked.

"No."

"Is not manure matter?"

"Yes."

"May it not become a food again, as the part of another plant, when
another season passes?"

"Yes."

"In what else than energy (sunshine) does it differ from food?"

"Water is a necessity," I said.

"And locked in each molecule of water there is a mine of sunshine.
Liberate suddenly the sun energy from the gases of the ocean held in
subjection thereby, and the earth would disappear in an explosion that
would reverberate throughout the universe. The water that you truly
claim to be necessary to the life of man, is itself water by the grace
of this same sun, for without its heat water would be ice, dry as dust.
'Tis the sun that gives life and motion to creatures animate and
substances inanimate; he who doubts distrusts his Creator. Food and
drink are only carriers of bits of assimilable sunshine. When the fire
worshipers kneeled to their god, the sun, they worshiped the great food
reservoir of man. When they drew the quivering entrails from the body of
a sacrificed victim they gave back to their God a spark of sunshine--it
was due sooner or later. They builded well in thus recognizing the
source of all life, and yet they acted badly, for their God asked no
premature sacrifice, the inevitable must soon occur, and as all
organic life comes from that Sun-God, so back to that Creator the
sun-spark must fly."

"But they are heathen; there is a God beyond their narrow conception of
God."

"As there is also a God in the Beyond, past your idea of God. Perhaps to
beings of higher mentalities, we may be heathen; but even if this is so,
duty demands that we revere the God within our intellectual sphere. Let
us not digress further; the subject now is food, not the Supreme
Creator, and I say to you the food of man and the organic life of man is
sunshine."

He ceased, and I reflected upon his words. All he had said seemed so
consistent that I could not deny its plausibility, and yet it still
appeared altogether unlikely as viewed in the light of my previous earth
knowledge. I did not quite comprehend all the semi-scientific
expressions, but was at least certain that I could neither disprove nor
verify his propositions. My thoughts wandered aimlessly, and I found
myself questioning whether man could be prevailed upon to live
contentedly in situations such as I was now passing through. In company
with my learned and philosophical but fantastically created guardian and
monitor, I moved on.



CHAPTER XIX.

    THE CRY FROM A DISTANCE.--I REBEL AGAINST CONTINUING THE JOURNEY.


As we paced along, meditating, I became more sensibly impressed with the
fact that our progress was down a rapid declination. The saline
incrustations, fungi and stalagmites, rapidly changed in appearance, an
endless variety of stony figures and vegetable cryptogams recurring
successively before my eyes. They bore the shape of trees, shrubs, or
animals, fixed and silent as statues: at least in my distorted condition
of mind I could make out resemblances to many such familiar objects; the
floor of the cavern became increasingly steeper, as was shown by the
stalactites, which, hanging here and there from the invisible ceiling,
made a decided angle with the floor, corresponding with a similar angle
of the stalagmites below. Like an accompanying and encircling halo the
ever present earth-light enveloped us, opening in front as we advanced,
and vanishing in the rear. The sound of our footsteps gave back a
peculiar, indescribable hollow echo, and our voices sounded ghost-like
and unearthly, as if their origin was outside of our bodies, and at a
distance. The peculiar resonance reminded me of noises reverberating in
an empty cask or cistern. I was oppressed by an indescribable feeling of
mystery and awe that grew deep and intense, until at last I could no
longer bear the mental strain.

"Hold, hold," I shouted, or tried to shout, and stopped suddenly, for
although I had cried aloud, no sound escaped my lips. Then from a
distance--could I believe my senses?--from a distance as an echo, the
cry came back in the tones of my own voice, "Hold, hold."

"Speak lower," said my guide, "speak very low, for now an effort such as
you have made projects your voice far outside your body; the greater the
exertion the farther away it appears."

I grasped him by the arm and said slowly, determinedly, and in a
suppressed tone: "I have come far enough into the secret caverns of the
earth, without knowing our destination; acquaint me now with the object
of this mysterious journey, I demand, and at once relieve this sense of
uncertainty; otherwise I shall go no farther."

[Illustration: "AN ENDLESS VARIETY OF STONY FIGURES."]

"You are to proceed to the Sphere of Rest with me," he replied, "and in
safety. Beyond that an Unknown Country lies, into which I have never
ventured."

"You speak in enigmas; what is this Sphere of Rest? Where is it?"

"Your eyes have never seen anything similar; human philosophy has no
conception of it, and I can not describe it," he said. "It is located in
the body of the earth, and we will meet it about one thousand miles
beyond the North Pole."

"But I am in Kentucky," I replied; "do you think that I propose to walk
to the North Pole, man--if man you be; that unreached goal is thousands
of miles away."

"True," he answered, "as you measure distance on the surface of the
earth, and you could not walk it in years of time; but you are now
twenty-five miles below the surface, and you must be aware that instead
of becoming more weary as we proceed, you are now and have for some time
been gaining strength. I would also call to your attention that you
neither hunger nor thirst."

"Proceed," I said, "'tis useless to rebel; I am wholly in your power,"
and we resumed our journey, and rapidly went forward amid silences that
were to me painful beyond description. We abruptly entered a cavern of
crystal, every portion of which was of sparkling brilliancy, and as
white as snow. The stalactites, stalagmites and fungi disappeared. I
picked up a fragment of the bright material, tasted it, and found that
it resembled pure salt. Monstrous, cubical crystals, a foot or more in
diameter, stood out in bold relief, accumulations of them, as
conglomerated masses, banked up here and there, making parts of great
columnar cliffs, while in other formations the crystals were small,
resembling in the aggregate masses of white sandstone.

"Is not this salt?" I asked.

"Yes; we are now in the dried bed of an underground lake."

"Dried bed?" I exclaimed; "a body of water sealed in the earth can not
evaporate."

"It has not evaporated; at some remote period the water has been
abstracted from the salt, and probably has escaped upon the surface of
the earth as a fresh water spring."

"You contradict all laws of hydrostatics, as I understand that subject,"
I replied, "when you speak of abstracting water from a dissolved
substance that is part of a liquid, and thus leaving the solids."

"Nevertheless this is a constant act of nature," said he; "how else can
you rationally account for the great salt beds and other deposits of
saline materials that exist hermetically sealed beneath the earth's
surface?"

[Illustration: "MONSTROUS CUBICAL CRYSTALS."]

"I will confess that I have not given the subject much thought; I simply
accept the usual explanation to the effect that salty seas have lost
their water by evaporation, and afterward the salt formations, by some
convulsions of nature, have been covered with earth, perhaps
sinking by earthquake convulsions bodily into the earth."

"These explanations are examples of some of the erroneous views of
scientific writers," he replied; "they are true only to a limited
extent. The great beds of salt, deep in the earth, are usually
accumulations left there by water that is drawn from brine lakes, from
which the liberated water often escaped as pure spring water at the
surface of the earth. It does not escape by evaporation, at least not
until it reaches the earth's surface."



INTERLUDE--THE STORY INTERRUPTED.



CHAPTER XX.

    MY UNBIDDEN GUEST PROVES HIS STATEMENT AND REFUTES MY PHILOSOPHY.


Let the reader who has followed this strange story which I am directed
to title "The End of Earth," and who, in imagination, has traversed the
cavernous passages of the underworld and listened to the conversation of
those two personages who journeyed towards the secrets of the Beyond,
return now to upper earth, and once more enter my secluded lodgings, the
home of Llewellen Drury, him who listened to the aged guest and who
claims your present attention. Remember that I relate a story within a
story. That importunate guest of mine, of the glittering knife and the
silvery hair, like another Ancient Mariner, had constrained me to listen
to his narrative, as he read it aloud to me from the manuscript. I
patiently heard chapter after chapter, generally with pleasure, often
with surprise, sometimes with incredulity, or downright dissent. Much of
the narrative, I must say,--yes, most of it, appeared possible, if not
probable, as taken in its connected sequence. The scientific sections
were not uninteresting; the marvels of the fungus groves, the properties
of the inner light, I was not disinclined to accept as true to natural
laws; but when The-Man-Who-Did-It came to tell of the intra-earth salt
deposits, and to explain the cause of the disappearance of lakes that
formerly existed underground, and their simultaneous replacement by beds
of salt, my credulity was overstrained.

"Permit me to interrupt your narrative," I remarked, and then in
response to my request the venerable guest laid down his paper.

"Well?" he said, interrogatively.

"I do not believe that last statement concerning the salt lake, and, to
speak plainly, I would not have accepted it as you did, even had I been
in your situation."

"To what do you allude?" he asked.

"The physical abstraction of water from the salt of a solution of salt;
I do not believe it possible unless by evaporation of the water."

"You seem to accept as conclusive the statements of men who have never
investigated beneath the surface in these directions, and you question
the evidence of a man who has seen the phenomenon. I presume you accept
the prevailing notions about salt beds, as you do the assertion that
liquids seek a common level, which your scientific authorities also
teach as a law of nature?"

"Yes; I do believe that liquids seek a common level, and I am willing to
credit your other improbable statements if you can demonstrate the
principle of liquid equilibrium to be untrue."

"Then," said he, "to-morrow evening I will show you that fluids seek
different levels, and also explain to you how liquids may leave the
solids they hold in solution without evaporating from them."

He arose and abruptly departed. It was near morning, and yet I sat in my
room alone pondering the story of my unique guest until I slept to dream
of caverns and seances until daylight, when I was awakened by their
vividness. The fire was out, the room was cold, and, shivering in
nervous exhaustion, I crept into bed to sleep and dream again of
horrible things I can not describe, but which made me shudder in
affright at their recollection. Late in the day I awoke.

On the following evening my persevering teacher appeared punctually, and
displayed a few glass tubes and some blotting or bibulous paper.

"I will first show you that liquids may change their levels in
opposition to the accepted laws of men, not contrary to nature's laws;
however, let me lead to the experiments by a statement of facts, that,
if you question, you can investigate at any time. If two vessels of
water be connected by a channel from the bottom of each, the water
surfaces will come to a common level."

He selected a curved glass tube, and poured water into it. The water
assumed the position shown in Figure 11.

[Illustration: FIG. 11.--A A, water in tube seeks a level.]

"You have not shown me anything new," I said; "my text-books taught me
this."

"True, I have but exhibited that which is the foundation of your
philosophy regarding the surface of liquids. Let me proceed:

"If we pour a solution of common salt into such a U tube, as I do now,
you perceive that it also rises to the same level in both ends."

"Of course it does."

"Do not interrupt me. Into one arm of the tube containing the brine I
now carefully pour pure water. You observe that the surfaces do not seek
the same level." (Figure 12.)

[Illustration: FIG. 12.--A, surface of water. B, surface of brine.]

"Certainly not," I said; "the weight of the liquid in each arm is the
same, however; the columns balance each other."

"Exactly; and on this assumption you base your assertion that connected
liquids of the same gravity must always seek a common level, but you see
from this test that if two liquids of different gravities be connected
from beneath, the surface of the lighter one will assume a higher level
than the surface of the heavier."

"Agreed; however tortuous the channel that connects them, such must be
the case."

"Is it not supposable," said he, "that there might be two pockets in the
earth, one containing salt water, the other fresh water, which, if
joined together, might be represented by such a figure as this, wherein
the water surface would be raised above that of the brine?" And he drew
upon the paper the accompanying diagram. (Figure 13.)

"Yes," I admitted; "providing, of course, there was an equal pressure of
air on the surface of each."

[Illustration: FIG. 13.--B, surface of brine. W, surface of water. S,
sand strata connecting them.]

"Now I will draw a figure in which one pocket is above the other, and
ask you to imagine that in the lower pocket we have pure water, in the
upper pocket brine (Figure 14); can you bring any theory of your law to
bear upon these liquids so that by connecting them together the water
will rise and run into the brine?"

[Illustration: FIG. 14.--B, brine. W, water. S, sand stratum. (The
difference in altitude is somewhat exaggerated to make the phenomenon
clear. A syphon may result under such circumstances.--L.)]

"No," I replied; "connect them, and then the brine will flow into the
water."

"Upon the contrary," he said; "connect them, as innumerable cavities in
the earth are joined, and the water will flow into the brine."

"The assertion is opposed to applied philosophy and common sense," I
said.

"Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise, you know to be a maxim
with mortals," he replied; "but I must pardon you; your dogmatic
education narrows your judgment. I now will prove you in error."

He took from his pocket two slender glass tubes, about an eighth of an
inch in bore and four inches in length, each closed at one end, and
stood them in a perforated cork that he placed upon the table.

Into one tube he poured water, and then dissolving some salt in a cup,
poured brine into the other, filling both nearly to the top (Figure 15).
Next he produced a short curved glass tube, to each end of which was
attached a strip of flexible rubber tubing. Then, from a piece of
blotting paper such as is used to blot ink, he cut a narrow strip and
passed it through the arrangement, forming the apparatus represented by
Figure 16.

[Illustration: FIG. 15. A A, glass tubes. F, brine surface. E, water
surface.]

[Illustration: FIG. 16. B, curved glass tube. C C, rubber tubes. D D D,
bibulous paper.]

Then he inserted the two tubes (Figure 15) into the rubber, the
extremities of the paper being submerged in the liquids, producing a
combination that rested upright in the cork as shown by Figure 17.

The surfaces of both liquids were at once lowered by reason of the
suction of the bibulous paper, the water decreasing most rapidly, and
soon the creeping liquids met by absorption in the paper, the point of
contact, as the liquids met, being plainly discernible. Now the old man
gently slid the tubes upon each other, raising one a little, so as to
bring the surfaces of the two liquids exactly on a plane; he then marked
the glass at the surface of each with a pen.

"Observe the result," he remarked as he replaced the tubes in the cork
with their liquid surfaces on a line.

Together we sat and watched, and soon it became apparent that the
surface of the water had decreased in height as compared with that of
the brine. By fixing my gaze on the ink mark on the glass I also
observed that the brine in the opposing tube was rising.

"I will call to-morrow evening," he said, "and we shall then discover
which is true, man's theory or nature's practice."

Within a short time enough of the water in the tube had been transferred
to the brine to raise its surface considerably above its former level,
the surface of the water being lowered to a greater degree. (Figure 18.)
I was discomfited at the result, and upon his appearance next evening
peevishly said to the experimenter:

"I do not know that this is fair."

"Have I not demonstrated that, by properly connecting the liquids, the
lighter flows into the heavier, and raises itself above the former
surface?"

"Yes; but there is no porous paper in the earth."

"True; I used this medium because it was convenient. There are, however,
vast subterranean beds of porous materials, stone, sand, clay, various
other earths, many of which will answer the same purpose. By perfectly
natural laws, on a large scale, such molecular transfer of liquids is
constantly taking place within the earth, and in these phenomena the law
of gravitation seems ignored, and the rule which man believes from
narrow experience, governs the flow of liquids, is reversed. The arched
porous medium always transfers the lighter liquid into the heavier one
until its surface is raised considerably above that of the light one. In
the same way you can demonstrate that alcohol passes into water,
sulphuric ether into alcohol, and other miscible light liquids into
those heavier."

[Illustration: FIG. 17. A A, glass tubes. B, curved glass tube. C C,
rubber tubes. D, bibulous paper. E, water surface. F, brine surface.]

"I have seen you exemplify the statement on a small scale, with water
and brine, and can not question but that it is true on a large one," I
replied.

"So you admit that the assertion governing the surfaces of liquids is
true only when the liquids are connected from beneath. In other words,
your thought is one-sided, as science thought often is."

"Yes."

[Illustration: FIG. 18. E, water surface. F, brine surface.]

"Now as to the beds of salt deep within the earth. You are also mistaken
concerning their origin. The water of the ocean that runs through an
open channel from the one side may flow into an underground lake, that
by means of the contact action (suction) of the overlying and
surrounding strata is being continually emptied of its water, but not
its salt. Thus by absorption of water the brine of the lake becomes in
time saturated, starting crystallization regularly over the floor and
sides of the basin. Eventually the entire cavity is filled with salt,
and a solid mass of rock salt remains. If, however, before the lake
becomes solid, the brine supply is shut off by some natural cause as by
salt crystals closing the passage thereto, the underground lake is at
last drained of its water, the salt crystallizing over the bottom, and
upon the cliffs, leaving great crevices through the saline deposits, as
chances to have been the case with the salt formations through which I
passed with my guide, and have recently described to you."

"Even now I have my doubts as to the correctness of your explanations,
especially concerning the liquid surfaces."

"They are facts, however; liquids capable of being mixed, if connected
by porous arches (bibulous paper is convenient for illustrating by
experiment) reverse the rule men have accepted to explain the phenomena
of liquid equilibrium, for I repeat, the lighter one rushes into that
which is heavier, and the surface of the heavier liquid rises. You can
try the experiment with alcohol and water, taking precautions to prevent
evaporation, or you can vary the experiment with solutions of various
salts of different densities; the greater the difference in gravity
between the two liquids, the more rapid will be the flow of the lighter
one into the heavier, and after equilibrium, the greater will be the
contrast in the final height of the resultant liquid surfaces."

"Men will yet explain this effect by natural laws," I said.

"Yes," he answered; "when they learn the facts; and they will then be
able to solve certain phenomena connected with diffusion processes that
they can not now understand. Did I not tell you that after the fact had
been made plain it was easy to see how Columbus stood the egg on its
end? What I have demonstrated by experiment is perhaps no new principle
in hydrostatics. But I have applied it in a natural manner to the
explanation of obscure natural phenomena, that men now seek unreasonable
methods to explain."

"You may proceed with your narrative. I accept that when certain liquids
are connected, as you have shown, by means of porous substances, one
will pass into the other, and the surface of the lighter liquid in this
case will assume a position below that of the heavier."

"You must also accept," said he, "that when solutions of salt are
subjected to earth attraction, under proper conditions, the solids may
by capillary attraction be left behind, and pure water finally pass
through the porous medium. Were it not for this law, the only natural
surface spring water on earth would be brine, for the superficial crust
of the earth is filled with saline solutions. All the spring-fed
rivers and lakes would also be salty and fetid with sulphur compounds,
for at great depths brine and foul water are always present. Even in
countries where all the water below the immediate surface of the earth
is briny, the running springs, if of capillary origin, are pure and
fresh. You may imagine how different this would be were it not for the
law I have cited, for the whole earth's crust is permeated by brine and
saline waters. Did your 'philosophy' never lead you to think of this?"

Continuing, my guest argued as follows: "Do not lakes exist on the
earth's surface into which rivers and streams flow, but which have no
visible outlet? Are not such lakes saline, even though the source of
supply is comparatively fresh? Has it never occurred to you to question
whether capillarity assisted by surface evaporation (not evaporation
only as men assert) is not separating the water of these lakes from the
saline substances carried into them by the streams, thus producing brine
lakes? Will not this action after a great length of time result in
crystalline deposits over portions of the bottoms of such lakes, and
ultimately produce a salt bed?"

"It is possible," I replied.

"Not only possible, but probable. Not only probable, but true. Across
the intervening brine strata above the salt crystals the surface rivers
may flow, indeed, owing to differences in specific gravity the surface
of the lake may be comparatively fresh, while in the quiet depths below,
beds of salt crystals are forming, and between these extremes may rest
strata after strata of saline solutions, decreasing in gravity towards
the top."

Then he took his manuscript, and continued to read in a clear, musical
voice, while I sat a more contented listener than I had been previously.
I was not only confuted, but convinced. And I recalled the saying of
Socrates, that no better fortune can happen a man than to be confuted in
an error.



MY UNBIDDEN GUEST CONTINUES READING HIS MANUSCRIPT.



CHAPTER XXI.

    MY WEIGHT DISAPPEARING.


We halted suddenly, for we came unexpectedly to the edge of a precipice,
twenty feet at least in depth.

"Let us jump down," said my guide.

"That would be dangerous," I answered; "can not we descend at some point
where it is not so deep?"

"No; the chasm stretches for miles across our path, and at this point we
will meet with the least difficulty; besides, there is no danger. The
specific gravity of our bodies is now so little that we could jump twice
that distance with impunity."

"I can not comprehend you; we are in the flesh, our bodies are possessed
of weight, the concussion will be violent."

"You reason again from the condition of your former life, and, as usual,
are mistaken; there will be little shock, for, as I have said, our
bodies are comparatively light now. Have you forgotten that your motion
is continuously accelerated, and that without perceptible exertion you
move rapidly? This is partly because of the loss of weight. Your weight
would now be only about fifty pounds if tested by a spring balance."

I stood incredulous.

"You trifle with me; I weigh over one hundred and fifty pounds; how have
I lost weight? It is true that I have noticed the ease with which we
have recently progressed on our journey, especially the latter part of
it, but I attribute this, in part, to the fact that our course is down
an incline, and also to the vitalizing power of this cavern air."

"This explains part of the matter," he said; "it answered at the time,
and I stated a fact; but were it not that you are really consuming a
comparatively small amount of energy, you would long before this have
been completely exhausted. You have been gaining strength for some
hours; have really been growing younger. Your wrinkled face has become
more smooth, and your voice is again natural. You were prematurely aged
by your brothers on the surface of the earth, in order that when you
pass the line of gravity, you might be vigorous and enjoying manhood
again. Had this aging process not been accomplished you would now have
become as a child in many respects."

[Illustration: "I BOUNDED UPWARD FULLY SIX FEET."]

He halted before me. "Jump up," he said. I promptly obeyed the
unexpected command, and sprung upward with sufficient force to carry me,
as I supposed, six inches from the earth; however I bounded upward fully
six feet. My look of surprise as I gently alighted, for there was no
concussion on my return, seemed lost on my guide, and he quietly said:

"If you can leap six feet upward without excessive exertion, or return
shock, can not you jump twenty feet down? Look!"

[Illustration: "I FLUTTERED TO THE EARTH AS A LEAF WOULD FALL."]

And he leaped lightly over the precipice and stood unharmed on the stony
floor below.

Even then I hesitated, observing which, he cried:

"Hang by your hands from the edge then, and drop."

I did so, and the fourteen feet of fall seemed to affect me as though I
had become as light as cork. I fluttered to the earth as a leaf would
fall, and leaned against the precipice in surprised meditation.

"Others have been through your experience," he remarked, "and I
therefore can overlook your incredulity; but experiences such as you now
meet, remove distrust. Doing is believing." He smiled benignantly.

[Illustration: "WE LEAPED OVER GREAT INEQUALITIES."]

I pondered, revolving in my mind the fact that persons had in mental
abstraction, passed through unusual experiences in ignorance of
conditions about them, until their attention had been called to the seen
and yet unnoticed surroundings, and they had then beheld the facts
plainly. The puzzle picture (see p. 129) stares the eye and impresses
the retina, but is devoid of character until the hidden form is
developed in the mind, and then that form is always prominent to the
eye. My remarkably light step, now that my attention had been directed
thereto, was constantly in my mind, and I found myself suddenly
possessed of the strength of a man, but with the weight of an infant. I
raised my feet without an effort; they seemed destitute of weight; I
leaped about, tumbled, and rolled over and over on the smooth stone
floor without injury. It appeared that I had become the airy similitude
of my former self, my material substance having wasted away without a
corresponding impairment of strength.I pinched my flesh to be assured
that all was not a dream, and then endeavored to convince myself that I
was the victim of delirium; but in vain. Too sternly my self-existence
confronted me as a reality, a cruel reality. A species of intoxication
possessed me once more, and I now hoped for the end, whatever it might
be. We resumed our journey, and rushed on with increasing rapidity,
galloping hand in hand, down, down, ever downward into the illuminated
crevice of the earth. The spectral light by which we were aureoled
increased in intensity, as by arithmetical progression, and I could now
distinguish objects at a considerable distance before us. My spirits
rose as if I were under the influence of a potent stimulant; a
liveliness that was the opposite of my recent despondency had gained
control, and I was again possessed of a delicious mental sensation, to
which I can only refer as a most rapturous exhilaration. My guide
grasped my hand firmly, and his touch, instead of revolting me as
formerly it had done, gave pleasure. We together leaped over great
inequalities in the floor, performing these aerial feats almost as
easily as a bird flies. Indeed, I felt that I possessed the power of
flight, for we bounded fearlessly down great declivities and over
abysses that were often perpendicular, and many times our height. A very
slight muscular exertion was sufficient to carry us rods of distance,
and almost tiptoeing we skimmed with ever-increasing speed down the
steeps of that unknown declivity. At length my guide held back; we
gradually lessened our velocity, and, after a time, rested beside a
horizontal substance that lay before us, apparently a sheet of glass,
rigid, immovable, immeasurably great, that stretched as a level surface
before us, vividly distinct in the brightness of an earth light, that
now proved to be superior to sunshine. Far as the eye could reach, the
glassy barrier to our further progress spread as a crystal mirror in
front, and vanishing in the distance, shut off the beyond.

[Illustration: "FAR AS THE EYE COULD REACH THE GLASSY BARRIER
SPREAD AS A CRYSTAL MIRROR."]



INTERLUDE.--THE STORY AGAIN INTERRUPTED.



CHAPTER XXII.

    MY UNBIDDEN GUEST DEPARTS.


Once more I must presume to interrupt this narrative, and call back the
reader's thoughts from those mysterious caverns through which we have
been tracing the rapid footsteps of the man who was abducted, and his
uncouth pilot of the lower realms. Let us now see and hear what took
place in my room, in Cincinnati, just after my visitor, known to us as
The-Man-Who-Did-It, had finished reading to me, Lewellyn Drury, the
custodian of this manuscript, the curious chapter relating how the
underground explorers lost weight as they descended in the hollows of
the earth. My French clock struck twelve of its clear silvery notes
before the gray-bearded reader finished his stint for the occasion, and
folded his manuscript preparatory to placing it within his bosom.

"It is past midnight," he said, "and it is time for me to depart; but I
will come to you again within a year.

"Meanwhile, during my absence, search the records, question authorities,
and note such objections as rise therefrom concerning the statements I
have made. Establish or disprove historically, or scientifically, any
portion of the life history that I have given, and when I return I will
hear what you have to say, and meet your argument. If there is a doubt
concerning the authenticity of any part of the history, investigate; but
make no mention to others of the details of our meetings."

I sat some time in thought, then said: "I decline to concern myself in
verifying the historical part of your narrative. The localities you
mention may be true to name, and it is possible that you have related a
personal history; but I can not perceive that I am interested in either
proving or disproving it. I will say, however, that it does not seem
probable that at any time a man can disappear from a community, as you
claim to have done, and have been the means of creating a commotion in
his neighborhood that affected political parties, or even led to an
unusual local excitement, outside his immediate circle of acquaintances,
for a man is not of sufficient importance unless he is very conspicuous.
By your own admission, you were simply a studious mechanic, a credulous
believer in alchemistic vagaries, and as I revolve the matter over, I am
afraid that you are now trying to impose on my credulity. The story of a
forcible abduction, in the manner you related, seems to me incredible,
and not worthy of investigation, even had I the inclination to concern
myself in your personal affairs. The statements, however, that you make
regarding the nature of the crust of the earth, gravitation, light,
instinct, and human senses are highly interesting, and even plausible as
you artfully present the subjects, I candidly admit, and I shall take
some pains to make inquiries concerning the recorded researches of
experts who have investigated in that direction."

"Collect your evidence," said he, "and I shall listen to your views when
I return."

He opened the door, glided away, and I was alone again.



CHAPTER XXIII.

    I QUESTION SCIENTIFIC MEN.--ARISTOTLE'S ETHER.


Days and weeks passed. When the opportunity presented, I consulted Dr.
W. B. Chapman, the druggist and student of science, regarding the nature
of light and earth, who in turn referred me to Prof. Daniel Vaughn. This
learned man, in reply to my question concerning gravitation, declared
that there was much that men wished to understand in regard to this
mighty force, that might yet be explained, but which may never become
known to mortal man.

"The correlation of forces," said he, "was prominently introduced and
considered by a painstaking scientific writer named Joule, in several
papers that appeared between 1843 and 1850, and he was followed by
others, who engaged themselves in experimenting and theorizing, and I
may add that Joule was indeed preceded in such thought by Mayer. This
department of scientific study just now appears of unusual interest to
scientists, and your questions embrace problems connected with some
phases of its phenomena. We believe that light, heat, and electricity
are mutually convertible, in fact, the evidences recently opened up to
us show that such must be the case. These agencies or manifestations are
now known to be so related that whenever one disappears others spring
into existence. Study the beautiful experiments and remarkable
investigations of Sir William Thomson in these directions."

"And what of gravitation?" I asked, observing that Prof. Vaughn
neglected to include gravitation among his numerous enumerated forces,
and recollecting that the force gravitation was more closely connected
with my visitor's story than perhaps were any of the others, excepting
the mysterious mid-earth illumination.

"Of that force we are in greater ignorance than of the others," he
replied. "It affects bodies terrestrial and celestial, drawing a
material substance, or pressing to the earth; also holds, we believe,
the earth and all other bodies in position in the heavens, thus
maintaining the equilibrium of the planets. Seemingly gravitation is not
derived from, or sustained by, an external force, or supply reservoir,
but is an intrinsic entity, a characteristic of matter that decreases in
intensity at the rate of the square of the increasing distance, as
bodies recede from each other, or from the surface of the earth.
However, gravitation neither escapes by radiation from bodies nor needs
to be replenished, so far as we know, from without. It may be compared
to an elastic band, but there is no intermediate tangible substance to
influence bodies that are affected by it, and it remains in undying
tension, unlike all elastic material substances known, neither losing
nor acquiring energy as time passes. Unlike cohesion, or chemical
attraction, it exerts its influence upon bodies that are out of contact,
and have no material connection, and this necessitates a purely fanciful
explanation concerning the medium that conducts such influences,
bringing into existence the illogical, hypothetical, fifth ether, made
conspicuous by Aristotle."

"What of this ether?" I queried.

"It is a necessity in science, but intangible, undemonstrated, unknown,
and wholly theoretical. It is accepted as an existing fluid by
scientists, because human theory can not conceive of a substance capable
of, or explain how a substance can be capable of affecting a separate
body unless there is an intermediate medium to convey force impressions.
Hence to material substances Aristotle added (or at least made
conspicuous) a speculative ether that, he assumed, pervades all space,
and all material bodies as well, in order to account for the passage of
heat and light to and from the sun, stars, and planets."

"Explain further," I requested.

"To conceive of such an entity we must imagine a material that is more
evanescent than any known gas, even in its most diffused condition. It
must combine the solidity of the most perfect conductor of heat
(exceeding any known body in this respect to an infinite degree), with
the transparency of an absolute vacuum. It must neither create friction
by contact with any substance, nor possess attraction for matter; must
neither possess weight (and yet carry the force that produces weight),
nor respond to the influence of any chemical agent, or exhibit itself to
any optical instrument. It must be invisible, and yet carry the force
that produces the sensation of sight. It must be of such a nature that
it can not, according to our philosophy, affect the corpuscles of
earthly substances while permeating them without contact or friction,
and yet, as a scientific incongruity, it must act so readily on physical
bodies as to convey to the material eye the sensation of sight, and from
the sun to creatures on distant planets it must carry the heat force,
thus giving rise to the sensation of warmth. Through this medium, yet
without sensible contact with it, worlds must move, and planetary
systems revolve, cutting and piercing it in every direction, without
loss of momentum. And yet, as I have said, this ether must be in such
close contact as to convey to them the essence that warms the universe,
lights the universe, and must supply the attractive bonds that hold the
stellar worlds in position. A nothing in itself, so far as man's senses
indicate, the ether of space must be denser than iridium, more mobile
than any known liquid, and stronger than the finest steel."

"I can not conceive of such an entity," I replied.

"No; neither can any man, for the theory is irrational, and can not be
supported by comparison with laws known to man, but the conception is
nevertheless a primary necessity in scientific study. Can man, by any
rational theory, combine a vacuum and a substance, and create a result
that is neither material nor vacuity, neither something nor nothing, and
yet an intensified all; being more attenuated than the most perfect of
known vacuums, and a conductor better than the densest metal? This we do
when we attempt to describe the scientists' all-pervading ether of
space, and to account for its influence on matter. This hypothetical
ether is, for want of a better theory of causes, as supreme in
philosophy to-day as the alkahest of the talented old alchemist Van
Helmont was in former times, a universal spirit that exists in
conception, and yet does not exist in perception, and of which modern
science knows as little as its speculative promulgator, Aristotle, did.
We who pride ourselves on our exact science, smile at some of
Aristotle's statements in other directions, for science has disproved
them, and yet necessity forces us to accept this illogical ether
speculation, which is, perhaps, the most unreasonable of all theories.
Did not this Greek philosopher also gravely assert that the lion has but
one vertebra in his neck; that the breath of man enters the heart; that
the back of the head is empty, and that man has but eight ribs?"

"Aristotle must have been a careless observer," I said.

"Yes," he answered; "it would seem so, and science, to-day, bases its
teachings concerning the passage of all forces from planet to planet,
and sun to sun, on dicta such as I have cited, and no more reasonable in
applied experiment."

"And I have been referred to you as a conscientious scientific teacher,"
I said; "why do you speak so facetiously?"

"I am well enough versed in what we call science, to have no fear of
injuring the cause by telling the truth, and you asked a direct
question. If your questions carry you farther in the direction of force
studies, accept at once, that, of the intrinsic constitution of force
itself, nothing is known. Heat, light, magnetism, electricity, galvanism
(until recently known as imponderable bodies) are now considered as
modifications of force; but, in my opinion, the time will come when they
will be known as disturbances."

"Disturbances of what?"

"I do not know precisely; but of something that lies behind them all,
perhaps creates them all, but yet is in essence unknown to men."

"Give me a clearer idea of your meaning."

"It seems impossible," he replied; "I can not find words in which to
express myself; I do not believe that forces, as we know them
(imponderable bodies), are as modern physics defines them. I am tempted
to say that, in my opinion, forces are disturbance expressions of a
something with which we are not acquainted, and yet in which we are
submerged and permeated. Aristotle's ether perhaps. It seems to me,
that, behind all material substances, including forces, there is an
unknown spirit, which, by certain influences, may be ruffled into the
exhibition of an expression, which exhibition of temper we call a force.
From this spirit these force expressions (wavelets or disturbances)
arise, and yet they may become again quiescent, and again rest in its
absorbing unity. The water from the outlet of a calm lake flows over a
gentle decline in ripples, or quiet undulations, over the rapids in
musical laughings, over a precipice in thunder tones,--always water,
each a different phase, however, to become quiet in another lake (as
ripples in this universe may awaken to our perception, to repose again),
and still be water."

He hesitated.

"Go on," I said.

"So I sometimes have dared to dream that gravitation may be the
reservoir that conserves the energy for all mundane forces, and that
what we call modifications of force are intermediate conditions,
ripples, rapids, or cascades, in gravitation."

"Continue," I said, eagerly, as he hesitated.

He shook his head.



CHAPTER XXIV.

    THE SOLILOQUY OF PROF. DANIEL VAUGHN.--"GRAVITATION IS THE
    BEGINNING AND GRAVITATION IS THE END: ALL EARTHLY BODIES KNEEL TO
    GRAVITATION."


"Please continue, I am intensely interested; I wish that I could give
you my reasons for the desire; I can not do so, but I beg you to
continue."

"I should add," continued Vaughn, ignoring my remarks, "that we have
established rules to measure the force of gravitation, and have
estimated the decrease of attraction as we leave the surfaces of the
planets. We have made comparative estimates of the weight of the earth
and planets, and have reason to believe that the force expression of
gravitation attains a maximum at about one-sixth the distance toward the
center of the earth, then decreases, until at the very center of our
planet, matter has no weight. This, together with the rule I repeated a
few moments ago, is about all we know, or think we know, of gravitation.
Gravitation is the beginning and gravitation is the end; all earthly
bodies kneel to gravitation. I can not imagine a Beyond, and yet
gravitation," mused the rapt philosopher, "may also be an expression
of--" he hesitated again, forgetting me completely, and leaned his shaggy
head upon his hands. I realized that his mind was lost in conjecture,
and that he was absorbed in the mysteries of the scientific immensity.
Would he speak again? I could not think of disturbing his reverie, and
minutes passed in silence. Then he slowly, softly, reverently murmured:
"Gravitation, Gravitation, thou art seemingly the one permanent, ever
present earth-bound expression of Omnipotence. Heat and light come and
go, as vapors of water condense into rain and dissolve into vapor to
return again to the atmosphere. Electricity and magnetism appear and
disappear; like summer storms they move in diversified channels, or even
turn and fly from contact with some bodies, seemingly forbidden to
appear, but thou, Gravitation, art omnipresent and omnipotent. Thou
createst motion, and yet maintainest the equilibrium of all things
mundane and celestial. An attempt to imagine a body destitute of thy
potency, would be to bankrupt and deaden the material universe. O!
Gravitation, art thou a voice out of the Beyond, and are other forces
but echoes--tremulous reverberations that start into life to vibrate for
a spell and die in the space caverns of the universe while thou
continuest supreme?"

[Illustration: "SOLILOQUY OF PROF. DANIEL VAUGHN.

'GRAVITATION IS THE BEGINNING, AND GRAVITATION IS THE END; ALL EARTHLY
BODIES KNEEL TO GRAVITATION.'"]

His bowed head and rounded shoulders stooped yet lower; he unconsciously
brushed his shaggy locks with his hand, and seemed to confer with a
familiar Being whom others could not see.

"A voice from without," he repeated; "from beyond our realm! Shall the
subtle ears of future scientists catch yet lighter echoes? Will the
brighter thoughts of more gifted men, under such furtherings as the
future may bring, perchance commune with beings who people immensity,
distance disappearing before thy ever-reaching spirit? For with thee,
who holdest the universe together, space is not space, and there is no
word expressing time. Art thou a voice that carriest the history of the
past from the past unto and into the present, and for which there is no
future, all conditions of time being as one to thee, thy self covering
all and connecting all together? Art thou, Gravitation, a voice? If so,
there must be a something farther out in those fathomless caverns,
beyond mind imaginings, from which thou comest, for how could
nothingness have formulated itself into a voice? The suns and universe
of suns about us, may be only vacant points in the depths of an
all-pervading entity in which even thyself dost exist as a momentary
echo, linked to substances ponderous, destined to fade away in the
inter-stellar expanse outside, where disturbances disappear, and matter
and gravitation together die; where all is pure, quiescent, peaceful and
dark. Gravitation, Gravitation, imperishable Gravitation; thou seemingly
art the ever-pervading, unalterable, but yet moving spirit of a cosmos
of solemn mysteries. Art thou now, in unperceived force expressions,
speaking to dumb humanity of other universes; of suns and vortices of
suns; bringing tidings from the solar planets, or even infinitely
distant star mists, the silent unresolved nebulæ, and spreading before
earth-bound mortal minds, each instant, fresh tidings from without,
that, in ignorance, we can not read? May not beings, perhaps like
ourselves but higher in the scale of intelligence, those who people some
of the planets about us, even now beckon and try to converse with us
through thy subtle, ever-present self? And may not their efforts at
communication fail because of our ignorance of a language they can read?
Are not light and heat, electricity and magnetism plodding, vacillating
agents compared with thy steady existence, and is it even further
possible?--"

His voice had gradually lowered, and now it became inaudible; he was
oblivious to my presence, and had gone forth from his own self; he was
lost in matters celestial, and abstractedly continued unintelligibly to
mutter to himself as, brushing his hair from his forehead, he picked up
his well-worn felt hat, and placed it awkwardly on his shaggy head, and
then shuffled away without bidding me farewell. The bent form,
prematurely shattered by privation; uncouth, unkempt, typical of
suffering and neglect, impressed me with the fact that in him man's life
essence, the immortal mind, had forgotten the material part of man. The
physical half of man, even of his own being, in Daniel Vaughn's
estimation, was an encumbrance unworthy of serious attention, his spirit
communed with the pure in nature, and to him science was a study of the
great Beyond.[5]

    [5] Mr. Drury can not claim to have recorded verbatim Prof.
    Vaughn's remarks, but has endeavored to give the substance. His
    language was faultless, his word selections beautiful, his
    soliloquy impressive beyond description. Perhaps Drury even
    misstated an idea, or more than one, evolved then by the great
    mind of that patient man. Prof. Daniel Vaughn was fitted for a
    scientific throne, a position of the highest honor; but, neglected
    by man, proud as a king, he bore uncomplainingly privations most
    bitter, and suffered alone until finally he died from starvation
    and neglect in the city of his adoption. Some persons are ready to
    cry, "Shame! Shame!" at wealthy Cincinnati; others assert that men
    could not give to Daniel Vaughn, and since the first edition of
    ETIDORHPA appeared, the undersigned has learned of one vain
    attempt to serve the interests of this peculiar man. He would not
    beg, and knowing his capacities, if he could not procure a
    position in which to earn a living, he preferred to starve. The
    only bitterness of his nature, it is said, went out against those
    who, in his opinion, kept from him such employment as returns a
    livelihood to scientific men; for he well knew his intellect
    earned for him such a right in Cincinnati. Will the spirit of that
    great man, talented Daniel Vaughn, bear malice against the people
    of the city in which none who knew him will deny that he perished
    from cold and privation? Commemorated is he not by a bust of
    bronze that distorts the facts in that the garments are not seedy
    and unkempt, the figure stooping, the cheek hollow and the eye
    pitifully expressive of an empty stomach? That bust modestly rests
    in the public library he loved so well, in which he suffered so
    uncomplainingly, and starved so patiently. J. U. L.

I embraced the first opportunity that presented itself to read the
works that Prof. Vaughn suggested, and sought him more than once to
question further. However, he would not commit himself in regard to the
possible existence of other forces than those with which we are
acquainted, and when I interrogated him as to possibilities in the study
of obscure force expressions, he declined to express an opinion
concerning the subject. Indeed, I fancied that he believed it probable,
or at least not impossible, that a closer acquaintance with conditions
of matter and energy might be the heirloom of future scientific
students. At last I gave up the subject, convinced that all the
information I was able to obtain from other persons whom I questioned,
and whose answers were prompt and positive, was evolved largely from
ignorance and self-conceit, and such information was insufficient to
satisfy my understanding, or to command my attention. After hearing
Vaughn, all other voices sounded empty.

I therefore applied myself to my daily tasks, and awaited the promised
return of the interesting, though inscrutable being whose subterranean
sojourneying was possibly fraught with so much potential value to
science and to man.



THE UNBIDDEN GUEST RETURNS TO READ HIS MANUSCRIPT. CONTINUING HIS
NARRATIVE.



CHAPTER XXV.

    THE MOTHER OF A VOLCANO.--"YOU CAN NOT DISPROVE, AND YOU DARE NOT
    ADMIT."


A year from the evening of the departure of the old man, found me in my
room, expecting his presence; and I was not surprised when he opened the
door, and seated himself in his accustomed chair.

"Are you ready to challenge my statements?" he said, taking up the
subject as though our conversation had not been interrupted.

"No."

"Do you accept my history?"

"No."

"You can not disprove, and you dare not admit. Is not that your
predicament?" he asked. "You have failed in every endeavor to discredit
the truth, and your would-be scientists, much as they would like to do
so, can not serve you. Now we will continue the narrative, and I shall
await your next attempt to cast a shadow over the facts."

Then with his usual pleasant smile, he read from his manuscript a
continuation of the intra-earth journey as follows:

"Be seated," said my eyeless guide, "and I will explain some facts that
may prove of interest in connection with the nature of the superficial
crust of the earth. This crystal liquid spreading before us is a placid
sheet of water, and is the feeder of the volcano, Mount Epomeo."

"Can that be a surface of water?" I interrogated. "I find it hard to
realize that water can be so immovable. I supposed the substance before
us to be a rigid material, like glass, perhaps."

"There is no wind to ruffle this aqueous surface,--why should it not be
quiescent? This is the only perfectly smooth sheet of water that you
have ever seen. It is in absolute rest, and thus appears a rigid level
plane."

"Grant that your explanation is correct," I said, "yet I can not
understand how a quiet lake of water can give rise to a convulsion such
as the eruption of a volcano."

"Not only is this possible," he responded, "but water usually causes the
exhibition of phenomena known as volcanic action. The Island of Ischia,
in which the volcanic crater Epomeo is situated, is connected by a
tortuous crevice with the peaceful pool by which we now stand, and at
periods, separated by great intervals of time, the lake is partly
emptied by a simple natural process, and a part of its water is expelled
above the earth's surface in the form of super-heated steam, which
escapes through that distant crater."

"But I see no evidence of heat or even motion of any kind."

"Not here," he replied; "in this place there is none. The energy is
developed thousands of miles away, but since the phenomena of volcanic
action are to be partially explained to you at a future day, I will
leave that matter for the present. We shall cross this lake."

I observed as we walked along its edge that the shore of the lake was
precipitous in places, again formed a gradually descending beach, and
the dead silence of the space about us, in connection with the
death-like stillness of that rigid mass of water and its surroundings,
became increasingly impressive and awe-inspiring. Never before had I
seen such a perfectly quiet glass-like surface. Not a vibration or
undulation appeared in any direction. The solidity of steel was
exemplified in its steady, apparently inflexible contour, and yet the
pure element was so transparent that the bottom of the pool was as
clearly defined as the top of the cavern above me. The lights and shades
of the familiar lakes of Western New York were wanting here, and it
suddenly came to my mind that there were surface reflections, but no
shadows, and musing on this extraordinary fact, I stood motionless on a
jutting cliff absorbed in meditation, abstractedly gazing down into that
transparent depth. Without sun or moon, without apparent source of
light, and yet perfectly illuminated, the lofty caverns seemed cut by
that aqueous plane into two sections, one above and one below a
transparent, rigid surface line. The dividing line, or horizontal plane,
appeared as much a surface of air as a surface of water, and the
material above that plane seemed no more nor less a gas, or liquid, than
that beneath it. If two limpid, transparent liquids, immiscible, but of
different gravities, be poured into the same vessel, the line of
demarkation will be as a brilliant mirror, such as I now beheld parting
and yet uniting the surfaces of air and water.

Lost in contemplation, I unconsciously asked the mental question:

"Where are the shadows?"

My guide replied:

"You have been accustomed to lakes on the surface of the earth; water
that is illuminated from above; now you see by a light that is developed
from within and below, as well as from above. There is no outside point
of illumination, for the light of this cavern, as you know, is neither
transmitted through an overlying atmosphere nor radiated from a luminous
center. It is an inherent quality, and as objects above us and within
the lake are illuminated alike from all sides, there can be no shadows."

Musingly, I said:

"That which has occurred before in this journey to the unknown country
of which I have been advised, seemed mysterious; but each succeeding
step discovers to me another novelty that is more mysterious, with
unlooked-for phenomena that are more obscure."

"This phenomenon is not more of a mystery than is the fact that light
radiates from the sun. Man can not explain that, and I shall not now
attempt to explain this. Both conditions are attributes of force, but
with this distinction--the crude light and heat of the sun, such as men
experience on the surface of the earth, is here refined and softened,
and the characteristic glare and harshness of the light that is known to
those who live on the earth's surface is absent here. The solar ray,
after penetrating the earth's crust, is tempered and refined by agencies
which man will yet investigate understandingly, but which he can not now
comprehend."

[Illustration: "WE CAME TO A METAL BOAT."]

"Am I destined to deal with these problems?"

"Only in part."

"Are still greater wonders before us?"

"If your courage is sufficient to carry you onward, you have yet to
enter the portal of the expanse we approach."

"Lead on, my friend," I cried; "lead on to these undescribed scenes, the
occult wonderland that--"

He interrupted me almost rudely, and in a serious manner said:

"Have you not learned that wonder is an exemplification of ignorance?
The child wonders at a goblin story, the savage at a trinket, the man of
science at an unexplained manifestation of a previously unperceived
natural law; each wonders in ignorance, because of ignorance. Accept now
that all you have seen from the day of your birth on the surface of the
earth, to the present, and all that you will meet here are wonderful
only because the finite mind of man is confused with fragments of
evidence, that, from whatever direction we meet them, spring from an
unreachable infinity. We will continue our journey."

Proceeding farther along the edge of the lake we came to a metallic
boat. This my guide picked up as easily as though it were of paper, for
be it remembered that gravitation had slackened its hold here. Placing
it upon the water, he stepped into it, and as directed I seated myself
near the stern, my face to the bow, my back to the shore. The guide,
directly in front of me, gently and very slowly moved a small lever that
rested on a projection before him, and I gazed intently upon him as we
sat together in silence. At last I became impatient, and asked him if we
would not soon begin our journey.

"We have been on our way since we have been seated," he answered.

I gazed behind with incredulity: the shore had disappeared, and the
diverging wake of the ripples showed that we were rapidly skimming the
water.

"This is marvelous," I said; "incomprehensible, for without sail or oar,
wind or steam, we are fleeing over a lake that has no current."

"True, but not marvelous. Motion of matter is a result of disturbance of
energy connected therewith. Is it not scientifically demonstrated, at
least in theory, that if the motion of the spirit that causes the
magnetic needle to assume its familiar position were really arrested in
the substance of the needle, either the metal would fuse and vaporize or
(if the forces did not appear in some other form such as heat,
electricity, magnetism, or other force) the needle would be hurled
onward with great speed?"



CHAPTER XXVI.

    MOTION FROM INHERENT ENERGY.--"LEAD ME DEEPER INTO THIS EXPANDING
    STUDY."


"I partly comprehend that such would be the case," I said.

"If a series of knife blades on pivot ends be set in a frame, and turned
edgewise to a rapid current of water, the swiftly moving stream flows
through this sieve of metallic edges about as easily as if there were no
obstructions. Slowly turn the blades so as to present their oblique
sides to the current, and an immediate pressure is apparent upon the
frame that holds them; turn the blades so as to shut up the space, and
they will be torn from their sockets, or the entire frame will be
shattered into pieces."

"I understand; go on."

"The ethereal current that generates the magnetic force passes through
material bodies with inconceivable rapidity, and the molecules of a few
substances only, present to it the least obstruction. Material molecules
are edgewise in it, and meet no retardation in the subtle flood. This
force is a disturbance of space energy that is rushing into the earth in
one form, and out of it in another. But your mind is not yet in a
condition to grasp the subject, for at best there is no method of
explaining to men that which their experimental education has failed to
prepare them to receive, and for which first absolutely new ideas, and
next words with new meaning, must be formed. Now we, (by we I mean those
with whom I am connected) have learned to disturb the molecules in
matter so as to turn them partly, or entirely, across the path of this
magnetic current, and thus interrupt the motion of this ever-present
energy. We can retard its velocity without, however, producing either
magnetism (as is the case in a bar of steel), electricity, or heat, but
motion instead, and thus a portion of this retarded energy springs into
its new existence as motion of my boat. It is force changed into
movement of matter, for the molecules of the boat, as a mass, must move
onward as the force disappears as a current. Perhaps you can accept now
that instead of light, heat, electricity, magnetism, and gravitation
being really modifications of force they are disturbances."

"Disturbances of what?"

"Disturbances of motion."

"Motion of what?"

"Motion of itself, pure and simple."

"I can not comprehend, I can not conceive of motion pure and simple."

"I will explain at a future time so that you can comprehend more
clearly. Other lessons must come first, but never will you see the end.
Truth is infinite."

Continuing, he said:

"Let me ask if there is anything marvelous in this statement. On the
earth's surface men arrest the fitful wind, and by so doing divert the
energy of its motion into movement of machinery; they induce it to turn
mills and propel vessels. This motion of air is a disturbance, mass
motion transmitted to the air by heat, heat in turn being a disturbance
or interruption of pure motion. When men learn to interrupt this
unperceived stream of energy so as to change directly into material
motion the spirit that saturates the universe, and that produces force
expressions, as it is constantly rushing from earth into space, and from
space back again, they will have at command wherever they may be an
endless source of power, light, and heat; mass motion, light and heat
being convertible. Motion lies behind heat, light, and electricity, and
produces them, and so long as the earth revolves on its axis, and
circles in its orbit, man needs no light and heat from such indirect
sources as combustion. Men will, however, yet obtain motion of molecules
(heat), and material mass motion as well, from earth motion, without the
other dangerous intermediate force expressions now deemed necessary in
their production."

"Do you wish me to understand that on all parts of the earth's surface
there is a continual expenditure of energy, an ever-ready current, that
is really distinct from the light and heat of the sun, and also that the
imponderable bodies that we call heat, light, electricity, and
magnetism are not substances at all?"

"Yes," he replied.

"And that this imperceptible something--fluid I will say, for want of a
better term--now invisible and unknown to man, is as a medium in which
the earth, submerged, floats as a speck of dust in a flood of space?"

"Certainly," he replied.

"Am I to infer from your remarks that, in the course of time, man will
be able to economize this force, and adapt it to his wants?"

"Yes."

"Go on with your exposition, I again beg of you; lead me deeper into
this expanding study."

"There is but little more that you can comprehend now, as I have said,"
he answered. "All materials known to man are of coarse texture, and the
minds of men are not yet in a condition to comprehend finer exhibitions
of force, or of motion modifications. Pure energy, in all its
modifications, is absolutely unknown to man. What men call heat,
gravitation, light, electricity, and magnetism are the grosser
attributes attending alterations in an unknown, attenuated, highly
developed force producer. They are results, not causes. The real force,
an unreached energy, is now flooding all space, pervading all materials.
Everywhere there exists an infinite sea of motion absolute. Since this
primeval entity can not now affect matter, as matter is known to man,
man's sense can only be influenced by secondary attributes of this
energy. Unconscious of its all-pervading presence, however, man is
working towards the power that will some day, upon the development of
latent senses, open to him this new world. Then at last he will move
without muscular exertion, or the use of heat as an agent of motion, and
will, as I am now doing, bridle the motion of space. Wherever he may be
situated, there will then be warmth to any degree that he wishes, for he
will be able to temper the seasons, and mass motion illimitable, also,
for this energy, I reiterate, is omnipresent. However, as you will know
more of this before long, we will pass the subject for the present."

My guide slowly moved the lever. I sat in deep reflection, beginning to
comprehend somewhat of his reasoning, and yet my mind was more than
clouded. The several ambiguous repetitions he had made since our journey
commenced, each time suggesting the same idea, clothing it in different
forms of expression, impressed me vaguely with the conception of a
certain something for which I was gradually being prepared, and that I
might eventually be educated to grasp, but which he believed my mind was
not yet ready to receive. I gathered from what he said that he could
have given clearer explanations than he was now doing, and that he
clothed his language intentionally in mysticism, and that, for some
reason, he preferred to leave my mind in a condition of uncertainty. The
velocity of the boat increased as he again and again cautiously touched
the lever, and at last the responsive craft rose nearly out of the
water, and skimmed like a bird over its surface. There was no object in
that lake of pure crystal to govern me in calculating as to the rapidity
of our motion, and I studied to evolve a method by which I could time
our movements. With this object in view I tore a scrap from my clothing
and tossed it into the air. It fell at my feet as if in a calm. There
was no breeze. I picked the fragment up, in bewilderment, for I had
expected it to fall behind us. Then it occurred to me, as by a flash,
that notwithstanding our apparently rapid motion, there was an entire
absence of atmospheric resistance. What could explain the paradox? I
turned to my guide and again tossed the fragment of cloth upward, and
again it settled at my feet. He smiled, and answered my silent inquiry.

"There is a protecting sheet before us, radiating, fan-like, from the
bow of our boat as if a large pane of glass were resting on edge, thus
shedding the force of the wind. This diaphragm catches the attenuated
atmosphere and protects us from its friction."

"But I see no such protecting object," I answered.

"No; it is invisible. You can not see the obstructing power, for it is
really a gyrating section of force, and is colorless. That spray of
metal on the brow of our boat is the developer of this protecting
medium. Imagine a transverse section of an eddy of water on edge before
us, and you can form a comparison. Throw the bit of garment as far as
you can beyond the side of the boat."

I did so, and saw it flutter slowly away to a considerable distance
parallel with our position in the boat as though in a perfect calm, and
then it disappeared. It seemed to have been dissolved. I gazed at my
guide in amazement.

"Try again," said he.

[Illustration: "THE BIT OF GARMENT FLUTTERED LISTLESSLY AWAY TO THE SAME
DISTANCE, AND THEN--VACANCY."]

I tore another and a larger fragment from my coat sleeve. I fixed my
eyes closely upon it, and cast it from me. The bit of garment fluttered
listlessly away to the same distance, and then--vacancy. Wonders of
wonderland, mysteries of the mysterious! What would be the end of this
marvelous journey? Suspicion again possessed me, and distrust arose.
Could not my self-existence be blotted out in like manner? I thought
again of my New York home, and the recollection of upper earth, and
those broken family ties brought to my heart a flood of bitter emotions.
I inwardly cursed the writer of that alchemistic letter, and cursed
myself for heeding the contents. The tears gushed from my eyes and
trickled through my fingers as I covered my face with my hands and
groaned aloud. Then, with a gentle touch, my guide's hand rested on my
shoulder.

"Calm yourself," he said; "this phenomenon is a natural sequence to a
deeper study of nature than man has reached. It is simply the result of
an exhibition of rapid motion. You are upon a great underground lake,
that, on a shelf of earth substance one hundred and fifty miles below
the earth's surface, covers an area of many thousand square miles, and
which has an average depth of five miles. We are now crossing it
diagonally at a rapid rate by the aid of the force that man will yet use
in a perfectly natural manner on the rough upper ocean and bleak lands
of the earth's coarse surface. The fragments of cloth disappeared from
sight when thrown beyond the influence of our protecting diaphragm,
because when they struck the outer motionless atmosphere they were
instantly left behind; the eye could not catch their sudden change in
motion. A period of time is necessary to convey from eye to mind the
sensation of sight. The bullet shot from a gun is invisible by reason of
the fact that the eye can not discern the momentary interruption to the
light. A cannon ball will compass the field of vision of the eye, moving
across it without making itself known, and yet the fact does not excite
surprise. We are traveling so fast that small, stationary objects
outside our track are invisible."

Then in a kind, pathetic tone of voice, he said:

"An important lesson you should learn, I have mentioned it before.
Whatever seems to be mysterious, or marvelous, is only so because of the
lack of knowledge of associated natural phenomena and connected
conditions. All that you have experienced, all that you have yet to meet
in your future journey, is as I have endeavored to teach you, in exact
accordance with the laws that govern the universe, of which the earth
constitutes so small a portion that, were the conditions favorable, it
could be blotted from its present existence as quickly as that bit of
garment disappeared, and with as little disturbance of the mechanism of
the moving universe."

I leaned over, resting my face upon my elbow; my thoughts were
immethodically wandering in the midst of multiplying perplexities; I
closed my eyes as a weary child, and slept.



CHAPTER XXVII.

    SLEEP, DREAMS, NIGHTMARE.--"STRANGLE THE LIFE FROM MY BODY."


I know not how long I sat wrapped in slumber. Even if my body had not
been wearing away as formerly, my mind had become excessively wearied. I
had existed in a state of abnormal mental intoxication far beyond the
period of accustomed wakefulness, and had taxed my mental organization
beyond endurance. In the midst of events of the most startling
description, I had abruptly passed into what was at its commencement the
sweetest sleep of my recollection, but which came to a horrible
termination.

In my dream I was transported once more to my native land, and roamed in
freedom throughout the streets of my lost home. I lived over again my
early life in Virginia, and I seemed to have lost all recollection of
the weird journey which I had lately taken. My subsequent connection
with the brotherhood of alchemists, and the unfortunate letter that led
to my present condition, were forgotten. There came no thought
suggestive of the train of events that are here chronicled, and as a
child I tasted again the pleasures of innocence, the joys of boyhood.

Then my dream of childhood vanished, and the scenes of later days spread
themselves before me. I saw, after a time, the scenes of my later life,
as though I viewed them from a distance, and was impressed with the idea
that they were not real, but only the fragments of a dream. I shuddered
in my childish dreamland, and trembled as a child would at confronting
events of the real life that I had passed through on earth, and that
gradually assuming the shape of man approached and stood before me, a
hideous specter seemingly ready to absorb me. The peaceful child in
which I existed shrunk back, and recoiled from the approaching living
man.

"Away, away," I cried, "you shall not grasp me, I do not wish to become
a man; this can not, must not be the horrible end to a sweet existence."

Gradually the Man Life approached, seized and enveloped me, closing
around me as a jelly fish surrounds its living victim, while the horrors
of a nightmare came over my soul.

"Man's life is a fearful dream," I shouted, as I writhed in agony; "I am
still a child, and will remain one; keep off! Life of man, away! let me
live and die a child."

The Specter of Man's Life seized me more firmly as I struggled to
escape, and holding me in its irresistible clutch absorbed my substance
as a vampire might suck the blood of an infant, and while the childish
dream disappeared in that hideous embrace, the miserable man awoke.

I found myself on land. The guide, seated at my side, remarked:

"You have slept."

"I have lived again," I said in bitterness.

"You have not lived at all as yet," he replied; "life is a dream,
usually it is an unsatisfied nightmare."

"Then let me dream again as at the beginning of this slumber," I said;
"and while I dream as a child, do you strangle the life from my
body,--spare me the nightmare, I would not live to reach the Life of
Man."

"This is sarcasm," he replied; "you are as changeable as the winds of
the earth's surface. Now as you are about to approach a part of our
journey where fortitude is necessary, behold, you waver as a little
child might. Nerve yourself; the trials of the present require a steady
mind, let the future care for itself; you can not recall the past."

I became attentive again; the depressing effects of that repulsive dream
rapidly lifted, and wasted away, as I realized that I was a man, and was
destined to see more than can be seen in the future of other mortals.
This elevation of my spirit was evidently understood by my guide. He
turned to the lake, and pointing to its quiet bosom, remarked:

"For five hours we have journeyed over this sheet of water at the
average rate of nine hundred miles an hour. At the time you threw the
fragments of cloth overboard, we were traveling at a speed of not less
than twenty miles per minute. You remember that some hours ago you
criticised my assertion when I said that we would soon be near the axis
of the earth beneath the North Pole, and now we are beyond that point,
and are about six thousand miles from where we stood at that time."

"You must have your way," I replied; "I can not disprove your assertion,
but were it not that I have passed through so many marvelous experiences
since first we met, I would question the reliability of your
information."

My guide continued:

"The surface of this lake lies as a mirror beneath both the ocean and
the land. The force effect that preserves the configuration of the ocean
preserves the form of this also, but influences it to a less extent, and
the two surfaces lie nearly parallel with each other, this one being one
hundred and fifty miles beneath the surface of the earth. The shell of
the earth above us is honeycombed by caverns in some places, in others
it is compact, and yet, in most places, is impervious to water. At the
farther extremity of the lake, a stratum of porous material extends
through the space intervening between the bottom of the ocean and this
lake. By capillary attraction, assisted by gravitation, part of the
water of the ocean is being transferred through this stratum to the
underground cavity. The lake is slowly rising."

At this remark I interrupted him: "You say the water in the ocean is
being slowly transferred down to this underground lake less by gravity
than by capillarity."

"Yes."

"I believe that I have reason to question that statement, if you do not
include the salt," I replied.

"Pray state your objections."

I answered: "Whether a tube be long or short, if it penetrate the bottom
of a vessel of brine, and extend downward, the brine will flow into and
out of it by reason of its weight."

"You mistake," he asserted; "the attraction of the sides of the
capillary tube, if the tube is long enough, will eventually separate the
water from the salt, and at length a downward flow of water only will
result."

I again expressed my incredulity.

"More than this, by perfectly natural laws the water that is freed from
the tubes might again force itself upward perfectly fresh, to the
surface of the earth--yes, under proper conditions, above the surface of
the ocean."

"Do you take me for a fool?" I said. "Is it not self-evident that a
fountain can not rise above its source?"

"It often does," he answered.

"You trifle with me," I said, acrimoniously.

"No," he replied; "I am telling you the truth. Have you never heard of
what men call artesian wells?"

"Yes, and" (here I attempted in turn to become sarcastic) "have you
never learned that they are caused by water flowing into crevices in
uplands where layers of stone or of clay strata separated by sand or
gravel slant upward. The water conducted thence by these channels
afterwards springs up in the valleys to which it has been carried by
means of the crevices in these strata, but it never rises above its
source."

To my surprise he answered:

"This is another of man's scientific speculations, based on some facts,
it is true, and now and then correct, but not invariably. The water of
an artesian well on an elevated plane may flow into the earth from a
creek, pond, or river, that is lower than the mouth of the well it
feeds, and still it may spout into the air from either a near or distant
elevation that is higher than its source."

"I can not admit the truth of this," I said; "I am willing to listen to
reason, but such statements as these seem altogether absurd."

"As you please," he replied; "we will continue our journey."



INTERLUDE.--THE STORY INTERRUPTED.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

    A CHALLENGE.--MY UNBIDDEN GUEST ACCEPTS IT.


The white-haired reader, in whom I had now become deeply interested, no
longer an unwelcome stranger, suspended his reading, laid down his
manuscript, and looking me in the face, asked:

"Are you a believer?"

"No," I promptly answered.

"What part of the narrative do you question?"

"All of it."

"Have you not already investigated some of the statements I previously
made?" he queried.

"Yes," I said; "but you had not then given utterance to such
preposterous expressions."

"Is not the truth, the truth?" he answered.

"You ask me to believe impossibilities," I replied.

"Name one."

"You yourself admit," I said warmly, "that you were incredulous, and
shook your head when your guide asserted that the bottom of the ocean
might be as porous as a sieve, and still hold water. A fountain can not
rise above its source."

"It often does, however," he replied.

"I do not believe you," I said boldly. "And, furthermore, I assert that
you might as reasonably ask me to believe that I can see my own brain,
as to accept your fiction regarding the production of light, miles below
the surface of the earth."

"I can make your brain visible to you, and if you dare to accompany me,
I will carry you beneath the surface of the earth and prove my other
statement," he said. "Come!" He arose and grasped my arm.

I hesitated.

"You confess that you fear the journey."

I made no reply.

"Well, since you fear that method, I am ready to convince you of the
facts by any rational course you may select, and if you wish to stake
your entire argument on the general statement that a stream of water can
not rise above its head, I will accept the challenge; but I insist that
you do not divulge the nature of the experiment until, as you are
directed, you make public my story."

"Of course a fluid can be pumped up," I sarcastically observed.
"However, I promise the secrecy you ask."

"I am speaking seriously," he said, "and I have accepted your challenge;
your own eyes shall view the facts, your own hands prepare the
conditions necessary. Procure a few pints of sand, and a few pounds of
salt; to-morrow evening I will be ready to make the experiment."

"Agreed; if you will induce a stream of water to run up hill, a fountain
to rise above its head, I will believe any statement you may henceforth
make."

"Be ready, then," he replied, "and procure the materials named." So
saying he picked up his hat and abruptly departed.

These substances I purchased the next day, procuring the silver sand
from Gordon's pharmacy, corner of Eighth and Western Row, and promptly
at the specified time we met in my room.

He came, provided with a cylindrical glass jar about eighteen inches
high and two inches in diameter (such as I have since learned is called
a hydrometer jar), and a long, slender drawn glass tube, the internal
diameter of which was about one-sixteenth of an inch.

"You have deceived me," I said; "I know well enough that capillary
attraction will draw a liquid above its surface. You demonstrated that
quite recently to my entire satisfaction."

"True, and yet not true of this experiment," he said. "I propose to
force water through and out of this tube; capillary attraction will not
expel a liquid from a tube if its mouth be above the surface of the
supply."

He dipped the tip of a capillary tube into a tumbler of water; the water
rose inside the tube about an inch above the surface of the water in the
tumbler.

"Capillary attraction can do no more," he said. "Break the tube
one-eighth of an inch above the water (far below the present capillary
surface), and it will not overflow. The exit of the tube must be lower
than the surface of the liquid if circulation ensues."

He broke off a fragment, and the result was as predicted.

Then he poured water into the glass jar to the depth of about six
inches, and selecting a piece of very thin muslin, about an inch square,
turned it over the end of the glass tube, tied it in position, and
dropped that end of the tube into the cylinder.

"The muslin simply prevents the tube from filling with sand," he
explained. Then he poured sand into the cylinder until it reached the
surface of the water. (See Figure 23.)

"Your apparatus is simple enough," I remarked, I am afraid with some
sarcasm.

"Nature works with exceeding simplicity," he replied; "there is no
complex apparatus in her laboratory, and I copy after nature."

Then he dissolved the salt in a portion of water that he drew from the
hydrant into my wash bowl, making a strong brine, and stirred sand into
the brine to make a thick mush. This mixture of sand and brine he then
poured into the cylinder, filling it nearly to the top. (See Figure 23,
B. The sand settling soon left a layer of brine above it, as shown by
A.) I had previously noticed that the upper end of the glass tube was
curved, and my surprise can be imagined when I saw that at once water
began to flow through the tube, dropping quite rapidly into the
cylinder. The lower end of the curve of the glass tube was fully half an
inch above the surface of the liquid in the cylinder.

I here present a figure of the apparatus. (Figure 23.)

The strange man, or man image, I do not know which, sat before me, and
in silence we watched the steady flow of water, water rising above its
surface and flowing into the reservoir from which it was being
continually derived.

"Do you give up?" he asked.

"Let me think," I said.

"As you please," he replied.

"How long will this continue?" I inquired.

"Until strong salt water flows from the tube."

Then the old man continued:

"I would suggest that after I depart you repeat these experiments. The
observations of those interested in science must be repeated time and
again by separate individuals. It is not sufficient that one person
should observe a phenomenon; repeated experiments are necessary in order
to overcome error of manipulation, and to convince others of their
correctness. Not only yourself, but many others, after this manuscript
appears, should go through with similar investigations, varied in detail
as mind expansion may suggest. This experiment is but the germ of a
thought which will be enlarged upon by many minds under other
conditions. An event meteorological may occur in the experience of one
observer, and never repeat itself. This is possible. The results of such
experiments as you are observing, however, must be followed by similar
results in the hands of others, and in behalf of science it is necessary
that others should be able to verify your experience. In the time to
come it will be necessary to support your statements in order to
demonstrate that your perceptive faculties are now in a normal
condition. Are you sure that your conceptions of these results are
justified by normal perception? May you not be in an exalted state of
mind that hinders clear perception, and compels you to imagine and
accept as fact that which does not exist? Do you see what you think you
see? After I am gone, and the influences that my person and mind exert
on your own mind have been removed, will these results, as shown by my
experiments, follow similar experimental conditions? In the years that
are to pass before this paper is to be made public, it will be your duty
to verify your present sense faculty. This you must do as opportunities
present, and with different devices, so that no question may arise as to
what will follow when others repeat our experiments. To-morrow evening I
will call again, but remember, you must not tell others of this
experiment, nor show the devices to them."

[Illustration: FIG. 23. A, brine. B, sand and brine mixed. C, sand and
water.]

"I have promised," I answered.

He gathered his manuscript and departed, and I sat in meditation
watching the mysterious fountain.

As he had predicted, finally, after a long time, the flow slackened, and
by morning, when I arose from my bed, the water had ceased to drip, and
then I found it salty to the taste.

The next evening he appeared as usual, and prepared to resume his
reading, making no mention of the previous test of my faith. I
interrupted him, however, by saying that I had observed that the sand
had settled in the cylinder, and that in my opinion his experiment was
not true to appearances, but was a deception, since the sand by its
greater weight displaced the water, which escaped through the tube,
where there was least resistance.

"Ah," he said, "and so you refuse to believe your own eyesight, and are
contriving to escape the deserved penalty; I will, however, acquiesce in
your outspoken desire for further light, and repeat the experiment
without using sand. But I tell you that mother earth, in the phenomena
known as artesian wells, uses sand and clay, pools of mineral waters of
different gravities, and running streams. The waters beneath the earth
are under pressure, induced by such natural causes as I have presented
you in miniature, the chief difference being that the supplies of both
salt and fresh water are inexhaustible, and by natural combinations
similar to what you have seen; the streams within the earth, if a pipe
be thrust into them, may rise continuously, eternally, from a reservoir
higher than the head. In addition, there are pressures of gases, and
solutions of many salts, other than chloride of soda, that tend to favor
the phenomenon. You are unduly incredulous, and you ask of me more than
your right after staking your faith on an experiment of your own
selection. You demand more of me even than nature often accomplishes in
earth structure; but to-morrow night I will show you that this seemingly
impossible feat is possible."

He then abruptly left the room. The following evening he presented
himself with a couple of one-gallon cans, one of them without a bottom.
I thought I could detect some impatience of manner as he filled the
perfect can (D) with water from the hydrant, and having spread a strip
of thin muslin over the mouth of the other can (B), pressed it firmly
over the mouth (C) of the can of water, which it fitted tightly, thus
connecting them together, the upper (bottomless) can being inverted.
Then he made a narrow slit in the center of the muslin with his
pen-knife, and through it thrust a glass tube like that of our former
experiment. Next he wrapped a string around the open top of the upper
can, crossed it over the top, and tied the glass tube to the center of
the cross string.

"Simply to hold this tube in position," he explained.

The remainder of the bag of salt left from the experiment of the
preceding evening was then dissolved in water, and the brine poured into
the upper can, filling it to the top. Then carefully thrusting the glass
tube downward, he brought the tip of the curve to within about one-half
inch of the surface of the brine, when immediately a rapid flow of
liquid exhibited itself. (Figure 24.)

[Illustration: Fig. 24.

A, surface of brine.

B, upper can filled with brine.

C, necks of cans telescoped.

D, lower can full of water.]

"It rises above its source without sand," he observed.

"I can not deny the fact," I replied, "and furthermore I am determined
that I shall not question any subsequent statement that you may make."
We sat in silence for some time, and the water ran continuously through
the tube. I was becoming alarmed, afraid of my occult guest, who
accepted my self-selected challenges, and worked out his results so
rapidly; he seemed to be more than human.

"I am a mortal, but a resident of a higher plane than you," he replied,
divining my thoughts. "Is not this experiment a natural one?"

"Yes," I said.

"Did not Shakspeare write, 'There are more things in heaven and earth,
Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy'?"

"Yes," I said.

And my guest continued:

"He might have added, 'and always will be'."

"Scientific men will explain this phenomenon," I suggested.

"Yes, when they observe the facts," he replied, "it is very simple. They
can now tell, as I have before remarked, how Columbus stood the egg on
end; however, given the problem before Columbus expounded it, they would
probably have wandered as far from the true solution as the mountain
with its edgewise layers of stone is from the disconnected artesian
wells on a distant sea coast where the underground fresh and salt water
in overlying currents and layers clash together. The explanation, of
course, is simple. The brine is of greater specific gravity than the
pure water; the pressure of the heavier fluid forces the lighter up in
the tube. This action continues until, as you will see by this
experiment, in the gradual diffusion of brine and pure water the salt is
disseminated equally throughout the vessels, and the specific gravity of
the mixed liquid becomes the same throughout, when the flow will cease.
However, in the earth, where supplies are inexhaustible, the fountain
flows unceasingly."



CHAPTER XXIX.

    BEWARE OF BIOLOGY, THE SCIENCE OF THE LIFE OF MAN.[6]

(The old man relates a story as an object lesson.)

    [6] The reader is invited to skip this chapter of horrors.--J. U. L.


"But you have not lived up to the promise; you have evaded part of the
bargain," I continued. "While you have certainly performed some curious
experiments in physics which seem to be unique, yet, I am only an
amateur in science, and your hydrostatic illustrations may be
repetitions of investigations already recorded, that have escaped the
attention of the scientific gentlemen to whom I have hitherto applied."

"Man's mind is a creature of doubts and questions," he observed. "Answer
one query, and others rise. His inner self is never satisfied, and you
are not to blame for wishing for a sign, as all self-conscious
conditions of your former existence compel. Now that I have brushed
aside the more prominent questionings, you insist upon those omitted,
and appeal to me to--" he hesitated.

"To what?" I asked, curious to see if he had intuitively grasped my
unspoken sentence.

"To exhibit to you your own brain," he replied.

"That is it exactly," I said; "you promised it, and you shall be held
strictly to your bargain. You agreed to show me my own brain, and it
seems evident that you have purposely evaded the promise."

"That I have made the promise and deferred its completion can not be
denied, but not by reason of an inability to fulfill the contract. I
will admit that I purposely deferred the exhibition, hoping on your own
account that you would forget the hasty promise. You would better
release me from the promise; you do not know what you ask."

"I believe that I ask more than you can perform," I answered, "and that
you know it."

"Let me give you a history," he said, "and then perhaps you will
relent. Listen. A man once became involved in the study of anatomy. It
led him to destruction. He commenced the study in order to learn a
profession; he hoped to become a physician. Materia medica, pharmacy,
chemistry, enticed him at first, but after a time presented no charms.
He was a dull student in much that men usually consider essential to the
practice of medicine. He was not fitted to be a physician. Gradually he
became absorbed in two branches, physiology and anatomy. Within his
mental self a latent something developed that neither himself nor his
friends had suspected. This was an increasing desire for knowledge
concerning the human body. The insatiable craving for anatomy grew upon
him, and as it did so other sections of medicine were neglected.
Gradually he lost sight of his professional object; he dropped
chemistry, materia medica, pharmacy, and at last, morbidly lived only in
the aforenamed two branches.

"His first visit to the dissecting room was disagreeable. The odor of
putrid flesh, the sight of the mutilated bodies repulsed him. When first
his hand, warm in life, touched the clammy flesh of a corpse, he
shuddered. Then when his fingers came in contact with the viscera of a
cadaver, that of a little child, he cried out in horror. The
demonstrator of anatomy urged him on; he finally was induced to dissect
part of the infant. The reflex action on his sensitive mind first
stunned, and then warped his senses. His companions had to lead him from
the room. 'Wash it off, wash it off,' he repeated, trying to throw his
hand from his person. 'Horrid, horrible, unclean. The child is yet
before me,' he insisted. Then he went into a fever and raved. 'Some
mother will meet me on the street and curse me,' he cried. 'That hand is
red with the blood of my darling; it has desecrated the innocent dead,
and mutilated that which is most precious to a mother. Take the hand
away, wash it,' he shouted. 'The mother curses me; she demands
retribution. Better that a man be dead than cursed by a mother whose
child has been desecrated.' So the unfortunate being raved, dreaming all
manner of horrid imaginings. But at last he recovered, a different man.
He returned voluntarily to the dissecting-room, and wrapped himself in
the uncouth work. Nothing in connection with corpse-mutilation was now
offensive or unclean. He threw aside his other studies, he became a
slave possessed of one idea. He scarcely took time to dine respectably;
indeed, he often ate his lunch in the dissecting-room. The blood of a
child was again and again on his fingers; it mattered not, he did not
take the trouble to wash it off. 'The liver of man is not more sacred
than the liver of a hog,' he argued; 'the flesh of a man is the same as
other forms of animal food. When a person dies the vital heat escapes,
consciousness is dissipated, and the cold, rigid remains are only
animal. Consciousness and life are all that is of man--one is force, the
other matter; when man dies both perish and are dissipated.' His friends
perceived his fondness for dissection, and argued with him again,
endeavoring now to overcome his infatuation; he repelled them. 'I
learned in my vision,' he said, referring to his fever, 'that Pope was
right in saying that the "proper study of mankind is man"; I care
nothing for your priestly superstitions concerning the dead. These
fables are the invention of designing churchmen who live on the
superstitions of the ignorant. I am an infidel, and believe in no spirit
intangible; that which can be seen, felt, and weighed is, all else is
not. Life is simply a sensation. All beyond is chimerical, less than
fantastic, believed in only by dupes and weak-minded, credulous tools of
knaves, or creatures of blind superstition.' He carried the finely
articulated, bleached skull of a cadaver to his room, and placed it
beside a marble statue that was a valued heirloom, the model of Venus of
Milo. 'Both are lime compounds,' he cynically observed, 'neither is
better than the other.' His friends protested. 'Your superstitious
education is at fault,' he answered; 'you mentally clothe one of these
objects in a quality it does not deserve, and the thought creates a
pleasant emotion. The other, equally as pure, reminds you of the grave
that you fear, and you shudder. These mental pulsations are artificial,
both being either survivals of superstition, or creations of your own
mind. The lime in the skull is now as inanimate as that of the statue;
neither object is responsible for its form, neither is unclean. To me,
the delicate configuration, the exact articulation, the perfect
adaptation for the office it originally filled, makes each bone of this
skull a thing of beauty, an object of admiration. As a whole, it gives
me pleasure to think of this wonderful, exquisitely arranged piece of
mechanism. The statue you admire is in every respect outrivaled by the
skull, and I have placed the two together because it pleases me to
demonstrate that man's most artistic creation is far inferior to
material man. Throw aside your sentimental prejudices, and join with me
in the admiration of this thing of beauty;' and he toyed with the skull
as if it were a work of art. So he argued, and arguing passed from bone
to bone, and from organ to organ. He filled his room with abnormal
fragments of the human body, and surrounded himself with jars of
preserved anatomical specimens. His friends fled in disgust, and he
smiled, glad to be alone with his ghastly subjects. He was infatuated in
one of the alcoves of science."

The old man paused.

"Shall I proceed?" he asked.

"Yes," I said, but involuntarily moved my chair back, for I began again
to be afraid of the speaker.

"At last this scientific man had mastered all that was known concerning
physiology and anatomy. He learned by heart the wording of great volumes
devoted to these subjects. The human frame became to him as an open
book. He knew the articulation of every muscle, could name a bone from a
mere fragment. The microscope ceased to be an object of interest, the
secrets of pathology and physiology had been mastered. Then,
unconsciously, he was infected by another tendency; a new thought was
destined to dominate his brain. 'What is it that animates this frame?
What lies inside to give it life?' He became enthused again: 'The dead
body, to which I have given my time, is not the conscious part of man,'
he said to himself; 'I must find this thing of life within; I have been
only a butcher of the dead. My knowledge is superficial.'"

Again the old man hesitated and looked at me inquiringly.

"Shall I proceed?" he repeated.

I was possessed by horror, but yet fascinated, and answered
determinedly: "Go on."

"Beware," he added, "beware of the Science of Life."

Pleadingly he looked at me.

"Go on," I commanded.

He continued:

"With the cunning of a madman, this person of profound learning, led
from the innocence of ignorance to the heartlessness of advanced
biological science, secretly planned to seek the vital forces. 'I must
begin with a child, for the life essence shows its first manifestations
in children,' he reasoned. He moved to an unfrequented locality,
discharged his servants, and notified his former friends that visitors
were unwelcome. He had determined that no interruption to his work
should occur. This course was unnecessary, however, for now he had
neither friends nor visitors. He employed carpenters and artisans, and
perfected a series of mechanical tables, beautiful examples of automatic
mechanism. From the inner room of that house no cry could be heard by
persons outside....

     [It will be seen, by referring to the epilogue, that Mr. Drury
     agreed to mutilate part of the book. This I have gladly done,
     excising the heart-rending passages that follow. To use the words
     of Prof. Venable, they do not "comport with the general delicacy
     of the book."--J. U. L.]

"Hold, old man, cease," I cried aghast; "I have had enough of this. You
trifle with me, demon; I have not asked for nightmare stories,
heart-curdling accounts of maniacal investigators, who madly pursue
their revolting calling, and discredit the name of science."

"You asked to see your own brain," he replied.

"And have been given a terrible story instead," I retorted.

"So men perverted, misconstruing the aim of science, answer the cry of
humanity," he said. "One by one the cherished treasures of Christianity
have been stolen from the faithful. What, to the mother, can replace the
babe that has been lost?"

"The next world," I answered, "offers a comfort."

"Bah," he said; "does not another searcher in that same science field
tell the mother that there is no personal hereafter, that she will never
see her babe again? One man of science steals the body, another man of
science takes away the soul, the third annihilates heaven; they go like
pestilence and famine, hand in hand, subsisting on all that craving
humanity considers sacred, and offering no tangible return beyond a
materialistic present. This same science that seems to be doing so much
for humanity will continue to elevate so-called material civilization
until, as the yeast ferment is smothered in its own excretion, so will
science-thought create conditions to blot itself from existence, and
destroy the civilization it creates. Science is heartless,
notwithstanding the personal purity of the majority of her helpless
votaries. She is a thief, not of ordinary riches, but of treasures that
can not be replaced. Before science provings the love of a mother
perishes, the hope of immortality is annihilated. Beware of materialism,
the end of the science of man. Beware of the beginning of biological
inquiry, for he who commences, can not foresee the termination. I say to
you in candor, no man ever engaged in the part of science lore that
questions the life essence, realizing the possible end of his
investigations. The insidious servant becomes a tyrannical master; the
housebreaker is innocent, the horse thief guiltless in comparison.
Science thought begins in the brain of man; science provings end all
things with the end of the material brain of man. Beware of your own
brain."

[Illustration: "RISING ABRUPTLY, HE GRASPED MY HAND."]

"I have no fear," I replied, "that I will ever be led to disturb the
creeds of the faithful, and I will not be diverted. I demand to see my
brain."

"Your demand shall now be fulfilled; you have been warned of the return
that may follow the commencement of this study; you force the issue; my
responsibility ceases. No man of science realized the end when he began
to investigate his throbbing brain, and the end of the fabric that
science is weaving for man rests in the hidden future. The story I have
related is a true one, as thousands of faithful men who unconsciously
have been led into infidelity have experienced; and as the faithful
followers of sacred teachings can also perceive, who recognize that
their religion and the hope of heaven is slipping away beneath the
steady inroad of the heartless materialistic investigator, who clothes
himself in the garb of science."

Rising abruptly from his chair, he grasped my hand. "You shall see your
brain, man; come."



CHAPTER XXX.

    LOOKING BACKWARD.--THE LIVING BRAIN.


The old man accompanied his word "come," as I have said, by rising from
his chair, and then with a display of strength quite out of proportion
to his age, he grasped my wrist and drew me toward the door. Realizing
at once that he intended I should accompany him into the night, I
protested, saying that I was quite unprepared.

"My hat, at least," I insisted, as he made no recognition of my first
demur.

"Your hat is on your head," he replied.

This was true, although I am sure the hat had been previously hung on a
rack in a distant part of the room, and I am equally certain that
neither my companion nor myself had touched it. Leaving me no time for
reflection, he opened the door, and drew me through the hall-way and
into the gloom. As though perfectly familiar with the city, he guided me
from my cozy home, on the retired side street in which I resided,
eastwardly into the busy thoroughfare, Western Row. Our course led us
down towards the river, past Ninth, Eighth, Seventh Streets. Now and
then a pedestrian stopped to gaze in surprise at the unique spectacle,
the old man leading the young one, but none made any attempt to molest
us. We passed on in silence, out of the busy part of the thoroughfare
and into the shady part of the city, into the darkness below Fifth
Street. Here the residences were poorer, and tenement-houses and
factories began to appear. We were now in a quarter of the city into
which strangers seldom, if ever, penetrated after night, and in which I
would not have cared to be found unprotected at any time after sunset,
much less in such questionable company. I protested against the
indiscretion; my leader made no reply, but drew me on past the
flickering gas lights that now and then appeared at the intersection of
Third, Pearl, Second, and Water Streets, until at last we stood, in
darkness, on the bank of the Ohio River.

Strange, the ferry-boat at that time of night only made a trip every
thirty minutes, and yet it was at the landing as though by appointment.
Fear began to possess me, and as my thoughts recur to that evening, I
can not understand how it was that I allowed myself to be drawn without
cry or resistance from my secure home to the Ohio River, in such
companionship. I can account for the adventure only by the fact that I
had deliberately challenged my companion to make the test he was
fulfilling, and that an innate consciousness of pride and justice
compelled me to permit him to employ his own methods. We crossed the
river without speaking, and rapidly ascending the levee we took our
course up Main Street into Covington. Still in the lead, my aged guide,
without hesitation, went onward to the intersection of Main and Pike
Streets; thence he turned to the right, and following the latter
thoroughfare we passed the old tannery, that I recalled as a familiar
landmark, and then started up the hill. Onward we strode, past a hotel
named "Niemeyer's," and soon were in the open country on the Lexington
Pike, treading through the mud, diagonally up the hill back of
Covington. Then, at a sharp curve in the road where it rounded the point
of the hill, we left the highway, and struck down the hillside into a
ravine that bounded the lower side of the avenue. We had long since left
the city lamps and sidewalks behind us, and now, when we left the
roadway, were on the muddy pike at a considerable elevation upon the
hillside and, looking backward, I beheld innumerable lights throughout
the cities of Cincinnati, Covington, and the village of Newport,
sparkling away in the distance behind and below us.

"Come," my companion said again, as I hesitated, repeating the only word
he had uttered since telling his horrible story, "Come!"

Down the hill into the valley we plunged, and at last he opened the door
of an isolated log cabin, which we entered. He lighted a candle that he
drew from his pocket, and together we stood facing each other.

"Be seated," he said dryly.

And then I observed that the cold excuse for furniture in that desolate
room consisted of a single rude, hand-made chair with corn-shuck bottom.
However, I did not need a second invitation, but sank exhausted and
disconsolate upon the welcome object.

My companion lost no time, but struck at once into the subject that
concerned us, arguing as follows:

"One of the troubles with humanity is that of changing a thought from
the old to a new channel; to grasp at one effort an entirely new idea is
an impossibility. Men follow men in trains of thought expression, as in
bodily form generations of men follow generations. A child born with
three legs is a freak of nature, a monstrosity, yet it sometimes
appears. A man possessed of a new idea is an anomaly, a something that
may not be impossible, but which has never appeared. It is almost as
difficult to conceive of a new idea as it is to create out of nothing a
new material or an element. Neither thoughts nor things can be invented,
both must be evolved out of a preëxisting something which it necessarily
resembles. Every advanced idea that appears in the brain of man is the
result of a suggestion from without. Men have gone on and on
ceaselessly, with their minds bent in one direction, ever looking
outwardly, never inwardly. It has not occurred to them to question at
all in the direction of backward sight. Mind has been enabled to read
the impressions that are made in and on the substance of brain
convolutions, but at the same time has been and is insensible to the
existence of the convolutions themselves. It is as though we could read
the letters of the manuscript that bears them without having conceived
of a necessity for the existence of a printed surface, such as paper or
anything outside the letters. Had anatomists never dissected a brain,
the human family would to-day live in absolute ignorance of the nature
of the substance that lies within the skull. Did you ever stop to think
that the mind can not now bring to the senses the configuration, or
nature, of the substance in which mind exists? Its own house is unknown.
This is in consequence of the fact that physical existence has always
depended upon the study of external surroundings, and consequently the
power of internal sight lies undeveloped. It has never been deemed
necessary for man to attempt to view the internal construction of his
body, and hence the sense of feeling only advises him of that which lies
within his own self. This sense is abstract, not descriptive. Normal
organs have no sensible existence. Thus an abnormal condition of an
organ creates the sensation of pain or pleasure, but discloses nothing
concerning the appearance or construction of the organ affected. The
perfect liver is as vacancy. The normal brain never throbs and aches.
The quiescent arm presents no evidence to the mind concerning its shape,
size, or color. Man can not count his fingers unless some outside object
touches them, or they press successively against each other, or he
perceives them by sight. The brain of man, the seat of knowledge, in
which mind centers, is not perceptible through the senses. Does it not
seem irrational, however, to believe that mind itself is not aware, or
could not be made cognizant, of the nature of its material
surroundings?"

"I must confess that I have not given the subject a thought," I replied.

"As I predicted," he said. "It is a step toward a new idea, and simple
as it seems, now that the subject has been suggested, you must agree
that thousands of intelligent men have not been able to formulate the
thought. The idea had never occurred to them. Even after our previous
conversation concerning the possibility of showing you your own brain,
you were powerless and could not conceive of the train of thought which
I started, and along which I shall now further direct your senses."

"The eye is so constituted that light produces an impression on a
nervous film in the rear of that organ, this film is named the retina,
the impression being carried backward therefrom through a magma of nerve
fibers (the optic nerve), and reaching the brain, is recorded on that
organ and thus affects the mind. Is it not rational to suppose it
possible for this sequence to be reversed? In other words, if the order
were reversed could not the same set of nerves carry an impression from
behind to the retina, and picture thereon an image of the object which
lies anterior thereto, to be again, by reflex action, carried back to
the brain, thus bringing the brain substance itself to the view of the
mind, and thus impress the senses? To recapitulate: If the nerve
sensation, or force expression, should travel from the brain to the
retina, instead of from an outward object, it will on the reverse of the
retina produce the image of that which lies behind, and then if the
optic nerve carry the image back to the brain, the mind will bring to
the senses the appearance of the image depicted thereon."

[Illustration: "FACING THE OPEN WINDOW HE TURNED THE PUPILS OF HIS EYES
UPWARD."]

"This is my first consideration of the subject," I replied.

"Exactly," he said; "you have passed through life looking at outside
objects, and have been heedlessly ignorant of your own brain. You have
never made an exclamation of surprise at the statement that you really
see a star that exists in the depths of space millions of miles beyond
our solar system, and yet you became incredulous and scornful when it
was suggested that I could show you how you could see the configuration
of your brain, an object with which the organ of sight is nearly in
contact. How inconsistent."

"The chain of reasoning is certainly novel, and yet I can not think of a
mode by which I can reverse my method of sight and look backward," I now
respectfully answered.

"It is very simple; all that is required is a counter excitation of the
nerve, and we have with us to-night what any person who cares to
consider the subject can employ at any time, and thus behold an outline
of a part of his own brain. I will give you the lesson."

Placing himself before the sashless window of the cabin, which opening
appeared as a black space pictured against the night, the sage took the
candle in his right hand, holding it so that the flame was just below
the tip of the nose, and about six inches from his face. Then facing the
open window he turned the pupils of his eyes upward, seeming to fix his
gaze on the upper part of the open window space, and then he slowly
moved the candle transversely, backward and forward, across, in front of
his face, keeping it in such position that the flickering flame made a
parallel line with his eyes, and as just remarked, about six inches from
his face, and just below the tip of his nose. Speaking deliberately, he
said:

"Now, were I you, this movement would produce a counter irritation of
the retina; a rhythm of the optic nerve would follow, a reflex action of
the brain accompanying, and now a figure of part of the brain that rests
against the skull in the back of my head would be pictured on the
retina. I would see it plainly, apparently pictured or thrown across the
open space before me."

"Incredible!" I replied.

"Try for yourself," quietly said my guide.

Placing myself in the position designated, I repeated the maneuver, when
slowly a shadowy something seemed to be evolved out of the blank space
before me. It seemed to be as a gray veil, or like a corrugated sheet as
thin as gauze, which as I gazed upon it and discovered its outline,
became more apparent and real. Soon the convolutions assumed a more
decided form, the gray matter was visible, filled with venations, first
gray and then red, and as I became familiar with the sight, suddenly the
convolutions of a brain in all its exactness, with a network of red
blood venations, burst into existence.[7]

     [7] This experiment is not claimed as original. See
     Purkinje's Beiträge zur Kenntniss des Sehens in
     subjectiver Hinsicht (Prague, 1823 and 1825), whose
     conclusions to the effect that the shadow of the retina is
     seen, I-Am-The-Man ignores.--J. U. L.

[Illustration: "A BRAIN, A LIVING BRAIN, MY OWN BRAIN."]

I beheld a brain, a brain, a living brain, my own brain, and as an
uncanny sensation possessed me I shudderingly stopped the motion of the
candle, and in an instant the shadowy figure disappeared.

"Have I won the wager?"

"Yes," I answered.

"Then," said my companion, "make no further investigations in this
direction."

"But I wish to verify the experiment," I replied. "Although it is not a
pleasant test, I can not withstand the temptation to repeat it."

And again I moved the candle backward and forward, when the figure of my
brain sprung at once into existence.

"It is more vivid," I said; "I see it plainer, and more quickly than
before."

"Beware of the science of man, I repeat," he replied; "now, before you
are deep in the toils, and can not foresee the end, beware of the
science of human biology. Remember the story recently related, that of
the physician who was led to destruction by the alluring voice."

I made no reply, but stood with my face fixed, slowly moving the candle
backward and forward, gazing intently into the depths of my own brain.

After a time the old man removed the candle from my hand, and said: "Do
you accept the fact? Have I demonstrated the truth of the assertion?"

"Yes," I replied; "but tell me further, now that you have excited my
interest, have I seen and learned all that man can discover in this
direction?"

"No; you have seen but a small portion of the brain convolutions, only
those that lie directly back of the optic nerve. By systematic research,
under proper conditions, every part of the living brain may become as
plainly pictured as that which you have seen."

"And is that all that could be learned?" I asked.

"No," he continued. "Further development may enable men to picture the
figures engraved on the convolutions, and at last to read the thoughts
that are engraved within the brains of others, and thus through material
investigation the observer will perceive the recorded thought of another
person. An instrument capable of searching and illuminating the retina
could be easily affixed to the eye of a criminal, after which, if the
mind of the person operated upon were stimulated by the suggestion of an
occurrence either remote or recent, the mind facility would excite the
brain, produce the record, and spread the circumstances as a picture
before the observer. The brain would tell its own story, and the
investigator could read the truth as recorded in the brain of the other
man. A criminal subjected to such an examination could not tell an
untruth, or equivocate; his very brain would present itself to the
observer."

"And you make this assertion, and then ask me to go no further into the
subject?"

"Yes; decidedly yes."

"Tell me, then, could you not have performed this experiment in my room,
or in the dark cellar of my house?"

"Any one can repeat it with a candle in any room not otherwise lighted,
by looking at a blackboard, a blank wall, or black space," he said.

I was indignant.

"Why have you treated me so inhumanly? Was there a necessity for this
journey, these mysterious movements, this physical exertion? Look at the
mud with which I am covered, and consider the return trip which yet lies
before me, and which must prove even more exhausting?"

"Ah," he said, "you overdraw. The lesson has been easily acquired.
Science is not an easy road to travel. Those who propose to profit
thereby must work circuitously, soil their hands and person, meet
discouragements, and must expect hardships, reverses, abuse, and
discomfort. Do not complain, but thank me for giving you the lesson
without other tribulations that might have accompanied it. Besides,
there was another object in my journey, an object that I have quietly
accomplished, and which you may never know. Come, we must return."

He extinguished the light of the candle, and we departed together,
trudging back through the mud and the night.[8]

     [8] We must acquiesce in the explanation given for this
     seemingly uncalled-for journey, and yet feel that it was
     unnecessarily exacting.

Of that wearisome return trip I have nothing to say beyond the fact that
before reaching home my companion disappeared in the darkness of a side
street, and that the Cathedral chimes were playing for three o'clock
A.M., as I passed the corner of Eighth Street and Western Row.

The next evening my visitor appeared as usual, and realizing his
complete victory, he made no reference to the occurrences of the
previous night. In his usual calm and deliberate manner he produced the
roll of manuscript saying benignantly, and in a gentle tone:

"Do you recollect where I left off reading?"

"You had reached that point in your narrative," I answered, "at which
your guide had replaced the boat on the surface of the lake."

And the mysterious being resumed his reading.



THE MANUSCRIPT CONTINUED.



CHAPTER XXXI.

    A LESSON ON VOLCANOES.--PRIMARY COLORS ARE CAPABLE OF FARTHER
    SUBDIVISION.


"Get into the boat," said my eyeless pilot, "and we will proceed to the
farther edge of the lake, over the barrier of which at great intervals
of time, the surface water flows, and induces the convulsion known as
Mount Epomeo."

We accordingly embarked, and a gentle touch of the lever enabled us
rapidly to skirt the shore of the underground sea. The soft, bright,
pleasant earth-light continually enveloped us, and the absence of either
excessive heat or cold, rendered existence delightful. The weird forms
taken by the objects that successively presented themselves on the shore
were a source of continual delight to my mind. The motion of our boat
was constantly at the will of my guide. Now we would skim across a great
bay, flashing from point to point; again we wound slowly through
tortuous channels and among partly submerged stones.

"What a blessing this mode of locomotion would be to humanity," I
murmured.

"Humanity will yet attain it," he replied. "Step by step men have
stumbled along towards the goal that the light of coming centuries is
destined to illuminate. They have studied, and are still engaged in
studying, the properties of grosser forces, such as heat and
electricity, and they will be led by the thread they are following, to
this and other achievements yet unthought of, but which lie back of
those more conspicuous."

[Illustration: "WE FINALLY REACHED A PRECIPITOUS BLUFF."]

We finally reached a precipitous bluff, that sprung to my view as by
magic, and which, with a glass-like surface, stretched upward to a
height beyond the scope of my vision, rising straight from the
surface of the lake. It was composed of a material seemingly black as
jet, and yet when seen under varying spectacular conditions as we
skirted its base it reflected, or emitted, most gorgeously the brilliant
hues of the rainbow, and also other colors hitherto unknown to me.

"There is something unique in these shades; species of color appear that
I can not identify; I seem to perceive colors utterly unlike any that I
know as the result of deflected, or transmitted, sunlight rays, and they
look unlike the combinations of primary colors with which I am
familiar."

"Your observations are true; some of these colors are unknown on earth."

"But on the surface of the earth we have all possible combinations of
the seven prismatic rays," I answered. "How can there be others here?"

"Because, first, your primary colors are capable of further subdivision.

"Second, other rays, invisible to men under usual conditions, also
emanate from the sun, and under favorable circumstances may be brought
to the sense of sight."

"Do you assert that the prism is capable of only partly analyzing the
sunlight?"

"Yes; what reason have you to argue that, because a triangular bit of
glass resolves a white ray into seven fractions that are, as men say,
differently colored, you could not by proper methods subdivide each of
these so-called primary shades into others? What reason have you to
doubt that rays now invisible to man accompany those capable of
impressing his senses, and might by proper methods become perceptible as
new colors?"

"None," I answered; "only that I have no proof that such rays exist."

"But they do exist, and men will yet learn that the term 'primitive'
ray, as applied to each of the seven colors of the rainbow, is
incorrect. Each will yet be resolved, and as our faculties multiply and
become more subtle, other colors will be developed, possessed of a
delicacy and richness indescribable now, for as yet man can not
comprehend the possibilities of education beyond the limits of his
present condition."

During this period of conversation we skirted the richly colored bluff
with a rapid motion, and at last shot beyond it, as with a flash, into
seeming vacancy. I was sitting with my gaze directed toward the bluff,
and when it instantly disappeared, I rubbed my eyes to convince myself
of their truthfulness, and as I did so our boat came gradually to a
stand on the edge of what appeared to be an unfathomable abyss. Beneath
me on the side where had risen the bluff that disappeared so abruptly,
as far as the eye could reach, was an absolute void. To our right, and
before and behind us, stretched the surface of that great smooth lake on
whose bosom we rested. To our left, our boat brushing its rim, a narrow
ledge, a continuation of the black, glass-like material, reached only a
foot above the water, and beyond this narrow brink the mass descended
perpendicularly to seemingly infinite depths. Involuntarily I grasped
the sides of the boat, and recoiled from the frightful chasm, over which
I had been so suddenly suspended, and which exceeded anything of a
similar description that I had ever seen. The immeasurable depth of the
abyss, in connection with the apparently frail barrier that held the
great lake in its bounds, caused me to shudder and shrink back, and my
brain reeled in dizzy fright. An inexplicable attraction, however,
notwithstanding my dread, held me spell-bound, and although I struggled
to shut out that view, the endeavor failed. I seemed to be drawn by an
irresistible power, and yet I shuddered at the awful majesty of that
yawning gulf which threatened to end the world on which I then existed.
Fascinated, entranced, I could not help gazing, I knew not how long,
down, down into that fathomless, silent profundity. Composing myself, I
turned a questioning glance on my guide.

He informed me that this hard, glass-like dam confined the waters of
the slowly rising lake that we were sailing over, and which finally
would rise high enough to overflow the barrier.

[Illustration: "THE WALL DESCENDED PERPENDICULARLY TO SEEMINGLY INFINITE
DEPTHS."]

"The cycle of the periodic overflow is measured by great intervals," he
said; "centuries are required to raise the level of the lake a fraction
of an inch, and thousands of years may elapse before its surface will
again reach the top of the adamantine wall. Then, governed by the law
that attracts a liquid to itself, and heaps the teaspoon with liquid,
the water of the quiet lake piles upon this narrow wall, forming a
ledge along its summit. Finally the superimposed surface water gives
way, and a skim of water pours over into the abyss."

He paused; I leaned over and meditated, for I had now accustomed myself
to the situation.

"There is no bottom," I exclaimed.

"Upon the contrary," he answered, "the bottom is less than ten miles
beneath us, and is a great funnel-shaped orifice, the neck of the funnel
reaching first down and then upward from us diagonally toward the
surface of the earth. Although the light by which we are enveloped is
bright, yet it is deficient in penetrating power, and is not capable of
giving the contour of objects even five miles away, hence the chasm
seems bottomless, and the gulf measureless."

"Is it not natural to suppose that a mass of water like this great lake
would overflow the barrier immediately, as soon as the surface reached
the upper edge, for the pressure of the immense volume must be beyond
calculation."

"No, for it is height, not expanse, which, as hydrostatic engineers
understand, governs the pressure of water. A liquid column, one foot in
width, would press against the retaining dam with the force of a body of
the same liquid, the same depth, one thousand miles in extent. Then the
decrease of gravity here permits the molecular attraction of the water's
molecules to exert itself more forcibly than would be the case on the
surface of the earth, and this holds the liquid mass together more
firmly."

"See," he observed, and dipping his finger into the water he held it
before him with a drop of water attached thereto (Figure 27), the
globule being of considerable size, and lengthened as though it
consisted of some glutinous liquid.

[Illustration: FIG. 27.]

"How can a thin stratum of water give rise to a volcanic eruption?" I
next queried. "There seems to be no melted rock, no evidence of intense
heat, either beneath or about us."

"I informed you some time ago that I would partially explain these
facts. Know then, that the theories of man concerning volcanic
eruptions, in connection with a molten interior of the earth, are such
as are evolved in ignorance of even the sub-surface of the globe. The
earth's interior is to mankind a sealed chamber, and the wise men who
elucidate the curious theories concerning natural phenomena occurring
therein are forced to draw entirely upon their imagination. Few persons
realize the paucity of data at the command of workers in science.
Theories concerning the earth are formulated from so little real
knowledge of that body, that our science may be said to be all theory,
with scarcely a trace of actual evidence to support it. If a globe ten
inches in diameter be covered with a sheet of paper, such as I hold in
my hand, the thickness of that sheet will be greater in proportion to
that of such a globe than the depth men have explored within the earth
is compared with the thickness of the crust of the earth. The outer
surface of a pencil line represents the surface of the earth; the inner
surface of the line represents the depth of man's explorations; the
highest mountain would be represented by a comma resting on the line.
The geologist studies the substances that are thrust from the crater of
an active volcano, and from this makes conjectures regarding the strata
beneath, and the force that casts the excretions out. The results must
with men, therefore, furnish evidence from which to explain the cause.
It is as though an anatomist would form his idea of the anatomy of the
liver by the secretion thrown out of that organ, or of the lung texture
by the breath and sputum. In fact, volcanoes are of several
descriptions, and usually are extremely superficial. This lake, the
surface of which is but one hundred and fifty miles underground, is the
mother of an exceptionally deep one. When the water pours over this
ledge it strikes an element below us, the metallic base of salt, which
lies in great masses in some portions of the earth's crust.[9] Then an
immediate chemical reaction ensues, the water is dissociated, intense
heat results, part of the water combines with the metal, part is
vaporized as steam, while part escapes as an inflammable gas. The sudden
liberation of these gases causes an irregular pressure of vapor on the
surface of the lake, the result being a throbbing and rebounding of the
attenuated atmosphere above, which, in gigantic waves, like swelling
tides, dashes great volumes of water over the ledge beside us, and into
the depth below. This water in turn reacts on fresh portions of the
metallic base, and the reflex action increases the vapor discharges, and
as a consequence the chamber we are in becomes a gasholder, containing
vapors of unequal gas pressures, and the resultant agitation of the lake
from the turmoil continues, and the pulsations are repeated until the
surface of the lake is lowered to such a degree as at last to prevent
the water from overflowing the barrier. Finally the lake quiets itself,
the gases slowly disappear by earth absorption, and by escape from the
volcanic exit, and for an unrecorded period of time thereafter the
surface of the lake continues to rise slowly as it is doing now."

    [9] This view is supported in theory by a note I believe to have
    somewhere seen recorded. Elsewhere other bases are mentioned
    also.--J. U. L.

"But what has this phenomenon to do with the volcano?"

"It produces the eruption; the water that rushes down into the chasm,
partly as steam, partly as gas, is forced onward and upward through a
crevice that leads to the old crater of the presumed extinct but
periodically active Mount Epomeo. These gases are intensely heated, and
they move with fearful velocity. They tear off great masses of stone,
which the resultant energy disturbances, pressure, gas, and friction,
redden with heat. The mixture of gases from the decomposed water is in
large amount, is burning and exploding, and in this fiery furnace amid
such convulsions as have been described, the adjacent earth substance is
fused, and even clay is melted, and carried on with the fiery blast.
Finally the current reaches the earth's surface through the funnel
passage, the apex of which is a volcano--the blast described a volcanic
eruption."

"One thing is still obscure in my mind," I said. "You assert that the
reaction which follows the contact of the flowing water and metallic
bases in the crevice below us liberates the explosive gases, and also
volumes of vapor of water. These gases rush, you say, and produce a
volcanic eruption in a distant part of the crust of the earth. I can not
understand why they do not rush backward as well, and produce another
eruption in Kentucky. Surely the pressure of a gas in confinement is the
same in all directions, is it not?"

"Yes," he replied, "but the conditions in the different directions are
dissimilar. In the direction of the Kentucky cavern, the passage is
tortuous, and often contracts to a narrow crevice. In one place near the
cavern's mouth, as you will remember, we had to dive beneath the surface
of a stream of water. That stratum of water as effectually closed the
exit from the earth as the stopper prevents water escaping from a
bottle. Between the point we now occupy and that water stopper, rest
thousands of miles of quiescent air. The inertia of a thousand miles of
air is great beyond your comprehension. To move that column of air by
pushing against this end of it, and thus shoving it instantly out of the
other end, would require greater force than would burst the one hundred
and fifty miles of inelastic stone above us. Then, the friction of the
sides is another thing that prevents its accomplishment. While a
gradually applied pressure would in time overcome both the inertia of
the air and the friction of the stone passages, it would take a supply
of energy greater than you can imagine to start into motion the elastic
mass that stands as solid and immovable as a sentinel of adamant,
between the cavern you entered, and the spot we now occupy. Time and
energy combined would be able to accomplish the result, but not under
present conditions.

"In the other direction a broad open channel reaches directly to and
connects with the volcanic shaft. Through this channel the air is in
motion, moving towards the extinct crater, being supplied from another
surface orifice. The gases liberated in the manner I have described,
naturally follow the line of least resistance. They turn at once away
from the inert mass of air that rests behind us, and move with
increasing velocity towards the volcanic exit. Before the pressure that
might be exerted towards the Kentucky cavern would have more than
compressed the intervening column of air enough to raise the water of a
well from its usual level to the surface of the earth, the velocity in
the other direction would have augmented prodigiously, and with its
increased rapidity a suction would follow more than sufficient to
consume the increasingly abundant gases from behind."

"Volcanoes are therefore local, and the interior of the earth is not a
molten mass as I have been taught," I exclaimed.

He answered: "If men were far enough along in their thought journey (for
the evolution of the mental side of man is a journey in the world of
thought), they would avoid such theories as that which ascribes a
molten interior to the earth. Volcanoes are superficial. They are as a
rule, when in activity but little blisters or excoriations upon the
surface of the earth, although their underground connections may be
extensive. Some of them are in a continual fret with frequent eruptions,
others, like the one under consideration, awaken only after great
periods of time. The entire surface of this globe has been or will be
subject to volcanic action. The phenomenon is one of the steps in the
world-making, matter-leveling process. When the deposit of substances
that I have indicated, and of which much of the earth's interior is
composed, the bases of salt, potash, and lime and clay is exhausted,
there will be no further volcanic action from this cause, and in some
places, this deposit has already disappeared, or is covered deeply by
layers of earth that serve as a protection."

"Is water, then, the universal cause of volcanoes?"

"Water and air together cause most of them. The action of water and its
vapor produces from metallic space dust, limestone, and clay soil,
potash and soda salts. This perfectly rational and natural action must
continue as long as there is water above, and free elementary bases in
contact with the earth bubbles. Volcanoes, earthquakes, geysers, mud
springs, and hot springs, are the natural result of that reaction.
Mountains are thereby forming by upheavals from beneath, and the
corresponding surface valleys are consequently filling up, either by the
slow deposit of the matter from the saline water of hot springs, or by
the sudden eruption of a new or presumably extinct volcano."

"What would happen if a crevice in the bottom of the ocean should
conduct the waters of the ocean into a deposit of metallic bases?"

"That often occurs," was the reply; "a volcanic wave results, and a
volcano may thus rise from the ocean's depths."

"Is there any danger to the earth itself? May it not be riven into
fragments from such a convulsion?" I hesitatingly questioned.

"No; while the configuration of continents is continually being altered,
each disturbance must be practically superficial, and of limited area."

"But," I persisted, "the rigid, solid earth may be blown to fragments;
in such convulsions a result like that seems not impossible."

"You argue from an erroneous hypothesis. The earth is neither rigid nor
solid."

"True," I answered. "If it were solid I could not be a hundred miles
beneath its surface in conversation with another being; but there can
not be many such cavities as that which we are now traversing, and they
can not surely extend entirely through its mass; the great weight of the
superincumbent material would crush together the strongest materials, if
a globe as large as our earth were extensively honeycombed in this
manner."

"Quite the contrary," he replied; "and here let me, for the first time,
enlighten you as to the interior structure of the terrestrial globe. The
earth-forming principle consists of an invisible sphere of energy that,
spinning through space, supports the space dust which collects on it, as
dust on a bubble. By gradual accumulation of substance on that sphere a
hollow ball has resulted, on the outer surface of which you have
hitherto dwelt. The crust of the earth is comparatively thin, not more
than eight hundred miles in average thickness, and is held in position
by the central sphere of energy that now exists at a distance about
seven hundred miles beneath the ocean level. The force inherent to this
sphere manifests itself upon the matter which it supports on both sides,
rendering matter the lighter the nearer it lies to the center sphere. In
other words, let me say to you: The crust, or shell, which I have just
described as being but about eight hundred miles in thickness, is firm
and solid on both its convex and concave surface, but gradually loses in
weight, whether we penetrate from the outer surface toward the center,
or from any point of the inner surface towards the outside, until at the
central sphere matter has no weight at all. Do you conceive my meaning?"

"Yes," I replied; "I understand you perfectly."

After a pause my pilot asked me abruptly:

"What do you most desire?"

The question caused my mind to revert instantly to my old home on the
earth above me, and although I felt the hope of returning to it spring
up in my heart, the force of habit caused me involuntarily to answer,
"More light!"

"More light being your desire, you shall receive it."

Obedient to his touch, the bow of the boat turned from the gulf we had
been considering towards the center of the lake; the responsive craft
leaped forward, and in an instant the obsidian parapet disappeared
behind us. On and over the trackless waste of glass-like water we sped,
until the dead silence became painfully oppressive, and I asked:

"Whither are we bound?"

"Towards the east."

The well-timed answer raised my spirits; I thought again that in this
man, despite his repulsive shape, I beheld a friend, a brother;
suspicion vanished, and my courage rose. He touched the lever, and the
craft, subject to his will, nearly rose from the water, and sped with
amazing velocity, as was evident from the appearance of the luminous
road behind us. So rapid was our flight that the wake of the boat seemed
as if made of rigid parallel lines that disappeared in the distance, too
quick for the eye to catch the tremor.

Continuing his conversation, my companion informed me that he had now
directed the bark toward a point east of the spot where we struck the
shore, after crossing the lake, in order that we might continue our
journey downward, diagonally to the under surface of the earth crust.

"This recent digression from our journey proper," said he, "has been
made to acquaint you with a subject, regarding which you have exhibited
a curiosity, and about which you have heretofore been misinformed; now
you understand more clearly part of the philosophy of volcanoes and
earthquakes. You have yet much to learn in connection with allied
phenomena, but this study of the crude exhibition of force-disturbed
matter, the manipulation of which is familiar to man under the above
names, is an introduction to the more wonderful study destined yet to be
a part of your field, an investigation of quiescent matter, and pure
motion."

"I can not comprehend you," I replied, "as I stated once before when you
referred to what you designated as pure motion."



CHAPTER XXXII.

    MATTER IS RETARDED MOTION.


"It is possible--is it not?--for you to imagine a continuous volley of
iron balls passing near you in one line, in a horizontal direction, with
considerable velocity. Suppose that a pane of glass were to be gradually
moved so that a corner of it would be struck by one of the balls; then
the entire sheet of glass would be shivered by the concussion, even
though the bullet struck but a single spot of glass, the point of
contact covering only a small area. Imagine now that the velocity of the
volley of bullets be increased a thousand fold; then a plate of glass
thrust into their track would be smoothly cut, as though with a file
that would gnaw its way without producing a single radiating fracture. A
person standing near the volley would now hear a deep purr or growling
sound, caused by the friction between the bullets and the air. Increase
gradually the rapidity of their motion, and this growl would become more
acute, passing from a deep, low murmur, into one less grave, and as the
velocity increased, the tone would become sharper, and at last
piercingly shrill. Increase now the rapidity of the train of bullets
again, and again the notes would decrease in turn, passing back again
successively through the several keys that had preceded, and finally
would reach the low growl which first struck the ear, and with a further
increase of speed silence would ensue, silence evermore, regardless of
increasing velocity.[10] From these hundreds of miles in a second at
which the volley is now passing, let the rapidity be augmented a
thousand times, reaching in their flight into millions of miles each
second, and to the eye, from the point where the sound disappeared, as
the velocity increased, a dim redness would appear, a glow just
perceptible, indicating to the sense of sight, by a continuous line,
the track of the moving missiles. To all appearance, the line would be
as uniform as an illuminated pencil mark, even though the several
integral bullets of the trail might be separated one from another by
miles of space. Let a pane of glass now be thrust across their track,
and from the point of contact a shower of sparks would fly, and the
edges of glass close to either side of the orifice would be shown, on
withdrawing the glass, to have been fused. Conceive now that the
velocity of the bullets be doubled and trebled, again and again, the
line of red light becomes brighter, then brilliant, and finally as the
velocity increases, at a certain point pure white results, and to man's
sense the trail would now be a continuous something, as solid as a bar
of metal if at a white heat, and (even if the bullets were a thousand
miles apart) man could not bring proof of their separate existence to
his senses. That portion of a pane of glass or other substance, even
steel or adamant, which should cross its track now would simply melt
away, the portion excised and carried out of that pathway neither
showing itself as scintillations, nor as fragments of matter. The solid
would instantly liquefy, and would spread itself as a thin film over the
surface of each ball of that white, hot mass of fleeing metal, now to
all essential conditions as uniform as a bar of iron. Madly increase the
velocity to millions upon millions of miles per second, and the heat
will disappear gradually as did the sound, while the bright light will
pass backward successively through the primary shades of color that are
now known to man, beginning with violet, and ending with red, and as the
red fades away the train of bullets will disappear to the sense of man.
Neither light nor sound now accompanies the volley, neither the human
eye nor the human ear can perceive its presence. Drop a pane of glass or
any other object edgewise through it, and it gives to the sense of man
no evidence; the molecules of the glass separate from in front to close
in from behind, and the moving train passes through it as freely as
light, leaving the surface of the glass unaffected."

    [10] A scientific critic seems to think that the shrill cry would
    cease instantly and not gradually. However, science has been at
    fault more than once, and I do not care to take liberties with
    this statement.--J. U. L.

"Hold," I interrupted; "that would be as one quality of matter passing
through another quality of matter without disturbance to either, and it
is a law in physics that two substances can not occupy the same space at
the same time."

"That law holds good as man understands the subject, but bullets are no
longer matter. Motion of mass was first changed into motion of
molecules, and motion of molecule became finally augmented into motion
of free force entities as the bullets disintegrated into molecular
corpuscles, and then were dissociated, atoms resulting. At this last
point the sense of vision, and of touch, ceased to be affected by that
moving column (neither matter nor force), and at the next jump in
velocity the atoms themselves disappeared, and free intangible motion
resulted--nothing, vacancy.

"This result is the all-pervading spirit of space (the ether of
mankind), as solid as adamant and as mobile as vacuity. If you can
reverse the order of this phenomenon, and imagine an irregular
retardation of the rapidity of such atomic motion, you can read the
story of the formation of the material universe. Follow the chain
backward, and with the decrease of velocity, motion becomes tangible
matter again, and in accordance with conditions governing the change of
motion into matter, from time to time the various elements successively
appear. The planets may grow without and within, and ethereal space can
generate elemental dirt. If you can conceive of an intermediate
condition whereby pure space motion becomes partly tangible, and yet is
not gross enough to be earthy matter, you can imagine how such forces as
man is acquainted with, light, heat, electricity, magnetism, or gravity
even are produced, for these are also disturbances in space motion. It
should be easily understood that, according to the same simple
principle, other elements and unknown forces as well, now imperceptible
to man's limited faculties, could be and are formed outside and inside
his field of perception."

"I fear that I can not comprehend all this," I answered.

"So I feared, and perhaps I have given you this lesson too soon,
although some time ago you asked me to teach you concerning the
assertion that electricity, light, heat, magnetism, and gravity are
disturbances, and you said, 'Disturbances of what?' Think the lesson
over, and you will perceive that it is easy. Let us hope that the time
will come when we will be able to glance beneath the rough, material,
earth surface knowledge that man has acquired, and experience the mind
expansion that leads to the blissful insight possessed by superior
beings who do not have to contend with the rasping elements that
encompass all who dwell upon the surface of the earth."

I pondered over these words, and a vague light, an undefined,
inexpressible something that I could not put into words broke into my
mind; I inferred that we were destined to meet with persons, or
existences, possessed of new senses, of a mind development that man had
not reached, and I was on the point of questioning my pilot when the
motion of the boat was suspended, land appeared ahead, we drew up to it,
and disembarked. Lifting the boat from the water my guide placed it on
land at the edge of the motionless lake, and we resumed our journey. The
scenery seemed but little changed from that of the latter part of our
previous line of travel down the inclined plane of the opposite side of
the lake that we had crossed. The direction was still downward after
leaving the high ridge that bordered the edge of the lake, the floor of
the cavern being usually smooth, although occasionally it was rough and
covered with stony debris. The mysterious light grew perceptibly
brighter as we progressed, the fog-like halo previously mentioned became
less dense, and the ring of obscurity widened rapidly. I could
distinctly perceive objects at a great distance. I turned to my
companion to ask why this was, and he replied:

"Because we are leaving one of the undiscovered conditions of the upper
atmosphere that disturbs the sunlight."

"Do you say that the atmosphere is composed of substances unknown to
man?"

"Yes; several of them are gases, and others are qualities of space
condition, neither gas, liquid, nor solid.[11] One particularly
interferes with light in its passage. It is an entity that is not moved
by the motion of the air, and is unequally distributed over the earth's
surface. As we ascend above the earth it decreases, so it does as we
descend into it. It is not vapor of water, is neither smoke, nor a true
gas, and is as yet sensible to man only by its power of modifying the
intensity of light. It has no color, is chemically inactive, and yet
modifies the sun's rays so as to blot objects from view at a
comparatively small distance from a person on the face of the earth.
That this fact is known to man is evident from the knowledge he
possesses of the difference in the power of his organs of vision at
different parts of the earth. His sight is especially acute on the table
lands of the Western Territories."

    [11] This has since been partly supported by the discovery of the
    element Argon. However, the statement has been recorded many
    years. Miss Ella Burbige, stenographer, Newport, Ky., copied the
    original in 1887; Mr. S. D. Rouse, attorney, Covington, Ky., read
    it in 1889; Mr. Russell Errett, editor of the Christian Standard,
    in 1890, and Mr. H. C. Meader, President of the American Ticket
    Brokers' Association, in 1892. It seems proper to make this
    explanation in order to absolve the author from any charge of
    plagiarism, for each of these persons will recall distinctly this
    improbable [then] assertion.--J. U. L.

"I have been told," I answered, "that vapor of water causes this
obscuration, or absorption, of light."

"Vapor of water, unless in strata of different densities, is absolutely
transparent, and presents no obstacle to the passage of light," he said.
"When vapor obstructs light it is owing to impurities contained in it,
to currents of varying densities, or wave motions, or to a mechanical
mixture of condensed water and air, whereby multitudes of tiny globular
water surfaces are produced. Pure vapor of water, free from motion, is
passive to the sunlight."

"I can scarcely believe that a substance such as you describe, or that
any constituent of the air, can have escaped the perception of the
chemist," I replied.

In, as I thought, a facetious manner he repeated after me the word
"chemist," and continued:

"Have chemists detected the ether of Aristotle, that you have mentioned,
and I have defined, which scientists nevertheless accept pervades all
space and every description of matter, and that I have told you is
really matter itself changed into ultra atomic motion? Have chemists
explained why one object is transparent, and another of equal weight and
solidity is opaque? Have chemists told you why vermillion is red and
indigo is blue (the statement that they respectively reflect these rays
of light is not an explanation of the cause for such action)? Have
chemists told you why the prism disarranges or distorts sunlight to
produce the abnormal hues that men assume compose elementary rays of
light? Have chemists explained anything concerning the why or wherefore
of the attributes of matter, or force, or even proven that the so-called
primary forms of matter, or elements, are not compounds? Upon the
contrary, does not the evolution that results in the recorded
discoveries of the chemist foretell, or at least indicate, the possible
future of the art, and promise that surrounding mysteries are yet to be
developed and expanded into open truths, thus elaborating hidden forces;
and that other forms of matter and unseen force expressions, are
destined to spring into existence as the sciences progress? The chemist
of to-day is groping in darkness; he is a novice as compared with the
elaborated chemist of the near future; the imperfectly seen of the
present, the silent and unsuspected, will become distinctly visible in a
time that is to come, and a brightening of the intellect by these
successively upward steps, up stairs of science, will, if science serves
herself best, broaden the mind and give power to the imagination,
resulting finally in--"

He hesitated.

"Go on," I said.

"The passage of mortal man, with the faculties of man intact, into
communion with the spirit world."



CHAPTER XXXIII.

    "A STUDY OF SCIENCE IS A STUDY OF GOD."--COMMUNING WITH ANGELS.


"This is incredible," I exclaimed.

"You need not be astonished," he answered. "Is there any argument that
can be offered to controvert the assertion that man is ignorant of many
natural laws?"

"I can offer none."

"Is there any doubt that a force, distinct and separate from matter,
influences matter and vivifies it into a living personality?"

"I do not deny that there is such force."

"What then should prevent this force from existing separate from the
body if it be capable of existing in it?"

"I can not argue against such a position."

"If, as is hoped and believed by the majority of mankind, even though
some try to deny the fact, it is possible for man to exist as an
association of earth matters, linked to a personal spirit force, the
soul, and for the spirit force, after the death of the body, to exist
independent of the grosser attributes of man, free from his mortal body,
is it not reasonable to infer that the spirit, while it is still in man
and linked to his body, may be educated and developed so as, under
favorable conditions, to meet and communicate with other spirits that
have been previously liberated from earthly bondage?"

"I submit," I answered; "but you shock my sensibilities when you thus
imply that by cold, scientific investigation we can place ourselves in a
position to meet the unseen spirit world--"

It was now my turn to hesitate.

"Go on," he said.

"To commune with the angels," I answered.

"A study of true science is a study of God," he continued. "Angels are
organizations natural in accordance with God's laws. They appear
superhuman, because of our ignorance concerning the higher natural
forces. They exist in exact accordance with the laws that govern the
universe; but as yet the attraction between clay and clay-bound spirit
is so great as to prevent the enthralled soul of man from communicating
with them. The faith of the religionist is an example of the
unquenchable feeling that creates a belief as well as a hope that there
is a self-existence separate from earthy substances. The scoffing
scientific agnostic, working for other objects, will yet astonish
himself by elaborating a method that will practically demonstrate these
facts, and then empirical religion, as exemplified by the unquestioning
faithful believer, and systematic science, as typified in the
experimental materialist, will meet on common ground."



CHAPTER XXXIV.

    I CEASE TO BREATHE, AND YET LIVE.


During this conversation we had been rapidly walking, or I should better
say advancing, for we no longer walked as men do, but skipped down into
the earth, down, ever downward. There were long periods of silence, in
which I was engaged in meditating over the problems that successively
demanded solution, and even had I desired to do so I could have kept no
record of time; days, or even weeks, may have been consumed in this
journey. Neither have I any method of judging of the rapidity of our
motion. I was sensible of a marked decrease in the amount of muscular
energy required to carry us onward, and I realized that my body was
quite exempt from weariness. Motion became restful instead of
exhausting, and it seemed to me that the ratio of the loss of weight, as
shown by our free movements, in proportion to the distance we traversed,
was greater than formerly. The slightest exhibition of propelling force
cast us rapidly forward. Instead of the laborious, short step of upper
earth, a single leap would carry us many yards. A slight spring, and
with our bodies in space, we would skip several rods, alighting gently,
to move again as easily. I marveled, for, although I had been led to
anticipate something unusual, the practical evidence was wonderfully
impressive, and I again questioned my guide.

"We are now nearing what physicists would call the center of gravity,"
he replied, "and our weight is rapidly diminishing. This is in exact
accordance with the laws that govern the force called gravitation,
which, at the earth's surface, is apparently uniform, though no
instrument known to man can demonstrate its exact variation within the
field man occupies. Men have not, as yet, been in a position to estimate
this change, although it is known that mountains attract objects, and
that a change in weight as we descend into the earth is perceptible; but
to evolve the true law, observation, at a distance of at least ten
miles beneath the surface of the ocean is necessary, and man, being a
creature whose motions are confined to a thin, horizontal skin of earth,
has never been one mile beneath its surface, and in consequence his
opportunities for comparison are extremely limited."

[Illustration: "WE WOULD SKIP SEVERAL RODS, ALIGHTING GENTLY."]

"I have been taught," I replied, "that the force of gravitation
decreases until the center of the earth is reached, at which point a
body is without weight; and I can scarcely understand how such positive
statements from scientific men can be far from the truth."

"It is supposed by your surface men that the maximum of weight is to be
found at one-sixth the distance beneath the surface of the earth, and
therefrom decreases until at the center it is nothing at all," he
replied. "This hypothesis, though a stagger toward the right, is far
from the truth, but as near as could be expected, when we consider the
data upon which men base their calculations. Were it not for the purpose
of controverting erroneous views, men would have little incentive to
continue their investigations, and as has been the rule in science
heretofore, the truth will, in time, appear in this case. One generation
of students disproves the accepted theories of that which precedes, all
working to eliminate error, all adding factors of error, and all
together moving toward a common goal, a grand generalization, that as
yet can not be perceived. And still each series of workers is
overlooking phenomena that, though obvious, are yet unperceived, but
which will make evident to future scientists the mistakes of the
present. As an example of the manner in which facts are thus overlooked,
in your journey you have been impressed with certain surprising external
conditions, or surroundings, and yet are oblivious to conditions more
remarkable in your own body. So it is with scientists. They overlook
prominent facts that stare them boldly in the face, facts that are so
conspicuous as to be invisible by reason of their very nearness."

"This statement I can not disprove, and therefore must admit under
protest. Where there is so much that appears mysterious I may have
overlooked some things, but I can scarcely accept that, in ignorance, I
have passed conditions in my own organization so marked as this decrease
in gravity which has so strikingly been called to my attention."

"You have, and to convince you I need only say that you have nearly
ceased to breathe, and are unconscious of the fact."

I stopped short, in momentary alarm, and now that my mind was directed
to the fact, I became aware that I did not desire to breathe, and that
my chest had ceased to heave with the alternate inhalation and
exhalation of former times. I closed my lips firmly, and for a long
period there was no desire for breath, then a slight involuntary
inhalation followed, and an exhalation, scarcely noticeable, succeeded
by a great interval of inaction. I impulsively turned my face toward the
passage we had trod; a feeling of alarm possessed me, an uncontrollable,
inexpressible desire to flee from the mysterious earth-being beside me,
to return to men, and be an earth-surface man again, and I started
backward through the chamber we had passed.

The guide seized me by the hand, "Hold, hold," he cried; "where would
you go, fickle mortal?"

"To the surface," I shouted; "to daylight again. Unhand me, unearthly
creature, abnormal being, man or devil; have you not inveigled me far
enough into occult realms that should be forever sealed from mankind?
Have you not taken from me all that men love or cherish, and undone
every tie of kith or kin? Have you not led me into paths that the
imagination of the novelist dare not conjure, and into experiences that
pen in human hand would not venture to describe as possible, until I now
stand with my feet on the boundary line that borders vacancy, and utter
loss of weight; with a body nearly lost as a material substance, verging
into nothing, and lastly with breath practically extinguished, I say,
and repeat, is it not time that I should hesitate and pause in my
reckless career?"

"It is not time," he answered.

"When will that hour come?" I asked in desperation, and I trembled as he
replied:

"When the three Great Lights are closed."

[Illustration: "AN UNCONTROLLABLE, INEXPRESSIBLE DESIRE TO FLEE."]



CHAPTER XXXV.

    "A CERTAIN POINT WITHIN A SPHERE."--MEN ARE AS PARASITES ON THE
    ROOF OF EARTH.


I realized again, as I had so many times before, that it was useless for
me to rebel. "The self-imposed mystery of a sacrificed life lies before
me," I murmured, "and there is no chance to retrace my footsteps. The
'Beyond' of the course that I have voluntarily selected, and sworn to
follow, is hidden; I must nerve myself to pursue it to the bitter end,
and so help me God, and keep me steadfast."

"Well said," he replied; "and since you have so wisely determined, I am
free to inform you that these new obligations, like those you have
heretofore taken, contain nothing which can conflict with your duty to
God, your country, your neighbor, or yourself. In considering the
phenomena presented by the suspension of the act of breathing, it should
occur to you that where little labor is to be performed, little
consumption of energy is required. Where there is such a trifling
destruction of the vital force (not mind force) as at present is the
case with us, it requires but slight respiration to retain the normal
condition of the body. On earth's surface the act of respiration alone
consumes by far the larger proportion of vital energy, and the muscular
exertion involved thereby necessitates a proportionate amount of
breathing in order that breath itself may continue. This act of
respiration is the result of one of the conditions of surface earth
life, and consumes most of the vital force. If men would think of this,
they would understand how paradoxical it is for them to breathe in order
to live, when the very act of respiration wears away their bodies and
shortens their lives more than all else they have to do, and without
adding to their mental or physical constitution in the least. Men are
conversant with physical death as a constant result of suspended
respiration, and with respiration as an accompaniment of life, which
ever constant and connected conditions lead them to accept that the act
of breathing is a necessity of mortal life. In reality, man occupies an
unfortunate position among other undeveloped creatures of external
earth; he is an animal, and is constitutionally framed like the other
animals about him. He is exposed to the warring elements, to the vicious
attacks of savage beasts and insidious parasites, and to the inroads of
disease. He is a prey to the elementary vicissitudes of the undesirable
exposure in which he exists upon the outer surface of our globe, where
all is war, even among the forces of nature about him. These conditions
render his lot an unhappy one indeed, and in ignorance he overlooks the
torments of the weary, rasping, endless slavery of respiration in the
personal struggle he has to undergo in order to retain a brief existence
as an organized being. Have you never thought of the connected
tribulations that the wear and tear of respiration alone inflict upon
the human family? The heaving of the chest, the circulation of the
blood, the throbbing of the heart, continue from mortal birth until
death. The heart of man forces about two and one-half ounces of blood
with each pulsation. At seventy beats per minute this amounts to six
hundred and fifty-six pounds per hour, or nearly eight tons per day. The
lungs respire over one thousand times an hour, and move over three
thousand gallons of air a day. Multiply these amounts by three hundred
and sixty-five, and then by seventy, and you have partly computed the
enormous life-work of the lungs and heart of an adult. Over two hundred
thousand tons of blood, and seventy-five million gallons of air have
been moved by the vital force. The energy thus consumed is dissipated.
No return is made for the expenditure of this life force. During the
natural life of man, more energy is consequently wasted in material
transformation resulting from the motion of heart and lungs, than would
be necessary to sustain the purely vital forces alone for a thousand
years. Besides, the act of respiration which man is compelled to perform
in his exposed position, necessitates the consumption of large amounts
of food, in order to preserve the animal heat, and replace the waste of
a material body that in turn is worn out by these very movements. Add
this waste of energy to the foregoing, and then you will surely perceive
that the possible life of man is also curtailed to another and greater
degree in the support of the digestive part of his organism. His spirit
is a slave to his body; his lungs and heart, on which he imagines life
depends, are unceasing antagonists of life. That his act of breathing is
now a necessity upon the surface of the earth, where the force of
gravity presses so heavily, and where the elements have men at their
command, and show him no mercy, I will not deny; but it is exasperating
to contemplate such a waste of energy, and corresponding loss of human
life."

"You must admit, however, that it is necessary?" I queried.

"No; only to an extent. The natural life of man should, and yet will be,
doubled, trebled, multiplied a dozen, yes a thousand fold."

I stepped in front of him; we stood facing each other.

"Tell me," I cried, "how men can so improve their condition as to
lengthen their days to the limit you name, and let me return to surface
earth a carrier of the glad tidings."

He shook his head.

I dropped on my knees before him.

[Illustration: "I DROPPED ON MY KNEES BEFORE HIM."]

"I implore you in behalf of that unfortunate humanity, of which I am a
member, give me this boon. I promise to return to you and do your
bidding. Whatever may be my subsequent fate, I promise to acquiesce
therein willingly."

He raised me to my feet.

"Be of good cheer," he said, "and in the proper time you may return to
the surface of this rind of earth, a carrier of great and good news to
men."

"Shall I teach them of what you have shown me?" I asked.

"Yes; in part you will be a forerunner, but before you obtain the
information that is necessary to the comfort of mankind you will have
to visit surface earth again, and return again, perhaps repeatedly. You
must prove yourself as men are seldom proven. The journey you have
commenced is far from its conclusion, and you may not be equal to its
subsequent trials; prepare yourself, therefore, for a series of events
that may unnerve you. If you had full confidence and faith in your
guide, you would have less cause to fear the result, but your suspicious
human nature can not overcome the shrinking sensation that is natural to
those who have been educated as you have been amid the changing
vicissitudes of the earth's surface, and you can not but be incredulous
by reason of that education."

Then I stopped as I observed before me a peculiar fungus--peculiar
because unlike all others I had seen. The convex part of its bowl was
below, and the great head, as an inverted toadstool, stood upright on a
short, stem-like pedestal. The gills within were of a deep green color,
and curved out from the center in the form of a spiral. This form,
however, was not the distinguishing feature, for I had before observed
specimens that were spiral in structure. The extraordinary peculiarity
was that the gills were covered with fruit. This fruit was likewise
green in color, each spore, or berry, being from two to three inches in
diameter, and honeycombed on the surface, corrugated most beautifully. I
stopped, leaned over the edge of the great bowl, and plucked a specimen
of the fruit. It seemed to be covered with a hard, transparent shell,
and to be nearly full of a clear, green liquid. I handled and examined
it in curiosity, at which my guide seemed not to be surprised. Regarding
me attentively, he said:

"What is it that impels a mortal towards this fruit?"

"It is curious," I said; "nothing more."

"As for that," said he, "it is not curious at all; the seed of the
lobelia of upper earth is more curious, because, while it is as
exquisitely corrugated, it is also microscopically small. In the second
place you err when you say it is simply curious, 'nothing more,' for no
mortal ever yet passed that bowl without doing exactly as you have done.
The vein of curiosity, were it that alone that impels you, could not but
have an exception."

Then he cracked the shell of the fruit by striking it on the stony
floor, and carefully opened the shell, handing me one of the halves
filled with a green fluid. As he did so he spoke the single word,
"Drink," and I did as directed. He stood upright before me, and as I
looked him in the face he seemingly, without a reason, struck off into a
dissertation, apparently as distinct from our line of thought as a
disconnected subject could be, as follows:

[Illustration: "HANDING ME ONE OF THE HALVES, HE SPOKE THE SINGLE
WORD, DRINK."]



CHAPTER XXXVI.

    DRUNKENNESS.--THE DRINKS OF MAN.


"Intemperance has been the vice of every people, and is prevalent in all
climes, notwithstanding that intoxicants, properly employed, may serve
humanity's highest aims. Beginning early in the history of a people, the
disease increases with the growth of a nation, until, at last, unless
the knife is used, civilization perishes. A lowly people becomes more
depraved as the use of liquor increases; a cultivated people passes
backward into barbarism with the depravities that come from dissipation.
Here nations meet, and individuals sink to a common level. No drinking
man is strong enough to say, 'I can not become dissipated;' no nation is
rich and cultivated enough to view the debauch of its people without
alarm.

"The disgusting habit of the drunken African finds its counterpart in
the lascivious wine-bibber of aristocratic society. To picture the
indecencies of society, that may be charged to debauchery, when the
Grecian and Roman empires were at the height of greatness, would obscure
the orgies of the barbarous African, and make preferable the brutality
of the drunken American Indian. Intemperance brings men to the lowest
level, and holds its power over all lands and all nations."

"Did the aborigines know how to make intoxicants, and were barbarians
intemperate before contact with civilized nations?"

"Yes."

"But I have understood that drunkenness is a vice inherent only in
civilized people; are not you mistaken?"

"No. Every clime, unless it be the far North where men are scarcely more
than animals, furnishes intoxicants, and all people use them. I will
tell you part of this record of nations.

"The Nubians make a barley beer which they call bouze, and also a wine,
from the palm tree. The savages of Africa draw the clear, sweet juice of
the palm oil tree into a gourd, in the morning, and by night it becomes
a violent intoxicant. The natives of the Malayan Archipelago ferment and
drink the sap of the flower stems of the cocoanut. The Tartar tribes
make an intoxicating drink from mare's milk, called koomis. In South
America the natives drink a vile compound, called cana, distilled from
sugar cane; and in the Sandwich Islands, the shrub kava supplies the
intoxicant kava-kava, drunk by all the inhabitants, from king to slave,
and mother to child. In the heart of Africa, cannibal tribes make legyce
of a cereal, and indulge in wild orgies over their barbaric cup. In
North America the Indians, before Columbus discovered America, made an
intoxicating drink of the sap of the maple tree. The national drink of
the Mexicans is pulque, a beastly intoxicant, prepared from the Agave
Americana. Mead is an alcoholic drink, made of honey, and used in many
countries. In China wine was indulged in from the earliest day, and in
former times, had it not been for the influence of their philosophers,
especially Confucius, who foresaw the end, the Chinese nation would have
perished from drunkenness. Opium, that fearful enslaver of millions of
human beings, is in every sense a narcotic intoxicant, and stands
conspicuous as an agent, capable of being either a friend, a companion,
or a master, as man permits. History fails to indicate the date of its
introduction to humanity. In South America the leaf of the cocoa plant
is a stimulant scarcely less to be dreaded than opium. The juice of a
species of asclepias produces the intoxicant soma, used once by the
Brahmins, not only as a drink, but also in sacrificial and religious
ceremonies. Many different flavored liquors made of palm, cocoanuts,
sugar, pepper, honey, spices, etc., were used by native Hindoos, and as
intoxicants have been employed from the earliest days in India. The
Vedic people were fearfully dissipated, and page after page of that
wonderful sacred book, the Rigs-Veda, is devoted to the habit of
drunkenness. The worst classes of drunkards of India used Indian hemp to
make bhang, or combined the deadly narcotic stramonium with arrack, a
native beer, to produce a poisonous intoxicant. In that early day the
inhabitants of India and China were fearfully depraved drunkards, and
but for the reforms instituted by their wise men, must have perished as
a people. Parahaoma, or 'homa,' is an intoxicant made from a lost plant
that is described as having yellow blossoms, used by the ancient
dissolute Persians from the day of Zoroaster. Cannabis sativa produces
an intoxicant that in Turkey is known as hadschy, in Arabia and India as
hashish, and to the Hottentots as dacha, and serves as a drunkard's food
in other lands. The fruit of the juniper produces gin, and the fermented
juice of the grape, or malt liquors, in all civilized countries are the
favorite intoxicants, their origin being lost in antiquity. Other
substances, such as palm, apples, dates, and pomegranates have also been
universally employed as drink producers.

"Go where you will, man's tendency seems to be towards the bowl that
inebriates, and yet it is not the use but the abuse of intoxicants that
man has to dread. Could he be temperate, exhilarants would befriend."

"But here," I replied, "in this underground land, where food is free,
and existence possible without an effort, this shameful vice has no
existence. Here there is no incentive to intemperance, and even though
man were present with his inherent passion for drink, he could not find
means to gratify his appetite."

"Ah," my guide replied, "that is an error. Why should this part of the
earth prove an exception to the general rule? Nature always supplies the
means, and man's instinct teaches him how to prepare an intoxicant. So
long as man is human his passions will rule. If you should prove unequal
to the task you have undertaken, if you shrink from your journey, and
turn back, the chances are you will fail to reach the surface of the
earth. You will surely stop in the chamber which we now approach, and
which I have now prepared you to enter, and will then become one of a
band of earth drunkards; having all the lower passions of a mortal you
will yet be lost to the virtues of man. In this chamber those who falter
and turn back, stop and remain for all time, sinking until they become
lower in the human scale than any drunkard on earth. Without any
restraining influence, without a care, without necessity of food or
incentive to exertion, in this habitation where heat and cold are
unknown, and no motive for self-preservation exists, they turn their
thoughts toward the ruling passion of mankind and--Listen! Do you not
hear them? Listen!"



CHAPTER XXXVII.

    THE DRUNKARD'S VOICE.


Then I noticed a medley of sounds seemingly rising out of the depths
beyond us. The noise was not such as to lead me to infer that persons
were speaking coherently, but rather resembled a jargon such as might
come from a multitude of persons talking indiscriminately and aimlessly.
It was a constant volley, now rising and now falling in intensity, as
though many persons regardless of one another were chanting different
tunes in that peculiar sing-song tone often characteristic of the
drunkard. As we advanced, the noise became louder and more of a medley,
until at last we were surrounded by confusion. Then a single voice rose
up strong and full, and at once, from about us, close to us, yes,
against our very persons, cries and shrieks unearthly smote my ears. I
could distinguish words of various tongues, English, Irish, German, and
many unfamiliar and disjointed cries, imprecations, and maledictions.
The cavern about seemed now to be resonant with voices,--shrieks, yells,
and maniacal cries commingled,--and yet no form appeared. As we rushed
onward, for now my guide grasped my arm tightly and drew me rapidly down
the cavern floor, the voices subsided, and at length sounded as if
behind us. Now however it seemed as though innumerable arrows, each
possessed of a whistle or tone of its own, were in wave-like gusts
shrieking by us. Coming from in front, they burst in the rear. Stopping
to listen, I found that a connection could be traced between the screech
of the arrow-like shriek, and a drunkard's distant voice. It seemed as
though a rocket made of an escaping voice would scream past, and
bursting in the cavern behind, liberate a human cry. Now and then all
but a few would subside, to burst out with increased violence, as if a
flight of rockets each with a cry of its own would rush past, to be
followed after their explosion by a medley of maniacal cries, songs,
shrieks, and groans, commingled. It was as though a shell containing a
voice that escaped slowly as by pressure from an orifice, were fired
past my ears, to explode and liberate the voice within my hearing. The
dreadful utterance was not an echo, was not hallucination, it was real.

I stopped and looked at my guide in amazement. He explained: "Did you
not sometime back experience that your own voice was thrown from your
body?"

"Yes," I answered.

"These crazed persons or rather experiences depraved, are shouting in
the cavern beyond," he said. "They are in front; their voices pass us to
burst into expression in the rear."

Then, even as he spoke, from a fungus stalk near us, a hideous creature
unfolded itself, and shambled to my side. It had the frame of a man, and
yet it moved like a serpent, writhing towards me. I stepped back in
horror, but the tall, ungainly creature reached out an arm and grasped
me tightly. Leaning over he placed his hideous mouth close to my ear,
and moaned: "Back, back, go thou back."

I made no reply, being horror-stricken.

"Back, I say, back to earth, or--"

He hesitated, and still possessed of fear, and unable to reply, I was
silent.

"Then go on," he said, "on to your destiny, unhappy man," and slinking
back to the fungus whence he arose, he disappeared from sight.

"Come," said my guide, "let us pass the Drunkard's Den. This was but a
straggler; nerve yourself, for his companions will soon surround us."



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

    THE DRUNKARDS' DEN.


As we progressed the voices in our rear became more faint, and yet the
whistling volleys of screeching voice bombs passed us as before. I
shuddered in anticipation of the sight that was surely to meet our gaze,
and could not but tremble for fear. Then I stopped and recoiled, for at
my very feet I beheld a huge, living human head. It rested on the solid
rock, and had I not stopped suddenly when I did, I would have kicked it
at the next leap. The eyes of the monster were fixed in supplication on
my face; the great brow indicated intelligence, the finely-cut mouth
denoted refinement, the well-modeled head denoted brain, but the whole
constituted a monster. The mouth opened, and a whizzing, arrow voice
swept past, and was lost in the distance.

"What is this?" I gasped.

"The fate of a drunkard," my guide replied. "This was once an
intelligent man, but now he has lost his body, and enslaved his soul, in
the den of drink beyond us, and has been brought here by his comrades,
who thus rid themselves of his presence. Here he must rest eternally. He
can not move, he has but one desire, drink, and that craving, deeper
than life, can not be satiated."

"But he desires to speak; speak lower, man, or head of man, if you wish
me to know your wants," I said, and leaned toward him.

Then the monster whispered, and I caught the words:

"Back, back, go thou back!"

I made no reply.

"Back I say, back to earth or--"

Still I remained silent.

"Then go on," he said; "on to your destiny, unhappy man."

"This is horrible," I muttered.

"Come," said the guide, "let us proceed."

And we moved onward.

Now I perceived many such heads about us, all resting upright on the
stony floor. Some were silent, others were shouting, others still were
whispering and endeavoring to attract my attention. As we hurried on I
saw more and more of these abnormal creatures. Some were in rows,
resting against each other, leaving barely room for us to pass between,
but at last, much to my relief, we left them behind us.

But I found that I had no cause for congratulation, when I felt myself
clutched by a powerful hand--a hand as large as that of a man fifty feet
in height. I looked about expecting to see a gigantic being, but instead
beheld a shrunken pigmy. The whole man seemed but a single hand--a
Brobdingnag hand affixed to the body of a Liliputian.

"Do not struggle," said the guide; "listen to what he wishes to impart."

I leaned over, placing my ear close to the mouth of the monstrosity.

"Back, back, go thou back," it whispered.

"What have I to fear?" I asked.

"Back, I say, back to earth, or--"

"Or what?" I said.

"Then go on; on to your destiny, unhappy man," he answered, and the hand
loosed its grasp.

My guide drew me onward.

Then, from about us, huge hands arose; on all sides they waved in the
air; some were closed and were shaken as clenched fists, others moved
aimlessly with spread fingers, others still pointed to the passage we
had traversed, and in a confusion of whispers I heard from the pigmy
figures a babble of cries, "Back, back, go thou back." Again I
hesitated, the strain upon my nerves was becoming unbearable; I glanced
backward and saw a swarm of misshaped diminutive forms, each holding up
a monstrous arm and hand. The passage behind us was closed against
retreat. Every form possessed but one hand, the other and the entire
body seemingly had been drawn into this abnormal member. While I thus
meditated, momentarily, as by a single thought each hand closed,
excepting the index finger, and in unison each finger pointed towards
the open way in front, and like shafts from a thousand bows I felt the
voices whiz past me, and then from the rear came the reverberation as a
complex echo, "Then go on; on to your destiny, unhappy man."

Instinctively I sprang forward, and had it not been for the restraining
hand of my guide would have rushed wildly into passages that might have
ended my misery, for God only knows what those unseen corridors
contained. I was aware of that which lay behind, and was only intent on
escaping from the horrid figures already passed.

[Illustration: "EACH FINGER POINTED TOWARDS THE OPEN WAY IN FRONT."]

"Hold," whispered the guide; "as you value your life, stop."

And then exerting a power that I could not withstand, he held me a
struggling prisoner.

"Listen," he said, "have you not observed that these creatures do not
seek to harm you? Have not all of them spoken kindly, have any offered
violence?"

"No," I replied, "but they are horrible."

"That they realize; but fearing that you will prove to be as weak as
they have been, and will become as they are now, they warn you back.
However, I say to you, if you have courage sufficient, you need have no
fear. Come, rely on me, and do not be surprised at anything that
appears."

Again we went forward. I realized now my utter helplessness. I became
indifferent again; I could neither retrace my footsteps alone, nor guide
them forward in the path I was to pursue. I submissively relied on my
guide, and as stoical as he appeared to be, I moved onward to new
scenes.

We came to a great chamber which, as we halted on its edge, seemed to be
a prodigious amphitheater. In its center a rostrum-like stone of a
hundred feet in diameter, flat and circular on the top, reared itself
about twelve feet above the floor, and to the base of this rostrum the
floor of the room sloped evenly. The amphitheater was fully a thousand
feet in diameter, of great height, and the floor was literally alive
with grotesque beings. Imagination could not depict an abnormal human
form that did not exhibit itself to my startled gaze. One peculiarity
now presented itself to my mind; each abnormal part seemed to be created
at the expense of the remainder of the body. Thus, to my right I beheld
a single leg, fully twelve feet in height, surmounted by a puny human
form, which on this leg, hopped ludicrously away. I saw close behind
this huge limb a great ear attached to a small head and body; then a
nose so large that the figure to which it was attached was forced to
hold the face upward, in order to prevent the misshaped organ from
rubbing on the stony floor. Here a gigantic forehead rested on a
shrunken face and body, and there a pair of enormous feet were walking,
seemingly attached to the body of a child, and yet the face was that of
a man. If an artist were to attempt to create as many revolting figures
as possible, each with some member out of proportion to the rest of the
body, he could not add one form to those upon this floor. And yet, I
again observed that each exaggerated organ seemed to have drawn itself
into existence by absorbing the remainder of the body. We stood on the
edge of this great room, and I pondered the scene before my eyes. At
length my guide broke the silence:

"You must cross this floor; no other passage is known. Mark well my
words, heed my advice."

"This is the Drunkards' Den. These men are lost to themselves and to the
world. Every member of this assembly once passed onward as you are now
doing, in charge of a guide. They failed to reach the goal to which you
aspire, and retreating, reached this chamber, to become victims to the
drink habit. Some of these creatures have been here for ages, others
only for a short period."

"Why are they so distorted?" I asked.

"Because matter is now only partly subservient to will," he replied.
"The intellect and mind of a drunkard on surface earth becomes abnormal
by the influence of an intoxicant, but his real form is unseen, although
evidently misshapen and partly subject to the perception of a few only
of his fellow men. Could you see the inner form of an earth surface
drunkard, you would perceive as great a mental monstrosity as is any
physical monster now before you, and of the two the physically abnormal
creature is really the least objectionable. Could you see the mind
configurations of an assembly of surface earth topers, you would
perceive a class of beings as much distorted mentally as are these
physically. A drunkard is a monstrosity. On surface earth the mind
becomes abnormal; here the body suffers."

"Why is it," I asked, "that parts of these creatures shrink away as some
special organ increases?"

"Because the abnormal member can grow only by abstracting its substance
from the other portions of the body. An increasing arm enlarges itself
by drawing its strength from the other parts, hence the body withers as
the hand enlarges, and in turn the hand shrinks when the leg increases
in size. The total weight of the individual remains about the same.

"Men on earth judge of men not by what they are, but by what they seem
to be. The physical form is apparent to the sense of sight, the real man
is unseen. However, as the boot that encloses a foot can not altogether
hide the form of the foot within, so the body that encloses the life
entity, can not but exhibit here and there the character of the
dominating spirit within. Thus a man's features may grow to indicate the
nature of the enclosed spirit, for the controlling character of that
spirit will gradually impress itself on the material part of man. Even
on surface earth, where the matter side of man dominates, a vicious
spirit will produce a villainous countenance, a mediocre mind a vapid
face, and an amorous soul will even protrude the anterior part of the
skull.

"Carry the same law to this location, and it will be seen that as mind,
or spirit, is here the master, and matter is the slave, the same rule
should, under natural law, tend to produce such abnormal figures as you
perceive. Hence the part of a man's spirit that is endowed most highly
sways the corresponding part of his physical body at the expense of the
remainder. Gradually the form is altered under the relaxing influence of
this fearful intra-earth intoxicant, and eventually but one organ
remains to tell of the symmetrical man who formerly existed. Then, when
he is no longer capable of self-motion, the comrades carry the
drunkard's fate, which is here the abnormal being you have seen, into
the selected corridor, and deposit it among others of its kind, as in
turn the bearers are destined sometime to be carried by others. We
reached this cavern through a corridor in which heads and arms were
abnormal, but in others may be found great feet, great legs, or other
portions of self-abused man.

"I should tell you, furthermore, that on surface earth a drunkard is not
less abnormal than these creatures; but men can not see the form of the
drunkard's spirit. Could they perceive the image of the real man life
that corresponds to the material part, it would appear not less
distorted and hideous. The soul of a mortal protrudes from the visible
body as down expands from a thistle seed, but it is invisible. Drink
drives the spirit of an earth-surface drunkard to unnatural forms, not
less grotesque than these physical distortions. Could you see the real
drunkard on surface earth he would be largely outside the body shell,
and hideous in the extreme. As a rule, the spirit of an earth-surface
drunkard dominates the nose and face, and if mortal man could be
suddenly gifted with the sense of mind-sight, they would find themselves
surrounded by persons as misshapen as any delirious imagination can
conjure. Luckily for humanity this scene is as yet withheld from man,
for life would otherwise be a fearful experience, because man has not
the power to resist the temptation to abuse drink."

"Tell me," I said, "how long will those beings rest in these caverns?"

"They have been here for ages," replied the guide; "they are doomed to
remain for ages yet."

"You have intimated that if my courage fails I will return to this
cavern and become as they are. Now that you have warned me of my doom,
do you imagine that anything, even sudden death, can swerve me from my
journey? Death is surely preferable to such an existence as this."

"Do not be so confident. Every individual before you has had the same
opportunity, and has been warned as you have been. They could not
undergo the test to which they were subjected, and you may fail.
Besides, on surface earth are not men constantly confronted with the
doom of the drunkard, and do they not, in the face of this reality, turn
back and seek his caverns? The journey of life is not so fearful that
they should become drunkards to shrink from its responsibilities. You
have reached this point in safety. You have passed the sentinels
without, and will soon be accosted by the band before us. Listen well
now to my advice. A drunkard always seeks to gain companions, to draw
others down to his own level, and you will be tried as never have you
been before. Taste not their liquor by whatever form or creature
presented. They have no power to harm him who has courage to resist. If
they entreat you, refuse; if they threaten, refuse; if they offer
inducements, refuse to drink. Let your answer be No, and have no fear.
If your strength fail you, mark well my--"

Before he could complete his sentence I felt a pressure, as of a great
wind, and suddenly found myself seized in an embrace irresistible, and
then, helpless as a feather, was swept out into the cavern of the
drunkards.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

    AMONG THE DRUNKARDS.


I remember once to have stood on the edge of Niagara's great whirlpool,
but not more fearful did its seething waters then seem than did the
semi-human whirl into which I had now been plunged. Whether my guide had
been aware of the coming move that separated us I never knew, but, as
his words were interrupted, I infer that he was not altogether ready to
part from my company. Be this as it may, he disappeared from sight, and,
as by a concerted move, the cries of the drunkards subsided instantly. I
found myself borne high in the air, perched on a huge hand that was
carried by its semi-human comrades. It seemed as though the contents of
that vast hall had been suddenly thrown beneath me, for, as I looked
about, I saw all around a sea of human fragments, living, moving parts
of men. Round and round that hall we circled as an eddy whirls in a
rock-bound basin, and not less silently than does the water of an eddy.
Then I perceived that the disjointed mass of humanity moved as a spiral,
in unison, throbbing like a vitalized stream, bearing me submissively on
its surface. Gradually the distance between myself and the center stone
lessened, and then I found that, as if carried in the groove of a
gigantic living spiral, I was being swept towards the stone platform in
the center of the room. There was method in the movements of the
drunkards, although I could not analyze the intricacies of their complex
reel.

Finally I was borne to the center stone, and by a sudden toss of the
hand, in the palm of which I was seated, I was thrown upon the raised
platform. Then in unison the troop swung around the stone, and I found
myself gazing on a mass of vitalized fragments of humanity. Quickly a
figure sprung upon the platform, and in him I discerned a seemingly
perfect man. He came to my side and grasped my hand as if he were a
friend.

"Do not fear," he said; "obey our request, and you will not be harmed."

"What do you desire?" I asked.

He pointed to the center of the stone, and I saw thereon many gigantic,
inverted fungus bowls. The gills of some had been crushed to a pulp, and
had saturated themselves with liquid which, perhaps by a species of
fermentation, had undergone a structural change; others were as yet
intact; others still contained men intently cutting the gills into
fragments and breaking the fruit preparatory to further manipulation.

"You are to drink with us," he replied.

"No," I said; "I will not drink."

"Then you must die; to refuse to drink with us is to invite death."

"So mote it be; I will not drink."

We stood facing each other, apparently both meditating on the situation.

I remember to have been surprised, not that the man before me had been
able to spring from the floor to the table rock on which I stood, but
that so fair a personage could have been a companion of the
monstrosities about me. He was a perfect type of manhood, and was
exquisitely clothed in a loose, flowing robe that revealed and
heightened the beauty of his symmetrical form. His face was fair, yet
softly tinted with rich, fresh color; his hair and beard were neatly
trimmed; his manner was polished, and his countenance frank and
attractive. The contrast between the preternatural shapes from among
whom he sprung and himself was as between a demon and an angel. I
marveled that I had not perceived him before, for such a one should have
been conspicuous because so fair; but I reflected that it was quite
natural that among the thousands of grotesque persons about me, one
attractive form should have escaped notice. Presently he spoke again,
seemingly having repented of his display of temper.

"I am a friend," he said; "a deliverer. I will serve you as I have
others before you. Lean on me, listen to my story, accept my proffered
friendship."

Then he continued: "When you have rested, I will guide you in safety
back to upper earth, and restore you to your friends."

I could not resist his pleasing promise. I suddenly and unaccountably
believed in his sincerity. He impressed me with confidence in his
truthfulness, yes, against my better judgment, convinced me that he must
be a friend, a savior. Grasping him by the hand I thanked him for his
interest in a disconsolate wanderer, and assured him of my confidence.

"I am in your hands," I said; "I will obey you implicitly. I thank you,
my deliverer; lead me back to surface earth and receive the gratitude of
a despairing mortal."

"This I will surely do," he said; "rest your case in my hands, do not
concern yourself in the least about your future. Before acquiescing in
your desire, however, I will explain part of the experiences through
which you have recently passed. You have been in the control of an evil
spirit, and have been deceived. The grotesque figures, the abnormal
beings about you, exist only in your disordered imagination. They are
not real. These persons are happy and free from care or pain. They live
in bliss inexpressible. They have a life within a life, and the outward
expression that you have perceived is as the uncouth hide and figure
that incloses the calm, peaceful eye of a toad. Look at their eyes, not
at their seemingly distorted forms."

I turned to the throng and beheld a multitude of upturned faces mildly
beaming upon me. As I glanced from eye to eye of each countenance, the
repulsive figure disappeared from my view, and a sweet expression of
innocence was all that was disclosed to me. I realized that I had judged
by the outer garment. I had wronged these fellow-beings. A sense of
remorse came over me, a desire to atone for my short-sightedness.

"What can I offer as a retribution?" I asked. "I have injured these
people."

"Listen," was the reply. "These serene intelligences are happy. They are
as a band of brothers. They seek to do you a kindness, to save you from
disaster. One hour of experience such as they enjoy is worth a hundred
years of the pleasures known to you. This delicious favor, an hour of
bliss, they freely offer you, and after you have partaken of their
exquisite joy, I will conduct you back to earth's surface whenever you
desire to leave us." He emphasized the word, desire.

"I am ready," I replied; "give me this promised delight."

The genial allurer turned to the table rock behind us, and continued:

"In these fungus bowls we foment the extract of life. The precious
cordial is as a union of the quintessential spirits of joy, peace,
tranquillity, happiness, and delight. Could man abstract from ecstasy
the thing that underlies the sense that gives that word a meaning, his
product would not approach the power of the potent liquids in these
vessels."

"Of what are they composed?" I asked.

"Of derivatives of the rarest species of the fungus family," he
answered. "They are made by formulæ that are the result of thousands of
years of experimentation. Come, let us not delay longer the hour of
bliss."

Taking me by the hand, my graceful comrade led me to the nearest bowl.
Then on closer view I perceived that its contents were of a deep green
color, and in active commotion, and although no vapor was apparent, a
delightful sensation impressed my faculties. I am not sure that I
inhaled at all,--the feeling was one of penetration, of subtile, magic
absorption. My companion took a tiny shell which he dipped into the
strange cauldron. Holding the tiny cup before me, he spoke the one word,
"Drink."

Ready to acquiesce, forgetful of the warning I had received, I grasped
the cup, and raised it to my lips, and as I did so chanced to glance at
my tempter's face, and saw not the supposed friend I had formerly
observed, but, as through a mask fair in outline, the countenance of an
exulting demon, regarding me with a sardonic grin. In an instant he had
changed from man to devil.

I dashed the cup upon the rock. "No; I will not drink," I shouted.

Instantly the cavern rung with cries of rage. A thousand voices joined
as by accord, and simultaneously the throng of fragments of men began to
revolve again. The mysterious spiral seemed to unwind, but I could not
catch the method of its movement. The motion was like that of an
uncoiling serpent bisected lengthwise, the two halves of the body
seeming to slide against each other. Gradually that part of the cavern
near the stone on which I stood became clear of its occupants, and at
last I perceived that the throng had receded to the outer edge.

Then the encircling side walls of the amphitheater became visible, and
as water sinks into sand, the medley of fragments of humanity
disappeared from view.

I turned to my companion; he, too, had vanished. I glanced towards the
liquor cauldrons; the stone was bare. I alone occupied the gigantic
hall. No trace remained to tell of the throng that a short time
previously had surrounded and mocked me.

Desolate, distracted, I threw myself upon the stone, and cursed my
miserable self. "Come back," I cried, "come back. I will drink, drink,
drink."



CHAPTER XL.

    FURTHER TEMPTATION.--ETIDORHPA.


Then, as my voice reverberated from the outer recesses, I caught a sound
as of music in the distance. I raised my head and listened--yes, surely
there was music. The melody became clearly distinct, and soon my senses
were aware that both vocal and instrumental music were combined. The
airs which came floating were sweet, simple, and beautiful. The voices
and accompanying strains approached, but I could distinguish no words.
By and by, from the corridors of the cavern, troops of bright female
forms floated into view. They were clad in robes ranging from pure white
to every richest hue, contrasting strangely, and in the distance their
rainbow brilliancy made a gorgeous spectacle. Some were fantastically
attired in short gowns, such as I imagine were worn by the dancing girls
of sacred history, others had kirtles of a single bright color, others
of many shades intermingled, while others still were dressed in
gauze-like fabrics of pure white.

As they filed into the cavern, and approached me, they formed into
platoons, or into companies, and then, as dissolving views come and go,
they presented first one and then another figure. Sometimes they would
stretch in great circling lines around the hall, again they would form
into squares, and again into geometrical figures of all shades and
forms, but I observed that with every change they drew nearer to the
stone on which I rested.

They were now so near that their features could be distinguished, and
never before had I seen such loveliness in human mold. Every face was as
perfect as a master's picture of the Madonna, and yet no two seemed to
possess the same type of beauty. Some were of dark complexion with
glossy, raven hair, others were fair with hair ranging from light brown
to golden. The style of head dress, as a rule, was of the simplest
description. A tinted ribbon, or twisted cord, over the head, bound
their hair with becoming grace, and their silken locks were either
plaited into braids, curled into ringlets, or hung loosely, flowing in
wavelets about their shoulders. Some held curious musical instruments,
others beautiful wands, and altogether they produced a scenic effect of
rare beauty that the most extravagant dream of fairyland could not
surpass. Thus it was that I became again the center of a throng, not of
repulsive monsters, but of marvelously lovely beings. They were as
different from those preceding as darkness is from daylight.

Could any man from the data of my past experiences have predicted such a
scene? Never before had the semblance of a woman appeared, never before
had an intimation been given that the gentle sex existed in these silent
chambers. Now, from the grotesque figures and horrible cries of the
former occupants of this same cavern, the scene had changed to a
conception of the beautiful and artistic, such as a poetic spirit might
evolve in an extravagant dream of higher fairy land. I glanced above;
the great hall was clothed in brilliant colors, the bare rocks had
disappeared, the dome of that vast arch reaching to an immeasurable
height, was decorated in all the colors of the rainbow. Flags and
streamers fluttered in breezes that also moved the garments of the
angelic throng about me, but which I could not sense; profiles of
enchanting faces pervaded the glimmering space beyond; I alone was but
an onlooker, not a participant of the joys about me.

The movements of the seraph-like figures continued, innumerable forms
and figures followed forms and figures innumerable, and music
indescribable blended with the poetry of motion. I was rapt, the past
disappeared, my former mind was blotted from existence, the world
vanished, and I became a thrill of joy, a sensation of absolute delight.

The band of spirits or fairy forms reached the rock at my feet, but I
did not know how long a time they consumed in doing this; it may have
been a second, and it may have been an eternity. Neither did I care. A
single moment of existence such as I experienced, seemed worth an age of
any other pleasure.

Circling about me, these ethereal creatures paused from their motions,
and, as the music ceased, I stood above them, and yet in their midst,
and gazed out into a distance illimitable, but not less beautiful in the
expanse than was the adjacent part. The cavern had altogether
disappeared, and in the depths about me as far as the eye could reach,
seemingly into the broad expanse of heaven, I saw the exquisite forms
that I have so imperfectly described.

Then a single band from the throng lightly sprung upon the stony terrace
where I stood, and sung and danced before me. Every motion was perfect
as imagination could depict, every sound was concentrated extract of
melody. This band retired to be replaced by another, which in turn gave
way to another, and still another, until, as in space we have no
standard, time vanished, and numbers ceased to be numbers.

No two of the band of dancers were clothed alike, no two songs were
similar, though all were inexpressibly enchanting. The first group
seemed perfect, and yet the second was better, and each succeeding band
sung sweeter songs, were more beautiful, and richer in dress than those
preceding. I became enveloped in the æsthetic atmosphere, my spirit
seemed to be loosened from the body, it was apparently upon the point of
escaping from its mortal frame; suddenly the music ceased, the figures
about became passive, and every form standing upright and graceful,
gazed upon my face, and as I looked at the radiant creatures, each
successive face, in turn, seemed to grow more beautiful, each form more
exquisite than those about.

Then, in the distance, I observed the phalanx divide, forming into two
divisions, separated by a broad aisle, stretching from my feet to the
limit of space without, and down this aisle I observed a single figure
advancing toward me.

As she approached, the phalanx closed in behind her, and when at last
she reached the stone on which I stood, she stepped, or was wafted to my
side, and the phalanx behind moved together and was complete again.

[Illustration: ETIDORHPA.]

"My name is Etidorhpa. In me you behold the spirit that elevates man,
and subdues the most violent of passions. In history, so far back in the
dim ages as to be known now as legendary mythology, have I ruled and
blessed the world. Unclasp my power over man and beast, and while heaven
dissolves, the charms of Paradise will perish. I know no master. The
universe bows to my authority. Stars and suns enamored pulsate and throb
in space and kiss each other in waves of light; atoms cold embrace and
cling together; structures inanimate affiliate with and attract
inanimate structures; bodies dead to other noble passions are not dead
to love. The savage beast, under my enchantment, creeps to her lair, and
gently purrs over her offspring; even man becomes less violent, and
sheathes his weapon and smothers his hatred as I soothe his passions
beside the loved ones in the privacy of his home.

"I have been known under many titles, and have comforted many peoples.
Strike my name from Time's record, and the lovely daughters of Zeus and
Dione would disappear; and with them would vanish the grace and beauty
of woman; the sweet conception of the Froth Child of the Cyprus Sea
would be lost; Venus, the Goddess of Love, would have no place in song,
and Love herself, the holiest conception of the poet, man's superlative
conception of Heaven's most precious charms, would be buried with the
myrtle and the rose. My name is Etidorhpa; interpret it rightly, and you
have what has been to humanity the essence of love, the mother of all
that ennobles. He who loves a wife worships me; she, who in turn makes a
home happy, is typical of me. I am Etidorhpa, the beginning and the end
of earth. Behold in me the antithesis of envy, the opposite of malice,
the enemy of sorrow, the mistress of life, the queen of immortal bliss.

"Do you know," she continued, and her voice, soft and sweet, carried
with it a pleasurable sense of truthfulness indescribable, "do you know
that man's idea of heaven, places me, Etidorhpa, on the highest throne?
With the charm of maiden pure, I combine the devotion of wife and the
holiness of mother. Take from the life of man the treasures I embody,
and he will be homeless, childless, loveless. The thought of Heaven will
in such a case be as the dismal conception of a dreary platitude. A life
in such a Heaven, a Heaven devoid of love (and this the Scriptures
teach), is one of endless torment.

"Love, by whatever name the conception is designated, rules the world.
Divest the cold man of science, of the bond that binds him to his
life-thought, and his work is ended. Strike from the master in music
the chord that links his soul to the voice he breathes, and his songs
will be hushed. Deaden the sense of love which the artist bears his art,
and as the spirit that underlies his thought-scenes vanishes, his touch
becomes chilled, and his brush inexpressive. The soldier thinks of his
home and country, and without a murmur sheds his life blood.

"And yet there are debasing phases of love, for as love of country
builds a nation, so love of pillage may destroy it. Love of the holy and
the beautiful stands in human life opposed to love of the debasing and
vicious, and I, Etidorhpa, am typical of the highest love of man. As the
same force binds the molecules of the rose and the violet as well as
those of noxious drugs, so the same soul conception may serve the love
of good or the love of evil. Love may guide a tyrant or actuate a saint,
may make man torture his fellow, or strive to ease his pain.

"Thus, man's propensity to serve his holy or his evil passion may each
be called a degree in love, and in the serving of that passion the love
of one heart may express itself as the antithesis of love in another. As
bitter is to some men's taste more pleasant than sweet, and sour is yet
more grateful to others, so one man may love the beautiful, another
delight in the grotesque, and a third may love to see his neighbor
suffer. Amid these, the phase of love that ennobles, brings the greatest
degree of pleasure and comfort to mankind, but the love that degrades is
love nevertheless, by whatever name the expression of the passion may be
called. Love rules the world, and typical of man's intensest, holiest
love, I, Etidorhpa, stand the Soul of Love Supreme." She hesitated.

"Go on."

"I have already said, and in saying this have told the truth, I come
from beyond the empty shell of a materialistic gold and silver
conception of Heaven. Go with me, and in my home you will find man's
soul devotion, regardless of material surroundings. I have said, and
truly, the corridors of the Heaven mansion, enriched by precious stones
and metals fine, but destitute of my smiles and graces, are deserted.
The golden calf is no longer worshiped, cobwebs cling in festoons
motionless, and the dust of selfish thoughts perverted, dry and black as
the soot from Satan's fires settling therein, as the dust of an
antiquated sarcophagus, rest undisturbed. Place on one side the Heaven
of which gold-bound misers sing, and on the other Etidorhpa and the
treasures that come with me to man and woman, (for without me neither
wife, child, nor father could exist,) and from any other heaven mankind
will turn away. The noblest gift of Heaven to humanity is the highest
sense of love, and I, Etidorhpa, am the soul of love."

She ceased speaking, and as I looked at the form beside me I forgot
myself in the rapture of that gaze.

Crush the colors of the rainbow into a single hue possessed of the
attributes of all the others, and multiply that entity to infinity, and
you have less richness than rested in any of the complex colors shown in
the trimming of her raiment. Lighten the softness of eiderdown a
thousand times, and yet maintain its sense of substance, and you have
not conceived of the softness of the gauze that decked her simple,
flowing garments. Gather the shadows cast by a troop of radiant angels,
then sprinkle the resultant shade with star dust, and color therewith a
garment brighter than satin, softer than silk, and more ethereal than
light itself, and you have less beauty than reposed in the modest dress
that enveloped her figure. Abstract the perfume from the sweetest
oriental grasses, and combine with it the essential spirit of the wild
rose, then add thereto the soul of ambergris, and the quintessential
extracts of the finest aromatics of the East, and you have not
approached the exquisite fragrance that penetrated my very being at her
approach. She stood before me, slender, lithe, symmetrical, radiant. Her
hair was more beautiful than pen can depict; it was colorless because it
can not be described by colors known to mortals. Her face paled the
beauty of all who had preceded her. She could not be a fairy, for no
conception of a fairy can approach such loveliness; she was not a
spirit, for surely material substance was a part of her form; she was
not an angel, for no abnormal, irrational wing protruded from her
shoulder to blemish her seraphic figure.

"No," I said musingly; "she is a creature of other climes; the
Scriptures tell of no such being; she is neither human nor angelic,
but--"

"But what?" she said.

"I do not know," I answered.

"Then I will tell you," she replied. "Yes; I will tell you of myself and
of my companions. I will show you our home, carrying you through the
shadows of heaven to exhibit that fair land, for heaven without
Etidorhpa casts a shadow in comparison therewith. See," she said, as
with her dainty fingers she removed from her garment a fragment of
transparent film that I had not previously observed; "see, this is a
cobweb that clung to my skirt, as, on my way to meet you, I passed
through the dismal corridors of the materialists' loveless heaven."

She dropped it on the floor, and I stooped to pick it up, but vainly--my
fingers passed through it as through a mist.

"You must be an angel," I stammered.

She smiled.

"Come," she said, "do not consume your time with thoughts of
materialistic heaven; come with me to that brighter land beyond, and in
those indescribable scenes we, you and I, will wander together forever."

She held out her hand; I hesitatingly touched it, and then raised it to
my lips. She made no resistance.

I dropped upon my knees. "Are you to be mine?" I cried. "Mine forever?"

"Yes," she answered; "if you will it, for he who loves will be loved in
turn."

"I will do it," I said; "I give myself to you, be you what you may, be
your home where it may, I give up the earth behind me, and the hope of
heaven before me; the here and the hereafter I will sacrifice. Let us
hasten," I said, for she made no movement.

She shook her head. "You must yet be tempted as never before, and you
must resist the tempter. You can not pass into the land of Etidorhpa
until you have suffered as only the damned can suffer, until you have
withstood the pangs of thirst, and have experienced heat and cold
indescribable. Remember the warning of your former guide, mark well the
words of Etidorhpa: you must not yield. 'Twas to serve you that I came
before you now, 'twas to preserve you from the Drunkard's Cavern that I
have given you this vision of the land beyond the End of Earth where, if
you will serve yourself, we will meet again."

She held aloft two tiny cups; I sprung to my feet and grasped one of
them, and as I glanced at the throng in front of me, every radiant
figure held aloft in the left hand a similar cup. All were gazing in my
face. I looked at the transparent cup in my hand; it appeared to be
partly filled with a green liquid. I looked at her cup and saw that it
contained a similar fluid.

Forgetting the warning she had so recently given, I raised the cup to my
lips, and just before touching it glanced again at her face. The fair
creature stood with bowed head, her face covered with her hand; her very
form and attitude spoke of sorrow and disappointment, and she trembled
in distress. She held one hand as though to thrust back a form that
seemed about to force itself beyond her figure, for peering exultingly
from behind, leered the same Satanic face that met my gaze on the
preceding occasion, when in the presence of the troop of demons, I had
been tempted by the perfect man.

Dashing the cup to the floor I shouted:

"No; I will not drink."

Etidorhpa dropped upon her knees and clasped her hands. The Satanic
figure disappeared from sight. Realizing that we had triumphed over the
tempter, I also fell upon my knees in thankfulness.



CHAPTER XLI.

    MISERY.


As all the bubbles in a glass shrink and vanish when the first
collapses, so the troop of fairy-like forms before me disintegrated, and
were gone. The delicate being, whose hand I held, fluttered as does a
mist in the first gust of a sudden gale, and then dissolved into
transparency. The gaily decked amphitheater disappeared, the very earth
cavern passed from existence, and I found myself standing solitary and
alone in a boundless desert. I turned towards every point of the compass
only to find that no visible object appeared to break the monotony. I
stood upon a floor of pure white sand which stretched to the horizon in
gentle wave-like undulations as if the swell of the ocean had been
caught, transformed to sand, and fixed.

I bent down and scooped a handful of the sand, and raised it in the palm
of my hand, letting it sift back again to earth; it was surely sand. I
pinched my flesh, and pulled my hair, I tore my garments, stamped upon
the sand, and shouted aloud to demonstrate that I myself was still
myself. It was real, yes, real. I stood alone in a desert of sand.
Morning was dawning, and on one side the great sun rose slowly and
majestically.

"Thank God for the sun," I cried. "Thank God for the light and heat of
the sun."

I was again on surface earth; once more I beheld that glorious orb for
the sight of which I had so often prayed when I believed myself
miserable in the dismal earth caverns, and which I had been willing to
give my very life once more to behold. I fell on my knees, and raised my
hands in thankfulness. I blessed the rising sun, the illimitable sand,
the air about me, and the blue heavens above. I blessed all that was
before me, and again and again returned thanks for my delivery from the
caverns beneath me. I did not think to question by what power this
miracle had been accomplished. I did not care to do so; had I thought
of the matter at all I would not have dared to question for fear the
transition might prove a delusion.

I turned towards the sun, and walked eastward. As the day progressed and
the sun rose into the heavens, I maintained my journey, aiming as best I
could to keep the same direction. The heat increased, and when the sun
reached the zenith it seemed as though it would melt the marrow in my
bones. The sand, as white as snow and hot as lava, dazzled my eyes, and
I covered them with my hands. The sun in the sky felt as if it were a
ball of white hot iron near my head. It seemed small, and yet appeared
to shine as through a tube directed only towards myself. Vainly did I
struggle to escape and get beyond its boundary, the tube seemed to
follow my every motion, directing the blazing shafts, and concentrating
them ever upon my defenseless person. I removed my outer garments, and
tore my shirt into fibers hoping to catch a waft of breeze, and with one
hand over my eyes, and the other holding my coat above my head,
endeavored to escape the mighty flood of heat, but vainly. The fiery
rays streamed through the garment as mercury flows through a film of
gauze. They penetrated my flesh, and vaporized my blood. My hands,
fingers, and arms puffed out as a bladder of air expands under the
influence of heat. My face swelled to twice, thrice its normal size, and
at last my eyes were closed, for my cheeks and eyebrows met. I rubbed my
shapeless hand over my sightless face, and found it as round as a ball;
the nose had become imbedded in the expanded flesh, and my ears had
disappeared in the same manner.

I could no longer see the sun, but felt the vivid, piercing rays I could
not evade. I do not know whether I walked or rolled along; I only know
that I struggled to escape those deadly rays. Then I prayed for death,
and in the same breath begged the powers that had transferred me to
surface earth to carry me back again to the caverns below. The
recollection of their cool, refreshing atmosphere was as the thought of
heaven must be to a lost spirit. I experienced the agony of a damned
soul, and now, in contradistinction to former times, considered as my
idea of perfect happiness the dismal earth caverns of other days. I
thought of the day I had stood at the mouth of the Kentucky cave, and
waded into the water with my guide; I recalled the refreshing coolness
of the stream in the darkness of that cavern when the last ray of
sunshine disappeared, and I cursed myself for longing then for sunshine,
and the surface earth. Fool that man is, I mentally cried, not to be
contented with that which is, however he may be situated, and wherever
he may be placed. This is but a retribution, I am being cursed for my
discontented mind, this is hell, and in comparison with this hell all
else on or in earth is happiness. Then I damned the sun, the earth, the
very God of all, and in my frenzy cursed everything that existed. I felt
my puffed limbs, and prayed that I might become lean again. I asked to
shrink to a skeleton, for seemingly my misery came with my expanded
form; but I prayed and cursed in vain. So I struggled on in agony, every
moment seemingly covering a multitude of years; struggled along like a
lost soul plodding in an endless expanse of ever-increasing,
ever-concentrating hell. At last, however, the day declined, the heat
decreased, and as it did so my distorted body gradually regained its
normal size, my eyesight returned, and finally I stood in that
wilderness of sand watching the great red sun sink into the earth, as in
the morning I had watched it rise. But between the sunrise and the
sunset there had been an eternity of suffering, and then, as if released
from a spell, I dropped exhausted upon the sand, and seemed to sleep. I
dreamed of the sun, and that an angel stood before me, and asked why I
was miserable, and in reply I pointed to the sun. "See," I said, "the
author of the misery of man."

Said the angel: "Were there no sun there would be no men, but were there
no men there would still be misery."

"Misery of what?" I asked.

"Misery of mind," replied the angel. "Misery is a thing, misery is not a
conception--pain is real, pain is not an impression. Misery and pain
would still exist and prey upon mind substance were there no men, for
mind also is real, and not a mere conception. The pain you have suffered
has not been the pain of matter, but the pain of spirit. Matter can not
suffer. Were it matter that suffered, the heated sand would writhe in
agony. No; it is only mind and spirit that experience pain, or pleasure,
and neither mind nor spirit can evade its destiny, even if it escape
from the body."

Then I awoke and saw once more the great red sun rise from the sand-edge
of my desolate world, and I became aware of a new pain, for now I
perceived the fact that I experienced the sense of thirst. The
conception of the impression drew my mind to the subject, and instantly
intense thirst, the most acute of bodily sufferings, possessed me. When
vitalized tissue craves water, other physical wants are unfelt; when man
parches to death all other methods of torture are disregarded. I thought
no longer of the rising sun, I remembered no more the burning sand of
yesterday, I felt only the pain of thirst.

"Water, water, water," I cried, and then in the distance as if in answer
to my cry, I beheld a lake of water.

Instantly every nerve was strained, every muscle stretched, and I fled
over the sands towards the welcome pool.

On and on I ran, and as I did so, the sun rising higher and higher,
again began to burn the sands beneath my feet, and roast the flesh upon
my bones. Once more I experienced that intolerable sense of pain, the
pain of living flesh disintegrating by fire, and now with thirst gnawing
at my vitals, and fire drying up the residue of my evaporated blood, I
struggled in agony towards a lake that vanished before my gaze, to
reappear just beyond.

This day was more horrible than the preceding, and yet it was the
reverse so far as the action of the sun on my flesh was concerned. My
prayer of yesterday had been fearfully answered, and the curses of the
day preceding were being visited upon my very self. I had prayed to
become lean, and instead of the former puffed tissue and expanded flesh,
my body contracted as does beef when dried. The tightening skin squeezed
upon the solidifying flesh, and as the moisture evaporated, it left a
shriveled integument, contracted close upon the bone. My joints stood
out as great protuberances, my skin turned to a dark amber color, and my
flesh became transparent as does wetted horn. I saw my very vitals
throb, I saw the empty blood vessels, the shriveled nerves and vacant
arteries of my frame. I could not close my eyes. I could not shield them
from the burning sun. I was a mummy, yet living, a dried corpse walking
over the sand, dead to all save pain. I tried to fall, but could not,
and I felt that, while the sun was visible, I must stand upright; I
could not stop, and could not stoop. Then at last the malevolent sun
sank beneath the horizon, and as the last ray disappeared again, I fell
upon the sand.

I did not sleep, I did not rest, I did not breathe nor live a human; I
only existed as a living pain, the conception of pain realized into a
conscious nucleus,--and so the night passed. Again the sun arose, and
with the light of her first ray I saw near at hand a caravan, camels,
men, horses, a great cavalcade. They approached rapidly and surrounded
me. The leader of the band alighted and raised me to my feet, for no
longer had I the power of motion. He spoke to me kindly, and strange as
it may seem to you, but not at all strange did it seem to me, called me
by name.

"We came across your tracks in the desert," he said; "we are your
deliverers."

I motioned for water; I could not speak.

"Yes," he said, "water you shall have."

Then from one of the skins that hung across the hump of a camel he
filled a crystal goblet with sparkling water, and held it towards me,
but just before the goblet touched my lips he withdrew it and said:

"I forgot to first extend the greetings of our people."

And then I noticed in his other hand a tiny glass containing a green
liquid, which he placed to my lips, pronouncing the single word,
"Drink."

I fastened my gaze upon the water, and opened my lips. I smelled the
aroma of the powerful narcotic liquid within the glass, and hastened to
obey, but glanced first at my deliverer, and in his stead saw the
familiar face of the satanic figure that twice before had tempted me.
Instantly, without a thought as to the consequences, without a fear as
to the result, I dashed the glass to the sand, and my voice returning, I
cried for the third time, "No; I will not drink."

The troop of camels instantly disappeared, as had the figures in the
scenes before, the tempter resolved into clear air, the sand beneath my
feet became natural again, and I became myself as I had been before
passing through the hideous ordeal. The fact of my deliverance from the
earth caverns had, I now realized, been followed by temporary aberration
of my mind, but at last I saw clearly again, the painful fancy had
passed, the delirium was over.

I fell upon my knees in thankfulness; the misery through which I had
passed had proven to be illusory, the earth caverns were beneath me, the
mirage and temptations were not real, the horrors I had experienced were
imaginary--thank God for all this--and that the sand was really sand.
Solitary, alone, I kneeled in the desert barren, from horizon to horizon
desolation only surrounded, and yet the scene of that illimitable waste,
a fearful reality, it is true, was sweet in comparison with the misery
of body and soul about which I had dreamed so vividly.

"'Tis no wonder," I said to myself, "that in the moment of transition
from the underground caverns to the sunshine above, the shock should
have disturbed my mental equilibrium, and in the moment of reaction I
should have dreamed fantastic and horrible imaginings."

A cool and refreshing breeze sprung now, from I know not where; I did
not care to ask; it was too welcome a gift to question, and contrasted
pleasantly with the misery of my past hallucination. The sun was shining
hot above me, the sand was glowing, parched beneath me, and yet the
grateful breeze fanned my brow, and refreshed my spirit.

"Thank God," I cried, "for the breeze, for the coolness that it brings;
only those who have experienced the silence of the cavern solitudes
through which I have passed, and added thereto, have sensed the horrors
of the more recent nightmare scenes, can appreciate the delights of a
gust of air."

The incongruity of surrounding conditions, as connected with affairs
rational, did not appeal at all to my questioning senses, it seemed as
though the cool breeze, coming from out the illimitable desolation of a
heated waste was natural. I arose and walked on, refreshed. From out
that breeze my physical self drew refreshment and strength.

"'Tis the cold," I said; "the blessed antithesis of heat, that supports
life. Heat enervates, cold stimulates; heat depresses, cold animates.
Thank God for breezes, winds, waters, cold."

I turned and faced the gladsome breeze. "'Tis the source of life, I will
trace it to its origin, I will leave the accursed desert, the hateful
sunshine, and seek the blissful regions that give birth to cool
breezes."

I walked rapidly, and the breeze became more energetic and cooler. With
each increase of momentum on my part, corresponding strength seemed to
be added to the breeze--both strength and coolness.

"Is not this delightful?" I murmured; "my God at last has come to be a
just God. Knowing what I wanted, He sent the breeze; in answer to my
prayer the cool, refreshing breeze arose. Damn the heat," I cried aloud,
as I thought of the horrid day before; "blessed be the cold," and as
though in answer to my cry the breeze stiffened and the cold
strengthened itself, and I again returned thanks to my Creator.

With ragged coat wrapped about my form I faced the breeze and strode
onward towards the home of the gelid wind that now dashed in gusts
against my person.

Then I heard my footstep crunch, and perceived that the sand was hard
beneath my feet; I stooped over to examine it and found it frozen.
Strange, I reflected, strange that dry sand can freeze, and then I
noticed, for the first time, that spurts of snow surrounded me, 'twas a
sleety mixture upon which I trod, a crust of snow and sand. A sense of
dread came suddenly over me, and instinctively I turned, affrighted, and
ran away from the wind, towards the desert behind me, back towards the
sun, which, cold and bleak, low in the horizon, was sinking. The sense
of dread grew upon me, and I shivered as I ran. With my back towards the
breeze I had blessed, I now fled towards the sinking sun I had cursed. I
stretched out my arms in supplication towards that orb, for from behind
overhanging blackness spread, and about me roared a fearful hurricane.
Vainly. As I thought in mockery the heartless sun disappeared before my
gaze, the hurricane surrounded me, and the wind about me became
intensely cold, and raved furiously. It seemed as though the sun had
fled from my presence, and with the disappearance of that orb, the
outline of the earth was blotted from existence. It was an awful
blackness, and the universe was now to me a blank. The cold strengthened
and froze my body to the marrow of my bones. First came the sting of
frost, then the pain of cold, then insensibility of flesh. My feet were
benumbed, my limbs motionless. I stood a statue, quiescent in the midst
of the roaring tempest. The earth, the sun, the heavens themselves, my
very person now had disappeared. Dead to the sense of pain or touch,
sightless, amid a blank, only the noise of the raging winds was to me a
reality. And as the creaking frost reached my brain and congealed it,
the sound of the tempest ceased, and then devoid of physical senses, my
quickened intellect, enslaved, remained imprisoned in the frozen form it
could not leave, and yet could no longer control.

Reflection after reflection passed through that incarcerated thought
entity, and as I meditated, the heinous mistakes I had committed in the
life that had passed, arose to torment. God had answered my
supplications, successively I had experienced the hollowness of earthly
pleasures, and had left each lesson unheeded. Had I not alternately
begged for and then cursed each gift of God? Had I not prayed for heat,
cold, light, and darkness, and anathematized each? Had I not, when in
perfect silence, prayed for sound; in sheltered caverns, prayed for
winds and storms; in the very corridors of heaven, and in the presence
of Etidorhpa, had I not sought for joys beyond?

Had I not found each pleasure of life a mockery, and notwithstanding
each bitter lesson, still pursued my headstrong course, alternately
blessing and cursing my Creator, and then myself, until now, amid a
howling waste, in perfect darkness, my conscious intellect was bound to
the frozen, rigid semblance of a body? All about me was dead and dark,
all within was still and cold, only my quickened intellect remained as
in every corpse the self-conscious intellect must remain, while the body
has a mortal form, for death of body is not attended by the immediate
liberation of mind. The consciousness of the dead man is still acute,
and he who thinks the dead are mindless, will realize his fearful error
when devoid of motion he lies a corpse, conscious of all that passes on
around him, waiting the liberation that can only come by disintegration
and destruction of the flesh.

So, unconscious of pain, unconscious of any physical sense, I existed on
and on, enthralled, age after age passed and piled upon one another, for
time was to me unchangeable, no more an entity. I now prayed for change
of any kind, and envied the very devils in hell their pleasures, for
were they not gifted with the power of motion, could they not hear, and
see, and realize the pains they suffered? I prayed for death--death
absolute, death eternal. Then, at last, the darkness seemed to lessen,
and I saw the frozen earth beneath, the monstrous crags of ice above,
the raging tempest about, for I now had learned by reflection to
perceive by pure intellect, to see by the light within. My body, solid
as stone, was fixed and preserved in a waste of ice. The world was
frozen. I perceived that the sun, and moon, and stars, nearly stilled,
dim and motionless, had paled in the cold depths of space. The universe
itself was freezing, and amid the desolation only my deserted intellect
remained. Age after age had passed, æons of ages had fled, nation after
nation had grown and perished, and in the uncounted epochs behind,
humanity had disappeared. Unable to free itself from the frozen body, my
own intellect remained the solitary spectator of the dead silence about.
At last, beneath my vision, the moon disappeared, the stars faded one by
one, and then I watched the sun grow dim, until at length only a milky,
gauze-like film remained to indicate her face, and then--vacancy. I had
lived the universe away. And in perfect darkness the living intellect,
conscious of all that had transpired in the ages past, clung still
enthralled to the body of the frozen mortal. I thought of my record in
the distant past, of the temptations I had undergone, and called myself
a fool, for, had I listened to the tempter, I could at least have
suffered, I could have had companionship even though it were of the
devils--in hell. I lived my life over and over, times without number; I
thought of my tempters, of the offered cups, and thinking, argued with
myself:

"No," I said; "no, I had made the promise, I have faith in Etidorhpa,
and were it to do over again I would not drink."

Then, as this thought sped from me, the ice scene dissolved, the
enveloped frozen form of myself faded from view, the sand shrunk into
nothingness, and with my natural body, and in normal condition, I found
myself back in the earth cavern, on my knees, beside the curious
inverted fungus, of which fruit I had eaten in obedience to my guide's
directions. Before me the familiar figure of my guide stood, with folded
arms, and as my gaze fell upon him he reached out his hand and raised me
to my feet.

"Where have you been during the wretched epochs that have passed since I
last saw you?" I asked.

"I have been here," he replied, "and you have been there."

"You lie, you villainous sorcerer," I cried; "you lie again as you have
lied to me before. I followed you to the edge of demon land, to the
caverns of the drunkards, and then you deserted me. Since last we met I
have spent a million, billion years of agony inexpressible, and have had
that agony made doubly horrible by contrast with the thought, yes, the
very sight and touch of Heaven. I passed into a double eternity, and
have experienced the ecstacies of the blessed, and suffered the torments
of the damned, and now you dare boldly tell me that I have been here,
and that you have been there, since last I saw you stand by this cursed
fungus bowl."

"Yes," he said, taking no offense at my violence; "yes, neither of us
has left this spot; you have sipped of the drink of an earth-damned
drunkard, you have experienced part of the curses of intemperance, the
delirium of narcotics. Thousands of men on earth, in their drunken
hallucination, have gone through hotter hells than you have seen; your
dream has not exaggerated the sufferings of those who sup of the
delirium of intemperance."

And then he continued:

"Let me tell you of man's conception of eternity."



CHAPTER XLII.

    ETERNITY WITHOUT TIME.


"Man's conception of eternity is that of infinite duration, continuance
without beginning or end, and yet everything he knows is bounded by two
or more opposites. From a beginning, as he sees a form of matter, that
substance passes to an end." Thus spoke my guide.

Then he asked, and showed by his question that he appreciated the nature
of my recent experiences: "Do you recall the instant that you left me
standing by this bowl to start, as you imagined, with me as a companion,
on the journey to the cavern of the grotesque?"

"No; because I did not leave you. I sipped of the liquid, and then you
moved on with me from this spot; we were together, until at last we were
separated on the edge of the cave of drunkards."

"Listen," said he; "I neither left you nor went with you. You neither
went from this spot nor came back again. You neither saw nor experienced
my presence nor my absence; there was no beginning to your journey."

"Go on."

"You ate of the narcotic fungus; you have been intoxicated."

"I have not," I retorted. "I have been through your accursed caverns,
and into hell beyond. I have been consumed by eternal damnation in the
journey, have experienced a heaven of delight, and also an eternity of
misery."

"Upon the contrary, the time that has passed since you drank the liquid
contents of that fungus fruit has only been that which permitted you to
fall upon your knees. You swallowed the liquor when I handed you the
shell cup; you dropped upon your knees, and then instantly awoke. See,"
he said; "in corroboration of my assertion the shell of the fungus fruit
at your feet is still dripping with the liquid you did not drink. Time
has been annihilated. Under the influence of this potent earth-bred
narcoto-intoxicant, your dream begun inside of eternity; you did not
pass into it."

"You say," I interrupted, "that I dropped upon my knees, that I have
experienced the hallucination of intoxication, that the experiences of
my vision occurred during the second of time that was required for me to
drop upon my knees."

"Yes."

"Then by your own argument you demonstrate that eternity requires time,
for even a millionth part of a second is time, as much so as a million
of years."

"You mistake," he replied, "you misinterpret my words. I said that all
you experienced in your eternity of suffering and pleasure, occurred
between the point when you touched the fungus fruit to your lips, and
that when your knees struck the stone."

"That consumed time," I answered.

"Did I assert," he questioned, "that your experiences were scattered
over that entire period?"

"No."

"May not all that occurred to your mind have been crushed into the
second that accompanied the mental impression produced by the liquor, or
the second of time that followed, or any other part of that period, or a
fraction of any integral second of that period?"

"I can not say," I answered, "what part of the period the hallucination,
as you call it, occupied."

"You admit that so far as your conception of time is concerned, the
occurrences to which you refer may have existed in either an inestimable
fraction of the first, the second, or the third part of the period."

"Yes," I replied, "yes; if you are correct in that, they were
illusions."

"Let me ask you furthermore," he said; "are you sure that the flash that
bred your hallucination was not instantaneous, and a part of neither the
first, second, nor third second?"

"Continue your argument."

"I will repeat a preceding question with a slight modification. May not
all that occurred to your mind have been crushed into the space between
the second of time that preceded the mental impression produced by the
liquor, and the second that followed it? Need it have been a part of
either second, or of time at all? Indeed, could it have been a part of
time if it were instantaneous?"

"Go on."

"Suppose the entity that men call the soul of man were in process of
separation from the body. The process you will admit would occupy time,
until the point of liberation was reached. Would not dissolution, so far
as the separation of matter and spirit is concerned at its critical
point be instantaneous?"

I made no reply.

"If the critical point is instantaneous, there would be no beginning,
there could be no end. Therein rests an eternity greater than man can
otherwise conceive of, for as there is neither beginning nor end, time
and space are annihilated. The line that separates the soul that is in
the body from the soul that is out of the body is outside of all things.
It is a between, neither a part of the nether side nor of the upper
side; it is outside the here and the hereafter. Let us carry this
thought a little further," said he. "Suppose a good man were to undergo
this change, could not all that an eternity of happiness might offer be
crushed into this boundless conception, the critical point? All that a
mother craves in children dead, could reappear again in their once loved
forms; all that a good life earns, would rest in the soul's experience
in that eternity, but not as an illusion, although no mental pleasure,
no physical pain is equal to that of hallucinations. Suppose that a
vicious life were ended, could it escape the inevitable critical point?
Would not that life in its previous journey create its own sad eternity?
You have seen the working of an eternity with an end but not a beginning
to it, for you can not sense the commencement of your vision. You have
been in the cavern of the grotesque,--the realms of the beautiful, and
have walked over the boundless sands that bring misery to the soul, and
have, as a statue, seen the frozen universe dissolve. You are thankful
that it was all an illusion as you deem it now; what would you think had
only the heavenly part been spread before you?"

"I would have cursed the man who dispelled the illusion," I answered.

"Then," he said, "you are willing to admit that men who so live as to
gain such an eternity, be it mental illusion, hallucination or real,
make no mistake in life."

"I do," I replied; "but you confound me when you argue in so cool a
manner that eternity may be everlasting to the soul, and yet without the
conception of time."

"Did I not teach you in the beginning of this journey," he interjected,
"that time is not as men conceive it. Men can not grasp an idea of
eternity and retain their sun bred, morning and evening, conception of
time. Therein lies their error. As the tip of the whip-lash passes with
the lash, so through life the soul of man proceeds with the body. As
there is a point just when the tip of the whip-lash is on the edge of
its return, where all motion of the line that bounds the tip ends, so
there is a motionless point when the soul starts onward from the body of
man. As the tip of the whip-lash sends its cry through space, not while
it is in motion either way, but from the point where motion ceases, the
spaceless, timeless point that lies between the backward and the
forward, so the soul of man leaves a cry (eternity) at the critical
point. It is the death echo, and thus each snap of the life-thread
throws an eternity, its own eternity, into eternity's seas, and each
eternity is made up of the entities thus cast from the critical point.
With the end of each soul's earth journey, a new eternity springs into
existence, occupying no space, consuming no time, and not conflicting
with any other, each being exactly what the soul-earth record makes it,
an eternity of joy (heaven), or an eternity of anguish (hell). There can
be no neutral ground."

Then he continued:

"The drunkard is destined to suffer in the drunkard's eternity, as you
have suffered; the enticement of drink is evanescent, the agony to
follow is eternal. You have seen that the sub-regions of earth supply an
intoxicant. Taste not again of any intoxicant; let your recent lesson be
your last. Any stimulant is an enemy to man, any narcotic is a fiend. It
destroys its victim, and corrupts the mind, entices it into pastures
grotesque, and even pleasant at first, but destined to eternal misery in
the end. Beware of the eternity that follows the snapping of the
life-thread of a drunkard. Come," he abruptly said, "we will pursue our
journey."

     [NOTE.--Morphine, belladonna, hyoscyamus and cannabis indica are
     narcotics, and yet each differs in its action from the others.
     Alcohol and methyl alcohol are intoxicants; ether, chloroform,
     and chloral are anæsthetics, and yet no two are possessed of the
     same qualities. Is there any good reason to doubt that
     combinations of the elements as yet hidden from man can not cause
     hallucinations that combine and intensify the most virulent of
     narcotics, intoxicants, and anæsthetics, and pall the effects of
     hashish or of opium?

     If, in the course of experimentation, a chemist should strike
     upon a compound that in traces only would subject his mind and
     drive his pen to record such seemingly extravagant ideas as are
     found in the hallucinations herein pictured, would it not be his
     duty to bury the discovery from others, to cover from mankind the
     existence of such a noxious fruit of the chemist's or
     pharmaceutist's art? Introduce such an intoxicant, and start it
     to ferment in humanity's blood, and before the world were advised
     of its possible results, might not the ever increasing potency
     gain such headway as to destroy, or debase, our civilization, and
     even to exterminate mankind?--J. U. L.]



INTERLUDE.



CHAPTER XLIII.

    THE LAST CONTEST.


I, Lewellyn Drury, had been so absorbed in the fantastic story the old
man read so fluently from the execrably written manuscript, and in the
metaphysical argument which followed his account of the vision he had
introduced so artfully as to lead me to think it was a part of his
narrative, that I scarcely noted the passage of time. Upon seeing him
suspend his reading, fold the manuscript, and place it in his pocket, I
reverted to material things, and glancing at the clock, perceived that
the hands pointed to bed-time.

"To-morrow evening," said he, "I will return at nine o'clock. In the
interim, if you still question any part of the story, or wish further
information on any subject connected with my journey, I will be prepared
to answer your queries. Since, however, that will be your last
opportunity, I suggest that you make notes of all subjects that you wish
to discuss."

Then, in his usual self-possessed, exquisitely polite manner, he bowed
himself out.

I spent the next day reviewing the most questionable features of his
history, recalling the several statements that had been made.
Remembering the humiliation I had experienced in my previous attempts to
confute him, I determined to select such subjects as would appear the
most difficult to explain, and to attack the old man with vehemence.

I confess, that notwithstanding my several failures, and his successful
and constant elucidation and minute details in regard to occurrences
which he related, and which anticipated many points I had once had in
mind to question, misgivings still possessed me concerning the
truthfulness of the story. If these remarkable episodes were true,
could there be such a thing as fiction? If not all true, where did fact
end and fancy begin?

Accordingly I devoted the following day to meditating my plan of attack,
for I felt that I had been challenged to a final contest. Late the next
day, I felt confident of my own ability to dispossess him, and in order
further to test his power, when night came I doubly locked the door to
my room, first with the key and next with the inside bolt. I had
determined to force him again to induce inert material to obey his
command, as he had done at our first interview. The reader will remember
that Prof. Chickering had deemed that occurrence an illusion, and I
confess that time had dimmed the vividness of the scene in my own mind.
Hence I proposed to verify the matter. Therefore, at the approach of
nine o'clock, the evening following, I sat with my gaze riveted on the
bolt of the door, determined not to answer his knock.

He gave me no chance to neglect a response to his rap. Exactly at the
stroke of nine the door swung noiselessly on its hinges, the wizard
entered, and the door closed again. The bolt had not moved, the knob did
not turn. The bar passed through the catch and back to its seat,--I
sprung from my chair, and excitedly and rudely rushed past my guest. I
grasped the knob, wrenched it with all my might. Vainly; the door was
locked, the bolt was fastened. Then I turned to my visitor. He was
quietly seated in his accustomed place, and apparently failed to notice
my discomposure, although he must have realized that he had withstood my
first test.

This pronounced defeat, at the very beginning of our proposed contest,
produced a depressing effect; nevertheless I made an effort at
self-control, and seating myself opposite, looked my antagonist in the
face. Calm, dignified, with the brow of a philosopher, and the
countenance of a philanthropist, a perfect type of the exquisite
gentleman, and the cultured scholar, my guest, as serene and complacent
as though, instead of an intruder, he were an invited participant of the
comforts of my fireside, or even the host himself, laid his hat upon the
table, stroked his silvery, translucent beard, and said:

"Well?"

I accepted the challenge, for the word, as he emphasized it, was a
challenge, and hurled at him, in hopes to catch him unprepared, the
following abrupt sentence:

"I doubt the possibility of the existence of a great cavern such as you
have described. The superincumbent mass of earth would crush the
strongest metal. No material known to man could withstand a pressure so
great as would overlie an arch as large as that you depict; material
would succumb even if the roof were made of steel."

"Do not be so positive," he replied. "By what authority do you make this
assertion?"

"By the authority of common sense as opposed to an unreasonable
hypothesis. You should know that there is a limit to the strength of all
things, and that no substance is capable of making an arch of thousands
of miles, which, according to your assertion, must have been the
diameter of the roof of your inland sea."

"Ah," he replied, "and so you again crush my facts with your theory.
Well, let me ask a question."

"Proceed."

"Did you ever observe a bubble resting on a bubble?"

"Yes."

"Did you ever place a pipe-stem in a partly filled bowl of soap water,
and by blowing through it fill the bowl with bubbles?"

"Yes."

"Did you ever calculate the tensile strength of the material from which
you blew the bubble?"

"No; for soap water has no appreciable strength."

"And yet you know that a bubble made of suds has not only strength, but
elasticity. Suppose a bubble of energy floating in space were to be
covered to the depth of the thickness of a sheet of tissue paper with
the dust of space, would that surprise you?"

"No."

"Suppose two such globes of energy, covered with dust, were to be
telescoped or attached together, would you marvel at the fact?"

"No."

He drew a picture on a piece of paper, in which one line was inclosed by
another, and remarked:

"The pencil mark on this paper is proportionately thicker than the crust
of the earth over the earth cavern I have described. Even if it were
made of soap suds, it could revolve through space and maintain its
contour."

"But the earth is a globe," I interjected.

"You do not mean an exact globe?"

"No; it is flattened at the poles."

He took from his pocket two thin rubber balls, one slightly larger than
the other. With his knife he divided the larger ball, cutting it into
halves. He then placed one of the sections upon the perfect ball, and
held the arrangement between the gas light and the wall.

[Illustration: FIG. 33. A A, telescoped energy spheres.]

"See; is not the shadow flattened, as your earth is, at the poles?"

"Yes; but the earth is not a shadow."

"We will not argue that point now," he replied, and then asked: "Suppose
such a compound shell as this were to revolve through space and
continuously collect dust, most of it of the earth's temperature,
forming a fluid (water), would not that dust be propelled naturally from
the poles?"

"Yes; according to our theory."

"Perhaps," said he, "the contact edge of the invisible spheres of energy
which compose your earth bubbles, for planets are bubbles, that have
been covered with water and soil during the time the energy bubble,
which is the real bone of the globe, has been revolving through space;
perhaps, could you reach the foundation of the earth dust, you would
find it not a perfect sphere, but a compound skeleton, as of two bubbles
locked, or rather telescoped together. [See Fig. 34.]

"Are you sure that my guide did not lead me through the space between
the bubbles?"

Then he continued:

"Do not be shocked at what I am about to assert, for, as a member of
materialistic humanity, you will surely consider me irrational when I
say that matter, materials, ponderous substances, one and all, so far as
the ponderous part is concerned have no strength."

"What! no strength?"

"None whatever."

I grasped the poker.

"Is not this matter?"

"Yes."

"I can not break it."

"No."

"Have not I strength?"

"Confine your argument now to the poker; we will consider you next. You
can not break it."

"I can break this pencil, though," and I snapped it in his face.

"Yes."

I curled my lip in disdain.

"You carry this argument too far."

"Why?"

"I can break the pencil, I can not break the poker; had these materials
not different strengths there could be no distinction; had I no strength
I could not have broken either."

"Are you ready to listen?" he replied.

"Yes; but do not exasperate me."

"I did not say that the combination you call a poker had no strength,
neither did I assert that you could not break a pencil."

"A distinction without a difference; you play upon words."

"I said that matter, the ponderous side of material substances, has no
strength."

"And I say differently."

He thrust the end of the poker into the fire, and soon drew it forth
red-hot.

"Is it as strong as before?"

"No."

"Heat it to whiteness and it becomes plastic."

"Yes."

[Illustration: Fig. 34. B B, telescoped energy spheres covered with
space dirt, inclosing space between.]

"Heat it still more and it changes to a liquid."

"Yes."

"Has liquid iron strength?"

"Very little, if any."

"Is it still matter?"

"Yes."

"Is it the material of the iron, or is it the energy called heat that
qualifies the strength of the metal? It seems to me that were I in your
place I would now argue that absence of heat constitutes strength," he
sarcastically continued.

"Go on."

"Cool this red-hot poker by thrusting it into a pail of cold water, and
it becomes very hard and brittle."

"Yes."

"Cool it slowly, and it is comparatively soft and plastic."

"Yes."

"The material is the same, is it not?"

"Go on."

"What strength has charcoal?"

"Scarcely any."

"Crystallize it, and the diamond results."

"I did not speak of diamond."

"Ah! and is not the same amount of the same material present in each, a
grain of diamond and a grain of charcoal? What is present in a grain of
diamond that is not present in a grain of charcoal?"

"Go on."

"Answer my question."

"I can not."

"Why does brittle, cold zinc, when heated, become first ductile, and
then, at an increased temperature, become brittle again? In each case
the same material is present."

"I do not know; but this I do know: I am an organized being, and I have
strength of body."

The old man grasped the heavy iron poker with both hands, and suddenly
rising to his full height, swung it about his head, then with a motion
so menacing that I shrunk back into my chair and cried out in alarm,
seemed about to strike, with full force, my defenseless brow.

"My God," I shouted, "what have I done that you should murder me?"

He lowered the weapon, and calmly asked:

"Suppose that I had crushed your skull--where then would be your vaunted
strength?"

I made no reply, for as yet I had not recovered from the mental shock.

"Could you then have snapped a pencil? Could you have broken a reed?
Could you even have blown the down from a thistle bloom?"

"No."

"Would not your material body have been intact?"

"Yes."

"Listen," said he. "Matter has no strength, matter obeys spirit, and
spirit dominates all things material. Energy in some form holds
particles of matter together, and energy in other forms loosens them.
'Tis this imponderable force that gives strength to substances, not the
ponderable side of the material. Granite crushed is still granite, but
destitute of rigidity. Creatures dead are still organic structures, but
devoid of strength or motion. The spirit that pervades all material
things gives to them form and existence. Take from your earth its vital
spirit, the energy that subjects matter, and your so-called adamantine
rocks would disintegrate, and sift as dust into the interstices of
space. Your so-called rigid globe, a shell of space dust, would
dissolve, collapse, and as the spray of a burst bubble, its ponderous
side would vanish in the depths of force."

I sat motionless.

"Listen," he repeated. "You wrong your own common sense when you place
dead matter above the spirit of matter. Atoms come and go in their
ceaseless transmigrations, worlds move, universes circulate, not because
they are material bodies, but because as points of matter, in a flood of
force, they obey the spirit that can blot out a sun, or dissolve the
earth, as easily as it can unlink two atoms. Matter is an illusion,
spirit is the reality."

I felt that he had silenced me against my will, and although I could not
gainsay his assertions, I determined to study the subject carefully, at
my leisure.

"As you please," he interjected into my musings; "but since you are so
determined, you would better study from books that are written by
authors who know whereof they write, and who are not obliged to theorize
from speculative data concerning the intrastructural earth crust."

"But where can I find such works? I do not know of any."

"Then," said he, "perhaps it would be better to cease doubting the word
of one who has acquired the knowledge to write such a book, and who has
no object in misleading you."

"Still other questions arise," I said.

"Well?"

"I consider the account of the intra-earth fungus intoxicant beyond the
realm of fact."

"In what respect?"

"The perfect loss of self that resulted immediately, in an instant,
after swallowing the juice of the fungous fruit, so that you could not
distinguish between the real guide at your side and the phantom that
sprung into existence, is incredible. [See p. 234.] An element of time
is a factor in the operation of nerve impressions."[12]

    [12] It is well that reference was made to this point. Few readers
    would probably notice that Chapter XXXVI. begun a narcotic
    hallucination.--J. U. L.

"Have you investigated all possible anæsthetics?" he asked.

"Of course not."

"Or all possible narcotics?"

"No."

"How long does it require for pure prussic acid to produce its
physiological action?"

"I do not know."

He ignored my reply, and continued:

"Since there exists a relative difference between the time that is
required for ether and chloroform to produce insensibility, and between
the actions and resultant effects of all known anæsthetics, intoxicants,
and narcotics, I think you are hypercritical. Some nerve excitants known
to you act slowly, others quickly; why not others still instantaneously?
If you can rest your assertion on any good basis, I will gladly meet
your questions, but I do not accept such evidence as you now introduce,
and I do not care to argue for both parties."

Again I was becoming irritated, for I was not satisfied with the manner
in which I upheld my part of the argument, and naturally, as is usually
the case with the defeated party, became incensed at my invincible
antagonist.

"Well," I said, "I criticise your credulity. The drunkards of the
drunkards' cavern were beyond all credence. I can not conceive of such
abnormal creations, even in illusion. Had I met with your experiences I
would not have supposed, for an instant, that the fantastic shapes could
have been aught but a dream, or the result of hallucination, while,
without a question, you considered them real."

"You are certainly pressed for subjects about which to complain when you
resort to criticising the possibilities in creations of a mind under the
influence of a more powerful intoxicant than is known to surface earth,"
he remarked. "However, I will show you that nature fashions animals in
forms more fantastic than I saw, and that even these figures were not
overdrawn--"

Without heeding his remark, I interrupted his discourse, determined to
have my say:

"And I furthermore question the uncouth personage you describe as your
guide. Would you have me believe that such a being has an existence
outside an abnormal thought-creation?"

"Ah," he replied, "you have done well to ask these two questions in
succession, for you permit me to answer both at once. Listen: The
Monkey, of all animals, seems to approach closest to man in figure, the
Siamang Gibon of Asia, the Bald-headed Saki of South America, with its
stub of a tail, being nearest. From these types we have great deviations
as in the Wanderer of India, with its whiskered face, and the Black
Macaque of the Island of Celebes, with its hairy topknot, and hairless
stub of a tail, or the well-known Squirrel Monkey, with its long supple
tail, and the Thumbless Spider Monkey, of South America. Between these
types we have among monkeys, nearly every conceivable shape of limb and
figure, and in color of their faces and bodies, all the shades of the
rainbow.

"Some Squirrels jump and then sail through the air. The Sloth can barely
move on the earth. Ant-eaters have no teeth at all, while the Grizzly
Bear can crush a gun barrel with its molars.

"The Duck-billed Platypus of South Australia has the body of a mole, the
tail of a raccoon, the flat bill of a duck, and the flipper of a seal,
combined with the feet of a rat. It lays eggs as birds do, but suckles
its young as do other mammalia. The Opossum has a prehensile tail, as
have some monkeys, and in addition a living bag or pouch in which the
female carries her tiny young. The young of a kind of tree frog of the
genus Hylodes, breathe through a special organ in their tails; the young
of the Pipa, a great South American toad, burrow into the skin of the
mother, and still another from Chili, as soon as hatched, creep down the
throat of the father frog, and find below the jaw an opening into a
false membrane covering the entire abdomen, in which they repose in
safety. Three species of frogs and toads have no tongue at all, while in
all the others the tongue is attached by its tip to the end of the
mouth, and is free behind. The ordinary Bullfrog has conspicuous great
legs, while a relative, the Coecilia (and others as well) have a head
reminding of the frog, but neither tail nor legs, the body being
elongated as if it were a worm. The long, slender fingers of a Bat are
united by means of a membrane that enables it to fly like a bird, while
as a contrast, the fingers of a Mole, its near cousin, are short and
stubby, and massive as compared with its frame. The former flies through
the air, the latter burrows (almost flies) through the earth. The Great
Ant-eater has a curved head which is drawn out into a slender snout, no
teeth, a long, slender tongue, a great bushy tail, and claws that
neither allow the creature to burrow in the earth nor climb into trees,
but which are admirably adapted to tear an ant-hill into fragments. Its
close relatives, the Apar and Armadillo, have a round body covered with
bony plates, and a short, horny, curved tail, while another relative,
the Long-tailed Pangolin, has a great alligator-like tail which,
together with its body, is covered with horny, overlapping scales.

"The Greenland Whale has an enormous head occupying more than one-third
its length, no teeth, and a throat scarcely larger than that of a sucker
fish. The Golden Mole has a body so nearly symmetrical that, were it not
for the snout, it would be difficult to determine the location of the
head without close inspection, and it has legs so short that, were it
not for the powerful claws, they would not be observed at all. The
Narwhal has a straight, twisted tusk, a--"

"Hold, hold," I interrupted; "do you think that I am concerned in these
well known contrasts in animal structure?"

"Did you not question the possibility of the description I gave of my
grotesque drunkards, and of the form of my subterranean guide?" my guest
retorted.

"Yes; but I spoke of men, you describe animals."

"Man is an animal, and between the various species of animals that you
say are well known, greater distinctions can be drawn than between my
guide and surface-earth man. Besides, had you allowed me to proceed to a
description of animal life beneath the surface of the earth, I would
have shown you that my guide partook of their attributes. Of the
creatures described, one only was of the intra-earth origin--the
Mole,--and like my guide, it is practically eyeless."

"Go on," I said; "'tis useless for me to resist. And yet--"

"And yet what?"

"And yet I have other subjects to discuss."

"Proceed."

"I do not like the way in which you constantly criticise science,
especially in referring thereto the responsibilities of the crazed
anatomist.[13] It seems to me that he was a monomaniac, gifted, but
crazed, and that science was unfortunate in being burdened with such an
incubus."

    [13] This section (see p. 190) was excised, being too
    painful.--J. U. L.

"True, and yet science advances largely by the work of such apparently
heartless creatures. Were it not for investigators who overstep the
bounds of established methods, and thus criticise their predecessors,
science would rust and disintegrate. Besides, why should not science be
judged by the rule she applies to others?"

"What do you mean?"

"Who is more free to criticise religion than the materialistic man of
science?"

"But a religious man is not cruel."

"Have you not read history? Have you not shuddered at the crimes
recorded in the name of the religions of man?"

"Yes; but these cruelties were committed by misguided men under the
cloak of the church, or of false religions, during the dark ages. Do not
blame religion, but the men who abused the cause."

"Yes," he added, "you are right; they were fanatics, crazed beings, men;
yes, even communities, raving mad. Crazed leaders can infuse the minds
of the people with their fallacies, and thus become leaders of crazed
nations. Not, as I have depicted in my scientific enthusiast, one man
alone in the privacy of his home torturing a single child, but whole
nations pillaging, burning, torturing, and destroying. But this is
foreign to our subject. Beware, I reiterate, of the science of human
biology. The man who enters the field can not foresee the end, the man
who studies the science of life, and records his experiments, can not
know the extremes to which a fanatical follower may carry the
thought-current of his leader. I have not overdrawn the lesson. Besides,
science is now really torturing, burning, maiming, and destroying
humanity. The act of destruction has been transferred from barbarians
and the fanatic in religion to the follower of the devotees of science."

"No; I say, no."

"Who created the steam engine? Who evolves improved machinery? Who
creates improved artillery, and explosives? Scientific men."

He hesitated.

"Go on."

"Accumulate the maimed and destroyed each year; add together the
miseries and sorrows that result from the explosions, accidents, and
catastrophes resulting from science improvements, and the dark ages
scarcely offer a parallel. Add thereto the fearful destruction that
follows a war among nations scientific, and it will be seen that the
scientific enthusiast of the present has taken the place of the
misguided fanatic of the past. Let us be just. Place to the credit of
religion the good that religion has done, place to the credit of science
the good that science is doing, and yet do not mistake, both leave in
their wake an atmosphere saturated with misery, a road whitened with
humanity's bones. Neither the young nor the old are spared, and so far
as the sufferer is concerned it matters not whether the person has been
racked by the tortures of an inquisition, or the sword of an infidel, is
shrieking in the agony of a scald by super-heated steam, or is mangled
by an explosion of nitroglycerin."

Again he hesitated.

"Go on."

"One of science's most serious responsibilities, from which religion has
nearly escaped, is that of supplying thought-food to fanatics, and from
this science can not escape."

"Explain yourself."

"Who places the infidel in possession of arguments to combat sacred
teachings? Who deliberately tortures animals, and suggests that
biological experimentation in the name of science, before cultured
audiences even, is legitimate, such as making public dissections of
living creatures?"

"Enough, enough," I cried, thinking of his crazed anatomist, and
covering my face with my hands; "you make my blood creep."

"Yes," he added sarcastically; "you shudder now and criticise my
truthful study, and to-morrow you will forget the lesson, and perhaps
for dinner you will relish your dish of veal, the favorite food of
mothers, the nearest approach to the flesh of babies."

Then his manner changed, and in his usual mild, pleasant way, he said:

"Take what I have said kindly; I wish only to induce your religious part
to have more charity for your scientific self, and the reverse. Both
religion and science are working towards the good of man, although their
devotees are human, and by human errors bring privations, sufferings,
and sorrows to men. Neither can fill the place of the other; each should
extend a helping hand, and have charity for the shortcomings of the
other; they are not antagonists, but workers in one field; both must
stand the criticisms of mutual antagonists, and both have cause to fear
the evils of fanaticism within their own ranks more than the attacks of
opponents from without. Let the religious enthusiast exercise care; his
burning, earnest words may lead a weak-minded father to murder an
innocent family, and yet 'tis not religion that commits the crime. Let
the zealous scientific man hesitate; he piles up fuel by which minds
unbalanced, or dispositions perverted, seek to burn and destroy hopes
that have long served the yearnings of humanity's soul. Neither pure
religion nor true science is to blame for the acts of its devotees, and
yet each must share the responsibility of its human agents."

"We will discuss the subject no further," I said; "it is not agreeable."

Then I continued:

"The idea of eternity without time is not quite clear to me, although I
catch an imperfect conception of the argument advanced. Do you mean to
say that when a soul leaves the body, the earth life of the individual,
dominated by the soul, is thrown off from it as is the snap of a
whip-lash, and that into the point between life and death, the hereafter
of that mortal may be concentrated?"

"I simply give you the words of my guide," he replied, "but you have
expressed the idea about as well as your word language will admit. Such
a conception of eternity is more rational to one who, like myself, has
lived through an instant that covered, so far as mind is concerned, a
million years of time, than is an attempt to grasp a conception of an
eternity, without beginning or end, by basing an argument on conditions
governing material substances, as these substances are known to man. You
have the germ of the idea which may be simply a thought for you to
ponder over; you can study the problem at your leisure. Do not, however,
I warn you, attempt to comprehend the notion of eternity by throwing
into it the conception of time as men accept that term, for the very
word time, as men define it, demands that there be both a beginning and
an end. With the sense of time in one's mind, there can be no conception
of the term eternity."

Then, as I had so often done before, I unwarily gave him an opportunity
to enlarge on his theme, to my disadvantage. I had determined not to ask
any questions concerning his replies to my criticism, for whenever I had
previously done so, the result had been disastrous to me. In this case I
unwittingly said:

"Why do you say that our language will not permit of clearer conceptions
than you give?"

"Because your education does not permit you to think outside of words;
you are word-bound."

"You astonish me by making such an arrogant assertion. Do you mean to
assert that I can not think without using words?"

"Yes. Every thought you indulge in is circumscribed. You presumably
attempt to throw a thought-line forward, and yet you step backward and
spin it in words that have been handed you from the past, and, struggle
as you may, you can not liberate yourself from the dead incubus. Attempt
to originate an idea, and see if you can escape your word-master?"

"Go on; I am listening."

"Men scientific think in language scientific. Men poetical think in
language poetic. All educated men use words in thinking of their
subjects, words that came to them from the past, and enslave their
intellect. Thus it is that the novelist can not make fiction less real
than is fact; that scientists can not commence at the outside, and build
a theory back to phenomena understood. In each case the foundation of a
thought is a word that in the very beginning carries to the mind a
meaning, a something from the past. Each thought ramification is an
offshoot from words that express ideas and govern ideas, yes, create
ideas, even dominating the mind. Men speak of ideas when they intend to
refer to an image in the mind, but in reality they have no ideas outside
of the word sentences they unconsciously reformulate. Define the term
idea correctly, and it will be shown that an idea is a sentence, and if
a sentence is made of words already created, there can be no new idea,
for every word has a fixed meaning. Hence, when men think, they only
rearrange words that carry with themselves networks of ideas, and thus
play upon their several established meanings. How can men so
circumscribed construct a new idea or teach a new science?"

"New words are being created."

"Language is slowly progressing, but no new word adds itself to a
language; it is linked to thought-chains that precede. In order to
create a word, as a rule, roots are used that are as established in
philology as are building materials in architecture. When a new sound is
thrust into a language, its intent must be introduced by words already
known, after which it conveys a meaning derived from the past, and
becomes a part of mind sentences already constructed, as it does of
spoken language. Language has thus been painfully and slowly evolved and
is still being enlarged, but while new impressions may be felt by an
educated person, the formulated feeling is inseparable, from well-known
surviving words."

"Some men are dumb."

"Yes; and yet they frame mind-impressions into unspoken words of their
own, otherwise they would be scarcely more than animals. Place an
uneducated dumb person in a room with a complicated instrument, and
although he may comprehend its uses, he can not do so unless he frames
sense-impressions into, what is to him, a formulated mind-word
sequence."

"But he can think about it."

"No; unless he has already constructed previous impressions into
word-meanings of his own, he can not think about it at all. Words,
whether spoken or unspoken, underlie all ideas. Try, if you believe I am
mistaken, try to think of any subject outside of words?"

I sat a moment, and mentally attempted the task, and shook my head.

"Then," said the old man, "how can I use words with established meanings
to convey to your senses an entirely new idea? If I use new sounds,
strung together, they are not words to you, and convey no meaning; if I
use words familiar, they reach backward as well as forward. Thus it is
possible to instruct you, by a laborious course of reasoning, concerning
a phenomenon that is connected with phenomena already understood by you,
for your word-language can be thrust out from the parent stalk, and can
thus follow the outreaching branches. However, in the case of phenomena
that exist on other planes, or are separated from any known material, or
force, as is the true conception that envelops the word eternity, there
being neither connecting materials, forces, nor words to unite the
outside with the inside, the known with the unknown, how can I tell you
more than I have done? You are word-bound."

"Nevertheless, I still believe that I can think outside of words."

"Well, perhaps after you attempt to do so, and fail again and again, you
will appreciate that a truth is a truth, humiliating as it may be to
acknowledge the fact."

"A Digger Indian has scarcely a word-language," I asserted, loth to
relinquish the argument.

"You can go farther back if you desire, back to primitive man; man
without language at all, and with ideas as circumscribed as those of the
brutes, and still you have not strengthened your argument concerning
civilized man. But you are tired, I see."

"Yes; tired of endeavoring to combat your assertions. You invariably
lead me into the realms of speculation, and then throw me upon the
defensive by asking me to prove my own theories, or with apparent
sincerity, you advance an unreasonable hypothesis, and then, before I am
aware of your purpose, force me to acquiesce because I can not find
facts to confute you. You very artfully throw the burden of proof on me
in all cases, for either by physical comparisons that I can not make, I
must demonstrate the falsity of your metaphysical assertions, or by
abstract reasonings disprove statements you assert to be facts."

"You are peevish and exhausted, or you would perceive that I have
generally allowed you to make the issue, and more than once have
endeavored to dissuade you from doing so. Besides, did I not several
times in the past bring experimental proof to dispel your incredulity?
Have I not been courteous?"

"Yes," I petulantly admitted; "yes."

Then I determined to imitate his artful methods, and throw him upon the
defensive as often as he had done with me. I had finally become familiar
with his process of arguing a question, for, instead of coming
immediately to his subject, he invariably led by circuitous route to the
matter under discussion. Before reaching the point he would manage to
commit me to his own side of the subject, or place me in a defenseless
position. So with covert aim I began:

"I believe that friction is one method of producing heat."

"Yes."

"I have been told that the North American Indians make fires by rubbing
together two pieces of dry wood."

"True."

"I have understood that the light of a shooting star results from the
heat of friction, producing combustion of its particles."

"Partly," he answered.

"That when the meteoric fragment of space dust strikes the air, the
friction resulting from its velocity heats it to redness, fuses its
surface, or even burns its very substance into ashes."

"Yes."

"I have seen the spindle of a wheel charred by friction."

"Yes."

"I have drawn a wire rapidly through a handkerchief tightly grasped in
my hands, and have warmed the wire considerably in doing so."

"Yes."

I felt that I had him committed to my side of the question, and I
prepared to force him to disprove the possibility of one assertion that
he had made concerning his journey.

"You stated that you rode in a boat on the underground lake."

"Yes."

"With great rapidity?"

"Yes."

"Rapid motion produces friction, I believe?"

"Yes."

"And heat?"

"Yes."

"Why did not your boat become heated even to redness? You rode at the
rate of nine hundred miles an hour," I cried exultingly.

"For two reasons," he calmly replied; "two natural causes prevented such
a catastrophe."

And again he warned me, as he had done before, by saying:

"While you should not seek for supernatural agencies to account for any
phenomena in life, for all that is is natural, neither should you fail
to study the differences that varying conditions produce in results
already known. A miracle ceases to be a miracle when we understand the
scientific cause underlying the wonder; occultism is natural, for if
there be occult phenomena they must be governed by natural law; mystery
is not mysterious if the veil of ignorance that envelops the
investigator is lifted. What you have said is true concerning the heat
that results from friction, but--

"First, the attraction of gravitation was inconsiderable where the boat,
to which you refer, rested on the water.

"Second, the changing water carried away the heat as fast as it was
produced. While it is true that a cannon ball becomes heated in its
motion through the air, its surface is cooled when it strikes a body of
water, notwithstanding that its great velocity is altogether overcome by
the water. The friction between the water and the iron does not result
in heated iron, but the contrary. The water above the rapids of a river
has practically the temperature of the water below the rapids,
regardless of the friction that ensues between these points. Admit,
however, that heat is liberated as the result of the friction of solids
with water, and still it does not follow that this heat will perceptibly
affect the solid. With a boat each particle of water carries the heat
away, each succeeding portion of water takes up the heat liberated by
that preceding it. Thus the great body of water, over which our boat
sped, in obedience to the ordinary law, became slightly warmed, but its
effect upon the boat was scarcely perceptible. Your comparison of the
motion of a meteor, with that of our boat, was unhappy. We moved
rapidly, it is true, in comparison with the motion of vessels such as
you know, but comparison can not be easily drawn between the velocity of
a boat and that of a meteor. While we moved at the rate of many miles a
minute, a meteor moves many times faster, perhaps as many miles in a
second. Then you must remember that the force of gravitation was so
slight in our position that--"

"Enough," I interrupted. "We will pass the subject. It seems that you
draw upon science for knowledge to support your arguments, however
irrational they may be, and then you sneer at this same method of
argument when I employ it."

He replied to my peevish complaint with the utmost respect by calling to
my attention the fact that my own forced argument had led to the answer,
and that he had simply replied to my attacks. Said he:

"If I am wrong in my philosophy, based on your science thought, I am
right in my facts, and science thought is thus in the wrong, for facts
overbalance theory. I ask you only to give me the attention that my
statements merit. I am sincere, and aim to serve your interests. Should
investigation lead you hereafter to infer that I am in error, at our
final interview you can have my considerate attention. Be more
charitable, please."

Then he added:

"Is there any other subject you wish to argue?"

"Yes," I answered, and again my combativeness arose; "yes. One of the
truly edifying features of your narrative is that of the intelligent
guide," and I emphasized the word intelligent, and curled up my lip in a
sarcastic manner.

"Proceed."

"He was verily a wonderful being; an eyeless creature, and yet possessed
of sight and perception beyond that of mortal man; a creature who had
been locked in the earth, and yet was more familiar with its surface
than a philosopher; a cavern-bred monstrosity, and yet possessed of the
mind of a sage; he was a scientific expert, a naturalist, a metaphysical
reasoner, a critic of religion, and a prophet. He could see in absolute
darkness as well as in daylight; without a compass he could guide a boat
over a trackless sea, and could accomplish feats that throw Gulliver and
Munchausen into disrepute."

In perfect composure my aged guest listened to my cynical, and almost
insulting tirade. He made no effort to restrain my impetuous sentences,
and when I had finished replied in the polished language of a scholarly
gentleman.

"You state truly, construe my words properly, as well as understand
correctly."

Then he continued musingly, as though speaking to himself:

"I would be at fault and deserve censure did I permit doubts to be
thrown upon so clear a subject, or discredit on so magnanimous a
person."

Turning to me he continued:

"Certainly I did not intend to mislead or to be misunderstood, and am
pleased to find you so earnest a scholar."

And then in his soft, mild manner, he commenced his detail reply,
pouring oil upon the waters of my troubled soul, his sweet, melodious
voice being so in contrast to my rash harangue. He began with his
expressive and often repeated word, "listen."

[Illustration: "WE PASSED THROUGH CAVERNS FILLED WITH CREEPING
REPTILES."]

"Listen. You are right, my guide was a being wonderful to mortals. He
was eyeless, but as I have shown you before, and now swear to the fact,
was not sightless; surely," he said, "surely you have not forgotten
that long ago I considered the phenomenal instinct at length. He
predicted the future by means of his knowledge of the past--there is
nothing wonderful in that. Can not a civil engineer continue a line into
the beyond, and predict where the projection of that line will strike;
can he not also calculate the effect that a curve will have on his
line's destiny? Why should a being conversant with the lines and curves
of humanity's journey for ages past not be able to indicate the lines
that men must follow in the future? Of course he could guide the boat,
in what was to me a trackless waste of water, but you err in asserting
that I had said he did not have a guide, even if it were not a compass.
Many details concerning this journey have not been explained to you;
indeed, I have acquainted you with but little that I experienced. Near
surface earth we passed through caverns filled with creeping reptiles;
through others we were surrounded by flying creatures, neither beast nor
bird; we passed through passages of ooze and labyrinths of apparently
interminable intra-earth structures; to have disported on such features
of my journey would have been impracticable. From time to time I
experienced strains of melody, such as never before had I conceived,
seemingly choruses of angels were singing in and to my very soul. From
empty space about me, from out the crevices beyond and behind me, from
the depths of my spirit within me, came these strains in notes clear and
distinct, but yet indescribable. Did I fancy, or was it real? I will not
pretend to say. Flowers and structures beautiful, insects gorgeous and
inexplicable were spread before me. Figures and forms I can not attempt
to indicate in word descriptions, ever and anon surrounded, accompanied,
and passed me by. The canvas conceptions of earth-bred artists bring to
mind no forms so strange and weird and yet so beautiful as were these
compound beings. Restful beyond description was it to drink in the
indescribable strains of poetry of motion that I appreciated in the
movements of fair creatures I have not mentioned, and it was no less
soothing to experience the soul relief wrought by the sounds about me,
for musicians know no notes so sweet and entrancing.

"There were also, in side caverns to which I was led, combinations of
sounds and scenes in which floating strains and fleeting figures were
interwoven and interlaced so closely that the senses of both sight and
hearing became blended into a single sense, new, weird, strange, and
inexpressible. As flavor is the combination of odor and taste, and is
neither taste nor odor, so these sounds and scenes combined were neither
scenes nor sounds, but a complex sensation, new, delicious. Sometimes I
begged to be permitted to stop and live forever 'mid those heavenly
charms, but with as firm a hand as when helping me through the chambers
of mire, ooze, and creeping reptiles, my guide drew me onward.

"But to return to the subject. As to my guide being a cavern-bred
monstrosity, I do not remember to have said that he was cavern-bred, and
if I have forgotten a fact, I regret my short memory. Did I say that he
was always a cavern being? Did I assert that he had never lived among
mortals of upper earth? If so, I do not remember our conversation on
that subject. He was surely a sage in knowledge, as you have experienced
from my feeble efforts in explaining the nature of phenomena that were
to you unknown, and yet have been gained by me largely through his
instruction. He was a metaphysician, as you assert; you are surely
right; he was a sincere, earnest reasoner and teacher. He was a
conscientious student, and did not by any word lead me to feel that he
did not respect all religions, and bow to the Creator of the universe,
its sciences, and its religions. His demeanor was most considerate, his
methods faultless, his love of nature deep, his patience inexhaustible,
his sincerity unimpeachable. Yes," the old man said; "you are right in
your admiration of this lovely personage, and when you come to meet this
being as you are destined yet to do--for know now that you too will some
day pass from surface earth, and leave only your name in connection with
this story of myself--you will surely then form a still greater love and
a deeper respect for one so gifted, and yet so self-sacrificing."

"Old man," I cried, "you mock me. I spoke facetiously, and you answer
literally. Know that I have no confidence in your sailor-like tales,
your Marco Polo history."

"Ah! You discredit Marco Polo? And why do you doubt?"

"Because I have never seen such phenomena, I have never witnessed such
occurrences. I must see a thing to believe it."

"And so you believe only what you see?" he queried.

"Yes."

"Now answer promptly," he commanded, and his manner changed as by magic
to that of a master. "Did you ever see Greenland?"

"No."

"Iceland?"

"No."

"A geyser?"

"No."

"A whale?"

"No."

"England?"

"No."

"France?"

"No."

"A walrus?"

"No."

"Then you do not believe that these conditions, countries, and animals
have an existence?"

"Of course they have."

"Why?"

"Others have seen them."

"Ah," he said; "then you wish to modify your assertion--you only believe
what others have seen?"

"Excepting one person," I retorted.

Then he continued, seemingly not having noticed my personal allusion:

"Have you ever seen your heart?"

I hesitated.

"Answer," he commanded.

"No."

"Your stomach?"

"No."

"Have you seen the stomach of any of your friends?"

"No."

"The back of your head?"

I became irritated, and made no reply.

"Answer," he again commanded.

"I have seen its reflection in a glass."

"I say no," he replied; "you have not."

"You are impudent," I exclaimed.

"Not at all," he said, good humoredly; "how easy it is to make a
mistake. I venture to say that you have never seen the reflection of the
back of your head in a mirror."

"Your presumption astounds me."

"I will leave it to yourself."

He took a hand-glass from the table and held it behind my head.

"Now, do you see the reflection?"

"No; the glass is behind me."

"Ah, yes; and so is the back of your head."

"Look," I said, pointing to the great mirror on the bureau; "look, there
is the reflection of the back of my head."

"No; it is the reflection of the reflection in my hand-glass."

"You have tricked me; you quibble!"

"Well," he said, ignoring my remark; "what do you believe?"

"I believe what others have seen, and what I can do."

"Excluding myself as to what others have seen," he said facetiously.

"Perhaps," I answered, relenting somewhat.

"Has any man of your acquaintance seen the middle of Africa?"

"No."

"The center of the earth?"

"No."

"The opposite side of the moon?"

"No."

"The soul of man?"

"No."

"Heat, light, electricity?"

"No."

"Then you do not believe that Africa has a midland, the earth a center,
the moon an opposite side, man a soul, force an existence?"

"You distort my meaning."

"Well, I ask questions in accord with your suggestions, and you defeat
yourself. You have now only one point left. You believe only what _you_
can do?"

[Illustration: "FLOWERS AND STRUCTURES BEAUTIFUL, INSECTS GORGEOUS."]

"Yes."

"I will rest this case on one statement, then, and you may be the
judge."

"Agreed."

"You can not do what any child in Cincinnati can accomplish. I assert
that any other man, any other woman in the city can do more than you
can. No cripple is so helpless, no invalid so feeble as not, in this
respect, to be your superior."

"You insult me," I again retorted, almost viciously.

"Do you dispute the assertion seriously?"

"Yes."

"Well, let me see you kiss your elbow."

Involuntarily I twisted my arm so as to bring the elbow towards my
mouth, then, as I caught the full force of his meaning, the ridiculous
result of my passionate wager came over me, and I laughed aloud. It was
a change of thought from the sublime to the ludicrous.

The white-haired guest smiled in return, and kindly said:

"It pleases me to find you in good humor at last. I will return
to-morrow evening and resume the reading of my manuscript. In the
meantime take good exercise, eat heartily, and become more cheerful."

He rose and bowed himself out.



THE OLD MAN CONTINUES HIS MANUSCRIPT.



CHAPTER XLIV.

    THE FATHOMLESS ABYSS.--THE EDGE OF THE EARTH SHELL.


Promptly at eight o'clock the next evening the old man entered my room.
He did not allude to the occurrences of the previous evening, and for
this considerate treatment I felt thankful, as my part in those episodes
had not been enviable. He placed his hat on the table, and in his usual
cool and deliberate manner, commenced reading as follows:

For a long time thereafter we journeyed on in silence, now amid stately
stone pillars, then through great cliff openings or among gigantic
formations that often stretched away like cities or towns dotted over a
plain, to vanish in the distance. Then the scene changed, and we
traversed magnificent avenues, bounded by solid walls which expanded
into lofty caverns of illimitable extent, from whence we found ourselves
creeping through narrow crevices and threading winding passages barely
sufficient to admit our bodies. For a considerable period I had noted
the absence of water, and as we passed from grotto to temple reared
without hands, it occurred to me that I could not now observe evidence
of water erosion in the stony surface over which we trod, and which had
been so abundant before we reached the lake. My guide explained by
saying in reply to my thought question, that we were beneath the water
line. He said that liquids were impelled back towards the earth's
surface from a point unnoticed by me, but long since passed. Neither did
I now experience hunger nor thirst, in the slightest degree, a
circumstance which my guide assured me was perfectly natural in view of
the fact that there was neither waste of tissue nor consumption of heat
in my present organism.

[Illustration: "WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING I CREPT ON MY KNEES TO HIS
SIDE."]

At last I observed far in the distance a slanting sheet of light that,
fan-shaped, stood as a barrier across the way; beyond it neither earth
nor earth's surface appeared. As we approached, the distinctness of its
outline disappeared, and when we came nearer, I found that it streamed
into the space above, from what appeared to be a crevice or break in the
earth that stretched across our pathway, and was apparently limitless
and bottomless.

"Is this another hallucination?" I queried.

"No; it is a reality. Let us advance to the brink."

Slowly we pursued our way, for I hesitated and held back. I had really
begun to distrust my own senses, and my guide in the lead was even
forced to demonstrate the feasibility of the way, step by step, before I
could be induced to follow. At length we neared the edge of the chasm,
and while he stood boldly upright by the brink, with fear and trembling
I crept on my knees to his side, and together we faced a magnificent but
fearful void that stretched beneath and beyond us, into a profundity of
space. I peered into the chamber of light, that indescribable gulf of
brilliancy, but vainly sought for an opposite wall; there was none. As
far as the eye could reach, vacancy, illuminated vacancy, greeted my
vision. The light that sprung from that void was not dazzling, but was
possessed of a beauty that no words can suggest. I peered downward, and
found that we stood upon the edge of a shelving ledge of stone that
receded rapidly beneath us, so that we seemed to rest upon the upper
side of its wedge-like edge. I strained my vision to catch a glimpse of
the bottom of this chasm, but although I realized that my eyes were
glancing into miles and miles of space, there was no evidence of earthly
material other than the brink upon which we stood.

The limit of vision seemed to be bounded by a silvery blending of light
with light, light alone, only light. The dead silence about, and the new
light before me, combined to produce a weird sensation, inexplicable,
overpowering. A speck of dust on the edge of immensity, I clung to the
stone cliff, gazing into the depths of that immeasurable void.



CHAPTER XLV.

    MY HEART THROB IS STILLED, AND YET I LIVE.


"It now becomes my duty to inform you that this is one of the stages in
our journey that can only be passed by the exercise of the greatest will
force. Owing to our former surroundings upon the surface of the earth,
and to your inheritance of a so-called instinctive education, you would
naturally suppose that we are now on the brink of an impassable chasm.
This sphere of material vacuity extends beneath us to a depth that I am
sure you will be astonished to learn is over six thousand miles. We may
now look straight into the earth cavity, and this streaming light is the
reflected purity of the space below. The opposite side of this crevice,
out of sight by reason of its distance, but horizontally across from
where we stand, is precipitous and comparatively solid, extending upward
to the material that forms the earth's surface. We have, during our
journey, traversed an oblique, tortuous natural passage, that extends
from the spot at which you entered the cave in Kentucky, diagonally down
into the crust of the globe, terminating in this shelving bluff. I would
recall to your mind that your journey up to this time has been of your
own free will and accord. At each period of vacillation--and you could
not help but waver occasionally--you have been at liberty to return to
surface earth again, but each time you decided wisely to continue your
course. You can now return if your courage is not sufficient to overcome
your fear, but this is the last opportunity you will have to reconsider,
while in my company."

"Have others overcome the instinctive terrors to which you allude?"

"Yes; but usually the dread of death, or an unbearable uncertainty,
compels the traveler to give up in despair before reaching this spot,
and the opportunity of a lifetime is lost. Yes; an opportunity that
occurs only in the lifetime of one person out of millions, of but few in
our brotherhood."

"Then I can return if I so elect?"

"Certainly."

"Will you inform me concerning the nature of the obstacle I have to
overcome, that you indicate by your vague references?"

"We must descend from this cliff."

"You can not be in earnest."

"Why?"

"Do you not see that the stone recedes from beneath us, that we stand on
the edge of a wedge overhanging bottomless space?"

"That I understand."

"There is no ladder," and then the foolish remark abashed me as I
thought of a ladder six thousand miles in length.

"Go on."

He made no reference to my confusion.

"There is practically no bottom," I asserted, "if I can believe your
words; you told me so."

"And that I reiterate."

"The feat is impracticable, impossible, and only a madman would think of
trying to descend into such a depth of space."

Then an idea came over me; perhaps there existed a route at some other
point of the earth's crevice by which we could reach the under side of
the stone shelf, and I intimated as much to the guide.

"No; we must descend from this point, for it is the only entrance to the
hollow beneath."

We withdrew from the brink, and I meditated in silence. Then I crept
again to the edge of the bluff, and lying flat on my chest, craned my
head over, and peered down into the luminous gulf. The texture of the
receding mineral was distinctly visible for a considerable distance, and
then far, far beneath all semblance to material form disappeared--as the
hull of a vessel fades in deep, clear water. As I gazed into the gulf it
seemed evident that, as a board floating in water is bounded by water,
this rock really ended. I turned to my guide and questioned him.

"Stone in this situation is as cork," he replied; "it is nearly devoid
of weight; your surmise is correct. We stand on the shelving edge of a
cliff of earthly matter, that in this spot slants upward from beneath
like the bow of a boat. We have reached the bottom of the film of space
dust on the bubble of energy that forms the skeleton of earth."

I clutched the edge of the cliff with both hands.

"Be not frightened; have I not told you that if you wish to return you
can do so. Now hearken to me:

"A short time ago you endeavored to convince me that we could not
descend from this precipice, and you are aware that your arguments were
without foundation. You drew upon your knowledge of earth materials, as
you once learned them, and realized at the time that you deluded
yourself in doing so, for you know that present conditions are not such
as exist above ground. You are now influenced by surroundings that are
entirely different from those that govern the lives of men upon the
earth's surface. You are almost without weight. You have nearly ceased
to breathe, as long since you discovered, and soon I hope will agree
entirely to suspend that harsh and wearying movement. Your heart
scarcely pulsates, and if you go with me farther in this journey, will
soon cease to beat."

I started up and turned to flee, but he grasped and held me firmly.

"Would you murder me? Do you think I will mutely acquiesce, while you
coolly inform me of your inhuman intent, and gloat over the fact that my
heart will soon be as stone, and that I will be a corpse?" He attempted
to break in, but I proceeded in frenzy. "I _will_ return to upper earth,
to sunshine and humanity. I _will_ retreat while yet in health and
strength, and although I have in apparent willingness accompanied you to
this point, learn now that at all times I have been possessed of the
means to defend myself from personal violence." I drew from my pocket
the bar of iron. "See, this I secreted about my person in the fresh air
of upper earth, the sweet sunshine of heaven, fearing that I might fall
into the hands of men with whom I must combat. Back, back," I cried.

He released his hold of my person, and folded his arms upon his breast,
then quietly faced me, standing directly between myself and the passage
we had trod, while I stood on the brink, my back to that fearful chasm.

By a single push he could thrust me into the fathomless gulf below, and
with the realization of that fact, I felt that it was now a life and
death struggle. With every muscle strained to its utmost tension, with
my soul on fire, my brain frenzied, I drew back the bar of iron to smite
the apparently defenseless being in the forehead, but he moved not, and
as I made the motion, he calmly remarked: "Do you remember the history
of Hiram Abiff?"

[Illustration: "I DREW BACK THE BAR OF IRON TO SMITE THE APPARENTLY
DEFENSELESS BEING IN THE FOREHEAD."]

The hand that held the weapon dropped as if stricken by paralysis, and a
flood of recollections concerning my lost home overcame me. I had raised
my hand against a brother, the only being of my kind who could aid me,
or assist me either to advance or recede. How could I, unaided, recross
that glassy lake, and pass through the grotesque forests of fungi and
the labyrinth of crystal grottoes of the salt bed? How could I find my
way in the utter darkness that existed in the damp, soppy, dripping
upper caverns that I must retrace before I could hope to reach the
surface of the earth? "Forgive me," I sobbed, and sunk at his feet.
"Forgive me, my friend, my brother; I have been wild, mad, am crazed."
He made no reply, but pointed over my shoulder into the space beyond.

I turned, and in the direction indicated, saw, in amazement, floating in
the distant space a snow- and ice-clad vessel in full sail. She was
headed diagonally from us, and was moving rapidly across the field of
vision. Every spar and sail was clearly defined, and on her deck, and in
the rigging I beheld sailors clad in winter garments pursuing their
various duties.

As I gazed, enraptured, she disappeared in the distance.

"A phantom vessel," I murmured.

"No," he replied; "the abstraction of a vessel sailing on the ocean
above us. Every object on earth is the second to an imprint in another
place. There is an apparent reproduction of matter in so-called vacancy,
and on unseen pages a recording of all events. As that ship sailed over
the ocean above us, she disturbed a current of energy, and it left its
impress as an outline on a certain zone beneath, which is parallel with
that upon which we now chance to stand."

"I can not comprehend," I muttered.

"No," he answered; "to you it seems miraculous, as to all men an
unexplained phenomenon approaches the supernatural. All that is is
natural. Have men not been told in sacred writings that their every
movement is being recorded in the Book of Life, and do they not often
doubt because they can not grasp the problem? May not the greatest
scientist be the most apt skeptic?"

"Yes," I replied.

"You have just seen," he said, "the record of an act on earth, and in
detail it is being printed elsewhere in the Book of Eternity. If you
should return to earth's surface you could not by stating these facts
convince even the persons on that same ship, of your sanity. You could
not make them believe that hundreds of miles beneath, both their vessel
and its crew had been reproduced in fac simile, could you?"

"No."

"Were you to return to earth you could not convince men that you had
existed without breath, with a heart dead within you. If you should try
to impress on mankind the facts that you have learned in this journey,
what would be the result?"

"I would probably be considered mentally deranged; this I have before
admitted."

"Would it not be better then," he continued, "to go with me, by your own
free will, into the unknown future, which you need fear less than a
return to the scoffing multitude amid the storms of upper earth? You
know that I have not at any time deceived you. I have, as yet, only
opened before you a part of one rare page out of the boundless book of
nature; you have tasted of the sweets of which few persons in the flesh
have sipped, and I now promise you a further store of knowledge that is
rich beyond conception, if you wish to continue your journey."

"What if I decide to return?"

"I will retrace my footsteps and liberate you upon the surface of the
earth, as I have others, for few persons have courage enough to pass
this spot."

"Binding me to an oath of secrecy?"

[Illustration: "SPRUNG FROM THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF INTO THE ABYSS BELOW,
CARRYING ME WITH HIM INTO ITS DEPTHS."]

"No," he answered; "for if you relate these events men will consider you
a madman, and the more clearly you attempt to explain the facts that you
have witnessed, the less they will listen to you; such has been the fate
of others."

"It is, indeed, better for me to go with you," I said musingly; "to that
effect my mind is now made up, my course is clear, I am ready."

With a motion so quick in conception, and rapid in execution that I was
taken altogether by surprise, with a grasp so powerful that I could not
have repelled him, had I expected the movement and tried to protect
myself, the strange man, or being beside me, threw his arms around my
body. Then, as a part of the same movement, he raised me bodily from the
stone, and before I could realize the nature of his intention, sprung
from the edge of the cliff into the abyss below, carrying me with him
into its depths.



CHAPTER XLVI.

    THE INNER CIRCLE, OR THE END OF GRAVITATION.--IN THE BOTTOMLESS
    GULF.


I recall a whirling sensation, and an involuntary attempt at
self-preservation, in which I threw my arms wildly about with a vain
endeavor to clutch some form of solid body, which movement naturally
ended by a tight clasping of my guide in my arms, and locked together we
continued to speed down into the seven thousand miles of vacancy.
Instinctively I murmured a prayer of supplication, and awaited the
approaching hereafter, which, as I believed, would quickly witness the
extinction of my unhappy life, the end of my material existence; but the
moments (if time can be so divided when no sun marks the division)
multiplied without bodily shock or physical pain of any description; I
retained my consciousness.

"Open your eyes," said my guide, "you have no cause for fear."

I acquiesced in an incredulous, dazed manner.

"This unusual experience is sufficient to unnerve you, but you need have
no fear, for you are not in corporal danger, and can relax your grasp on
my person."

I cautiously obeyed him, misgivingly, and slowly loosened my hold, then
gazed about to find that we were in a sea of light, and that only light
was visible, that form of light which I have before said is an entity
without source of radiation. In one direction, however, a great gray
cloud hung suspended and gloomy, dark in the center, and shading
therefrom in a circle, to disappear entirely at an angle of about
forty-five degrees.

"This is the earth-shelf from which we sprung," said the guide; "it will
soon disappear."

Wherever I glanced this radiant exhalation, a peaceful, luminous
envelope, this rich, soft, beautiful white light appeared. The power of
bodily motion I found still a factor in my frame, obedient, as before,
to my will. I could move my limbs freely, and my intellect seemed to be
intact. Finally I became impressed with the idea that I must be at
perfect rest, but if so what could be the nature of the substance, or
material, upon which I was resting so complacently? No; this could not
be true. Then I thought: "I have been instantly killed by a painless
shock, and my spirit is in heaven;" but my earthly body and coarse,
ragged garments were palpable realities; the sense of touch, sight, and
hearing surely were normal, and a consideration of these facts dispelled
my first conception.

"Where are we now?"

"Moving into earth's central space."

"I comprehend that a rushing wind surrounds us which is not
uncomfortable, but otherwise I experience no unusual sensation, and can
not realize but that I am at rest."

"The sensation, as of a blowing wind, is in consequence of our rapid
motion, and results from the friction between our bodies and the
quiescent, attenuated atmosphere which exists even here, but this
atmosphere becomes less and less in amount until it will disappear
altogether at a short distance below us. Soon we will be in a perfect
calm, and although moving rapidly, to all appearances will be at
absolute rest."

Naturally, perhaps, my mind attempted, as it so often had done, to urge
objections to his statements, and at first it occurred to me that I did
not experience the peculiar sinking away sensation in the chest that I
remembered follows, on earth, the downward motion of a person falling
from a great height, or moving rapidly in a swing, and I questioned him
on the absence of that phenomenon.

"The explanation is simple," he said; "on the surface of the earth a
sudden motion, either upward or downward, disturbs the equilibrium of
the organs of respiration, and of the heart, and interferes with the
circulation of the blood. This produces a change in blood pressure
within the brain, and the 'sinking' sensation in the chest, or the
dizziness of the head of a person moving rapidly, or it may even result
in unconsciousness, and complete suspension of respiration, effects
which sometimes follow rapid movements, as in a person falling from a
considerable height. Here circumstances are entirely different. The
heart is quiet, the lungs in a comatose condition, and the blood
stagnant. Mental sensations, therefore, that result from a disturbed
condition of these organs are wanting, and, although we are experiencing
rapid motion, we are in the full possession of our physical selves, and
maintain our mental faculties unimpaired."

Again I interposed an objection:

"If, as you say, we are really passing through an attenuated atmosphere
with increasing velocity, according to the law that governs falling
bodies that are acted upon by gravity which continually accelerates
their motion, the friction between ourselves and the air will ultimately
become so intense as to wear away our bodies."

"Upon the contrary," said he, "this attenuated atmosphere is decreasing
in density more rapidly than our velocity increases, and before long it
will have altogether disappeared. You can perceive that the wind, as you
call it, is blowing less violently than formerly; soon it will entirely
cease, as I have already predicted, and at that period, regardless of
our motion, we will appear to be stationary."

Pondering over the final result of this strange experience I became
again alarmed, for accepting the facts to be as he stated, such motion
would ultimately carry us against the opposite crust of the earth, and
without a doubt the shock would end our existence. I inquired about
this, to me, self-evident fact, and he replied:

"Long before we reach the opposite crust of the earth, our motion will
be arrested."

I had begun now to feel a self-confidence that is surprising as I recall
that remarkable position in connection with my narrow experience in true
science, and can say that instead of despondency, I really enjoyed an
elated sensation, a curious exhilaration, a feeling of delight, which I
have no words to describe. Life disturbances and mental worry seemed to
have completely vanished, and it appeared as if, with mental perception
lucid, I were under the influence of a powerful soporific; the cares of
mortals had disappeared. After a while the wind ceased to blow, as my
guide had predicted, and with the suspension of that factor, all that
remained to remind me of earth phenomena had vanished. There was no
motion of material, nothing to mar or disturb the most perfect peace
imaginable; I was so exquisitely happy that I now actually feared some
change might occur to interrupt that quiescent existence. It was as a
deep, sweet sleep in which, with faculties alive, unconsciousness was
self-conscious, peaceful, restful, blissful. I listlessly turned my
eyes, searching space in all directions--to meet vacancy everywhere,
absolute vacancy. I took from my pocket (into which I had hastily thrust
it) the bar of iron, and released it; the metal remained motionless
beside me.

"Traveling through this expanse with the rapidity of ourselves," said my
guide.

I closed my eyes and endeavored to convince myself that I was
dreaming--vainly, however. I opened my eyes, and endeavored to convince
myself that I was moving, equally in vain. I became oblivious to
everything save the delicious sensation of absolute rest that enveloped
and pervaded my being.

"I am neither alive nor dead," I murmured; "neither asleep nor awake;
neither moving nor at rest, and neither standing, reclining, nor
sitting. If I exist I can not bring evidence to prove that fact, neither
can I prove that I am dead."

"Can any man prove either of these premises?" said the guide.

"I have never questioned the matter," said I; "it is a self-evident
fact."

"Know then," said he, "that existence is a theory, and that man is
incapable of demonstrating that he has a being. All evidences of mortal
life are only as the phantasms of hallucination. As a moment in
dreamland may span a life of time, the dreamer altogether unconscious
that it is a dream, so may life itself be a shadow, the vision of a
distempered fancy, the illusion of a floating thought."

"Are pain, pleasure, and living, imaginary creations?" I asked
facetiously.

"Is there a madman who does not imagine, as facts, what others agree
upon as hallucinations peculiar to himself? Is it not impossible to
distinguish between different gradations of illusions, and is it not,
therefore, possible that even self-existence is an illusion? What
evidence can any man produce to prove that his idea of life is not a
madman's dream?"

"Proceed," I said.

"At another time, perhaps," he remarked; "we have reached the Inner
Circle, the Sphere of Rest, the line of gravity, and now our bodies have
no weight; at this point we begin to move with decreased speed, we will
soon come to a quiescent condition, a state of rest, and then start back
on our rebound."



CHAPTER XLVII.

    HEARING WITHOUT EARS.--"WHAT WILL BE THE END?"


A flood of recollections came over me, a vivid remembrance of my
earth-learned school philosophy. "I rebel again," I said, "I deny your
statements. We can neither be moving, nor can we be out of the
atmosphere. Fool that I have been not to have sooner and better used my
reasoning faculties, not to have at once rejected your statements
concerning the disappearance of the atmosphere."

"I await your argument."

"Am I not speaking? Is other argument necessary? Have I not heard your
voice, and that, too, since you asserted that we had left the
atmosphere?"

"Continue."

"Have not men demonstrated, and is it not accepted beyond the shadow of
a doubt, that sound is produced by vibrations of the air?"

"You speak truly; as men converse on surface earth."

"This medium--the air--in wave vibrations, strikes upon the drum of the
ear, and thus impresses the brain," I continued.

"I agree that such is the teachings of your philosophy; go on."

"It is unnecessary; you admit the facts, and the facts refute you; there
must be an atmosphere to convey sound."

"Can not you understand that you are not now on the surface of the
earth? Will you never learn that the philosophy of your former life is
not philosophy here? That earth-bound science is science only with
surface-earth men? Here science is a fallacy. All that you have said is
true of surface earth, but your argument is invalid where every
condition is different from the conditions that prevail thereon. You use
the organs of speech in addressing me as you once learned to use them,
but such physical efforts are unnecessary to convey sense-impressions
in this condition of rest and complacency, and you waste energy in
employing them. You assert and believe that the air conveys sound; you
have been taught such theories in support of a restricted philosophy;
but may I ask you if a bar of iron, a stick of wood, a stream of water,
indeed any substance known to you placed against the ear will not do the
same, and many substances even better than the atmosphere?"

"This I admit."

"Will you tell me how the vibration of any of these bodies impresses the
seat of hearing?"

"It moves the atmosphere which strikes upon the tympanum of the ear."

"You have not explained the phenomenon; how does that tympanic membrane
communicate with the brain?"

"By vibrations, I understand," I answered, and then I began to feel that
this assertion was a simple statement, and not sufficient to explain how
matter acts upon mind, whatever mind may be, and I hesitated.

"Pray do not stop," he said; "how is it that a delicate vibrating film
of animal membrane can receive and convey sound to a pulpy organic mass
that is destitute of elasticity, and which consists mostly of water, for
the brain is such in structure, and vibrations like those you mention,
can not, by your own theory, pass through it as vibrations through a
sonorous material, or even reach from the tympanum of the ear to the
nearest convolution of the brain."

"I can not explain this, I admit," was my reply.

"Pass that feature, then, and concede that this tympanic membrane is
capable of materially affecting brain tissue by its tiny vibrations, how
can that slimy, pulpy formation mostly made up of water, communicate
with the soul of man, for you do not claim, I hope, that brain material
is either mind, conscience, or soul?"

I confessed my inability to answer or even to theorize on the subject,
and recognizing my humiliation, I begged him to open the door to such
knowledge.

"The vibration of the atmosphere is necessary to man, as earthy man is
situated," he said. "The coarser attributes known as matter formations
are the crudities of nature, dust swept from space. Man's organism is
made up of the roughest and lowest kind of space materials; he is
surrounded by a turbulent medium, the air, and these various conditions
obscure or destroy the finer attributes of his ethereal nature, and
prevent a higher spiritual evolution. His spiritual self is enveloped in
earth, and everywhere thwarted by earthy materials. He is insensible to
the finer influences of surrounding media by reason of the overwhelming
necessity of a war for existence with the grossly antagonistic
materialistic confusion that everywhere confronts, surrounds, and
pervades him. Such a conflict with extraneous matter is necessary in
order that he may retain his earthy being, for, to remain a mortal, he
must work to keep body and soul together. His organs of communication
and perception are of 'earth, earthy'; his nature is cast in a mold of
clay, and the blood within him gurgles and struggles in his brain, a
whirlpool of madly rushing liquid substances, creating disorder in the
primal realms of consciousness. He is ignorant of this inward turmoil
because he has never been without it, as ignorant as he is of the rank
odors of the gases of the atmosphere that he has always breathed, and
can not perceive because of the benumbed olfactory nerves. Thus it is
that all his subtler senses are inevitably blunted and perverted, and
his vulgar nature preponderates. The rich essential part of his own self
is unknown, even to himself. The possibility of delight and pleasure in
an acquaintance with the finer attributes of his own soul is clouded by
this shrouding materialistic presence that has, through countless
generations, become a part of man, and he even derives most of his
mental pleasures from such acts as tend to encourage the animal
passions. Thus it follows that the sensitive, highly developed,
extremely attenuated part of his inner being has become subservient to
the grosser elements. The baser part of his nature has become dominant.
He remains insensible to impressions from the highly developed
surrounding media which, being incapable of reaching his inner organism
other than through mechanical agencies, are powerless to impress. Alas,
only the coarser conditions of celestial phenomena can affect him, and
the finer expressions of the universe of life and force are lost to his
spiritual apprehension."

"Would you have me view the soul of man as I would a material being?"

"Surely," he answered; "it exists practically as does the more gross
forms of matter, and in exact accord with natural laws. Associated with
lower forms of matter, the soul of man is a temporary slave to the
enveloping substance. The ear of man as now constituted can hear only by
means of vibrations of such media as conduct vibrations in matter--for
example, the air; but were man to be deprived of the organs of hearing,
and then exist for generations subject to evolutions from within,
whereby the acuteness of the spirit would become intensified, or
permitted to perform its true function, he would learn to communicate
soul to soul, not only with mankind, but with beings celestial that
surround, and are now unknown to him. This he would accomplish through a
medium of communication that requires neither ear nor tongue. To an
extent your present condition is what men call supernatural, although in
reality you have been divested of only a part of your former material
grossness, which object has been accomplished under perfectly natural
conditions; your mind no longer requires the material medium by which to
converse with the spiritual. We are conversing now by thought contact,
there is no atmosphere here, your tongue moves merely from habit, and
not from necessity. I am reading your mind as you in turn are mine,
neither of us is speaking as you were accustomed to speak."

"I can not accept that assertion," I said; "it is to me impossible to
realize the existence of such conditions."

"As it is for any man to explain any phenomenon in life," he said. "Do
you not remember that you ceased to respire, and were not conscious of
the fact?"

"Yes."

"That your heart had stopped beating, your blood no longer circulated,
while you were in ignorance of the change?"

"That is also true."

"Now I will prove my last assertion. Close your mouth, and think of a
question you wish to propound."

I did so, and to my perfect understanding and comprehension he answered
me with closed mouth.

"What will be the end?" I exclaimed, or thought aloud. "I am possessed
of nearly all the attributes that I once supposed inherent only in a
corpse, yet I live, I see clearly, I hear plainly, I have a quickened
being, and a mental perception intensified and exquisite. Why and how
has this been accomplished? What will be the result of this eventful
journey?"

"Restful, you should say," he remarked; "the present is restful, the end
will be peace. Now I will give you a lesson concerning the words Why and
How that you have just used."



CHAPTER XLVIII.

    WHY AND HOW.--"THE STRUGGLING RAY OF LIGHT FROM THOSE FARTHERMOST
    OUTREACHES."


"Confronting mankind there stands a sphinx--the vast Unknown. However
well a man may be informed concerning a special subject, his farthermost
outlook concerning that subject is bounded by an impenetrable infinity."

"Granted," I interrupted, "that mankind has not by any means attained a
condition of perfection, yet you must admit that questions once regarded
as inscrutable problems are now illuminated by the discoveries of
science."

"And the 'discovered,' as I will show, has only transferred ignorance to
other places," he replied. "Science has confined its labors to
superficial descriptions, not the elucidation of the fundamental causes
of phenomena."

"I can not believe you, and question if you can prove what you say."

"It needs no argument to illustrate the fact. Science boldly heralds her
descriptive discoveries, and as carefully ignores her explanatory
failures. She dare not attempt to explain the why even of the simplest
things. Why does the robin hop, and the snipe walk? Do not tell me this
is beneath the notice of men of science, for science claims that no
subject is outside her realm. Search your works on natural history and
see if your man of science, who describes the habits of these birds,
explains the reason for this evident fact. How does the tree-frog change
its color? Do not answer me in the usual superficial manner concerning
the reflection of light, but tell me why the skin of that creature is
enabled to perform this function? How does the maple-tree secrete a
sweet, wholesome sap, and deadly nightshade, growing in the same soil
and living on the same elements, a poison? What is it that your
scientific men find in the cells of root, or rootlet, to indicate that
one may produce a food, and the other a noxious secretion that can
destroy life? Your microscopist will discuss cell tissues learnedly,
will speak fluently of physiological structure, will describe organic
intercellular appearances, but ignore all that lies beyond. Why does the
nerve in the tongue respond to a sensation, and produce on the mind the
sense of taste? What is it that enables the nerve in the nose to perform
its discriminative function? You do not answer. Silver is sonorous, lead
is not; why these intrinsic differences? Aluminum is a light metal, gold
a heavy one; what reason can you offer to explain the facts other than
the inadequate term density? Mercury at ordinary temperature is a
liquid; can your scientist tell why it is not a solid? Of course anyone
can say because its molecules move freely on each other. Such an answer
evades the issue; why do they so readily exert this action? Copper
produces green or blue salts; nickel produces green salts; have you ever
been told why they observe these rules? Water solidifies at about
thirty-two degrees above your so-called zero; have you ever asked an
explanation of your scientific authority why it selects that
temperature? Alcohol dissolves resins, water dissolves gums; have you
any explanation to offer why either liquid should dissolve anything,
much less exercise a preference? One species of turtle has a soft shell,
another a hard shell; has your authority in natural history told you why
this is so? The albumen of the egg of the hen hardens at one hundred and
eighty degrees Fahrenheit; the albumen of the eggs of some turtles can
not be easily coagulated by boiling the egg in pure water; why these
differences? Iceland spar and dog-tooth spar are identical, both are
crystallized carbonate of lime; has your mineralogist explained why this
one substance selects these different forms of crystallization, or why
any crystal of any substance is ever produced? Why is common salt white
and charcoal black? Why does the dog lap and the calf drink? One child
has black hair, another brown, a third red; why? Search your physiology
for the answer and see if your learned authority can tell you why the
life-current makes these distinctions? Why do the cells of the liver
secrete bile, and those of the mouth saliva? Why does any cell secrete
anything? A parrot can speak; what has your anatomist found in the
structure of the brain, tongue, or larynx of that bird to explain why
this accomplishment is not as much the birthright of the turkey? The
elements that form morphine and strychnine, also make bread, one a food,
the other a poison; can your chemist offer any reason for the fact that
morphine and bread possess such opposite characters? The earth has one
satellite, Saturn is encompassed by a ring; it is not sufficient to
attempt to refer to these familiar facts; tell me, does your earth-bound
astronomer explain why the ring of Saturn was selected for that planet?
Why are the salts of aluminum astringent, the salts of magnesium
cathartic, and the salts of arsenicum deadly poison? Ask your
toxicologist, and silence will be your answer. Why will some substances
absorb moisture from the air, and liquefy, while others become as dry as
dust under like conditions? Why does the vapor of sulphuric ether
inflame, while the vapor of chloroform is not combustible, under
ordinary conditions? Oil of turpentine, oil of lemon, and oil of
bergamot differ in odor, yet they are composed of the same elements,
united in the same proportion; why should they possess such distinctive,
individual characteristics? Further search of the chemist will explain
only to shove the word why into another space, as ripples play with and
toss a cork about. Why does the newly-born babe cry for food before its
intellect has a chance for worldly education? Why--"

"Stop," I interrupted; "these questions are absurd."

"So some of your scientific experts would assert," he replied; "perhaps
they would even become indignant at my presumption in asking them, and
call them childish; nevertheless these men can not satisfy their own
cravings in attempting to search the illimitable, and in humiliation, or
irritation, they must ignore the word Why. That word Why to man
dominates the universe. It covers all phenomena, and thrusts inquiry
back from every depth. Science may trace a line of thought into the
infinitely little, down, down, beyond that which is tangible, and at
last in that far distant inter-microscopical infinity, monstrous by
reason of its very minuteness, must rest its labors against the word
Why. Man may carry his superficial investigation into the immeasurably
great, beyond our sun and his family of satellites, into the outer
depths of the solar system, of which our sun is a part, past his sister
stars, and out again into the depths of the cold space channels beyond;
into other systems and out again, until at last the nebulæ shrink and
disappear in the gloom of thought-conjecture, and as the straggling ray
of light from those farthermost outreaches, too feeble to tell of its
origin, or carry a story of nativity, enters his eye, he covers his face
and rests his intellect against the word Why. From the remote space
caverns of the human intellect, beyond the field of perception, whether
we appeal to conceptions of the unknowable in the infinitely little, or
the immeasurably great, we meet a circle of adamant, as impenetrable as
the frozen cliffs of the Antarctic, that incomprehensible word--Why!

"Why did the light wave spring into his field of perception by
reflection from the microscopic speck in the depths of littleness, on
the one hand; and how did this sliver of the sun's ray originate in the
depths of inter-stellar space, on the other?"

I bowed my head.

[Illustration: DESCRIPTION OF JOURNEY FROM K. [KENTUCKY] TO P.--"THE END
OF EARTH."]



CHAPTER XLIX.

    OSCILLATING THROUGH SPACE.--EARTH'S SHELL ABOVE ME.[14]

    [14] For detail illustration of the earth shell, as explained in
    this chapter, see the plate.

Continued my companion:

"We have just now crossed the line of gravitation. We were drawn
downward until at a certain point, to which I called your attention at
the time, we recently crossed the curved plane of perfect rest, where
gravity ceases, and by our momentum are now passing beyond that plane,
and are now pressing against the bond of gravitation again. This shell
in which gravity centers is concentric with that of the earth's
exterior, and is about seven hundred miles below its surface. Each
moment of time will now behold us carried farther from this sphere of
attraction, and thus the increasing distance increases the force of the
restraining influence. Our momentum is thus retarded, and consequently
the rapidity of our motion is continually decreasing. At last when the
forces of gravitation and mass motion neutralize each other, we will
come to a state of rest again. When our motion in this direction ceases,
however, gravitation, imperishable, continues to exert its equalizing
influence, the result being a start in the opposite direction, and we
will then reverse our course, and retrace our path, crossing again the
central band of attraction, to retreat and fly to the opposite side of
the power of greater attraction, into the expanse from which we came,
and that is now above us."

"Can this oscillation ever end? Are we to remain thus, as an unceasing
pendulum, traversing space, to and fro across this invisible shell of
attraction from now until the end of time?"

"No; there are influences to prevent such an experience; one being the
friction of the attenuated atmosphere into which we plunge each time
that we cross the point of greater gravity, and approach the crust of
the earth. Thus each succeeding vibration is in shorter lines, and at
last we will come to a state of perfect rest at the center of gravity."

"I can only acquiesce in meek submission, powerless even to argue, for I
perceive that the foundations for my arguments must be based on those
observed conditions of natural laws formerly known to me, and that do
not encompass us here; I accept, therefore, your statements as I have
several times heretofore, because I can not refute them. I must close my
eyes to the future, and accept it on faith; I cease to mourn the past, I
can not presage the end."

"Well spoken," he replied; "and while we are undergoing this necessary
delay, this oscillating motion, to which we must both submit before we
can again continue our journey, I will describe some conditions inherent
in the three spheres of which the rind of the earth is composed, for I
believe that you are now ready to receive and profit by facts that
heretofore you would have rejected in incredulity.

"The outer circle, coat, or contour, of which you have heard others
besides myself speak, is the surface crust of our globe, the great
sphere of land and water on which man is at present an inhabitant. This
is the exposed part of the earth, and is least desirable as a residence.
It is affected by grievous atmospheric changes, and restless physical
conditions, such as men, in order to exist in, must fortify against at
the expense of much bodily and mental energy, which leads them,
necessarily, to encourage the animal at the expense of the ethereal. The
unmodified rays of the sun produce aerial convulsions that are marked by
thermal contrasts, and other meteorological variations, during which the
heat of summer and the cold of winter follow each other periodically and
unceasingly. These successive solar pulsations generate winds, calms,
and storms, and in order to protect himself against such exposures and
changes in material surroundings, man toils, suffers, and comes to
believe that the doom, if not the object, of life on earth is the
preservation of the earthy body. All conditions and phases of nature on
this outer crust are in an angry struggle, and this commotion envelops
the wretched home, and governs the life of man. The surrounding cyclones
of force and matter have distorted the peaceful side of what human
nature might be until the shortened life of man has become a passionate,
deplorable, sorrowful struggle for physical existence, from the cradle
to the grave. Of these facts man is practically ignorant, although each
individual is aware he is not satisfied with his condition. If his
afflictions were obvious to himself, his existence would be typical of a
life of desolation and anguish. You know full well that the condition of
the outer sphere is, as I have described it, a bleak, turbulent surface,
the roof of the earth on which man exists, as a creeping parasite does
on a rind of fruit, exposed to the fury of the ever-present earth
storms.

"The central circle, or medial sphere, the shell, or layer of
gravitation, lies conformably to the outer configuration of the globe,
about seven hundred miles towards its center. It stretches beneath the
outer circle (sphere) as a transparent sheet, a shell of energy, the
center of gravitation. The material crust of the earth rests on this
placid sphere of vigor, excepting in a few places, where, as in the
crevice we have entered, gaps, or crevices, in matter exist, beginning
from near the outer surface and extending diagonally through the medial
and inner spheres into the intra-earth space beyond. This medial sphere
is a form of pure force, a disturbance of motion, and although without
weight it induces, or conserves, gravity. It is invisible to mortal
eyes, and is frictionless, but really is the bone of the earth. On it
matter, the retarded energy of space, space dust, has arranged itself as
dust collects on a bubble of water. This we call matter. The material
portion of the earth is altogether a surface film, an insignificant skin
over the sphere of purity, the center of gravitation. Although men
naturally imagine that the density and stability of the earth is
dependent on the earthy particles, of which his own body is a part, such
is not the case. Earth, as man upon the outer surface, can now know it,
is an aggregation of material particles, a shell resting on this
globular sphere of medial force, which attracts solid matter from both
the outer and inner surfaces of earth, forming thereby the middle of the
three concentric spheres. This middle sphere is the reverse of the
outer, or surface, layer in one respect, for, while it attracts solids,
gases are repelled by it, and thus the atmosphere becomes less dense as
we descend from the outer surfaces of the earth. The greater degree of
attraction for gases belongs, therefore, to the earth's exterior
surface."

"Exactly at the earth's exterior surface?" I asked.

"Practically so. The greatest density of the air is found a few miles
below the surface of the ocean; the air becomes more attenuated as we
proceed in either direction from that point. Were this not the case, the
atmosphere that surrounds the earth would be quickly absorbed into its
substance, or expand into space and disappear."

"Scientific men claim that the atmosphere is forty-five geographical
miles in depth over the earth's surface," I said.

"If the earth is eight thousand miles in diameter, how long would such
an atmosphere, a skin only, over a great ball, resist such attraction,
and remain above the globe? Were it really attracted towards its center
it would disappear as a film of water sinks into a sponge."

"Do you know," I interrupted, "that if these statements were made to men
they would not be credited? Scientific men have calculated the weights
of the planets, and have estimated therefrom the density of the earth,
showing it to be solid, and knowing its density, they would, on this
consideration alone, discredit your story concerning the earth shell."

[Illustration: THE EARTH AND ITS ATMOSPHERE.

The space between the inner and the outer lines represents the
atmosphere upon the earth. The depth to which man has penetrated the
earth is less than the thickness of either line, as compared with the
diameter of the inner circle.]

"You mistake, as you will presently see. It is true that man's ingenuity
has enabled him to ascertain the weights and densities of the planets,
but do you mean to say that these scientific results preclude the
possibility of a hollow interior of the heavenly bodies?"

"I confess, I do."

"You should know then, that what men define as density of the earth, is
but an average value, which is much higher than that exhibited by
materials in the surface layers of the earth crust, such as come within
the scrutiny of man. This fact allows mortals of upper earth but a vague
conjecture as to the nature of the seemingly much heavier substances
that exist in the interior of the earth. Have men any data on hand to
show exactly how matter is distributed below the limited zone that is
accessible to their investigations?"

"I think not."

"You may safely accept, then, that the earth shell I have described to
you embraces in a compact form the total weight of the earth. Even
though men take for granted that matter fills out the whole interior of
our planet, such material would not, if distributed as on earth's
surface, give the earth the density he has determined for it."

"I must acquiesce in your explanations."

"Let us now go a step further in this argument. What do you imagine is
the nature of those heavier substances whose existence deep within the
earth is suggested by the exceedingly high total density observed by man
on upper earth?"

"I am unable to explain, especially as the materials surrounding us
here, seemingly, do not differ much from those with which my former life
experience has made me acquainted."

"Your observation is correct, there is no essential difference in this
regard. But as we are descending into the interior of this globe, and
are approaching the central seat of the shell of energy, the opposing
force into which we plunge becomes correspondingly stronger, and as a
consequence, matter pressed within it becomes really lighter. Your own
experience about your weight gradually disappearing during this journey
should convince you of the correctness of this fact."

"Indeed, it does," I admitted.

"You will then readily understand, that the heavy material to which
surface-bred mortals allude as probably constituting the interior of the
earth, is, in fact, nothing but the manifestation of a matter-supporting
force, as exemplified in the sphere of attractive energy, the seat of
which we are soon to encounter on our journey. Likewise the mutual
attraction of the heavenly bodies is not a property solely of their
material part, but an expression in which both the force-spheres and the
matter collected thereon take part.

"Tell me more of the sphere in which gravitation is intensest."

"Of that you are yet to judge," he replied. "When we come to a state of
rest in the stratum of greater gravity, we will then traverse this
crevice in the sheet of energy until we reach the edge of the earth
crust, after which we will ascend towards the interior of the earth,
until we reach the inner crust, which is, as before explained, a surface
of matter that lies conformably with the external crust of the earth,
and which is the interior surface of the solid part of the earth. There
is a concave world beneath the outer convex world."

"I can not comprehend you. You speak of continuing our journey towards
the center of the earth, and at the same time you say that after leaving
the Median Circle, we will then ascend, which seems contradictory."

"I have endeavored to show you that matter is resting in or on a central
sphere of energy, which attracts solid bodies towards its central plane.
From this fundamental and permanent seat of gravity we may regard our
progress as up-hill, whether we proceed towards the hollow center or
towards the outer surface of the globe. If a stick weighted on one end
is floated upright in water, an insect on the top of the stick above the
water will fall to the surface of the liquid, and yet the same insect
will rise to the surface of the water if liberated beneath the water at
the bottom of the stick. This comparison is not precisely applicable to
our present position, for there is no change in medium here, but it may
serve as an aid to thought and may indicate to you that which I wish to
convey when I say 'we ascend' in both directions as we pull against
Gravity. The terms up and down are not absolute, but relative."

Thus we continued an undefined period in mind conversation; and of the
information gained in my experience of that delightful condition, I have
the privilege now to record but a small portion, and even this statement
of facts appears, as I glance backward into my human existence, as if it
may seem to others to border on the incredible. During all that time--I
know not how long the period may have been--we were alternately passing
and repassing through the partition of division (the sphere of gravity)
that separated the inner from the outer substantial crust of earth. With
each vibration our line of travel became shorter and shorter, like the
decreasing oscillations of a pendulum, and at last I could no longer
perceive the rushing motion of a medium like the air. Finally my guide
said that we were at perfect rest at a point in that mysterious medial
sphere which, at a distance of about seven hundred miles below the level
of the sea, concentrates in its encompassing curvature, the mighty power
of gravitation. We were fixed seven hundred miles from the outer surface
of the globe, but more than three thousand from the center.



CHAPTER L.

    MY WEIGHT ANNIHILATED.--"TELL ME," I CRIED IN ALARM, "IS THIS TO
    BE A LIVING TOMB?"


"If you will reflect upon the condition we are now in, you will perceive
that it must be one of unusual scientific interest. If you imagine a
body at rest, in an intangible medium, and not in contact with a gas or
any substance capable of creating friction, that body by the prevailing
theory of matter and motion, unless disturbed by an impulse from
without, would remain forever at absolute rest. We now occupy such a
position. In whatever direction we may now be situated, it seems to us
that we are upright. We are absolutely without weight, and in a
perfectly frictionless medium. Should an inanimate body begin to revolve
here, it would continue that motion forever. If our equilibrium should
now be disturbed, and we should begin to move in a direction coinciding
with the plane in which we are at rest, we would continue moving with
the same rapidity in that direction until our course was arrested by
some opposing object. We are not subject to attraction of matter, for at
this place gravitation robs matter of its gravity, and has no influence
on extraneous substances. We are now in the center of gravitation, the
'Sphere of Rest.'"

"Let me think it out," I replied, and reasoning from his remarks, I
mentally followed the chain to its sequence, and was startled as
suddenly it dawned upon me that if his argument was true we must remain
motionless in this spot until death (could beings in conditions like
ourselves die beyond the death we had already achieved) or the end of
time. We were at perfect rest, in absolute vacancy, there being, as I
now accepted without reserve, neither gas, liquid, nor solid, that we
could employ as a lever to start us into motion. "Tell me," I cried in
alarm, "is this to be a living tomb? Are we to remain suspended here
forever, and if not, by what method can we hope to extricate ourselves
from this state of perfect quiescence?" He again took the bar of iron
from my hand, and cautiously gave it a whirling motion, releasing it as
he did so. It revolved silently and rapidly in space without support or
pivot.

"So it would continue," he remarked, "until the end of time, were it not
for the fact that I could not possibly release it in a condition of
absolute horizontal rest. There is a slight, slow, lateral motion that
will carry the object parallel with this sheet of energy to the material
side of this crevice, when its motion will 'be arrested by the earth it
strikes.'"

"That I can understand," I replied, and then a ray of light broke upon
me. "Had not Cavendish demonstrated that, when a small ball of lead is
suspended on a film of silk, near a mass of iron or lead, it is drawn
towards the greater body? We will be drawn by gravity to the nearest
cliff," I cried.

"You mistake," he answered; "Cavendish performed his experiments on the
surface of the earth, and there gravity is always ready to start an
object into motion. Here objects have no weight, and neither attract nor
repel each other. The force of cohesion holds together substances that
are in contact, but as gravitation can not now affect matter out of
molecular contact with other forms of matter, because of the equilibrium
of all objects, so it may be likewise said, that bodies out of contact
have at this point no attraction for one another. If they possessed this
attribute, long ago we would have been drawn towards the earth cliff
with inconceivable velocity. However, if by any method our bodies should
receive an impulse sufficient to start them into motion, ever so gently
though it be, we in like manner would continue to move in this
frictionless medium--until--"

"We would strike the material boundary of this crevice," I interrupted.

"Yes; but can you conceive of any method by which such voluntary motion
can now be acquired?"

"No."

"Does it not seem to you," he continued, "that when skillful mechanics
on the earth's surface are able to adjust balances so delicately that in
the face of friction of metal, friction of air, inertia of mass, the
thousandth part of a grain can produce motion of the great beams and
pans of such balances, we, in this location where there is no friction
and no opposing medium--none at all--should be able to induce mass
motion?"

"I can not imagine how it is possible, unless we shove each other apart.
There is no other object to push against,--but why do you continue to
hold me so tightly?" I interrupted myself to ask, for he was clasping me
firmly again.

"In order that you may not leave me," he replied.

"Come, you trifle," I said somewhat irritated; "you have just argued
that we are immovably suspended in a frictionless medium, and fixed in
our present position; you ask me to suggest some method by which we can
create motion, and I fail to devise it, and almost in the same sentence
you say that you fear that I will leave you. Cease your incongruities,
and advise with me rationally."

"Where is the bar of iron?" he asked.

I turned towards its former location; it had disappeared.

"Have you not occasionally felt," he asked, "that in your former life
your mind was a slave in an earthly prison? Have you never, especially
in your dreams, experienced a sensation of mental confinement?"

"Yes."

"Know then," he replied, "that there is a connection between the mind
and the body of mortal beings, in which matter confines mind, and yet
mind governs matter. How else could the will of men and animals impart
voluntary motion to earthy bodies? With beings situated as are the
animals on the surface of the earth, mind alone can not overcome the
friction of matter. A person could suspend himself accurately on a
string, or balance himself on a pivot, and wish with the entire force of
his mind that his body would revolve, and still he would remain at
perfect rest."

"Certainly. A man would be considered crazy who attempted it," I
answered.

"Notwithstanding your opinion, in time to come, human beings on the
surface of the earth will investigate in this very direction," he
replied, "and in the proper time mental evolution will, by
experimentation, prove the fact of this mind and matter connection, and
demonstrate that even extraneous matter may be made subservient to mind
influences. On earth, mind acts on the matter of one's body to produce
motion of matter, and the spirit within, which is a slave to matter,
moves with it. Contraries rule here. Mind force acts on pure space
motion, moving itself and matter with it, and that, too, without any
exertion of the material body which now is a nonentity, mind here being
the master."

"How can I believe you?" I replied.

"Know, then," he said, "that we are in motion now, propelled by my will
power."

"Prove it."

"You may prove it yourself," he said; "but be careful, or we will
separate forever."

Releasing his grasp, he directed me to wish that I were moving directly
to the right. I did so; the distance widened between us.

"Wish intensely that you would move in a circle about me."

I acquiesced, and at once my body began to circle around him.

"Call for the bar of iron."

I did as directed, and soon it came floating out of space into my very
hand.

"I am amazed," I ejaculated; "yes, more surprised at these phenomena
than at anything that has preceded."

"You need not be; you move now under the influences of natural laws that
are no more obscure or wonderful than those under which you have always
existed. Instead of exercising its influence on a brain, and thence
indirectly on a material body, your mind force is exerting its action
through energy on matter itself. Matter is here subservient. It is
nearly the same as vacuity, mind being a comprehensive reality. The
positions we have heretofore occupied have been reversed, and mind now
dominates. Know, that as your body is now absolutely without weight, and
is suspended in a frictionless medium, the most delicate balance of a
chemist can not approach in sensitiveness the adjustment herein
exemplified. Your body does not weigh the fraction of the millionth part
of a grain, and where there is neither material weight nor possible
friction, even the attrition that on surface earth results from a needle
point that rests on an agate plate is immeasurably greater in
comparison. Pure mind energy is capable of disturbing the equilibrium
of matter in our situation, as you have seen exemplified by our
movements and extraneous materials, 'dead matter' obeys the spiritual.
The bar of iron obeyed your call, the spiritless metal is subservient to
the demands of intelligence. But, come, we must continue our journey."

Grasping me again, he exclaimed: "Wish with all intensity that we may
move forward, and I will do the same."

I did so.

"We are now uniting our energies in the creation of motion," he said;
"we are moving rapidly, and with continually accelerated speed; before
long we will perceive the earthy border of this chasm."

And yet it seemed to me that we were at perfect rest.



CHAPTER LI.

    IS THAT A MORTAL?--"THE END OF EARTH."


At length I perceived, in the distance, a crescent-shaped ring of silver
luster. It grew broader, expanding beneath my gaze, and appeared to
approach rapidly.

"Hold; cease your desire for onward motion," said the guide; "we
approach too rapidly. Quick, wish with all your mind that you were
motionless."

I did so, and we rested in front of a ridge of brilliant material, that
in one direction, towards the earth's outer circle, broadened until it
extended upward as far as the eye could reach in the form of a bold
precipice, and in the other towards the inner world, shelved gradually
away as an ocean beach might do.

"Tell me, what is this barrier?" I asked.

"It is the bisected edge of the earth crevice," he said. "That
overhanging upright bluff reaches towards the external surface of the
earth, the land of your former home. That shelving approach beneath is
the entrance to the 'Inner Circle,' the concavity of our world."

Again we approached the visible substance, moving gently under the will
of my guide. The shore became more distinctly outlined as we advanced,
inequalities that were before unnoticed became perceptible, and the
silver-like material resolved itself into ordinary earth. Then I
observed, upright and motionless, on the edge of the shore that reached
toward the inner shell of earth, towards that "Unknown Country" beyond,
a figure in human form.

"Is that a mortal?" I asked. "Are we nearing humanity again?"

"It is a being of mortal build, a messenger who awaits our coming, and
who is to take charge of your person and conduct you farther," he
replied. "It has been my duty to crush, to overcome by successive
lessons your obedience to your dogmatic, materialistic earth philosophy,
and bring your mind to comprehend that life on earth's surface is only a
step towards a brighter existence, which may, when selfishness is
conquered, in a time to come, be gained by mortal man, and while he is
in the flesh. The vicissitudes through which you have recently passed
should be to you an impressive lesson, but the future holds for you a
lesson far more important, the knowledge of spiritual, or mental
evolution which men may yet approach; but that I would not presume to
indicate now, even to you. Your earthly body has become a useless shell,
and when you lay it aside, as you soon can do, as I may say you are
destined to do, you will feel a relief as if an abnormal excrescence had
been removed; but you can not now comprehend such a condition. That
change will not occur until you have been further educated in the purely
occult secrets for which I have partly prepared you, and the material
part of your organism will at any time thereafter come and go at command
of your will. On that adjacent shore, the person you have observed, your
next teacher, awaits you."

"Am I to leave you?" I cried in despair, for suddenly the remembrance of
home came into my mind, and the thought, as by a flash, that this being
alone could guide me back to earth. "Recall your words, do not desert me
now after leading me beyond even alchemistic imaginings into this
subterranean existence, the result of what you call your natural, or
pure, ethereal lessons."

He shook his head.

"I beg of you, I implore of you, not to abandon me now; have you no
compassion, no feeling? You are the one tie that binds me to earth
proper, the only intelligence that I know to be related to a human in
all this great, bright blank."

Again he shook his head.

[Illustration: "SUSPENDED IN VACANCY, HE SEEMED TO FLOAT."]

"Hearken to my pleadings. Listen to my allegation. You stood on the edge
of the brook spring in Kentucky, your back to the darkness of that
gloomy cavern, and I voluntarily gave you my hand as to a guide; I
turned from the verdure of the earth, the sunshine of the past, and
accompanied you into as dismal a cavern as man ever entered. I have
since alternately rebelled at your methods, and again have trusted you
implicitly as we passed through scenes that rational imagination
scarce could conjure. I have successively lost my voice, my weight, my
breath, my heart throb, and my soul for aught I know. Now an unknown
future awaits me on the one hand, in which you say my body is to
disappear, and on the other you are standing, the only link between
earth and my self-existence, a semi-mortal it may be, to speak mildly,
for God only knows your true rank in life's scale. Be you man or not,
you brought me here, and are responsible for my future safety. I plead
and beg of you either to go on with me into the forthcoming uncertainty
'Within the Unknown Country' to which you allude, or carry me back to
upper earth."

He shook his head again, and motioned me onward, and his powerful will
overcoming my feeble resistance, impelled me towards that mysterious
shore. I floated helpless, as a fragment of camphor whirls and spins on
a surface of clear, warm water, spinning and whirling aimlessly about,
but moving onward. My feet rested on solid earth, and I awkwardly
struggled a short distance onward and upward, and then stepped upon the
slope that reached, as he had said, inward and upward towards the
unrevealed "Inner Circle." I had entered now that mysterious third
circle or sphere, and I stood on the very edge of the wonderful land I
was destined to explore, "The Unknown Country." The strange, peaceful
being whom I had observed on the shore, stepped to my side, and clasped
both my hands, and the guide of former days waved me an adieu. I sank
upon my knees and imploringly raised my arms in supplication, but the
comrade of my journey turned about, and began to retrace his course.
Suspended in vacancy, he seemed to float as a spirit would if it were
wafted diagonally into the heavens, and acquiring momentum rapidly,
became quickly a bright speck, seemingly a silver mote in the occult
earth shine of that central sphere, and soon vanished from view. In all
my past eventful history there was nothing similar to or approaching in
keenness the agony that I suffered at this moment, and I question if
shipwrecked sailor or entombed miner ever experienced the sense of utter
desolation that now possessed and overcame me. Light everywhere about
me, ever-present light, but darkness within, darkness indescribable, and
mental distress unutterable. I fell upon my face in agony, and thought
of other times, and those remembrances of my once happy upper earth life
became excruciatingly painful, for when a person is in misery, pleasant
recollections, by contrast, increase the pain. "Let my soul die now as
my body has done," I moaned; "for even mental life, all I now possess,
is a burden. The past to me is a painful, melancholy recollection; the
future is--"

I shuddered, for who could foretell my future? I glanced at the
immovable being with the sweet, mild countenance, who stood silent on
the strand beside me, and whom I shall not now attempt to describe. He
replied:

"The future is operative and speculative. It leads the contemplative to
view with reverence and admiration the glorious works of the Creator,
and inspires him with the most exalted ideas of the perfections of his
divine Creator."

Then he added:

"Have you accepted that whatever seems to be is not, and that that which
seems not to be, is? Have you learned that facts are fallacies, and
physical existence a delusion? Do you accept that material bliss is
impossible, and that while humanity is working towards the undiscovered
land, man is not, can not be satisfied?"

"Yes," I said; "I admit anything, everything. I do not know that I am
here or that you are there. I do not know that I have ever been, or that
any form of matter has ever had an existence. Perhaps material things
are not, perhaps vacuity only is tangible."

"Are you willing to relinquish your former associations, to cease to
concern yourself in the affairs of men? Do you--"

He hesitated, seemed to consider a point that I could not grasp; then,
without completing his sentence, or waiting for me to answer, added:

"Come, my friend, let us enter the expanses of the Unknown Country. You
will soon behold the original of your vision, the hope of humanity, and
will rest in the land of Etidorhpa. Come, my friend, let us hasten."

Arm in arm we passed into that domain of peace and tranquillity, and as
I stepped onward and upward perfect rest came over my troubled spirit.
All thoughts of former times vanished. The cares of life faded; misery,
distress, hatred, envy, jealousy, and unholy passions, were blotted from
existence. Excepting my love for dear ones still earth-enthralled, and
the strand of sorrow that, stretching from soul to soul, linked us
together, the past became a blank. I had reached the land of Etidorhpa--

THE END OF EARTH.



INTERLUDE.



CHAPTER LII.

    THE LAST FAREWELL.


My mysterious guest, he of the silver, flowing beard, read the last word
of the foregoing manuscript, and then laid the sheet of paper on the
table, and rested his head upon his hand, gazing thoughtfully at the
open fire. Thus he sat for a considerable period in silence. Then he
said:

"You have heard part of my story, that portion which I am commanded to
make known now, and you have learned how, by natural methods, I passed
by successive steps while in the body, to the door that death only, as
yet, opens to humanity. You understand also that, although of human
form, I am not as other men (for with me matter is subservient to mind),
and as you have promised, so you must act, and do my bidding concerning
the manuscript."

"But there is surely more to follow. You will tell me of what you saw
and experienced beyond the end of earth, within the possessions of
Etidorhpa. Tell me of that Unknown Country."

"No," he answered; "this is the end, at least so far as my connection
with you is concerned. You still question certain portions of my
narrative, I perceive, notwithstanding the provings I have given you,
and yet as time passes investigation will show that every word I have
read or uttered is true, historically, philosophically, and spiritually
(which you now doubt), and men will yet readily understand how the
seemingly profound, unfathomable phenomena I have encountered may be
verified. I have studied and learned by bitter experience in a school
that teaches from the outgoings of a deeper philosophy than human
science has reached, especially modern materialistic science which,
however, step by step it is destined to reach. And yet I have recorded
but a small part of the experiences that I have undergone. What I have
related is only a foretaste of the inexhaustible feast which, in the
wisdom expanse of the future, will yet be spread before man, and which
tempts him onward and upward. This narrative, which rests against the
beginning of my real story, the Unknown Country and its possibilities
should therefore incite to renewed exertions, both mental and
experimental, those permitted to review it. I have carried my history to
the point at which I can say to you, very soon afterward I gave up my
body temporarily, by a perfectly natural process, a method that man can
yet employ, and passed as a spiritual being into the ethereal spaces,
through those many mansions which I am not permitted to describe at this
time, and from which I have been forced unwillingly to return and take
up the semblance of my body, in order to meet you and record these
events. I must await the development and expansion of mind that will
permit men to accept this faithful record of my history before
completing the narrative, for men are yet unprepared. Men must seriously
consider those truths which, under inflexible natural laws, govern the
destiny of man, but which, if mentioned at this day can only be viewed
as the hallucinations of a disordered mind. To many this manuscript will
prove a passing romance, to others an enigma, to others still it will be
a pleasing study. Men are not now in a condition to receive even this
paper. That fact I know full well, and I have accordingly arranged that
thirty years shall pass before it is made public. Then they will have
begun to study more deeply into force disturbances, exhibitions of
energy that are now known and called imponderable bodies (perhaps some
of my statements will then even be verified), and to reflect over the
connection of matter therewith. A few minds will then be capable of
vaguely conceiving possibilities, which this paper will serve to
foretell, for a true solution of the great problems of the ethereal
unknown is herein suggested, the study of which will lead to a final
elevation of humanity, such as I dare not prophesy."

"Much of the paper is obscure to me," I said; "and there are occasional
phrases and repetitions that appear to be interjected, possibly, with
an object, and which are yet disconnected from the narrative proper."

"That is true; the paper often contains statements that are
emblematical, and which you can not understand, but yet such portions
carry to others a hidden meaning. I am directed to speak to many persons
besides yourself, and I can not meet those whom I address more directly
than I do through this communication. These pages will serve to instruct
many people--people whom you will never know, to whom I have brought
messages that will in secret be read between the lines."

"Why not give it to such persons?"

"Because I am directed to bring it to you," he replied, "and you are
required:

"First, To seal the manuscript, and place it in the inner vault of your
safe.

"Second, To draw up a will, and provide in case of your death, that
after the expiration of thirty years from this date, the seals are to be
broken, and a limited edition published in book form, by one you select.

"Third, An artist capable of grasping the conceptions will at the proper
time be found, to whom the responsibility of illustrating the volume is
to be entrusted, he receiving credit therefor. Only himself and yourself
(or your selected agent) are to presume to select the subjects for
illustration.

"Fourth, In case you are in this city, upon the expiration of thirty
years, you are to open the package and follow the directions given in
the envelope therein."

And he then placed on the manuscript a sealed envelope addressed to
myself.

"This I have promised already," I said.

"Very well," he remarked, "I will bid you farewell."

"Wait a moment; it is unjust to leave the narrative thus uncompleted.
You have been promised a future in comparison with which the experiences
you have undergone, and have related to me, were tame; you had just met
on the edge of the inner circle that mysterious being concerning whom I
am deeply interested, as I am in the continuation of your personal
narrative, and you have evidently more to relate, for you must have
passed into that Unknown Country. You claim to have done so, but you
break the thread in the most attractive part by leaving the future to
conjecture."

"It must be so. This is a history of man on Earth, the continuation will
be a history of man within the Unknown Country."

"And I am not to receive the remainder of your story?" I reiterated,
still loth to give it up.

"No; I shall not appear directly to you again. Your part in this work
will have ended when, after thirty years, you carry out the directions
given in the sealed letter which, with this manuscript, I entrust to
your care. I must return now to the shore that separated me from my
former guide, and having again laid down this semblance of a body, go
once more into--"

He buried his face in his hands and sobbed. Yes; this strange, cynical
being whom I had at first considered an impertinent fanatic, and then,
more than once afterward, had been induced to view as a cunning
impostor, or to fear as a cold, semi-mortal, sobbed like a child.

"It is too much," he said, seemingly speaking to himself; "too much to
require of one not yet immortal, for the good of his race. I am again
with men, nearly a human, and I long to go back once more to my old
home, my wife, my children. Why am I forbidden? The sweets of Paradise
can not comfort the mortal who must give up his home and family, and yet
carry his earth-thought beyond. Man can not possess unalloyed joys, and
blessings spiritual, and retain one backward longing for mundane
subjects, and I now yearn again for my earth love, my material family.
Having tasted of semi-celestial pleasures in one of the mansions of that
complacent, pure, and restful sphere, I now exist in the border land,
but my earth home is not relinquished, I cling as a mortal to former
scenes, and crave to meet my lost loved ones. All of earth must be left
behind if Paradise is ever wholly gained, yet I have still my sublunary
thoughts.

"Etidorhpa! Etidorhpa!" he pleaded, turning his eyes as if towards one I
could not see, "Etidorhpa, my old home calls. Thou knowest that the
beginning of man on earth is a cry born of love, and the end of man on
earth is a cry for love; love is a gift of Etidorhpa, and thou,
Etidorhpa, the soul of love, should have compassion on a pleading
mortal."

He raised his hands in supplication.

"Have mercy on me, Etidorhpa, as I would on you if you were I and I were
Etidorhpa."

Then with upturned face he stood long and silent, listening.

"Ah," he murmured at last, as if in reply to a voice I could not catch,
a voice that carried to his ear an answer of deep disappointment; "thou
spokest truly in the vision, Etidorhpa: it is love that enslaves
mankind; love that commands; love that ensnares and rules mankind, and
thou, Etidorhpa, art the soul of Love. True it is that were there no
Etidorhpa, there would still be tears on earth, but the cold,
meaningless tears of pain only. No mourning people, no sorrowful
partings, no sobbing mothers kneeling with upturned faces, no planting
of the myrtle and the rose on sacred graves. There would be no
child-love, no home, no tomb, no sorrow, no Beyond--"

He hesitated, sank upon his knees, pleadingly raised his clasped hands
and seemed to listen to that far-off voice, then bowed his head, and
answered:

"Yes; thou art right, Etidorhpa--although thou bringest sorrow to
mortals, without thee and this sorrow-gift there could be no bright
hereafter. Thou art just, Etidorhpa, and always wise. Love is the seed,
and sorrow is the harvest, but this harvest of sadness is to man the
richest gift of love, the golden link that joins the spirit form that
has fled to the spirit that is still enthralled on earth. Were there no
earth-love, there could be no heart-sorrow; were there no craving for
loved ones gone, the soul of man would rest forever a brother of the
clod. He who has sorrowed and not profited by his sorrow-lesson, is
unfitted for life. He who heeds best his sorrow-teacher is in closest
touch with humanity, and nearest to Etidorhpa. She who has drank most
deeply of sorrow's cup has best fitted herself for woman's sphere in
life, and a final home of immortal bliss. I will return to thy realms,
Etidorhpa, and this silken strand of sorrow wrapped around my heart,
reaching from earth to Paradise and back to earth, will guide at last my
loved ones to the realms beyond--the home of Etidorhpa."

Rising, turning to me, and subduing his emotion, ignoring this outburst,
he said:

"If time should convince you that I have related a faithful history, if
in after years you come to learn my name (I have been forbidden to
speak it), and are convinced of my identity, promise me that you will do
your unbidden guest a favor."

[Illustration: "I STOOD ALONE IN MY ROOM HOLDING THE MYSTERIOUS
MANUSCRIPT."]

"This I will surely do; what shall it be?"

"I left a wife, a little babe, and a two-year-old child when I was taken
away, abducted in the manner that I have faithfully recorded. In my
subsequent experience I have not been able to cast them from my memory.
I know that through my error they have been lost to me, and will be
until they change to the spirit, after which we will meet again in one
of the waiting Mansions of the Great Beyond. I beg you to ascertain, if
possible, if either my children, or my children's children live, and
should they be in want, present them with a substantial testimonial.
Now, farewell."

He held out his hand, I grasped it, and as I did so, his form became
indistinct, and gradually disappeared from my gaze, the fingers of my
hand met the palm in vacancy, and with extended arms I stood alone in my
room, holding the mysterious manuscript, on the back of which I find
plainly engrossed:

    "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio,
       Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."



EPILOGUE.

    LETTER ACCOMPANYING THE MYSTERIOUS MANUSCRIPT.


The allotted thirty years have passed, and as directed, I, Llewellyn
Drury, now break the seals, and open the envelope accompanying the
mysterious package which was left in my hand, and read as follows:

     Herein find the epilogue to your manuscript. Also a picture of
     your unwelcome guest, I--Am--The--Man, which you are directed to
     have engraved, and to use as a frontispiece to the volume. There
     are men yet living to bear witness to my identity, who will need
     but this picture to convince them of the authenticity of the
     statements in the manuscript, as it is the face of one they knew
     when he was a young man, and will recognize now that he is in
     age. Do not concern yourself about the reception of the work, for
     you are in no wise responsible for its statements. Interested
     persons, if living, will not care to appear in public in
     connection therewith, and those who grasp and appreciate, who can
     see the pertinence of its truths, who can read between the lines
     and have the key to connected conditions, will assuredly keep
     their knowledge of these facts locked in their own bosoms, or
     insidiously oppose them, and by their silence or their attacks
     cover from men outside the fraternity, their connection with the
     unfortunate author. They dare not speak.

     Revise the sentences; secure the services of an editor if you
     desire, and induce another to publish the book if you shrink from
     the responsibility, but in your revision do not in any way alter
     the meaning of the statements made in the manuscript; have it
     copied for the printer, and take no part in comments that may
     arise among men concerning its reception.[15] Those who are best
     informed regarding certain portions thereof, will seemingly be
     least interested in the book, and those who realize most fully
     these truths, will persistently evade the endorsement of them.
     The scientific enthusiast, like the fraternity to which I belong,
     if appealed to, will obstruct the mind of the student either by
     criticism or ridicule, for many of these revelations are not
     recorded in his books.

     [15] From a review of the fac simile (see p. 35), it will be seen
     that an exact print word for word could not be expected. In more
     than one instance subsequent study demonstrated that the first
     conception was erroneous, and in the interview with Etidorhpa
     (see p. 252), after the page had been plated, it was discovered
     that the conveyed meaning was exactly the reverse of the
     original. Luckily the error was discovered in time to change the
     verse, and leave the spirit of this fair creature
     unblemished.--J. U. L.

     You are at liberty to give in your own language as a prologue the
     history of your connection with the author, reserving, however,
     if you desire to do so, your personality, adding an introduction
     to the manuscript, and, as interludes, every detail of our
     several conversations, and of your experience. Introduce such
     illustrations as the selected artist and yourself think proper in
     order to illuminate the statements. Do not question the
     advisability of stating all that you know to have occurred; write
     the whole truth, for although mankind will not now accept as fact
     all that you and I have experienced, strange phases of life
     phenomena are revealing themselves, and humanity will yet surely
     be led to a higher plane. As men investigate the points of
     historical interest, and the ultra-scientific phenomena broached
     in this narrative, the curtain of obscurity will be drawn aside,
     and evidence of the truths contained in these details will be
     disclosed. Finally, you must mutilate a page of the manuscript
     that you may select, and preserve the fragment intact and in
     secret. Do not print another edition unless you are presented
     with the words of the part that is missing.[16]

     [16] I have excised a portion (see p. 190).--J. U. L.

                                            (Signed.) I--Am--The--Man.


NOTE BY MR. DRURY.--Thus the letter ended. After mature consideration it
has been decided to give verbatim most of the letter, and all of the
manuscript, and to append, as a prologue, an introduction to the
manuscript, detailing exactly the record of my connection therewith,
including my arguments with Professors Chickering and Vaughn, whom I
consulted concerning the statements made to me directly by its author. I
will admit that perhaps the opening chapter in my introduction may be
such as to raise in the minds of some persons a question concerning my
mental responsibility, for as the principal personage in this drama
remarks: "Mankind can not now accept as facts what I have seen." Yet I
walk the streets of my native city, a business man of recognized
thoughtfulness and sobriety, and I only relate on my own responsibility
what has to my knowledge occurred. It has never been intimated that I am
mentally irresponsible, or speculative, and even were this the case, the
material proof that I hold, and have not mentioned as yet, and may not,
concerning my relations with this remarkable being, effectually
disproves the idea of mental aberration, or spectral delusion. Besides,
many of the statements are of such a nature as to be verified easily, or
disproved by any person who may be inclined to repeat the experiments
suggested, or visit the localities mentioned. The part of the whole
production that will seem the most improbable to the majority of
persons, is that to which I can testify from my own knowledge, as
related in the first portion and the closing chapter. This approaches
necromancy, seemingly, and yet in my opinion, as I now see the matter,
such unexplained and recondite occurrences appear unscientific, because
of the shortcomings of students of science. Occult phenomena, at some
future day, will be proved to be based on ordinary physical conditions
to be disclosed by scientific investigations [for "All that is is
natural, and science embraces all things"], but at present they are
beyond our perception; yes, beyond our conception.

Whether I have been mesmerized, or have written in a trance, whether I
have been the subject of mental aberration, or have faithfully given a
life history to the world, whether this book is altogether romance, or
carries a vein of prophecy, whether it sets in motion a train of wild
speculations, or combines playful arguments, science problems, and
metaphysical reasonings, useful as well as entertaining, remains for the
reader to determine. So far as I, Llewellyn Drury, am concerned, this
is--

THE END.

[Illustration: handwritten script]

Had the above communication and the missing fragment of manuscript been
withheld (see page 161), it is needless to say that this second edition
of Etidorhpa would not have appeared.

On behalf of the undersigned, who is being most liberally scolded by
friends and acquaintances who can not get a copy of the first edition,
and on behalf of these same scolding mortals, the undersigned extends to
I-Am-The-Man the collective thanks of those who scold and the
scolded.--J. U. L.

[Illustration: handwritten script]

This introduction, which in the author's edition was signed by the
writer, is here reprinted in order that my views of the book be not
misconstrued.--J. U. L.



THE LIFE OF

PROF. DANIEL VAUGHN

BY PROF. RICHARD NELSON

TO WHICH IS ADDED

AN ACCOUNT OF HIS DEATH

BY FATHER EUGENE BRADY, S.J.



[Illustration: PROF. DANIEL VAUGHN.]


Story of the Life of Prof. Daniel Vaughn.[17]


    [17] Reprinted from the Cincinnati Tribune.

BY PROF. RICHARD NELSON.

HIS VALUABLE LIBRARY SHOWING MARKS OF MUCH STUDY.

Twelve Years' Record in the Chair of Chemistry at the Cincinnati College
of Medicine.

[A paper read before the Literary Club by Prof. Richard Nelson.]


Few men, if any, so eminent in science and philosophy have been known to
live and die in such obscurity as the subject of this paper. A
mathematician whose knowledge has never been fathomed, an original
investigator in terrestrial and celestial chemistry, most of whose
speculations are now accepted as law; a contributor to the philosophical
journals of Europe, whose papers were received with distinguished favor;
an astronomer, who, in those papers, ventured to differ with Laplace,
and, too, as will be shown, a man skilled in classical scholarship, yet
unknown to his nearest neighbors and recognized by only a few in his own
city. He lived and died in obscurity and poverty in a city distinguished
for its schools of science and art, and the liberality and public spirit
of its men of wealth; who, if any, were to blame? One object of this
paper is to unravel the mystery.


HIS BIRTHPLACE AND PARENTAGE.

Daniel Vaughn was born in the year 1818 at Glenomara, four miles from
Killaloe, County Clare, Ireland. His father's name was John, who had two
brothers, Daniel and Patrick. John, like Daniel, was educated for the
church, but, being the eldest son, remained on the farm. Daniel became,
subsequently, the parish priest of Killaloe, and in 1845 was ordained
Bishop.

John Vaughn had three children, Daniel (the subject of this paper), Owen
and Margaret, afterward Mrs. Kent. The distance to the nearest school
being four Irish miles, John had his sons educated by a tutor till they
were prepared to enter a classical academy.

At the age of about sixteen Dan, as he was familiarly called, was placed
under the care of his uncle and namesake at Killaloe, where he entered
the academy. There the young student pursued the study of Greek, Latin
and mathematics, giving some attention to certain branches of physics,
for which he evinced peculiar aptitude.


HE EMIGRATES AND FINDS A HOME.

About the year 1840 his uncle, desirous of having the young man enter
the church, advanced him a sum of money to defray his expenses at a
theological school in Cork, but on seeing the American liners when he
reached Queenstown, the temptation to take the voyage to the land of
promise was too great for the young adventurer to resist, so he secured
a passage to New York. When at school he made wonderful advancement in
study, especially in higher mathematics, and felt he ought to go to a
country where he could be free to pursue his favorite line of thought
and where attainments in science would not be circumscribed, as in the
church.

Of his voyage and subsequent wanderings little is known until he reached
Kentucky. That he visited many schools and paid his way in part by
teaching there is no question. The college of the late Dr. Campbell, in
Virginia, was one of the institutions visited, but he felt he must push
on to Kentucky. About 1842 he had reached the Blue Grass region, near
the home of the late Colonel Stamps, in Bourbon County. The Colonel saw
him engaged at work and was quick to observe that the stranger was no
common man. Taking him to his house and supplying his wants, the Colonel
soon installed him as his guest, and eventually made him instructor of
his children. Access to the Colonel's library was a boon to the
stranger, developing in him traits of genius of which his host was very
proud.

It was only a short time till the neighboring farmers heard of the
distinguished young scholar, and desired to have the more mature members
of their families under his care. A school was opened in the Colonel's
house for instruction in the higher mathematics, the classics, geology,
physical geography and astronomy. The young people were pleased with
their teacher and made commendable progress, but the curriculum was too
varied and comprehensive for an instructor, who, though far advanced in
scholarship, had not yet studied the art of teaching.


ACCEPTS A PROFESSORSHIP.

In 1845 he accepted the chair of Greek in a neighboring college, which
afforded him leisure for his scientific pursuits. After an absence of
seven years the Professor returned to his old friend, Colonel Stamps and
family, where he remained some two years, leaving them to settle in
Cincinnati.

During his stay at the Colonel's (1851) he became a member of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 1852
contributed to it his first article, entitled "On the Motions of
Numerous Small Bodies and the Phenomena Resulting Therefrom." Having
accumulated a valuable collection of books on science and philosophy and
obtained access to several libraries, public and private, in the city,
he was now in a condition to devote most of his time and energies to his
favorite sciences. For subsistence he delivered lectures before
teachers' institutes and colleges till 1856, when an affection of the
lungs compelled him to abandon the lecture field.

In the meantime he had offered papers for publication to Silliman's
Journal, the principal scientific magazine of America at that time,
but, receiving no response to his communications and being denied
publication, he took the advice of a friend and sent his subsequent
articles to the British Association for the Advancement of Science and
to the Philosophic Magazine, where they were received with favor. He was
much gratified to find his article on "Meteoric Astronomy" published in
the report of the Liverpool meeting of the association in 1854. Six
papers, which he subsequently sent in 1857, 1859 and 1861, met with
similar favor.

For several years he visited schools, colleges and teachers' institutes
in Oxford, Lebanon, Cleveland and other cities, lecturing on his
favorite branches of science. It had been his intention to popularize
the science of physical astronomy by the publication of tracts or
pamphlets.


PUBLISHES PAMPHLETS.

In the year 1856, at the request of teachers before whom he had lectured
at the institutes, and with a view to popularize scientific knowledge,
the Professor commenced the publication of pamphlets. The first number
treated of "The Geological Agency of Water and Subterranean Forces."
Only two of these pamphlets came into the possession of the
administrator. One of them was a good-sized volume, as may be inferred
from the following articles it contained:

    "The Influence of Magnitude on Stability."
    "The Doctrine of Gravitation."
    "Theory of Tides."
    "Effects of Tides."
    "Cases of Excessive Tidal Action and Planetary Instability."
    "The Rings of Saturn."
    "The Supposed Influence of Satellites in Preserving Planetary Rings."
    "Movements of Comets."
    "The Tails of Comets."
    "Mass and Density of Comets."
    "Cometary Catastrophes."
    "Phenomena Attending the Fall of Meteors."
    "The Origin of Solar and Meteoric Light."
    "Variable Stars and the Sun's Spots."
    "Temporary Stars."
    "Electrical Light and the Aurora Borealis."
    "Proof of the Stability of the Solar System," with an appendix.

Some of these subjects had been treated of at greater length and
published by American and British associations for the advancement of
science.

He sent to the British Association for the Advancement of Science:

    "Cases of Planetary Instability Indicated by the Appearance of
      Temporary Stars."
    "Appearance of Temporary Stars."

Other papers appeared:

    "Note on the Sunspots," Philosophical Magazine for December, 1858.
    "On the Solar Spots and Variable Stars," idem, Vol. 15, p. 359.
    "Changes in the Conditions of Celestial Bodies," an essay.
    "The Origin of Worlds," Popular Science Monthly, May, 1879.
    "Planetary Rings and New Stars," Popular Science Monthly,
      February, 1879.
    "Astronomical History of Worlds," idem, September, 1878.
    "On the Stability of Satellites in Small Orbits and the Theory of
      Saturn's Rings," Philosophical Magazine, May, 1861.
    "On the Origin of the Asteroids." Contributed to the American
      Association for the Advancement of Science.
    "Static and Dynamic Stability in the Secondary Systems,"
      Philosophical Magazine, December, 1861.
    "On Phenomena which May be Traced to the Presence of a Medium
      Pervading all Space," idem, May 11, 1861.

The Professor contributed to other publications on both sides of the
Atlantic, but as he failed to retain copies of the articles or of the
magazines in which they were published, doubtless many papers of
interest are among the number.

The year 1860 found the Professor possessed of a valuable collection of
books, the accumulation of ten or fifteen years, all showing the marks
of wear, some of them besmeared with the drippings from his candle.
Among them were works of some of the most prominent authors in branches
of theoretical and practical science. Those of Laplace, Kepler,
Tycho-Brahe, Leibnitz, Herschel, Newton and others, together with many
pamphlets and periodicals, composed his library. He possessed a familiar
knowledge of the German, French, Italian and Spanish languages, and of
ancient Greek and Latin. Many of his papers appeared in the continental
languages. It may be here stated that for the eminent astronomer,
Laplace, as a scientist and writer, Prof. Vaughn entertained great
respect, though he could not accept his nebular hypothesis, because
important parts of it would not bear mathematical investigation. [The
proof is in the papers in my possession.--N.] In an article of the
Professor to the Popular Science Monthly (February, 1879) is a case of
the kind, showing that the distinguished astronomer ignored his own
famous theory. The article reads: "In endeavoring to account for the
direct motion in secondary systems Laplace contends that, in consequence
of friction the supposed primitive solar rings would have a greater
velocity in their outer than in their inner zones. Now, if friction is
to counteract to such an extent the normal effects of gravitation, it
must be an eternal bar against the origin of worlds by nebulous
dismemberment, and if the ring of attenuated matter were placed under
the circumstances suggested by the eminent astronomer, it would be
ultimately doomed, not to form a planet, but to coalesce with the
immense spheroid of fiery vapor it was supposed to have environed."

It is interesting to know that the theory of our Professor was the
correct one, as proved by a recent discovery of Prof. James E. Keeler,
astronomer of the Allegheny Observatory. As announced in a daily paper:
"Prof. James E. Keeler, of the Allegheny Observatory, has made a
wonderful discovery. It is a scientific and positive demonstration of
the fact that the rings of Saturn are made up of many small bodies and
that the satellites of the inner edge of the rings move faster than the
outer."

As to satellites, Prof. Vaughn, in the paper quoted, page 466, states:
"The matter spread over the wide annular fields is ever urged by its own
attraction to collect together and form satellites, which are ever
destroyed by attractive disturbance of the primary, and have their parts
scattered once more over a wide space."


INSTALLED AS PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY.

The Professor was elected to the chair of chemistry in the Cincinnati
College of Medicine and Surgery in 1860, where he served with
distinction for twelve years. His scholarly valedictory at that
institution is one of the papers reserved for publication in his
memoirs.

While in the college he continued his investigations in science,
applying his knowledge of terrestrial chemistry to the chemistry of the
heavens, as shown in nearly all his writings. Besides the position held
in the college, he gave lessons in schools and seminaries in geology,
astronomy, chemistry, Latin and Greek.

In 1873 he visited Lexington, where he met his old friend, Dr. J. C.
Darby, and delivered lectures in public, at the Sayre Institute and the
Baptist School, returning to Cincinnati the following spring. Except
from his writings, he seemed to have no source of revenue for several
years. How he managed to exist his most intimate friends could only
conjecture. True, he contributed papers to monthly publications, but
they appeared at such long intervals they could not be relied on for
support, so, in the autumn of 1878 his friends organized for him a
course of lectures, which were well patronized by physicians and others
versed in science. In the meantime, negotiations were opened with
prominent citizens of suburban towns for other lectures, and efforts
were made to retire the Professor on an annuity.


HIS END DRAWING NEAR.

Enfeebled health, which confined him to his room for several weeks,
prevented him from entering on the suburban course, so a second course
was projected for the city and one of the lectures delivered. From what
transpired after that lecture his friends were again anxious regarding
his health, and, as the time approached for the delivery of the second,
determined to see him. For reasons stated elsewhere it was with some
difficulty he was found. Prostrated on a couch, he was suffering from a
hemorrhage of the lungs of a few days previous, with evidences all
around of a state of extreme destitution. No time was lost in having him
removed to comfortable quarters in the Good Samaritan Hospital, where
his friends arranged for his care as a private patient. Next day, April
3, he expressed himself as greatly benefited by the change and talked
cheerfully and hopefully of the future. Next day, Friday, he continued
to improve, but on Saturday proof of his forthcoming article in the
Popular Science Monthly reached him, and, feeling that he ought to
return it promptly, he sat up to do the work. The effort was too great.
Overcome with exhaustion after its completion, he sank to sleep and a
little after two o'clock next morning, April 6, his weary spirit
peacefully took its flight. Born in 1818, the Professor was then in the
sixty-first year of his age.


HIS OBSEQUIES.

A committee of the more intimate friends of the deceased was formed,
consisting of the late Jacob Traber, his nephew, J. C. Sproull, Drs. J. J.
and William Taft and the writer.

Funeral services were held in the chapel of the Hospital, where,
considering the suddenness of the Professor's demise, many mourners were
present. The interest evinced was profound, while the floral tributes
that covered the casket were eloquent of affection and esteem.

The remains were interred in a burial lot of Jacob Traber, who
generously tendered its use until a separate place of interment and a
monument could be procured. The remains of the two friends now lie side
by side.


HIS EFFECTS.

After the funeral the committee referred to visited the room occupied by
the Professor prior to his decease, and had the writer, as his nearest
friend, procure letters of administration, so that papers of value, if
any, would be cared for. A few letters, some private relics, unsalable
remnants of books and pamphlets and scraps of manuscript constituted the
effects. The scarcity of manuscript was easily accounted, for, as it was
the habit of the deceased for years to print articles designed for
publication and have them mailed to magazines and to savants in
different parts of Europe and America.


CHARACTERISTICS AND HABITS OF STUDY.

A prominent characteristic of Prof. Vaughn was shyness--a shrinking from
familiarity or conspicuousness. He never was the first to salute a
casual acquaintance on the street, and when introduced to a stranger
would extend his hand with apparent diffidence or reserve--not with the
warmth of a hearty shake, but rather with a cautious presentation of the
finger tips. Undemonstrative in manner, and inexperienced in the customs
of social life, his diffidence was taken for coldness, yet he was kind
and tender hearted almost to a fault, and a most grateful recipient of a
favor. In his poverty he would part with money or personal property to
people whom he considered more necessitous than himself. Of the proceeds
of his last course of lectures he gave to one such a sum so large as to
almost discourage his friends from helping him.

Then, too, he was glad to render service to professional and public men.
He made translations for writers and wrote lectures for others and made
chemical analyses for the city when payment was not expected. As to his
placing a commercial value upon his services he never learned to do it,
though they often cost him both time and money that he could not well
spare.

His waking hours were always fully occupied in writing or study, either
in his laboratory, the libraries or in open-air observations. He was
thoroughly familiar with the geology of the neighborhood and the
physical geography of the entire continent, as may be seen by his
articles on "Volcanoes," "The Origin of Lakes and Mountains," "The
Absence of Trees on Prairies," "Malaria," etc. His ingenuity in the
construction of apparatus for his illustrations in chemistry was
remarkable. Given a few tubes of glass and rubber, a piece of tin, some
acid and alkali, a blow-pipe, soldering iron and a pair of pinchers, he
could construct at will enough apparatus for a lesson, a lecture or an
analysis.

Considering his poverty, it may be questioned how he was able to
maintain a laboratory. For twelve years he found a room at the Medical
College. At other times he extemporized quarters at his humble lodgings,
where the same apartment was to him laboratory, study and living room.
Such a room he could not find in a private house, so he sought it
elsewhere, as in the tenement in which he was found in his last
illness. That life necessarily isolated him from society, its pleasures
and advantages before he became familiar with the laws by which it was
governed.

Having acquired a mastery of Greek and Latin in his youth, he had a good
preparation for the acquisition of the modern languages; besides, to
prosecute his studies and investigations, he found it necessary to
understand most of the languages of Europe.

Exception has been taken to the Professor's manner as a lecturer. When
we consider his natural diffidence in the presence of strangers we are
surprised that he attempted to lecture at all. Take his case when he
last lectured,--his lecture hall, the operating room of the Dental
College, and his platform that of the operator with his audience around
but elevated a few feet above him. The position was an exceedingly
trying one, and some time elapsed before he was able to make a good
start. While hesitating, on such occasions, his eyes would wander around
the audience till they rested on those of a familiar friend. Immediately
he addressed himself to that person, and confidence was restored. Like
other public speakers we know of, he continued to address himself
chiefly to the one selected, however embarrassing it might be to that
individual.


HIS RELIGIOUS LIFE.

The Professor was a Bible student, if we judge from fragments found
among his effects and a well-worn Bible, now a relic in possession of a
former student. The book is a curiosity, worn as is the cover with marks
of his fingers as he held it, often with a candle in his hand, as shown
by occasional drippings on the page and cover.

He was not a member of any church. At least, had not been up to a month
before his decease, though he visited churches of all denominations and
was familiar with their doctrines and polity. His religion consisted in
his living up to his highest ideas of right and truth; hence he was
charitable almost to a fault. When he had not money to give, he parted
with his books.

An eloquent public speaker, referring to his private life, has said: "He
was social, kind and humane. He took pleasure in instructing the
children and communing with friends--good men and women, who loved and
admired him--and his humanity was gratified in bestowing what he valued
most--knowledge. To him nothing seemed more precious than truth, and to
shed the light of it abroad. His heart was in his work, and without a
glance to the right or left, he pursued his arduous quest."

Of the works of creation which occupied so much of his thoughts, the
Professor's views may be had by reading the following concluding remarks
found in his "Physical Astronomy:"

"Whatever doubts may hang over all speculations respecting distant
events, either of past or future time, we have reason to believe that
our universe will ever exhibit great and useful operations throughout
its extensive domains. From the ruins of some celestial bodies others
will rise to act a part in the drama of the physical creation in future
ages. Though nature's work may all decay, her laws remain the same, and
numerous agencies, obedient to their control and aided by occasional
interventions of creative power, must maintain the heavens forever in a
harmonious condition and transform innumerable spheres into seats of
light and intelligence. While the laws of nature have been thus widely
ordained for such great ends, their simplicity renders them intelligible
to the limited powers of the human mind, and the immense universe thus
becomes a vast field of intellectual enjoyment for man."


TESTIMONY OF THE LATE DR. JOHN HANCOCK.

The late Dr. Hancock, in writing to Mrs. J. W. McLaughlin, stated that he
attended institute lectures of Prof. Vaughn, making his acquaintance at
a meeting of the Southwestern Ohio Normal Institute. The Professor was
engaged to lecture on his favorite specialties, physical geography and
astronomy. "It is my recollection," says the doctor, "that Prof. Vaughn
was a graduate of Trinity Collage, Dublin. However that may be, there
can be no doubt as to his wide and profound scholarship. He was not only
deeply versed in the physical sciences, but was equally proficient in
the classics and mathematics. It is said by competent judges that he
read Greek and Latin as he would English, as though he thought in those
languages, and he was one of the few Americans who read through
Laplace's 'Mechanique Celeste.' He had a prodigious memory. At the
Oxford Institute, to which I have referred, some dozen of the leading
members, Prof. Vaughn among them, got up some literary games requiring
wide reading and retentive memories for successful rivalry. In these
games the Professor showed a wealth of reading and an ability to use it
on the instant that I have never seen approached by any other scholar.
It is needless to say that he was first in the game and the rest
nowhere.

"Some ten years afterward, when connected with Nelson's Commercial
College, I edited a little educational paper, the News and Educator, of
which Mr. Nelson was proprietor. In this relation I came much more
frequently in contact with Prof. Vaughn than I ever did before. To this
paper he contributed a number of articles on scientific subjects, but,
being printed in an obscure local paper, they attracted little
attention."


REMINISCENCES OF MRS. STAMPS.

Mrs. Eliza Stamps, widow of the late Colonel Stamps, in giving her
experience with the Professor, said: "He was a very industrious student,
in his profound researches pursuing them to the exclusion of every thing
else. He would frequently forget the demands of hunger and disregard the
summons to his meals. As to his engaging in innocent amusements, he
considered it a sacrifice of valuable time; yet, lest he should be
accused of selfishness or wanting in social etiquette, he sometimes left
his books to unite with the children in their games, and, diffident
though he was, would occasionally take part in the dance.

"He enjoyed the Colonel's library, but soon exhausted its resources and
those of the neighbors; so, to obtain a supply, he would go on foot to
Cincinnati, one hundred miles distant, and return in the same manner,
loaded with new books."

Throughout his after life he gave evidence of his great respect and
affection for Colonel Stamps, his benefactor, and his family, and the
young ladies and gentlemen who had been his pupils, who never ceased to
venerate him for his learning, or to love and cherish his memory. Some
such were among the mourners at his funeral.


REPUTATION IN ENGLAND.

The late Jacob Traber, one of the most intimate friends of the
Professor, has written: "In the year 1858 I was in the office of John
Sayre, bookseller, High Holborn, where I made the purchase of books that
were yet in the hands of the printer. I gave my address and directions
for shipping. When in the act of leaving the office I was accosted by an
elderly gentleman who, with the apology, 'Beg pardon, I overheard you
when you gave your address, Cincinnati, and desire to make inquiry about
one of your distinguished citizens, Daniel Vaughn. Assuming that you
know him, may I ask how long it is since you have seen him?' I replied
that I had known the Professor some four years, and had met him but a
few months ago. At that time I regarded the Professor as a mechanical
genius of the speculative type, and so expressed myself. A quick
rejoinder came in that broad and forcible accent of an Englishman: 'If
you Cincinnati people vote Vaughn as a speculative mechanic, the ripest
and profoundest mathematical scholar in England may be marked as his
apprentice. You have a treasure in that man. Why, sir, we send him
problems that fail to be mastered here, and speedily have them back not
only with a solution, but with the demonstration.' The speaker proved to
be one of the ablest scholars and scientists in Europe."


FIXING THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS CONDITION.

The subject of this paper, it will be inferred, did not inherit a
patrimony, yet he contributed his valuable services to many worthy
objects without pecuniary compensation. As has been stated, his great
pleasure, next to the investigation of truth, was to impart useful
knowledge and help the needy. When in the medical college he was paid
with shares of stock on which a dividend was never declared, and when
engaged in lecturing and teaching his diffidence prevented him from
placing a sufficient value on his services. Living the life of a
recluse, he concealed his poverty from his nearest friends, who were
ignorant even of his address. Then, he never sought a gratuity, and his
friends could only learn by conjecture when he was in need. When asked
if his privations did not cause him much anxiety, he said they gave him
no concern.

On more than one occasion the writer, at the request of men of wealth
and influence, proposed to retire him on an annuity, but he modestly but
firmly declined to accept, and it was not until after the announcement
of his last course that he consented. Then the proposition was to pay
his expenses at a hotel of his choice and advance him money for his
personal expenses, for which he was to lecture when and where he might
choose. The gentlemen most active in this project were the following,
now deceased: Henry Peachy, William F. Corry, Jacob Traber, Colonel
Geoffrey and others. Favorably known to the public were Drs. J. J. and
William Taft, Dr. Thad Reamy, J. C. Sproull, etc.

The project had so far matured that the writer and another had arranged
with Mr. Peachy to make the Lafayette National Bank the custodian of the
funds. Had the Professor survived, he would have enjoyed a life of
leisure and comfort, at one of the most prominent hotels in the city.

The people of Cincinnati were, therefore, not responsible for the
poverty of our friend, nor for the state of destitution in which he was
found prior to his removal to the hospital.



ACCOUNT OF THE DEATH OF PROF. VAUGHN, BY REV. EUGENE BRADY, S.J.

    [Concerning the last days of Professor Vaughn, the following from
    the pen of Father Brady, pastor of St. Xavier's Church, is of
    special interest. This is peculiarly appropriate by reason of the
    fact that Father Brady, while a boy, attended the college during
    the time Professor Vaughn taught in Bardstown, Kentucky, and
    finally comforted him in his last moments.--J. U. L.]

    "MY DEAR MR. LLOYD:--

    "Concerning the foot-note on page 160 of Etidorhpa. The
    description of Daniel Vaughn is correct. The story of his
    privations is quite true. He was so absorbed in science as to be
    self-neglectful. Moreover, he was grossly neglected by those _who
    made use of his labors_.

    "A servant girl told the venerable Sister Anthony that a poor
    lodger was dying in destitution in the west end of the city. The
    lodger was Professor Vaughn. The Sister had the good man conveyed
    to the Good Samaritan Hospital on April 1, 1879. She made him
    comfortable, as he repeatedly declared. He died on April 6, 1879.
    _Thoroughly conscious_ up to the last moment, _it was at his
    request_ that the undersigned had the melancholy pleasure of
    administering to him the last rites of the Catholic Church. It was
    neither delirium nor senility that revived his faith. He was but
    sixty-one years of age, and as rational as ever in life."

                                                  --EUGENE BRADY, S.J.



ETIDORHPA.

TO THE RECIPIENTS OF THE AUTHOR'S EDITION OF ETIDORHPA:


That so large an edition as 1,299 copies of an expensive book,
previously unseen by any subscriber, should have been taken in advance
by reason of a mere announcement, is complimentary to the undersigned;
and yet this very confidence occasioned him not a little anxiety. Under
such circumstances to have failed to give, either in workmanship or
subject-matter, more than was promised in the announcement of Etidorhpa,
would have been painfully embarrassing.

Not without deep concern, then, were the returns awaited; for, while
neither pains nor expense were spared to make the book artistically a
prize, still, beautiful workmanship and attractive illustrations may
serve but to make more conspicuous other failings. Humiliating indeed
would it have been had the recipients, in a spirit of charity, spoken
only of artistic merit and neat bookwork.

When one not a bookman publishes a book, he treads the danger-line. When
such a person, without a great publishing-house behind him, issues a
book like Etidorhpa--a book that, spanning space, seemingly embraces
wild imaginings and speculation, and intrudes on science and
religion--he invites personal disaster.

That in the case of the Author's Edition of Etidorhpa the reverse
happily followed, is evidenced by hundreds of complimentary letters,
written by men versed in this or that section wherein the book intrudes;
and in a general way the undersigned herein gratefully extends his
thanks to all correspondents--thanks for the cordial expressions of
approval, and for the graceful oversights by critics and correspondents,
that none better than he realizes have been extended towards blemishes
that must, to others, be not less apparent than they are to himself.

Since general interest has been awakened in the strange book Etidorhpa,
and as many readers are soliciting information concerning its reception,
it is not only as a duty, but as a pleasure, that the undersigned
reproduces the following abstracts from public print concerning the
Author's Edition, adding, that as in most cases the reviews were of
great length and made by men specially selected for the purpose, the
brief notes are but fragments and simply characteristic of their general
tenor.

The personal references indulged by the critics could not be excised
without destroying the value of the criticisms, and the undersigned can
offer no other apology for their introduction than to say that to have
excluded them would have done an injustice to the writers.

    Respectfully,
    JOHN URI LLOYD.



ETIDORHPA AS A WORK OF ART.

PROFESSOR S. W. WILLIAMS, WYOMING, OHIO.


If a fine statue or a stately cathedral is a poem in marble, a
masterpiece of the printer's art may be called a poem in typography.
Such is Etidorhpa. In its paper, composition, presswork, illustrations,
and binding--it is the perfection of beauty. While there is nothing
gaudy in its outward appearance, there is throughout a display of good
taste. The simplicity of its neatness, like that of a handsome woman, is
its great charm. Elegance does not consist in show nor wealth in
glitter; so the richest as well as the costliest garb may be rich in its
very plainness. The illustrations were drawn and engraved expressly for
this work, and consist of twenty-one full-page, half-tone cuts, and over
thirty half-page and text cuts, besides two photogravures. The best
artistic skill was employed to produce them, and the printing was
carefully attended to, so as to secure the finest effect. Only enameled
book paper is used; and this, with the wide margins, gilt top, trimmed
edges, and clear impressions of the type, makes the pages restful to the
eyes in reading or looking at them. The jacket, or cover, which protects
the binding, is of heavy paper, and bears the same imprint as the book
itself. Altogether, as an elegant specimen of the bookmakers' art it is
a credit to the trade. All honor to the compositors who set the type,
the artists who drew and engraved the illustrations, the electrotyper
who put the forms into plate, the pressman who worked off the sheets,
and the binder who gathered and bound them in this volume.



REVIEWS OF ETIDORHPA.


[Sidenote: B. O. Flower, Editor of The Arena, Boston.]

The present is an age of expectancy, of anticipation, and of prophecy;
and the invention or discovery or production that occupies the attention
of the busy world, as it rushes on its self-observed way, for more than
the passing nine day's wonder, must needs be something great indeed.
Such a production has now appeared in the literary world in the form of
the volume entitled "Etidorhpa, or the End of Earth;" the very title of
which is so striking as to arrest the attention at once.

A most remarkable book.... Surpasses, in my judgment, any thing that has
been written by the elder Dumas or Jules Verne, while in moral purpose
it is equal to Hugo at his best.... It appeals to the thoughtful
scientist no less than to the lover of fascinating romance.


[Sidenote: Mr. Herbert Bates, in the Commercial Gazette, Cincinnati.]

In summing, I would say that I have found the book distinctly
stimulating. It is odd, but with the oddity of force. It has passages of
uncanny imagination, but they excellently evade the enormous and
extravagant. It is a book that by its title and by such features as
strike one at a hurried glance might easily repel. Yet it is a book
that, studied carefully, calls for re-reading and deep meditation. Its
theories are capable of scientific demonstration, its imaginings, while
they may not be fact, are always consistent with it. The reader who lets
the outside repel him errs sadly. Let him read it, and he will be as
changed in his position toward it, as ready to convert others, as is the
reviewer, who picked it up with foreboding and laid it down with the
sense of having read great thoughts.


[Sidenote: Dr. W. H. Venable.]

"The End of Earth" is not like any other book. The charm of adventure,
the excitement of romance, the stimulating heat of controversy, the keen
pursuit of scientific truth, the glow of moral enthusiasm, are all found
in its pages. The book may be described as a sort of philosophical
fiction, containing much exact scientific truth, many bold theories, and
much ingenious speculation on the nature and destiny of man.... The
occult and esoteric character of the discussions adds a strange
fascination to them. We can hardly classify, by ordinary rules, a work
so unusual in form and purpose, so discursive in subject-matter, so
unconventional in its appeals to reason, religion and morality.... The
direct teaching of the book, in so far as it aims to influence conduct,
is always lofty and pure.


[Sidenote: Letter from Sir Henry Irving, to the Author.]

"_My Dear Sir:_ Let me thank you most heartily for sending me the
special copy of your wonderful book 'Etidorhpa,' which I shall ever
value. I may say that when by chance I found it in Cincinnati I read it
with the greatest interest and pleasure, and was so struck by it that I
have sent copies to several friends of mine here and at home. I hope I
may have the pleasure of meeting you some day either here or in London.
I remain, sincerely yours,      HENRY IRVING.

    "20th March, 1896."


[Sidenote: Etidorhpa as a work of art. Prof. S. W. Williams.]

If a fine statute or a stately cathedral is a poem in marble, a
masterpiece of the printer's art may be called a poem in typography.
Such is "Etidorhpa." In its paper, composition, presswork,
illustrations, and binding--it is the perfection of beauty. While there
is nothing gaudy in its outward appearance, there is throughout a
display of good taste.

The illustrations were drawn and engraved expressly for this work, and
consist of twenty-one full-page, half-tone cuts, and over thirty
half-page and text cuts, besides two photogravures. The best artistic
skill was employed to produce them, and the printing was carefully
attended to, so as to secure the finest effect.


[Sidenote: Eclectic Medical Journal, Cincinnati.]

No one could have written the chapter on the "Food of Man" but Professor
Lloyd; no one else knows and thinks of these subjects in a similar
way.... The "old man's" description of "the spirit of stone," "the
spirit of plants," and finally, "the spirit of man," is very fine, but
those who hear Professor Lloyd lecture catch Lloyd's impulses
throughout. The only regret one has in reading this entrancing work is,
that it ends unexpectedly, for the End of Earth comes without a
catastrophe. It should have been a hundred pages longer; the reader
yearns for more, and closes the book wistfully.


[Sidenote: New Idea, Detroit.]

One of the great charms of the book is the space between the lines,
which only the initiated can thoroughly comprehend. Don't fail to read
and re-read Etidorhpa. Be sure and read it in the light of
contemporaneous literature, for without doing so, its true beauty will
not appear. Aside from its subject-matter, the excellency of the
workmanship displayed by the printer, and artistic beauty of the
illustrations, will make Etidorhpa an ornament to any library.


[Sidenote: Cincinnati Student.]

This book, to use the words of the editor of the Chicago Inter-Ocean, is
"the literary novelty of the year."... In a literary sense, according to
all reviewers, it abounds with "word-paintings of the highest order"--in
some chapters being "terrible" in its vividness, several critics
asserting that Dante's Inferno has nothing more realistic....


[Sidenote: The British and Colonial Druggist, London, England.]

We have read it with absorbed interest, the vividly-depicted scenes of
each stage in the miraculous journey forming a theme which enthralls the
reader till the last page is turned. Many new views of natural laws are
given by the communicator, and argued between him and Drury, into which,
and into the ultimate intent of Etidorhpa, we will not attempt to enter,
but will leave it for each reader to peruse, and draw his own
conclusions.... Professor Lloyd's style is quaint and polished, and
perfectly clear. The printing and paper are all that can be desired, and
an abundance of artistic and striking illustrations are admirably
reproduced.


[Sidenote: New York World.]

Etidorhpa, the End of the Earth, is in all respects the worthiest
presentation of occult teachings under the attractive guise of fiction
that has yet been written. Its author, Mr. John Uri Lloyd, of
Cincinnati, as a scientist and writer on pharmaceutical topics, has
already a more than national reputation, but only his most intimate
friends have been aware that he was an advanced student of occultism.
His book is charmingly written, some of its passages being really
eloquent; as, for instance, the apostrophe to Aphrodite--whose name is
reversed to make the title of the story. It has as thrilling situations
and startling phenomena as imagination has ever conceived.... There is
no confusion between experiences and illusions, such as are common in
the works of less instructed and conscientious writers treating of such
matters. He knows where to draw the line and how to impress perception
of it, as in the four awful nightmare chapters illustrating the curse of
drink. Etidorhpa will be best appreciated by those who have "traveled
East in search of light and knowledge."...


[Sidenote: John Clark Ridpath, LL.D.]

We are disposed to think "Etidorhpa" the most unique, original, and
suggestive new book that we have seen in this the last decade of a not
unfruitful century.


[Sidenote: Times-Star, Cincinnati.]

It is as fascinating as the richest romance by Dumas, and mysterious and
awe-inspiring as the wild flights of Verne. Hugo wrote nothing more
impassioned than those terrible chapters where "The-Man-Who-Did-It"
drinks liquor from the mushroom cup. There never was a book like it. It
falls partly in many classes, yet lies outside of all. It will interest
all sorts and conditions of men and it has that in it which may make it
popular as the most sensational novel of the day. Intricate plotting,
marvelous mysteries, clear-cut science without empiricism, speculative
reasoning, sermonizing, historical facts, and bold theorizing make up
the tissue of the story, while the spirit of Etidorhpa, the spirit of
love, pervades it all.... Happy is the scientist who can present science
in a form so inviting as to charm not only the scholars of his own
profession, but the laymen besides. This, Professor John Uri Lloyd has
done in his Etidorhpa.


[Sidenote: The Inter-Ocean, Chicago.]

For eighteen years the writer has been seated at his desk, and all kinds
of books have been passed in review, but has never before met with such
a stumper as Etidorhpa. Its name is a stunner, and its title-page,
head-lines, and weird, artistic pictures send you such a ghastly welcome
as to make goblins on the walls, and fill the close room with spooks and
mystery. The writer has only known of Professor Lloyd as a scientist and
an expert in the most occult art of the pharmacist, and can scarcely
conceive him in the role of the mystic and romancer in the region
heretofore sacred to the tread of the supernatural.... The book is the
literary novelty of the year, but those interested in such lines of
thought will forget its novelties in a profound interest in the themes
discussed.


[Sidenote: The Chicago Medical Times.]

The work stands so entirely alone in literature, and possesses such a
marvelous versatility of thought and idea, that, in describing it, we
are at a loss for comparison. In its scope it comprises alchemy,
chemistry, science in general, philosophy, metaphysics, morals, biology,
sociology, theosophy, materialism, and theism--the natural and
supernatural.... It is almost impossible to describe the character of
the work. It is realistic in expression, and weird beyond Hawthorne's
utmost flights. It excels Bulwer-Lytton's Coming Race and Jules Verne's
most extreme fancy. It equals Dante in vividness and eccentricity of
plot.... The entire tone of the work is elevating. It encourages thought
of all that is ennobling and pure. It teaches a belief and a faith in
God and holy things, and shows God's supervision over all his works. It
is an allegory of the life of one who desires to separate himself from
the debasing influences of earth, and aspires to a pure and noble
existence, as beautiful and as true to the existing conditions of human
life as Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. The sorrow; the struggle with self;
the physical burdens; the indescribable temptations with the presence
and assistance of those who would assist in overcoming them; the dark
hours, Vanity Fair, and the Beulahland, are all there.


[Sidenote: Indianapolis Journal.]

In every respect the volume bearing the title Etidorhpa, or the End of
the Earth, is a most remarkable book. Typographically, it is both unique
and artistic--as near perfection in conception and execution as can be
conceived.... The author is John Uri Lloyd, of Cincinnati, a scientific
writer whose pharmaceutical treatises are widely known and highly
valued. That a man whose mind and time have been engrossed with the
affairs of a specialist and man of affairs could have found time to
enter the field of speculation, and there display not only the most
extensive knowledge of the exact natural sciences, and refute what is
held to be scientific truth with bold theories and ingenious
speculations on the nature and destiny of man is marvelous....

The Addenda is as original as the book itself, consisting, as it does,
of a list of names, some of whom are not subscribers, but to whom the
author is deeply obliged, or whom he regards as very dear friends, and
those of a few whom he personally admires.... If each of them has a copy
of Etidorhpa, or the End of the Earth, he possesses a book which is not
like any other book in the world.


[Sidenote: Cleveland Leader.]

It relates to a journey made by the old man under the guidance of a
peculiar being into the interior of the earth. The incidents of this
journey overshadow any thing that Verne ever wrote in his palmiest days.
But perhaps the most singular part of it is that they are all based on
scientific grounds. Dr. Lloyd, the author of the volume, is one of the
deepest students, and is well known as a profound writer on subjects
pertaining to his profession, as well as one who has taken much pains in
studying the occult sciences.... The book is a very pleasant one to
read, a little redundant at times, but full of information.... Readers
who succeed in securing it will be very lucky indeed.



TRANSCRIBER NOTES:

    Punctuation corrected without note.

    page 47: no illustration is found in the original book for
    this reference.

    page 228: "siezed" changed to "seized" (The guide seized me by the
    hand).

    page 284: "begun" changed to "began" (began a narcotic
    hallucination).

    page 338: "comformably" changed to "conformably" (that lies
    conformably with the external crust).

    page 385: "wierd" changed to "weird" (and weird, artistic pictures).





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